Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Learning About Discernment - The Hard Way - Open Memoir - A Single Christian Woman


In today's age of “tolerance,” discriminating discernment can be viewed as being judgmental (cf. “Judge not,” Matt. 7:1). Yet Jesus also taught, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24).

Because of fear, deception, and abuse, the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit have been shut down or not welcomed fully in the Church. This has resulted in a loss of the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance for missions and ministry. (This has been the case in many evangelical, as well as liberal, mainline churches).

On the other hand, where there has been an uncritical acceptance of spiritual gifts, manifestations, and guidance without sufficient discernment as to what comes from the Holy Spirit and what comes from the human psyche, other problems have resulted, such as emotionalism, deception, schism, or heresy.

Oftentimes, we find this comes alongside a dishonoring of the gospel.

Discernment is a Process

Discernment involves human reason and observation, in which words or behaviors may be measured against the standard of scripture.

However, it is the eye-opening work of the Holy Spirit that reveals the source of some words or behaviors.

  • Discernment is a supernatural gift given by the Holy Spirit.
  • Discernment is given through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and helping us detect truth from falsehood and the presence of evil spirits.
  • With discernment coming from the image of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all people, there exists a general awareness of spiritual realities that spring from the image of God.

There seems to be a natural human intuitive awareness of spiritual realities such as good and evil.

This awareness springs from the shattered remnants of the image of God that remains within us. Paul confirms this and suggests that the capacity to discern is in the human conscience.

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.

Romans 2:14-15 (NIV)  --PRMI.Org

Are you having trouble, as I am, in knowing truth when you hear, see, or read it? Especially when many are doing it on purpose? When have we ever been so encountered with so many people lying, willing to lie, and even changing their lies to meet their needs at any given time?

Recently, for a short time, I thought I was interacting with a writer whose book I had just read. There was one major question in my mind immediately: Why no comments, even a thanks, for my review? My first inclination was to think that was my being prideful--she had no responsibility to say anything about my thoughts on her book. I continued to interact believing, at first, I was interacting with an individual who I knew only through the news. I responded to that person as if I knew her. She or He played the part of that writer until the issue of money came up. It this case, I believe my discernment had already been watching as to what was being said, or, not said, until the individual was having trouble reacting to what I was saying, pointing out what was incorrect... Finally, I asked who it was and almost immediately the individual admitted that he had been lying.... Of course, I immediately deleted all possible interactions. But, it did bother me that at least for a short time I had "wanted" to believe she was who I wanted her to be... Note that I am talking about my own discernment... I hadn't even considered asking God...this was so routine for me to have interactions with writers... Until I was wrong...

Then one night recently I had a dream. I remember that I had found a number of videos about the Antichrist and marked them to watch later, skimming only one of them... The dream was a terrible one. I was in church with my mother. As we often did, we sat separately. I might be singing or playing the piano and would sit up front at those times. The pastor was new. At first I was happy because I hadn't been impressed with the last one. This one seemed to be saying the right things as I listened... But I noticed older boys--young men disrupting what was being said. The speaker didn't seem to mind, even laughed with those who were so disruptive to the service. And then a riot began, those who were being humored by the pastor began to harm those sitting in the church. I immediately worried about my mother and got up, pushing through these men who seemed to multiply by the minute and I noticed they had guns... Finally, I reached my mother, wrapped her up in her coat and carried her toward the door... I was being chased as I tried to get to my car... By the time I reached my car, my mother was dead and I realized that it was a dream, waking up... 

But I had never had such a horrible dream before. I tried to calm down, shaking in distress. I pulled out my standard songs to calm me...

But I quickly stopped singing, I couldn't rest, wondering what had caused this terrible dream... First, I wondered about the interaction with the supposed writer and quickly decided that was not traumatic enough to have caused such a dream... Suddenly I remembered who had been identified as the Antichrist... Was this dream a confirmation of what will happen if he gained power to lead so many astray... For surely, disruption of a church in such a violent way could never be the result of a pastor sharing about God's Grace, His Love.

