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, March 25, 2024

For a Limited Time – Get the Two Latest Pastor Stephen Grant Adventures by Ray Keating for FREE!

 Join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship at the Bronze Reader level or higher, and receive For Better, For Worse and Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s for FREE! And get every new book by Ray Keating as a key benefit of your membership.


And with more books coming in Pastor Stephen Grant, Alliance of Saint Michael, and new series, this is the right time to join!


Find out more at


If you savor exciting and thoughtful thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, and more, then joining Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship is a great way to make sure you don’t miss any page-turners; you get thanked by name for your support in each new book; and you gain access to other cool stuff. 


As you know, Ray Keating is the author of 19 Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, as well as Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is the first book in a historical fiction series. More books are coming in these series, as well as books in new series. So, don’t miss out!

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A Chapter from Reagan Country to Mark the February 6 Birthday of Ronald Reagan…

President Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911. Celebrate his birthday all week with a sale on Ray Keating’s Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. The price of a signed edition has been cut from $19.99 to $15.99, and the Kindle price has been reduced from $7.99 to $4.99. 

Sale on signed books at

Kindle sale at 

Reagan Country, Chapter 3


March 31, 1988: Moscow State University


The three students grew up together in the Soviet Union. Since they were six years old, they’d gone to the same schools, traveled in the same social circles, and were on the same career track to serve in foreign affairs.

As a result, Grigory Ivashkin, Vitaly Orlov and Maya Grachev were among the Moscow State University students, and members of the Young Communist League, selected to hear U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s address. They sat together in the large auditorium waiting for the event to begin.

Over the last few years, it was only in their most private moments – confident that they were free from the intrusive eyes and ears – that Grigory, Vitaly and Maya dared to share their ideas, beliefs, hopes and dreams. A trust developed, which was rare in a country where the young were taught to not only turn in friends and colleagues for opposing the state and the party, but their own family members as well.

In their conversations, Grigory usually defended the Soviet Union’s past for all that had been accomplished – from Lenin and Stalin to Andropov and Chernenko. But he was uncomfortable with Gorbachev, and his glasnost and perestroika, declaring that these were signs of weakness and a lack of principle.

Vitaly, however, found the changes being attempted by Gorbachev exciting, and the best path to actually strengthening the Communist Party at home and the Soviet Union in the world. He wanted to see communism spread further around the globe as a force for good, for raising up the people against the powerful.

The three accepted these kinds of disagreements as squabbles or differences of opinion among fellow travelers and friends. After all, they were party members in good standing, as were each one’s parents. It was only when Orlov admitted to his two friends that he was a believer, a Christian, that the trio’s relationship truly was put to the test. Over the decades, the Soviet Union relentlessly advanced a militant atheism, mounting assorted anti-religion campaigns that included closing churches, confiscating church property, harassing believers, and jailing, forcing out or shooting clergy. By the 1980s, of the churches that remained, clergy often were collaborators with the state, or even had KGB affiliations.

One sunny afternoon not long after they first arrived at the university, the three were lounging outside. Maya sat cross-legged on a bench, while the two young men sat in front of her on the grass. Grigory commented on a Pravda article noting the arrest of a Russian Orthodox priest for attacking the atheism of the Soviet Union. He said, “It is ridiculous that we allow these religions to persist. Christianity should be eliminated in this country, along with its forerunner, Judaism. We serve the state, which works for the greater good. Religion only undermines our efforts. It is troubling, and dangerous, that these superstitions persist.” He shook his head. “But as Marx wrote, ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.’ I guess there always will be those who cling to such nonsense.”

This was not a new conversation for the three. But Grigory always led the way, with Maya chiming in here and there, and Vitaly waiting in silence to move on to another topic. But that was not the case this time. Vitaly simply declared, “I am a Christian.”

Grigory looked up, and said, “What?!” He dropped the newspaper and stood up. Grigory Ivashkin was a strong five-feet-ten-inches, with large hands, a ruddy face, a flat nose with wide nostrils, piercing blue eyes, and thin blond hair. When angry, as he was at that moment, his stare could intimidate many.

