Monday, July 22, 2013

"El Meta Bond College"

Meta Chestnutt Sager (1863-1948)

In the following poem by Meta Chestnutt, the pioneer educator makes clear her theology and conviction regarding co-education:

We stand on the open prairie,
Our grounds ten acres broad;
Minco to southward and eastward,
Along the Rock Island Railroad.

The site in the Chickasaw Nation,
Three miles from O.T. line;
Looks out over boundless prairies,
Where browse the lowing kine.

The work which our school proposes
Invites the girl and boy,
God gave them both in one family,
Shall man that union destroy?

Away the fad of temptation,
That co-education defiles;
Is the rose less pure and fragrant
Because of the thorn by its side.

Then welcome the youth of both sexes,
Change not heaven's eternal decree;
But side by side in life's conflict,
Till ended, their mission be.

El Meta Christian College in Minco, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, c. 1898

Thursday, July 11, 2013

R. W. Officer's Obituary for N. B. Wallace: Text and Comments

Immediately after his conversion to Christ, during the early to mid 1870s, R. W. Officer cast his lot with the Baptists along the border dividing Middle Tennessee from northern Alabama and Mississippi. In that region, he served as a preacher and missionary for the Liberty Baptist Association. The Association was affiliated with a highly-sectarian group of Baptists who looked to preachers who had the blessing of J[ames] R[obinson] Graves, and who subscribed to his journal, The Baptist.

In time, Officer would publicly be rejected by some in that group, including their impressive leader, Graves. While still with the Baptists, Officer was sometimes derided as a "Campbellite." Eventually, he would be adopted by the Churches of Christ.

Historians have puzzled over Officer's religious views and identity. Besides the Bible itself, what were the influences in his life? It appears that during the time of his transition, Officer was taught and mentored by a handful of leaders among the Churches of Christ. These included Jesse Turner Wood, Murrell Askew, and perhaps also T. B. Larimore. But above all, the man who led and encouraged young Officer was Dr. N. B. Wallace, Sr. of Limestone County, Alabama. A quarter century after he first met Wallace, R. W. Officer wrote the following obituary for the Gospel Advocate.

* * * * * * * * * *

My father in the gospel, Dr. N. B. Wallace, heard the call, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, and accepted the invitation on the evening of December 27 last. He first saw the light of day near Decatur, Ala., on February 28, 1828. He obeyed the gospel at the tender age of seventeen years, graduated at the age of twenty-one years in Cincinnati, and spent his time for the good of others in the practice of medicine and preaching the gospel. Death can never mar the beauty of the life he lived. Its terror was at a distance; when unmasked, it showed to him a smiling face. The dome of thought, the palace of the soul, sleeps quietly at Athens, Ala. Dr. A. C. Henry and Brother Miller were with Sister Wallace, the dear children, relatives, and friends to comfort them with the blessed promises of our Redeemer. The fact that the spirit has returned to God, who gave it, and that the light of an eternal day is his, and joy and gladness for evermore, is a gentle reproof to pale sorrow that sits weeping at the home of our noble dead. We are glad that the shadow that death has cast over the souls of the living cannot dim the light of hope or frustrate that faith that overcomes the world. Like the flower that goes to sleep with the setting sun, he closed his eyes, and death was done; for to him it had no sting, and by faith in Christ the grave had lost its victory. Death waits on all, but waits for none. Let us be ready, as he was, to accept the invitation to come up higher. The day he was taken sick he turned to his faithful wife and said: Ada, the parting will be sad. The parting is over now; in gladness, hope for the meeting over there. He was called to the mansion prepared at eight o'clock in the evening. Think not of the dead, but of the living; for he lives with God and the angels. Let the thoughts of sadness sleep with him, and rejoice evermore in the light of the hope of the redemption of our bodies.

There is never a day so dreary
     But God can make it bright;
And unto the should that trust him,
     He giveth songs in the night.
There is never a path so hidden
     But God will show the way,
If we seek for the Spirit's guidance,
     And patiently watch and pray.
There is never a cross so heavy
     But the loving hands are there,
Outstretched in tender compassion
     The burden to help us bear.
There is never a heart that is broken
     But the loving Christ can heal,
For the heart that was pierced on Calvary
     Doth still for his people feel.
There is never a life so burdened,
     So hopeless, and so unblessed,
But may be filled with the light of God,
     And enter his promised rest.
There is never a sin or a sorrow,
     There is never a care or a loss,
But we may carry to Jesus,
     And leave at the foot of the cross.
What more can we ask than he's promised?
     And we know that his word cannot fail--
Our refuge when storms are impending,
     Our help when temptations assail;
Our Savior, our Friend, and Redeemer;
     Our portion on earth and in heaven;
For he who withheld not his own dear Son
     Hath with him all things freely given.

R. Wallace Officer, Atoka, I.T.
Gospel Advocate, January 26, 1899, p. 63.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Larry Schweikart on U.S. Exceptionalism

Professor Larry Schweikart is the main guy behind the "Patriot's History" series of books. He says he came up with that title as sort of an answer to Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." Schweikart believes that a lot of left-leaning historians and scholars really don't love America, although at least some of them protest that they do.

One of Schweikart's points of contention with those to his left is the question of whether the United States has any legitimate claim to exceptionalism. Here's the question: Among the nations of the world, and across the sweep of history, is the USA uniquely different and good? Critics of the U.S. don't really think so. Some of them seem intent on cutting the United States down to size. Schweikart, on the other hand, thinks the U.S. truly IS exceptional. He says that a unique combination of four characteristics is what makes the U.S. uniquely great. Other countries possess two or three. But only the U.S. possesses all four. They are:

1. Common Law, a legal system that derives from the notion that the good Lord gave people an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong. The laws therefore grow from the grassroots up, but are understood to be ultimately from above.

2. A mostly-Protestant Christian religious tradition guiding the culture.

3. Private property backed up by titles and deeds. Schweikart says that in many countries people or families own land. The problem is that they have nothing like a legal deed. Therefore, they can't offer collateral to a bank. So they can't borrow money in order to build their wealth by, say, starting a new business or acquiring more land.

4. A free market system, with competitive supply and demand unhindered by government control, uninhibited by government regulation.

Question: Does the U.S have a legitimate claim to exceptionalism? Is Schweikart right? Why or why not?