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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lutheran Thrillers as Thrilling Christmas Gifts

Why not exciting Christian thrillers as Christmas gifts for family, friends and colleagues?

Consider Ray Keating’s three novels featuring Stephen Grant, former CIA operative turned Lutheran pastor.

During Advent and Christmas, a newly elected New York mayor attacks religious liberty and Christianity with deadly consequences in An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. reviewer declared: “Keating once again shows he weaves a good story that keeps your interest as well as exploring important topics. Can't wait for the next Stephen Grant novel to come out.”

Money influences people in all kinds of ways – sometimes for the better, but sometimes it’s about greed and envy. That’s clear in Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. reader observed: “Keating has once again delivered a page-turning thriller.”

When a pope offers a controversial proposal for global Christianity, reactions range from prayerful hope to murder in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

An reviewer declared recently: “All of my friends have been urging me to read this book. I finally listened to them. This book is a great read!”

Enjoy these Christian thrillers yourself, and share them as Christmas gifts.

Reviewers compare Keating with Clancy, Cussler, Ludlum, Morrell, and Grisham.

Please “Like” the Pastor Stephen Grant Novels Facebook page at:

Follow Ray Keating, the creator of Pastor Stephen Grant, on Twitter @RevGrantNovel

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Reviews of Pastor Stephen Grant Novels

Nice reviews of Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel and An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel in the "Liturgy, Hymnody & Pulpit Quarterly Book Review."

Friday, December 7, 2012

St. Ambrose on December 7 and in Warrior Monk

The life and contributions made by St. Ambrose are noted on December 7.

St. Ambrose also was highlighted in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, as a good portion of the story takes place in the St. Ambrose Retreat House on the Gold Coast of Long Island.

Pope Augustine in the novel talks a bit about St. Ambrose in the following excerpt from the novel:

Grant was now following the Pope, his aides and security entourage up the staircase in the castle’s main lobby. 
Augustine stopped at the statue of St. Ambrose, and gazed at it. As this continued for several seconds, a silence descended in the large chamber. The Pope said, “He was interesting, St. Ambrose. During a tumultuous time of disagreement in the latter part of the fourth century, he tried to keep peace among Christians in Milan. And he was not even baptized when clergy and the people called for him to become the bishop. He did not want the job, but finally acquiesced, was baptized, and eight days later became the bishop. He would be one of the great Latin Doctors of the Church. 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.” The Pope smiled, and most everyone else joined in with his infectious laugh.

Read more in Warrior Monk.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catholics and Lutherans and Religious Liberty

From An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel:

"These two men, despite differences on various issues of doctrine and interpretation of Scripture, spoke for another forty minutes, not as one Catholic priest and one Lutheran pastor, but as two Christians called and compelled in a unified mission to protect the Church of Jesus Christ, as well as the liberty of all to practice and speak out for their religion."

Get the book here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Religious Liberty, Advent and Bonhoeffer

Among the quotes to open An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating is the following from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent." 

Get the book at

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Religious Liberty Under Attack in an Advent-Christmas Thriller

Religious liberty is under assault in the world of politics. It’s also under attack in the latest exciting thriller from Ray Keating titled AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL.

Advent and Christmas approach. It’s supposed to be a special season for Christians. But it’s different this time in New York City. The Catholic Church has been called a “hate group.” And it’s the newly elected mayor of New York City who has set off this religious and political firestorm. Some people react with prayer – others with violence and murder.

Stephen Grant, former CIA operative turned pastor, faces deadly challenges during what becomes known as “An Advent for Religious Liberty.” Grant works with the Cardinal who leads the Archdiocese of New York, the FBI, current friends, and former CIA colleagues to fight for religious liberty, and against dangers both spiritual and physical.

AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL is a thriller torn from today’s headlines. It’s a different, fast-paced, action-packed story of politics trying to undermine faith during the Advent and Christmas season.

Keating’s previous books include ROOT OF ALL EVIL? A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL and WARRIOR MONK: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL. In addition to being a novelist, Keating is a newspaper columnist with the Dolan Company and formerly with Newsday, economist, entrepreneur and adjunct college professor.

Regarding Keating’s thrillers, reviewers and commentators have used phrases like “fun adventure romp,” “a fun, intriguing read,” and “a good read, both as pure thriller entertainment and for pondering the Christian mind.” readers have compared Ray Keating’s thrillers to the works of Clancy, Ludlum, Grisham, and Cussler.

Review copies, interviews for the media, and author appearances are available upon request.

Contact: Ray Keating
Phone: 631-909-1122

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Thumbs Up on "Root of All Evil?"

