Item description for Fallen: A Novel by Matthew Raley...
Overview In this compelling novel that mirrors church scandals in the news today, Jim, middle-aged bank manager, is torn between a desire to believe the best and suspicion resulting from an apparent indiscretion by his popular young pastor Dave.
Publishers Description Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim's married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor's world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page.
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Studio: Kregel Publications
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.03" Width: 6.39" Height: 0.66" Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2008
Publisher Kregel Publications
ISBN 0825435757 ISBN13 9780825435751
Availability 0 units.
More About Matthew Raley
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children.
Reviews - What do customers think about Fallen: A Novel?
Compelling and Insightful Feb 16, 2008
Matthew Raley has written a courageous, timely novel about a church chairman who discovers his popular pastor may be involved in an adulterous relationship, only to find the truth is that and worse.
At once a compelling read, a lesson on husbandry, a study of church leadership, and a gospel primer, this novel will be valuable for pastors, church leaders, and laypersons. Anyone involved with biblical counseling in these matters should add it to their homework assignment list.
This is not a perfect novel, as Jim's introspections are a little overdone at points. But Raley is an excellent writer, and his gift with language even make these passages easy to read.
As for the matter of "closure" that some reviewers see as missing: this work is excellent fodder for discussions among church leadership and in adult fellowship groups. For this novel to be most useful, the closure issues need to be raised and addressed by its readers. I recommend that group leaders assign this book, then develop a list of questions and observations that can help guide their study and application.
This book definitely makes you think... Feb 10, 2008
I read this book intrigued by the plot - rather daring really, most people wouldn't touch the topic of pastor marital infidelity with a 10-foot pole. So right off the bat I thought Matthew had a lot of guts. The book was well written though the long bouts of just thoughts got a little tedious, overall the setup and writing was good. My issue came with content and mainly the ending. I did not have a problem with the actual subject matter (pastor cheating on wife and 2 kids and lying to deacon who confronts him about it) but I believe there should be a chance for redemption. Sadly, by the end of the book the pastor was the most evil man in town with no chance for redemption and anyone who had been a part of the church and believed a word he said in a sermon was a total schmutz. The deacon found some redemption, but the ending was really unsatisfying and maybe that is what the author was going for - that we shouldn't be satisfied with all the garbage going on around us. But I actually told my family not to buy it - but feel free to get a copy and check it out for yourself, just don't say I didn't warn you...
As a side note - I would read more from this author if the topic was different - I think he has amazing potential given the right outlet!
The line between good and evil Feb 9, 2008
Jim holds a powerful position as chairman of the board of a Baptist church. After witnessing Dave, the church's pastor, exiting an unfamiliar woman's car, Jim becomes troubled because the pastor has a wife and children. After much internal debate, Jim hesitantly approaches Dave about the incident since he is responsible for maintaining the reputation and purity of this church. Initially, the incident appears to be innocent, but as Dave's story unravels, the stunning truth becomes apparent. Consequently, Jim must decide how to handle informing the congregation of the pastor's actions and prepare to deal with the backlash.
The majority of this book is the bantering back and forth between the chairman and the cunning pastor, with each trying desperately to make his point about what constitutes a sin. These conversations will challenge you to consider at what point adultery begins. Does it require sexual activity or can it occur when one shares his intimate thoughts and feelings with one who is not his spouse? Author Raley does a good job of balancing both sides of the argument by offering examples to support both concepts.
Raley has created some interesting characters in this novel. Jim's struggle to do the right thing for the sake of the church members is tempered by his strong desire to not act in the same ways his father did when he was the chairman years ago. Jim's internal dialogue is prominently featured, allowing you to experience his anguish about the important decisions he faces. I found myself rooting for him to do the right thing even though other board members tried to downplay the importance of the situation. Dave's character also stirred up some strong feelings in me. As the truth emerged, it enraged me how someone, especially a pastor, could be involved in such deviousness.
Overall, Fallen is a thought-provoking novel that will challenge both religious and lay people. I would have liked an epilogue to be included. After becoming involved in the story, I want to know what Dave's eventual fate was. I am also curious as to how the congregation reacted to the news about Dave's actions.
Armchair Interviews says: Unique topic covered in this novel.
Powerful Jan 23, 2008
What a tangled web I read. ..Wow.
Fallen grabbed me immediately and did not let go until the final silken strand. Matthew Raley has written a book that may need to become part of seminary curriculum. Maybe Fallen should be required reading for elder or deacon boards. Without heavy discussions regarding theological ideology, or overwhelming use of scripture, Raley manages to wind the reality of truth around cheap grace, religiousity, legalism, licentiousness, grace, forgiveness and accountability. And pride gets the life sucked out of it.
Two male characters from different circumstances and generations interact with affection, wariness, concern and pain. I found myself agonizing with Raley's main character ,Jim while he got more entangled with his own thoughts as well as the series of facts and perceived realities. I have been Jim, and I dare say I've been a Dave.
I know many will think this is a story about dangerous pastors, but don't miss the point that wound its way around my heart. Our lives are woven and God doesn't miss a stitch. He'll use whatever means to make sure my life is one that glorifies Him. No matter how painful or costly, God will shape the ones He loves and died for.
This story is overtly Christian. But with an honest look at religion vs. relationship and enough mind games to entice readers who don't claim Christianity but love cat and mouse games. I'd suggest it to anyone who has ever been burned in church politics, too.
Raley is a new author to watch. I'm looking forward going to get my hands on his next novel. I hope it will be soon.
Note: Do a Google search for this book because it went through a blog tour. Some didn't like it quite as much as I did and a few didn't even finish it. My opinion is subjective, of course, and I happen to love very introspective reads, especially if they are well-written. Chances are if you have enjoyed other books I've loved, then you will likely eat Fallen up. But if you are drawn toward breathtaking action or bodice ripping romance...maybe not so much.
Startling, brutal look at the consequences of sin Jan 23, 2008
Fallen by Matthew Raley is a surprisingly good read. Jim, a banker and chairman of his church, sees his pastor, Dave, getting out of a strange woman's Mercedes. First, Jim weighs the pros and cons of talking to Dave about appearances and propriety, then when the bombs start dropping, he has to decide not only what to do about Dave and the church, but also has to re-evaluate his own life and faith. This book started out a little slow for me, Jim does an inordinate amount of internalizing. But as he started making choices, the plot moved forward rapidly, and when I finished reading, I was stunned by the depth and honesty of Raley's writing. The story is told in an almost steady stream of consciousness from Jim's point of view, and as he remembers lessons he's learned, he educates the reader (gently) as well. The themes Fallen addresses: the superficiality of churches, fallen leaders, the fake self we show to the world have been addressed in other books, but rarely with this amount of punch-you-in-the-gut frankness. Jim realizes through seeing Dave's sins that he is equally as guilty of living a lie. He presents a face for the world to see that isn't who he is on the inside. When the mask slips, especially in front of his family, he feels threatened and attacks. The kind of Christianity that Jim (and Raley) embraces at the end is frightening in its authenticity. No masks, no pretenses, just true compassionate, loving Christianity that isn't afraid to talk about sin and death. Raley took my breath away as he took the verse Romans 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one. This book is a wake up call to reject the false Christianity that's easy to embrace and turn to genuine faith that lives each and every day knowing that we are fallen and are only saved by the grace of God.