“You heard me.” Vitaly Orlov, however, had learned not to be intimidated, by Grigory or anyone else. He appeared rather relaxed and comfortable with who he was. He possessed an easygoing, likeable personality, and a quick smile and laugh. That combination seemed to match up with his appearance, that is, slightly overweight, shorter than Grigory, with round eyes, and curly light brown hair paired with a thick beard and mustache. 

Both Grigory and Vitaly were intelligent. With a near-photographic memory, Grigory excelled at recalling facts and passages from books and speeches. But he was limited in his ability to see the full meaning, integration and consequences of ideas and trends. Vitaly had no such shortcomings.

“How could you…?” Grigory stopped there.

Maya Grachev sighed slightly, and then looked around. “Now, boys, are we going to argue over this? Grigory, what difference does it make if Vitaly is a Christian?”

To even the most casual observer, it was evident that if Maya viewed these two men as mere friends, the same could not be said of their views toward her. Both Grigory and Vitaly were attracted to her. She was thin, as tall as Grigory, and possessed fair skin, thick, dark brown hair, and large brown eyes. She also had a knack for making even the most mundane of Soviet attire look fashionable. At the same time, her eyes communicated a certain sadness, and she offered rare glimpses of a smile.

Maya often played moderator between the two men, who no doubt were willing to go along with her compromises in the hopes of having something much more than a platonic relationship. 

Grigory said, “Of course, it matters.”

Vitaly added, “Yes, it does.”

The two men looked at each other.

Grigory asserted, “One cannot serve any god and the state.”

Vitaly retorted, “I disagree. My parents have done so. They practiced their faith, taught it to me, and no one can question what they have done for the party and for our nation.”

Maya looked at Grigory, and said, “See. It does not matter. Now, we have to get to class.”

As they packed up their books, Vitaly added, “The only complaint I have, the only complaint my parents have ever had, was being forced to be Christians in secret.”

It was three years later and the trio had never again mentioned that conversation, nor Vitaly’s faith. Now, they waited to hear what this American president had to say. Since each spoke English, they didn’t need to wait for the translation.

As Reagan began, Grigory leaned back in his seat. His body language oozed skepticism and even disgust. On his left, Maya sat up straight with her face expressionless. And to her left, Vitaly’s look signaled anticipation.

There were four moments during the speech that produced very different reactions from Grigory and Vitaly.

At one point, Reagan said:


Like a chrysalis, we're emerging from the economy of the Industrial Revolution – an economy confined to and limited by the Earth's physical resources – into, as one economist titled his book, The Economy in Mind, in which there are no bounds on human imagination and the freedom to create is the most precious natural resource. Think of that little computer chip. Its value isn't in the sand from which it is made but in the microscopic architecture designed into it by ingenious human minds. Or take the example of the satellite relaying this broadcast around the world, which replaces thousands of tons of copper mined from the Earth and molded into wire. In the new economy, human invention increasingly makes physical resources obsolete. We're breaking through the material conditions of existence to a world where man creates his own destiny. Even as we explore the most advanced reaches of science, we're returning to the age-old wisdom of our culture, a wisdom contained in the book of Genesis in the Bible: In the beginning was the spirit, and it was from this spirit that the material abundance of creation issued forth. But progress is not foreordained. The key is freedom – freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of communication.


Grigory shook his head. Vitaly’s eyes grew wider. Maya looked back and forth between the two.

Reagan continued just a bit later:


The explorers of the modern era are the entrepreneurs, men with vision, with the courage to take risks and faith enough to brave the unknown. These entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States. They are the prime movers of the technological revolution. In fact, one of the largest personal computer firms in the United States was started by two college students, no older than you, in the garage behind their home. Some people, even in my own country, look at the riot of experiment that is the free market and see only waste. What of all the entrepreneurs that fail? Well, many do, particularly the successful ones; often several times. And if you ask them the secret of their success, they'll tell you it's all that they learned in their struggles along the way; yes, it's what they learned from failing. Like an athlete in competition or a scholar in pursuit of the truth, experience is the greatest teacher. And that's why it's so hard for government planners, no matter how sophisticated, to ever substitute for millions of individuals working night and day to make their dreams come true.


Maya’s focus seemed to be off the speech altogether. Instead, she was taking note of her two friends. Grigory was gritting his teeth, while Vitaly smiled.

