The mood was grave, the tension was palpable. Low murmurs and the scrunching sound of paper being folded in an irritating fashion could be heard throughout the auditorium of Grace and Fellowship Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Marvin Liptrip, a five foot one inch tall church member, had just finished a special rendition of the favorite hymn “Be Thou My Vision” – but nobody was applauding.
“Reverend Brown was just about to slowly hop down the isle before delivering what was sure to be a roof raising sermon when up walks Marv,” says Martha Dillontop, the church organist and hair dresser. “Marv had a painful, determined and almost angry look on his face as he struggled to make his way up the stairs and on to the stage. Then, he just began singing.”
As Marv belted each line of the musty old hymn and Martha struggled to accompany him on the organ, members of the congregation simply watched unimpressed. Most had no issue with Marv’s singing, attire, or lack of vertical body dimension, they simply didn’t feel compelled to slap their hands together when he was done. Those who were standing simply sat down, many who were sitting just yawned, and the one man who was wandering around the auditorium throughout the entire hymn finally found the men’s restroom. There was absolutely no applause as Marvin Liptrip delicately made his way off the stage and back to his seat.
“Reverend Brown was finally able to hop his way up to the pulpit and begin his sermon to the relief of the entire congregation,” continued Martha. “I’m just glad Marv was able to make it down off of the stage without any assistance. That’s not an easy thing to do when you have a tiny, frail, unimpressive body like Marv. Once he got back to his seat, Marv just put his hymnal away and started whittling that old stick again.”