Archive for July 2013

Old Photographs and Related Memories   4 comments

Taylor House 1930sAbove:  The Taylor House, Probably in the 1930s

Two months ago I wrote the following post:  https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/requiem-for-a-house/.  At the time the fate of the old house seemed doomed.  The house where my great-grandfather (John Dodson Taylor, Sr.) and great-grandmother (“Hattie” Stoddard), my grandfather (John Dodson Taylor, Jr.) was born and lived my grandmother (Nell Taylor) lived, where my uncle (Randy Taylor) and father (John Dodson Taylor, III) grew up, and where my sister (Barbara Jackson) and I spent part of our childhoods with Mom (Sally Taylor), Dad, and Grandma seemed to be near destruction.  And it might still be so, but there is a local grassroots effort (https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheTaylorHouse) to save and restore the old place.  May it succeed!  And may the house cease to sit idle.  No, may it have a use which is positive for the community.  I think that an educational component would be most appropriate, given the value our family has placed on books and learning.

The above picture shows the house as it was when my great-grandfather was still alive.  The white paint job did look better.

Taylor House Circa 1950

Above:  The House Circa 1950

I, being born when I was, never saw the old north wing, shown here on the right.  But it does look lovely, does it not?  I recall Dad saying that it lasted until the early 1960s.

Grandparents 1967

Above:  My Grandparents in 1967

I never knew my grandfather, for he died three years after I was born.  Yet I am confident that I would like to have known him.

I recall aspects of the house for which I have no pictures.  In the bedroom next to where the north wing had been, for example, there was a small kitchen attached.  My grandparents used to rent out that bedroom, kitchen, and north wing as an apartment.  And I remember the old garage in the back of the house.  Getting a car back there now would be quite an accomplishment!

A renovation and restoration of the house would be a great task.  To reopen blocked doorways would give old house a good, more period-specific look.  I, as a history buff, like old things.  So old houses fascinate me.

My life is elsewhere.  The congregation closest to my spiritual type is in Athens, Georgia, for example.  But I am keenly aware of my family’s roots in Summerville, Georgia.  And I want the old house to become a vital part of the community again.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 16, 2013 COMMON ERA

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http://www.thesummervillenews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6458:city-wants-northwest-congress-street-lot-cleaned&catid=1

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God Our Mother   4 comments

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Above:  A Mother, by John White Alexander, Between 1900 and 1912

Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994002935/PP/)

Reproduction Number = LC-D416-377

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EDITOR’S COMMENT:

I thought that this post (probably from 1950) would fit well with the previous one (from 1905-1913):  https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/god-our-father/.

The notes (reproduced almost verbatim) are located in a Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland 1943 Day Book.  These are raw notes, intended for my great-grandfather’s eyes, with shorthand references which he would have understood immediately yet which confuse others.  Nevertheless, I hope that one can glean much good from from them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

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Read Psalm 113.

As one whom His mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.

–Isaiah 66:13

1.  Bible a warm letter of affection.

2.  50 to 60 nights of gentle dew.

3.  20 to 50 letters of affection, so

4.  Father & child out in storm.

5.  Text bends with great gentleness & love.  It breathers upon us the hush an internal lullaby, for it announces that God is as our mother.

I.  

God has a mother’s simplicity of instruction.–ABCs

So God, our mother, stoops down to our infantile minds.

1000 times–30 to yrs.   faith

II.

A mother teaches her child chiefly by pictures.

wrangle—war

a.  God also teaches us almost everything by pictures.

1.  Autumnal picture

2.  Fishing scene–good from bad

3.  Duty of neighborly love–Jericho

4.  Gladness of divine mercy to take back a wanderer–Prodigal Son

I remark again that

III.

God has a mother’s favoritism.

Picture mother’s care of invalid child.

If there is anyone in the world who needs sympathy more than another, it is an invalid child, weary on the first mile of life’s journey; carrying an aching head, a weak side an irritated lung.

“Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” Says one, “I can’t understand all that about affliction.”

a.  Refiner of silver’s explanation.

b.  Treatment of the barren field.  

c.  Treatment of piece of granite.  quarryman

d.  So God finds a man down in the quarry of ignorance & sin.  How does He get him up to usefulness?  He, too, like the rock, must be bored, blasted, & scoured, and stand sometimes in the darkness.  But after a while in the mantle of affliction will fall off & his soul will be greeted by the 144,000 & the thousands of thousands as more than a conqueror.