Reagan continued to speak of freedom in ways that the three had never experienced. He declared:


We Americans make no secret of our belief in freedom. In fact, it's something of a national pastime. Every four years the American people choose a new President, and 1988 is one of those years. At one point, there were 13 major candidates running in the two major parties, not to mention all the others, including the Socialist and Libertarian candidates – all trying to get my job. About 1,000 local television stations, 8,500 radio stations, and 1,700 daily newspapers – each one an independent, private enterprise, fiercely independent of the government – report on the candidates, grill them in interviews, and bring them together for debates. In the end, the people vote; they decide who will be the next president. But freedom doesn't begin or end with elections.

Go to any American town, to take just an example, and you'll see dozens of churches, representing many different beliefs – in many places, synagogues and mosques – and you'll see families of every conceivable nationality worshiping together. Go into any schoolroom, and there you will see children being taught the Declaration of Independence, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights – among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that no government can justly deny; the guarantees in their Constitution for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Go into any courtroom, and there will preside an independent judge, beholden to no government power. There every defendant has the right to a trial by a jury of his peers, usually 12 men and women – common citizens; they are the ones, the only ones, who weigh the evidence and decide on guilt or innocence. In that court, the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the word of a policeman or any official has no greater legal standing than the word of the accused.


Maya leaned to her right, as Grigory whispered, “Lies.” She sat back. To her left, Vitaly then leaned toward her, and he was barely audible in saying, “Fascinating. He’s not what I expected.”

Later, Reagan touched on faith:


Freedom, it has been said, makes people selfish and materialistic, but Americans are one of the most religious peoples on Earth. Because they know that liberty, just as life itself, is not earned but a gift from God, they seek to share that gift with the world. “Reason and experience,” said George Washington in his Farewell Address, “both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. And it is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.” Democracy is less a system of government than it is a system to keep government limited, unintrusive; a system of constraints on power to keep politics and government secondary to the important things in life, the true sources of value found only in family and faith.


Grigory’s blue eyes narrowed, and stayed zeroed in on the U.S. president. As Maya watched his stare, her own eyes appeared a bit sadder than usual. She hung her head slightly, but then turned to see a combination of revelation and joy on Vitaly’s face. His eyes were wide open. She looked closer, and saw a small tear in the corner of Vitaly’s right eye. She faintly smiled, and then turned back to listen to the rest of Reagan’s speech.

A little more than 20 months later, the Berlin Wall came down, and by the end of 1991, the Soviet Union had disintegrated. Gorbachev, having lost control of glasnost and perestroika, resigned.

No matter their own desires, Grigory Ivashkin, Vitaly Orlov and Maya Grachev were forced to deal with a new world.


Tuesday, December 26, 2023

For the Festival of St. Stephen, the Martyr…

 From Pastor Stephen Grant’s Journal, December 26


St. Stephen – for whom my parents named me – was the first martyr of the Church, and we celebrate his faith on this day. Once again, I pray that I might have a fraction of his strength:


Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:54-60)


From “Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel”…


But Grant’s attention was drawn to the window between Peter and John, and Philip. That was the martyrdom of Stephen. Grant, in fact, was specifically named by his mother after St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. So, this was a scene Grant was familiar with – Stephen gazing up at Jesus at the right hand of God the Father, the Holy Spirit as a dove shining the power of faith down on Stephen, all while an angry crowd threw stones to kill Stephen. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

A Special Excerpt from “Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s” by Ray Keating

Pastor Stephen Grant’s sermon on December 28 in Christmas Bells at St. Mary's: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is taken almost completely from a Christmas Day sermon given by The Reverend David T. Keating. Yes, I know this pastor well, as he is my son. I’m proud of him, and very much appreciate David’s giving the okay for Pastor Grant to use his sermon.  – Ray Keating


Pastor Stephen Grant Journal, December 28


I’ve never been inspired by The Muppets to write a sermon. But there’s a first time for everything, and it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. And besides, it was really Charles Dickens. 

