Written by cycleguy on July 4th, 2016

After David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the confrontation by Nathan the prophet, and his subsequent repentance, David wrote Psalm 51. In 51:13 he wrote: “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”  It appears Psalm 32, my sermon for this past Sunday, is a follow-up to Psalm 51 showing David kept his vow.

David did an admirable thing. He took his life-lesson and taught it to others.

My friend, Dan Erickson, has taken his life-experiences and is using them to teach others. Long story very short: Dan was taken to a farm by his parents, which ended up being nothing but a cult. So when Dan writes about a cult and its devastating effect upon a person, he is not just blowing smoke. He writes from experience.

I applaud that. Greatly. Not many would take their horrible life experiences and use them to move beyond the horror let alone to teach others. Dan does that. But he doesn’t do it from a pulpit per se. He doesn’t go around the country speaking in mega-arenas working for some anti-cult ministry (not saying those are bad or wrong).

He chose to tell his story through fiction- a cult trilogy to be exact. The three books are titled

A Train Called Forgiveness– the “early years” of his history with a cult seen through the eyes of 27-year old Andy Burden. Andy is a victim of the nasty treatment of the cult and suffers from an undiagnosed case of paranoid schizophrenia. Dan deftly takes the reader through Andy’s life-weaving his current struggles with his past.

At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy. Three decades after Andy had forgiven his enemy/leader of the cult, Peter Smith, he finds out Peter faked his own death and is alive and continuing the same old junk he pulled on Andy and others. What will he do if he finds Peter? He does but it would wrong of me to give an answer because that would be a spoiler.

The Track of Redemption– the finale as he finds out Peter is still alive but in a wheelchair {Spoiler alert: after he had left him for dead}. But Peter meets the mysterious J in prison and begins to make amends to all he hurt. That included Andy, whom he had already put out a “hit” for.  “Track” is the final installment and has some twists and turns I was not expecting. The approach Dan took some getting used to at first but I totally understand why he did. Literary-wise this is the best written one of the three. (Practice makes better). In my mind, a very fitting conclusion to the trilogy. Besides the following caveat I did have one other question: there was a “flavor” of Universalism to me. I may be wrong and would welcome correction if so.

One caveat: There was some rough language in the first two and I even noted it in the books’ inside covers. However, the language was so rough in the final installment I cannot put it in the church library and will have a limited audience I would even suggest it to.  I am not a prude and I understand many people talk with profanity spewing out, but this book was a bit much. A d**n or a h**l I can tolerate, but this used far more graphic words-words I do not say nor feel comfortable exposing young minds to. Given that, this is definitely for adults. If you choose to read this trilogy then please be aware of that caveat.

All three are entertaining reads. Just be aware of my warning.


12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Sharon says:

    Sounds like a very interesting read. I think it’s admirable that Dan escaped the clutches of this cult, and that he’s using his story to help others. I’ll be sure to check these books out!

    Happy 4th!


  2. Dan Erickson says:

    As always, I appreciate your reading and sharing my work, Bill. I didn’t realize this book had more profanity in it than the first two. But thinking about it, I intentionally edited about 50% of the profanity out of the first two and only replaced a few words in this book.

    Yes, you did sense a touch of universalism. I’m not 100% convinced in universalism, but I do believe our God is big enough to save everyone if He chooses. That theme was in honor of my own father who died just before I started writing the trilogy. He believed God would save us all.

    In the future,I hope to publish a second edition of the trilogy. Perhaps I will remove the rough language if I do.

    Thanks again for sharing, Bill. By the way, I opened up comments at my site again.

    • cycleguy says:

      First Dan, I deeply appreciate your willingness to listen to others and accept criticism even though you may or may not agree. That is the sign of a learner. For the record: I do believe God “could” if He wanted to but I also believe He won’t go against His written Word. Thanks again Dan for your comment here (since our other correspondence has been personal emails). Glad to hear about opening comments also. 🙂

  3. I know Dan through the blogosphere and social media. I need to try these out.

  4. Jeff says:

    Child abuse manifests in different ways. I wish all the people jacked up about unborn children would turn their attention to child abuse. Something that is actually illegal. Parents have way to much leeway(rights) to abuse their own children. Whether they are crackheads or alcoholics or religious nuts the abuse needs to be addressed. Just lying to little children about Hell seems a bit much to me.

    • cycleguy says:

      Sadly Jeff, you hit on something (maybe inadvertently)that we often miss: abuse happens in all walks of life, It hits every status, race, social step, profession, lifestyle. While I do think saving the unborn is important, I also feel child abuse needs to stop.

  5. Thanks for the warning, Bill. I will read books with some foul language if I think it adds depth to the character and isn’t just some gratuitous insert by the author. Unfortunately, my book budget is on hold right now; otherwise, I’d be hitting the Amazon order button!

  6. floyd says:

    I didn’t even realize Dan had published his last one! Looking forward to it! Dan has a distinct style that grabs you and holds you. Thanks for the heads up!