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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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

John Killian and BabbTaylor on the Democrats

My conservative fundamentalist blogger friend John Killian has handicapped Hillary and Obama at his blog Musings from Maytown where he posts mainly about the SBC presidential race. has a great blog on the Dems and has weighed in on SBC matters with her take on the Patterson/Klouda court case at SWBTS, tying it to misogyny.
George Packer of has the sanest realpolitik to date on where the Dems stand. And The Plank at has daily salient analysis.
Inside sources--two calls away from the man himself--tell me look for Colin Powell to mute the likes of Sean Hannity and Oreilly and Anne Coulter soon.
The likes of Charles Kimball, Charles Marsh, Ginny Brant, and Brant's Sunday School friend from the days of FBC Columbia South Carolina under the preaching of Ed Young; friend Melissa Callison Kremer, wife of the pastor of St. Johns in Charlotte, these folks along with Tim Tyson, the UMC minister's son and adjunct proff at Duke could help a lot to explain what will really matter when the race comes to the North Carolina Primary.
In the meantime, I hope my friend Killian, will enroll Bob Terry and Rick Lance in a careful analysis of Bill Moyers conversation with Cory Booker last Friday night on the Journal on PBS.
I remain convinced the likes of Booker, Stephen Black, Artur Davis and Obama, along with my North Carolinas list above are the vortex of the Hope of This Country.

Stephen Fox

Friday, March 28, 2008

Joe Alexander of West Virginia

Good basketball player. After some of my favorites fell in the early rounds and it would be a surprise to us all if SoCon's Davidson wins tonight, I had kinda picked Wva to make it happen.
Mazulla is a good player too, and that comeback in the 2nd half last night was inspiring. When they went up six in overtime, thought for sure we would see them some more, but the Catholics started hitting the three pointer and it was not to be.
The story line segments on Alexander surprised me. I had him pegged wrong, but looks like he is a serious student.
I read a great story several years ago about a utility player that comes in for Wake Forest, maybe in the heart of the ACC Season of an exciting year in the 60's or the ACC Tourney.
For some reason watchin WVa reminded me of that story.
If you like good college basketball storylines come back to this blog next week. Maybe I can turn that story up. I remember it as a Halberstam story, but maybe I am mistaken.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tunnels and Hymns

I had a good conversation with some theologians recently of the Karl Childers/Will Campbell Stripe.
Trying to figger this morning with the wind blowin outside my window if it was time to change my career from my 7 year framework of interest at (recently threatened to be overrun by an influx of idiots) I reread a portion of the Pulitzer Prize Winner Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
I have an autographed copy.
I openned the text and found a great parable about tunnels I had forgotten from my first two readings a couple years ago.
I think I was on pages 58-62.
I commend the parable to all you preachers, harlots, engineers, screenwriters, waterworkers, culinary artists, architects, politicians, bums whores, deacons or whatever your station in the internets world to give it some consideration.
I know I did.

Tunnels and Cormac McCarthy on the priest and the vagrant and the boulder in The Crossing is Pretty Good too.
Stephen Fox

I forgot the hymn

Here is the hymn I was thinkin about on the road to lyberry after my meal at the China House after my reading and ruminations on the tunnel.

It is Emmy Lou"s All My Tears, Track Two of Wreckin Ball.

I think she will sing at my funeral and I also have Who Will sing one Song for me on the playlist and Arvo Part's Requiem.
I think I can have it in the local church if my family pays the 35 dollar non member fee.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton and North Georgia Bloggers

Over the week before Easter I came in the orbit of two remarkably informed and provocative bloggers of North Georgia; one from Ringgold and the other, a retired fellow from the State of Georgia now in Blairsville.

With this link, hoping to engage them in some conversations as they have time as we await the pivotal North Georgia Primary.
Would love to have their opinions, hope they will do blogs themselves as well as respond here so you can click on their blogs.
We'll start this conversation with Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist Jane Smiley and her recent column in the Huffington Post.
As some of you know we have the progressive Baptist novelist John Grisham in the Clinton camp; and here we have Smiley by default with Obama


I just visited their blogs and both have great posts in the last 48 hours on the Promise of the Democrats in this cycle.
Check ; read her and then go to comment line to click on the Blairsville Ga. Mtn Man Ga State retiree.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ringgold, Ga on Paige Patterson

Rarely do you find such insight about the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention this close to Collinsville, Alabama but just across the line, about a 45 minute drive from Collinsville writes

Check out her full opinion piece there from this teaser about Paige Patterson and the Klouda case at SWBTS.

There Patterson fired a woman just because she was a woman.

