So Dad surrendered to preach. What happens next? At this point in his life he is thirty-eight. He has been married for ten years. He has two sons, the first of which was amazingly gifted, that are seven, and five years old respectively. He owned a house, and a truck mounted pneumatic drill with the internal parts shot down the bore hole. Dad a set of parents that are going to believe he completely lost of mind when he tells them that he is going to preach. How do you go from that to on your way in the ministry to catch the fall semester of seminary which is coming up in six weeks?
Dad was amazingly efficient at pursuing his new dream. He went out in a day or so later, and tried to fish the parts out of the bore hole with a magnet and a rope. When this didn’t work he went to the dealership to buy the parts. While he was there the salesman was trying to interest in him with a new drill rig. Dad told him he was getting out of the business to go into the ministry, but the salesman persisted on with him. He loaned a new drill rig to my Dad to finish his contract with the hopes that he would change his mind and buy it. Dad finished the job, thanked the man and went right on with the business at hand which of course was getting into the ministry.
Southern Baptists have a choice of six seminaries for prospective students. For some reason my parents chose:
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Boulevard, Box 443
New Orleans, Louisiana 70126
This was the first address, I ever memorized. I must have remembered it well because I could still rip the address out of my permanent memory. Here is where I confess that I had to go to one of my Dad’s library books to get the box number. Dad had a pastor friend that admired the apologist Clark Pinnock. Pinnock was on the faculty at NOBTS, and it was enough to tip his interest to New Orleans. NOBTS was absolutely the most Southern of the Southern Baptist. NOBTS is 2 degrees 41 minutes of latitude Souther than any other Southern Baptist Seminary.
You just don’t get mo Southern than New Orleans. New Orleans has an accent that dies at the end of the city limits. I still take trips into the city just to hear people talk. It is a horrible breach of etiquette to eat crawfish without sucking the custard out of the head. The city has its own smell. The city has a 300 year history of occupation by Europeans. It has been occupied by the American Indians, The French, The Spanish, The United States, The State of Louisiana, The Confederate States of America, The Democratic National Convention, and all the refugees from Hurricane Katrina. It has every vice of a port town including world renowned reputation for Mardi Gras. In the middle of this rich and varied tapestry of humanity the Southern Baptist Convention placed a seminary to train pastors. Dad was one of their newest candidates.
In six weeks Dad sold the drill rig, the house, and the time ticked down to about two weeks to the departure date, and Dad had still not told his parents. Mom said to Dad, “You know you are going to have to tell them sometime.” Dad went over and even though Grandma had taken Dad to every revival meeting in the history of Arizona, she thought he was stark raving mad when he actually was on his way to the ministry. If Grandma thought he was crazy, Grandpa was devastated. Grandpa moaned for weeks after that date that his ill treatment of his son had forced him in the ministry. My mom in her sweet way was able to tell Grandma and Grandpa that their heart was just totally in the ministry. In the midst of a hurricane of emotions my mom and dad were totally at peace.
Dad put Mom and us two kids on an airplane to take a vacation to see my Grandma, and Grandpa in Kentucky while he made the pilgrimage to Louisiana in the turquoise green bus, named Green Frog. The Cajun Dream had become a reality.