Rock of the Apostles: A Brief History of the Catholic Church (North Charlestown: CreateSpace Independent Publishers, 2017)

Reviews

on September 7, 2017 at Amazon.com

Synopsis

For over two thousand years, the Catholic Church has relied on both Holy Scriptures and its Living Tradition to explain the Word of God. This highly readable and informative history of that amazing tradition recounts the major schisms, heresies, and slanders that were aimed at the Church in each danger-filled generation and how the Church countered those attacks.

No student of the Catholic Church can ignore its traditions and its need for a teaching authority—a Magisterium. From the Fathers of the Church to recent popes, from Doctors of the Church to its saints, the human race has benefited by the teachings of the Church. This enjoyable and fascinating revelation of the Deposit of Faith from one generation to another explains the need to inculcate new cultures, new languages, new ways of explaining the road to salvation passed down from the lips of Jesus Christ to the Universal Church.

While the audience for this brief but highly interesting book is expected to be high school, CCD, and home school students, any history buff or Catholic adult will find in it an excellent overview of the religious influence wielded by the Church over the years. An influence which cries out for acceptance in today’s secular world.

Excerpt

Alexander the Great created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece into Egypt and northwest India. Along the way, he founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria of Egypt. Today we like to speak of the Jewish Diaspora, but the Greek Diaspora, the scattering of Greeks throughout the lands conquered by Alexander, was just as significant. Alexandria became, in effect, a Greek city with all aspects of that city controlled by the Greeks.

Unlike most cities of that time, Alexandria was designed with straight parallel streets, one at least two hundred feet wide, with monuments, palaces, government buildings, and parks all erected according to a beautiful artistic plan ordered by Alexander the Great. It was called the City of Marble for its lavish use of marble.

In 323 BC, Alexander died and Ptolemy, one of his generals, became the ruler of Egypt. Ptolemy’s descendants ruled Egypt for almost three hundred years, maintaining a Greek culture in the city. Possessing a magnificent double harbor, Alexandria’s main industries became education, trade, and shipbuilding. Eventually, it became the wealthiest and most powerful city in the world, surpassing Athens and the early Rome.

However, in 30 BC, the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt was annexed to Rome when Octavian (the future Roman emperor Augustus) defeated his rival Mark Antony and disposed of Antony’s lover, Queen Cleopatra VII. Out of the Ptolemaic Kingdom arose the new Roman province of Egypt, administered from Alexandria. Rome did not colonize the city with its citizens as Alexander the Great had done earlier with Greeks. Instead, the culture remained primarily Greek for several centuries after the annexation, but the taxes and the crops became entirely those of Rome.

While Octavian allowed the Greek culture of the city to remain in place, he became so enamored with the beauty of Alexandria that he ordered a cluttered and trash-ridden Rome reconstructed to match it in grandeur. Alexandria became a city of 700,000 people, primarily Greek, Jewish, and native Egyptians. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Alexandria became the center of religion and culture for the world’s Jewish people and a prime source of Christian converts.

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The Hidden Saint: The 16th Century Church in Crisis (Little Elm: eLectio Publishing, LLC, 2017)

Ibrahim, the Turk (North Charlestown: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)

Synopsis

As World War I explodes across Europe, the Turkish Öztürk family is caught between the dying Ottoman Empire and the emerging modern state of Turkey. Ibrahim Öztürk imagines a new nation, where his family will seek out bountiful opportunities for their children. Unfortunately, there are forces attempting to throw the young Turkish state back into the past. Ibrahim will spend the next seventy-five years fighting for democracy and freedom in Turkey.

Forging the new nation will take Ibrahim, his sister Nebile, and his uncle Rauf, across three continents. They’ll face opposition from many enemies, including the Öztürks’ ancient nemesis, the powerful and wealthy Galip family. Through heartbreak, loss, and setbacks, the Öztürks cling to each other and their dreams of a new Turkey.

