3 out of 4 stars
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Johnny Boyd greatly admired Brother Ambrose Jones. As the preacher at his family’s church, Brother Jones told the stories of the Bible in an understandable way. So, when Brother Jones asked for Johnny’s help, he was more than happy to oblige. Brother Jones married a much younger woman. She and Brother Jones asked Johnny to spend some time alone with her in the bedroom on Sunday afternoons. Johnny was sure that the couple’s intentions had to be virtuous because they were good Christians. Author Billy Lynne Tranum shares scandalous short stories and inspiring sermons in Southern Sermons and More.
Pastors Delmar Johnson and Johnny Boyd became inspirational church leaders, but both came from humble beginnings. Preaching in southern Arkansas in the 1950s, Pastors Johnson and Boyd might have been uneducated, but they were intelligent and passionate preachers. Their sermons made the people in Bible stories relatable to their parishioners. This helped them to better understand the stories of the Bible.
Also living in Arkansas at that time were two imperfect women. The seductive Reola was a dependable cleaning lady in the town of Wilson. She seemed like a normal hardworking woman, but no one is ever what they seem to be. The lovely Louise married Jimmy, the good-looking baseball player with a promising future. However, Jimmy’s drinking drives Louise to do what she finds necessary to protect the two of them, no matter the consequences.
This book was not at all what I had expected. I was preparing myself for a book of church sermons and Bible lessons. While there were plenty of Bible stories in the book, there was an equal amount of scandalous drama. The churches in 1950’s southern Arkansas were not just places of worship. Communities came together to care for each other in the church.
This is a well-written collection of stories. The author’s memories are beautifully presented in this book. The characters are deeply flawed, but somehow, extremely likable. There is one minor grammar error, but it does not distract from the story.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This should have been published as two separate books. The first half is a collection of church sermons, and the second half is a collection of scandalous short stories. I tried to create some kind of connection between the two halves. Perhaps the contrast of sinners and saints, but it just doesn’t fit. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book. It is inspirational and entertaining. Christian readers will enjoy the first half of the book, and fiction readers with enjoy the second half. Still, Southern Sermons and More highlights the beauty of human weakness and the power of faith.
Southern Sermons and More
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