Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peppy Blount, Maryland 7, SMU 0

When football was football and Peppy Blount the official

On a flight from Baltimore to Dallas, seated next to me was Ralph Eugene Blount, better known as Peppy, Southwest Conference official and Texas Judge. This was Sept. 22, 1962. He was returning to Texas after refereeing the Southern Methodist University–University of Maryland football game.

I had just ended a conference led by Frank Laubach, famous for his literacy work and the Each One Teach One program that later was added as a program of the United Nations. (An unexpected treat of the week, besides meeting Laubach, was watching my first Major League baseball game between the New York Yankees and the old Washington Senators. More on that in coming weeks.)

Having always been a fan of the Southwest Conference it was special to get to know Peppy and a feel for the games from the inside. Game announcers like Jim Wiggins and
Kern Tips kept us glued to the radio in those days.

Peppy Blount was a direct descendant of William Blount, one of the signers of the United States Constitution. I learned that bit of history from his obituary in the San Antonio Express-News. He died June 22 at his home. He played football for Big Spring High School; at age 19 the youngest pilot of B-25 bombers in the Pacific during WWII. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three clusters and two Presidential Unit citations.

He went on to star in football at the University of Texas as well as being elected the youngest House of Representatives from the 91st District of Texas. As far as I know he is the only elective politician to spend his Saturdays playing football.

His life seemed to be filled with “firsts.” He was elected Gregg County Judge, on a write-in ballot. The highest office ever reached in Texas with a write-in ballot. That event happened in 1962, the year I met the “legend.”

He was a Sunday school teacher. He wrote four books and with his wife, Eva Jean Finch, had three sons.

The football game score was Maryland 7, SMU 0. It was Hayden Fry’s first season as SMU coach. The former Baylor quarterback, and a West Texas whiz won only two games that fall, over Rice and Texas Tech. USC was the only team to embarrass them. Texas beat SMU by six; A&M 12-7; Arkansas 9, SMU 7; TCU 14-9. Baylor won over Fry’s Ponies 17-13. Football Hall of Famer Fry was born in Odessa, Texas, went on to upgrade Univ. of Iowa for years. He turned 81 last February. (I hope he feels better in his 80s than I do!)

Hayden Fry’s sense of humor and realism is shown in the many quotes attributed to him: “Welcome to the Salvation Army. I've never been associated with an offense so nice about giving the ball away.”

And Baylor he made Baylor proud with this quote: “The preparation I had in college was the most valuable.”

While on the subject of SMU football, on August 12, 1977, I had the pleasure of performing the wedding ceremony for Virginia Flack and W.T. “Tug” Sanders. Tug was on the 1935 SMU team that lost to Stanford 7-0 in the Rose Bowl.

The undefeated Ponies got to the Rose Bowl after defeating TCU and quarterback “Slingin” Sammy Baugh (another famous West Texan). That came to be known as the Game of the First Half Century. The game was tied with SMU on the TCU 37-yard line. From punt formation, SMU quarterback Bob Finley instead threw a deep pass to Wilson, who caught the ball at the four-yard line and waltzed in for the game-winning score. 
At the time the pass was dubbed “the $85,000 touchdown” (The SMU payout for appearing in the Rose Bowl). SMU was still named national champion, outscoring opponents 288 to 39.

Glad of a chance meeting with Peppy and the friendship of Tug.


Sarah Palin Rides Again

Sarah "duh" Palin rides again, but she has never really been out of the saddle since Senator McCain introduced her to the world the summer of 2008. Back in '08 she came on the scene, glib of tongue, short on common sense and history, geography --- but she could see Russia from her front porch.

I am amazed so many people think Sarah Palin has anything to say. The poor grandmother should be home caring for her born-out-of-wedlock grandchild instead of off giving speeches that a six year old would be ashamed to give.

The poor we will always have with us, but do we have to have SARAH?

A pretty girl is what brings out the crowd and those who do not know square one about the real needs of the country at this moment. No quick remedies, no instant changes but hard work, opening eyes of the "no" party (GOP), educate right wing radio hosts to share something of value and give some solutions, rather than hate and lies about our President. When did Hannity have an original or thoughtful, truthful word???

