We left our story yesterday with the boys having lunch in the rain under dripping juniper bushes having just been to the showroom to see the new 1959 Edsels over which Ben is supremely disappointed. And it is at this time that the connection between Ben and the Edsel takes on new significance as Ben is convinced that the inevitable demise of the Edsel is going to spell the early demise of his young life. It’s something that the boys sense but never talk about; instead they throw their energies into somehow saving the Edsel from extinction, thinking that in so doing, they are in fact saving Ben.
This is a seriously abbreviated version of the Saint Ben story condensed into only three Catches. Next week I may pull a few short sections for reflection once you have a basic idea of the story. But if you get hooked (and I hope you do), we will have a couple of ways of getting the book out next week. In the meantime, one of our readers turned us on to abebooks.com that has a few inexpensive used copies, as does Amazon.
Referring to yesterday’s summary, Gene wrote me wanting to know what happened when the alarm clock went off in church. Details like that you’ll have to find in the story, except to mention that Ben got his hands on a microphone and put it up to the alarm clock which made it sound more like a fire bell than an alarm clock when it went off, sending most of the congregation jumping out of their seats, except for Homer Batts who had his hearing aid turned down so he could sleep through church.
So, here’s today’s summary:
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Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14 (King James Version – that’s all they had in 1958)
[A summary of the first few chapters of Saint Ben …]
It’s a bright Sunday in March, 1958, when the new pastor, Jeffery T. Beamering and his family are being introduced to the Colorado Avenue Standard Christian Church in Pasadena, California. And it may have escaped some people’s notice, but the youngest of the three Beamering boys is the only one in the whole church not smiling. That would be Ben, age 10, and the sarcastic smirk on his face broadcasts the fact that he is not going to participate in one bit of superficiality … ever. Jonathan Lieberman, also 10, and the son of Walter Lieberman, the choir director, is one who noticed, and he had to admit a certain admiration for the nerve.
Today we begin a series on the story behind my novel Saint Ben. Marti and I have picked up this story again recently and were impressed with how timely it is to our current culture. Of course, nothing can substitute reading the book for yourself, but we will be outlining the story very briefly in the next few days which will provide us with something to talk about. Though the book is out of print, there are used copies available online; I just wouldn’t pay the $229 Amazon is asking for a new copy. If you can afford to pay $229 for a book, I suggest you buy a used one for $9.00 and send $220 to the Catch! That will be a much better use of your funds.
Right about now, some of you are wondering, “Why Saint Ben?” Here’s why we believe this story is timely for now.
Saint Ben is a wonderful piece of truth-telling. Only an eleven-year-old could get away with what Ben achieves here in an adult world, but in his persistence, he engenders the longing in us all to do the right thing no matter what the cost. Ben is unpredictable, but then again, his choices are totally inevitable if you know and understand the truth.
I’ve always thought that Memorial Day was a somewhat conflicted holiday. We’re trying to memorialize all the soldiers who have died in action while at the same time heading for the beach, breaking out the barbecue and cracking open the beer to celebrate the official beginning of summer, the celebration getting much more attention than the memorial.
In April of 2007, I published an article about Francis Schaeffer in Christianity Today magazine. For our younger readers, Francis Schaeffer had a unique ministry to young intellectuals graduating from college in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Many of them were from evangelical homes with bigger questions than their churches or Christian colleges could handle. Schaeffer was the first Christian leader I encountered who was passionate about a biblical faith, but connected as well to the prevailing secular culture, and intelligent enough to speak into it.
Correction: I have something to correct about my Catch yesterday, though this does not change the central point; I just shot from the hip and overstated something, and that would be this statement: “I honestly don’t think Jesus cares what we think about critical race theory.”
Our excellent discussion with George Barna last week on BlogTalkRadio kicked open the door on Christian or biblical worldview discussions. So tonight on BlogTalkRadio, our good friend Wayne Bridegroom will be joining me to continue the conversation. Wayne and I have been bantering back and forth about this all week, so I thought we would just let you in on the discussion. I must admit, a lot of my thinking on worldview is in process. I have long been concerned that most attempts at creating a Christian or biblical worldview are not getting it right, but I’m not completely sure I know why, so you have to realize my thoughts are reaching for something I don’t think I have fully grasped.