30 September 2008
This particular article which originally appeared in Christian History Magazine (A publication I HIGHLY recommend) might help.
(Painting by Dale Gallon.)
29 September 2008
As I stated in my previous post, they wanted to discuss my views on "faith and values in small town, rural America" and its impact on the presidential election. Since they did this same dog and pony show four years ago, I suspect whatever they ultimately do, it will be more of "red-state hicks" vs. "blue state sophisticates."
28 September 2008
Here's a rather commonly accepted list of the "non-negotiables":
- The Trinity
- The deity of Christ
- The bodily resurrection of Christ
- The atonement as a result of the life and the death of Christ
- A need for personal salvation by grace due to man's universal sinfulness as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden
- The inerrancy of the Bible
- God's inspiration of the Bible's authors
- The virgin birth of Christ
- The anticipated second coming of Christ
And, to that list, I would add a belief in a literal 6 day creation as laid out in the Book of Genesis. In addition, the person who posed this question, asked another one: "Who killed Jesus?" My answer: We all did with our sins. For it was our sins from which we needed saving and for which Christ hung on the Cross.
And one more point. I do not consider myself a professional historian, in the strictest sense of the term. One definition of being a "professional" in anything is whether or not you get paid for the work. I do. I've written 3 history related books, dozens of history related articles, serve on the board of trustees for a new museum, am involved in a number of historic and preservationist organizations, and have co-produced two history related films. Yet I still consider myself an "amateur historian." I am not credentialed and do not work full time in the field. Perhaps, one day, I, might earn the title by my work alone, as did Shelby Foote. We'll see. I figure I, Lord willin' have about 20 years or so left to prove myself.
Dad loved the South. As a child growing up, we never went North for vacation - always South: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, numerous places in Virginia. Dad loved Southern food, especially grits. He once told me as a very young boy that if you did not eat your grits for breakfast in Georgia restaurants, the authorities would put you in jail. I believed him and have loved grits ever since!
I love the South too. I so tire of her being attacked, impugned, ridiculed, stereo-typed and made fun of for the burdens that the whole Nation shares. Her critics are oh so selective. I believe most of them are politically motivated, despising the old-fashioned, conservative values that still permeate the South. So I defend her when the elites (or those who hold kindred views) attack. I don't write to please anyone, except my conscience and my God (and the great cloud of witnesses of which the Book of Hebrews speaks).
Which brings me to the other clarifier: Christian. As a former agnostic, liberal, and Darwinist, I know how the "other side" thinks. I know how they reason. I know how they view the world because I used to view it in the same way. (Very depressing, I might add.) That transformation in my life was dramatic. It was life-changing. My faith impacts everything I do, especially my writing. So just what is a "Christian historian" - professional or amateur? I like the simple definition put forth by Roland A. Wells:
He is a historian who first, accepts "the 'reality' that God exists and that God came among us in the historical person known as Jesus", and, second brings to the study of history a different "angle of vision," which, Wells asserts, allows the believing scholar to ask different questions, to "see what others do not." (From a review of Wells's book: History and the Christian Historian, reviewed by Augustus Cerillo, Jr. of California State University, Long Beach)
So that is my goal, to bring a different "angle of vision" to the study of history: The Christian angle. And though I may not always do that to everyone's satisfaction, that is my goal.
Regarding some of the other questions raised by Mr. Levin - I believe every one of them were addressed head on in my book about Stonewall Jackson and his Sunday school class. No need to re-write my whole book on Kevin's blog. I'm finding the problem with blog discussions are that rarely is anyone moved from their original opinions. Most bloggers are pretty hard-headed and strong willed. It's the nature of the beast, so to speak.
I trust that clarifies some things. Now, you will have to excuse me as it is time for me to go cling to my guns and religion.
27 September 2008
I set my limit at $55 but was outbid. The winning bid was $98.50 - for a postcard! Anyway, I was in Lexington last week on business and took some time to poke around one of the cemeteries (as I often do) and, while there, snapped this photo of Miller's tombstone.
**Update: Thanks to fellow CW blogger Robert Moore for pointing out this information about Levi Miller's service in Professor Ervin Jordan's book about black Confederates. Very interesting. Click here. I had read this before, but could not recall where until Robert reminded me.
26 September 2008
Do those critics really think the masses are going to attend a college level course on history or pick up a 500 page tomb about the War Between the States?
