Local pastor pens second book
Local pastor Dan Robinson has made it a point to put his thoughts and reflections down on paper and has turned his experiences traveling into his second book, “The World’s Most Well-Known Stranger.”
Coming of age in the 60s, Robinson used to travel by foot to get from here to there, and used the time to reflect on his place in the grand scheme of things. As a college student in 1973, he said he once hitchhiked from Tampa, Florida, to his family’s Asheville, North Carolina home. The two-day trip allowed the veteran Baptist preacher plenty of time to reflect and contemplate his young life as he knew it then.
Robinson has been pastoring in Highlands since 1996, first at the First Baptist Church of Highlands for 14 years, then in 2010, he established Highlands Central Baptist Chuch, located at 221 N. Fourth St., next to the Highlands Civic Center.
Robinson’s first book, “Lord, the One You Love is Sick,” published in 2006, was written about his experience following the death of his first wife, Gwynne, in 2002.
Robinson and his current wife, Kaye, both lost spouses at about the same time. Kaye lost her husband Ron Dunn, a traveling Bible conference preacher in 2001. Robinson lost his wife, Gwynne shortly thereafter the following year.
“Ron and Kaye were our very first dinner guests in our new home,” he said.
This was in 1999, and two years later, Dunn passed away.
“In 2001, I sent Kaye a sympathy card,” Robinson said. “Then, in 2002, when Gwynne died, Kaye sent me a sympathy card.”
Later that fall — on Thanksgiving Day — Robinson called Kaye, and for the next five years they flew and drove back and forth between Highlands and Dallas to visit. They were married on Memorial Day weekend in 2007, at the same Irving, Texas church the Dunn’s had pastored in the 60s and 70s.
After his first book, Robinson said he knew there was another waiting to be told. “The World’s Most Well-Known Stranger” is about Robinson’s relationship with the Holy Spirit.
While it took years to write, the inspiration for the second book took seed in his mind decades ago when he was a college student at Montreat-Anderson College. At age 19, and hitchhiking home from Florida, Robinson was already a young man of faith, he said, having been saved at the age of nine, and called to preach by age 16.
“I was hitchhiking back from Tampa to Asheville, and hitched across the state to Cocoa Beach, and then up I-95,” Robinson said. “I stayed with an acquaintance of mine, David Phillips, who was the keyboard player with the rock group Classics IV. We had known each other in Ocala, back in the 60s, and I had spent the night with him and his wife in Jacksonville on the way north.”
Classics IV was a group best known for its 1960s hit, “Spooky.”
Robinson said as he was leaving Phillips’ home for the second leg of his trip, he was handed a book to read. The book was titled, “Ministering the Baptism in the Holy Spirit” and it was a book, he said, that forever changed his outlook on life.
“It took me about 24 hours to hitch home to Asheville and it was during that time, while reading this book given to me, that the idea for this book began forming in my mind. The Lord was working in my heart.”
Robinson was on his grandfather’s property in Candler, near Asheville, after he had returned home, and got down on his knees to pray.
“I got on my knees then to talk to the Lord, but something happened to me,” he said. “It was a turning point in my life then, and the spirit turned me toward Him like I had never been turned before.”
The moment gave his life from that point on, clarity. He said he found direction that had been missing.
“All of this pivoted around this person called the Holy Spirit,” Robinson said. “The book really began shaping in my mind then as I was praying on my grandfather’s property.”
Robinson writes to speak in terms people can understand, to find a common ground between preacher and parishioner.
“So many folks have all these different ideas about the Holy Spirit, and I’ve done my best in a Biblical, and conversational sense to make it just as clear as I could.”
Robinson said there are more than just the two published books waiting to be told.
“I have two I’m considering,” Robinson said. “One is about my dad, Bob Robinson, who has been in Heaven for 20 years now. He worked with the Billy Graham organization for about 20 years, prior to his death. My dad and two other men, founded the Sons of Song Trio in 1957.”
According to Wikipedia, the Sons of Song Trio, with the senior Robinson, included Calvin Newton and Don Butler and dubbed the first all-male American gospel trio in Southern gospel music.
“I’ve got a lot to tell about dad,” Robinson said.
Robinson said another book already has a working title of “The Fellowship of the Broken.”
I’m gathering a mental file and forming a physical file on both those books right now,” he said.
Robinson said he will continue to preach as long as he is able and will continue to use his writing as a tool to communicate and help spread God’s word.