Tag: Christianity

Spirituality and Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Five

What is the relevance of spiritual faith to a depressed person?

My short answer would be that it absolutely necessary for recovery, but that it is also a two- edged sword.

The purpose of this chapter I will be primarily talking about Christianity. I will also talk about the role of twelve step groups a little later in the chapter.

I must point out that I am a Christian and have been so for the greater part of my adult life. I was not brought up in a church going Christian family, although I think that my father believed in God. In some sense, I might have been a Christian as a young boy, although I didn’t verbalize the prayer of salvation because I had never heard it and wouldn’t have known what it meant. As kids growing up the nineteen fifties and early sixties, we were blessed that the public school system was favourable towards prayer and the daily reading of Bible stories. As all my elementary school teachers included these two routines following the playing of Oh Canada, the Canadian national anthem, I assumed that it was mandatory for my elementary grade teachers to lead us in the Lord’s prayer and to read to us from a book containing Bible stories.

I now think that because of these two spiritual exercises practised by the public school system I came to believe in God. In reality, I cannot remember a time where I doubted God’s existence. I was probably not a saved, born again Christian, but could definitely be considered to be a believer. This does not mean that I always tried to walk out the Christian lifestyle. There were many times in my life when I didn’t.

I didn’t officially get ‘saved’ as it is termed in Christianity until I was twenty-seven years old. This occurred only because an ardent local minister came to my mobile home to witness to me. Ironically, this was not the first occasion would someone tried to lead me to the Lord.

Around two years earlier, a young Christian couple came to my apartment to share the Good News of the Gospel with me. During this occasion I was not receptive at all to hearing about Jesus. I only recall that the man who tried to witness to be me was called Hugh and for years after I felt sorry for the way I treated these young evangelists.

Hugh, if by some miracle, you have been reading this blog post or listen to my podcast show, I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior that evening. I just want you to know that you planted a seed and that I became a born-again Christian two years after you witnessed to me.

This has entirely nothing to do with today’s topic, but I just looked up at the calendar on my desktop computer to see that I am writing my first draft of this blog on July 14, 2017. On this day or date, I should say, that in 1966, I was at the Winnipeg Arena watching the Rolling Stones in concert. I can recall that my ticket cost fourteen dollars, the Rolling Stones only played for twenty-five minutes, with sound transmission coming through  their woefully inadequate Vox amplifiers and that the girls screaming from the audience almost drowned out The Rolling Stones’s music.

Now back to my original topic, depression and spirituality. My whole thesis is that the depressed person has to one degree or another lost hope. The answer, of course, is to regain the lost hope or possibly experience hope for the first time. That’s where Christianity comes in. The Gospel message offers the guarantee that if we have truly given our life to the Lord, when we get to heaven we will enjoy an eternal and wonderful life.

There are certain theological streams that seem to contend that this is about the only promise that Christians can count upon and that this only occurs after physical death and the end of our earthly life.

Although this hope can be very comforting, I was also looking for hope during my earthly lifetime. I was never quite satisfied with a Christian theology that implies that our life on earth was just to be tolerated as we attempted to live a holy life, but that for the real reward, we would have to wait for heaven.

 

20150822_1202411

Revised Episodes of Winter Dreams eps. 20 to 26


Episode Twenty:

“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.

“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.

“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.

“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”

“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’

“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”

“Why didn’t you take your medication?”

“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”

“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.

“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.

The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”

“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.

Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowy figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.

Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”

Episode 21:

Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”

“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.

“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.

“Talk about what?” the man asked.

“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.

“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.

“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.

“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”

“What’s your name?” Misty asked.

“Norman or just Norm.”

“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”

“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”

“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.

“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.

“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.

When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.

“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.

“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.

“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”

“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.

Episode 22:

Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.

Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”

“What makes you say that?”  Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.

“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless center,” Misty answered.

“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.

“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”

“Well, no-“

“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.

Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car the engine wouldn’t turn over.

“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”

“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.

“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.

“How did you do that?” Rick asked.

“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”

“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.

Episode 23:

One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”

Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.

Episode 24:

Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state, but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.

A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet, peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head he could see a man who looked like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it up he wouldn’t have to think about it. What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.

Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he actually enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.

Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.

Episode 25:

Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.

“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.

When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.

Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”

“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our new friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.

“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”

“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Misty said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.

“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.

After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.

Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.

“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.

“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”

“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.

Episode 26:

One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.

As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.

Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.

Rick found an empty seat and took a look around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.

The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”

“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”

“What kind of work are you looking for?”

“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”

“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”

“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.

“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”

“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”

“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.

Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”

“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”

“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”

“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.

“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”

“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.

“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”

“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”

Episode 27:winter 2

A New Direction Podcast


Doing Life Together A New Podcast by Ken David Stewart

Some of my readers may be aware that I have been doing my own podcasts on Podbean.com and ITunes for several months now. The title of my podcast was formerly The Ken David Stewart Podcast. Its new name is Doing Life Together. I found that with my former podcast I was covering a variety of topics that did not appear to have much of a common theme. Doing it that way made it nearly impossible to reach a niche audience.

For my new podcasts I will be placing a greater emphasis upon applying spiritual principles to how we handle the tough challenges of daily life. The content will be from a Christian perspective, but will also be of value to non believers or anyone who is facing difficult situations in their life.

I am praying that this podcast will be very interactive by way of the listening audience providing both feedback and comments. In my podcasts and blogs I try to be very honest and open. I did a podcast last night and will include it in today’s blog post.

God bless you all,

Ken David StewartPicture 82

The Pastor Murder Mystery Episodes One to Nine Inclusive


Pastor

Episode One

Pastor David Noble shook hands with the young, attractive social worker as she was leaving his humble, cluttered office. He was planning to return to his tattered and torn executive chair when his phone started to ring. The pastor answered the phone while standing up. When he picked up the receiver all he could hear from the other end of the line was loud wailing. David Noble recognized the mournful sounds as coming from his son, Dexter.

“Calm down Dexter. Why are you so upset?”

Dexter was able to regain just enough of his composure to answer, “Mom’s dead!”

“What!” David managed to stammer as he grabbed onto his desk for support. He was afraid that he was about to faint. His ex -wife, Melissa, had divorced David three years ago. While they had been married David Noble was the well- respected pastor of a local church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

To say that the last three years of his life had been tumultuous was a great understatement. David’s life had quickly begun to unravel. Melissa had exhausted all of her emotional resources by the time their marriage had finally collapsed.

Up until the last year of her marriage, Melissa had never seriously considered leaving her husband. Although her marriage to David was not what she had hoped for it was still a better one than those of most of her friends. After fourteen years of marriage Melissa’s life with David had become intolerable.

Melissa first met David at a popular nightclub in Fargo. She was shocked when David told her that he was a studying theology at a nearby seminary. He didn’t seem to have the DNA of your average Bible College student. David drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes and would occasionally swear. Melissa noticed that David’s vocabulary included the usual profane words, including the f-bomb, but he never took the Lord’s name in vain.

David was the life of the party. His personality exuded youthful exuberance. He was a young man who had ambition and was ready to take on the world. Melissa found that she could not help being attracted to him but she had the uneasy feeling that she was like a fly being drawn into a spider’s web.

Episode Three

Donald Noble reached the chair in his office and dropped into it. The seat was soft and comforting. “Try to calm yourself, son. Where are you now?”

Dexter was sweating profusely and was taking deep breathes. He was sitting in a maroon colored Lazy Boy chair in his mother’s living room.

“I’m at Mom’s place. I was just coming over to pick up her Camry. She was having some problems with her car and asked me to take it into the Toyota dealership to have it checked out. Mom didn’t answer when I knocked on her door. After I’d waited a couple of minutes I opened the door, walked in and called her name. Still no answer. I started checking all the rooms in her house until I came to her bedroom. The door was partly opened and I could see Mom lying against her bed. Her throat was slashed and there was blood all over her tee shirt and jeans. It was horrible, Dad.”

“So what did you do next, son?” David picked up a pencil and started to tap the eraser end against the palm of his left hand.

“I called emergency. They told me that an ambulance and the police would arrive shortly. Then I phoned you.” Dexter started to cry.

“You did everything right, Dex. I’m on my way to your mother’s house.”

David was in a state of shock and was running on automatic pilot. He climbed into his white Ford Taurus and started the frantic drive to Melissa’s house. The pastor still loved his ex-wife and he began to fervently pray that Melissa was not already dead.

As he drove down one of the main thoroughfares, a torrent of random thoughts flooded David’s mind. He thought about the divorce. For the most part David blamed himself for the breakdown of his marriage.

After their first meeting at the nightclub David became very infatuated with Melissa. He couldn’t seem to get her out of his head. He knew that a great deal of what he was feeling for her was lust. He kept thinking of her long, golden hair, her long shapely legs and a smile that could light up the darkest room. David was head over heels in love. The drive to her house usually took about half an hour depending on the time of the day and the traffic. David raced to her house and arrived there in just over twenty minutes.

