Archive for May, 2011

Wrapping It Up: Who Got What RE: My Posts Below

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

I’m aware that Douglas Wilson reads, or has people read for him, the things I write on Prevailing Winds, because sometimes a theme or a statement I’ve made here will become fodder for Blog and Mablog. I don’t presume that anyone spends their days hoping I’ll have posted something new; not even my mom does that, and Doug is a busy man. But things have a way of getting back to him.

I believe that public sin deserves, if not requires, public rebuke, and so I wrote the posts regarding Steven and Katie, below, knowing that the Kirk network is tight and that criticism read by one goes quickly to others. But I have also cut-and-pasted parts 2 and 3 to Ed Iverson and Douglas Wilson at NSA, to Steven’s home pastor in Colville, and to Katie’s family’s pastor in Fallon, Nevada. I will also send both parts later today to the pastor of the Nazarene Church here, which is the venue for the June 11 nuptials.

I won’t, my work here having been done, suddenly begin to pray about this disastrous and sinful situation. Indeed, I haven’t written a thing before much prayer and reflection, and I have a group of people to whom I am accountable for both errors in fact (Part 2 has links to everything required to support what I’ve set out) and wrongfulness in tone. They are people who love me but, as they should, love the Lord more. I’m not likely to surround myself with people who applaud everything I do, largely, I suppose, because I lack a ministry empire on which they’re financially dependent. Any rebukes I garner from this will be acknowledged, and any factual errors immediately and publicly corrected, again with acknowledgement.

So now they all know, and now you do, too. All we can do, it appears, is, having sounded the alarm, rest in the arms of the Almighty and wait expectantly for what he does.

Marriage, Part 4: An Open Letter To Steven and Katie

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Dear Steven and Katie,

If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly aware of my deep sadness and profound alarm regarding the news of your upcoming marriage. I have made my points in this blog over the last week or so, and only after much prayer and many tears. I will not review my fears now.

I only want to tell you both that I am your sister in Christ Jesus, and I don’t need to know you, or approve of your decisions or your lives, to love you as part of his Body. Indeed, it’s sincere concern for the two of you that motivates not only this but my previous posts. Steven, I have been praying for your healing and your safety since news of your offenses became public. I don’t hate you; on the contrary, I grieve for the wellspring of pain you’ve not only inflicted, but that you’ve suffered. I would protect you from harm if it were in my power to do so, and if you can hear past what your elders and your pastors have to say about me, you’ll know that I mean every word I say. If you’ve trusted in Christ for your salvation and forgiveness from sins, then you and I have that in common, and I count you as my brother. I truly want what’s best for you, and I very much doubt this is it.

Katie, you undoubtedly think that I’m trying to wrest away from you the happiness you’ve so desperately sought, and I can only imagine how awful you must think I am for involving myself in your plans. I understand that. But you are precious, just as Katie, to your Savior and mine, and so you are precious to me. I’m a stranger to you, but I was once a young woman trying to find my way. Some 30 years ago, I found that Way in Christ, and in September it will be 27 years that my husband and I have been married. Ours is a good thing — a holy thing, a wonderful thing, a blessed thing. But it is not “the thing” that made me whole. I want wholeness and happiness for you, and I suspect that Christ has a husband in mind for you; most of us do, in fact, get married. However, engagement after two dates to a man who is an acknowledged pedophile is not only unwise, but dangerous. The God we serve isn’t leading you to this, no matter what elders who presume to act in his name say.

I pray that your marriage doesn’t go through on June 11, and that may make me despicable in your eyes. Please, though, consider what I’m saying — all of it — instead of simply disregarding words that strike you as mean-spirited and ugly. Katie, I would love to talk with you, and you or Steven can email me at kjajmix1@msn.com, or call me at 336-4841. I promise you that any contact we have will be held in the strictest confidence, and I pray that your hearts will be touched by the wisdom of God’s Holy Spirit and comforted by the peace that passes all understanding. I want only to help you find that peace, because I love you both.

Keely Emerine-Mix.

