Days of Fire and Glory
by Julia Duin
It was the late summer of 1986 and Julia Duin had just turned 30 when she moved to Houston as the new religion writer for The Houston Chronicle. At the invitation of friends, she visited the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Houston’s blighted East End and fell in love with its gorgeous music and charismatic worship. Having experienced life in a covenant Christian community in her early 20s, she rapidly bonded with Redeemer members who had once lived that ultra-committed lifestyle and wanted to see the church regain its stature as the internationally acclaimed congregation it had been a decade before.
After she met Graham Pulkingham, the spellbinding priest who had led Redeemer into a powerful renewal starting in 1964, Duin became convinced the world needed to know the story of this immensely gifted man and the church that was half-inspired, yet half-haunted by its illustrious past. But as she began investigating Redeemer, many people began warning her there was a darker history behind Pulkingham that few people knew.
Now the award-winning journalist, who first broke that story, reveals the details of the scandal that rocked the charismatic and Christian community movements, not to mention the Episcopal Church. It is a story of God, sex, and power; a story of a huge 20th-century religious experiment that led to the rise and fall of many; a story of Pulkingham, a father of 6 whose inner torment ultimately destroyed himself and his community.
Through 182 interviews, Duin provides a fascinating portrait of the glorious days of the renewal and its sister movements within Catholic and pentecostal churches; days when the Spirit's fire did fall and many within the baby boomer generation were drawn to God.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“Julia Duin has written an amazing account of a significant time in the life of the Church. Her personal witness, observations and involvement provide important insight and understanding that should be shared with all clergy and others in leadership roles, especially in the Church where vulnerable people continue to sin and be in need of the Redeemer.”
—The Right Rev. William J. Cox D.D.
Assisting bishop, Anglican Diocese of Argentina
Former assistant bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
“I knew many of the leaders described in this book, so I looked forward to reading Julia Duin’s account of life in a charismatic community. But what I found was so much more . . . Duin’s gripping account of the rise and fall of one particular charismatic community, against a backdrop of widespread spiritual renewal, provides us with an object lesson in what to embrace and what to avoid when seeking spiritual fulfillment.”
Chair emeritus, Christian Healing Ministries
“In Days of Fire and Glory, Julia Duin offers a richly textured narrative of charisma, community and cataclysmic unraveling. There are many cautionary tales here, not least the devastating effects of that perennial Protestant disease: the cult of personality.”
Episcopal priest and professor of American religious history
Barnard College, Columbia University
“With unflinching journalistic objectivity, Julia Duin relates the tumultuous story of a single congregation and its mercurial leader. But this is a story much bigger than one church. With the benefit of her insider’s perspective, Duin’s book offers a warning for leaders and churches of all kinds of what can happen when power and desire distort one another, and we become distracted from handling both with integrity. Read this and learn!”
—D. Michael Lindsay
Assistant professor of sociology, Rice University
Author of Faith in the Halls of Power
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