Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume IV, Issue XVI
This week the 'other' weekly news magazine again presents their list of the 100 most influential people. THYME is also looking for influential, so we reached back in history. Influential, in our way of thinking, would change the course of men's lives. Leading them upon a better path.
Think of John Henry Newton. Born in Wapping, London in 1725, he became a mariner... a slaver to be precise. Dealing in the miserable trade of enslaved human beings, but Newton was enslaved himself by his participation in this vile commerce, and experienced freedom when he gave his life to Christ in 1748.
Eventually Newton left the slave trade and became an Anglican clergyman. His influence led parlementarian William Wilberforce to labor almost fifty years to eliminate slavery in all British territories.
Both Newton and Wilberforce were influential men, to be sure, but they were 'under the influence' of someone who's followers see him thus described:
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." -- Isaiah 11:1-12
Mankind has moved through ages of deep depravity and times that we have come to know as Golden Ages as well. What will we do with the time that is ours?
The great irony is that Heavenly minded men and women, far from being "no Earthly good," have often been the catalysts for building a better life for their fellows. Alvin Schmidt documents this in his book "Under the Influence." Many advances in compassion and society are the result of people like England's William Wilberforce, who championed the abolition of slavery for years, and Charles Dickens, who changed the way society responded to the needy among them.
With our eyes set firmly on the "hope of things to come," will we bring the touch of G-d to our age?, or will we surrender to our dark demons? Charles Dickens was addressing social issues of his day. When Dorethea Dix and Florence Nightengale improved healthcare methods, it was their faith that moved them. History calls to men and women of faith. Their influence, 'under the influence,' is no less needed in our day.
He was born in an obscure village, a child of a peasant woman.
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty,
Then became an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never did one thing that usually accompanies greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
While still a young man, public opinion turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
One denied Him.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for His only piece of property - His coat.
He was laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone.
Today He is the centerpiece of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
And all the kings that ever reigned put together,
have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as that
One Solitary Life. -- James Allan Francis
Trillium on Old Rag Mountain.
Mountain Laurel on Old Rag Mountain.
Fun as a Teaching Tool
A Drab Hallway Becomes a Bright New World
At Staunton Alliance Church, we were confronted by a long institutional hallway that led to our childrens' outdoor playground. Tracy Daniels, our administrator, approached me one day with the idea of painting a mural to "brighten up the hallway." Her idea was that we create a missions theme along the walls. Thinking that a mural paintedby an architectural illustrator might be a bit boring, I partnered with Laney Riley, a very talented artist in our congregation.
Our theme soon grew into a depiction of Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21where the restored Earth and Heaven are one. Representatives of every Nation are brought into the presence of the Lord. It is the hope of every believer, according to scripture, but is often depicted as a white-on-white perpetual harp concert. I'd read some books by Randy Alcorn, who writes about Heaven and puts it in its true context: a world of delights more delightful than anything we in this world can imagine... and yet, our imaginings here, and our most delightful experiences are but an indication of the joy that awaits us.
Thanks to what I refer to as 'Laney Magic,' bright colors and faces reflecting 'sanctified mischef' are the norm. This isn't your Mother's nursery mural. The figures are life-sized. We start the sketches by finding real children's pictures. Often they are kids in rags. We turn them into 'princes and princesses' of the New Heaven and the New Earth. We leave a bit of mischef in their faces though so the kids can see themselves in that beautiful world. The Creator who made the otter and the hairy-nosed wombat certainly has a playful streak, and Imago Dei would suggest that our love of fun is divinely authored.
Laney has recently added composite images of the mural so that you may view the entire work. Click on the link below to see them:
Perspective on Human Nature and Economics
Agriculture was revolutionized by Cyrus McCormick, who built his first reaper at his Father's mill in Augusta County. The operation moved to Chicago to become the International Harvester Corporation.
Randy Alcorn, author of the book: Heaven, offers This Perspective [click to watch] on economic systems and human nature. The question that should really be asked is: "which economic model best mitigates human tendencies toward depravity?"