It is amazing when someone that you have looked up to for so many years, reaches out and sends you a book review.
Mr. Rafferty is probably (no, is) my reason for proving that I belong. He visited my Father in 1990 when no one asked him to, and he did it quietly, on his own. My Father died shortly after that, and that was the only time the two of them met. The torch, was mine, to hold it high…
I haven’t read this book that he has reviewed, however I am ordering it next week. If Mr. Rafferty likes it, I will probably like it. After all, he liked my Father, so I owe him a “like”.
“Retreat from Manresa”
A Jesuit Story by Frederick Vaughan
By any standard this is an interesting, entertaining and above all, a challenging book
for any Catholic reader. Another title of the book could be “What Has Happened to the
Jesuits?” or alternatively, “What is Happening to the Jesuits?”
The author posits the great and real challenges facing the Catholic Church in general and
The Society of Jesus in particular via three fictional individuals: Bob Halliday, a former
member of the class of 1955 who left the Order and became a lawyer; Father Darcy
Enright, just returned from Rome after ten years – prior to that he had served for
twenty years as the master of novices at the novitiate. The third central figure is Father Frank
Underhill, a graduate of the class of 1955 who, upon graduation, had gone almost
immediately into mission work in Zambia. It is the interaction amongst these three who
have been away from the North American Jesuits for many years, and various other
personalities who had all met originally as part of the class of 1955 from which the
central themes of the book develop.
“Retreat from Manresa” is not a “dry as dust” complex theological rant about the
current condition of the Society of Jesus. It is written for the “people in the pews” and in
fact it is an enjoyable, easy read. Intriguing plots and characters are
introduced throughout the book. The sudden, unexplained disappearance of Father
Steve Moriarity and the gripping search for him is but one example. The reader meets a
myriad of interesting, in some cases charming, personalities – priests, former priests, and some
who never took the vows and left for other vocations. There are some very sad stories and some
very happy ones.
All of these relationships, all of the interactions among these individuals, all of the
delightful and informative conversations that occur between and among them serve one
purpose. They have been skilfully woven into the book and the narrative to answer the
questions asked by Bob Halliday, Father Enright, Father Underhill and their colleagues: “Why had so
many young men, almost 90% of the class of 1955- left the Society in the past two
decades? Where did we go wrong?” What has happened to our formation? Why had so
many who had left Religious Orders also abandoned their faith?
“Where are our Bishops?”
The reader will recognize that these are not fictional questions although the
characters who ask them are. They apply to the Church and the Jesuits today.
In searching for the answers the reader is introduced to the criticisms and
misinterpretations of Vatican II , the belief within the Jesuits that John Paul II set Vatican
II back a century, ["after all what can you expect of that Polish Pope"] the profound
effects of Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae, the attacks from within the Jesuits on the pro
life movement, their demand to re-examine the “traditional church teachings” on issues
such as the Eucharist, abortion, contraception, the ordination of women, priestly celibacy,
the effects of Freud, Marx, Nietzsche. Where indeed did they go wrong?
The one question Frederick Vaughan didn’t ask, because he couldn’t, is “What is the
Jesuit reaction to this excellent and penetrating analysis of their Society?”
Thank you, sir. Sending you…
Laughter and Love,
Comments are welcomed and appreciated, and will be forwarded to Mr. Rafferty. Please encourage
him to write his life story, because it is an amazing journey, and I am blessed to have been a part of it.
I found the following on the internet the other day. It had no title and no author, so if you know who wrote it, please contact me so I can acknowledge them.
Please don’t send a lawyer…
Before you can forgive others, you must be a person whose forgiveness matters.
Before you can have gratitude for your life, you must believe that your life has value.
Before your choices have value, you must feel that you yourself have value.
Before you can dream a great dream for your future, you have to believe that your future matters.
Before you can build positive habits of resolve and commitment, before you can live into the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times and stand up eight”, you must believe that your life matters.
Before you can celebrate your life, you must Honour it.
And before you can feel unity with, and Honour toward, Spirit and all creation, you must Honour yourself to feel worthy of that unity…
Something to think about.
Laughter and love,
“Shadow of Light” by Rodney Christian Power is a very good spiritual fiction book. I have to disclose that the book was sent me for the purpose of providing a review, that Mr. Power is Canadian (so am I) and that his middle name is Christian (so am I). If this taints my review in your opinion, it shouldn’t. He has written a very good book, and I wish he had signed it for me.
