27 November 2007
I have to be in Williamsburg tomorrow morning on business and will return in a day or so. No more posts until the weekend.
26 November 2007
Yes, I'm pleased. (Some would say bragging. Forgive me.)
The most popular items in Sunday School. Updated hourly.
The most popular items in Sunday School. Updated hourly.
|1.|| Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend|
by Richard G. Williams Jr. (Author), James. I. Robertson Jr. (Foreword)
Usually ships in 1 to 4 weeks
"I am reading your book now and enjoying it tremendously. I've had the opportunity to weave some of it into our family devotions and will use part of it in my devotion in our church's Saturday morning prayer meeting. I had no idea a movie was in the works. It will certainly rank among the must-haves in the new year. All the best from someone on the front lines in Northern Virginia."
STEVEN W. SHEA
Lieutenant Colonel, GS
Logistics Staff Officer
(If you would like an autographed copy of my book, there is still time to get it to you before Christmas. Just click here.)
25 November 2007
The museum shop, decorated for the holiday, offers Christmas decorations, stocking stuffers, doll house furniture, Civil War books, prints and gifts. Proceeds from the museum shop sales support the educational programs and operations of the house museum.
Bring your family to 8 East Washington Street for “Christmas Remembered” and experience the Christmas traditions of the past. For more information call the Stonewall Jackson House at (540) 463-2552. (From the Rockbridge Weekly)
24 November 2007
The Scottish reformer, John Knox died this day in 1572. It is believed that Knox became a Catholic Priest somewhere around 1540, but was soon disillusioned with what he saw as corruption within the Catholic church. It is also likely that Knox became familiar with Protestant doctrines during his theological training. No doubt these doctrines smoldered in Knox’s soul as God was soon to “order the steps of this righteous man.” In any event, he providentially came under the sway of an early Scottish reformer by the name of George Wishart. Wishart’s theology was heavily influenced by the preaching and writings of Martin Luther. Wishart and Knox became close friends; Knox even serving as Wishart's bodyguard and bearing a Scottish broadsword in order to defend his friend. But the friendship would be short-lived. The Catholic Cardinal Beaton had Wishart burned at the stake as a heretic in March of 1546. The account of Wishart’s execution is worth repeating.
Wishart was escorted to the stake by two executioners. They draped him in black, put a rope around his neck, chains around his waist, and fastened several bags of gunpowder to his body. When readied, Wishart turned to the assembled crowd and said in part :
“I entreat you that you love the Word of God for your salvation, and suffer patiently and with a comfortable heart for the Word’s sake, which is your everlasting comfort…I suffer this day with a glad heart…I know surely, and my faith is such, that my soul shall sup with my Saviour this night.”
He then prayed for his accusers that they would be forgiven. One of his executioners was so moved he asked for Wishart’s forgiveness. Wishart replied, “Come hither to me,” and then kissed his executioner’s cheek and said, “Lo, here is a token that I forgive thee; do thine office.” As the executioner kindled the fire, Wishart cried out with a loud voice, “O Saviour of the world, have mercy upon me! Father of heaven, I commend my spirit into Thy holy hands!” The gun powder that had been fastened to the saint’s body blew up. Wishart was badly burned, but survived the explosion and said, “This flame hath scorched my body, yet it hath not daunted my spirit…” As he spoke these words, his executioner tightened the cord about his neck that he would speak no more. Then, as the flames consumed his body, “like another Elijah, he took his flight by a fiery chariot into heaven, and obtained the martyr’s crown on the 1st of March 1546.”
The same cruel flames that consumed his close friend would ignite a fire in the heart of Knox. This flame would leap from the breast of John Knox, to the souls of his countrymen, and eventually across the
21 November 2007
The Pilgrims are generally credited with starting the Thanksgiving tradition (actually, the first Thanksgiving was in
It is common knowledge that the Pilgrims settled in
"…they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least of making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the
Bradford was born in the small English
The Pilgrims knew that the new Colony would need a means of support—an economy. King James I of
"When the Pilgrim leaders sought from the king of England, James I, his permission to settle in America, James asked his chief secretary, 'What profit might arise in the part they intend?' 'Fishing,' the secretary replied. 'So God have my soul,' declared King James, 'tis an honest trade. 'Twas the Apostles' own calling.'"
So the Pilgrims' plans were to catch fish, dry them, and ship them back to
On December 16, 1620, the tiny ship loaded with "tools and weapons, a stock of dried and salted foods, a few goats, pigs, and chickens" landed at Plymouth Rock. Their hardy Christian faith and work ethic enabled them to hang on with tenacity, despite battles with the elements and Indians. The Pilgrims also experienced the devastating "Starving Time" when half of them perished from malnutrition, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. This time of want was due primarily to their unbiblical economic system.
