Mental Podcast Show

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 27, 2023

How many times have you read a review and wondered what was behind it? The answer in this review, while mostly positive, the reviewer wrote that the characters were so well developed that “I felt like I knew them,” but then wrote how they didn’t seem real because of all the scriptures. Guess it made sense to the reviewer as a person with a minister in the family. The thing is, the Ministers Of The Mystery Series was not intended to make church people comfortable. It is intended to open a world where love and miracles still exist, even for those who never set foot in a church, or feel they didn’t belong there.

When a religion based on love and miracles is used against people they hate it becomes a war of powers.

This is the review that shows not all “religious” people feel the same way. Consider I was one of them believing that the Greek Orthodox faith was the right one, and everyone else was wrong. I grew up to notice what all of them had in common and how the man-made rules had nothing to do with uniting but causing the diving. I was the Administrator of Christian Education for a Presbyterian church and wanted to focus on what the two faiths had in common but some saw only the difference between them and me. One of my best friends is a Presbyterian minister. (She loved the book by the way.) She preaches on YouTube with Musings of a Preacher Lady as a sci-fi lover as well as pastor of a church in Texas. Others do not view scriptures the same way.

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite ****
In the first book of the Christian fiction series Ministers Of The Mystery, The Scribe of Salem by Kathie Costos, protagonist Chris Papadopoulos ventures to Salem, Massachusetts to pay tribute to a deceased friend with others who knew him well. He meets with longtime friends from when he was a journalist and war correspondent, one of whom tells him an old flame with a troubled history named Brenda has died. Chris is at a crossroads and is introduced to Mandy, a theological savant who Chris connects with on multiple levels. Chris becomes the unlikely beneficiary of an inheritance, relocates to Salem, and reinvents himself as an outstanding novelist. Mandy serves as his inspiration, and Chris is driven by prayer and devotion to God. His friends share the same view and spread messages bound in scripture and earthly angels for the betterment of others. Everything is on the ascent for Chris until an extortion plot dredges up a former relationship that rocks him to the core. “On the night I needed it the most, miracles walked into my life one after another.” 

The Scribe of Salem by Kathie Costos puts the transcendent nature of pure belief at the core with an openly evangelical story and a cast of characters who have experienced their own miracles. The standout to me is a friend and bartender named Ed who is arguably the starting point in Chris’s spiritual pilgrimage. Costos develops her characters thoroughly so I felt like I knew them. However, despite this, I struggled with their not coming across as real people. Their discussions were almost entirely scripture based and even as a reader with a proud, devout Baptist minister in my immediate family, the way the characters spoke came across to me as awkward. That said, the plot points are good, the pandemic setting in New England lends to the atmosphere, and Chris is a character we do want to root for. At the end of the day, those are the qualities that round it all out.
The scriptures used are buried in the dialog; if you read it as an eBook, there are links to show where it came from. Almost all of them are not ones you’ll hear in a church sermon. Even if you did, you may not have thought about the meaning behind those words.

Think of the Bible as a spiritual book instead of a “religious” one. Religion is what divides the one faith Jesus came to share. Humans used all His love as the power to hold over others. That message was abundantly clear during the Salem Witchcraft trials along with all the other times religion was used to either convert or destroy instead of comfort and empower. 
When your life seems like one endless series of doom and gloom trying to take over, and you do not know the truth about what it all means, it is easy to blame God instead of other humans doing what they can to use your pain for their own gain. When you know the power is all within you to change your life, as well as the lives of others, that is a miracle.

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite *****
The Scribe of Salem: Ministers Of The Mystery by Kathie Costos is a Christian fiction novel that revolves around Chris Papadopoulos, a former war reporter. In Salem, Massachusetts, Chris reunites with his friend Bill Gibson and learns of the death of Bill’s sister Brenda. Chris joins his military comrades to honor their fallen comrade, discovering an intriguing woman named Mandy. Chris embarks on a transformative journey, seeking help from Mandy to regain control of his life. Inspired by their encounters and encouraged by friends, Chris finds the strength to write a book that becomes a bestseller, offering solace during the trying times of a pandemic. Chris finds unexpected fame in a series of events that catapult him into a public recognition, but when Chris faces a harrowing blackmail attempt, both how strong his faith in God is and how solid his group of friends is are tested to their fullest.

The parallels between the persecution of witches and the persecution of open Christians set the foundational theme in The Scribe of Salem by Kathy Costos. The novel is a no-holds-barred story of faith and will resonate well with readers who enjoy Christian fiction in a way where scripture and conversational sermons run through almost every scene, as opposed to the more nuanced approach that is found in most fiction within the same genre. Costos’ style might not be as elegant, but it certainly does get the message across. I liked the contemporary setting and the way the characters are confronted with incidents surrounding COVID-19 protocols. As an observer, these feel really authentic and do well in exploring the group’s unique contributions in the fight against chaos and darkness, to which the pandemic adds an additional layer, and realizing the profound impact of their connections and gifts. The full circle that the ending brings is satisfying in that there is closure; a relief given the possibility of a book in a series ending with a cliffhanger. Recommended.

You may think you are powerless to change things. You may think you are only one person and can’t do much at all. Think again on both parts especially if you have PTSD. Too many miracles have already happened because someone decided to take one more try at healing and then healed more than he ever dreamed of.

If you want to know what Ministers of the Mystery have to tell you, read The Scribe Of Salem and begin your own journey to using the gifts you already have inside of you!

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *