Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Unlikely Remnant by Tracey Michae'l Lewis





ABOUT THE BOOK
Faye is a mother in the AME church. She has spent 40 years of her life working for the Lord. Chad is a white, conservative Christian radio talk show host. He enjoys riling up the masses about issues related to race, gender, class, and politics. Jeremiah is a popular, Christian tele-evangelist. The charismatic, African American pastor of a popular mega-church, he is celebrated for his knowledge of scripture. Rosa is a Hispanic, single mom. An English teacher in the Catholic school she grew up in, she is a survivor of domestic abuse. So what happens when these four very different people find themselves trapped in a historical church in North Philadelphia AFTER THE RAPTURE? More than left behind, the characters in THE UNLIKELY REMNANT are left to deal with the personal truths and tragic secrets that led to them missing God; all while wrestling with the prejudices that inevitably surface in their relationships with each other. Who will press in an d who will give up their soul forever?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts is a writer, editor, and educator. The author of six books including The Integrated Church: Authentic Multicultural Ministry and Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine, Lewis-Giggetts explores in her work both the personal and collective impact of the intersection of identity and faith.

This is the second week of The Unlikely Remnant Virtual Book Tour with Tracey Michae'l Lewis.  View the blog tour and radio interview schedule at http://tywebbinvirtualevents.com/0BTrq

INTERVIEW REPLAYS
Did you miss these interviews with Tracey? Here are quick LISTEN links.
Spiritual Food for Thought Global Radio Show

CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK

he Unlikely Remnant Virtual Book Tour
 
 
Join Tracey Michae'l Lewis on her virtual book tour this week. View the blog tour and radio interview schedule at http://tywebbinvirtualevents.com/0BTrq
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
Faye is a mother in the AME church. She has spent 40 years of her life working for the Lord. Chad is a white, conservative Christian radio talk show host. He enjoys riling up the masses about issues related to race, gender, class, and politics. Jeremiah is a popular, Christian tele-evangelist. The charismatic, African American pastor of a popular mega-church, he is celebrated for his knowledge of scripture. Rosa is a Hispanic, single mom. An English teacher in the Catholic school she grew up in, she is a survivor of domestic abuse. So what happens when these four very different people find themselves trapped in a historical church in North Philadelphia AFTER THE RAPTURE? More than left behind, the characters in THE UNLIKELY REMNANT are left to deal with the personal truths and tragic secrets that led to them missing God; all while wrestling with the prejudices that inevitably surface in their relationships with each other. Who will press in an d who will give up their soul forever?
 
PURCHASE YOUR COPY ONLINE AT AMAZON.COM or BN.COM.
 

 
CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK

We are excited this week about the introducing you to a Sneak Peek from Tracey Michae'l Lewis' latest novel, The Unlikely Remnant
 
 
The Unlikely Remnant: A Novel
Tracey Michae’l  Lewis

Prologue

THE CHURCH SPEAKS
 
If Jesus said that even the rocks would cry out in the absence of man’s worship to Him, what makes you think I wouldn’t have anything to say about all that has happened recently?  They named me “historical.” I suppose that is accurate. My foundation was laid in 1782 and I was one of the first churches to be built in this neighborhood back when Philadelphia was still the capital of just a notion of a country called America. And I have seen it all. So many transformations – if you can call them that – have occurred right here between my very walls. So much so, I wasn’t sure if these people would ever get it right. 
 
The first change of note was in congregation size. I’ve seen anywhere between ten and one thousand people worship in these halls. Then, as the neighborhood shifted, so did the ethnicities of those who came here. As soon as Hispanics and Blacks and, most recently, Asians started coming to the services, the White people, and even some of the well-to-do Black people, left. They headed further north to Germantown and Chestnut Hill.
 
One of the most telling fluctuations I observed over the years is in leadership. We’ve had everything from your fire-and-brimstone, I’m-not-sure-if-anyone-can-be-saved preachers to your  anything-goes-so-let’s-not-rock-any-boats pastors. I’ve never been a fan of extremes myself. Balance is necessary whether you are fortunate enough to have the breath of life or, like me, are simply bricks and mortar. Without it, you are destined to crumble.
 
After seeing so many people come and go, you’d think I’d be used to the whole temporal nature of things. And I am, in a way. But I don’t think I can ever get used to seeing the Spirit of the Lord come and go the way He has over the years. And I don’t mean spiritually, either. His presence, I’ve always known. But His physical manifestation? That vibration that happens when true healing is apparent? That shifting I feel when a humble prayer strikes the atmosphere and is answered immediately in the spirit? Well, that all depended on the decade. Sure, I might be nothing but stone and wood, but I most certainly grieved whenever He left. I wailed when those other spirits came in and tried to take over.
 
Alas, there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t have the power; the people did. Unfortunately, the people were sometimes the very ones that brought in all that ugliness. Sanctioned by the leadership, in particular.
 
Everything was incredibly topsy-turvy in this last century. Twenty-five years good. Ten years bad. Thirty years good. Twenty bad. We were in the middle of a pretty good year when The Rapture happened. Those angels were truly something to behold. An unspeakable beauty I will 
never forget. Oh and the sound? The glorious sounds of heaven! I swoon just thinking of it – if there’s such a thing as a swooning stack of stones. Every one of our members made it in except one. Mother Duncan.
 
