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Leaving Ruin [Paperback]

By Jeff Berryman (Author)
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Item description for Leaving Ruin by Jeff Berryman...

Loreen is her name - the gnarly old woman in the angel costume who accosts Cyrus Manning near the dance floor of the Down Under. A gift is coming, she tells him. "The gift to die for." For 11 years Cyrus has pastored First Church of Ruin, a town deep in the barrens of West Texas. His life, much like the surrounding plains, looks bleak - strained relationships at home, ineffective ministry, and a congregation that no longer wants him. Hoping to hear a word from God, he gets little more than the occasional headache and the silence of a near-dead wind. The arrival of a former lover, the death of dear friend, and a blatantly rejected prayer increase Cyrus' inner pressure, and the call of missed life becomes palpable. Loping toward the unknown, Cyrus faces roads filled with fevered dreams, wandering messiahs, and the occasional rare gift - remember Loreen, the prophecy - and he is horrified and amazed to discover that his life may not turn out at all like he'd planned. In this richly-textured novel, the world of the small -town church is revealed - its natural wonders, its natural cruelties and, here and there, breathtaking moments of unnatural grace.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Leafwood Publishers
Pages   361
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2003
ISBN  0970083653  
ISBN13  9780970083654  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
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Reviews - What do customers think about Leaving Ruin?

The life of a small church pastor  Aug 6, 2003
Annie Dillard's words on the back cover sold me on this novel right away. She says this: "Jeffy Berryman has taken an evangelical preacher, and turned him into the most unexpected thing: a human being."

As an "evangelical preacher," who is all too human I had to read it and I am glad I did. It has immediately jumped into the upper echelon of my favorite novels.

This is a story of a preacher and a church. It is mostly about the preacher, but it gives a good glimpse into the life of a small town church. Churches can be places of amazing grace, and there are some incidents depicted in this book that vividly portray this amazing grace. Churches can also be places of unimaginable cruelty, and this book gives some realistic pictures of some of the hurts that happen in a church.

But the main story is about the preacher. Cyrus Manning is a study in paradoxes, pardoxes that most preachers can understand. He is desperately in love with Jesus and desperately wants to experience Him, yet most often Jesus feels far away. He longs to be holy, while at the same time he wrestles with longings to lust after everything in a skirt. He loves his wife deeply yet has a very difficult time communicating with her. He loves his children, yet struggles with how to raise them. And, he loves his church very much, yet at times hates what the church does to him.

Many pastors will read this book and relate to it. They will understand the struggles that Cyrus goes through. Many church members will read this and appreciate the struggles of their pastors like never before.

I predict some will hate this book. Many pastors think they are beyond the wandering eye, the vengeful thoughts, or an occasional outburst of profanity. To them, Cyrus will be an example of a man who is double-minded and unfit for service in the kingdom.

Others, who are church members will hate the book also because Cyrus definitely doesn't fit their idea of what a pastor should be. Cyrus is certainly not on anyone's pedestal. Most folks want a pastor who has his act together and it is obvious as you read this book that Cyrus has many struggles.

I am not suggesting that Cyrus is a model to which modern pastors should seek to attain, I am saying that he is a model of what many of us are. Many of us have similar struggles and we desperately need Jesus the way that Cyrus does. In that sense, this book may help validate the struggles of many in the ministry.

There are plenty of charlatans out there, and it is tempting to assume that all pastors are quacks, based on the examples of a few. The fact is that most pastors are trying their best to follow Jesus and shepherd the flock. Sometimes we do well and often we fail miserably. Cyrus gives a good example of a pastor who tries his best, fails miserably, yet still finds God in the midst of his failures.

The great thing about this book is that it shows that there is something greater than ministerial success - knowing Jesus. Sometimes we need to fail in our ministry to succeed in knowing Jesus.

The First of Its Kind...LITERARY Christian Fiction!  Oct 2, 2002
If you, like me, have looked for years, without success, for truly well-written Christian literature, this is what you have been looking for! I have read this book as slowly as possible, in order to savor the pleasure of discovering such beautiful, honest language in a piece of "Christian" fiction. This book is one that I would be more than proud to share with a discriminating book group...and I have never before found a novel in this genre that I could say that about. As a very busy mom of four children, I rarely have time to read, so I have been carrying around Leaving Ruin everywhere...for those odd moments of waiting time in post offices and grocery stores. This book is such a gem...the only drawback is that it leaves you longing for more such literature, and since this is Jeff Berryman's first novel, we may be in for a long wait!
Don't leave "Ruin" unread!  Jun 22, 2002
Leaving Ruin is a masterfully written story by a master storyteller. Jeff Berryman brings you into the life and heart of Cyrus Manning, a preacher in Ruin Texas. You will get to know his faith, his doubts, his love for his family and his desire to hear from God. This is an honest book that can be enjoyed by anyone whether they are a part of a church or not. One page will leave you laughing and the next you will be holding back a tear. But one thing's for sure--you'll keep turning the pages!

Get a copy, a cup of coffe, and find yourself transported to Ruin, Texas. And, if you get a chance, see Jeff bring "Leaving Ruin" to life in his one-man play.

Finally, an honest, beautiful novel about faith  Mar 2, 2002
Jeff Berryman has given the world a real gift in "Leaving Ruin"--a story that explores the faith of a pastor from the inside out. The characters are rich and complex. The story is incredibly real in its telling. Too often Christians are portrayed in books--written by Christians or by non-Christians, as simple minded, trite and unrealistic. This novel tells the tale of a Texas pastor with a realism and sensitivity that is masterful.

It is a book about struggles that we all have--the searching "Why God?" questions that are common to the human race--not just to people of the Christian faith. To Christians, it has special meaning. How do we cope when things don't seem to be going very well? Dare we voice our nagging doubts out loud? Berryman's characters do this for us, brilliantly. Especially the main character, a pastor who is much more human and real than his congregation wants him to be.

But it isn't just a book for Christians or church goers. This is fine writing for anyone. Berryman is a extraordinary writer who captures the nuances of emotion, irony, and personality with the ability of a Jane Hamilton or a Wallace Lamb. It's simply superb.

This is a wonderful book!  Feb 4, 2002
Jeff Berryman's book is a fascinating read about the life of a preacher. I almost felt as though I was intruding as I became privy to the most personal feelings, joys, fears, heartaches, and struggles of the minister who is a man of God, but still a simple man with all the frailties and temptations of all human beings. This insight into the life of a pastor/preacher and his family touched my heart as no book has in a long time. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to anyone who has ever been a member of a church congregation or has ever known a minister. The church members in the book will remind you of some in your own congregation, and the minister's struggle with his feelings and his problems will almost move you to tears. This is a book you'll want to own so that you can pick it up and re-read it whenever you want.

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