Check out RACHEL MADDOW on her MSNBC program each evening for the facts are researched and triple-checked and informative.

Friday, June 18, 2010

For some," It was the Good Old Days"


About five years after America’s Civil War ended, 1870, the majority of American Protestants were of the strong opinion that America was a Christian nation. Skeptics and non-Christians had another view, but there was in the nineteenth century indications that the Protestant majority carried the day. They took the lead in evangelizing the expanding frontier.

Out of these spiritual awakenings came the evangelicals’ courage to declare that America was God’s special gift to the world. From the black slaves came the sense of this being the Promised Land. They related deeply with Moses as he lead the Hebrew slaves out of bondage. This grew out of the African-Americans knowing personally the horror of slavery.

The Civil War violently exposed the 200 years of slavery as inhumane and not in the long-term interest of the nation, with the desire to be a Christian nation. England had outlawed the slave trade nearly a half-century earlier. Suffering of the war was seen, by some, as a result of having strayed from the path God planned for “His” country.

Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, had stressed that a Holy God demanded a Holy people. (Slave owners like to point out the Hebrews, “God’s People,” had slaves.) Our nation was far from pure and treatment of foreigners or Roman Catholics and Jews has never been good. I am curious that such mistreatment in the midst of Protestant revivals was common. The Old Testament is filled with examples of what happened to the nation that forgets God and neglects the “Samaritan.”

My own experience growing up in the 1930s was typical of most small town Texans. I knew my barber dad’s shoe shine “boy,” the caretaker at the church and the janitor at the Lyric Theater. Whites, as a rule, never called a black person “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Use only their first name and too often with the demeaning term “boy.”

They lived in their own part of town that the whites, without any shame, referred to as “the flat.” I attended one black church service as a teenager with little insight into anything. They were gracious, I was uneasy. You see, they knew a lot more about our segregated, and generally better situations than we imagined. As late as 1970 the Department of Justice sued Texas for not following laws concerning desegregation of public schools.

The word "negro" means "black" in Spanish and Portuguese, from the Latin niger ("black") and Greek Négros ("black"). The usage was accepted as normal, even by people classified as Negroes, until the Civil Rights movement. It was the only respectful name we knew in those days, as in baseball’s Negro Leagues.

All-white public schools used McGuffey’s Reader which warned against hard drink, stressed rewards of attending Sunday school, hard work; virtue would always be rewarded. Most black schools appear to have old textbooks the white schools gave or sold to them.

Those were we the “good old days” (for some of us) as the 20th century got rolling. It rolled over the poor, the black and the Mexicans. At least that was the way it is stored in my memory. From stories of those times it is evident few gave “them coloreds” the time of day. Many a family had an uncle or two who never gave African-Americans much thought, and some actually said they had no souls.

Our society has come a long way, but to become what we could be is stymied until we learn to respect all peoples, weather we like them or not.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Winston Crawley passes

Dr. Crawley was our first area secretary as they were called in the 1950s. We met him at Glorieta the summer of 1956 and he shared with us the needs of the island of Formosa, the name used in those days for Taiwan. In 1958 he spoke in flawless Mandarin Chinese to the congregation of the Baptist Church of Keelung. He remains one of the finest people we worked with when we were with the SBC International Board. The following obit was sent from former colleague Faye Pearson. --- Britt Towery

CRAWLEY, James Winston, 90, went home to his Lord on June 14, 2010. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Margaret Lawrence Crawley; his brother, Owen Crawley; and one granddaughter, Adrienne Joanne Hesson.

He is survived by one son, Winston Jr. (Margaret); two daughters, Anne Fairchild (Ron) and Joy Bazemore (David); two grandsons, Gabriel Hesson (Ingrid) and Winston Crawley III; five granddaughters, Allyson Crawley White (Patrick), Grace Bazemore Yukich (Jonathan), Shelley Bazemore Spears (Shawn), Hillary Bazemore White (Evan) and Heather Bazemore Lee (Josh); and four great-grandchildren.

