Wayne Nall JrTweet
As a long-time student of history (especially American history) as well as God's word, I blog about current events, cultural trends. and historical interests from a Biblical worldview.
Posted 5/7/13 at 8:55 PM | Wayne Nall Jr |
I've been reading Eric Metaxas' masterful biography of William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace. Wilberforce was the late 18th century/early 19th century British Member of Parliament who almost single-handedly brought an end to the British slave trade. As a Christian MP, he devoted his life to this cause, and pursued it doggedly for almost twenty years until the abolition of the pernicious trade in 1807. During those years, he actually feared for his life on a number of occasions as those who opposed him and other abolitionists would go to no end to defend something that was actually indefensible. Wilberforce and others courageously exposed the evils of the slave trade year after year. They shined a light before the British public on the stomach-crawling conditions that the Africans were subjected to on the Middle Passage between Africa and the West Indies, as well as the horrific conditions that West Indian slaves were subjected to which actually made American slavery seem tame in comparison. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/13 at 4:42 PM | Wayne Nall Jr |
I recently came across a short essay that Theodore Roosevelt wrote about Abraham Lincoln while Roosevelt was still president. He wrote these words when "politician" and "statesman" were synonymous and when neither word carried an onerous connotation. Below are excerpts from this essay with my comments following:
"...Lincoln's deeds and words, are not only of consuming interest to the historian, but should be intimately known to every man engaged in the hard practical work of American political life. It is difficult to overstate how much it means to a nation to have as the two foremost figures in its history men like Washington and Lincoln. It is good for every man in any way concerned in public life to feel that the highest ambition any American can possibly have will be gratified just in proportion as he raises himself toward the standards set by these two men...Such a study of Lincoln's life will enable us to avoid the twin gulfs of immorality and inefficiency--the gulfs which always lie one on each side of the careers alike of man and of nation. It helps nothing to have avoided one if shipwreck is encountered in the other. The fanatic, the well-meaning moralist of unbalanced mind, the parlor critic who condemns others but has no power himself to do good and but little power to do ill--all these were as alien to Lincoln as the vicious and unpatriotic themselves. His life teaches our people that they must act with wisdom, because otherwise adherence to right will be mere sound and fury without substance; and that they must also act high-mindedly, or else what seems to be wisdom will in the end turn out to be the most destructive kind of folly. Throughout his entire life, and especially after he rose to leadership in his party, Lincoln was stirred to his depths by the sense of fealty to a lofty ideal; but throughout his entire life, he also accepted human nature as it is, and worked with keen, practical good sense to achieve results with the instruments at hand. It is impossible to conceive of a man farther removed from baseness, farther removed from corruption, from mere self-seeking; but it is also impossible to conceive of a man of more sane and healthy mind--a man less under the influence of that fantastic and diseased morality (so fantastic and diseased as to be in reality profoundly immoral) which makes a man in this work-a-day world refuse to do what is possible because he cannot accomplish the impossible...
Posted 4/11/13 at 8:53 AM | Wayne Nall Jr |
I recently read a book of speeches and letters by Abraham Lincoln, and one particular letter caught my eye This was a letter Lincoln wrote to his step-brother in 1851 in response to a request for eighty dollars. He refused the request, but gave him a better alternative, namely work! Here's the text of the short letter with my comments following:
Dear Johnston: Your request for eighty dollars I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little you have said to me, "We can get along very well now"; but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now, this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in any one day. You do not very much dislike to work, and still you do not work much, merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it. This habit of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty; it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break the habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it, easier than they can get out after they are in. FULL POST
Posted 4/2/13 at 10:12 PM | Wayne Nall Jr
This is the conclusion of a series of posts on "The Bible Series" To start at the beginning of the series, click here.
Posted 3/27/13 at 11:30 AM | Wayne Nall Jr
Posted 3/21/13 at 9:51 PM | Wayne Nall Jr
Last week I reviewed "The Bible" Series-Parts 1-4. Click here to read the previous post.
Explanatory note-I've noticed some of the reviews on this series call it a five part series because it shown in five two-hour episodes. For the purposes of these articles, I'm considering each hour as one part. In this case, the two-hour episode shown last Sunday contained parts 5 and 6.