Granted, it's not the same as a university level course, but I strongly disagree that this way of experiencing and learning of our Nation's history is not "serious" or is somehow only for those who I call "T-Shirt" tourists: "Just give me a cool t-shirt, I don't have time to learn anything in depth."
Williamsburg and Jamestown are perfect examples of "heritage tourism." Though I may often find myself in disagreement in how they interpret our Nation's Christian heritage, they provide a valuable service to our citizens and help us see some of what America was like at that point in time.
Apparently, I'm not alone in my opinion as The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a page on their website which promotes this genre of history.
"The National Trust defines cultural heritage tourism as traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic and natural resources." I think that definition is perfect. (Emphasis mine) More here.
By the way, my Lexington tour business is called: Virginia Heritage Tours.
(My previous post on this subject elicited several comments.)
Strangely, those same critics are silent regarding what Dr. Michael R. Bradley has called "the myth of the Holy Cause." I wonder if we'll see the Southern heritage bashers poo-poo the deluge of books about Abraham Lincoln's faith. I won't hold my breath.
Regarding Lincoln, I've recently acquired two books about the 16th President. I hope to read both soon. The first is Stephen B. Oates's With Malice Toward None. The second is Forced Into Glory by Lerone Bennett, Jr. (Please don't anyone suggest Doris Kearns Goodwin's work. Plagiarizers don't interest me.)
It's been a while since I read a biography of Lincoln as I've never really been interested in studying him in depth. (Is that heresy?) But both of these books came highly recommended. We'll see.
24 September 2008
More here. (Mr. Brown will also be speaking at this year's Stephen Dill Lee institute sponsored by the SCV.)
23 September 2008
Hey Joe, Herbert Hoover was President in 1929 and there were no televisions.
21 September 2008
I recently retired my old SCV license plate. No sad good-byes, though. The plate will occupy a hallowed place of honor on my basement office wall (much to my wife's sore displeasure).
I opted for the new Robert E. Lee plate.
So, what do you think?
19 September 2008
That being said, I found this blog post most interesting and relevant; given this list. More to come on this subject after the election.
18 September 2008
17 September 2008
The booklet I wrote about the Battle of Waynesboro has finally been printed and is on display, along with a Jubal Early pistol, at the Waynesboro Heritage Museum. You can read a pdf version of the booklet here. WHM is giving the booklet away to all who visit either the museum or the Plumb House.
If you're ever in Waynesboro, please take the time to visit these museums. They have some fascinating displays regarding local history.
16 September 2008
See story here.
15 September 2008
Charles Burks Christian was apprehended immediately, still covered with his victim’s blood. By some accounts, only the direct intervention of VMI superintendent, Gen. Francis Henney Smith, and Rev. Junkin's son-in-law, a new professor at the Institute named Thomas Jackson, prevented a lynching. Blackburn was related both to the Washingtons of Mount Vernon, and to Francis Thomas, former Governor of Maryland, ex-husband of Sally McDowell Miller of Col Alto, herself the daughter of a Virginia governor."
"The tragic dispute between the two young men grew out of Charles Christian’s unrequited romantic interest in a beautiful local teenager, Mary Eveyln Anderson, daughter of a Washington College Rector, and a niece of United States Senator Thomas Hart Benton. The savagery of Christian’s fatal attack upon the unarmed cadet stunned the community, and its motive titillated everyone who learned of it." More details here.
(Lexington Presbyterian Church in photo, circa 1896. The structure shown partially to the right of the church is the old "Lecture Room" where Stonewall Jackson conducted his Sunday school for slaves and free blacks. The building was torn down in 1906.)
13 September 2008
11 September 2008
"According to a Zogby poll conducted in July, more than 20% of U.S. adults -- one in five, about the same number of American Colonists who supported revolt against England in 1775 -- agreed that "any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic."
Op-ed piece here.
Here are some additional findings from the poll itself:
"The level of support for the right of secession was consistent in every region in the country, though the percentage was slightly higher in the South (26%) and the East (24%). The figures were also consistent for every age group, but backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights."
And . . .
"Broken down by race, the highest percentage agreeing with the right to secede was among Hispanics (43%) and African-Americans (40%)."
And . . .
"Politically, liberal thinkers were much more likely to favor the right to secession for states and regions . . ."
