Monday, September 25, 2017

Thoughts on Taking A Knee

This is from the wife of a man who played football at Annapolis and is now retired from the Navy.  He was the Executive Official on a nuclear submarine and played hide-and-seek with Russian subs constantly for years.
It is obvious how she feels about anyone one who takes a knee during the National Anthem.

TAKE A KNEE 

To All Ballplayers, Everywhere...

Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don't know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won't be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real experience. Then 
take a knee. 

Then, take one at the beach in Normandy where man after American man stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces...the very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire. 

Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. from Khe San to Saigon... Anywhere will do. REAL Americans died in all those jungles. There was no playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they represented. When they came home, they were protested as well..and spit on for reasons only cowards know. 

Take another knee in the blood drenched sands of Fallujah in 110 degree heat.. Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress... Your number won't be printed on it unless your number is up! You'll need to stay hydrated but there won't be anyone to squirt Gatoradeinto your mouth. You're on your own. 

There's a lot of places to take a knee. Real Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That's what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your liberty. 

While you're on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of ground taken...but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering forests and bitter cold mountains...every inch marked by an American life lost
serving that flag you protest.

No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans...just American men and women ...delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us...blazing a path so you would have the right to "take a knee." 

You haven't an inkling what it took to get you where you are; but your "protest" is duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is issued to another... 

If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we'll both kneel before Almighty God. We'll thank Him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We'll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us.  We'll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom.  We'll pray for liberty and justice for all...because He is the one who provides those things.  

And there will be no> protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave. It goes like this... GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Thought for the Day:
"It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn't in flames, that there are people in the country beside politicians, entertainers, and criminals!"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Emilio and the Potatoes

I  have, maybe, a hundred stories about the founding, history, and people of LIVING HOPE CHURCH of Huntsville, Alabama (formally know as FIRST ALLIANCE CHURCH of Huntsville), but one of my favorites is the story of: 

Emilio and the Potatoes 

Emilio Uvalle did the block and brick work on our church in 1965.  Emilio, his son, and a nephew would arrive on the scene soon after dawn and immediately get to work; mixing motor and moving blocks and brick into place. When the first batch of mud was ready, Emilio began laying wall while son and nephew kept him supplied such that he never had to reach more that a couple of feet for either mud or brick. 

Through the long summer days, they took few breaks, mainly for water and to relieve themselves. After 6 hours, they would take a 2-hour break for lunch and siesta and then back to 4 to 6 more hours of building walls.  I never saw such a work process again until 1988, on vacation in Mexico where I watched the building of an addition to the hotel where we stayed.

We were pleased with the work and how it was progressing well ahead of schedule.  So, you can imagine our surprise when Emilio told us and the contractor that they were taking off for two weeks for him and his entire family to go to Sand Mountain and help with the potato harvest.  We knew the pay for field work was much lower that the wages of bricklayers and were quite puzzled as-to-why he would make such a move.  


On Sunday, two weeks after they had “walked off of the job,” they showed up at our temporary meeting place with the backs of their 2 pickup trucks loaded to overflowing with “crippled” sweet potatoes and asking members of our congregation to take as many as they wanted.  It seems that the harvest leaves potatoes, that are not commercially viable, laying in the fields to be plowed under. The workers are allowed to take all they want.  Emilio told us that they took home enough to provide a substantial part of his family’s diet for the next year.  They were ready to get back to work.  The work was finished on schedule.  We all enjoyed free sweet potatoes for a while.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

For Mother's Day 2015



Who was Willie Mae Weaver 
A while after the death of my father, my Mother took a correspondence
course in writing.  In going through her files I found some of the lessons
which she submitted.  One of the lessons contained the following phase:

“Who am I?  What am I?  Where am I?  Surely, somewhere 
deep inside, there is an individual with its own identity.”

