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Meditations for Modern Man

In Meditations for Modern Man author Michael Cook provides readers with inspirational quotes that cover a variety of enlightened and humanistic topics from logic to morality and more. These intellectually stimulating quotes empower readers with timeless wisdom that anyone can use in their daily lives.

Author Michael Cook has written a unique and thought-provoking book that many readers will find encouraging and uplifting. While reading the quotes in the book you feel as though you are getting advice from a mentor or someone who has experienced so much in life and has a wealth of knowledge to share.

I encourage readers to, as I did, stop and reflect on what is read, because while some quotes are subtle but potent, like this one “When Logic fails, Emotion reigns.”, I found others to be layered and profound. I’m sure that some of these keen aphorisms will echo in your mind as you go about your daily life.

This is a great book for readers who are looking to grow as a person and for those seeking an enlightened opinion on how to be the best version of themselves. I enjoyed the author’s candid and unapologetic voice in his book. Readers will be able to sense his personality, and I think these aphorisms hold more value because of it.

As I was reading, I found myself agreeing with many of the maxims, but I would have enjoyed a bit of an introduction to each section if only to dive deeper into the authors thoughts on the topic. There may be some quotes in the book that readers may not agree with, but I like that the author’s writing can spark debate, either within a group or within your mind.

The author has written an observant and enlightening book of maxims that can easily become common adages. I recommend this book to parents and to young adults who are ready to go out into the world on their own and find out what kind of person they really are. This is a fantastic book for anyone that is about to embark on a personal transformation journey, as these will help guide them.

Pages: 167 | ASIN: B09BQ9FWW1

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The Empathy Academy

The Empathy Academy, by Dustin Grinnell, follows Montgomery Hughes on his journey of discovery as he questions his morality. A school was built for those who test positive for genes that affect empathy, and even though Monty tests negative, he finds his way onto Nantucket Island to enroll.

Montgomery “Monty” Hughes is a terrific kid, intelligent, and constantly questioning if he is doing the right thing. When he discovers his father profited on a fake cancer drug, he decides to enroll in the Empathy Academy, which is run by Dr. Sonja Woodward. Monty uses his friend’s test results to get into the academy so that he can escape his father’s wrongdoings.

Monty has been intrigued by medicine and wants to become a doctor; however, he does not want to make his father’s same mistakes. As Monty goes to the academy for the summer, the FBI places his father under house arrest while awaiting trial for the biggest fraud committed in medicine. His father, Richard Hughes, marketed a drug that was supposed to cure cancer and ended up being harmful. There is some irony in the story as his father was diagnosed with terminal Pancreatic Cancer.

The writing style and tone of this book are a balance of science and questioning morality. Are our genes responsible for our behavior and empathy, or does our environment also play a role? Throughout this book, Grinnell accurately captured human nature and the fine line between right and wrong. Some characters in this book know what they are doing is wrong but move forward because they are scared the outcome would negatively impact them. Other characters believe what they are doing is just and right but blind themselves to the true nature of their actions. Monty is inherently good but feels he needs help because of his father’s mistakes.

This captivating novel was interesting to read. Each character had a unique development, and you could see the inner workings of human nature. The underlying plot of the fake cancer drug could elicit some strong emotions from those that have been impacted by cancer in their lives. Cancer is a touchy subject, but I believe the author handled it well throughout the book.

The Empathy Academy combines science fiction and ethical philosophy into a riveting fantasy novel. If you question right and wrong, love deciphering morality, and would like to dive into human nature, then this book is for you.

Pages: 209 | ASIN : B09RTSZ7PQ

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I Am A Healer At Heart

Jason A. Merchey Author Interview

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought takes a secular approach to explain what wisdom is and how to obtain it. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Wisdom, values, ethics and so on are very important to me personally, and of major importance to what I consider to be an ailing America. Yes, I believe that America (and of course many other countries) are in serious trouble nowadays. If we do not begin to quickly value wisdom as a society, our institutions will continue to fail, Americans will become increasingly politically polarized and violent, and the promise of the American dream will slip further and further from the grasp of all but the wealthiest individuals. People who are wise have been advising us to listen to our better angels, or our gods, or our inherent potential as human beings, for millennia, and yet here we are…. As it stands, human beings will likely destroy ourselves through nuclear war or global warming in the foreseeable future. This is of great concern to me because I think of all the good and decent people who have come before me–they didn’t work so hard and reach for the stars simply to see the world implode.

