Thursday, October 2, 2014

Not a mystery--A PLACE CALLED HOPE by Phillip Gulley

Philip Gulley’s A Place Called Hope is not a mystery novel. It is a gentle small town story about a Quaker pastor.

Quaker pastor Sam Gardner presided at a gay wedding. He did so at the last minute to help out a fellow minister, a Unitarian. Sam lost his job.

Sam served a Quaker stake in Harmony, his home town, but Harmony, like other small towns, is filled with competing groups striving to control the town’s institutions.

The church is no exception. One powerful small group sends Sam on his way. Their treatment of Sam might not have reflected what the congregation wanted, but they manipulated things to fire Sam.

A few powerful people often take over small-town churches.

In desperation and because she wants to work, Sam’s wife Barbara gets a job as an assistant librarian. Both their children are gone or soon will be, one to college and the other to the Army.

Sam struggles with his call to be a minister until, finally, the small church in Hope asks him to serve there.

Again, this is true to life. Sometimes good struggling churches find good struggling ministers.

This gentle novel cloaks Gulley’s theology, his belief that love should trump doctrine or doctrinal readings of the Bible.

I read this book in its rather expensive Kindle edition. (I tend to think electronic books should not cost more than ten dollars). 

A Place Called Hope was a welcome break from the often-more-violent mystery novels I usually read.

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