I got the news just this morning. By email. A Colorado colleague died last month. Clyde Miller was 83 years old although to look at him you would think he was much younger. This African American United Church of Christ minister was one of the most authentic people I have ever known.
Authentic, in his case, sometimes meant using language uncustomary in “polite society.” Most times his colorful rants were the result of his passion for equality for all of God’s children. Sometimes they were just Clyde being Clyde. The amazing thing about this was that, after the initial shock, he still managed to have the respect of all who knew him or worked with him on any of the numerous human/civil rights issues he confronted. His obituary in the Denver Post described him as “a cage rattler”.
Clyde served the United Church of Christ as its first African American Conference Minister. “He was the most spectacular conference minister,” said the Rev. Robb Lapp, another UCC colleague. “He was, at once, the most profane, the most appropriately outspoken, the most visionary, the most prophetic and the most clay-footed leader the conference has had,” Lapp said.
Clyde served local pastorates as well including the Boulder Disciples congregation as an intentional interim before my arrival there and as supply minister while I was on sabbatical later.
Many of those who have served MHCC remind me of him in his commitment to justice, his passion and in the ways he brought folks, as diversified as they can be, to work on tough and thoroughly human problems.
My life has been richly blessed by so many wonderful role models who reflect God’s love and grace. Perhaps you have known the same kinds of blessings and role models in your life. It is good to remember them.