#14 No Preaching

I will try to have no preaching in Doug’s Blog for Biddies and Geezers. There are plenty of people who live to preach to others to get them to do something. I learned No Preaching when I was a little boy, 7 years old. It was a hard lesson for a little boy of seven but it has stuck with me (mostly.) Here is how it went down:

Even at 7 years old I was pretty serious about “God Stuff.” And I was chosen to recite a spiritual poem praising God at a meeting of the entire congregation of my church in Eltingville, Staten Island, New York. Great … but there was a problem.

I had just lost a couple of baby teeth and there were gaps in my mouth. Those gaps caused my speaking voice to have a definite lisp. A pronounced lisp. Words like “lisp” would sound like “lithp”, but I soldiered on. I stood before the congregation and began reciting the poem from memory and as my lisp sounded out to the congregation, there began a few snickers and giggles from the audience. But I continued on. I was determined they “get the message.”

But as I “lithped” on, the giggling grew louder and finally I could not help myself, I interrupted my recitation. I shook my 7 year old fist at the audience and said to the entire congregation, “Be quite and listen! This is important!” The room erupted with thunderous laughter at the cute little boy with a lisp trying to preach.

Years later people who were there remind me of that night. None remember the message of the poem. They only remember the ridiculous spectacal of being preached at by a very flawed little boy. When I am tempted to preach these days, I remember that although I am still flawed in many ways, maybe I can use my flaws to help illuminate the message rather than diminish the messenger.


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A book where I try not to preach is Sacred Silence. You will like it:



See my books and stories on Doug Olsen’s Author Page







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