I knew I might be in trouble the night before when I went to bed and, as I lay my head down on the pillow, my ears were ringing. This is a warning sign for me that I am overtired. And sure enough the next morning, for the first time in all my years of preaching, when I got to the end, I forgot it. [Read more…]
The afternoon sun dappled through the palladium windows in Kirby Parlor at Perkins School of Theology one autumn afternoon a couple years ago. It lit up the rugged, handsome features of an athletic 60 year old man seated in a circle of about 30 young preaching students. He was John Irving, the novelist, author of The World according to Gap, Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany among other novels. He was on campus to do the Tate lectures at SMU and graciously agreed to spend an hour with my preaching students. They provided the topic: What do sermon writing and novel writing have in common?
“Where do you start when you write a novel?” asked one young student.
This week’s parable is about two men who each offer prayers, with surprisingly different results. I would rather identify with the tax collector, not, of course, because he is hated by his community due to his exploitative profession, but because God liked his prayer better. [Read more…]