A BOYHOOD PREACHER TURNS
I was born on October 13, 1937, to Lee Olen and Dorothy Pauline Kirby. My birth place took place in their country farmhouse home in the Bear Creek community near Pinson in West Tennessee. It was a beautiful setting overlooking the clear waters, at that time, of Bear Creek. From my earliest recollection I knew I would be a preacher. I thought of it as my dream job. When people would say to me, “You will be a carpenter just like your dad,” I knew that would never happen. Even though I did help my dad from time to time in his carpentry work, my mind was focused on being a preacher. I actually started preaching at three years of age, according to my parents, by using as a pulpit the square platform handrail at the bottom of the staircase. That was my favorite thing to do, so I would preach every day. A renter that helped my dad with the farming, lived upstairs. He really loved me, but my preaching made him nervous. My dad, recounting that period of time, said my preaching put him under conviction. The renter never would go to church with us, and told my dad, “If you don’t stop Charles Lee from his preaching he is going to lose his mind.” He really must have been convicted by the Holy Spirit.
When I was in the first grade my parents sold the old home place and bought one of my favorite places to live growing up. It was about 10 miles from Jackson. It was a wonderful truck farm with an orchard with delicious apples and peaches; a very good barn for two cows and Patsy, our beautiful horse I loved to ride; a large pasture for the cows to graze and Patsy to roam and wonderful land for farming.
Our house was large enough for my mother’s sister, Aunt Lockey, and Uncle Dewey and cousin Nona Faye to live on one side. When I was in the third grade, my cousin, Nona Faye, and I had our own church and worship center in the barn. Nona Faye played a make-believe piano from a bale of hay. We really had church! I dressed up in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, and preached up a storm. It was in the barn that I developed the dynamics and excitement of expression in preaching. It was in the barn that I discovered the Kirby Kick that has been known and witnessed by many people through the years. It really did give me a great background and head start for my homiletical and preaching training when I went to college and majored in religion.
As I am celebrating 84 years, looking back on my life, it really has been an exciting journey! The longer I have lived the more I have witnessed the providence of God in my life. This blog is only the beginning of “A Boyhood Preacher Turns 84!” Thank you, Lord, for guiding me all the way!