God never touches us but for our good.

Pearl a result of a wound & maybe the brightest gems of heaven will be found to have been the wounds of earth kindled into the jeweled brightness of eternal glory.

IV.

God has a mother’s capacity for little hurts.  Father is shocked at bone-splinter in hand.

Nothing with God is something.  No ciphers in God’s arithmetic.

As at the first cry of the child the mother rushes to kiss the wound.  So God, like a mother, takes the smallest wound of the heart & presses it to the lops of divine sympathy.

V.

God has a mother’s patience for the erring.

If one does wrong , first his associates in life cast him off–business partners, best friends–his father.

His mother–no.

[She] sits by [the] murderer’s counsel–God bless his gray hairs….

Grave–rocking chair–cradle–Bible

a.  So God, like a mother, has patience with all the erring.

b.  Sympathy of church does not amount to much.

c.  Sergeant takes soldier to Colonel.

Forgiveness

A man’s sin may be large like a continent, but God’s forgiveness is like the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans, bounding it on both sides.

VI.  

The Bible often talks about God’s Hand.

Compare a father’s hand and a mother’s hand.

Compare God’s hand.

VII.  

God has a mother’s way of putting a child to sleep.

Picture that scene of putting a child to sleep.

Well, the time will come when we will be wanting to be put to sleep.  Then we want God to soothe us, to put us to sleep.

Oh, the cradle of the the grace will be soft with the pillow of God’s promises.

Asleep in Jesus!  Far from thee

Thy kindred and their graves may be;

But thine is still a blessed sleep

From which none ever wake to seep.

–Death scene of a Scotsman–Nellie

How comfortably did God hush that old man to sleep!  As one whom his mother comforteth, so God comforteth him.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

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http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/devotion-for-december-27-and-28-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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God Our Father   2 comments

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Above:  Holy Trinity Stained-Glass Window, St. Peter’s Church, Washington, New Jersey

Designed by J. & R. Lamb Studios

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/LAMB2006000770/)

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Matt. 6, 9

1.  God is the Creator of our bodies and Father of our spirits.  Out of fatherly concern for our happiness He created us to embody Him.  This invests Him with the right of parental control of his children.

2.  As Father He loves us.  His very nature is love.  He is constantly blessing us and seeking our happiness.  Sendeth rain upon the good and the bad.  He “pitieth them that fear him.”

Seeketh to reveal himself to us and to impart some spiritual blessing.  Yearns over the prodigal and rejoices at his return.  “He so loved the world (kosmos) that he gave his only begotten Son.”  He would be a Father to all men and help them.  It is not His fault if He is not to them all a heavenly Father ought to be, for many reject His love.

3.  But Fatherhood means more than this.  He would be the Father of their spiritual nature.  “To them gave he power to become the sons of God.”  By sin men become aliens, prodigals, “children of the devil.”  By faith they become in nature the children of God.

4.  Hence results the brotherhood of man, not because of similar natures but because of our [illegible word] Father.  Christians are brethren in Christ & members of one another.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Posted July 14, 2013 by neatnik2009 in George Washington Barrett 1905-1913 G-L, Matthew

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Death the Gate to Heaven   1 comment

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Above:  Our Martyrs at Heaven’s Gate, 1881

President Abraham Lincoln greets President James A. Garfield.

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003672962/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-02234

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Jno. 14, 2-3

1.  Jesus goes away to prepare a place for them.  He came from heaven in their behalf; now he returns to serve them further.  The odds are against their highest enjoyment here; hence he seeks an abode free from all hindrance.

2.  But he will come to them and help them.  The Holy Spirit did come to counsel and help them, that they may prepare for higher things.  Finally he will come to take them to himself.

3.  They are to be with him where he is.  They loved him and followed him here and he wants them to be with him there to behold his glory.  He prayed for this.  Immortal bliss awaits all his children in his gracious abode, the house of many mansions.

4.  Hence death is but the door of entrance to higher, holier things.  He arched the door with bow of hope and planted there most fragrant flowers.

Where he is is heaven to dwell with him and the good of all ages.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The World’s Reception of Jesus   3 comments

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Above:  The Infant Christ Rewarding the Martyred Innocents of Bethlehem

From the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Photograph Taken Between 1898 and 1914

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2004007340/PP/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-07279

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EDITOR’S COMMENT:

First Century C.E. Palestinian Judaism was diverse–so much so that perhaps one ought to refer to “First Century C.E. Palestinian Judaisms” instead.  My great-grandfather oversimplified this matter greatly, as did many others of his generation.  Unfortunately, many of my generation persist in the error.