A reader review on about Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating:

"Keating has once again delivered a page-turning thriller. In an interesting way, he has shown the powerful influence that the love money has in international economics, politics, and in the Church. Pr. Grant continues to evolve as a lead character, and the supporting cast promises more opportunities for twists and turns in books yet to come. I highly recommend this book, no matter what your interests may be - there is something for everyone from action to romance to politics to religious thought. Make some coffee and clear your won't want to put this book down!" 

Get the book at

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vote Grant in 2012!

Stephen Grant in 2012!

Tired of Barack Obama?
Not sure about Mitt Romney?
Well, what about a patriot who fought for the USA as a Navy SEAL?
A man who put his life on the line with the CIA.
A man of action, character and faith!
Why not vote for Pastor Stephen Grant?
Who is this guy?
Get his story right now at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Money, Greed and Envy

From Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel: "The love of money, indeed, is a root of all kinds of evils, including, for example, the sins of both greed and envy."

Get the book here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Conservatives in New York?

Conservatives in New York!!?? Yes.

The New York Conservative Party gets a shout out in Ray Keating’s Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

Get the book here.

Excerpt from Root of All Evil? by Ray Keating

From Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating: 

"For a CIA agent, she was something of an enigma. Her job demanded the ability to blend into a crowd. Yet, her striking beauty and self-confidence meant that Paige drew attention. Of course, she used all of this to her advantage in both her professional and personal lives, and sometimes in acts of playful self-indulgence."

Get the book at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

“Root of All Evil?” by Ray Keating: A Tale of God, Politics, Money and Murder

Do God, politics and money mix? In Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating, the combination can turn out quite deadly.

Keating introduced readers to Stephen Grant, a former CIA operative and current parish pastor, in the highly praised and fun Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

Now, Grant is back in Root of All Evil?

It’s a breathtaking thriller involving drug traffickers, politicians, the CIA and FBI, a shadowy foreign regime, the Church, and money. In this page-turner, plots are hatched, lives are lost, accusations are made, friends need and provide help, and relationships change. Money is used and pursued for both good and ill. Charity, envy and greed are on display. Throughout, action runs high.

Keating said, “Since I wrote Warrior Monk, I’ve received surprising feedback from members of the clergy who once were in the intelligence community or know fellow pastors who did such work. It’s been fascinating. In Root of All Evil?, Pastor Grant, his family and friends, and some former co-workers have to deal with the consequences of how money, politics and religion mix, for better or for worse.”

Find a unique character and story, and lose yourself in Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, along with Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, can be purchased from

Review copies, interviews for the media, and author appearances are available upon request.

Contact: Ray Keating
Phone: 631-909-1122

Saturday, June 30, 2012

From "Warrior Monk" to "Root of All Evil?"

If you, your family or your friends have not yet read Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, the time is now!

Not only is summer a great season for a fun, page-turning thriller, but author Ray Keating has just finished the sequel – Root of All Evil? A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.

While the sequel is being edited and spruced up – to be published later in the summer – why not get into the adventures of Stephen Grant, the former CIA agent turned pastor, or get others into a book?

Warrior Monk has been called “a riveting mix of action, romance and intrigue” by Paul Maier, the best-selling author of A Skeleton in God’s Closet.

Get Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel (Revised Edition) from at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Visiting Pastor Grant's Hometown

I visited the town where Pastor Stephen Grant grew up on June 23. He will be going back for a visit, not in the forthcoming sequel, but one or two books after that. You'll have to wait until then to find out more about that town.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Warrior Monk Excerpt: After 9-11

How did Pastor Stephen Grant - the former CIA agent turned pastor - deal with the 9-11 terrorist attacks? The following excerpt comes from Chapter 16 in Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel:

As Matins came to a close, Grant spoke the Collect for Grace from the Lutheran Service Book:

“O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

Each time Grant uttered this prayer, he thought about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Stephen had only been pastor for a few weeks, when two commercial jets were flown into the Twin Towers a mere 70 miles away in lower Manhattan.  Less than an hour before the first plane hit, Grant had said essentially the same collect – just with “thy” from the old hymnal rather than “you” or “your” from the new one.

Other than when hearing about the death of his parents, Grant never felt so helpless as he did that day. The aftermath also marked the only extended period of time when he regretted leaving the CIA to become a pastor. He had longed, once again, to take action against the terrorists who threatened the United States. That regret lingered for several weeks, and finally evaporated after much prayer, confession and guidance from Grant’s bishop that got him re-centered on his faith and pastoral work.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Opportunity for Church Groups to Discuss Big Issues and a Fun Novel

On the “Abide in My Word” blog, it was noted that a church book club read and discussed Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating.