Ibrahim, the Turk, is not only a portrait of one family’s struggles; it’s also an explanation of the birth of a rare Islamic democracy and one of American’s most important allies.
thousand years ago, Palestine was a minor kingdom situated between the Roman Province of Syria and the Roman breadbasket, Egypt. Strong hands were needed to keep the peace and Pax Romana prevailed because of the threat and sometimes the use of force.

Excerpt

Immediately after Rauf rang the doorbell, Rahime Sami opened the door and offered both men cologne to rub on their hands and neck. Trying not to grin, Rahime invited them into the guest room. After İbrahim shook hands with the smiling father, Felih, they sat down.

Rahime asked, “Would you like extra sugar in your coffee?” All agreed a regular amount of sugar would be fine. After some small talk, the door to the kitchen opened and Sabiha brought in a tray of small, glass cups filled with frothy Turkish coffee already sweetened. She served first the oldest person in the room, Rauf; then her father, mother and finally İbrahim.

İbrahim thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Raven black hair, exquisitely styled; a silver locket necklace over the cutest cream blouse and violet accordion pleat skirt, filled out just right.

İbrahim wasn’t listening as the others continued talking. He watched Sabiha sit next to her mother. He gazed at Sabiha’s high cheekbones, her tender lips, and dark eyes demurely looking down at the soft hands folded in her lap—the tiny blue pumps on her exquisite feet—the way she shifted on the sofa.

“İbrahim … İBRAHIM!” Rauf raised his voice.

“Huh?”

“We were talking to you,” said Rauf.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening.” İbrahim gave his uncle a sheepish grin.

“Yes, we know what you were thinking about.” Everyone but Sabiha laughed. She just blushed.

Rauf took his saucer and placed its face over the empty cup. As he turned it upside down, he looked at the others. They did the same. İbrahim who had not touched his coffee, drank quickly and also put the saucer on top of the cup and turned it over. “Someone is supposed to read the grounds,” said Rauf.

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Eugenios: Servant of Kings (Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2014)

Reviews

[The story revolves around] “the relationship between Rome and a minor kingdom situated between Egypt and Syria over an eighty-two year period from 38 BC to AD 44. The historical aspects (people, places, events) are accurate and deal with two major characters Augustus and Herod….It is a credible story and explains how Christianity could begin the process of growing from one man to over 2.2 billion people today–one third of the world’s people….[The] reader will travel from the crowded, dirty streets of Rome, to the world’s most beautiful harbor in Alexandria, and on to the flax fields of pale blue flowers in Galilee. Christian or not, this is a trip back into the past one will enjoy. I wholeheartedly recommend it.  History Nut at Amazon.com, May 20, 2014

Synopsis

Two thousand years ago, Palestine was a minor kingdom situated between the Roman Province of Syria and the Roman breadbasket, Egypt. Strong hands were needed to keep the peace and Pax Romana prevailed because of the threat and sometimes the use of force.

Into this mix is woven a love story between Sphaerus, a personal servant to the powerful emperor Augustus, and Kallisto, a beautiful Jewish slave girl. To complicate matters, Kallisto brings into this relationship expectations of a Hebrew messiah. Whether in Egypt, Rome, or Greece, every Hebrew considered Jerusalem his home, and God help the Roman ruler who forgot that.

Delightful irony results when Eugenios, the son of Sphaerus and Kallisto, becomes an adviser to Herod. Eugenios successful family life provides a stunning comparison to the deranged families of his masters. Even a servant may learn that love is the most powerful weapon in life and the only source of true happiness.

