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.

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.

“Sorry.”

“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 Amazon.com or at Amazon.com's CreateSpace.