From the blog: “We discussed the book, ‘Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel,’ by Ray Keating, which everyone in the group thoroughly enjoyed reading, and which is a book that lends itself well to much pertinent discussion, especially among Lutherans. We talked about ecumenism, relativism, secularism, radical Islam, politics, environmentalism, terrorism, torture, parish life and the pastor-parishioner relationship, temptation, the ‘inside baseball’ of the LCMS, which is explored in the book, denominationalism, RC-Lutheran relations/differences, C.S. Lewis, and more… We decided that we were going to give each book we read a rating of 1-5, 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest. We gave ‘Warrior Monk’ a solid 4, and very much look forward to the next installment in the adventures of Pr. Stephen Grant.”

Read the full entry at

I hope other church groups enjoy the book, and find topics worthy of discussion. If interested in reading the book individually, or as a group, a discussion guide also is available.

Get Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel from at

Get the Discussion Guide for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel from at

Friday, February 3, 2012

Warrior Monk Book Excerpt – The Pope's Letter

In Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating, a letter from Pope Augustine I sets off an international firestorm. Read the letter here:

Dear Peter:
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2)

I look forward to visiting the United States, particularly Long Island, next month. Your prayers and hard work – indeed, the prayers and efforts of all the faithful in the Diocese of Rockville Centre – in service to our Savior and His Church are precious gifts from which I take great strength and encouragement. 
While the logistics of my visit are being finalized among our respective aides, it is important that you understand what we – with the inspiration and support, I pray, of the Holy Spirit – are trying to initiate today, and that my Long Island visit will be the leaping off point for a global effort. 
The challenges that Christianity faces and our wounds that must be healed are grave and deep. Unfortunately, much of this has been self-inflicted over the centuries. In turn, a wounded Christianity has not ably illustrated and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. For this shortcoming, each of us will have to answer on Judgment Day. 
What does the world see when it looks at the Christian faith?

Too often, it is conflict and division. We should be saddened and ashamed that Christian unity is so lacking. After all, Jesus specifically prayed: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23) 
We can – and will – debate the degree of unity necessary, but Christians certainly must achieve much more than what exists today. While progress has been made, we have fallen far short of Christ’s desire.

Unfortunately, this is not just a task of trying to bring together different denominations. Disunity exists even within the Roman Catholic Church, as well as within most other Christian bodies. As a result, Christians too often send confusing signals to the world on essential matters of faith and morals when our message should be clear and strong. 
Like so much of our culture, Christianity suffers from an internal erosion of the truth. Why do Christians follow rather than inform the culture? Too many leaders have lost credibility due to scandals, due to a willingness to abandon Holy Scripture and Tradition, or because they seem far more interested in politics and social activism than in spreading the Gospel.