Then I had the first discernment confirmation: Since I could not find comfort in music, I turned to the book I had been reading... This is the scene I began to read...
“More trouble with murder or men?” “Both. How am I supposed to figure out what I want to do about men with one unholy mess after another plopping down in front of me? I gave myself a year to figure out what to make of Jim’s betrayal. I don’t think I’ve given up on men, but I’m not ready to pick one. Help!” “Have you been practicing discernimiento like Father Martin told you to do?” “When?” I replied, feeling picked on—not by Bernadette—by life in general. Father Martin had indeed suggested that I try developing my capacity for discernment to make wise choices and sound decisions. By that, he meant starting with a philosophical principle that had sounded vaguely familiar—something I’d studied in a college philosophy course: the desire to choose the good. I’d replied with some cheeky comment about the fact that both Paul and Frank looked good to me was part of the problem. “That’s exactly what St. Ignatius’ other rules for discernment help us do—make choices from among attractive alternatives. We’ve got to take the time to examine the inner movements of our hearts in a disciplined and systematic way rather than let enthusiasm carry us this way or that way like a leaf in the wind.” “I’ve got a long way to go to acquire ‘the gift of the reasoning heart.’ I do need to learn to curb my enthusiasm in matters of murder and men. We’re lucky no one was shot last night. Going after David Madison seemed like such a good idea at the time.” “Come on. You’re not the only one. We all got carried away. All’s well that ends well. A dead accountant wouldn’t make you feel better. If you hadn’t tried to find him and convince him his hideout was too easy to find, you’d be blaming yourself if he’d been shot.” “Well said, oh wise woman,” I agreed as I finished my coffee and gave her a kiss. “Thank goodness you didn’t go out and buy yourself a set of army surplus camo pants since I hope we won’t ever go on a mission like that again.” “Not right away, anyway. I can use a few days to recover, too, Nina! We have a different kind of mission today. Your mom needs support. She’s got a tough week ahead.” “Yes, I know. See what I mean? How am I going to try to decide what to do about Frank or Paul when Mom needs me? The work’s piling up, too.” I was getting worked up and was about to pour more coffee when Bernadette stopped me. “More caffeine won’t help you curb your enthusiasm. Basta! Mothers and work take up time for most people. Stop complainin’.” I wasn’t done yet with my lament. “It’s worse than that! There’s a scumbag out there shooting at people. Maybe it’s the same person who killed my client, but maybe not. That well-dressed con artist and ex-Palm Beach ‘walker’ is on the loose trying to push women into fraudulent investments. Let’s not forget the Chairwoman of the ARC who wished Beverly would drop dead, her party-loving General Contractor, and a dog-hating sneak thief. It’s a crudslide! Look out below!” “You have a lot of worries on your mind. That’s more reason to get organized and do what Father Martin tells you to do to sort stuff out.” Anastasia loved it when I shouted what must have sounded like a command. She was on alert. Her tail beat frantically in anticipation of my next word or move. I shook my head and smiled. “Having a dog puts your life in perspective, huh? I’m ranting and she takes it as an invitation to romp.” I leaned over, rubbed her soft ears, and was rewarded with a puppy smooch. “I don’t know about romp, but a walk would give you time for discernimiento.”

And when I got up to start this post, I immediately found the first video above... Surely these God Incidents were confirming that we all needed to learn and practice discernment of what is right or wrong...Given my terror waking up from such a dream, I finally figured that what I needed to know was very important...

Can we see what is happening in America, across the world and know what is right, what is truth? I think we can... There is evidence that we ultimately can discern. Know that somebody who speaks lies, who condones violence, even incites it, can only be seen as not of God. He demands no holy wars from us, for His Son, Jesus, came to give His ultimate and ever-lasting love to all who will acknowledge Him and want to follow Him. He does not demand, He does not threaten, He does not lie and condone lies to gain power or gold or position of authority in our lives...


Yesterday, I was fortunate to have my caretaker come to help me with groceries and getting my car serviced and inspected. I tried to tell her all that had happened, and later realized that I had probably overwhelmed her with what I'd been personally involved with and thinking about. My Mother used to do that to me and now I realized that is what I had done. I'm going to share this post with her and others, hopefully to at least have a firm discussion for future interactions... LOL

You know, folks, when I posted my last one about a book, The Church of the Heavenly KISS, as I wrote my thoughts I realized that there was, on my part, an offensiveness about how the author had written his concerns about the Bible. In particular, about the crucifixion and Jesus arising from the Dead. I had to stop and realize that this book was written at the request of some of his readers. And, further, that I do not believe in book banning... Let's realize right now that not everything that is said by others is going to resonate as "good" from our point of view... And, that it was my job to review the book without prejudice. Once I got past my personally wanting to protect the name of Jesus, I did appreciate the book as it was written. I did mention that I thought he was a little "heavy" on the sarcasm just for my own opinion. However, when I think of the picture I have at the top of my right-hand column here at Book Readers Heaven, I knew that Jesus must have had to laugh off so many issues of what people say or think about Him. But, I also remembered the scripture:
Matthew 31:Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32:And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

When we learn Discernment either logically or Biblically, we will recognize and differentiate as we are led... But just as Christ wasn't concerned about what man might say about Him personally, we must also see that His Holy Spirit, Who Speaks from God to each of us who carry some small or larger awareness of God within us, must be discerned. We move quickly to realize that if God Through Jesus His Son gave us just two points for us to remember, then, we, in my opinion, must be able to discern when that is not happening...

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. —John 13:33–35 (KJV; emphasis added)

One other point I have thought about quite a lot since the insertion of religion into government has been through deals, deception, lies and chaos, I want to spotlight what Jesus did to those who were not of His origin... I've chosen to provide it from Wikipedia because I want to have readers dwell on the choice of Jesus versus those in America who wish to move us backward in time, supposedly, as it was in early Christian times in America... 

The parable of the Good Samaritan is told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.[1] It is about a traveler (implicitly understood to be Jewish) who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. First, a Jewish priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler. Although Samaritans and Jews were generally antagonistic towards each other, the Samaritan helps the injured man. Jesus is described as telling the parable in response to a provocative question from a lawyer, "And who is my neighbor?", in the context of the Great Commandment. The conclusion is that the neighbor figure in the parable is the one who shows mercy to their fellow man.

Some Christians, such as Augustine, have interpreted the parable allegorically, with the Samaritan representing Jesus Christ, who saves the sinful soul.[2] Others, however, discount this allegory as unrelated to the parable's original meaning[2] and see the parable as exemplifying the ethics of Jesus.[3]

The parable has inspired painting, sculpture, satire, poetry, photography, and film. The phrase "Good Samaritan", meaning someone who helps a stranger, derives from this parable, and many hospitals and charitable organizations are named after the Good Samaritan. The word "Samaritan" has also gained, besides the ethnoreligious meaning, the sense of a charitable person.