Marriage, Part 3: An Open Letter To Ed Iverson, With Application For His Pastor And Fellow Elders

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

(Editor’s note: Ed Iverson is a Christ Church elder and New St. Andrews College faculty librarian, as well as a “grandfather” to Katie Travis)

Mr. Iverson,

RE: Your encouragement of Katie Travis’ marriage to Steven Sitler

I write today as a Christian woman, saved by the same grace that has saved you, Steven Sitler, the elders with whom you share this, and all humankind who place their trust in Christ Jesus. You may, of course, question how anyone, and how a woman in particular, can be as critical as I am of you Christian men and still consider herself part of the Body of Christ. You are free to let that question guide your response, or lack of it, to what I say here. But let me assure you that I would have little interest in confronting you all if you weren’t representatives of the Lord Jesus and his Church, and even less if I weren’t myself. Indeed, I consider it necessary to do so, and I lament that precious few, if any, of Moscow’s other conservative Christians have felt the conviction to join me. And while your pastor, in his unbridled egotism, will suggest that this is simply an example of some bigoted vendetta he believes I have against him, please know that if it were simply my personal feelings for Doug Wilson that enlivened my writing, the tone would be far different. You would see the difference, and you would like it even less.

Given the gushing and public gratitude your role in Katie’s engagement to Steven has prompted, I believe that I have more than the Scriptural two witnesses required to charge you, and charge you publicly, with exercising gross disrespect for the Biblical institution of marriage, callous disregard for Steven Sitler’s well-being, profound disdain for Katie Travis, and an astonishing level of disinterest in the extraordinary likelihood of their eventual children’s molestation by their father, whose pedophilia is well documented.

You may refer to my previous post if you desire greater context, although the situation that you helped create is well known to you. In your evident belief that a hastily-arranged and unwise marriage is better in and of itself than no marriage at all, and in your encouragement of this poor young woman’s desperation to “have it happen to her” in her early 20s just like it did for all of the other young women she knows, you have cheapened a Godly institution intended by Scripture to mirror the intimacy and sacrifice of Christ toward his Church. Marriage is not analogous to the last dance, last call, or last chance for anyone. It is not the curative to Katie Travis’ desperation, and I’m sure that clearer heads than yours would counsel her that until and unless her Savior brings her a mate, and even after, Jesus Christ is the only man she needs. Indeed, worship of Christ as Lord requires trust that only he can complete us, fulfill us, and make us whole. It is not a role that any mortal ought to be expected to take on; it is certainly not a role easily filled by the nearest, most seemingly available and still unmarried man you can round up.

You have callously catered to Katie’s misguided hope that marriage will somehow complete her, that she is incomplete without a man. As her elder and grandfather-in-heart, your job was to gently restore her confidence in her worth, simply as Katie Travis and regardless of her singleness, her looks, or her academic challenges, in her Savior. Whether at 23, 33, 53 or never, Katie’s eventual marriage ought never have been, nor should ever be, her primary focus in life. You exploited her desperation under the guise of grandfatherly counsel and appreciation for the institution that you have fouled, trumpeting her hasty and reckless engagement to a man you know to be sick as a Godly solution to her woes and to his problem — the killing of two lost, desperate birds with one reckless, jagged stone. That stone you threw with glee, Mr. Iverson, and you are responsible for the disaster likely to ensue and accountable to God for your role in arranging it.

While your patronizing disdain for Katie Travis is truly lamentable, it’s your manipulation of a young man struggling with perverted and unwanted sexual desire toward children — desires he has confessed to having acted on multiple times, although he was prosecuted only for one instance — that is most wounding. You have not done Steven any favors by settling him into a putative cure for his pedophilia. Marriage is not a cure for anything; it is most certainly not a cure for the pedophile. Moreover, you apparently believe that you’ve fulfilled your role as a Christian elder by encouraging healthy heterosexual expression within marriage, which we all agree is, given the right circumstances, a good thing. You have not.

What you have failed to take into account, or what you have simply chosen to ignore, is the overwhelming evidence that male pedophiles do not have their sexual desire for children turned off by heterosexual, adult conduct, within or apart from marriage. The burden you have placed on a brother struggling mightily is shameful; the fulfillment you’ve explicitly promised Katie within marriage is virtually guaranteed to not come about as she herself realizes that her mate does not find her, as an adult, to be the sexual partner of his desire. Is there a word that adequately describes the grief she will feel, or an image to fully express the confusion and despair Steven will experience? I invite you, as you ponder what is most likely to be a marital, emotional, spiritual and communal train wreck, to examine your vocabulary as well for a word that adequately sums up the recklessness with which you’ve acted. Words fail me, so great is my astonishment and despair over this sinkhole you’ve led them into.

