By Anthony Vargas
Life sometimes surrounds us with walls. It certainly surrounded Professor Steve Lillis with walls of bitterness, jealously.
It took the death of his granddaughter for those walls to break down. He didn’t ask for those walls to break down, but he had faith in a higher power that this tragedy would turn into something positive and it did.
Lillis, who teaches in the English Department, was the featured speaker on Thursday in the College Arcade Center at an event called The Gospel Trick Shot sponsored by the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.
According to Lillis, a former professional pool player, he uses his skills as a means to reach his audience in a way that can captivate them.
“I call it illustrative messaging,” Lillis said. “What I do is I have a series of trick shots. I take my professional trick shots and I use them as illustrations to try to use the position of the balls, colors of the balls, the numbers of balls, the direction the balls are heading to relay different kinds of messages or life lessons.”
These aren’t just your run of the mill stories. According to Rev.Vanderwall, part of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, these stories represent times in Lillis’s life when he struggled. However, thanks to his faith he was able to turn his life around. Lillis uses these stories, combined with his pool shots, to show he was able to break down his own walls.
“You know he has gotten to this point and I think it’s a story that students can really identify (with) because in many ways he was going down the wrong path and God turned his life around,” said Vanderwall. “And now he’s being a great influence on students and a great help to all of us at the expansive turn of his life. So, we’re very thankful for that.”
Freshman Matthew Frei-Funk, part of the outreach team for the organization, said that this may be one of the favorite events he’s seen.
“I don’t like to put favorites, but honestly this [event] was one of my favorite because number one, I love pool. Number two, Professor Lillis [is] one of the best speakers I’ve ever listened to,” Frei-Funk said. “Being able to do those shots at the same time as being able to put words out, especially odd ones.”