God is in the small things says George W. Baum in his second book, “Do Not Despise the Days of Small Things” (Outskirts Press, 2019).
In creative, even mischievous fashion, Baum shows us that God’s presence in our lives is anything but small.
Baum’s work, as with his debut book, “Dusting for God’s Fingerprints,” blends teaching, memoir, and reflection.
Baum, a Torrance resident and senior pastor at The Captain’s Wheel Christian Church in Palos Verdes Estates, examines Biblical figures such as Zachariah, Moses and Jonah with both humor and reverence.
Baum writes that “Moses was working for his father-in-law, and the father-in-law was a priest—Father Jethro they called him (no relation to the Clampetts of Beverly Hills)—but can you imagine working for your father-in-law with a white collar and a holy grin?”
Through Moses’ story, we learn that “Sometimes when you’re wandering through life, you just might find yourself being crowded toward God—at the foot of a high mountain, in front of a bush. Sometimes you might have an inkling you are somewhere near a holy place.”
There are some traditional sermons in Baum's book as well.
The chapter, “Aging, with Wisdom and Grace” provides biblical-based guidance on the challenges of getting older.
Baum also intersperses some original poetry.
The speaker in “At Roady’s” observes a sick man talking to a waitress. He “Asked the waitress, and/Maybe the whole world/If she was ready for Christmas. Startled/The train whistle blew/ Jesus winked/ As the train rumbled by.”
Indeed, Baum’s poetry provides an effective counterpoint to his thoughtful sermons and teachings.
Baum’s voice also finds expression in “The Marley Chronicles,” written from the point-of-view of a rescue dog adopted by Jack.
Here, Baum’s imagination intersects with autobiography, and Marley and Jack’s relationship—like the small, holy moments of our lives—is a “God Thing.”
Greg Levonian is a professor of English and theatre arts at Marymount California University.