My Photo

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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

News of the day

Lot of things coming at me today so I'll be brief.
If you checked out this blog and haven't heard the news yet, Jules Johnson has a new blog, mostly about SEC Football. You may want to google for ; or just click.
MSNBC and NY Times has fascinating article on letters of Hillary as a college girl at Wellesly;
And USA Today has a cover story on a five year old and asks is he the future of tennis.
INteresting sighting at Jack's yesterday. Not sure what it means, other than further notice of a quarter century passing in Collinsville, Alabama.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Electricity in North Carolina

Out from Anson County.
This blog is gestatin, but wanted you to know it was comin. I don't want to disappoint any of you with this one so keep lookin here till you think I have refined and got done with it; hopefully by the end of the next week.
In the meantime read what Ron Rash said about James Dickey in current Oxam Mag, not in the collinsville Public Lyberry, but in the one at Northeast where Rash spoke; also I saw it in Wahalla South Carolina and Easley; I think I did.
And Charles Marsh. Read what he said about Charles Stanley in his new Book Onward Christian Soldiers; in at least one Barnes and Noble in Upstate South Carolina and I hope in one near you cause you need to know what he said about richard land and that group.
I learned this, this morning. Colonel Poole's BBQ in Elijay, Georgia is reported to very Good. I understand it is the Q George W. Bush our President makes a point to get hold of every time he comes this way. I guess his friend Zell gets him a special order from time to time up that way.
Hoping I do justice to the ambience of the story comin.
Asfoxseesit winding down tour of 07, outside Winder. Good distance outside, but not too far.
Some of you will understand some day it was no small thing what Lynda bird said last week, invoking billy Sunday's name, at Lady Bird's funeral, and it's relevance to Winder, where Hubert Humphrey sloshed around January 1972 in Richard Russell's backyard where he was buried; Russell.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Literary Critic, James Wood/Community Arrogance

Thursday, July 19, Sewanee, TN

Here at the Sewanee Writer's Conference where I hope to hear James Wood of the Broken Estate in about 15 minutes. Will give you a review soon, and some links to his take on Cormac McCarthy among others.
Outside my pay grade here, but it is not the first time. Have a fellow revenant with me and he is even further outside his element than me.
But we are substantive, serious people and as Steal Away says, We Ain't got Long to Stay Here.

That was Thursday, this is Monday. This note give you an idea of the phenom of an intelligence in the room at Sewanee Thursday at 5:15
From the NY Rev book July 2003

God and the Critic
By Jennifer Schuessler
James Wood(click for larger image)

The Book Against God
by James Wood
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 257 pp., $24.00
The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief
by James Wood
Modern Library, 284 pp., $14.95 (paper)
In the fifteen years since he first began reviewing books for a living, the British writer James Wood has established himself as perhaps the strongest, and strangest, literary critic we have. In his frequent essays for The New Republic (where he is a senior editor) and various other publications on both sides of the Atlantic, Wood combines an elegant literary style and magisterial command of the canon with a fierce moral passion that threatens, at times, to come slightly unhinged.

Back to Fox
I chatted briefly with Wood after his lecture. Asked him if he had any second guesses about the religion since his 99 Broken Estate. He said a few. Said he was aware of Marshall Frady and hoped to read his 79 bio of Billy Graham.
That would be fascinating indeed. For the most part his lecture was the first chapter of his upcoming book How Fiction Works.

Mixxing apples and oranges I may separate later, there is a Texas Observer article out there on Ben Cole. I hope at some point Cole understands Wood but I fear he does not now.
In any case, article has a witticism by Cole comparing the SBC mafia to the HBO Series The Sopranos.
I know what he means, but I have to say, it was the altos that got me.
Many of you may like this as a tertiary digression from this blog entry.

And from Monday the 23rd, July, 2007
William Bradford Huie is profiled in the Summer Oxford American. I met his second wife about five years ago in a Wayne Flynt todoo at a Junior College near here.
Closing paragraph about Huie's iconoclastic career is strong. Here it is:

"Community power, because of its tendency to arrogance," Huie wrote, "must always be suspect among free men. Free men create community power fearfully: there was not a patriot at Philadelphia who didn't fear the United States even while he was helping create it."
Any American will grasp what Huie meant. Like deTocqueville, he saw democracy as a beautiful idea that also threatened to make a tyranny of the majority. Consider: we sing hymns to individualism, yet stand alone may be the single hardest thing for any American to do. As a country made up of often antagonistic communities, we guard our tribal prejudices--our "community standards"--yet imagine that we are united. We hate those who defy the standard and refuse the prejudice. We break our defiers while they're alive, and then when they're dead, call them great Americans.

