Monday, August 27, 2012

Holy Communion on the Moon

Forty Two years ago Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong changed history by walking on the surface of the moon.

But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it.
(Picture to the left is of the Earth Rising over curvature of the Moon as seen from Apollo.)

Did you know that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon? He wrote an article about the experience in Guideposts magazine some months after his return.

A few years ago, Eric Metaxes wrote about having the privilege of meeting Aldrin and asking him about the communion service on the moon, Aldrin confirmed the story.
Metaxes wrote about it in his book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask)".

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life. Knowing that he would soon be making the unprecedented in human history Lunar Mission, Aldrin felt and many agree he should mark the occasion in a special way.
Buzz Aldrin asked his minister to help him. The minister consecrated the communion wafers and small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth's orbit and on to the surface of the moon.

He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:
"This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion.

Here is his own account of what happened: "In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me.
In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.

Aldrin had intended to read the communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that he not do this. NASA was embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. Aldrin agreed reluctantly. He ate the tiny Host (small piece of bread) and swallowed the wine. He gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility .

It is interesting to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements. And of course, it's interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon - and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the "Love that moves the Sun and other stars."

It is personally sad as well as disgusting that NASA thought it had to bow to the wishes of the troublemaker O'Hare and other atheist minorities rather than the Judea-Christian Majority in this Country.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Carol on August 26.

Carol and her husband, Ron, August 2012
Happy Birthday to my precious daughter, Carol, on August 26!
Carol is our middle child with a brother and two sisters older than she and two sisters and a brother younger. Carol has titled her popular weblog,"The Median Sib," but there is nothing middle about her except being the fourth of seven children born to her daddy and me. On a scale of one to ten, she is a ten! Never a four!
I am holding Carol in this photo from 1951

Carol was a beautiful baby and a very feminine little girl with blond curly hair. She was as beautiful and wonderfully precocious as her own son and daughter and the three precious little granddaughters she now loves to be with and often writes about.
Carol, April 2009
Carol also shares my love for cooking. She is a fabulous and innovative cook. a better cook than I. Also, as Joan of Daddy’s Roses fame pointed out, Carol (and Joan) share my reserved nature so they may actually “understand me” somewhat better than their 5 more gregarious siblings. However as we all know, none of us are limited by being “reserved” or “gregarious” but all of us are a combination of both with unlimited possibilities though the grace of Christ.

All those who have grown children know that they all think (whether they are reserved or gregarious) that they understand their parents only too well.

Carol and Ron's wedding, 1969, Fairburn United Methodist Church
 The picture above is Carol and her husband Ron's wedding in 1969 in Fairburn First United Methodist Church.
David, Beth, Debi, Carol in front of the Trinity UMC Parsonage, Rome, GA
 The picture above is Carol with her three younger siblings on the lawn at Trinity UMC parsonage in Rome, GA.

Happy Birthday, Carol! Carol is an outstanding teacher (Now retired, raising chickens and canning vegetables) and writer and has a great “Erma Bombeck” sense of humor illustrated in many of her articles published in the Nashville paper a few years ago.

Joey, Meleah, Evey
Carol's three granddaughters, Lily, Sophie and Evey
Larisa, Lily, Sophie
In 2001 Carol (on the right in the photo below) took time off to drive me to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from my home in Georgia for Trigeminal surgery by Dr Ben Carson. Carol and I spent a few days of recuperation with daughter Janice and her family in Maryland. The picture shows Carol and Janice with me in the hospital.
Janice, Ruth, Carol - Johns Hopkins Hospital, October 2001

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Have you Read the Latest "Best Seller" book?

Reading the "Best Seller" is Attacking Cultural Illiteracy. The Bible is still the world's "best seller" book. From a literary standpoint alone, there is no way that students today can function as well-informed and educated people without Biblical knowledge.

For example, a public high school English teacher said to her class, "In the short story we just read, there's a reference to one of the characters 'washing his hands' of the situation. Does anyone know where that phrase comes from?" Many students stared blankly, but several sheepishly raised their hands. "The Bible," said one student nervously. ( As silly as it sounds, some people are afraid of uttering the word "Bible" for fear of offending.) "Exactly," said the teacher, who went on to explain how Pontius Pilate washed his hands to symbolize that he was not responsible for Jesus's death and and also explained the meaning of the allusion in the story.