Excerpt

The door slammed open, and in it stood Livia, my new mistress. Despite
my best intentions, somehow or other my arm had fallen over Kallisto
during the night. We were both dressed, but the impression Livia received
must have been one of two lovers sleeping.
“Oh,” said Livia, her small chin quivering, “you are here, Sphaerus.”
Where she expected me to be, I don’t know. “I was just wondering how
your wedding went.”
She was wondering no such thing. She was seeing whether Octavian
intended to keep the slave girl as a plaything. Now she would know that
Octavian had no intention of sharing the girl with a servant. It would be
beneath him.
“Just continue doing whatever it was you were doing,” Livia added as
she turned to close the door after her.
“Yes, mistress,” I said in relief to the closed door. “Thank you, mistress.”
Kallisto hadn’t said a word, but I could feel the shuddering beneath her
tunic. That was close. Had I slept in a friend’s cubicle as Kallisto ordered,
the penalty would have been severe.
Once the wedding took place, we would be moved into the adjoining
slaves’ quarters, for only a few select singles lived within the master’s
mansion. That was fine, for I didn’t relish many more visits like this one.
I hardly slept for the rest of the night, and when morning came, I made
sure I found the time to notify everyone that the wedding would take
place that evening at bedtime. I found Eli, a Samaritan rabbi, among the
servants cleaning the kitchen, and he told me what needed to be done to
satisfy Kallisto’s craving for a “proper wedding.” He was invited to preside
and bring everything necessary.
“But he’s a Samaritan!” she shouted. “I will not have a Samaritan rabbi
preside over my wedding.”
“He’s a Hebrew rabbi,” I said, beating my head against the wall.
“Samaritans are heathens. They accept only the Pentateuch, the first
five books of the Holy Writ.”
The enmity between Judeans and Samaritans existed from the splitting
up of the Hebrew nation into two parts after Solomon’s empire collapsed.
It was exasperated when Alexander the Great conquered the lands of the
Hebrews and allowed Samaria to build a second temple on Mount Gerizim
to rival the temple in Jerusalem.
“They are a herd of drunkards,” she cried. “Rabbinic law says, ‘A piece
of bread given by a Samaritan is more unclean than swine’s flesh.’”
I quieted her down and explained that if we ever found someone
more suitable, we would perform the ceremony a second time. She finally
realized we had little choice in the matter. A ceremony must be performed
and recognized by the household, especially Livia and Octavian.

To read more from the Amazon site click HERE

Troy Supports2

The Scholar’s Challenge (Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2013)

Reviews

“The Scholar’s Challenge by Julian Bauer is, in my humble opinion, one of the best new books on the market…I have never read such a revealing, well balanced look into the work of this man [Origen] as I have found here…I found a new respect for the epic journey the Catholic Church took through the treacherous landscape between truth and lies as it came into formation….Mr. Bauer’s eye for authentic detail also did a lot to color in the historical picture….One of the most interesting aspects of The Scholar’s Challenge was how the reader is drawn not only into the Christian struggle for survival and identity, but also the search for truth—even drawing an outline of the complimentary Jewish struggle for that same truth….In writing this book, Mr. Bauer did honor to those who have lit the path before us. A worthy task indeed.”  www.CatholicFiction.net

“There are very few books I would highly recommend to Christians across the board but The Scholar’s Challenge qualifies. I found this book interesting as well as vastly informative…”  Ann Frailey at Amazon.com, April 21, 2014

“If you think it would be hard to incorporate history, philosophy, human reason, spirituality and theology into one interesting and enjoyable book, you might be right. But Julian Bauer did it, abundantly.” M. Davidson at Amazon.com, December 23, 2013.

“This historical novel cleverly exposes the compelling secret behind the “Universal Church” and how it remained “One” after Christ in spite of differing opinions on such matters as the nature of God. The brilliant Fathers of the Church not only faced persecution, but philosophical disputes among themselves. Julian Bauer does a masterful job in pointing out how Christianity became the largest religion in the world while ruled by Rome. I strongly encourage you to buy this book if you have an interest in history and how it relates to current events. It’s true, history repeats itself. Fact Lover at Barnes and Noble, April 9, 2013

“Due to the historical interest and extensive research that was written I found ‘The Scholar’s Challenge’ to be an exceptional book. Being a Novel allowed me to feel as if the story was alive. Also, having traveled to the locations mentioned made it more interesting and real for me. The origins of the Catholic religion and the Bible are exceptionally portrayed. Great read; I highly recommend.”  Grubbs mom at Amazon.com, November 18, 2013

