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Saving Erasmus: A Novel by Steven Cleaver
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Saving Erasmus: A Novel

by Steven Cleaver

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Like the Biblical Jonah, Andrew Benoit is a reluctant prophet. This role began during his seminary graduation. Each graduate was to announce where he or she would be serving. Although Andrew had plans to serve within large parish, when he received his diploma, he blurted out a small church in the community of Erasmus. When the bus dropped him off at a laundromat to await his ride, he encountered Death extricating itself from one of the washing machines. He then proclaims that faithless Erasmus would be destroyed in seven days unless Andrew could induce the town to repent. This allegory then introduces us to a number of quirky characters including the mystics who worship in the basement of the Instant Coffee Cup, a local establishment owned by John Luther Zwingli, which only serves different brands of instant coffee.

Any clergy or seminarian would enjoy this humorous book; however, unless you were one born during the early years of the television age, you might miss some cultural references. ( )
  John_Warner | Mar 14, 2016 |
This is a quirky novel set in an out of way Midwestern USA location. A very recent seminarian graduate, Andrew Benoit, has been encouraged to take an unsafe journey to a small town with a church congregation that needs salvation. The Angel of Death appears to Andrew coming out of a dryer in a laundromat, and tells him all the towns people of Erasmus will be killed in a week if they don't repent. The town is run by the major employer in the town, Mrs. Davenport, and she runs the only establsihed church. Andrew finds the town a wasteland, but as things work through in the novel, it turns out that Andrew himself needs a boost. There is some unusual symbolism in this work, witha motley assortment of Marx brothers. The novel was an interesting read, but not great. ( )
  vpfluke | Mar 6, 2011 |
I found this book quirky, charming, and surprisingly deep. I usually expect "religious" novels to be preachy and overly sentimental, but I think Saving Erasmus avoided that for the most part. There were some sublime comic moments - particularly at the beginning when Andrew Benoit first encounters the Angel of Death - and I liked the way religion was portrayed overall in the novel. My only gripe is, what do Andrew's friends "the mystics," and their old-comedian names (Harpo, Curly, Mae West, etc.), have to do with anything? Overall a good read, though.
  christina_reads | Mar 11, 2009 |
Definitely different, this novel seems to be written in a tongue in cheek manner, with the reader having to accept improbablities like Death climbing out a washing machine to tell a pastor on his way to Erasmus that the town will be destroyed in 3 days unless they repent. Said pastor--Andew Benoit--was reluctant to go to the small town of Erasmus in the first place, but God seems determined to send him there, and once there he discovers that it is run by the greedy Primrose Davenport. The only bright spot is the Instant Coffe Cup restaurant, run by John Luther Zwingli and patronized by sages who all have the names of movie stars. And it just gets wierder from there.
If you like the offbeat, give this a try, if you don't stay away. ( )
  debs4jc | Sep 17, 2007 |
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Communities of Believers, Horizons for Yout, Earlham School of Religion, Omega Insitute, Ganas
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I did not expect to meet the Angle of Death while he was extricating himself from a washing machine.
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