Yesterday I mentioned encouragement I often receive regarding my first novel--The Runaway Pastor. I also, however, receive other helpful feedback. Here is what I mean.
Some feel they are left out on a limb in the midst of the storyline. A few who have read the book say they feel betrayed by Trent, the lead character. They are bothered that he passionately seeks to make a failed marriage right. But he seems to make no such effort toward his pursuit of pastoral ministry.
I understand he needs to deal with his calling. This should be addressed in the sequel. But you need to know, that there are many different opinions about how he should or would move forward.
Speaking for the Silent
If you read the reviews on amazon, you will notice that many pastors feel understood. I hear this over and over. I imagine that there are many who feel, as one reviewer indicated, exposed. And some probably feel betrayed.
There are lay people and clergy alike who indicate a strong disrespect for Trent, his running, and what follows. It is beneath the dignity of the calling. Others, via subtle remarks, let me know their disrespect is for me, for airing the issues in such a raw way.
Resolve, and the Bigger Issue
The sequel will need to resolve some of these issues regarding Trent and his marriage, and Trent and his calling. Resolving conflict, however, will not please all readers.
I think the bigger issue is the state of the clergy. And I truly wish more people were interested in the numbers who are leaving ministry and losing marriages.
Following my sabbatical last fall, I have been renewed in passion for my calling. But most have no sabbatical hopes. And many pastors (or their wives) are simply soldiering-on--until the day they can retire, or step away--to avoid the tragedy of running.
How do you want to see Trent choose regarding these issues? What is realistic? What is right? And what is it you would want if you were any of the major characters, or the congregation at Baylor's Bend? What would The Runaway Pastor do?