Book Feature: Risen by Thomas Barr JR

Inside the Book:

Title: Risen
Author: Thomas Barr Jr.
Publisher: Printhouse Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2016
Pages: 188
ISBN: 978-0997001624
Genre: Urban Fiction
Book Description:
The growth of “Mega churches” has risen considerably in the 21st century as compared to the past. Miami Urban Chronicles Volume I: Risen, seeks to set forth a fictional biopic of the rise of spiritual leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Liberty City based movement the Nation of Yahweh, “Ben Yahweh’s.”
Chauncey Miller, the main character in the story is determined to be a success. He uses his natural skills of cultivating relationships and influence to draw his followers. Despite his meager rural southern background he dreams big and takes risks head-on in realization of his goals. It is significant in modern 21st century times that individuals take control of their life’s path. The urban youth particularly need to realize by making deliberate decisions concerning their life they can live their dreams.
Chauncey meets a mentor whom cultivates his ideology and sharpens his mediation skills in working with people. He harnesses his skills by working with the youth ministry of a local church. As he attends college he learns the basics of economics and administration in his courses. He understands education is just one tool that can help him along his path. Individuals must utilize opportunities as they present themselves along life’s path. The main character seizes upon this truth and follows it down the rabbit hole in a manner of speaking.
In most communities the Church is a place of worship, fellowship, family, communal meetings and refuge. Individuals seek comfort in its walls and the main character leverages this in amassing followers. Modern successful pastors have PhD’s and fancy seminary school training. The main character can be viewed as the progenitor to the modern “Mega church” system. He is of the conviction that god must call a person to preach which is a spiritual mission.
The main character takes this mission on as any other profession and is determined to be a success as a spiritual leader, messenger of god, as well as a successful business entrepreneur. The main character goes from city to city while growing his followership and refining his professional talents. In addition his studies have led to him evolving his religious convictions.
The story enthralls with the turmoil of power, beliefs, sex, control, and all the human pitfalls that too often affect successful professionals. In desiring success and wealth upon any career path it is important to maintain composure. Chauncey, although a spiritual leader, is in realization of this truth.
In paralleling the lifestyles of the larger community many individuals become disillusioned and pigeonhole themselves. Only in selflessness can individuals walk a blemish-less path. Particularly urban youth must learn the lesson in traversing modern life goal paths in reaching their dreams.
This chronicle wraps with Chauncey answering to the communal guidelines of this prescribed society. All must answer to the allegations of their fellow community members and none is an exception to this rule. In acquisition of success and goal setting humility can be a lifesaver.
Book Excerpt:
Chauncey Miller was a
Carolina native that grew up in the south and knew the hard work of the tobacco
fields.  Raised in a Christian household
he was fascinated with the bible and studied religion with a fervor.  Little did his contemporaries know that he
would rise to the level of a spiritual leader commanding a multi-million dollar
enterprise.  They surely wouldn’t realize
that he was a megalomaniac capable of manipulating a band of killers.
It’s a sunny afternoon in
1976 and Chauncey was on the corner of 125th Peachtree Street in
Atlanta, Georgia.  He had a stack of
paper leaflets, as he is approached by pedestrians he offered a flyer to a man
dressed in a black suit.  The man took
the flyer and read it, mouthed the words soundlessly.        
“Do you believe in god,”
asked the man in black.
“Surely I do,” responded
Chauncey sternly. 
The man continued to look
at the flyer; he wore iron rimmed glasses and had shiny black shoes. 
“I’m a history professor
at the local community college and would like to have you join one of my focus
group,” he asked. 
The man stood and looked
Chauncey in the face awaiting an answer to his inquiry.  Chauncey had not expected such an immediate
attention to himself and paused in response noting the man’s patient nature.
“I’m not sure what focus
groups do but if you give me the address I’ll check it out,” said Chauncey.
The man pulled a business
card from his blazer and handed it to Chauncey as pedestrians ushered pass them
on the street.  No one seemed to notice
the exchange between the two men and was oblivious of them obstructing the walk
way as they chatted. 
“Don’t worry you’ll find
out when you show,” the man replied. 
He placed the flyer
Chauncey had been passing to people on the street in his coat and continued on
his way.  Chauncey looked down at the
flyers he had been passing out for the street team company. He had been working
for the company weekends and at afterhours bar locations.  Exhausted he read it. It said, let me tell you why the white man is the
devil.  Come hear CL Cayman speak truth
to power at White Hall located on Jackie Robinson Avenue.   
Chauncey never took
notice of the leaflets he passed along to pedestrians and this one had a very
inquisitive message.  He wondered about the
thoughts of the gentleman in which he had just met, had the message affected
him so profoundly?  He took the business
