“Like C. S. Lewis, he harnessed the power of imagination in the service of the Gospel.” – Timothy George
I’m deeply saddened to report I’ve lost another favorite author to time, disease and death. A little over two months ago, I wrote about the passing of Ray Bradbury and now I must pay tribute to yet another cherished author — Calvin Miller. Pastor, seminary professor, theologian and bestselling Christian author, Calvin Miller died Sunday, August 19, of complications following open-heart surgery. He was 75 years young.
Unlike Ray, whom I admired from afar, I had a personal connection with Calvin that spanned decades, stretching back to my university days. While a junior at UTArlington, I was introduced to Calvin through his poetic retelling of the life of Christ entitled The Singer. Over the following years, I tagged along through The Song (Acts) and The Finale (Revelation). To this day, I continue to re-read the trilogy every few years. (Sadly, my first editions were destroyed by the massive May 3, 1999, tornado that wiped out our house.)
Over the years, I’ve continued to read his books as soon as they hit the bookstores. He even inspired me to take a crack at writing, culminating in a collection of short stories based on the parables of Jesus called (are you ready?) Parables. I self-published it, gave it away as gifts and recently placed it on Amazon as an ebook.
In the fall of 1986, when I returned to Southwestern Seminary for a communications degree, I had the opportunity to meet Calvin at the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was filming an interview. Later that semester, I adapted a chapter from his book Fred and Erma into a dramatic production. The following year, I adapted another chapter into a two-man skit for a speech class.
In 1994, while I was art director/designer for SBC LIFE, Calvin began contributing an article for each issue of the magazine, which I had the joy of laying out and illustrating. I delighted in this pleasure for over a dozen years and can still remember many of his writings and the illustrations I created for them.
In 2009, Calvin published his memoir, Life is Mostly Edges. It is one of the finest memoirs I’ve ever read. It is funny, insightful and inspiring. I had always loved Calvin Miller, the writer; now I loved Calvin Miller, the man.
Last year, he published a short ebook called The Disciplined Life, excerpted from an earlier work titled Into the Depths of God. I’ve already read it several times on my Kindle and fall under deeper conviction each time. His writing always takes me to new and unexpected territories of the heart, mind and soul.
I can’t speak for Ray, but I know I’ll have the joy of meeting Calvin again in heaven someday, where we will stand together in the presence of The Singer.
If you would like to read some of my favorite excerpts from a few of Calvin’s books, click on the link below and go to pages 8-13 and 46.
If you would like to read one of my favorite short stories from Parables, click on the link below.
If you enjoyed the above story and would like to read more, click on the link below to download Parables from Amazon (it’s cheap!).