 Synopsis

This is a gripping story of two geniuses in the 3rd and 4th centuries who encountered disturbing and passionate opposition to their great ambitions. Our story takes us to the locations of great Christian upheavals: Alexandria, Rome, Caesarea, Bethlehem, Basel, and the Dalmatian plains.  How did Origen remove the complicated and divergent layers of dogma slowing emerging in early Christianity? It was inevitable that the 1,800 bishops at the time, living in different cultures and speaking different languages, should interpret the meaning of Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition passed down to them in varying ways. How could it be other wise since they had no telephone, no printing press, no reliable postal system with which to communicate? As told by his childhood friend, Ianos, the first Ecumenical Council had not been held and the Universal Church had not made many of the decisions Origen was attempting to answer. Ianos clearly spells out the difficulties faced by Origen.

In the fourth century, Damon, servant to Jerome, describes how his brilliant master became enraged at those who sought to tie him to the writings of the much maligned Origen. Nevertheless, while he sought to distance himself from those writings, Jerome used them extensively in his own publications. Why shouldn’t he have done so, for Origen wrote the first clear explanation of Christian dogma, the first extensive comparison of various versions of extant Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, and the most comprehensive answer to pagan slanders against Christianity.

Authorized by the Pope to rewrite Scriptures so that the common man could read and understand them, Jerome studied the best available Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic versions available and wound up giving Christianity a Bible used for a thousand years—the Vulgate Bible. A scholar who studied several languages so that he could read and interpret early versions of Scripture in the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, Jerome understood that every copy of the Scriptures that he read might have been hand-copied thousands of time, each time adding new local colloquialisms. How was Jerome going to search for the truth and then persuade the church officials that his version was the best that could be written?