Your mindless Cooperative Program Dollars support this Junk.
If you want to support the missionaries then God Bless You; some of them are personal friends of mine.

But send your money smart.
Defund the Karl Rove playground in the seminaries and Richard Land's ERLC

Don't take my word; talk to David Gushee about it at Mercer University. Some in the area already have the phone number.

Ms. Babb Taylor:

The president of Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary stands as a not-so-shining example of such white-washed misogyny. Ten years ago, when the Atlanta Journal Constitution asked Paige Patterson about women, he replied, “Everyone should own at least one.”
Perhaps he wasn’t joking. Patterson became the architect of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention at the turn of the millennium. Under Patterson’s leadership, the conservatives succeeded in stripping ordained female chaplains of their endorsement. They sought to replace the “priesthood of the believer” doctrine with husbands being priests of their wives. They forced missionaries to agree to male-over-female marriages or else give up their funding.
After Paige Patterson became president of the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), he fired a theology professor just for being female. Dr. Sheri Klouda, PhD, earned her degree at SWBTS and taught Hebrew there prior to Patterson’s gender discrimination. Patterson claims he has a right to discriminate against women, since SWBTS is a religious institution. Klouda responded by filing suit in federal court.
What does this have to do with domestic violence? Everything. Those who strip women of their status and financial means are also happy to subject them to other forms of abuse.

Patterson himself was caught on tape telling other pastors that he never condones divorce – and rarely even separation or seeking of help -- for victims of marital violence. In that transcript, Patterson shares an example in which he advised a battered wife to stay with her husband. He told her to submit to the man, to pray for him, and to get ready for the violence to increase. Patterson said he was “happy” when the woman came back to his church with two black eyes, because her husband also came.

All of these attitudes contribute to a culture of violence against women. We cannot expect abused women to solve the problem any more than we would expect children to solve the problem of child abuse, or pets to solve the problem of animal cruelty. Those of us who are free and strong must intervene to help victims.To help or receive help in northwest Georgia, contact the Family Crisis Center at (706) 375-7630. In other areas, call 1-800-799-SAFE or TTY 1-800-787-3224
.Jeannie Babb Taylor
Posted by Jeannie Babb Taylor at 4:55 PM 13 comments Links to this post

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

matthew Morgan and Melissa Rogers

Matthew Morgan, Collinsville, Alabama native is a graduate of the same Yale Divinity School as Barack Obama's pastor Otis Moss IIIrd.
Melissa Rogers, one of the brightest lights in the progressive movement of Baptist Work in the world today has Alabama ties as her grandparents were key figures in Baptist work in Birmingham in the 50's and 70's as founding members of Baptist Church of the Covenant, which has become a favorite congregation of SBC President Jim Henry's daughter,Kate Campbell.
Melissa has been called brilliant by none other than David Currie who graced Collinsville Baptist Church Feb 24, 2002 along with Alabama Baptist blueblood Mark Baggett and others.

In April Currie will convene a gathering in Texas that features John McCain's former pastor in Phoenix, Richard Jackson.
Melissa will be a featured speaker at Currie's Texas event with McCain's pastor.
It will be folks like Matthew and Melissa who explaing Barack Obama and the Black church to deacons and members of Collinsville Baptist and the myriad churches like them across America in the heartland.
Melissa Spoke to that hope today in a blog I will reference below.

Here is the problem from yesterday's Wash Post as I am certain Matthew understands it, as struggled with by his Yale Div Brother in Christ, Obama's Pastor Moss:

Earlier this month, before he stepped behind the Trinity pulpit for the first time, Moss tried to sort through the tension that now surrounds Wright. He sought advice from his father, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a former preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and a friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The father reminded his son that some civil rights leaders were initially perceived as heroes in the black church and rogues in white America. The same gulf, Moss III concluded, still divides society now.
It is an insight that could forecast more tension for Obama, who had hoped to distance himself from Wright while reaffirming his bond with the black church that still reveres him.
"There are two narratives that have been created with what's going on right now," Moss said. "There's the narrative of the African American church community that understands what has happened, that knows [Wright's] record and his legacy. And then there's the narrative of the wider community that doesn't understand.
"Part of this is indicative of the fact that our two communities still see the world very differently. There's a divide there, a gap that history will have to correct."

And in the Major Development section is the thinking of Melissa Rogers as we have coincidentallyfound common ground in the last few days.