So, here it is…


As many of you are aware, I’m a big film buff. And yes, one of the reasons that Christmas is a favorite holiday of mine – you know, beyond the fact that God became man – is the fact that there are so many wonderful movies to watch during this season. It’s an annual tradition in the Grant household to gather together to watch Christmas movies. There are certain staples that always get watched year after year. Movies like The Bishop’s WifeIt’s a Wonderful LifeElf, and A Christmas Carol all reliably end up in the rotation. I admit, though, that if only one version of A Christmas Carol is watched in a particular year, it’s usually The Muppet Christmas Carol. That was the case on Friday night. And I’d like to talk a little bit about Ebenezer Scrooge. 

In the book version, Charles Dickens described Ebenezer Scrooge as an “old sinner” and then goes on to say this about the character: “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.”

When we read this description we can be struck by how people would be rightly terrified. Scrooge is filled with none of the warmth or cheer that we commonly associate with the Christmas season. He is, what we would call - homo incurvatus se -  an example of man curved in on himself. Due to sin, he had shut himself off from the outside world. Rather than being concerned for his fellow man, he has nothing but contempt. The Muppets describe his situation, in a song, of course, as being that of “Mr. Outrage. Mr. Sneer. He has no time for friends or fun. His anger makes that clear. Don't ask him for a favor 'cause his nastiness increases. No crust of bread for those in need. No cheeses for us meeses.”

Oftentimes when someone is totally self-absorbed in the way that Scrooge is, something dramatic must happen to shake them out of their ways. A conversion experience along the lines of St. Paul on the road to Damascus is required to move them from apathy about their condition toward concern for their soul. This is what the ghost of Jacob Marley reminds Scrooge of. It is Marley’s hopeless ghost that bemoans, “Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?”

In other words, “Why did I never hear the Christmas message? Why did I, like the Wise Men, not follow the star to the Christ child who shows not only what it means to care for your fellow man, but also to have your heart mended and oriented toward the things of God?”

Throughout the rest of the story, Scrooge experiences a dark night of the soul in which he is forced to once again look away from his own self-obsession and toward his neighbor. He experiences his past, present, and future as if for the first time by actually examining those who have been placed in his life. Whether it is Mr. Fezziwig, his nephew Fred, or his employee, Bob Cratchit, Scrooge is forced to see the people whom God has placed in his life and to rediscover his care and his love for them, often in dramatic ways. Basically, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future show him the many ways he has been neglecting his vocation of caring for his neighbor.

What then does Scrooge find by going on this adventure? He rediscovers virtues that are deeply Christian in nature. It is Christ Jesus who first is the great friend to the friendless and great physician of body and soul; caring for those in need. Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim highlight these Christological virtues as well. Bob remarks that Tiny Tim wanted people in church to see him so that they might remember their savior who made the blind to see and the lame walk. What I love about this is that Tiny Tim, this innocent one who suffers, wants to be an icon that points us toward the Innocent One who suffers on behalf of the world; and who restores our souls through His suffering. What a fantastic testimony of who Jesus is; even as we see Him through the lens of Tiny Tim.

When Scrooge travels with the ghost of Christmas future and sees a potential reality in which Tiny Tim has died from his illness, it is Bob Cratchit who remarks that life is made of a series of meetings and partings and as Tim has now departed this table first, we will not forget him. I’ve always thought this was hard to hear in what is meant to be a children’s story. Yet, by the end of the story we know that Scrooge changes his ways in order to become more joyful, hopeful, and, in essence, more Christ-like. The fundamental conversion of Ebenezer Scrooge has not just brought new life for himself; it has brought new life for the Cratchit family. Moments like this resonate with us because they reflect deep spiritual truths that lie at the heart of our life of faith. 

But Bob Cratchit is also right. Death is part of the reality of the world we live in. We don’t like to think about it around this time of year, but this is part of our condition as those who have experienced the effects of sin. As the years wear on, we can become aware of the fact that there are more empty places around the Christmas dinner table as a result of loved ones who have parted our dinner tables never to return. Yet, this is why the message of Christmas is a hopeful one even in the face of this. It is one we need to hear every day of the year; not just on Christmas. Christ Jesus was not content to leave the parting from the Christmas dinner table as a forever parting. Instead, He won for each and every Christian life eternal so that we would once again meet around the wedding feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which will have no end. The message of Christmas is clear! The Word became flesh and dwelt among us so that we might dwell forever with Him. This has profound ramifications. It means you will experience a new life. You will see that loved one again. And in place of temporal partings, we receive eternal meetings that are promised to us by our savior.