Some of our Lutheran friends have a point when arguing that Martin Luther’s “Two Kingdoms” means that when Christian leaders or the Church do not have to speak out on a political issue, perhaps then they should not speak out. When Christians have the freedom to disagree on political and social issues, for example, declarations by the Church on such matters tend to create further strife and division. The Church must root Christians in faith and morality, and help form the Christian conscience as informed by Holy Scripture and Church teachings, with individual Christians then encouraged to act and serve accordingly in the world. 
When diverging from its central mission, Christianity becomes clouded. Love, forgiveness, redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ get pushed aside. Moral authority is lost. Christianity is then unable to stand firm when it must speak out, when it needs to, when it is imperative to do so. 
What are the most critical challenges faced today? Three stand out. 
Relativism plagues our age. The truth of Christ has been treated as just another choice among many so-called “truths.” Or the very notion of truth has been rejected. Moral verities that have served as the bedrock of civilization have been and continue to be displaced in favor of the latest whims and desires. Tragically and sinfully, many Christians have joined with and strengthened the forces of relativism. 
Coupled with this is a growing and militant secularism. God is being pushed out of the public square. In your own country, your noble Constitution, a document that has offered so much for the benefit of peoples around the world, has been twisted so that the separation of church and state now is taken by many to mean that the Church should never speak out on issues carrying clear and significant moral weight. Indeed, especially in Europe and increasingly in the United States, Christians are expected to leave their faith in the pews and in their homes when they venture to discuss and debate in public, to cast votes or to serve in government. That, however, is unacceptable. The Christian cannot, and should not, be expected to ever leave God behind, or to restrict the Lord to only certain realms of one’s life. That is not what it means to be a Christian. 
Finally, in contrast to a militant secularism, Christians, along with all of God’s children, face the grim reality of a radical arm of Islam. While we all realize and must emphasize that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world are peace-loving, Christians and Muslims cannot afford to ignore the dark realities of the small, but significant extremist movement within Islam. From that dangerous perversion springs evils of terrorism and religious persecution in our current age. While Christianity certainly has had and continues to experience dark times – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 2:23) – the Church has left behind the mistaken path it sometimes ventured down in centuries past regarding war and persecution, and imposing the Faith at the point of a sword or gun. 
Too often today, however, Christianity loses confidence, retreats and even turns inward when confronted by these grave “isms” – relativism, secularism and what has been called Islamic fascism. 
The Roman Catholic Church is proposing a modest, but important first step towards enhanced Christian unity. Specifically, the proposal I am putting forth is that traditional, orthodox faithful from across Christianity come together to speak with one voice on matters of the faith and culture where Holy Scripture and Church teachings are fundamental, clear and imperative. It is necessary that Christians come together in love and brotherhood to address the culture. 
Allow me to first make clear what this is not. It is not a vehicle for political and social activism to supplant the Gospel. It does not place the Roman Catholic Church in a position of leadership, but merely as one of hopefully many participants. Nor does it attempt to address the issue of the papacy itself, and the accompanying obstacles for many other Christians. It is not an attempt to gloss over or ignore the unfortunate theological differences that exist among Christians. 
Instead, this is an effort to bring much of the Christian world together to express a unified voice – where possible – on matters of fundamental morality. It is my hope that Christians across the spectrum will join in this effort; that we will meet regularly to discuss, work together in Christian love, come to agreement, and then issue clear and bold Christian declarations on issues confronting the Faith and the world. 
With guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit, this effort hopefully will build, expand, and eventually bring about an even more far-reaching unity. 
It is my intention to travel the globe to speak and meet with Christian leaders on this important undertaking from late September until the eve of our Savior’s birth. These travels will begin in the United States, with you on Long Island on September 20, and will proceed through Central and South America, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, ending back in Rome. Invitations will be presented for the first official gathering in this effort scheduled for the spring of next year in Wittenberg, Germany, where the Reformation started, and where Christianity can come together in order to speak with one voice to the world some 500 years later. 
I have long appreciated the writings of C.S. Lewis, the great Christian apologist and Anglican layman of the twentieth century. Lewis has been adopted by all kinds of Christians around the world, from Roman Catholics to independent evangelicals. So many of his books are classics, including his thoughtful Mere Christianity. In that book, originally a series of radio broadcasts during the Second World War, Lewis observed: 
“It is at her centre, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to every other in spirit, if not in doctrine. And this suggests at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice.” 
In many ways, this is the spirit we hope to capture in this mission. That is, on many issues we need to speak with the same voice to the world – serving, empowered and inspired by that Someone.

To start, then, I call this “A Public Mission of Mere Christianity.” Of course, once assembled in Wittenberg, the mission may choose another name, but this is how we will get started. 
“A Public Mission of Mere Christianity” has begun today, with approximately 500,000 letters arriving in the hands of Christian leaders around the globe. However, the first on-the-ground step in this mission will start in your diocese, Peter, on Long Island. 
Thank you, once more, for your willingness to serve. May God grant courage, wisdom and caring – to both of us. 
Yours in Christ,
Augustine I

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Warrior Monk and a Lutheran Church Called St. Mary's?

In Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel by Ray Keating, Grant serves as pastor at St. Mary's Lutheran Church. You don't hear about too many Lutheran churches with such a name. Consider the following excerpt from the novel:

Grant was posting the new times for all the weekly services and activities at St. Mary’s in the large roadside sign – Saturday evening and Sunday morning Masses, Sunday school, adult Bible study, Matins on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and Vespers on Wednesday evenings. He closed and locked the Plexiglas door underneath the large white letters spelling out “St. Mary’s Lutheran Church” against dark wood.
Grant still had not unearthed how this parish got its name. “St. Mary’s” was pretty rare for a Lutheran church, even though that was Martin Luther’s parish in Wittenberg. However, Luther’s parish was named for Mary Magdalene, while Grant’s was for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Stephen thought that modern day Lutherans had no clue what to do with Mary – either Mary, for that matter – so it intrigued him and actually played a tiny part in his taking the call to this church. He appreciated such oddities.

Besides, Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary’s was a longtime favorite, along with an appreciation for Ingrid Bergman as a rather fetching nun. Grant tried not to think too deeply about a Lutheran pastor having the hots for a Catholic nun.

Then again, Martin Luther married a nun, so what the heck.