When he attempted to enter the home David was stopped by a young attractive female police officer who asked him to identify himself.

Episode Three

Donald Noble reached the chair in his office and dropped into it. The seat was soft and comforting. “Try to calm yourself, son. Where are you now?”

Dexter was sweating profusely and was taking deep breathes. He was sitting in a maroon colored Lazy Boy chair in his mother’s living room.

“I’m at Mom’s place. I was just coming over to pick up her Camry. She was having some problems with her car and asked me to take it into the Toyota dealership to have it checked out. Mom didn’t answer when I knocked on her door. After I’d waited a couple of minutes I opened the door, walked in and called her name. Still no answer. I started checking all the rooms in her house until I came to her bedroom. The door was partly opened and I could see Mom lying against her bed. Her throat was slashed and there was blood all over her tee shirt and jeans. It was horrible, Dad.”

“So what did you do next, son?” David picked up a pencil and started to tap the eraser end against the palm of his left hand.

“I called emergency. They told me that an ambulance and the police would arrive shortly. Then I phoned you.” Dexter started to cry.

“You did everything right, Dex. I’m on my way to your mother’s house.”

David was in a state of shock and was running on automatic pilot. He climbed into his white Ford Taurus and started the frantic drive to Melissa’s house. The pastor still loved his ex-wife and he began to fervently pray that Melissa was not already dead.

As he drove down one of the main thoroughfares, a torrent of random thoughts flooded David’s mind. He thought about the divorce. For the most part David blamed himself for the breakdown of his marriage.

After their first meeting at the nightclub David became very infatuated with Melissa. He couldn’t seem to get her out of his head. He knew that a great deal of what he was feeling for her was lust. He kept thinking of her long, golden hair, her long shapely legs and a smile that could light up the darkest room. David was head over heels in love. The drive to her house usually took about half an hour depending on the time of the day and the traffic. David raced to her house and arrived there in just over twenty minutes.

When he attempted to enter the home David was stopped by a young attractive female police officer who asked him to identify himself.

 

Episode Four of The Pastor

“I’m David Noble, the pastor of New Beginnings Church. I’m Melissa’s husband and Dexter’s father.”

As soon as David could get these words out of his mouth he saw the police officer get jostled out of the way by a team of paramedics. A young athletic looking paramedic spoke up.

‘Where’s the victim?”

“She’s in the bedroom. I’ll take you there,” Dexter said.

When the paramedics entered Melissa’s bedroom they could see that Melissa had bled out from the deep and wide slash to her throat. Her clothing and the once grey rug were now saturated in blood. They tried to get a pulse but were unable to find one. Two of the paramedics took turns performing CPR on Melissa but she remained unresponsive.

The young paramedic asked Dexter to return to the living room. Dexter took a seat on the sofa next to his father.

“I’ve got some terrible news for both of you. Melissa is dead.”

Pastor Noble covered his face with his hands and began to weep. Even though he was sitting down he felt dizzy and disoriented. Who could do such a horrific thing to his wife? David couldn’t think of anyone who disliked Melissa.

The thought crossed his mind that this tragedy probably wouldn’t have happened had he and his wife still been living together. An almost tangible wave of guilt overcame David.

After he graduated from seminary David had mixed feelings about becoming a pastor. He had always been an intellectual, enjoyed studying The Bible and engaging in theological debates with his professors and fellow students. Still, David felt that something was missing. He knew about God but he doubted that he had a personal relationship with Him.

Just prior to graduating from seminary David married Melissa. Nine months later Dexter was born and David now had a family to support. Fortunately. David was very ambitious and charismatic and was offered a pastoral position in a Baptist church in an affluent suburb of Winnipeg just one month after his graduation.

Episode Five of The Pastor

One year earlier:

David arose at four o’clock in the morning after having another dark night of the soul. Lately he had been having too many of these. While working at his office at Brownstone Baptist Church, David was now experiencing panic attacks. He would begin to feel disoriented and become very agitated. He would pace the room walking back and forth like a caged hyena. Bill would perspire profusely and would have trouble catching his breath. He felt like was being tormented by demons.  Although he was alone in his office he would hear voices in his head. The voices would speak to him and say things like. “You’re a fake pastor David. You don’t really have a strong belief in God. Admit it David, you are really an agnostic. Your faith wavers from day to day and from hour to hour. If your congregation knew this they would fire you as their pastor and they’re beginning to get suspicious. You can see it in their faces when you are preaching your message on Sunday mornings. You should do the right thing. You should tell them the truth, spare yourself the humiliation and quit your job.”

David began to shout, “Shut up. That’s not true!”