IT’S LIFE, CAPTAIN, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT…
Ever wonder what the end of the world will be like right before the end? This book may or may not let you know, because it will depend on where YOU are when that comes about. It will also depend on whether or not you believe that the world ends when YOU end. If you happened to be an 82 year old woman and you dropped dead at the altar of a church, that would be the end of your physical life on Earth, wouldn’t it? I believe that would be the beginning of your life in Heaven, however what if a Junior Angel from up above had a different idea? What if he chose to “occupy” your body in an attempt to alter (not altar) the events yet to happen on Earth? Now we have the beginning of a spiritual fiction book, whether or not you believe.
Sarius is the Junior Angel, Kathleen Kelly is the 82 year old lady whose physical body he occupies, and Brooks Hennessey, his wife Rachel, their dog Reggie and the parrot Arcturus are a few of the characters that he/she encounters after the takeover. If you have even a passing interest in golf, or love to hear and read about the arrogant upper class getting it “put to them”, then you will be hooked once Mrs. Kelly challenges Charles Baird, a multi-millionaire at the prestigious Southcott Golf and Country Club, to a match play game over 18 holes for $1,000,000 a hole. Reading about this game is worth reading the book, regardless of your knowledge or interest in golf.
Stories within Stories…
There are stories within the book that have to deal with the end of the world, man’s (and woman’s) reaction to it, and some fairly technical jargon about stars, space quantum things and spatial interaction, etc. However you do not need any techno-geek knowledge to still enjoy the book (and find out the outcome of the golf game!). To be honest, in my case I ignored most of what I didn’t understand. It was enough to know that a star was headed toward the planet named Earth, and even if it didn’t hit directly, the fallout would be that there would be no Earth, at least not the one (piece) we have become familiar with.
The Ending, but Not Necessarily The End…
I do consider myself a good book reviewer, so I won’t give away the entire ending. Earth doesn’t end, and even if it did, there would be remnants of it in the atmosphere. Yes, even you and I would continue in some form, because according to the knowledge we have gathered TO DATE, matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another. My thoughts? They are created daily..
The Book Title – THAT’S what I want to write about…
“Shadow of Light”. I really like that title, and I didn’t even give it a thought when I first held the book in my hands. A shadow is usually something ominous, unless you are in the desert at high noon. Shadows are dark and dangerous places, where musty, smelly things live, and a place you want to avoid if you are a character in a slash and kill movie. How, then, can a shadow also be a place of light?
The last time I wrote that “things happen for a reason” I was accused of being a do-good westerner who had never experienced hardship or seen little children murdered and starved to death by other so-called humans. It is true – I have never experienced that. Things either happen for a reason, or they don’t happen for a reason – you can’t have it one way without the opposite being true. I have no explanation for the choices people make, and harming another creature has no place in any culture.
The title “Shadow of Light” for me is another way of saying that things happen for a reason. In the book, terrible things are about to (and in some cases, do) happen, yet at the end of the book there is light and renewal. A shadow that was to descend on our Earth suddenly becomes light because of the choices that some of the characters in the book make. Was that the author’s intent? I’m not sure so you’ll have to ask him, however I don’t think I’m far off.
“Shadow of Light” is one of the better books I have read, and it is very well laid out, excellently edited and very entertaining. You will fall in love with Mrs. Kelly and applaud her efforts on the golf course (why can’t I leave the golf game alone?). If nothing else, if you ever feel that a shadow is descending on you, remember that it takes light to make a shadow, and light will eventually appear again.
Laughter and love,
“Shadow of Light” Rodney Christian Power
Narrow Road Press www.sheafhouse.com
This article was originally published in the January/February issue of The Silo…
If You Believe in Ground Beef, You Must Believe in Ground Hog. Is Spirituality a Far Step Away?
How much ground
Would a ground hog hog
If a ground hog could hog ground?
ALL of it according to a local farmer…
I thought that I had made that poem up as a youngster, until my second grade teacher told me that it was a WOOD CHUCK, not a ground hog. It almost made sense to me until I pictured a fairly small GROUND HOG trying to CHUCK a piece of WOOD. Poetry was lost to me from that point on…
February 2nd is almost officially Groundhog Day. It isn’t a National Holiday, otherwise politicians wouldn’t be available for the official photos taken that day as they would be on one of their 200 days off during the year. It can’t interfere with Family Day, otherwise those without families would not be able to participate, either. It certainly isn’t religious, political, spiritual, Muslim, Buddhist, Marxist, Lennonist, McCarthyist, agnostic or atheist otherwise there would be protests everywhere.
RALLY AROUND THE HOG….
