Sunday, September 16, 2012

Going To School in the 1930's

I started school in January before my sixth birthday in 1929. This was the year of the stock market crash and the Great Depression. I suppose we had "poverty" but not in the sense of poverty today. Most people were in the same boat and helped one another. We were fortunate not to have 24 hour news, so we did not learn until later that people were jumping out of skyscraper windows to kill themselves.

The first five grades in our school were divided into 10 grades. We had low first grade and high first, low second, high second. etc. I contracted measles and missed the last two weeks of school in the Low Fifth.

When my teacher came by to visit a few days after school was out for the summer she brought my report card. (Yes teachers, doctors and pastors were expected to make house calls.) Mama asked my teacher if I was to go back in the fifth grade or skip to the sixth grade. My teacher, Miss Bohannan gave me a test and skipped me to the sixth grade. That is how I happened to be the youngest in my class for the rest of my elementary and high school. Elementary School was called "Grammar School" when I was in school.

School dress: In Grammar School in those days, girls always wore dresses to school with knee stockings and oxford-type shoes or high top shoes. I remember a few of the girls wore high-top stockings. These were dark, thick, stockings, often black, that came above the knee and were held secure by elastic circles. In fact these garters were called "elastics." I remember being thankful that my mother did not make me wear those "old fashioned stockings." We had only one pair of shoes that were sometimes worn until they fell apart. I have worn shoes that had cardboard put in to cover holes in the soles of the shoe.

Incidentally, a little later when we did wear sheer hose (with a seam down the center of the back that had to be kept straight), we made our own elastics to keep our hosiery up. We just took a piece of elastic and measured around the leg just above the knee and sewed the ends of the elastic together. This was before garter belts were in use. By the time I got to high school, girls were beginning to wear anklet socks that turned down at the ankle so were more comfortable than the kmee socks.

Discipline: As I was writing this, a long time friend called. When he learned I was writing about school in the 1930's, he asked if I had written about "whippings." I told him that "whippings were a "boy thing". After we joked around a bit, we both agreed that in his school in South Carolina and mine in Georgia, the teachers had 12 inch rulers that were used for something besides measuring distance. The disobedient child held his/her hand out with palm up to be smacked with a ruler. For major misbehavior, a razor strop or a hickory switch was used on the child's bottom. Parents typically told children that if they "got a whipping" at school, they would "get another one" at home. Litigation against teachers and/or schools was not considered.

School Room: The student desks were attached to one another in rows. They were also attached to the floor. All student desks faced the large teacher's desk. The wall behind the teacher desk was covered with black boards for writing. The blackbords had narrow little shelves at the bottom to hold chalk and erasers. Each of the student desk tops had a small round hole that our ink wells fit into. We had to fill our pens with ink from the ink wells for writing before fountain pens came on the market. We also used pencils and lined tablets for Math, spelling and much of our writing. Every week, two students were selected to take the erasers outside to "dust the erasers" to get all the chalk dust out so they would be clean enough to keep the blackboard clean for clear writing.

Social Class: The word egalitarian had never been spoken! I remember clearly sitting in class while the teacher told us there were three classes of people: the upper, the middle and the lower class. We did not, for the most part, question this custom. Socially, people associated with their own class as well as their own race.

Transportation: How did we get to school? Two words. We walked! In our school, most of the teachers also walked. Many were single women who lived in town. In our town we have a large house called the "teacher's cottage." The teacher's house was "across the river" from the school building. There were no parking lots at the schoolhouse.

Report Cards: In our small-town Georgia school, we were graded A, B, C, D or F. I do not remember anything about the grading system or how I scored in First and Second grades. I do know that I never received a D or an F and do not remember many A's. I was generally a B student. I usually sat quietly and went unnoticed in class, speaking only when spoken to.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
We were then taught that the atom was the smallest particle. It was not until 1945 that we learned that that microscopic atom could be split and inside was power beyond comprehension.

One of my readers asked about “school dinners.” There was not a cafeteria in the Elementary school I attended, nor the High Schools I attended. But there was a Home Economics Class where all the girls took lessons in homemaking; basically in cooking and sewing.

In our “Grammar School”, we could “take milk” for three cents a day. It consisted of a small bottle of milk and peanut butter spread on two very thin slices of white bread. Most of the children brought a lunch from home (a biscuit with sausage or fried meat or jelly
The group picture above is the Ninth Grade graduation class. The Ninth Grade was the last grade offered in our community in the 1930's. It was in the 40's that Porterdale High School was established. Yours truly (Ruth Baird) was fourth girl on the left, front row.

If one desired to attend school after Ninth Grade Graduation, he/she had to pay tuition. buy their books and find transportation to Covington, our Newton County seat, to finish tenth and eleventh grade and receive a High School Diploma. Ninth Grade was the end of school for many students in the thirties. I ended up attending three different high schools.
My widowed mother somehow managed the tuition cost for me to attend Covington high School and another small transportation fee to a girl in my class who had managed to buy a car.

