Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Essays and Essayists

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.
JVO has had numerous essays published and I have not. I’ve written a few, but no one has published them. Here’s my admission: I love essays, familiar essays like those of Joseph Epstein and William Hazlitt and others, and I’d like to write one someday — and if I could choose, I’d want it published in something like The New Yorker or The American Scholar (under a former editor). But, alas, when JVO left that home on Burchard in Freeport, IL, he went on to novel writing and essay writing. We are both professors, but I write books about the Bible and for the Church. Not that I’m complaining.
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.
The first draft of Jesus Creed had some essayist flourishes. My steady, insightful editor, good ol’ Lil Copan, said something like this: “Whaddaythinkyou’redoing, Scot, writing an essay?” To which I said, “I like essays.” To which she said, “This isn’t an essay. Keep to the task.” Which I did. Thanks to Lil.
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.”

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
John Frye

posted October 30, 2006 at 8:14 am

I look forward to reading JVO’s book.

report abuse


posted October 30, 2006 at 4:18 pm

“Given half a chance, I’ll write an essay before a book, after a book, between books, and (my favorite) instead of a book.”
I’ve got to think that a lot of bloggers resonate with statements like this. At its best, blogging is just an essay installment plan.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.