??Life Is Mostly Edges: A Memoir
by Calvin Miller
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. Cloth, 377 pp.
Stuart Briscoe and Calvin Miller are both “seasoned” preachers-and, thankfully, both are charter members of this publication’s Board of Contributing Editors-but though they are at an age when many pastors are settled into rocking chairs, both of these gifted men are busy at work
for Kingdom causes. And both of their recently published memoirs are fascinating works that will cause you to thank God for their lives and then desire to walk in their steps.
?In contrast to Briscoe’s British background, Calvin Miller grew up in an impoverished Oklahoma home, raised by a single mother. Yet it was a home where Christ was honored, and it laid a foundation for a life of faithful service. Miller grew up in a Pentecostal church, eventually became a Southern Baptist pastor and professor, and today has a Kingdom influence that extends far beyond denominational lines.
I once identified Calvin as the “Poet Laureate” of the evangelical world-a line his publishers apparently enjoy, since it shows up on the back of his books on a regular basis! My esteem for this gifted preacher and writer has not faded, and even those who don’t serve in ministry will enjoy his wonderful memoir for the sheer joy of the reading. Here is a sample:
“Mother taught us that it was God who supplied the bread, while we were but the ‘managers of heaven’s gifts.’ God’s care of us was like manna. It lay on the ground to be taken up fresh every morning.
“Our house backed up to ‘the tracks.’ The tracks were the steel footprints of these mammoth dragons that stalked the land in which we lived. I often sat by the rails and waved at the engineers who rode the iron dragons like powerful warlords on armored beasts. … Some said the railroad went all the way to St. Louis in the east and ended in Los Angeles in the west. I could only sit and dream.
“But these tracks were not dreaming places to my mother. While I celebrated their intrigue, she celebrated their gravel beds that held more than the rails. The old boxcars that held the grain jolted and banged their way around the tracks during harvest. When they banged, they leaked, and their spillage became our manna-our daily bread.
“So Mama took a broom and burlap bags and went and swept up the piles of spilled grain. She often took me with her to help carry the grain back to our house. I hated doing it, because it was heavy and we had to carry it a long way, or it seemed to me. . . .
“Despising the drudgery of the work, I often complained, ‘Mama, these fields are so wide. It’s such a long way to carry the wheat back home.’
“She would stop and rest and pat me on the head and say, ‘The fields only seem large because you’re so small. When you are bigger, you will see the fields won’t seem so big at all.’
“Thirty years later, Mama died and was buried only a few miles from those very tracks where I learned the nature of her thrift. After the funeral, I went back to the old house and walked alone down those very tracks, where I once had complained about the size of the fields. Mama was right. They were not all that wide. Everything shrinks-the globe itself-when your perspective is right. And while it took me years to see this, the vision was clearer after Mama herself lay sleeping beneath those very fields I once felt were unmanageable.”