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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, August 28, 2008

Historic Day for America/Eisenhower's granddaughter

I was getting a little cynical about politics but this afternoon with a call from a relative and watching Cory Booker on PBS Newshour I got stoked.

Come back to this blog soon as I hope to have a link to Booker's great interview on PBS tonight; Booker the star of the Oscar nominated documentary Street Fight couple years ago.
Booker finished Yale Law School as I understand it with Hugo Black's Grandson Stephen. Would be great if they and Caroline Kennedy come to UBama or Samford this fall to have a conversation with Rick Lance of Alsbom, Richard land, and or Charles Pickering and Artur Davis; maybe even Nick Saban who was at Kent State back in 1970 when Neil Young wrote his song.
Have had good conversations with two black friends, highly accomplished, from Gaffney High School the last couple days. They are most good to continue to give me the time of day given the great disparity between our accomplishments the last 40 years.
I am very happy and proud for them on this Historic Day, 40th Anniversary of I Have a Dream and Obama's Acceptance speech.
Please inflect all of this in context of Cory Booker's thoughts. It is much stronger in that context.
Was thinking on way to this blog tonight just yesterday when Donnie Rae Littlejohn on opening night of Gaffney's integrated football team fall of 68 went up in the end zone and intercepted a pass in the Lancaster game.
His wife Elnora was in my Algebra class and his Son Donnie played in Furman's championship game for the National 1a title in 2002.
If you understand Gaffney in the universe of the final essay of Jumpn Jim Crow, then you begin to understand.
Read Charles Marsh; Marshall Frady and Taylor Branch.
I have.
Read Eisenhower tonight quoting Lincoln on King's Historic Day.
Check out Pearl the slave in EL Doctorow's The March, about her Day's in the Ga. Cotton fields having that vision of American Freedom with one Foot already in the Kingdom of God.
I'm no fool. I understand NT Wright and Kingdom Come.
But tonight we have One Foot in the Promised Land with Martin.

Glory Hallelujah.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brett Morgen Directs Chicago Ten and Flat Rock, Alabama

Brett Morgen, Sundance Hit and Oscar Nominee, did his first documentary in Collinsville, Alabama in January, 1992. It featured the Pastor of Collinsville, Baptist Church, John Morgan; Miss Ollie Brindley, Girl Scout Woman of the year Martha Barksdale; historic Collinsville Businessman Oliver Harris Hall, Tim Smith, Herman Kerley, and myself among others.
New mayor Johnny Traffanstedt had a cameo appearance near the end; and George Wallace Road man who had recently retired into the area, Jaime Etheredge, were also featured.

Morgen's critically acclaimed Chicago Ten was released on DVD Tuesday and got a new round of reviews. Looking for it I discovered this August 13 story in NY Times about his latest work, a commercial documentary on Truckers.
I had the distinct pleasure to go up to Flat Rock back in June to talk to Brett for thirty minutes or so. May see what he is thinking about the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Assembly as this election progresses, but that is kind of an afterthought at the moment. May also pursue a discussion with him about a recent cover of Newsweek magazine, but maybe I talk too much.

Here is the link:

Congrats to Morgen on all fronts and his evolving pursuits.

On another front, the great word outwit, which in a memorable incident couple years ago gave me fits trying to assist in the navigation of a crossword puzzle, is delightfully used on the last page of the great critic James Wood and his recent How Fiction Works.
Wood in addition to sublime analysis of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead--I have the Pulitzer's autograph--has insightful look at David of the Old Testament, as an original character who introduces consciousness into literature. Paradoxically, the agnostic Wood says David was a creation of God.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My friend Fletcher on Charlie Rose

Had a good talk with him recently about it all; quite intriguing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fox and the Beijing Olympics

As I explained in the comment line of goodblog today about the origins of the Olympics and Iraq today; these 29th Olympics also have a connection to my Gaffney High School class of 1971
Charles Foster who at my and My Dad's invitation spoke at Collinsville High School for the 96 Atlanta Olympics is coach of Travis Padgett of the Men's 4x100 meter relays.

Here is a good story from the August 12 Greenville News

At awards ceremony at GHS in 1971 I was just one seat away from Olympic greatness and a legacy that continues. The joke is on me, Iknow; but congrats to Foster and Padgett for gettin there.

Not my Neighborhood/Saddleback and Obama

While I am of the mind a George Truett kind of Baptist would celebrate the type of church state separation and tolerance that is the fertile American ground for a Jacque Berlinbleau secularist to flourish, I feel enough kinship with Rick Warren to wince at Berlinbleau's analysis of Saturday Night at Saddleback.
Even so Berlinbleau makes some tough sense here.
I agree with him; the question is how can Obama pick off 10 per cent of the evangelical vote without the likes of Rick Lance and Gary Fenton engaging the world view of say Matthew Morgan.
Alabama is not in play; but maybe the baptist inflected states of North Carolina and Virginia are.
The Brightest baptists have to engage Berlinbleau; and more than that, if they have a conviction that in the impure world of politics Obama is their choice in 08, they have to go out and pick ten percent of their evangelical brethren off the fence or we are in the lesser America of John McCain; great storyteller, with a Huey Long, even Reaganesque gift to connect with Middle America; but with Bill Moyers and Daschle and maybe Tony Cartledge I think the lesser choice this time.