Even though there have always been differences of opinion about what scripture parables mean, for me, some are so logical that they don't need further discernment... Take, for instance, the Samaritan. We who know The Great Commandment automatically are sure that Jesus will not pass by someone hurt, hungry, or, simply because they were of a different faith or religion. His offering of love was routinely extended to all, even though it sometimes was refused or ridiculed, or, worse, killed for that Love He Offered.

He offered it to all and asked that if we Loved Jesus then we should love all peoples... Not just christians, not just jewish people...but everybody... Then he added that, Whoever comes to know you should be able to see the Love of Jesus... I believe America was based upon that principle... There are many Samaritans who came to America searching for freedom. America provided freedom... But, even then, some chose the historical commandments from the Bible and saw these other people as those to be rejected. But the majority of American chosen freedom that welcomed those Samaritans, no matter where they came from or what their need was, or, even, what their religion was...

That is the America when France saw the love extended and created a symbol of what they saw in our country as a whole:

God Bless


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Harry Harrigan Presents The Church of the Heavenly KISS: A Religion For People Who Don't Like Religion


The Church of the Heavenly KISS was introduced in a novel I wrote in 2017 called The Road King Chronicles: Second Hand Snake. In that book, the idea arose from discussions among three fictional characters: an Army Ranger named Roman Keane, his brother, a Jesuit priest named Virgil Keane, and a Cherokee medicine woman named Maggie Keystone. Those three frequently talked about religion and man’s purpose in life in that book and others in the Road King Chronicles series. 

Maggie was raised in the Cherokee religion and she was taught to revere all of nature. All of the Earth; its plants, its animals and its peoples. She believed that these are gifts from an entity known as the Creator, and that it would be wrong to abuse them. When the Christian missionaries came and forced their religious beliefs on the Cherokee, she thought, well... this sounds basically like what we already believe, but with a different cast of characters and names. After she had been a medicine woman for many years, she came to believe that all religions were simply stories invented by people to explain things they did not understand. 

Roman and Virgil Keane are twins in the Road King Chronicles series. They were raised as Christians but were separated as teenagers and followed different paths through life as adults. Virgil embraced religion and devoted his life to God. He became a Jesuit, an elite organization among Catholic priests called the Society of Jesus and sometimes referred to as “Soldiers of Christ.” Like many Jesuits, Virgil was a bit unorthodox and frequently drew the ire of his superiors by straying from the standard Catholic teachings. Roman, on the other hand, didn’t think much about religion. Even as a young boy he saw that much of what he was being taught made little sense and he was acutely aware of the hypocrisy and arrogance of many in the church to which his parents belonged. 

The question of god was as simple to him as the line from the Allman Brothers song Wasted Words: “Your wasted words already been heard, are you really god, yes or no?” Roman joined the Army, qualified as a Ranger and became the epitome of a modern warrior; tough, practical and a natural leader. 

Although Maggie, Virgil and Roman often argued about the virtues and shortcomings of religion, Virgil was the first among them to go beyond talk, printing an updated version of the Ten Commandments for his parishioners that he felt better reflected modern times. But it was Roman who came up with the concept of the Church of the Heavenly KISS. Relying on commonsense and his experiences in the military, Roman pared his beliefs about the purpose of life down to the simplest terms. He replaced the Ten Commandments of Christianity with Ten Commitments that people could make for themselves. Roman’s straightforward, simple non-religion resonated with readers who said that the Church of the Heavenly KISS may have been born in fiction, but it helped them handle the real world. Many of them shared the idea with their friends and some suggested that I write more about it. There was enough pushing and prodding that I finally produced this short book. I have expanded on Roman’s observations about religion and elaborated on his suggestions, but I have not strayed from his original simplicity. 

The intent of this book is not to tell anyone what to believe, only to show another point of view. If you are content to follow your religion, obeying its rules and beliefs without question as many people do, then this book is not for you. Congratulations if your religion guides you along a useful life that makes you happy. However, if you are frustrated by your religion and go to church and mouth the words but doubt the truth of them, then this book is for you. If you see, like Roman, Virgil and Maggie, that all religions are basically the same and yet they are nonsensically fighting each other, then read on. If you open your eyes to the world around you and see that religion limits your possibilities and shrinks your horizons, then you may like the Church of the Heavenly KISS.

 You’ve only got one life and you’ve got to make the most of it. If your religion keeps you from doing that, then it’s time for a change. But ditching your religion is a huge step. How do you know if it’s right for you? You can start by asking yourself a few questions.


In the year 2000, if somebody had suggested that I look around for another religion, I would have listened, but probably ignored looking anywhere... Don't get me wrong, I had had questions related to Christianity--not of Jesus Himself and His Words; but, in relation to the Book that was attached to Him. And, the seeming hypocrisy of many in this world.

However, if you are like me, you were really thrown into a period of questioning when the Evangelical Christians moved to support the last president. What were they thinking, I wondered. Today in 2024, I've read a number of different books trying to explain that decision or listened to many videos related to religion... This book is one of them, a short book that gets right to the point of the sub-title... Are you a Person who doesn't like Religion? 

Having grown up in the Baptist Church, and being fully active for most of my life, that seems to be a trick question, doesn't it? Because, suddenly, a group of conservative christians were supporting a man who incited hate, division, and, lately violence as part of his role in life... I have NO question that this man is NOT chosen by God to lead America as many are trying to claim. So where does that leave many of us who have become confused and, perhaps, cynical as we watch what is going on...

