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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sacred Harp Markers, East Texas Convention

East Texas Musical Convention
Texas State Historical Marker # 15375
Approved in 2004, installed in 2005
Sponsored by the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention

Text on marker:
East Texas Musical Convention
Sacred Harp (Fasola) singing is based on a system of shaped notes, dispersed harmony, and minor chords. In its origins it was rural, folk, religious music that allowed singers to interpret, or personalize, the sounds. Brought westward by migrating settlers, and kept alive through special songbooks, it found a welcome home in East Texas, where many settlers were from the south. Tradition holds that the East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Society, forerunner of the East Texas Musical Convention, dates to 1855. Suspended briefly during the Civil War years, the annual conventions, centered on six area counties, have maintained their popularity through the years. (2005)


Due to the fact that the East Texas Convention was a moveable convention with no certain location – and that the exact location of organization is uncertain – the historical marker was placed on the grounds of the Depot Museum in Henderson, Texas. Since the marker was received from the Texas Historical Commission, the Convention could not just write what we wanted. Information had to be submitted to the Commission and they wrote the text of the marker. Some of us were not completely satisfied, having asked the marker to be changed to the following text (and which we thought was done):

Sacred Harp (Fasola) singing is based on a system of shaped notes and Four-Part Harmony, with emphasis on dispersed harmony and minor chords. In its origins it was Rural, Folk, Religious Music that allowed Singers to Interpret, or Personalize, the Sounds. Brought westward by Migrating Settlers, and kept alive through special songbooks, It found a welcome home in East Texas, where many Settlers were from the South. Tradition holds the East Texas Sacred Harp Musical Convention dates to 1855. Suspended briefly during the Civil War years, the Annual Conventions, centered on six area Counties, have maintained their popularity through the years.

Even this text was not how we would have written it, but was a compromise suggestion with what the Commission sent to us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A politician cursed, commentary

Last week I read Alan Rudnick’s opinion piece in Baptist News, A politician cursed. But the selective outrage of many Christians was also obscene.
“Of all of the possible obscenities a Christian could protest, much of the outrage over a single word equates to a kind of selective moral inequality. True, words are important, but Jesus stressed orthopraxy in kingdom priorities – such as care for neighbor, the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized – above superficial, public piety.”
Rudnick’s piece shows that some conservative Christians have their tails in a crack, suddenly outraged over the vulgar speech of U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib after they have been overlooking the vulgar speech of Donald Trump. True enough; but it also exhibits the uncomfortable position that the liberals have put themselves in after exerting so much energy condemning Trump. While she really spoke their minds, they must tell us to ignore the man behind the curtain and think about something else. How about we have genuine public piety and stress Jesus’s kingdom priorities?

Apples, Bananas, 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.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Thou preparest a table

An eight-year old boy was disciplined for deliberate and premeditated disobedience. In the process of the discipline, he was not allowed to sit at the supper table with the rest of his family. They set up a TV tray off to the side for him. Their customary before-supper prayer included a time in which everyone shared a biblical thought or quote.

The father said, “Whom the Lord loves he chastens, even as a father corrects his son.”

The mother said, “Children are still a blessing from God.”

The daughter said, “Rebuke thy brother when he sins—oh, and forgive him if he repents.”

Finally, it was the eight-year old son’s turn. He exclaimed, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies!”

Seek meekness

“Seek meekness.” Zephaniah 2:3
How are we to follow after this grace of meekness? By learning the contrary. How often have we mistaken false fire for the light and fire of God’s Spirit! and have contended more for our own views, in our own spirit, with many rash and unbecoming words, rather than for the glory of God. But after a time we are led to see that strife and contention, in our own spirit, are contrary to the spirit and temper of the gospel, and are brought to see what a blessed grace the spirit of meekness is.
J. C. Philpot (1802 – 1869)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

On an Infant

Most of the poems I include in my Sunday morning musings are hymns that have been set to music. As far as I know, the following poem has not. I ran across “On an Infant” while trying to confirm the hard-to-read epitaph on the tombstone of Elva Lynn Eiland at the Myrtle Springs Cemetery in Van Zandt County, Texas—Happy infant early blest; Rest in peaceful slumber, rest.

The entire poem from which the epitaph was extracted I is as follows:

1. To the dark and silent tomb
Soon I hasted from the womb,
Scarce the dawn of life began,
Ere I measur’d out my span.

2. I no smiling pleasures knew;
I no gay delights could view:
Joyless sojourner, was I,
Only born to weep and die.

3. Happy infant, early blest!
Rest, in peaceful slumber, rest;
Early rescu’d from the cares
Which increase with growing years.

4. No delights are worth thy stay,
Smiling as they seem, and gay
Short and fickly are they all
Hardly tasted ere they pall.

5. All our gaiety is vain,
All our laughter is but pain:
Lasting only, and divine,
Is an innocence like thine.

Elva Lynn Eiland was a daughter of F. L. Eiland and Minnie Valentine. Franklin Lycurgus Eiland was a gospel composer and hymn writer. He wrote the music for Jennie Wilson’s Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand. Country-and-western songwriter Cindy Walker was Eiland’s granddaughter.

Sweet Songster on Google Books

Couple of years ago I posted about A Singer and His Songs: E. W. Billups and The Sweet Songster.  I wrote:
The copy I have contains 350 pages with 285 numbered hymns, followed by 5 “choruses,” then 6 more hymns that are not numbered, then “A Form of Matrimony” (a short marriage ceremony), and a first lines index.
I have since discovered that The Sweet Songster, a Collection of the Most Popular and Approved Songs, Hymns, and Ballads is on Google Books. The scan there seems to correspond exactly with the reprint that I have.

