Monday, March 16, 2015

Fred Craddock - A Tribute

photo by Joe Weaks / flickr
This afternoon in a tiny place called Blue Ridge, Georgia Fred Caddock's funeral will be held. I wish I could be there. Dr.Craddock was a Preacher. Some people call a famous preacher "the Preacher's Preacher." Well, Fred Craddock was a whole lot more than that. He was everybody's preacher--for his stories and his life was always down to earth though he was a scholar and teacher and writer.

Like zillions of other preachers he challenged me to work hard on the craft of preaching. The stories he told remind me still of the parables of Jesus.

There are only a handful of preachers that, when I heard them, made me want to go and do something. Fred Craddock had that effect on me. And churches all over are not the same place as they were before Fred Craddock began teaching and helping us preachers. His stories, repeated (and stolen) week after week have helped bring the Gospel alive for so many people.

I don't know how to express what I feel about his living and passing. But since basketball is in the air everywhere these days I remembered a wonder story about the late Jim Valvano who was the  revered Coach at North Carolina State. Before his team won the National Championship he yelled at his team one night on March 9, 1987, "It comes from the heart!" In that very close game with North Carolina (which N.C State won 68-67) Jim Valvano was quiet for the first five minutes in the locker room. He was drawing X's and O's on the blackboard, talking about what they ought to do in that game. Then, one of the players said, "He threw down the chalk and started screaming, "It comes from the heart! It comes from the heart! It comes from the heart! Don't leave anything out there on the court!" Another one of his players was heard to say, "He had me ready to run through a wall."

Fred Craddock's personality was opposite of he tempestuous Valvano. Dr. Craddock was quiet--almost never raised his voice when he preached--but those of us on his team could never stand in the pulpit and preach exactly as we had before he came along, Not only did he remind us that preaching comes from the heart but also from the head and the stuff of everyday life.

In one sermon I remember him asking someone: "Have you brought Doxology?" Dr. Craddock brought Doxology. Thanks be to God.

You might be interested in the Youtube video that was replayed on CNN this week-end about this wonderful man.

                                            --Roger Lovette /

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