I rode with her (Louise Walton) to Covington every school day for a full semester. Alas, she dropped out - decided not to continue in school. ( Four girls in High School cap and Gown- LtoR: Ruth Baird Shaw, Clara Shaw Daniel, Lenora Ferrel Mills, Gladys Newman)
With no transportation to Covington after the first semester in the tenth grade, I then transferred to Livingston High School, a county High School. I walked with 2 other girls and a boy (Julia Sellers, Hilda Mitchell, Ernest Bennett) the mile or so every morning to the far end of our community to catch the school bus to ride to the country school where I finished the tenth grade with only two units left to graduate. In the 1930's, the Eleventh Grade was the last grade to finish to receive a High School diploma.

World War II
: America was plunged into Would War II after Japan's attack on America at Pearl Harbor in 1941. All our young men registered for the Military draft. Charles and my two youngest brothers were in the Military Service by 1943.

When I finally managed to enroll in college classes, I learned my high school experiences had been well enough preparation. One of the things I remember about Covington High School in the semester I attended was an assignment to write a story of fiction. As far back as I remember, I have loved to write and enjoyed writing rhymes. I remember working on the story but do not remember anything about it. As I remember it was basically a lazy rearrangement of something I had read (which is probably why I do not remember anything about the story.) When we take short cuts or cheat on anything, we only cheat ourselves. Strangely, I have never taken time to try to write fiction again.

Another day while I was a student at Covington High, we went to Chapel where someone introduced a blind and deaf lady and illustrated how she communicated. This memory is too vague for me to be sure of details. I keep thinking it must have been Helen Keller and her teacher? Keller had not attained nation wide fame then? I believe that the famed Annie Sullivan, Helen's first teacher died in 1936. Polly Thomson assisted Sullivan later and became Helen's teacher after Annie Sullivan’s death.

An earlier chapel experience I told about in the first or second grade is being chosen to walk up on the large stage in the Grammar school auditorium to tell the Bible story of the sick man whose four friends took him, bed and all, to Jesus to be healed.

Teachers: I especially remember one of the teachers at Livingston High School, (the school where I transferred after my friend with a car left Covington High). One unforgettable teacher at Livingston was a widow in perpetual black dress. She was always openly counting the days until the end of the school year. I do not know how long she had been a widow, but this thin and sad looking lady in her "widow's weeds" each day would tell us how she was counting the days until the end of her days as a teacher. Then she would remind us how many days were left in the school year. She called herself the "walking calendar."

Another teacher I remember more fondly was Miss Willie Hane Hunt, my seventh grade teacher in Porterdale. She tried to encourage me by telling me I was probably the “best mathematician that ever walked in the school door." This kind of remark from a teacher made a big difference in the way I saw myself as a student. I began to find algebra and geometry problems not just easy but fun to do.

Sports: Schools in the thirties had "field days" with competition between classes and between schools. This included relay races, 100-yard dashes, high jumps, broad jumps, etc. My brothers, Charlie, Tom, and Jack, excelled in all the races. I was also a very fast runner and played basketball, but did not broad jump or high jump.My brother, Tom, was one of the fastest runners in the school. He would run in his regular pants with the shirttail flying rather than putting on the shorts and sleeveless tee shirt that was the usual attire.

Family: One of our family stories is about my brother, Tom winning the race for the school and winning a great deal of local fame running the race in his regular school clothes.

One day just a few years before he died, I asked Tom why he ran the race that Field Day in his regular clothes. He said he had to rush home to lift Papa out of bed and had hurried back to school because they expected him to run in the race. Apparently, he appeared on the school grounds just in time to run the race. Tom was stronger than Jack or Charlie, so it fell his lot to lift Papa out of bed and back into bed after Papa became disabled. Tom told me he would go to school every morning and answer the roll call. Soon after, he would leave school and go home to lift Papa out of bed and into a chair and later he could go home again to lift Papa back into bed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I did not intend to address the subject of "Woman Preachers " on this BLOG. T
However, it is a subject still debated in some circles. So as I was giving thought to this post, I kept coming back to the subject of what the Bible has to say about women as preachers.

My husband who was a pastor used to tell those who came to him for counsel concerning a call to preach, "If the Lord will let you do anything else, do it. Becoming a pastor is a glorious joy and privilege but also a never ending task. The demands are staggering.”

In a letter to our local paper(Rome News-Tribune),a man who identified himself as a preacher (published in the May 19, 2004 edition)wrote that women preachers violated the clear teachings of Scripture and were a "cancer" on the church. A clear reading of the Bible in context indicates otherwise.
He did not give any scripture references on the subject. Let me do so?

Starting in the Genesis of our Bible, Chapter 1, the Bible makes it plain that it takes both male and female to make up the image of God, and the generic word "man", includes both. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them."(Genesis 1:26-27 KJ version) I am female of the species, man. The scripture thus makes it clear that we of the female sex are part of mankind. That Biblical verse in the first chapter alone should end the argument but there is much more.