Harry Harrigan had used the phrase of the Heavenly KISS in a previous novel. After having people ask about this concept, he decided to proceed and write this book. This book has two parts: First the author suggests that you ask some basic questions about your own feelings about religion. I'm providing my thoughts--this is the more important part, don't you think? Perhaps my thoughts will expedite your thinking as well...

Why Am I In This Church Anyway?

I had long ago realized that I was Baptist because it was one of the two churches in my small community growing up. Since then, I've attended a Methodist Church and also visited prayer sessions with Catholic leaders. I liked that John the Baptist was the man who Jesus asked to Baptize Him and found most of the sermons relevant and beneficial... Church selection was thereafter a matter of my location and what churches were within the vicinity.

If I don’t really believe my parents’ religion, what’s keeping me in it?

Although we were all active in church, there was little actual religious ceremony within our family. Perhaps that was because my father had been killed before I was born and my Mother saw her role as getting her children into Church. Later, she ensured our involvement by having two of us taught piano so that we could share that new skill there.

Wasn’t this country founded on Christianity?

Frankly, the correlation between our country with our church was never a consideration within our family. As changes were made in my life; e.g., removal of saying The Lord's Prayer in school along with the Pledge to the Flag, it made me think about this. It didn't take long for me to realize that there were many in America who were not Christian. In fact, there were atheists or others who didn't participate in any church. A number of those individuals began looking at and seeking a separation of church and state. I considered and ultimately decided that this was appropriate. After all, a relationship with Jesus was a personal interaction that, on the surface, surely, had nothing to do with living in America or any place else. 

Don’t I need religion to be a good person?

I had met many people after I started to work that were good people. Or people of another religion... Usually we worked together without any awareness of whether we were faithful to a certain religion. I remember my own analysis of being saved and going to Heaven... I was young enough, but smart enough to think logically that I'd prefer to have Jesus with me without waiting until after I died. My Mother had taught us a work ethic through her own almost 24/7 work schedule... All of her children followed this model of dedication to our jobs.

Doesn’t the Bible tell me how to live my life?

Having sat through at least 50 years of sermons based upon the Bible, it would seem that an answer would be, "Of Course..." But advancing in age often resulted in my reading parts of the Bible which, to me, were simply illogical for living right now. One I quickly picked up on was that women were not allowed to speak in church. Yet, women in today's world were teaching, sometimes becoming pastors, and participating in the management of the church--I was often a member of the Board of a church... Logically, I then realized that this book contained history which was no longer applicable to daily life during my lifetime.

If I don’t have religion, what will happen when I die?

Bottom Line for Me? I knew I already had Jesus living in my heart... I knew Him as being Alive and with me. So, do I think about after death? Rarely, if Ever. I would sing the songs, contemplate Heaven from those words... and, think, "That would be nice..." But what actually happens was not a concern knowing Jesus would be There, no matter what...

The second part of this book then asks you to think about what you should do after exploring these initial questions... I'm going to share the book's response:

So, what should I do? Lift your head. Look at the world around you. Take responsibility for your own life. Let go of your fear. Use your brain to think for yourself instead of believing what others tell you. You decide. What rules are you going to follow to make the most of your only life? One of the first things you can do is look up the rationale for all the rules and traditions of your religion. The Catholic Church kept the Mass in Latin for hundreds of years, partly by tradition, but also because that kept the commoners ignorant and dependent on the clergy. Reading and interpreting the Bible was likewise reserved for the church leaders for many years, to keep the rest of us in the dark. 

But now we have the Internet, and it is a source of instant history lessons, if you’re willing to make the effort. Many of the concepts and traditions of religions, especially the one true god religions, are so painfully convoluted that they pass into the realm of ridiculous. 

For instance: Original Sin: Supposedly, we are all born tainted by the urge to sin, inherited by all humanity after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Does it make any kind of sense that every innocent child is born with a propensity to sin? 

Christmas Day: The date of December 25th as Christ’s birthday was “borrowed” by the church about four centuries after his life because the birthday of Mithras, the Roman sun god, was celebrated on that date. The Romans celebrated winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, on December 25th. Although winter solstice now occurs on December 21 or 22, back then the 25th was the important date for sun worshippers. Hundreds of years before Christ, quite a few gods were believed to have been born on December 25th, among them Hercules, Dionysus, Hermes and Adonis. The church thought pagans would be more willing to accept a god born on the same day. 

The Holy Ghost: The so-called “pagans” were into trinities, so the Christians needed a trinity of their own in order to appeal to them. The Holy Ghost was hastily invented to fill out the father-son duo. Occupying the third spot in the Christian trinity, the Holy Ghost is not a person-type god, or even a god that anyone can explain with a straight face. 

Resurrection: If someone came back from the dead today, nobody would believe it. The resurrection of Christ supposedly happened over two thousand years ago, with no witnesses and no video, so we should be more skeptical, not less. Mithras rode a chariot into heaven after his time on earth, so perhaps this was another event “borrowed” by the church to make the story of Jesus more palatable to pagans. The notion that Christ died for our sins comes from the Gospel of John, which says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” If that is true, doesn’t Christ’s resurrection make this commitment somewhat insincere? Jesus was dead for a couple of days, but then he was alive and well again, so apparently death was only a brief inconvenience for him and not much of a sacrifice. 

