Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah way

Matt Walsh assesses the movie "Noah" in I’m a Christian and I think ‘Noah’ deserves a four star review:

"They padded it with enough action movie clichés to draw interest from secular crowds, they hid the outright blasphemy well enough to please gullible Christian crowds, and they mocked Biblical theology blatantly enough to delight the critics.

"They came up with a way to make millions while exploiting the various sensibilities of different audience demographics."

Select the link above for the full review.

Another review:
Noah – The Emperor’s New Movie

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Forgotten quotes, forgotten notes

"As I have forgotten my notes this morning," the minister apologetically began his sermon, "I will have to rely on the Lord for guidance. But tonight I will come better prepared!" --  Noted minister

From this explosion all the fragments join:
Joy tunes the fray until the song is one.
(adapted from Madeleine L'Engle)

"A church that has to be supported by tea parties, ice cream socials, and fried chicken is as weak as the tea, as cold as the ice cream, and as dead as the chicken." -- Copied

"The Christian faith is first an individual matter, but it never remains that..." -- Robert Rayburn

“We’re not in the land of the living and heading for the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living.” -- Larry Moody

"The rooster often rules the roost, but the hen often rules the rooster." -- copied

"Sad is the house where the hen crows and the rooster is silent." -- Chinese proverb

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oblong format songbook advantages

"Musical notation requires more space than a literary text. It is usually read more slowly (the rough approximation of a minute a page for books is, generally, a half to one-fifth of the time required for a page of music), and it is read at the fixed pace specified by the tempo of the music. The process of performance also denies the reader any freedom to re-read, to skim, or to stop momentarily at the end of a line or a page, even for purposes of turning the page. For such reasons, special layout patterns have been found desirable for musical notation." -- Krummel, p. 312

Advantages of oblong format dispersed staff shape note books:

1. there is a longer span of continuous musical text which conveys better the linear construction of the music. (longer staves and fewer line ends)
2. the sight-reader benefits from fewer interruptions in the line of music on a page; i.e. you can read across the page for a longer period of time before the interruption of shifting to the next...
3. the singer can more easily look over the top of an oblong page in order to watch the leader (as opposed to looking over a tall or upright page)
4. the dispersed staffs better display part/voice crossing.
5. an oblong book stays open on its on better than an upright book (e.g. laying open in your lap).

Disadvantages of oblong format dispersed staff shape note books:

1. the oblong page is slightly more awkward to turn (the page-turning hand must travel further; not a problem very often, since there are not that many "page-turners").
2. multiple lines of text are farther away from the line of music.
3. an open oblong book takes up more horizontal space (not usually a problem, unless the  location is exceptionally small and the chairs forced as closely as possible).

Some thoughts based on: D. W. Krummel, "Oblong Format in Early Music Books." The Library, Series Five, XXVI, no. 4 (1971): 312–24

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quot 'em up, move 'em out

Various quotes from here and there

"I would rather help a lot of people who don't need it than to risk not helping the man who does." -- Ben M. Bogard

"You will only be as happy as your unhappiest child." -- copied

"Genealogy is your history...the story of you." -- Blue Ridge Rambler

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"There is plenty of teaching and preaching.  Churches and conferences spread tables loaded with superabundance.  But we have no wine.  The exhilaration of the Spirit is lacking.  The spiritual wine that makes glad the heart of man is gone.  We need a heart-warming."  -- Vance Havner, Hearts Afire

"Worship is an end in itself; it is not a means to something else." -- Franklin Segler

"The demands of this rushing age are so numerous that the multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make preparation for their meeting with God." -- A. W. Pink

Thursday, March 27, 2014

W. A. Robinett (or Robinette)

Robinett, W. A. This is likely Wesley Allen Robinette, born March 20, 1861 in Georgia to Wesley and Elizabeth Robinette. He married Callie Ann Cunningham in 1883 in Pike County, Alabama, and died October 13, 1945. He is buried in the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery at Grimes in Dale County, Alabama. Another possibility is Warren A. Robinette (1878-1949), who is buried at the City Cemetery in Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama. Robinette/Robinett was on the 1902 Revision Committee for The Sacred Harp. He was also a member of the 1909 and 1911 J. L. White Sacred Harp book revision committees. No. 66, Security, was originally attributed to Robinett, though later printings dropped the attribution (whether by mistake or by way of correction is not known).
66        Security
86b       Clayton (removed in 1950)
243a     Yarbrough
271a     Safety
418       Rees (arranged bass)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Movie, Sports, Church

Movie, Sports, Church: 3 links

* Box Office: ‘God’s Not Dead’ Soaring to $8.2 Million Opening in Limited Release -- "Christian drama “God’s Not Dead,” opening in fewer than 800 theaters, is on track for an impressive $8.2 million this weekend." The low-budget “God’s Not Dead” tells the story of a college student who sets out to prove God’s existence.

