Saturday, September 26, 2009

People are Just Human Beings ... and We All are God's Creatures .....

I always wondered if there was something wrong with me. You know those surveys where one of the questions is “if you could meet any famous person in the world, who would you want to meet and spend a day with.” I never could think of one specific person I would want to meet. Made me feel something was wrong with me. But people are just people. I love them all (mostly all) and I just can’t think of one person I would like to meet. Usually people put down the name of a famous movie star, singer, a past president, whatever. I’ve never had an answer for that question.
I remember many years ago, someone, I think it was the Vice President of the USA at that time, came to Tulsa to give a speech. Interpreters were provided, and I was selected. A newspaper reporter came to me and said, how does it make you feel to be interpreting for the Vice President of the USA? I lied I think, with something like oh it is so exciting and an honor. Though excited to work, it was not about the man. He was just another person and I had a job to do.

I tend to feel more honor for the office than for the man. More respect for the office of president than his humaness. (Off track now:  At the same time, some are far more respectable than others. If one disgraces his office, it is repulsive to me.)  But so much for that introduction: here is my point.

Yesterday, I was on an interpreting assignment in which when the ‘man’ walked out, albeit with the aid of a walker and a person on each side,  I grabbed my camera for a picture. I knew the pictures would not be good, I just had something to document . I thought to myself, what am I doing … this is not like me. The man was Oral Roberts, age 91, and he had come to celebrate, to pray for and pronounce a blessing on the new President of Oral Roberts University.

The difference -- the heritage, the stand this man had taken. Though a man with human frailties and mistakes, he certainly hated the criticism, yet he stood for righteousness in the midst of opposition much of his life. A man who, when he believed God told him to take God’s healing to his generation, was ostracized by his church denomination and by his community. Though in those days, he was responsible for bringing more economic blessing to our community, Tulsa disliked him, scoffed at him.    During my college years, professors repeatedly made derogatory remarks about Oral Robert’s City of Faith and his 900 foot Jesus. But the man never gave up on what he believed God wanted him to do.
So here again, I think my love affair is not for the person, it is for what the man represents … the office he holds. His attributes of integrity, creativity, faith in God, willing to do what he believed correct in God’s eyes and righteousness. Yes, Oral Roberts is just a man, yet, he had a great impact upon my family, both positive and negative. We were close enough to know his warts, idiosyncrasys, humanness, but he stood for something much greater than human frailty.

When Ken was a young child, Oral Roberts was his pastor in Shawnee Oklahoma.. When I was 13 years old, my father moved our family to Tulsa to work with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. When Ken and I were newly weds, we traveled with those massive tent crusades during  the 50’s. And finally, two of my children graduated from ORU, even though neither of them aspired to do so.
In their high school years, the local attitude toward ORU was one of mockery among their peers and teachers. What Tulsa high school teenager would aspire to go to a university whose motto came from a man who believed that God told him to:
“Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased.”
 Who wants the emphasis of college days to be educating the whole person … the body, the mind and the spirit. The youthful mindset is college is a time for party fun.

A young 17–year-old boy, dying of tuberculosis, received a touch from God, healing his body and commissioning him to build God a university built on God’s authority and on the Holy Spirit. He may not have known how to do it, but he was willing to be obedient to his convictions, one step at a time, willing to be jeered, and willing to learn as he traveled his journey through life.
So now I know, that is the reason why I pulled my camera out yesterday. Knowing I was too far away for a decent picture, I wanted to document integrity, I wanted to remember the visual aid of faith in God, and to document that when one honors God and parents as best they know, anyone can live a long fruitful and honorable life. Here is to honor, here is a tribute to Faith in God.  This to me is exciting.


  1. Response from Terri:
    Thank you so much for sharing this posting with me. I went through a whole range of emotions while reading it and I loved every one. Although I feel saddened at times by the things I witness at ORU, I truly love being there. At times, it's like a spiritual Disney World (for lack of a better description). Most days I feel like it is the happiest place on earth. I know this comes from the fact that it is still God's university and His children are gathered there in great numbers. With all of our faults, we still have one common bond and that is our desire to be pleasing to God and spread His Word to the nations. Terri York

  2. Well-written commentary. And I don't think the photos were too bad, considering the circumstances. Just wish Evelyn were still around to be with him. She was always the hard-headed practical one who kept Oral Roberts' feet on the ground. He looks so old and frail now, not how I remember him. But that was about 25 years ago.

    Kevin Scrivner