Affairs, Marriage, Lies & Love: How A Preacher Learned From Failure In This New Novel

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The separation of church and state. It is a contentious issue at best in America today, and around the world. The biggest news stories when it comes to churches in the US are usually filled with details of affairs, discrimination, fraud and a whole slew of other negative things. But is that all the church is cracked up to be? No, says motivational speaker, author and female minister Deborah Simpkins.

Contrary to what you will see on reality shows such as ‘Preachers Daughters‘ or ‘Preachers of LA‘, the church away from cameras and newsmedia is a much more complex area that doesn’t necessarily deserve to be sensationalized.

Deborah Simpkins is an author, motivational speaker, and a minister. Her new novel ‘Ministers with White Collars and Black Secrets: Truth Exposed’ delves into the world of the aforementioned topics, but in a way that offers a redemptive ending, unlike the one the media would like to paint for those of the preachers in real life.

Her unique position as a female preacher, writing a lead female character already flips the script in a way that forces the reader to think outside the box in terms of traditional roles, and also allows us to see issues such as divorce and extra-marital affairs being dissected in a way that doesn’t condemn a person.

The lead character Kiyah Simmons goes from test to testimony as she makes her way from a failed marriage to a failed affair, to realizing that what she’s been looking for has been with her all along. The story examines the lessons of life, love, and sanctimonious lies that Kiyah learns.

“My goal was to give people an arena to air out their hurts, pains, discomforts and disappointments, and do more than just play the part of dutiful friends or wife, looking the other way when they are being oppressed and abused,” said Deborah in a statement about her book.

We were curious to find out more about this world from the perspective of a female preacher, so here is our interview with Deborah:

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Why did you decide to write the story in the setting of the church?

I was unknowingly dating a married bishop.  Our setting was the church.  It was his calling that I admired, at least I thought so by default the church was an important factor in our mess.

Do you think the church needs a good image overhaul?

Yes but not because of my story alone.  It needs a image overhaul because people have gotten away from the personal relationship and accountability to God. Church used to be a place to pray, now it’s a place for prey. There was a time when we didn’t hear about murders in the pulpit or fights in the building of the church.

There is plenty of media and rumors that highlight only the bad aspects of church life, what do you hope your novel will teach readers about the positive aspects?

My story ends well.  These two people made a mistake but the story is about the redemption of my mistakes.  We are not perfect but we don’t have to waddle in that same sin.  My message is we can all do better even after the fall.  The problem is we want to sweep it under the rug instead of holding one another accountable.  No one benefits from that.

Shows like ‘Preachers Daughters’ on Lifetime show a highly glamorized and unrealistic view of the church. Your novel is decidedly more raw and real. Why did you decide to include controversial topics?

I’m not so sure that view is unrealistic.  It’s just being kept quiet until now when people are seeing it on TV.  I included real topics that real people in church deal with.  I just chose to write and live through mine.  See we all sin, I just called myself out on the sin, talked about what I learned from it, and how God healed me through it.  I won’t make that mistake again. And pray I can help someone else not do it.

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In an interview you did with a local news station there was a woman on the panel who said she left church because of the way they treated people. How do you respond to people who have those concerns?

Once we have a personal relationship with God, he directs our paths.  Sometimes He does tell us to find new church homes.  But let it be because of God’s direction and not our own.

The role of women as preachers and women in positions of leadership in churches is an ongoing and often controversial debate. What are your thoughts?

I am a minister so of course I feel God can use anyone.  He used a thief, a murderer, a liar, a prostitute, why can’t He use women?

What do you hope readers will be encouraged by, by reading your book?

I want people to stop hanging their heads in shame and never getting to the root of the problems.  Deal with your sin and allow God to help you be whole again.  As women we deal with issues no one wants to discuss.  I felt like a fool falling in love with a man I didn’t know was married but the fact of the matter is when I found out, I was too far gone.  I can’t pretend I didn’t know better.  But I can say that through it all I can encourage the next to do better.

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Check out an interview with Deborah on NPR below where she explains more about why she decided to tackle the touchy subject matter in her book.

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