Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Missed Cell Lanius

* Seven Trends in Church Names -- "Newer churches are consistently using descriptors in their names other than denominational affiliation."

* New New Atheism -- "There was a time when atheism was synonymous with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other Horsemen of New Atheism...a new generation of atheists have rejected the battle cries against the devout. This can be seen nowhere more clearly than in the UK. Where a new type of atheism is emerging."

God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge — A Response to Matthew Vines -- "...the real question is whether what Vines claims is true and faithful to the Bible as the Word of God."

* Book review: Heaven Is For Real -- "Embarking on a short tour of the afterlife is all the rage, it seems."

* 3 reasons I'm not a fan of the “I went to heaven” books -- "The more popular varieties of these books have often led many within our congregation to ask whether or not I’ve read these books and what I thought."

“It’s better to want what you don’t have than have what you don’t want!”

There is no ‘natural’ religion; all religion is revealed through prophetic vision.

Tis not that I did choose Thee.
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me.

Thou from the sin that stained me
Hast cleansed and set me free;
Of old Thou hast ordained me,
That I should live to Thee.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vaughn ordinations

Last Monday (April 21, 2014) we laid to rest the body of Gilford Harris Vaughn in the Land of Memories Cemetery, Palestine, Texas, to await the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thinking about his ministry and his passing, I noticed a curious coincidence I had never noticed before.

In 1897, Gilford's grandfather (and my great-grandfather) Marshall L. Vaughn was ordained by Smyrna Baptist Church. 43 years later, in 1940 Gilford H. Vaughn was ordained by Smyrna Baptist Church in 1940. 43 years after that, Robert L. Vaughn was ordained by Smyrna Baptist Church in 1983.

Marshall L. Vaughn gave the charge at the ordination of Gilford Vaughn. Gilford Vaughn gave the charge at the ordination of Robert Vaughn. V. S. Lyles served on both ordination councils. He was clerk at Robert Vaughn's ordination. He wrote of Gilford Vaughn's charge, "Bro. Gilford Vaughn, a Former Member of Smyrna Baptist Church and pastor of Cross Roads Baptist Church, Normangee, Texas, brought the CHARGES to the Candidate and the Church. Reading Acts 20:27-32 and II Tim. 1:8, then He Charged The Church to Pray for Bro. ROBERT, and hold him up at a Throne of Grace of GOD. And to support the Ministery. (It was a good message.)"

The Believer's Struggle for Assurance

"Any religion that does not stand in divine teachings, sweet applications, blessed manifestations, and heavenly testimonies, I would throw it aside from me as an unclean garment. I would bury all such rags and tatters in the first dunghill that I came to." -- J. C. Philpot 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Which J. M. Phillips??

Phillips, J. M. This composer remains unidentified. Two possibilities are: (1) Elder James Monroe "Jim" Phillips. He was born in St. Clair County, Alabama, April 16, 1883, the son of John Phillips and Martha Ann Hill. He married Susie Jordan Green. Phillips died June 3, 1975. He and his wife are buried at the Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Taits Gap, Blount County, Alabama. He was known to be a Sacred Harp singer, but not known to be a songwriter. He was the father of singer Virgil Phillips, and brother of George Donahoo Phillips, who wrote the words of Phillips Farewell in 1962 (No. 549, 1991 Edition of The Sacred Harp). He was a brother to the grandfather of William L. Green (q.v.). Jim Phillips was a farmer and a Primitive Baptist preacher. (2) James Monroe Phillips of Dale County, Alabama (1866—1933). He was the son of Isham James Lunsford Phillips and Annie D Bush. He married Ada Matilda Helms (1867—1958) circa 1884. They are buried at the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, Dykes Crossroad, Dale County, Alabama. He lived in the area where many composers represented in the Cooper book live, as well as having the right initials and living in the right time period. But his relationship to Sacred Harp or status as a composer is unknown.