[Note: it may have been added since I wrote that in October 2016, or perhaps I just failed to find it at the time.]

Saturday, January 19, 2019

(More) Just words

More words, for your enlightenment and pleasure! :-)
  • affluenza, noun. A blend of ‘affluence’ and ‘influenza.’ A social disease resulting from excessive materialism and excessive consumerism. or desire for wealth, associated with negative effects.
  • aglopened, adjective. Frightened, startled.
  • brumal, adjective. Of, belonging to, or characteristic of winter; wintry.
  • butterfingered, adjective. Having a tendency to let things fall or slip from one’s hands; characterized by such clumsiness. Also figurative: clumsy, bumbling.
  • dunaker, noun. A cattle thief.
  • etymon, noun. An earlier form of a word in the same language or an ancestral language (For example, Indo-European duwo and Old English twā are etymons of Modern English two).
  • fisking, noun. The act of making an argument seem wrong or stupid by showing the mistakes in each of its points, or an instance of doing this. Named after Robert Fisk, a British journalist who was a frequent (and deserving) early target of such treatment.
  • frankenfood, noun. Genetically modified food.
  • illiterati, noun. People who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.
  • jabroni, noun. A stupid, objectionable, or ridiculous man; a loser, a knuckle-head.
  • querulist, noun. A person who complains, a complainer.
  • salvific, adjective. Of or relating to redemptive power.
  • siderosous, adjective. Star-struck; (also) full of stars, starry.
  • verbarian, adjective and noun. Of or relating to words.
  • whataboutism, noun. The technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counter-accusation or raising a different issue.
  • zeugma, noun. A rhetorical figure in which a word or phrase is made to apply, in different senses, to two (or more) others, or (formerly) when it agrees grammatically with only one.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The How of Christian Giving

According to the New Testament, Christian giving should be done:
  • Cheerfully 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
  • Confidently Luke 6:38 give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
  • Domestically (Familially) 1 Timothy 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
  • Dutifully Romans 15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
  • Genuinely (Without hypocrisy) Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (See also Acts 5:1-10.)
  • Lovingly 1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (See also Hebrews 6:10 and 1 John 3:17.)
  • Personally 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
  • Privately Matthew 6:1-3 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
  • Proportionately 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (See also Mark 12:41-44.)
  • Readily 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
  • Regularly 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
  • Responsibly Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. (See also Luke 3:10-11.)
  • Responsively Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
  • Spiritually Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
  • Willingly 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (See also Philemon 14.)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Case for Traditional Music, and other music links

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

Christians need another language, and other music quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

"Christians need another language than just words to both prescribe the affections they should have and describe the affections they do have. That other language is music." -- Scott Aniol

"The old minor scale is true and an unalterable fixture which cannot be ignored so long as mother Nature sings her lullabies to a weary, care-worn, sin-beridden world with its millions of aching hearts. Much of that which is called ‘voice culture’ is ‘voice ruin.’ Natural tone or tuning cannot be excelled or improved upon. It can be cultivated, however." -- Henry Smith Rees, The Musical Million, September 1, 1897, p. 136

"Let us have the benefit of both scales [major and minor], for they are in accord with the yearnings of the human heart." -- H. S. Rees, The Musical Million, September 1, 1898, p. 139

"When I commenced on the songs of my childhood and youth, I got up (as it were) into the elysian fields and seemed for a time almost transported to the regions of perfect love and joy." -- A. G. Holloway, The Musical Million, January 1, 1900, p. 13

"The only way to get a good hymn-book is for parsons to choose the music and musicians to choose the words." -- found in A History of Hymns Ancient and Modern, a PhD thesis by Richard William Wilkinson (March 1985), where it is called Elgar's adage

"A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music
as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs." -- Martin Luther

"My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require." -- Edward Elgar

"If you haven’t heard “Amazing Grace” sung by a good class of Sacred Harp singers, heard that deep bass and ringing treble, good voices and bad voices, people from all walks of life – young and old – as far as I’m concerned, you haven’t ever heard it!" -- Jean Beard Sanders

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sacred Harp Historical Markers, Double Springs

In the past I started a list of historical markers about or that somehow refer to Sacred Harp. I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of that information. This one is located on the Courthouse lawn, Double Springs, Winston County, Alabama. It was erected in 1944.


To the Memory of the Brothers
SEABORN M. DENSON and THOMAS J. DENSON
 (1863 — 1935)    (1854 — 1936)  
Who Devoted Their Lives and Gifts to Composing
And Teaching, over Most of the Southland,
“THE SACRED HARP”
THIS STONE IS PLACED
In the Midst of Their Field of Labor by the
Loving Hands of Their Families, Pupils of Their
Singing Schools, Legions of Singers and Other
Friends in the Summer of the Year 1944,
THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF “THE SACRED HARP,”
While
“Uncle Seab” and “Uncle Tom” sing on
[line of music]
way o-ver in the prom-is’d land.
Committee:
L. P. ODEM - RUTH DENSON - Dr. GEORGE P. JACKSON

Freedom Day

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 16, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day -- "Our forefathers, seeking refuge from religious persecution, believed in the eternal truth that freedom is not a gift from the government, but a sacred right from Almighty God."

Religious Freedom Day -- "Each year, the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, and calls upon Americans to 'observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.' The day is the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom."

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom -- "...to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical..."