From the discussion at Baptist

Re: Obama on his pastor
by Stephen Fox on Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:42 pm
Rick:What some commentators are saying and I was thinking before they said it is, if nothing else we have a classic teachable moment here.I was at Furman Monday night to hear Randall Balmer, and found out while there Charles Marsh's hero of the Orangeburg Massacre Cleveland Sellers was speaking at another forum on campus.I got off a question about Wright to Sellers and had several conversations afterwords with black educators at the event; and later a promising black Furman Senior I first me couple years ago while at the Furman pastors school.There seemed to be a consensus it will take white folks of some good reputation who understand the black church experience to translate to otherwise good white folk who are numbed by Wright's words just what is going on.In North Carolina I would nominate Richard Kremer of St. John's Baptist Church in Charlotte, married to the former attorney for SC Baptists Preston Callison who was raised at FBC Columbia under the preaching of Ed Young, with Harry Dent's daughters Ginny and Holly.Also Charles Kimball of Wake Forest, Tony Cartledge of Campbell Div, a host of Willimon's friends from Duke; there should be an endless list.Have them tour the state with Dean Smith, a good lifelong Baptist layman, even Bill Friday.Pat Anderson of the CBF and Furman grad about the time of Marshall Frady; Anderson's son is a staffer in the current Governor's office in North Carolina. Let him travel around with this group.Let North Carolina Baptists and other evangelicals of discernment be a beacon on this matter.In Texas there is a golden opportunity to bring John McCain's former pastor Richard Jackson up to speed with a conference David Currie is having. Let them do major tribute to the legacy of TB Matson and Bill Moyers.Here is the lineup from Curries newsletter just today:
Dr. W. David Sapp will be the first speaker, addressing the topic, &quotThe Bible Speaks on Ethics." Dr. Sapp is senior pastor of Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He and I worked together many years ago, with Foy Valentine, on the staff of the SBC Christian Life Commission in Nashville. Dr. Richard Jackson will then speak on &quotThe Bible Speaks on Evangelism." Richard is a true hero of mine and is currently serving as president of the Jackson Center for Evangelism and Encouragement in Brownwood, after serving many years as pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church. After dinner, another hero of mine, Dr. Jimmy R. Allen, will speak on &quotThe Church Applies Ethics and Evangelism." Dr. Allen set a great example as long-time pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio, by combining social ministries and evangelistic outreach.
Hopefully they would enlist Dallas Mayor Kirk who was light years a better choice in the last Texas Senate Race but was defeated by the Rove and Land and Bush forces that gave America the great political ally of Judge Roy Moore, Senator Cronyn.What a shame, a dark legacy of Criswellism in the state.And of course Chandler Davidson from Rice. This board in particular with maybe the exception of Gourley and Bdid could learn tons of political ethics and history from this colleague of Billy Graham biographer Bill Martin.What better way to put some timely guts to the promise of the Atlanta Baptist Covenant.Not to endorse Obama overf Hillary, or either over McCain; but to bring some sanity to this matter which if this board is any indication persists in mangling in noise that must bring strain to the ears of our Saviour here in the Holiest of Weeks, not to mention Martin and Abraham
Stephen Fox

Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:29 pm
major development
by Stephen Fox on Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:53 pm
Melissa Rogers and I are on the same pageHere is what she said in her blog of yesterday. DAvid Currie has said she is brilliant and she is.And me having a similar idea, well that elevates my reputation a little all fair minded people would have to conclude
Here's one rough idea for taking that next step. Those associated with the New Baptist Covenant could ask a group of Christians of different races and political persuasions to write brief essays about race and religion and perfecting our faith and our country. Those essays could be posted on a website and meetings could be organized in a variety of cities across America on a series of Sunday afternoons that would use these essays as starting points for conversation. The meetings would be moderated by a few respected Christian leaders of diverse races and political perspectives. (For a variety of reasons, however, I don't think politicians should be invited or included in these discussions. Among other things, that means that these meetings should not be associated in any way with the Obama campaign or any other political campaign.) The meetings would be aimed at speaking the truth with love, hearing those truths, and seeking to identify practical and positive steps that the community could take to heal racial divides that exist within Christianity and among Americans more broadly.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Furman conversations with Balmer and Sellers

Come back to this blog in the next couple days as it will only get bigger; like that joke whats his face told at the Oscars about ten years ago.

Came up tonight to hear Randall Balmer talk about the religious right, but did not know till it was over Charles Marsh's Hero of God's Long Summer (also Fannie Lou Hamer) Cleveland Sellers of the Orangeburg Massacre was on campus along with Marshall Frady and Jack Nelson's friend Jack Bass.

I crashed the microphones at the end of the 2nd event and asked what Sellers thought; asked if there was any out for Barack Obama in the face of Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America" remark.
Sellers, and you have to know his history as he and Marsh can explain to you; said Obama is in a fix; the black church is coming to defense of Wright and Trinity UCC and Sellers is not sure white America and Limbaugh and CNN and the media sound bite frenzy will let him breathe.

