A remaindered sermon from Easter Sunday

I’ve been reading a fine book for Holy Week, Short Stories By Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine, about the parables in the Gospels, and thought how much better Sunday School would’ve been had it been taught by a Jewish scholar rather than the rigid joyless fundamentalists of my youth. Jesus was Jewish, He wasn’t a Protestant, for God’s sake. Levine covers the whole string of them, the runaway boy, the tardy workers, the kindly alien, the good CPA, the mustard seed, the rich man and Lazarus, and respects the mysteries they represent.

This is a difference between Jews and my people. My people weren’t interested in the stories, only the morals; they skipped the details and went straight to the conclusions. Oy, vey. And now the worst of them are reforming the faith around the personality of the emperor. Oy, double vey.

It all begins, as Jesus said, with the commandment to love the Lord God with all your heart and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. As I read this, I was in seat 10D and my neighbor in 10E was leaning against me, her head on my shoulder, my daughter, who, in a sense, is myself, and so it’s hard not to obey the commandment. Back home, we live next to two condominium buildings, a multitude of neighbors, most of whom I don’t know, though we try to keep our section of sidewalk plowed in winter and we are understanding about each other’s trees that cross property lines.

Jesus is not joking when He delivers this impossible command, but nonetheless it is religiously ignored by most Christians, including me.

When I was 17, I thought the first part of the commandment told me to join a Trappist monastery and the second part told me to be a communist, and the onset of puberty — which, for us fundamentalists, came around the age of 24 — settled the first and reading a little about Leninism took care of the second, and so I was left to my own devices, loving God by listening to Mahler and reading poetry, and being mannerly to neighbors, and that’s where I am today.

My neighbor in 10E was asleep, and our heads were touching, and I tried to absorb the thoughts in her head so I could love her more fully. She worries about me; I am 55 years older than she, and she protests when I refer to myself as her old dad. “You’re not old, you’re the best dad there is,” she cries, as if saying it makes it so.

I have not been good about passing the teachings of the Lord on to her, my grievous fault, due to my resistance to the damp airless religion of my youth, but nonetheless my fault. This fault is unbearable and so I’ve accepted the idea that all of us sinners will be accepted into God’s presence eventually. It’s a natural belief for a person in the field of comedy to hold. Comedy is about surprise and contradiction and irony. And heaven will be an amazement. The last shall be first. This is a comical idea.

It’s utterly simple to make a crowd feel bad, anyone can do it, but when they laugh, you feel the grace of God at work.

Rabbi Amy gives us the miracle of the feeding of the multitude as Jesus’s joke on his disciples who were worried about credit cards and whether the deli was still open, and Jesus told them to keep passing the platters of loaves and fishes and they did and the food never ran out.

At the end, the disciples ran away from the Crucifixion. It was just too much. I run away too. Someday I hope to understand. I don’t yet. The loaves and fishes is easier. So I’m not a real Christian. So shoot me. You do and I expect to rise again. The saints and martyrs will be there and also Mabel and Gertrude and Fern, our grade school cooks who fed the poor, and also the monks who were boiled alive by the cannibals but they didn’t taste good because they were friars, and of course Jesus, who hung on the cross and cried out to Peter who said, “Yes, Lord?” And Jesus said, “Peter, I can see my house from here.”

As indeed He could. And so can we. And if you get there before I do, tell all my friends that I’m coming, too.

- Columns -

"The true story of last weekend’s blizzard"

A yuge blizzard descended on Minnesota over the weekend and all of our people who went south for the winter got back home in time to experience it. It was truly yuge, a fabulous blizzard and the snow was up to the housetops and the highway patrol said, “Stay in your homes."... >>

- PRESS -

"The Late Late Show"


Garrison visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on June 4, 2014 to discuss The Keillor Reader... >>

- Archives to Return -

"Minnesota Public Radio, Garrison Keillor Settle All Outstanding Issues"
St. Paul, MN - Garrison Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio have reached an agreement reopening public access to thousands of past shows of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac.

Within the next 15 days, MPR will restore public access...
...

