James Vanoosting, in the introduction And the Flesh Became Word, says something that struck my inner chords: “Given half a chance, I’ll write an essay before a book, after a book, between books, and (my favorite) instead of a book.” There’s a man after my own heart. In fact, a man who seems to have lived in my own house.
Which, of course, he has. JVO and I lived in the same home, he before I — and that shows our relative ages — but which, once you hit 50, no longer matters. How old someone is over coffee matters less than the pleasure of the conversation, and I could spend a many with him.
But, how odd is that? Two kids who barely knew one another who turn out to be writers and from a small midwestern town known mostly by the unusual nickname it gives its sports teams: the Pretzels.
Now, like a familiar essay, I’ve wandered a bit. Back to JVO’s book. The first six chapters are personal narratives, and I loved them. He talks about Mikey Pohill, our next-door neighbor and about First Baptist Church. He speaks about the most wonderful librarian in the world, Mrs. Popp, and then he tells some stories about almost dying, about almost committing suicide, about depression and about divorce. Real stuff here. I hope some of you take up the chance to read him. The second section, called Biblical Narratives, has an insightful piece on “vocation.”