Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pastor-Professor William "Bill" F. Kerr (1915-2003), a centennial tribute . . . "Tail of the Dragon," a motorcyclist's dream

Dr. William "Bill" F. Kerr
1915-2003
While attending the “Carl F. H. Henry: A Centennial Celebration” at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in September 2013, I was reminded of my first learning about the evangelical stalwart from William"Bill" Fulton Kerr.

As Henry (1913–2003) was departing Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1947 in order to help form Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, my new friend and mentor, Dr. Kerr (1915–2003), informed me—nearly a half-century later, at age 78 (and me a one-year-old Christian convert of 22 years of age) in 1993 in Port Angeles, Washington—that he was arriving at the Lombard, Illinois, campus in order to serve as the school’s new Associate Professor of Old Testament (but later changed to Professor of Theology).


That spring (1947), Kerr had just graduated with his Doctor of Theology degree from Northern Seminary. During his doctoral studies, he served as the seminary’s instructor in history and Old Testament (1944–47). Before the Old Testament teaching post was assumed, however, Northern Seminary instead appointed Kerr as Professor of Theology, thereby filling the post left vacant by the California-bound Henry.

With the centennial anniversary of Kerr’s birth in 2015 (September 6), a tribute to the beloved pastor-professor-author seemed in order. So I researched, wrote and delivered a paper/lecture on Dr. Kerr at the annual southeast regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, served as host to the March 18-19, 2016, meeting. Dr. Kerr was a member of ETS, as well as the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature.

My paper/lecture was one of 42 presented along with three plenary sessions by professor, author and Christian apologist Paul Copan. Dr. Copan spoke on "God, Evil, and the New Atheism, "God, Evil, and the Old Testament" and "God, Evil, and Civilization."

For a copy of the paper entitled "In the Shadow of Carl F. H. Henry: The Life and Ministry of William F. Kerr," please contact Uncommon Christian Ministries.


Dr. Francis Kyle.
Lecture on friend and mentor Dr. W. F. Kerr (1915-2003). March 18, 2016.
Columbia International University. Columbia, SC.

"Tail of the Dragon"

While on the same, 12-day, 1,900-mile road trip to the American Southeast (Lebanon, TN; Asheville and Cherokee, NC; and Charleston, Columbia and Coosawhatchie, SC), I was able to finally ride the "Tail of the Dragon" on March 12, 2016. On my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 (a middleweight sport touring bike that I've owned since 2007), this was my first and long-awaited motorcycle trip to this historic and scenic region of the country. 


With 318 curves in 11 miles on the North Carolina/Tennessee border--and situated along the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest--this short stretch of the 582-mile U.S. Route 129 is popular with motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts. The Dragon has no cross roads, no driveways and trucks are banned. 


For a 27-minute "Tennessee Life" (production of the PBS-TV station in East Tennessee) feature story on The Tail of the Dragon that aired in May 2015 (episode 14), see here.

Deals Gap, North Carolina, the tiny community that lies at the mountain pass (2000' elevation) along the North Carolina/Tennessee border, is a must visit when beginning or ending one's ride on The Dragon.


Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Killboy.com. Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Killboy.com. Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Killboy.com. Robbinsville, NC.





Saturday, March 5, 2016

Embracing the Truth Bible Conference, 6th annual . . . March 8-11, 2016 . . . Hamilton Chapel Church, Lebanon, Tenn.

With the theme this year being "Set Apart To Do Holy Business for Our King," the 6th annual Embracing the Truth Bible Conference (ETT) takes place March 8-11 in the Gladeville community of Lebanon, Tennessee (25 miles east of Nashville). I will be attending the last two days of the conference as a first-time attendee.

Click here to view the conference flyer; here for ETT's schedule; and here for the ETT welcome letter.

[Post-conference update: to listen to the messages, see here.]


The conference's vision is "to help men as leaders 'to guard what has been entrusted to you' (2 Timothy 1:14) and to 'be strong in the grace that is Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 2:1) and 'to share in the suffering, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ'" (2 Timothy 2:3).

