#1: And Yet

And Yet+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

More and more I sense the ending, like the tease on a movie trailer, is Coming Soon!

The end of what?

The end of my writing.

And yet not really. I suspect, as long as my fingers can manage a keyboard and my wandering mind remains curious, I will continue to embrace the intimidation of the blank screen. Words matter to me. Words have revealed God’s presence and absence. Words spoken and crafted by me have dared to proclaim Jesus’ good news to those who (including me) needed to hear or read them. Words have caused me to chuckle or weep or both. Words from other writers are what I must read before slumber. (There is always a book by my bedside.) My words, more often than not, are what claim my time in the morning’s welcoming dark.

But what about writing an essay every week for this eponymous web page?

In other words, regularly writing about my fickle faith for public* consumption?

How do I start “putting to bed” an effort that has been a meaningful, faithful, and (yes) foolish habit for over a dozen years? Continue reading →

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Working an Hour on Sundays: Nuts to You!

Lots of nutsYou only work an hour on Sunday!

I heard variations of that phrase from the beginnings of my ministry. A less nasty version of it might be, “Hey, pastor, you just work one day a week.”

Now in retirement, I can smile and maybe even roll my eyes.

An hour! One day? Folks worship on Sunday (likely their day off) and there’s the preacher! An hour or two later, the families and individuals hurry home, more than a few probably thinking the preacher’s “job” must be done. Right?

When younger, just a babe in ministry, that phrase could really rattle my ordained cage. I remember leaning over in the middle of a walnut orchard, collecting zillions of abandoned walnuts for a youth group fund raiser, and hearing a parent from that youth group “adventure” gleefully chortle: “Hey Larry, what a cushy job you have, you only work an hour a week!”

Ha.

Ha!

Ha? Continue reading →

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Why Do We Doubt Easy?

NamaanJesus mentioned Naaman once in Luke’s Gospel (4:27).

He used the veteran warrior from Syria to illustrate how God’s prophets go about their business. That inspirational message caused Jesus’ listeners (which is to say his friends and neighbors), to try to drop kick him off a nearby cliff. Less than happy with Jesus’ example, they wanted to see how far the messenger could spiral down before smacking the ground.

However, Jesus “passed through the midst of them, and went on his way.” In other words, he escaped a lynch mob. Preachers and writers: beware when Naaman is mentioned!

But why not talk about him? (You prepare your escape from angry crowds while I plan mine.)

Though the name Naaman surfaces several times in the Bible, I’m interested in the fellow that starred in the fifth chapter of Second Kings. Outside of Kings and Luke, this particular Naaman barely registers. As with many Biblical characters, he appears and then vanishes. But while “on stage,” he makes an impact (and I don’t mean like a body falling off a cliff.) Naaman, a “commander of the army of the King of Aram,” or Syria for modern Googlers, is by all accounts a warrior, feared and fearsome.

In other words, one tough dude. Continue reading →

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