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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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Truett's Glorious Remembrance This Morning in DC

From Today's Dallas Morning News, with a quote from his Niece, age 90
June 29, 2007
Truett's Famed Religious Liberty Sermon Celebrated in D.C.
By John Pierce
WASHINGTON, D.C — Eighty-seven years after George W. Truett thundered a well-received call for separation of church and state to more than10,000 Southern Baptists gathered in the nation’s capital, a smaller, yet more diverse, group of Baptists paid tribute to the legendary Baptist pastor’s enduing message and heard calls for a renewed commitment to full religious liberty.

The June 29 event sponsored by the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty took place in Fountain Plaza near the U.S. Capitol where Truett, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, gave his May 16, 1920 address from the east steps calling for guaranteed religious liberty for all people.

While noting that President George Washington laid the physical cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793, Congressman Chet Edwards (D-Texas) said, “It’s true foundation is on the first freedom — freedom of religion.”

Edwards said former Baylor University chancellor Herb Reynolds, who died last month, gave him a copy of Truett’s sermon several years ago that “made an indelible imprint on my mind and spirit” and caused the defense of religious liberty to “become my political calling in life. “Our religious freedom must be protected by each generation,” Edwards warned. “There are politicians in each generation, in the name of religion, who would do it great harm.”

Edwards, along with fellow Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) addressed the crowd, composed mostly of persons attending meetings of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the American Baptist Churches, USA. BJC Executive Director Brent Walker introduced Edwards and Scott as leading members of Congress committed to preserving religious liberty.

Scott spoke of current church-state challenges such as President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives program that “allows discrimination with federal funds.” He urged Baptists committed to full religious liberty to “continue to make your voices heard.”

Alliance of Baptists leader Stan Hastey referenced the “sunny May day” in 1920 when Truett, influenced by John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress, and the reading of Baptist newspapers that came to his North Carolina home as a child, gave his famed address.

“By every account it was a remarkable occasion,” said Hastey, whose introduction was followed by nine Baptist leaders reading excerpts from Truett’s lengthy and influential sermon.

The readers were: Amy Butler of Washington’s Calvary Baptist Church, Steven Case of First Baptist Church of Mansfield, Penn., Quinton Dixie of Indiana University-Purdue University, Pamela Durso of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, Jeffrey Haggray of the D.C. Baptist Convention, Robert Marus of Associated Baptist Press, Julie Pennington-Russell of First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., William D. Underwood of Mercer University and Daniel Vestal of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

“Toleration is a concession, while liberty is a right,” read Vestal from Truett’s sermon. “…God wants free worshippers or no other kind.” Haggray echoed Truett’s affirmation that religious liberty “was preeminently a Baptist achievement.”

Large sections of Truett’s address, not read at the Baptist Unity Rally for Religious Liberty, dealt with Baptist doctrines and even challenged Roman Catholic theology and practice. Yet Truett concluded that “ a Baptist would rise at midnight to plead for absolute religious liberty for his Catholic neighbor, and for his Jewish neighbor, and for everybody else.”

At the rally’s conclusion, BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman said the religious liberty enjoyed by Americans today is worth the efforts of Truett and others before and since who have given themselves to the cause.

“Religious liberty is our right,” said Hollman, “and its protection our responsibility.”
(John Pierce is executive editor of Baptists Today, an autonomous, national news journal based in Macon, Ga.)

And my friend Johnny Pierce's story on events this morning above
Friend of Matthew Morgan and myself, Randall Balmer is addressing the annual national Convo of the Baptist Joint Committee at the present hour, NOON, EDT, in DC

Post of Thursday, June 28 to people in Collinsville, Al.
Here is a link to the Baptist Convo being held this weekend in Washington DC that will among other things spotlight George Truett and Randall Balmer--see related posts.

I apologize to Mom and Dad, George Truett, some of the thinking youth in the town who all indications are will pilgrim in some fashion of this gathering if they remain Baptists, and John Appleton; I apologize to all of you for not doing a better job incarnating this witness and sharing it locally.
But for anybody there and elsewhere who gives a darn here is a good testament.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pour Down Rain in Cave Spring

Here is a float blog from an email I sent some friends not long ago. One is a pretty good story teller. May see if this grows into anything evanescing.

But before that here is the comment of the week from my friend about his girl goin off to the secular University.

Thuh yung repote-ah said...
I dunno about the BSU, but she shure gone see a fine brand of college tackle football this fall.....
June 25, 2007 2:52 PM
Bunkey said...
JOhn,Great article John. God is going to bless Sarah. She is a wonderful girl with true convictions and two great parents. You have taught her well and she will be fine. I totally agree with the article on secular universities and I am thankful that the Baptist have a strong presence at UA. One more thing.............Roll Tide
June 26, 2007 4:57 PM
Michelle Halcomb said...
Dear Pastor, So hard to believe she is off to college, considering the last time I saw her, she was a tiny tot. All I'm going to say is Proverbs 22:6. You know it, and I know you, so I know Sarah will do just fine. I pray that my girls choose christian college as well, but I comfort myself with Proverbs. I cling to that promise. The more I think about Sarah, the more nostalgic I become. I think I hear the same background...seedlings turn overnigt to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze....LOL! Praying for you to have peace...Burge #2
June 26, 2007 5:52 PM

Young repoteah phrase turn "fine brand of college tackle football" is outstanding. It's even better in context of good read of the blog and the comments before, those these after give you a taste of the sentiment.