Many New Testament passages show that it was Christ's intention to reverse the widespread subjugation of women, which began when the cancer of sin (speaking of cancer) entered the world. (Genesis 3). In Genesis 3, we read that both man and woman lost the joyful liberty God had given them in creation when they abused that freedom in prideful disobedience. Sadly, God's intention for mutuality and equality among man and woman went awry. Thus, the image of God became distorted with sin and our world became 'fallen' (full of sin). Jesus came to save us from sin. (Matthew 1:21)
In a culture that refused to allow women as teachers, learners, or even as witnesses in court, Jesus assures Martha and Mary that Mary sitting at His feet and learning was a good thing (Luke 10:41-42). 'Sitting at the feet' of a master is a phrase used for a 'learner' or 'disciple'.

It is difficult for our generation to understand the amazing freedom (and Amazing Grace) Christ's coming brought to the world of women as well as men. In many of Jesus' parables, when He used male images and activities, He also used a parallel involving women. In the four Gospels there are 633 verses in which He refers to women, most of them in a positive way.

Jesus allowed women to be the first witnesses to the resurrection. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who told Mary Magdalene to 'go and tell.' I read recently that Ann Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, was at a gathering where she had been the invited guest speaker. As she stood to speak, some men in the audience stood up in protest and moved their chairs to face away from her. (So it is not just "ordained pastors" they reject. Ann Graham Lotz is neither "ordained" nor a pastor.)

After that experience, while in prayer about her call, Ann recalled the Bible verse (John 20:17) about Jesus sending Mary Magdalene to tell the Good News of the resurrection to all, including the 11 male disciples.

I have observed that in churches where Christian women are not allowed to "preach," they preach and call it "Bible teaching" or "speaking" or "witnessing." In churches where women are allowed to preach, we teach the Bible and speak and witness and call it "preaching." Churches that preach that women should not preach, allow women to "witness and teach" on the mission field.

God help us! Whatever we call it, I stand in awe and humility that the Lord would call and enable me to tell this greatest good news humans ears have ever heard and to win others to Christ.

In the picture on the left above, My husband (as pastor) was presenting me with a certificate and gold pin in recognition of work in the WSCS (women's society of Christian Service) given to me by the Rome District Women. He was pastor of Trinity Methodist Church at the time (1962-1967) and I active in our woman's work. This was long before I was ever labeled "a preacher."

Another example: At the Ellijay Methodist Church (the first church my husband served after his ordination and Master of Divinity degree from Emory) I was asked to fill in to teach an adult Sunday School Class one Sunday. A woman came up afterward with several complimentary statements about my teaching, including, "I did not know that you were also a preacher." All of this to belabor the point of the fine line between teaching, preaching, witnessing and Missionary efforts of dedicated Christian women.

"And it shall come to pass, says God. That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions. Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and My maidservants, I will pour out My spirit in those days. And they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:17-18) The prophet Joel's words that women as well as servants will one day prophesy came true at Pentecost.

God has imparted His gifts to each person 'just as He determines' (I Corinthians 12:11). We do not tell God to whom He can or cannot give any gift, including the gift of preaching. Pentecost represents God's sanction for prophetic ministry by women as well as men.

It is God who calls a person (whether man or woman) to preach. In Galatians 3:22-28 we read: "For we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:16-28). Paul goes on to say that Christ came to redeem those under the law (Greek, slave, female) that we (all) might receive the full rights of sons (whoever will).

The masculine noun (son) and pronoun (he) was used for both genders in the original and so translated into English by Biblical scholars in places when the intent was son/daughter, he/her or children. At other times the gender is specified when read in the original language. Paul tells us in I Corinthians that a woman is not to pray or prophesy without a 'head covering'. This certainly means that if a woman dresses decorously, she can both pray and prophesy. (I Corinthians 11:5)

Paul goes on to say, "as a woman came from man, so also man is born of woman." Both genders were loved and honored equally by God in the three decisive events of: ..Creation (Genesis 1:26-27), ...Incarnation (Matthew 1:21) and ...Pentecost (Acts 2:17-18).8. All my life I have heard people quote Paul's words in I Corinthians 14:34, "let your women keep silent in church." Some incorrectly used this as a proof text to forbid women to preach or teach. To "keep silent" would not allow singing, speaking to your child sitting nearby, saying "hello" to a friend, testifying or even getting down on her knees to say, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

In the context of chapter 14, Paul admonishes the women at Corinth to be quiet, not because it is wrong for women to speak out loud in church service. He has just told them they can pray or prophecy as long as they act and dress circumspectly. (I Corinthians 11:5). Paul goes on to explain that "God is not a God of disorder but of peace ... everything should be done decently and in order." (I Corinthians 14:33-40). So untaught women were not to disrupt the service by asking questions out of order. Better these women should 'ask their husband' at home.

