27 June 2005

Parallel Universes

I was still reeling from the Supreme Court's eminent domain ruling last week when the 10 Commandment decision was announced today. This is surreal. I honestly feel at times as though I've been abducted by aliens and put in a parallel universe. And for those who are hopeful of Bush's appointees, let us not forget that 7 of the 9 current justices are Republican appointees. The answer is for Congress to reign in the Court's power. Governors and state legislatures should also respond where they can to the usurpation of power by the courts. Things are truly out of hand. Americans would be well advised to read the writings of my fellow Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, and his warnings regarding an all powerful judiciary. As a former judicial officer, I could add enough horror stories on the state level to fill op-ed pages for a year. I know of what I speak. And speaking of parallel universes, my family and I will be traveling north of the Mason-Dixon line July 1 for a week to visit my daughter. She was married last July and now lives in Maine. I'll enjoy some down time, seeing my "Princess" again, and pretending I'm still a citizen of the Old Republic - at least for one week.

11 June 2005

The Bride of My Youth

My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on June the 7th. The Saturday prior, our six children planned a surprise party for us and we were blessed with sweet fellowship and a legacy of love. This past Monday, I surprised my wife with a two day trip to Warm Springs and a stay at one of the same places we had visited on our honeymoon 25 years earlier. Warm Springs has long been a destination for Virginia Gentleman and ladies, including Thomas Jefferson and Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lee. It is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the country. (http://www.discoverbath.com/) Men, you want to be a hero to your wife? Try this – I surprised my wife by renting a brand new convertible Chrysler Sebring, complete with a single white rose, and a cooler full of sparkling cider, fresh fruit, and flavored water. I then took her on a 70 mile ride through some of the most remote and beautiful country roads in Western Virginia; passing farms, clear mountain streams, and simply enjoying God’s creation. We arrived at our destination in Warm Springs, The Inn at Gristmill Square - http://www.gristmillsquare.com/ - where exactly 25 years earlier I had made a promise to my beautiful bride. At that time, we visited the Waterwheel Restaurant rather broke, but I promised her I would bring her back one day and we would enjoy a candlelight supper in the old mill. I kept my promise, albeit 25 years later! She was thrilled! The next morning, I walked her across the old bridge which spans the stream running by the restored mill and sat her down under a grove of trees next to the stream. There, I placed on her still beautiful left hand a diamond ring and renewed my love and commitment to her. Whoa! Am I the romantic or what!?! She was in heaven and I have never loved the bride of my youth more than I do now. Thank God for His mercies and grace.

02 June 2005

Book Suggestions

The editor with one of the Christian publications I write for recently asked for some book recommendations/favorites. I have so many favorites, its hard to keep this under a small book in itself! Anyway, off the top of my head, here are a few "must reads" -

On LawChristianity and the Constitution by John Eidsmoe. Excellent apologia to support the argument that our Nation’s founders were predominantly Christian. Exposes many myths propagated by the media elite. Worth quoting from the book: “…the founding fathers did not see themselves as radicals trying to overthrow the existing order to create something new. Rather, they saw themselves as conservatives defending the traditional order and the ancient rights of Englishmen against the recent encroachments of the English monarch.”

On HistoryStonewall Jackson – The Man, The Soldier, The Legend by Dr. James I. Robertson. Outside the Bible, the best book I’ve ever read. A fascinating read and one that reveals the vibrant and active faith that Jackson had in the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly a must read for all students of the War Between the States and American History. Worth quoting from the book: “Thomas Jonathan Jackson’s walnut bookcase at the Virginia Historical Society contains six shelves filled with volumes he collected. Almost in the center of the case stand three works side by side. The one in the middle is John Gibbon’s The Artillerist’s Manual; on the left is the Holy Bible; on the other side is Philip Bennet Power’s ‘I Will’: Being the Determination of the Man of God. These three books, positioned as they are, epitomize the life of General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson: a man of arms surrounded by the tenets of faith.”

Also, Born FightingHow the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb. You will never fully comprehend American history until you understand and appreciate the providential contributions of the Scots-Irish. Written by a true warrior-poet.
Worth quoting from the book: “The Scots-Irish were the cultural antithesis of those who had founded New England” and “Their answer, then as now, was to tell the Eastern Establishment to go to hell.”

On EconomicsWealth and Poverty and The Spirit of Enterprise, both by George Gilder. While not expressly Christian, these are true masterpieces on economic theory, yet very readable. Worth quoting from Wealth and Poverty: “The only dependable route from poverty is always work, family, and faith. The first principle is that in order to move up, the poor must not only work, they must work harder than the classes above them. Every previous generation of the lower class has made such efforts. But the current poor, white even more than black, are refusing to work hard.”

On PhilosophyThe Southern Tradition at BayA History of Postbellum Thought by Richard Weaver. Part history, part philosophy, explores in depth the agrarian mindset and paleo-conservative thought - should be required reading for every man and woman in America. Worth quoting from the book: “…chivalry, a romantic idealism closely related to Christianity, which makes honor the guiding principle of conduct. Connected with this is the ancient concept of the gentlemen.”

On Theology – Everything A. W. Tozer has ever written. Personal favorite, The Pursuit of God. Worth quoting from the book: “The voice of God is a friendly Voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it.”

Off the Beaten Path – An autobiography by William E. Hatcher, LL.D. titled, Along the Trail of the Friendly Years. Hatcher is one of the most influential, yet least known Southern Baptist preachers of the 19th century. Prolific writer, pastor, and founder of Fork Union Military Academy (still in operation), Hatcher is perhaps best known for his biography of the great slave preacher, John Jasper. Hatcher’s autobiography gives a wonderful insight into antebellum and postbellum Virginia and how different and more vibrant Christianity was in those days. Worth quoting from the book: “They told my brother and myself that she [Hatcher’s mother] used much of her dying breath in praying that we might be ministers and in that way it seems she entered as a silent factor among the forces which set for us the course of life.”