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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bolivia Sharapova, Rick and Bubba and Russ Moore and the Atwater "Nigger" memo

    Before I get started let me go on record and say I like Rick and Bubba. We talked a few years ago about Anniston native Buckshot Willet and her avuncular downline Melanie Oudin who had a big splash in the French Open in 2009 and won Mixed Doubles with Jack Sock at Us Open few years ago and whose sister played four years at Furman and graduated 2015.

   And Olivia Odum, intern from Samford, Bolivia Sharapova as Rick and Bubba want to call you, walking around sense of the likes of Rick and Bubba is not what a good Baptist liberal arts education is about. For that know the legacy of recent Samford President Tom Corts, and find Ft Payne Alabama's Cherilynne Crowe, Samford and Vandy grad now with the Baptist Joint Committee in DC. Also Kate Campbell. They know what a Baptist is. R and B do not.

    But as for their fundamentalist Babdiss religion politics to quote Randy Newman in his exquisite 1972 tribute to Lester Mattox, Rednecks, They Don't Their Ass from a Hole in Ground.

    They said on the radio on my birthday Weds or was it yesterday, in an interview with SBC's ERLC Russ Moore Hillary Clinton was "morally Unqualified" to be President of the United States.
    Well find  Molly Marshall and explain that to her.

    Every matter in this election cannot be melted down to race politics but Rick and Bubba have some interesting conversations to come with the players in the Southeastern conference 75 percent or more of whom are people of color. Tell Them Rick and Bubba and Russ Moore Hillary Clinton is "morally unqualified" to be president of the United States when her lifelong heroes and mentors have been the likes of Marian Wright Edelman, Judge Frank Johnson and Maya Angelou. Since the early 70s her inner circle has included Taylor Branch--incidentally, Olivia his father is a Samford grad--the Pulitzer prize winner for his 1,000 plus page trilogy on the Civil Rights era. Explain that to Derrick Henry and his Mother and let us know how that conversation goes.

    Will link as I already have  to R and B's fbk wall my friend Randall Balmer piece Sunday in the Washington Post about the origins of Russell Moore and Mohler's reign in the SBC to the Birch Society and white Citizen's Council of the 60s.  Patterson and Pressler did it with Jesse Helms and Birmingham's Albert Lee Smith and Adrian Rogers of Memphis went along for the ride. Dallas Jeffress predecessor WA Criswell addressing Baptist pastors in SC in 56 said "now you wouldn't call a Chigger a chiggerow now would you?"

    In Princeton Wuthnow's Rough Country, you find the quoted "nigger memo" of the late Lee Atwater showing how the babdiss heroes of Rick and Bubba morphed race politics into the politics of abortion and prayer in schools and creationism and other fallacies that make up the so called "Christian Biblical" world view of their babdiss faith leaders and all their gibberish. See Giberson and Stephens The Anointed.
   For Rick Burgess expertise on Mormonism and Babdists, see Harold Bloom and the "masquerade" the Bible became for the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Let's panel this fall R and B with some folks who actually do know their ass from a Hole in ground on these and other matters.

   In the meantime Peace and Love and Have a Blessed Day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 18 53 makes me 63

    I'll be 63 tomorrow and the short version is as Uncle Fremont said I had two good years in 78 and 83. Well 1985 wasn't all that bad and I took in a few City Stages in Bham in the 90s.

   I was gonna go to Rome Ga tomorrow and have a Hoagie Carmichael at Schroeders and see the new tennis courts out near Berry but the weather is not gonna cooperate. So I may celebrate on other days in tribute to the sixth decade of breathing air on the earth.

   Thirty years ago I kissed a few girls and danced a little, played in the burger king tennis tourney and kept the Gaffney High netters overnight in Columbia SC as I was the only one to make the semis. We got to see Little Big Man in the state capitol compliments of me.

   I've read some books and rode my bicycle further than I thought I would in my 40s and did some thinkin while I was ridin. Tried to get Brad Pitt to produce a sure Oscar winner the collaborator and I concocted but had to settle for an interview with Ron Rash that got published in Baps Today.

   I could go on but at some point it would be ridiculous.

   No major regrets other than never able to achieve financial independence. As Paris Trout said you get something (time) you give something up (money).

   I was thinkin about copying two credits from high school annuals; one my friend Rajesh Mehra in my junior year of High School, and the other anonymous from my senior year. She got it about right saying I was the most amazing wonderful person she'd ever met. And Rajesh had some insights too.

    But I left the house without the reminiscin book so maybe next year.

    I remember several 18ths over the years. 8th grade when Tommy Jones and I lit candles in the lunch room at Gaffney Jr High; 82 in Pike County Ga when Momma and Daddy still claimed me, 72 walking through the student center at Furman and then 75 when I thought my days getting thrown in the lake were over and the struggle that proved group overwhelming to my valiant fight right out of the cafeteria one of my most sacred places.

