ANGEL'S SHARE NOW FEATURES THE 13 CHAPTER [ESTHER] OF MY SEASONS FOR EVERYTHING: TALES OF A RELUCTANT PASTOR.
Today's Blurb from Bob: It has useful tuning out the news while taking care of mom's funeral, celebrating Penny's engagement, preparing for Janie's wedding, plotting some Cunard trips we'd like to take, redecorating the house, and mapping out my new library --- been clearing out the utlility room and the old bookcases to make way for the new. As Ray Bradbury reminds us, you really shouldn't save up toenail clippings or snakeskins.
Danville News Column
Robert John Andrews
Friday, 23 September, 2016
Word Count: 750
Define strength. It’s a simple question. Or is it? Which is stronger: a steel girder or a spider’s web? Which is stronger: an oak tree or a willow? I hear the angry shouts for America to be strong, but what exactly does that mean?
Years ago our local ministerium decided it would be cute to bring in a muscle-bound evangelistic team. The muscle-bound team’s message was how faith makes a body strong. I found it odd how one hot afternoon I found myself picking through a junk yard in search of abandoned license plates for the beefy fellows to rip apart. Nevertheless, I played along with my colleagues. Even this gimmick of evangelism, I sighed, might do some good for some folks (although some of the financial shenanigans on their part left us afterwards questioning their Christianity). I often remind myself that my opinion isn’t always right. Though I do remember snic kering and mentioning that those hefty fellows on stage who could rip apart license plates, tear telephone books, or smash bricks apart in the name of Jesus, had nothing on the strength of a woman giving birth. Talk about your strength! I’m fond of that aphorism that men may be stronger but women are tougher. Which glides me immediately to my personal motto: when the going gets tough, it’s time for a party.
Define strength, please. How we answer also might help us in today’s frustrating and facile and petty national debate about such things as terrorism, war, military force, American first. Gosh, the shouting is lacking honor. Why do we equate the ability to destroy things with strength? Any idiot can blow people up. It takes real strength to build people up.
Please help me as I dial up the WABAC machine. With Mr. Peabody, we travel toward the closings months of the Civil War. Several preachers, the story goes, were castigating the imbecile Abraham Lincoln for his policies of reconciliation toward the rebels. With wagging fingers, they admonished him to destroy convincingly the enemies of the Union. Lincoln, the legend continues, replied: “Do I not destroy my enemies if I make them my friends?” Some contend this aphorism naïve. Naïve is not a word offered used to describe Lincoln. The man was tough because he was compassionate. He understood justice and judgment far better than those pandering preachers, for he both appreciated and feared strength. What good is winning if you lose in winning?
Which is stronger: pride or the ability to suck it up? Which is stronger: a fist or a handshake? Which is stronger: knowing when to shoot or knowing when not to? Which is stronger: retaliating when insulted or shrugging it off? Grandma always said that persons who shout insults reveal more about themselves than about the person they think they are insulting.
Which is stronger: the ability to beat someone up or the ability to befriend him? Which is stronger: resentment and revenge or forgiveness and mercy? Which is stronger: hatred or love?
Which is stronger: blaming others or taking responsibility? Sure, life’s hard. You’ve struggled and you’re still waiting for your reward. Sure, life’s unfair. You feel you’ve been cheated. You’re scared. You’re too scared or too broke or too untrained to pack up and move to opportunity. You keep hoping opportunity is going to fall into lap, but it’s not, it won’t. You’re only cheating yourself.
We are experiencing today much poor white frustration, what others have felt for a long, long time. A “learned helplessness” suggests J.D. Vance.
The Boss sings about this. After forty-four years, we finally got to enjoy a Springsteen concert. Bruce came to my college but I missed him. Listen from “The Promised Land:” I've done my best to live the right way I get up every morning and go to work each day . But your eyes go blind and your blood runs col. Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode. Explode and tear this whole town apart. Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart. Find somebody itching for something to start. The dogs on Main Street howl ‘Cause they understand. If I could wrench one moment into my hands. Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man. And I believe in a promised land.
You want to blame someone other than yourself for the spot you’re in? Hey man: the glory days are up to you. The glory days depend on who and what you honor.
Need to reach me? Try: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool. My talk on 'The Other Side of the Coin -- the Life of the Danville Mill Worker' is now on Youtube, courtesy of Van Wagner.
A WORD ABOUT MY WRITINGS:
1) FINISHED IS THE SEQUEL TO NATHANIEL'S CALL CALLED NATHANIEL'S RETURN -- THIRTEEN DAYS IN THIRTEEN CHAPTERS;
2) I AM GOING TO PULL DANGEROUS CURVES TO SUBMIT A REDRAFTED VERSION OF THE STORY;
3) SOON I WILL COMPLETE MY NON-FICTION WORK ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER AND THE PAINT BUSINESS, TITLED 'GREORGE AND FLORENCE - FOREVER YOURS;'
4) MY BIGGEST HOPE IS TO PACKAGE ALL MY NOVELS AND TRY TO ENLIST AN AGENT OR A REAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, AS WELL AS SYNDICATE MY COLUMNS -- ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Nathaniel's Call available for purchase!
The paperback edition (355 pages) can be purchased from the following vendors:
Amazon at www.amazon.com
Barnes and Noble at www.bn.com for 16.52 (plus shipping)
Booklocker at www.booklocker.com
Also available at the Iron Heritage store, 316 Mill Street, Danville
Nathaniel's Call by Robert John Andrews
The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.
Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.
Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes). We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.”
As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don't think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel's Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”