Tag Archives: Baptist
The Baptist, especially the Southern Baptist, belong in the main to the conservative sector of our society. My roots were there. It has been interesting to me, even at this late stage of life, to realize that many of the old hymns still resonate with me, even when I feel I have moved on and particularly enjoy classical forms. This connection with old-time religion, tent Revivals and camp meetings, hasn’t been something I have readily admitted. “Narrow-mindedness” became an issue for me almost as soon as I left home for college, at a time when my personal rebellion merged with my politics. It’s hard to say which had the greatest influence on me.
In the debates in which I was a part of that followed…debates that didn’t include family members who remained in the Baptist church…I never talked about the church I came from. My silence over the years…whenever I found myself in the middle of debates about such hot topics as abortion, evolution, guns, and even war…shouldn’t be misjudged: I have strong feelings about such issues, passions that would have placed me at odds with my family. Yet I never confronted them openly. I never with passion said much; yet inside passions were there. Now, with the death of my parents, opportunity was lost; the impetus, gone. We never had that conversation. I doubt that it would’ve gone anywhere and would’ve garnered anything but anger. At this point, I’m thankful I cherish the old hymns.
Bob Flynn is a friend, an old friend, who uses and abuses humor in writing. Also he isn’t afraid to admit that he is Southern Baptist. He pokes fun at his faith, and in his essays, Growing Up a Sullen Baptist he is reverent and irreverent. What? Yes, he’s that good. In his work you are never out of sight of who (or is it whom?) he is, and there’s a lot to him.
An impression of out of the way places in Texas: the landscape, landscapes of cotton fields, por dirt, funny people, from Vietnam to Texas, a landscape so hard and unforgiving that I don’t see how Bob keeps his sense of humor. In my view it is a land of narrow mindness and unforgiveness, and yet, with Bob’s perspective you’ll find humor there. Everyone will laugh. Everyone will cry. I can almost guarantee it. His view is down to earth, his perspective unique, and for that I envy him. He has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft. His style gives the impression that he hasn’t worked that hard at it. In this presentation of his, simplicity becomes sublime, and funny; it’s always worth seeing what he has to say? (Seeing something to hear it? English! Or am I wrong? English can be so difficult and funny. Go to the home page of Bob’s website and see what his mother taught him about the English language: http://www.robert-flynn.net/index.htm .) Bob is therefore defined by his west Texas roots, and he didn’t try to run away from his (roots) as I tried to do.
Here is Bob’s publicity blurb. “Robert Flynn is a native of Chillicothe, Texas; despite its size, the best known Chillicothe outside of Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. Chillicote is fairly bursting with truth and beauty, and at an early age Flynn set out to find it, discarding along the way seven novels (if he hasn’t finished his latest one): North To Yesterday; In the House of the Lord; The Sounds of Rescue, The Signs of Hope; Wanderer Springs; The Last Klick; The Devils Tiger, and co-authored with the late Dan Klepper Tie-Fast Country. (At Baylor University and Trinity University, I knew Bob as playwright/teacher and for his adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.) He is also known for a two-part documentary “A Cowboy Legacy,” shown on ABC-Television; a nonfiction narrative, A Personal War in Vietnam; an oral history When I Was Just Your Age; three story collections, Seasonal Rain, Living with The Hyenas, Slouching Toward Zion and a collection of essays, Growing Up a Sullen Baptist. He also contributes to The Door: The Word’s Pretty Much Only Magazine of Religious Satire.
“His life and work could be described as The Search for Morals, Ethics, Religion, or at least a good story in Texas and lesser known parts of the world.”
And let me repeat: I consider Bob to be a good friend.
Good night, Randy Ford