Ephesians 5:22-24 is one of Paul's five 'hupotasso' passages, (I Corinthians 14:34, Colossians 3:18, I Timothy 2:11, Titus 2:5) so named because of the Greek word translated 'submit' or 'submission'.

A full discussion of male/female roles would require a careful exegesis of all five passages. The idea of submission was nothing new. These women had been taught 'submission' from their mother's knee. Submission was a part of Jewish life for women since the tragic event of 'the Fall' in Genesis 3. What is new? The new is seen as we read the rest of the story. Christain men are also taught 'to submit as to the Lord'.

Paul , more "politically correct" than Jesus was careful not to upset the delicate cultural fabric of his day. But Paul was a 'new creation in Christ' since the hour he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Paul recognized that 'submit' is a good word. So do I.

What is new in Paul's theology is how women are to submit; they are to submit 'in the Lord'. In fact, Paul requests the same submission of the entire church body at Ephesians. They are all to 'submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.' (Ephesians 5:21).

I Timothy 2:11:12 is another example; "Let a woman learn in silence and submission, in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.'' In the context, the Corinthian women were speaking so as to create disorder in the worship. It is often said generally, 'women like to talk'. In I Timothy 2:15 Paul takes about "'However' a woman will be saved in childbearing." Bible scholars agree these verse were addressing a local problem rather than a comprehensive manual of polity and worship.(1)

Paul is maintaining that untaught women should be taught (manthaneto is imperative). The silence and 'full submission' (again to the church body or teacher). Silence and "full submission is what any teacher would ask of his pupils.

A correct rendering of I Timothy 2:11-12 (of the original into English)is: "I command that women learn (be taught) in quietness and full submission (to the teaching authority). I am (presently) not permitting a woman to teach and she is not to exert evil influence over a man." Women (or men) who 'exert evil influence' are not to teach.10. When we study the whole of Paul's letters, we realize that the great Apostle Paul was not chauvinistic toward women as some have claimed.

It was Paul who referred to Julia as 'outstanding among the apostles'. It was Paul also who called Phoebe 'a minister of the church'.

Of the 29 people Paul greets in Romans 16, many are women whom he addressed by name, which is contrary to Jewish custom; Phoebe, Tryphosa, Julia, Mary. This passage of scripture definitely tells us that the woman Phoebe was a minister. In Romans 16:1, Paul says, "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a diakomos (translated into English as 'servant' only for Phoebe) of the church in Cenchrea." Paul uses the word, diakomos, a masculine term with no article.
When Biblical scholars translated the word 'diakomos' into English, they translated it 'deacon' (3 times) or 'minister' (18 times). Only in the case of our sister Phoebe is it translated from the original into English as 'servant'. In fact, in Romans 16:1-2, Paul refers to Phoebe as 'prostatis pollon', which if addressed to a man would likely be translated into English as 'ruler of many'.

Ordination is not a call to authority or to be a "ruler of many." It is a call to Christian servanthood. Other Scripture references include: Genesis 1:27...John 20:17, Galations 3:22...28 Ephesians 5:22-24, I Corinthians 14:34... Colossians 3:18, I Timothy 2:11... Titus 2:5...Romans 16:1

1. The Communicator's Commentary. 1,2 Thessalonians, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus.
Gary W. Demarest. p183

2. I have been in the church all my life and have never had a pastor who I felt had "authority" over me or anyone else. In the churches where I served as a pastor, I did not even take authority over the thermostat on the wall.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How Do Women Preachers Dress?

I am going to be a preacher,” she told me. “Wonderful,” I said. Of course, I knew that she was talking about her role in the upcoming youth Easter drama, but I was excited for her nonetheless. Then she asked, “Should I dress as a woman or a man?” I told her that she should dress as a woman and that she was going to be a great preacher.

I was troubled because her question represented an uncertainty as to whether or not a woman could be a preacher, so much so that she considered dressing as a man necessary to more accurately portray the role she had been given in the play.

Her church ordains women as Deacons. From time to time, women even fill the pulpit as guest preachers, though obviously not enough to give her a clear impression that she did not need to dress as a man in order to play a preacher in the Easter drama.

The uncertainty about women in pastoral roles demonstrates just how effective the culture in which we live is undermining the teachings of a local church. The Bible we read gives us countless examples of women working for the Lord and leading young churches. Our scriptures are bold to say that “. . .in Christ, there is neither male nor female. . .,” and that in the last days God will pour out God’s spirit on all flesh so that our “. . .sons and our daughters shall prophesy.”

How then do we find ourselves, at times, uncertain and ambivalent about who God can call to do God’s work? Consider for a moment that women have been allowed to vote in our country for less than a hundred years. Generally speaking, the arguments against women voting sounded high-minded and moral. The Holy Scriptures were often invoked to undergird arguments against women voting. Of course, voting was not the only thing that women were not allowed to do. There were any number of professions and careers that were off limits to women simply because they were women. Preaching was high on the list of occupations unsuitable for women.

