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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.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Willimon and Willie Earle at Wofford

   Will Willimon has written a new book a collection of sermons anchored in remembrance of the lynching of Willie Earle in Greenville SC in 1947. Willimon says he was one year old when the lynching happened.

   The lynching of Willie Earle became an international story lesser known than the Scottsboro Boys and was big notch in the writing career of Rebecca West. A Rev Hawley Lynn  of Grace UMC in Pickens SC spoke prophetically from his pulpit shortly after the lynching and was chastised for it.

    Willimon is hosting a daylong conference on the lynching Friday Feb 17 at Wofford College in Spartanburg SC, his alma mater, in the hometown of Trey Gowdy where Billy Graham is a member of the First Baptist Church.

    Longtime Duke Chaplain, Willimon as the Bishop of the North Alabama UMC for seven years in 2009 coincided with Jeff Sessions and the Bama GOP draconian immigration bill. It was part of Mike Hubbard's Republican Handshake that flipped the state Red. It would've deported a quarter of the students at my Mother's alma mater Collinsville Elementary and High School in DeKalb County.

     Willimon --an easily googled piece Willimon repents, ethics daily -- compared his fellow Methodist Sessions law to the fugitive slave act.

     I am convinced were Willimon a US Senator he would've voted against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General as would Atticus Finch, his creator Harper Lee and her sister Alice who one time moved the previous question against the White Citizens Council in a South Alabama Methodist District meeting; Judge Frank Johnson, a Baptist Republican, and Pulitzer Prize nominee Wayne Flynt, the Auburn Historian now writing the definitive biography of Harper Lee.

   Sadly I talked to a staffer GOP Rep Bradley Byrne, a few days ago, an Auburn Grad who did not know who Frank Johnson and Wayne Flynt were.

     Willimon as an administrator as Bishop was not without his dissenters, among other things for his clubfooted move of a pastor at Nations Chapel UMC near Huntsville. But I am not a Methodist, my Dad was a Baptist preacher. However I was delighted--somebody said it was like the  Pope coming to town though Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself had passed through in 1931--when Willimon came to the Collinsville Methodist Church in 2004 or so. I was there as was Mark Morgan who sought counsel with Willimon while a student at Duke, Mark one of the local Baptist preacher's son.

    And a year or so later I received the eucharist, took Communion from Willimon at the New Oregon Methodist Church near Desoto State Park.

     Whatever snippets of mistakes Willimon mighta made, this platform Friday Feb 17 is remarkable. Will Willimon take this moment to speak against Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration? Is Willimon and his audience well versed in the anthology Jumpm Jim Crow which focusses on the politics of Upstate SC from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Era. Has Willimon read Emory proff Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America about Upstate Scions Roger Milliken who has given millions to Wofford, and Charles Daniel of Greenville for whom the Chapel on my alma mater's campus is named; has Willimon explored and will he talk about the role race played in the evolution of Upstate SC Republicanism, the dark zones, the gray areas in the life of these two legends who otherwise have a great deal of leadership and jobs creation for one of the brighter spots on America's employment landscape these days. How does Sunbelt downtown destination City Greenville, the landscape of Willie Earle's lynching; how prophetic indeed will Willimon be about it all.

    Is Willimon conversant in Paul Harvey's great book from his lecture series at Mercer in 2008 Moses, Jesus and the Trickster? How will Willimon translate, interpret for Jeff Sessions and Trey Gowdy and Donald Trump journalist Jelani Cobb's  recent piece in the New Yorker that took an unflinching look at the race history of South Carolina in reference to the Charleston trial of Dylan Roof?

    What does Willimon make of the political legacy of Lee Atwater and SC Gov Carroll Campbell, Atwater of the infamous early 80's "nigger memo" where he confessed race baiting of the 60s evolved into Adrian Rogers and Jesse Helms abortion card,  Karl Rove's religion card, and now Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump's Nationalism card grounded in anti immigration?

   Has Willimon seen Furman proff Melinda Menzer's utube video protesting Trump in downtown Greenville last week, giving homage to the legacy of Max Heller, who Atwater worked to defeat and put Carroll Campbell in Congress.

     Like WA Criswell as spotlighted in Wuthnow's Rough Country, Willimon has "convening power". He has a moment to make some noise for the cause of Jesus and the legacy of Martin Luther King and Judge Frank Johnson and Furman's LD Johnson who he named a saint in my presence at one moment in Alabama. Just how prophetic will Willimon be next Friday in Spartanburg in the backyard of Trey Gowdy and Billy and Franklin Graham.

    More on Willimon and his new book with some teaser chapters and the Wofford event can be easily googled at his blog, The Peculiar Prophet.

    I hope he does well and Meet the Press and NY Times, Oxford American and New Yorker take notice.

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