Though primarily for men and especially for pastors/church elders, women also are welcome to attend ETT and be instructed and blessed. However, there exists an ETT-like annual spring conference solely for women. This year (2016), the Women of Grace Bible Conference is at the Holiday Inn (World's Fair Park location) in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, April 21-23. This year's theme is "Christian Women Growing in Grace."

ETT will feature, in total, 7 lectures and 9 sermons by 11 "Sovereign Grace" (Calvinistic Baptist) African-American (and some Caucasian) preachers from 6 U.S. states: Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

After the opening lecture and sermon on the evening of March 8, the daily format for March 9-11 (Wednesday-Friday) is to have one lecture (10:30 a.m.) sandwiched between two sermons (9:15 and 11:45 a.m.) in the morning, fellowship and lunch provided by the host church (1:00 p.m.), the afternoons free for rest or recreation, and then one lecture (6:15 p.m.) and one sermon (7:15 p.m.) in the evening. So it's like going to a multi-day music festival, but instead of music, the people are gathered to hear the Bible taught (lecture) and preached (sermon).

Once again, Hamilton Chapel Church is hosting ETT. The historic Lebanon, Tennessee, church was founded by newly freed slaves just after America's 4-year Civil War had ended in 1865. Hamilton's pastor (1992- ), Dr. Robert L. Spickard, Sr., "has led the congregation in tremendous spiritual growth over his fifteen year tenure at this church. He teaches about the election of grace, justification, salvation, and sanctification. He preaches about the sovereign grace of Jesus Christ. Under his leadership, he has taught us that we serve a sovereign God, eternal, and still on the throne."

In the African-American church tradition, the conference presider is Wayne Cornelius, the senior assistant pastor at Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

As always, ETT conference registration is free. But the conference organizers ask that attendees complete a simple registration form. "The cost will not be a burden to those who attend, but believe those who receive this wholesome manna will support us in seed to continue these efforts to share the  gospel." A morning and evening freewill offering will be taken each day.

If in the Nashville area March 8-11, consider this as your invite to attend and be instructed and blessed by ETT's "wholesome manna" from God's Word, preached by God's choice servants who are some of the boldest preachers I know. "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1).

Elder/Pastor D. J. Ward (died 2008)
Main Street Baptist ChurchLexington, Ky.

The African-American Calvinistic Baptist ETT conference is the annual spring conference of the annual summer Sovereign Grace Bible Conference founded by the late D. J. Ward (died 2008) over 30 years ago (1985- ).

Prior to its current host church (2010- ) of New Home Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the SGBC was held where Elder/Pastor Ward served (1989-2008), namely, at Main Street Baptist Church (est. 1862 during the Civil War) in Lexington, Kentucky. The historic church is part of Lexington's African-American Heritage Trail.

All 11 ETT preachers were influenced by Elder D. J. Ward, either by Elder Ward's pastoral mentoring (thus, are a spiritual "son in the ministry" in the African-American church tradition) or by Elder Ward's sermons.

Through my good friend Daniel R. Green (1947-2006), I first learned of Elder Ward relatively soon after my conversion to the Christian faith (Evangelical Protestant) in 1992 and while living in Port Angeles, Washington. I then first met and heard Elder Ward preach at a John G. Reisinger-founded John Bunyan Conference in Pennsylvania in 1996. I met and heard him preach again when I attended the 2003 and 2004 Sovereign Grace Bible Conference in Lexington, Kentucky. As with many others, so also did Elder D. J. Ward make a lasting impression on my life and ministry, especially as it relates to preaching and pastoring.

The ETT preacher from Greensboro, North Carolina, is one of my favorites. A close friend of Elder Ward and blessed with a sharp mind and pastor's heart, he is one of the boldest and bravest preachers I know. David B. Morris studied classics and linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became a Christian in 1973. After nearly twenty years of pastoral ministry, he entered an itinerant ministry of evangelism and conference speaking. He and Terri, his wife of 31 years, have six children. Click here to listen to some of Elder Morris' sermons. 

Another favorite "Sovereign Grace" preacher of mine who will be at ETT is Jim McClarty, the founding pastor (2001- ) of Grace Christian Assembly in Smyrna, Tennessee. (Not that it matters, but both Pastor Morris and Pastor McClarty are Caucasian men loved by the "Sovereign Grace" African-American churches that are primarily located in the American South.)