- Columns -

"April is here, time to cut loose of politics"
April 4, 2006

FROM THE ARCHIVE:
Columnists should not write about politics. Take it from me, it's a bad idea. You pick up your bright sword to harass the heathen Republican and your prose style goes limp...... >>

Garrison Keillor

Advice from Mr. Blue

"Exes, etiquette, and losing a spark"

Dear Mr. Blue, I can’t get over my ex. We dated a few years ago and when we broke up, even though it was mutual, I was devastated. At 22 years old, it was my first time being in love, and my first time being heartbroken. The relationship itself had been turbulent: he was a night owl and an alcoholic…


News
The Forum at Grace Cathedral, September 2017

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The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young of the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, sits down with Garrison Keillor for an in-depth conversation as part of the Cathedral’s program The Forum on September 17, 2017. Watch the conversation here

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Minnesota Public Radio, Garrison Keillor Settle All Outstanding Issues

Minnesota Public Radio, Garrison Keillor Settle All Outstanding Issues

St. Paul, MN – Garrison Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio have reached an agreement reopening public access to thousands of past shows of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac.

“MPR wants fans of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac to have free access to the thousands of wonderful performers and artists, musicians and poets whose work is included in those archives, and we want your fans to have free access to the decades of terrific material you created,” MPR President Jon McTaggart wrote in a letter to Keillor on April 5. A full copy of the letter is available at www.garrisonkeillor.com.

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Letter from Jon McTaggart to Garrison Keillor

Letter from Jon McTaggart to Garrison Keillor

Dear Garrison,

I could never have imagined the surprising circumstances you and I’ve been in for the past few months. But here we are, and I’m hoping this personal appeal can help to move us forward.

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A Prairie Home Companion 40th Anniversary: Let’s Have a Party

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Poems of Gratitude: The Fourth Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest

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ABC: What Makes St. Paul So Great?

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Garrison gives a tour of St. Paul during the 2008 Republican National Convention

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Garrison discusses the 40th anniversary of A Prairie Home Companion in an interview with the Associated Press

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CBS Sunday Morning — Garrison Keillor signs off — June 26, 2016

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A profile of Garrison as he prepares to retire from A Prairie Home Companion

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Garrison chats with CBS This Morning about A Prairie Home Companion‘s 40th anniversary and his book The Keillor Reader

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Writing
Exes, etiquette, and losing a spark

Exes, etiquette, and losing a spark

Dear Mr. Blue,

I can’t get over my ex. We dated a few years ago and when we broke up, even though it was mutual, I was devastated. At 22 years old, it was my first time being in love, and my first time being heartbroken.

Read More

The true story of last weekend’s blizzard

A yuge blizzard descended on Minnesota over the weekend and all of our people who went south for the winter got back home in time to experience it. It was truly yuge, a fabulous blizzard and the snow was up to the housetops and the highway patrol said, “Stay in your homes. Do not drive on account of rabid wolves and jackals running loose.” But some of us went out anyway because that’s how we are. America was not settled by the timid.

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A walk down the aisle

There is a long aisle at our grocery store with soda pop at one end and tea and coffee at the other, which my love and I get to after the butter and eggs and 2% milk. We come to the beverage aisle and she selects the coffee, dark ground, with names like Swan Lake and Machiavelli. I notice the can of Maxwell House percolator grind and think of Mother and Dad. And there between the coffee and the soda pop is an extensive collection of waters.

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A remaindered sermon from Easter Sunday

I’ve been reading a fine book for Holy Week, Short Stories By Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine, about the parables in the Gospels, and thought how much better Sunday School would’ve been had it been taught by a Jewish scholar rather than the rigid joyless fundamentalists of my youth. Jesus was Jewish, He wasn’t a Protestant, for God’s sake. Levine covers the whole string of them, the runaway boy, the tardy workers, the kindly alien, the good CPA, the mustard seed, the rich man and Lazarus, and respects the mysteries they represent.

