The personal story of a young American thrown into the world of jealousy and greed in the Episcopal Church.
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For Theirs Is the Kingdom

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Ben Cabot, a successful Boston lawyer, is deployed to Montreal for eighteen months, where he happens upon the Anglican Bishop of Montreal. Mired in a multimillion-dollar building project with the city and private developers to build a metro stop and shopping mall underneath the Cathedral, the Bishop asks Cabot to review his legal rights to stop this project he adamantly opposes. 

In an initial legal conversation, Cabot asks the Bishop about a mysterious outdoor homeless community he had seen worshipping after dark in the streets of the Old City, and thus marks Cabot’s first encounter with “Cathedral in the Night.” 

Its young enigmatic street priest, Luke Hale, defies Cabot’s every stereotype of clergy and the church.  The renegade, who once apprenticed to a shaman, inspires Cabot to embark on a personal spiritual journey that calls into question the affluent life he is living. 

When a young, charismatic American Episcopal priest becomes Dean of the Cathedral, money, and greed ignite a conflict that jeopardizes Hale’s community, calls into question the church’s commitment to the poor and reveals its own self-centered ambitions which have distorted a culture’s moral compass.

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Praise for For Theirs Is the Kingdom

“Carlisle elegantly and evocatively describes the rarified world of Ben Cabot, a peripatetic Boston Brahmin who, like the great Montreal cathedral at the center of his tale, loses the ground under his feet. Amid wood-paneled walls, fine scotches, and expensive toys, Cabot slowly disassembles his spiritually burdened, privileged life. Carlisle offers his readers delicate meditations on interconnected themes, distributing his story into chapters reminiscent of Chopin’s études. We glimpse faith in search of acts, privilege in search of duty, artifice in search of beauty, and ambition in search of purpose. Carlisle’s timely and important book helps to frame today’s social upheavals”
Stephen Harris, Professor of English, The University of Massachusetts

“The personal story of a young American thrown into the world of jealousy and greed in the Episcopal Church. Riveting, painful, and brilliant!”
David Staines, Canadian literary critic, university professor, writer, and Member of the Order of Canada

“In his Gospel, Luke tells us that during the visitation, Mary tells Elizabeth that God ‘has filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent away hungry’ (1:53). This, it seems to me is, at the heart of Chris Carlisle’s novel. Beautifully written and engaging, it tells a story of unadorned Christianity. Jeans not collars. Feeding the poor. Housing the homeless. Christianity on the streets, in the manner of Jesus.”
Barry Moser, American Book Award-winning illustrator of The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, Alice in Wonderland, and A River Runs Through it.

“Here is a novel that will stick with you long after you’ve read it. Carlisle writes about what the worlds he knows and has spent his life pursuing, asking the quintessential questions about life’s meaning and offering, among the witty and charged exchanges a wealth of profound answers for the reader to ponder. How does someone born into privilege begin to awaken and escape its gold tentacles and seek one’s true home and the new life it brings with it? How does one even know what to look for? For Theirs is the Kingdom will take you on that journey, leaving you to rethink much of what you may have thought were the answers and were not.”
Paul Mariani, National Book Award Finalist, author of poetry, Ordinary Time, professor, biographer

“One of the best characters in Christopher Carlisle’s novel, For Theirs is the Kingdom, is the city of Montreal. Westmount, the Old City, Place Ville Marie, Le Plateau, the Golden Mile–they call play a part in this story of a man’s search for a fulfilling life path. Attorney Ben Cabot meets a sad bishop at Saint Joseph’s Oratory atop Mount Royal and a renegade street priest on Place d’Youville and finds that the church has been looking for God in all the wrong places.”
Dick Teresi, Coauthor of The God Particle, a contributing writer to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic

About the Author

Christopher Carlisle is an Episcopal priest who briefly served in a parish before becoming the Episcopal Chaplain at the University of Massachusetts, where he created a uniquely innovative sanctuary of learning, worship, and the arts. Carlisle earned a B.A. from Columbia University, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University. Having devoted much of his life to storytelling—recently by way of the Street Stories media project with Visionaries, Inc. and aired on public television stations across the country. Carlisle’s For Theirs is the Kingdom, is inspired by two outdoor communities he co-founded, comprised of rich and poor, young and old, traditional “believers” and “non-believers,” whose singular commonality is an appreciation for the radical vision of Jesus. Carlisle is married, has four children, and lives in western Massachusetts.

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