Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Whether you’re Irish or not, we hope you’re wearing at least a little something green today.
(Our motives here, we must admit, are partly selfish: with that thick, crusty blanket of snow and ice still covering most of West Michigan, a few glimmers of green everywhere we look today would do us a world of good.)
Today’s featured guest in the Eerdmans Author Interview Series is not (as far as we know) Irish — but he is a lively and gifted storyteller nonetheless.
Craig Harline is professor of European history at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, and author of the new book Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled But Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary.
When Craig Harline set off on his two-year Mormon mission to Belgium in the 1970s, he had big dreams of doing miracles, converting the masses, and coming home a hero. What he found instead was a lot of rain and cold, one-sentence conversations with irritated people, and silly squabbles with fellow missionaries.
From being kicked — literally — out of someone’s home to getting into arguments about what God really wanted from Donny Osmond, Harline faced a range of experiences that nothing, including his own missionary training, had prepared him for. He also found a wealth of friendships with fellow Mormons as well as unconverted locals and, along the way, discovered insights that would shape the rest of his life.
Way Below the Angels, Harline’s witty and thought-provoking spiritual memoir, tells the story of his coming-of-age on his mission, taking readers beyond the stereotypical white shirts and nametags to reveal just how unpredictable, funny, and poignant the missionary life can be.