Today, the list of careers that women cannot pursue is whittled down to one – preaching — and then only in certain pockets of the Christian faith. Of all the activities that society once deemed off limits to women, preaching remains.

Those opposed to women preaching unfailingly state their position with passages from the Bible that would seem to suggest that women should not have leadership roles in the church. I would grant that there are such passages of scripture, but there are also passages of scripture that would suggest just the opposite.

So then, the question becomes not so much what the Bible says, but how do we read what the Bible says. Will we read it as people who long for the days when women were denied freedom and opportunity, or will we read it as a people who believe that the God who said His spirit would be poured out on all flesh is, in fact, doing that very thing even as we speak?

Today the pastor of Pingdu Christian Church in Pingdu, China is a woman. This church was started in 1885, when a tiny woman from Virginia ventured, on her own, 120 miles inland to share the Gospel in a city that had no Christian witness. That woman’s name was Lottie Moon.

Lottie Moon was appointed as a missionary to China by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. No, she would not have been allowed to pastor a church in the United States at that time, but it was fine for her to go where no man was willing to and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today, pastor Wang Xia, leads multiple congregations and meeting points, along with her pastoral associates, telling the same story that was told the residents of her city long ago by Miss Lottie Moon.

Baptists have had women preachers throughout our history. We have just not always appreciated them as such. Even today, as Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary prepares to reconstruct Miss Moon’s Pingdu house into an on-campus historical display, the living legacy of Miss Moon’s devotion to the cause of Christ is ignored and rejected by Southern Baptists. They have trademarked her name, but they have shackled her spirit.

They are happy to use their fundamentalized version of Lottie Moon to raise money for their enterprise, even while they ignore and demean the gifts and callings of her spiritual descendants.

We honor the legacy of Lottie Moon, and others like her, when we help our children, our sons and our daughters, listen to whatever God is saying in their lives. We keep that legacy alive when in faith we, along with our children, say yes to God’s call in our lives.
No doubt Catherine B. Allen says it best in this months Baptists Today, “The stones in Fort Worth will cry out a message the seminary has officially rejected. Ye who have ears, listen to what the Spirit says!”

(The article above copied from a Baptist paper)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Founding Fathers

Fifty two of the fifty five signers of The Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? The other three believed in the Bible, believed in the God of scripture and God's personal intervention.

That same congress formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.
Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death."
In the the context of these words we read; "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not of the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

In 1776 Patrick Henry wrote; "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well- worn Bible: 'I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also.'

George Washington, the Father of our Nation, in his farewell speech on September 19, 1796 stated: "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." These words from Washingston's personal prayer book: "Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb and purge my heart by the Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of thy son, Jesus Christ."

John Adams, our second president, also served as chairman of the American Bible Society. In an address to military leaders he said, "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Our first Court Justice was John Jay who said "it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christian as their rulers."

Our sixth President, John Quincey Adams said on July 4, 1821, "The highest glory of the American Revolution is the connect of the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

In 1782, the United States Congress voted the resolution; "The congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.

William Holmes McGuffey's, "McGuffey's Reader was used in our public school for over 100 years.McGuffey stated, ""The Christian Religion is the religion of our country." He goes on to explain Chritainity as "the percularities of our free institutions."

The first 108 universities in America 106 were distinctly Christian, including Harvard, which, chartered in 1636 was the first university. In the original Harvard Student Handbook rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance much know Latin and Greek so they could study the Scriptures.

Harvard's early motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae "Truth for Christ and the Church." In a directive to its students, it laid out the purpose of all education: "Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17. 3.

All of the above are documented facts that have been ignored or re-written by those with an atheist personal agenda.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Who's Your Daddy? A Tribute to Pastors

I suppose all of us who have sat in Psychology classes have heard about Abraham Maslow. He believed, though he had no scientific proof for it, that restraint was unhealthy and that "self - actualization" and high self - esteem were crucial to human development.

Many of us have come to believe that nothing builds high self esteem in a child or any person so much as coming to the realization that God loves us and we are so important Jesus died to save us.

Jan Karon's Mitford series books remained for a long time on the New York Times Bestseller list for many reasons. Karon's leading character, Father Tim, is a reminder of what every good pastor should be. It is refreshing because in much of the media pastors are presented as either ignorant or evil. As I read Karon's work, I thought of my favorite pastor. He was also my husband from our youth until his death in 1986.

My pastor, like Father Tim and so many other pastors, worked tirelessly and unselfishly, visiting the sick and homebound, Feeding the hungry, ministering to those in prisons, going with fathers to search for runaway children in the "hippie" era and continuing to tell the awesome good news of Jesus. All this is just a tiny part of the job description of a pastor.

