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Synopsis of Writings

 

Chapter 1, By God Possessed, contains passages, divided into an Introduction and five sections, that were written over a period of a year and a half and offer the reader a path towards self confidence in accepting and loving who we are, no matter what life's challeneges have offered up.  Taken as a whole, they are both the core and the infrastructure around which the balance of my writings revolve.…

Chapter 2, The Soul Takes Flight, is a collection of short prose, narrative verse, and meditations centered on discovering and defining the person's soul, and how one's perception of self and soul can change for the better over a person's lifetime...

Chapter 3, In Search of a Personal God, offers the reader special insight into the many travails that, in the latter part of my life, led me step by step, from attempting to engineer my life in the way I thought that I wanted it to unfold, to a complete “letting go” into God's care.  It also led me towards an unswerving belief in the rightness of that care, no matter how painful my personal circumstances at the time.

Chapter 4, On Suffering, brings to the surface our questions about why God would ever have us suffer.  These writings take up what we as people of faith and belief have learned from specific events in our lives that have brought hurt and harm, and how we travel further down life's road armed with the knowledge these experiences bring us. …

Chapter 5, By His Kingdom Graced, is a collection of short stories, some in narrative verse, drawn from the author's actual life experiences.  They reflect the pathos of meeting and experiencing human frailty face to face, often with great pain, but always with the self confidence that flows from understanding the consequences of one's actions...

Chapter 6, Random Thoughts on Life and Spiritual Truths, helps the reader reconcile the realilty of daily life and the constancy of one's faith in God.  There are eight sections to this chapter, all but one very short, and all easy to read.  Each section is meant to be thought provoking yet straight-forward in defining the ties between the human condition and spiritual faith. …

Chapter 7, Muhammad and the Rise of Islam, offers readers a short, non-polemical history of Islam, both as a religion and as a political institution, with widespread impact on civilization and on knowledge in every field of learning.

Chapter 8, Hinduism: Ancient River, Holy River, presents Hinduism, the ancient religion it is, in terms that make it easy for readers to understand its place among the world's great religions.  As with many of the older religions, Hinduism's origins have become shrouded in myth, with allegories designed as teaching devices rigidified into fact. 

Chapters 9, 10, and 11 High Country Quest, recount in three chapters the exciting and dramatic adventures that Justin Ryder relates, often tongue-in-cheek with smart-mouthed asides, which are but metaphors for the inner trials and tests that Justin (like all of us) encounters in his soul’s quest for God.  The three episodes of High Country Quest cover a period of twenty-five years, following Justin from from age thirteen to thirty-eight, though time in the sphere of this story is seamless and not marked by the passage of years.  Justin’s actual life is lived first with his parents, then with his wife Sabrina and their children, Marielle and Andrea. 

Chapter 12, Miscellany: Just for Fun, offers up Bear on a Chair, Puddin' Pie, and Melody, three short verses that will make you smile.  Light-hearted in thought and style, they hint at how we all feel better when taking the time to "lighten up" and laugh at, and with, the inner silliness within us.…

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