Pastor Jim McClarty
Grace Christian AssemblySmyrna, Tenn.


Evangelist David B. Morris
Greensboro, N.C.





Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, USA

Lebanon is named after the Bible's reference to Lebanon
as there are cedar trees prevalent in the area.
"Cedars of Lebanon" (Judges 9:15, 1 Kings 5:6, etc.).
In Wilson County are the Cedars of Lebanon State
Forest and 900-acre State Park

The first Crackle Barrel Old County Store restaurant
and gift shop was in Lebanon, Tenn., 1969.
With over 630 stores in 42 states,
its headquarters remain in Lebanon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"That I may be useful is my desire"

In his brief 27 years, James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) longed to be useful to God. The striving uncommon Christian did his "best to present [himself] to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). He sought to be "a vessel for honorable use" to God:
"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."
2 Tim. 2:20-21
This desire of the Connecticut-born and Princeton University and Yale Seminary-educated Second Great Awakening evangelist is evident throughout his journals and letters--and what his contemporaries said about him--that are included in the once popular Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor (1833) and A New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor (1838). For instance, Taylor writes,
"My heart at times rejoices in the prospect of being useful to my fellow sinners, and at times it shrinks back from the many difficulties which rise to my view. The life of a faithful minister (and such may I be, if admitted to the office) appears to me to be more glorious than any other. He is prompted by true benevolence; he labors not to destroy men's souls, but to save them. He is engaged in a cause which must prosper, for Christ is the head [of the church, Col. 1:18]. He shall receive a reward according to Christ's promise [Rev. 22:12]."
~ age 18, November 16, 1819, New York City, letter to his parents in his native Middle Haddam, Connecticut
"The time necessary for me to go through the course marked out is eight years. I hope that in the discharge of my duty during this period [as a preparatory, university and seminary student] I may be useful."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter to his parents
"But while I set so great a value on a good education, I would not be understood to say that education is a matter of highest importance. Pure and undefiled religion [James 1:27] is the chief thing in the character of a minister of the gospel. Without it he cannot be useful."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter to his sister
"My wish is to glorify God [1 Cor. 10:31], and be useful to my fellow men. . . . If I can only be useful, it will be enough for me."
~ age 18, November 1819, New York City, letter "to a young friend"
 "I trust that I have not been called to this place for nothing. That I may be useful is my desire. If my heart does not deceive me, I long to spend and be spent for Christ [2 Cor. 12:15]."
~ age 19, July 12, 1820, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, letter to his fellow ministerial student friend 
 "And may I be an honor to my father, and to the mother who bore me! May I glorify my heavenly Father [1 Cor. 10:31] and be made a blessing to society! O may I not live like a cipher [a zero or a secret writing] in this world, but be made extensively useful. For this, let me ask your continual, earnest, united prayers."
~ age 20, December 1821, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, letter to his parents  
"I see nothing here to live for but to spend and be spent for God [2 Cor. 12:15]; and no longer than I may be useful would I remain here below."
~ age 22, May 1823, New York City, letter "to Miss W."
"Religion can be enjoyed in college. Lord, amidst so much iniquity, keep me spotless [2 Pet. 3:14], and make me useful." 
~ age 22, November 9, 1823, Princeton University (freshman), New Jersey, journal entry
"When I had given myself renewedly away to be the Lord's wholly [Num. 32:12, etc.], I longed to be useful, and felt willing to live and labor for souls." 
~ age 26, April 1827,  Trumbull, Connecticut, journal entry
"After all, I am a poor tool. Peradventure, my present hour [of serious physical illness and travels in the warmer American South] is to prepare me for greater usefulness. I know not the will of Him with whom is the future [James 4:13-15]. Enough to know that he now guides my footsteps."
~ age 27, April 19, 1828, Augusta, Georgia, letter to "his dear friends at the North"
"Should I recover [from tuberculosis], I shall look upon the varied dealings of God with me as happily preparatory for my future usefulness."
~ age 27, June 25, 1828, New York City, letter to family and friends in Middle Haddam, Connecticut