As a CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial put it, "Trying to understand American literature and history without some knowledge of the Bible is like trying to make sense of the ocean despite a complete ignorance of fish."

Western culture was built on the Bible.
Our literature, music, history, and politics are permeated with biblical themes and biblical language. Commenting in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, David Gelernter asked, "Can you understand American culture without knowing the biblical context of 'covenant,' 'promised land,' 'shining city on a hill'?" The answer is a resounding, no. Cultural literature begins with Bible literacy.

THE BIBLE AND ITS INFLUENCE is a great resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive academic understanding of the roots of modern civilization,

We so often hear the term "Separation of Church and State" as a reason to stop reading the Bible in public school events which had been a part of school events from our founding until the 1960's. "Separation of Church and State did not mean that we were not to continue the historic invocation and benediction prayers at public school or "State" events.

The "Separation of Church and State "simply meant the United States is not to have a "State Church" as in England. The Episcopal Church was then and still is "The Church of England." Our forebears chose not to have one demonination to be " The Church of the United States."


During World War II, I made a week long train trip from Georgia to San Diego, California to be with my Marine husband before he was to be shipped out for action in the South Pacific.

Charles told me “girls” were a major topic of conversation am
ong these young marines in the barracks. This close knit unit of men passed around and pinned up pictures of girl friends and wives for the admiration of their brothers.

“The greatest generation” is a label that was later to be conferred on them. At this point they were just "men in the making" and still preparing for overseas duty and combat.

My husband was happy to announce to his buddies that a real Georgia peach was on her way to California. It was a week long train trip with crowds of soldiers and their wives as weary travelers.

Alas, soon after my arrival, I was quarantined at the Naval Hospital with Scarlet Fever. My Marine could only come over to sit on a wall outside the hospital window and look longingly inside and speak through the window.

One afternoon he brought a buddy to see his “pin up girl.” On this afternoon, the “Georgia Peach” was lying on her stomach with her feet toward the window.

The only thing my husband's buddy could think to say was, “She sure has beautiful feet."

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Civil War Parade.

I love a parade! The first parade I ever saw was a Civil War Parade! I may be one of a few persons living in 2012 to tell of a parade featuring Civil war Soldiers(1861-1865).
The Civil War Parade passed down the streets in our small town of Porterdale, Georgia when I was a small child in the 1920's. It was a small parade as parades go.

But any parade in our small southern hometown was exciting! This 1920's parade featured the soldiers who had answered the call to arms and last survivors of the "disappearing soldiers"of the few who had survived the Civil War to come back home to a devastated Georgia and Southland.

In those 1920-1930 days, we still referred to the tragic Civil War of "brothers against brothers" as “The War between the States."

It is hard for this generation or even my generation of black and white people who finally won the battle for equal rights to put ourselves back in the time of worldwide slavery and class and racial separation. Today white and black people have associated with one another in school, church and work situations. Most thoughtful people have come to respect our common humanity and to appreciate our differences.

The Civil War Parade of my childhood moved slowly as it passed our house. There were a few horses and wagons in the parade but the three elderly Civil War veterans with long grey hair were sitting on chairs in the back of a slow moving truck. These Civil War soldiers were not waving or smiling as I remembeer them but were looking rather serious. I was standing near the road holding my mother's hand.

I asked Mama, "Who are those poor old men?" "Those elderly men," I was told, were among the last of the Civil War soldiers.

These men had probably seen many of their brothers maimed and killed in an "uncivil" war of "brothers fighting brothers." General Sherman is quoted as saying, "War is hell." If they had not learned it earlier, after Sherman's march through Georgia, who could deny the truth of Sherman's words.

Unfortunately, the American Civil War was seen by many in the south as a "states rights" issue. We are told that less than ten percent of the people in America's southland were slave holders. Most of the slave owners were caucasion, but records reveal there were a few African American as well as a few Native Americans who were slave owners.

History also reveals while all "Christians" were not Abolitionists, all Abolitionist were Christians. There is no record of any Muslin, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist or persons of other religions who had tried to do anything about the world-wide system of slavery.

It was in the Christian Bible that Christians finally became literate enough to learn that God is "no respector of persons" and much later powerful enough to defeat the evil institution of slavery .

