This is one in a series of short allegorical stories based on biblical themes. Below, in our excerpt, we read about Mervin Hostetler, an aging Amish farmer who retells the adventure of his youth to a hard-nosed journalist called Bill. Readers may be able to guess the Bible story that inspired it – Jonah.
Excerpt from The Amish Farmer Who Hated L.A.:
“Under normal conditions the other crewmen would have been able to rescue me. But not that night.
“‘Cut me loose and save yourselves,’ I yelled.
“I saw some frantic activity above me, and moments later a bright orange inflated life raft flew over the side. For what seemed like an eternity, I remained attached to the ship by the wire being battered both by the waves and the ship’s hull. Then I remember falling a very long way down into the cold raging waters below.
“Even with a life jacket on, I knew it was it was only a matter of time before I would die. Then I felt a taught wire pulling on me and I realized—between gulps of seawater and air—that I was now tethered to the lifeboat. I pulled on the wire with all my might and slowly began moving toward my only hope of survival. I forgot about the wind and waves and focused all my energies on reaching the orange dinghy. I clambered on board and once inside its canopy, I zipped up the entrance. I lay panting—bruised, exhausted, and tossed around by the waters. Before long the storm abated, and I dozed on and off until morning.
“The waves were still large the following day, but the rain had stopped. There I was, all alone, in the ocean, in an orange coffin. I shouted at God, ‘Okay, so you’ve stopped me from getting to India, fine. But, out here, I am still not going to L.A! So that makes it one-one, a draw!’ God let me stew in my misery all morning until I sensed a large movement in the waters. I stared in horror as an enormous black fin surfaced nearby. I did what sensible people do in the face of certain death: I closed my eyes and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I said ‘Amen’ loudly and opened one eye. The fin was still there!
Read the rest of the story by pre-ordering your copy of The Amish Farmer Who Hated L.A. here.
An interview with author Tim Reddish:
Where did you find inspiration for your ideas?
Once a biblical story or theme gets stuck in my head, I then try to figure out how to portray it in a fresh way – often in a contemporary setting. Oddly enough, most of my original ideas came to me in my morning shower! This also included making Jonah, Amish. That was a breakthrough moment for that particular story, and the rest was downhill. In the case of the Jonah allegory, I have fond memories of Mennonite school friends, combined with a visit to Amish territory in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to fall back on. Humor, wit, and storytelling aside, I want to be respectful to Amish culture and values.
Tell us about work in progress.
I have just finished the first draft of a more serious book called Science and Christianity. This brings my past academic experience together with my Christian faith in a way which I hope will engage and encourage thoughtful Christians who wrestle with this topic.
Dr. Tim Reddish obtained his MDiv from Knox College, Toronto, in 2015; he was also awarded the Gold Medal for academic excellence. Until 2011, he was a Professor of Physics at the University of Windsor (Ontario) researching in the area of experimental atomic and molecular physics. Dr. Reddish was at Newcastle University for 14 years before he and his family moved from England to Canada in 2002. He spent his formative years in Nigeria, where his parents were missionaries. His first wife died of cancer in 2011 and their son and his family live in Edmonton. Tim is now remarried and enjoys being a stepdad to four children. He and his family live in Windsor where he loves reading theology, watching British detective stories and photography.
Connect with Dr. Tim Reddish: Website
Pre-order The Amish Farmer Who Hated L.A. here.
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