Dr. Crawley was born May 2, 1920 in Newport, Tennessee, and spent his life devoted to Jesus Christ and missions endeavors around the world. He was a graduate of Baylor University, Vanderbilt University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He began his work experience as an English teacher at Baylor University and Blue Mountain College, but soon shifted into Southern Baptist denominational work as an editor and young people's worker. When he moved to Louisville to study theology, he was hired as the pastor of Hillsboro Baptist Church in Versailles, Kentucky. While in seminary he also worked as a fellow in the department of missions.

He and Margaret were appointed as missionaries to China in 1947. In late 1948, Communist advances in China led to the transfer of missionaries to other countries. Dr. and Mrs. Crawley moved to the Philippines where they helped to begin the Baguio Chinese Baptist Church, which he then served as pastor. Additionally, he was on the initial faculty of the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1954 until 1987, Dr. Crawley was a missions administrator with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

While living in Richmond, he was an active member and Sunday School teacher at Derbyshire Baptist Church. Upon "retirement" in 1987, Winston became a wandering seminary teacher, about half the time in this country and half the time in Asia - most recently in Taiwan for the month of April 2008. Though traveling like this for months at a time, the Crawleys moved into Lakewood Manor in 1991, and that was Winston's final home. In addition to his vast experience as pastor, Bible teacher, church planter, missionary, missions administrator and seminary teacher, Dr. Crawley is the author of eight books - most recently, "God's Purpose for His People," published in 2006.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bush & Bible Back In News

Evangelist Geo W. Bush Back In Headlines

In the publication “Free Inquiry - Secular Humanism,” May 25, 2010, James A. Haught began with this blockbuster of a paragraph:

“Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac, in early 2003, that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible's satanic agents of the Apocalypse.”

James A. Haught, editor of the Charleston (WV) Gazette, without blinking an eye, wrote: “Honest. This isn't a joke.

I’ve spent a month searching for more about this story. I have yet to see it pronounced as true, false or a joke. Mainstream media apparently are ignoring this alarming revelation. Canada's Toronto Star recounted the story, calling it a "stranger-than-fiction disclosure ... which suggests that apocalyptic fervor may have held sway within the walls of the White House."

It is difficult to believe a former president (even of noble France) would make up such a story.

As the story goes Chirac did not jump at the chance to go to war. But in 2007, he includes this stunning story that President George W. Bush, in a top-secret phone call, said: “"Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East.... The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled.... This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a New Age begins."

This secured international phone call was supposed to have happened around the time President Bush was seeking a “coalition of the willing” for his bizarre and totally unnecessary Iraq invasion in 2003.

(For more on Gog and Magog see the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. Two of the chapters (38 & 39) in the prophet Ezekiel’s book has Israel up against these “enemies of the north” called Gog and Magog. If reading these chapters are no help (be warned it is not easy reading), any televangelist worth his collection plate will expound this fifth century B.C. poetry as the coming end-time prophecy that ends our world.

In 2007, Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, In 2007, Dr. Romer recounted Bush's strange behavior in Lausanne University's review, Allez Savoir. A French-language Swiss newspaper, Le Matin Dimanche, printed a sarcastic account titled: "When President George W. Bush Saw the Prophesies of the Bible Coming to Pass." France's La Liberte likewise spoofed it under the headline "A Small Scoop on Bush, Chirac, God, Gog and Magog."

Ex-President Chirac confirmed the event in an interview with French journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who relates the tale in his book, “Si Vous le Repetez, Je Dementirai,” released last March and not yet available in English.

Slowly it began to dawn on me why the American media or the late night talk shows were not having a ball with this story. It could be that it blends with so much we do know about George W. Bush’s religious leanings.

He stormed into Iraq claiming it was a “crusade,” reminding the Muslim world of the ravages the Western Christians brought on the Orthodox Byzantium churches as well as the Muslims from A.D 1091 to 1205.

Our former president went around calling countries evil just like in the Old Testament. “Your are for us or against us,” has the distinct ring of fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible.

The dogmatic certitude President Bush had on things “Christian,” is well documented by both friends and foes. In a 2003 summit in Egypt the Palestinian foreign minister later said Bush told him he was “on a mission from God” to defeat Iraq."

I will leave it to the readers, now that they have the facts, what this strange, but plausible, report tells us.