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.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
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
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
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 Amazon.com 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.”
Get the book from Amazon.com at
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Monday, August 22, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
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
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 Amazon.com here.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
“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
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 Amazon.com’s CreateSpace at https://www.createspace.com/3481414
Or, the book can be purchased from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1453801030/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284850170&sr=1-1
Monday, April 11, 2011
Read the excerpt here.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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
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
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 Amazon.com’s CreateSpace at https://www.createspace.com/3558267, or directly from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Discussion-Guide-Warrior-Monk-Stephen/dp/145658569X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297632120&sr=1-1.
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
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Read James 2:14-26.