Because of your church’s emphasis on early and robust fertility within marriage, Katie and Steven will expect and be expected to begin a family soon after their marriage. It is beyond me that you seemingly have no concern whatsoever for the children born to an admitted pedophile and his desperate, and desperately immature, wife. You’ve demonstrated a recklessness toward marriage, toward Katie, and toward Steven that easily can be regarded as sinful and frankly looks less than sane to many of us. But your breezy nonchalance in considering the future of children born to a woman whose husband prefers children as sexual partners is — and I say this with profound grief — an evil I can only presume your patriarchal and patronizing view of Christian marriage blinds you to. Indeed, I have to believe that you don’t truly grasp the toxic nature of your prescriptive machinations in bringing Steven and Katie together; if I didn’t cling to that, I would lose all hope in regards to their futures.

Katie and Steven are adults; they can choose to honor your counsel and act unwisely, although I pray they don’t. Their children, however, will not have had the choice to decline entry into a household whose Christian head, in your perspective, is a man who prefers sex with little ones. These will be children whose mother is covenantally bound to a man whose marriage to her was posed as a cure-all to what ails them, sexual perversion in his case and desperate loneliness in hers, and they will grow up as temptations, however loved, to their father. I can’t guarantee that Steven will harm his children. You cannot, however, guarantee that he won’t, but you can be damned sure that the temptation, acted on or not, will grip him, as is the case with pedophiles, every time he’s around children, and you know that even now, he is not legally allowed to be around children without mature adult supervision, and would violate terms of his lifetime probation if he is. That, as you know, is a requirement set by the courts. It’s not “love” to invite him into that scenario, and you well know it.

So this is what you’ve offered a sad, lonely young woman who turned to you as a Christian elder and friend. You’ve driven Steven into a situation in which he ought not be allowed to be alone with his own children and, as their father, will fight, however successfully, the sick desire he has to have sexual contact with kids. Would a truly repentant Christian man ever put himself into this situation, particularly with his own children? And how will Katie, as a submissive Christian wife, be considered a “mature” supervisor of her husband? You’ve perverted and polluted the nature and intent of marriage, and you’ve sullied the witness of the Christian Church among those who are aware of their upcoming wedding and your part in encouraging it. I pray that your contempt for me would not blind you to the prompting and conviction of the Holy Spirit of Christ. Sneer at me all you want, but please don’t rebuff the stirring of the Spirit.

You could still do something to prevent this, Mr. Iverson.

Or, you could simply file this away as the rantings of a busybody who just has a grudge against you and your associates. That you know that isn’t the case is abundantly clear to me, and will, I’m confident, become clear to you if you soften your heart and seek the counsel and wisdom of our Lord and Savior to alleviate the damage you have done. You are free to contact me at kjajmix1@msn.com, 509-336-4841, or at 676 W. Pullman Road #302, Moscow. I stand by what I write in humility and with tremendous grief that this letter ever needed to be written. May God give you the courage, and give your fellow elders and your pastor the courage, to do the right thing here.

Marriage, Part 2, With A Letter To Ed Iverson Following

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Many of you, if you don’t live in Moscow, will find much of what I’m writing here beyond comprehension. You will read it and hope you simply have misunderstood; you won’t want to believe that it’s true. And while all of you who do live here and are familiar with the situation I’m describing ought to be sickened, it appears that too few of you are, and that a marital, spiritual, and familial train wreck will, indeed, commence in about three weeks between two Kirk kids in the expansive sanctuary of another local church.

There are some links you out-of-towners needs to check out before you read what I’m posting here. The first is news gladly trumpeted by two young Christians, Steven and Katie, whose breathless, moment-by-moment account of their whirlwind courtship and wedding plans can be found here: http://june11eleven.com/

Now, other than the panting immaturity expressed by the fiancee’ and the certainty that as Kirk/New St. Andrews students, theirs will be a ceremony featuring her promise to “obey” him and his putative Biblical obligation to extract that obedience from her, what possible reason would I have to comment on, much less passionately object to, the circumstances of their upcoming wedding and the til-death-do-them-part it ushers in? After all, my previous post calls marriage a holy, beautiful thing. Why would I care who marries whom, particularly if I know neither the young woman or the young man?