565       Marching to That Home

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Alcohol links

For better or worse, some things you can read online about the Bible and alcohol, from prohibition, abstinence, and moderation viewpoints. The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Alcohol and the Bible -- "Obviously this new assertion that alcohol was evil and that consuming it was sinful faced a major problem: Jesus, himself, had used wine and had approved of its moderate consumption. Thus, the 'two-wine' doctrine was formulated to deal with these otherwise inconsistent facts."
* Alcohol Abstinence: Bias or Biblical? -- "The course of my current understanding of the Bible and alcohol looks more like a roller coaster than a NASCAR event."
* Alcohol – What the Bible Really Says -- "Many religious people believe that God has forbidden any use of alcoholic beverages — that any use of alcohol is wrong and sinful."
* Christians and Alcohol -- "This will be an issue that will forever be debated among Christians."
* Christians and Alcohol: An Abstinent View -- "To discover what the Scripture actually says on the matter cannot be ascertained in a cursory approach. One has to dig, really dig."
* Does Scripture Permit Us to Drink Alcoholic Beverages? -- "Few issues have generated more heated debate among Christians than that of the morality of alcohol consumption."
* God's Word from the Scriptures versus Man's Doctrine on the issue of Alcohol -- "There are many scripture verse warnings dealing with the dangers of alcohol and the excessive drinking of liquor."
* Is it okay for Christians to drink alcohol? -- "It is not a sin to have a drink.  But, in saying this, we have to be careful not to encourage the misuse of alcohol upon ourselves or by using it to cause others to stumble."
* The Bible and Alcohol -- "I think the best balance on this issue can be see in Luke 7:33-34: John the Baptist abstained from drinking wine; Jesus did not abstain. Both respected one another and both recognized that their individual lifestyles were not universal principles."
* The Bible and Alcohol: Moderation or Abstinence? -- "Since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 most evangelical churches have gradually abandoned their stand for total abstinence, adopting instead a moderationist position toward alcohol use."

"Often, non-moderationist argumentation inadvertently and negatively affects certain aspects of the Christian faith. It can undercut the authority of Scripture (in that any universal condemnation of what Scripture allows diminishes the authority of Scripture in Christian thought). It may distort the doctrine of Christ (in that any universal censure of something Jesus did detracts from His holiness). It adversely affects our apologetic (in that any denunciation of that which Scripture allows sets forth an inconsistent Biblical witness)." -- Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

More singing, more saying

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” -- Yip Harburg

“He who sings scares away his woes.” -- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

"Anything that divides people, you leave at the door of a singing." -- Warren Steel

“My music teacher offered twittering madrigals and something about how, in Italy, in Italy, the oranges hang on the tree. He treated me - the humiliation of it - as a soprano. These, by contrast, are the six elements of a Sacred Harp alto: rage, darkness, motherhood, earth, malice, and sex. Once you feel it, you can always do it. You know where to go for it, though it will cost you.” -- Mary Rose O'Reilley

“I believe that every living word in that there book [The Sacred Harp] is as true as the gospel.” -- Alabama Sacred Harp singer quoted by Alan Lomax, 1959

"Get enough people singing weird harmonies at the top of their voices and you start feeling a little sorry for the devil." -- Joe Dempsey, from a Washington City Paper review of Awake My Soul

"Preservation is one thing, but raising the dead is a different trick entirely." -- Mike Powell

"Sometimes you get into a spiritual mood that raises the hair on the back of your neck." -- Wesley Haley

“There are three things I like about Sacred Harp: I like the songs they sing; I like the way they sing them; and, most of all, I like the folks that sing them.” -- Curtis Owen

Friday, April 25, 2014

Linkus finkus

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

* 7 Things Remarkably Happy People Do Often -- "Happiness: everyone wants it, yet relatively few seem to get enough of it, especially those in their early forties."
* 8 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Without Thinking -- "Here's what outstanding leaders do almost instinctively. Do you share those instincts?"
* How to protect yourself from the 'Heartbleed' bug -- "A new security bug means that people all across the Web are vulnerable to having their passwords and other sensitive data stolen. Here's what consumers can do to protect themselves."
* Man allows 72-year-old who unwittingly bought his stolen car keep it -- "Last week, a thief stole a 1993 Chrysler New Yorker from a house in Boonville, Indiana and then sold it to a 72-year-old man for $300, in the rightful owner’s name. The 72-year-old man, however, started to have a nagging feeling that the deal was just too good to be true and so he gave the car’s rightful owner, Derk West, a call after looking him up."
* Research Shows Link Between NSAID Use and Gut Disease -- "Recent research shows the OTC drug could be contributing to leaky gut syndrome and celiac disease."
* Supreme Court justices have their heads in the cloud(s) -- "We’ve gotten so used to the Supreme Court deciding major policy issues that it is easy to forget how inadequate is that forum for deciding cases in which cutting-edge technology is involved."
* The IRS Tea Party Targeting Scandal May Have Just Gotten a Lot Worse -- "Lerner has refused to answer questions from Congress, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but only after proclaiming her innocence."
* What’s the Deal with…Mexican Coke? -- "The soft drink Coca-Cola is everywhere. But its cousin to the South, Mexican Coca-Cola, can be harder to find, and for some, is a kind of holy grail of sodas."
* Why would a young person today be religious? -- "Atheists often act as if the findings of modern science (including critical biblical scholarship) make belief in traditional religion impossible, but that issue is typically overstated. A bigger problem is the often horrifying contrast between biblical moral teachings and the behavior of clerics and other ecclesiastical bureaucrats."

