Tag Archive | Key of David Publishing

Ordinary Legends: A Review of T.S. 44 – The Button Tree Prophet, by William Spires

One of those unfortunate traits of any generation is the tendency to ignore our elders. Those who take time to talk with and listen to parents, grandparents, and other older people often come away with unexpected blessings. After all, they have lived through experiences that everyone must encounter at some point, and thus have acquired valuable lessons to share with younger people who have yet to go through those experiences. Of course, that is what we expect. What surprises us is that the ordinary life experience of our elders frequently turns out to be the stuff of legends. Will Spires discovered this in conversation with his father. What he learned about his father’s childhood in Columbia, South Carolina, during World War II inspired him to build a coming-of-age story that resonates with readers on many levels.

Spires’ first novel, T.S. 44: The Button Tree Prophet, investigates the world of an ordinary boy from a working-class family. But then, what is ordinary about a boy losing his father on the eve of his tenth birthday? Perhaps that is what makes this novel so compelling from the first page. Travis Shipley’s life is already what contemporary readers would describe as underprivileged. His family is poor, his parents are uneducated, the Great Depression has drained his country of much of its vitality, and global war is redefining every facet of human interaction. In a world where everything that once was normal is now in transition, the merciless scythe of cancer snatches away the greatest source of stability in his young life. All that he has to help him find the right direction is a button his father gives him just before his death, charging him with the task of finding out what it means to be a button.

How Travis adjusts to this new reality is the vehicle by which Spires conducts us on a captivating journey through the convulsions impacting the urban, industrial, segregated American South of the mid-twentieth century. The fact that this Southern society is decidedly Christian – at least culturally – explains why this is a story of faith. Few stories of the South in that era could be otherwise. Christianity defines the culture for all the characters, regardless of their color, economic status, education, or even religion. That is where we find the first unique point of Spires’ novel. As Travis moves through the fog of grief and the daily reality of grinding poverty, he encounters help from unexpected sources. Chief among them is Jacob Meadows, a disabled World War I veteran who serves as the local truant officer. We quickly learn that Meadows, an observant Jew, is somehow able to move comfortably between the Jewish and Christian communities. This is surprising on several counts. First, the average reader likely is not aware that the Jewish community of South Carolina has ancient roots, going back to the earliest colonial days. Spires provides the historical background, establishing credible reason for Meadows to be simultaneously Jewish and Southern. That helps explain the next unusual point: how Jews interact with Christians in the American South. It is actually not so unusual. As a minority in every place where they have lived through the ages, Jews have learned to interact with the larger community, and simultaneously find space to be Jewish. Jacob Meadows helps us understand how that worked out in South Carolina. But then there is the strangest point of all: how this Jewish man can interact with Christians on their own terms. Spires provides not only a plausible explanation, but a very strong one. The answer comes from Meadows’ experience on the battlefields of France in the First World War, where differences of belief and practice fade in the presence of a brotherhood born of sacrificial love extending beyond the grave.

That is what makes Jacob Meadows the perfect mentor for young Travis. As unlikely as it may seem, it is he who is best equipped to help the lad through the inevitable questioning of and anger at God for the hard trials he endures. Meadows comes in at precisely the right moment, helping not only Travis, but his mother. Sarah Shipley is a woman already worn down by the ordeal of caring for her dying husband. Her new role as single parent of a precocious and willful son is all the more difficult because of her long hours at work earning just enough to pay the bills. The Shipley family needs stability and normalcy, which Meadows is willing and able to provide it in good measure. Others assist him, although not always by design. One is Alfred Patterson, a hard-nosed journalist who learns of Travis’ story, and another is Annie Wright, Travis’ classmate and neighbor, who is dealing with her own father issues. Then there is the Ragman, a black shoeshine artist whose long career as a railroad porter and as a pastor give him just the right words to speak into Travis’ life at the moment he needs them.

