My Father and a foolish boy


Friends in the hearing doctor’s office

Uh oh, I celebrated Halloween and my father’s birthday a day early.  My brother and I both acknowledge our father’s birthday as being October 31, 1895.

But yesterday I was a day early in my annual visit to my friends in Dr. Craig’s office.  So, today,  in spite of the rain I paid a return visit to take their picture in costume.

I remember another interaction between my father and me.  He was in the garden doing early spring work.  I was a first or second grader, I think. I had already learned about April Fool’s Day, but not at home.  I innocently ran to my father and played an April fool’s joke on him.  I had called my father a fool!

Today’s Autumn Leaves

My father looked at me kindly, but sternly.  He told me to go into the house and read Matthew 5:22.  He knew the precise location of the bible verse. I read there that for me to call someone a fool was to put my self in danger of hell fire.  That was scary.

I’ve learned that in that context  fool  means someone who is so morally corrupt that he can no longer tell right from wrong or good from evil, someone who has lost the ability to repent, one for whom there is no hope of change.  Today, not for fear of hell, I believe in the possibility of change for everyone. Anyone, fundamentalist of any sort,  politician of any party, or a person of any sexual orientation can change for good or ill. I even give myself the hope of change and have grown thereby.


Todays view from our garage

Now I call myself the Old Fool. Many of my friends have told me of their wish that I would not  call  myself a fool. I’ m sure they are thinking of Jesus’ warning not to call any one a fool.  But I am thinking of the Apostle Paul’s  words about himself and his associates in 1 Corinthians 4 as  “fools for Christ’s sake.”  In researching this I was surprised to learn that there is a list of saints honored as Fools for Christ by the Orthodox Church.

I do not identify myself with the people on that list.  Some seemed to be eccentric.  I only wish to be like Jesus who was the most sensible of human beings. So sensible, that his family feared for his sanity.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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1 Response to My Father and a foolish boy

  1. Cheryl W. says:

    Thanks for dropping by Dr. Craig’s office on this very gloomy but festive Halloween! I am enjoying reading about the history and memories you share.

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