Meet Philip Gulley
When radio personality Paul Harvey, Jr. attended Philip Gulleyís church for the first time, he didnít know what to expect. As he sat in the little brick building in Marion County, Indiana, he made these observations of Philip: "Rather young, he seemed. Lean in face and frame. Hands clasped in his lap, head bowed slightly, eyes shut tightly, in obviously earnest prayer. . . . When the youthful pastor stood, the appearance of piety vanished. It was clear, in a quiet sort of way, that he loved these people in the folding chairs. And that they loved him. And as his eyes met theirs, I studied the former: large, brown, smiling, penetrating eyes. Something wonderful is about to happen, I thought. And it did."
What happened was, Philip told a story---as only Philip can tell one. "To paraphrase him would paint a misshapen, colorless picture of that dear place he created for us," says Harvey. "But I remember how what he said made me feel: as though I were drawn into a world for which I longed, and yet which I had believed was now inaccessible in these turbulent high-tech times." Harvey thought others should be drawn into the same wonderful world he visited that day, so he forwarded a collection of stories Philip had written to Questar Publishers. The gesture would prove to be a great service to Christian readers across the nation.
The manuscript Harvey passed on (with the above quotes as his own foreword to the book) eventually became Front Porch Tales, a bonafide bestseller, and quite the notable achievement for a young man who, years earlier in college, received a D in English composition. Filled with warm-hearted stories of family, faith, laughter, and love, Front Porch captures the wholesome spirit of life in the Midwestern town of Danville, Indiana, where Philip grew up. Like his stories, Philipís lifestyle exemplifies down-home values and fulfillment in simplicity.
"My wife [Joan] and I have two sons [Spencer and Sam]," says Philip. "We have a few simple rules in our household: no back talk, no hitting, no putting the cat in the toilet, no television until they learn to read. . . . I believe itís a parentís job to teach their children that joy is an inward reality, found not in things, but in relationships and spiritual maturity. . . . Our maxim for family happiness is this: the simpler, the better." (ParentLife)
That maxim also makes for godly living---and great books! More popular titles by Philip include Home Town Tales (the Front Porch companion featuring 45 short stories of love, patience, faithfulness, and other timeless virtues), and For Everything a Season (a delightful offering of gentle stories based on Ecclesiastes 3).
Philip's more recent books include the Harmony series comprised of Just Shy of Harmony, in which Pastor Sam Gardner struggles with his faith; Wayne Fleming is just falling in love again when his repentant wife returns, and Jessie Peacock decides to cash in her $5 million lottery ticket; Home to Harmony, where Sam contemplates the proper aluminum item to give his wife for their 10th anniversary, and the church quilt mysterious displays the image of Jesus and draws people to the "Shroud of Harmony" from all over, among other tales; and Christmas in Harmony, which tells the story of Dale Hinshaw and Pastor Sam and Dale's idea for a progressive nativity scene involving the whole town. Signs and Wonders takes another trip back to Harmony. He is also the author of the upcoming If Grace is True, written with James Mulholland>.
When Philip isnít rescuing cats from waterlog or writing best-selling books, heís pastoring the Irvington Friends (Quaker) Meeting in Indianapolis. He also contributes essays to the Indianapolis News and Indianapolis Star.
Updated June 2003.