In the Biz

Mark 10:46-52* – The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, October 25, 2015

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” (Mark 10:51)

BartI am Bartimaeus.

In the Bible, in the New Testament, in Mark, this blind beggar Bartimaeus was mentioned once. His encounter with the Nazarene was so brief, his shouts to gain Jesus’ attention likely still echoed after he scurried from the page.

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” he bellowed.

With him, I also cry out. I think I know who he is. I think I know what he wants.

In the seven sparse verses where Bartimaeus claimed and departed center stage, one word and one phrase suggest a compelling link between the two of us. Both word and phrase conclude sentences. Both challenge my daily experience as a Christian, minister, and writer. Continue reading →

Call Him (me) Here!

Mark 10:46-52 – The 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time – for Sunday, October 28, 2012

“…Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)






The cursor flashes on the monitor. In the background the computer softly hums, like traffic noise at a great distance. My fingers tap the cool, solid uniformity of the plastic keyboard, shaping words into sentences. This foolish act of creation is suspended when I grasp the mug of coffee. Before sipping, I inhale the aroma of Peet’s French roast. Ahhh…the heady scent of a fresh brew. Next, the taste. Brash and bitter, but tempered because—an indulgence—I added a dash of half-and-half.

I have my early morning commitment:  writing. On most days, I’m settled in my office chair by 4:00am, bright-eyed and bushy-bearded, ready to tackle a first draft or revise the 10th (100th?) draft of a story.

Peet’s coffee is my literary communion and companion. I can’t explain why I relish their French roast while scorning Columbian or Sumatra beans.

Such an odd fellow, with “special” mugs…

I drink from special coffee mugs (the one in the photo is used only when I’m at work on my endlessly revised novel “Ordinary Time”). My desk has a leather coaster from Yosemite’s glorious Ahwahnee Hotel, a decades-old gift from friends. A photo of my wife is nearby, glancing back toward the camera, snapped during our honeymoon. A beehive-shaped kiln-fired pot holds pens and pencils. Grace, then approaching ninety and a member of Wisconsin’s Blanchardville United Methodist Church, presented the sturdy container to me while I was her pastor. She died a year or so later. I keep nail clippers in a ceramic dish, always close, because as a kid I acquired the nasty habit of chewing nails. Isn’t it awful how some habits haunt you even after so-called maturity? But if the clippers are close, I’ll reach for them to trim my nails instead of random, destructive nibbling. Sad, eh?

Rituals, habits, self-doubt, persistence and procrastination define me.

Tokens, mementos, tools and photos create the nest where I write.

I am vividly aware, in the dark silence of a predawn morning, where it seems “nothing” is going on, that my peculiar little world includes and invites every sense I possess . . .

Sight. Sound. Touch. Smell. Taste.

And because during these early hours I include time for prayer to a Creator I cannot “see” and for creating stories out of “thin air,” maybe I also welcome a sixth sense.

So let’s say six senses. All operating. All present.

And yet on some mornings I am “blind” to every precious thing and person, every memory and goal. How can that be? Continue reading →