Becoming Ex-Fundies Then Writing A Book or Three

Since the entire country is out standing in lines to buy stuff right now, I thought I’d tell you about three books that you might want to add to your holiday reading list. No lines required. I know all three of the authors and I think you’ll find these interesting (even if you don’t agree with every single thing they say, write, knit, or excavate).

Nate O’Connor wants to do right. His senior year of college, though, gets off to a rocky start. He’s a student at Bob Johnson University, the flagship institution of higher learning in American fundamentalism, where he and his best friend are placed on spiritual probation after being accused of disloyalty to the school. Their attempt to repair their reputation backfires and when Nate meets two women–one beautiful and smart, the other wise and charming–his entire belief system is uprooted. Nate’s world is further rocked by tragedy and his life will never be the same.

Drawing on his own experiences as a student at Bob Jones University, Rich Merritt has crafted an extraordinary story of love, hope, loss, betrayal and loyalty. Most of all, Spiritual Probation is a deeply compelling exploration into the power of faith – in friends, lovers and God, as each of us defines God, and in the unwavering dictates of our own hearts.

Available on

A couple college friends of mine have put together a delightful little children’s book with original artwork and a fun story about what it means to be special. Definitely check this one out if you have kids on your shopping list (or buy it for yourself — we won’t judge you).

You can get it at





In 2008, when the mortgage industry collapsed, Craig Daliessio lost his career and his livelihood, becoming homeless. During that time, he began writing a series of Advent stories for his 10-year-old daughter, wishing to capture the joy of Christmas and attempting to look past the dark times in which they were living. Daliessio’s collection of short stories, “A Ragamuffin Christmas: An Advent Journey,” provided him with hope and helped him to overcome his struggles.

“A Ragamuffin Christmas: An Advent Journey” highlights the lives of 24 uniquecharacters and their holiday stories. Daliessio depicts individuals with varied backgrounds and problems, with each one laying their worries, fears, and troubles at Jesus’ feet during the celebration of His birth. From a Roman soldier to a murderer, a broken-hearted mother to a patriarch, each one experiences a life-changing moment of redemption through Christ.

A Ragamuffin Christmas is available via Amazon and Kindle Download

30 thoughts on “Becoming Ex-Fundies Then Writing A Book or Three”

    1. Wow. Surreal feeling on getting a first post. Kind of like everyone else has been raptured, and I have been left behind.

  1. Thanks for posting the link Darrell. Ragamuffin is special to me because of everything that was going on while I was writing it. It was also a way for me to pay a slight homage to my one of my literary heroes; Brennan Manning. I think that sometimes when we reach adulthood, we tend to somehow compartmentalize Jesus. Somehow the Jesus in the manger, who could easily have wrapped his tiny hand around our finger if we had only been there to hold him, is distanced from the Jesus writhing in pain on the cross. Journeying back to the opening scene of the Plan of Salvation and viewing it through eyes that have experienced the final scene was wondrous for me to write about. And I hope wondrous for folks to read. Thanks again for the plug.

    1. My husband was a real estate agent when the industry collapsed in 2008. So we know how you feel. It’s too bad that it’s not going to get better anytime soon especially with The One back in power and Dodd/Frank making it almost impossible for banks to weed through all the Gubmint regulations and laws to figure out how to do loans again.

      Christmas is my favorite time of year and I’m going to check your Christmas book out at Amazon! I was in one church where they didn’t let us even celebrate Christmas b/c it was pagan! The favorite past time of the IFB if finding something fun and joyful and ruining for their congregations.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us!

      1. Few people understand that.
        Here’s my blog today…it tells the back story about how I came to write this book. It’s pretty emotional for me to revisit, even after 3 years.

  2. serious question, would the two children’s books be a good idea to get for my two young fundy nieces? (as in they won’t offend my fundy bro) because I’m at a loss about what to get them.

    1. I can only recommend that you ask for Fundy Bro first.

      But don’t preface the books with any caveats – like saying “are you comfortable with the message of these books”. Sometimes it is the warning that sets of alarm bells, rather than the actual content of the material.

      Just give them to him and ask if he will pass them on as your gift to his kids… (provided that one of the websites he reads doesn’t have an article saying these books are evil or something….) :mrgreen:

  3. Spiritual Probation is a great read. It held my attention and the ending was shocking, to say the least.

  4. Dear Darrell:

    ‘…the names have been comically changed to protect the author…’

    I’m afraid I’m afraid I’ve got to read ‘Spiritual Probation’ just to see what one amazon reviewer said about the names. I can’t stop invent names based on the staff/instructors I knew in my time at Bragging Jawbone University. :mrgreen:

    Christian Socialist

  5. I just received Ragamuffin Gospel from Amazon and am so enjoying reading what God’s grace really means. I will be checking out the others as well.


  6. I read Spiritual Probation today. Wow. So much of this rings true to my history with fundamentalism. Kinda left me with a sick feeling though, thinking of all the other “escapees” out there who didn’t fare as well as I have in the aftermath. 🙁

  7. Oh look…it’s Daniels Spratlin of Southern Theological Seminary and James White. Welcome Daniel. Yep…I said that stuff…it was 2 1/2 years ago but I said it. I believe that was when you were viciously attacking a friend of mine AND his wife and children. I’d say it again to. If you’d like, I can drive to Louisville and you and I can just have this discussion face to face. But I doubt you would have the guts for that. You just keep on with these attacks. I enjoy them though. Because honestly I just don’t care enough what anyone else thinks of me.

    1. Well Nicholas at least you have the courage to give your name. Thanks for stalking me. You know what they say…there is no bad publicity.

  8. I read the first book in this list yesterday, and I am still raw.
    The first chapter memories I thought were well buried. I’d really like to have forgotten those years.

  9. Almost done with the first book; had to stop after one of the chapters to find the author’s email address, and email him to let him know that his book meant a lot to me and I hadn’t even finished it yet.

    I would definitely be interested in more frequent book recommendations on here; when they do occur, I always find myself buying new books and enjoying them cover to cover.

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