Read More

Looking at snow, thinking of crocuses

Late March is a time of rare unanimity here on the northern tundra when everyone — socialists, monarchists, anarchists, humble peasants, mighty tycoons — is ready for the snow to melt and green grass to appear and a warm breeze blow through the open window, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon and so we must live with the fact that the world is beyond our control.

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We were wrong and we should say so

Now that the 17th is behind us, the pipes have stopped calling from glen to glen, Danny is gone until next March when the valley is white with snow, I look at my calendar and don’t see much to get excited about. Easter is two weeks away and what with church membership in decline, the day is more about jellybeans and less about the Resurrection of Our Lord. And ladies don’t wear big hats as they used to do.

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Too much information, baby, I love you

Stormy Daniels is going to tell her story and if it is true that she whispered in her lover’s ear to meet with Kim Jong-un and talk about denuclearization and if steel tariffs were also part of the discussion, it’ll be news for a week and then something else will come along and she will be forgotten.

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Press firmly and I’ll go away

The beauty of Facebook, to my way of thinking, is the ability to unfriend people and make them disappear from your life. I wish we had a button on the steering wheel of our car that would do that. The people in the red car waiting to enter the parking lot at the concert Sunday who didn’t understand the basic principle of Taking Turns: one click and they go back where they came from.

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What’s that shaking in my pocket?

There is a power imbalance between the president of the United States and me, and so I am loath to criticize him lest he smack me down. Same with my mayor and city council, who could, if I offended them, send dump trucks full of snow and make a mountain at the end of my driveway and I might spend hours shoveling it and then collapse with a major coronary. So I am going to write about telephones instead. With all due respect to you in the telephone industry.

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Firing 30 rounds at a wedding cake

We’re all waiting patiently for the Supreme Court to decide the Colorado wedding cake case, whether a baker can be required to bake one for Adam and Steve–as he’s baked them for Solomon and his 700 wives, though the baker says his religious beliefs tell him homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord.

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Radio

Interview with St. Louis Public Radio

November 2, 2018 episode of St. Louis on the Air, on which host Don Marsh talks with Garrison Keillor ahead of an appearance at the Fox Theater.

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JCCSF: O, What a Luxury

Garrison discussed limericks, free verse, life in St. Paul, and the book O, What a Luxury at a November 2013 lecture at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

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A Prairie Home Christmas — 1995

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Originally broadcast on Christmas Eve 1994, A Prairie Home Christmas is a delightful compilation of all-time-favorite highlights from past holiday broadcasts of Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

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The Young Lutheran’s Guide to the Orchestra — 1994

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Garrison Keillor and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra perform one of Keillor’s most-requested pieces, “A Young Lutheran’s Guide to the Orchestra,” along with other musical and humorous selections. Originally conceived as a local fundraiser, this collection will delight any fan of A Prairie Home Companion.

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Guy Noir: Radio Private Eye — 1994

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The first collection of skits featuring Garrison Keillor’s intrepid detective featured on A Prairie Home Companion. It’s a dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the mean streets, a light burns on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, where Guy Noir—hard boiled, world-weary, yet surprisingly articulate—is trying to find the answers to life’s questions.

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Filled with gentle humor, down-home truths, and amazing depths of tenderness and meaning, these tales of “the little town that time forgot and the decades could not improve” are classics of American storytelling.

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This collection contains 16 touching, exquisitely funny monologues from Garrison Keillor recorded during American Radio Company broadcasts from tour stops all over the country.

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The Book of Guys — 1993

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In eight tales, the old storyteller plumbs the lives of various guys—an aging god, a fallen hero, a confused cowboy, a jealous husband, an old lecher, a teenage leper, and more—and locates the true nature of guyhood today.

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This classic performance of Garrison Keillor’s American Radio Company was broadcast live from the Mark Twain Memorial in Hartford, Connecticut. The Hartford house is where Twain wrote many of his works. Guests included Roy Blount Jr. the Gregg Smith Quartet and singer Pamela Warrick-Smith.

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This audio collection includes Keillor’s own favorite stories from his many years as a contributor to The New Yorker and from two of his best-selling books, Happy to Be Here and We Are Still Married.

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