When Jesus was born, class and racial discrimination, slavery and survival of the fittiest" was already a world wide practice. As G.K. Chesterson said, "the end of slavery was begun when Jesus died … although it took the church years to become powerful enough to defeat the powerful slave trade."

Many of the Confederate soldiers had never owned nor even seen a slave. My grandfather, Col. William Baird, a Methodist "exhorter" and teacher, like 90 percent of people in the South, never owned slaves. Methodist ministers were prohibited from slave ownership.

The first battles for equal right were fought in Christian conferences.In fact, when Georgia Methodist Bishop Andrews' wife inherited a slave , it caused a riff in the church that separated the Northern part of the church from the Southern part.

The Northern members of the Methodist General Conference in 1840 took away Bishop Andrew's credentials without hearing about his plans of how to divest himself of slave ownership. The Southern delegates took the side of the Georgia bishop, The "slave" Bishop Andrews' wife inherited was the now famous "Miss Kitty" and “freeing" her with a place for her to go was a problem. In fact she continued to live with them after her freedom, and after their death, she continued to live in her own cottage.

Rev. Bogan Mask, A Methodist preacher and my maternal great grandfather is said to have bought one slave for the purpose of freeing him. This old family story is told in more detail by Ferrel Sams in his book of fiction, "Epiphany. " In Sam's book he tells us the son of the former slave who was freed by Rev. Bogan Mask was one of the first African American medical doctors.

The Southern men had been called to arms in a war that was seen then by many as "states rights" and "northern hostility toward the South." In reading the tragic history of the conflict today, we know the issue of Slavery was primary to whether or not we could "live out our creed" and become the United States.

The few young soldiers who lived to return home saw their countryside devastated. Many of their schools, church buildings and homes had been destroyed.

At age 88, I am the youngest and the only living granddaughter of William Baird, a Confederate Army officer in the tragic "Civil War." My father, Benjamin Wilson Baird, was the youngest son of Col. William Baird and his wife, Mary Marks Baird. I am the youngest of the 11 children born to Wilson and Ieula Ann Dick Baird. My father, Benjamin Wilson Baird was 63 when I was born.

William Baird was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in North Carolina. His daughter's husband had been killed in the war, leaving her with a child to raise. My dad stayed on the farm to help his wounded father, mother and widowed sister and did not marry until he was forty.

Most of my contemporaries are three generations removed from the Civil War. My husband had two great-grandfathers in the Confederate Army. However, although I am four years younger than my husband, I was only two generations removed from the tragic toll of that war.

I thought of that Civil War Parade of my early childhood with its few surviving elderly Civil War soldiers this week while reading about the rapid "disappearance" of our American World War II (1941-1945) generation. My generation! The World War II generation is my husband Charles Shaw and my brothers Jackson Irvin Baird and John Thomas Baird's generation. They, along with many school friends, went off to World War II. Young men were drafted to fight in response to Hilter's Germany attack on Europe beginning with France and then Japan's deadly attack on America at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

My husband and brothers lived to come home. Four of my school classmates were killed: Homer Cook, Carroll Adams , Quinton "Red" Cole and J. W. Rye. God bless their memory and the memory of all the young men (and the few women) who went off to fight a war they hoped would be the last war!

These World War II soldiers, part of the generation labeled a few years ago as the "Greatest Generation" are also now "the disappearing generation" as were those three old men in the Civil War Parade of my childhood.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Bed and Bath in the 1920's and 30's.

Bed and Bath in the 1920's and 30's. My family keeps asking me to write more about life when I was a child. I would like to hear from BLOGGERS of my generation and about their memories of life in the 1920's and thirties. My father died when I was nine, and so I was raised by a widowed mother. My memories may not be typical of everyone in the Southern United States.

I never had a room of my own. Never even a bed of my own. After Papa died, we moved to a smaller house. I slept in the bed with my mother. There was also a single bed in this bedroom and my sister, Mary, slept there. My brothers, Charlie, Tom, and Jack, slept in a room across the hall. My youngest brother, Jack, was five years older than I. My sister, Mary, was ten years older; so I was almost raised alone as far as sibling playmates was concerned. (The picture to the left is Ruth Baird Shaw (about age 8) with her nephew Lavay McCullough, (age 2) who contacted Polio as an infant.)