I heard Dr. Fred Craddock tell "A Great Tennessee Story" at Candler School of Theology at Emory. I read the story again recently. One of my readers tells me it is not a true story? I understood it as factual. It is certainly a story typical of many true stories that could be told about Christian pastors. The heart of the Gospel that brought about the best in America and Western Civilization is that regardless of whether or not our biological parents accepts us, God loves and accepts each of us as His own.
A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One morning they were eating breakfast in a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope he doesn't come over here." But sure enough, the man came over to their table.

"Where are you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.

"Oklahoma," they answered.

"Great to have you here in Tennessee," the stranger said. "What do you do for a living?"

"I teach at a seminary," he replied.

"Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I've got a really good story for you." And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down.

The professor groaned and thought to himself, "Great. Just what I need -- another preacher story!"

The man started, "See that mountain over there?" He pointed out the restaurant window. "Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up because every place he went, he was always asked the same question: 'Hey, boy, who's your daddy?' Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question: 'Who's your daddy?' He would hide at recess and lunch time from other students. He would avoid going into stores because that question hurt him so bad. When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?' But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast, he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son, who's your daddy?' The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, 'Who's your daddy?'

The new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to the scared little boy: 'Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God.' With that, he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance -- go and claim it.'

With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked him, 'Who's your daddy?' he'd just tell them, 'I'm a child of God.'

The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, "Isn't that a great story?"

The professor responded that it really was a great story.

As the man turned to leave, he said, "You know, if that new preacher hadn't told me that I was one of God's children, I probably would never have amounted to anything!" And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over and asked, "Do you know that man who was just sitting at our table?" The waitress grinned and said, "Of course. Everybody here knows him. That's Ben Hooper. He's the former governor of Tennessee!"

Come Into God's Presence With Singing

In Psalm 100, one of a number of Psalms I memorized as a child, we are told: ” Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands...Serve the Lord with gladness. ..Come into his presence with singing.

Hymn singing in church has been and still is a vital part of our Christian worship and our discipleship. Our hymnals, next to the Bible have been our most formative resource.

Christians have been singing as long as there have been Christians. After finishing his last supper with his disciples, Jesus, on the very night when he was betrayed, sang a hymn with his disciples before they all went out to Gethsemane.

Charles Wesley's hymn "O Love Divine, What hath Thou Done, " is one for the Lenten Season.
"O Love divine , what hath thou done! ...The immortal God hath died for me! ...The Father's Co-eternal Son...Bore all my sins upon the tree...The immortal God for me hath died!...My lord, my God is crucified."
Our Jewish spiritual ancestors sang. The 150 Psalms in the Old Testament is the Jewish “book of hymns.”

John Wesley in 1761 wrote “The 7 directions for Singing “ and they continue in our Methodist hymnals. In our current United Methodist Hymnal.1. Wesley directed us to, “Have an eye to every word.” and to “above all to sing spiritually with an eye to pleasing God more than ourselves or anyone else. We are to direct our singing to the Lord. So our hymn singing is “To the Lord.”

I am not a musician. But I keep singing anyway. I enjoy singing and was allowed to sing in the Candler chorale in Seminary at Emory University.

I love to sing and I love to cook. So I sing around the house, especially in the kitchen. My daughter Beth likes to laugh and tell that every time she brought a boy into the house after a date, I would be in the kitchen banging pots and pans around and singing, “His Eye is on the Sparrow and I know He watches me.”

One learns more than they want to know about themselves when they have grown children.

My parents loved to sing. My mother sung solos in church as a young woman but she was 38 when I was born. I never heard her sing in church but, from my earliest memories, I learned every hymn in the hymnal from hearing my mother sing them as she did household chores.

As a teen, it embarrassed me to bring friends home when Mama was in the kitchen singing hymns. Today my dear mother’s singing is one of my happiest memories.

I do not have a great many memories of my father as I was only nine when he died after being bed ridden for over a year. But his witness in life and song had a profound influence on me and some of it tied up with his gospel singing.

I remember hearing Papa sing several hymns still in our UM Hymnal. Also he sang other hymns like, “I’m a Child of The King.” My sister, Louise told me that on his deathbed, Papa sang all the verses of “Palms of Victory,” an old hymn about the first Palm Sunday.

G.K Chesterson wrote a few lines of poetry about the lowly donkey that Jesus rode that first Palm Sunday. Chesterson has the donkey to say:
“Fools! For I also had my hour…
One far fierce hour and sweet…
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.”

The donkey was telling us…Whatever or whomever Christ touches he dignifies…whether a lowly donkey or a lowly person.