Maybe Groundhog Day can become a rallying point for people. We wouldn’t have to Occupy any particular place just because we have nothing better to do that day (although laying in a field in June on a sunny day waiting for a groundhog to emerge so you can shoot it is very pleasant). No need to declare war on a country that would rather we stay home and fix our own problems. The various political parties could argue and debate which came first – the groundhog, the shadow, or the sun and clouds that apparently gave rise to the idea in the first place.
What about the politician in Canada who wanted to make the polar bear our national animal? How about the groundhog? To me, it would make the perfect choice. It represents farmers (the ground), consumerism (it eats our crops), hogs (no need to mention politicians again, is there?), abundant space for immigrants (ground hogs), they are spread across our country (they are called prairie dogs, lemmings, ground squirrels and just plain rats everywhere else) so no one would be left out.
The spiritual aspects of Groundhog Day are endless. Let everyone believe that an animal can come out of the ground on a specific day and tell us how the next six weeks will turn out. Snow? Probably. Rain? Likely. Winter? Come on. If winter ceased on February 2nd the Farmers’ Almanac would be out of business. Six more weeks of what we have just gotten used to again isn’t that great a hardship, unless you have a flight booked for someplace sunny in the next month or so. In today’s society you can’t believe in anything, yet tell someone a groundhog predicts the weather and they’ll slap your knee and offer to buy you your next beverage.
Do groundhogs really see? Can they talk? How do we know if they have seen their shadow? Are there groundhog interpreters? Are they specific to Wiarton, Punxsutawney and wherever it is that Pothole Pete comes from? Yes, google “Pothole Pete” and apparently he is a growing legend in New York City and as a video game celebrity.
If communities can rally around a groundhog, why can’t we take it a step further and believe that things will get better no matter what a groundhog says? Why is winter so bad? Ski resort operators can’t possibly plan their business on what a groundhog determines on one day in February, can they? Can they? Do they? If the Groundhog determines that winter is over, does that cancel March Break? What if everyone really needs a break? Do we get the interpreter to relay that message to the groundhog on February 1st so that he misses his shadow. What if the paparazzi are there and the National Enquirer gets the REAL story?
Groundhog Day – The NEXT National Holiday
Have fun on Groundhog Day. Tell your local politicians (or their advisors anyway, as I don’t think any politician makes a decision on their own) that they missed the boat on having a truly national animal to be celebrated in February. Family Day in Canada is too close to Easter (some years) and too far away from Christmas. Groundhog Day would have been perfect as a means to non-politically, non-religiously, non-sectarianly and non-offensively (I made some of those terms up just now) serve everyone, no matter where they live. Even Chuck.
That’s what I believe, anyway. Come back and watch for my article about Easter and it’s connection with spiritual fiction. You do believe in the Easter Bunny, don’t you?
If ground beef is hamburger, and ground pork is sausage, what the heck is ground chuck?
Laughter and love,
This was sent to me by my very good friend Lisa J. Shultz. I have used it without her permission, and I pray that she won’t mind…
WHY WE WRITE
I can tell you it is good enough.
I can tell you without reading it.
I can tell you that because your words have divine purpose.
The world needs to read them.
Do not let a little voice or someone else’s voice take you off track.
Your words will touch people in a profound way, but only if you speak them publicly.
Once you complete your book, begin to dream and plan about reaching out to people to speak about what you have written.
This may be on the radio, television, internet, to live groups or any other way you can imagine of spreading your message.
You are only being called to write this book because it is needed.
If you stop in any way, you will not touch as many people.
The people are waiting.
Do not rush, but proceed with full knowledge and confidence that it is what you are here to do.
If you ever have any doubt, just read this again and it will remind you why you write…
The following article was originally published in “The Silo” in their November/December issue and is also available on their website now. It has been Twitted and Facebooked previously, however I am posting it now on my site for those who visit through the search engines and other links. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Christmas as Spiritual Fiction? Not for me…
It seems that every where you turn these days, it is becoming incorrect to celebrate the holidays in “the manner in which you have become accustomed”- at least in the matter in which I have become accustomed.
To truly celebrate the Christmas season, and that’s what it is, no matter what anyone says, I have become open-minded and willing to accept EVERYONE’S ideas for the holiday season. If you disagree, please refrain from attending any “holiday” parties or dinners, taking the day off on December 25th or 26th (should you work for a company that still acknowledges these days as holidays) and carry on as usual. Should you happen to work for the government you are safe (for now) as they would never legislate against their own days off, although when it comes to politicians, I don’t believe never is in their vocabulary (particularly when it comes to matters involving taxes).
