#2: Death

mortality & death+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

Death has been good to me.

It has been a teacher of faith, and I have (mostly) been a willing student. Though confident more lessons will come—some potentially harder than I can imagine—I remain grateful for my encounters with death.

Did we discuss dying and death and how they’d impact a pastor back in the by-gone days of seminary? Not much. There were, inevitably, arguments over Jesus’ death. But that was theological, a contemplation of differences in the Gospels, and in the whys and hows of myriad Christian traditions. Death was abstract. Odd, though (or maybe not) that I recollect one other glimpse of death when recalling seminary days. A student named Jim died by suicide. He was there for a few semesters. We played chess. Probably discussed Rudolph Bultmann. Possibly shared a beer. He drifted through a few semesters and then died by his own hand.


No one talked about it.

We knew nothing in seminary.

There have been numerous deaths that mattered personally to me in my profession. I’ll mention three, since who has the inclination to read about a thousand funerals? Truthfully, that number is an exaggeration! Except that anyone who has been in ministry for over forty years has witnessed—in literal and figurative graveyards, in hospitals, in living rooms with rearranged furniture, in humbled or trembling or arrogant hearts—a considerable amount of . . . Continue reading →

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#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? Continue reading →

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