About Me

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I have discovered that walking a very narrow path leads to broad places of peace, contentment, and provision. Besides being a serious writer (writing is my retirement income plan), I currently work with Glorious Praise World Outreach to promote its Christian Eden Haus Retreat in Millersville, Missouri. Previously I was the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, an eighteenth century French colonial historic site and National Historic Landmark.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lie Dissectors

The last post I uploaded, "Have you been hurt by the church?" has triggered the most interest so far of any. For Terry, the pastor's ex-wife in the story, church and her ex-husband, Ed, were barely distinguishable from each other. At least that was true for a long time while she came to terms with who she was and how she wanted to live. Over and over again, for Terry, it meant drawing a separation between Ed and God and discovering that she had allowed Ed to become the lens through which she viewed God. I know I personally have been guilty of the same mind games - probably that is why I was able to portray Terry so. She doesn't quite know this about herself at the end of the book but she has also allowed the people of Ed's church to come to define THE church for her - even though they have not applied enough critical thinking either and basically function as Ed's abusive echo. Of course, idolizing the pastor, the elders, or a denomination leads to the kind of inflexibility and judgmental-ism that ostracized Terry without even considering that there might have been another way to evaluate the situation. How hurtful to learn that the basis of one's community, identity, and barometer of truth and morals has shut you out! How freeing truth inevitably is if we allow it to dissect us away from these lies. It reminds me of Job and that makes me confident that people like Terry really do get the chance to come face to face with the God who speaks out of the whirlwind in His own time and with His own set of challenging questions. 


You can read Pastor's Ex-Wife by Lesley Barker on the Kindle. If you don't own a kindle, you can download the kindle ap for free to your computer desktop or smart phone and then you can buy the book in the Amazon Kindle Store here.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Have you been hurt by a church?

I was driving this afternoon listening to the radio not finding the store I was looking for when I heard Rickie Lee Jones interviewed on the Studio 360 program and enjoyed hearing her sing a few songs from her newest album. Two of the songs have titles that refer to biblical language so the interviewer asked if she was moving towards Christianity. While she said that she "likes Jesus" and likes what He said "but he didn't say very much" according to her, she does not "like" most Christians nor does she respect any "fundamentalist" religion where the adherents are expected to do a specific series of things just for believing in the guy who started it.

Lots of people are caught in this dilemma. They "like" Jesus but find a mismatch between what He seems to stand for and what His people represent. So they avoid Him along with the religion that has grown up around His various followers making little distinction between them. Probably this is a clue that should be interpreted to mean that they (the people who "like" but do not follow Jesus) have been severely wounded by the church in the name of Jesus - like what happened to our fictitious protagonist, Terry, when her ex-husband, Pastor Ed, accused her of all manner of theological anathema as a way to mask his own abusive behavior and the congregation, who idolized their member of the clergy as many have elevated a saint or pope in other religious contexts, bought the lie and rejected Terry who was actually the innocent used to be ingenue victim.

She, licking her own wounds while coming to grips with how long she had been the prisoner of an ego maniacal misogynist, could have ended up with Rickie Lee Jones' confession. However, largely due to her role as the Anonymous Church Critic for the local newspaper, she began to appreciate the many stripes of the American Protestant church and to become a discriminating consumer of what is demanded of the members of their congregations from the mostly men who occupy their various pulpits on Sunday mornings.

Have you suffered hurt at the hands of Christians, clergy, or the church? Perhaps, like many who have read the novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife, it will begin to lance the wound in your heart and start you laughing down a path towards and authentic faith that comes from gut-wrenching honesty met by NO pat-answers.....Besides, the book could also make a great mind-movie until someone decides to buy the movie rights to it from me and turn it into a block-buster. (I am not kidding, by the way.)


You can read Pastor's Ex-Wife by Lesley Barker on the Kindle. If you don't own a kindle, you can download the kindle ap for free to your computer desktop or smart phone and then you can buy the book in the Amazon Kindle Store here.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Philandering

The daily news stories - not just the tabloids- are replete with evidence of powerful men or men with power who forget that they will someday have to give an account for every word and deed who disregard the vows they swore in the presence of God and these witnesses to be faithful to the wives of their youth. Isn't it commonly said that power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely? This may be the explanation of the indiscretions of the recent governor of California; the horrible triple murder case where the head of security for a nationally known ministry killed his wife and two sons to keep his mistress without compromising his job; and the widespread clergy sex-abuse crisis in the American Catholic and Protestant churches. The reason I wrote "Pastor's Ex-Wife" was to expose this common abuse of power to the gullible women who suffer too long too often in secret thinking that they are to blame for their misery when probably they were made vulnerable by some earlier series of abuses or negligence that created in them a kind of black hole craving for the affection of any man who knew enough to groom his victim before revealing the inner monster....


You can read Pastor's Ex-Wife by Lesley Barker on the Kindle. If you don't own a kindle, you can download the kindle ap for free to your computer desktop or smart phone and then you can buy the book in the Amazon Kindle Store here.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Andersonville

Andersonville, Georgia, is the location of one of the largest Civil War prison camps and now boasts a museum dedicated to American Prisoners of War.There is a fabulous movie where POWs from every American War comment on film or their journals are read aloud - each provides information on a variety of topics: deprivation, torture, capture, release, communication, food....The popular opinion of these POWs is that their fellow captives who gave in to self-pity and lost the hope of being restored to their families are the ones who did not survive the ordeal. I believe this holds true for women who find themselves victims of abuse AND once released from the captivity, the paradigm, focus, and imagination MUST shift to a new set of objectives, hopes, and futures.

Of course, there is also a period of transition that must be experienced and it is that - when a renewed and refocused identity emerges - that I have tried to illustrate in Terry's story. With the help of William, she gains perspective, courage, and purpose in her new life as the ex-wife of the pastor. It does not mean the end of her pain either.

You can read Pastor's Ex-Wife by Lesley Barker on the Kindle. If you don't own a kindle, you can download the kindle ap for free to your computer desktop or smart phone and then you can buy the book in the Amazon Kindle Store here.