Although we were poor, it was not "poverty" in the sense of poverty today. It is said that "poor" was proud (not un-Christian pride, of course) in the South after Sherman's successful march through Georgia and all the way to the sea. It left much of the South in ashes and ended the War between the States. At least "poor" meant you were honest and not a "carpetbagger" or a "bootlegger."

In a world of class, as well as race divisionisms, my mother told me, "You came from good stock." She was pleased to then tell about her grandmother who traced her lineage back to the Revolution and her maternal grandfather who had been a hard working and prosperous (for the times) land owner and a Methodist preacher.

And we, as well as nearly every Southern family had a story of some brave woman or child facing the soldiers from the North, seemingly bent on burning the South to the ground and thus ending the horrible war. In November, 1997, I read a part of our family history when a woman ancestor faced Northern soldiers, who were about to torch their house. She let the Yankee soldiers know that her husband was also a member of the Masonic lodge. Apparently this was a common ground respected by both North and South .

In our small town, most of the people worked for Bibb Manufacturing Company. Most were hard working and glad to have a job of any kind. It took all the members of the family working to have enough income to survive. They lived on their meager incomes and helped one another in times of emergency. Almost everyone we knew had about the same income and opportunities. If someone was out of work or sick, the neighbors collected money for them or made up a "pantry shower." There was no sick leave nor other such benefits and none expected.

My mother was hardworking and resourseful, She knew how to "stretch a dollar" so we always seemed to have plenty to eat and to share with neighbors and most of what we needed. I do remember that on many occasions Mama was instrumental in collecting food supplies (pantry showers) for neighbors who had to be out of work because of sickness or other problems. Mama also lent money (without interest) to neighbors between paydays.

I remember that there was one man in the neighborhood who would make loans with interest to his less fortunate neighbors. This was considered unneighborly and un-Christian.

The salary for a full week's work was $9.90 for some and $10.80 for other jobs. I remember people jokingly saying, "If you can't make $10.80, $9.90 will do." We did "make do." To put this in focus. The overseers in the Cotton factories were paid about $100. weekly. The overseers and other mill officials were given bigger and better houses to rent on larger lots in their own part fo town. It is difficult for my grandchildren and the younger generation to understand but the word "egalitarian" was yet to be added to our vocalulary. But we were looking forward!

In the bedroom where I slept with my mother and sister, there were a couple of rocking chairs and some "straight" chairs because this was also a sitting room. The parlor or "front room" was across the hall in our house before my mother converted it into a bedroom to accommodate "boarders". This is another story.
Before going to bed, we sat around the heater at the "fireplace" and talked, or in my case, listened. I was a painfully shy child. If one decided to go to bed, it was no problem. One just went over in a corner or behind a door, undressed and put on night clothes. I remember warm flannel gowns.Today we remind our children to go to the bathroom before going to bed. In those days a "slop jar" was brought into the bedroom, and the children were reminded to"go to the slop jar before you go to bed."

Sometimes this vessel was called a "chamber pot" or just a "chamber." It was not my regular job, as I remember, but I was often told to "bring in the slop jar" or sometimes "go bring the chamber in." My mother usually did the more unpleasant job of taking it out, emptying it in the commode which was in a bathroom off the back porch, and washing it out.

The bathroom had a large footed bathtub and a commode. The "out house" in our community was before my time. However, this indoor plumbing had been added to one end of the back porch after the house was built (this smaller house on 45 Hazel Street being one of the older ones we moved into after my father's death).

At one point a gas heater was put in the bathroom, but that may have been in my later childhood. I do remember that sometimes, in cold weather, we brought a large
wash tub or a smaller "foot tub" into the warm kitchen or bedroom to take a bath. The bathroom was not as well sealed as the other rooms, so it was not suitable for bathing in very cold weather. We sometimes took sponge baths. This involved bringing a large “washpan” of warm water with cloth, soap, and towel into some private corner of a room. Every part of the body was thoroughly washed and rinsed but not all at the same time. Mama believed "cleanliness was next to Godliness."

My earliest memory of bedding were sheets that were made at home with seams down the middle. I think that textile looms that would weave cloth 54 or 60 inches wide were developed much later. I remember a few straw mattresses. These were homemade mattresses filled with straw to put on beds. I remember such a mattress on a small odd-sized bed in one of the rooms. Probably there were no mattresses that size on the market. The other mattresses were factory-made, cotton-filled mattresses.

