Tonight I watched a movie I recorded several weeks ago entitled: “The Seventh Calvary” staring Randolph Scott. Now, I have got to say that like most all of you my age, Randolph Scott was a big time hero of ours as we were growing up. He didn’t quite make the ranking of a John Wayne… but he was probably second.
Tonight, I was disappointed in my hero for a most unusual reason. As many of you know, I spent four years in the United States Marines. There is no room for failure in the Marine Corps. Randolph Scott did not fail… in this movie he portrayed a captain in the Army and he could not perform a simple about face. Every time he did it he reminded me of Gomer Pyle. Here is the hero of a ten year old boy who could not do something as simple as an about face… and he was a captain. I have connected a link to the YouTube movie above. Go and look for yourself. Many attempts… didn’t nail a single one. At Parris Island he would be burying sand fleas. Perhaps if he had served in the military he would have been able to accomplish this most simply maneuver?
Well, Scott was born in Virginia (1898) while his parents were visiting there. Graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. He grew up, lived and is buried in Charlotte, NC. He grew up in a wealthy family and even was married to one of the Duponts for a while. He became a star in movies after concentrating on westerns. His voice and demeanor seemed to fit the western better than any of his other rolls. He retired in 1962 to a life of playing golf and avoiding publicity. He died in 1987. Well, that is what happened to Randolph Scott.
As I watched Scott, my hero, flub all these about faces, I wondered how many times I may have messed up on the little, or not so little stuff, in front of people who were looking to me as some sort of role model. Being in ministry people often look up to you with unrealistic expectations.
I remember one couple stopped coming to worship because I didn’t preach like they wanted. You see they grew up in another tradition and any sermon that was not full of a lot of yelling and hell fire was just not real preaching. I talked with them and explained that I had to be true to the person I believed God was forming me to be. I couldn’t do an about face and become what they wanted. I simply could not become the hell fire preacher they were expecting. I encouraged them to seek out a church that would offer them what they felt they needed to be the disciples God was calling them to be.
I tried to be available to my members as much as I possibly could. I wanted them to know that I really cared about them and what they were going through. I am sure that I let people down more times than I could have imagined. Perhaps I, too, let them down on something as simple as an about face? Well, for all those who feel let down you have my deepest apology… you know that it was not intentional.
Grace and Peace
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