On the same day that the 27-year-old J. B. Taylor died of tuberculosis in the home of the prominent Southern Presbyterian John Holt Rice (1777-1831)--the home was located on the campus of Union Seminary (est. 1812) which itself was then situated on the campus of Hamden-Sydney College (est. 1775) in central Virginia--Rice wrote to Taylor's eldest brother and New York City businessman and Christian philanthropist, Knowles Taylor (1795-1850), on Sunday, March 29, 1829,
It devolves on me to perform a mournful service. . . . How mysterious this event! -- since it has appeared to me inevitable, that one so prepared for the ministry, and so desirous to be useful as our dear brother was, should die; the thought has often occurred to me, that there are services for very holy and devoted men, in a higher sphere, to which they are called, and where they do incomparably more for the glory of the divine Redeemer, and are more useful, than they could possibly be on earth. And while we are wondering that they should be cut off, and disappoint all our hopes of their usefulness, they probably do more in a day, in heaven, than they could do in a lifetime in this world. The Master had use for our brother above, and called for him. We would fain have kept him here. I confess that I never have seen a young man whom I so much wished should live.
Please join Uncommon Christian Ministries in prayerfully longing like James Brainerd Taylor to be made useful to God: "useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work" (2 Tim. 2:20-21).



Philemon 1:10-11, New Testament

















Saturday, January 16, 2016

Memberships: Investing Time and Money into Your Interests and Passions

January is normally dues paying time for my memberships. So at the beginning of each year, I evaluate my memberships in order to see if there are any I want to add or remove based on my changing interests, financial situation and geographic locale.

With a wide variety of interests and passions, there are many good associations, leagues and societies to support with my time and money. But with limited time and finances--and with only one life to live ("it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," Hebrews 9:27)--I must choose and be intentional. This includes limited time to read the monthly, quarterly or annual periodicals published and sent by some entities as a membership benefit.

Below are the 15 entities I am a member of because I believe in and want to support what the non-profit entity stands for and does. Most (9) have annual dues ($20-$65), one (1) has a one-time membership fee, some (5) are academic in nature and some (6) are free based simply on gathering together because of mutual beliefs or interest. Six of the 15 entities have origins that date back to the nineteenth century, the oldest forming in 1803. The newest entity formed in 2000.

My fellow kingdom-minded Christian or otherwise, what are you interested in and passionate about? How can you go "about doing good" and bless an entity by your membership dues, involvement and/or advocacy and therefore increase an entity's influence by "strength in numbers (members)"?

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, 
especially to those who are of the household of faith."

"Jesus of Nazareth . . . went about doing good
. . . for God was with him."
Acts 10:38

"learn to do good"
Isaiah 1:17


Local Church & Denominational Affiliation
Immanuel Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky)
~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1887; "building a community from all cultures where Christ is King"
~ See David N. Theobold, A Great People's Church: A History of Immanuel Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, 1887-2005 (2005)

The most important membership in life is with a blood-bought local "church
of the living God, the pillar and ground [buttress] of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15),
and which has the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ
as her Head (Eph. 5:23, Col. 1:18):

". . . the church of God, which [the Lord Jesus Christ] obtained
[bought, purchased] with his own blood."

". . . you were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as gold or silver,
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."

~ Recommended resources: Bobby Jamieson, Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership (2015); Thom S. Rainer, I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (2013); Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus (2012) and The Church and the Surprising Offense of God's Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline (2010); and Thabiti M. Anyabwile, What Is a Healthy Church Member? (2008) . . . Online, visit 9Marks: Building Healthy Churches

~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1837; "The Body shall serve and assist the churches in their sovereign capacity by the providing of resources and the facilitating of cooperation so that both the Body and the churches may fulfill the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20]"; consists of nearly 2,400 autonomous churches; bi-weekly newspaper (print and online) Western Recorder (1825- )
~ State affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention (est. 1845, over 46,000 churches)
~ Immanuel Baptist Church is a member of KBC's Long Run Baptist Association (est. 1803)