* Peyton Manning jokes about Tiger Woods' world ranking in Golf Channel interview -- "Peyton Manning...used Tiger's name when he was behind center and wanting the play to go on a single snap count."

* Why churches should brace for a mass exodus of the faithful --  "Don't like the traditionalism of your congregation? If you're a Protestant, you can find a more liberal, mainline alternative. If you're a Jew, look for a Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist synagogue."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Singing in Redland Community Center

It won't be very long until the Christian Harmony singing at Old Redland. Make your plans to attend. We will gather (d.v.) on Saturday April 26, 2014. It will be followed on Sunday with a Sacred Harp singing at Pine Grove.

London Christian Harmony Singing, 27 Oct 2013 -- A nice album of 62 tracks from the London Christian Harmony Singing held in October 2013, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Arthur Swindells.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chopping wood

"Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice." -- Henry Ford

If you really want "double your money" from your Bible, you should "chop your own wood." Study it for yourself. Sadly, some people only get the warming from someone else's study.

Sacred Harp in Washington, Arkansas

Last Sunday afternoon we gathered and sang in the historic (constructed 1861) Washington Methodist Church building in Washington, Arkansas. The singing was an (re)introduction of Sacred Harp to this area, and part of their larger weekend Jonquil Festival at the Washington State Park. We had some singers from East Texas and Northwest Arkansas, as well as locals and visitors to the festival. Because of having more visitors than singers with books, we sang selections from both the 1991 and 2012 editions of The Sacred Harp, rather than trying to have books for everyone (I even snuck in one from the 1911 J. L. White book). We hope all had a joyous time. It is the intent of the organizers to make this an annual event.

Thanks to B. R. Black of the Shiloh Sacred Harp Singers for giving us this pictures and the permission to use them. Click on the image to see a larger image.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

NCAA, again

Who knew Mercer University had a basketball team??? Oh, well, I guess it's good to know that even weak Baptists can defeat Blue Devils!

Congrats, Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, Texas, on your win over VCU.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Peyton Place

* Checkdowns: Judging QBs By Their Top 5 Seasons -- "...this list is still arguably biased...because today’s quarterbacks pass more often, and passing more often enables a quarterback to amass more above-average value."

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Nacogdoches residents and Stephen F. Austin alumni are proud that their SFA Lumberjacks basketball team have made it into the NCAA tournament. This will be their 2nd appearance.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dothan Guano and Sacred Harp

 It’s Not a Question of What Can Be Done

TAYLOR, ALA., November [9], 1908
Mr. E. R. MALONE, President, Dothan Guano Co., Dothan, Ala.
            Dear Sir:--In reply to your request for a statement of the amount of lint cotton raised by me on my farm in Geneva County, Ala., this year I will say [that I raised] Four Thousand Two Hundred and Thirty- Seven [pounds of] lint cotton off of Five Acres. I carefully measured the land and weight the 8 bales of cotton.  I planted it in rows six feet wide and it looked like it ought to have been wider.  I am a believer   in big [?? ?fertilize? ??] and the [????????????????????] ought to convince any farmer that it pays. I used GRANGE MIXTURE [G??????????????????] by Dothan Guano Company and bought from [G?? & Co.,] Malvern, Alabama [?????????????????????????????????????] the [?rade M??????leires Green Fields”)] as being a strictly High Grade Fertilizer [??????????????????????] to be obtained. It contains a large per-  centage of Potash and seems to [m???????????? ????ly] suited to the soils of my section.
Yours truly,            JOHN W. McLENDON

But What We are DOING

Above is an attempt to copy the advertisement on the back of the 1909 edition of The Sacred Harp by W. M. Cooper, a book which belonged to my maternal grandparents. The cover is highly worn, and the material in brackets is what I can't read. I tried to make this look kind of like it did on the book, but the formatting didn't "keep" when I transferred it to blogger. John W. McLendon -- the author of the letter -- was born in Randolph Co. Georgia in 1852. His parents were John A. McLendon and Mary Collins. They moved to Alabama after 1852 and moved to Holmes Co. Florida before the 1860 Holmes County census. John W. McLendon married Caroline Nall circa 1874. They were living in Geneva, Co. Alabama in 1880. He is buried at the Big Creek Methodist Church Cemetery in Houston County, Alabama. I have not been able to determine what relation he was to Elder John F. McLendon, whose name appears in the 1907 Preface to the Cooper Sacred Harp book. Elder McLendon was born in south Alabama, but was living in Cushing, Texas at the time his name was affixed to the Preface. [Guano is bat manure.]

I believe that E. R. Malone is Edgar Robert Malone (1867-1951), buried at Dothan City Cemetery.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Omesay Outesquay

"Simul justus et peccator. [Simultaneously, both saint (righteous) and sinner.]" -- Martin Luther

"In preaching, let us emphasize the gospel, not the garnishes." -- Jared Moore

"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." -- John Godfrey Saxe

"Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler." --  Roger Sessions (composer) paraphrase of Albert Einstein

"There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in." -- Leonard Cohen

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." -- Victor Hugo

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -- Berthold Auerbach

Monday, March 17, 2014

This and that, on St. Paddy's day

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

* 15 Delightful Facts About Saint Patrick’s Day -- "As you might expect, Saint Patrick’s Day is a huge deal in his old stomping grounds. It’s a national holiday in both Ireland and Northern Ireland."
* Christian conservatives should be Christians first and conservatives second -- "Our faith is inherently suspect of all political ideologies — conservatism included"
* St. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary -- "As a teenager Patrick was kidnapped, taken from his home in southern Britain, and sold into slavery on the island of Ireland."
* The Intellectual Snobbery of Conspicuous Atheism -- "Watson assumes that because a group of smart, respected, insightful people thought and felt their way out of believing in God, everyone else should, too."
* Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps 'on the edge of death' -- "Late Saturday, estranged son Nathan Phelps said on Facebook that his father is 'on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas'."
* What the Bible Says About Money -- "He explained to me how there is actually a 'Biblical Money Code' woven into Scripture."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

President Link-on

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

* 5 Surprising Signs Your Co-workers Think You're a Jerk -- "If you find some of your co-workers displaying any of these five signs, you may need to wake up and come to terms with the fact that you’re driving them nuts."
* 25 Ways the Web Has Changed the World -- "The World Wide Web celebrates its 25th birthday this week, and what an impressive 20-something it is."
* A Biblical Perspective on Music -- "Before we can come to an honest and Scripturally led conclusion as to whether our music is a personal preference or a Holy Spirit led convincing, we must read all what God has to say about music."
* Arizona same-sex couples sue state over gay marriage ban -- "The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix by seven same-sex couples and two people whose same-sex partners had died."
* Ben Carson CPAC Speech: Gay People 'Don't Get Extra Rights' -- "Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else, but they don't get extra rights. They don't get to redefine marriage."
* Ben Carson excites CPAC crowd, says left trying to silence him -- "I will continue to defy the PC [political correctness] police who have tried, in many cases, to shut me up! I actually find them pretty amusing."
* Colorado Man Could Sue Divers Who Saved Him From Submerged Car -- "He said the first responders were also included because they did not realize Ortiz was trapped in the car until they prepared to lift it out of the water."
* Faith and Chance -- "Chance Cemetery. Just a few mile north of the Faith, as the golden eagle flies."
* Jesus and Tithing -- "Do these words of Jesus mean that New Covenant believers should tithe?"
* NSA has 'industrial scale' malware for spying -- "...the surveillance technology allows the NSA to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware 'implants'..."
* Obamacare's problem: You can't fix stupid -- "Our Constitutionally guaranteed freedom in this country isn't just a slogan. It means the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. The freedom to be smart, and the freedom to be stupid. And just because you can't fix stupid, it doesn't mean we should try to fix or amend freedom."
* Performance Practice of Early American Hymnody: Tempo and the “Moods of Time” by Erin Fulton -- "Modern time signatures indicate metrical organization in notated music. However, in most American hymnals and psalters published between 1721 and 1809, time signatures also signify very specific tempi."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dothan Home Journal

