Monday, February 27, 2012

The Liberty of Obedience

"There has often been a tendency to think of service to God as necessarily entailing physical hardship and sacrifice.  Although this is not really a Scriptural idea, it has gained wide acceptance.  It is easy to recall the saints who climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil, and pain, but the Bible also makes mention of Dorcas whose service to God was the making of coats.  (And who can tell what pain she knew that is not recorded?  It is God who keeps tears in His bottle.)

"When I lived with the Auca settlement, there were some who, from a long distance and with little idea of the actual situation, commended me for my 'wonderful work,' probably because they thought of it as difficult, isolated, dangerous, or even sacrificial.  There were others who for the very same reason condemned me, for I had taken a three-year-old child into that setting.  Some envied me, some pitied me.  Some admired, some criticized.  I could not help asking myself if perhaps I had been mistaken.  Was I really obeying God, or had I merely obeyed some misguided impulse, some lust for distinction, some masochistic urge to bury myself in the forsaken place?  There was no way of being sure what was in the murky reaches of my subconscious, but I was sure I had committed myself to God for His service, and I knew no other motivation.  The opinions of others--whether they commended or condemned--could not alter my duty, but their very diversity caused me to ponder carefully what that duty was.

"And then, by contrast, I watched the Indians, doing things they understood, untroubled by questions of 'service' to God or fellow-men (although they had served me in countless way--and I thought of the King saying to them, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . .ye have done it unto me,' and of how surprised they would be when they knew), free of the pressures of competition and comparison.  There was for me here a lesson in simplicity and acceptance of one's place in life, which I, because I was a Christian, could take from the hand of God.

"My duty was on thing, theirs another.  My responsibility lay here, but the responsibility of some of my correspondents who gazed starry-eyed at my role lay perhaps in an office or a kitchen or the cockpit of an airplane.  Who was to say which deserved to sit on God's right hand?"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Abraham Lincoln


At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then, a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Slave's Response to His Former Owner

Dayton, Ohio,
August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

A Slave's Response to His Former Owner

Frederick Douglass

Black conservative leaders discus how the NRA was created to protect freed slaves
A Valentine for Frederick Douglass
How-To Endure Life of a Slave
Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada
I Am Your Fellow Man but I Am Not Your Slave 
How Savage are Blacks in America & Why is Everyone Afraid to Discuss It?
Thomas Sowell--Misconceptions about Slavery
African Ambassador Hector Posset has Some Words for Dead African Slaves that will Stun You

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories (excerpts)

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
By Tim Shey 

Published January 2012

Here are some excerpts from The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories:

Page 8:  "The cop dropped me off in the middle of somewhere. It was ten o'clock at night, it was hot and humid and I forgot to fill up my water bottle back in Central City. I was not a happy camper. I thanked the officer for the ride and he turned around and drove west into the Nebraska night.

"The next town was six miles away. So I walked past the corn fields and the hay fields of eastern Nebraska. I was thirsty. The noise of diesel engines roaring away pumping water into irrigation circles could be heard as I walked back east.

"Eventually, I made it to the small town of Duncan. I found a water hydrant and drank a ton of water. I then found a pickup parked next to the railroad tracks. I climbed into the cab of the pickup and slept there that night.

"The next morning, I walked to the shoulder of U.S. 30 and began thumbing for a ride to Columbus. Within half an hour, some guy walked up to the pickup that I had slept in the night before and drove off in it. Sometimes it is a good idea to get up early in the morning.

"I got a ride to Columbus. This guy took me to the bus station. I met a lady there that helped me pay for a bus ticket to Des Moines. I got on the bus and it went through Omaha. I got off in Adel, Iowa that evening. Adel is just west of Des Moines on U.S. 6.

"I phoned a friend in Ames. He picked me up in Adel and drove me back to Ames. He thought that it was funny that I hitchhiked to Nebraska and hopped a freight train. He thought it was really funny that a cop told me to get off the train. I didn't think it was so funny."


Page 22:  "My backpack has shown a lot of wear and tear over the years. There are rips in it; it is somewhat dirty. There are places where I sewed it up with monofilament fishing line and there is a piece of duct tape on the bottom of the pack. Without duct tape, we would be a people no more.

"I believe the weight of my backpack averages around thirty-five pounds, so I get some good exercise every day when I have to walk several miles on the highway. The guy who gave me the backpack told me that he spent $200.00 for it back in 1979. It is still hanging in there pretty tough. It is an interior frame backpack. I don't know the brand name.

"It has been through rain, snow, dirt, mud, sand (e.g. I slept on the beach at Cambria, California), crude oil (in the back of a pickup in New Mexico), hundred-degree heat, and twenty-below-zero cold. I use it as a pillow when I sleep outside. I use it as body armor when somebody drives by and sprays me with submachine gun bullets (just joking). My body armor is a wall of fire that surrounds me--the Holy Ghost Fire.

"My backpack and I have hitchhiked countless thousands upon thousands of miles throughout the United States. Somebody once offered to buy me a new backpack two or three years ago. I graciously declined their offer. I'm going to keep this backpack as long as I can. You see, it never argues with me, it never disagrees with me, never talks back. It is very low maintenance. When I get tired of carrying it, I stop, take off my backpack and sit on it on the side of the road and rest for a while.

"When I die, it doesn't look like I will be able to take it to heaven with me--I guess this is something that I will just have to accept."


Page 35:  "This past week I was hitchhiking in Montana and I ended up in Ennis. I went to the library and typed up some stuff on my Digihitch blog and then I walked to the Exxon gas station.

"I was inside the convenience store buying something to eat, when this older man walked up to me and asked, 'Are you the traveler? Is that your backpack out front?'

"I said, 'Yeah.'

"His name was Arthur and he said that he had done some hitchhiking in his younger days. He was originally from San Diego and did a lot of surfing at one time. Arthur used to hitchhike with a guitar. He asked me if I needed a place to stay for a while. He told me he needed some work done on his ranch and that he had a bad back; he had been in a real serious car crash years ago.

"So I told him that that would be great and that I would like to work for him. I grabbed my backpack and we drove around six miles to his ranch. He had a housemate named Hal who had lived there for five years; Hal was married and divorced and pretty much retired. Arthur used to be a miner years ago.

"I fed the horses hay and grain while I was there. Arthur and I hauled some garbage to the local dump and we did a lot of cleaning up of some trash in the house and rearranging some boxes for storage.

"I ended up staying two nights and then hit the road. I hitchhiked south and made it to Driggs, Idaho where I met up with a friend. I stayed at he and his wife's place in Drummond last night.

"Yesterday, I checked my email and Arthur sent me a very kind and thoughtful note; here it is below:

"'Hello Saw man we are glad in the lord and holy power for leading you to us. We are very much lovers of good men who follow the path in life that few dare to seek, I find in you the good warm energy that god has bestowed upon you, follow your path no one else can, and remember us in your prayers we shall forever be in your kindness and have no regrets for the time you and we shared with you. Be always welcome in our tee pee. We enjoyed you and the god & man energy to shared with us. Have a safe and full filled life and some day return to us that we may share what god has given us to share with his chosen few. you are special in our hearts and minds so be good to yourself and we will not judge you but find in you faith to carry on and struggle with our human condition and remain thankfull to god first and the life of mammon second.

"'your friends Arthur And Harold.
ps glad you liked my cooking. pax goldbear'" 


The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
By Tim Shey
Paperback:  178 Pages
ISBN-10: 1462661718
ISBN-13: 978-1462661718
Language: English