Furthermore, blanket condemnations of “the Jews” risk sounding anti-Semitic even when that is not the speaker’s or writer’s intention.

And the Magi/Wise Men belong properly to Epiphany (January 6), not Christmas.  The text says that they arrived at “the house” at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11).  The shepherds come from Luke 2:8-20.  Nativity scenes have conflated two stories set at different times and many people have followed suit.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA, FATHER OF WESTERN MONASTICISM

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CHRISTMAS SERMON

Jno. 1, 11-12

On coming to earth, his creation, and to men, his creatures, Jesus was accorded a different reception by different people, and is to to this day.

I.

1.  The Jewish nation at first treated him with indifference.  The rulers were at first troubled with Herod.  But when they saw that he came of humble, poor parentage, they simply ignored him.  They were not accustomed to bow to earth’s poor.  Later they were hostile.

2.  Herod was troubled at his coming, as uncommon things were spoken of him.  He tried to secure his death lest he become King.

3.  The Shepherds and wise men were glad to greet him and worship at this feet.

II.

The destinies of men and nations depend upon the reception they accord him.

1.  In rejecting him the Jews rejected their only religious & political Saviour.  No wonder he wept over the unrepentant city.

2.  Herod soon died under the curse of Almighty God.

3.  The Shepherds and wise men found peace, joy & heaven at last.  He desires to save all and does save all who receive him by faith–“that believe on his name.”

III.

What, then, is your attitude toward him?  Do you half believe you can do without him?  Receive him; he is your all.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Barren Fig Tree   1 comment

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Above:  Fig Tree after Devastation by Locusts, Palestine, Ottoman Empire, 1915

Copyright Holder = The Matson Photo Service, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/93503144/)

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-107399

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Luke 13, 6-9

1.  The tree was fostered for a specific purpose–figs.  God has a purpose touching each one of us–a place for us to fill, a sphere of usefulness.

2.  Our highest interest can be realized only in connection with Him, doing His will.  He is not a tyrant to be shunned, but a Friend without whom our highest development is impossible.

3.  Hence He seeks our development, tries to lead us to repentance and conformity to His righteous will.  He has invested much in us and of right expects much–at least something of us.  Life is an opportunity under grace.

4.  Finding no fruit, no developments in things holy, he orders it cut down as a cumberer of the ground.  [It] bears no fruit and is in the way.  [It] does not justify its own existence.

5.  The dresser pleads for another year, suitable opportunity, that he may make special effort to secure the desired results.  It is granted with the understanding that in case of failure destruction shall follow.  This special effort may be sickness, business losses, exhortation of friends–all is to lead us to His will.

We may find the place he gives, small or great, fill it however cramped we may be, and please, if not ourselves, at least Him whose approval is sufficient.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Posted July 11, 2013 by neatnik2009 in George Washington Barrett 1905-1913 A-F, Luke-Acts

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Brotherly Love Proof of Our Discipleship   4 comments

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EDITOR’S COMMENT:

The Revised Version of 1881, which many have long since forgotten, was part of my great-grandfather’s preaching library.

I, being both a history nerd and one fascinated by the sequence of English Bible translations, know about such things readily.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA, FATHER OF WESTERN ROMANTICISM

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Jno. 13, 35

1.  Jesus, “having loved his own,…loved them unto the end,” or uttermost (Ch. 13, 1).  So great was his love that he gave himself for them.  Love bound his heart to them and them to him.

2.  “His own” are like him, love him and each other as he loved him.  Discipleship is a question not of external relation but of similarity of character.  No matter what else we have or do, if we have not love we are nothing.  “When he shall be made manifest we shall be like him.”

(a)  “If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar” (1 Jno. 4, 20).  Love to God and man is one and the same thing and same act.

(b)  “We know we have passed out of death unto life because we love the brethren.”  His children love each other and what He loves.  See also Phils. 2, 3 & 2 Thes. 1, 3 (Revised Version).

3.  By this shall men know we are His disciples, seeing we have His Spirit and live a life above the power of this world.  How beautiful is this tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.  This is the “old commandment” he gives us which is ever new.  “Let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.”  Then to wash one another’s feet will be easy for us and a joy.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT