Monday, August 20, 2012

Calvin Miller 1937-2012

God too stands
often near to
evil--like si-
lent chessmen--
side by side.
Only the color
of the squares
is different.

I was a young teenager, browsing around a college library waiting for my dad to pick me up, when I saw The Singer by Calvin Miller on a shelf.  What about it caught my eye?  Why did I happen to pick it up?  I have no idea.

When Dad dropped me off at the library the next day so that I would be occupied while he taught his class, I had with me a new yellow legal pad I had pilfered from him and a pen.  I went to find the book again, hoping it would still be behind the stack where I had hidden it.  It was.  I sat down at a table and started copying.  It took me all day, but I copied the whole book onto my pad, finishing just before my dad arrived to take us out to eat and back to our hotel for the night.

I had never read anything like it.  It was poetry, but not the kind we read in school.  It was Gospel, but not the kind we learned about in church.  I know it wasn't masterpiece but it changed me as I read, as all good writing does.  It inoculated me against the insipidness of much that would try to pass as Christian in the future.  And it gave me an ear for the poetry of Scripture like VBS never did.

I'm deeply grateful for the life and writing of Calvin Miller and sad to hear of his death yesterday.  I loved some of his books and hated a few.  Unlike some authors that I follow, I didn't buy all of his books but the ones I bought, I will keep forever.  C even got to take classes with him while working on his D.Min. and even got to eat supper at his house one night.  He said Dr. Miller was everything I hoped he was.  I was really glad.

Institutions have a poor safety
record.  The guillotines of
orthodoxy keep a clean blade that
is always honed for heresy.  And
somewhere near the place where
witches die an unseen sign is
posted whose invisible letters
clearly read:
                  --THE MANAGEMENT

Let us pray.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I heard Calvin Miller give a series of lectures in college, that affected me deeply. I didn't know he had passed. There was a gentleness and depth about him that I will not forget- he left the world a better place. Thanks for sharing this.