On a hot summer night in August of 1968, we attended a Southern Baptist revival.
They were popular then.
May still be.
The man who delivered the message was a hired gunslinger for God. Maybe that’s too harsh.
He was a paid evangelist.
He came from out of town.
He was a ringer.
He enjoyed a reputation of saving souls, lengthy altar calls and overflowing collection plates.
The venue was a small wooden church in the rural northeast Louisiana community of Snake Ridge(Some now-refined former natives call it “Reptile Heights”). The evangelist was a bit shy of six feet tall, but in the pulpit, he stood head and shoulders above everyone. When he stomped his foot to emphasize a point, the vase of flowers on the rail shook.
If you entered the sanctuary a bit unsure of your beliefs, you would leave either a committed servant of the born-again saviour or either totally repulsed. I don’t remember anyone who would identify with the latter. Most of us left with sweat-covered palms in fear of the future of our souls.
Meet Sarah Hughes — a non-believer. She probably would not have attended any revival. If she had, she would have been one of those who exited unconvinced. She and her twin brother go off to college in the UK. Wouldn’t you know she’d fall head-over-heels in love with a pastoral candidate?
Michael Kent is a bicycle-racing, tango-dancing, devoted disciple making a bid to become an Anglican priest. By the standards of many average people, he lived a charmed life. He falls for Sarah. Would his karma be changed by this American who couldn’t commit to Christ?
She could not remember many scriptures.
She could not forget his kiss after their first dance.
In Dancing Priest, author Glenn Young challenges readers to address the challenges we all face in the race of life. Through the eyes of a protagonist who prevails with grace and style, we learn that with the right support we can, too. Believers will immediately embrace Michael Kent and cheer for the conversion of Sarah. Others will ponder over how anyone’s life could turn out so well and wonder if they can suspend their disbelief in two things at once.
Young introduces us to an interesting cast of characters with a wide-ranging variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Every reader will identify with some aspects of most of the people we meet in Dancing Priest. Readers learn, through Father Kent’s trials and tribulations, that every race, no matter how much it looks like the others, has its own story.
Even if we don’t believe in someone, we can learn from their stories.