Is Your Pastor or Priest a Man of Action? Check Out Pastor Stephen Grant in, for example, WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, MURDERER'S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL and THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL by Ray Keating

Pastor Stephen Grant?

Stephen Grant is the pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on eastern Long Island. Grant is one of the more unique second-career clergy around, as he once worked for the CIA. Besides theology, his interests include archery, golf, writing, classic films, the beach, poker, baseball, and history. Grant also knows his wines, champagnes and brews. Oh yes, he generally dislikes politicians, and happens to be an expert marksman with a handgun and a rifle, while being pretty handy with a combat knife as well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

9-11 Reaction: An excerpt from Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

The following is an excerpt from Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. The scene occurs after terrorists set off a string of bombs in New York City. It reflects on the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

     Stephen had talked about the bombings during the Thursday Matins service, and a special Vespers gathering later that night. They were the largest turnouts for mid-week services since the 9-11 attacks, except perhaps an Ash Wednesday here or there. Pastor Grant learned from those earlier acts of terror, however, not to expect the spike in attendance to last.

     After the country’s most deadly day of terror, church attendance at St. Mary’s had jumped by about 50 percent. But roughly a month later, it was back to normal. People came to church in the aftermath of the attacks saying that they sought answers and comfort. Whether finding what they wanted or not, they again stopped coming – except a few more come back on Easter and Christmas.

     At first, Stephen felt responsible, blaming his own distractions and doubts about his pastoral call and desire to get back in the fight against terrorists. He never fully shook off that sense of guilt. But after hearing about and reflecting on the same phenomenon at so many other churches, Grant largely concluded that it wasn’t about him. Nor was it about whether people did or did not find what they came looking for. Instead, he saw a combination of short attention spans, widespread desire for the quick fix, everyday duties once again crowding out the Lord, and people generally looking to God only during the worst times in life. And even then, for many, it was an occasion to question God, rather than seeking out His comfort. Grant came to see that each person had to decide what really mattered. His job was making the case that God was the ultimate priority.

     The impact on Grant this time around was different. No doubts materialized about his calling. Nor was there the near-overwhelming wish to get back in the game. But Stephen also realized that his job helping to protect Pope Augustine may have quenched any lingering subconscious thirst on that front. After all, he was, to some degree, in the game.

     Stephen tried to come up with a sermon that helped people sort through their feelings and responses to the devastating bombings. The usual query he heard in similar times and during natural disasters was: How could God let this happen? Grant wanted them to ask two different questions. First, why do I only come to God in bad times? Second, if I think about God in bad times, shouldn’t I be making time for him in good times as well?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, Martin Luther and Christianity Today

Powerful speech by Pope Benedict XVI about Martin Luther and the challenges of Christianity today. Could have been given by Pope Augustine, the pope in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life, Art, Security and Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating

In terms of the many reactions that I’ve received regarding this novel about a former CIA agent who becomes a pastor, most interesting are references to various members of the clergy who actually once were in the spy and law enforcement communities.

The idea for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel came to me when a friend mentioned that a priest at her parish used to be with the CIA. It was a passing comment, but I immediately thought that would make the basis for a fun novel. Eventually, I wrote the book. But over these past months, I’ve been somewhat surprised to hear about so many more individuals who have followed that path from national security to, if you will, working for security for eternity.

Consider the following comment from an reviewer:

“Keating's protagonist, a CIA field operative who became a Lutheran parish pastor, is not far from reality. Rev. Kavouras and I, like Keating's fictitious Rev. Grant, are ordained ministers of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Among our brothers in ministry are men who in their former lives were military intelligence officers (one was KGB), military base security chiefs, Secret Service agents and organize crime prosecutors. I was one of them. There are professional church workers who were formerly in the technical end of the intelligence community. Warrior Monk is well worth reading.”

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Where is Pastor Stephen Grant Coming From? An Excerpt from Warrior Monk

The Catholic Church is making inquiries about Pastor Stephen Grant, who happens to be a Lutheran. In the following excerpt from Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, Grant meets with his two friends - Father Ron McDermott, a Catholic priest who has just been quizzed by his superiors about Grant, and Father Tom Stone, an Anglican - trying to figure out what this is all about.

