Friday, August 23, 2019

Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth by James D. Sanderson A Must-Read Masterpiece...

My first encounter with a book by Hal Lindsey was quite exciting. I was young enough that I thought and looked forward to the time when Christ would come again. Since then, I've read a few more books on the topic and realized that it was not up to man to decide when that Second Coming would occur. Nor, was it necessarily to be associated with the end of the world. Yet time after time it is routinely brought up. During the present, one of the points made was related to Jerusalem. Yet, nothing happened... We didn't see a change just because America decided to relocate, or did we? 

The thing that I've come to question is whether or not the "good" would be taken before "that" occurred. Suppose, just suppose that's not what happens. What if a North Korea nuclear bomb destroyed much of the world. But, there were still Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth? 

One of the questions posed would then be, are we ready to dwell here on earth as a follower of Jesus?  There was another Jesus who is the main character in this book. He, too, found it hard to live within America as the future has left us. How would you do?

A stick of black helicopters skirted the far edge of the dawn.  No one knew change was coming, least of all the four brothers.  They made their way along the shoreline toward the north end of the lake.  All night a filthy rain had fallen and now the sun was trying to open its sticky eye.  
One of them, Thomas, waded out to his knees to retrieve a good-sized carp that had gone belly up.  He held it up triumphantly, his fingers jammed up into its gills, and said, “It doesn’t look too bad.”  Now he examined it in an animated way, as with a critical eye.  “Not bad at all.” 
“I can smell that thing from here,” one of the others said. In spite of that comment, Thomas brought the fish along with him back to the shore. 
They were trying to find a man others had told them about.  “A man who knows everything.” 
“No one knows everything,” another of the men, James, had said.  He was bookish, so he should know.  Bookish was a word that had been used before the advent of computers.  Now, whenever a book was found in the rubble and wreckage of a lost building, he would carefully dig it out.  
The others laughed and hooted.  “What are you going to do with that?” 
“Read it,” he’d say with a bemused smile. 
“What for?” 
“For a while.” 
“He’s found another cookbook.” 
“Not this time.”  He’d hold up his latest treasure – whether ‘Fathers and Sons’ or ‘Trout Fishing in the Rockies,’ carefully brush it off and place it in his carry bag.  He seemed to be physically afflicted when he was forced to discard one to make room for another.  A man can carry only so much weight. 
The third brother, Andrew, took the lead now.  “Let’s get going,” he said. “What’s your hurry?”  Thomas was considering gutting and cleaning the carp then and there. 
“We haven’t got all day.”  He set out. 
“Yeah, yeah.” The fourth among them, Matthew, was somewhat quieter than the others.  He had fine features and sandy hair.  
They were brothers, as different as they were from one another… 
Along here bushes and small trees had begun to sprout and grow.  Future replacements for those that had been charred in the unquenchable fires. 
They smelled breakfast smoke some minutes before they came upon a young man sitting on a rock warming his hands at a fire.  Several fine trout were laid out, prepared to join the two that were already popping and cooking on an improvised metal grate.
“Why don’t you join me,” the man said, looking up at them with gentle eyes. “We might do that,” Andrew said. 
“We could eat,” Thomas said. 
“Why don’t you go bury that carp?  It looks corrupted.” Thomas turned part way to his left and slung the fish back into the lake.  The splash it made was upsetting in the still of the morning. 
“Please…”  The young man motioned for them to sit on the fallen log and several rocks that were naturally arranged around the fire.  
They did not sit. “We’re looking for a man we’ve heard about,” James said. “What man?” 
“A man they say knows everything.” 
“No one knows everything,” their host said with a snicker. 
“That’s what I said.”  James seemed pleased to have said it. 
“Tell me,” Thomas pointed at the fish.  “Where’d you get these perfect trout?  Not in this lake.” 
The man pursed his lips and jerked his chin Native American style toward the top of the lake.  “A perfect stream feeds this lake.” 
“No one is stocking these streams.” 
“Native cutthroat and rainbow are making a comeback.” 
“Now that things are… recovering?” 
“That’s right.” Thomas grunted.  “That’s a miracle!” 
The stranger began to break off pieces of the hot fish and hand them around.  The brothers patted the hot pieces back and forth in their hands, blowing on them before they burned their fingers.  He picked up the other trout and placed them on the hot grill.  
The four brothers finished eating quickly and stood around waiting for the rest of the fish to be cooked. 
“Say,” the younger man said, “you all seem to be pretty easy around strangers… considering… everything.” 
James laughed shortly.  “You don’t seem very dangerous.” 
Thomas lifted his flannel shirt and undershirt, and proudly showed the 9mm Glock he was carrying in his belt. 
“Is it loaded?”
 “Of course,” he growled.  “This baby puts an end to a lot of foolishness.” 
“I can see that it would.” 
“Like he said,” he pointed at James.  “You don’t seem very dangerous.” 
“I’m not,” the other agreed amiably. 
“Where are your weapons?” 
“I get by without them.” 
The brothers looked askance of each other.  Finally Thomas said, “Bears are making a comeback too.” 
The young man smiled.  “I know.”  After a long pause he asked their names.  The oldest was James, bookman.  Then Thomas, the wild one.  Then Andrew, who seemed calculating somehow.  Then Matthew, the quiet. 
“What’s your name?” 
“My name is Jesus.” 
Again the brothers looked at each other, not quite believing what they had heard.  James asked the obvious question.  “You mean like… the real Jesus?” “I’m not him, of course.  But that’s what my parents named me.” 
“And your parents…” 
“Ours too. In the Great… whatever it was.” 
The moment passed.  The tension caused by the speaking of that name eased.  “I don’t know what was so great about it,” Thomas said at last.  An old joke, but it seemed to work now among strangers. 
“Sit down.  Sit down.” The brothers sat.  Jesus passed out the rest of the fish.  They ate in silence. 
Then, “Are you headed anywhere?” Andrew asked.  “Or is this your home?” “I’ve been here forty days.  You?” 
“As we said, we are looking for this man…  We’ve become curious about him.” Jesus nodded.  “You have made me curious too.  Perhaps we could look for him together.” 
The brothers conferred silently, looking back and forth at each other.  Then Andrew said, “Sure, why not?” 

