Common Sense, Nonsense, or Church Sense

by Ron Carlson

Ron Carlson recounts short anecdotes-sometimes amusing, sometimes more serious-to illustrate gospel truths. His stories are usually drawn from personal experience and are usually down-to-earth incidents that most moderns will recognize. He talks of alcoholics, of the Beverly Hillbillies, of snakes, and of trash.

Unlike most stories that preachers tell, Carlson's are unpredictable. When he begins an anecdote, we are not sure what he is going to illustrate. That may frustrate some individuals; most, however, will appreciate the end result-the punch line.

An example of this unpredictability is illustrated in his anecdote about an "open house" with his recent bride. Everything was immaculate. His wife was so proud of the neatness of the house. Sometime during the party Carlson began a round of golf stories with the male guests. To illustrate his story he hit a can that broke a light fixture and caused other damage and distraction before the can fell into the punch bowl. His wife was devastated with this fiasco. Now which gospel truth could that illustrate? The author uses this to show his wife's loving and forgiving attitude even though her husband had embarrassed her and turned the party into chaos.

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