Fox> I was trying to make a similar point my last day at the Collinsville Library, Jan 20, 2006 when reading a paragraph from Hardy Jackson's readable History of Alabama. They showed me the door on the Cornerstone Catch 22.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Federer and Nadal

Just a passing thought, One I may embellish later.
Would be nice if while they are in their prime Federer and Nadal could play a series on different surfaces; fresh without the wear and tear of a tournament.
We pretty know who the best tennis players are in the world now. So why not cut to the chase and let them come at each other fresh, Like Ali and Joe Frazier.
I'm all for the tournaments and have even had some loved ones and friends see the big ones. Rahul has been to Wimbledon and US Open, Uncle Prent the Open and the French, and Cousin Neil the Australian. I think Baker has been to the Open also and my acquaintance Ross.
I saw Chris Evert in Columbus Georgia and heck, even played in the Burger King Open in Rome in 84; Rome, Georgia.
But I digressed.
Let's see Nadal and Federer several times in the next four years, maybe all on different kinds of clay.
I like Federer. He so smooth and has the complete game. For sure the best since Johnny Mac


Chaplain W Prentice Fox who has seen both the French and US Open and played Number 4 at Carson Newman left handed in the early 50's emailed in the following comments:


Stephen> I was about to take the Chaplain out on the courts in Rome in the early 80's but he hit me in the back. We are still in counseling about the incident. (Insert smilie emoticon here)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Collinsville Makes History July 4th

On July 4th, on the front page of Alabama largest Newspaper, above the Fold, was this story on Collinsville.
The big story is the second link, but here is an important one as well, about a kid Georgia Tech and other schools are looking at.
Tech is looking at this kid as a field goal kicker. High arch into the endzone routinely on kickoffs. I've seen it with my own eyes.
He has a beautiful sister. All his brothers and sisters are bright, good students and disciplined. Senator Sessions and Shelby should make something happen for this kid. Don't limit his horizons locally. This kid can kick for Vanderbilt, Princeton, Yale, where the local minister's son recently got an MDiv--what says Willimon can't contact Duke about him--Sewanee,Furman,Clemson, North Carolina.
He has all the makings of a virtuous politician, if challenged and navigated in the right direction. He is easily every bit the equal of North Carolina congressman, the QB from UT.
Among other challenges it will say a lot about Collinsville the way they direct this young man his Senior year in High School.

And putting it all in larger perspective
And here is another link, challenging take, for especially those in Collinsville with connections to Duke, UVA, Yale and Congressman Aderholt's office

PS: I sent an email to several influential people bringing this blog to their attention. If yall can help me get back in the local Library and local Baptist church where my Mother was baptized, maybe we can bring Daniel Alarcon to town for a speech and a fundraiser.
I have corresponded with him on occasion as well.
Just a few days before I was dismissed from the library, the librarian was asking if maybe I could bring another writer to town for a fundraiser. That was why it was all such a surprise to me,ousted while I was out of town in a rainstorm-- kinda on the heels of tryin to help get Matthew into Yale.
Sure, maybe I coulda changed the tone of some of my remarks on occasion; but living in small towns some days you change your pitch.
I've been talkin to Jesus about it all, and he's been tellin me 2 out of three days, four of seven he would like to see me back in the Library with no more than two strikes against me and back in the Babdiss with the opportunity to face my detractors and see if we can work some things out.
We need each other. Just cause I have a hard time gettin along with 4 or 5 women--Even WA Criswell had his problems at FBC Dallas--doesn't mean I can't get along with the other 60 or so people in the congregation. Heck I even got 20 votes of 52 (or 32-20) on a blind vote when I was only given 7 minutes to present my side of the story.
All that is secondary, however, and an afterthought to this promotion of Hernandez's future.
If history has passed me by, then all the best to Hernandez and all the promise he incarnates.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Falwell Witnesses to Bama UMC Bishop Willimon at Duke

Here is the Link

and here is the column by Willimon

I had every intention of taking the Sacraments with Bishop Willimon January this year outside Bham, but did not make the trip.