Heaven: Maybe you’ve wondered about the practical logistics of heaven. For instance, where is it? And we’re supposed to get our bodies restored to us at some point, but what happens then? What age will we be? Will any infirmities we suffered be cured? Will we live in houses, wear clothes, eat, play and sleep, or will we simply exist and be happy forever? What would be the point of that? 

Hell: How are people going to burn in hell for all eternity? Wouldn’t they simply burn to a crisp in a matter of minutes? Why punish someone with agonizing pain forever for transgressions they made during their very short lives? What happened to forgiveness? Priesthood for Men Only: The Catholic Church, and many of the other religions, only allow men to be ordained as priests and ministers. The official reason for this policy is that Jesus selected only men as his apostles, but in practice it is used to keep women from any real power in the church. There are at least as many qualified women as men for the priesthood, but religions in general and the Catholic Church in particular have always excluded women from positions of decision-making and power. 

Intelligent Design: Six thousand years ago, according to people who believe in a strict interpretation of the Bible, God roused Himself after eons of apparently doing nothing and created the entire universe in the next six days, including such creatures as humans, the very odd red-lipped batfish and parasitoid wasps that lay their eggs in other insects. He was reported to have rested on the seventh day, without addressing problems such as cancer and birth defects. Even if you accept that explanation of the creation of the universe, how do you fit hundreds of millions of years’ worth of fossilized animals and plants into six thousand years? Did the dinosaurs we see in museums never exist? 

Moses and the Ten Commandments: Moses supposedly climbed a mountain where God reached down from a convenient cloud and gave him a couple of stone tablets engraved with ten commandments. People all over the world still claim to live by them, which is admirable. But have you read them closely? The first four are devoted to how you should worship God instead of how you should conduct your life. The remaining six are common sense: honor your parents, no murdering, no adultery, no stealing, no lying about your neighbor and no coveting other people’s stuff. Nine out of ten tell you what you shouldn’t do rather than what you should. Don’t do this and don’t do that.

Personally, I think the author went overboard in sarcasm. However, after that statement, there certainly have always been questions about these issues... One of the issues that has bothered me, for instance, is the fact that there are soooo many different types of "Christianity," apparently because people got into arguments about doctrine, or whatever, and it got so bad that the church split and became two different bodies of people "choosing" to believe one thing versus another... More and more I've been led to believe that only the Words of Jesus are guiding us in this period. Truth and Love are the basis of His Words... Remember from History the very first split?

Soooo, have you figured out what The Church of the Heavenly Kiss stands for? Well, there are 10...yes, just 10 commitments that the author suggests is the basis for The Church... Interestingly enough, I support every single one of them... and have even talked about them in various postings about exactly what I believe or have shared when talking about what is happening in America. 

As the book closes, the author talks about what makes us different than anything in the world. He notes that for religion, it is our soul... For science, it is our ability to think in the abstract... and then he suggests that it is our ability to change the world... For me, I know that historically, all nations have recognized that there must be something bigger than our world, something or someone that they feel a need to...at least, thank... I believe in God and I believe in learning as much as possible about our lives and how they interact with Him, with others, and for the benefit of the world. This short, but thought-provoking books is one that I found refreshingly open and honest in presentation, with no attempts to persuade...

So, dear readers, I invite you to consider this book, purely for the Words you will find herein.  There is no need for references from other books, no need for trying to make it back to church, even though you are questioning exactly what is going on in America and across the world. In fact, I think you could answer "yes" if you used the coined expression, WWJD? as you read... I believe He would say Yes... Sounds Pretty Good... as I Did... In the end, I agree with the author that it is our responsibility to continue to change the world...to improve it, to learn and expand more and more the knowledge that is available... And, we must never go backward. There is a connection to the World, Our World. And He has given it to us to work on His behalf... No rules, no commandments, no sin... Only a sincere attempt to act to move our World forward in all ways possible... It's not a religious book, but the ramifications just may be exactly what you've been wondering about... Do check it out!


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ebook Now Out! Exclusive From Book Readers Heaven, Review Of The New Jack Ludefance Series Book, UNCANNY ALLIANCE by Behcet Kaya

 “The uncanny alliance of the sacred and the profane, the sublime and the ridiculous,

the comic and the tragic,  is a hallmark of the great
 genius of our age.” 

Gary Saul Morson

This morning as I once again pondered these profound words which sets the stage for Behcet (Ben) Kaya's newest Jack Ludefance Novel, hopefully to be published in late March, suddenly I wanted to know more about the man who spoke these words... It led me to a book, which is now on my Kindle. I'll be reading it next: MINDS WIDE SHUT. I Call That a God Incident... God speaking through His followers to share of His Love and Concern for ALL of His Children... More on that later...

Words Failed Me, at first, to describe the new novel by Behcet (Ben) Kaya. Then it came to me. In my mind, It Was Perfect. Perfection when a writer creates not only a novel of importance in today's world, but, perfect because the writer took the time to ensure that every single issue within the book was covered , checked and rechecked so that the reader would be completely satisfied when finishing this fantastic novel! 

Even reading a manuscript online and sitting for 8 hours straight could not stop me from wanting to continue to read and finish the book. Only logic told me to eat and rest for the night... I was at my desktop the next morning at 6, soon reading faster and faster, pages flying past as I was lost in the story that Ben had created. Even now as I write, I thrill at the wonder of his words, his characters, his manner of characters interacting with each other... Was that It? Was I reading a book by an author who was so attuned, so empathic, that even his characters in their daily lives knew how and what to say to each other? Routinely? Because, of course, such a writer could indeed write Perfection... I was honored to help in that process, reading and catching those final few errors that only an avid reader of words can find...

