Thursday, January 31, 2019

An Open Letter to Pastors, and other links

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sacred Harp Markers, W. G. Griffith

The next marker is not specifically a Sacred Harp historical marker, but Sacred Harp is mentioned in the plaque placed at the tomb of Wyatt Greer Griffith, in Mt. Bethel Cemetery. The plaque was sponsored by the Mt. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church near Gary, Texas, and was erected in 2002. Below is an excerpt from the plaque. (The entire text can be read on the picture below or at the Find-A-Grave link above.) In the past one of Brother Griffith’s sons told me that The Christian Warfare was his favorite song in The Sacred Harp.

Wyatt Greer (W.G.) Griffith was born about two miles east of Gary, Panola County, Texas on June 6, 1891. He was the oldest of four boys born to Wyatt Marion Griffith and Lenora Morris...He pastored nearly 50 churches, as many as 5 at a time, in 8 counties in Texas. He received $4.50 for his first revival...Some grandkids fondly recall his singing. Often, he sung The Sacred Harp note names, not the song’s words. Thus, “Jesus Loves Me” sounded like this: “Sol, La, La, Sol, La, Sol, Sol; La, La, Fa, La, La, Sol, Sol.”...He...died of a bleeding ulcer, March 3, 1974 at the age of 82 years, 8 months and 25 days...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Love one another, be hated by the world

John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

Afterward, Jesus tells that those who love him and one another will be at odds with the world. “Love one another” is exceedingly important in its own right. It is extremely essential in light of the opposition Christians will face.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Christians are hated because of their association (i.e., guilt by association). The world hates Jesus. The world hates those associated with Jesus.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Christians are hated because of their separation (i.e., guilt by “non-association”). They are not an integral feature of the world or world system. It is natural that “birds of a feather flock together.” The spiritual bond is supernatural, while the spiritual break in natural.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Christians are hated because of the necessity of consistency. Hatred runs consistently through the way the world which is at enmity with God views the things of God.

John 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Christians are hated because of ignorance, lack of knowledge. The world does not know God or his Son Jesus Christ. The world not only hates Jesus, but also hates God the Father (Cf. verse 23).

John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Christians are hated without a cause, without the haters knowing the cause. As with Christ, so with Christians.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world
Christians will receive hate, persecution, and tribulation at the hands of the world. Nevertheless, they can live in peace with good cheer – Jesus has overcome the world!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Wesley communion quote

This excerpt is posted as an example of theology of John Wesley and the Methodists. J. R. Graves referred to it in The Great Carrollton Debate with Jacob Ditzler in order to prove they believe that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrament that confers grace and is even offered to the unregenerate to secure that grace.
John Wesley presented his view in the midst of his conflict with the Moravians at Fetter Lane in 1740. In his journal he summarized his teachings of the occasion:
I showed at large, (1) that the Lord’s Supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying to men either preventing or justifying, or sanctifying grace, according to their several necessities; (2) that the persons for whom it was ordained are all those who know and feel that they want the grace of God, either to restrain them from sin, or to show their sins forgiven, or to renew their souls in the image of God; (3) that inasmuch as we come to his table, not to give him anything but to receive whatsoever he sees best for us, there is no previous preparation indispensably necessary, but a desire to receive whatsoever he pleases to give; and (4) that no fitness is required at the time of communicating but a sense of our state, of our utter sinfulness and helplessness; every one who knows he is fit for hell being just fit to come to Christ, in this as well as all other ways of his appointment.
The Works of John Wesley, Bicentennial Edition, Richard P. Heitzenrater, editor, Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1984, Volume 19: Journal and Diaries II (1738-1743), p. 159

Raise the standard or suffer loss

“The man who lacks moral qualifications, intellectual ability, or zeal for his calling, degrades and disgraces the holiest calling on earth, and no denomination can ever prosper and ordain any blackguard, blatherskite, bigot, booby or baby, who gets up and says, ‘God called me to preach’. We must either raise the standard or suffer loss.”
J. H. Jenkins, in the Harvest Gleaner, November, 1896, p. 4

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A city yet to come

Hymn below by Horatius Bonar, found in The Bible Hymn-Book, 1845, No. CCLX with the text heading “We seek one to come.”—Heb. xiii. 14 (p. 330). The meter is 8s.7s. The tune I know (and like) with this hymn is Rest Beyond by Anthony Johnson Showalter. I am not sure when it was first published.

1. This is not my place of resting,
Mine’s a city yet to come;
Onward to it I am hasting,—
On to my eternal home.

2. In it all is light and glory,
O’er it shines a nightless day;
Every trace of sin’s sad story,—
All the curse has passed away.

3. There the Lamb, our Shepherd, leads us
By the streams of life along;
On the freshest pastures feeds us,
Turns our sighing into song.