Really, isn’t there quite enough going on in the world? Why involve myself in this?

I can only explain that after I direct you to
http://www.tomandrodna.com/CR_2005_02027/. There you will find some sickening information about Steven Sitler, the dream guy Christ Church Elder Ed Iverson set Katie Travis up with after she expressed heartwrenching sorrow that the whole courtship/engagement/marriage “thing” hadn’t, at 23, yet happened for her, as it had for practically all of her other friends. The website, which contains voluminous legal documentation, is as foul and disturbing as Steven and Katie’s website is hopeful and breezy. That’s because it shows, with primary-source legal documents, what many of Wilson’s foes here and elsewhere know to be true:

Groom-to-be Steven Sitler, the guy, well-known to Iverson, he zeroed in on as the answer to Katie’s longing, is a convicted pedophile.

The link will illustrate, in necessary but grotesque detail, that Steven Sitler is a man who confessed in 2006 to manual-genital and oral-genital contact with a kindergarten-aged little girl, was prosecuted for that crime, served less than a year in jail, and, before pleading guilty, acknowledged as part of the plea deal many other instances of pedophilia against children in three states prior to his being caught in the act in 2005 with the child of a family he boarded with while at NSA. Steven, who was caught in the act of sexual voyeurism less than a month after his release from jail, is on lifetime probation and is not and never will be allowed to be around children, any children, unless directly supervised by a “competent, mature” adult.

For the rest of his life, under threat of spending the rest of his life in prison. And a Christian elder figured he could fix the desperation of a sweet young woman by presenting this very sick man as the answer to her romantic woes and domestic dreams.

Katie Travis, who came to NSA from Fallon, Nevada, is smitten with Steven; her lament over being without a suitor at the ripe old age of 23, as well as her paean to the joy of a whirlwind courtship — they were engaged on their second date after her daddy approved Steven’s request to court her — suggests that she is somewhat less than demonstrably mature. Further, the Kirk’s emphasis on early and continual proof of marital fecundity means that she will be serving Steven a supply of potential victims, putting him at tremendous, if not virtually inevitable, risk of re-offending, but also putting her own eventual children at the horrendous likelihood of being molested by their own father.

Let me be abundantly clear here, knowing that as I’ve already angered my Kirk audience, I’m likely now to anger my secular one: I believe that there is no sin — none — that my LORD cannot forgive. I accept Steven Sitler as my brother in Christ if he has sincerely accepted Christ as his Savior, and I don’t hate him. I don’t want him killed, I don’t want him to treated like filth or harmed in any way, and I don’t want him to re-offend again, for the safety of the children in my community as well as for his own well-being. I have no reason whatsoever to doubt the sincerity of his repentance; I will not, no matter who it offends, doubt the truth of God’s Word. If the tomb was empty that first Easter morning, then all of Steven’s sins are forgiven — as are all of mine. I don’t hate him and I have no interest in stirring up hatred against him. I love him.

But love must be undergirded by truth. And the truth is that pedophilia is not “adultery,” and it’s not just another, perhaps simply rarer, form of sexual sin. This isn’t run-of-the-mill fornication, or unchecked masturbation, or a thing for pornography. Pedophilia is a distinct and, short of the miraculous, life-long preference for children, from infants and toddlers to pre-pubescents, as sexual partners. As heterosexuals have a marked sexual preference for the opposite sex and homosexuals, the object of much snorting derision on the part of Wilson and his ilk, have a marked sexual preference for members of the same sex, pedophiles — with much greater exclusivity than hetero- or homosexuals — demonstrate a preference for children as sexual partners. Adult heterosexual and homosexual relationships are consensual; if not, they cease to be sexual and are, then, examples of the violent crime of rape. By definition, children cannot give consent to sexual activity with adults — and yet regardless of the degree of pleasure or fondness felt by the child, pedophilia is always a crime, always a sin, and always a pathology. Marriage won’t cure Steven, but it’ll make it a hell of a lot more likely that he re-offends, and that he does so, in Wilson parlance, as his own childrens’ “priest” before God.

That shows precious little care for precious little people. It shows breathtakingly cynical disregard for Katie, only slightly less for Steven, and demonstrates not only abysmal judgment but a staggering contempt for marriage unbecoming even the most craven Vegas-chapel mobster.

