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"Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!" Song of Solomon 2:15 (NLV)

Beware of little inconsequential sins, like little foxes, though they break no laws, destroy marriages, families, and friendships and erode faith.

Book One

EAST OF MIDNIGHT

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Relationships are never simple and rarely instantaneous, especially those that began during high school as uncomplicated friendships. Cameron Asher knows this to be especially difficult to accept the truth. Each Monday evening during high school, he and Lydia Carpenter worked together, volunteering at a soup kitchen, and developed a close bond, but he let it slip away. As a junior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Lydia haunts Cameron’s waking dreams, preventing him from loving anyone else. If life were simple, he would drive to Durham, where Lydia attends Duke University, revive their friendship, then gently move toward romance. However, more than six miles, a college rivalry, and the tragic death of Rose Duncan, the mother of Lydia’s best friend and Cameron’s distant cousin, Aimee Duncan, separate them. Faith, which Lydia embraces and Cameron rejects, separates them and will continue to separate them, or so Cameron assumes.

 

As Cameron and Lydia struggle to understand contemporary society’s capricious and often conflicting moral values, East of Midnight examines eros, the Greek word for self-lovel. A careful study of self-love and its relationships with friendship and romantic love raises many often dismissed questions. What influence does self-love have regarding faith? Is faith a choice? What connections does faith share with sin, love, and self-interest? What roles do kindness and generosity of spirit, as seen in strangers and friends, play in our lives? Can supportive friends and mentors guide us through the often unintended and sometimes overwhelming consequences of self-defeating decisions? Can adverse consequences, especially those arising from choices made by influential people in our lives, push us away from or drive us toward believing in God? And if toward him, can a new understanding of Jesus alter our self-interests and thus our choices?

Shortly before Cameron’s fourteenth birthday, he and Grandpa had stopped at a small waterfall
shaded by a thick canopy of branches and yards from the Blue Ridge Parkway. While Grandpa read aloud
from his Bible, Cameron sat atop a lichen-plastered boulder, listening as a swift-moving stream flowed
beneath his feet. As his attention lagged, a ray of sunlight broke through the leaves, scattering glittering
light across the wet stones. When he reached out to catch the light, he exclaimed, “I can feel it. How?”
Grandpa called it a sparkling enigma, revealing both darkness that pursues the setting western sun
and hope that awaits the rising sun on the eastern side of midnight. Then, with a wink, Grandpa added a
riddle. “What water can break and heal in the same moment?”
Cameron and Grandpa returned to the waterfall a year later but did not solve the riddle. Instead,
Grandpa talked about God’s love for Cameron. Later that week, Cameron learned why Grandpa talked
of enigmas and riddles–his doctors had delivered a dreadful diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.
Two months later, Grandpa was gone, and Cameron turned away from God. His family splintered
after his brother Trent moved to Richmond, but Lydia entered his life. Now he wishes he had never let
her go.

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