We were fortunate to also have feather bed mattresses to put on top of all the cotton mattresses. Mama was resourceful. Feather mattresses were made at home. One would buy pillow ticking cloth (pillows were made at home also), sew it the length and width of the bed and fill it with feathers. On a cold winter night it was good to sink down in a bed of feathers and under the weigh of numerous handmade and home-quilted quilts. In the 1930's we called them "feather beds" and put them on top of the cotton mattresses. This added to the bed-making time every morning. One had to fluff up the feathers and smooth it out, often turning it over, and frequently taking it out in the sun to“air the bed out."

When innerspring mattresses were added to the market, most people were glad to retire the feather bed to history.

Homemade quilts? We had large stacks of them, home-pieced and home-quilted by Mama and the women in the neighborhood. In cold weather one was weighted down under warm quilts. In summer, when company came, quilts were folded on the floor to make mattresses for the children and sometimes for adults to sleep on after all the beds were filled.

We children loved these temporary beds. To make the quilts, quilting frames were hung from the four corners of the ceiling of our bedroom and drawn up at night. I have slept many nights with an unfinished quilt suspended above. Neighbors would come to visit and help with the quilting. Any unoccupied house in the village was often put into service for quilting bees. The quilting frames were hung from the ceiling, and six to eight women would take a chair and sit on all sides of the quilt, making fine stitches in a quilt pattern that one of them had drawn.

There was much talk and laughter as these women visited while working on a quilt. The younger children played at their feet, and the older children were in and out of the house.The advantage of the empty room was that the quilt would not have to be lifted up at night and walked around in the daytime. In the evenings Mama would cut and sew various patterns for future quilting. The children would play around and sometimes be allowed to make a few stitches and were complimented if they could manage small stitches. If the stitches were too long, the mother would remove the stitches, often after the child left the room. Everyone took pride in fingers nimble enough to make practically invisible stitches.

I was allowed to make a few stitches occasionally but was not often invited to quilt, so I assume my stitches were far from invisible.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The "White Experience" during Segregation.

African American friends tell us it is difficult for white people to understand the "Black experience." This was the phrase my husband and I heard over and over from Black friends in the Fifties and Sixties in church and civic groups and in our home when African Americans visited with us. It is true. This lack of understanding by any of us who have not walked in the shoes of another is the stuff of which hostility and even riots are made!

Perhaps some will find it interesting to hear something of the "White Experience." Of course none of us, whatever the color our skin happens to be, can speak for all. I was born in 1923, when the South was still trying to recover from the destruction of the Civil War and the beginnings of the Great Depression.
In our town many Caucasian workers worked from "sunup to sundown," twelve hour days for a meager living in one of the textile mills or anywhere they could find employment.

Cotton farmers all over the South during the Great Depression and the Boll weevil epidemic were giving up on trying to make a living in farming. My older cousin Aubrey Simms's told me he remembered as a boy of six, the very night in 1922 when my father told his father about his decision to sell his farm and move to town. Aubrey said his Dad replied, "Uncle Wilson, I will go to share cropping before I will raise my family in a Mill town."

Apparently my father, a hard working and intelligent Christian man in failing health, thought this his only option. I am told he worked in the Old Porterdale mill until he became disabled. He was bedridden for over a year and died when I was nine.

Most of the Black men we saw were the collectors of garbage or worked as unskilled laborers in one of the cotton factories. Textile Mills had been moved South for cheap black and white labor after the Civil War. They found plenty. Many southerners, both Black and White can point back to the hard working "Cotton Mill" experience as a part of their inheritance.

Many Black women worked as cooks and housekeepers and in child care for the poor White workers.

Sad to say, we each had our own schools and churches. However many of our schools had been destroyed and school tuition and books for high school and college were beyond he means of most of the people, Black and White.

It was customary and considered proper to socialize with ones own race. Thus Black workers come into the homes of White people through the back door to distinguish it as a service rather than a social call.

Class distinctions were also important, but were not always so obvious, nor so rigid. As Margaret Mitchell had Rhett Butler to illustrated in Gone with the Wind, with white skin, one could possibly make money by hook or by crook and sooner or later get legal and/or "respectful" and move up the social ladder. Possible but not likely?

The white experience was that many, if not most, white men and women were also poorly educated (or schooled...some, like my father was "self-educated") and worked 12-hour days. In those days, it took both paychecks to survive. Most children stopped school and went to work as soon as they were old enough. The burning of schools and churches in the South after Sherman's march through Georgia at the end of the Civil War had taken its toll.

