Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted
Author: Richard Beck
Pubpsher: Fortress Press
The devil has fallen on hard times. Surveys say that even the majority of Christians doubt Satan’s existence. Burdened by doubts, skeptical believers find themselves divorced from Jesus’ dramatic confrontation with Satan in the Gospels and from the struggle that galvanized the early church. In Reviving Old Scratch, popular blogger and theologian Richard Beck reintroduces the devil to the modern world with a biblical, bold, and urgent vision of spiritual warfare: we must resist the devil by joining the kingdom of God’s subversive campaign to interrupt the world with love. Beck shows how conservative Christians too often overspiritualize the devil and demons, and progressive Christians reduce these forces to social justice issues. By understanding evil as a very real force in the world, we are better able to name it for what it is and thus to combat it as Jesus did. Beck’s own work in a prison Bible study and at a church for recovering addicts convinced him to take Satan more seriously, and they provide compelling illustrations as he challenges the contemporary—and strangely safe—versions of evil forces. The beliefs of liberals and conservatives alike will be tested by Beck’s groundbreaking ideas, fascinating stories, and clear thinking. Because if Jesus took Satan seriously, says Beck, then so should we.
“Welcome to Knob’s End—The Holiest Town in America.” So reads the sign that greets a mysterious stranger as he steps off a bus one dark night in upstate New York. But life is not so great in the small town of Knob’s End. The economy has tanked, jobs are drying up, and people are losing their homes. Led by their local pastor, Father Balano, the citizens’ only source of pride is an award-winning community display—“The Graveyard of the Innocent.” Once the stranger arrives, however, life in Knob’s End begins to unravel. Soon, a child is missing and the sins start stacking up. As the stranger stirs the pot, he can’t avoid confrontations with menacing old ladies, anarchic metalheads, pugnacious Christians, and the ghosts of his own past… No Tears for Old Scratch is a dark and humorous literary tale about an outsider who suddenly finds himself lost in a veritable dead-end. "If you’re looking for redeeming qualities in a main character, actually any character, stay away from Ken Wohlrob's No Tears for Old Scratch. A biting satire, a meditation on good and evil, a foot up your a**, take your pick. A funny, wise and compelling read." — Alex Austin, author of The Red Album of Asbury Park
The rich and powerful Senator Ken Lawson has just been reelected. Handsome and charming, his political agenda caters to his biggest donors--conservatives fighting bitterly against stubborn liberals who oppose free enterprise. His wife's family has bankrolled his career and despite her tedium with him, they have dreams of even greater political glory for Ken. But those dreams are shattered when two bumbling criminals accidentally see him in bed with the beautiful wife of his largest donor on the afternoon she is murdered by a blow to the head with a shovel. They devise a comically amateurish blackmail scheme against him. Unfortunately, it backfires. Fearing for their lives, they go to the police. When Ken is arrested for Chelsea's murder, he reluctantly admits to his affair with her, but denies he's the killer, in spite of considerable evidence against him. Lawson's murder trial has one shocking revelation after another, and justice is ultimately served in unsuspecting ways. The tale is narrated by the devil, Old Scratch himself, who observes the colorful cast of characters with utter bemusement. He is happily amused at the behavior of these characters and how easily they are ensnared by the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. With a wry and satisfying tale of murder and mystery, OLD SCRATCH is a rollicking good read that will keep the pages turning until the Devil ultimately gets his due.
Johnny Gregson moved to the country to enjoy the quiet of his twilight years, but it seems he's got two problems. The first is the roadkill. His neighbour—Hill "Scratch" Clayton—is the second. Scratch is a hard-edged old man and a creature of habit. He mows his lawn at first light every morning, and the sound of the John Deere's engine always wakes Johnny and his wife from their brittle sleep. Come winter the ride-on mower is replaced by Scratch's snowblower. Johnny tries to reason with him, but Scratch is set in his ways. There is no compassion in his soul. After Johnny's world is turned upside down, he is compelled to take drastic action. He thinks he knows a way to silence Scratch forever. For six years he has been scraping dead animals from his driveway and tossing them to the side of the road, and for six years they have disappeared within a day or two. He often asks himself, what happens to the roadkill? Just where does it go? Old Man Scratch is a revenge story that is often touching, often humorous, but always bound by the unknown … the inexplicable fear of what man is capable of, and the darkness of his heart.
The Regulators haven’t been needed since they saved the world, and things have gotten pretty boring for them–until a monster begins hunting in the pine forests in the small town of Ruidoso, New Mexico. It stalks under the light of the full moon and hungers for human flesh. Only the Regulators can stop it from feasting upon the citizens. As the body count rises, the Regulators go into action. What happens next is a nightmarish game of cat and mouse that that can only end in death. The Regulators are back!
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Children become cats and birds, a once-invisible young woman pieces herself back together, and the identity of a mysterious baseball mascot is uncovered—all within this eclectic collection from master storyteller Avi. By turns chilling, ethereal, and surreal, these thought-provoking tales are sure to engage anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to become someone—or something—else.