Episode Six of the Pastor:

All David knew was that he had to get out of his office. He desperately needed to get away from the church and his family. David dashed out of his office with a look of pure terror on his face. His secretary, Julie, barely had time to say, “Pastor Noble, what’s wrong? Where are you going?”

David did not answer. He made a mad dash for his red 1999 Mercury Sable. The pastor started up the engine and was soon out of the church parking lot. He was now functioning on automatic pilot and took the fastest route to Pembina Highway. David was headed for the Canada/US border. The voices continued to mock David. “What are you going to do now David? Run away to the United States? Leave your job and desert your family? What kind of man are you David?”

David talked back angrily to the voices in his head, “Go to hell! You don’t know what you’re talking about. If you were under the same intolerable stress that I have to endure you’d crack up too.”

Episode Seven of The Pastor Murder Mystery:

Melissa Noble was vacuuming the stairs in her house when she heard the phone ring. She sighed but was actually happy for an excuse to get a break from the job at hand. The canister of her vacuum was very heavy and Melissa’s back was giving her grief.

A few years ago David had bought her a brand new Filter Queen Majestic vacuum cleaner. This was really an expense that the young couple could not afford but David was the victim of an ambitious and somewhat unscrupulous vacuum cleaner salesman. When David had mentioned that his wife suffered from allergies to their cat and dog the salesman was quick to point out that a new Filter Queen Majestic would greatly reduce his wife’s symptoms. He went on to sell David on purchasing a new Defender air cleaner that he said would further alleviate his wife’s misery when used in conjunction with the new vacuum cleaner. In fact, seeing as the Nobles were the last prospects of the day he would offer them a substantial discount if they purchased both items this evening. The salesman made a point of saying that he would not be able to offer them this discount tomorrow and that he would probably get heat from his manager for offering them this deal at all. He stated that because he was having a good day he would throw in a complete supply of Filter Queen accessories for free.

As David was very concerned about Melissa’s health he extracted his American Express card and the salesman closed the deal. The Nobles were now the proud owners of a top of the line vacuum cleaner and air cleaning device. They were also now close to three thousand dollars in debt but Melissa’s allergic reactions to their furry pets was soon to be manageable.

Episode Eight:

Fortunately, Melissa was close to the bottom of the stairs when the telephone rang. When she picked up the phone it was the church secretary, Julie Olson on the line.

“Hey Melissa. I’m worried about Pastor Noble.”

“Oh, why is that?” Melissa asked.

“He left the office a few minutes ago and drove off in his car. He looked very troubled and like he was in a great hurry to leave the church.”

“Did he say where he was going?”

“He didn’t say a thing to me Melissa. It’s not like the pastor to leave the church without telling me where he was going and when he expected to be back. I even checked his Daytimer but he didn’t have any appointments scheduled for this afternoon.”

“That is strange. Maybe he got a call from the hospital that one of his parishioners wasn’t doing well and that he needed to see them right away. I’ll tell you what Julie. I know that he has been visiting some people at Grace Hospital. I’ll call Grace and ask if David is there. The staff there all know David because he always makes time to chat with them. Thanks for giving me the heads up.”

Melissa Noble hung up the phone and walked over to the peach colored sofa in the living room. She felt guilty about lying to Julie. She wasn’t going to call the hospital. She doubted very much that that’s where her husband went.

Melissa had known for a while that something was not right with David. He wasn’t the David she used to know. He had become very agitated of late and found it hard to concentrate on anything. When Melissa tried to talk to David he would appear to be disengaged from the conversation. He often didn’t remember what she had just said to him.

David was now spending most of his evenings locked away in his study. He told Melissa that he had some important things that he was working on and that he didn’t want to be disturbed. After a couple of hours Melissa would knock on the door to the study and ask David if he would like some coffee and cookies. When David finally let his wife in she noticed that he didn’t have any books or papers on his desk. He would be sitting in his black leather office chair staring out of his window. When Melissa asked him if anything was wrong David just shook his head in denial.

Episode Nine of The Pastor Murder Mystery

When he was still in seminary David Noble had all the markings of a great pastor. One of his greatest natural assets was his ability to connect with a congregation on a deep emotional level when he was preaching. David did a lot of research and prepared his sermons well. When it came time to preach David was jacked up and was ready to deliver a sermon that was so captivating that his congregation would wish that he would preach longer. David was often tempted to do just that and give his parishioners what they wanted but he knew the rules and so did his elders and deacons.

