Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Short post. Small words. Sick. I've the Martian Death Flu. The kids believe in sharing.
4 papers due on Tuesday - Headache.
Choir Practice tomorrow - Sore Throat.
Practice for New Chamber Orchestra for Church on Saturday - Aches and pains.
Laundry - Lethargy.
Messy Living room - fever.

Friday, February 23, 2007

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Stuck with Sickness and Warm Springs

The Loving Husband is recovering from Hepatitis, Chaos and I have had a cold and now Entropy has what we are calling "Martin Death Flu." I believe in sharing, but they can keep their germs. I have too many papers due (all on March 6!)

I've been dwelling in the stories around Warm Springs. I don't know about you all, but when a story or place crops up over and over again, I start to pay attention.

If you grew up in Georgia, you probably have been to Warm Springs several times with school trips. I know I went at least 3 times in elementary or high school -- the kids around here go in fifth grade. It's really stuck out in the boonies -- near Pine Mountain and Bullockville, close to Callaway Gardens. I've flown into the airport at Warm Springs; they don't even have gas pumps (as well as I remember), just a shack with a phone booth. It's just a asphalt strip. The airport at Callaway Gardens is much nicer, with a courtesy shuttle that goes to the resort, so that you can fly in, catch the shuttle to a restaurant and get your $100 hamburger. (That's a pilot joke.)

I remember once going in 7th grade to Warm Springs and getting caught in one of those violent Georgia Thunderstorms and my parents who were driving stopping under a bridge on the interstate. There were tornadoes that day. This trip is linked in my memory with the realization that even my parents were not invulnerable and they would never really be able to keep me completely safe. I am amazed how many times tornadoes are linked to the action of God in my life; either in dreams or in real life.

Warm Springs is the home of the Little White House; a cottage where FDR lived for more than a two decades. It is a very modest cottage, not one that you would think a president would live or stay. It's been kept much like it was during his residency. Chaos has visited with her class recently and Entropy is going later in March. The nearby pools have been restored, as well and to see what they were like is intriguing.

I've also been reading about the pools of Siloam and Bethesda in Jerusalem. Bethesda is practically on the Temple grounds; it’s a pool near the sheep gate. I was a place for ritual cleaning getting ready for Sabbath – a Mikvah. The pool of Siloam is similar, near another gate. Both are mentioned in the book of John. Most scholars say that there were five porticos or porches maybe to shelter the paralyzed and the infirm.

On certain occasions, certain manuscripts of the book of John say that ‘an angel would come and trouble the waters’ – and people believed that the first person into the waters would be healed. In 1888 a pool was found with fresco of an angel troubling the waters near the temple grounds and a church was build there -- St. Anne’s – the archeological site has two pools and 5 porches.

When I read this I began picturing it in my mind – 5 pavilions around the pool full of people and I saw the image of Warm Springs. The known history of the warm springs had its recorded beginnings with Native Americans, who would take their injured and sick and infirm to the warm waters at Pine Mountain for what they considered its healing properties.

After the Europeans settled Georgia it wasn’t long before the warm springs gave rise to a spa,
A place where water emerges at 900 gallons per minute and 88 degrees year-round helped turn the place the springs in to a popular place to “take the cure”. Many famous southerners took the cure at Warm Spring, including John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and Henry Clay of Kentucky before the Civil War.

In the late 1800’s an the Meriweather Inn – the Meriweather was built on the hill overlooking the springs. They built pools and pavilions around the pools so people could better access the waters.

By the time FDR arrived in 1924 -- three years after he contracted polio, the Inn had seen its better days. One of his friends: George Foster Peabody, wrote to FDR telling him of the therapy that a young polio victim had while exercising daily in the warm waters, and Roosevelt would do anything that might help him walk again.

He found the place a shambles – and resistance to his being there was strong. His family had no idea what he was doing. They thought that he was squandering both his time and his money The lodging was awful, the food was awful, there wasoverwhelming poverty was everywhere he looked. And after a local newspaper article was syndicated nationally, the ramshackle old inn was over-run with people looking for miracles.

