Andrew Marr is a monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, Michigan, a Benedictine monastery in the Episcopal Church where he lives a life of worship. He has written a book "Tools for Peace: the Spiritual Craft of St. Benedict and René Girard on Benedictine spirituality and peace. He also writes fantasy fiction to express the depths and delight of the spiritual journey. These stories are published under the titles: Born in the Darkest Time of Year: Stories for the Season of the Christ Child, Creatures We Dream of Knowing: Stories of our Life Together, and From Beyond to Here: Merendael's Gift and Other Stories.
Tools for Peace: the Spiritual Craft of St. Benedict and René Girard
A sixth-century abbot who wrote a practical rule for his community and a twentieth-century thinker who has roamed through literature, cultural anthropology, and religious thought-what would these two men have in common to generate a conversation between them? The religious study "Tools for Peace: The Spiritual Craft of St. Benedict and René Girard" combines their insights on how to understand and overcome violence in the world today. In his Rule for monks, St. Benedict explored ways that people can live in peace with one another and with God. René Girard probed human experience to seek the roots of violence that tears human communities apart and separates people from God. A dialogue between this abbot and this modern thinker across fifteen centuries deepens the insights of both into the causes and cures of human violence and gives us the tools to apply their ideas in our troubled world.
For both St. Benedict and Girard, peace is rooted in God. Anyone who yearns for harmony in the midst of the violence that surrounds us today can learn much from Tools for Peace, essentially joining in a conversation between two people who share a desire for the serenity of God for all times
He presents a compelling argument for the Rule as a response to mimetic discord and violence, while also using mimesis as a tool to spread peace. For example, the Rule hinders the mimetic impulse to covet by disallowing direct property ownership. Yet, while demanding piety from a monastery’s leadership, the Rule harnesses the mimetic impulse to make piety a desirable trait. -- Kirkus Reivew
Creatures We Dream of Knowing
middle grade fantasy
"Creatures We Dream of Knowing" is a compilation of seven heartwarming stories that probe the wonders of creation through the eyes of creatures who ask those they encounter to open their eyes and hearts to their wisdom.
When a young boy receives a plea in a dream from a frightened colt with purple diamond eyes, he embarks on an unforgettable adventure that leads him from the warmth of his bed to a dark horse pasture where he must learn to use his hands and his heart to rescue the abandoned foal. As the collection of short stories continues, a band of unique characters will meet a creature from the depths of the ocean previously unknown to humanity; travel into an oriental carpet with the creatures who live in it; discover a butterfly who wants to end a war; share a dragon's story; find out what happens when someone rubs a genie's bottle with the wrong hand; and perch in the branches of a tree unlike any other.
"Creatures We Dream of Knowing" encourages others to simply imagine what would happen if such beautiful creatures truly existed in our universe
Read Korniel from Creatures We Dream of Knowing
Religious themes flow throughout—Christian-inspired but never heavy-handed or alienating—making this a collection that lifts the spirit. Fans of the fantastic, the quirky and the diversity of nature will find new ideas to relish and ponder. --Kirkus Review
From Beyond to Here: Merendael's Gift and Other Stories
middle grade, fantasy
Beyond our wildest imaginations, other worlds and dimensions exist that are vastly different than ours. These worlds beyond both fascinate and frighten us, but more importantly, they have the potential to bring a great good we never could have envisioned.
In this intriguing collection of stories that explores the ramifications of encounters with beings from the beyond, the appearance of a bewildering and elusive visitor to an eleven-year-old resident brings an unusual gift that turns his entire town inside out. Two young siblings-whose parents have just left them for a year with their callous aunt and uncle-soon discover they have an angry ghost to contend with as well. As a family moves into a strange house, they find the house a lot stranger than they bargained for. When a boy finds his school filled with the ghosts of fellow students and teachers, he is mystified when he sees these same people still alive in the flesh.
"From Beyond to Here" is a compilation of stories for young fans of the supernatural sure to entertain and raise questions about intriguing parallel worlds.
The Ghost of Swiss Castle > Short Story sample
Marr’s collection comprises six short stories aimed at young readers interested in aliens and ghosts (which in turn comprises just about all young readers, one would imagine). Marr has done a good job depicting the troubles and traumas that preteens and teenagers face and showing how they might be able to deal with life’s challenges. -- Kirkus Review.
Infusing Christian precepts with science fiction and fantasy-powered plots, these stories are not only well written, they’re thematically profound. --Blueink Review
Born in the Darkest Time of Year: Stories for the Season of the Christ Child
middle grade, fantasy, Christmas
At Christmas anything can happen: Scott creates a crisis for his family when the only thing he wants for Christmas is a unicorn. While spending Christmas in England, John meets a family from Cromwell's time. A ghost appears to Rose Lee just before Christmas and desperately tries to get her attention. Christopher goes out to his back yard to meet space aliens who have just landed on Christmas Eve. Martha searches her house for a treasure that a professional wise man says can be found in her home. Danny, a teenage boy genius, uses his time machine to see the future of Christmas. Charley meets a strange dog just before Christmas whose eyes turn red when aroused. This volume contains fifteen tales that catch the mystery, enchantment, and hope of the Christmas season for readers of all ages.
The Forest of Windellynn
fantasy, children's fantasy
Gwion Williams is playing a scrub baseball game with his friends after school when his friend, Kerry, disappears while chasing a long fly ball. Soon after, a strange boy, strangely dressed, appears and offers to help Gwion find his missing friend. Gwion soon learns that his friend has been kidnaped by elves to steal his soul. Before long, his friend Margot and sister Gwen are also taken. To rescue them, Gwion must risk a journey into the elves’ forest which they have created out of cyberspace. Along the way, Gwion finds that he has much to learn about what it means to have a soul. An exciting and thoughtful read for both young and older readers.
Sample The Forest of Windellynn
Moving and Resting in God's Desire: A Spirituality of Peace
spirituality, Christian spirituality
There is a great increase in quests for peace in our time, and for good reason. Violence seems also to be on the increase, intensifying the need to understand violence and find peaceful alternatives. Most distressing is the violence inspired by religion although each of these religions teach peace. The odd thing about all this is that most people claim they believe in peace and want peace, and peace is the very thing that eludes us much of the time. Why do we fail to get what we want?
With the help of the Gospel, René Girard’s insights, and soundings in the fundamental practices of Christian spirituality, Moving and Resting in God’s Desire: A Spirituality of Peace examines how human desires are shared among us in complicated ways. Special attention is paid to ways shared desires lead to violence and how we can overcome it by allowing ourselves to be strengthened by God’s desire as shown us in the Forgiving Victim who rose from the dead. A powerful path towards spiritual renewal.
Sample Moving and Resting in God's Desire