Robert Flynn’s second novel tracks a day in the life of Pat Shahan, minister of a Protestant church in a large city. Young, devout, and honest, Shahan seeks revelation—and is offered a revolving neon cross for the church steeple; he seeks vision—and gets a pep talk from the church treasurer. Striving to serve the Lord, he is dragged into a “Great Crusade” which is nothing more than a publicity stunt that ends disastrously. Shahan’s day sees him ministering to the sick and dying, pacifying angry parishioners and counseling troubled ones, seeking inspiration for a sermon, trying to calm his mother by phone, and losing patience with his family. Pat Shahan is a thoroughly human minister.
Throughout his day—and by extension his ministry—he struggles to balance his faith in Christianity with his doubts about himself and his church. His story gives a pulpit-eye view of organized religion, a view that is occasionally humorous, sometimes affectionate, always open-minded, and ultimately affirmative. “There is darkness in the world,” says Shahan, “but there is also light."