Rusk County Singing Convention

Please make time to join us for the Rusk County Singing Convention on the 4th weekend in April. The convention will be held Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Rusk County, Texas.

The Saturday session sings from The Christian Harmony (2010 Revision) at Old Redland Church. Old Redland church house is at the corner of FM 1798 and FM 2496, about 2 miles east of Laneville, Texas. The Sunday session sings from The Sacred Harp (2012 Cooper Revision) at the Old Pine Grove Church & Cemetery. Old Pine Grove is located on County Road 364, southeast of Henderson, Texas. Each day we will start at 10:00 a.m. and conclude around 3:00 p.m.

More information here:

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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Possible composer Lula Munny

Munny, Lula may be Lula Jane Money, born July 14, 1885 in Alabama[i] to Neil H. Money and Mary Jane Nobles. She married William Abner Fletcher (1880—1967) circa 1903 and they had four children. They were found in the Henry County 1910 and 1920 censuses, but she died November 25, 1929 in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia.  Lula is buried in Pilgrims Rest Freewill Baptist Church Cemetery at Wills Crossroads, Henry County, Alabama. William is buried at the Riverdale Cemetery in Muscogee County, Georgia.[ii]
309       Living Lamb (alto)

[i] Censuses list her place of birth as Alabama, but some genealogists give Edgefield District, South Carolina. The latter seems unlikely, since her father was in Alabama in the 1880 census.
[ii] Despite this being the only plausible candidate I could find, her grandson does not think Lula Jane Money was the same Lula Munny who wrote alto for Living Lamb; personal e-mail correspondence from her grandson, Friday, January 3, 2014

Our friends

Barnwell and Annabelle Anderson

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A comment on the current culture

Genesis 9:20-22 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
Ham would have had a field day in the 21st century. He’d have grabbed his iPhone, shot a picture of his drunken dad, hopefully blurred the unmentionables, and then sent the photo to Instagram—which would have then went to his Twitter account (@Hambone) and then to his Facebook wall.Mike Leake in "A Generation of Ham’s"
Certainly it wouldn't hurt for us to slow down on the things we just have to put on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

This day...

For what it's worth, some people consider James Buchanan the worst President. (I take it with a few grains of salt.)

* James Buchanan: Why is he considered America’s worst president? -- "April 23 marks the birthday of James Buchanan, the man regarded by many historians as one of the worst—if not the worst—presidents of all time. So what did Buchanan do to earn the disrespect of so many people?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quotes on music and singing

"The only thing better than singing is more singing." -- Ella Fitzgerald

"King David, the writer of many of the Psalms, did not alter his unabashed love of music when he achieved political power. One of the first committees he assigned upon ascending his throne was for the creation of music." -- Stanley Brobston

"Tunes for the Psalms I find none set of God: so that each people is to use the most grave decent and comfortable manner that they know how, according to the general rule. The singing notes I have most taken from our Englished psalms when they will fit the mesure of the verse: and for the other long verses I have also taken (for the most part) the gravest and easiest tunes of the French and Dutch psalmes." Easy the tunes certainly are, to the utmost degree of simplicity...the Psalms I find none set of God; so that each people is to use the most grave, decent, and comfortable manner of singing that they know." -- Henry Ainsworth

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” -- Aldous Huxley

"The gift of a talent to sing implies an obligation to improve it, and not to offer unto the Lord the halt and lame, but to cultivate the voice that they may sing to edification, and not to be an annoyance to every one near them." -- B. F. White

“Don’t let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song.” -- Vera Nazarian

"Sing it anyway." -- Martina McBride

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Philpot devotionals: Times of trouble

"But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble." Psalm 37:39
Times of trouble try the saint of God, and they are meant to do so; that is the very purpose why they are sent, for "the Lord trieth the righteous." Still the promise holds good: "he is their strength in the time of trouble." When he breaks up the fountains of the great deep of sin and iniquity, he strengthens his people that they may not be carried away by the flood. When he hides his face, he strengthens them to say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." When temptation besets them sore, when they are put into the furnace, the Lord is with them there, as he was with the three men whom Nebuchadnezzar cast in. The Son of God is there with them, so that not a hair of their head is singed, nor does the smell of fire pass upon them (Dan. 3:27). In all their afflictions he is afflicted, and by sharing it with them supports them under it. He is thus their strength; for he strengthens them with strength in their soul. He enables them to bear the weighty cross--to sustain the heavy load of trial and affliction--to put their mouth in the dust as needing and deserving his chastising strokes, and submit to his righteous dispensations and dealings as plainly sent by a gracious and loving hand. And ever and anon he drops in a sustaining word, gives an encouraging look, bestows a soft and healing touch, and thus helps them to wait in faith and hope until in due time he sends full deliverance. Thus he helps and delivers, and will do so in every time of trouble down to their dying-bed, when he will give them their full and final deliverance from the body of sin and death and a world full of iniquity and sorrow.
J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Hour of Song

The following poem appeared in The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) February 25, 1917 on page 6.

The Hour of Song by Wightman F. Melton

The following bit of verse by Wightman F. Melton, of Emory university, first appeared in the "Just From Georgia" column of  The Constitution. It was then copied by The Richmond Virginian and later reproduced in The Kansas City Star with the accompanying illustration:

Grandpa pitched his tuning fork, a many years ago.
And then he ran his shape note scale of "Fa-so-la-se-do,"
Of "Do-ra-me," and "Fa-so-la," and "Fa-so-la-se-do."

His songbook was the "Sacred Harp"--it opened at the end--
And Grandma sang the "tribble," for to make their voices blend
In "Do-ra-me," and "Fa-so-la," to make their voices blend.

"Amazin' Grace," and "Jordan's Banks," and "The Unclouded Day"
They sang without an organ, and they sang just that-a-way;
A "Do-ra-me," and "Fa-so-la," they sang just that-a-way.

The old folks looked to heaven as a place of endless song
And hoped the angels use shapenotes, or else they might go wrong,
A "Do-ra-me," and "Fa-so-la,"  or else they might go wrong.

"Children of the Heavenly King," journeyed they along,
They left their book and tuning fork, but took to heaven their song,
Of "Do-ra-me," and "Fa-so-la," they took to heaven their song.

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Lastest" quotes

"Heaven is for real, and you're going to like it." -- Colton Burpo

"Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds." -- John Piper

“Beware of reasoning about God’s Word – obey it.” -- Oswald Chambers

"Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table." -- W. H. Auden

“Why do you need a voice when you have a verse?” -- Jim Elliot

"When moved by a right spirit, the Truth is always spoken and received in the love of it; for it is only then that the heart of the Lord’s servants is found inditing a good matter." -- Jeremiah Taylor Moore

"Forgiveness should be freely extended, but it is never free." -- copied

"Why buy the cow if you can have the milk for free?" -- Ancient proverb

"Enough water eventually wears down the rock." -- Ancient proverb

In Memory: 1916-2014

Gilford Harris Vaughn passed away today, Friday April 18, 2014, at 1:30 a.m. He was 97 years old, born August 20, 1916 in Rusk County, Texas. He was a minister of the gospel for a little over 75 years!

Funeral services will be held at the Herrington/Land of Memory Funeral Home in Palestine, Texas at 2:00 p.m. Monday, April 21, 2014. Visitation will be at the same location Sunday evening at 6:00--8:00 p.m. Burial will be at the Land of Memory Cemetery, also in Palestine.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Lastest" links

