One of Us: Herb Lusk
I am … the proud pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church at 700 North Broad Street.
My childhood was spent in … Memphis, and I left when I was 13, the year Dr. King was assassinated. Mother sent me to Monterey, California, to keep me out of mischief.
When I was 12 years old … I wanted to grow up to be a pro football player and a preacher of the Gospel, and because of God’s favor, I was able to do both.
I came to Philadelphia … in 1976, drafted by Dick Vermeil to be on the Eagles.
The most memorable game I ever played … was 1977, against the Giants. I registered over 100 yards and two touchdowns, and I became the first NFL player to score and then kneel in the end zone and pray.
I met my wife … in my father’s church, 38 years ago. The best place to find a wonderful lady is in church.
If you’re having me for dinner, please make … some oxtails and rice. If you’re gonna do fish, let it be salmon, poached. Just don’t make eggs. I’m allergic. I mean, you can use a little to hold a crabcake together.
If the TV is on, I’m probably watching … news. I usually take a 30-minute dose of CNN and another 30-minute dose of Fox News. I like hearing both sides of the argument.
The best movie ever made about church … has got to be Sister Act.
When I look at the kids of Philadelphia today … I see a serious crisis in education. Without proper education, the children will be stuck in poverty, crime and aimlessness.
I decided to be a preacher … because it was the best way for me to effect change in the lives of people, particularly those who are easily forgotten. In the African-American community, a pastor is more than just a guy who preaches. He’s a psychologist, sociologist, counselor.
The next presidential election is … confusing.
When I met the Pope in Philadelphia … I was extremely impressed with his humanity. And his willingness to admit that he’s a man. A great man, a holy man — but in the end, he’s still a man.
I didn’t walk in October’s Million Man March … because of the man at the top of it, Louis Farrakhan. He is a well-intended man who has the potential to help but an even greater potential to mislead. As my daddy always told me, a fish stinks from the head.
The first concert I ever went to was … James Brown, Memphis, 1967. It was unbelievable. J.B. was the best.
One bad habit I can’t break … is sleeping just five hours. I’m never going to sleep more than that. People sleep too much. It’s overrated.
My favorite character in the Bible is … Shamgar, who is said to have delivered Israel with an ox goad. He started where he was, used what he had, and did what he could. Most people seem to think that their location speaks to their destination. He didn’t allow that to happen.
I hope my tombstone reads … “Here lies a man who did everything he could to make the world a better place.”
Published as “One of Us” in the December 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.