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Monday, December 5, 2016

A Life in Review: My (Fake) Obituary


On June 30th 1995, Eric James Miller was born. And on November 22nd 2061, at the age of 66, he passed from death unto life into an eternity with God. 

At three years old, Eric was adopted by his parents John and Debra Miller and was raised in the sprawling college town of Champaign-Urbana with his five older siblings. 

He received his MDiv from Cincinnati Christian University and his PhD in New Testament from the University of Chicago. 

From 2015-2025, Eric served at Western Hills Iglesia de Cristo, a small Spanish-speaking congregation in the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, during which time he finished his Undergraduate work, completed trade school to become a licensed electrician, and received a Master of Religion degree from Cincinnati Bible Seminary. 

While in Chicago, he started a church in the tradition of the OGBB, New Conference (it's a real denomination), the tradition he joined after leaving the CC/CO, citing a cascade of theological differences. 

After obtaining his degree, he returned to Cincinnati at age 36, working at an electrical supply company and planting an German Brethren congregation.

 His life-long dream was to start a new Christian religion, but apparently God had done a good enough job the first time around. 

Some of Eric's passions included ministry at the local abortion clinic, the homeless in downtown Cincinnati, English tutoring for the many Guatemalan and other immigrants in the Price Hill area , small Bible study fellowships, and community transformation as the Body of Christ took seriously Christ's call to be his hands and his feet. 

Eric was known as a quiet, un-opinionated guy, who hated debate and controversy--yes he would have laughed, too. 

Though Eric was known for wanting more than a dozen children, 19 to be exact, he could not shake the call of God on his life to devote himself to the work of the gospel as a single man and thus remained unmarried.

In 2035, at the age of 40, Eric began to be overwhelmed with a need to go and bring the Gospel to the poorest of the poor. At this time, he began to learn Portuguese and 2 years later, dispossessed himself of his small house on Wells Street in Price Hill, gave his books to the church, and moved to the largest ghetto in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a missionary. 

He lived and worked among the poor with modest fruit, for 12 years, convinced God has put him there for such a time as this. 

However, after serving in the favela for those years, Eric became seriously ill with Lyme Disease. 

His family used the money he had saved from years of secular work as an electrician to fly him home to Illinois to receive treatment. 

It was a long haul, and while Eric survived, the debilitating side-effects of his disease made a return to Brazil impossible. 

Eric recounted that this was one of the darkest times in his life and that he struggled to see God's plan in it all.

But then something unexpected happened. 

At the age of 55, three years after returning to the U.S. and re-settling in his hometown of Champaign, IL, Eric married. 

His wife-to-be, a widow whose husband of 20 years had died some five years previous, had been a chaplain at the hospital where Eric had stayed. 

And a year and half after their marriage, they adopted three siblings, aged 14, 16, and 17. 

Eric worked full-time at Tepper Electric Supply Company, where his father had worked for over 35 years, and ministered as an elder at a local German Brethren congregation. 

He traveled nationally engaging in debates and lectures on the existence of God, the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, the reliability of the New Testament, and Anabaptist Christianity.

On November 22nd 2061, while biking home from work at 7 in the evening, Eric was struck by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a one way street. 

He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but did not survive the ambulance trip.

He leaves behind his wife and three children, as well as three sisters and one brother. 

He is preceded in death by his parents and oldest brother.

With everything he had, Eric tried to live a life of distinction. 

He was fond of saying, "If I am not filled with Christ", I have nothing to offer anyone else." 

Also, make sure you pick up one of his many best-belling books in the back. 

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