But also, I am a healer at heart. I see the power of philosophy and the potential of philosophy to engender personal growth, critical thinking, and moral values in the hearts and minds of people. I did my very best with the book because my overarching goal was to be helpful to people.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about wisdom?

I personally think it is amazing that wisdom is this age-old virtue that every significant civilization has had some interest in, which can be of unparalleled use to us as individuals and as members of society, and yet most people never think about it. Wisdom is behind truth, justice, and love in regard to how highly it is regarded–and it is certainly behind money, power, beauty, popularity, and significance on the list of those things to which Americans aspire. This is tragically misguided, because wisdom is that which can most accurately guide us through all the trials and tribulations, all the mountains and valleys life throws at us all. It can even save your life, as anyone knows who has had an accident involving gasoline, hurt someone while drunk driving, or been faced with an agonizing decision to carry a child to full-term or end the pregnancy! I have also made some dumb decisions in my life, either as a person, as an investor, or in my relationships, and it is only through wisdom that I can hope to do better in the future!

Another element that seems interesting to me is that wisdom (to the degree that folks even really ever think about it, as I said…) tends to be associated with those who are excellent in some attribute or social status, or even simply more advanced in age. I live in a part of the country with more than a few Confederate flags flying on the porches and trucks of folks who are well over 50. So it is a bit of a paradox as to what engenders real wisdom, and what has merely a superficial appearance of wisdom.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from this book?

We each have the capacity to make wisdom our greatest strength. And in a world some say has gone mad, character strengths and worthy virtues are of the highest value. These things, like love and peace, cannot be bought with money, but they can be worked toward, cultivated, prized, and loved. Indeed, the word philosophy comes from the Greek for “the love of wisdom.” So, to philosophize is to seek out, care about, and take seriously wisdom. That is amazing! To succeed in this high aspiration and worthy goal, we ought to make a habit out of taking a broad, deep look at large numbers of individuals throughout history (and from different cultures) who have lived wise, successful, impressive lives. What I call living “a life of value.” I have a free quote search engine on my website that has over 35,000 wonderful quotes about wisdom, values, virtues, ethics, personal growth, etc. Some are just plain truth (in my opinion) that I read in some magazine or heard someone say. In the present book, I bring in many philosophers, thinkers, artists, freethinkers, and spiritual exemplars to the fore. Even one quote about wisdom can make a difference in a person’s mindset, which is why I love quotes and have been thinking about these issues for almost twenty years. If we heed the lessons the wisest people have learned and then taught in many millennia of civilization, struggle, creation, cooperation, and thinking, we will surely benefit as a species.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I really left it all on the field with this book! It took me hundreds of hours of reading, thinking, and typing–dear God, THE TYPING!! I have issues with my eyes due to the side effects of glaucoma medications I take daily, so often to stare at a computer screen is hard to do. Further, I have to promote this book for the next year or so–and that is no easy task since I don’t have a publishing house behind me and I really don’t like book promotion. Frankly, I am not a full-time author and I don’t even think I am that great of a writer, so the thought of yoking myself to a computer for another 300 hours sounds frankly abhorrent to me at present. I also feel like I had a certain wind in my sails for this project because the Trump years were very hard on me, and the present moment causes me trepidation, and I am not sure I could replicate that “fire” for a subject such as meaning, compassion, or success. Wisdom is a thing of beauty, and I was transfixed by it, indeed!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Will a deep appreciation of wisdom lead to more happiness, flourishing, and success in life?

Why is America increasingly plagued by tribalism, elitism, materialism, and ME-ism?

What do philosophy, psychology, and personal growth have to say about wisdom?


Are the Bible and other religious texts legitimate and useful sources of human wisdom?

Wisdom is not able to be bought — no matter how much money a person has!
And philosophy has typically discouraged many who find it difficult, abstract, and boring.
Modern psychology and age-old personal growth principles are given a bad name by many social media personalities who oversimplify modern psychological science in an effort to make money.
 
 
What is wisdom, how can it help me, and is this book authentic, reliable and useful?
 
Four-time author Jason Merchey believes wisdom can be developed and acquired and improving your understanding of wisdom will certainly lead to living a better life! Wisdom is one of humankind’s oldest and most prized virtues, yet it is not much respected nowadays. . .

