The problem: Some readers probably missed Voskamp’s apology, submerged as it was in a long scroll of a post concerning a family trip to Israel, a Tim Keller talk, a Mister Rogers quote, Instagram photos from fans raving about her books, and more. The item’s burial was too bad, because this was a teachable moment about likely dangers at a time when internet files can be copied and mislabeled so readily, with unclear attribution. It’s not hard months later for a popular writer, under intense pressure to fulfill fans’ and publishers’ demands, to throw into the breach a story that her dad could have told—but it wouldn’t be word for word from what someone else wrote.
That wasn’t the only time Voskamp has without attribution used the work of others. In January she wrote a blog post about sexual abuse and listed “nine theses for assault in the church,” using a list from seminary professor Wade Mullen with only slight rewordings, and did not attribute any of it. In this case Voskamp apologized quickly in a blog post several days later. She said she was in “vulnerable grief” about sexual abuse in the church when she wrote the post, that she “lyrically paraphrased and used some phrases” of Mullen’s, and that “my heart sincerely and humbly and relentlessly apologizes.”
Inexplicably, that post where she apologized is now deleted (the archived page was still available on the Wayback Machine). The blog Jules’ Diner documented this and some other minor incidents, like a 2017 talk where Voskamp appeared to use some ideas from philosopher James K.A. Smith without attribution. When someone brought up the similarities of her speech with Smith’s writing, Smith tweeted, “I’m sure there’s a footnote in her heart.”