I hope to see Elder Edward Babb and the Madison Bumblebees with him and Dr. Beckett before I leave this world, as Elder Babb of Winnsboro, South Carolina does a marvelous musical interpretation of the Christian Pilgrimage

Willimon and Duke on Falwell. 12% vs Five

Charms of an ideologue
Jerry Falwell at Duke
by William H. Willimon
"Did you ever meet Jerry Falwell?" someone asked me the day Falwell died. "Meet him? Jerry nearly got me fired," I responded.This was true. During Falwell's days at the Moral Majority a student dared me to ask Falwell to speak at Duke. Never thinking that the famous, busy man would come, I invited him. A couple days later I received a gracious acceptance. I had underestimated Jerry's love of publicity and a good fight.Not having mentioned money in my invitation, I wrote him back, saying that we could pay only for his travel; there would be no honorarium. Falwell immediately replied that the honor of speaking at Duke was payment enough and that, since he was flying down in his private jet, travel expenses would be on him. He asked only for my prayers.There was no deterring this man.When I asked the university president if she would like to introduce Falwell, she said, "Are you crazy?" And then she added: "Who put the idea to invite Jerry Falwell in your head anyway? When are you next up for a job evaluation?"I advised against any publicizing of the event, but once the Duke Chronicle heard about it, a storm of protest arose. After its headline appeared—something like "Dean of the Chapel Invites Notorious Homophobe Christian to Duke"—things got nasty. Even my disclaimers that I didn't personally know Falwell, that I had hardly read the book of Leviticus, and that I had only once even been in the vicinity of Lynchburg didn't help. The Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered Alliance called for my resignation and for a massive show of defiance against Falwell's "closed minded, racist, homophobic, self-righteous, incendiary rhetoric." We liberals are nothing if not open-minded."Jerry Falwell says that God doesn't hear the prayers of Jews," said another letter. My pointing out that it was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention who said that had little effect. "After we get through with you, the only place you'll ever be chaplain is at Liberty Baptist," was the reply.The afternoon of the speech, as a thunderstorm approached, I received a phone call from Jerry. We were now on a first-name basis. "Will, just calling so you won't worry. My pilot tells me we can avoid this storm. No problem. The Lord is with us, Will! See you at six!" What did it take to get this guy not to show up?I gathered Jerry and his entourage at the airport. He brought with him a very attractive Liberty student, a woman whose father, Jerry proudly informed us, had been an ambassador to Switzerland. The student leader of the Duke Campus Ministry immediately lost interest in Falwell and spent the rest of the evening trying to get the woman's address.Jerry wasn't at all like he was on Larry King Live. I was unnerved by his charm and grace, which I figured was the way he softened people up before he let loose with the homophobic, self-righteous, incendiary rhetoric.I now had the task of introducing Jerry while at the same time distancing myself from him. At my first mention of Jerry's name a number of people began to hiss and boo. It sounded like the response to Dean Smith when Duke played North Carolina in basketball. This is going to be a long evening, I thought. Please, Lord, do not let the Duke students martyr this man and make a fool out of themselves.Jerry, grinning from ear to ear, got up and said what an honor it was for him to be at this great Christian university. More boos and hisses. Jerry then said that he would like to talk on the role of faith in higher education. Assorted hisses. Jerry rambled for about 30 minutes, speaking of the founding of Harvard as a place of Christian learning. He mentioned Princeton too. If fact he managed to mention every school with which Duke competed, noting that we had the church to thank for their existence today. Gradually the hissing and booing faded away. The students were obviously disappointed that he had yet to say anything offensive or even interesting.When Jerry ended his remarks, he asked for conversation. Now things would really get nasty, I thought. The first student at the microphone was an African-American woman. She asked something like, "I can't stand your right-wing narrow-mindedness. You say you are a Christian, but you preach hate. How many African Americans do you have at your Liberty University?" The audience responded with jeers and applause.Jerry paused, wiped his brow, and said, "Young lady, you could not have asked a question that hurts me more deeply." Some hissing. "In asking about minority student enrollment, you have named my most regrettable failure at Liberty University. I have prayed, I have worked, I have been throughout this country attempting to recruit ethnic minority students, and though we have had greater success among some ethnic minority groups, I am sad to report that our enrollment today stands at only about 12 percent African American." A few guffaws from the audience.Jerry continued, "Of course, we are a very young university, less than a decade in existence. We have such a small endowment. But how can I be sure that I am not simply deceiving myself? I am unwilling to accept excuses for our infidelity in regard to our ministry with African Americans. Just the other day I was pouring my heart out on this very matter to Coretta—you know, Coretta Scott King—we try to get together every few months—she is a wonderful person. She told me not to be so consumed with this problem. But I can't help myself." At the mention of Coretta Scott King the audience became eerily quiet."Do you know, by the way, how many African Americans are enrolled at Duke?" he asked. No response."I'll tell you. Six percent. Six percent! Your endowment is 50 times bigger than ours. You have had years to work on this issue (though admittedly you spent half of your life as a racially segregated school). In fact, I struggled with whether the Lord wanted me to come here tonight to a school that, though you have been given great gifts, has such a poor record of minority enrollment. I pray that you will let the Lord help you do better in this area." Dead silence in the packed auditorium.From there Jerry went on to field every question with great aplomb. Somehow he had a name to drop as part of every response. He invoked Teddy Kennedy (with whom he sometimes vacationed), Nelson Mandela (whom he had found to be a wonderful confidant), Jesse Jackson (golf partner?) and every other member of the liberal pantheon except for Bill Clinton. I sat there seething with contempt for the wimpishness of the Duke audience. Is this all it took to shut them up? They were putty in this Baptist's hands. When Jerry finally finished his avuncular banter, he received a warm ovation. "The man's no fool," I thought to myself. "Lord, give me a portion of his gift at manipulating an academic audience.""You can have a great ministry here," Jerry jovially told me on the way back to his jet. "You can have a remarkable influence upon talented young lives." n
William H. Willimon is United Methodist bishop of the North Alabama Conference.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Balmer's True Vine Baptist DC Glorious Address

