Pastor Larson’s Corner: The James Gang

Pastor Larsons Corner

Five young fifth graders made the evening news this week for forming what they called “The James Gang.” Early in the school year they noticed that one of their fellow fifth graders was being shunned and pretty much left out of things. It was not only true on the playground but also during class and after school. James was dyslexic and it caused him to be somewhat uncoordinated and slow of speech. The boys decided that they would include James in everything they did that year, including after-school activities.

The news article showed the boys playing football on the playground, making sure that James scored a touchdown in every game. It also showed how the boys included James in their birthday parties and other after-school events during the year. The film crew also interviewed James’s mom, who said that James was a totally different child once the boys formed the James Gang and included her son in all of their activities.

It warmed my heart to see these young men step forward and make a difference in another boy’s life. The boys and girls at their school had not bullied James or been guilty of name calling. They simply hadn’t reached out to him in any positive ways or included him in their school or after-school life. By pledging to include James whenever possible in their activities, they took the anti-bullying campaign to a higher level. They went on the offensive and in the process changed the life of their new friend James as well as their own lives. What a wonderful example of what it means to follow in the way of Christ. Perhaps their example can inspire us to keep an eye out for those we can include by reaching out to them in love.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the June 19, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.