I post this because the subject has come up in the current presidential campaign with Sarah Palin being accused of supporting the Alaska Independence Party and Barak Obama supporting Hawaii's right for "self-determination" (secession).
We're living in very strange times.
You can read the details of the poll here.
10 September 2008
09 September 2008
GALLUP: McCain opens 15-point lead among independents...
(That's an ominous sign)
...Maintains 5-Point Head-to-Head Lead...
Leaps to 20-Point Lead in North Carolina...
It's still too soon to tell, but the trend is not good for "the one."
"About a year ago I first saw this wonderful woman speak," the veteran of "Lonesome Dove" and the "Godfather" [and Gods and Generals] movies said. "I didn't know who it was. And I said who is this woman? And a year later, I said to myself about three or four weeks ago, why isn't she up for the vice presidency?" ~ Robert Duval (Story here.)
McCain is left-handed, but apparently not all Hollywood types are lefties. Jackson lost his left arm and Lee said in losing Jackson he had lost his "right arm."
Perhaps Sister Saint Sarah is McCain's "right arm."
Yes, I know, pretty lame but I couldn't help to note the "connections." I've been taking a lot of cold medicine lately.
For those of you who think blogging has little impact, this contact came about due to someone with the BBC finding my blog. They called my commentary interesting. I'll bet.
I'm not sure if I'll be able to make time for them, but I'm fascinated (not flattered) by the fact they want to talk to me as a result of my blog.
**Update: I've decided against granting an interview with the BBC - for 2 reasons which I'll comment on later. I did answer a few questions for about 10 minutes with the gentleman on the phone and referred them to others I believe would fit the bill. I'll also disclose that interesting conversation later.
08 September 2008
Note this quote from Meyer's piece:
"They (the left) were so distressed by our imperfections that they refused to recognize or celebrate our achievements."
One way this attitude manifests itself in academia is the well-entrenched trend of modern historians to denigrate our Nation's heroes--especially those of the conservative South, i.e. Lee, Jackson, Washington. They attempt to insulate themselves by being critical of what they refer to as a "celebratory approach" to history. It is not (in their view) sophisticated to be patriotic--in the traditional sense--these folks are "global citizens." Old-fashioned Americanism is so "passé" don't you know? They very often overplay their hands--without even knowing it.
Of course, this attitude is pervasive not only in historiography, but also in modern politics as expressed by Andrew McCarthy:
"What most frustrates Americans is that we are a happy, optimistic, can-do people ceaselessly harangued by media solons, delusional academics, post-sovereign Eurocrats, and the Democrats who love them. While we free and feed the world, they can’t tell us enough that we’re racist, imperialist, torturing louts. We know it’s a libel, an endless stream of slander. But we also know it’s an absurd libel. We’re tired of hearing it, but taking it too seriously would give it power it doesn’t deserve." (Emphasis mine.)
Fortunately, there are writers, historians--and yes even bloggers--combating their efforts to distort the truth. Moreover, most of these academics write primarily to impress each other and to receive the accolades of their peers. The "anti-intellectual"--code speak for the "common man"--finds their writing style boring, condescending, and offensive so their impact is probably not as great as they would like to think. That is a good thing.
Our Nation needs heroes. And, despite what some may think, we have plenty of them. Don't be afraid to celebrate them in history even while the delusional academics sneer.
Read this fascinating and insightful piece at the American Thinker here.
**Update: This "2nd Civil War" is also being waged in modern historiography, though there are those who want us to believe their views are non-political and based on pure, unbiased academic research. Uh huh. See: "Historians for Obama."
And then there is this oh so predictable, quintessential, cliched, canned opinion from the academic left at History News Network:
Works for me.
06 September 2008
Virginia’s Department of Historical Resources recently approved a historical highway marker which commemorates the original African-American cemetery of Lexington. The text for this long overdue marker reads:
“Near the intersection of Washington and Lewis Streets stood the original burial ground for Lexington’s substantial free-black community and slaves dating to the early 1800s. The majority of the original burials were in unmarked graves and no records were maintained of these burials. The Town of Lexington obtained ownership of the cemetery in 1876 and closed it in 1880 and the persons buried here were purportedly moved to Evergreen Cemetery, although there is little information to document the extent of reburials. In 1946 the Town of Lexington subdivided the old cemetery and houses were built over the burial ground.”