4. Soon we pass this desert dreary,
Soon we bid farewell to pain;
Never more be sad and weary,
Never, never sin again.

The only place I found the hymn text sung on YouTube is HERE (not Showalter’s tune). Some printings of this hymn provide a refrain, which is from neither Bonar nor Showalter, such as J. J. Jelley in Pearls of Praise (Bluffton, OH: Amstutz Music Co., 1893, No. 35)

Beautiful home, oh, may we come
Safe to its fields of fadeless day;
Where every trace of sin’s dark story,
All the curse hath passed away.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Transitioning from One Leader to the Next

In How to Transition God’s People from One Leader to the Next: Lessons from David and Solomon, David Huffstutler (a pastor at First Baptist, Rockford, Illinois, who blogs Religious Affections) writes, “Any church or Christian organization can feel somewhat lost when a pastor or leader steps down...we have an interesting example for transitioning leadership in the lives of David and Solomon.”

Based this example of David transferring the kingdom to Solomon, Huffstutler offers five suggestions he believes will help in transitioning from one leader to the next.
  • Put your house in order before you finish your ministry.
  • Warn your successor of the “problem people” that he will inherit.
  • Pass off projects well.
  • Don’t wait too long to pass the baton.
  • Give people a proper transition from one leader to the next.
Anyone have any thoughts?

No One Mentions, and other links

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

The urge, and other quotes

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

"The urge to comprehend must precede the urge to reform." - Aldo Leopold

"Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificant, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." -- John Calvin

"The things that befall you, as worked out, take them as good, knowing that without God nothing becomes." -- The Didache, 3:14 (translated by J. Louis Guthrie)

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Lord, you are the potter and I am the clay; but I do have a few suggestions." -- Kevin Leman (spoken in humor, it seems)

"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan

"I do not believe the promises of the Declaration of Independence are just for the strong, the independent, the healthy. They are for everyone—including unborn children." – George W. Bush

"We are in danger of being stern where God is tender, and tender where God is stern." -- Oswald Chambers

"Saying that one has natural power to say yes or no to grace is to say that those who say yes do so because they are inherently better than those who say no." -- Aaron at Baptist Board

"Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is that you are stupid and made bad decisions." -- Seen on that great theological resource, Facebook

Thursday, January 24, 2019

We have a problem

MSN News: “The images in videos that went viral on social media Saturday showed a tense scene near the Lincoln Memorial.”

Except, of course, when the truth came out the scene was not nearly as “intense” as the viral clip showed it to be. The fallout that resulted, though, may truly be called intense. The Washington Post reported that “death threats had shut down Covington Catholic High School,” where the students involved attended. I have heard that the Native American drummer also received death threats.[i]

The aftermath of this situation submits several settings for self-examination.

We who are Christians should be “swift to hear” and “slow to speak” as James advised.[ii] As a society, we are slow to listen and swift to rush to judgment in matters of which we know little or nothing.

The media needs to rethink whether their reporting contributes in some way to the public good. I believe in freedom of the press unrestrained by government. A free press must exercise self-restraint. The media cannot control what people do with what they report. However, reports rushed into quickly without all the facts – that lead to threats on lives – cannot be a good thing! Being right, reporting correctly, and doing good must outweigh being first.

The general population needs to exercise self-restraint. Recognize that we also operate as “news media” through Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and such like. We do not have to “share” everything we hear, especially when what we hear may be incorrect. Blame rests not only on the professionals!

We are slouching towards a chaotic and disorderly society. A civilization easily irritated, perpetually offended, and maliciously reacting is not civil! Will rudeness and savagery rule? Politics, which has descended into blind rancor, often is implicated as the source. Not likely. More likely, bureaucratic bile just feeds a deeper problem. Look around. This is not just in matters of politics. Think sports. The referees made an exceptionally bad call [iii] in the NFC championship football game.[iv] Later on that night, security moved the refs from their hotel to a different hotel because they were being harassed. All over a game – a game we pay grown men to play!

Houston – America – we have a problem.

And the problem is us![v]

[i] Though I haven’t seen a specific news report on it, I don’t doubt it.
[ii] James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
[iii] Technically, they failed to call a blatant rule violation.
[iv] Between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, January 20, 2019.
[v] Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” God: This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 30:9).

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sacred Harp Markers, East Texas Convention

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A politician cursed, commentary

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

Apples, Bananas, and other links

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

Thou preparest a table

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

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

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

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

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

Seek meekness

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

Sunday, January 20, 2019

On an Infant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Songster on Google Books

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

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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

(More) Just words

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

The How of Christian Giving

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

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Case for Traditional Music, and other music links

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

Christians need another language, and other music quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sacred Harp Historical Markers, Double Springs

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

To the Memory of the Brothers
 (1863 — 1935)    (1854 — 1936)  
Who Devoted Their Lives and Gifts to Composing
And Teaching, over Most of the Southland,
In the Midst of Their Field of Labor by the
Loving Hands of Their Families, Pupils of Their
Singing Schools, Legions of Singers and Other
Friends in the Summer of the Year 1944,
“Uncle Seab” and “Uncle Tom” sing on
[line of music]
way o-ver in the prom-is’d land.