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Life Lessons

Noted Quaker author, humorist Gulley
to visit Madison in March

His philosophy is recorded in his book,
"Home to Harmony"

(March 2015) –“Stand straight, stand tall, and try to remember that other folks might be led to stand elsewhere,” Indiana author Philip Gulley once wrote in his popular book “Home to Harmony.” It is a simple statement that is a good summation for his personal outlook on life. His is a philosophy that includes acceptance and respect for others despite inevitable differences.
Gulley will share this message to all who are interested during a March 7 visit to Madison, Ind. Village Lights Bookstore and The Rev. Bill Johnson, of First Christian Church have collaborated in order to bring this nationally acclaimed author to the area. During Gulley’s visit from 2-3:30 p.m., he will conduct a reading, talk and book signing at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St. The following day, he will deliver the 10:30 a.m. message at First Christian Church, 512 W. Main St.

Philip Gulley

Philip Gulley

Gulley, a Quaker pastor who loves to tell stories, is considered a new voice of Midwestern life. While serving as pastor for the Irvington Friends Meeting in Indianapolis, Gulley began to write essays for the church’s newsletter. These newsletters caught the attention of Paul Harvey Jr., the late host of “News and Comment” on the ABC Radio Network. The National Radio Hall of Fame inductee immediately recognized Gulley’s talent and showed these newsletter essays to his publisher.
What followed made it possible for Gulley to do what he does best. Drawing on lessons learned from his own life, Gulley inspires others to see things from a different point of view and learn to find the beauty in the unfamiliar rather then fear it.
In Gulley’s book, “If the Church Were Christian,” readers are asked to recall the primary teachings of Christ. By doing so, Christians are reminded that realizing the potential of the Christian faith should be a priority rather than focusing on the components that are broken.
Gulley “is able to provide guidance to the modern Christian in a way that is challenging but relatable,” Johnson says. Having attended the same seminary as Gulley, Johnson has been familiar with his written works for some time. He adds that both the fiction and nonfiction books are enriching as well as humorous.
Anne Vestuto and Nathan Montoya, owners of Village Lights Bookstore, make it a point to keep Gulley’s works on the shelves. His nonfiction books, “If the Church Were Christian” and “Evolution of Faith” are just as popular as his first book, titled, “Front Porch Tales” and the “Harmony” series.
“They are definite favorites,” says Vestuto.
The couple says they were delighted to work with Johnson to bring Gulley to Madison. “Interfaith dialogue and interfaith cooperation are two of the things we like to support,” says Montoya. He said Gulley is a “home spun, front porch man of the people who is needed in the current times.” The fact that he is a Hoosier also adds to Gulley’s appeal.
Compared to Mark Twain and Will Rogers, Gulley speaks in a voice that is clear and straightforward. His frank way of conveying a message appeals to those familiar with his environment as well as those alien to it. His warm-hearted nature resonates with people from all walks of life. Able to inspire tears as well as laughter, Gulley is able to examine difficult subject matter and present it in a way that is refreshing and uplifting.
Gulley has written more than 18 books, writes a well-received monthly column in the Indianapolis Monthly magazine, and contributes on a regular basis to The Saturday Evening Post. He has also been twice honored with Emmy Awards, in 2007 and 2009, for his show “Porch Talk with Phil Gulley” that aired on WFYI, an affiliate of the Indiana Public Broadcasting Station.  
The Rev. Phil Myers of the First Reformed United Church of Christ in Burlington, N.C., had this to say of Gulley: “His insights are filled with deep wisdom and his craft of storytelling is phenomenal.”

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