So, what can we say then of old Scrooge and how he relates to each of us? At the beginning of the story, we hear that Marley’s specter is bringing with him Scrooge’s reclamation. Throughout the story, Scrooge encounters his own shortcomings as well as his joys. There are highs and lows, and in those moments Scrooge is forced to examine his conscience, much like we do when we have the law preached to us. By the end of Scrooge’s Christmas Eve, he realizes that he is an old sinner and, in response to that, he craves absolution. 

Each of us has within us the capacity to be like Scrooge at the beginning of the story. We can become narcissistic, cruel, and self-obsessed. We can walk through life with our eyes cast down and miss those in need around us. But we have an encounter with Christ that is the center of the Gospel, which serves as the impetus for our turning back outward; toward our fellow man. We are able to see the miracle of Christ’s birth and look up from ourselves toward the Christ-child. Then we too can model the behavior that Christ Jesus first demonstrated. We can care for those who are hurting or in need. We can exhibit the joy and the warmth that is there for our friends and family members. We can pass along the forgiveness of sins and share with others the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And perhaps when we encounter Scrooges in our own lives, we can be like the shepherds who had heard the good news of the angels, and the Magi who followed the star. We can go to this newborn Christ-child to receive life itself; and, in turn, point the world to this newborn light. It is, after all, Christ Jesus who daily and richly pronounces the words of absolution that old sinners like Ebenezer Scrooge, and you and I, are in deep need of hearing. 

In the meantime, may we pray that the joy and the love of Christ Jesus takes root in our hearts this season. May we not be consumed by empty sentiment or holiday fervor. Instead, may we pray that the same love which compelled the Son of God to come into the world be alive in our hearts as well. And may we take courage that, because of Christ Jesus’ all atoning life, death, and resurrection, the departures from our Christmas dinner table will not be forever. Instead, we continue to look forward to happy reunions with the saints of God, both within the walls of our churches and at the end of all things when Christ calls us to be with Him at His eternal feast within the kingdom. Merry Christmas. Amen.


Scrooge lacked gratitude for all that he had, for all that God had given him. But here, he was given a great gift, and all that he should have gratitude for became evident, especially the gifts brought by Christ.

And okay, I admit it, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat helped me this year more than usual, given the state of my mind when Jen and I were watching this Christmas classic.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ray Keating Discusses His Books and More on American Reformation Podcast

Ray Keating was a guest on the American Reformation podcast with Pastor Tim Ahlman. Tune in for a wide-ranging discussion, from Ray’s Pastor Stephen Grant and Alliance of Saint Michael novels to his work as an economist to a discussion about the Church in the public square to some Christian history, and more! 

Go to or on YouTube at or wherever you get your podcasts.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

“Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s” by Ray Keating is a Page-Turner for the Christmas Season

 Spend Christmas with a Former CIA Operative Turned Pastor


Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story by Ray Keating is the perfect page-turner for the Christmas season. This is Keating’s 20th work of fiction, and the 19th book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. 

If you appreciate the spirit captured by many classic Christmas films, then you’re just like Pastor Stephen Grant … and you’ll enjoy this latest adventure. From the pages of his own journal, Pastor Grant paints a picture of Christmas at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church, emphasizing gratitude for family; for a new clergy friend; for a special handbell concert; and yes, for movies of the season. But danger also lurks, and sin, justice, forgiveness, suffering, sacrifice and salvation mix together in a rare way.


Ray Keating says, “Pastor Stephen Grant and I love classic films, including the tradition of watching certain movies at Christmas time. That becomes clear in Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s, and I hope this book becomes something of a traditional read around Christmas.”


Kirkus Reviews has called Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant “an engaging and multifaceted character” and “a consistently entertaining hero.” Lutheran Book Review calls Keating “the master of the theological thriller.”


Matthew Heise, author of The Gates of Hell: An Untold Story of Faith and Perseverance in the Early Soviet Union, said, “Check out Ray's novels… They are action-filled and deeply thought out. His Stephen Grant is Jack Ryan in Lutheran clerical garb!”