If my friend John Killian is out there in blogosphere and sees this, would love to have his counterpoint to Berlinbleau here; and if he responds I will do what I can to get Randall Balmer to respond to him.
Remember, we are engaging Berlinbleau here, not me; though all civil responses are welcome.

And a bonus here, an exchange with the old Railroad Man Jim at
Click on the subject title and go two entries up to see Jim's dissent from my opion on the matter:

Fox Advice for Jim
by Stephen Fox on Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:57 pm
I am glad you only get to vote One Time this year, Jim.20 somethings like Russ of this board and his HS classmate and now Yale Div Grad Matthew Morgan see the world differently than you, and I am convinced better than you; though we are all proud of your service.I saw a railroad today and wondered if you had ever read Cormac McCarthy's Suttree; on things like that we can bond.But Christ continuing Revelation in a broken world--see Berlinbleau--is shedding new light for a new generation.Obviously you and I imagine our Goldenspur friend Flick, will not be among that 10 percent of evangelicals Obama in a realpolitik world will pick off.But for the young ones and the generations to follow, I am hoping the Light will shine on at least 10 percent so we can grope closer toward the promise Lincoln, King, Judge Frank Johnson, George Truett and Hugo Black envisioned for the United States of America.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jesus and Jesse James

Here is Ron Hansen, author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Hansen wrote the novel in 1983 and it was shown as a Brad Pitt film last fall.

One friend saw it in Paris.

Here is what Hansen said recently in an interview in The Christian Century:

"Taking risks is important in religion too. Religion is a lot roomier than people think when they are looking at it from the outside. You gradually get a sense of confidence that God has a long leash. You are allowed to roam. God knows that you are coming back and you know that God will take you back, like the best of parents. Faith gives you a solid foundation, a bedrock, a way of returning."

Hansen also wrote Mariette in Ecstasy, about the stigmata.

The interview is at:

UMC Alabama Bishop Willimon has a book review in the same issue.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Longtime Auburn FBC Pastor John Jeffers passes

He got his start in Collinsville, Alabama in the early 40's.
He preached the Homecoming sermon, the 175 anniversary service in 1987 at Collinsville Baptist on an August Sunday. My Mother and Father were there in the picture.
Strong group that morning, lot of promised unfulfilled in Baptist Character in the 20 years since; more about that later.
Dillard and Marie Wilson's daughter Cheryl, a Collinsville native, became a deacon at Auburn FBC and was present for the funeral in Auburn Saturday.

Here is his obituary as it appeared August 8 in the Auburn-Opelika News.

Harris Funeral Home is directing.
Published in The Opelika-Auburn News from 8/7/2008 - 8/8/2008
NoticeGuest BookFlowersGift ShopCharities
Jeffers, Dr. John Henry

View/Sign Guest Book
DR. JOHN HENRY JEFFERS Memorial service for Dr. John Henry Jeffers, 86, of Auburn is 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 9, 2008 at Auburn First Baptist Church, with reception following the service. Burial is in Pine Hills Cemetery. Dr. Jim Evans and Rev. Dale Peterson are officiating. Visitation is Friday from 5-8 p.m. at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home. Dr. Jeffers, who died Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at East Alabama Medical Center, was born August 15, 1921 in Glencoe, Alabama. His education includes, public schools in Tarrant, AL, Samford University, A.B., Southwestern & Southern Seminaries, and received Honorary D.D. from Judson College in 1967. Pastor Emeritus, Auburn First Baptist Church, Pastorates include Collinsville, AL, 1944, Hartford, AL 1947-1948, Andalusia, AL 1950-1958, and Auburn, AL 1958-1986. Dr. Jeffers was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Men's Honorary from Samford University, Auburn Lions Club, and Auburn United Fund Director. His denominational activities are 1971-1979 SBC Trustee Baptist Sunday School Board Alabama Baptist State Convention , Administration Committee, Trustee Judson College, Chair of the Christian Life & Public Affairs Commission, Education Commission and Historical Commission. He received the Citizen of the Year by Auburn Rotary Club, Paul Harris Fellow Award in 1982, Auburn Lions Club, Melvin Jones Fellowship Award in 1982, and retired Minister of the Year Award by the Alabama Baptist State Convention in 1998. Dr. Jeffers traveled extensively from 1968 - 1991 as Tour Host and Preaching Missions. He was preceded in death by his parents, James & Obie Jeffers, and grandson, Bryan E. Jeffers. Survivors are his wife, Jeanette Thomason Jeffers of Auburn; daughter, Jane Smith-Stage (Sam) of Nolensville, TN.; four sons, Dr. John R. Jeffers (Sarah) of Ft. Worth, TX, Dr. James T. Jeffers (Mina) of Tallassee, AL, David A. Jeffers (Marnie) of Atlanta, GA, Dale L. Jeffers (Pam) of Auburn, AL; eleven grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home is directing. Sign the guest book online at
Published in The Opelika-Auburn News from 8/7/2008 - 8/8/2008
NoticeGuest BookFlowersGift ShopCharities