It seems that up until the time of my father’s death she had only seen
herself as Mama and Papa Hallman’s daughter and then as Dewey’s 
wife.  Now, at age 51, she faced the world on her own and was not quite 
sure if she knew how to relate to the world on her own.  Those who 
knew her, know that she managed life very well on her own.

But I will try give at least a partial answer to her questions.
  “WHO and What AM I ?”

She was Mama Hallman’s helper with the kitchen and household chores.

When Grandma and Grandpa Avery came to live with them, she
became their nurse maid even though it would mean that she would 
miss the last two years of high school.

However, she remained a life-long student who loved to learn and
aspired to become a doctor or nurse following in the footsteps of 
Grandma Avery and Great-grandfather, Dr. Wooley.

She was an avid reader and she consumed many volumes of print,
especially anything that explained  the how and why of what was 
happening in the world and around her.

She loved Gospel Music and added her alto voice to the harmonies
of various small groups, quartets and congregations.

 She was chief clerk and assistant manager of a  series of Dewey’s
 grocery stores.

 She was the bookkeeper of Dewey’s wholesale fishing pole and
tackle business.

 She was Mother Confessor and Psychiatrist to  many friends,
neighbors and kinfolks.  At times she would issue some sage advice, 
but mostly she would provide a listening ear and some kind words.

She was the kindhearted Justice-of-the-Peace  who seldom levied a
fine but would deliver a stern lecture when needed.

 She was one of those independent Southern  women who thought
for herself and would tell it  like it was with a smile.

 She was a child of God through the blood of  Jesus.

 She was a Sunday school teacher and bible  scholar .

She was the mother and life long care-giver to my sister, Nancy.

 She was a visiting angel at Heritage Nursing  home.

She was the smiling face that brought daily cheer to her fellow
residents at Presbyterian Apartments in Tuscaloosa and Mayfair 
Towers in Huntsville.

She was a loving sister and sister-in-law.

She was the mother and inspiration for Billy 
And a loving mother-in-law to Anne.

She was a grandmother, great grandmother and 
great-great grandmother.

Mama and Papa Hallman named  her “Willie Mae”.
Her siblings called her “Bill”.
Dewey called her “Miss Mae”.
Nancy and Billy called her “Mother”.
The grandchildren called her “Granny”
Many called her “Friend”.

Five years ago Jesus called her home.

Friday, March 28, 2014

  A Letter to one of our sons upon his graduation from High School







Monday, December 23, 2013

HOW CAN IT BE

This was written in 2006 by Rev. Richard Sipley for the
Christmas  issue of his church newspaper, in Victoria, B. C.
He was my  pastor when I was in HIgh School in Tuscaloosa.


HOW CAN IT BE ?  
Luke 1:26-38
Richard Sipley


    This week I saw a perfect illustration of the sad failure of the world to understand or celebrate Christmas.  I was walking through the Mall, and there was Santa Claus ringing a bell and leaning on the cash register in front of his photographic equipment.  He looked tired and bored, hoping to make some more money by taking some child’s picture.


    What a twisted, phony scene! How sad!  This is Christmas - the season of Joy!  But, I wonder how many of you, along with me are facing at least one problem in your life for which you see no human solution?  If I should say to you that the Christmas story has the answer you might say with the Virgin Mary, “How can it be?” 


    Mary was part of a nation living in desperate circumstances for which there was no human solution, when a shining being from another world stood before her and told her that there was a solution, she answered in amazement,  “How can it be?”


   How can what be?  How can something be done contrary to the laws of the material world, such as a virgin birth?  Something contrary to the laws of her social world, such as an unwed mother, who should be stoned to death?  Something contrary to the laws of the Political World, like a peasant rising to the throne against the power of Rome?  Something contrary to the laws of the Spiritual World, combining a physical being and a spiritual being into one person to create a God-man?  How can it be?


    Only through the Holy Spirit; “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you.”  Only through the supernatural power of God; “The power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  Only through the presence of the Son of God; “That holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.”