And, for having read Ben's first novel and seeing his latest which surely places him into the group of major authors of our great literary nation... Please, take the time to, in the right-hand column of my blog, type in the author's name... You will get a list of his books. In fact, I recommend that you begin with the first in series for Jack Ludefance and binge on the series until the end of March when this books comes out! Let me tell you about it! I'm so excited to do so! And already thinking movies and who should play Ludefance!

Kingsley University, small, elite, and privately owned, caters to the wealthiest of families who are only too happy to send their offspring to such a prestigious institution. Carrying accreditation from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the entrance guidelines are strict. It’s virtually impossible to be admitted without a minimum 4.0 grade average and a recommendation letter from an alum.
The campus is located on the outskirts of the small town of Golden Shores located on the coast of southeastern Alabama not far from the Florida state line. Situated on 195 immaculately manicured acres, it has new and sophisticated buildings, including dorms, classrooms, dining halls, and faculty housing, all unknown to the general public and virtually free from media attention. The governing body has made a conscious effort to keep the university out of the mainstream and has ensured that it’s not easily found in any Internet search engines.
The university offers programs for bachelor, master, and PhD degrees in a variety of topics demanded by the wealthy parents, including business leadership, investment, music, the arts, and social issues such as human ecology and environmental science. The professors hired to teach are the best of the best, with heavy emphasis on their expertise in topics of governing, economy, ecology, and investments. 
Rebecca Forester is headed to her 9 AM appointment with her professor, Pachua Zambear. She fusses with her hair, then knocks on his office door. She is surprised when there’s no answer. She knocks again, but there still is no answer. As she moves to peer in through the side window, she accidentally pushes on the door. It swings open. As Rebecca steps into the office, she utters a piercing scream which shatters the quiet.
She stares across the office to the large couch and the body of her professor. He is lying on his side facing her, his pants pulled down to his ankles, his penis fully erect. His arms are behind his back. She can see that his dead eyes are open through the clear plastic bag covering his head.
Professor Zambear was a tall slender man, with a bald head and large hands. The saying goes that a man with large hands possesses a large penis and the professor lived up to that saying. He was a handsome man, always wearing some piece of unusual jewelry such as leather strands with feathers, or Amazon artifacts, around his neck.
The long sofa in his office was comfortable enough to sleep on and was where he had sex with his willing students. On the walls were photographs of Death Valley, California, along with unusual pictures from the Amazon River. One photograph pictured an Amazon village filled with naked villagers, the professor standing among them. There was another photograph of village huts and a bonfire with a whole pig being roasted, naked women attending the fire.
As Rebecca’s screams continue, office doors begin opening and faculty members rush to see what’s going on. Campus police are called, who in turn call to advise the president of the university. Campus Police Officer Zoey Harrington is first on scene, keeping everyone away from contaminating the evidence. Local police arrive twenty minutes later and begin their investigation.
Within several days, Stella Kingsley Zambear, the wife of Professor Zambear, is arrested and arraigned on first degree murder charges.

Kaya's choice to use a fictitious small but well-located university in a wealthy part of Alabama begins the novel with the death of a popular campus professor. His wife, Stella Kingsley, who is provost is immediately charged with his murder. Stella, who had been involved with Professor Zambear's hiring knew of her husband's reputation at that point, not only hiring him, but marrying him, stating that she had fallen in love with him at first sight. Then, claiming she knew what she would be getting into, could not do anything as her new husband continued in his pursuit of every willing female on campus, enjoying the notoriety, and humiliation of his wife, as well as any female who he enjoyed sexually and then left to move on to the next one... The year is 2019 when apparently sexual exploration in higher education is normal and there is no penalty whatsoever for a professor/student union!

Stella's father as well as the university president had advised Stella NOT to seek a divorce--for the good of the institution. Readers may think that she had the right for revenge. But, Stella did not kill her husband. She acknowledged that she and her husband had sex that evening at their home. But, around 11 PM he left her to go back to his office to work... He was killed around 2 AM that morning. Stella's DNA was still on his penis; no other suspects were considered, while all external news of the salacious murder was squashed by her father, a leader in both the university and the community surrounding the university. Indeed, at the time of the murder, there was not one security camera on campus. The entire campus was enclosed with wired fence hidden by shrubbery on both sides of the fence... There were 6 campus guards on duty at all times.

James Kingsley, himself, made the contact to Jack Ludefance, after conducting a thorough search for a private investigator to begin to investigate what had really happened, in order to free his daughter from suspicion. In the meantime, she was jailed, with no bond, due to the gravity of the situation.

