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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, July 20, 2018

What Marney, LD and Stewart A. Newman were gettin at

      Friends this is a work in progress, my last chance to write something worthy of the New Yorker magazine. I got published in the Christian Century once, and Momma made it to the Atlanta Constitution before I did. Point being this is not my first rodeo but could be one of the finest in the end game, the downgrade as actuarials assert I got about seven years left at best.

   Don't worry about me, just doing heavy reading compliments of Cousin Neil Fox wife Debi, Phd in George Macdonald and all that CS Lewis and Tolkien bring to the conversation. UPS brought Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life to my front porch in Bama Monday and I got deep into Chapter Seven last night.

   It Delivers, Chapter Seven.

   Debi is a good woman about 12 years younger than me, half German and in these last 12 years, Orthodox Catholic. We've had several civil phone conversations over the last few days--she lives within  5 miles of Sara Palin in Alaska best I can figure--and she already has a comment about Obama and Elizabeth Warren overreach in my email inbox I will publish in this blog at appropriate juncture if the Lord Tarries.

   She writes well, in fact I think she has a master's in communications or business clarity or something, so come back a few times for that.

   So How Did the Fox Family get here from WD Shorty Fox and his boundaries in the Smoky Mtn hills of East Tenn and then a little further south Appalachia, Rome Ga,  with an 8th Grade education and Nanny with a second Grade Education, WD born in 95 as in eighteen and Nanny, Mary Alice Helton in 1900.

   Well here is our story as a set up for my receptors to Peterson's Chapter Seven, with a little of Momma's side of the family thrown in and Neil's Momma's Uncle Bonson Barnes, School Supe of Kings Mtn, NC in the 60s who in retirement had a longstanding radio broadcast SS class in Robeson County; you can still get the tapes and I hear listen and maybe watch on Utube.

     John Updike in 96 came out with his Novel Beauty of the Lillies. Google the Review in the LA Times. Over Four Generations a devout Calvinist family loses their faith, but the fourth generation joins a 70s cult near the Twice Burned Over District of Upstate New York and the whole American experience which of some quarters got us to Donald Trump starts all over again. I didn't do Updike justice but for purposes of this blog something like that. That's why you should google the the LA Times. That's what it's there for.


    So Papa drank some hundred 80 proof  shine on a couple occasions on Walden Creek just east of Chinky Pen but his Methodist convictions troubled him about it. By Age 20 he had been to Chicamauga Park with some costly cigars and a John B Stetson hat and the prettiest girl on the Creek, Mary Alice. But about the time he was a Band Sawmiller in Conasauga Tennessee in the mid 1920s where Uncle Fremont and Aunt Juanita and their and my Dad's Double first cousin Joanne Helton was born;  and Nanny was running the boarding house for the pulpwooders he came under conviction and had a rededication cause he figgered he had six children and his Brother in law Henry was a Preacher and the devils 180 proof wasn't the way to go.

    From that he had two sons who became ordained Baptist preachers, as was a son in law, two daughters who taught Sunday School, another who frequented the high end stores in Atlanta but was drawn to good Methodist preaching and named her only son Brannon, after T Perry Brannon, the Christian Missionary Alliance radio and tent Revival preacher of Chattanooga Tennessee for whom my Grandfather was a prayer warrior when he put up his tents for sometimes a month long revival in and around the textile mill villages of Rome Ga in the 30s and 40s.

   And from that my first cousin's husband had a part in the funeral of Truett Cathy, the founder of Chic Fil A, my sister is among the best Sunday School teachers in Upstate SC, Momma's brother was a Baptist preacher as is my first cousin's daughter on Momma's side.

   So the true Religion is all we know.

   So How did cousin Debi become an Orthodox Catholic and some cousins on Momma's side Messianic Jews and Daddy's first cousin the Chaplain for Nascar.

   I can't explain it all. That's why I want you to read the LA Times Review of Updike cause it appears our family ain't the only one.

    I Remember a piece in The Atlantic back in the 80s. Literary Baseball. Said The Centerfielder Cannot Hold.

   Our Centerfield is my Sister and Cousin Tim Wood, in my estimation. The rest of the fox solar system is a little ragged, they are the diapason.

    The Diapason for my considered opinion in Baptist life mid 20th Century was Carlyle Marney, LD Johnson and Stewart A Newman. They were in line with George W. Truett of the first half. Molly Marshall mighta come along a little left of Center and maybe Martin Luther King and Clarence Jordan and Martin England, but it was a noble leaning and if I understand Peterson Chapter Seven they were at the heart of the Gospel. I think Dorothy Day was with them but as you will see when I post Cousin Debi take on Warren and Obama, Day is foreign to her experience and trajectory.

   One great point I think Peterson makes in chapter 7 is you can't have the prophetic witness of Bonhoeffer, Day and in my Baptist experience Newman, Marney and LD without the common language, and sometimes flawwed or sophomoric Sunday School lessons that kept my grandfather looking up seeing himself in the flesh as citizen of the third Shift at Celanese in Rome Ga with eternity to come as his citizenship was in another world simultaneously with his time on earth; you can't have the prophets without a tradition for them to have a foundation so they will have something to prophesy about and be understood. Peterson makes that point--I haven't done him justice in this paragraph--magnificently in Chapter 7. Marney and friends were on to it 50 years ago in my formation; Peterson has a beautiful condensation in Chapter 7 covering Descartes, Dostoyevsky, Nietzche and pre enlightenment and what came with Newton, MIlton and the scientific revolution.

