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About Larry Parsley

Husband, father, Texan, and a Baptist pastor of all things. Works at and blogs at Enjoys long walks on the sidewalk and dinners by fluorescent light.

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Author Archive

    Marriage Tips from SeaWorld

    I’ll admit it — my first read of this article caused me to conjure up a pretty unattractive picture of myself. I, the seal, clapping my fins together, while my wife stands at the edge of the pool, poised to drop a fish in my mouth. But when I read a second time Amy Sutherland’s […]

    The Improbable Persistence of Calling

    In one of his final stories for The New Yorker, “The Long Black Line,” former Jesuit John L’Heureux offers a funny and heart-rending tale of a Jesuit novice who leaves the order. [If you have the time, check out a beautiful reading and commentary on the story by one of his former students, and don’t […]

    Sixty to Zero

    In Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, the author narrates the moment when Martin, a newly minted Augustinian monk, participated in his first mass as priest (1507). What made this moment especially charged was that his father Hans was present. Hans, you may remember, sacrificed to send his boy to college so that Martin […]

    One Year Later: Still Processing the Willow Creek Crash

    The first time I went to Willow Creek Community Church, circa 1994, I didn’t want to be there. My new pastor and boss was a fan of Pastor Bill Hybels, and our church staff flew to Chicago to attend a conference together. I feared that any church that large must be suspect. Still, as I […]

    Grace Knows the Back Story

    Big Ellis, a young farmer in Wendell Berry’s short story, “Down in the Valley Where the Green Grass Grows,” literally struggles to keep his pants up, due to his awkwardly proportioned body. His social graces are a little off as well, and this complicates his romantic exploits in the town of Port William. He did […]

    You Can “Go Your Own Way” (And Surely Will)

    I’ve listened to this podcast about Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” from Song Exploder a half dozen times already, and I know I’m not done with it. If you’re not familiar, Song Exploder is a podcast “where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” To […]

    Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Thirty-One to Thirty-Six

    Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put […]

    The Preacher’s Understudy

    In the 1990s, I served on staff at a church in a large metropolitan city in the South. For several years, we hosted an interdenominational worship service for young single adults. Close to a thousand singles would pack out our church’s sanctuary, with some people standing at the back of the balcony. Some college students […]

    “Mercy Goes First”: An Address to Seminary Graduates

    [What follows is an edited version of remarks I delivered to Truett Seminary’s Fall 2017 Graduates. My talk was heavily influenced by Mockingbird, and with gratitude I post this here.] It has been about 30 years ago now that I waited to hold my seminary diploma in my hands, and I was saddened this week […]

    J.B. Roane and the Case of the Entrepreneurial Pastor

    A new original short story featuring the Rev J.B. Roane: The three of us sat at one of those concrete picnic tables at a rest stop a good fifteen miles from town. My two potential clients, both pastors, were not necessarily sure they wanted to be seen talking to the likes of me. “‘J.B. Roane, […]

    J.B. Roane and the Case of the Reluctant Granny

    When my new cellphone rang for the first time, I tried not to act surprised. “J.B. Roane.” My heart raced, but I kept my voice steady, just a tick above bored. “Umm, is this the Preacher?” That’s what most Texans call pastors. Technically, yes, I thought. I’d spent three years in seminary, largely learning how […]

    J.B. Roane and the Case of the Belated Apology

    This is the first in an ongoing series of original short stories featuring the Rev. J.B. Roane. Thornton bought me a cup of coffee at the same Dairy Queen where he found my business card the previous day, pinned up a little crooked on a bulletin board next to the men’s room. J.B. Roane – […]