Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How is Paul Waldman both so incredibly smart and so spectacularly stupid?

"You don't get to be one of the world's most renowned neurosurgeons without the ability to understand complex systems, evaluate evidence, sift the plausible from the implausible, and integrate disparate pieces of data into a coherent whole. And yet he thinks that the theory of evolution is not just a great big hoax, but a hoax literally delivered to us from Hell." (Paul Waldman)

I just finished reading How is Ben Carson both so incredibly smart and so spectacularly stupid by Paul Waldman. Waldman is "a senior writer with The American Prospect magazine and a blogger for The Washington Post," "a contributor to The Plum Line blog," and his writing "has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and web sites, and he is the author or co-author of four books on media and politics." (Didn't notice scientist in there anywhere.)

In his self-admitted contemptuous tone, Waldman takes presidential candidate Ben Carson to task for being both smart and stupid. While recognizing all of us are smart in some areas and stupid in others, it is Carson's supposedly spectacular stupidity in one area that Waldman just can't tolerate -- Carson accepts the biblical account of creation over the prevailing scientific account of origins. Where do I line up to get the "stupid" stamp on my forehead?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good news

"The Gospel is not good news because we have “tribulation”, but because our Lord and Savior has of a certainty “overcome the world”. It is indeed a joyous privilege to endure “tribulation” as we serve our Lord. The joy is not that have we have “tribulation” in His service, but that we can show our love to Him by serving Him in spite of the “tribulation” associated with our service." -- J. C. Stanaland

Monday, September 28, 2015

Glory of Heaven, and other book reviews

The posting of book reviews does not constitute endorsement of the books or book reviews that are linked.

  • Book Review: enGendered -- "enGendered is essentially a theology of gender demonstrating the importance of and biblical basics for gender in relationships."
  • Did the Early Church Teach ‘Faith Alone’? a Book Review -- "Engage Schreiner’s book to understand this historical teaching of the church, the scriptural teaching on justification, and why this sola still matters.
  • Jesus Outside the Lines --"A certain ugliness accompanies the way American evangelicals often do cultural engagement...many Christians are equally tempted to disengage from culture altogether."
  • Laura Clawson – I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah! [Brief Review] -- "Rather than focusing on the southern singers who nursed this tradition (as Jackson and Cobb do), or the non-southern “diaspora” singers whom Miller investigates, Clawson looks in depth at four locations where Sacred Harp singing occurs..."
  • Probing the Libertarian Mind: a Book Review -- "The tenet is not problematic in a world where some kind of strong cultural heritage and moral framework exists."
  • The Glory of Heaven Book Review -- "In some ways this is two books: a look at what the Bible says about heaven and the afterlife, and a pointed critique of the many heaven tourism books cluttering bookshelves."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Forget health food, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources.

"Forget health food. I'm at the age where I need all the preservatives I can get!" - Jane Seabrook

"Trust in God, and lock your door." -- copied

"Our conduct in worship services must be more spiritual than physical, reverential and not sensual, orderly and not unrestrained, holy and not corrupted." -- Daniel E. Parks

"Let us bow down to worship, not rise up to play." -- Daniel E. Parks

"Instead of creating the world at the starting point for all these natural processes, He created the whole thing out of nothing about six thousand years ago, effectively stepping into the middle of a trillions-of-years chronology, with the past only virtually existent and everything from creation onward actually existent." -- Ken Hamrick

"The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be." -- Pete Seeger

"My forgiveness didn’t excuse what they did; it allowed me to stop being the victim." -- Tracey Casciano

"Forgiveness is more than a choice. Forgiveness is a calling." -- copied

"We will either be welcomed into a life that’s better than we’ve ever dreamed, or we will be cast out into a life that’s worse than we’ve ever dreaded." -- Scott Sauls 

"The good news is that anyone who fears God will never have any reason to be afraid of God." -- Scott Sauls 

"There are five gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian. Most people never read the first four, and some people may only find poor editions of the fifth." -- Heard

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

20 biases, 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, September 21, 2015


Genesis 37:17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

2 Kings 6:13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

Dothan and Houston County: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Saturday, September 19, 2015

All-day singing and a funeral on the grounds


The Houston county Sacred Harp singing Convention met with the church at Rehobeth in memory of M. V. White* for a memorial sing and funeral. First elected the following officers: H. McMath, President; S. T. Spivey, vice president, M. D. Day, secretary. The house was called to order by the president, singing one song, page. 45, then appointed Bro. J. C. Kelley to sing the introductory lesson of 20 minutes. Recess 5 minutes. 

