Most people, at least most girls and women, of a certain age grew up with the stories Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her childhood on the frontier of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and—briefly—Kansas. We read these stories over and over, absorbing every detail: what it was like to live in a log cabin or a dugout on a creek bank, how the shiver went down a child’s spine when she heard a wolf howl or Indians chant, the way the family got through hard times, the music Pa played on his fiddle and sang as they rode out a long, hard winter.
Fred Craddock was a student preacher in a little town near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, in the early 1960s. The nearest local newspaper was in Kingfisher, and they had an Arapahoe columnist by the name of Molly Shepherd. Molly wrote about Arapahoe and Cheyenne customs in English that was, in Fred’s words, both broken and poetic.
“Yes, may I speak to Sharla, please?”
“This is she.”
“Sharla, this is Lori Rimbey with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. I have reviewed your application and would like to schedule an interview with you. We’ll be interviewing candidates on Thursday; can you be here at 11:30?”
“Thursday at 11:30? Yes, that should be fine.”
“I’ll look forward to meeting you on Thursday, then.”
“I look forward to it too. Thank you.”
So, I have a job interview…now what?
My first year of college, I dated a fellow who turned out to be a narcissist. Whether he had the actual personality disorder, or just thought more highly of himself than he ought, I’m not qualified to say; but I didn’t stay with him long because everything was all about him, all the time.
“You oughta be ‘shamed”
Not long after I moved to Iowa, one of my church ladies and I came down to Kansas City for the General Synod/Assembly. As we made our way around the convention center over the course of those days, I kept seeing people wearing these t-shirts that had one word on them: “called.”
The late Frederick Buechner once spoke at the anniversary celebration of a church in New England. “When you invited me to come speak at this anniversary of your founding as a church,” he said, “you had no way of knowing that the minister who founded you, a man named George Shinn, happened to be my wife’s great grandfather, and it pleases me to think that maybe that was not entirely a coincidence.
“You get a Savior! Everybody gets a Savior!”
Is there anything you don’t like to eat? Were you picky as a kid? Are you picky now?
My mom says I was a pretty easy kid to feed, because I would eat just about anything…except zucchini. Still can’t eat that. Even as a preschooler I liked sauerkraut, particularly when served on top of mashed potatoes; and I still have it that way from time to time. But I just can’t quite manage zucchini.
“Let’s get to it””
Last week the angel, and then Jesus himself, told the women to go tell the rest of the disciples—who were still hiding in fear, after what had happened to Jesus on Friday—to head on out to Galilee, because Jesus was going to meet them there. This week we have gone with them as they go to the place where Jesus directed them to go.
“Shaken, Not Stirred”
The year was 1815.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the self-styled Emperor of France, had been defeated; but he had escaped imprisonment and led another army into Europe.
If he couldn’t be stopped, Europe could only look forward to another long and bloody war.
The people who say there isn’t humor in the Bible ought to go back and read it again.
The book of Jonah is a hoot—imagine the prophet, who didn’t really want to call the city of Nineveh, the capital of Israel’s archenemy Assyria, to repentance because he knew that if they did, God would forgive them. So when they do repent, he sits down outside the city and pouts.
“Is this going to be on the test?”
It’s funny how different teachers approach giving tests. Some will give students a detailed study guide so they know exactly what’s going to be on the test. Others refuse to give any hint at all—you’d better just study everything, they tell the class. There are teachers on various points in between these two—maybe they’ll mention that one or two concepts are going to be very important for the upcoming test, but they don’t tell you everything.
Which would you rather have?
“The Big Day”
“She said yes.”
That’s what the caption on the picture said, the picture that went out on the “save the date” cards for their wedding.
Jon had done everything right. He had asked Frances’ father for his blessing. He had organized a photographer for the proposal, and had his parents, brothers, and sisters, and Frances’ parents and sisters—all but Daisy, who was tasked with getting Frances to the park where she thought she was going to be meeting her sisters for a picnic—along with some of their friends join them for the evening.