Mar 2, 2010

Miller offers ‘once-upon-a-time’ words

by Christopher Scott

Calvin Miller read biblical nursery rhymes to the attendees of the sixth annual Ann Wharton Banquet because, according to Miller, “It’s just not as hard as seminaries make it.”

“Then God called Abraham of Er and said: You’ll be a father sir,” Miller recited. “Said Abe of Er: God, I’m not sure, here comes ol’ Sarah, look at her … When they’d been down in Egypt for 400 years or somewhat more, Moses said: that’s long enough, now come with me, I’ll split the sea. Everybody said: Golli. From a mountain, Moses looked over, died, and Joshua took over.”

The banquet, which took place at the Mountain View Room at the school of law on Thursday, has featured speakers who Dr. Cecil Kramer says “represent the best in the field of communication” during its six years of existence.

This year’s speaker, Dr. Calvin Miller, has authored over two dozen books including “The Singer,” “Into the Depths,” “Divine Symphony” and, his most recent, “Life is Mostly Edges.”

“I cannot begin to remember the times that, while I was reading many of his devotional, inspirational and literary works, I have been forced into a deep personal reflection about my own spiritual journey,” Miller said.

Miller exclaimed the importance of writing and speaking in a narrative form.

“It struck me one day that, in the Bible, the opening words of the scripture -- Bereshit bara Elohim -- are once-upon-a-time words,” Miller said. “In the beginning – God. And there precedes those once-upon-a-time words a huge narrative that spans over 66 books and ends with a happy-ever-after.”

According to Miller the happily-ever-after theme is something exclusive to Western stories, which came about as a result of Christian influence.

“Christians are addicted to joy,” Miller said. “Because we don’t have stories in the Bible that end poorly.”

Every novel that was ever written begins with the loss of an important ideal and then ends with the capture of that ideal, according to Miller.

“I think God wrote the best story ever,” Miller said. “The people who He put in Eden mess up pretty bad in the first three chapters. And after that – there is this whole tale of redemption where we’re trying to get back and correct the mistake of Adam and Eve, and of course Jesus finally does that. If we can get this down in our heart and minds, we can see the Bible in a brand new way.”

An interpretation of one of Miller’s poem, “The Singer,” was presented by a group of readers assembled by Dr. Darlene Graves of the department of communication.

The allegorical poem, which launched Miller as a popular Evangelical writer nearly 30 years ago, characterized Jesus Christ as a singer who must save mankind through the power of his most magnificent song – The Ancient Star Song.

“I thought it was very forceful and expressive with the key teachings of the gospel and God’s relationship with humans,” Phillip Luca, a graduate student at Liberty said. “It was very intentional in explaining what God wanted to achieve through Christ.”

Contact Christopher Scott at

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