Excerpt

I started putting my finger in the soup being prepared instead of telling Polona what had transpired during the day. She tapped me on the hand with a ladle to bring me back on topic. While my position at the school over the past year had been extremely intriguing, both as an unpaid teacher of catechumens as well as a student of more advanced learning, I found myself returning home to Polona and our newborn son, Thespis, eager to repeat what had taken place.
I talked and talked while Polona prepared supper, while we ate, and while we prepared Thespis for bed. I tried to be helpful by checking Thespis to see if he needed changing. If he did, I would remove the diaper. At this point, I usually gagged and Polona would push me aside, laughing. What a great life. Once the baby was in bed and sleeping, we gathered several cushions and took them into the cool evening air, leaving the door open in case the baby cried. We lay arm in arm watching the stars, with the occasional shooting star racing across the sky.
One night Polona asked, with a loving squeeze of my hand, “What was the most important thing you did today?”
Feeling her warmth next to me, I answered, with a return squeeze, by saying, “Do you remember how I told you about Ignatius, Polycarp, and Irenaeus, the early Christian martyrs?
“Yes. And?” she moved her body closer to mine.
“Well, Origen and I were teaching a class of catechumens today about the martyr Justin, who died less than forty years ago.”
“Was he from Alexandria?”
“No, he was from Flavia Neopolis, in Samaria, just north of Jerusalem. Actually, he was educated in the Greek philosophies and spent most of his life in Rome.”
“Why is he important?” Polona asked.
“Because he wrote in answer to the same false charges Christians face today.”
“What charges?”
“You know—when we assemble for worship, the pagans charge us with secret gatherings for incest, for child murder, and for cannibalism.”
Polona snorted. “That’s nothing new. Those charges may be found from Antioch, to Jerusalem, to Carthage, and even in Gaul. How did Justin answer to these charges?”
“He addressed his apology to the emperor, Antonius Pius.” Adjusting the cushion beneath my head, I went on. “In it he cleverly imitated Plato’s Apology of Socrates by asking for justice, not mercy.”
“So what did you tell the catechumens?” Polona asked impatiently.
I felt a cool breeze coming from the Mediterranean Sea touch my cheek. “Actually, it was Origen who gave Justin’s refutation in his usual strong voice. First, Justin argued, we are not atheists as charged, for we worship one God, the Father of righteousness and virtue. Secondly, we Christians are not immoral, for we are willing to be punished for any crimes we commit. And, lastly, we are not disloyal, for the kingdom we seek is a heavenly one.”
“That’s beautiful,” said Polona.
“Yes, it is.” I kissed her shoulder.
“What else?”
“Well,” I said, bringing her fingers to my lips, “Justin wrote that it was not sufficient to condemn us simply because we go by the name ‘Christians.’ Rather, we should be tested, as are all criminals, to see whether we are, in fact, evildoers.”
“That seems logical to me,” Polona said, pulling her hand back.
I laughed, remembering how Justin had made fun of the pagan gods here in Egypt. “Do you know Justin wrote to the emperor that a shrew is embalmed and considered sacred at Thebes? And that at Bastet, a cat goddess is worshiped, as is a crocodile at Onuphis in the delta?”
“He should also have mentioned how silly the Greek and Roman gods appear to us with their human characteristics and immoral actions.”
“Actually, he did. It was a stunning rebuke, but cleverly written so as not to offend too much.”
I went on to tell her how Justin taught in Rome, publicly confessing Christ Jesus. He was brought before Rusticus, the prefect of Rome, where he was ordered to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Naturally, he refused. So he was beaten with rods, all the while praising God. Finally he was beheaded. We were silent for a while, lost in our thoughts, and then we gathered our cushions and returned to the house, where Thespis was sleeping soundly.
Polona turned to me with a frown on her face. “Rumors, lies, and hatreds never die. Only two decades ago, an educated man by the name of Celsus wrote a book called True Doctrine here in North Africa. It is now all over the Mediterranean. The same false allegations are listed. Who will respond?”
As I prepared our bed, I said, “There is a Roman citizen in Carthage by the name of Tertullian who is writing his own apology on the same allegations to the Roman magistrates. However, he writes in Latin with a sarcastic tone. I told Origen, with his mastery of the Scriptures and Tradition, that he should respond to Celsus, word for word, in the Greek language, as Celsus used Greek to write True Doctrine.”
“And what did Origen say to that?”
“He said he was an interpreter of Scripture and apostolic tradition, not a philosopher, for philosophy only leads to heresy.”
“I’d wager Justin felt differently.”
“Justin recognized that his words were not the final statement on the matter; as he put it, his words were but a ripple in a stream of ripples that is the Church.”
“How beautiful.”
I agreed and then blew out our small oil lamp. We said our night prayers, standing and raising our palms to the ceiling in supplication. Afterward, climbing into our rush bed, I added, “Justin would brag that there was not a single race of human beings who did not say their prayers with the name of Jesus Christ on their lips.”
“I thought Clement said that,” said Polona.
“He said that also,” I replied, having forgotten what I had told her on several other occasions.

To read more about this book at Amazon.com click  HERE

Athens Temple

The Lawyer’s Relic & A Grandfather’s Dilemma (Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2013)

Reviews Lawyer’s Relic

“The Lawyer’s Relic, penned by Julian Bauer, is an entertaining and educational novella about an agnostic lawyer, Mr. Antonio Mendoza and his bizarre experiences with a relic. The story begins with the mysterious appearance of a Christmas gift at Mr. Mendoza’s office….At first, he thought someone had sent him evidence from a criminal case. However, when he saw people experienced life transformations after coming in contact with [the relic], he started to wonder about its origin….What series of events will bring Mr. Mendoza to his knees with a humble heart toward God?…Mr. Bauer cleverly and convincingly uses character’s conversations to make his points without resorting to the ‘preaching tone’ that non believers can find off-putting….It was refreshing to read the courtship scenes between the agnostic lawyer and his deeply devout Catholic fiancé, Pam. They are miles apart in personalities and world views, but those differences make their love unique and stronger as they join forces and resources to solve the mystery at hand. The Lawyer’s Relic is a short, easy-to-read novella that might cause a revitalization of your faith.”  Tannia Ortiz-Lopes at Amazon.com on July 17, 2014