The book begins by using familiar names of characters of the Bible. I thought about this more as I read. Do names really matter? Jesus, for the sake of acquiring attention, was used for the main character. But, other than that, wouldn't the same be happening if we are Christians of any name, maybe Glenda, or Harold, who have been and are now, because of "The Troubles" being even more persecuted by a lawless, powerful, and unmerciful world that includes, the government, the rich corporations...and the Certain Way of Truth Church, the official church of our country...

The average American was hungry, had no money, if working, may have had a job where they had no control over anything that happened there. Perhaps they were not even welcomed at the Certain Way of Truth Church...

Opening with a scene that could have appeared in the Bible...but in reverse...we come upon a group of brothers who were roaming through the country...One saw a large fish, which wasn't so much damaged from the radiation that... well, he carried it for awhile... Until the brothers came upon a stranger who was cooking fish over a fire, and had plenty more waiting. Not sitting down, they stood, gaping perhaps at the fish. The man asked if they would like to join him...

His name, he said, was Jesus. And at their surprise, quickly said he was not that one, but his mother thought he was destined for good things and so named him after the Savior... It is not hard to get into the use of Jesus as a main character. After all, we have read about Him often in the Bible... Yes, the Bible was extensively referred to, taught, and taken as to how to deal with what had happened to the world that God had made for all of us.

They had found an old building and claimed it in the Name of the Lord.
You may be familiar with WWJD (What would Jesus Do?) Jesus, the main character, answers the questions from his ever-growing followers...and government officials, based upon the teachings of Jesus. Jesus began, with his four new friends, by feeding them when they were hungry. Then he talked about everybody sharing what they had with everybody else and purchase what was available for distribution. They had found an old building and claimed it in the Name of the Lord. That was their first building where everybody's needs were met. At the same time, he began to spend time talking about Jesus and how his words and acts would respond to all their needs. Soon the town was flourishing, with nobody hungry. A bartering system was implemented...and more...

What was happening soon became a concern, however, was being grown and not purchased, for instance. Food merchants began losing money. A doctor had joined the group and soon was serving medical needs...

Then, one day, the doctor was "The Fist of Christ," and worked to put fear into the doctor. He responded by asking what they wanted from him. They answered that they were displeased a shop had been set up as a church, when there's a perfectly good church already." And they did't have a license!

Gasping now, the doctor replied as best he could, “Illness and physical limitations are actually part and parcel with the cycle of poverty.  When a worker gets sick, he misses work.  He doesn’t get paid for the time he misses.  The people prefer their own bad system over the shiny but expensive, and thus unattainable, state system.”

Soon, empty housing that had been boarded up, were also claimed in the Name of Jesus... Housing was being provided through the work of others and sharing to those in need...

You may think that all of these are good things--yes, that this was what Jesus would do... But, Jesus and his followers were rejected, harassed, thrown in jail...building owners of those empty buildings sought their legal rights to have eviction of those now in their buildings...

Many of these things have happened already, the poor and homeless are not welcomed. Those seeking asylum are abused and threatened. Children are separated from their parents. Religion is being used to serve the needs of the rich and powerful and for political gain.

But WWJD if he were here...If we have already reached the point, after The Troubles" where America had totally changed to exclude the downtrodden, those yearning to be free. When we know, then, that the nuclear bomb is not the worst thing that could happen to America and the World...

Sanderson has written what I must call a masterpiece story where the apocalypse was not the result of the was the result of power and greed and a loss of Love... where even then, a new, epic story arises, through those who are being led by the man who also was called Jesus...And the power of God's Son...

I would call this a must-read recommendation. More on the Study Guide Soon...


I have been a writer nearly my entire life. Even at age twelve I was writing short stories, though I’m sure they would seem embarrassingly childish now. At times it seemed the only way I could express myself. 
I always read great literature as well. My friends made fun of me when I brought a large book with me to ball practice. In fact I read everything I could get my hands on – from adventure novels to the latest articles in Field and Stream or Outdoor magazines. 
Growing up in Michigan, I was a big fan of Hemingway, but I read Dickens and Pearl Buck and Conrad and Willa Cather and, later, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. My love for books has not diminished with age. 
I have written a short work of nonfiction – ‘Called To Love’ about the Christian love ethic – and a collection of short stories – ‘Sacred Are the Brave’ about the nonviolent revolutions of the 1980s, available on Amazon Kindle. 
I wanted to write a novel that would express everything I know about writing and faith and the Church – especially the New Testament Church. I hit upon a time in the near future when believers would face many trials – from an authoritarian government, terrorists, an ‘official’ church, and the wreckage of an apocalyptic event, in this case nuclear war. 
How will our faith hold up in such a time? My wife and I have been in a unique ministry for thirty years. In all that time we have ministered to the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless, and the addicted. 
Ours has not been a ‘normal’ experience of church. Out of that experience, then, has grown my latest novel, ‘Those Who Dwell Upon the Earth’. It will be released on September 1st in Kindle and Trade Paperback. A Reader’s Guide will also be available on Kindle. An audio version will be available soon as well. 
For more about me and my work please see my blog:

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