While in Lake Junaluska last week, I picked up and read a delightful little book by Fred Craddock called Reflections On My Call To Preach.
Craddock is professor emeritus of preaching at the Candler School of Theology, the United Methodist Seminary at Emory University. (Yes, a competitor of the great Asbury, but I’ll let it pass.)
Craddock was one of the first narrative preachers I ever heard — he could weave stories together in his sermons in a way that left the hearer spellbound. And he had an uncanny knack of connecting it all together at the end so that you, the listener, could reach the conclusion for yourself.
He’s one of those preachers about whom other preachers always say, “I wish I could do it like that.”
But this small memoir covers the influences on Craddock’s life from birth through his departure for college at the age of 18. Each influence — whether his family tree, his parents, his school experience, or even the crushing poverty of western Tennessee in the Depression — had a role to play in his growing sense that God was calling him to become a pastor. For any of the generations of Methodist pastors who have been influenced by Craddock’s preaching, it is a quick, easy read that lets you know how he became who he became.
And it all got me wondering . . . what kind of seen and unseen influences moved me to sense that God was calling me to this kind of work? Another time, perhaps, and another post.