I recently began to think about writing a book on ministers gone astray. No, I’m not a minister and I haven’t gone astray. I am what they call a PK, a preacher’s kid.
When I was growing up, I heard many stories from my father and other ministers about their colleagues who ‘drifted from the path.’ As a social worker and a sociologist, I always thought I would like to write a story about that, not one that was an exposé, but one that looked at the crisis of family in a non-salacious way.
I met a writer last weekend who wrote a story about minister’s wives. Her work reminded me of my idea and I began to think anew about that as a writing project.
I began looking on the Internet for a public domain picture that dealt with the matter. In the back of my mind Matthew 18:6 emerged: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
After searching for a while, I found an apt depiction of a man at the bottom of the sea with a millstone about his neck. The drawing was by an artist named Loren Ries. On a whim I contacted her and told her about my project, being careful to explain it was in its infancy. Then I asked the Big Dramatic Question: “May I use your picture?”
Here’s my exact request:
“I’m a writer considering a book about a minister who is filled with sin. He is physically abusive with boys and sexually abusive with girls. The story will be about one his gradual exposure in the community where he lives, the division caused by people who believe in him vs. those who don’t, and the eventual outing of him by (I haven’t decided who it will be yet). I’ve been looking for a picture of a man with, you guessed it, a millstone around his neck. You have one that I admire and could be used as a book cover. What would it take for me to be able to use it? I don’t have a lot of published works yet. You can look at my work by Googling “Anthem I Roger W. Manning.” A chapter is available there for you to read.”
Much to my surprise