This new book has the potential to assist readers to live a life that harnesses the power of philosophy, critical thinking, and applied psychology. These secular sources of wisdom are not as complicated as they may seem, and indeed are road maps to a better life.
 
 
Greater wisdom leads to improved personal growth, happiness, and success.
Wisdom is not simple or plug-and-play, but it will yield its secrets to those who love it.
In fact, the word philosophy is Greek for “the love of wisdom.”
 
Wisdom is a comprehensive, transparent exploration of ancient and intriguing concepts combined with critical thinking, compassion, and other aspects of wisdom. Brimming with examples of psychological principles, careful analysis, and insightful quotes from many cultures and civilizations, it provides a basis for authentic intellectual, emotional, spiritual and moral growth.

The author deftly combines digestible psychological research findings, compelling personal stories, and useful quotations about wisdom.

Anyone aiming to build a life of value—one that yields purpose and happiness—should consider wisdom to be their basis. Wisdom has been one of humanity’s highest aspirations for millennia.

Jason Merchey has dealt with mental illness most of his life, but also earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology and trained as a psychotherapist. No stranger to “the big questions” and the difficulty of life, he has studied wisdom, values and virtues for twenty years.

In addition to personal benefits, this book sheds light on some of America’s significant social problems. The great philosopher Socrates himself knew that ancient Athens, Greece was in serious trouble. If we were all wiser and we had more enlightened and humane priorities, many of the problems that mark communities and nations would give way to more love, fellowship, and prosperity.

This deep and eclectic book is full of ideas and insights that will assist you to:
 
 
Discover and prioritize wisdom in your personal life and relationships
Achieve greater fulfillment, happiness and self-confidence
Bring about true success based on self-knowledge and values
Make a positive difference in your community—and the world as a whole
 
One cannot buy wisdom per se but investing in this affordable book provides a refreshing opportunity for self-improvement and intellectual growth. It has the potential to assist you to make wisdom your greatest strength!

On The Turning Away

Author Xavier Hernandez takes readers through the different stages of life, explaining the changes that people undergo and discussing why transition is important. In his thought-provoking book, he uses the analogy of the children’s game Hide and Seek to discuss the complexities of life and the nature of human beings. Hernandez’s writing style is engaging and gives the reader a sense of belonging. The author talks not only about his experiences but also about his observations and hypothetical situations. Reading this intriguing book will get readers thinking about everything they have to appreciate in life and make them more aware of what they are seeking in their hearts.

The author lets readers into his world as he talks about family, work, culture, and other personal things. He is open to the readers as he shares the knowledge, wisdom, and insight he has gained over the last forty years. In On The Turning Away: The Real Life Hide & Seek, readers are shown some of the realities that impact life and inhibit growth at times. The author then inspires readers to reach for greater heights and to fulfill the dreams they have kept hidden away inside themselves. Hernandez wants to help readers develop a positive view of life. The author discusses what ails human beings and the activities one can take to become a better version of themselves.

The writing style used is straightforward and conversational. The author’s tone is considerate and he is thoughtful in his writing and encourages readers to embrace the changes needed to achieve their own goals.

On The Turning Away: The Real Life Hide & Seek is an inspirational book that will resonate with readers in all stages of life and from all demographics. This is an excellent reference if you are a student aiming for the corporate world, married, planning on starting a family, advancing your career, or going through a transition in your life.

Pages: 119 | ASIN : B09Q6BW941

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Wisdom

Wisdom is a virtue that many wish to live by. To be described as wise gives you an advantage over others, as people appreciate your persona and thinking capabilities. In his book Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought, author Jason A. Merchey digs deep into the topic, discussing insights from neuroscience and individual traits in detail. Jason Merchey combines notes about philosophy, astuteness, and human nature. The author is well-read and gives historical references when discussing various matters.

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought is an excellent book for readers that yearn to improve their intelligence quotient. There are gems in the book that will benefit you as a reader to make better decisions and approach issues logically. I enjoyed how the author paired subjects in relation to wisdom in each chapter. The book has fifteen chapters, with each chapter having discussions from different perspectives. You get to read and understand interesting topics like loving wisdom, living a life of value, intellectual humility, self-awareness, and self-discipline, among others.

This well-written book will also teach you about modesty and open-mindedness. Jason A. Merchey tackles the aspect of human behavior in relation to the vastly different characteristics human beings possess. The historical tales and comparisons between modern man vs. ancient man and modern philosophy vs. ancient philosophy were enlightening. The lessons in the book are valuable and will have you view life in a different light. They will guide readers in finding a life of value.

Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought has the end goal of guiding people to be better humans and build a society where everyone is free and lives comfortably. With eye-opening discussions, readers of philosophy and social sciences will appreciate the perspective the author brings. As the author says, you can not buy wisdom, but you can invest in yourself to gain wisdom.

Pages: 399 | ASIN : B09RTR5F7D

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Jesus is Coming Back Tomorrow at 4:30 pm, Pack a Bag!

Author Interview

Truth and The Serpent explores an alternate creation story that follows the serpent from the Garden of Eden. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

Once I decided to write this story, I immediately determined that I wanted it to be different in some way. If it’s the same old thing then why write it at all. Honestly, I didn’t know if that was even possible, as these stories have been overdone so many times.

The major theme of the story is true versus untrue or consistent versus inconsistent, unlike every other story you hear of about religion. Where God/ religion is all fake and the explanation is aliens, monkeys, and sun worship. Or its all real, and Jesus is coming back tomorrow at 4:30 pm, pack a bag!

The issue with stories dealing with religion is that they are usually examined through the scope of morality. But morality is not a constant, which changes with culture and time. So, as I was developing the Serpent character I searched to find something to argue other than morality, which is based on perception, and not facts. I decided that even though there were may inconsistencies in these stories there was information within them, that was consistent or true for everyone.

Then I realized that that was a good discussion to have, and one that I had never heard of with these stories. Thus the Serpent would argue consistent information, and the Man of the Present, would represent our everyday biased understanding of these stories. The discussion and theme soon changed from morality, to the impact that these stories have had on culture and society. This is why the Serpent does not debate the existence of God, or Heaven or Hell, because it’s irrelevant. As culture and society deem which acts are “wrong” and which acts are “forgivable.” Once I removed that from the narrative, I could then be honest with the Serpent Character.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists present themselves to you as you writing?

No, there was no way I could have planned that the story would unfold and then end the way it did. I had an idea for each chapter, but once I got in there they became something more. The original story was a page and a half, and was literally just rewriting the Garden of Eden story form the Serpent’s point of view. It came out well, and then I thought to myself, what would it look like if I continued…

To me most of it was not a twist, but merely a change of perspective. One thing to note, is that every time we are told these stories, we subconsciously put ourselves on the side of the “good narrative” or the “victim/ saved narrative.” By doing so we only see certain things. For example, while writing the chapter “The Earth” which covers Noah/ the flood. Once the flood came I instantly put the Serpent inside the Ark, because that’s just what our minds do. I came up with a scenario that the Serpent was camouflaged hiding in the haystacks, which I’m glad I didn’t go with. But then it hit me, why does the serpent have to be inside? The Serpent is a reptile, there are sea snakes, Sea Serpents of legend even… what would happen if I put the Serpent outside.

I did, and then everything opened up. My mind began to explore this world in a way I had never done before. I soon found that the Serpent was the perfect vehicle to do this with, as putting him outside would not affect our opinion of him, while the same couldn’t be done with the human characters. It was difficult to navigate these stories from this perspective, but once I separated my ego from the subject, I was able to write the story.

I felt that the biblical aspects in this novel were expertly used. What kind of research did you do for this story?

One I read the bible for myself. Second, I removed my ego from the equation. Writing this book was not about me, it is at its core a talking animal story that takes place in the what if universe. That is, in itself, about as fictitiously fantastical fake as you can get. However, once I started reading for myself, I quickly saw how inconsistent the biblical stories were. Then on top of that, there is the commercial understanding that we have been taught and sold.

One thing to note, is that Christianity does not own these stories, and they exist in many other cultures and beliefs. For that matter this could very well be Muslim Fiction, Jewish Fiction, or Zoroastrian fiction. We live in a western world, so that is our first thought, but these stories have existed long before there ever was a Christian church. Additionally, this story is not about religion, it is a story of humanity as seen through the eyes of the Serpent character.

Then, once I got started I didn’t limit myself to the bible. As you will note I make references to spirituality, mythology, history, science, and math. I researched and looked up everything, not just say Noah’s Ark the tale, but what Noah’s name meant. I looked up what causes a flood, what happens to flood waters, how does it impact species and topsoil and later plant growth. I viewed the events not as only divine wrath, but in natural real terms. i.e. the animals going to the Ark, is explained as animals changing their migrations. Then I asked, what could cause a change in animal migrations and so on. I then added these definitions to the biblical story, which then added new depth and meaning. I would say that I had about 100 pages of printed notes for each chapter. I looked up everything trying to find something tangible and meaningful beyond the everyday wrath, salvation, and lightshow.

Once I did that, the stories came alive and were now three dimensional, taking on new meanings that I didn’t see coming. But none of that would have been possible if I didn’t research meticulously. Most of all, I didn’t just ask questions, I sought out rational answers as if, I was actually having this epic discussion. So, in a way, it was me asking the questions that I never got an answer to, and using the “absurd Serpent in the what if universe” as a platform to have this discussion, which somehow worked.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

Next is Serpent book 2. It will be the Serpent and another human character who live during the time of Jesus. The Serpent will be his obnoxiously colorful self, adding sarcastic commentary to the events as they unfold. It has a title, but I’m not releasing it until I finish writing it. I have notes started and have started planning out the chapters, but I have not begun writing the dialogue and narrative. Hopefully, I will start officially on it January 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Truth and The Serpent by [Rutledge, J.]What if you encountered a dark and sinister character of not so subtle reputation? One whose origins are the very meaning of temptation and sin. 

What do we really know of creation, myth, and belief? There was a Man, a Woman, a Garden, and of course… a Serpent. Yet, what we have come to know as temptation, and mortal sin are only one side of the story. You see, three sinned, and three were punished, but only two were expelled from the Garden, but afterwards…what happened to the Serpent? 

A present day man finds himself eye to eye with the infamous Serpent of curse and ruin. The Serpent who characteristically makes the man an offer to learn not just what happened, but why. 

A tale unlike any other, where the fall of man is not weighed on a scale of good or evil, but in truth and lies. The Serpent whose intellect, sarcasm, and wit cultivates over time as he appraises the history of man and religious lore. The Serpent who is also on a journey of self-discovery to learn the meaning of that ill-fated encounter and the purpose of his own life. 

Come to know the unsung story of one who lived through creation, survived the great deluge, witnessed a mass exodus, and the rise and fall of exalted kings of men. Could such a tale, as told by a forked tongue, be the end of lies, and the beginning… of the truth.

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The Seal of Confession

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A Burning in the Darkness follows Father Michael serving at an airport when he becomes the prime suspect in a heinous crime. What was the inspiration to the setup to this thrilling suspense novel?

Essentially it was the opening set up/dilemma. An anonymous voice in a darkened confessional confesses a murder to Father Michael Kieh. Circumstance and evidence points to the Michael’s guilt but he remains faithful to the Seal of Confession and doesn’t betray the identity of a young witness. Michael’s dilemma is between remaining true to his ideals or saving himself from a long prison sentence.

Father Michael Kieh is an intriguing and dynamic character. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

In relation to Michael, I often asked myself: Is it possible to be so good that it becomes self-destructive? Is it possible to have the same degree of love and imaginative sympathy for the entire human race as one’s family and not be overwhelmed? Even asking the question seems exhausting and tiresome but the answer is self-evident. You would be overwhelmed to the point of physical and psychological destruction. Yet Michael comes close to this form of destruction.

Michael’s childhood was forged in the horrors of the Liberian civil war, but he chose a life dedicated to the Good. Michael has the moral freedom and strength to be different to his environment. He was a child witness and was protected from harm so he knows the importance of the strong protecting the weak. But we all need a little selfishness to survive. And Michael certainly has a smattering of selfishness because he is not afraid to assert his need for love as a strong-willed lover. But the reader roots for Michael because he refuses to betray his higher ideals. I wanted the novel to justify Michael’s faith in the ideals of putting the needs of others who cannot protect themselves before your own needs. It’s easy to talk the talk on this, but entirely different to walk the walk when you have to make a big sacrifice.

I wanted to write a page-turner novel, but the action explores a deep morality without, I hope, being preachy and self-justifying. It’s also important to me that whether you’re a diehard atheist or fervent believer that you will be engaged by Michael’s character, dilemma and beliefs.

When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

I wrote a 5 or 6 page outline which I tinkered around with for a year or so, not sure if it was working as a story. This gave me the main plot and character points. It was more like what they call in the movie/TV business ‘a treatment’. I’m a film school graduate, so it was part of my training. I spoke to a close friend of mine about the story and he encouraged me to write it. (By the way, I work as a cinematographer on TV drama.)

I find a problem in well written novels in that I always want there to be another book. Are you writing another book? If so, when will it be available?

Your kind and positive response makes me want to write another. Most of my time and effort has been spent getting A Burning in the Darkness published. Michael’s story is complete so there’s no room to revisit it. I am working on an outline for another novel. Actually, mostly researching it at this point.

A Burning in the Darkness took me a good 7 years to write. That’s too long! I’d also like to write a novella in the meantime. Maybe 80 to 100 pages. I’d like to be able to do it in about 6 months, but I’m a slow writer.

Sadly I lost my wife to breast cancer 18 months ago. I have three amazing teenage children who are the best thing about my life, but being a single dad and working to keep them fed and housed takes up a lot of time. But that’s my primary responsibility. Nevertheless, my kids are also a powerful source of moral strength and determination. And somehow writers always find the time to write.

Author Website

A Burning in The DarknessA murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.

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Translate Statistics into Individual People

Jason Hensley

Jason Hensley Author Interview

Part of the Family examines the experiences of the children who came to England from the Kindertransport during the Holocaust. I believe you delivered a compassionate view of this dark time in history. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Before this book, there was one document that attempted to set out in detail the Christadelphian involvement in the Kindertransport––and that was Dr. Chana Kotzin’s thesis that evaluated the reaction of a handful of Christian groups to the Jewish refugees in the 1930s. She was able to go through a lot of the correspondence that took place and really examine the refugee committee side of the Christadelphian involvement––but she was not able to look into the individual stories themselves and how the children lived when they eventually did come to a family. When I attended the Belfer Conference in 2015 at the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum, the instructors emphasized 10 methodological principles when teaching about the Holocaust, and one of those standards very much resonated with me: translate statistics into individual people. History is not simply about statistics and generalities, but is rather about the lives of individual people. We constantly hear about the six million, and yet so often, the number loses its meaning, not simply because it is such a huge number, but because it is not focused on the individual. When the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust is mentioned, it should be remembered that these people were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. When we realize the individuality of the people that we are learning about, it makes them much more relatable and the lessons from their experiences become much more relevant and powerful for us. This was huge for me, and being a writer, lecturer, and teacher, I very much feel a responsibility to tell their stories. A number of the stories told in this book have not been recorded in any way before. As I interviewed the “children,” one of the major things that stood out to me was that they constantly used the phrase “I was part of the family.” Over and over, they emphasized to me that they felt loved and cherished. There were certainly exceptions, as there always will be––but I was amazed at the things that I heard from them. One man, whose story will hopefully be included in volume 2, when I asked him what he would say to the family that had housed him, if he could say one final thing to them, without hesitation, said “I love you.” Though he had not seen them for decades, he still felt that feeling very acutely and strongly––he had become part of the family. Thus, I began to ask myself why these people had such experiences–and the answer came out very clearly, as you mentioned in your review. The Christadelphian families did this and cared for these children because they felt a kinship and a love for the Jewish people. Their beliefs brought them to action––and for me, that was a very powerful statement about the importance of beliefs. In today’s world, it feels as though beliefs are often downplayed and that many are trying to put our the statement that doctrines and beliefs don’t matter––as long as someone is good. While I certainly stand for the idea of tolerance, I think that in attempting to all get along, we cannot lose the lesson that beliefs really do make an impact, and that they can influence us for good or for ill. Therefore, I hope that this book will not only inspire others to help one another, but will also encourage all of us to look at our own beliefs and ask ourselves what kind of influence our beliefs have on our own actions.

The Christadelphians were a small christian group who helped many children during this time. Do you think their compassion and determination were reflective of their religion or their personal moral character?