Sure enough, it was all about theology.

Stone, McDermott and Grant agreed to push back their Monday devotional meal to lunch. When Stephen arrived, dressed casually in tan shorts and a white polo shirt, Tom Stone was already waiting. Today was a Magnum PI day for Stone – dressed in a dark blue Hawaiian shirt with white swirly flowers, jeans and white sneakers. Grant reflected that he was only missing the sunglasses hanging around his neck, a Detroit Tigers hat, and the red Ferrari in the parking lot. Stone instead drove a very sensible minivan.

While slipping into the booth across from his friend, Grant nodded and said, “Magnum.”

Stone didn’t miss a beat, replying, “Mr. Bond.”

Stephen brought Tom Stone up to speed on the inquiries from the Vatican via the local Catholic bishop, while Tom filled Stephen in on the latest happenings in the always hectic Stone household.

After Ron McDermott arrived, about twenty minutes late, they ordered lunch, and read their devotions from For All the Saints.

When they closed their books, the waitress came with drinks and a small bowl of cole slaw with a crisp pickle on top for each.

Stephen looked at McDermott. “Well?”

“Stephen, I am officially sick of talking about you.”

“That makes two of us,” added Stone.

McDermott continued: “I was on the phone with my bishop and two of his assistants for three hours going over the theological views of my Lutheran friend. At the same time, I was e-mailing links to some of your articles, and even faxing over two in my files that aren’t online. What’s wrong with this picture?” A touch of annoyance was barely detectable in Ron’s voice.

“Why the heck are they talking to you about me? Why not come to me directly?”

“Maybe you’re up for bishop and they want to surprise you,” Tom cheerfully commented.

“You’re not helping,” Stephen replied, giving him a look.


“I didn’t get to ask too many questions,” Ron resumed. “But from what I was told and could otherwise figure out, they are cobbling together a thorough bio on you that will be passed on to someone in the Vatican this week. Sounded like tomorrow.”

Stephen paused to mull this over. What’s the deal? “So, what did you tell them?”

Tom jumped in, looking at McDermott, “That he’s a follower of that mad monk, Luther, and believes the pope is the anti-christ, right?”

“Still not helping,” said McDermott.

“Yea, I know, but I’m amusing myself.” He smirked and took a sip from his Coca-Cola.

McDermott looked Stephen in the eyes. “It would probably be easier to go over what we failed to cover. We talked about your views on the Reformation; the Catholic Church; old line Protestants; evangelicals; Holy Scripture; the Eucharist; the liturgy; the current challenges facing the church in the U.S. and around the globe; the strengths, weaknesses and role of Lutheranism today; and even church music. A good chunk, though, was focused on the relationship between Christian denominations, including your take on the old ecumenical movement and the New Ecumenism among traditionalists.”

“So, what did you tell them?” Stephen pressed anxiously.

“What did I tell them? I don’t have another three hours to spare, my friend.”

“Come on, Ron.”

“I told them exactly what I’ve come to learn and respect about you, Stephen, over the past four years. I know your theology well, so no worries. I explained that you view the Reformation as a necessary evil. That you fall onto the Catholic rather than the Protestant side of Lutheranism. That you view Lutheranism as a reform movement, rather than a new church. That you’re traditional when it comes to the Bible, worship and the culture. That you see a great opportunity for Lutheranism as a kind of bridge between Catholics and Protestants, but are frustrated by the internal squabbling among your fellow Lutherans. At the same time, though, I made clear that you’re not a Lutheran on the verge of heading to Rome. And I highlighted your strong belief that traditional Christians, no matter their denomination or individual church, must become more unified in confronting the many challenges that Christianity faces and will face in the twenty-first century.” McDermott paused for a sip of iced tea. “How’d I do?”

Stephen felt more at ease. “Fine, of course. Thanks Ron, and I apologize if I came across a bit edgy.”

“Don’t worry about it. This is all a mystery.”

“And as Captain Kirk once said, mysteries give me a bellyache,” Stone added, shoveling a large forkful of cole slaw into his mouth.