When I came on the scene, this was the custom. This I saw and pretty much accepted in my childhood as "just the way things are." We had no social contact with African-American people at all. We had never heard the term “segregation, "integration "nor "discrimination.”

All the black people we knew were servants who seemed accepting of their status. As a child, I had noticed that Mama always treated kindly the "Colored" women who sometimes worked in our kitchen. My intelligent and hard working widowed mother worked as a weaver in the Cord Weave Shop of Osprey Mill in our small town. The "Cord Weave Shop" made heavy cloth for use in tent making, to reinforce auto, truck and tank tires among other such uses.

In those days it was a common practice for the Colored or Negro cook to eat at a "cook table" rather than with the family. A cook table was a table on the side of the wall where we mixed and rolled our bread, etc. The dining table was in the center of the room and sometimes nearer the stove and therefore warmer. Mama would always ask the Black lady, much to her seeming dismay, to sit at the dining table with us in cold weather. I suppose this seemed the same kind of paternalism that white workers dealt with from textile officials who gave out Christmas bags of candy, fruit and nuts to everyone in town - black and white - and who built schools and churches and tried to be good to all their "mill hands."

The textile mills jobs also required feet, eyes and brain but the workers were referred to as "hands." We referred to Black people as "Colored people" or "Negroes" – often with the Southern pronunciation "Negra" close to the sound of the "N" word. We were corrected in school (and sometimes in home) and told to fully pronounce the last vowel, "Negro." We thought it would be insulting to say "black, " as in "old black Joe". And it was considered ignorant by educated Caucasians then as now it is considered insulting and criminal to say the "N" word.

Incidentally "color," as on a "color chart" is not a good way, in my judgement to define any of us. I have never seen anyone with "black" skin. On a color chart, skin might be discribed as dark brown to light beige. Neither have I seen "white" skin. Caucasian might accurately be described as having light ivory to dark beige skin. ( But snow is "white" and it is no compliment nor insult for Christians to be told they can be washed "whiter than snow." We are taking about " soul" washing not skin.) Perhaps one day we will describe ourselves as either Caucasian or Negroid, instead of the inaccurate description of "Black" or "White" or the divisive "European American" and "African American" ?

Being from a Christian family, I never saw any African American person being physically mistreated. But in addition to many kindnesses, I also observed some indignities against them. Whether we are African American or Caucasian, many of us are sad to know that our intelligent, hard working and good parents and/or grandparents had little to no educational opportunities in the south until after World War II.
When I was a young teen, an attractive and bright young "Negro" girl came into our kitchen and said something to me (not to my mother) to let me know coming into our house by the back door was discrimination rather than just "custom." I had never before thought about this.

My husband Charles, 4 years older than I, remembered one young Negro man having rocks thrown at him as he ran away from “stealing” some apples from an apple orchard. Charles was a young boy at the time and didn't know for sure, but his fear was that the young man might have been seriously injured. Remembering these kinds of treatment against African Americans is tragic. This made a profound impression on Charles, although he did not know the people who owned the Apple tree or any of the people throwing rocks at the young man as he ran away down a railroad tract. Charles said he stood there as a little boy feeling afraid and ashamed and knowing in his heart the horror of the situation.

Charles and I often talked about this. This kind of behavior was so foreign to the Christian concept and the experience of Peter and Cornelius in the Bible that God is no respecter of persons. Even earlier, the Jewish law of gleaning taught that even a sojourner and a stranger was to be cared for and allowed to pick grain or fruit to eat from others' fields as he passed by.

Yes, there has been world wide slavery and class distinctions from the beginning of written history. It was still a fact in Bible times but never condoned in the Bible as some have claimed. After all, the major celebration in the Old Testament is the Passover of the Hebrew slaves out of Egyption slavery into freedom.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, slavery was already a world wide practice along with “survival of the fittest.”

As G.K. Chesterson said, "the end of slavery was begun when Jesus died … although it took the church years to become powerful enough to defeat the powerful slave trade."

The South was only beginning to recover from the Civil War when the economic depression hit. After World War II, when things began to get better, and Charles and I became committed Christians, we spoke out for Civil Rights long before it became a politically correct posture for whites to take. We took some licks for this stance from those who did not see the need for such "quick change."

