I have known Bill Kassel for about 10 years. He has been a big help to me in my publishing and writing efforts. The one thing everyone needs to know about Bill is that when he decides to take on a project, it is going to be done right. Besides being an accomplished writer, Bill is a top notch musician and was spotted as such at a very early age. You get the point Bill knows what he is doing.
In his latest quest for a lofty project, Bill didn’t decide to tackle the Iliad or the Odyssey but in a way he tried to tackle the faith based version of a tremendous struggle and journey. Bill’s latest book is entitled; My Brother’s Keeper which is a somewhat fictional account of the early life of the Holy Family.
Bill must have spent endless hours reading through early Christian history, non-Canonical writings and apocryphal statements about the Holy Family which have nearly been lost in the mists of history. In addition, he also sought the advice of noted Catholic, Evangelical and Jewish scholars. What we are left with his a very serious three part work on the life the Holy Family might have lived, since the Gospels only give us a hint of what life must have been like for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Think about it, you are reading the e-version (soon to be released print version) of a 500+ page intensely researched book. This serious work technically isn’t a historical or fictional account. It lies somewhere in the middle, since it is well researched. My Brother’s Keeper tells the story of the Holy Family that includes not only Christian figures like the Apostles, but key Jewish contemporary 1st century AD scholars like Hillel and Gamaliel whose influence continues today.
As mentioned earlier, Bill doesn’t do anything easy or pay attention to sales and demographic figures. Many of you are probably aware that the book publishing industry is in a state of near disarray. Like the music industry, the book world has never quite wrapped it’s arms around the digital impact on the business. Whereas once Evangelical bookstores were the envy of Catholic bookstores owners, Evangelicals now almost wish they had the Catholic sacramental sales to help them through a very tough stretch now that there is no Purpose Driven Life or Prayer of Jabez to help with their sales. It isn’t easy to be a book retailer these days, let alone a faith based retailer.
Bill Kassel has decided that he wants this work to stand on its own despite the fact that this clearly doesn’t fit into the category of the nearly non-existent Catholic fiction section or the Early Church section found in most books stores or online, again hardly a big seller topic, but a topic that needs to be addressed. This book is designed to make you think and seriously ponder the daily grind that was life in Nazareth in Roman occupied Israel. Bill points out the daily struggle for the essentials of life and the close family bonds. Needless to say, James is a principal character in My Brother’s Keeper.
Bill brings to life the many thoughts that must have been racing through the minds of those who knew Jesus and his family as word spreads concerning his ministry and miracles. In every family there exists someone who is definitely a little different, someone who says or believes things others dare not say or perhaps never pondered. It is quite another when something that person said actually comes true and miracles are performed. What must have been the word on the street or village and what must those who were close to Jesus and his family thought? Bill Kassel takes you there. Take a step back in time and imagine how you would have thought had you lived in Israel some 2,000 years ago dealing with the harsh reality of daily life in the cruel world of the Roman occupied Middle East. When you heard stories of Jesus of Nazareth would you have been a believer? Bill Kassel is willing to help you find out.
For those accustomed to Father Dwight Longenecker’s pithy and insightful blog posts, the thought of reading one of his books leaves us some questions, namely will it be like his blog? Thankfully the answer is yes. Somehow Father Longenecker is able to transfer his tactful writing abilities to the printed page or electronic device (whichever you prefer.)
I would recommend this book not only for those folks interested in Catholicism, but especially to those inquisitive souls who just want to understand religion, any religion and the formation necessary to subscribe to any belief system.
Father Longenecker first weaves his way through the thought process that makes up our belief system, or lack thereof, and melds our thoughts into a cogent pattern that helps us better understand why we believe what we do and why. This sort of devil’s advocate approach helps us realize that security in which he places his beliefs.
As Catholics we are obliged to preach our faith with love, charity and conviction. This is certainly not easy in an increasingly western secular world that hates anything that smacks of black and white. The secular powers that be love gray. In Catholicism Pure and Simple, Father Longenecker explains the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in a way that makes the reader shake his or her head in understanding. Continue reading
CatholicTV is the oldest Catholic TV network in the United States having been launched on January 1, 1955 by the Archdiocese of Boston. 58 years later they are still in operation, available on cable and via the Internet; in HDTV as well! They are called America’s Catholic Television Network with their studios and offices located in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Some six years ago my first book; The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism came out, which detailed the Good news happening in the Catholic Church. Since then and especially this year, I am often asked is the tide still turning? Rest assured I am not looking at the world and the Catholic Church through rose colored glasses, the book not only gives positive spin on what is going on through stories and anecdotal evidence, but I outline a lot of statistical and demographic data to prove my point.
Honestly writing a book requires a great deal of time and patience, and though I had enough material for about half a book, I was waiting for the right time to finish it. However last summer, I felt God really pushing me to get this out. Providentially many events within the Church and the political realm helped to convince me that now was the time. I am glad I listened and finished the book this spring because recently my wife and I welcomed another baby into our home, and with two small children, writing a book would have been very difficult.
The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn (Aquinas and More publishing) picks up where my previous book left off detailing the Good News occurring in the Church, but also, and this is very important, I address why the Catholic Church and religion in general is coming under attack in our modern world. Readers of my articles and first book continually asked my why we are facing these attacks? This is nothing new. Ever since the French Revolution in 1793 the Catholic Church and religion in general in the Western world has come under attack from powerful forces that for some demented reason have a problem with God.
In the book, I take a look at timelines in World History and examine revolutions like the American Revolution where religion was embraced compared to those like the French Revolution where it was attacked. This helps us in 2012 figure out why some in government and academia don’t like the Catholic Church and for that matter most religious institutions. The book also looks at the HHS Mandate and the political upheaval that unjust mandate has brought. Continue reading