However there was prejudice of the type that a well educated, rich, white man had never encountered before. You see, no one knew how you caught polio – and FDR was shunned as a leper. His people – and they became his people after he made relationships with them –
after he bathed them himself and fed them and showed them his own “exercises” – FDR and his people were placed out of the inn during the main season; they had to eat on sawhorses in a back dining room; they were not allowed in the pool during the main portion of the day. They were modern day lepers.

In the HBO movie "Warm Spring" there is a voiceover of a letter he wrote to his wife Eleanor: "I am taking on responsibilities which none of my schooling in the spheres of higher learning or politics could have prepared me for... I have seen the casualties of war. But I have never seen this, a suffering so insidious, so silent, that it rattles my soul."

She wrote back:
"It seems everywhere I go there are more people in dire need of help. It would be overwhelming if not for my deep belief that help is possible..."

It would be overwhelming if not for my deep belief that help is possible...

I would like to go to the Springs today, and I think I will -- in spirit. This trek to a degree has been hard on myself and my family. I think we all are run down. I am taking a Warm Springs day today and am going to take "the cure" and I watch Entropy get better. I will work gently on my papers, trying to organize my thoughts, but I will not push. Small steps.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Widget Goodness

After almost 2 days of NO STABLE INTERNET (where I think I'm going to die of internet withdrawal), I have now indulged in Blogger Widget Goodness.

If you will notice, I now have 3 Blidgets (RevGals, Methoblog and John Wesley) on my sidebar, as well as the Methoblog Aggregator and my personal feeds (done from OPML, at least until I loose the Emory account.)

I am such a geek. If you like the Bligdets or other Widgets, help yourself! I still need to figure how Jay did the Methoblog Aggregator -- I may have to geek out some more to figure it out...

Aren't they prettiful?

You too can do the feed reader if you use Bloglines (which I did, then I didn't, and now I'm doing it again). You have to make your list public first. Then go get the Grazr at Widgetbox. Where it asks for your URL for your feeds type "" and then you get your own prettiful grazr. Isn't it grand?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pointing Toward An Empty Tomb

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

I'm slipping behind...

I'm behind on my Project 365, I'm behind on my Lenten Devotional thingy, I'm slack with reading my seminary readings, all because I have a cold and I can't think.

I'll catch up after I catch up on sleep, OK?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I have a cold

so I'll post stuff later. Now I'm coping with stuffy nose, coughing, etc. And I get to go lead the choir!! Goody!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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The Loving Husband and Friend JC. Lunch on Sunday, tired mommy, silly friends, big hamburgers, valentine's day tie.

To my LH who will always always always be my Valentine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

John Wesley is Blogging!

Yes, John Wesley is blogging from coastal Georgia -- specifically from Savannah as he starts his ministry there. There does seem to be a type of time warp, as his (almost) daily postings seem to be accelerated, sometimes a day covers several weeks. Today it is in the middle of March 1736 for him.

He's been all over the Methoblogosphere, leaving comments and asking for discussion on his blog. So far, there has been only one taker.

Make John's day -- go leave a comment.

John Wesley's Journal

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Here's the chancel area at New Hope. The interior is based on a blue and gold (or yellow) color scheme. The chancel is actually painted a very light blue, the carpet is medium blue. The stained glass windows are blue and gold. I like it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Dalai Lama, Salman Rushdie and Jimmy Carter

were all in a bar...

No, this is not the start of a very bad joke. It is going to be the state of the University come October. Specifically October 21 or so. Emory is host to Jimmy Carter, Salman Rushdie and, as of today, the Dalai Lama.

I'm wondering if we will get spontaneous combustion or something.

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I had teaching parish again today. I've almost reached capacity. Marathon classes at Erskine, long driving, service, writing a sermon, class today, writing paper, class tomorrow, charge conference tomorrow. I need a day off...