The marker was recently installed by VDOT and is located on the Rt. 11 (South) bypass, just south of the bridge which passes over Rt. 60 in Lexington, Virginia.
The local Stonewall Brigade Camp #1296 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has raised $760 toward this effort. This was done solely through private donations. No local government funds or tax dollars were received for this marker. The total cost of the marker is $1350 leaving a deficit of $590.
The purpose of this post is to ask readers, organizations, and/or businesses who are interested in assisting with this worthy project to contribute funds toward the remaining balance. Any amount is welcome and appreciated. Those wishing to give through the Stonewall Brigade SCV camp may make the check payable to: “Stonewall Brigade Camp #1296/SCV”. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Donations may also be made payable directly to the foundry that makes Virginia’s historical highway markers: “Sewah Studios, Inc.” Receipts and letters of recognition will be mailed to all those making contributions either way. Any excess monies collected will be donated to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
Please mail your contributions to:
c/o Richard G. Williams, Jr.
PO Box 752
Stuarts Draft, Virginia 24477 Inquiries or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
(I will post a clearer image some time next week.)
05 September 2008
"The Treason Trial of Jefferson Davis": A Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Keller Hall Reception Room,
Free to the public, registration
In May 1865, the U.S.government indicted Jefferson Davis on the charge of treason. Imprisoned at
The 12th annual Elizabeth Roller Bottimore Lecture, cosponsored by The Museum of the Confederacy and the University of Richmond Department of History, will explore these and related questions. The participants in a panel discussion will be Kent Masterson Brown, a Constitutional lawyer and historian whose many published works include an article on the constitutionality of secession; Clint Johnson, a historian and author of the forthcoming book, Pursuit - The Chase, Capture, Persecution, and Surprising Release of Confederate President Jefferson Davis(June 2008); and Cynthia Nicoletti, a graduate of Harvard Law School and University of Virginia history doctoral student who is completing her dissertation on the Davis case.
(Above announcement is from the Museum of the Confederacy's website.)
04 September 2008
"The Museum of the Confederacy may be facing the limitations of that position. Annual attendance, from a 1991 peak of 91,000, has been dropping, to about 48,000 in the last year. Its 1976 building, like the adjacent White House, is also hemmed in by a growing hospital complex. So the institution has put together an ambitious $15 million plan to create a system of four museums in historic Virginia areas, increasing display space for its extensive collection."
"The American Civil War Center, which raised $13.6 million before opening in 2006 to much praise, has fewer apparent problems, though attendance is still low (about 25,000 in the past year). It creates a broader panorama, offering not one perspective but three: those of the Union, the Confederacy and the African-Americans." (Emphasis mine)So the ACWC has fewer problems than the MOC which translates into about half the attendance of the MOC (?!). Now there's some mainstream media logic for you.
Later on in the piece, the writer opines:
"For greater understanding you must go to the American Civil War Center, [in lieu of the MOC] housed in the historic Tredegar Iron Works that once supplied the Confederacy with much weaponry."
A "greater understanding" of what? The Confederacy? I don't think so. A broader and "more general" look at the war. Yes. This NYT writer fails to grasp--or may have intentionally omitted--the fact that the two institutions have different missions and focus--BY DESIGN!
I don't have the time to go into everything, but there's a lot more wrong with this article and its very uninformed approach, but, again, it's the New York Times. Why would we expect accuracy? You can read it here.
03 September 2008
Read this excellent piece on the Sarah Palin phenomenon and why the elitists on the left just don't get it.
I have been asked to consult on speakers and logistics and am having a great time doing so! We’ve already secured some distinguished speakers:
- Dr. Bruce Chadwick, (
) author of The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in Amercian Film and a number of other works on the Civil War. Rutgers University
- Kevin Hershberger of Lionheart Filmworks whose company has produced a number of award winning Civil War films.
- Katherine Lane Antolini author of Scarlett O'Hara as Confederate Woman: The Evolution of War and Its Representation in Literature and Film.
- Brian Wills (NC) author of Gone with the glory : the Civil War in cinema, Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life in the Army of
Northern Virginia, 1861-1865 and other works as well.
- Paul Ashdown (
Universityof Tennessee, ) author of A Cold Mountain Companion as well as a number of other Civil War works. Knoxville
01 September 2008
Pictured here are Granny and Micah, weighing in at 7 lbs, 8 oz. (Micah, not Granny).
"Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me." ~ Psalms 66:20