Posted by    |    March 22nd, 2011 at 4:15 am


By Realtor Bill Cherry

I honestly don’t think people act as civilly as they did in my mom and dad’s time.  Not even as they did when I was growing up.  In fact, not even as they did when I was a young businessman.

Somewhere along the way, the once precious sanctity of getting along with our neighbors seems to have, in many instances, defaulted to determining resolution to disagreements by who can afford to be the biggest bully.

It’s a means that is indisputably borne in despicable effusion.

There was a very fine attorney who served the citizens of Galveston, Texas for many years.  His name was Owen Dudley Barker.  Mr. Barker thought his job was to resolve problems, not to file law suits.

When a client would come to him for advice, he would take the well-worn Bible from the top of his desk, hold it in his big hands, and say to them, “Well, let’s pray together that we will find resolution and compromise without the use of the legal system.”

He’d set the Bible back in its place, and then all would hold hands, as he extemporaneously prayed that God would help them find amicable resolution.  They would end by reciting in unison the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Later that day Mr. Barker would call the opposition and tell them that he had been asked by Mr. and Mrs. So-in-So to help solve the problem, and that he had joined them in praying that God would lead all of them to the solution.

“When would it be convenient for all of us to get together so that the Lord can help us?” he’d ask.

Using this hybrid Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People” approach, Mr. Barker probably didn’t get rich as an attorney, but he was able to get problems solved and friendships preserved.

Adversarial law suits tried in courts were not Mr. Barker’s cup of tea.  In fact he abhorred them.

So in my mind, I wonder if it wouldn’t make far more sense and go a lot further in finding resolution if we ditched the Who’s the Biggest Bully mentality, and, instead, emulated Mr. Barker?

Back in his day, many were so impressed with his display of faith and the results it brought to them, that they later became members of Mr. Barker’s church, Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston, Texas.

In fact, it was Mr. Barker who was the primary guiding light for the founding of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in La Marque, Texas and Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas.

Mr. Barker’s son, Jerry Barker, is also an attorney.   Jerry and his dad practiced together for a number of years.  And that was fortunate for Jerry, because he learned and perfected Mr. Barker’s very special tricks of the trade, practicing them in the Master’s hand.

Isn’t that a great and glorious story?

Copyright 2011 – William S. Cherry



Since 1964

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