To all outside appearances, Reverend David Parst has life completely under control. In the mid-seventies, his congregation at O'Fallon Bible Church in a St. Louis suburb has continued to grow and the Post-Dispatch has named him one of the 50 most influential leaders in the area. A devoted father to 12-year-old Jack and husband to Sarah, David is tied up in a church budget meeting in the opening pages of SOMETHING THAT LASTS. Yet his mind is a million miles from this meeting, focusing instead on a planned coffee meeting with congregational member Erika Balik. David is telling his wife and others that the meeting is an innocent catch-up session for a committee member who couldn't make the church session. In reality, though, David is having a sexual affair with Erika.
During the Sunday morning announcements, a seemingly harmless request to see if there is anything additional to tell the church suddenly goes in a different direction. Erika's husband Ted stands up and begins to speak. His wife tugs on his sleeve but he ignores her and continues. Instead of an announcement, Ted makes a speech. When David tries to cut him short, Ted accuses the pastor of sin in his life. Ted admits his suspicions that his wife is having an affair and that he saw David leave a motel and kiss Erika goodbye. The church breaks out in chaos and even young Jack attempts to defend his father. Ted then runs out of the church and commits suicide in front of everyone.
David separates from his family and begs for restoration --- yet it never comes. Jack refuses to have anything to do with his father. Sarah doesn't permit her husband to return, but they never officially get a divorce. David loses his church and his family. Months later he begins to pastor a small church in Elsa, Texas. The story fast forwards to his 10th anniversary and a single-like lifestyle. Secretly he attends his son's baseball games in college and keeps track of his family in hopes of reconnecting with them.
The story then shifts to Jack, who has become a corporate lawyer yet is tied up within a company scandal. He is consumed with his work and physically lashes out at his wife Katie, who fears so much for her safety that she takes their daughter Lynn to live in another city with Sarah. The overriding message of this book is the lasting effects of sin in the life of a Christian and the powerful chain effect from a brief affair.
A Dallas attorney, author James David Jordan has written a solid page-turning first novel. The intense conflict of the characters and their search for something that lasts provides a solid message for anyone reading this book.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whailin on May 1, 2006