Synopsis Lawyer’s Relic

Antonio Mendoza finds a bloody napkin wrapped as a Christmas gift in his law office. In the gift box is a card describing the napkin as the burial face cloth of Jesus Christ. As an agnostic, Mendoza immediately assumes one of his friends is pulling his leg. When seemingly miraculous events occur, Mendoza uses his legal talents to put to rest the insinuation of extraordinary intervention–or can he? He and his devout, red-headed girlfriend, Pam, investigate the meaning of religious relics and how millions of people around the world use them to communicate with God. An enlightening story of faith and integrity revolving around the benefits of trust and virtue.

Excerpt Lawyer’s Relic

I approached the frosted-glass door of my office feeling good, as usual. The name on the door stood out in italic script: “Antonio Mendoza, Attorney at Law.” Six years out of law school and I couldn’t help feeling pride at seeing my name on the door. What a life.
“Hi, Tony. You have a Christmas package on your desk,” Carmen said as I opened the door. A short, plump woman with three children, Carmen had been my legal secretary from the beginning.
“Thanks. Who’s it from?” I asked.
“Don’t know. There’s no name on the outside.”
Surprised, I went into the inner office and picked up the gift. Westlaw books and annotated codes for several states filled the bookcases along the wall. I had bought them secondhand, more for show than for use. Instead, I used the computer on my cherry desk to access the Westlaw search program.
Ordinarily, I preferred to review hard-copy files at the coffee table between the black faux-leather sofa and the matching pair of easy chairs. Clients also felt more comfortable there, sitting as they would at home. I’ve sat in front of an imposing desk with a stuffy lawyer behind it—no fun at all.
“It has to be a handkerchief,” I thought. “Nothing else could be so small and light.”
I carefully tore the Christmas wrapping paper, revealing a simple cardboard box. Again, no names were on the box. Inside the box was a neatly folded linen napkin—with bloodstains.
“Must be evidence,” I thought. Yet if this was evidence in some case, I wasn’t expecting it. And why the Christmas wrapping?
An index card was inside the box; typewritten on it was “Jn 20:7.”
I may be an agnostic, but I could recognize a biblical notation. You’d be surprised how often a lawyer refers to the Bible for a case.
I grabbed my copy off the shelf and turned to John 20:7: “And the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.”
What did it mean? Reading the earlier verses, I saw that Peter, entering the tomb, had noticed linen cloths from Jesus’ burial lying inside the tomb and then a napkin lying separately. “Some nutcase is sending me a riddle,” I thought.
“Your first appointment is here,” Carmen said, not bothering to knock. “Mrs. Dodson,” she added, pointing to the case folders sitting on my desk.
I grabbed the appropriate folder and glanced inside. The jealous teenage boyfriend of Mrs. Dodson’s daughter, Charlotte, had thrown a cup of cleaning fluid in Charlotte’s face. After six months, she could see only the forms of objects; she was legally blind.
Carmen took the steno chair near the desk, while I directed Mrs. Dodson and her daughter to the sofa. While the criminal case proceeded along another track, we were in the process of suing the boyfriend’s father, a wealthy industrialist known for his philanthropy. It was an open-and-shut case with multiple witnesses. Our court date had been set for the following week, and I looked forward to a healthy slice of the pie.
All the witnesses had been subpoenaed, and Judge Wilson was fair and impartial. “Mrs. Dodson, we’ve been approached by the opposing counsel and offered a settlement,” I said to her.
“I’m not interested,” she said. “I want everyone to hear what that jerk has done.”
“Well, I’m obligated to mention the amount and to suggest the fact that court decisions don’t always conclude with a just result.”
“Don’t we have a strong case?”
“We do.” I went on to mention the amount of the settlement offer, which was about half of what I expected the court to award.
“Do you know that idiot laughed after throwing the fluid in Charlotte’s face? I want him sweating in front of a jury for the entire world to see.”
She wasn’t interested in the money; I was. We went on for twenty minutes discussing the alternatives and the slight possibility of complete vindication.
“Mommy, I can see,” Charlotte said.
“I know, dear,” Mrs. Dodson said, patting her daughter’s hand.
“No, Mommy, I can really see.”
I noticed that she had been handling the napkin with the bloodstains, but I chose not to say anything after all she had been through.