  Bob Dylan helped me celebrate my 50th in Birmingham and I saw Gillian Welch that night too.

   My sister was kind with a party for my 50th though a week late and the Bama delegation was small.

     Three movies tell my story in parts, Joe Gould's Secret, Jude, and another one I cant remember right now.  Maybe it was the novel Stone Arabia I was thinking of had I been West Coast. See those too and know Stevie though nobody can completely know another; that's why people write novels.

   So God Bless Momma and Daddy. I did what I could and to quote Pearl Jam: "I'm Still Alive!"

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rick and Bubba's Bad Theology, Bad Humanities and Politics

      Rick and Bubba of Jacksonville State University are taking their piss poor theology and half assed political moral leanings to new fundamentalist lows on their four hour radio carnival. They are syndicated throughout Bama and Mississippi and the Southeast.

    I called the White House this morning hoping to get in touch with Melissa Rogers on staff there, a Grand literate Baptist with roots in the Church of the Covenant in Birmingham.

     Long story short Rick Burgess half ass Scripture quoting and political assertions don't past muster. I am convinced they don't past muster with the late Tom Corts of Samford, H Brandt Ayers of the Anniston Star, a long time guiding light at JSU; Hardy Jackson, the Christian and well respected History proff there, nor the legacy of the great Alabama Republican Judge Frank Johnson.

    Bubba helped bring the Davis Cup to Bham. Proud of them for that and I enjoy them when they pontificate on things they know a little about like the Andy Griffith show or the Bear and Golden Flake potato chips. But when they get passed their limited area of expertise, the bad grammar aw shucks bull shit is a callous on the improvement of the state.

     To paraphrase Connor in the Road to Perdition, if it weren't "all so fuckin hysterical" it wouldn't be some harmful to the work of Jesus Christ as Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King understood it. But after a while a diet of this horseshit is dangerous and has a cascading effect for the unraveling of the Country.

    They talk about mannin up all the time. Let Jax State have them on two hour panel this fall to talk about their horse manure with Hardy Jackson, David Matthews of the Civic Center, Mark Wilson of Auburn University Democracy Project, even Nick Saban and let's get some some perspective on the dangers of Burgess and Bussey half assed fundamentalist  understanding of Scripture and the work of Christ in the world.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bonhoeffer's epiphany

   Reading Bonhoeffer Monday night, the chapter on the young scholar at 25 and his University days studying Harnack and Schleiermacher and Barth, I was taken back to the fall of 72 when under the tutelage of Albert Blackwell I was introduced to Shleiermacher.
    Then some forty years later reading a chapter I hadn't focused on in the first read of Charles Marsh's a Strange Glory for a moment I had some insight of what might have been had a taken a more disciplined academic course.

   This mind you in the company of Jeremy Bell, a constable in Collinsville Alabama in Jacks. He was two tables over wordless as best for the both of us given the court Fee system in Alabama and the jackboot.

   But I digress. I don't have the time to do this justice as I suggested to a loved one by text this morning who "encouraged" me to blog.

   But I will return to the promise and genius of Bonhoeffer soon, who drove right in front of the house on old hwy 11 when Momma was seven in NE Bama.

      On page 51 and 52 of the Marsh bio he looks at Bonhoeffer's insight into synchairein, or shared joy. Building on Harnack's take on the joy of the Resurrection, Bonhoeffer gives the apostle Paul a social dimension.
    Marsh asks how may history have changed had the German church been able to grasp and incarnate Bonhoeffer's insight of 1926. Find this biography and read the full treatment in the evolution of Bonhoeffer's life and faith.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sweet Billy, 94

    My Dad woulda been 94 this coming May 3; born in 1922. I've told some of these stories before, but my soul was opened a while ago. You know what the poet Mary Oliver said about the soul, it comes and goes.

    I was gonna blog today about what an ass my Dad's brother Prentice has come to be in his twilight years. He texts me 30 something times a day when I politely ask him not to. Either that or join the righteous chorus in denouncing the GOP Ticket, Trump and Cruz and Fiorina, the whole pompous asinine card

     But I will come back to that later.

    Here in the Ft Payne Library I saw my friend Reverend Doctor Pat McFadden retired from the FBC here; born in Cheraw South Carolina and a Clemson grad. He had on his Clemson shirt today.

   We talked a little about the recent inhouse study of Jesse Helms church Hayes Barton and the implications for other congregations including FBC Gaffney.

   And that stoked some memories of my Dad in Gaffney and playing tennis, his doubles team with Mrs Sossamon and Mrs. Reaves and sometimes their niece, the mother in law of Tim Childers who was on Clemson's 81 natty.

   I think it was Bobby Crocker who named my Dad Sweet Billy. They went to a Baptist Convention in 74 or So in Seattle and had to share a double bed. When they got back somebody asked Crocker if he had any trouble with Billy's snoring.

