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Reflections on My Call to Preach

SKU 9780827232570

by Fred B. Craddock

Travel with revered preacher and author Fred Craddock through his early years as he considers what made him take to the pulpit.

“For some reason, I felt I had to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the ministry so I could feel free again. My siblings and friends talked almost casually about options and preferences as to careers, but with no evident sense of urgency. Not so with me. I did not then nor do I now know whether the burden of choice was a trait of personality, a kind of super-conscientiousness, whether the calling to ministry itself carried a weight, a burden, peculiar to the task itself. Rightly or wrongly, when I thought of possibly becoming a journalist, that would be a choice, 100 percent mine. When I considered becoming a minister, that was not totally my decision; I was responding to God’s will for me. Of course, I had been told that journalists, lawyers, teachers, merchants, farmers—all could understand their lives as a vocation, a calling, but what I am telling you is that I perceived, I felt, I experienced the idea of being a preacher as different, and that difference was sobering, even burdensome. That’s why advice about not being in a hurry, taking my time, was not helpful even if wise. If it was my decision, why could I not make it now; if it was God’s decision, why did not God tell me, or at least tell my father or my mother? I prayed for the ache to leave me.”
—Excerpt from Reflections on My Call to Preach


“Fred Craddock traces his path to ministry with vivid sketches of parents, siblings, teachers, and the hidden insistences of God. Craddock keeps it accessible without any highfalutin words like ‘providence.’ But he lets us glimpse the ‘hoverings’ that are beyond explanation. Without any special effort Craddock offers what is ‘portable’ from his life to that of his reader, so that the reader, as well as the author, may reflect on the surplus of purpose that wells up in our lives. Our thanks to Fred for helping us to tell our stories by way of his.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“In this account of a summoned life, we are privileged to hear the life story of a master teller of stories. With his considerable charm, wit, and gentle witness, Fred enables us to peer into the earliest years of an extraordinary preacher in the making. Fred, the great storyteller, sure knows how to tell the story that is his life.”
—Will Willimon, Bishop, the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church

“For two generations, Fred Craddock has been the single most influential voice in preaching in North America and throughout the world...Beginning with Craddock’s ancestral roots and going to the day he enrolled in Bible college, this autobiography invites us into the rich, nuanced life-forces that helped shape this evocative preacher. In the end, it is not so much a story about Fred, but a story about God working through family, friends, and congregations in shaping a life around the gospel.”
—Ronald J. Allen, Christian Theological Seminary