Monday, April 27, 2009

New Series! - The Hales' Journey (Part One)

Football Clint - The Face of Raw Athleticism
Fourth Round Draft pick of the Hong Kong Headcrackers, 1993 NFL Asia champions

My new godson Clint Hale, also a dear friend and a member of my parish, has agreed to write a series of posts about his and his family's pilgrimage from being super-devout Church of Christ members (including a stint as missionaries to Estonia) into the Orthodox Church for this blog. I know that you will enjoy them. Clint is a very good writer and one of the funniest people I know. Here is the first installment.

First, I want to thank Fr. James for giving me a place to let others read about my family’s journey to Orthodoxy. My wife, Debbie, and I have been considering writing a book together that chronicles this major change in our lives. As of yet, it is only consideration. Perhaps my writing for Fr. James’ blog site will prompt us to do more than talk.

While the heart of the story is our conversion, it is important to get a little of the back story in order to know where we came from and what it took to get us to where we are (in Orthodoxy). Since I plan to let Debbie write about her own perspective, I will simply write about my own – at least until I get to the part where I met her, etc. So here is how Clint went from there to here.

My parents had been married for six years and had no children. They began to think that perhaps they were infertile. Adoption came up in their conversations and they agreed that it was viable. However, they decided to wait one more year and see if they could conceive their own biological child. They made that decision in 1968. I was born in August of 1969. At the time, my dad was a car salesman and mom worked as a secretary. We lived in the Dallas, Texas metro area.

When I was about two, dad decided to enter the ministry. I think he had considered it for a long time, but finally made the move. My family had become members of the protestant church known as the “Church of Christ.” So my dad entered a denominational “preaching school” which is akin to a technical school. It was a two year program and after he graduated, he entered full time ministry. That was about 1973. I had a little brother by then, and so we became PKs (Preacher’s Kids).

I grew up like most PKs. Generally, I was a pretty good kid, but I did have a wild side. I definitely fit the stereotype of a PK. When I was very young (until about High School), I was really a very well-behaved child. I was a “star pupil” in bible classes at church. If we had a contest to see who could memorize the most bible verses, I almost always won. I had a sharp mind, quick wit and an ego to match. My success in bible class and school only fed my conceit.

By the time I entered High School, I was very conceited and self-centered. I know that is a common malady in High School, but I was afflicted more than most. I cared little for others, unless it was to my own benefit. Church demanded too much of me, so I simply bided my time until I could quit going. That time came when I moved away from home and started college.

For several months, I continued to attend church, simply out of inertia. But by my second semester, I seldom darkened a church door. I won’t go into any details, but my life was simply an ego trip for me. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. Looking back, my life was a mess. At the time, I thought things were great. I just hated going to college. I couldn’t decide on a major. Classes got in the way of my social life. So after three semester in college, at the ripe old age of 19, I made another big decision: I would just join the US Army.

(To be continued...)


s-p said...

Hmmm...I was a minister in the church of Christ too. I was at Lubbock Christian and attended Sunset in 1973, is that the School of Preaching Big Daddy Hale went to?
(Its nice to know we don't have to restore NT Christianity... :)

Clint said...

No kidding....

Yes, my dad was at Sunset from 1971-1973. As I will talk about in a soon to come installment, I actually ended up at Sunset from 95-97. I also attended LCU from 87-88 (that was the first three semesters I spoke about).

And yes, it is great to not have to restore NT Christianity! In fact, that was the first argument that I made to my wife. It didn't go over so well...


s-p said...

Hi Clint, that's really cool. I started at Sunset (the Church) and LCU in '73. Ask your dad if he remembers Harry Whitt, Bill Mulkey or Garry King. They were at SSOP in his class, they were friends of mine (but I think they got kicked out... kind of the story of friends in my life, LOL!)
You'd be suprised how many church of Christ people I've been in contact with over the years that have converted. Half the members of our former Mission were ex-church of Christ folks. Whodathunk?

Clint said...

Well, it will be difficult to ask dad. He passed away in 1996. (I know that came out not nearly as light-hearted as I intended it. I promise it works better in person...)

A couple of the names sound familiar, but I don't guess they were buddies with dad like some of the other guys.

Thats kinda funny. We were at the church at the same time. We would have been attending at the same time and then "meet" here all these years later.

Kinda cool...