on August 31, 2011
What do you get when you combine a young pastoral intern named Elmo with a mega church, and a mystery regarding a black toe? A rollicking good read. And yet, this debut novel surprised me with its tenderness and depth.
As important as beginnings are to this reader, endings matter as much. I'm often disappointed as authors do all they can to quickly tie everything up too quickly. McMillian Moody closed this novel out with ease often missed in other books.
I laughed out loud, tried to figure out the mystery and failed, smiled at the romance, and I'm told by my husband, nodded when I read something I agreed with. The author drew me in, kept me reading, and ended with the kind of quiet grace that left me hoping for more of Elmo. I'm hoping in this case the end is not good-bye, but instead a, "see you later" kind of thing.
on November 30, 2011
This novel was so much fun to read -- I won't repeat what has already been written about the details of the story. It was written so true to life that I learned much about what it would take to run a large church. With all the foibles of a large staff, it was obvious that their hearts were in the right place even through their mistakes. This is not an "evangelism" story at all, for those of you that don't like reading "Christian" materials. Any person of any denomination, or none at all would enjoy this I am quite sure.
The story had me sitting right in the pew. The writing of it was great!
this is a simple and straighforward, yet thoughtful book. No giant laugh out loud moments, but none that make your skin crawl or your eyes water. Simply one young man's journey to a position of responsibility within a church, and the machinations of the management of the church that show us all business is not the only place where political maneuvering is practiced.
Since I have cousins and uncles who are all ordained, and part of alternately smaller and larger parish seats, much of the 'jockeying' for position, and the shock with which Elmo comes to realize it's ingrained nature was new to me. What was refreshing and enjoyable about this story was the simple fact that he was drawn to do the best he could, never the expedient, which seemed to reinforce the decision to serve as a minister.
on November 15, 2011
Having served on staff at FBC Naples with Ken & his wife Diane, my husband Doug & I know that every day with a Moody is a wonderful & new adventure.
Many of the hilarious antics in this book are "based on true stories" & those stories have circled the globe in Doug's sermon illustrations for the past 20+ years.
Thank you Ken for sharing our introduction to & ordination in the SBC, for validating that burmuda shorts, polo shirts, & flip-flops are definitely Casual Friday's office attire, & that true friendships never end, no matter the years & miles in between us.
God bless you Ken & Diane! May the words in your books always be a reminder how God loves laughter & a cheerful heart.
Love you both!
on October 23, 2013
I saw a lot of positive reviews for this book as well as the whole series. Seeing that the first book was free and the others were priced pretty reasonably I decided to go for it. I have enjoyed some pretty good christian fiction in the past so I was hoping for an enjoyable read with a positive message. Ordained Irreverence gave me neither.
It's clear that the author is a good writer when it comes to details but it seems like he didn't really have a reason for writing these books. I kept waiting for the plot to form and it never really did. I finished the book and was surprised it was over because I still wasn't sure what the point was. The chapters are filled with mildly amusing stories that don't really connect. It seemed at times like the author was trying to write a comedy and at other times he wanted to build a mystery.
I think the one thing that really killed this series for me is that the author doesn't know how to build suspense. Over and over, just when I think the book is finally getting good, the author wraps everything up and you're left with more of the disconnected short stories that leave you wondering why you are still reading this book.
My last complaint is that this really isn't much of a christian book besides the setting being in a church. While it is clear that the author has spent a considerable amount of time in a church setting, the book does little to nothing for your faith. The times that the bible is used can be counted on one hand. The mention of God acting are few and far between. It seems like most of the characters are lacking in faith and are simply going through the motions. If you are looking for a book to challenge you in your faith or encourage you in your walk with God I would not recommend this series for you.
on July 26, 2014
This is a first novel in a planned series, and so much of what it is about is establishing a large cast of characters. It is highly didactic, proposing to give its audience a picture of what life in a large well-heeled evangelical church is about. The "mystery" it purports to be about takes up approximately 10 percent of the narrative, with jokey dialogue and a variety of safe, non- mysterious, educational events including hospital visitations, retreats, and golf games. The series could have potential if the largely reverent, judgmental, and sexist main character ever has an experience of being embarrassed by his assumption that he as a young inexperienced member of the clergy does not exist as an evangelical role model for his elders, but actually must experience the adversity, surprise, wonder, and humiliation that is inevitable in ministry. And if real mystery, not silly games, can permeate the chatty goings-on at First Church.
on July 1, 2012
Rollicking? Hilarious? I got to chapter 7 and was still waiting for something to happen. At no time did I laugh out loud, as so many other reviewers claim to have done. Either my comedy meter is set way too high, or theirs is too low. Anyway, probably a good read for someone who has worked in the church.
on January 17, 2016
I would like to state up front that I used to be a christian for the first 50 years of my life, but then came to the realization that for me, at least, God doesn't exist. Lately, however, I have found myself reading books about religion, religious history, biographies of saints and important religious leaders (no, I was not a Catholic), and other things in the field because I was interested in them in an historical context.
When I first started reading this book I was a bit outraged by some of the incredible opulence of the church where Elmo was doing his internship. Pastors going to retreats at elite, ritzy spas, playing golf at country club-type places, big, fancy offices with expensive leather furniture, and big, fancy church vans that were being traded in for new ones every two years. I told myself that's one of the reasons I felt organized religion was simply a crock; a means for people in the church heirarchy to feed their egos and their wallets.
Yet, I kept reading because this Elmo guy seemed like a fairly likeable fellow and I liked the writing style of the author. As others have mentioned, there were no murders, assasinations, arsonists, or other assorted criminals in this book. There was really no plot, when you get right down to it. There was no angst. No filth. No sex except a few innocent kisses. Instead, this was simply the story of this last year seminary student, named Elmo, who was doing a six month internship at an extremely rich church. And while his internship days were not a long string of incredible, unbelievable crises, there were still enough harrowing occurrences to make it believable. This internship was covered was in such a wonderfully written way that I couldn't help feeling that Elmo was an old friend by the time I finished the last page.
The only thing I didn't care for was one part that seemed to cheapen this lovely story. It was when Elmo walked into his seminary advisor's office for his last visit before graduation, and he smells a terrible odor. He then goes on to describe his professor's flatulence. While I felt this seemed so out of character for the rest of the book, there were a few funny phrases used to describe it. But funny aside, I simply felt that this inclusion was an attempt to perhaps pander to a wider audience, and remove the "halo," if you will, from the book. It just wasn't necessary. Why oh why do people always think bodily discharges and emanations are the stuff of comedy? Toilet humor.... I guess if you're in high school it might be amusing.
By the time I finished the book I was able to shrug off the things about this exclusive church which had my dander up, and instead concentrate on this wonderful soul named Elmo. Perhaps if I'd run across a few pastors like him I may have not turned my back on chrisianity. If I'd been able to see the human, caring side of those ministering to the flock, instead of the self-centered, money-oriented church leaders who talked about each other and their congregations behind their backs in nasty ways, I may feel differently today. I think Elmo is going to make a very good pastor. Not only does he project his sincere concern for his fellow man, but he also has a self-deprecating manner which is humorous and not pitiful.
I read constantly. Everything from history to biographies to fiction. This book was a refreshing change of pace. If you are able to pick up on the nuances of Elmo's comments in certain situations, you will do as I did, and truly have a few chuckles escape as you're reading. You'll finish the book with a good feeling, and that's a good thing for a book to do. Heartily recommended!