Sunday Post 16: My Grandad, Spurgeon

DJ had to present her faith statement to the Session at church tonight.  I’m an Elder at First Pres. and had the priviledge of hearing kids share what they believe in years past.  It’s pretty powerful.

Last week, DJ and I spent some time discussing what she believes so that she’d be prepared for this important event.

As we talked, I began to think about what and who shaped my faith.

Being the kid of a preacher, I was at church more than not.  One Sunday when I was about 4, my grandparents were in town and offered to let me stay home with them instead of the usual routine of Sunday School and sleeping on my mother’s lap through the service.  My parents didn’t like the stay at home option.  Apparently when told I’d be heading with them, I stomped my foot and said, “Church, church, all I do is church!”

My preacher today wishes my attendance was such that I would have the right to say that now!

There were incredible people who molded my beliefs.  Some by making me run in a different direction!  Some simply through their actions. 

My grandfather, Spurgeon (if only I’d had a son to pass that name down to) or as we called him Papa, was a key to showing me, through action, what being a Godly man is all about.

At 9 pm sharp, in the middle of The Love Boat or any other show we might be watching, he would barge into the den reading passages from the bible out loud and would continue until my grandmother demanded he stop.  He seldom missed church and had a blind faith in the God he’d been taught to obey. 

He ran a small grocery store most of his life and fought hard not to open on Sundays when everyone else in town had made that move.  He refused to sell alcohol, which would have been lucrative business for him.  He sang hymns all the time and prayed before every meal.  I can see his unsteady hands and head, victims of Parkinson’s disease, bobbling as he bowed out of respect.

I think the greatest lesson he taught me was to be loving and kind to others.  Although he didn’t have a ton of money, if anyone came into his store hungry or in need, he would give them what they needed, sometimes to my grandmother’s dismay.  And he loved people.  Those who drove the rest of us crazy – and there were some interesting characters who frequented his establishment – he embraced.

He was a very, very good man.

I’m not sure that my actions are always consistent with the teachings of the bible or even with my own words at times.  I’m certainly not walking around the house singing hymns and I don’t often interrupt American Idol to read passages from the book of Isaiah.  I’m also not nearly as good as Papa at embracing those who are different from me.

I’m proud of my daughter and of the young woman she’s becoming.  And I am thankful for the community that surrounds her helping me teach the things that my family so diligently worked to teach me.

Leave a comment


  1. Mom

     /  May 1, 2011

    He was a good man. He influenced me more than he’ll ever know. I remember how he prayed on his knees every night of his life until he could not get on his knees. With his gift of gab and love for people, I’ll bet his job is to be a greeter in heaven much like a Wallmart greeter. He would love it.

  2. A Christian heritage is a great backbone! My wife and I have it on both sides. Our kids will have it on both sides. Then we must look at ourselves and ask what they prayed and paid forward are we continuing in our generation and the next.
    Spurgeon, I have it on my to do list!

  3. Patty Thomson

     /  May 2, 2011

    Jean, I am glad I knew your folks. they were both huggers!! We did not get to see each other often, but we always had a good time!! My Daddy was like that too. It did not hurt me, but sometimes I think my grandchildren think I am too much like Grandpa Sam the older I get!!

  4. Wren

     /  May 2, 2011

    Bruce ~ You’ve been blessed with a fabulous gene pool & spiritual heritage! God bless you & your family. Please keep sharing your faith with us ~ it’s inspiring! As you evolve and continue to embrace the many blessings in your life, I know that you will be a light to everyone who you encounter. Love to the girls, The Rehms


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