    Christmas was not just a starlit night in Bethlehem: it had been behind the stars forever.  There was Christmas in the heart of God when He made the earth, and then gave it away to us.  When He sent us His prophets, that was Christmas too.  And it was the most magnificent Christmas of all, that night in Bethlehem when He gave us His own son.  


    As Jesus grew up, Christmas was everywhere He went, giving food, giving sight, giving life.  For Christmas is giving.  But Christmas is also receiving.  In the Bible it says: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." As many as received Him!  When we understand that, we understand that receiving can be even more important than giving at Christmas!  When we receive Christ, we experience completely the gift that is Christmas.  Then, for us, Christmas is truly always, for Jesus said, "Lo, 1 am with you always". 


    And Christmas is Jesus!  
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given,  
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.  
No ear may hear his coming,  But in this world of sin,  
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in!”


    How can it be? Only through the Word of God, “For no word from God shall be impossible of fulfillment.”


    How can it be?  I can not do those things! Only God can do those things!  What can I do? I can Give myself to Christ!  I can Accept His Word by Trusting it and Obeying it!  I can do as Mary did.  With a humble believing heart she said, “Be it unto me according to your word!”


    We have seen the studies, sepia strokes across yellowed parchment, the fine detail of hand and breast and the fall of cloth - Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Titian, El Greco, Renault - each complex Madonna positioned, sketched, enlarged, each likeness plotted at last on canvas, layered with pigment, like the final draft of a poem after thirty-nine roughs.


    But Mary, virgin, had no sittings, no chance to pose for piety, no novitiate for body or for heart. The moment was on her unaware: The Angel in the room, the impossible demand, the response without reflection.  Only one word of curiosity, echoing Zechariah’s “How?”  Yet innocently voiced, without request for proof.

     The teen head tilted in light, the hand trembling a little at the throat, the candid eyes, wide with acquiescence to shame and glory, “Be it unto me as you have said.” 


    It seemed too much to ask of one small virgin, that she should stake shame against the will of God... and it seems much, too much to ask you, and me, to be part of the different thing - God’s shocking, unorthodox, unheard of Thing, to further heaven’s hopes and summon God’s glory.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Presidential Remarks on The Zimmerman Verdict

          I am not a fan of Barrack Obama but it has nothing to do with his race.  
          It has to do with his policies which I think are doing damage to us and 
          our country.  It has to do with his public statements which some times 
          are contradictory and other times apparently untrue.

          However, I think that in his recent speech in response to the George 
          Zimmerman trial verdict, he raised a valid point.  That point being: 
          Young black men are looked upon with fear and suspicion.  

          As I have stated, I feel that is a correct observation.  

          I hope that he really recognizes that is a problem and was not just 
          something ginned-up by his speech writers to make political points.  
          If this is a truly held conviction of his, I pray that he is seeking ways to 
          alleviate those fears and suspicions, but he can not do it alone.  

          To resolve this fear and suspicion engendered by young black men and 
          maybe even by blacks in general will need the help of all of us.  To that 
          end, I would like to make some suggestion to get us started.

                    To: President Barrack Obama

          Stop the blame game, don’t automatically assume that all actions 
          taken by individuals, businesses, and organizations are racially 
          motivated but may very well be based on observed behavior of the 
          offended party.

          Seriously consider the cause of that fear and suspension.  Could it 
          be because of observed actions or past experience with that group.

         Direct your energy and speeches to encouraging changes to the actions 
          that cause fear and suspension in others.

                    To: Civil Rights Professionals  
         See above suggestions to the President.

                    To: News Media
         Do some real investigative reporting.  Find out what is really going on; 
          find out what really happened.  Then report it accurately without political 
          or social bias.  You might just turn up some facts about something that 
          could be used to help solve the problems.