I think that the answer is certainly both. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing a woman who had come to England from Germany––and who had actually lived with two different families after coming to England. I think her story helps to explain the way in which the Christadelphians acted both based off of their strong beliefs about the Jewish people, and also personal moral character: This woman told me that when she first came to England, she was chosen by a family and completely ignored. This was not a Christadelphian family––and the woman didn’t know what religion they were, if any. But, they brought her to their house, put her in her room, and never spoke with her. Eventually, she said, she went hysterical. She started screaming, banging on the floors, banging on the walls––because she had no interaction with anyone. Because of that experience, the Jewish refugee committee was contacted, and she was removed from that family. From there, she went to live with a Christadelphian family in Birmingham. She stated that the first day that she met them, they had a German/English dictionary and tried to talk with her.

When she got to the house, they tried to help her learn English––pointing at their dog and saying “Billy” (subsequently, she thought that all dogs were Billys…).

She stated that she felt like part of the family. I think that the dichotomy between her two experiences can show what life with Christadelphians could have been like if they had acted simply out of a belief that they should help the Jews. When the Jewish children came to England and lived with the Christadelphian families, they did not have to treat them like family members. They did not have to try to learn German. They did not have to tell them bedtime stories. They did not have to try to correspond with the child’s parents back in mainland Europe. But they did. I think that housing the children and in that sense “saving them” could have been considered enough to say “I helped the Jews.” But, the Christadelphian families, for the most part, out of their moral character, attempted not only to help the children, but to give them the best life that they could provide––just as they did with their own children. We were privileged enough to get together with a professional videographer and put together brief interviews (5 minutes each) with Mrs. Ursula Meyer and Mrs. Rella Adler. Both of them share how the treatment that they were given was as though they were daughters:

Ursula

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsxFaBBwyeU

Rella

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G7iXMkyPT0

Part of the Family is not only well written but it’s also well researched. How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

Oddly enough, I began the research for this book last December. I was simply blown away at how well things came together. Ursula Meyer was the first person that I was able to contact, and we conducted our interview on January 19th. From there, the project just came alive. I had Christadelphian families from all over the world contacting me to tell me that a Jewish refugee had lived with them throughout the war. One of my major rules, however, is that I don’t write about someone and publish it unless I can get their approval for what I have written. And thus, hearing about all of these Jewish children that had lived with Christadelphians presented a problem––how to contact them? A number of Christadelphian families had kept in contact with the Jewish children, and so they could actually get me in touch with them, but in other cases, once the Christadelphian parents passed away, and sometimes the children, the younger generation only knew that their family had housed a refugee, but sometimes didn’t even know their name. Attempting to find the refugees and interview them about their experiences was simply amazing. I’ve called all over the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. I’ve had conversations with people in Israel, Australia, Spain, and Sweden. Yet, perhaps one of the most exciting experiences was when I was presenting on the Christadelphians at a meeting of Kindertransport survivors, and one of the men seated at my table explained that he come to this very meeting because he had lived at Elpis Lodge, the hostel set up in Birmingham by Christadelphians! I had no idea––and here I had been having lunch with him! This book came together in a matter of months––something which still astonishes me. Yet at the same time, as things kept coming together, I found myself working at it all the time––often getting up at 4:30, just because I was so excited that another survivor had emailed me, and so I couldn’t sleep anymore.

Part of the Family is the first volume in a series. What will the next volume be about and what will the whole series encompass?

Lord willing, I hope to have the second volume finished this December, as well as an audiobook for this first volume at the end of August. The goal of the entire series is to tell the individual stories––and thus, my hope is that I can keep contacting survivors and their families to tell about their experiences when they were saved from Hitler by coming to England and living with Christadelphians. Thus, volume 2 will be more stories, and so will volume 3. I currently have about 35 testimonies that I would like to write!

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Part of the Family: Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust by [Hensley, Jason]In 1938 and 1939, via a movement known as the Kindertransport, thousands of Jewish children were taken from Nazi-occupied territories to safety in Great Britain. They came to a new family, a new country, and a new life. Approximately 250 of these children were sponsored by Christadelphians, a small Christian group. Often the Holocaust is considered in terms of statistics: how many perished and how many were affected, so much so that at times the individual stories are lost in the numbers. This series examines the experiences of the individuals who came to England as children, and lived with Christadelphians. Ten of these child survivors, and their families, participated in the effort to bring about this first volume. These are their stories.Buy Now From Amazon.com

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