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Paul Johnson grew up on the Mesabi Iron Range in northeast Minnesota. He went to college in Bemidji, Minnesota, and then on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school. He wanted to teach writing and literature to college students. The position at Conception Seminary College was his first and only job after grad school. Never totally comfortable being a narrowly focused researcher, Paul found the job at Conception and its emphasis on teaching to be a perfect fit for him. Moreover, as described in his book, he fell in love with the Benedictine character of the Abbey and seminary college almost immediately. Over the two decades he has worked there, the monks and students have formed his life and faith in significant ways. As for his future writing plans, he's been thinking lately about the idea of God as a kind of poet and artist. An amateur artist himself who works in a variety of media, Paul is fascinated by the creative process and its relationship to spirituality, especially in the modern age.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Murder and Redemption' for the author's wonderful gift of description and 'turn of phrase.' The story is more of the author's rocky path to a rediscovery of his faith, and of himself, than about the murders at the abbey. The story of the monks of Conception Abby set the framework for this rediscovery.
The chapters meander here and there in the overall story but I found that enjoyable as opposed to disconcerting. A true journey of discovery is rarely linear.
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