Showing posts from 2014

Of War and Fishing Buddies

If the battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the war, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign could be considered the home stretch.  It was late in the year of 1863 and General U.S. Grant had taken Chattanooga.  Grant was promoted to general-in-chief of all Union armies, and his old fishing buddy, General Sherman took his place commanding the army of the west.  Sherman’s plan was to march through Atlanta and then onward to the sea, cutting the south in half.  But the Confederate Army had a different plan. William McCallister Wallraven was a typical Georgia teenager working as a laborer along-side his father when the war broke out.  While others rushed off to enlist and “whoop the Yankees”, young William stayed behind with his folks, Berry and Martha Wallraven, his two brothers and four sisters.   The 1860 U.S. Government census shows the Wallravens living in the Buckhead District of Fulton County, Georgia – now a high rent suburb of Atlanta.  But they were from G

On the Field of Battle - The Story of a Father and Three Sons

Helena Arkansas was a town on the Mississippi River, about 50 miles south of Memphis and 100 miles southeast of Little Rock (as the crow flies). Helena was a town of wealth, and a major port on the river. In 1862 the Union Army marched in Helena without opposition, and fortified the town for occupation. On July 4, 1863 the Confederate army executed an attack on Helena. Under the impression that most of the Union forces in Helena had been relocated to join General Grant in the Vicksburg campaign, they thought the recapture of Helena would be successful. They split forces into three, attacking at dawn from three different directions. But two things thwarted their plan. First, the Union army had not reduced troops in Helena as they had thought – at least not to the point of weakening it. And second, the Union soldiers had felled trees along all the passages into town. This prevented the Confederates from moving their wagons or artillery up the ridge. A father first loves

Black Mass Hysteria

The Devil as depicted in the Codex Gigas . As I write these words certain individuals in my fair city are preparing to worship the Son of Perdition. Satan, Lucifer, El Diablo; perhaps you call him Beelzebub or the Prince of Darkness.  Maybe you just refer to him as the Devil.  But (with apologies to the Bard) a devil, by any other name, still smells of sulfur.  A Black Mass is a ritual whereby those who would pay homage to Satan mock the traditions of the Catholic celebration of Mass, usually by stealing a consecrated “host” and desecrating it in ways best left unspoken in this venue.  For my unlearned protestant friends, the host is what we would refer to as the bread in Holy Communion (except for the consecration of said host, which gets into a whole other discussion on transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation, which discussion we shall save for another time). Of course, there are other individuals - Christian Leaders - who would see this worship service banned.  They have

"Like" Jesus!

The other day my neighbor, a social media expert, told me he was invited to speak on the subject of social media in faith based organizations.  I took that to mean, “Are churches, synagogues and mosques using Facebook and Twitter to spread their message?”  Frankly, I suspect that for every house of worship availing themselves of social media there is another out there somewhere exhorting the evils of such ‘worldly trappings’.  I think I even heard of a pastor who delivered a sermon encouraging his congregation to quit Facebook altogether.  I may have misunderstood that message, but I have seen several people declare a ‘fasting’ from Facebook for a time. So, is there a place for social media in the faith?  While I may not wholly be qualified to answer that question, I can speak to what social media has done for one-on-one ministry.  But instead I'll let you read for yourself a brief Facebook conversation that took place this very day.  (The names have not been changed, since neith

084 - Dodging the Bullet

My stepson, Jerry is approaching his 18th birthday with an understandable measure of glee.  After all, think of the milestones of life that go into effect at 18; voting for president, smoking cigarettes (if you are so inclined), entering into legal contracts, and registering for the draft.   The what? That’s right, Jerry.  Within 30 days of your upcoming birthday you are required by law to enter your registration for Selective Service.  That way the government will have your name and birth date, should global war break out on three major fronts.  Of course, you can always get out in front of things by enlisting.  Your local recruiter will give you the lowdown – and you can believe every word he says; right veterans? At 084 I was sure to be wearing olive drab khakis, had it not been for President Nixon... This got me thinking about how things were back when I was a kid. In December 1969 the Vietnam War was raging on, and men were needed.  So someone in the government wrote th