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

* 5 Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon -- "...start by dropping these familiar fallacies."
* 6 Songs that Changed the World -- Agree or disagree?
* 7 Things That Make You Think You're Hungry (Even When You Don't Need to Eat) -- "Your stomach's the ultimate prankster: It can trick you into believing you're jonesing for food when really, you don't need the sustenance at all."
* 8 Ways to Sing Better Now – Singing Tips Blog -- "Open your mouth when you’re singing!"
* 9 Groundbreaking Scientists Who Happened to Be Christians -- "For all the thinking these people have done, they've never thought of the Bible as being at odds with science."
* 10 Ways to Lose Friends and Irritate People -- "Here are things Dale Carnegie would have said...if he was snarky."
* April 3, AD 33 -- "However, we want to set forth our case for the date of Friday, April 3, a.d. 33 as the exact day that Christ died for our sins."
* Everything You Don’t Know About Tipping -- "The most critical step in avoiding Ambiguous Tipping Situations is just knowing what you’re supposed to do...if you’re in the average range, you’re fine and forgotten. If you’re in the low or high range, you’re noticed and remembered. And service workers have memories like elephants."
* How Obama's Justice Department Selectively Blocks Mergers By Republican CEOs -- “Obama once publicly stated, 'we’re gonna punish our enemies and...reward our friends.'  Executive Branch action on the Comcast/Time Warner deal will demonstrate if this caveat applies to merger policy.”
* Movie Review: Heaven Is for Real -- "Hollywood doesn’t ‘get’ faith-based audiences, but they do know there’s a market for these stories."
* Parents are going to prison for a medical diagnosis that may not exist -- "For decades, the SBS hypothesis provided a clear and simple explanation for the collapse or death of children who presented with subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage, and brain swelling. We now know, however, that its premises were wrong."
* The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross -- By Arthur W. Pink, 1886--1952
* The sneaky way car insurers raise your rates -- “Car insurance companies...calculate which customers are least likely to shop around after price increases and then slowly bump up their premiums, according to a letter two advocacy organizations sent to insurance commissioners nationwide.”
* Top 10 tips for atheists this Easter -- "I doubt there are any strong scientific, philosophical or historical arguments against Christianity. Most of those in current circulation are nowhere near as persuasive as New Atheism imagines. Contemporary sceptics would do well to drop them. Paradoxically, I do think Christianity is vulnerable at precisely the points of its own emphases."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The old time religion

[Note: I can't find that I posted this before, so I am posting it now. I also can't find the original source of the comment, but I believe it came from Elder Stanley Phillips, who recently passed away.]

‘Tis the old time religion,
‘Tis the old time religion,
‘Tis the old time religion
And it's good enough for me.

It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas,
It was good for Paul and Silas
And it's good enough for me.

Each generation, every believer must for themselves search the Scriptures and see if what they believe and practice was good enough for Paul and Silas. It is not enough to take the word of current believers as to what they think Paul and Silas believed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This day...1865

Abraham Lincoln died April 15, 1865. He was shot the night before on April 14, 1865, while attending the play called Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater. This was the first successful attempt to assassinate an American president. The event continues to capture the minds of the American people nearly 150 years later. The name John Wilkes Booth is well-known, but he had several co-conspirators and assassinations were also planned for Secretary of State William H. Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson.

Here's some reading you might find interesting:
* 10 odd facts about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination -- "Where was General Grant?"
* Abraham Lincoln's assassination -- "On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth...fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln...only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War."
* The forgotten man who almost became president after Lincoln -- "...if John Wilkes Booth’s plot were entirely successful, a little-known senator may have been thrust into the White House."
* Lincoln's Missing Bodyguard -- "What happened to Officer John Parker, the man who chose the wrong night to leave his post at Ford's Theater?"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trip the links fantastic

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

* African-American Gospel Music Timeline -- "The Fisk Jubilee Singers set out on their inaugural tour to raise money to help save Fisk University from closure. Eventually becoming an international tour, the choir brings the sacred music of African Americans the attention of the world."
* A Holistic View of Song Leading -- "Many song leaders develop technical competence in their craft but they do not develop emotional intelligence."
* A woman who lives in the past: the 1930s, to be exact -- "The owner of a historical consultancy company, Teeuwisse, 41, lives her work, forgoing most modern belongings and conveniences of the 21st century in favor of a life straight out of the 1930s."
* English Is Crazy! A Poem -- "This is for anyone who is occasionally frustrated by the oddities of English spelling."
* Everything You Don’t Know About Tipping -- "The most critical step in avoiding Ambiguous Tipping Situations is just knowing what you’re supposed to do...if you’re in the average range, you’re fine and forgotten. If you’re in the low or high range, you’re noticed and remembered. And service workers have memories like elephants."
* Families Protest Alabama Lawmaker's Racist Comments -- "Alvin Holmes said, 'I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama. I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it in cash in 20 dollar bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase.'"
* Life Lessons From Marina Keegan's Posthumous Book of Essays -- "With this week’s publication of “The Opposite of Loneliness,” Marina Keegan’s posthumous collection of essays and stories, comes a gift no one ever fully wants to receive — bright and youthful wisdom from a talent who died too soon."
* Pharaonic seal found in ancient coffin in Israel -- "Israeli archaeologists unveiled on Wednesday a 3,300-year-old coffin containing a signet ring bearing the name of an Egyptian pharaoh among the remains of what they believe was a local nobleman."
* The gay marriage bigots strike again -- "Who could possibly have predicted that the drive for equal marriage rights for homosexuals would take a turn into bigotry and intolerance?...numerous critics denied it would ever happen — and then implied that if it did, the homophobic bastards would deserve it anyway."
* Two moms, a baby and a legal first for U.S. gay marriage -- "Last month a baby in Tennessee made history: Emilia Maria Jesty was the first child born in the state to have a woman listed on the birth certificate as her 'father'."
* Vikings in London: Just Like Family -- "Vikings have long had a special place in British lore, not least as the guys who got there first."
* What's Closer to Texas Than Texas Is to Itself? -- "Finally, you have something to show your out of state relatives, who ask if why you don't visit your distant cousin in Corpus Christi more often..."
* Where I Stand -- "...this conversation best belongs in true relationships, around dinner tables, over coffee, in real life, and I still believe that."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