In an article titled “If James Bond Became a Pastor” covering Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers/mysteries series, author and columnist Gene Veith noted, “Mr. Keating knows how to tell an exciting story. And these books, like the James Bond novels, are ridiculously entertaining.”


Paperbacks and the Kindle edition of Christmas Bells at St. Mary’s are available at, and signed books at All 19 books in the series are at


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


Contact: Ray Keating


Facebook: and

Twitter: @KeatingNovels

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

On the Road with Pastor Stephen Grant

A quick video about the journey to and experience at the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod National Convention. Thanks to Jonathan Keating for creating this cool video! 

Check out Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant books at Amazon via

And the first book in the Alliance of Saint Michael series – “Cathedral” – is at

Or save 15% on signed books at by using the coupon code “summer15” at checkout.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Author Ray Keating Talks about His New Book – “For Better, For Worse: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story”

 Ray Keating talks about the latest thriller For Better, For Worse: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. It’s the 18th book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series.


Book Summary: From Finland to California, the tension builds and the action never falters. Pastor Stephen Grant arrives on the West Coast to officiate at the wedding of two friends. But the past reaches out to disrupt the festivities. Can Grant and his former CIA colleagues stop an attack by a team of killers sent by a powerful figure bent on revenge?

Monday, July 24, 2023

“For Better, For Worse: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story” by Ray Keating Filled with Action and Reflection

 18th Installment in Series Featuring a Former CIA Operative Turned Pastor


For Better, For Worse: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is an action-packed, thought-provoking page-turner from Ray Keating. This is his nineteenth work of fiction, and the 18th book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. 


What’s For Better, For Worse about? From Finland to California, the tension builds and the action never falters. Pastor Stephen Grant arrives on the West Coast to officiate at the wedding of two friends. But the past reaches out to disrupt the festivities. Can Grant and his former CIA colleagues stop an attack by a team of killers sent by a powerful figure bent on revenge?


Ray Keating says, “It’s my hope that For Better, For Worse provides plenty of action in a shorter story, along with digging a bit into the characters and their relationships. Plus, this story also says a thing or two about marriage and what it’s all about in the end. That’s a lot to pack into a tale of less than 100 pages, but I hope readers find it entertaining and interesting.”


The first Facebook review of For Better, For Worse said: “Outstanding story. It's impressive how much you managed to cram, if that's the right word, into such a slender book. I really enjoyed it.”


For good measure, Ray Keating received the following message from a reader on Facebook: “I'm not generally into short stories, but I like yours!”


Kirkus Reviews has called Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant “an engaging and multifaceted character” and “a consistently entertaining hero.” Lutheran Book Review calls Keating “the master of the theological thriller.”


Matthew Heise, author of The Gates of Hell: An Untold Story of Faith and Perseverance in the Early Soviet Union, said, “Check out Ray's novels… They are action-filled and deeply thought out. His Stephen Grant is Jack Ryan in Lutheran clerical garb!”


In an article titled “If James Bond Became a Pastor” covering Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers/mysteries series, author and columnist Gene Veith noted, “Mr. Keating knows how to tell an exciting story. And these books, like the James Bond novels, are ridiculously entertaining.”


Paperbacks and the Kindle edition of For Better, For Worse are available at, and signed books at All 18 books in the series are at


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


Contact: Ray Keating


Facebook: and

Twitter: @KeatingNovels


About the Author 


Ray Keating is a novelist, an economist, a nonfiction author, a podcaster, a columnist, and an entrepreneur. 


At this point, Keating has penned 18 Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries (with more on the way) – Warrior Monk, followed by Root of All Evil?An Advent for Religious LibertyThe River, Murderer’s RowWine Into WaterLionheartsReagan CountryHeroes and Villains, Shifting Sands, Deep RoughThe TraitorVatican ShadowsPast LivesWhat’s Lost?, Persecution, Under the Golden Dome, and For Better, For Worse. He also has begun the Alliance of Saint Michael series, with Cathedral


Among recent nonfiction books are The Lutheran Planner: The TO DO List SolutionThe Weekly Economist II: 52 More Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an EconomistThe Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an EconomistBehind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York and Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know