The waitress brought over their lunch. Each had some slightly different take on the diner hamburger – Stone with cheddar cheese and bacon, McDermott simply well done, and Grant with the traditional American cheese.

As he added ketchup and salt, Stone said, “Stephen, as easy as it is for me to say, don’t get all knotted up over this. Pray, go about your ministry, and don’t fret over what you cannot control.”

“Good advice, my friend. Hope I can follow it.”

Stone took a big bite into his bacon cheeseburger, and ketchup dripped down onto his Hawaiian shirt. “Crap.”

Ron observed, “Well, that was rather un-clergy-like.”

Tom grunted as he dipped his napkin in a glass of water, and tried to erase the stain.

“Well, better on the shirt than on the Ferrari’s upholstery,” added Grant. “After all, what would Higgins say?”

“Very funny. I’m not worried about Jonathan Higgins. It’s Maggie Stone who will lecture me about getting a stain on a shirt that she always tells me is ugly and too expensive.”

“Wise woman,” added Ron, who seemed to be enjoying his friend’s sartorial predicament as he chewed on his burger.

Read Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant, which is available at or at's CreateSpace.

Friday, July 15, 2011

From Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating…

"Until that moment, Stephen Grant seemed to have existed in two completely separate universes. First, it was as a Navy SEAL, followed by time as an analyst—unofficially as an assassin – with the CIA. After a break, the second was studying to become and then serving as a Lutheran pastor. In a matter of mere minutes – excruciating minutes – the two worlds merged in a flurry of bullets, blood, song and prayer."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From CIA to Pastor?

How could Stephen Grant go from working for the CIA to becoming a pastor?

Note this description from the CIA website: "Operations officers comprise only a small portion of the whole CIA workforce. Being an operations officer demands a forceful personality, keen intellectual ability, toughness of mind, and a high degree of personal integrity, courage, and love of country."

Sounds like what's needed in a pastor - of course, adding in faith and compassion.

That's Stephen Grant from Ray Keating's Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why “Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel” by Ray Keating Makes for a Great Summer Read

10) Beach scenes from Montauk, NY, to Santa Marta, Colombia

9) Plenty of gun play – as it should be in any fun summer thriller

8) A beautiful spy in a yellow bikini with white flowers and a white, mesh sarong driving a Mustang convertible

7) A handsome, athletic pastor with a mysterious past who happens to be handy with a Glock and can hotwire a yacht – don’t see that everyday

6) Dinner at the Lobster Roll – some of the best summer dining on the South Fork of Long Island

5) Fighting current-day bad guys with bow and arrows, and some swordplay

4) Few do barbecues better than Grillin’ with the Monks

3) Mocking annoying politicians and loopy Hollywood types – fun during the summer, or any other time of year

2) Playing golf and talking sex

1) Murder, terrorists, romance, an assassin, poison, humor, the CIA and a pope – what more could you possibly want in a great summer read?

Get the book at here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On St. Ambrose from Warrior Monk

Pope Augustine on St. Ambrose from Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

“And as we talk about the Church’s role in the public arena now, it is worth recalling that Ambrose previously was a lawyer and politician who came to be a powerful voice in the Church for celibacy and voluntary poverty. If that happened today, few, I think, would doubt the transformative power of faith in our Lord.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

10 Reasons Why Traditional Christians Should Love Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

10) Pastor Grant seriously considers the Christian Just War Theory.

9) Grant dislikes modern – or is it post-modern? – church architecture.

8) Father Tom Stone led his parish away from the lefty Episcopal Church and into the orthodox Anglican Church in North America

7) C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity partially inspires the Pope’s call for “A Public Mission of Mere Christianity.”

6) Pastor Grant loves the liturgy and traditional hymns.

5) Prayer plays a big role in the book.

4) The traditional Christian views on marriage, sex and family are embraced.

3) There are monks who happen to be great at barbecuing – Grillin’ with the Monks!

2) Grant goes on TV to discuss/debate radical Islam and religion in the public square.

1) The Lutheran Grant, the Anglican Stone and the Roman Catholic Father McDermott – three friends – believe traditional Christians across denominations must offer a unified voice on moral issues where the biblical imperative is clear.

Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel can be purchased from’s CreateSpace at

Or, the book can be purchased from at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Warrior Monk Book Excerpt – Torture, Terrorists and Just War

Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is a tale about a former CIA agent who became a Lutheran pastor. A shooting at his church and an assignment to help protect the Pope mean that Grant’s former and current lives collide. This book excerpt – a discussion about terrorists, torture and “just war” – occurs during a dinner party.

Read the excerpt here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why Lutheran Pastors Should Read Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

10) A pope named Augustine.

9) You’ll never sing or listen to “A Mighty Fortress” the same way again.

8) ST. MARY’S Lutheran Church? What’s that all about?

7) Pastor Grant is not shy in laying out the differences between the ELCA and the LCMS.

6) Grant eats food far more interesting and tasty than anything ever served in a Lutheran church basement.

5) Grant is smart, athletic, handsome, and attracts beautiful women. He’s like James Bond in a collar. Jealous?

4) Admit it – you want to go on television and put a member of the media in his place.

3) During long council meetings, your mind occasionally wanders to how handy it would be to possess lethal skills, like Pastor Grant.

2) A Lutheran pastor called on to protect the pope? Ironic? Cool? Or both?

1) How many guys from seminary did you meet who used to kill people for the CIA?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Conservatives Should Read Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

10) This pastor not only favors gun rights, but he’s skilled at using a variety of weapons!

9) Grant and his clergy buddies have no use for church liberals.

8) A free market economist is featured, and she knows how to wield a sword!

7) What the CIA, FBI and local law enforcement do to protect the American people is appreciated.

6) Environmental extremists do not come off well … to say the least.

5) Father Ron McDermott can’t stomach Hollywood lefties.

4) Pope Augustine makes the case that the three biggest challenges to Christianity are moral relativism, militant secularism, and Islamic fascism.

3) Pastor Grant believes that in very rare circumstances, the torture of terrorists can be a moral imperative.

2) Grant possesses a healthy skepticism of politicians, especially the arrogant and duplicitous ones.

1) Support a fellow conservative, as Warrior Monk’s author – Ray Keating – is a longtime conservative columnist and writer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Discussion Guide for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

New York – Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating is the story of a pastor who years ago was a CIA assassin and now must use his experience as both an agent and a theologian to meet a new, deadly challenge. But there’s more to this book than just being a fun thriller. A host of moral, ethical and religious topics are touched on as well.

The new Discussion Guide for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is meant for group or individual study and reflection on topics like terrorism, war, prayer, public life and the Church, sex and marriage, going to church, ecumenism, and church architecture.

The Rev. Fred Schumacher, the executive director of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, offered the following about the novel: “If I were not retired from serving in a parish, I would certainly create an adult book discussion group using Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel as an interesting starting point for a discussion of issues in regard to church and society; ecumenism in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the greater Church; the many moral and ethical issues facing individual Christians; and much more.”

Keating said, “Pastor Schumacher was very kind in his remarks. He also motivated me to produce this discussion guide, just in case anyone actually carries through on his suggestion.”

The Discussion Guide for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is available from’s CreateSpace at, or directly from at

Ray Keating is the author of Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel (2010). He also is a weekly columnist with Dolan Media Company (including Long Island Business News and Colorado Springs Business Journal), a former Newsday weekly columnist, an economist, and an adjunct college professor. His work has appeared in a wide range of additional periodicals, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News, The Boston Globe, National Review, The Washington Times, Investor's Business Daily, New York Daily News, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Providence Journal Bulletin, and Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

From Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating…

Ron added, “A Templar or Hospitaller? They were known as warrior monks, I believe.”

Get the book at CreateSpace or at here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

From Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating…

“… he began pulling the knife up, slicing through skin and muscle, scraping against bone.”

Get the book at CreateSpace or at here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

From Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating...

"James sometimes makes Lutherans a little queasy. He shouldn’t. After all, Lutherans don’t buy into cheap grace."

Read James 2:14-26.

Any thoughts?

Get the book at CreateSpace or at here.