2020 November

22 Nov: Frontier Style Church Security (Part 2 of 2)

Last week I shared some fun stories from the book, “Bible in Pocket Gun in Hand.” I hope you enjoy a few more stories out of that book this week. Theodore Parker was a Unitarian frontier preacher. Just before the Civil War he married escaped slaves, William and Ellen Craft. Knowing what they would surely face in life, he presented William with gifts; a bible and a Bowie knife. He told William, “One’s for the body’s defense, the other is for the soul’s defense.” He warned William to protect Ellen from all crimes. Not today’s Unitarian! Preparing to preside over a controversial topic, preacher L. M. White learned outlaw band leader Bill Hawkins had proclaimed he would kill anyone who spoke of it. As White entered the meeting, he saw Hawkins wearing a red bandana and a few others around the congregation with the same headgear (so they wouldn’t shoot…

15 Nov: Frontier Style Church Security (Part 1 of 2)

  Some years ago, Dave Grossman gave me the book, “Bible in Pocket Gun in Hand.” It is the story of frontier religion, with some hairy moments. It was a hard time with hard people. Some of the hardest were the preachers. Texas preacher Peter Moeling once wrote, “I shall die a true patriot and a soldier of the Cross, the gun in hand and Christ in my heart.” I just read it again to capture some of the stories for you. The author (Ross Phares) included enough details and references to make it interesting and verifiable. Phares commented that, “as a rule, the preacher was the chief police force at church. He did not get the spontaneous aid from the brethren that he frequently needed.” That is still an issue today. Phares however, wrote of an exception in the experience of one preacher who had a persistent heckler interrupting his sermon….

08 Nov: Incident to consider; 10-year-old shooting at occupied church

In the southwest corner of Pennsylvania is Uniontown; a small town of just under 10,000 people. Uniontown was established on July 4th, 1776; unrelated to the Declaration of Independence being ratified the same day 280 miles away. It is better known as the birthplace of the McDonalds Big Mac sandwich. In the northeast part of town, homes are as run-down as the roadways. Curbs dissolve under crabgrass. Old narrow cracked asphalt streets blend into mostly unkept yards. Wherever city revenues are spent, it’s not on infrastructure. There on Millview Street, in the midst of 2 story square frame homes, each nearly filling their little lots, sits the Solid Rock Ministry Church. It is a 60’ x 70’ cinderblock single-story building with 23 parking spots. On Thursday evening (11/5/20) gunfire erupted in the parking lot, with bullets coming into the church where the congregation was gathered. The aggressor was a 10-year-old…