I think Marsh, and Matthew Morgan and Will Willimon and the editorial board of the Christian Century understand, but whether or not White America will be receptive to even other white folk explaining, in this climate is hard to understand.

I did ask the question.

Balmer was sterling as well earlier. He explained the abortion question away, but whether folks like Uncle Prentice will ever get it; well that is another question.
What did the Congress do for the 12 months the Republicans placed in power by the Christian right had all the balls in their court; what did they do with aborton; not a damn thing. Balmer says he is convinced there are right wing strategist who see abortion as too valuable a political wedge to let it be resolved.

Obama speaks in the morning.
I am praying for him and I am also praying for our Country.

Google up Marsh and Obama and buy their books or go to Hell in a Handbasket; just kiddin, but do read their books, and read this new book on the Orangeburg massacre by Jack Bass and Jack Nelson.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama, his pastor and their Detractors

Here is a guest blog on the matter; not my words by those of an acquaintance that have considerable merit.

Imagine this:

One week before the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama takes the stage at Temple University in Philadelphia, the most diverse university in the nation as ranked by the Princeton Review. In the audience, sits native Philadelphian Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And everybody's waiting to see what goes down here.

The crowd, like all Obama crowds, is as diverse as America. But it's a crowd with new expectations of the senator. It's a crowd with its enthusiasm tempered by concern. There's something strange in the air for an Obama crowd: doubt.

Obama begins with an acknowledgment of the necessity of this speech. It is not unreasonable for people to have questions. Pastor Wright has had an influence on Obama, and Wright is a provocative figure.

And how necessary, he reminds us, is provocation. How needful are we of prodding. How little progress is made in silence. How challenging it is to defend your own views against someone shouting from a stage. And how necessary it is, too.

And with all of Wright's faults, what are the points the Reverend's groping at? What is there to learn from? Do any of us really believe that our nation is so perfect as to be above criticism? Do we not have a history of intolerance and prejudice? What about the man who may be the greatest American thinker, Thomas Jefferson, who said:

"I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind."

No one would suggest that the entirety of Jefferson's thought should be discounted because of his disgusting views on race.

Or John Adams, in a letter to Mordecai Manuel Noah, speaking of the need for the 'flawed' and 'peculiar' Jews to be converted to Christianity:

"I believe [that] . . . once restored to an independent government & no longer persecuted they [the Jews] would soon wear away some of the asperities and peculiarities of their character & possibly in time become liberal Unitarian christians for your Jehovah is our Jehovah & your God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob is our God."

There's no use in denying that these types of sentiments have, since our nation's birth, been part of the national conversation. They are wrong, obviously, but they are real.

And this is part of the reason behind the rise of the black church. The black church has long been a counterforce against the ingrained and institutionalized prejudice that has persisted so stubbornly in our culture. And this is part of what moved Obama into the pews of Trinity United in the first place. There is so much good being done there, just as there is so much good being done all over this flawed and imperfect nation.

And then Obama looks to his old pastor in the audience. And Obama reads from Wright's remarks on Louis Farrakhan:

"His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics."

And Obama, to Reverend Wright, "Dr. Wright, I'm afraid I must respectfully disagree. While it is true that Minister Farrakhan is one of the nation's most powerful critics, his legacy is not one of honesty and integrity, but of division and obfuscation. His is a legacy that we as a nation have to move beyond."

And Obama concludes with an expression of gratitude to the thinkers who have challenged him through the years, from Jefferson and Adams through Wright. He's thankful to have had the opportunity to wrestle with the misguided opinions of even great men in a nation where the freedom of the marketplace of ideas ensures that some ideas will be cut-rate. Hell, Obama taught at the University of Chicago, Antonin Scalia's old haunt. He's never been concerned with surrounding himself exclusively with like minds. That's the challenge of America. Here, in a country that is first and foremost an idea, a man also is his ideas. And ideas can be instruments that grow far too blunt if not routinely honed against the provocations of people worth listening to, even when those people are wrong.

America, and Americans, shouldn't be judged by the most misguided pronouncements of Founders who otherwise gave us a great start as a nation, and Obama shouldn't be judged by the most misguided statements of a pastor who otherwise started him in a faith community that has sustained and nurtured him, and informed his love of his country.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Blue Gray Tourney

I rode down to Montgomery yesterday to see it.

