Archive for November, 2009

Confessions of an oldest son.

November 7, 2009

This semester at school has been ridiculously busy for me. I’m taking 17 hours this semester, and while I am enjoying Lipscomb Univ., I am trying to finish school as fast as I can. My work load has, however, hampered other areas of my life. The effort that I was putting forth in trying to lose some weight has gone to the way-side. I also find myself, dare I say it, too busy to consider trying the dating scene. Now, I could talk about the endless studying of Greek, the papers and presentations due at various times during the course of the semester, or the desire I have to be in a relationship, but what has really struck me the most this year so far has been the lack of time I have been able to spend with my family and friends back home.

One of the many classes I am taking this semester is a course called “Communicating the Gospel”, and it is designed to focus on the actual physical preaching aspect of ministry. I often refer to it as a Public Speaking course for Bible Majors. The class is taught by a man named David Fleer. Dr. Fleer is a tall, voicestrus man with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and a long history of experience in the art of Preaching. Our class meets only once a week, on Tuesday from 2:45pm to 5:20, and while our class is small, I feel that we have been not only very forward but very honest with one another. I genuinely feel very close to everyone in that course and I think it is because of that openness that Dr. Fleer shared with us a very personal story.

We had been speaking about the different types of preaching styles and one of which is called the story-teller. This arch type, as you might have guessed, tells stories to better communicate the point he or she is trying to make, very much in the same way that Jesus used parables to teach in the New Testament. Dr. Fleer then assigned us a sermon from a lady by the name of Barbara Brown Taylor. Her sermon was personal, touching and relevant; it is one of the best sermons I have ever experienced and in the very middle of it, she told a story about herself as a child waiting to see a movie on a hot summer day. The story made sense, it fit and it was easily understood by everyone who listened to it, or read it in the case of our class. After our class discussion, Dr. Fleer told us that, on occasion, as he is pondering some thought or reading some article, he will day dream. He recalls a time when he is younger, a time when his mother, who has been dead for some 20 years, is still alive and able to sit and talk with him for great periods of time. He said sometimes, when he is sitting at his desk, he will day dream that his mother will walk into his office and ask him a simple question, “David, would you like for me to tell you a story?”

It seems silly for an educated, adult male to want to hear a story as though he were some child that needed to be entertained while falling asleep, but for Dr. Fleer, the idea is so much deeper than that. He dreams of a time where he can have one last story told to him by his beloved mother, someone who offered him love and strength during a very turbulent family life in his early years. I’m oft the sentimental type, and I became teary eyed in class, even now recalling him telling the story brings tears to my eyes. The simple story of his impromptu sermon touched my heart and I related quickly to what he was saying in his simple yet elegant message: enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones.

Later that night, when I was finished with the events of the day and I had plenty of time to devote my full attention to a phone call, a called my mom back home in Georgia. I didn’t want anything in particular, in fact, I was satisfied that she picked up the phone and answered it. Dr. Fleer’s day dream concerning his mom made me miss my mom and dad, and sometimes, even an educated, adult male needs to be entertained by his parents.

Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be home in two weeks for Thanksgiving =).