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The chief and hisnephew

The chief and his nephew

It’s never a good idea, nor very Christian, to kill someone who refuses to be baptized.
This came back to me the other day when I was thumbing through a book, Wesley and the People Called Methodists, which gives a wonderful history of John Wesley’s life and times. (I’m a history fanatic, BTW.) It’s by Richard P. Heitzenrater. I read it in a Methodism class in seminary and remember being struck by this episode about Wesley’s largely unsuccessful trip to Georgia, in which he’d hoped to convert the “noble savages” to the Christian faith:

Wesley’s design of ministering to the Indians began to materialize during February, before the missionaries moved permanently from ship to shore. His first contact with the Indians of Georgia, on board the Simmonds, clearly exposed the misconceptions upon which his proposed mission to these ‘noble savages’ was based. He was quickly disabused of the notion that they were without preconceived notions or party interest and ready as little children, eager and fit to ‘receive the gospel in its simplicity.’ Although Tomochichi, a chief of the Creeks, expressed hope to hear ‘the Great Word’ (if the wise men of his nation would allow it), he warned the Wesleys {John and brother Charles} and their friends that the French, Spanish, and English traders had caused great confusion and had turned many of the people against hearing the Word. Tomochichi made it clear that he did not want them to evangelize in the Spanish manner; he would rather they instruct first and then baptize. The chief had strong feelings about Christianity; his own father had been killed by the Spanish because he refused to be baptized.”

*** More on this renowned chief from Wiki:
Tomochichi (to-mo-chi-chi’) (c. 1644 – October 5, 1739) was a seventeenth century Creek leader and the head chief of a Yamacraw town on the site of present day Savannah, Georgia.

Although much of his early life is unknown, Tomochichi was exiled from the Creek nation for unclear reasons and, along with several followers, first settled what is now Savannah, Georgia. Tomochichi created the Yamacraw tribe from Creek and Yamasee and settled on the bluffs of the Savannah River.

By the time of the establishment of the colonial charter of Georgia in 1732 (the colonial charter was contributed in the same year), Tomochichi remaining a lifelong friend of the early English colonists, helping the settlers in Georgia negotiate a treaty with the Lower Creeks (as well as settling previous disagreements with the Creek).

Tomochichi wanted his people to be educated. He worked with Benjamin Ingham, a friend of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, to create an Indian school at Irene that opened in September 1736.

He was taken to England by colonial governor James Edward Oglethorpe in 1734, where he was entertained, given presents as well as a portrait painted of him and his nephew. Upon his death on October 5, 1739, Tomochichi was given a public funeral by the colony. A mound of stones covered his gravesite. Senauki, his wife, and his nephew, Toonahowi, were left in charge of the tribe. On April 21, 1899, a monument to his memory was erected by the Colonial Dames of America. The Georgia Historical Commission placed a memorial in Savannah’s Wright Square, also.

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"Between the Lines"

*** Photo from Julio (aka Risquillo), who writes:
I don’t have a website but in general terms this is my profile. I am started in photography by accident. About twenty two years ago, my wife asked my to buy her a camera for taking pictures of the family, I bought a SLR and she wanted a small, easy to use, camera. So I kept the SLR for myself, started reading the manuals and I became passionate about it. I haven’t taken any lessons, so I consider myself as a self-taught person. This journey has been long and very exciting, I have slowly discovered about color, composition, shades, light and all the elements of photography. I’ve been taking photographs for 20 years. During the mid 90´s I participated in several photo contests, collective expositions and individual expositions. I was fortunate to receive several awards and I have been invited in my community to give lectures about photography and participate as judge in some contests. The awards I received varied from money, lenses, cameras, trips, a car, etc and some other didn’t have monetary value but the recognition of my work made me very proud. In those days, photography was a very important part of my life, although I never dedicated professionally to it, all my free time was dedicated to this beautiful hobby. In 1998, while traveling with my wife, my camera case was stolen. This was devastating! My camera, all the lenses, flashes, tripod, everything, everything was stolen! All the equipment that I had been accumulating for years ! Then I started to buy the equipment again, but I was very depressed and my willingness to take pictures was gone. For about 6 years I quit taking pictures, and at the same time technology changed and the way of taking pictures also changed. For my 50th birthday, my family gave me a digital camera. I regained the passion for photography ! I spend as much time as I can taking pictures, learning photoshop, reading, etc It is a wonderful hobby and I only wish I could have more time.
I like mountain biking. I live in a quiet city in the center of Mexico, it is a great place to live in!. I enjoy digital photography very much specially because you can get the results fast and correct the mistakes instantly.

