Pay Attention to Who Sits at our Feet
In 1966, Suzanne and I were a young couple, married for four years by then, and our first two of three children, Taylor Marcus and Tiffany Lynn, had been born. Our church was Canal Street Presbyterian Church at 4301 Canal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, the church where we were married. Our then recent Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Pitman (L), was significant in our spiritual growth during those years, followed by the Rev. Mr. Robert Henderson (R), whose spiritual guidance also enabled our growth in the Christian Faith. WeÕll a little older in this dance photograph.
By that time, it had been my great honor to be elected to the office of Elder in that small congregation of about 400 members. Our Church Session of Elders had about 15 or 20 members. Though Suzanne and I each had long histories of being believers in Jesus Christ, our married life was bringing us new maturities in leaps and bounds. One of the significant events in our spiritual lives was the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues in October of that year. We were part of the Charismatic movement in the Presbyterian denomination in those years.
Our church established a series of weekday evening Bible studies in several homes of various leaders and Elders. Ours was chosen to be one of the homes, located at 7104 South Claiborne Avenue in the Tulane University area in uptown New Orleans. We rented this house from a physician, Dr. Mancuso, an old-line Cajun native. Without mentioning it to our Pastor, this was the first Bible study IÕd ever had the responsibility to teach! CanÕt show it to you now, as it has been torn down and replaced.
Something like a dozen people came to our home to start the series. There was a young married couple that had just begun visiting our church. Clark and Dorothy Pinnock were their names. My understanding was they were new in New Orleans and were students at the New Orleans Baptist Seminary. They were the last couple to come that first evening. All the available chairs were taken after Dorothy had been seated, so Clark, a lanky 6Õ6Ó tall thin man, crossed his legs and sat on the floor, immediately at my feet!
My teaching of the lesson was followed by group discussion, questions, etc. Clark engaged in the discussion, as did the others. The following week, the Pinnocks attended again. Though there were enough chairs, Clark sat again at my feet! It was a delight and encouragement for them to be a part of our group, and they in no way appeared to dominate the verbal intercourse, because of their seminary connection. We were developing a warm friendship with this new couple.
In my relative Christian immaturity as a Bible teacher, it brought me great affirmation to think that a seminary student was learning at my feet! My understandings were destined to have a markedly rotation!
Pastor Henderson informed me that Clark was not a seminary student! He was Dr. Clark H. Pinnock, a New Orleans Baptist Seminary faculty member! WOW! That gave me a whole new perception of their presence by the third week they attended.
Our friendship with Clark and Dorothy developed, and we did some things to help orient them to New Orleans, etc. Though they were somewhat theologically conservative Baptists, typical of that seminary at the time, they had some living patterns that were interesting. Remember, these days were in the 1960Õs, when numerous living styles and dress appeared among in the young adult populations, which today, weÕd identify as Millennials.
We drove an aged 1963 Volkswagon Beetle sedan in those days. We were planning to take a trip to visit SuzanneÕs relatives. Having two preschoolers by then in our family, going on a trip in a VW Beetle was a challenge for storage. Clark and Dorothy also drive a similar VW Beetle, and IÕd noticed them to have one of those unique luggage racks that fit on the top of that car. It only fit VWÕs. HereÕs a photograph I found of a model like that.
We were invited to their apartment, which was in the French Quarter of downtown New Orleans, a very lively and jumping place. Their living quarters did not provide a parking place, so on-the-street parking was what they did. At the social gathering with a couple dozen friends, I took occasion to ask Clark to borrow their VW luggage rack. He was more than happy and generous to lend it. He said that it was on their car parked down the street, so we were just to help ourselves when we left. That we did.
The rack was very help for us, and the trip went well. A couple of weeks, we drove to their apartment in the French Quarter to return the rack. Clark looked at me with a strange and somewhat smiling face, saying, ÒOur rack is still on our car. You never took it!Ó
Obviously, we were thieves, and had not realized our terrible transgression! The problem was that there was no way for an identifying mark to be on the rack, and the parked location from where it was taken was in a very public area where many New Orleans tourists came and went. No telling who owned and lost their rack to us!
So, we kept the rack, using it a couple more years, before trading the VW Beetle in for another brand of automobile.
Clark went on to seminary teaching in Canada. We didnÕt keep track of him, and we read of his graduation to Heaven. He was a theologian of somewhat controversial views, but in general, held to the truth of the Scriptures. He graduated to Heaven August 15, 2010.
The moral of this story, simply, to take notice of who sits at your feet!
Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe
805 Derting Road East
Aurora, TX 76078-3712
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