4 False Theories of The Empty Tomb

The resurrection of the dead is one of the principle doctrines of Christianity — in particular the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Seeking to refute Christianity, infidels and modernists have fabricated numerous stories in attempts to explain away the empty tomb and deny the resurrection of Christ. Their attempts are totally unbelievable and would be humorous if not attached to so serious a subject. Their ludicrous concoctions take more faith than simply believing that a miraculous event took place. The empty tomb cannot satisfactorily be explained except on the basis of a resurrection. Let us look at the four most common theories used to “explain” the empty tomb.

This is the oldest explanation, invented by the priests and elders. The appearance of alternate explanations provide sufficient proof that it was never quite satisfactory.

The disciples were not the sort of people who would do such a thing. This would have been deliberate fraud on their part and cannot be reconciled to their character, doctrine, and behavior in later life. It unreasonable to suppose that not one of them, even under torture and threat of death, ever admitted to any deception.

The account of the soldiers is completely contradictory. Can we believe that all of the professional guards sent to secure the tomb would be asleep at one time? And if they were asleep, how would they know what happened to the body? The story actually incriminated the soldiers, and if it had been true, the priests would have been the first to seek their punishment!

The condition of the grave-clothes testify against this theory. If the disciples had stolen the body, they would have not taken the time to unwrap Jesus and leave them. They would have been in a hurry — they would have just snatched the body, grave-clothes and all. It is not probable that a cowardly group of men who fled the crucifixion would have come back to steal a body. And if they did, why was not a diligent search made of their houses?

Those who want to believe a lie don’t mind believing a poor one. This story would not hold up in the first century, and will not hold up today.

At first glimpse this might sound like a possible explanation, but it will not withstand close scrutiny. Why on earth would they want to move the body? What possible motive could they have? None whatsoever! But if they did remove the body, why did they not say so? They could have stopped the preaching of the resurrection (which they so despised) by the revelation of the fact that they moved Jesus’ body. They could have called those whose task it was to remove the body for witnesses, and if necessary they could have produced the mouldering remains. They did not because they could not.

Others try to explain away the empty tomb by charging that the women went to the wrong tomb. Using parts of the biblical account in Mark 16:1-8, they come up with a story something like this:
The women were unfamiliar with Jerusalem and come in the dim light of early morning, which caused them to arrive at the wrong tomb — an empty tomb. A young man, recognizing their dilemma, said, “Ye seek Jesus. He is not here (pointing to the empty tomb).” Then pointing to another tomb he said, “Behold the place where they laid him.” But instead of going to the other tomb, the terrified women ran away. Later they decided that the young man was an angel announcing that Jesus had risen from the dead. 
This clever story omits the fact that the young man was an angel, as well as the phrase “He is risen” from his statement to the women. They also ‘forget’ that the young man tells them to meet Jesus in Galilee. If this could be true, why did the disciples not double- check the facts presented by the women to see whether or not it was so? If the women had merely went to the wrong tomb, the priests could have pointed out the true tomb and completely silenced forever the preaching of the resurrection.

This theory asserts that Jesus did not really die, but only swooned from exhaustion from the pain and the loss of blood. When placed in the cool tomb, he revived and went out and shewed himself to his disciples and they ignorantly believed he had risen from the grave.

The fact that no such story was ever conceived till near the end of the 18th Century should be enough to expose it as phony. But let us go further. Romans, Jews, and his disciples were ALL convinced that he was dead. The soldiers were experts at execution and the priests were obsessed with killing him — it is inconceivable that they would be so careless. Besides, would three days in a cold, stuffy tomb without food, water, or medical attention tend to revive a man who had been through the extreme cruelties that Jesus had suffered? NO! It would have blown out any flickering life that might be left. But, even if he had revived, could he have freed himself from the grave clothes that bound him? Lazarus had to be loosed. Could he in this weak condition have rolled away a stone that three women would not attempt; then frightened the Roman guards and walked miles to Galilee on pierced feet?? And finally, CHRIST WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PARTY TO SUCH A DECEPTION!