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Flying at Night
by Ted Kooser

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like

*** In the photo: Ancient white dwarf stars shine in the Milky Way galaxy. Stars like our sun fuse hydrogen in their cores into helium. White dwarfs are stars that have burned up all of the hydrogen they once used as nuclear fuel.
Photograph courtesy HubbleSite

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Her: A Baptist seminary student and paralegal

Her: A Baptist seminary student and paralegal

This opinion piece on immigration is by Libby Grammer Garrett, a master-of-divinity student at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta.
She’s also an immigration paralegal at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz in Chattanooga, Tenn. This guest column was published by Associated Baptist Press, and originally was written as an exercise for her seminary class in writing for ministry.
The op piece addresses one of the most tragic and ungodly aspects of current immigration policies and laws, in which parents are ripped away from their children through deportations.

ABP) — Undocumented immigration cannot be described as either a problem or a possibility — it simply is a reality, and one that we are not dealing with very well. As someone who works with immigration issues every day in an immigration law practice, I can attest that most Americans are grossly misinformed about this issue, dependent as they are on inflammatory and misleading news sources.

Being exposed to an actual immigrant’s story can help us break down these conventional stereotypes:

Lidiana entered the United States in the early 1990s, seeking work because she could not make ends meet in Mexico. She quickly found work in a factory and has been paying taxes for years. She married a lawful permanent resident and had three children, all U.S. citizens. Her husband filed papers for her so she could obtain her green card, but because of long processing times at the former INS — now the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — many years passed before that petition would become current and she could actually adjust her status to obtain permanent residency.

But in the meantime, her marriage became abusive, and Lidiana was forced to leave her husband. He withdrew the papers he had filed for her, making her ineligible to obtain legal status. Her only option to regularize her status was using novel legal arguments from a skilled attorney, but she still faced the possibility that the petition could be rejected. If rejected, she would be put in deportation proceedings, leaving her children with no mother and no income to support them in the only home they have ever known.

When real people who are made in the image of God become involved, we realize that the issue of undocumented immigration is testing the capacity of Christians to resist temptations that undermine a Kingdom ethic — xenophobia, racism, greed. If Christians claim to look to the Bible as our guide on moral decision-making, then we must do so on the issue of undocumented immigration as well.

The Old Testament is full of references to migrants and their families. The scriptures demand justice and mercy toward strangers and aliens. Many crucial Old Testament stories — Abraham, Joseph and Ruth — depict the lives and struggles of sojourners and foreigners. Hebrew law clearly demands care for the alien/sojourner and grounds that demand in Israel’s own experience as “aliens in Egypt” (Lev. 19:34).

The teachings and actions of Jesus and his followers in the New Testament carry forward the same pattern. Jesus himself was an alien in Egypt when his parents fled to save his life. He was kind to strangers and taught a Kingdom ethic in which inclusion of outsiders was central. Paul noted our status as resident aliens in the world and what might be called our ‘naturalized citizenship’ in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Just and merciful treatment of those on the margins of society is a fundamental biblical norm. That we have so much trouble seeing this is a scandal that reflects the corruption of our purported commitment to the Lordship of Christ. We must treat undocumented immigrants with the dignity that every human being deserves. We must become advocates for the 12 million of our neighbors who remain vulnerable and in the shadows.

