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Death of Will Campbell

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Timsings, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Timsings

    Timsings Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    I have found no other notice on any of the forums here of the death of Will Campbell, the maverick baptist preacher, who passed away in early June. If you are unfamiliar with Brother Will, you might be familiar with his namesake. The cartoonist Doug Marlette used Will Campbell as a model for the Rev. Will B. Dunn, a character in the Kudzu comic strip. But Will Campbell was an important figure in American religious life. You can find several good articles available through Google, so I am not going to give a biography here. I will mention a couple of significant events that he was involved in. He was an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement. He was the only white man present at the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1957, he was one of four people who escorted black students into public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. But he was known for his lack of discrimination. He would visit the victims of civil rights violence in hospitals. Then he would visit those who were charged with the violence in jails. Many times these were members of the KKK. In his best-known book, an autobiography titles Brother to a Dragonfly, he relates a story about an intense conversation about who God loves, a man who was killed, or the man who killed him. Will's summary of the gospel message was finally coaxed out of him: "We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway." The emphasis in that statement belongs on the word "all". You can find this and his other books on Amazon.

    Will Campbell taught many people a different way to think about their faith and how to live it. He challenged us to be more faithful followers of Jesus, not to be confused with being "good church people". I hope you will find and read some of his books. His novel The Glad River is, in large part, about what it means to be a baptist. His other autobiography, Forty Acres and a Goat, picks up where Brother to a Dragonfly left off.

    Will Campbell will be sorely missed. He did not like the word "ministry", but he surely had one. His congregation was composed of anyone who wanted to be part of it. Some, like me, he encountered very seldom, if at all. But he pointed us to Jesus and to the grace of God and to the needs of our fellow human beings without regard to their race, their economic status, their political leanings, their religion, or any other human category you care to name.

    Tim Reynolds
    Nashville, Tennessee
  2. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    "We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway."

    Ain't it the truth?!

    Two things in life, yea three, have amazed me; the extent of cruelty that man is capable of towards his fellow man, and, the grace of God. There is no boundary to either.