May 27 2012

Wayne’s World

Yesterday I drove to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the funeral of a very special person.  Dr. Wayne Ward was my theology professor at Southern Seminary.   I took several of his classes and eventually became his teaching assistant.  I can think of few people who have had a greater influence on my life.  He taught me much about theology and the Scriptures but he also taught me so much more.  He taught me about love and life, about integrity and steadfastness, and about serving God and others.  Wayne had studied with many of the theological giants of the past century, counseled U.S. presidents, and personally knew several other important people but I’m not sure I’ve known a more humble man.  He became a true friend and was for me a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.  I am really going to miss him.

I’m not sure that I’ve quoted Dr. Ward in any of my previous blogs but I can assure you that his influence has been present in every one of them.  It was in Wayne’s  classes that I came to see the theological significance of Creation.  I remember him teaching about the meaning of Creation, the goodness of created things, and the ethical significance of the good Creation.  I pulled out my notes from his class earlier today and it is easy to see now that Wayne Ward is the one who first opened my eyes to the importance of Creation Care.  In these notes he states: “Everything God has made is good; we must use it in the right way, the way God intended—constructively, creatively.”  It was from Dr. Ward that I learned that “all created things can have sacramental significance” and that “the dedication and use of all creation for the glory of God is the fundamental principle of Christian ethics.  Not negation but obedient use of all created things is the highest spiritual achievement.”  It was also Wayne Ward who first taught me that God is continuing His creative activity to this very day and cares for the tiniest creatures in His world.

Wayne loved God’s Creation and was thrilled when I began photographing nature seriously.  Early on he convinced me that this could be an extension of my ministry.  The last time I saw Wayne was when he stopped by to watch a multi-media presentation I was making in Louisville.  He was so affirming and appreciative of what I was doing.  He believed I was actually teaching a theology of Creation through my photography.  Whether that is true or not, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to this man for my understanding of both God and Creation.  Wayne’s world is no longer this one but his influence will remain with me until my dying day.  I truly did love that man!

–Chuck

(I took the top picture at Seneca Park in Louisville, just a short distance from Dr. Ward’s home.  The bottom image was taken at Bernheim Forest, also in Kentucky.)