Providing light to a dark world? Pastor releases book
A local pastor has authored a book to challenge Christians to live a more light-filled life.
"Radiance: If we are the light of the world, why is everything so dark?" was written by Randy Dean, pastor of Living Word Chapel in Forest.
"I'm pretty beside myself with happiness about this," Dean said. "I've been aiming at writing a book for a long time."
Published by Destiny Image Publishers, the book is available on amazon.com, target.com, the Barnes & Noble's website and other online sources.
"They're not on book store shelves yet, but that will come later," Dean said.
Since finishing college, Dean said he's often been encouraged by others to write a book.
"I've spent the better part of 40 years keeping journals, blogging and writing down thoughts," he said. "But I didn't want to just throw out another book on the Christian landscape. I wanted to have something to say."
Turns out the thing he wanted to say centered on the Bible verse, "You are the light of the world..." Matthew 5-14-16
"It came out of a fair amount of frustration with American Christianity," Dean explained. "We ought to be about more than just shaming people. We ought to be about more than keeping church doors open."
Christians today too often focus on the bad things that are happening in society and in the world, Dean said.
"That seems to be contradictory to what Jesus is saying," Dean said. "We need to be radiant. Faith isn't about arguing with people, it's about living a life of light and beauty. We should be light in the middle of dark."
Dean said he understands the book's theme could probably promote a strong reaction from some readers, but that's all right.
"I'm hoping it will reach everybody from church leaders to the average Joe and Mary sitting in the pew," he said. "I hope it generates discussions that we need to be having in our churches."
Dean said the book was compiled over the past three or four years. He spent 12 straight days in a secluded cabin more than a year ago to put the finishing touches on the manuscript.
"I plowed through it and got it done," Dean said about his motivation for completing the project. "I felt an obligation to leave some kind of spiritual inheritance behind that's meaningful."
Thanks to editing help from family and friends, Dean said he didn't have to endure numerous rejections from publishers once he submitted his book. His preferred publisher accepted the book and made only a single edit before sending it for printing.
"I'm still as giddy as a little girl," Dean said. "It's fun. I'm loving it. But I'm still freaked out by the thought that some complete stranger is reading my book somewhere."
Now that he's published his first book, Dean admitted that the writing bug has bitten him. He's already signed an agreement with Destiny Image Publishers to write two additional books over the next two years.
"I don't know when I'm going to have time to do that," he said. "It took me 40 years to get to this point (writing his first book). Now I have to write two more in two years. I am excited about it."
Since moving to rural St. Croix County from Dallas, Texas 23 years ago, Dean said he's learned to love it here.
"I used to think people who lived in the country were nuts," he said. "Now I think people who don't want to live in the country are nuts."
Dean said he's thrilled to look out his office window and see a cow pasture, and said 70 percent of American churches are found in similar settings.
"They're out there in a cow pasture somewhere," he said. "We ought to make these out-of-the-way places shine."
Dean said people in these rural locations have as much to contribute to the spiritual debate as mega-churches in large cities.
Dean said it's also important for all Christians to be positively engaged in their communities. As an example, Dean said he has served on the Clear Lake School Board for 14 years and has enjoyed the opportunity to serve others in that way.