The recklessness of encouraging this marriage is beyond comprehension. And it’s hard to overlook the filthy hypocrisy it represents, either. Wilson and his elders detest the idea of “sodomite marriage,” but Iverson encourages a desperate young girl to seek out a convicted pedophile, someone whose primary sexual attraction is to little kids, as a one-flesh heterosexual, marital soulmate — and at this writing, Wilson is conducting the ceremony. Wilson and the Christ Church/Trinity Reformed/Greyfriars/NSA empire he heads deplore abortion, but Iverson has enthusiastically arranged the circumstances under which Katie Travis’ and Steven Sitler’s as-yet conceived children will be born into a family where their daddy has demonstrated that he is a sick individual who has acknowledged more than the single case of genital contact with children for which he was prosecuted. Finally, Iverson and Wilson, who subscribe to an extreme patriarchal theology by which the father, as head of the household, not only represents God to his children but the family, including his adult wife, to God, show no compunction whatsoever in helping to bring about a household wherein it is virtually a statistical certainty that Dad-as-picture-of-God will asphyxiate any possible trust his children will have in their Heavenly Father.

And all because Katie felt like she’d been on the shelf too long, and Steven needed to be set on the right track. The question here isn’t why a pretty young thing like Katie isn’t married yet, Nancy Wilson’s latest book notwithstanding (see Canon Press, Wilson’s literary vanity project; I believe it’s item F-116, if your tolerance for 1950s sexism is greater than mine). The question is how in God’s name a sincere young Christian woman like Katie can have her deepest longing for love and marriage become fodder for the machinations of a couple of pompous buffoons eager to show that their idea of marriage is infinitely, eternally, more important than any pastoral duty they have to the two young people being shoved into it, or to the children heartbreakingly likely to suffer from it.

And that, dear reader, is a question I will very soon be publicly asking Iverson. However, for now, because I just checked in to Blog and Mablog, I will set aside incredulity and ask Doug Wilson if he really, truly, believes that “pomosexuals” (I’m guessing he sees me as one of ‘em) believe children are off-limits to adult sexual activity simply because our sexual-ethic compass is so perversely skewed to the left that anything goes as long as we’re not personally, you know, icked out by it.

Here’s the deal, Doug: It’s about children and millstones, not your lashing out at critics and homo-lovers. You have my prayers and my pity. I just hope you read up on the millstone thing before you sink.

Marriage

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Marriage is sacred. Marriage is holy. And it’s fun, difficult, challenging, beautiful, messy, and entirely full of everything, good and bad, that makes this part of our eternity everything that it is.

But you know that. Still . . .

Marriage is too precious to be hurriedly arranged by someone else because one party is desperate to have courtship, engagement, and matrimony “happen to her” as it has to all of her other friends, and because the other party needs to be set on what looks the right track.

Christians, especially, see marriage in a sacred light, as the metaphor our God has given us to illustrate on this earth the union between Christ and His people. This isn’t because Christ values the institution above the two people in it, but because he so tremendously values the two people involved and has given marriage its proper place in their spiritual, psychological, emotional and personal development.

Christian elders, therefore, who encourage marriage recklessly, callously, and with a jaw-dropping degree of ignorance and indifference, deserve condemnation. And when that marriage is trumpeted publicly, that rebuke ought to be public.

And within the next couple of days, it will be.

Gut-Check Time For The GOP

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

OK, let’s talk about the 2012 presidential race here for just a second.

The GOP — and that includes Tea Partiers, old-line fiscal conservatives, Religious Right social conservatives, and those who are convenient Libertarians — has, without a trace of shame, allowed Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Alan Keyes, and even Donald Trump to be mentioned as candidates for the most powerful position on earth and the face of the United States before a hostile, turbulent world.

And now Newt Gingrich?

Really?

How stupid — by which I mean grasping, undiscerning, irresponsible, and desperate — can that be for the political party that has claimed not only Christ’s platform but his voice as well?

Must. Stop. Reading. Should. Be. Writing.

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Ahh, if only I could write with my right side and read with my left. I’d certainly get more done on Prevailing Winds, albeit less done around the house. Now that I’m an official empty-nester, though, there’s a whole lot less that needs to get done here and, thus, a whole lot more time spent on reading. Which is not, then, spent on writing here, and so it goes.

