Sermon Text: Acts 9:36-43
Back several months ago, I read a story about a guy who has won media notice from USA Today, Reader’s Digest, CNN and on NPR’s Morning Edition. Dan Hurley is an interesting fellow: he always wears a straw panama hat, silk bow tie, yellow blazer and two-tone saddle shoes. However, it’s not the way he dresses that sets him apart. Dan Hurley made his name and his fame as a sidewalk performer. No, he’s not a mime, or a juggler, or a folk singer, or a sax player. Mr. Hurley plays the TYPEWRITER KEYS and calls himself a “PERFORMANCE WRITER.” Clickety-clack, ziiiiip, ding! He’s The 60 Second Novelist, and he’s good.
Dan got his start clear back in the 80’s when he took his 1953 Royal typewriter onto Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, in front of the Old Water Tower, opened a folding chair, sat down with the typewriter in his lap and taped a sign to the back of the chair: “60-Second Novels, Written While you Wait.” Thinking it would be a one-time lark, he offered to interview passersby and write a story inspired by their conversation. The response changed his life! People lined up to pay $5 per story, pouring out their lives as if he were a catholic priest at confession or Dear Abby. He quit his job as an editor to travel the country in search of stories, eventually writing the life stories of over 22,613 people and counting!
Hurley has listened as children, crack addicts, the homeless and the famous confessed their secrets and shared with him a lifetime of wisdom. He has learned the real-life truth about love, fame, money, health and happiness. He has written his short novels about people like the homeless man living in a Brooklyn dumpster on Christmas; the Iowa hog farmers who welcomed Dan into their lives; a little boy on his first day of kindergarten who wanted to grow up to be a bird; a Chicago woman who slapped Dan because she didn’t like her story; and two young women on leave from a Manhattan psychiatric hospital.
JUST THINK OF IT! YOUR life story in 60 seconds! If you could have Dan write about you in 60 seconds, WHAT would he say? Would he write about a life of love and devotion? Would he show you as unique? Would he succinctly summarize a life of purpose or a life wasted on all the wrong things?… Read full sermon here (PDF)