Gary Garner’s life has long been an article of faith.
Now it’s an entire book.
The Augustan recently self-published a remarkable new book about his dramatic spiritual journey called Swept Up by the Spirit: Journey of Transformation.
Though not a writer by trade – he is, ironically, a woodworker – Garner quite ably tells a compelling story of his brushes with death and his birth into a new life of spreading God’s word. Religious or not, many readers might themselves be swept up into his life story and the many real-life interactions his ministry has led him to.
At times his life story is Capra-esque, with Garner facing dilemmas reminiscent of Frank Capra’s character George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
Highly spiritual people such as Garner – a member of the Alleluia Community in Augusta, and a perpetual protester outside abortion clinics – make living a ministerial life look easy. Their placidness and assuredness and gentleness make a godly path seem effortless.
It’s not – and nowhere will you get at that truth better than in Garner’s journey.
Those who’ve only known him since his move to Augusta from the Atlanta area in 1984, or those who only know of his cross-toting street ministry, may be shocked at the different-colored layers of his years, and how often and how loudly God had to come knocking on his door before he answered.
His life is a real and proximate parable for many of us. The prodigal son is quite alive.
Years into a secular and tenuous existence, Gary Garner saw the light, and now he chooses to use himself as an example for others, so that they may see it too. He’s left behind a business building luxury homes and today is an artist in wood, fashioning ornate crosses and even elaborate church altars.
He didn’t set out to mimic a carpenter of some 2,000 years ago. It’s just something he fell into – after being swept up by the spirit.