In thinking about Ludefance, I'm torn
between Crocodile Dundee and Spenser... Spenser, of course, with Robert Ulrich would win; however, since Ludefance has a scar running down his face from fighting with an alligator, well, you can see Ludefance is not quite the gentleman PI individual that we think about when we're actually reading the book... Let's just say that Ludefance is worthy of being seen in future movies featuring the best known PI living at this time--at least in novels... LOL

Ludefance also has a little bit of OCD, which resulted in what I've considered as his best and perfect novel... Yet! He's a planner and quickly pulls in his right-hand partner and tech expert. You'll love him as much as I do... He's the perfect counterpart to his boss...
After I arrived back at the hotel, I stopped in the bar to have a Sam Adams. Maybe it was time to call my hacker Rudy out in California and get him here to do what he does best. Moving to an empty table away from other customers, I dialed Rudy’s number.
As soon as the first ring finished, I heard his voice, “Hello, Boss! Do we have a case?”
I had to laugh. Rudy was, to say the least, a strange young man for many reasons, but he’d become invaluable to me in helping solve my last three cases.
“Your presumption is correct, Rudy. Yes, we have a case. It’s just your kind of job and I need you here ASAP.”
“Yessss!!!” came his quick and happy reply. He continued, “Boss you know how much I like working with you, and my Buzzard friends are really pleased with your generous pay. Do you think we can include them in this investigation?”
“What’s the matter, Rudy? You starting to slow down in hacking computers?”
“No! Never, Boss. And, you know I’m damn good at it!”
“Then why do you need your Buzzard friends?”
“Because as good as I am, they are much, much better. Especially with things I don’t like to get involved in. You know what I mean.”
“I do, Rudy. I do. So, are you behaving yourself out there?”
“Yeah, Boss. No problems. Oh, do you mean like have I been in jail again?”


Ludefance quickly gets Rudy searching for the background of the man who was murdered... At the same time, he buys a drone to survey the campus, realizing that if the security was so tight that even the professor had called in to be allowed into his campus building, then perhaps there could be another way to get on campus. They quickly found a location where a part of the fence had been cut...

But during that survey, Rudy had cried out that he thought what he was now seeing was...a...body! Yes, a young woman was found, her foot attached to a concrete block to pull her down... Did the killer even know that the lake normally became dry during summer months? Ludefance quickly checked out everything that was found with her before the police arrived... Khole Rivers had been murdered, the name of the already dead professor was in her belongings, and they found the first possible important clue. A bitcoin...

It was through this woman that they found a possible twist to why the murder of Professor Zambear had occurred... Ludefance had learned that Zambear had been concerned enough about what was happening in and about the Amazon River that he had created a foundation through which funds could be diverted to his foundation through an investment program...

And that's when a murder mystery quickly turned into an international thriller and when, later, even the mention of the Russian Mafia possibly being involved made Ludefance very nervous. He knew just how dangerous it could get, and, when he had to gun down an intruder coming into his hotel room, that's when the action heats up and I was clicking page after page as more and more information was being found through Rudy and his friends' hacking skills!

Ludefance was ahead of the local police and campus officers at every point, first, by naming the professor's killer, and, second, naming the person who had killed the woman in the lake, warning the police that the latter could easily flee given her background. Which she then did!

And around that time, the author is announcing that his next novel will hopefully come out in late 2024, titled,  Deception--In 2020, as the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic, Jack confronts the challenge of his career, navigating through a case involving political, medical, and client deception.

Personally, I'm already excited, waiting to read the NEXT book, even though you all won't be able to read this one until next month... I'm hooked on this series... much like I was on the Talanov Series by James Turner.  Even though that one had been my personal favorite, I think Ludefance has surpassed it for me. The action and tension are similar, but it is the author's writing that has swayed me... I had never used the word Perfection for any other book I've read, to date! And we know that I've reviewed at least over 3000 books here at Book Readers Heaven, mostly fiction novels... 

Start reading and catch up on the series, at least by reading all my previous reviews here! Better yet, get the books and meet a dynamite team just like Spenser had... Only difference is Hawk was the sometime muscle, while Rudy is a computer expert. In this book, there is even a new love interest who just might be staying in the series... We'll see!

Yes, I loved this book, which takes this writer to the level of the major fiction authors of this generation. It's timely, a fascinating dip into the use of cryptocurrency, and most of all character-driven. It's definitely a 2024 personal favorite for me! I'll be announcing when it is out! Watch for it!


Friday, February 16, 2024

Murder Aboard The Queen Elizabeth II - Presented by Stephen Murray


Denise continued to bounce around the dance floor engaging her audience with her well known and crowd pleasing hits, and a few love ballads. She dazzled her audience for almost an hour before slowly moving toward the Sinclair table. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” she purred. “May I introduce you to a man to whom I owe my career — and so much more,” she added teasingly and suggestively, “Mr. Brian Sinclair.” The spotlight fell on Brian, who stood and bowed slightly as the audience applauded loudly. 
He was slightly embarrassed. Denise kissed him softly on the cheek. Sylvia had had enough. She started to rise. Denise continued, “And please welcome his charming and delightful wife, Mrs. Sylvia Sinclair.” The spotlight fell on Sylvia. Startled, she smiled feebly, nodded and sat down again. What is she up to, the conniving witch? Sylvia thought. Denise was in her glory. “The Sinclairs are celebrating their silver wedding anniversary. Isn’t that fabulous?” The audience clapped loudly. “And now, I’d like to complete my show tonight with one of my all time favorite songs, made famous by Miss Doris Day.” As she stood in front of Brian, looking at him, she started to sing “I’ll Never Stop Loving You.”
 My God, it’s as if she’s seducing him, Laura thought. Poor Sylvia, Marina empathized as she looked at her friend’s face. Sylvia remained stoic. An ominous feeling pervaded the table, as the not so subtle nuance was not lost on most of the people sitting there. The song finished. “Thank you. I love you and goodnight.” Denise blew kisses to the audience and made her way backstage, the curtains drawing behind her. There were shouts of “Bravo,” “More,” and “Encore” from the audience, but Denise continued to her dressing room. She kicked her shoes off, lit up a cigarette, poured herself some champagne and looked at herself in the mirror again. You did it gal! she said to herself. There was a sudden knock at the door. Well I wonder who that is, she thought. She walked to the door and opened it. 
“Well, well, well. This is a surprise. I certainly never expected to see you here.” She eyed her visitor up and down. “Would you like to join me in a glass of champagne?” Denise opened her door wide, and gestured for her guest to enter.