(Click on picture for larger image)
This advertisement appeared in the front of The Sacred Harp, Revised and Improved, by W. M. Cooper, copyrighted in 1902 and issued in the Spring of 1903. Possibly Cooper needed some financial backing for the work. The Journal claims to be "The organ of the Revised 'Sacred Harp' cause." The back cover has an advertisement for the Dothan Carriage Company.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A difficult name to get right

Underwood, Miss Leila This is possibly the Florence Velelah Underwood, daughter of James Beauford Underwood (1854—1934) and Mary Lou Platt (1852—1918) of Dale and later, Houston County, Alabama. She was born July 5, 1877, probably in Dale County. She became the second wife of James Alexander McLeod (also spelled McCloud) circa 1910. They had four children and lived on a farm near Piney Grove in Houston County. She died March 4, 1943 and is buried in the Selma Church Cemetery at Dothan, Houston County, Alabama. In the censuses her name is variously given as Valula F., F. V., F. Velelia, and Lela. Velelah is the spelling on her tombstone. The 1902 Sacred Harp gives her name as Leila (138, 227) and Lelia (348). It is assumed this is the same individual.
138b     Ogletree (alto)
227       Baptismal Anthem (alto)
348b     Blessed Forever (arranged)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sacred Harp-y Stuff (et al.)

* A joyful noise -- “My mother sang Sacred Harp so, when I got old enough to sing, I sang. I was singing Sacred Harp before I could read. It’s minor music and Sacred Harp is music that you have to sing from the heart. You can’t sing it any other way.”
* Black Sacred Harp Singing in East Texas -- "Throughout much of the twentieth century, African Americans in Texas practiced their own distinctive style of sacred harp music."
* “I’ll Fly Away”: The Music and Career of Albert E. Brumley by Kevin Donald Kehrberg, 2010 PhD Dissertation) -- "Albert E. Brumley (1905-1977) was the most influential American gospel song composer of the twentieth century..."
* Sacred Harp Singing as Preserved Intangible Cultural Heritage -- "Sacred Harp singing of the Southern U.S. is considered by some folklorists to be a preservation 'success story'."


"As for the sound of the booming 'fa- sol- la's', I always associated that with the sad notes of the exiled Children of Israel, when they 'hung their harps on a willow tree'." -- Sara Jane Overstreet

“I like the old style of singing and the words are so scriptural.” -- Kevin Eddins

"In the long run, with their insistence on correct singing and the superiority of European models to indigenous ones, the reformers of the early nineteenth century seem to have dealt an almost fatal blow to participatory music making for the average citizen." -- Neely Bruce

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

Written in Stone

Links about cemetery stuff

* A Serene Fall Scene at Calvary Cemetery -- "A cemetery in Queens, New York with about 3 million burials."
* Cradle Graves: Not Just for Children -- "Although I’ve seen these rectangular shaped graves for years, I only recently learned that it is known as a cradle grave."
* John Hayden Crozier: Music Master of the 85th Regiment -- "Erected by Mary to the memory of her beloved Husband John Hayden Crozier late Music Master to the 85th Reg. King's light infantry"
* Prisoners of Light, by Jack Roberts -- "I am a member of that odd group of people who enjoys visiting old cemeteries."
* The Anchor Cross -- "Is this an anchor or is it a cross? The answer, it is both."
* Victorian Couple's Tragic Loss -- "In Loving Memory of the Children of John and Ann Crompton of Calder Bridge."
* Why Being Unique is Not Always Your Best Bet -- "A young woman tragically died and her family erected SpongeBob SquarePants headstones."

Sunday, March 09, 2014

He careth for you.

“He careth for you.” 1 Pet. 5. 7; Ps. 55. 22

1 Now I see, whate’er betide,
  All is well if Christ be mine;
  He has promised to provide;
  May he teach me to resign.

2 When a sense of sin and thrall
  Forced me to the sinner’s Friend,
  He engaged to manage all,
  By the way and to the end.

3 “Cast,” he said, “on me thy care;
  ’Tis enough that I am nigh;
  I will all thy burdens bear;
  I will all thy needs supply.”

