To my friends in Oklahoma and Texas, I received this email from a Sooner fan yesterday. The only thing I can add is that some first graders really get it.
A first-grade teacher in Austin explains to her class that she is a Longhorn fan. She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are Longhorn fans. Everyone in the class raises their hand except one little girl. The teacher looks at the girl with surprise and says, “Janie, why didn’t you raise your hand?” “Because I’m not a Longhorn fan,” she replied. The teacher, still shocked, …asked, “Well if you are not a Longhorn fan, then who are you a fan of?” “I am a Sooner fan,” Janie replied. The teacher could not believe her ears. “Janie, WHY are you a Sooner fan?” “Because my mom is a Sooner fan, my dad is a Sooner fan, so I am a Sooner fan also.” “Well,” said the teacher, in an obviously annoyed tone, “that is no reason for you to be a Sooner fan. You don’t have to be just like your parents all the time. What if your Mom was a snotty, arrogant jackass and your Dad was a rude, loudmouth prick, what would you be then?” “Then,” Janie smiled, “we’d be Longhorn fans!!”
A little levity to start this commentary is needed in our crazy mixed-up world. The big game Saturday is important to Sooner and Longhorn fans of course, but today I want to discuss the gist of a recent reunion of the 1971 Beta Theta Pi fraternity in Oklahoma that serves as an important reminder of unity and brotherhood that we all should try to maintain as we try to deal with many uneasy and difficult topics including politics, religion, and most importantly friendship.
I have been fortunate to reconnect with many fellow Oklahoma Betas over the last two years as I have tried to figure out and redesign my passion and interests following my COVID illness and many flashbacks to a horrendous boating accident that took the life of one of my pledge brothers during my freshman year. During the recently held 50-year reunion of the 1971 pledge class, my friend and fellow Beta from Shawnee, Oklahoma, Larry Dinkins, gave an emotional and thoughtful talk from Thailand. He has worked in Thailand most of his adult life, spreading the word of Christianity with devotion and an unwavering mission to work through God, to make this part of the world feel connected to the Holy Spirit.
Larry sent out an email this week with his YouTube video recording of an impromptu worship session he edited and provided to members of the 1971 pledge class. I received the email and his recording because he mentions the boating accident and the huge impact it had on his life. It helped repurpose his life to lead others into Christianity. Larry eloquently brings to mind thought-provoking stories of old Betas and their bonds from the early days of the fraternity and brings it home with stories we remember from our college years.
A very important part of the reunion was the opportunity many in the 1971 class had to discuss and fondly remember seven fellow Betas that have passed on. It is a good thing that they could express their feelings and stories about these individuals and it is a great reminder that we only have a third of our lives left on this planet to make our personal worlds better and meaningful.
Below I have republished Larry’s email with the YouTube link. Even if you are not a Beta or have little or no interest in fraternity stories, there are some very good undertones of thought and personal messaging that I believe can benefit everyone. Be nice about the singing quality on the video. It is by no means a church choir. Also remember, it was produced in Thailand.
Importantly, Larry discussed in the email the tremendous seminary work he has been leading in Thailand. As you will read, he had the privilege to start the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary in 2001 with Dr. Henry Breidenthal and recently they celebrated their 20th anniversary.
As we all know, COVID has affected all countries, including Thailand. Larry is asking for anyone that has a kind heart and a few bucks for a worthy cause to consider a donation to a building project that was halted because of COVID and needs financial help to finish the classrooms and dormitory.
Please check out Larry’s email with the link for giving to the CTS building fund and consider a donation today. Imagine the good work and positive teaching that can be accomplished with this noble cause.
Finally, I would like to thank many of the 1971 pledge class who have reached out to reconnect with me over the last several months. It means a lot to have support and meaningful emails and conversations with old friends who share a common bond. I appreciate your thoughts and ideas to give back and promote the good works of others across the country.
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All the best to all my Oklahoma and Texas friends. Stay in touch and stay close to your family.
Best regards, Roger N. Steed
Dear Beta Bros,
Thanks for the opportunity to have a small part in our 50th reunion as Beta pledges. Our get together on Sunday morning lasted over an hour so I cut it down to just 20 minutes and put it into a video since a number of us were not able to participate (you’ll especially enjoy Ken Beard leading singing): https://youtu.be/4bt5FSzUdyg (click through the PPT to view)
After I shared on Sunday, I received a request to talk a bit more about what I’m doing here in Thailand and the needs of the seminary I work at. I had the privilege of starting the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary in 2001 with Dr. Henry Breidenthal and had the joy of celebrating our own 20th anniversary last month (Dr. Breidenthal is now 89 years old) However, the almost 2 year Covid crisis has affected the number of students that have been able to attend and we are still needing a substantial amount of funds to finish the CTS building project and the outfitting of classrooms and dormitory where I live. I’ve never written along these lines to you before, but as I get nearer to the end of my active involvement in this school and hand it over to the Thai, I would like them to have the facilities they need to continue what was started 20 years ago. Larry Dinkins