Here is the early tease from the July 2 news items from compliments of Don Byrd.
As Byrd says he hopes a link for the entire address will be up soon.
A friend and his brother, a kidney doctor were both in the room with the 500 at the luncheon on Sunday and there eyewitness account was Balmer had a prolonged and enthusiatic applause and standing ovation at the end of his remarks.
I hope Matthew helps me get the word to Collinsville, Alabama. I got notice of it all in George Truett's hometown, Hayesville, North Carolina.
I did what I could do.

« Remembering Truett: Baptist Unity Rally for Religious Liberty [UPDATED] Main Texas Supreme Court Decides in Favor of Church Autonomy »
Balmer Calls On Baptists
Author and professor Randall Balmer delivered a stirring speech yesterday afternoon at the annual Religious Liberty Council luncheon. I was fortunate to be one of 500+ Baptists listened to Balmer – himself an Episcopalian – tell of the “urgent” need to rescue the Baptist heritage of freedom from the seductive call of political power embodied in the religious right. He carefully wove together, in contrast, the recent history of those “calling themselves Baptists” with that of colonial Baptists who helped inspire the religion clauses of the First Amendment and who knew what it was like to be in the persecuted minority.

Balmer called pet campaigns of the religious right, like those that would post Ten Commandment monuments at courthouses, “fethishes” that “denigrate the integrity of faith.” Of “prayer in school” controversies he said they are a “canard” that should be shown for what they are, since in fact it is state-sponsored prayer, and not prayer generally, that is found objectionable in the courts. And he received rousing applause when he added, of prayer, that true Baptists believe compulsory prayer – or prayer that is “rote” – makes a “mockery of faith.”

Throughout, he urged us – for the sake of our faith - to steer clear of the invitation to allow our religious perspective to gain the “imprimatur” of the government and pleaded with Baptists to return to our historic position of “watchman” on the wall separating church from state. Only then, Balmer insisted, would the church regain its prophetic voice and move back to the fringes of society where religion does its truest work, holding the seats of power to account on behalf of the poor and the sick and the disenfranchised.
His keynote address would be well worth a read. If I can find a link to text of his remarks, I’ll pass it along.
Posted by Don Byrd on June 30, 2007 09:45 AM
Send your comments to Don Byrd
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Great words well chosen by Balmer: fetishes, rote, mockery, canard, imprimatur. But my all time favorite is "counterfeit" as he rightly named Richard Land in his chapter on Baptists in Thy Kingdom Come.
Balmer is a grand fellow, and like me and Russ Beene he knows his Cane Ridge. I'm gonna get word to Bertis. Balmer is scheduled to speak at Furman University March 2008.