Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Snippet of "What Saved Grace"

A snippet of dialog from a chapter of my soon-to-be-released novel 'What Saved Grace?'

What Saved Grace? is about the beauty and complexity of compassion. Set in an urban neighborhood, it explores the impacts of widely-differing approaches to compassion in the lives of a young family that is seeking help. 

In the following snippet of dialog, members of the community's food pantry committee are grappling with whether or not their policies are helping or hurting the low-income households they seek to serve. The members represent diverse perspectives of compassion.

     Sister Mary nodded agreement, but frowned. 
     David noticed. “What?”       
     “Just that I was hoping we wouldn’t stop at a solution to double-dipping. While we’re at it, why not look at some of the broader issues that are fueling it? Not everyone agreed with my plan to help food seekers apply for SNAP. That’s okay. But we’ll keep catching people at the bottom of the waterfall instead of preventing them from falling over it if we don’t deal with poverty more directly. I believe the food pantries are primary places here in our community for addressing poverty.” 
      “And I suppose you have suggestions,” David prodded. 
      “As a matter of fact...I don’t. Nothing specifically, at least. I just hate to come up to this point again and again without us trying to explore beyond it. Double-dipping will continue and folks will do what they have to do in order to get food as long as poverty is ignored or minimized. Volunteers will wear out. And well-intended supporters who don’t see changes in the lives of these dear people may likely become hardened and turn away.” 
      “That’s why we share the Gospel with folks who come to our pantry,” said Pastor Rick. “That’s where hope begins. That’s where the possibility for change and a different future starts. Salvation brings motivation for productive living. It may be a long trajectory, but redemption is ultimately how folks are lifted out of poverty. That motivates our volunteers.” 
      Sister Mary sighed at Pastor Rick’s assertions in response to her open-ended suggestion. 
      “Pastor,” she said, “I don’t doubt salvation will change some folks to the point that they apply their God-given abilities and rise above poverty. But just look around. Salvation hasn’t driven financial desperation from the lives of many God-fearing people in these neighborhoods. It hasn’t prevented poverty from becoming widespread around here. Not everything can be blamed on a person not coming to Christ. You can’t lay the blame for poverty at the feet of every unbelieving individual or of the poor as a group. It’s just not that simple. I don’t take anything from the Gospel--for goodness sake, I serve the Gospel just like you. But we can do better than just preach and hope a handful of people get a big enough dose to put them over the top."
Copyright John Franklin Hay 2013

What Saved Grace? will be published as an ebook via in March 2013. Publication will be announced on IndyBikehiker blog, @indybikehiker on Twitter and my Facebook page. What Saved Grace? will be available on Amazon and other online booksellers a few weeks after its release on Smashwords.  Smashwords is the world's leading publisher of ebooks.

John Franklin Hay
Indianapolis, Indiana USA


Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.