It is clear that these theories are unacceptable when exposed to common sense. Only those deliberately set on denying the resurrection could be so foolish to espouse any one of these ideas. The Bible in its purity and simplicity is always easier to believe than such hair-brained tales as these!

Reprint from The Baptist Waymark, May-April 1987, Vol. 1, No. 11

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Angry birds

I have heard talk about a game called "Angry Birds". I don't know anything about it, but it must be about some birds who are angry. The world seems to be filling up with people who are "angry birds" -- they screech in hatred and peck with viciousness in order to get their way (or if they don't get their way). Many would be quick to point out the recently deceased Fred Phelps as one such example. And they would be right. But the affliction affects all sides. Here are two recent "angry bird" incidents.

Chili's and autism
* Chili's Cancels Autism Awareness Fundraiser After Pro-Vaccine Pressure -- “Autism exists whether or not we can all agree on a cause, and to take money away from an organization helping these children and their families is selfish and cruel.”

Brendan Eich and Mozilla
* Mozilla's Gay-Marriage Litmus Test Violates Liberal Values
"Disinclined to stop at personal persuasion, they waged a pressure campaign that could be summed up as 'change your mind, or else.'"
"The forced resignation of Brendan Eich will have a chilling effect on political discourse...Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quotin' it right

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” -- Winston Churchill

“When a man is old enough to do wrong he should be old enough to do right also.” -- "Rachel Arbuthnot" in A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

“Duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself.” -- "Lord Illingworth" in A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

"Some folks are just a little rough around the edges -- too bad they have lots of edges!" -- copied

"If you don't enjoy spending time with yourself, why do you imagine anyone else will?"

"The only way to coast is downhill." -- Zig Ziglar

“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow.” -- copied

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Golden Rule

What is usually called "The Golden Rule" is attributed to Jesus Christ. It is an high ethic of reciprocation and altruism. In America we usually say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Luke 6:31 records, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." It is companion to "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Mark 12:31)

A satirical "Golden Rule" has also been developed: "He who has the gold makes the rules."

When we hear that we chuckle, and think how the truth of it is often played out in society. The wealthy and powerful set the rules by which the poor and weak must abide. 

But God is more wealthy and powerful than all the wealthy and powerful. He has the gold, and He makes the rules. 

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:8
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deuteronomy 12:32

He who has the gold...

...dies like everyone else. According to God's rule: "It is appointed unto men once to die."

The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. Proverbs 22:2

Monday, April 07, 2014

More Linkin, Abraham

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

Barna Describes Religious Changes Among Busters, Boomers, and Elders Since 1991 -- "The three oldest generational segments of America’s population have been actively redefining their faith over the past two decades."
Dewey President Williams -- "As a child, Williams was instructed in the singing of Sacred Harp or shape-note hymns by his grandmother in the kitchen of her house."
How math illumines our infinite God -- “In Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith, Gottfried Leibniz, the co-founder of calculus, thought that 'most scientific problems need infinitesimal calculus because everything in nature bears the signature of an infinite author.'”
Lawyers: The purpose of marriage is procreation -- "Marriage exists for its procreative potential, not just as recognition of a loving relationship between two people, and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees, lawyers for an Oklahoma clerk said in a new court filing."
Make a joyful noise: The revival of sacred harp singing -- "...people singing power chords!"
Mom Pleads for Help in Search for Missing Nursing Student -- "Bahia Bisharat was last seen on March 19 at St. Charles Community College near St. Louis, and her car was found in the parking lot..."
Party of the rich: In Congress, it's the Democrats -- "Republicans are the party of the rich, right?...But in Congress, the wealthiest among us are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican."
Poetry is a Way of Seeing: A Conversation with Betty Adcock -- "I feel my roots grow in both sides of the south’s past: the poor-white, dirt-farming majority and the plantation-owning minority. I know more than one thing because of that."
Racial Imaginaries and Folklorization at the Society for American Music -- "My session also featured Florida State musicology doctoral candidate Sarah Kahre, who presented a fascinating paper on what revisions of the tune “Boylston” in different editions of The Sacred Harp tell us about revisers priorities."