Here is my report on the rain and how it turned my day around, from a good cafe experience.

I was doin okay I asked the black man seated with his wife, if he didn't think Whole life was all he needed. He'd been talking insurance for about 10 minutes. A complete stranger he was, waiting on his country style steak.
Nice fellow, but I think I made a faux pas, pushing the repartee uninvited one feeder too far.
I had finished my three catfish filets and chocolate cream pie, waiting on the summer shower to stop. Came to Cave Spring cause it was supposed to be hot and humid all day, and I was thinking about the icey spring water to get me through the afternoon.
Probably wouldn't said any thing about the whole life if my previous conversation hadn't gone so well; local raconteur was holding forth on various horrible accidents he'd either witnessed or heard about lately. I told him Pemberton's Bride was a good story and where he could get it.
Not sure what to do with the rest of the day, now that the showers are itching past sporadic into the realm of continuously.
May use this seed for a blog.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Balmer, George Truett and My DAD; DC This Friday

Here is a letter looks like will be published in the June 29 Hayesville, North Carolina paper. Looks like a photo opp is in the works later this fall with my brother, sister, and a picture of my Dad when hopefully we present a Balmer autographed copy of his book whose chapter two glorifies Truett.

Balmer was Matthew Morgan's visiting proff at Yale couple falls ago, and Matthew from his offices with the UMC in NYC can see Balmer's Columbia U and the Church of St. John the Divine.
Would be nice if I could get back in the church where Matthew and my Momma were baptized.
As in Duh, Momma of Collinsville was there with us from 59-62 so this is about her as well. A Great patriot like George Truett, she was born the 6th of July. Check the link for Truett's bday. I know he marched on May 16, Casey Mattox Bday.

But here is a link to the Great Truett and then my letter.

Letters for Publication
Clay County
Hayesville, North Carolina
The Editors:

My Dad was pastor of Truett Memorial Baptist there in Hayesville from 1959-1962. Whatever his merits or flaws, he evolved into a Baptist in the church state vein of George Truett, shaped as my Dad was by a champion of that vein in that time, Stewart Newman of North Carolina's Southeastern Seminary.
In my time I have become acquainted with Randall Balmer of the Barnard College of Columbia University of NYC. Balmer advances Truett's legacy in a chapter devoted to Truett in Balmer's highly acclaimed recent book Thy Kingdom Come.
June 29 at 8 AM Baptists gathering in Washington DC will comemorate Truett's May, 16, 1920 grand address and march on the Capitol Steps with a ceremony at the same location. At noon this same Friday, Balmer will address the luncheon of the Baptist Joint Committee for Public Affairs.
I just wanted to share this news with Truett's hometown, in the beautiful mountains where I was lucky to abide for 3 and a half years.
Truett lives on. I hope many of you will read Balmer's book to revel in his legacy.


Stephen M. Fox

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Something To Think About

For the Rest of The Summer

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The Great Mutatorby Jerry Coyne 1 2 3 4 Post date 06.20.07 Issue date 06.18.07

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s the philosopher Philip Kitcher shows in his superb new book, Living With Darwin, the theory of intelligent design is a mixture of "dead science" and non-science. That is, insofar as ID makes scientific claims (for example, that natural selection cannot produce complexity), those claims not only are wrong, but were proved wrong years ago. And ID is deeply unscientific in its assertion that certain aspects of evolution (mutation, in Behe's case) required supernatural intervention. Behe's attacks on evolutionary theory are once again wrongheaded, but the intellectual situation grows far worse when we see what theory he offers in its place.
The first problem is that Behe's "scientific" ideas are offered to the public in a trade book, and have never gone through the usual process of vetting in peer-reviewed scientific journals. This was also the case with Darwin's Black Box. In fact, Behe has never published a paper supporting intelligent design in any scientific journal, despite his assertion in Darwin's Black Box that his own discovery of biochemical design "must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science," rivaling "those of Newton and Einstein, Lavoisier and Schrödinger, Pasteur, and Darwin." Surely such an important theory deserves a place in the scientific literature! But the reason for the lack of peer review is obvious: Behe's ideas would never pass muster among scientists, despite the fact that anybody who really could disprove Darwinism would win great renown.

