Will Campbell's visit to our local radio show (via phone from his home in Tennessee) was great. The interviewer did keep discussing "how does one take the moral high ground?" which Will did not address as the question makes no sense to a humble man nor does it ask the questions I THINK the interview was searching for with Will. Anyway, despite goofy comments by our local audience, Will did have a chance to speak about his early years as a chaplain to the students at Ole Miss. His work with a local missionary group in Lafayette County and his insistence that racism must be addressed meant his work in Oxford was shortened to about two years.
Bro. Will's belief that racism is the sickness of our country has been a theme throughout his life. He's correct. Dealing with racism is a daily aspect of our lives down here. I believe it is the wound of our national life. My sister commented that dealing with racism is like having a second job. Whatever else we work on, we work on racism, day in and day out.
Early in his ministry Will worked out of the Old Chapel Building on the campus where I had my office, years later, as a chaplain to the Presbyterian Students. Creepy old building when I was there. Long wide hallways with tiny little offices and a large open floor level area. The best thing about the building was it's slanting staircases and it's proximity to the Grove. I stayed in Oxford as chaplain for about two years, as well. My leaving had to do with falling in love with a law student and the acid based relationship I had with the senior pastor at the church in town. Both situations felt dramatic to me. The law student and I married; the senior pastor went on to torture several other associate pastors in this state and another.