Father Thomas Abernathy brings together a wellborn Methodist minister, a dogmatic Lutheran pastor, and an enigmatic, evangelical preacher. Father Tom soon finds the Lutheran pastor Rev. Theo Swindberg assuming a preternatural place in his life. The man is nervous and doleful, and to learn what makes him tick, Father Tom attends a service at the Lutheran Church, where he falls under the spell of the pastor's wife, Naomi. When Naomi is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, Swindberg calls upon Father Tom to pray over her healing, a request which could be a career-ending departure from Father Tom's church's tenets. Father Tom struggles with his feelings for Naomi, and when he reluctantly agrees to Swindberg's request, he also finds himself struggling with his faith. In the end it is faith, hope, and love that renews them all.
Ned Randle's short stories have appeared in literary publications such as The Examined Life Journal, Soundings Review, Red Earth Review, and Prism Review. His debut novel, Baxter's Friends, was released in 2013 by Coffeetown Press. He resides in southern Illinois.