Here is the scene from the front steps of Trinity UMC in Covington. If you will remember, Covington was the little town where "In the Heat of the Night" was shot. Here's what is left of the Sparta name on the water tower.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

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Chaos was jealous that I posted the Ear of Entropy -- so here we Gaze Into the Eye of Chaos.

I think I'm onto the titles of some really awful sci-fi movies.

Gaze Into the Eye of Chaos!! Will you live?? Will you mutate into a slime based lifeform?? Watch the movie to find out!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

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The guest house at Erskine Seminary. Private room, extremely large, nice full bath, living room, full kitchen. I guess I'm just suffering for the Lord. (sarcasm, y'all, sarcasm.)

I'm off to Erskine Seminary

I'm off to Erskine Seminary for a all day class (9 to 5) today and half a day tomorrow. Three sessions and it's over with. I need traveling mercies today... it looks like it could snow. I've never ever driven in snow (that shows how much a southern girl I really am...)

I've also got a new hobby -- editing Wikipedia. Boy, that's addictive. I promise not to edit any Wikipedia until ... Monday. I'm also almost finished with Lenten Devotional ... I'm going to put the information on how to order here as soon as I get the dummy proof and it checks out OK.

There certain is something about me that likes busy. I'm going to have to think about that for a while.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

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Chaos and Entropy with their Naruto headbands. Aren't they cute?

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Our favorite place to eat is a local Japanese steakhouse, just up the road a bit. It's a little expensive, so we go on nights where there is a two for one special. The kids really love it because the owner is a real comedian. He does all sorts of magic tricks and plays Japanese music on the accordion (it's really very interesting). He loves to take pictures of the kids and put Engrish captions on them... very interesting Engrish, too. This is a picture of those pictures.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Morning Prayer -- Augustin, From Confessions 13, 9

Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me: behold I love, and if it be too little, I would love more strongly...

In Thy Gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifts up our lowliness from the gates of death. In Thy good pleasure is our peace.

The body by its own weight strives towards its own place. Weight makes not downward only, but to his own place. Fire tends upward, a stone downward. They are urged by their own weight, they seek their own places. Oil poured below water, is raised above the water; water poured upon oil, sinks below the oil. They are urged by their own weights to seek their own places. When out of their order, they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest.

My weight, is my love; thereby am I borne, whithersoever I am borne. We are inflamed, by Thy Gift we are kindled; and are carried upwards; we glow inwardly, and go forwards. We ascend Thy ways that be in our heart, and sing a song of degrees; we glow inwardly with Thy fire, with Thy good fire, and we go; because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem: for gladdened was I in those who said unto me, We will go up to the house of the Lord. There hath Thy good pleasure placed us, that we may desire nothing else, but to abide there for ever.

-- Augustine

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Fire. Heh heh. Heh heh. Heh heh.
My candle obsession.

Monday, February 05, 2007

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Kitty's Stone

Sacred to the Memory of Kitty Andrew Shell

Kitty was a slave girl bequeathed to Bishop James O. Andrews by a Mrs. Powers of August, Georgia, in her will when Kitty was 12 years old with the stipulation that when she was 19 years of age, she was to be given her freedom and sent to Liberia.

When she reached the age of 19, Bishop Andrews had Dr. A. B. Longstreet, who was then President of Emory College and Professor George W. Lane to interview Kitty. They did. Kitty declined to go to Liberia, saying that she preferred to remain with Mrs. Andrews at Oxford, Georgia.

Under the laws of Georgia at that time, Bishop Andrews could not free Kitty unless she would agree to leave the state, so he built for her a cottage in his back yard and told her “You are as free as I am.”

Kitty lived in that cottage – a free woman – until she married a man named Nathan Shell, and went to her own home.

The ownership of this slave was the cause of the division of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844.

For a full history see:
“The Life and Letters of James O. Andres by Rev. George W. Smith, D.D.

and so on….

