by Rhett Burns
The Hall of Men is a local fellowship of Christian men and sons in South Carolina who gather every other month to break bread and toast their heroes. We laud and remember the saints of old while extolling the grace of God with strength and zeal. We eat, we sing, we verbally spar. Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox men engage in vigorous, non-“lowest common denominator” ecumenism. After the meal, one brother gives a 15-minute speech in honor of a great saint, at the conclusion of which the men hoist their steins to heaven and cheer the work of God through that man’s life. Below is a recent Hall of Men toast given in honor Bob Childress, the Presbyterian mountain preacher whose story is told in the book The Man Who Moved a Mountain.
If you look around the walls, you’ll see photos of men who have been toasted here in years past. Great, honorable men. Many of them well-known. Lewis and Tolkien and Chesterton and more.
Tonight, we will toast a great man and honorable man. But not a well-known man.
Tonight, we toast Bob Childress. And in so doing, we will raise our glasses to obscurity. Unseen faithfulness. To the common man. To toughness and grit. To loyalty and love. We’ll toast to the power of the Gospel to turn the hardest men and the hardest hearts to Christ. To change the habits and history and culture of a particular place.