The encounter with the Ragman stands as one of the most poignant episodes of T.S. 44. This is where Spires deals with one of the ugliest features of the American South: segregation. Spires does not hit it head on. In fact, he does not hit any issue head on. Many aspects of life in that era are uncomfortable and even reprehensible by contemporary standards. The secondary status of African-Americans is but one. So also are the divisions between rich and poor, educated and uneducated, the powerful and the weak, men and women, and Christian and Jew. Moreover, the ubiquitous presence of cigarettes is something contemporary readers will find uncomfortable and even disgusting. Yet all these are part of the reality of mid-twentieth century America. Spires incorporates all of that reality into his story without judgment. That is one of the strengths of his work; had he engaged in judgement, his novel would be nothing more than a shrill cry for social justice that would bypass the deeper human truths he conveys. Thus we see the poignancy of the Ragman’s meeting with Travis: an old black man and a young white boy connecting on very human terms, even in defiance of the color barrier and other realities that otherwise would keep them apart.

In time, Travis finds an answer to the question of what it means to be a button. The Ragman is one of those who help him find that answer. Along the way, Travis not only receives help from unexpected sources, but finds himself helping others in unexpected ways. In the end, a tragedy that should never befall one so young imparts a life lesson that few learn even in old age: every one of us impacts multitudes of others in ways we usually do not realize. What Travis Shipley learns is that it is better to make that impact a good one by easing the burdens of others whenever possible. This opens him to what may only be described as a miraculous encounter with his Creator. Is that miracle believable? By the time Travis is ready to walk it out, the question is turned on its head. He has already come through improbable circumstances just by making himself available for God to use as He pleases. In a sense, his very survival to the age of ten is miraculous. Why, then, should he question Divine intervention at all? If it comes in small things like responding with compassion to the presence of a mouse in his room, then surely it is there in moments of great need. And that is how Travis Shipley, the unlikely Button Tree Prophet of Columbia, South Carolina, teaches us what it means to be human.

T.S. 44: The Button Tree Prophet is available at Key of David Publishing (https://www.keyofdavidpublishing.com/).


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2018.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Climbing the Buttonwood Tree

Here’s what’s coming on Hebrew Nation Radio this Monday, October 15:

Will Spires is back! He’s got a new album, a new book, and a new season of joy.

It’s taken a bit longer than expected, but Will’s first novel is soon to be available through Key of David Publishing. T.S. 44: The Button Tree Prophet, is about ready to go to print! This “coming of age” tale set in Columbia, South Carolina during World War II presents the story of a boy growing up with more than his fair share of hardship. The stories Will’s father told of his childhood serve as the foundation of a spiritual journey involving a button, a bus, an old sycamore tree, and a boy with a vivid imagination. What’s so special about a sycamore? Well, aside from the fact that it’s also called the buttonwood tree, it’s the place where Will’s characters tend to get revelations that help them understand who they and what they have been created to do! What kind of revelations are those? Join us on The Remnant Road and find out!

The Remnant Road, with co-hosts Al McCarn, Mike Clayton, Barry Phillips, and Hanoch Young is the Monday edition of the Hebrew Nation Morning Show.  You can listen live at 11:00–1:00 EST, 8:00-10:00 PST at http://hebrewnationonline.com/, and on podcast at any time.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2018.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be A Button

Here’s what’s coming on Hebrew Nation Radio this Monday, July 16:

What has Will Spires been doing the last few months? Creating things!

As we would expect of an accomplished musician, Will has written a number of songs related inspired by our Father’s work in establishing His Kingdom. Those songs are featured in a new album which is even now in production , and a fitting follow-on to The Return, available at Key of David Publishing.

But that’s not all! Did you know Will is a gifted author? His first novel, T.S. 44: The Button Tree Prophet, is soon to be published by Key of David. This “coming of age” tale set in Columbia, South Carolina during World War II presents the story of a boy growing up with more than his fair share of hardship. The stories Will’s father told of his childhood serve as the foundation of a spiritual journey involving a button, a bus, an old sycamore tree, and a boy with a vivid imagination.

Want to know more? Tune in to our show on Monday, July 16!