Pastoral Fellowship
Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.)
~ Member (individual), 2011-
~ Est. 2000; "a unifying network for independent Reformed (and Reforming) baptistic churches to experience mutual edification [Romans 1:12], fellowship, cooperation and prayerful support in ministries and missions"
~ Membership includes annual regional (fall) and national (spring) conferences

ALSO: When time allows--and though no formal membership exists--attendee at:

Together for the Gospel (T4G)
~ Est. 2006; biennial conference for pastors; Louisville, KY; attendee, 2012, 2014, 2016; most recent is in April 2016 with the theme "We Are Protestant: The Reformation at 500"

Sovereign Grace Bible Conference (every summer, New Home Missionary Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN, formerly/pre-2010 in Lexington, KY; attendee, 2003, 2004, 2013)
-and- Embracing the Truth Bible Conference (every spring, Hamilton Chapel Church, Lebanon, TN; attendee, 2016)
~ Annual gatherings of African-American Calvinistic Baptist churches--and that are connected to the late D. J. Ward (died 2008), elder/pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Lexington, KY--throughout primarily the American South and Southeast; the two Tennessee conferences are also attended by many who are not elders/pastors--all are welcome and invited to listen to great Christ-centered teaching and preaching, and some of the warmest and sweetest fellowship that exists this side of heaven.


Theology (Protestant)
Evangelical Theological Society
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1949; "a professional, academic society of Biblical scholars, teachers, pastors, and others involved in evangelical scholarship. We serve Jesus Christ and his church by fostering conservative, evangelical biblical scholarship"
~ Membership includes receiving the academic quarterly Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS); presenting papers/lectures at ETS regional (spring) and national (fall) conferences; book and conference registration discounts
~ See Andreas J. Kostenberger, ed., Quo Vadis [Where Are You Going], Evangelicalism? Perspectives on the Past, Direction for the Future: Nine Presidential Addresses from the First Fifty Years of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (2007)


Missions (Protestant)
Evangelical Missiological Society
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1990; "exists to advance the cause of world evangelization. We do this through study and evaluation of mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective with a view to commending sound mission theory and practice to churches, mission agencies and schools of missionary training around the world"
~ Membership includes receiving EMS's annual academic book published by William Carey Library (e.g., in 2015, the complementary book was Diaspora Missiology: Reflections on Reaching the Scattered Peoples of the World, in 2014 The Missionary Family: Witness, Concerns, Care); presenting papers/lectures at annual regional (spring) and national (fall) conferences


History (4)
American Society of Church History
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1888; "a scholarly community dedicated to studying the history of Christianity and how it relates to culture in all time periods, locations and contexts"
~ Membership includes receiving the quarterly academic journal Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture; presenting papers/lectures at ASCH national conferences
~ See George H. Shriver, Philip Schaff [1819-1893]: Christian Scholar and Ecumenical Prophet; Centennial Biography for the American Society of Church History (1987)

Nineteenth Century Studies Association
~ Member, 2016-
~ Est. 1979; "purpose of this non-profit educational organization shall be to advance research and scholarship, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary studies, in all aspects of nineteenth-century culture"
~ Membership includes receiving the annual interdisciplinary academic journal Nineteenth Century Studies, and presenting papers/lectures at NCSA's annual national conference
--> NOTE: My areas of interest and scholarly pursuits regarding the "long" nineteenth century--chiefly America's antebellum (pre-Civil War) period--include the Second Great Awakening (1790-1830) and especially in New England and the Connecticut-born evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829); early years of the American Protestant foreign missionary movement (mostly the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, est. 1810); origins and growth of Evangelical Protestant theological education (1807- ); Lewis and Clark/Corps of Discovery expedition (1803-06); westward expansion frontiersmen, emigrant trails (California TrailOregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, etc.) and Protestant pioneer missionary activity in The Great American West; relations between Native American tribes and the U.S. government; and British and American involvement in the Middle East (mainly Palestine/Israel)

