Cazzie, among others…

by DanWolgemuth on February 26, 2021

Sitting on a table in my office is a small black leather Bible. Stamped on the cover in gold lettering are the words… Holy Bible. It’s a Bible that I’ve had for nearly sixty years.

It’s a King James translation with very low mileage. In fact, I can’t ever remember reading it. I’ve kept it for all these decades, because on the blank white pages on the inside of the cover are signatures. Autographs to be specific. It’s a Bible I used to carry at Youth For Christ national conferences at Winona Lake, Indiana. This was an annual event that attracted individuals who I considered to be national celebrities. I kept my Bible close in hopes of getting a signature or two. And that’s exactly what I have.

  • Cazzie Russell – who played for the New York Knicks in the late 1960’s
  • Vonda Kay Van Dyke – Miss America 1965 (a beauty queen and a ventriloquist! – what a combination)
  • Clyde Lee – the 3rd pick in the National Basketball Association draft of 1965
  • Raymond Berry – who played split end for the Baltimore Colts (yes, the Colts used to be in Baltimore… but that’s a story for another Fragment!)
  • Bill Glass – a giant of a man who played defensive end for the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns for 11 years.

You get the point. At 10 or 11 years old, these were names to be revered. Signatures to be treasured.

And what better place to accumulate signatures than on the front pages of my little black Bible. And frankly, with those signatures on the front few pages, who needed to read the rest?

Celebrities who loved Jesus. Celebrities who had stories to tell, trophies to hoist, pageants to win.

And while it’s easy to dismiss the foolishness of a ten-year-old boy, the celebrity worship of today is far more subtle, and frankly, far more destructive.

Who needs The Book, when you have high profile Christian leaders who can guide and shape our beliefs?

Who needs The Book?

Well… I need the book. We need The Book. Because in The Book we’re told by Jesus Himself that whoever wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all. He essentially tells us that those who should really be signing The Book are not pro athletes or beauty queens, but those who bandage the wounds of the injured, and those who give their lives to the poor.

It’s not individuals with the most Twitter followers or the most “likes” on FaceBook or the latest viral video…

It’s Fred Wright who lives next door to me and who started volunteering at the Hope Starts Here Food Pantry years and years ago… and who is now their Executive Director. Fred helps distribute food to roughly 400 families in Aurora, Colorado every Saturday morning. He starts before I roll out of bed. He finishes without fanfare.

It’s Rodney McAuley who has patiently, wisely, and courageously spoken into my life for years. Both of us born in 1955, Rodney’s life experience has been vastly different than mine. He’s an overcomer. He’s a messenger of truth. He’s a gracious and Godly friend who loves me too much to leave me where I am in my understanding of Jesus and His Kingdom. Under the radar. Behind the scenes. Humble, but courageous.

It’s Mary. Who serves and leads and loves without a business card to validate her. She’s selfless and gritty. She washes our kitchen floor, while I’m standing on a platform.

Celebrity worship might have been cute for a ten-year-old. It’s dangerous now.

Serving the least. Pursuing the lost. Loving in Jesus’ name.

No signatures but Jesus.

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