Part 5 - Last week, I mentioned that I thought Part 4 was the most biblically accurate section of the series so far. I actually enjoyed Part 5 even more. Even though the events were compressed in places, I felt that this was also more accurate than the first few episodes. I loved the fact that they told the little-known but fascinating story of King Zedekiah, who would ignore Jeremiah's plea to return to God and would pay for it in a gruesome way. The scene in which his sons were killed in front of him and then his eyes gouged out by the Babylonian conquerer was hard to watch, but it's exactly what happened according to 2 Kings 25:7. I also enjoyed the Daniel section. Daniel is one of my favorite Bible characters, and I think the producers of "The Bible" made him the compelling figure that he actually was. Daniel is a fantastic model of integrity who held on to his Jewish beliefs even in the face of unimaginable pressure to conform to Babylonian ways. The Daniel in this series retained those admirable qualities. I really enjoyed the Fiery Furnace scene within the Daniel sequence. In this scene, three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, stand tall in the midst of a sea of Babylonians who had bowed down to the king's idol. I just felt like cheering when I saw their courageous defiance! Then, when they are cast into the fire because of King Nebuchadnezzar's rage, a pre-incarnate Jesus is shown in the midst of them. At the conclusion of this scene, the threw Jewish heroes come out unscathed. While we don't know where Daniel was when the three men were thrown into the fiery furnace, I thought it was interesting to imagine that he could have been there and witnessed the whole thing. Later, I was especially moved by the Lion's Den section, when Daniel refused to pray in secret in order to avoid persecution, but would instead openly pray in defiance of the king's decree. The scene in which Daniel is saved from being a night-time snack for some hungry lions was really well-done. FULL POST
Posted 3/17/13 at 4:54 PM | Wayne Nall Jr |
After having watched some clips and reading a few reviews, I was really looking forward to watching "The Bible" Series on The History Channel this month. I was really encouraged by some of the interviews that I had seen by it's creators, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on their reverence for the Bible and their desire to tell the story of the holy scriptures in an authentic way. However, after having watched episodes 1-3, my opinion is decidedly mixed.
Posted 3/6/13 at 3:34 PM | Wayne Nall Jr
This is Part 3 of a series. To start at the beginning, click "Wayne Nall Jr" above
7. Great Marriages Have Partners Who Complement Not Compete-We live in an extremely competitive society here in the U.S. Whether in sports, the marketplace, or politics, people are encourage to compete at a high level. You've always got to outdo the other guy. While that may be fine in some arenas, when this competitive attitude leaches out into marriage relationships, it can be deadly. I've observed this spirit in some relationships, and its really sad to see. One partner always feels like he or she has to put down the other. As a result, the other partner has to come back with a zinger, a cutting remark, a disdainful look.
Our culture feeds into this dichotomy. TV Shows, movies, pop and country music, all revel in the classic put-down. When the wife really takes down the husband, that really brings out the laughs. But its a real marriage killer. Rather than compete, great marriages have spouses who complement each other. The dictionary states that the noun "complement" means to be a "thing that completes or brings to perfection." The verb "to complement" means to "add to something in a way that enhances or improves it." (Don't confuse this with "compliment"-although those are nice too!) I think both of these definitions say it well.
Although every marriage is a little different, in almost all cases there are areas where one partner is strong and the other is weaker. You see, the old adage about your marriage partner being "your other half" is really true! A great marriage is one that enhances the strengths of each partner and diminishes the weaknesses. In our case, there are so many examples, but here's one. My wife Kathy is a quick thinker. I kind of plod along. This is why she can beat me to answers when we watch Jeopardy on TV, but I can usually beat her at Scrabble, since it doesn't have a timer. (OK, so we're a little competitive!) In things that really count, I value her superior processing speed, which is one thing that makes her a great nurse and helps if we have some kind of family emergency. She tells me that my more methodical, slow way of evaluating a situation provides a balance to her (very occasional!) tendency to jump to conclusions.
8. Great Marriages Survive The Changing Seasons Of Life- When I hear someone say that my wife (or my husband) just isn't the same person I married, I think "so what?" In a way, none of us are really the same person we were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago that we are today. Circumstances in life certainly change quite often, and these have a tendency to change us in ways that we don't often realize. So you just have to adjust. This has happened multiple times in our marriage. Just this last year, Kathy completed nursing school. I've been so proud of her for being able to fulfill a latent dream that she had since she was a little girl. During her school years, we had to adapt to the demands of her working two part-time jobs while going to nursing school. Now that she has graduated, she is working as a hospital nurse several evenings a week, while I hold down my day job at the tire shop. We may go several days of barely seeing each other. To compensate, we use phone, email, and text to keep in touch. And I've tried to leave her a few little "tokens of love" when she comes in at night, which has meant a lot to her. Which brings me to my final thought...