The Remnant Road, with co-hosts Al McCarn, Mike Clayton, Barry Phillips, and Hanoch Young is the Monday edition of the Hebrew Nation Morning Show.  You can listen live at 11:00–1:00 EST, 8:00-10:00 PST at http://hebrewnationonline.com/, and on podcast at any time.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2018.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Understanding the Seed of Abraham: A Review of Redeemed Israel – Reunited and Restored By Batya Ruth Wootten

One of these days, the people of God will be amazed to learn that any power Satan retains is only that which God allows him to have, or that God’s people themselves give to him. That is the testimony of Scripture (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-10; Isaiah 14:12-20, Colossians 2:8-15; Ephesians 4:7-10; Psalm 68:18-19). It is a testimony lived out in recent centuries as Christians and Jews of all denominations and sects cling tightly to their own unique perspective of the Creator’s work, while questioning the inclusion of others with them in that work. The result is a terminal fragmentation, evident in the declining effectiveness of the church (at least in the West), and a Judaism split between an assimilated Diaspora and an internally focused observant segment largely concentrated in Israel.

The stumbling block, of course, is the Messiah – the one Christians call Jesus Christ, but whom Jews for the most part disregard. Even those who fall in between these two major elements of God’s people have their issues. Although Messianic Jews and non-Jewish Hebrew Roots adherents agree that Jesus (whom they call by his Hebrew name, Yeshua) is the Messiah, and that the Torah (teaching, instruction, direction, law) of God are still applicable to Yeshua’s followers, the agreement tends to stop at that point. Thus the terminal fragmentation persists even in this expanding space that is filling the gap between Judaism and Christianity.

Where is the remedy for this sad state of affairs? Batya Ruth Wootten offers an answer in Redeemed Israel – Reunited and Restored. Her answer rests squarely on the question of identity, a question that leads her to ask, “If our God is the God of Israel, and the Jewish people are Israel, then who is the Church?

Please click here to continue reading

Published at last! – Ten Parts in the King

After months of preparation, we are glad to say that Ten Parts in the King is now available!

Key of David Publishing began filling orders yesterday (January 25), so if you have already ordered a copy, you should be receiving it in a few days. If you haven’t yet placed an order, just click on this button:And why should you order a copy of Ten Parts in the King? That’s a question we did our best to answer at our book launch on January 21. It was an intimate event with a small gathering of friends and family at M. Judson Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina. We had hoped to live stream the book launch on Facebook, but that proved a technological challenge beyond our ability to conquer. We did record it, though, and hopefully in the next few days will be able to post the video.

David Altman of Key of David Publishing facilitated the book launch.

David Altman, representing our publisher, presided over the event, and both of us had opportunity to share some thoughts. The story of the book’s origins is something we explain in more detail elsewhere (such as in our radio interview on Reunion Roadmap). What we shared at the book launch focused more on our hopes for Ten Parts in the King: that it might reach our brothers and sisters in traditional Christian churches who may not yet understand exactly what the covenant nation of Israel is, and their relation to it. Our remarks included a challenge to our audience to place the book in the hands of their pastors, teacher, friends, and family. We believe Ten Parts in the King is a revolutionary tool for awakening our brethren to a very important part of their identity that they may never have considered before. Moreover, we believe it is something that will help explain why Christianity and Judaism continue to exist side by side – in fact, as the Two Witnesses to God’s redemptive plan for all nations.

Authors Pete Rambo and Al McCarn field questions from the audience.

It always helps to speak before a receptive audience, and that was the case at M. Judson Booksellers last Sunday. The size of the crowd was not so important to us as the purpose of the event: not only to celebrate the launch of our book, but to offer prayers of dedication that it might be used in the hands of the Almighty in His work of restoring His Kingdom. Our good friends Tommy and Dorothy Wilson offered those prayers, after which they led us in singing the Shema (Hear O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One! Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom, forever and ever!)

That part of the program caught the attention of a Jewish lady from Charleston who happened to be visiting Greenville that day. It puzzled her to encounter people who said the Shema, wore tzittzits, and seemed to be Jewish, but identified as followers of Messiah Yeshua. We had a pleasant conversation with her, and she parted with a signed copy of the book.

Tommy and Dorothy Wilson lead prayers of dedication for Ten Parts in the King.

What happens next is largely up to our readers! We have ideas for future projects, including expanding our website and taking Ten Parts in the King on the road for speaking and teaching events as opportunities arise. If you are interested in having one or both of us come to your fellowship, church, synagogue, or other group, just email at editor@tenpartsintheking.com.