In addition, Keating is the editor/publisher/columnist for, and hosts three podcasts. He was a columnist with, and a former weekly newspaper columnist for NewsdayLong Island Business News, and the New York City Tribune. His work has appeared in many periodicals, including The New York Times, The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News, The Boston Globe, National Review, The Washington TimesInvestor’s Business Daily, New York Daily News, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune,, Touchstone magazine,, and Cincinnati Enquirer


Friday, June 2, 2023

“The Weekly Economist II” Provides a Much-Needed Antidote to Bad Thinking on the Economy

 Ray Keating’s Second Book in Series Offers More Quick Reads on Topics and Questions Related to Economics and Business

Ray Keating, a leading economist on small business and entrepreneurship, has written a new book titled The Weekly Economist II: 52 More Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. This is the second book in an ongoing series, with the first being The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.


When listening to talking heads or politicians, people are legitimately bewildered about how the economy actually works and how to think about critical issues. The Weekly Economist and now The Weekly Economist II offer quick reads on topics essential to thinking clearly on economics and business, and for assessing the often wild assertions heard from politicians on such matters.


Ray Keating notes, “There’s a great deal of misguided and misleading talk about the economy, business, and public policies. Applying sound economic thinking to such matters is critical for our country and the world. With the second book in The Weekly Economist series, I’m hoping that people will take at least a few minutes each week to read these short essays, and by doing so, become a light for clear-eyed thinking of matters critical to economic growth and our quality of life.”


The Weekly Economist and now The Weekly Economist II hold appeal for a general readership looking to become more informed citizens. And they’re ideal for the classroom, boardroom and workplace.


Praise for The Weekly Economist II


"An accessible, wide-ranging compendium. Keating remains remarkably impartial here, offering fair critiques and reasonable assessments of economic decisions, theories, and policies across time. This is an impressive second installment of the author's economics essays, avoiding repetition from the first collection, and offering cogent advice that feels more timely than ever."  - Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★


Praise for The Weekly Economist


“Reading Mr. Keating's new book is worth more than a degree in economics from most universities. Sensible and accessible, The Weekly Economist is a veritable catechism of how to think economically.” - Fr. Robert Sirico, author of The Economics of the Parables and President Emeritus of the Acton Institute

“If you want a quick and accurate insight into the major topics in economics, and if you have little or no background in economics, Ray Keating's The Weekly Economist is the book for you. Turn to any page and you'll find tight clear reasoning that will help you understand the complicated economic reality around you.” - David R. Henderson, editor, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

“For those who are curious about economics but who may not be interested in tackling a dry 300-page economics textbook, Ray Keating provides a brilliant alternative - a weekly breakdown of 52 economic concepts everyone should be familiar with. Although designed to give one easily digestible theme a week, many readers will undoubtedly want to binge-read to see which topics are their favorites. Great information for those new to economics or as a weekly refresher.” - Bryan Riley, Director, National Taxpayers Union Free Trade Initiative

“a lively primer” - Gene Veith, Cranach: The Blog of Veith, and author of God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life


“An accessible and comprehensive guide to concepts that regularly baffle the average person. This book runs the gamut when it comes to economic issues, and will invariably help readers think more critically about the financial machinery that runs the world. Keating makes a subject as potentially dry as economics into something dynamic and interesting. A natural storyteller, he carefully dissects an intimidating sphere of modern existence into a book that nearly anyone could learn from and enjoy.” - Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★

Paperbacks and Kindle editions of The Weekly Economist and The Weekly Economist II are available at, and signed books at


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


Additional praise for Ray Keating’s work…


“Keating is at his best when tackling the issue that introduced him to the world of conservative thought: the benefits of the free market.”  - Kirkus Reviews


“Keating is no sour-puss conservative... Keating’s pro-growth agenda of dramatic supply-side tax and regulatory cuts, school choice, and much smaller government stands as New York’s only chance at rebirth.”  - Steve Forbes


Ray Keating's “take on the economy is unabashedly supply-side, offering a clear understanding that risk taking and entrepreneurship are the engines of economic growth.” - Jack Kemp


“A common-sense explanation of why politicians and bureaucrats shouldn't throw sand in the gears of global trade.” - Dan Mitchell, Chairman, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, about Free Trade Rocks! by Ray Keating


Contact: Ray Keating



Twitter: @FreeEnterprise7