Filson Historical Society 
~ Member, 2013- 
~ Est. 1884; "Kentucky's oldest and largest privately supported historical society" whose mission "is to collect, preserve and tell the significant stories of Kentucky and Ohio Valley history and culture"; headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky; covers entire Ohio River Valley ("The First American West") and thus the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
~ Membership includes free lectures and archival research visits; members-only access to online podcasts and research tools; receiving the quarterly newsmagazine The Filson and the quarterly academic journal Ohio Valley History (published collaboration of FHS, Cincinnati Museum Center and University of Cincinnati)

Louisville Historical League
~ Member, 2013-
~ Est. 1972; "dedicated to promoting the appreciation and preservation of our cultural heritage and historic environment in the metro Louisville area [est. 1778]"
~ Membership includes free lectures


Motorcycling (2)
American Motorcyclist Association
~ Member, 2007-
~ Est. 1924; "to promote the motorcycle lifestyle  and protect the future of motorcycling"; headquartered in Pickerington, Ohio; USA's largest motorcycle advocacy organization (over 200,000 members)--including for women riders--with an emphasis on "Rights, Riding, Racing"
~ Membership includes supporting AMA government relations/activism in Washington, D.C.; monthly magazine American Motorcyclist; online access to members-only area; AMA Roadside Assistance (for motorcycle and car); money-saving discounts at many motorcycle retailers, hotels and motorcycle/car rental agencies, and with certain motorcycle magazines and at certain motorcycle events and races (AIMExpo, AMA Supercross, Arenacross); riding events and rally opportunities with the AMA Premier Touring Series and/or with a local AMA Club; discount to annual AMA Convention and AMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (every October in Orlando, Florida), AMA Championship Banquet and AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days (every July in Lexington, Ohio); admission discount to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame (opened 1990)

Iron Butt Association
~ Member, 2015- 
~ Est. 1984; "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders"; "Dedicated to the Sport of Safe Long Distance Motorcycling"; over 60,000 members; one-time membership fee (no annual dues)
~ I became an IBA member after completing a "Saddlesore 1000" (1,000-mile motorcycle trip in 24 hours or less): rode 1,053 miles in 21 hours, Louisville, Kentucky to Dryden, Ontario, Canada, August 8, 2015, on my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom DL650


Healthcare (Infection Control, Sterile Processing of Surgical Instrumentation) 
International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM)
~ Member, 2014-
~ Est. 1958; headquartered in Chicago, Illinois; "Instrumental to Patient Care"; over 23,000 global members
~ Is the international certification association for my "tent making" (Acts 18:3) Louisville hospital job (2013- ) as a Sterile Processing Technician--see my "Perspectives" op-ed articles in Infection Control Today magazine: "Reflections on My First 18 Months as a Sterile Processing Technician" (August 2015, pages 8 and 10) and "Just a Tech? The Benefits and Greatness of Being--and Remaining--a Sterile Processing Technician" (February 2016, pages 8 and 10)
~ See photos and feature cover article in IAHCSMM's September/October 2015 Communique (pages 56-60) of the hospital department I work at: "Triple Crown Certification: How One CS Department is Winning the Race for Quality, Safety and Professionalism"; also see here for additional information on the feature magazine article
~ Membership includes the bi-monthly newsmagazine Communique: A Publication of IAHCSMM and bi-monthly e-newsletter Central Source; discounts on IAHCSMM resources and for annual national conference

Kentuckiana IHACSMM Chapter
~ Member, 2016; secretary, 2016-18
~ Est. April 2, 2016; regional IHACSMM chapter for Kentucky and southern Indiana


Physical Fitness
Planet Fitness
~ Member (home club, Louisville, Kentucky), 2015-
~ Est. 1992; "a unique environment where anyone--and we mean anyone--can be comfortable. . . where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built"; headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FOUND: Original oil paintings of James Brainerd Taylor and family members . . . "O, mamma, how happy I am that his portrait is left us. It will be a precious relic indeed"

After a 17-year, research-filled wait, the original 1828 oil painting (39" x 32") of James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) has been located. The June 29, 2015, finding came as a result of a periodic search inquiry on various online search engines regarding James Brainerd Taylor and select family members.

