Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, August 13, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I received a letter from a minister yesterday. He had read my book, THE STRANGE CALLING. It tells of how God tricked me into becoming a minister, and the events that followed over many years of pastoring, and trying to find out what God and faith and church and life are all about. [The Hokey Pokey is partially right when it claims that putting your foot in and shaking it is “what it’s all about,” but only partially.]

He made two statements that were especially interesting to me. One, “I wish I had matured as fast as you did.” Two, “I wish I had read this book years ago.”

I understand his second statement, I think. I feel the same way about Ed Friedman’s GENERATION TO GENERATION. I learned many things about families and churches and the church as a family from that book that I could have used much earlier in my career. THE STRANGE CALLING is just stories, not theory, but it’s often possible for us to learn more theory from a story than from theories. I think that’s what he meant, had he read those stories earlier, he could have applied them to his identity and to his work.

The first statement, maturing fast, maturing early, I’m not sure about. Yes, I matured early, because I had to, but that is not necessarily a good thing. Maturing early made me into an old man when I was young. Now that I am truly an old man, I’m much younger. In THE MATURE MIND, Gene D. Cohen, building on Erik Erikson’s stages of psycho-social development, notes three stages past the age of 60. The first is “liberation,” about age 60 to 70. “Summing up” is late 60 through 70s, maybe into 80s. The final stage he calls “encore.”

I like that word, “liberation.” Maturity is good. Liberation from maturity is even better.

John Robert McFarland

I tweet as yooper1721.

They called them heroes. Then forgot about them. Joe Kirk lost a leg. Lonnie Blifield lost his eyes. Victoria Roundtree lost her skin. “Zan” Zander lost his mind. Four homeless and hopeless Iraqistan VETS who accidentally end up living together on an old school bus. With nowhere to go, and nothing else to do, they lurch from one VAMC to another, getting no help because, like the thousands of other Iraqistan VETS who are homeless, unemployed, and suicidal, they do not trust the system and refuse to “come inside.” After another fruitless stop, at the VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan, a doctor is found dead, and the VETS are accused of his murder. Distrustful, strangers to America, to each other, and even to themselves, they must become a unit to learn who really murdered the doctor, so that they can be free. In doing so, they uncover far more, about themselves and about their country, than they dared even to imagine. My new novel is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $8.49 for paperback and $3.99 for Kindle.

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