The Lesser

the text "sapere aude: dare to know" on an orange background

Once again, a beginning. Maybe the final beginning, but I doubt it. The second we start thinking like that, and the whole thing will get rebooted again.

Probably fourteen years ago, now, I was serving as an adult sponsor on a youth council and we had to attend a leadership conference in central Texas. It was hot and dusty. The keynote speaker was forgettable. And weirdly, there was another Arthur there, an adult, playing in the band.

He was (and continues to be) older than I. Neither of us had a lot of experience being another Arthur–we are an endangered breed. Some nicknames were batted around–old Arthur and young Arthur was right out; I put the kibosh on either of us being called Artie because I will not answer to that name, even accidentally; we finally came out of it as Arthur the Greater and Arthur the Lesser. I was the latter, and I’m still trying to live into that.

“The Lesser,” of course, is a title used with increasing rarity in the Christian tradition. The lesser prophets wrote shorter books than the greater, more often read prophets; James the Lesser has no canonical stories about him or by him attributed to him while James the Greater (the Son of Zebedee, the brother of James, Boanerges, the First Martyr) is a relatively big deal. And the ego-driven twenty-something seminarian needed a little adjustment.

I have been trying to become Arthur the Lesser ever since. That camp is long over, of course. (That might have been the year in which we were being stalled before worship and we had to sing the first verse of Sanctuary like thirty-eight times in a row. I have never considered violence as much as I did during repeats number 20-29.)

Thanks, free stock images! Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

It may not have been. One of the things I did was join twitter as arthurthelesser–I tweet far more often at rthrabrdgd, but you can follow both if you want. I wondered what it would mean to become less and to pursue less as a spiritual discipline. And I bought this domain, and I’ve started and restarted this… ten times, maybe?

Here’s what I have learned in fourteen years–I can actually become less and live more. Losing is winning, surrendering is achieving, dying is gain–but perhaps not always the way we think, hope or demand. Less is more, as the saying goes, and sometimes, too, less is less.

So here’s what’s happening in this space:

  1. This blog is about transformation. I like transformation. I like transforming and to be transformed. I like to see it in the world I inhabit, the world I envision, and the world I study. I’d give a thousand categories, or develop some intricate system of plans and procedures, but you don’t need that, and I definitely don’t need that.
  2. This blog is about passion. I like books–I like reading books, I like discussing books, I like making books (though that hobby is on hold for the time being). I like pies–I like making pies, I like eating pies, I like sharing pies. I like stories–I like telling stories, I like developing stories, I like being part of stories.
  3. This blog is about more and less. My name is Arthur, and I am seeking balance in my life, and I am pursuing being the right size, in the right place, in the right time, and in the right relationship with my world, my God, my family, and myself.

And here we go, again.

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