So let us put some empirical questions to Behe, since his theory is supposedly scientific. Which features of life were designed, as opposed to evolved? How exactly did the mutations responsible for design come about? Who was the Designer? To what end did the Designer work? If the goal was perfection, why are some features of life (such as our appendix or prostate gland) palpably imperfect?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Elder Edward Babb and the Madison Bumblebees

From Winnsboro, South Carolina. Six Trombones. They are the Troof the Truth, any way you want the Gospel there is no mistaking it from this Group.
Google em up. They were a surprise hit at New Orleans Jazz Fest and I caught em yesterday in the heat, 1:30 Father's Day at City Stages in Bham about three blocks up from the Historical Marker about the Greyhound Beatings of 1960, can't remember if it was the John Lewis, Siegenthaler group or not.
This from the Best of New Orleans Blog:

Killer Bees
The surprise must-see act of the second weekend turned out to be Elder Edward Babb and his Madison Bumblebees. We caught the end of his first set of the weekend by accident on Saturday, while walking past a half-full Gospel Tent, and came back for both of Sunday's performances, which were packed after the previous day's buzz made it around the Fair Grounds. The South Carolina church group's worship music is a jumping, brassy gospel shout played with a corps of eight, nine or 11 trombones (depending on who you ask) plus cymbals and sousaphone. For the real Fest stamp of approval, even professional festival goer Beatle Bob and the ubiquitous and bizarre shredded white T-shirt man were both there, dancing in the aisles. When Elder Babb asked if we could feel the wheels of salvation turning, everyone was ready to jump on board the train. More than a few of the sanctified left the Fair Grounds wondering if the past millennium of religious art may have been wrong, and if it was in fact a trombone the angel Gabriel was playing.

Not sure who I am backing yet, but here is big tip to the Obama Campaign who had 3,000 plus show up in Greenville, SC Friday. Get these guys as your official House band as you Tour South Carolina. If it happens you read it here first.
Come back to this in the next few days. I may say more. But the music and the authentic "enthusiasm"; look for them in your neighborhood and go see em.

Bout the best my adopted homestate has to offer, other than Sidney Rice, wide receiver.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Burleson: "Mohler gives SBC The Finger"

Click on this

There go to SBC Trends and click on my post by same name.

It goes to the guts of what Baptist Witness in America will be in the near future as Burleson and his thinking conservative Baptist Ben Cole of Baylor and Barry hankins classes have every intention of meeting with the true Vine Baptists in Atlanta this coming January.

Frank Page had some good words. It is a shame he doesn't appear to understand the legacy of LD Johnson only 12 miles away.

June 14
Burleson's fellow Young Gun blogger Marty Duren has a blog up today any of you who follow Baptist Matters, or are interested in how the mindset effects national bloc voting patterns--they elected President Bush you know.
Got to give it to Duren for his Wisdom, Insight into the nature of blogging and public pronouncements. From My experience last couple years I know what he means.
Duren: 4. I’ve too much blood on my hands. Unfortunately, the nature of SBC debate is rarely civil and, even when it begins that way, can too easily degenerate into trench warfare against people that we are supposed to be working with, not fighting against. In this tension filled environment, things are said that should not be while reactions and over-reactions become more and more commonplace. One can only remain in an aggressive posture for so long. The role that I have played has been front line and I’ve learned more than I care to know. There is no desire on my part to degenerate into a constant skirmish, thereby becoming a fighting fundamentalist myself; I hope I’m stopping short of that particular curse.


And Chapter Nine from the great Barbara Brown Taylor in Leaving Church. In it Taylor explores similar combustion from the more enlightened end of the spectrum Duren has placed himself on.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Some people ugly, nasty; downright mean

I thought this was interesting article from Texas and the first graduating class of the Truett Seminary there, named for the man from Hayesville. Then Baylor President Herb Reynolds got a copyright for the name before the fundies could steal it, and Mr. Baugh of Sysco Foods put up the money.

Thoughts from the first class of ten years ago and the DNA of churches
from this link

“Every church has a DNA, just as every minister does, too. In your first church and/or staff experience, pay attention to how you live out your theology, how you lead and how you work. Then, as you talk to search committees, ask questions based on what you know about yourself and what you know about their DNA. Accept who they are, and minister from that position. …
“For instance, every church has a different definition of pastor and staff leadership. We were trained in seminary to lead one way but not trained how to adjust leadership needs based on the DNA of the congregation and/or staff. Churches could identify what they want and clarify that. You could substitute any issue here, but leadership is one example.”

Gardner offered new graduates a word of warning about relationships: “Sometimes, people will be ugly and nasty and downright mean. But regardless of that, treat them as Christ would—love. It’s easy to get so busy doing the ‘stuff’ of ministry that you can forget what we are sent here for—to reach and tell people of the love of Jesus Christ.”

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The New Baptist Covenant

Visit this site regularly as it will be a challenge to all who read it.

Hoping to engage the discussion here in Alabama as my friend John Killian has joined the blogging world at

Eventually and routinely I expect him to engage the discussion about the new Baptist Covenant.

Matthew of Yale comes to Sumatanga this weekend. What that means for the evolution of a Baptist Covenant mentality who is to say.

Lot of things get lost in translation it seems by the time Balmer's thinking intersects what was once promising up the road from Keener.