In the devastated South still struggling to recover from the Civil War and in the Great Depression, I did not need lessons in "self esteem." We were taught in church that we were so loved and important that Jesus died to save us." My dying father was so sure that heaven was his destination as if his ticket was already in his hand. And I was a witness as I learned the lyrics and tune to:
“Never Grow Old:” by hearing Papa sing:
“I have heard of a land
In the far away strand
Tis a beautiful home of the soul
Built by Jesus on high
There we never shall die
Tis a land where we’ll never grow old”

Charles Wesley, the Bard of Methodism wrote over 65 hundred hymns. When we learn the words of Wesley hymns we are also learning Bible truth. For example, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” is truly a “message of the Holy Spirit” in song. It contains 14 references or allusions to scripture passages.
“Breath, O breath thy loving spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit,
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith as its beginning,
set our hearts at Liberty.”
“Finish then thy new creation
Pure and spotless let us be
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee
Changed from glory into glory
Till in heaven we take our place
Till we cast our crowns before thee
Lost in wonder, love and praise.”

Bishop Arthur Moore, A South Georgia native and one of our greatest bishops said about Charles Wesley’s “O For A thousand Tongues to Sing.” “We sing “O for a thousand tongues to sing” and do not use the one tongue we have.”

Wesley’s “A Charge to Keep I Have” reminds us as Christians have been given a “charge to keep and a God to glorify.” We have also been given a particular charge or calling that is unique.

When we sing, “When I survey the Wondrous Cross, by Isaac Watts “we are also hearing a good sermon about the cross and the doctrine of the atonement.
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died
My richest gains I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
“See from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did ev’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.”

One of the hymns I connect with my parents singing is “He Keeps me Singing.” The hymn is still on page 110 in Cokesbury,

The words and music were written by Luther Bridges,(1884-1948) a Methodist pastor and evangelist from Georgia. He was away in a revival meeting in Kentucky when his wife and three children were burned to death in a house fire. Bridges was so devastated and dismayed he stayed to himself for many months.
My mother told me about them meeting Bridges and hearing him preach and tell the sad story about how he came to write “He Keeps Me Singing” in the midst of this great sorrow.
The first words are; “There’s within my heart a melody.” Jesus whispers sweet and low
Fear not I am with you
Peace be still
In all of life’s ebb and flow,
“Jesus, Jesus , Jesus,
Sweetest name I know.
Fills my every longing.
Keeps me singing as I go.”

Many of our most beautiful and effective hymns were written and sung in the midst of tragedy. It is in crisis times that we are stopped in our tracks and say, “Where is God when bad things happen.” Strangely, we do not stop often think to say, “where is God when good things happen.”

When things are going smoothly, we tend to focus on other things, our work, our vacation, holidays or the latest movie or ball game.

But let sometime happen… losing a spouse, a job, or discovering you or a loved one may have heart failure or cancer and suddenly life changes and God is back in the picture. Crisis and tragedy serve the function of bringing us back to the recognitions of our limits and our mortality.

My brother Tom dropped out of church for a few Sundays as an older teen. One day he ran into our town’s mayor who told Tom he had been missing him at church. Then he said, half in fun, to Tom, “One day you are going to die and I will say, “poor Tom, he had to die before we could get him back in church.” Tom came home, told Mama about the conversation and asked her to wake him up in time for church the next day.

Some of our favorite hymns were written in times of distress. The hymn, “What A Friend We have in Jesus“ was written by Joseph Striven after his fiancée was drowned the night before their scheduled wedding.

It is said that George Matheson wrote “O Love That will Not Let Me Go” after his fiancée’ broke her engagement to him when she learned of his impending blindness.

In reflecting on my spiritual journey, I was influence by hymn singing. As a child of 11, I was sitting in the Methodist Church where I had been baptized as an infant, listening to the words of a hymn we were singing and pondering the first Biblical question I ever remember giving thought to. We were singing:
“Alas and Did My Savior Bleed.
And did my sovereign die,
would He devote that sacred head
for such a worm as I.”
A few years later some of our church musicians, contrary to Wesley’s advice, took liberties with Isaac Watts’ hymn and deleted “such a worm as I” and replaced it with the more palatable “sinners such as I.”

We might debate the question of whether or not someone should change the lyrics in a hymn after the poet has died. But most of us think it is a nice change. We do not mind being “a sinner.” We may even brag about being a sinner, but none of us relish the idea of being called a “worm”.
This was before WWII, a time when we believed that human beings were getting better and better. All we needed was better education and more bathtubs.
Then we learned about the Holocaust in Germany, where one of the most enlightened and educated nations killed 6 million Jews. We learned about the atrocities of Japan, another educated and prosperous nation…and on and on. Worms?

The evidence is in. Education and prosperity and even social action ...all good things…all much needed things but they cannot save us. They sometimes only may increase our capacity and opportunity for evil?

That day at age 11, sitting in church I was paying attention to all the words of this old Isaac Watts hymn and especially the words, “was it for crime that I have done… Christ died upon the tree… amazing pity, grace unknown… and love beyond degree. “

I was thinking…”how in the world could the sins I commit today have anything to do with Jesus dying on a bloody cross 2000 years ago?”
I was then a thoughtful obedient child. More serious than many I think because of the illness and death of my beloved Papa two years earlier. I suppose I was somewhat like the little 8 year old girl who wrote her pastor one Monday morning.
“Dear Pastor. Yesterday you preached about loving our enemies. I do not have any enemies yet. But I hope to have some by the time I am nine. Love, Mary.”

