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
Monday, December 10, 2012
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 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
"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
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
"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 schedule...you won't want to put this book down!"
Get the book at http://www.amazon.com/Root-All-Evil-Pastor-Stephen/dp/1479112194/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345549879&sr=1-1&keywords=Root+of+All+Evil%3F+by+Keating
Monday, October 1, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
"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 http://www.amazon.com/
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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 Amazon.com.
Review copies, interviews for the media, and author appearances are available upon request.
Contact: Ray Keating
Saturday, June 30, 2012
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 Amazon.com at
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
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
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 http://abideinmyword.blogspot.com/2011/10/peace-book-club.html
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 Amazon.com at
Get the Discussion Guide for Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel from Amazon.com at
Friday, February 3, 2012
“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,
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
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.