I go through Oxford, Georgia a few times a year -- this morning I had teaching parish in Covington, which is about a mile south of Oxford. It is an official United Methodist Shrine -- there's a plaque that says so near Town Hall. I've posted some pictures of "Old Church" last July and told a little bit of the story. Today I decided to stop at the old cemetery and look for some dead Bishops. I also ran across this "headstone" that is supposedly placed on Kitty's grave. It is said (by mostly white people) that Kitty is the only person of color in the cemetery. I wonder if that's really true: first if she's the only one and second if she really was "of color."

I understand that this story has a large component of myth. The stone actually corrects part of the myth - Kitty was not left to Bishop Andrews by his first wife Amelia, but by a Mrs. Powers of Augusta, Georgia on or around 1834. Researchers have found a will probated by a Mrs. Lovely Powers in the right time period, but there is no mention of a slave girl. Census data around this time was confusing as well, but finding evidence of Kitty is difficult to say the least.

This story/myth tucks in loose ends so very nicely and neatly -- it makes me wonder if we have really prettified a messy history. It's a story that makes us white people feel warm and fuzzy -- the Nice Bishop tried to obey the law, but the awful civil law came in horrible conflict with canon law and he was tormented. He was just trying to do the Right Thing. Nice nice, pretty pretty.

There is another scenario available to us: older empowered white man with children (? not so sure about children) receives/inherits nubile young black woman. He holds the power over this disenfranchised young girl -- the law and the society are not going to see her in a favorable light; she's just a slave girl. Who knows how educated she is or is not? The white man's wife is sick -- she dies within a year. He puts the slave girl in a nice little cottage, just in the back yard. Kitty starts having babies. He gets remarried. Kitty has more babies. Everyone is happy(!). Kitty gets married and moves off; Kitty dies. The End. Not such a nice nice pretty pretty story.

I don't know what really happened -- but we don't need to make history any prettier. We need to tell truth.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

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The cat. She tried a new position today -- the one leg extended position. I wonder if the strain of trying something new will be too much for her.

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I've unpacked my books for this semester (this is the short stack -- there are more). I still need to get a half dozen books for the class I'm auditing. I sure have a lot of reading to do.

I will admit I have a "method" for getting through the secondary readings -- I read the first chapter, the last chapter, the first and last paragraph for the remaining chapters... it's not perfect, but I can go back and read it later if I have time...

Friday, February 02, 2007

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OK, strictly speaking, I did not take this photo -- it was taken for me on Monday by a friend ( as he was doing aerial photo work for someone else. If you want aerials, just give him a holler!

Anyway, I was going to show pictures of my candle obsession but the battery on the camera is dead.

This is a picture of my new church -- I'm officially the music minister and associate. It's an old church -- notice that the graveyard is bigger than the parking lot... It's a lot bigger plant than it looks from the street. There is a nice fellowship hall that was built at the end of the 1980's that houses the pre-school, the fellowship hall, kitchen, restrooms and the church offices. I can't find evidence of restrooms anywhere else, except some that were removed from an addition built in 1955 or so. I suppose that means for the first 100 years of the church, there were only outhouses...

You can also see the parsonage and the church van. The parsonage was built in 1975 and is currently not occupied by the parson. It will make good space for other things -- Sunday School and Youth purposes come to mind. There is also some space under the addition at the back of the sanctuary in the basement that is currently being renovated that would be great space for stuff.

The only problem with this picture is that there are no cars in the parking lot... oh well!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

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Organizational update: More stuff sorted. I'm still going through the drawers, but two are completely empty. I'll put the stuff on the desk in the drawers when I'm finished. It makes a nice break from reading (in about a week) EVERYTHING Bonhoeffer ever wrote (or so it seems.)

I'm posting today's early because of the ice that is supposed to be coming this way... I hope that we don't lose power, but if we do, just think of all the Bonhoeffer I can read!! (Sarcasm, there, btw.)