But while I have a half-dozen or so books I’m currently engrossed in, most of them are flagged with arguments, points, observations, or errors I intend to eventually comment on here, and so I thought I should share my current, robust reading list as a heads-up to what you can expect from my own little corner of the blogosphere — you know, that corner where leadership and influence are gifts from God, not a function of genitalia; where bullies, bigots, and bishopric blusterers get called out; and where ideas aren’t wrong, or un-Biblical, just because you haven’t heard of them before. My reading list reflects that — but as long as I learn from it, speak truth through it, and become a better person by it, I’ll keep reading.

What’s most grabbed my attention is “The Evangelical Universalist,” by a pseudonymous Christian theologian who argues what I think Rob Bell might have tried to argue in “Love Wins,” which I finished when it first came out. On the other hand, I’m not sure, because I rarely can figure out what Rob Bell is trying to say. It’s an indictment of the Church Unthinking that Bell’s take on Christian Universalism will likely be the only one people read, and I’m not sure Bell’s elevation as a voice of the 21st-century church speaks well for evangelicalism universally, although it’s not nearly as lamentable as Doug Wilson’s evolution as spokesman for anything other than Doug Wilson. Still, as an annihilationist of some years’ standing, I have been intrigued by the idea that in Christ, the eschatological end will bring about the reconciliation of all humankind. “The Evangelical Universalist” is deep, well-presented, humble in tone and, thus far, pretty persuasive in argument. If you like Rob Bell, by all means read “Love Wins.” If you want to understand why so many Christians have believed that the Bible allows us at least to infer a theology of universal reconciliation, read “The Evangelical Universalist,” and then mourn a Christiandom so unable to discuss new ideas that purveyors thereof feel the need to write under pseudonyms.

Then there’s Kenneth Bailey’s “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes,” which is this theologian’s response to the filtering of Jesus through WASP-y, Middle-American eyes. Bailey has some fascinating things to reveal about the Christmas narratives in the Gospels, Jesus’ geneology, and his relationships to the sociological Other. Good stuff, well-argued.

I was born in 1960, so it was hard to pass up New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins’ “When Everything Changed — The Amazing Journey Of American Women From 1960 To The Present.” I wish every 20-something young woman I know whose nose wrinkles with disgust when she hears the word “feminist,” and who thus doesn’t know the battles her foremothers fought so that she could go to school, date, marry, and embark on a career without her father’s permission, had this book. Few things are as disconcerting as when people don’t realize that the security they enjoy now is only a few decades away from the gross marginalization she would have been destined for then.

The title — “Thumpin’ It” — is awful, but the subtitle makes sense: “The Use And Abuse Of The Bible In Today’s Presidential Politics,” examples of which aren’t too hard to come by. Jacques Berlinerblau, an associate professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown, deftly outlines how the Scriptures tend to be appropriated by the Right to defend what often is indefensible, while the Left’s clumsy handling of the Word demonstrates a robust connection to tired, Christian-ish platitudes and a tenuous connection to an understanding of the reality of faith in the lives of the electorate. I disagree with a few things, but so far find it interesting.

I’ve probably mentioned that I grew up Catholic, but not just a cradle Catholic; I was just about as devout and heavenly-minded as the skirt-wearing, guitar-picking nuns who ran catechism classes. Until I noticed two things: boys and the preponderance of nuns with facial hair. I didn’t leave the Church until a year or so after coming to Christ, and I somehow missed The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a’ Kempis. I’m on the mailing list of a Catholic supply company, saw it listed, and was interested in reading what the catalog said was, after the Bible, the most influential book in Christiandom. It’s unlike any devotional you’ve ever read, and I’m pretty sure, given the state of Christian publishing over the last 30 years, that’s a compliment.

Finally, my dear friend Geta, who was my English teacher way back in the mid-70s at Cholla High School in Tucson, gifted me with a wonderful novel by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa called “Daughters Of The Stone.” When I read fiction, which is not altogether common, I tend toward the mystery novels of John Lescroart and Stephen White, who keep me well stocked when I crave something with no mention of theology, history, or current events. After reading “Daughters,” though, I’m going to have to branch out; the thought that I could have missed this is distressing. It’s lyrical, magical, touching, and you don’t want to miss it, either. I’m glad I didn’t.

Rounding out the most immediate half-dozen of the volumes on my groaning nightstand,