When the rich and famous are scrutinized, you will often find many characters who just don't match the lives of the average citizen... A murder mystery might just turn into a soap opera! One of the things I realized early was that the author chose a tell-not-show type of storytelling. That method quickly smacks me into an alertness... An inexperienced writer, I wondered? I found it slow and prodding. And, I knew the killer while it was happening...

Still, I continued on reading from the beginning. As characters began to be introduced, we find Sylvia who may be considered one of the main characters. It is she who, for an anniversary coming up, chose to host an onboard party on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship. I've been on several cruises, so when we actually get onboard, I was interested... But first, we meet the individuals who will be invited. We meet her husband, of course and two children plus a number of business associates and friends.

During that dialogue about who was to be invited, we begin to learn about Sylvia's husband... Sylvia already had known that her husband was a philanderer, as the rich elite say... and, yes, she had decided to stay with him. The way Sylvia was portrayed though, I felt that she did indeed love her husband and was not just staying with him for his money...

But did she have to have it thrown in her face? For before, they even got on board, Brian had confirmed a tryst with the wife of one of couples who would be accompanying them! And, Sylvia had heard them!

But worse, when they were on board, the woman with whom Brian had been engaged before her, had come on board to "surprise" them! Indeed Brian owns Sinclair Records and Denise had been one of his first singers nearly 25 years ago, so why had she chosen to disrupt their 25th Silver Anniversary? Believe me, it will get worse before Brian is murdered...

Fortunately for the Captain of the Ship...and readers... there was a Private Investigator on board. I had to decide just who he was like from our past PI television shows... So, you can picture Cannon, moving from interview to interview as each of those of the Sinclair Party were questioned... 

And so we delve into the lives of all those who surrounded Brian Sinclair... and guess what the PI found? Every single one who was traveling as guests, including his wife and family had a motive... I didn't know whether to switch to Columbo, even though he's a cop but the PI,  because I could see Columbo turning around suddenly, asking still a more personal question... Richard Manning, whose name you'll hear repeated over and over and over as each individual meets the intrepid individual who invaded their privacy with everything he had learned, confronting each without regard to personal comfort or defiance... and, frankly, seemingly turns out to be the main character in all of this mess...

Of course, I had determined the whodunit right at the beginning, but not the why...which was then discovered and verified by the killer. And, one key problem with the book is that a major crime had been brought out during all those interviews. This was totally dropped even though the involved characters were continuing to wondered... So was I. 

Still, I had kept reading and while not totally involved as I normally am with a mystery, there was enough of  that "reality show" mix where you think you could care less about each character, but they are sometimes so funny, dense, or totally outlandish that you just need to know... So, after all that, I realized that there is no way I ever want to be among the rich and famous and their lifestyles... But sometimes they are funny to watch, even when you are astounded with what these people might get into...

For a mystery, I'd have to rank it a 2... For pure stupid entertainment for character development... it's probably a 5, but only if you can enjoy them one time and never hear about those people again in your life...LOL But not doing a proper book closeout about a potential murder moved me back for a total of 3 on a scale of 1-5... You'll have to decide on this one...


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Manny's Most Recent Book is Finished! Congratulations, Bro! But Right Now He's Sharing Here...

I'm out here by the water. It's purrrdy cold. Relaxing. Got the book finished. Now it's time to live a little...


Those who want to define me, want to confine me. 
But I know where I come from and who I am. 
Hyphenations rule in their minds, not mine. 
Definitions are their way 
to lord over and control, 
so they think. 
Even my mind. My spirit. My soul. My heart. 
Their systems, religion, distorted history. 
Their indoctrinations, and precepts and laws. 
And education and entertainment. 
Their everything. Everything belongs to them. 
And they leave me naked to society and the world, Idenified by their definitions of who I am, 
and how I'm to be regarded as, 
nothing more than a shell of who I really am, 
of no consequence, of no value. 
Hyphenated with their blessings, 
to act the role they have created for me, to be. 
My response to all they have destroyed and continue to, is, 
Toma ! Itepo emouttiak bwe'ituk te Yoeme / Yaqui. 
I am proud to be Yaqui! 
But I owe no explanations. I don't need to justify. I don' need to ask for permission. 
I'm just responding to what's been forced upon me. For centuries. 
And like my ancestors before me, I live with their inheritance, the fire, of resistance. 
A ceremony. A song. A prayer. Cannot be extinguished. Cannot be denied. 
Paas into waata. 
Peace and love. 
Manny M.

I was just wondering how things would be all around, for everyone, if more time was devoted to self-examination, a moral inventory so to speak. To find where the humanity within is, measured against decency, respect, patience and love. What's inherent in human beings, but has eroded over generations. I fall short on a lot of things, but I try to change the unproductive, unhealthy, unspiritual things within me. Day by day. Growth is like a seed I planted and watered. Change is never easy, it doesn't happen overnight. For me it's been painful at times. I was afraid of the unknown. I took the challenge and it was worth it. Because now I have more respect for myself and life. And am more careful about how I walk in this world. A common man. Just my thoughts.