Like the fictional Forrest Gump, my father, Dr. Merrill B. McFall—in his real life—encountered many people who inspired him and whose lives he inspired in return. Some were well known—names like John F. Kennedy, John Dillinger, Louie Zamperini (subject of the book and movie Unbroken), Ross Lockridge Jr. (author of the great American novel Raintree County), Methodist bishop Richard Raines, psychologist B. F. Skinner, sexologist Alfred Kinsey (of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University), Herman Wells (past president of Indiana University), and the Honorable Lee Hamilton (former congressman and Medal of Freedom recipient from President Barack Obama), among others.
This is a book about the human triumph of finding redemption through God's healing grace. It is based on the promise of the abundant Christian life, all fueled by the power of faith and channeled through one minister's devotion to his flock and to his beloved congregation.
The book begins at my father's visitation service after his death. It is structured as a series of flashback memories recounted as people kneel beside his open casket. These are inspirational stories, rich with examples of this unique minister's influence on each person's life. Every chapter ends by extracting the insights my father gained from these experiences, summarized in the key points of a sermon, drawn from each episode.
It is written in the hope that people of faith—and those just seeking spiritual guidance—can gain insights for improving their own lives, based on the moving examples of how others have done so in theirs.
But above all, this is the story of one man's calling to the ministry. It recounts his resistance to the gravitational pull of that calling—a summons that eventually drew him into its divine orbit and changed his life and the lives of those he encountered forever.