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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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last day of 2008

I thought about Mom and Dad some, and Nanny and Papa.

I threw a miniature football a little and had some spaghetti.

Was drifting toward small despair when Mambo #5 came on the sound system in the spaghetti semi emporium followed in the set by Bono's Still Haven't Found.

Sun is shining bright

I got a pulse.
Made a phone call.

Duke game comes on at Four; three white boys starting.

Happy New Year to you; except for the Council of Shadows, Uncle Prentice, Karl Rove and their abettors including Richard Land, all who need to get right with Jesus before they end up like the Nun in Doubt; though God Bless Meryl Streep cause she was just acting and her salvation was secure in 78 with her role in the Deer Hunter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not exactly a Christmas Carol

but my Dad, Sweet Billy; loved this song.

Heard it on the radio today done justice right before lunch as I was pullin into an establishment; cut the motor off and heard it to the end.
Almost brought tears to my eyes, the memory of Sweet Billy and his Transparent Romance with the Gospel:

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,God leads His dear children along;Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,God leads His dear children along.

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,God leads His dear children along;Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,God leads His dear children along.
Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,God leads His dear children along;Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,God leads His dear children along.
Away from the mire, and away from the clay,God leads His dear children along;Away up in glory, eternity’s day,God leads His dear children along.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gus Niebuhr's Beyond Tolerance

I have had the good fortune to meet several folks of note in my otherwise unremarkable life. One of the most noble was Gus Niebuhr of America's first family of Protestant theologians Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr.
I first me Gus in August 1986 in Euharlee, Georgia. He came up from Atlanta and his first days with the Journal Constitution. Among other responsibilities he caught the throes of the SBC fundamenalist takeover as it was still very heated for several years on til 95 or so.
He did a series of articles on Religion in Latin America for the JC that I alerted Bill Moyers and his folks at PBS to. That is where I about peaked out because for that and other background info Moyers himself sent me a note in Nov 87 that said People like me make a Difference.
And so for a few years I reckon I did.
I had another connection to Niebuhr as it turned out. His Sunday School teacher in the late 60's Albert Blackwell, in Boston, became one of my religion proffs at Furman a few years later. Blackwell's Dad Hoyt was long time President of Mars Hill College in North Carolina.
For those reasons and others Furman would do well to have Niebuhr as a featured guest lecturer this coming year.

Niebuhr has a fascinating section toward the end of Beyond Tolerance--google up the Chatauqua student paper column on a Niebuhr visit back in August. He has a discussion of Al Mohler's influence on interfaith discussions in America, couched in the peculiar religious history of Louisville, Kentucky going back to a nativist flareup in in the 1850's. Some, including Yale's Harold Blood would say there was another Nativist flareup in Louisville in the 1990's, but while forthright, Niebuhr is a little more kind than Bloom.
Even in Mohler's resolute One Way Christian stance, Niebuhr sees room for hope. "And so I gathered (from conversation with Mohler) that a civility prevailed in Mohler's interfaith conversations that might be admired by [Louisville's current annual faith festival], but then I was privvy to information that the two groups themselves apparently had not exchanged."
That is where the intrigue begins for a fascinating 10 pages in Mohler's book; all a nuance new to me.
Early in book Niebuhr has a striking telling from his own Father as a 6 year old hearing a Hitler ralley on a visit to Germany with his grandfather, Richard Niebuhr, in 1932.
For these and many other fascinating episodic stories and insights, not to mention the family legacy Niebuhr carries, this should be a must read for a good many of you who see this.

Stephen Fox

Dec 15, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ron Rash in NY Times

I'm on way to see Rash now at book signing in Birmingham.

Having read Serena and two earlier novels, short stories and poems I will say that any public library within two hundred miles of a line from Jackson, Ms on up the Appalachian Trail where it starts near Suches, Georgia; Any Public Library in that area that does not have a copy of Serena in its stacks is unworthy of the name.

And a good many of the literate folks in same area who don't partake of the gift of literacy with a reading of Serena I hold in similar regard.

Read what the Yankees said about it.

See my comments about my conversation with Ron Rash this afternoon.
The daughter of State Librarian for Alabama is head of the Gadsden Public Library. On staff there is a young woman who used to be with the library in Denver Colorado who several years ago read the galleys for One Foot in Eden.
She is a fan.
I think I will send Rebecca Mitchell and Annie Lucas Brown an email tomorrow with link to this blog so we can get Bama's Public Libraries up to speed on Serena.

Here is great link to Columbia State feature on the literary genius of Ron Rash:

More tomorrow

Monday, December 01, 2008

Matthew Morgan and His Mother on Church Going

I just came across this blog from an Episcopalian who leads a church near Matthew Morgan in New York City.
I used to worship in the church where my Mother was baptized and her family goes back to 1845 but I got voted out and can't go there in part I'm convinced cause Matthew's Mother and his Father politicked around to the point that instead of using their influence to bring themselves and about 5 women who had grievance against me to talk things out, they let my provocations become the focus of some tensions in the church and I was scapegoated off the premises.
Was some of it my fault? Sure, may as much as 50 or 52%
But the Morgans are shrewd and they coulda encouraged a better way, but for whatever reasons after my folks had stood by them in 87, they let the mob take over.
I made a very significant mistake in not correcting Brad Barksdale just minutes before the vote May 28, 2008. It is true the church deacons had given me a couple months. But I let the time get away from me.
What Brad did not mention was I was outside the Deacons door early May that year when I missed the deadling by 24 hours or so seeking a better way. But Brad laid down the gauntlet then reported to the church in such a way I had snubbed them; broken the final straw which in my opinion was in his mind only.
The Preacher was there. He let it go and I lost the vote. 7 ballots and I would still be able to sing Christmas carols where my Mom's family worshipped and both parents funerals were held.
So will the Christmas spirit be invited into the hearts of John and Gloria Morgan and the 3-5 women who call the shots at Collinsville Baptist; or will I be left out in the cold for the Christmas in a row.
Like Jesus, I stand at the door and knock; and let them without sin, cast the first stone; that is if they can find anymore laying around as they have pretty much rocked me out of their supply.
From the heart I enjoyed singing the bass part on 4 strong Carols Sunday in live worship with other believers.
Will Collinsville Baptist afford me that opportunity once more in 2008?
It is a possibility in New York City as Matthew's nearby Preacher attests.
What about Collinsville?