                    To: Black Celebrities and Professionals: 
         Whether you are involved in Sports, Music, Movies, Television, 
          Science, Medicine, Politics, or Industry, use your influence to redirect 
          the minds of the young away from the Thug Mentality and toward 
          Responsibility and Civility

         When someone like Bill Cosby or Dr. Allen West steps forward and 
          offers some advice, do not criticize and belittle them, but get behind 
          them and lend your support to their efforts.

                    To: Black Young Men (and Women)   
         Lose the thug actions and attitudes and join the mainline society.

                    To: The White Community:   
         Evaluate your own attitudes and actions.  Are you sending some subtle 
          hints to the black community that you consider them less of a human 
          being than you? 

          Get involved is your communities, schools, and local relief organizations.  
          You might just make some friends from a differ culture.

I am sure there is much more to be said, but this should do to get some discussion started.
Your comments are welcomed.



Friday, March 29, 2013

ABANDONED

     Have you ever been lost in the woods or perhaps in an urban jungle?
      Familiar woods become scary as the sun sets or when you go down a hill to meet up with the main trail and for some reason it is not where you thought it would be.  

Or maybe you are on a detour off the interstate in a strange city,  after several turns  you no longer see the detour signs or any route markers.  You are surrounded by heavy traffic and the sidewalks are filled by people, but you feel totally alone.  

Or perhaps you lost or misplaced some thing important, like loosing sight of your small child while in a strange place.

Recall with me, if you will, that momentary feeling of shear panic when you admitted to yourself, “I don’t know where I am”  or “I don’t know where my child is.”  An increased heart rate, a little nausea, a racing mind that will not focus, a feeling that you should run.  Those awful feelings -- that was panic.  If this has brought to mind something from your past, your heart rate probably stepped up a notch, just recalling it.  Hopefully you quickly found your way or soon found your child.

When one of our sons was about 3, he developed the habit of tantrums.  If he didn’t get his way, he would lay down and kick and scream.  Once, he pulled his stunt in J C Penneys.  I had had enough, so I  announced loudly. “Let’s just leave him here,” and took my wife and our other children to hide behind a nearby clothes rack.  He soon ceased the tantrum, got up, looked up and down the aisle, took a few steps and look up and down the cross aisle.

When we could see his face, his look of panic broke our hearts, and I had to restrain my wife to keep her from rushing to his side.  His lip began trimble and we heard mommie, Mommie, MOMMIE.  His mother was instantly there and took him in her arms.  That incident was over and we never had to deal with his tantrums again.

Years later, my older son confidied in me that he was ready to cry that day  because he thought that I really intended to leave his little brother there.  As a parent I can think of nothing worst than intentionally abandoning  my child -- it is utterly unthinkable, even for a moment.

As a child, I could think of nothing worst than being abandoned by my parents.  What cry would such an abandonment have elicited from my lips?

In the Scriptures, there was a Father who turned his back on his Son and the world heard this cry...........
El-o-i, El-o-i, la-ma, sa-bach-tha-ni?
My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me? 
(Matthew 27:46)


As we celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter this year, we will once again remember the suffering of our LORD.

Abandoned by his closest friends
          Falsely accused
                    Roughly handled, beaten, and spat upon by the soldiers
                             Jeered by the crowds
                                       A crown of thorns
                                                  Severe scourging
                                                                     Nailed to the cross
                                                                               Burning heat
                                                                                           Thirst
                                                                  Gasping for breath
                                                                    Mocked by the religious leaders.


These He endured for me, for you -- But the worst was yet to come -
When GOD the father looked on Him, He saw not his son but the sins of the world, so He turned his back and walked away.

By remembering our feelings of panic at times of being lost or abandoned, maybe we can understand just a little the agony that Christ-Jesus the Son endured at that moment of separation. 

By considering the loss of a child, just maybe, we can feel a little of the extreme sorry that God the Father endured to bring Salvation to the Lost Race of Man.  

So that we who have accepted salvation through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, never need to suffer separation from him, but can look forward to being in God’s family forever.