For the first two years of the settlement, the colonists labored under an economic system that they called, "The Common Course and Condition." This was a primitive and simple form of socialism. The family households commonly shared whatever products they could produce. If one family worked diligently, rising early, working hard until sundown, and produced a bumper crop, while his neighbor lay in bed until noon and produced little, they shared equally the sum of both. There was no incentive to work hard and apply one's God-given talents and abilities. This system produced consistent shortages. There was never enough food for everyone. It also produced squabbles among the colonists. There was resentment and envy—predictable results in socialist economies. Fortunately, the colonists had elected a young, but wise and godly governor for the colony—William Bradford. In 1623,
"This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use."
While under the original system, the women of the colony had complained that they were "oppressed." The Pilgrims experience proved that a biblically based economic system could provide liberty and a "family-friendly" means of production: "The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn."
"The rains came, without wind, or thunder or any violence and by abundant degrees it wetted the earth and soaked the crops. Within a quick period of time, the decayed corn and other fruits began to wonderfully revive. Even the Indians were astonished to behold the transformation. And afterwards all through the hot summer months, God sent seasonable showers. Through God's blessings, He caused a fruitful and liberal harvest to our comfort and rejoicing."
A group of Puritans would also establish a colony in Salem in 1630 and the economic foundations laid by these two groups would eventually make America the financial powerhouse it is today.
William Bradford went to be with his Savior on May 9, 1657 at the age of 68. The lessons Bradford and the Pilgrims have taught us have allowed them to become "stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work" and made America the primary source of funding for missionary endeavors around the world. It is a lesson our nation so desperately needs to revisit.
Personally, I am most grateful to God for His bountiful blessings upon me and my family this past year. I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.
20 November 2007
"As I studied Jackson’s relationships, I witnessed how God providentially weaves friendships and influences in and out of our lives, how He molds men and times to accomplish His will and divine plan. These influences often come unexpectedly and through means scoffed at by secular culture. The frantic pace of modern American society often obscures what is truly important in life: relationships. As Solomon reminds us, “The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools” (Ecclesiastes 9:17). It is in the quiet shadows of life, far removed from the frenzied pace, where God often speaks to us through the counsel and influence of friends." ~ from "Stonewall Jackson - The Black Man's Friend", page 18.
17 November 2007
"American infantryman Jimmy Gentry had seen combat at the Battle of the Bulge, but it paled in comparison to what he saw that day. “No one told us what we would find. No one explained what our mission was. We saw a wall and that was the entrance to a prison camp like I have never seen.” The camp was Dachau."
More about Mr. Gentry here. Click here to see some video of Mr. Gentry discussing his WWII experiences.
My own father-in-law, Billy Cox, joined the U.S. Army at the age of 16 by lying about his age. After pulling 2 years and on the verge of returning home, he was drafted at the age of 18. He, like Gentry, fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He then returned home to western Virginia, married a girl from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and raised 13 children. (I married the prettiest one of the 9 girls.) He lives in the mountains today, cooks all his food on a woodstove, heats his home with a woodstove, gets his water from a gravity-fed mountain spring and is in his 80's. These men are, sadly, the last of a dying breed.
15 November 2007
"As he saw it, slavery was something that God ordained upon black people in America for God's own reasons, and he had no right to challenge God's will. That was blasphemy. And so, while he hated slavery, he was opposed to slavery, Jackson had to obey his Heavenly Father and accept the system. And he accepted it through doing the Golden Rule, do unto others as he would wish they do unto him." - Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., Professor of History, Virginia Tech
Professor Miller believes Jackson's justification of slavery on biblical grounds was wrong:
Full news story and video here.
After viewing the piece, I emailed Dr. Miller thanking him for his contribution and comments and he replied back to me the following:
Dear Mr. Williams,
(The first image is of Bud Robertson and me standing in front of the stained glass window commemorating Stonewall Jackson and located in the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia. The window was commissioned by Dr. Lylburn Downing in 1906 while Downing was pastor. Downing was the son of slaves who were converted in Jackson’s black Sunday school class. Downing attended the class after the war. The second image is of CBN News Anchor, Lee Webb and me in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia. These were taken back in the spring when this piece was put together.)
14 November 2007
It has been a whirlwind week thus far with screenings at
13 November 2007
12 November 2007
Hat tip to publisher & new CW blogger Ted Savas for linking to this piece by Bill Bennett. The quote below is right on and echoes some of what I was trying to say in this post. The piece also echoes concerns expressed by Civil War Courier editor, Ed Hooper in this piece.
"We know the study of our history can be bestseller material when presented with the glory and romance that resides in it. This is why historians such as David McCullough and Michael Beschloss, and networks like the History Channel, remain so popular. They capture our great triumphs and tragic failures with all the greatness of those triumphs and all the tragedy of those failures intact — they don’t redact, they don’t gloss over, and they don’t dull down.
"But that is not the history we give to our students. One education expert recently wrote, 'students in our high schools are rarely expected to read a complete history book.' That’s a history book of any sort: a biography, a 1776, a Bruce Catton Civil War book. And, a recent national survey found that a majority of public high-school students are never assigned as much as 12-page history paper."
