Gordon’s Bible and a low-budget horror film

I never met my father-in-law (photo left, in 1941 at age 27). He died in 1961 at the age of 47 when my wife was only six-years-old. My wife grew up missing her father terribly.

Gordon was raised in a small, country town about 35 miles southeast of Rochester. He was an athletic kid and loved sports, especially baseball. He used to worship on Sundays with his large family at the small Methodist church in town. Curly, as his friends called him, entered the Army as an infantryman during World War II and served in Europe and the Pacific. But when he returned from the war, he found out his wife had been unfaithful, leading to a divorce.

Somehow, the country kid purchased a Red and White store in Rochester’s upscale East Avenue neighborhood, specializing in fine steaks and chops for his “discriminating” clientele. He soon met up with my mother-in-law. They married in Las Vegas and had a little girl, my wife. Gordon eventually developed heart trouble and had a heart attack. Back in those days, there wasn’t much they could do for heart patients besides prescribe bed rest. Against his doctor’s orders, Gordon went out on a hot day in September 1961 to play a round of golf, but wouldn’t return home to his wife and daughter.

Gordon lovingly doted on his daughter. She has many pleasant memories of her father even though she was so young when he died. The shock and sorrow of losing a parent at such a young, vulnerable age never leaves a person. The only keepsakes my wife had of her father were his Army dog tags and the worn Bible he carried with him throughout the war with its dog-eared pages marked with tiny notes.

My wife and I were both raised in Roman Catholicism and didn’t know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We were married very young and didn’t have two nickels to rub together for many years. I don’t remember who babysat for our son, who was one-year-old at the time, but in the summer of 1976 my wife and I went to see “The Omen” starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. It was a film about the coming of the anti-Christ and was actually very well-done despite its low budget. Well, that movie REALLY unnerved my wife and I with its references to the anti-Christ and his number being 666 as mentioned in Revelation 13:18. Neither of us had ever read the Bible before. We rushed home from the theater and my wife dug up her Dad’s old Bible, it was the only one we had, and we fumbled through it until we were able to locate the reference to 666. There was something about that event that gave us a new perspective on the Bible. I had previously dismissed it as a dusty collection of semi-myths and parables irrelevant to “real life.” But these references to Satan and the anti-Christ in Revelation triggered my curiosity. Although my wife had never read the Bible, she respected it because her father had carried it with him and read it throughout his extremely perilous stint in the Army.

Providence? A Christian can look back at their life before they accepted Christ and identify some of the people and things the Holy Spirit used to draw them to the Savior. It would be another seven years after seeing “The Omen” before we accepted Christ, but that movie and Dad’s Bible played a part.

15 thoughts on “Gordon’s Bible and a low-budget horror film

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, Lisa Beth! Yes, the Lord definitely used my wife’s father in our journey to Christ. She has often told the story of how her father’s Bible played an important role in our eventual salvation. It was a pleasure to put it to (virtual) paper.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Tom, what a nice tribute to your Father in Law. If your wife read your blog, she would be touched I think. Great story about The Omen. I remember it well and even read the book and the sequel too. God’s providence is amazing. Your story makes me think of how some rail so harshly against things portrayed on screen that aren’t exactly “Biblical.” Yet, a case can be made that some of these things might make some think about God who never would have in the first place. It’s then up to us to be standing by ready with an answer for the hope that is within us.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Wally! I appreciate your nice comments. My wife does not normally read my blog, but I showed her the draft of this post and, yes, she was touched. This story of her father’s Bible and “The Omen” is a part of her testimony that she’s shared many, many times so this post almost wrote itself. “The Omen” movie is very significant for us because of all that transpired. Even our two atheist sons love “The Omen” and we’ve used it several times to start up conversations with them about God. Yup, the Lord can and does use many things to draw people to Him. I’ve also encountered many believers who are very negative about Hollywood movies and other secular entertainment. I agree that we need to be very discerning when it comes to all the muck that’s out there, but I know from experience that the Lord uses secular entertainment to draw people. In fact, you and brother SlimJim gave me the idea to post about “secular” topics that I’m interested in now and then to show that God can use what others might condemn out of hand.

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  2. Wow though he died young, way too young for a man with a little girl. Still his reading of the Bible was used by the Lord in both yours and your wife’s journey to know the Lord. Awesome post.

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  3. What an amazing God! It is encouraging to know that our prayers will be answered even after we go to be with the Lord. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story.

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  4. This blessed me to read, brother. Those tiny connections, like puzzle pieces, God calling His sheep to the fold. You’ve missed you’re calling, my friend, I could have read an entire novel of this! I’m thankful we get to read what you write each day. I’m thankful God saved you, and your wife.

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    1. Thanks so much, sister, for the good encouragement!!! This particular story is one my wife and I have told probably 100 times each so it flew off my fingertips like 1-2-3. I’m surprised at myself that it took this long to think to post it. All praise to our Savior who loves us, the weak jars of clay that we are! Thank you and I’m grateful the Lord has saved you and your husband as well!

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