Juris Rubenis made his first trip to the U.S.
this spring to talk about parables—Jesus’ and his own. His are compiled
in a small book called Finding God in a Tangled World: Thoughts & Parables (Paraclete Press).
It’s the first in English for the pastor of the 4,400-member Martin
Luther Church in Riga, capital of Latvia, a country of 1.5 million with
250,000 Lutherans. (Translator is Paul Valliere, a longtime friend and
professor at Butler University, Indianapolis.)
it’s not his first book: Rubenis, 48, has written 20 in the last 18
years. Many have topped 100,000 in sales in Latvia, besting both
Stephen King and John Grisham titles. All are issued by a secular
publisher, which, the pastor-author believes, gives him the chance to
reach more people. The legacy of Latvia’s Soviet domination during four
decades following World War II is a generation raised without exposure
to Christianity. He is one of them, though his parents also were openly
Rubenis was a well-known—and popular—political
activist before he started to write. In 1988 he was a founder of the
Latvian Popular Front, which worked to gain the country’s independence.
Two years earlier he helped launch Rebirth and Renewal, an association
of Lutheran pastors calling for religious freedom in the Soviet Union.
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