Some Christians have found avenues to advocate for these strangers among us. The Roman Catholic Church has led the way. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for broad-based legalization (permanent residency) for undocumented immigrants, reform of family-based and employment-based immigration pathways so that families divided by immigration may be reunited, and humane working conditions for everyone. They call for an abandonment of the “blockade” border-enforcement strategy and a restoration of due-process protections for all immigrants. Catholic Charities offers direct care to hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year.

Sadly, Baptists lag behind Catholics in their attention to immigration reform, though some groups (such as the American Baptist Churches USA and the Baptist General Convention of Texas) have offered services in the form of lawsuits on behalf of immigrants and training for church-based aid to immigrants. However, other groups (such as the Southern Baptist Convention) have only offered words of kindness to strangers while doing little to advocate publicly for the undocumented.

This is a marginally good start — but Baptists must do better. If our denominational structures are too sluggish to offer leadership, local congregations must blaze the trail. This means re-centering the issue around Scripture and its norms for each Christian’s public witness while avoiding the fictional information spouted forth by uninformed media outlets seeking to place blame for all of our country’s ills on one group of people.

Almost every community in this country is home to undocumented immigrants. The question is whether we choose to view them through the lens of our Kingdom citizenship — or our national xenophobia.

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Liv Ullmann

Liv Ullmann

The venerable actress and director (currently directing A Streetcar Named Desire) Liv Ullmann in an interview with America, the Jesuit magazine, about her devout Catholic faith:

Has being a goodwill ambassador for Unicef and visiting developing countries for the International Rescue Committee made you a more spiritual person?

When I met people who had nothing, but who still had more to give me than I could give them, then I felt that the human being is so much greater than we realize. They were adequate; I was inadequate. As I was giving, I learned what it meant to give, and I learned how to receive too. I felt serenity with God when I stopped asking God for things I needed or that my fear would go away. It was only when I said, “Thy will happen,” that I felt peaceful, because there is a higher power, and his will will happen. And I always know that his will is for the best.

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Hey, Coach, ol’ buddy, I heard you on the radio today saying, “I think our guys are going to be more determined to win now, I think they’re ready to get back to work, I think this, I think that.”
Man, I think somebody needs to explain the power of positive thinking to you. And there’s no power in saying, “I think our guys are going to be determined now.”
Hey, they’re either going to be more determined or they’re not–which is it? And this kind of language reveals a lot of incongruity on you’re part. You might as well say, “I HOPE our guys are determined; I HOPE our guys are going to work.” Because in saying you “think” so, you’re not sure.
Which comes back to you and your uninspiring leadership. You and your staff just don’t seem to know how to make this team believe in itself. And believing starts with the LANGUAGE of belief, the LANGUAGE of real enthusiasm, the LANGUAGE of real determination, passion and other good stuff such as that.
Your language as the leader of the team is to believe, really believe, so passionately that the team will believe.
Coach, there’s just no heart of champions in the team, and that’s a reflection of the hearts of the staff (and the QB, but that’s another posting for another day).
There’s none of the proverbial “killer instinct,” a requirement for a champion’s kind of heart and guts.
The New York Giants have all the right stuff, and therefore found a way to win a real slobberknocker of a game. They believe, and their coach shows passionate and grit, and their quarterback, as quiet and reserved and cool and calm and collected as he appears, has a lot of killer instinct down in the depths of his heart and guts. He’s going to find a way to crush another team, no matter how far behind or how tough the resistance. He’s like his coach that way; he’s out to crush and obliterate the other team’s morale and spirit and belief and very hearts and guts.
Coach, you’re a very nice, easy-going man, but coach . . . . . that’s not always a good thing in football.
Oh wait–that was some lame language!
That not a good thing in football at all, man! Eat you some GRITS!

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