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ONEIDA: Stuck in chapel


The following was written by Mark Hoskins from The Manchester Enterprise about a recent visit he made to Oneida.

Last week, I ventured to what I’ve always considered a valuable entity in our county — Oneida Baptist Institute. I was invited to cover the signing of an OBI tennis player with Asbury University. The event was held in the chapel at the school. As I waited for the ceremony to begin, the chapel started to fill up with students. I thought, “It’s great that they’re all coming to watch this.” Then an announcement was made that chapel services were ready to begin and they opened with prayer. I thought, “Dang it! Now I’m stuck here for who knows how long and I’ve got a ton of stuff to do today!”

So I sat patiently and covered the event as the students applauded their classmate on his college choice. When that concluded, David Price, the campus minister, started his service by asking this question, as I paraphrase — “If we had one person to be with us as our protector, who would it be?” My mind immediately thought, “He’s going to say God.” Boy, was I wrong. The first image on the screen was Chuck Norris.

He went through all the famous Chuck Norris lines, such as, “Bigfoot claimed he saw Chuck Norris once,” and “The boogeyman is even afraid of Chuck Norris.” Norris is the toughest man on the planet. Who else would you want to protect you? As he went through several funny photos and videos, I noticed he had the full attention of everyone in that chapel. That’s quite an accomplishment to hold a teenager’s attention span. My mind wondered... “How is he going to take this back to God? I know that’s got to be the end here.” Then he showed a video of Chuck Norris talking about his faith in Jesus Christ and how nothing can be accomplished without him. I had no idea Chuck Norris was a Christian. My only thought of him is kicking somebody’s head in.

I looked around and every head was looking directly at Dr. Price as he spoke. He had the entire room hanging on every word, me included. “So if Chuck Norris, the baddest of the bad, the toughest of the tough, depends on Jesus Christ as his protector, how can we not?” Mr. Price asked. I thought, “Bingo! Awesome point, and what a great way to relate that to teenagers.” As the service concluded, I left Oneida Baptist Institute thinking about his message. Sometimes in life we all get in a hurry to accomplish our goals and perform our daily tasks. We miss a lot of blessings in our lives by not being patient and opening our eyes.

It was very refreshing to see those students and faculty all joining together to hear God’s message. It showed me I needed to slow down and just take a deep breath. I’m glad I got “stuck” at OBI during their chapel service, as it was a true blessing and a learning experience for me.

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