Pastor Larson’s Corner: Toe hold theory

Pastor Larsons Corner

My friend Pete likes to come up with little theories to guide him through everyday life. He calls one of them the “Toe Hold Theory.” He came up with this theory after his father died and he returned to the farm where he grew up to put his father’s affairs in order. He thought he would stay in the farmhouse while he was there, but his father had been alone for many years and the place was a mess. In the kitchen, dirty dishes were stacked everywhere, and he had no place to cook or eat. He decided that he would start the clean-up process by cleaning the kitchen table. It was a Formica table with chrome legs, and he spent a good deal of time getting it perfectly clean. He said once he had the table as an oasis of cleanliness he had a “toe hold” because he now had a place he could put dishes and other things as he cleaned them up.

There are many times in life when we just need to get a toe hold, times when we need to get a start in a new direction. For example, it may be that a person wants to restart their life of faith after years of neglect. It is difficult to know how to go about it or even how to start. Perhaps my friend’s toe hold theory can help. Start with the basics and get a toe hold. Begin by reading the Bible for a few minutes each day. Then add a time of prayer and meditation before bed time. As your spirit begins to awaken you may want to listen to church services on the radio and watch them on TV. The internet provides a wonderful resource for religious information and faith formation materials of all kinds.

Eventually, you may want to go back to attending church services and being part of a fellowship of believers. You may want to attend for the first time on Christmas or Easter Sunday when there are so many people at church that you can check things out without being noticed. Once you have a toe hold the directions you can go and the opportunities for spiritual growth available to you are unlimited. Although you may not end up as an active member of a congregation, you will give yourself the best chance of not drifting away again from a living faith.

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 Oct. 9, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

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