As Brownstone was a Baptist Conference church that meant that sermons would end on time and would be no longer than twenty-five minutes. David often wondered about this sermon time restraint but was told by his elders that this was the way it had always been.

He recalled one of the deacons telling him, “Look David, keeping your sermons short and to the point benefits everyone. Most people’s attention span isn’t that great. If you go over the allotted time most of them won’t take in what you’re saying anyway. It would be a waste and would just get our members frustrated. Plus, everybody is pretty hungry by twelve-fifteen. Face facts David. Most Christians don’t want to spend their whole Sunday in church. For you Sunday is a working day. For most other people its half their weekend. People need to go home and relax.”

David had to admit that this was a fairly logical explanation for a rule that he didn’t like or agree with.pastor 1

The Pastor Murder Mystery Episode Nine


Episode Nine of The Pastor Murder Mystery

When he was still in seminary David Noble had all the markings of a great pastor. One of his greatest natural assets was his ability to connect with a congregation on a deep emotional level when he was preaching. David did a lot of research and prepared his sermons well. When it came time to preach David was jacked up and was ready to deliver a sermon that was so captivating that his congregation would wish that he would preach longer. David was often tempted to do just that and give his parishioners what they wanted but he knew the rules and so did his elders and deacons.

As Brownstone was a Baptist Conference church that meant that sermons would end on time and would be no longer than twenty-five minutes. David often wondered about this sermon time restraint but was told by his elders that this was the way it had always been.

He recalled one of the deacons telling him, “Look David, keeping your sermons short and to the point benefits everyone. Most people’s attention span isn’t that great. If you go over the allotted time most of them won’t take in what you’re saying anyway. It would be a waste and would just get our members frustrated. Plus, everybody is pretty hungry by twelve-fifteen. Face facts David. Most Christians don’t want to spend their whole Sunday in church. For you Sunday is a working day. For most other people its half their weekend. People need to go home and relax.”

David had to admit that this was a fairly logical explanation for a rule that he didn’t like or agree with.

pastor 2

Episode Four of The Pastor by Ken David Stewart


Episode Four of The Pastor

“I’m David Noble, the pastor of New Beginings Church. I’m Melissa’s husband and Dexter’s father.”

As soon as David could get these words out of his mouth he saw the police officer get jostled out of the way by a team of paramedics. A young athletic looking paramedic spoke up.

‘Where’s the victim?”

“She’s in the bedroom. I’ll take you there,” Dexter said.

When the paramedics entered Melissa’s bedroom they could see that Melissa had bled out from the deep and wide slash to her throat. Her clothing and the once grey rug were saturated in blood. They tried to get a pulse but were unable to find one. Two of the paramedics took turns performing CPR on Melissa but she remained unresponsive.

The young paramedic asked Dexter to return to the living room. Dexter took a seat on the sofa next to his father.

“I’ve got some terrible news for both of you. Melissa is dead.”

Pastor Noble covered his face with his hands and began to weep. Even though he was sitting down he felt dizzy and disoriented. Who could do such a horrific thing to his wife? David couldn’t think of anyone who disliked Melissa.

The thought crossed his mind that this tragedy probably wouldn’t have happened had he and his wife still been living together. An almost tangible wave of guilt overcame David.

After he graduated from seminary David had mixed feelings about becoming a pastor. He had always been an intellectual enjoyed studying The Bible and engaging in theological debates with his professors and fellow students. Still, David felt that something was missing. He knew about God but he doubted that he had a personal relationship with Him.

Just prior to graduating from seminary David married Melissa. Nine months later Dexter was born and David now had a family to support. Fortunately. David was very ambitious and charismatic and was offered a pastoral position in a Baptist church in an affluent suburb of Fargo, North Dakota just one month after his graduation.pastor 8

Pastor, A Novel by Ken David Stewart Excerpt Two


Up until the last year of her marriage, Melissa had never seriously considered leaving her husband. Although her marriage to David was not what she had hoped for it was still a better one than those of most of her friends. After fourteen years of marriage Mellissa’s life with David had become intolerable.

Melissa first met David at a popular nightclub in Fargo. She was shocked when David told her that he was a studying theology at a nearby seminary. He didn’t seem to have the DNA of your average Bible College student. David drank alcohol,smoked cigarettes and would occasionally swear. Melisa noticed that David’s vocabulary included the usual profane words, including the f-bomb, but he never took the Lord’s name in vain.

Picture 67David was the life of the party. His personality exuded youthful exuberance. He was a young man who had ambition and was ready to take on the world. Melissa found that she could not help being attracted to him but she had the uneasy feeling that she was like a fly being drawn into a spider’s web.