   Later I may take a flight of fancy with Peterson's look at cathedrals as laid out like the Cross of Jesus to emphasize suffering, and the tale in Cormac McCarthy's Texas Trilogy about the calambrium (sp).

   What I think Jordan Peterson is getting at, and what Marney, Furman Chaplain LD Johnson and Baptist Joint Committee's James Dunn mentor and my friend Stewart A Newman were about  mid 20th were wise learned men in their generation holding the center so Day and ML King and Clarence and Martin and to a lesser degree Molly could do their thing.

   Much more about LD, Marney and Newman and their life and times and legacy later.
   But a bunch of Bastard ( bastard in the OT Will Campbell definition of the word, also see Harold Bloom The American Religion) fundamentalists blew all that up in the last quarter of a century and now we got Trump as the Bushes eased us into it with their religion card, an outgrowth of Lee Atwater's Nigger Memo. See Wuthnow Rough Country.

   But I digressed from the Heart of Jordan Peterson. And let me be clear, Cousin Debi is no Birch Society fundamentalist couching herself as an Orthodox Catholic.

   But she is calling for a Civil Divorce, an American two state solution because abortion and Identity politics as she has come to recognize it, the Fox news version of Obama/Warren statism is more than she can stomach.

     In a recent conversation she said politely I , Stephen, live in Alabama and don't travel as much as she does, have never lived in Europe or Australia. That is true, but I do have some cosmopolitan friends and quite frankly read more widely than many of them.

    This is not a pissing contest, a lot is at stake, but I would be surprised if Jordan Peterson with his deep thinking on Nietzche--Newman was doing some thoughtful thinking on Nietzche in 77 when he talked to me and my Dad at the Shoney's in Gaffney SC as was President Carter last Sunday in Plains Ga--with his online Conversations at the Quillette site can't reconcile more with Mark Noll at Notre Dame, my friend Randall Balmer at Dartmouth and Obama's conversation with Marilynne Robinson in the essay collection the Givenness of Things; want come down on Cousin Deb's Civil Divide more than he will Sara Palin, Steve Breitbart Bannon, Tucker Carlson and Liberty University and the "mendacity" embraced by the Anti abortion movement since Roe V Wade.

     I respect Cousin Deb's convictions on life. But George W. Truett and the best of the Baptist  church state tradition, the Catholic Tradtion of Richard McBrien . I agree with Debi and Peterson Jesus and the best of the Christian Tradition transcends all this mess, but Debi's two state solution by necessity is political;  and I like my group with its better angels than these hooligans she is on the verge of casting her lot with.

   Right now, honestly, I am willing to cast a ballot for Republican Ben Sasse of Nebraska if it will help us survive this Trump disaster. But a two state solution with all the charlatans I witnessed in the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, I think Lincoln had a better idea for his time, and now Jon Meacham with his book on the Soul of America; rather than saying Sara Palin and Tucker Carlson are the way forward, the resolution the reconcilers.

    In his book on President Carter and what the leftovers of the Texas Regulars did to him by the time Nancy got Ronald outfront, Randall Balmer talked about how Carter's Baptist Laison Robert Maddox said abortion troubled them all as a political wedge issue.

   So here is Dr. Fox's email and we'll attempt to tie up some loose ends in the coming weeks.

         Here is my primary objection to all things and politicians “progressive,” Obama, Clinton, Warren, et al.

        Any political stance that holds that centralized government’s charge is to decide what’s best for people to think, do, or support is counter to my understanding of what our Constitution outlines as government’s job. Obama et al. (plug any modern-day leftist into this slot) think that the average American needs to be re-educated about right and wrong, and that we can be legislated into “right” thinking. Uh-uh. Despite the very great political differences the founders had, there was a common moral foundation that included the dignity and protection of the human person from conception to natural death, a clear view of how we might best support the basic building block of society (the intact family), and, later, a commitment to funded education, agreements on how to protect  our communities, and a clear prescription on government and individual’s roles in how to defend our nation. I absolutely believe that identity politics, leftist (read Marxist, Socialist, or Communist) infiltration of higher education and of government, the breakdown of traditional family units and the rise of sexual licentiousness, and the demise of sheer common sense is to blame for where we are now. Obama et al. happily, it seems, ushered in policies, people, and practices that contributed to the undoing of the moral and civic foundation that undergirded the great nation of America. Notice, I didn’t say it was the only great nation, but it’s the best nation I’ve ever been to on earth.

And, I’m wondering why you would think you could even begin to characterize my Catholicism. You know nothing about me or about my formation or background. Just sayin’.

Check out the Intellectual Dark Web. Those are my intellectual compatriots, but they aren’t my leaders. Above all, Christ is King, and He can be found at work through many hands of many stripes, very, very few of whom, I would venture a guess, are involved in politics.

Quote me if you’d like.

   End Quote

  And here is a March 2018 piece on Jordan Peterson and Identity politics and folks center left who may dismiss him cavalierly:


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