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Monday, June 19, 2006

Philip Gulley

I bought a book for my wife by Philip Gulley some time ago, because Amazon indicated that people interested in the works of Jan Karon might be interested in his books. She liked his books. So do I.

Karon's Mitford series is about an Episcopal priest in a small town. Gulley's Harmony series is about a Quaker minister in a small town. Both of them feature some memorable characters, and both of them use the small town locales well, telling about things that wouldn't be expected to happen in a big city, like Gulley's ambulance driver who does double duty as the mortician, hence, as Gulley puts it, doesn't have much motivation to hurry when driving the ambulance. I would say (others have, too) that Gulley's world, at least, has similarities to that of Garrison Keillor.

Both books raise some issues about faith. Both are humorous. Karon is a little more positive. There are some characters in the Harmony books that pastor Sam Gardner doesn't like very much, and I don't think Gulley does, either. Karon's message is that God is good, and people are, too. Gulley dwells less on God, and his people aren't always very good. He considers political/religious issues more. One of his books is includes some advocacy for acceptance of homosexuals (as part of his stories). He is co-author of If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person. I haven't read this book, and don't plan to, but, according to the title, and the reviews, it argues for Christian universalism -- as the subtitle says. I think Gulley is too hard on fundamentalism in the Harmony series.

Whatever his theological views, Gulley is a good writer. Fiction, after all, is not the place where you should get your theological views. His Harmony books have some good character studies, some can't-keep-it-to-yourself humor, and are good reads.

Thanks for reading.


Elliot said...

I'll have to jot Gulley's name down and pass it along. My father-in-law became a huge fan of Karon's books after I inadvertantly introduced him to them. I was shocked, but I guess I didn't know him as well as I thought!

Laura said...

This has nothing to do with your post but a friend asked me about this & I couldn't remember if it was possible, here goes... can a guy with b- blood type and a girl with ab- have a baby with o+? Figured you'd know... thanks.

Martin LaBar said...

Karon's books are good for both sexes to read. Thanks, Elliot.

A definite no, Laura. An AB person can't have an O child, unless there's a mutation, and two Rh- people can't have an Rh+ child, barring mutation, so there are two reasons for the "no." Hope this doesn't cause a divorce . . .