I could not think of specific sins I had committed, but somehow I grasped a profound truth. I accepted the mystery that God to be God could see into the future as well as the past and Jesus had shed his blood on the cross for me and my generation as well as those of his generation.

I have not mentioned everyone’s favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton who had been a slave trader and became a Christian and an Abolitionist. (Note: this is important...not every "Christian " was an abolitionist but every "Abolitionist" was a Christian. No other religion had seen the evil of slavery and worked to defeat the powerful world wide slave trade)

I have not mentioned two of my favorite hymns, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.” We must also include the greatest of all, Handel’s “Messiah” and the “Halleluiah Chorus” that lifts us to our feet in awe and praise!

And let me mention Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) the blind poet who wrote the lyrics and music to over 8 thousand hymns…many of your favorites and mine. Many Cosby hymns still in our Cokesbury and United Methodist Hymnals, are, “To God be the Glory;“ “
“Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice.”
Come to the Father
Through Jesus the Son
And give him the glory
Great things he has done.”

Cosby also wrote the words and music to: Blessed Assurance”;
"Blessed assurace...Jesus is mine...Oh, what a fortaste of Glory Divine...Heir of salvation...purchased above...Born of His spirit...Washed in His blood."

Thank God, we can come into God’s awesome presence with singing and say with the Psalmist, “let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.“ May we say with our life and with our words, “This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long
.” AMEN.

1. United Methodist Hymnal, Roman Numeral page 7.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Pedophilia: The Exploitation of Children

Pedophilia The Exploitation of Children: A few years ago a friend of a friend's husband was arrested for involvement with child pornography on the internet. I do not know the details but this man was a respected Christian judge. He was sentenced to prison and served about two years in prison.

How in the world did a respected, responsible citizen get to this point in his life?

We are told that pornography is addictive and like other addictions reguires more and more to satisfy? In the case of porn, more explicit and sometimes one may go from adult to child porn?

I heard very early one morning recently a report that was beyond the imagination of normal adults in a civilized country; the arrests and busting up of a Pedophilia Molestation Ring on the internet. Children, one as young as eigthteen months, were being brutaliy and sexually molested.

Recently, my daughter, Dr. Janice Crouse wrote a book about "Children at Risk," addressing the problem.

My mother was born in 1885. Her father, Charles Dick had died when she was a baby and a few months before her younger brother was born. (Charles Dick had gone hunting on Christmas day. He caught a cold which turned into flu and pneumonia).

At age 2, my mother, her five siblings and pregnant widowed mother were moved from Clay County, Alabama to her grandfather's farm in the Inman community in Fayette County, Georgia.

My mother grew up in a little house on her grandfather’s farm. Her grandfather was a community and church leader. He was a respected Methodist preacher and owned a large farm.

But this was in the late 19th century. The South was still in reconstruction. Many who still owned land were "land poor." Some of the children had to drop out of school and work in the cotton fields and some got jobs in a cotton mill nearby to help support their widowed mother and siblings.

My mother's youngest brother, Irvin Dick we are told, got a job at age 12, running an elevator in a Cotton Mill about 15 miles from their home in Inman Georgia.

In 1988, my brother and a cousin and I rode together to Griffin Georgia to attend the funeral of a cousin. Our conversation turned to family history. My mother’s family has been a family, not wealthy , but community leaders, teachers and preachers, land owners, office holder.

My brother, Bill (eighteen years older than I) recounted to me some of the family history. Our conversation turned to talking about how wonderful it is to now have better opportunities for women left alone with children. Now we have more opportunities for widows.
We now have child labor laws, so children no longer have to leave school to work in cotton fields and cotton mills to help support their families.

Then I thought, in some respects, we have gone backwards. We do not have children working their childhood away in cotton fields or standing all day on stools to reach spindles in cotton mills.

But we have child alcoholics, children who are addicted to other drugs, children abused emotionally, physically and sexually as reported in the news article that began this writing. Children stealing and killing. You know the headlines as well as I.

Also it seems that today's clothing industries are determined to turn all our girls, younger and younger from early childhood on into sex objects with the ready-made clothing on the market? (1)

There is an answer and it is God’s answer. During those difficult years, many learned about God's love and wonderful plan for life. In our desperation many believed and turned to God's plan by faith is Jesus Christ. We got our children back in school, educated, prosperous. Then, in our arrogance, many said, “OK God we’ll take over now."

How much more tragedy and messed up lives in our nation do we have to see before we fall on our knees in repentance?

1. No, I am not "citing female dress" as a cause for any of the exploitation or rape of children or older females. However, many see it as an example of the unhealthy sexuality in our society.

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