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Naked With Clothes On: Finding Faith Stronger Than Fear

A son so fearful of his father that he cringes at the very mention of his fathers name. When asked a question, he freezes and becomes mute. His father curses and says, “Poot, there cain’t be a god, ’cause if there was, he’d a gave ya some brains.” He tries to answer, but his tongue feels glued to the roof of his mouth. His father came home drunk one night, grabbed his shotgun, cocked it, aimed it at the uncle who lived with them, and threatened, “I’m gonna shoot ya dead.” The son scrambled under his bed and said, “I had heard the preacher say, ‘When you’re in danger, pray.’ I wish the preacher was here to do that for us now.” The son wanted a pet, so he caught the smallest goat in the pen and carried him to his second-story bedroom. When he asked his brother Dick if he should call him Buck, Dick replied, “I think you better call him ‘dead,’ ’cause that’s what you ‘n’ him’s gonna be when Dad finds this room all tore up!” The shy sharecropper’s son experiencing little closeness, communication, and religious emphasis in his childhood, feels lost within himself. Not knowing how to cope, his crippling fear and claustrophobia cause him to withdraw into himself and makes the verbal separation wider between them. Paralyzing fear of his father does not make him harbor hatred, contempt, or even disrespect for his father, only abject fear. Unknown to this sharecropper’s son, however, God is in the background guiding and protecting him through the fearful uncertainties. Memoir fans will find the adventures of this farm boy entertaining and insightful when he’s with his younger brother reading Big Little Books, pole vaulting the creeks, waiting for haircuts, and watching the cotton being sucked up out of the wagon. One night he sees an advertisement on the back of a Christian magazine. And then a small gold crown in the ad catches his attention. The title’s metaphor, Naked With Clothes On, suggests the vulnerability of the author, and yet the power to be independent when following his own convictions as seen in the story of the wounded sparrow. The survival memoir, with the subtitle Finding Faith Stronger Than Fear, is an easy-read. Full of pathos, humor, and entertaining stories to delight anyone, the book will make you cry, laugh, and inspire you as you follow the son’s attempt to change his paralyzing fear to liberating faith.

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