I am Thankful for Christmas
The true “spirit” of the holiday season (oops, I meant to say Christmas) is for people to pause and give thanks. According to the man-made calendar of months and years, we are getting ready to start a New Year. We give thanks for the things we have received in the past (not to be confused with Thanksgiving, another man-made tradition) and offer gifts to the people that have blessed us over the past year. Being the humble (not humbug, Mr. Scrooge) creatures that we are, we also accept gifts from others (although for most it is not OUR birthday), all the while muttering that we aren’t worthy. Once these gifts are exchanged, a significant amount of “Why would she buy me this?” and “I don’t NEED another scarf” or “Does he think I’m that big?” are voiced in private, to be repeated over the next month or so. In the days immediately following Christmas, our thankful spirit has usually been diminished significantly.
The greatest reason for pausing at the end of the year (and any time, for that matter) is to be grateful for what you have. Being grateful does not mean that you have to thank every one in your life personally, and you DON’T have to buy them a gift. If you are expecting a gift from someone you are probably going to be disappointed, and if you don’t reciprocate in kind you are going to be REALLY disappointed. If you have chosen to be open-minded I want to thank you for getting this far. I hope that you will also be open to a spiritual suggestion that will make you feel happy inside even though you may have received nothing outside.
The Spirit can Always be Willing…
Whether it is Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah or Guy Lombardo’s Rocking New Year’s Eve, let those people who enjoy these festivals enjoy them. When someone acknowledges you with a holiday greeting that you are unfamiliar with, don’t believe in or if it makes you blow a gasket, pause for a moment and reply with a hearty “That’s The Spirit!”. Unless they have an aversion to ghosts, that reply should be fairly safe no matter what the season.
Let others grumble and complain that Christmas is too commercialized, the spirit of giving has been lost (or is too expensive), kids are spoiled today, no one appreciates anything and the holidays are just too much of a hassle anymore. Bellowing “That’s The Spirit!” right back at them is a great stress reliever, and at the very least will allow them to walk away from you (quickly, perhaps) in much the same way Lucy was bowled over by Charlie Brown’s enthusiastic “That’s It!” in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
Jimmy Stewart would agree…
At the risk of revealing my upbringing, I wish everyone a “Merry Christmas”, “Happy New Year” and a “God bless us, everyone”. By the way, for me it truly IS a wonderful life…
Laughter and Love,
December is a special month for Christian Author David Telbat and he’d like to celebrate his 100-post mile marker by giving away a copy of his ebook, Dark Liaison, A Christian Suspense Novel, in a random drawing!
Just leave a comment on the Telbat’s Tablet site through the month of December, and your name will be put into the “bucket” for a chance to be drawn after December! The book is available as a PDF and Kindle version at this time (more formats available soon!).
This contest is ONLY FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER so be sure to go check out the free stories on the site and leave your comment! David will announce the winner on his site January 3rd. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!
AND D.I. Telbat says he would like to create a CUSTOM ADVENTURE STORY for the winner as well! You, the winner, will be the protagonist involved in a true-to-life covert mission in a custom short story. Many of D.I. Telbat’s free weekly short stories on his site are about the rescue of persecuted Christians. Check them out and leave your comment! Looking forward to “seeing” you! Please spread the word!
Because of D.I. Telbat’s concern for persecuted Christians worldwide, he has committed to donating a portion of the sales of his COIL Novel Series to two ministries that come alongside suffering Christians: Samaritan’s Purse and Voice of the Martyrs. (There are also links on his Telbat’s Tablet website if you’d like to check out these very worthy ministries.)
Good Luck, Laughter and Love,
A CHRISTIAN SUSPENSE NOVEL
I was sent the e-book version of this book by the author’s assistant, Dee who asked me to read it and provide a review. Although I didn’t think I had ever read a Christian Suspense Novel before, I agreed because I admire others who are open-minded and felt I could do the same by stepping away from the type of books I normally read. It is a very well-written and researched book, and whether or not you agree with the Christian aspect (which is only subtly referred to in the book) it is highly entertaining and well worth reading.
When I need a break from reading books on spirituality, self-improvement or true near-death experiences, I usually grab a biography, horror/mystery novel (Stephen King is one of my favourite authors – how spiritual are his books?) and occasionally a true crime/murder paperback that I borrow from my brother. I had never considered Christian Suspense as an alternative, and honestly never even knew there was a category for these types of books. Dark Liaison by D.I. Telbat certainly constituted a break from my normal reading habits, however I was not disappointed and will read the next novel in the series and let you know what I think about it as well.
