Truth, “retirement”, leaves, Kierkegaard, and run-on sentences

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 john 4:16
– gleaning truth in the garden

I have noticed an interesting corollary to this life’s current craziness, and that is abundant raw material for writing! People (and that would be you, dear reader) tend to pay attention when life is difficult.

It is almost as if my struggles are your struggles, my pain is yours too, and the peace and grace that I find through my faith can also – when I share – become yours.

At the same time, mental exhaustion often puts a lid on a lot of my creativity and it is difficult some days to communicate in the way that I want to. I need uninterrupted concentration to let my thoughts settle into some kind of order, and while lots of time was supposed to be one of the benefits of “retirement”, reality has turned out to be the opposite.

But I chip away at my work: mostly because it is spiritually therapeutic for me, but also because I still own a very clear calling to share what I believe is truth this world needs to hear and to understand. Not just truth, but actionable truth, truth with a purpose, truth that makes a difference.

Truth with a purpose:

Currently, for this week’s morning devotionals, Rebekah and I are reading some prayers written by Søren Kierkegaard. I find Kierkegaard’s words often resonate with me, and the complexity of his thoughts uncannily echo the sometimes convoluted maze of logical pathways my theological musings traverse.

A lot of my purpose, in communicating the beauty of the Good News that is Jesus, is to pass on God’s invitation for each one of us to to “come home.” While the invitation may be just that simple, I also understand that many of us need to wrestle with the complexities much the way Kierkegaard did. I believe this is part of the truth that we are beings created in the image of God.

The Creator does not expect us to check our brains at the door when we explore faith, and – rather than roadblocks – creative intelligence, imagination, great questions and critical thinking can become (when combined with a truly open spirit) open pathways forward for our journey as pilgrims in progress.

While I cannot always pause long enough to think deeply, I do often pause long enough to look – and hopefully to see. Hence the photograph with this Tuesday morning post. In the middle of yesterday afternoon’s storm I noticed how beautiful even our unkept front garden is when adorned by so many trees and so many millions of brand new leaves.

This is my path to God. Simple observations like trees, complex understandings like so many leaves, all reduced to one breathtaking truth that I can frame like a photograph:

“God is Love, and Jesus is God’s invitation home.”

Derek Maul



  1. Derek, as Kierkegaard required your attentive reading but yielded deep insights, I recently wrestled with a bit of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. I was intrigued by notes and observations I wrote in the margins in 1979(!) while in a small group seminar with Shirley Guthrie at Columbia Seminary. Last month I plowed through William Faulkner’s novel Light in August, which I had not read since college. It does our brains and souls good to engage some serious writing that demands concentration, but which leads to illumined observations. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring us to read, watch, listen, observe, and reflect! And to capture your reflections in one photo – wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hugh! We could talk about Faulkner all day! Rebekah wrote about him for her senior thesis at Stetson. A) I’m impressed you still have notes from 1979! B) My brain and my soul need all the challenge available so I can still grow. C) Kierkegaard is very thought provoking. D) Have you read “The Dearly Beloved”? – you must.

      Peace – Derek

      On Tue, May 17, 2022 at 12:14 PM Derek Maul: Words and Photographs for the


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