Of course, we are not the first to present such a message, nor will we be the last. Key of David Publishing has been a voice for this same message for a generation, and still offers a number of relevant works by Batya and Angus Wootten, Ephraim Frank, and others that amplify this message from a number of perspectives. Ten Parts in the King is the first of a new generation of publications that will carry that message forward in days to come. Plans for these new works are in progress, so watch for updates!

The authors with their book.

The fun job of autographing books!

 

 

 

 

Source: Published at last! – Ten Parts in the King


© Albert J. McCarn and Peter G. Rambo, 2017-2018, all rights reserved.  For requests to use and/or duplicate original material on Ten Parts in the King send a request at the Contact Us page, or send email to editor@tenpartsintheking.com.

Publication Update: The Ten Dollar Comma

Did you ever think that a simple punctuation mark could cost $10? We didn’t either. Then we took our plunge into the publishing industry!

Comma Chameleon courtesy of SnorgTees.

As we reviewed the proofs of Ten Parts in the King over the weekend, we found a few things that needed attention. It’s amazing what you miss after working for months on a manuscript! For example, everyone knows that you shouldn’t put a “v” in “rabbi,” but somehow we managed to do it. That’s just one of several typos and other corrections we found. We’re happy to say that there were not many, and that the most significant correction was rewriting one sentence that somehow got garbled in our many previous edits. Having satisfied ourselves with the results, we sent the corrections back to the printer on Tuesday. Now we’re simply waiting for news on when the job will be finished. Once we hear that news (and it could be any day now), we’ll be able to accept preorders through Key of David Publishing.

Now about that $10 comma. There is one place in the book where it seemed to make better grammatical sense to add a comma. Then we realized that every page we changed would add $10 to the total print cost. After thinking it over, we decided that such a price was a bit too much for a single piece punctuation mark! Besides, it’s more fun to let our readers make a game of it and see where that comma should have been.

That’s the news for now! If you have any questions, please contact us at editor@tenpartsintheking.com. And, help us spread the word!

Source: Publication Update: The Ten Dollar Comma – Ten Parts in the King


© Albert J. McCarn and Peter G. Rambo, 2017, all rights reserved.  For requests to use and/or duplicate original material on Ten Parts in the King send a request at the Contact Us page, or send email to editor@tenpartsintheking.com.

 

Publication Update: Manuscript is Complete! – Ten Parts in the King

We took a major step forward this week with Ten Parts in the King. After months of work, with input from some very dedicated, knowledgeable, and helpful readers, the manuscript is complete!

What’s next? Glad you asked!

This week, we are working with Key of David Publishing to take care of those important legal and financial details to prepare the way for sending the manuscript to the printer. We already have an estimate for the initial print run, and we are very encouraged that it’s about $3,000 – about what we expected. Once we have half of that amount in hand, and have the copyright and other details settled, we can send the job off to the printer. After that, it should take about a month before the book is available.

We have had questions about when we’ll be accepting preorders. We expect to do that as soon as the book goes to the printer. If you are receiving our publication updates, you will be among the first to know!

How long before the book goes to the printer? That is a question you can help us answer!

Key of David is a small publishing company, and doesn’t (yet) have the funds on hand to cover even these modest printing costs. Therefore, we are asking for help from our readers in raising the money for the initial printing. 

To donate any amount, please click on the button below: 

Thanks to generous friends, we already have nearly $1000 in hand. Will you help us go the rest of the way? Join us in this important endeavor by making a donation toward the first printing. Any donations in excess of that amount will be rolled into successive printings. Consider this an investment, not only in Ten Parts in the King, but in the groundbreaking work that is the hallmark of Key of David Publishing! 

The last bit of news is that we are thinking about a book launching event or two. We’ll be able to fill in the details of when and where once we have an idea when the book will be published. For now, the thought is to have the book launching either in Columbia, South Carolina or in Charlotte, North Carolina – or maybe an event in each location!  Please let us know your thoughts!

That’s all for now! If you have any questions, please contact us at editor@tenpartsintheking.com. And help us spread the word!

Source: Publication Update: Manuscript is Complete! – Ten Parts in the King


© Albert J. McCarn and Peter G. Rambo, 2017, all rights reserved.  For requests to use and/or duplicate original material on Ten Parts in the King send a request at the Contact Us page, or send email to editor@tenpartsintheking.com.

 

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