The background to the J. B. Taylor painting is explained in my An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening (University Press of America, 2008, page 142):

"After five sittings and just three days prior to his departure for the South on November, 4, 1828, [Taylor's] portrait was completed in New York City by America's premier nineteenth-century portrait artists, Samuel Lovett Waldo (1783-1861) and William Jewett (1792-1874). In reflecting upon the portrait, Fitch Taylor penned words of tenderness addressed to his parents on April 3, 1829, just five days after James' death: 'O, mamma, how happy I am that his portrait is left us. It will be a precious relic indeed.'"

James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829)

Age 27 (5 months before his death in Virginia)
October 1828, New York City

Painting (39" x 32") by Samuel Lovett Waldo and William Jewett

Courtesy of Connecticut River Museum

Also located in the same archival collection are the portrait paintings of Taylor's parents, Col. Jeremiah Taylor (1773-1849) and Lucy Brainerd Taylor (1777-1865), and two of his younger brothers, Fitch Waterman Taylor (1803-1865, the compiler/editor of A New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor, 1834) and Samuel Taylor (1813-1873). In all, twelve portraits of members of the five generations of the prominent Taylor family of Connecticut have been located by this Taylor family researcher. William Taylor (born ca. 1625) is the emigrant ancestor and progenitor of this particular branch of Taylors in America, having arrived in Connecticut from Lancashire County, England, in 1647.

The oil paintings are housed in the Stevens Library archival collections at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut. Essex is located along the Connecticut River some fifteen (river) miles south of Middle Haddam, Connecticut, the birthplace of J. B. Taylor.

I plan to include some of the newly discovered portraits in my hopeful third book on J. B. Taylor: Uncommon Christian Evangelism: Lessons for Today from James Brainerd Taylor. Both An Uncommon Christian and the companion volume, my edited anthology Of Intense Brightness: The Spirituality of Uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor (University Press of America, 2008), already include over 35 images in each book.

Lucy Brainerd Taylor (1777-1865)

Age 57
1834, New York City

Cousin (3x removed) of the famed missionary David Brainerd (1718-1747)

Painting (30.5" x 34.5") by Frederick R. Spencer
Courtesy of Connecticut River Museum

My research and writing on J. B. Taylor began after buying the Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, Second Edition (1833) for $10 at a used bookstore in Manchester, Connecticut, in July 1998. In the memoir's frontispiece is a black-and-white engraving of the portrait painting. My research into finding the hoped-for still existent original painting had included phone calls to various art galleries throughout the U.S. that housed art works by the painters Waldo and Jewett, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. But it was not until 2015 that I was able to finally locate the original oil painting. Up until now, the only known extant portrait of any of J. B. Taylor's immediate family was a sketch of Jeremiah Humphre Taylor (1797-1882), one of James' two older brothers, that appeared in Henry Anstice's History of St. George's Church in the City of New York, 1752-1811-1911. (See figure 10 in An Uncommon Christian, and figure 10 in Of Intense Brightness.)

Here are the three Hartford Courant newspaper articles (1995, 1997, 2002) that have been posted online and that have provided this independent researcher with new information about this particular branch of the Taylor family of Connecticut. William Taylor (born ca. 1625) is the emigrant ancestor and progenitor of this particular branch of Taylors in America, having arrived in Connecticut from Lancashire County, England, in 1647.

"Portraits of Family Find a Home at River Museum"
March 7, 1995
Hartford Courant

"St. Clements Comes Out of Hiding: Estate Leads Portland's Renaissance"
December 7, 1997
Hartford Courant

"Ask the Courant: St. Clements in Portland, Conn."
July 8, 2002
Hartford Courant

Col. Jeremiah Taylor (1773-1849)

Age 61
1834, New York City

Collateral descendent of Church of England literary giant Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667),
considered the "Shakespeare of Divines"

Painting (36" x 31") by Frederick R. Spencer
Courtesy of Connecticut River Museum

Some of the highlights from the three articles--combined with some information provided by the Connecticut River Museum curator, Amy Trout--include the following:

+ The Taylor family name/line ceased on October 16, 2003, with the death of Prudence Taylor Palmer (1931-2003, born New York City, died Portland, Connecticut). According to her obituary, "As an only child and the last in the Taylor line, Mrs. Palmer inherited much of the Taylor history and memorabilia. She devoted the last of her life to the preservation and distribution of that material."

