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Why is life so hard? Learn how to experience peace, joy, and contentment in the midst of tragedy and a world gone terribly wrong. Read more

Durham, NC Nonfiction
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Why is life so hard? Learn how to experience peace, joy, and contentment in the midst of tragedy and a world gone terribly wrong.

Durham, NC Nonfiction
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About this project

HOLY DISCONTENT!

Holy Discontent! Those two words hit me in the chest like they'd been shot out of a double-barreled shotgun. I latched on to them with such speed because they perfectly capture the spiritual journey I've been engaged in over a 40 year search for truth.

I was 27 years old when a dramatic spiritual awakening turned my universe upside down. It wasn't long, however, before I realized all was not right within conventional religion. But then, all was not right within me, either. So began the search for the solution to my own inner turmoil. Would I ever experience true contentment and joy in my life?

At some point, all of us will face fundamental questions of being. Does God exist? What is my purpose in life? Is anyone in charge, or is this world completely out of control? Why do bad things happen to good people? The scriptures tell us God is love and He cares for us. Why is life so hard, then?

Under normal circumstances, the busyness of our lives crowds out these questions. We can maintain this status right up until the moment when we are faced with personal disaster. In an instant, those “philosophical” questions are thrust into our consciousness with a vengeance.

CONFLICT!

This is the matter that drives most of us batty. In this Internet age we are keenly aware of the conflicts which envelope international relations. Right now, the West is entrenched in a war against the efforts of radical Islamists to tear us down.

The conflict raging in our country between the political forces on the conservative right and the liberal left exasperates most Americans. Atheists versus believers. Natural born citizens versus immigrants and illegal aliens. Discord is a constant companion.

"How to experience peace, joy, and contentment in the midst of tragedy and a world gone terribly wrong." This is the book's subtitle. Is this even possible? If so, what or where is the key?

Daily, we rub up against our fellow man and find conflict right under the surface. Sometimes this is manifested as simple irritation. Other times it erupts into serious, outright war.

Even in our own homes. . .maybe especially in our homes. . .the pain of conflict can be acute. War in a foreign land may be bothersome, but at least we’re blessed with the benefit of distance. The result of war being waged in our most intimate relationships – parent and child, husband and wife, brothers and sisters – is devastating. Worse than this are the conflicts raging inside our own skin.

GIVE ME THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

The questions raised in the paragraphs above are, in fact, answerable. This is, after all, the whole point of the book. However, these don't respond well to the convenient "pat" answers often presented by society or religion. The reality is that formulaic solutions, which traditional religions have codified into ritual, can have the effect of shutting down the exact thing we seek.

Walk with me as I take you through an amazing journey of exploration into the spiritual life. We'll delve into modern scientific discovery - insights our forefathers couldn't even fathom - which I explain in easy-to-grasp illustrations. Long known historical facts are shed in fresh light. Interesting stories, personal testimony, and even parables make complex concepts easy to read. Concise, understandable language breathes life into the answers.

In the end, we are led to the conclusion that peace, joy, and contentment are, in fact, within our grasp – despite the nature of our circumstances – if we will only take hold of them. These are, indeed, the Keys to the Kingdom.

YOUR PARTICIPATION

Your support will pay for an initial printing of 1000 books. This includes everything from the ISBN numbers and UPC codes to packaging and postage charges for mailing each copy. Printing this many lowers the cost of each book to a range which makes broader distribution feasible.

The first books will go to my supporters. Then, many will be sent to media outlets, churches, and others who will be instrumental in furthering the distribution of the message.

Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model; if the goal isn't achieved, then this project will not be funded and cannot move forward. Should this occur, your account will not be charged for your pledge.

THE REWARDS

There is a combination of three rewards awaiting you as a sponsor. The book is an obvious choice. In addition, personal delivery of the message will hold interest for some. Finally, since I'm an artist, it seems reasonable to offer variations of this service as part of the rewards. Each is described below and in the reward levels.

The Book - I'm about 95% done with the writing. The cover design is almost finished and I anticipate the book will be complete by July. It will be produced in a high-quality perfect-bound paperback style. While the quality of this is quite high, the cost is less expensive than traditional hard-bound books, which allows it's message to reach a much wider audience.

An eBook version will be available in both PDF format and Kindle. Formats for other eReaders and smartphones are likely to be quickly added.

The Message - Reading a book is a wonderful way to acquire knowledge and insight. However, it can never replace the intimacy that comes from personal interaction. Engagement allows the message to come to life in a way that nothing else can. The ability to stop and ask questions or request greater clarity is an incredibly valuable commodity. Several levels of sponsorship feature a face-to-face encounter, whether by Skype (or phone for that matter) or in person.

I've spent my entire adult life learning about and practicing the art of communication. On an individual basis or before 1000 people, you will find me to be knowledgeable, engaging, and prepared to give you the best I have.

The Artwork - I didn't start painting professionally until 1998 when I was already in my 50s. I guess you might say I'm a late bloomer. Once I got started, however, it came in a flood. Over the last 15 years I've painted hundreds of portraits for people all over the world and from every walk of life. Visit my personal website at:

www.JSchusterPortraits.com

Scroll down to see a selection of limited edition prints.

The portrait shown below is of Dr. Bernard Amos and is displayed in the Department of Immunology at Duke University. I photographed him near his 80th birthday, then painted him looking 25 years younger based on some bad snapshots from the 1980s.

Below are icon images of a few of my prints. These are available in 8X10 digital prints, 20" x 24" limited edition prints, and larger hand-finished Giclée prints on canvas. For a full description and much larger images, visit my website at: www.GiveMeTheKeysToTheKingdom.com/prints.htm

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $3 or more

    0 backers

    Not only will you receive my undying gratitude, but you can select a 4x6 digital print ($5 Value) from my artwork. Also, it won't take many small pledges to ensure that someone who needs the positive message of this book will receive a free copy.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    2 backers

    Receive a PDF or Kindle version of the book. (Note - other eBook versions may also be available by the date of release.) In addition, you can select a 4x6 digital print ($5 Value) from my artwork.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    15 backers

    Receive an autographed perfect-bound book, which will be mailed directly to you, PLUS the eBook version previously listed, and you can select a 4x6 digital print ($5 Value) from my artwork.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    10 backers

    Receive everything previously listed, PLUS an additional 2 books to give away, PLUS two 8x10 digital prints ($40 Value) of your choice from my artwork.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    2 backers

    Receive everything previously listed, PLUS one of my Limited Edition prints (up to $150 Value) PLUS your name included as a "patron" in the Acknowledgements section of the book.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers

    Receive everything previously listed, PLUS up to a 1-hour Skype conference with you and/or your group.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    Receive everything previously listed, PLUS a beautifully framed, hand finished, Giclee Print on Canvas (up to $1200 Value), PLUS an additional hour of Skype conference with you and/or your group.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $3,000 or more

    0 backers

    Receive an autographed perfect-bound book, PLUS an additional 2 books to give away, PLUS a 16"X20" hand-painted Portrait on Canvas of one person based on a photo submitted by you (up to $2500 Value), PLUS your name included as a "patron" in the Acknowledgements section of the book, PLUS a half day workshop delivered in person anywhere in the Continental US (International destinations will incur additinal travel expenses).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $7,500 or more

    0 backers

    Receive an autographed perfect-bound book, PLUS an additional 2 books to give away, PLUS a large (within limits) painting on Canvas of up to 5 people, or any other subject, based on a sitting at your location (up to $10,000 Value), PLUS your name included as a "patron" in the Acknowledgements section of the book, PLUS a full day workshop delivered in person anywhere in the Continental US (International destinations will incur additional travel expenses).

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)