Monday, July 1, 2013

A weekend with "Doctor General Spivey"

On Memorial Day weekend, we had the privilege of hosting Brigadier General James Spivey in our home and church.  To the world, that is who he is, but to us, he is Dr. Spivey, or Jim.  I was his secretary for two years while Dan was in seminary.  At the time, he was the Dean of the Houston Campus of SWBTS and an Associate Professor of Church History at the Fort Worth campus.  

While working for him, I knew he was important but my exposure to all things military was minimal.  So, I didn't quite get the whole "He's a General in the Army" thing.  Now, I do.  And, honestly, I'm a quite disappointed that I didn't get it back then.  I definitely knew him on the seminary professor level more than anything else.  Although, I did handle a lot of army details for him because he was serving as the Assistant Chief of Chaplains during the time I worked for him.  

 Having him in our home was such a sweet reminder of the gifts of friendship we have received over the years of our marriage.  He is one a several seminary professors that we consider to be friends.  He is a wise man.  On Sunday afternoon, he and Dan sat for 7 straight hours and talked theology.  Dan said he felt like he had been in a 1-on-1 Ph.D seminar.  He loved it!  (And, Dr. Spivey certainly got him interested in doing a Ph.D after his D.Min.  Although, I think we will both be happy to have school behind us for a little while after he graduates in December!)

Jonah was especially smitten with Dr. Spivey.  He checked out some books from the library before his visit so he could "understand a little more about the Army."  He had lots of questions for him and even broke out his True Heroes Army Playset.  Dr. Spivey was so kind to Jonah and Jonah just ate that up.  We knew him pre-kids so it was interesting to have the Jonah/Micah dynamic with him here. 



After 9/11, Dr. Spivey was called up to the Pentagon to be the Deputy Commander of the Family Assistance program.  He worked with all the families of those who lost loved ones on the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.  On September 12, 2002, he (along with Donald Rumsfeld) conducted the funeral service for the victims of the Pentagon Attack.  I watched the C-Span video of that as it happened and was so proud of my friend!  Baptist Press did several articles about him during that time.  This is just one of them




If you Google Dr. Spivey (actually if you Google Brigadier General James T. Spivey) you will find so many articles about him.  You will discover what Dan and I know about him, that he is a great man.  But, if you spend just minutes with him, you will quickly forget that.  He is the most non-pretentious person I've ever met.  His list of accomplishments is long but when Dan talked sent him the information he was putting in the newsletter, he crossed most of it out. 


 We sat at lunch with him as people (all former military) would very humbly and sheepishly approach him.  Some called him "The One Star" while others just simply called him "The General."  They were all nervous.  But, within seconds, he had turned the conversation from him to them.  We later commented on that.  We told him how impressed we were that he always made it about them rather than him.  He somehow turned that conversation back to us also.  That's the kind of man he is. 
According to Jonah, he is "Doctor General Spivey!"  I'm grateful to be influenced by him.  I'm grateful that I spent 2 years of my life working with him and for him.  I'm not grateful for the one time he made me cry but that is a whole other story.  After our few days with him last month, I was challenged to be a better American, a better Christian but mostly, a better person.  If only all people could have that type of impact.

Oh, by the way, if you want to hear his sermon from that day, go HERE then scroll down to May 26, "We Remember."

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