Am I shocked? Perhaps I should be, but I’m not. You know the saying: If walls could talk. The Apostle Paul said it a little differently: ‘Anything that’s hidden will be brought to light.’  No matter how you spin it, it’s true. My walls have seen it all; things done in the dark and in the  light. The indiscretions in the janitor’s office when she was thirty; the slipping of five hundred  dollars in building fund monies into a black, leather purse at forty-two; and of course, sixty-year old eyes that stayed more focused on the aesthetic yet inconsequential violations of the new, female members of the church, even while her mouth moved in rote prayers and practiced tongues. So no, it doesn’t shock me that she’s still here, although I’m quite sure she’s a little blindsided by it all. Especially since she walked around here like she was one of God’s personal bodyguards.
 
***
 
The biggest mistake made by most people who’d entered my doors was attributing more  power to me than I actually had. They called me ‘the Church,’ but that’s really a misnomer. I am a building, plain and simple. A place for the Church to gather. A meeting place for God’s people, if you will. But the way they decorated me, showed out in me, spent more time inside of me than out there with the ones that the Father had given them to minister to, you’d have thought I was more. Clearly, I didn’t deserve the credit that I received over the years. I’m still here, aren’t I?
 
In the beginning, I was hopeful. The people who built me were both honest and humble in their intentions. They wanted a place in their neighborhood where they could worship God without provocation and so they built me by hand. Brick by brick. Stone by stone. They laid a foundation that would withstand both the changing weather and the changing times. Despite three hundred years of tornadoes and storms, riots and crime, not too much has changed about my fa├žade. But that’s just the outside. The inside, well, that’s an entirely different story.


Read a Sneak Peek of Chapter 1 from Tracey Michae'l Lewis' latest novel, The Unlikely Remnant. Let us know if you like these sneak peeks.
The Unlikely Remnant: A Novel
Tracey Michae’l  Lewis

Part One: Why me?
Chapter One
Mother Faye DuncanA form of godliness
I was born in the church. Literally. Momma’s water broke right before the eleven o’clock morning service and one hour later my coffee-colored, wrinkle-covered bottom made its first appearance right there in the choir room. Surprise! Nowadays, young girls drop babies left and right and no one is even shocked or appalled. But not back then. Not in the Mount St. James Church of God Pentecostal Holiness Church. My mother was the sixteen-year-old daughter of the esteemed senior pastor. Needless to say, her unexpected labor just seconds before the doxology sent the church folks’ tongues a’waggin’ and everyone else into a frenzy. Especially the women with the white hats and coats and shoes who we always called nurses, even though none  of them had ever been to nursing school.
I guess with a name like Faye Josephine Baker, I was destined to always make an exciting entrance; sometimes wanted, many times not. My family’s name was actually Baker, but I think my mother, wanting to get back at her daddy for putting her out so soon after she gave birth, decided to name me after the woman he often called a “harlot” and a “disgrace to the race” in his sermons. Two days after I was born and with a resolute smirk on her otherwise cast-iron face, she anointed me “Josephine Faye Baker.” But the joke was on her. A few weeks later, the birth certificate came backFaye Josephine Baker, a mistake that illuminated her sixth-grade education. So, I’ve been Faye ever since. Mother Faye. Well, technically, I’m Mother Faye Josephine Baker Johnson Greenwell Duncan, but I’ll get on to that in a minute.
Birthed into certain uncertainty, my inaugural life lesson was this: bridges burned could either light my path or bury me in the ashes of my own choices. Unfortunately, my mother would only know the latter. And it looks like the apple really doesn’t fall that far from the tree, either.
I know it sounds impossible – and maybe it is – but I remember seeing Momma’s face once I made my entry into this world. Or, at least, I imagine it to be her face. Until the day she died, I’d never seen her look any other way. As I’ve always known it, her face was a weird concoction of vapid emotion. A merger of fear and pain and sorrow with a smidge of anger to top it all off. I don’t know if anyone was really happy to see me arrive the way I did, but the least happy of all seemed to be Momma. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why I worked in the church so long. For retribution. To try to pay her back for the grief I caused her. It was my penance for being the manifestation of her rebellion and the reason why her father, my grandfather, never spoke to her again. Either way, you would have thought after all these years I would have earned some credit with God for that alone, much less the fifty-some odd years I’ve spent praying and fasting, speaking in tongues and laying on hands. I, for sure, was more of a servant than most and yet, here I am. Sitting in the frigid blackness of the sanctuary that once was my second home, while those who I know smoked more than me, danced more than me, sexed more than me and certainly prayed a whole lot less than me, are with the Lord now.
Why didn’t I go? Lord, why didn’t you take me up with the others?
Of course, there are no answers now. Just the stifling echo of my voice and the equally arresting truth I’ve refused to acknowledge hidden way down deep in my words.
PURCHASE YOUR COPY ONLINE AT AMAZON.COM or BN.COM.

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