Sunday, April 06, 2014

News from Sandy Valley: More sick wives

The monthly conference of the body of Christ at Sandy Valley was rather short and sweet last meeting, but there was one item of interest. Sure, the acknowledgements always peak our interest! Elder Poden Tate, a fine preacher among them, was called on the wood floor (for they have no carpet). The rule for conference is: "Adult male members who are absent two consecutive conferences must answer to the congregation the grounds for their absence."

Elder Tate was a faithful member and staunch minister. His absence for two such occasions was strikingly strange. Surely he would have valid grounds, or so the body thought. He rose to his feet, twirling his hat nervously in his hands, and humbly related the cause being a sick wife. The congregation could have been no more satisfied -- all except Poden's brother, "Speck". Deacon Spencer "Speck" Tate had already outlived three wives thus far and was now united to his fourth. Speck was unimpressed with Poden's excuse, proudly noting, "I've had more sick wives than you, sir!"

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dead right

The "Dead Right" poem reminds us to drive wisely, especially if we want to live to drive another day.

Here lies the body of George McFay, 
He died maintaining his right of way; 
He was right, dead right, as he drove along, 
But he is just as dead as if he’d been wrong.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sorting out and out of sorts

I've recently posted on Sacred Harp composers W. A. Robinette and T. W. Loftin. One historical curiosity is whether they had a falling out with W. M. Cooper early on in the continuing revision process.

The list of the 1902 Sacred Harp revision committee contains twelve names, which include W. A. Robinett and T. W. Loftin. In the 1907 fourth edition of Cooper's Sacred Harp, this same original revision committee report is included. But... the name of C. W. Poyner is substituted where Robinett's name was and W. H. Yarbrough is substituted where Loftin's name was. (This could have been changed by the 3rd edition, but I have never seen a copy of it.)

This replacement of names/committeemen suggests a falling out between Cooper, Loftin and Robinett. Maybe they withdrew their support for the ongoing revision? Loftin and Robinett were both on the 1909 revision committee listed in J. L. White's 5th edition Sacred Harp book. Loftin took a prominent place as the "secretary-treasurer" for this revision. But there are others from south Alabama on White's committee who apparently continued to support the Cooper book (e.g. W. R. McCoy).

But, further, in regard to these two particular men I noticed:

(1) T. W. Loftin's two songs that were added to the 1902 edition (SORROWING SOUL and PRAISE HIS NAME) were gone by 1907,  replaced by other songs.

(2) The attributions for W. A. Robinett(e) for the tune SECURITY (No. 66) and the bass on REES (No. 418) got removed at some point -- though the attributions to him for the tunes SAFETY and YARBROUGH remained.

As folks were trying to sort out how to go forward with Sacred Harp revision, perhaps folks also got out of sorts.

[Note: T. W. Loftin "came back" and participated on the 1927 committee for the 9th edition of the Cooper revision. He has songs from this period in the 2012 book on pages 527 and 557.]

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Madeleine L'Engle quotes

Madeleine L'Engle Camp (1918 – 2007), aka Madeleine L'Engle, was an American writer and poet best known for her children's books. The interest in quotes by L'Engle should not be interpreted as an endorsement of her philosophy.

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

“Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.”

“All artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what.”

“Nothing important is completely explicable.”

“There's more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate.”

“I have advice for people who want to write. I don't care whether they're 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write.”

“A great piece of literature does not try to coerce you to believe it or agree with it. A great piece of literature simply is.”

This day

Happy April, Fool.

Linking some more links

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

* 6 Unhealthy Habits that Are as Bad as Smoking -- "Don't smoke? Doesn't matter. You could still be doing damage to your long-term health."
* 77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True -- "Prepare to be baffled."
* Avocado Addicts, Unite: 6 Ways to Eat Your Favorite Fruit -- "Loaded with healthy fat, both soluble and insoluble fiber, B vitamins along with vitamin K and vitamin E, it’s hard not to love avocados..."
* Read Parent's Facebook Response to 'Ridiculous' Common Core Math Homework -- "Dear Jack, Don’t feel bad. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering, which included extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications. Even I cannot explain the Common Core mathematics approach, nor get the answer correct."
* The dangers of not getting enough sleep -- "New study links it to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and more"
* The Supreme Court 'Sounds Ready' To Throw Out A Controversial Part Of Obamacare -- "The rule at stake under the health-care overhaul is a provision in the ACA that requires all new health insurance plans to pay for contraceptives."
* Why Peyton Manning Had To Be Talked Into Getting Salary Bigger Than Brady's -- "He asked Condon how much Tom Brady made, and when Condon told him the Patriots' signal-caller banked $18 million a year, Manning said that would suffice."