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A Time to Remember: Harding Class Reunion

Last week, I attended my 50th class reunion at Harding University. This was the first reunion I had attended in those 50 years, though I have been on campus a few times, the last being when my son graduated in 1988. This gave me a good time to reflect on who I am and how I got to be what I am today.

I only spent 2 of my 70 years at Harding. I cannot attribute all that I am to Harding, nor can I blame Harding for my faults!


As I thought of my early, pre-Harding years, I had these ideas.

  • In my Church of Christ Christian elementary – high school, I learned the rules. That was not only the rules of personal behavior, but also the “rules” for how to “do church.” I knew the right way to do things – and why we could not fellowship any who did them differently.
  • At my Church of Christ junior college, I learned how to argue the rules. That is, I learned how to formulate the arguments that showed why “we” were “right” in our positions. I also learned how to argue positions within our fellowship – from “hats and hair and kneeling in prayer” to things like whether it’s o.k. to offer communion a 2nd time to those “providentially hindered” at the “main service” to whether or not it’s o.k. for a number of churches to work together in cooperative efforts such as Herald of Truth or to support orphans’ homes.
At Harding
When I first arrived at Harding, thought it was the closest thing to heaven I had experienced. I loved the spontaneous hymn-sings around the lily pond and the student devotionals each Monday evening in the balcony of the chapel auditorium. There was a stronger emphasis on the spiritual meaning of following Christ and less on the “rules” that separated us from others.
That did not mean I forgot the rules, or the discussion of the rules. I remember that at Harding there were copies of the Gospel Advocate and the Gospel Guardian for students. We discussed these often. I remember once making a statement that if these different views resulted in a split in the church, which it did, that I would go with Roy Cogdill’s position, which I didn’t. To make that move would have meant too much stress within my family – and would run counter to all that I had grown up with.
What Harding meant to me was that the path to grace was beginning to open for me. I certainly wasn’t there yet – but there were some glimmerings of grace beginning to lighten the horizons of my thinking.
After Harding
Over the next years, I preached some on weekends for small, rural churches – and went with a team of “lay ministers” to New Zealand to follow-up on a major campaign there. After my time in New Zealand, I attended Sunset School of Preaching where Richard Rogers became a loved mentor.
In Lubbock, I ran head-long into open teaching on grace. What happened to me then will be a subject for a future post.

One Response

  1. I am trying to get up with someone regarding the 50th Class reunion. Guess I have missed it for this year. Please contact me at: (704) 992-9391 I lived in Charlotte 28269 in the Mallard Creek area or Highland Creek. Sara (Smith) Haynes Knew Leroy Holden, Bobbie Doster Went to Enderly Park Elem. and Spaugh

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