card from his pocket looked at the address and contemplated the location.  He had seen the address before on something
he read at home and could not recall it do to his momentary failing
The stack of leaflets sat
on the sidewalk near a lamp post.  A gust
of wind arose that blew some of the top flyers into the street.  The sudden barrage of papers broke his
thoughts and he scrambled to grab them as people continued to bustle past.
“Get out the street,”
yelled a disgruntled driver.
blew his horn as he drove past and Chauncey continued to pick up the flyers
ignoring the outburst.  Chauncey had
hardened his feelings to ridicule and he believed with his ability to project
an icy persona could ward off potential personal threats.  He had developed this ability while in grade
school and used it throughout his young adult life as he entered his college
years.  As a youth he had dealt with
bullies and experienced being singled out for jokes among friends in the
decided he would attend the focus group the following day after his last class
on campus and find out more about the strange gentleman that intrigued him on
their meet.
Claude Donors was a tall
wiry light skinned complexioned man with green eyes in his sixties and did
social research on religions in historical contexts.  He was an eccentric man with a direct
nature.  Chauncey’s curiosity of the
gentleman had led him to the campus upon the issued invitation.  Chauncey entered his office at the university
and was immediately stopped at the door by Donor’s secretary. 
“I’m sorry sir do you
have an appointment?”  She inquired. 
The young woman was very
pretty and Chauncey noticed that she had a curvy figure.  He could see that she was highly educated by
the way she addressed him.  She was
smartly dressed in a business suit.  She
smelled of light perfume and mints.  Her
hair was penned up into a bun and she sat positioned at her office desk.  He quickly handed over the business card
given him and she looked at the back of the card for a moment.
“Have a seat Dr. Donors
will be with you in a minute,” said the young lady. 
Chauncey took back the
card he had given the girl and looked on the back of it as she did, his
curiosity peeked.  Let this man pass, it said written in a very legible hand written
signature.  He had not noticed it the
entire time he had possession of the card and was surprised at himself for not
realizing that fact.                
    As he sat awaiting Dr. Donors he noticed the
office was cozy and decorated with plaques along the light blue colored
walls.  The carpet smelled as if it was
freshly vacuumed and it being in the late evening not much pedestrian traffic
came in or out.  He noticed the young
lady pick up the phone a number of times and she talked for just a few minutes
on each instance.  He assumed it was
Donors and thought if he made the right decision in coming.  Just as the thought popped in his head Donors
brushed by him.
“Let’s go young man,
we’re late.” He said. 
Chauncey was out of his
chair and behind Donors as he strode down the hallway taking giant steps to
quickly reach his desired location. 
“My focus group is
designed to record the assumptions, thoughts and impressions of religion on the
average working class individual,” he said as they walked. 
“By the way what’s your
name?” he asked turning to look at Chauncey.
“Chauncey Miller,”
Chauncey replied.
“Well Mr. Miller you
should find this to be very interesting,” he said as they entered a room with
about seven people sitting around a circular table.  Upon introduction by the four males and three
females it was noted two were teachers, one was a factory worker, two were
students, one was a paramedic and one was a shop keeper.  The questions posed to the group were
designed to elicit discussion and all responses were recorded by the professor.
The first question posed
was do you believe in god followed up with what do you think about
religion.  All the participants believed
in god but it was interesting to see their apparent ambiguity in the actual
practice of religion.  As the professor
guided the group’s discussion a light bulb went off in Chauncey’s head.  He had wondered throughout his life what his
purpose was in this world.  He had
attended college and taken on various odd jobs to support himself in the
city.  He’d bounced around in search of a
career interest to no avail.  He was
articulate and well regarded for his ability to persuade others.  In observing the professor’s research he saw
a need and an opportunity that could possibly be exploited.  He decided from that instance he wanted to
know more about the professor and the purpose for his work. 
The session ended after
about an hour of discussion and all the participants departed leaving Chauncey
along with the professor in the room.  As
the professor put the finishing touches on the session notes Chauncey broke the
silence which permeated the room after the last departed guest.
For More Information:
Risen is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

Born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  I was the grandson of a share cropper whom taught me about hard work and education.  At age 17 I began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college I was inspired to write when I read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  I began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  I Entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military I went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  I began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.   I currently work for the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.
See website for more details.
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