Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Walking Where My Ancestors Walked

I have seen this picture (above) of my grandfather, father and other relatives in front of their home on Ditmore Ford Road many times.

The name Ford comes from a small stream of water (a place where a river or other water may be crossed by wading). It is a short distance down the road from the Ditmore home.

My heart was beating a little faster than usual as I walked from the corner where this picture of me, my daughter, Carol, and my niece, Linda was taken. I walked down the road my father walked down as a young boy and man.

I stood for a long time just looking at the ruins of the Ditmore home. And then I walked over and picked up two or three old, loose bricks. They now serve as book ends on one of the shelves in my office. I'm looking at them now.

On down the road I stood in front of the Ford, stared and dreamed. I didn't cross it.

Things are different out on Ditmore Ford Road today than they were back in my fathers day or even July, 2000 when I walked down the road. Franklin, Kentucky is growing. New homes are being built. Somebody else is creating history.


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Day I Got My First Ice Cream Cone 
It was a hot day that Saturday noon in that little Oklahoma town back in 1939.
A crowd had gathered at the center of town and children would be called out of the crowd according to age.
I was five. My group was called for. Mother turned loose of my hand and sent me to the circle.
A man stood in the middle of the circle with a bag of money. He threw the coins into the air.
The point of it all? Grab all the money you can!
I got a dime. Well, I can't honestly remember how much I grabbed but I know I got at least that much.
Just outside the human circle on the corner was a drug store.
My mother took my hand and we went immediately to the store and to the soda fountain.
I was five. I'm now 79. But I still remember.
Strawberry. The ice cream cone was strawberry.
Why do I remember this silly little story?
You wouldn't ask that question if you knew how much I like ice cream.
Strawberry ice cream!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution
By John L. Allen Jr.

OVERVIEW: "This book is about the most dramatic religion story of the early twenty-first century, yet one that most people in the West have little idea is even happening: the global war on Christians," writes John Allen. "Christians today indisputably form the most persecuted religious body on the planet, and too often its new martyrs suffer in silence."

AUTHOR: John L. Allen Jr. is the senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and the senior Vatican analyst for CNN, and writes for other national and international publications. He speaks at nearly fifty engagements a year and is the author of seven previous books.

MY REVIEW: Before reading this book I knew that Christians were being persecuted. I had no idea that persecution is so wide spread. Part One of this informative book is about Anti-Christian Persecution Around The World. Allen gives an overview and then writes about the persecution in Africa, Asia, Latin America, The Middle East and Eastern Europe. I had no idea!

Part Two covers Myths About The Global War On Christians. Here again, I was surprised. Allen talks about the myth that no one saw it coming, the myth that anti-Christian persecution is a political issue and several other myths.

Allen does not just leave readers "hanging." The last chapter is: What's To Be Done. This final chapter presents a set of suggestions for responding to the global war on Christians. He does not suggest that his suggestions are the only things that can be done. Rather, his suggestions are among the immediate things that can be done, right here and right now.

My conclusion from reading this splendid book is it's TIME TO WAKE UP! Since I don't think I'm the only Christian that needs to wake up, I want to recommend that you read this book and this pass it on to a friend.

(I received this book from BloggingForBooks, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Saturday, January 04, 2014

I have doubts.
Heaven, hell, death---you name it. I have lots of questions. Doubts.
Is it possible to have faith in the presence of doubt? Yes. I think so.
I have faith too. And as John Ortberg says, "I have bet the farm."
I have spent my life studying, thinking, reading and teaching about God and God "stuff."
I believe. But I do have doubts.
There is a mystery about faith that I don't understand.
But I strongly believe that faith is our only hope. And having doubts doesn't mean I don't have faith.
I have faith and doubt. And I can live with that.
I do not have to be certain about everything in order to have faith.
Charles Templeton lost faith and said, "Farewell To God." That's the title of one of his books.
For more than twenty years, Charles Templeton was a major figure in the church in Canada and the United states. During the 1950's he and his friend, Billy Graham were the two most successful exponents of mass evangelism in North America.
I don't have that kind of doubt. I haven't given up on God and I have FAITH that He HAS NOTgiven up on me!
What matters most is not certainty, but faithfulness. There are times when we will have to make commitment without total certainty. For the most important decisions in life, this is almost always the case.


Friday, January 03, 2014

"MAMA, the damn Ditmores are here."
How many times did I hear that yelled out over the years? I was eleven years old. My mother had died and I had gone to live with my sister and her husband. Two of my brothers and their wives lived one hundred miles away and they would drive that one hundred miles as often as they could to come and see me. My brother-in-law was a good man. He loved my sister and the rest of her family he was just a little crude sometimes. Well, most of the time.
I absolutely hated to hear the words---"Damn Ditmores."
My brothers just laughed and shrugged it off with, "That's just Pete."
Well, Pete or no Pete. I didn't like it.
I'm the "baby" in this part of the Ditmore clan. I'm the last one standing. I had four brothers and two sisters. My father was in a mental institution all my life. When I was young people with mental problems were just considered crazy and put in an insane asylum. I was ashamed to admit I even had a father until I was an adult. All through my youth I told people he was dead. My mother died when I was eleven and I lived first with my one of my sisters and then later with one brother and then another.
None of my brothers graduated from high school but they wanted me to and did everything they could to make that happen. They dropped out of school to work and make a living for the family.
They encouraged me to work and be responsible. I did work and left college not owing anything. I went on to seminary and graduate school and earned a Masters Degree.
This small group of Ditmores were the only ones I knew until a few years ago. Now, through research my daughter has done, I am acquainted with Ditmores all over the country and I am friends with many of them on Face Book.
There are many Ditmores and in such a large group of people I'm sure a few of them may be "Damn Ditmores." But not to me. I still despise those words. To me, D IS FOR DITMORE.