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February 23, 2021 35 min

I grew up in a home where I was encouraged to read, perhaps not in the healthiest of manners, but encouraged to read nonetheless. My natural adversarial personality did not accept such prodding easily, my push-back coming in the form of, or preference to, physical activity. Give me a ball of any kind, and I was happy.

I happened to have the good fortune of growing up in Pittsburgh, the second cloudiest city in the US, with winters unfriendly to little boys wanting to run and play outside, our periodic football games in the snow a rare opportunity. Nasty weather drove us indoors, restlessly impatient, looking for something to do. Once bored enough, the ample books awaited to be opened by hesitant youthful eyes.

While a few classics were consumed in such moments, before long I discovered various genres more to my liking. The Hardy Boys mystery novels were consumed along with Nancy Drew and her equally challenging exploits. Next escape novels from WWII were discovered in abundance. Reading itself could be an escape I realized, something much needed in my abusive, unfriendly childhood home.

I guess there is something good about learning the value of books for escape and enjoyment before accepting their value for learning itself. It was many years later I embraced the enjoyment of education, expanding one’s mental geography while traveling through time between the pages of a book. 

I picked up a new author a few months ago, wondering if he would be worth reading. My rule is to read at least fifty pages before rejecting the book for good. I was cynical about this guy for reasons not worth elaborating upon, but I got through the first fifty pages, more than a little intrigued. I’m on my fourteenth book now and recently discovered I have the option of going for fifty more.

The characters are deep, real, multidimensional, and struggle with the same issues in life as I do. They live in times I want to know more about and in places, I want to go. Their relationships struggle with things I struggle with and their doubts seem to match my own as well.

So today on Church Hurts And you get to meet that author along with me. His name is Michael Phillips and he doesn’t do many interviews. He’s a writer, not a public speaker, but he has graciously agreed to come out of his Shire, of sorts, to be with us.  Welcome, Michael Phillips to Church Hurts And.

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