Narrative Summary Interview with Lora Hobbs by William Brawley

Narrative Summary
Interview with Lora Hobbs by William Brawley
Growing up in Illinois, Lora Hobbs was raised to walk the path of a Christian by her
devoted parents. She grew up going to church and living the life of a true Christian. As she grew
older, this conviction strengthened. She and her family suffered a horrendous tragedy when the
untimely death of her younger brother befell them when she was just a freshman in high school.
This is an event that helped to mold and shape Lora’s faith; during this time, her parents and her
grandparents guided her as true Christians. She remembers her grandmother asking God to do
what was best rather than praying for his life to be spared like so many others would. They
understood the wisdom and judgment of their God, and trusted that he would do what was best
for her brother. They later learned that her brother had survived the accident, but that he would
not have been able to be fully functioning because of the oxygen deprivation that his brain had
suffered. The experience was an extremely taxing and devastating lesson, but it ultimately helped
her faith in God to grow.
Several years later, as a college freshman, Lora herself was in an accident that nearly
took her life. She was involved in a boating accident that tore the back of her head off and caused
her to lose part of her brain. If you were to ask any living person what they think would happen
to someone who had this experience, they would certainly say that the person would die. Lora
did not die that day, and a top neurosurgeon the in country stated that she was the number one
miracle of his medical career. It is hard to for anyone to deny the divine tone that Lora’s life had
taken on at this point.
Despite this accident, Lora spent the first two years of her collegiate career going to
Central Christian College in Missouri. It was here that she was able to understand that being
completely submerged in such an environment was not her forte. She felt she needed to
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experience an environment where she could be challenged and questioned more spherically. She
transferred to the University of Missouri (Mizzou), where she acquired her bachelor’s degree in
educational psychology and the first of two master’s degrees. While at Mizzou, Lora says that
she was really able to challenge her faith by asking the questions that truly needed answering.
She attributes this to being exposed to diverse thinkers who were willing to doubt and analyze
things as vulnerable and sensitive as religion. After getting her first master’s degree, she went to
then Southwest Missouri State University where she finished a master’s in religious studies.
Lora is a world traveler in her walk as Christian. She has taken missions trips almost
annually to Haiti for several years, and she is also going on missions trips to Honduras and East
Africa. As a young adult, she traveled to Europe, working to establish college ministries a couple
of times each year. She now teaches religious studies courses at Missouri State University, as
well as performing some devotional ministry work at her church (in addition to the mission trips
she takes).
A major part of the intrigue I found in our conversation was when Lora discussed
concepts of faith and her ultimate concern. She helped me to discover the undiluted meaning and
purpose of religion, and helped me understand how social contexts can dilute it. As a woman in a
spiritual context, she has taken the patient route, and it has opened many doors for her. As an
intellectual, she found herself being given opportunities that sometimes surprised her, given the
masculine overhang that is especially present in a religious setting. She was able to acknowledge
that, while she is on the more receptive end of the spectrum involving women and their
incorporated involvement in religion, not every woman is given such great opportunity. I
appreciated that her vision wasn’t clouded by her opportunity, and that she was able to recognize
that things were not for everyone as they were for her in those religious environments.
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Lora was consistently and completely humbling, teaching me throughout our entire
conversation what it truly meant to be a Christian and how a real Christian acts, not just when
they are in church, but in every walk of their life. One way that she put this concept was by
relating her life to the structure of a tree. The complex and extensive root system underneath the
ground represents her spiritual pursuits as a Christian, while the tree is her life. Even though
people do not see the roots, and some do not even know that they are there, her life will always
be a connected and intertwined extension of that root system. Another analogy that she
developed throughout our conversation (one that I have altered slightly) is guiding me through
my struggles at this very juncture in my life. This metaphor is to think of faith as wet cement.
You must keep stirring and mixing at all times, or else it will eventually harden, and while it may
be stronger for a time, it will inevitable deteriorate and fall apart. Yet if you are always mixing
and always stirring, it will never solidify and will never fall apart.
I am truly lucky to have been given the opportunity to hear Lora’s story and share it with
the world. It is filled with lessons and explanations into some of life’s hardest and most trying
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