…it's over, it's done, we are one people...
Will Campbell: I spoke once at Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, in the early 60's. Afterwards, I was talking to a bunch of guys there, and some of them kept saying, "well, we don't know what you believe." I said I told you what I believe. They said, "well, we don't know who you are." I said, I was introduced in the chapel. My name is Will Campbell. That's about the only thing I can think of. I am who my momma and daddy named me the night I was born. Well, where did you go to school, they asked. Oh, no no no. I said, that doesn't have anything to do with it. We're established now. I believe God loves us in Christ, reconciled the world to himself. I said, I believe that. That's what's important. I know why you're asking where I went to school. If I went to Bob Jones, that means one thing; If I went to Columbia you'd think you'd know what that means. If I went to New Orleans Baptist, or Harvard, or Yale, right away you'd think you'd know who I was. But the words are very clear in the scriptures; so it doesn't matter where I went to school.
Well one of the guys was recently out of the army, and one of things I had talked about was the Vietnam War, which he had defended with great vehemence from the Old Testament and scripture and so on. And he said, "Well, we don't know what you believe"
I said, "I believe God was in Christ, not will be, perhaps, maybe if we're good boys and girls, it's over, it's done, we are one people, race is a violation, nations are a violation, I believe God was in Christ, goddamit, that's what I believe."
Well, he got his little briefcase and walked out of the room. I said, "Where are you going?"
He said, "You think so much Christ, but you certainly don't think too much of his father."
I said, "why?"
He said, "well, you took his name in vain."
I said, "Oh, no, no, no, I didn't take his name in vain. You took his name in vain. I don't recall taking his name in vain."
Finally one of the other professors, a Calvinist, said "Go ahead, Chuck, tell Will he said goddamit. It won't kill you."
"No I won't say that word."
But I said, "That is not taking the father of Christ's name in vain. We don't know what the name of Christ's father is. If I'm German I say Gott. Or yahweh...etc. For Moses, his name was I AM. In other words, it's an unutterable dignity....forgetting that could be the greatest violation of taking his name in vain."