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , A gifted Christian minister began to "speak out" with conviction, many Caucasians became informed and educated enough to join him in his fight to the death. Then in the Methodist Church we had white men and women like "Mrs M. E. Tilly" and others who held Methodist feet to the fire until most of us woke up and saw the evil of segregation.

In the 60's my husband, Charles Shaw was pastor of Trinity Methodist Church. Silas McComb had been the church caretaker for many years. His wife died and Mr. McComb asked my husband to participate in her funeral at their church, the Metropolitan Church, an African- American Methodist Church. Miss Lottie Duncan, our Trinity Methodist Church secretary, and I went to the funeral. The people in the church welcomed us warmly. I observed they read from the same Bible and sang from the same Methodist Hymnal as we did. Why were we not friends and co-workers?

Perhaps we can recover from some of the bitterness when we realize the issue of slavery is not altogether a Black and White issue! Less than 8 percent of the people in the South had “owned” slaves. Most were white but a few wealthy Black people and a few Native Americans also owned slaves.

History reveals there were white Abolitionists who gave their life for freedom and Civil Rights from the beginning of African people being sold by some Black Africans to some White slavers. From my own experience, I know of many white people who worked and prayed tirelessly for the end of segregation and for equal rights for all people. Today we see some White and some Black "racists." Hopefully it is a minority and most of us want the best life possible for all people.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

"Gay" Activist

Gay Activist Mel White, who left his wife and children to moved in with his homosexual lover some years ago, has decided his life is not so "gay" after all. He is reported as saying "we are as boring as the rest of the people in Virginia."The associated press release said, "Gay Activist moves near Falwell's church to preach acceptance."

White found he already has acceptance, so he tells us he is bored.

The popular demands today are for Christians to throw away over 2000 years of Scripture and tradition as well as experience and reason and place their stamp of approval and celebration of "Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender" behavior.

Mel White (not Methodist) and his activist group Soulface and other GLBT activists have marched as a group into the General Conference of the United Methodist Church meetings for thirty years in trying to chip away at our Church's ruling against the celebration of homosexual behavior as Christian behavior. (Our United Methodist Church General Conference meets every 4 years and is is the only body to speak officially for the church)

Our instincts and our desire as loving Christians it to tolerate all non-coercive behavior. All of us are sinners. None of us are righteous or good enough to point our finger at anyone! However, the GLBT activists continue pointing their fingers at all of us who do not celebrate with them their behavior and lifestyle.

Tolerance is not what the GLBT Activists are seeking. They have tolerance. They have love from Christians. They have reached "political correctness." They are demanding the church's stamp of approval and celebration on their behavior.

I am glad to be a member of a church that listens to all sides of an issue. (I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist Church. As A young woman , I was active in church and in the Methodist Women's organization, serving as an officer on a local and district level)

As a church, we have listened long enough and voted year after year against changing our church's book of Discipline. Is it past time to stop this dialogue?

We keep voting against placing our stamp of approval on a damaging behavior that runs counter to the deepest claims of our Hebrew-Christian Scripture in the strongest language possible.

The first sexual revolution was not in the sixties, as we suppose, but was the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism and carried forward by Christianity. This ensured that polymorphous sex no longer dominated society.

Placing controls on sexual activity, heightened and channeled male-female love and sexuality and created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage between a man and a woman and thus began the task of elevating the status of women and the nurture of children.

If one does not believe the status of women has hit an all time low take a brief look at pornography with it's rape, incest, group sex, brutality etc. This at a time when GLBT Activists have achieved political correctness.

The widespread ignoring of the Bible's prohibition of "no fault divorce" and other heterosexual secular behavior has brought about much "uncivil" and lack of civility in our world today. It has also brought us to this radical debate about "why not homosexual marriage and "why not GLBT marriage?"

It is no exaggeration to state that the Bible's prohibition of homosexual behavior and any non- marital secular behavior has made possible the "civil" and "civility" that made "civilization" possible and advanced Western Civilization.

What about the current debate about Homosexual Marriage? Marriage has rich meaning in Jewish and Christian thought and even traditionally secular marriages has always been between one man and one women.

The recent demands that two men or two women have a right to get married is brought forward, declaring anyone who does not agree and celebrate as "ignorant and mean spirited."