The Rev. Peter G. Keese (Class of 1961) is the author of a new book, Jesus Has Left the Building, available from Wipf & Stock and Amazon.com. In this work Keese addresses the issue of the increasing lack of interest among those raised in the church and among rising young adults. He proposes the optimistic view that the institution of any church doesn’t have the franchise on good news, but rather that good news is much larger and more all-encompassing than any church can contain or convey, and that good news is everywhere to be found and experienced. In this imaginary dialogue between a traditionalist and his protagonist for a God-in-the-world perspective, Keese’s sermons illustration his conviction that God is out there, inviting us to join in and enjoy the riches of God’s life and work.
Keese hopes his clergy colleagues and faithful church-goers will find the book enjoyable and useful, but suspects “it will appeal more to the many who might call themselves ‘nones’ or ‘spiritual but not religious.’" He likes to think of it as “something of a prophetic book. I offer a critique of the institution, but as an ‘insider.’ I’m not anti-institution, but I don’t hesitate to note its flaws. It began with some encouragement from friends about my sermons. I began to imagine a dialogue between a traditionalist and a critic of the institution.”
While retired, Keese still preaches and presides at Christ Church in the historic village of Rugby, Tennessee. He served fifteen years at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and fifteen years as Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. He and his wife live in Knoxville.