To read more about this book at Amazon.com click  HERE

Reviews Grandfather’s Dilemma

“A Grandfather’s Dilemma is the story of Tom Rider, the spoiled, sole heir of Rider Distilleries. The story begins with an unexpected visit from Ms. Sara Rider and her son, Tom, to Mr. Larry Dexter, author of the successful book, Developing Character. Based on what Ms. Rider has read, she is absolutely convinced that only Mr. Dexter could help Tom become a wise, objective, ethical individual and outstanding CEO.

At first Mr. Dexter refuses to help Tom. However, after some persistence from Ms. Rider, he accepts the challenge under some tough conditions for Tom who is used to getting his way.

As the story unfolds, the reader will be engaged into their character developing struggles, steep learning curve, and gratifying moments. Mr. Dexter’s system is a mix of tough love, establishing clear rules and the consequences for breaking them, persistency, study of the Word of God and leading by example. The author shows why one should never underestimate the power of prayers, the wisdom that comes with age, and mercy. The end of the book, although dramatic, fits the novella’s overall theme–compassion!

I recommend A Grandfather’s Dilemma, to parents of teens and young adults who are looking for an astute method to raise a man of integrity.”  Tannia Ortiz-Lopes at CatholicFiction.net on July 17, 2014

Synopsis Grandfather’s Dilemma

Larry Dexter is an elderly man put in an unexpected predicament. He faces death from old age and has settled all his worldly affairs when a middle-aged woman and her adult son show up on his doorstep. She claims the young man is his grandson. Is he? Moreover, she tells the old man that her son has major character flaws needing someone of his ability to redeem him. He refuses to take on the responsibility. She insists. In any case, how could an unwilling you man be changed? Is it possible that age can bring with it weapons of unusual teaching abilities?

