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7 replies, 6 voices Last updated by  David W. Emery 2 years, 4 months ago
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  • #14378

    baptist bumble
    Participant
    @baptist bumble

    Hey all!  A priest with whom I am friendly gave me a copy of Marcus Grodi's “Pillar and Bulwark” several years ago, and I've read it several times.  It is very good, and I must say a welcome break in the “conversion genre” from either personal testimony or apologetics.  I didn't realize until very recently that Pillar and Bulwark is a sequel!  Not sure how I didn't know that but nevertheless, news to me. 

    How does the first book, “How Firm a Foundation” stack up to the sequel?  I know it follows the story of one of the main characters in the sequel and I can half guess the overall plot… Just curious if anyone else had read it and if you had any thoughts.

    And out of curiosity, does anyone know if he has ever thought about completing the story in a third installment?  ;D

    #14385

    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    I believe that there are two points to be considered in evaluating the series. The first point is that there is a progression of information that, for the uninitiated, works better if one begins with the initial book of the series. The second point is that the second book is technically and artistically superior to the first. In this respect, one might quote the chief steward in John 2:10: “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

    David

    #14384

    Michael Boggs
    Participant
    @Michael Boggs

    I've read both and have read only the latest edition (4th) of How Firm a Foundation. Remembering that this latter novel was Marcus Grodi's first venture into fiction writing on the scale of a novel, it is, from a technical point of view, less adventuresome. The author was finding his “voice” and exercises it to good advantage in Pillar and Bulwark. This is not to say that the first novel, at least in the fourth edition, is in the least bit mediocre. On the contrary, the character development, description, pacing and dialog are all equal to the second book. The few risks that were taken in plot development no doubt encouraged him to take the chances (successful) he risked in the second novel. No doubt, Grodi's development as an author demanded that he make revisions in his first novel; these remain largely invisible and make How Firm a Foundation an enjoyable read. At no point did I find myself distracted from the stories Grodi tells by technical or anachronistic errors that would scream, “This was written by an amateur.” The novels are well written and re-written. The two novels can be read in any order although order of publication does have a certain logic.

    As a Lutheran, the journey to Catholicism, and the issues significant to Grodi's characters are believable for clergy coming to Rome from a Calvinist background. The author has mentioned that he would be interested in reading a similar novel written by a convert from some other religion or denominational background as he is relatively sure that the characters issues would be different. I agree. Grodi may well be pioneering a new form in conversion literature, the fictional conversion story. This genre allows the author to deal with certain general and perhaps distressing events in the conversion process that would need a perhaps excessively gentle handling in a non-fiction setting where telling the true facts might incur liability for libel.

    #14383

    zaida
    Participant
    @zaida

    Hello! I read both of these books a few years ago….it might have been before my conversion, while I was in the process of deciding to convert…For me what it did was really help me understand the issues surrounding the different christian denominations….as someone coming from a secular background I just dont have the same experience of the doctrinal issues, the issues over “authority”, the in fighting that happens sometimes and churches breaking up (my issues were and are of a whole different sort, lol) But those books truly helped me “get it” in a fun and entertaining way  – I love novels. I would love someone to write one about the dedicated secularist turned Catholic!

    Saying all that – I have a vague memory that I actually liked How Firm a Foundation better than Pillar and Bulwark  – but I cant remember why –

    #14382

    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    At the back of the bulletins, there are one or more pages of advertisements from local businesses. This was the absolute strangest thing for me to see as I've never seen ads in Protestant church publications.

    Protestants are far better tithers, Lynn. My parish’s bulletin regularly has three to four pages of advertisements to defray costs because people are not willing to provide financial backing to do an ad-free one.

    Meanwhile, pew rentals have gone out of style, so parishes have had to find another way to raise funds for plant maintenance. Carnivals, revivals and raffles are popular here.

    Ignatius Press has a line of quality Catholic-oriented novels, but I think Marcus Grodi is alone in his specific genre. He wrote those novels because there wasn’t anybody else doing it.

    David

    #14381

    Losborne0811
    Participant
    @Losborne0811

    I've got to ask…. what pray tell are pew rentals?

    Lynn

    #14380

    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Here’s an example, Lynn: Link. In the past, they were also popular in some Protestant churches.

    #14379

    Howard Hampson
    Keymaster
    @Howard the Pilgrim

    Yes, some of the Methodist churches used to charge pew rent and this practice was one of the reasons behind the formation of the Free Methodist denomination according to their “What is a Free Methodist?” brochure.

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