Between the Steele and Springville Exits there was a posse of Yamaha demon cyclists that were challenging death doing wheelies at 80 mph. I thought one of em was gonna try to squeeze between me and a transfer as I was passin.
They get off country exits and then come speedin down the ramp on the other side.
I didn't know what to do, I just kept traveling.

Had several good conversations in Montgomery and was proud to see the Furman netters struggling with the big programs.
Furman's #2 player played strong in second set against the #30 player in the nation, a Ukrainian at OkSt.
The Bama, Penn St match was pretty exciting, coming down to a tie breaker in the #1 place contest in third set.
Stopped at Full Moon BBq in Pelham on way in and had the big plate. I just wish these places would do better cornbread instead of making it so sweet in cupcake portions.
Make big pans of cornbread and serve it by the slice and make it least as good as My Grandmother Fox and Uncle Onre used to make it.

The Blue Gray:

And here is my earlier report from another venue:

I was there, I saw it

Furman's #1 player had back problems and the Okey Staters whick is pretty much a Ukrainian team, were full blast. In fact OkSt. #1 netter had defeated the top ranked seed there, the fellow from Tulsa and Spain, earlier in the year.
And I saw the Tulsa fellow lose his first set to guy from William and Mary.
At one point in the Furman match, Furman was up in the place 3 through 6 matches. If they coulda held on they woulda won the round 4-3; but it did not happen.I talked to the Okey Ukies; nice fellows.I think Sawyer Duncan was the only Furman netter to win.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slingblade as Scripture; Fox and Billy Bob

Friday Night Moonhead, Carrot Top and I drove in a fog and made a four hour trip out of a 2 and halfer to Florence, Alabama for the Slingblade Reunion.
Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black and Linda Wheatley were on stage. Diwght Yoakm as Doyle Hargraves didn't make it.
At first my group didn't think were gonna make it in. Standin out in the cold and snow, our only chance was to make VIP no shows seats. All we had eaten were some ARby's sandwiches we got on coupons. we got to the Shoals area too late for the famous spaghetti over there.
We were despondent.

But the door opened for two and three at a time and we got in; me before the other two.
Inside we waited another 40 minutes before the Stars fell on Alabama. I got separated from group but got my picture taken with some North alabama camera girl before things started. I sat beside a fellow and his mother who had been seated since 4 that afternoon. He got his director's cut autographed when it was over.
I'm gonna give you a link that tells you in what rare form Bbob was.
When it was over BBob himself opened the floor for 5 questions. There were about 1200 people in the audience.
I stood right up and got the second question.

I said Billy Bob, I have been in a room hearing theologians talk about the Old and the New and NOW Testament. In Slingblade, Karl Childers makes repeated references to the Bible. When you were writing the script and making the movie did you feel like there was a sense in which you were creating Scripture, part of the Divine Process?

Billy Bob, said: That is a great, truly remarkable question. I have read the Bible through, all the way through, every word of it two times.
We are all preachers and we are all writers; but I would rather be part of a religion that was like Karl Childers, be the kind of father he picks out for Frank Wheatley, than lot of sancitified judgmental stuff that we all know about.

I'm pretty sure you can get a DVD of the panel from the George Lindsey Film Festival at in Florence, Alabama.

Here are a couple pictures and a story from the event.
Carrot head got his picture with Lucas Black and he was glad he went. It was a religious experience for all of us.
On the way over and back I saw the rockets in Huntsville out on 565, first time in my 20 years in Bama.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Balmer calls for Land's Resignation/March 5 reaction

Collinsville native Matthew Morgan was a student of Randall Balmer at Yale Divinity School; in fact as I understand from Matthew, Matt's NYC offices are in eyesight of Balmer's office at the Barnard School at Columbia University.
Richard Land is a political operative of sorts for Karl Rove of the GOP. Southern Baptist Cooperative Program dollars pay Land's salary.
Matthew speaks fondly of Balmer's take on the Christian faith, Balmer's academic gifts, wisdom and virtue.
Balmer has twice been Dotson Nelson lecturer at Samford in Bham; and this last summer got repeated standing ovations from authentic Baptists gathered in Washington DC for the Baptist Joint Committee annual luncheon.
That being said, it all brings the following pretty close to home as it were.

Read this link carefully and google around for Balmer's recent interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air.

Updated link March 5

Here is link to the Terry Gross interview.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Slingblade Reunion


Emily's great quote

Emily Peek of Crossville, Alabama waxxed poetic with her allusions to Cinderella upon winning the state Basketball tournament last Friday in Birmingham
I don't know Emily but know some of her extended family. They are colorful characters, as they say around here, good, hardworking people.
As Emily said, they went to the Ball and the clock never struck Midnight.

Congratulations to these state champions.