Update: Another excellent piece discussing some of the same issues can be read here.
11 November 2007
The 2nd image shown here is the West Virginia Building where the first public screening of Still Standing - The Stonewall Jackson Story was shown. You can read the very interesting history of this structure here. The third image is of the Jackson's Mill Lodge where we stayed during both of our visits.
I'll be posting some more photos and comments soon.
10 November 2007
The official announcement by Jackson's Mill:
Thomas Jackson's boyhood home has been selected as the premiere site for this new documentary on the life and faith of its famous native son. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ken Carpenter, the 48 minute film is based on the book "Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend," by Richard G. Williams, Jr.
2pm Sunday, November 11, 2007 -
The public is cordially invited to this free event!
Then, on Monday at 7 PM, there will be a screening at Natural Bridge Baptist Church just south of Lexington. Then, once more on Tuesday evening at Liberty University there will be another screening at 7 PM. I'll try to post some details as time allows. Proceeds from the latter 2 events will be donated to the National Civil War Chaplain's Museum at Liberty University.
09 November 2007
It is possible--despite what some may think--to write with credibility and noble purpose in both the "heritage" and "historical" genres. Case in point: I am half-way through Stan Cohen's and Col. Keith Gibson's concise, but fascinating book about Moses Ezekiel. Gibson's biographical background for the book includes the following:
"Growing up near
The implication is obvious: Colonel Gibson brings a special perspective to the study of the Civil War because of where he was born and raised and the impact it had on his "interest in history"; in other words, his "heritage." And he wanted to make sure readers knew it.
(I, too, was born on a battlefield where two of my great-great grandfathers fought for the Confederacy over land that my family would ultimately own. Also, interestingly enough, one of my other great-great grandfathers was a carpet-bagger.)
Does that make Colonel Gibson some wild-eyed, "neo-Confederate?" Hardly. It is simply an acknowledgement that where one was born and raised allows (or prevents) one from bringing certain perspectives to their studies. To argue differently is to ignore the obvious. It is, in my mind, a ridiculous assertion on its face. It is also rather shallow to suggest all those with this perspective should be dismissed or not taken seriously because of it.
James Robertson, like Gibson, makes similar claims in his bio: "Great grandson of a Confederate solider. . ." As does his noted and esteemed colleague, William C. Davis: "In coming to Virginia, Davis in some respects has returned to his roots, since his ancestors settled in nearby Carroll and Grayson Counties some 200 years ago, and virtually all of his ancestors hail from the Old Dominion, some as far back as 1610." I could go on and on with other examples.
Of course, that does not mean someone with no roots or ancestry connected to the conflict or region cannot contribute to the study of the Civil War. I know many do. Moreover, these genres often overlap. Those who wish to coldly, without passion, approach the study of history as a cadaver in a sterile laboratory may do so. And their perspective is often worth considering. But so is the perspective of those with "emotional" ties to the conflict via direct ancestry to a soldier or love for the land where they were born. Both have their place and purpose. Both are legitimate approaches to studying history.
I suspect many, in their hearts, realize this but are timid about acknowledging such for fear of what it could mean to their careers or prestige among their colleagues in academia. Ironically, this mindset binds them down. It is, at least in their minds, better to "appear" to be "above it all" and "untainted" by any concerns about heritage. This often comes off as elitist and turns many potential readers and students off and toward those who do write with "passion and perspective." That's human nature.
Others seem to harp on the issue so much it often comes across as thinly concealed envy directed at those who do have this connection of passion and perspective. Fortunately, as I approach birthday #50, I find that I am less and less concerned about what others think as long as I'm honest with myself and my God. That's one good thing about getting older. Old & grumpy has its advantages.
(The image is of great-great Grandpa John McGann who while fighting for the Confederacy, defended an area of Waynesboro, Virginia known today as the "Tree Streets" and where his son, Charles, would come to own land which would pass to my grandmother, my father and then to my brother and me. It may not mean anything to some, but it means a lot to me. The farm and land where this picture was taken is still owned by McGanns.)
08 November 2007
I was able to finally free the imprisoned container (well, all but the bottom half), the victim of its own vile body fluid.
I just received a copy of Moses Ezekiel: Civil War Soldier, Renowned Sculptor by Stan Cohen and Colonel Keith Gibson (Virginia Military Institute). A quick perusal last night revealed what appears to be a fascinating and well-written book about the life of the famed Confederate artist. Ezekiel was the first Jewish cadet to attend VMI and a highly decorated Confederate soldier. I'm looking forward to diving in over the weekend and will post a more detailed review in the near future.
07 November 2007
06 November 2007
01 November 2007
"On Oct. 12, The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies (VCCWS) received a $350,000 grant from the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission to produce a one-of-a-kind three hour documentary on the Civil War.
Proposed by James Robertson, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and executive producer of the documentary, in a meeting of the commission, he submitted his proposal for this project. The commission agreed to provide the grant to support the production of the documentary."
Complete story here.