   Crocker said none at all. Said after they had Bible reading and prayer they got  in bed and Crocker said I leaned over and kissed Sweet Billy on the Cheek and he didn't make a sound all night.

   Crocker was a card. Played football at Furman until the doctor told him he was one hit away from eternity. Then he took up motorcycle ridin and telling people at Draytonville about Jesus.

   I saw Luke Griggs son Max at Jacks last week. Sometime will tell him the story of  JoJo Morgan, Sweet Billy, Wild Bill and the cyclamines at Trade Day.

     Sweet Billy has three great grandsons now he never got to see on this earth. But they all seem to have a great disposition like their great granddad. I will do my best to tell them some good stories as appropriate, even the one about Leon Culberson and Dom DiMaggio, Chile Burgers at Lynn's Number One on Wilkinsville and blackberry pickin with With Whiteside and before that on the Berrong property in Clay County North Carolina, Guy Carter; and Uncle Jesse Nease out from Baltimore and Newport Tennessee.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Alabama stories about Larry Bird sightings and near sightings

     John Morgan's recent column in the Southern Torch was one of his better ones. He can tell a good story. This one was about Larry Bird and a HS basketball game Morgan almost saw. You can read it at the link in this running history of the Collinsville Baptist church, just a couple clicks away

    Turns out there was a good story about Bird a few years earlier, this one I heard from a dairy farmer in Indiana who comes down sometimes twice annually to the Sacred Harp Singings in Collinsville and Henegar. This story I heard about three miles from where Morgan preaches and my Mother was baptized in 1936 or so. See The Exiled Generations, U Tenn Press.

    Dairyman said he was out on a big farm with a friend in the early 90s and the fellow said, there is my new neighbor there across the fence I want you to meet him. So the singer goes over and is introduced to Larry Bird and it was the first this native Indianan had ever heard of him. His friend couldn't believe it. The dairyman is quite gregarious but basketball was not his universe.

    I told the dairyman the story Sunday at the annual Spring singing, two more to go for me in the county between now and September. I told him Morgan's story and he said I got a new one.

   Said a friend of his had done well and now living in a gated community near Indianapolis. Dairyman repeated several times this was really a nice neighborhood. Said through those connections the friend was in big time Chamber of Commerce meeting where a banker was bragging on said neighborhood and the new resident, Larry Bird.

    A short time later the friend saw the banker again and asked how the new neighbor was doing in the community. The Banker was little embarrassed as Bird was seen on a John Deere cutting his own grass, a faux pax in this gated community. Bad style to do your own grass.

    I guess you can't take the French Lick out of one of the greatest of all time.

    For me I'm proud of Bird. If you have a Bird story, especially one you heard in Alabama, please share.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yellowhammer Cliff Simms distortion of Christianity

   I heard Cliff Simms on Crawford Broadcasting WYDE of Cullman, Alabama with his sidekick Scott Beason of FBC Gardendale today on the radio. I think Simms has a connection to the Church of the Highlands, a mega church in Mark Driscoll tradition with 14 or so "campuses" in North Central Alabama.
    Beason and Simms were talking about one of their favorite subjects the inferiority of the Muslim faith and its tendency to violence.
    Simms claims a degree with a minor in History, I think, from Auburn. He played HS Basketball and some college and his father is a Baptist minister of some stripe.
    Simms dismisses the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention while claiming expertise in things political. I'm pretty sure he hasn't read Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason nor Wuthnow's Rough Country, nor the Thomas Powers review, nor Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America, nor Norm Ornstein's Its Worse than it looks. I doubt he will listen online to the NPR On the Media piece Sunday on Donald Trump's appeal to "white trash"; nor do I expect Simms is anxious to sit down with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide football team and talk about whether President Obama has the Constitutional right to forward a nominee for the Supreme Court.
    Like Rick and Bubba if Simms weren't such a joke he wouldn't be taken seriously. But he has distorted the Christian Faith and most likely a majority of white males in Bama are with him and he conflates that to God is On His Side.
   I once thought he and his kind were like the organ grinder's monkey the more he climbed the monkey pole the more he showed his ass, but these are unusual times.
     It is likely ridiculous of me to think this blog will change much but I will bring it to the attention of some folk who have greater influence than me. Hopefully at some point David Matthews Civic Center or Auburn University Democracy Project will call Simms out and he'll be game for a two hour discussion with Leland Whaley and some of their betters as they most of the time go unchallenged or preach to the choir on Yellowhammer Radio.
   In the meantime, Cliff, in the slight chance you have a conscience now that your ambition is bringing you to what you consider success by your vain calculations, consider other "Christian" notions and tell Rick and Bubba about it.
      Check daily. Begin with their documentary on Muslim Christian relations.
    Enough for now. Hit like when you see this on your facebook wall.