Well, not quite today. It was on January 30, 2023, when I first published the paperback edition of my spiritual novel Dialogues With the Lord of Time on Amazon. Within the next approx. two weeks, Kindle and hardcover editions followed. Later, I published paperback and hardcover editions via the IngramSpark distribution network, which is outside of the Amazon universe.
One year ago at this time, I was frenetically producing and meticulously proofing final drafts of Dialogues so its publication would coincide with an article I then published in Parabola magazine, Inner and Outer Transformation. Somehow everything worked out, and Dialogues saw the light of day in a more or less timely manner.
We targeted primarily online markets in 2023, and now in 2024 we’re trying different strategies to increase our readership. But I’ll reflect a bit this month on Dialogues, the first electronic drafts of which appeared in
2006 [correction – upon further research, I discovered the first draft appeared under a slightly different title in October 2004], so it’s been quite a journey. (No, it didn’t take me 19 laborious years to produce Dialogues; I worked on it in fits and starts. Or maybe I should say: Dialogues worked itself through me in fits and starts.)
Below is a review I was honored to receive from Booklife, a division of Publishers Weekly, which I’ll post in its entirety. This is a favorable, scholarly take on my spiritual novel, Dialogues With the Lord of Time.
Dialogues With the Lord of Time
John Roger Barrie, author
In the spiritual novel, Dialogues With the Lord of Time, a wise teacher brings authentic spirituality and inspired teachings into many seekers’ lives. Includes a treasure trove of profound teachings from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sufism, and Taoism. Filled with practical advice to help dedicated aspirants find God.
“The true spiritual giants want nothing from you,” says Father Christopher, the fictionalized retired Catholic priest, teacher, and inter-faith mystic at the heart of this collection of searching spiritual inquiry and colloquy. “They simply radiate the light of God.” That light—and that ideal of egoless spiritual instruction—shines throughout Dialogues With the Lord of Time, which offers a series of six discussions between Father Christopher and a group of seekers in the early 1990s. The form is novelistic, with a narrator who’s not exactly Barrie recounting the conversations, his own spiritual journey, and the sustained effort that enlightenment demands.
Throughout, among many heady concerns, Christopher and Barrie both emphasize the distinction between the “two types” of spiritual leaders: “those who spiritually empower others, and those who seek to control others.” As he lays out in clear and inviting language a path of his own that draws on a host of religious and spiritual traditions but is fully indebted to none, Father Christopher reveals himself as the empowering type of leader, one eager to guide others toward a “responsible freedom” and a “wholehearted love for one’s chosen form of God, and unlimited, unconditional love toward others.” Achieving this, he posits, means that one must recognize and respect our place in “the limitless interconnectedness among all things,” pray with ceaseless devotion, and not take the material world and its concerns as “real”—it is instead a “platform where we enact our desires and emotions, likes and dislikes.”
Readers whose minds bustle with questions or objections after an assertion like that will appreciate that, throughout, Father Christopher entertains his interlocutors’ concerns. Admirably, he leans into the complexities and paradoxes of such beliefs, explaining that “one can be inwardly surrendered while outwardly assertive at the same time.” These rich, engaging discussions, alive with fresh insights and challenges, will reward readers eager for connection to “a universal spiritual self—God—that contains all individual souls and every particle of the universe.”
Takeaway: Inviting interfaith colloquies of enlightenment and connection to the universal.
Comparable Titles: Linda A. Mercadante’s Belief without Borders, June McDaniel’s Lost Ecstasy.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A