First lesson by 3, 15 minutes each, first by S. H. Tew, followed by Z. Williams, closed by J. N. Roney. Adjourned for the old soldiers to finish burying the deceased. 

Then met back at the house. The house was called to order by the vice president by singing No. 82. A special lesson by F. M. Roney, singing Nos. 81, 191, 369 and then adjourned for preaching the funeral. 

Funeral was preached by J. C. Kelley, text, Job 14:14 followed by S. T. Spivey, closed by A. E. Smith, making of a memorial talk of 20 minutes. 

Then F. M. Roney sang one song, No. 396, adjourned one hour for dinner. After noon the house was called to order by the president singing two songs, first lesson by 3, first by Joel Tew followed by P. L. Everett, closed by Jack Sarling, 3 pieces each. Recess 5 minutes. 

Second lesson by 3, three pieces each, first by W. J. Hicks, Followed by A. L. Payne, closed by S. T. Spivey. Recess 5 minutes. 

Third lesson by 3, three pieces each. First by J. H. Halstead, followed by O. G. Grace, closed by J. P. Smith, singing. Closed by singing the Parting Hand. 

H. McMath, President, and S. T. Spivey, vice president. Dr. M. D. Day, secretary. 

Committee of arrangements, J. M. Baxley, John Harrison, W. H. Haddon, E. Grice and John C. Kelley. 

From Dothan Home Journal, Vol. 18 No. 16 June 29, 1916, p. 1 
(Thanks to Sarah Kahre, who found this)
* Martin Van Buren White

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What we know about science, 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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Lord's Church

Where the Bible is believed and taught...
  • All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Where people are loved...
  • But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
  • By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)

Where God is...
  • And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am... (Exodus 3:14)
  • ...there am I into the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20; cf. Matt. 28:20)
  • ...God is true... (2 Corinthians 1:18)
  • ...God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jesus and sinners

  • Jesus came for sinners – 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Jesus came to earth “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).
  • Jesus sought sinners – Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. He needed to go through Samaria in order to save an adulterous woman (See John 4:4ff).
  • Jesus called sinners – Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Cf. Luke 5:32 
  • Jesus forgave sinners – Luke 7:36-48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
  • Jesus justified sinners – Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other... 
  • Jesus received sinners – Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
  • Jesus befriended sinners – Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. Cf. Luke 7:34
  • Jesus died for sinners – Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

[Derived from a piece by Daniel E. Parks]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The True Cross

By W. F. Bell 

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21)... 

Is the cross "the Latin cross," and is it the symbol of Christianity? Scripture is silent, and so must we be! Not one word is said about what kind of cross Jesus died upon. Further, we read nothing about making "the sign of the cross" which many practice. The Greek word for "cross" is "stauros," simply meaning "stake, post."...Most people still believe that accepting "the Latin cross" is tantamount to accepting the true cross of Scripture, so in this sense "the Latin cross" has become an idol. 

What is the real meaning of "the cross" in the New Testament?...The work of the cross and resurrection of Christ is the Christian's "triumph" and "victory" (Acts 13:29-30; Romans 8:31-33, 37), and is the very cornerstone of our faith. It matters not what kind of wood it was, or its shape, or its symbolism.

...There is no scriptural "symbol" of Christianity (not a cross, a fish, a triangle, or a trefoil)...It is not a piece of wood that we proclaim, or a trinket, or a superstition, but the glorious person of our precious Savior, the incarnate God who gave His life for poor sinners! 