4 Lord, I would indeed submit;
  Gladly yield my all to thee;
  What thy wisdom sees most fit,
  Must be surely best for me.

5 Only when the way is rough,
  And the coward flesh would start,
  Let thy promise and thy love
  Cheer and animate my heart.

Meter 7s; Hymn by John Newton

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Oremay Inkslay

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

* 4 things your doctor doesn't need to know -- "’s offices often don’t understand best practices when it comes to protecting the information they keep on their patients..."
* David Bryan, Cumberland Presbyterian Minister -- "He was one of the pioneer preachers in this country, having moved here in 1834, soon after his ordination."
* Caught on tape: 5 self-serving responses by sex offenders in the church -- " redeeming consequence of this highly troubling video is to teach us more about the distorted beliefs and understandings perpetrators have about the crimes they have committed."
* Church Polity: In Defense of One Pastor by Benjamin Townsend -- "This book is in response to a Plurality of Elder Rule to the exclusion of one Pastor."
* New Jersey teen sues parents because they won’t pay her college tuition -- "An undercurrent in the family matter-turned-lawsuit also appears to involved a tale as old as time: the daughter’s boyfriend."
* The Latest Challenge to the Bible's Accuracy: Abraham's Anachronistic Camels? -- "Despite the latest study of bones, evidence indicates the iconic desert animals do belong in Genesis."
* The ten richest U.S. presidents -- "...the only currently living president who is counted among of the wealthiest of all time is President Clinton."
* Unsung heroes: The Year of Alabama Music -- "Rev. David Bryan’s “Songster’s Companion,” written for the Cumberland Presbyterians and published in Jacksonville, Ala., in 1837, may be the first hymnbook produced in Alabama."
* Who are the real gay marriage bigots? "...virtually everyone involved in the gay marriage battle is a bigot...a traditionalist religious believer who professes to hold no animus toward homosexuals and yet opposes gay marriage because she conceives of marriage as 'a religious sacrament with a procreative purpose'....And so, also, is a gay marriage supporter who can see no relevant moral distinction between these two positions — and is willing and eager to hurl insults as a means of bullying them both into submission."

Friday, March 07, 2014

T. W. Loftin

Loftin, Thomas Willard (June 8, 1874—December 25, 1967) was born in Alabama to Thomas Green Loftin and Mary Frances Trant. Thomas Willard Loftin married Viola Zora Marshall (1870—1940) about 1893 and they had 9 children. He married second Rosa Lee Clark (1905—1973). Loftin had moved to Florida by 1918 and worked as a barber in DeFuniak Springs, Florida – according to the 1920 and 1930 censuses. Thomas, Viola, and Rosa are buried in the Magnolia Cemetery, DeFuniak Springs, Walton County, Florida. Loftin had connections to all three revisers of the Sacred Harp. Two of his tunes – Sorrowing Soul and Praise His Name – were published in Cooper’s 1902 edition of The Sacred Harp. Loftin served on the J. L. White revision committee and several of his songs are included in the White book (The Sacred Harp, 4th edition with supplement): Praise Our GodGone to Rest, Alone, and Heavenly Grace, as well as an arrangement of The Hebrew Children. Another of his compositions – The Wondrous Cross – is presented in J. S. James's Union Harp and History of Songs. Of him James wrote: "Professor Lofton (sic) of Alabama, the author of the above tune, is a fine director of music, has a splendid voice, and composes music with ease. He is a great lover of the old sacred songs. At the present time, 1909, he is engaged with Prof. J. L. White in revising the 'Sacred Harp,' which will be distributed in a few months." (Union Harp, p. 185) Loftin served on the 1927 Cooper book revision committee. The arrangement of Heavenly Grace is slightly different in the Cooper and White books.
            109a     Sorrowing Soul (arranged; removed 1907)
            393a     Praise His Name (removed 1907)
    527       Heavenly Grace
    557       Jordan's Banks
    571       Land of Rest (removed 1992)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Think link

