2020 November

29 Nov: To be Called

We tend to form historical characters into images matching their exploits. Historians believe the origin of werewolves, vampires and other monsters of the night resulted from discoveries of brutally murdered people, rationalized as, “no human could do this to another human.” Yes, they can & do. We do the same imaginary character development with good characters. God saw Gideon as a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12), so we develop a visual of a muscle-bound fighter who could scare away Chuck Norris with just an angry glance. Nope, nobody can do that. Through the years I have seen so many illustrations of Gideon as a mighty warrior with a 6 (or 10)-pack abdomen, I had started to think there was a biblical angel named Gideon that got confused with the real Gideon. There is no angel Gideon to get him confused with; just the imagination of illustrators who justified Gideon’s call and…

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….