Excerpt Grandfather’s Dilemma

I was in the living room, alone as usual, with my palms lifted to the ceiling, praying. I had done everything a man could do in this life, and I begged to be released from my earthly bondage. My bags were packed, rhetorically speaking, and I was ready to go.
Still, as much for my sake as for communicating my wishes to God, I said, as always, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” That’s when the knock came pounding on the door. Irritated, I lowered my arms and strode to the front door. A beautiful brunette with several streaks of gray in her hair stood there, staring at me with her hazel eyes. “Can I help you?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. “My name is Sara Rider, and this is my son, Tom.” She was pointing at a young man, about twenty-five and of average height, who was wearing a dark scowl. Both wore expensive-looking business suits of deep blue. “May we come in?”
“I’m really not interested in buying anything today,” I said.
“We’re not selling,” she said. “We’re buying.”
“But I’m not selling anything.”
“Please, Mr. Drexel, hear me out.”
Against my better judgment, I opened the door wider to allow them to enter. “I don’t have a lot of time, so please get to the point—and how did you know my name?”
She gave me a lovely smile and asked if they could sit down. I nodded. “Mr. Drexel,” she said, sitting in the lounge chair and crossing her legs, “I’ve read your book Developing Character. In it, you quote Aristotle. I believe it was something like, ‘Strength of character is akin to strength of muscles. It results from rigorous and sustained training by a good coach.’ I’d like to hire you to develop my son’s character.”
I snorted and shook my head. “Evidently, Mrs. Rider, you fail to understand the point of my book. Character is the aggregate of traits that form someone’s nature. My book was directed to those who have a sincere desire to improve their character. Lacking that desire, there is little hope for improvement. Evidently, your son doesn’t have the slightest inclination to improve himself; otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. I can’t help you Mrs. Rider. When he’s ready, have him read the book.”
“It’s Miss Rider, and I’m not looking for an author, but rather a coach. Do I look like a fool? I’m perfectly aware of the attributes that go into developing one’s inner nature and reputation—from morals to virtues and attitude. I am not asking for miracles, but only that the most important step to improving one’s character be taken by my son—that is, that he want to improve his own character. For that, I need the best coach I can find.”
“Miss Rider,” I said, “I am seventy-eight years old and retired. I have no intention of taking on any new responsibility, much less teaching a young man character.”
“He is not just any young man; he’s your grandson.”
Stunned at her lie, I said, “I think you had better leave. My only son was in an auto accident twenty-five years ago and cannot move, talk, or understand anything around him. He’s been in a nursing home all that time. I have no desire to play games with you.”
“I am not playing games. I’m willing to pay for a DNA test from an expert of your choosing. Let me make one thing clear: I am the sole owner of the largest distiller of spirits in North America and have more money than I can spend. I have no wish to harm you or your son. I need your help, and I’m willing to pay for it.”
I was dumbfounded and became even more so as she went on. “Your son and I made a mistake a long time ago. If my father hadn’t been so ashamed of my pregnancy and sent me away to give Tom birth, your son and I might have gotten married—who knows? By the time I returned to Maryland, your son had had his accident and I was alone. Mind you, I’m glad to have Tom here with me. When my father died, I inherited the business and considerable wealth.”
“I have no need for money,” I said.
“I can pay for all of Ben’s medical and nursing home bills for the rest of his life,” she replied.
Shaking my head, I told her that I had already set up a trust fund for that purpose.
“Can you be assured that after your death, Ben will be cared for as you would want him to be? I can give you that assurance.”
“I trust the nursing home people and the trust manager.”
“What is it that you want?” she asked. “Tell me and I’ll provide it.” With that, her son Tom smirked in my direction. I wanted to put a fist in his face, grandson or not.
“Miss Rider, the desire to improve is everything.”
“Oh, believe me, he has the desire to do everything you ask of him.”
I raised my hand in Tom Rider’s direction. He was still smirking. “Why do I doubt that?” I asked, not expecting an answer.
She didn’t waste a second before answering. “He will do exactly what you ask. If he does, I will retire and turn over the business to him when he turns thirty. If he doesn’t, the business will be given to its employees. I have already changed my will to provide for the latter. I will not change it back unless you tell me he has followed every nit and nanny of direction you have given him.”
“Miss Rider, I have a calm and peaceful life. I’m retired. You want to place something so momentous in your lives on my shoulders. I don’t want it. I’ve never seen either of you until this moment. Surely, his character can’t be so bad, and if it is, then surely you must know there are others who develop character for a living.”
“Mr. Drexel, in the past year, Tom encouraged a young employee of ours to have sex with him. When she got pregnant, he forced her to have an abortion. I tried to pay her family a considerable amount of money to keep Tom out of jail. They refused my offer and ignored me. I have no idea what the future holds with that family.
“Tom treats all of our employees as his personal servants. Our bookkeeper complains that Tom takes our equipment and cash as his personal property. I’m ready to throw in the towel. This is his last chance. Of course, there are others besides yourself familiar with character building, but I can’t trust them to be more interested in Tom as a person than as a business entity. You are his grandfather, and as you’ve already proven, you can’t be bought.”
I refused to be suckered into this responsibility. Speaking directly to Tom Rider for the first time, I said, “Earlier, your mother quoted Aristotle about building character being similar to building muscle. Aristotle also said that we become good people by doing good things. May I suggest to you that before you solve a problem, you ask yourself whether your solution is a good thing? If you do this for every problem you face over the next five years, your character will be such that your mother will give you the business.”
“Yes, Grandfather,” Tom said smugly.
I was wasting my breath. Turning to Sara Rider, I said, “I understand your concern, but sometimes failure is the only teacher left. It is a long life, and there are those who need a lifetime to learn the lessons and benefits that a virtuous life provide. We find slow learners in every subject, and building character is no different.”

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