9. Great Marriages "Keep The Fire Burning!"- When I was reading in Leviticus this morning (yes, there really are good things in Leviticus!), a verse really stood out to me that seems to fit here. Referring to the priestly duties of tending to the altar, it says "The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out,..." (Lev. 6:12). There are many ways to look at this, but one way that I see this is like a marriage altar. In fact, in most weddings, the couple say their vows at an "altar." In a sense, the "marriage fire" is stoked at that place. But, like any fire, if it's not tended to, it just naturally goes out! In ancient Israel, the priest had to stoke the altar fire every morning and every evening. No matter the weather. No matter how he felt. The fire still had to be stoked. The same goes for the "altar of marriage." No matter the season of life, the "marriage fire" has to be tended to. Oh, and by the way, the wife is the one with the thermometer! I can go along thinking that everything is great (I inherited the "clueless" gene from bygone generations of Nall men!), but somewhere along the line I find out from my wife that the gauge on our marriage is reading "Low Fuel." To change the metaphor slightly, I'm about to run our "marriage car" out of gas, and I had no clue! (Oh, here's something else I've found--the fuel that made the car run great yesterday is no good today. But it could take a whole post to explain this one. Maybe later!) So, when I get the "low fuel" sign (or hopefully before it gets that low), I have to find creative ways to stoke the fire. And this goes both ways. My wife has done a far better job than me to "keep the home fires burning." But I'm working on it! FULL POST
Posted 2/27/13 at 6:07 PM | Wayne Nall Jr
This is a continuation of a post from last week. Click here for Part 1
4. Great Marriages Study Each Other-You should be an expert on your spouse. If I'm going to please my spouse, I'm going to have to know her likes and dislikes, her strengths and weaknesses. One of the things that helped us early on in our marriage was a tape (remember tapes?) we heard of Dr. Gary Chapman on "The Five Love Languages." (If you'd like to know more about this, here's a link to his website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/). We discovered that some of the difficulties in the early years of our marriage had to do with the way we expressed love to each other. I thought I was loving her in doing things that made me feel loved. She was trying to love me in ways that made her feel loved. Sometimes, this can go on for years with neither spouse really making a connection. One example from our marriage: I would love her with words of affirmation, as in telling her "I love you" often. This was a good thing. Couples should say this to each other often and we do this multiple times a day. However, what she was really needing was for me to SHOW HER that I loved her by listening to her, by spending quality time with her. Now, I thought I was listening to her, but I wasn't LISTENING to her! I was hearing what she had to say, but not really paying attention the way I needed to. And she didn't feel loved. In fact, she felt very unloved. My words of affirmation (my Love Language) were actually galling to her at times because I wasn't spending quality time (her Love Language) with her the way she needed. Believe me, this is something we're still working on! And by no means have I arrived. But I hope that I'm listening better than I used to. FULL POST
Posted 2/21/13 at 10:13 PM | Wayne Nall Jr
"...heirs together of the grace of life..." I Peter 3:7b
Last November 26, my wife Kathy and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. Looking back, that day in 1982 was a pretty unpretentious affair. Neither of our parents had much money and neither did we. The ladies from Mt. Paron Church in Fordyce, Arkansas helped decorate the church, a friend of the family made Kathy's dress, and I wore an old suit. One of the members of the church paid for the reception, which was held in the lunchroom next door. We had some friends who sang together make a tape for us of hymns, which we played as people came in, and they sang "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" a capella for the processional.
We had only known each other six months. We were so young! I was 18 and she was 21. We had met at my home in Dothan, Alabama, when her dad brought her and the rest of the family on a preaching trip back in May. I took my last exam in high school on a Thursday morning and met Kathy that afternoon. I won't say it was love at first sight, but it was pretty close! There was just something there between us from the very first. I don't know how we knew this, but at the end of that week she was in Alabama, we knew that we were supposed to be together. We were engaged at the end that week (although we kept it a secret for a month) and married six months later. Most people wouldn't look on this as a recipe for a successful marriage, but I can say that the results are in---it most definitely has worked out! FULL POST