Facets of Faith for Sept. 1, 2012

Author, Baptist pastor and professor Calvin Miller died Aug. 19 at age 75.

Miller, who was from Oklahoma, first gained notice as a writer in 1975 when “The Singer” was published. It would go on to sell more than a million copies.

Miller published more than 40 books as well as pieces for magazines. Formats included popular theology, inspiration and poetry. Topics included Bible stories, Christian living, Celtic prayer, a memoir, science fiction/fantasy and poems for adults and children.

As with most Miller fans, “The Singer” was my introduction to his writing. The first of a trilogy, it is a poetical retelling of stories from the New Testament, including the ministry of Jesus. It was followed by “The Song” in 1977 and “The Finale” in 1979.

Another personal favorite was 1984’s “When the Aardvark Parked on the Ark,” a collection of poems for children.

The title poem deals with the idea of not getting in the way as the aardvarks did when they stopped on the stairs of the ark.

Poems deal with Bible stories and with childhood issues such as a lifelong fight over refusing to eat beans and meeting nice dogs.

Perhaps my overall favorite is “The Philippian Fragment,” published in 1982. It is a “manuscript” of letters written by the fictional Eusebius to his friend Clement. It reads like the epistles of the New Testament, tackling the problems faced by pastors.

Excerpts of this are available at http://christianethicstoday.com/. Search for Calvin Miller.

And a last personal recommendation is for fans of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.” Miller’s “The Valiant Papers” offers the other view. The book is the letters of the guardian angel Valiant.

Sources: http://www.abpnews.com/, http://www.calvinmillerauthor.com/

Send ideas and comments to Leila Pitchford-English, The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588 or by email to lenglish@theadvocate.com.