Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Have no doubt

I studied at Faith Baptist Bible College in the 80's. During my first year, a brilliant man named David Powell was one of my instructors. His class on Old Testament Theory was, by far, my favorite class. He taught in a way that made you think outside the box, to dig deep for the answer. I loved his class. After each test, I found myself striving to get a better grade than the one before.

In 1985, I was 25 years old. 7 years earlier, I almost flunked out of high school. I received a 1.42 out of a possible 4.0 grade average. While enrolled at FBBC, I worked 70 hours a week, drove an hour each day to classes, and studied when I could. I worked full-time as the owner of a small business with 5 employees. I also worked part-time as the manager of a 64 unit residential facility. I could only attend FBBC part-time, it was all I could afford at the time.

In David Powell's freshman class, as we studied each book in the Old Testament, one of his assignments was to create a graph of the book. We were to break the book down into events and chart each one as it progressed to the next event. In the evenings, I dove into each graph with gusto. I learned things about the Old Testament I'd never thought of before. I started out the class getting a B, or 80%, but by the end of the semester I received 100%+ on my graphs and tests.

In the middle of the semester, mummering started on campus. At first, I tried to ignore the whispers that reached my ears, as I studied in the campus lounge above the cafeteria. But the whispers became bolder as time went on. Freshman who were in the class with me began to grumble about how hard the class was, Powell was a bad teacher, he did this and he did that...mur-mur-mur-mur. And I began to wonder why am I doing so well if he is such a bad teacher?

Once, I nearly stood up in class to ask them what was going on. Mr. Powell was late to class that morning and the little rebel inside me wanted to ask why someone who nearly flunked out of high school 7 years earlier and worked 70 hours a week was getting A's and they weren't? I chose to remain silent. Instead, I chose to make my sentiments known in Dr. Houghton's presence. 3 decades later I still regret my decision.

As each decade has passed, I've often thought of my time at FBBC. I love my school and pray for the students and teachers to this day. Dr. Walton and Dr. Shipp changed my life through their kind and loving example. They loved us, truly loved each student. It was an honor and privilege to attend FBBC and I look back at my time there with fondness. Today, I look forward to reading the alumni newsletter and always look for people I knew in the pages.

But I'll never forget how gossip took away a brilliant teacher. A few students wanted mediocrity. They wanted an easy road and they received it. He was let go at the end of the semester. He was replaced by someone, I don't remember who they hired. Through the power of gossip, a truly great teacher was sent away.

Gossip destroys. It should be hated by more than just One Person.


  1. Thank you for your insightful words. I've been hurt by the words of a few former friends and the sting is still there 15 years later.

  2. I'm sorry, I thought I left a comment yesterday but apparently didn't hit the send button. I'm showing this post to a friend who went to FBBC in the 80s. She says she loved her college years at FBBC!

  3. This movie was my favorite of all the movies Hoffman made. He was a great actor.

  4. Thank you for sharing this story. I don't think we'll know the full impact of our words until we get to heaven.

  5. Very moving. And so true.