Save me from this bewitching world, 
That has to death ten thousand hurled; 
Whose charms enchant, and lead astray, 
From Jesus Christ, the living Way. 
[Hymn --Henry Fowler in Gadsby's Selection #954]

Excerpts from "The True Cross," by W. F. Bell (via Mike McInnis)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Purpose in Disorder

"But now we see not yet all things put under him." Hebrews 2:8 

"Take a scriptural instance, the highest and greatest that we can give, to shew that where, to outward appearance, all is disorder, there the greatest wisdom and most determinate will reign. Look at the crucifixion of our blessed Lord. Can you not almost see the scene as painted in the word of truth? See those scheming priests, that wild mob, those rough soldiers, that faltering Roman governor, the pale and terrified disciples, the weeping women, and, above all, the innocent Sufferer with the crown of thorns, and enduring that last scene of surpassing woe, which made the earth quake, and the sun withdraw his light. What confusion! What disorder! What triumphant guilt! What oppressed and vanquished innocence! But was it really so? Was there no wisdom or power of God here accomplishing, even by the instrumentality of human wickedness, his own eternal purposes? Hear his own testimony to this point: "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23)." -- J. C. Philpot

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Teaching Kim Davis how to read the Bible

Huff Post has posted An Open Letter to Kim Davis by Jennifer G. Bird. Unlike some of the hate-filled manure slung at Davis, Bird approaches the topic with kindness, understanding and apology for intolerant reactions such as death threats, bullying and shaming. Rather, as an educator, she positions herself "to ask that [Kim Davis] take a few moments to think about the way [she reads] the Bible." 

I nevertheless found Bird's advice on how to read the Bible less than enlightening. The essay is not about hermeneutics, but about confusing the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. One reviewer of Bird's book Permission Granted (who is a new Christian) "started out liking the book" but progressing found that Bird put so much spin on it that the reviewer did not know what to believe. That is the danger of those who press the Bible into the service of their theories (and that can be any of us if we're not careful). Bird recommends herself highly based on her education and position as an educator. But she focuses on the Old Testament, and mentions not the New Testament. She abandons Jesus's interpretation of the Old Testament creation account. Bird says passages such as Genesis 1:28 and 2:24 are "not even talking about marriage." I say, "let Jesus determine." He says they are. For example: Matthew 19:4-6 And [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 

I don't want to learn to read the Bible like Jennifer G. Bird!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Didn't Make the Cut

This following biographical sketch of Allen Carden didn't make the cut for my upcoming Songs Before Unknown book. Though the version of Pilgrim in The Sacred Harp can be traced to Carden's Missouri Harmony, there is no proof that he wrote or arranged it.

Carden, Allen Dickerson/Dickinson (October 13, 1792–March 21, 1859) was born in Virginia, the son of Joseph and Mary Carden. He is best known as the author of The Missouri Harmony, first published in 1820. Carden had a professional relationship with Ananias Davisson, perhaps as a teacher and agent of Kentucky Harmony. He is mentioned as one of a dozen "gentlemen teachers in Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky" in Davisson's concluding remarks in his 2nd edition of this tune book. Of the 185 tunes in the first edition of The Missouri Harmony, 111 are found in Kentucky Harmony. According to Marion J. Hatchett, Carden’s song book was one of the most popular of all shape-note tune books in its time. David Crouse called it “the most popular tune book of the South and West until the Civil War.” The Missouri Harmony went through more than 20 printings in four decades. In 1835 a supplement was added, and in 1850 a new edition appeared, with harmonies revised by Charles Warren of Cincinnati. This brought it in tune with prevailing "scientific" notions of the day, but perhaps hastened its death. In May of 1820, Carden advertised “a School for teaching the theory and practice of Vocal Music” in the Baptist church of St. Louis. The book's popularity spread from there, but the author of The Missouri Harmony soon removed to Tennessee, where he lived and taught singing schools. He was involved in compiling at least two other works – The Western Harmony, with S. J. Rogers, F. Moore and J. Green (Nashville, 1824) and United States Sacred Harmony (Nashville, 1829). Carden married Maria W. Hyde (1807-1858), circa 1823. They are buried in the Rest Haven Cemetery at Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. Carden was a member of the Masonic Fraternity and probably a Baptist in religion. The Sacred Harp version of 201, Pilgrim, was first printed in Carden’s Missouri Harmony.

