Monday, November 30, 2015

Undocumented aliens

As I was reading last week, I noticed a report that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised to no longer use the term “illegal immigrants.” Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of the Define American group is leading a campaign to get presidential contenders to promise that they will not to use this term. Vargas says that words matter, claims that “‘illegal’ has become synonymous with ‘Mexican’,” and further states “Those words are offensive and hurtful.” He suggests the word “undocumented” in place of “illegal.” 

I have never heard the idea that folks think “illegal is synonymous with Mexican”. I have no interest in being offensive or hurtful. But... 

Yes, words do matter. And it is a matter of fact that some immigrants are illegal -- that is, they are illegally in this country and in defiance of the immigration laws of the United States. Calling them undocumented won't change that. The presence of folks in the U.S. undocumented and illegally is a problem with no easy solution. Pretending the problem is not a matter of law will not solve it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving for the Harvest

1. We plow the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand,
who sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.

2. You only are the maker
of all things near and far.
You paint the wayside flower,
you light the evening star.
The wind and waves obey you,
by you the birds are fed;
much more to us, your children,
you give our daily bread.

3. We thank you, our creator,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
No gifts have we to offer
for all your love imparts,
but what you most would treasure -
our humble, thankful hearts.

All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.

Matthias Claudius, 1782; Translated by Jane M. Campbell, 1861

Friday, November 27, 2015

Our hearts we raise

1. To Thee, O Lord, our hearts we raise
In hymns of adoration,
To Thee bring sacrifice of praise
With shouts of exultation:
Bright robes of gold the fields adorn,
The hills with joy are ringing,
The valleys stand so thick with corn
That even they are singing.

2. And now, on this our festal day,
Thy bounteous hand confessing,
Upon Thine altar, Lord, we lay
The first-fruits of Thy blessing:
By Thee the souls of men are fed
With gifts of grace supernal;
Thou, Who dost give us daily bread,
Give us the Bread eternal.

3. We bear the burden of the day,
And often toil seems dreary;
But labor ends with sunset ray,
And rest is for the weary;
May we, the angel-reaping o'er,
Stand at the last accepted,
Christ's golden sheaves for evermore,
To garners bright elected.

4. Oh, blessèd is that land of God,
Where saints abide forever;
Where golden fields spread fair and broad,
Where flows the crystal river:
The strains of all its holy throng
With ours to-day are blending;
Thrice blessèd is that harvest-song
Which never hath an ending.

William Chatterton Dix, 1863

Thursday, November 26, 2015

For Thanksgiving

By the blog owner, Common Meter (25 Nov 2015) 

1. Our God a gracious Saviour is, 
A Shepherd and a King. 
He lifts us from our miry pits 
To feed on pastures green. 

2. He sets our feet upon a Rock: 
That Rock is Christ the Lord, 
Who leads us by the waters still-- 
The water of His word. 

3. Give thanks, give thanks with paeans loud, 
Strew palm leaves at His feet. 
Thank Jesus for His sacrifice, 
And for His mercy seat!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jasper Barnes and The Sacred Harp

A tentative look at Jasper Barnes, First Vice-Chairman of The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition revision committee:

Barnes, Jasper, served as the First Vice-Chairman of the revision committees that produced two versions of The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition, and The Sacred Harp, Fourth Edition with Supplement. This is probably Jasper Ebenezer Barnes, who was the son of John and Catherine Barnes. He was born January 5, 1838 in Coffee County, Alabama. He married first Penelope Ann Miller (1840–1888) around 1860, and they had several children. After her death he married Sarah B. Sanders (1842–1924) circa 1890. He served the Confederacy during the Civil War, enlisting as a corporal in Company B, Alabama Hilliard's 4th Infantry Battalion. He was a farmer by occupation. Jasper Barnes died Oct in 27, 1924 Houston County. He and his wives are buried at the Clark Cemetery at Dothan in Houston County, Alabama. This Vice-Chairman, though, could possibly have been Jasper E. Barnes (1864–1916),[i] a son of Jasper Ebenezer Barnes. This Jasper Barnes married Callie Smith in 1886. In 1912 he was serving as a board director at the First National Bank of Dothan. He and his wife are buried at the Dothan City Cemetery in Houston County, Alabama. A third Jasper Ebenezer Barnes (1895–1972) in this family was the grandson of the first and nephew of the second, and would have been too young to have served on the committee with J. L. White. Two discovered items that connect Jasper Barnes of Dothan to Sacred Harp could only refer to the elder Barnes.[ii] This does not prove, however, that the son was not connected to Sacred Harp singing.

The Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Alabama, Friday, March 1, 1912 - Page 4
“Sacred Harp Sing,” The Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Alabama, Tuesday, June 13, 1944 - Page 2
The Musical Courier, Volume 85, No. 2, (New York, Whole No. 2205) July 13, 1922, p. 36
U.S. Federal Censuses 1860-1870 Dale County, 1880 Geneva County, 1900 Geneva County, 1910 Houston County, 1920 Houston County

[i] Genealogists disagree whether the son’s middle name was Ebenezer or Emanuel.
[ii] “Dothan, Ala.—The Sacred Harp Singers met here on June 4 for their regular monthly singing. The singers were called to order by E. O. Spivey (chairman). W. C. Tidwell, Jasper Barnes, Joel Tew, J. F. Patterson, John Woodham and R. S. Scarborough taking part. After the intermission, F. G. Barber, Ed Howell, John Edmonson, B. P. Poyner, O. G. Tidwell and James Helms sang.” (The Musical Courier, Volume 85, No. 2, New York, Whole No. 2205, July 13, 1922, p. 36) The son was deceased at the time, so this person could only be the elder Barnes or his grandson. “SACRED HARP SING. The public is invited to attend the annual Sacred Harp sing given in honor of Jasper Barnes at the home of his son, John Barnes, of Dothan route one, Sunday, June 18.” (The Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Alabama, Tuesday, June 13, 1944 - Page 2). Only the elder Jasper Barnes had a son named John.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Restoring and preserving grace

Psalm 138, Long Meter metrical psalm by Isaac Watts

With all my powers of heart and tongue
I'll praise my Maker in my song:
Angels shall hear the notes I raise,
Approve the song, and join the praise.

Angels that make thy church their care
Shall witness my devotions there,
While holy zeal directs my eyes
To thy fair temple in the skies.

I'll sing thy truth and mercy, Lord,
I'll sing the wonders of thy word;
Not all thy works and names below
So much thy power and glory show.

To God I cried when troubles rose;
He heard me, and subdued my foes;
He did my rising fears control,
And strength diffused through all my soul.

The God of heav'n maintains his state,
Frowns on the proud, and scorns the great;
But from his throne descends to see
The sons of humble poverty.

Amidst a thousand snares I stand,
Upheld and guarded by thy hand;
Thy words my fainting soul revive,
And keep my dying faith alive.

Grace will complete what grace begins,
To save from sorrows or from sins
The work that wisdom undertakes
Eternal mercy ne'er forsakes.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Coddling the American Mind, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lost in wonder, love and praise

Gratitude. (Common Meter)

When all thy mercies, O my God,
my rising soul surveys,
transported with the view, I'm lost
in wonder, love and praise.

Thy Providence my life sustained,
and all my wants redressed,
while in the silent womb I lay,
and hung upon the breast.

To all my weak complaints and cries
thy mercy lent an ear,
ere yet my feeble thoughts had learned
to form themselves in prayer.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
thy tender care bestowed,
before my infant heart conceived
from whom those comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
with heedless steps I ran,
thine arm unseen conveyed me safe,
and led me up to man.

Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths,
it gently cleared my way;
and through the pleasing snares of vice,
more to be feared than they.

O how shall words with equal warmth
the gratitude declare,
that glows within my ravished heart?
but thou canst read it there.

Thy bounteous hand with worldly bliss
hath made my cup run o'er;
and, in a kind and faithful Friend,
hath doubled all my store.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
my daily thanks employ;
nor is the last a cheerful heart
that tastes those gifts with joy.

When worn with sickness, oft hast thou
with health renewed my face;
and, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
revived my soul with grace.

Through every period of my life
thy goodness I'll pursue
and after death, in distant worlds,
the glorious theme renew.

When nature fails, and day and night
divide thy works no more,
my ever grateful heart, O Lord,
thy mercy shall adore.

Through all eternity to thee
a joyful song I'll raise;
for, oh, eternity's too short
to utter all thy praise!

By Joseph Addison, 1712