Drama and Suspense Without Violence and Gore
I would compare Dark Liaison to a James Bond movie (have never read any of the Bond books so can’t compare to them) or a non-violent spy thriller. The author has written a book that includes suspense, numerous identity changes, semi-mild violence and enough tension to keep you reading to the end. The book is set in the United States, and several middle eastern countries. It has been well researched and the author is very familiar with the conflicts that occur daily in these places.
The plot concerns the leader, Corban Dowler of C.O.I.L., the Commission of International Laborers, which is a non-political, Christian organization dedicated to providing Christian supplies (bibles, pamphlets, hymnals, prayer leaflets, etc.) to people in countries who are persecuted because of their Christian beliefs. They also send volunteer missionaries to these countries, and attempt to rescue those who are imprisoned and in danger of death because of their beliefs. To kill another human is not in their mandate, so they use several ingenius methods of dealing with their foes that are non-lethal, such as fast acting nerve serums on darts, gum with similar paralyzing effects and cigarettes with chemicals in them. Their guns have only pellets with nerve gas in them that release their fumes on impact (similar to a paint-ball gun), causing their foe to become unconscious for twenty minutes or so. This allows them to be bound and gagged so they can carry out their orders, whatever they happen to be. A major drawback to their weapons of choice is that they need to get very close to their enemies in order for them to be effective, as they are not accurate from long range.
Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight
As part of their Christian beliefs (although not all so-called Christians believe or practice this) to avoid killing another human at practically any cost, their weapons are all non-lethal. Their biggest challenge is that their enemies do not have the same beliefs, and are ready, willing and have the capability and the weapons to kill the C.O.I.L. members whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, these are the orders given to several of their enemies and many are paid handsomely if they achieve the desired result. When engaging your enemy with non-lethal weapons (here, chew this piece of gum while I watch you pass out!) and the enemy has guns with bullets, bombs and knives, you are at a distinct disadvantage. The C.O.I.L. teams rely upon careful planning and the element of surprise, however they don’t always come away unscathed. Not all enemies are inept marksmen so they do get shot every once in a while, and many of their missionaries are killed before they can be rescued.
In Dark Liaison there are several story lines, however the author takes the time to explain each in enough detail so that you can easily follow each of them. Although they are all related to the central plot, you will find yourself wanting to get back to one of the sub-plots so you not only get to the outcome, but you also find out how they tie in together. If you are a fan of suspense and thriller novels, you will certainly enjoy the twists and planning that has gone into writing this book. I am not going to explain the plot in detail, but it involves the rescue of a Christian lady from a middle eastern prison, an assassination attempt, the kidnapping of a family and lots of bad guys passing out from various forms of nerve gas or serums. And as promised, our heroes do not get away without their fair share of bullet wounds and other injuries.
Recommended For All Suspense Novel Readers
I would definitely recommend Dark Liaison to any fan of the spy/thriller/suspense genre. Whether you are Christian or not, this book has been very well written, researched and edited. The Christian aspect is certainly present but it is not overpowering and the book can be enjoyed as a suspense novel on it’s own merit. You may well guess that the good guys win out in the end, however I believe that is the case in all of the James Bond stories, so why should this be any different? I am certainly glad that i was approached to read this book, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the C.O.I.L. series, Dark Hearted which is due out early in 2012.
Laughter and love,
Dark Liaison D.I. Telbat
Join me briefly in this short video, and see how sitting around an open fire can provide a boost to your spirituality…
Growing up in the country and living in the country most of my life has provided me the opportunity and the luxury of being able to sit around an open fire quite often. There is something mesmerizing about watching the flames, enjoying the stillness of the night and reflecting on life.
At these moments, for me it is impossible to forget to be grateful for all that I have been blessed with. Inner reflection and meditation can be a huge boost to your spiritual self, and an open fire adds greatly to attaining and maintaining your spirituality. Our ancestors and the Native American Indians knew this instinctively and fire played a major role in their forms of spirituality.
If you don’t have the luxury or the opportunity to enjoy a fire SAFELY, take a quiet moment each day to visual a fire and appreciate what you have. When you do get that opportunity, you will experience a calming and inner peace once you have allowed yourself to watch the flames in silence for a few moments.
For me, there is nothing better than an open fire and some peace and quiet every once in a while. Don’t let your life get in the way of some time for yourself. Take care and enjoy…
Laughter and love,