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

* 6 Realistic Rules for Better Sleep -- "Steer clear of all the hard-and-fast rules and do what makes sense for your lifestyle."
* 21 things that shouldn’t be said to sexual abuse victims -- "My intention in writing these is not to shame those who want to help, or make them walk on eggshells. Instead it’s to help friends and family members of victims best love and understand the sexual abuse recovery journey."
* Ariona Senate Bill 1062 -- There was a lot of news and online discussion, but very few actually read the text of the Senate Bill 1062.
* Prisoner gets Supreme Court hearing using handwritten form -- "The Supreme Court added five new cases on Monday, including a case about wearing beards behind bars that resulted from a handwritten petition."
* The Power of Healthy Eating: How This Woman Healed Herself with a Healthy Diet -- "The food you choose to eat has drastic effects on your body, and we don't just mean your waistline. A young woman with a debilitating illness found her miracle cure not with medicine, but with a change in her diet."
* Hattie turns some leaves -- Web log of a Moody Bible Institute ethnomusicology student
* We Won’t Solve Biblical Literacy with Bible Trivia -- " can memorize the details and still not know the story."

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

More wisdom from Bart "Barebones" Barber

Many pastors face the temptation to keep a "Friends List" and an "Enemies List." These are the two sides. The first list is populated by saints; the second list is populated by the spawn of Satan sent from Hell to ensure, by thwarting my personal plans, that the world slides off into perdition. Every person on the "Friends List" is in peril of being moved to the "Enemies List" simply by opposing (or perhaps even by not supporting vigorously enough) something that I want to do. No person on the "Enemies List" can have the hope of being moved to the "Friends List," because once an enemy, always an enemy. The pastor who operates this way stays at a church for three years or so until the "Friends List" cupboard is bare, at which time he moves somewhere else and starts over. -- Bart Barber

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Identifying Sacred Harp editions

Jesse Karlsberg has put together two helpful very blog posts about identifying editions of The Sacred Harp. This can be a very involved process, but these will place you at a good starting point.

* The Page 37 Test: Identifying Basic Editions of The Sacred Harp -- "...some guidance on how to identify and distinguish among editions of the tunebook."
* Identifying Sacred Harp Editions -- A helpful table of Sacred Harp editions

The list of Tunebooks, Music Books, and Hymnals by Steven Sabol and Warren Steel will show where some of The Sacred Harp editions are available.

Monday, March 03, 2014

News from Sandy Valley: A Time to Die

Roe Tate, older brother of Speck, Poden and Dick, was a most respected citizen of Sandy Valley, even though he had never seen clear to attach himself to the body of Christ. He faithfully attended meetings of the congregation, and believed and lived by the truths taught therein. Perhaps more firmly than most he was dearly devoted to the doctrine of divine decrees. What God decreed would not fail to happen in God's time. Roe's commitment confirmed his status as a bachelor and his life outside the Sandy Valley congregation. God had neither determined that he have a wife, nor revealed to him whether he was among God's chosen. None of these things abated his attachment to the things of God.

Uncle Roe, as all respected older men were labeled -- unless they were Pa or Grandpa or Elder or Deacon -- lived on his farm mostly unaffected by modern conveniences. With old age creeping nigh, he often paid someone to help with some of the larger farm tasks. Unattached to the Sandy Valley congregation, he was free to hire the excommunicated Ellis Woodenby, which he did on this necessary occasion. Ellis was a night time gad-about, but he never failed to give Roe Tate an honest day's work.

When Ellis arrived Uncle Roe turned over the reins of his fully laden wagon to Ellis and they made their trek to the South Hill field. In the late afternoon a furious thunder and lightning storm swiftly rolled in on them. Unable to outrun it, Ellis pulled their drenched wagon (and selves) up under a sprawling oak tree that afforded some protection. Sizing up the situation, Roe looked at Ellis with grave concern and slowly drawled, "Ellis, you ort-n-a pulled up under this tree with all this lightning a-goin' on."

With a wry grin Ellis replied, "Now Uncle Roe, you know it won't matter if it ain't your time."

Slowly Uncle Roe nodded a somewhat reluctant agreement. "Yes, Ellis...but I was a-thinkin' it might be yore time!"

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Theology of Johnny Cash

Will Fitzgerald called my attention to these posts about Johnny Cash by  blogger Richard Beck, a professor at Abilene Christian University. I thought some of you might also find these interesting.

"Cash got his big break in 1954 when he walked into Sam Phillips's Sun Records in Memphis, TN."

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Of all the dogs we love the best,
Are those who wag the more and growl the less.