Review by Holly Scheer
The Pilgrim is, in many ways, a book about baseball. Beyond baseball, it’s a book about a very Lutheran family, a family that shares a culture and traditions that will be familiar to many German-American Lutheran families. The names, the German phrases sprinkled throughout, the deep importance of faith and family even when the younger generation wrestles with whether the faith of their mothers and father is actually important for them– all of these serve to create a story that is familiar and readable.
From the inside cover:
“Schtrike Eins!” With these words – a baseball game auf Deutsch – the reader is thrust into a different world: the steadfast but idiosyncratic culture of German-American Missouri Synod Lutherans in East Perry County, Missouri.
But it is 1966, and the times, they are a-changing.
Paul Gottlieb, a pitcher for his college team, has begun to awaken musically and intellectually. With a head full of Jack Kerouac and Pete Seeger, Paul picks up his guitar and hits the road. From Missouri to Colorado to California, he experiences success and failure, love and hate, sin and grace, in his search for what is real.
The author of The Pilgrim is Rev. Dr. Frederic W. Baue. He has been a faithful Lutheran pastor and confessor, even contributing several articles for Steadfast Lutherans over the years. He is also the sole author of “The Lutheran Manifesto” which will hopefully someday be considered a key component in the development of concord among Lutherans in the 21st century.
Theology is life, and how we live and how we die are influenced by what we believe. The book walks through children dying, families breaking, suicide, the conflicting and complicated the 60s had with the military, adultery, abortion and other issues that are both timely and timeless. Music is a vital piece of this story, and it’s a vital part of the lives of many Lutherans. Our hymnody instructs the young, encourages the weak, and comforts the downtrodden, and The Pilgrim uses music for similar purposes.
This is a book for adults, as the subject matter is at times intense and disturbing, and covers extensively sins related to the 6th Commandment. Theologically, there is an overarching theme of redemption, and how that redemption is possible no matter what kinds of sins a person commits.
This is the first book of a series, and the story is not complete at the end of this volume. There are many questions that need to be answered, and like real life there may not be neat and tidy solutions to all of the problems the main character of the book created for himself and those around him. There are four more books yet to be published in “The Diamond Quintet”.
The Pilgrim is worth a read for those looking for Lutheran novel or the culture of Midwestern Americana, whether or not you are a fan of baseball or part of the Midwestern Lutheran culture.
Go on over to Amazon and purchase a copy. Christmas is coming!