One of his eulogizers, my friend James Evans, was in the audience for the David Currie, Mark Baggett, et. al presentation of February 2002 in Collinsville on the kind of Baptist Jeffers sought to preserve.
I am hoping Evans eulogy of Jeffers will be up at their church website soon.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bama Politics front Page Wall St Journal

I pretty much poured my guts out in this post at; just click on the title:

Link is will work once you go there if the article doesn't come up straight away.
Mart Gray--mentioned in the post-- sang in the Christmas Cantata at Collinsville Baptist when John Morgan III, now with conducted about 2001 or so.
That is the way it should be. Much hope on that occasion for funding the Collinsville Library at that moment, but lot of injustices stand in the big scheme of things.
How can you talk about the future of Collinsville when you run roughshod with revisionist history over promising moments like that.
See the Carsey Inst report on Mart and his church in Elba.
I can't fix that in this post.
Click on the discussion and move around once you get there.

What is the line from Papa's favorite Hymn Brethren We Have Met to Worship?
Hell is moving..can you bear to let them go?....something like that.

Here it is:

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.

Wall Street Journal on Bama's New Southern Strategy
by Stephen Fox on Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:45 am

How this plays out for Mart Gray in Elba, former head of the Alabama CBF; and Gary Burton in Pintlala, home of the 41 and 43's hero Ray Scott, I can't figure out yet.Both Bright and Love as the article says are deacons at FBC Montgomery Jay Wolfe's place. What this means for my friend John Killian's interpretation of the political implications of BFM2000 I can't fathom yet, but looks to me like it is time for Bob Terry to have Charles Pickering and Charles Marsh in for lunch to help us bifurcate it all.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hottest since 1980

Right now accoding to it is 99 in Gaffney, South Carolina, though the Ledger says it is 100.
92 in Collinsville, Alabama and 97 in Rome Georgia. Five degrees difference only 45 miles away I can't understand unless you factor in more asphalt in Rome.
Other natural disasters would be the flood of 79 or 81, when my Grandmother Mary Alice Helton Fox called from the Kingston Rd. community of Rome, Ga and said: "Stevie turn it on Channel Five, there's 6 feet of water in the Riverbend Mall."
I said Nanny, we can't get the Atlanta station up here in Knoxville.
She started laughing at herself and it was a great call.
She wouldn't turn her air conditioner on till it got to 95, let that big industrial fan she had in the kitchen do its magic until family members started passing out, or showing signs of wooziness.

In 1980 I got myself down to Rome from Knoxville to have the family tennis tournament with Uncle Free and Prentice and Neil. Nanny--I started to see Papa, but he had died the August before-- had us haulin rock in the mornin in 100 degree heat.
Heat got to us that year; lot of temper tantrums and not much tennis. didn't prove anything about nothin except who was idiot enough to try to stand up in the stuff.

I rememberSoft Cell was singin Tainted Love that year, and the Breakdown, Baby don't Leave me mighta been the work of the Devil's Rhythm section.
A hot summer.

Stones came out with Start Me Up the next year, a revitalizing and renewing number.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Elvis in Memphis; Prentice in Berlin

I had two messages on my machine this morning.
Prentice, 71, said he was flying to Berlin and gonna visit Wartburg via Charlotte, North Carolina. Was proud to report he was reading a biography of the SBC's General Boykin, but did not say how that was playing in his Sunday School class, or if his interpretations of Boykin were inflected by Charles Marsh and Charles Kimball; or the recent consortium at Yale.
The second call was from a current reader of Marsh who recently noticed in Graceland, the only other story on the front page of the Commerical Appeal the day Elvis died was about the 2nd greatest man ever to breathe the air of Alabama, Judge Frank Johnson; Johnson's appointment to head the FBI.
This was in 1977.

Prentice said my blog was a "monologue".
That is not true.
There is just no tellin how much influence I have here.
It is linked in Blairsville, Ga. and a kidney doctor across the Great Mississippi is a reputed weekly browser.
I have all kind of intermittent reports from Baptist Historians, to Sundance film participants; from Main Street in Collinsville, Alabama to Seattle Washington and beyond from folks who peruse my etchings.
Let the Redeemed Say So.


I hear a new book about Elvis is coming out this fall. I hope folks who try to understand the viscerality of the political calculus of the Southern White Poor and Struggling will take a close look.