Mrs. Palmer's preservation efforts included authoring and editing with her husband Theodore Johnson Palmer (1918-2004) St. Clements: The Chronicle of a Connecticut River Castle (1992) and Letters to Harry [Henry Osborn Taylor], 1872-74: Man of Letters (2000), both of which include Taylor family history. And her donating 90 acres (including Taylor Brook) to form the Middlesex Land Trust's Palmer-Taylor Preserve in the Middle Haddam area of East Hampton, Connecticut.

Concerning Portland, Connecticut's St. Clements Castle, it overlooks the Connecticut River and was built in 1902 for New York City attorney Howard Augustus Taylor (1865-1920) and his wife. It remained in the Taylor family until 1970 when it was donated to Wesleyan University. The university then sold it in 1993 to the non-profit Saint Clements Foundation, at which time the Taylor family portraits were donated to the Connecticut River Museum by the Taylor family. Today, the castle/mansion is a popular wedding venue.

+ The paintings of J. B. Taylor's parents, Col. Jeremiah Taylor and Lucy Brainerd Taylor, were completed in 1834 by the New York City-based itinerant portrait artist Frederick R. Spencer (1806-1875). The paintings--in addition to a painting of an anonymous "Son of Col. and Mrs. Jeremiah Taylor"--were loaned by the Taylor family (Mrs. David Taylor of Portland, Connecticut) for display at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York, September 2 to November 2, 1969. Though photos of the three loaned paintings were not included in the print publication of the Spencer exhibit, they were mentioned in A Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Frederick R. Spencer (1806-1875).

Connecticut River Museum (est. 1975)

Essex, Connecticut

Friday, June 12, 2015

America's moral revolution: Uncommon Christian counter-culture among those not celebrating

That which was condemned is celebrated.

That which was celebrated is condemned.

Those who will not join the celebration are condemned.

So the British theologian and journalist Theo Hobson has stated on what a society's moral revolution looks like with a 3-step criteria. (Quoted by American culture commentator, author and seminary president Albert Mohler in Oklahoma's The Baptist Messenger, "The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church," posted March 16, 2015.)

Count the James Brainerd Taylor-inspired Uncommon Christian Ministries as among those not celebrating America's moral revolution but which is rejoicing in Jesus' "words of eternal life" (John 6:68):

"Whoever believes in [the Lord Jesus Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the Son of God."
John 3:18

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:1

Relatedly, here is an insightful 9-minute video interview with Dr. Mohler on "How to Survive a Moral Revolution." It was given at The Gospel Coalition national conference in Orlando, Florida, April 13-15, 2015. Also available is a written transcript of some highlights of the same interview--see here.


Monday, May 18, 2015

"The Life of David Brainerd [1718-1747]: A Documentary," new DVD

Those familiar with the Second Great Awakening evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) will be interested to know that a new DVD on Taylor's famed First Great Awakening missionary cousin has been released.

"The Life of David Brainerd: A Documentary" by Silvius Motion Pictures sells for $14.99.

The 57-minute DVD can be used individually or for a small group study. Also available is a 44-page companion devotional booklet ($4.49). Both can be purchased online from the distributor, Church Works Media.

Here is the DVD's description by the Cleveland, Ohio-based producer:

Explore the life and influence of David Brainerd (1718-1747), the subject of the most popular book written by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), America's greatest theologian. The documentary answers the questions, Who was David Brainerd, and why has he had such a lasting international influence? It emphasizes David's sufferings and weaknesses, demonstrating that God loves to use weak things to show off his strength--a much needed emphasis in today's evangelical church.
The DVD includes footage from more than a dozen places where Brainerd lived. It features diary narrations by Tim Keesee (Frontline Missions International) and interviews with exceptional scholars on the topics of David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards and evangelical spirituality.

One day, it's hoped that a similar documentary DVD and companion devotional will be produced and published on the once equally famous James Brainerd Taylor. (In An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening [2008], see Appendix B, "David Brainerd and James Brainerd Taylor, A Comparative Chart.")