History LessonThe continuous struggle for religious freedom
In the Shadow of the Sun King
By Golden Keyes Parsons
366 pages, $14.99
Lack of tolerance is as old as humanity--with people bent on proving
that their understanding is the true one and the other side is wrong.
And when God gets mixed into the equation, religion can be used as a
wedge, a hammer, even a sword.
In providing historical perspective for this novel, Golden Keyes
Parsons writes, "The holy halls of church history are splattered with
the blood of those from all denominations of the Christian faith who
endeavored to worship in freedom the God who came in the flesh to set
us free. Something about the fallen nature of man loathes when another
desires to praise God differently from one's personal concept of
At no time in history, the author claims, was this more pronounced than in the seventeenth-century France of King Louis XIV. In the Shadow of the Sun King
is set in this era, just a few years after the Reformation. John
Calvin, a Frenchman who was forced to flee to Geneva, had left a
doctrinal legacy in France among the Protestants (known as Huguenots).
Now, despite an earlier edict giving them legal recognition, the French
king had ordered that all Huguenots must convert to the Catholic faith
or face imprisonment or death. The king's dragoons were travelling the
countryside, pillaging villages and homes, flushing out and punishing
those who refused to convert, and abducting children to be educated in
As the novel begins, François Clavell has spotted the dragoons
descending on his family's estate, where his wife, Madeleine, waits
with their two sons and daughter. The young couple send their sons into
hiding, just before the dragoons take hostage the manor and its
occupants. The story turns when Madeleine travels to Versailles to
plead for mercy from the king, a childhood friend. The result of her
gamble is the rest of the story.
In a well-crafted first novel, Parsons, a member of the Class of 1963,
weaves story lines together in an absorbing tale based on historical
fact and her own family genealogy. The reader comes to care about the
characters, not just because they stand on the "right" side of some
argument, but because of the depth of their sacrifice and the integrity
of their faith.
Near the end of the novel, as François is sifting through the debris of
his once-noble estate, one of the characters says: "Look at the
destruction. There is no good reason for this kind of ruin among
civilized men. We all serve the same God, do we not?"
the response is, "We do. But this is the result of religion,
state-ordered religion--not genuine faith in God." It would be a kinder
world if humans could learn the difference.
Setting Up Stones: A Parent's Guide to Making Your Home a Place of Worship
By Martha and Greg Singleton
New Hope Publishers
Their two kids are grown now, but Martha McMullan Singleton '71 and her
husband, Greg, remember what it was like when they were small--trying
to balance career and family needs. It was especially important to the
Singletons to have family times dedicated to worship, but culture
seemed to fight every attempt they made at instituting the old reliable
So, these authors asked, "What if there was a better way? What if, with
some minor attitude adjustments and a willingness to change our
approach, we could not only achieve significant times with God with our
families, but we could actually transform our homes into places where
worship happens freely and continually?"
In this book, the Singletons share their experiences and those of other
families where worship in the home has been able to happen, despite
busyness and distractions. They also draw on insights from the
conferences and seminars on family life they have led together. Part of
the wisdom they share is that parents' efforts don't have to be
perfect, but they do need to be purposeful and consistent. Each of the
thirteen chapters expresses principles to guide family worship, along
with ideas and activities to give parents practical direction.
Drawing from her career in journalism and his in marketing, as well as their twenty-nine years of firsthand experience, the
Singletons have made what the children's coordinator from the Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association describes as "a strategic spiritual
contribution to today's families."
Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness
By Matthew S. Stanford
Colorado Springs, Colorado
With three Baylor degrees--a BS in 1988, an MA in 1990, and a PhD in
neuroscience in 1992--Matthew Stanford has learned a lot. In this book,
he seeks to educate Christians about mental illness from both biblical
and scientific perspectives, as he discusses the appropriate role of
psychology and psychiatry in the life of the Christian believer. He
addresses such mental illnesses as schizophrenia and mental disorders
like anxiety, eating, substance abuse, and
attention-deficit/hyperactivity. With each, he asks, "What does science
say and what does the Bible say about this illness?"
In 2003, Stanford returned to Baylor as a professor in the psychology
and neuroscience department, where he also directs the PhD program in
psychology. A nationally recognized researcher and speaker in the area
of aggressive and impulsive behavior, Stanford has also published more
than fifty peer-reviewed articles in leading medical and scientific
Also of Note
Baylor associate professor of history Thomas S. Kidd has written American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims From the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism, published by Princeton University Press. [press.princeton.edu]
Xulon Press has published The Eleven Commandments by Preston Taylor '58. [prestontaylorbooks.net]
Rev. Allen Liles '59 has written The Aries Jesus, published by Mill City Press under the pseudonym Allen C. Carroll. [millcitypress.net]
David T. Morgan '59 is the author of America's Revival Tradition and the Evangelists Who Made It, available at lulu.com.
Ken Smith '65 has written Lessons from the Top: What I've Learned About Winning and Leading, released by his ministry, Ken Smith Ministries, Inc. [kensmith.org]
Chris Drake '71 is the author of You Gotta' Stand Up: The Life and High Times of John Henry Faulk, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. [c-s-p.org]
Smyth & Helwys has published the latest two books from Judson Edwards '71: Hidden Treasures: Walking the Back Roads of the Bible in Search of Truth and The Leadership Labyrinth: Negotiating the Paradoxes of Ministry. [helwys.com]
Robert Uzzel '73, MA '76, PhD '95, has authored Eliphas Levi and the Kabbalah: The Masonic and French Connection of the American Mystery Tradition by Cornerstone Book Publishers. [cornerstonepublishers.com]
Neal Jeffrey '75 has created a DVD series with workbooks, titled The Man I Want to Be, produced by Sampson Resources. [sampsonresources.com]
Robert Darden '76 has written his twenty-fifth book, titled Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor, published by Abingdon Press. [abingdonpress.com]
Howard Books has published Man Does Not Live by Sports Alone: Devotions for Men, written by Dr. Dennis Swanberg '76. [howardpublishing.com]
Jan Poe Whitt '77, MA '80, has recently had two books published: Women in American Journalism: A New History, released by the University of Illinois Press (press.uillinois.edu), and Settling the Borderland: Other Voices in Literary Journalism, released by University Press of America (univpress.com).
Will Davis Jr. '84 has written Pray Big: The Power of Pinpoint Prayers, published by Revell. [revellbooks.com]
Winepress Publishing has produced a children's book by Carolyn McWilliams Brown '88, All You Want and Then Some. [winepressbooks.com]
William Shiell, MDiv '97, PhD '03, has written Sessions With Matthew, published by Smyth & Helwys. [helwys.com]
Carol Bailiff Bullman '99 is the author of The Christmas House, a children's book about the power of music, published by Ideals Books. [idealsbooks.com]