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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

    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 – […]

    On Dead Lions, Live Donkeys, and the Limits of Endurance

    David Grann has penned a gripping New Yorker profile on Arctic explorer Henry Worsley. If you don’t have time to read the whole lengthy piece (or even if you do), this 25 minute New Yorker Radio podcast is a fantastic supplement. A retired British army commando, he was obsessed with the Arctic explorer (and current leadership book […]

    “A Broth of False and True”: Frederick Buechner’s Godric

    My friend John and I are the sole members of an organization we call “The Nerd Book Club.” Once a month or so, we grab coffee and talk about books we’ve always wanted to read but lacked the self-discipline to finish on our own. Recently, we committed to read a novel that has been on […]

    The Road Back for Pariahs

    It is hard to know how much of his tongue was in his cheek when Politico’s Jack Shafer penned “The Sex Pariah’s 6-Step Guide to Rehabilitation.” Yet the questions he addresses in the wake of Weinstein and Lauer and O’Reilly (and so many others) are both serious and timely: once the pariahs have served their […]

    Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Five Verses Twenty-One to Forty-Three

    In an undergraduate class on the short story, James Joyce’s Dubliners in hand, I learned how to hunt for epiphanies. In Joyce’s Araby, for example, a young boy is infatuated with his friend Mangan’s sister. She is to him a chaste goddess — “Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope […]