I had never heard of Will Campbell until the day I walked into a bookstore and saw a brand-new novel called The Glad River, written by a Baptist preacher whom the dust jacket described as a â€śsteeple dropoutâ€ť and veteran civil rights activist.
I was a student pastor of a small rural Texas Baptist church. While I didnâ€™t know it yet, it was a good church. But at the time the church and I were in turmoil over the issue of race. At one point I had a shotgun pulled on me with the threat to blow my â€śnigger-loving head offâ€ť; in the year ahead I would have a man come after me in a congregational meeting to â€śwhip the pastorâ€™s ass because Iâ€™m tired of his preaching on race.â€ť
After reading the dust jacket I didnâ€™t hesitate; I bought the book. I read The Glad River in three days and then cried for another three.