We cannot live by bread alone; we must have stories. Masquerading as windows through which we peek into the lives of others, stories are most often mirrors in which we see ourselves and our world. While being entertained, we are taught how and how not to live. O’Brien’s collection in Would Moses Throw a Chair? will resonate with all who are fascinated by the power of stories to connect, reveal, and enchant.
Storytellers reveal their stories. But, in the case of Would Moses Throw a Chair?, the stories reveal the storyteller as an authentic voice with wide-ranging tales and a commitment to finding the bigger message in both the grandiose and the mundane.
—Martha N. Johnson
Author and Former Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
A husband, father, son, soldier, minister, teacher, and university president, Randall O’Brien shares stories from an abundant and diverse life. Some will make you laugh, some may make you cry, but all will reveal life’s lessons from a man with a loving heart, sharp wit, and a deep and abiding faith. His plain spoken style makes for an easy read but belies the depth and import of the many enlightening messages conveyed in his stories. Enjoy the journey.
—Major General Michael Jones
U.S. Army (Ret.)
A warm invitation into the memories and meditations of an accomplished leader, academic, and minister. Would Moses Throw a Chair? is both deep and down-to-earth. Through his life’s most humorous and stirring experiences, Randall explores the human condition and calls us to greater love for one another.
—Linda A. Livingstone, PhD
Baylor University President
If you are fortunate enough to know Dr. O’Brien, you hear his voice in every word of these stories. He writes as he speaks, a Mississippi-intoned narrative that draws you into the paths he walks and the people he meets, from the jungles of Vietnam, to an Arkansas pulpit, to a honky-tonk in Mississippi. So, pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, sit back, and enjoy—and you might just learn something along the way.
—David Z. Nowell
President, Hope Institute
Author, Dirty Faith
No one tells a story quite like Randall O’Brien—and it helps that (most of ) his stories are true. This collection of flash-nonfiction is like having Dr. O’Brien over for a long, wonderful meal.
Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Professor of Law
University of St. Thomas (MN)
I can hear Randall’s voice as I read these wonderful mini stories! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll ponder the deeper issues as life as you read through this delightful collection of personal narratives. Every time you spend a moment with Randall you’ll be guaranteed to hear a thoughtful account that will leave you with a smile on your face and a desire to become a better person. I’m so encouraged that Randall has taken the time and effort to capture these stories in written form to be shared with generations to come. Grab a sweet tea, find a comfortable place to sit, and get ready for an enjoyable read!
—Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr.,President
Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association
While many readers of this book will have heard J. Randall O’Brien tell a story . . . or two, there will be others who have yet to have the privilege and joy of hearing this Pastor-Preacher-Professor- Provost-President spin a yarn. All who read the stories in Would Moses Throw a Chair?, however, will hear the heart and see the soul of a master storyteller, and in so doing, you will laugh and cry even as you ponder and wonder why stories, especially his stories, are so meaningful and powerful. Then, along with me, you will ask, just as we did when we were kids, why story-time (with Randall) had to end so soon.
—Todd D. Still, Ph.D.
Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Dean &
William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures
Baylor University, Truett Seminary
Randall O’Brien is someone who sees the world in parable. In this collection of stories, we have the opportunity to look through his eyes and glimpse the extraordinary presence of God in some of the ordinary moments of his life (and a few extraordinary moments, as well). After reading this book, you may notice God at work in your own life, in ways and in places you never considered.
—Dr. Robert E. Wallace
Senior Pastor, McLean Baptist Church
Ken Chaffin said, “God had one Son. He made Him a preacher. And He told stories.” Stories lie at the heart of the human experience and Randall O’Brien is one of the great encouragers and storytellers of our time. He is the king of the life parable. He sneaks truth in by the side door and opens the reader to a bigger, brighter God-filled world. Do yourself a favor and spend some time in these pages.
—Steve Wells, DMin
Pastor of South Main Baptist Church