A Companion to the New Harp of Columbia, Marion J. Hatchett, Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2003
Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser, May 30, 1820
The Work of Allen D. Carden and Associates in the Shape-note Tune-books The Missouri Harmony, Western Harmony and United States Harmony, David L. Crouse, Dissertation, SBTS, 1972
The Missouri Harmony, Allen D. Carden, Bison Book Edition, Introduction by Shirley Bean, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1994
“Introduction to the Facsimile Edition,” Irving Lowens, Kentucky Harmony, Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1976

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Sacred Harp history in Songs Before Unknown

Songs Before Unknown: a Companion to The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012 By R. L. Vaughn, Mt. Enterprise, TX: Waymark Publications, 2015, 330 pages.  ISBN 978-0-69252-247-9. $15.00

Songs Before Unknown is a reference work, designed as a companion to the latest book produced by the Sacred Harp Book Company -- The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012. The second chapter includes a biography of W. M. Cooper, early history of revision of The Sacred Harp commonly known as “the Cooper Book,” an overview of the course of its publication, and a brief history of the Sacred Harp Book Company. Chapter three is comprised of biographical sketches of all the composers with songs in the 2012 edition. Chapter four lists each song in the book by page order, with the author of the hymn and composer of the tune, if known. Seven appendices add supporting and peripheral information. [Note: this book does not include biographical sketches of composers already found in The Makers of The Sacred Harp by Warren Steel, unless we have new information on them.] It is scheduled to be available by December 2015.

Pre-publication price valid until October 31, 2015: $10.00 postpaid. 
You save $5.00 + shipping and handling.

Order from (and make checks or money order payable to):

Waymark Publications
3528 CR 3168 W
Mt. Enterprise, TX 75681

"Songs Before Unknown fills an important gap in the historiography of The Sacred Harp. Serving as a companion to the revised Cooper editions from 1902 to 2012, Vaughn’s study offers biographical studies of W. M. Cooper and other composers and arrangers of songs in those editions, as well as a history of the Sacred Harp Book Company and its predecessors. It represents the latest research on the sources of the words and music of every song in the book. Every Cooper book singer, as well as many other singers, will want to own a copy, for its valuable perspective on the multifaceted phenomenon of Sacred Harp singing." -- Warren Steel, Professor of Music Emeritus, University of Mississippi; author of The Makers of The Sacred Harp

Thursday, September 03, 2015

10 myths, 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.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Judge Saxon Poyner

Poyner, Saxon Pace (November 9, 1889-January 8, 1967) was the son of Benjamin Patrick Poyner and Anna Brett Pace. He married Jeanette Freudenthal Monnish (1897-1988) in 1914. They had four children: Saxon Pace, Jr., Rosa L., James Alexander, and John L. He studied at both the University of Alabama and the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). He owned a seed company in Dothan as early as 1917, when he registered for the World War I Draft. He lived on 105 South Park Ave in Dothan, and served Houston County as a judge in probate, juvenile court and county court -- as well as being an ex-officio member of the Houston County Board of Revenue. He is buried at the Memory Hill Cemetery in Dothan, Houston County, Alabama. Judge Poyner was (apparently) the last owner/publisher of Cooper revision of The Sacred Harp before the formation of the Sacred Harp Book Company.
"At noon, after a lunch had been enjoyed by the singers, a brief talk was made by S. P. Poyner, of Dothan, who also directed a song in memory of his father." -- "Sacred Harp Singers Honor B. P. Poyner at Memorial Event," The Dothan Eagle, July 20, 1947