Defending our Christian Heritage ....

To The Last Ditch

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Location: Somewhere in the Heart of Dixie

Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

2008 is in the books!

2008 was a great year, full of surprises, victories, as well as minor setbacks to the cause of Christ. As we progress into the new year, we should continually be mindful that the Lord is in control. Every thing that comes to pass is for His glory.

May the Lord richly bless you and your families as we continue to seek His will.

2009 will be an interesting year. Obama will prospectively take office and many of the principles we adhere to will be under attack.

I am excited about what the Lord will do in the near future!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Valkyrie: A Review

Hello all! Due to the holiday atmosphere, etc., don't expect too many posts between now and the first week of the year.

I've never done a movie review before but I wanted to do this one because I think many people will put this movie aside simply because Tom Cruise is the main actor.
Sometimes I find myself stereotyping the Germans living in Germany during WWII. For some reason, it's just difficult to keep from making the general assumption that "all Germans were Nazis". This is certainly not the case.
Valkyrie follows the career of Colonel Stauffenberg, a Nazi soldier, who uses his influence to attempt to assasainate Adolf Hitler. Stauffenberg was the mastermind of the "July 20 Plot", the last of fifteen attempts to assasainate Hitler. It is a historically accurate film and I highly recommend it.
There is no objectionable content, besides some bad language.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas y'all!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Economic Impact Of Barack Obama On The Gun Market

Weapon sales rise. Gun show attendance soars.

Why? Perhaps it has something to do with our new president.

According to Gun Owners of America's December newsletter, "He will become the most anti-gun President this nation has ever seen. Obama's record shows that he:
-opposes concealed carry
-supports bans on many common shotguns and semi-automatic firearms
-wants to limit magazine capacities for semi-automatic firearms
-opposes guns being available and ready for self-defense (that is, he wants all guns locked up)
-wants gun shops banned within five miles of a school or park, making it virtually impossible to have any such store anywhere near your neighborhood; and favors prohibitive taxes on firearms and hunting ammunition.

So Americans have gone out to buy a lot of what will become a scarce resource. Here's an example:

In the third quarter of 2008 (July through October), a gun dealership in North Carolina sold:
-7.62x39 ammo- 361 cases
-30 round AK mags- 783
-AK rifles (all types)- 243

By comparison, in the ten days since the election, the firm sold:
-7.62x39 ammo-1218
-30 round AK mags-3855
-AK rifles (all types)- 572

The firm was unable to keep up with the demand.

History shows that tyrants will always take away the people's personal weapons because tyranny flourishes when the people can't resist it. Several examples:
How about the English banning the Scots from owning weapons after the "Rising of '45"? Or, more recently, Hitler's disarmament of the Jews just before hauling them all off to the concentration camps?

As Christians, we have a duty to resist all authority that resists Christ's ultimate authority. We are to be prepared to resist with carnal weapons, but only after all peaceful methods have been exhausted.

"At this defining moment, change has come to America."- Obama

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Review: Two Sketches

This book is a "joint biography" of two Confederate men, one a Presbyterian pastor and the other a Presbyterian ministerial student. Both were killed in the War for Southern Independence. In the forward, Mr. William Potter writes:
The legacies of Dabney Carr Harrison and Hugh Augustus White, however comprised more than heroic combat records; because they both lived by the principle that man's chief end is to glorify God, their influence for the cause of Christ wrought eternal value to many who knew them.

It was a great inspiration to me to read the stories of these great men. Considering our present crisis, we should look to them for examples.

Hugh A. White's father was Stonewall Jackson's pastor in Lexington, Virginia. Hugh was enrolled in Union Theological Seminary when the war began. After receiving his father's blessing, Hugh joined the 4th Virginia Infantry, later an integral part of the famous Stonewall Brigade, as a private. Here are some selections from his letters:

So far as this life is concerned, it is far better that every Southern man should die, resisting the Northern invader, than bow his neck to the cruel yoke he seeks to impose upon us. And as to our eternal interests, the only way to secure them is by faithfully following the path of duty. And what duty can be more imperative or sacred than resistance to the fanatical power which now rules the North, and seeks to subjugate or destroy us?

...Their soldiers are not actuated by the spirit which animates ours. They can make a grand show, blow their trumpets, and bluster about their flag, but are quick to choose between defeat and death. Considering what they have a stake, the former is far the better of the two. But it is not so with us. Our earthly all is at stake.

What Captain White believed, he sealed with his own blood on August 29, 1862, at the battle of 2nd Manassas. Just before the crushing Confederate breakthrough, while the outcome was still in doubt, White grabbed his company's standard, turned to his men and cried, "Come on, come on!" He disappeared in the smoke, as he sprinted toward the yankee line. When the men under his command came up, they found him dead.

Dabney Carr Harrison was a descendant of patriots. He was related to two signers, including the author, of the Declaration of Independence. When the war began he was chaplain of Virginia University. He enlisted in a company that would later form part of the 56th Virginia, also as a private. Here is a select quote:

The South has, though unworthy, been invested with the great privilege of defending the principles of 1776. The same phenomena are re-appearing, which astonished the world a century ago. No one around me seems unwilling to come down to real privation, if the State should need the sacrifice. And we are far more united than during the first Revolution. I trust that we shall be purified, elevated and set forward for a grand career.

Harrison was soon promoted to the rank of captain. Transferred to the western theater of the war, he was killed at the battle for Fort Donelson. During an ill fated attack on the yankee line, he was shot through the lungs. Knowing that his wound was fatal, he directed his men to carry him to the rear. His last words were directed to his men, "Company K, you have no Captain now; but never give up, never surrender!".

In closing, I wish to share a quote from the introduction, by Abraham Kyper, the great Dutch protestant:
When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Music Of The Simple Life, Part 3

The South has for years been nicknamed "The Bible belt". I'm not sure where this originated, but in this post I wish to discuss a third genre of music that has come from the South that emphasizes the simple life.

Southern gospel. Bill Gaither. Quartets.
Many things come to mind when I hear the phrase Southern gospel. Officially, the genre began in 1910, with the formation of the first professional quartet. There are several things that draw me to gospel music. The (for the most part) upbeat tunes and the fantastic harmonies. Although Armenian theology is apparent in quite a few gospel lyrics, it's still alot of fun! There are so many different songs, here are just a few of my favorites:

I've Just Started Living
I Can See The Hand
This 'Ol House
Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord
John in the Jordan

And many more!

What are some of y'alls favorite songs? No matter what category they're in, let me know! (bluegrass, celtic, gospel, etc.)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Music Of The Simple Life, Part 2

Here I will cover music that's perhaps a little more contemporary, but still speaks of the simple life. It all started in the Appalachian Mountains, my home and the home of most Scotch-Irish. Here the great tradition of bluegrass music began. The theme of these songs is pretty obvious: love of God, love of family, and love of the land. The "simple" emphasis is evident in lyrics to songs like "Black-eyed Suzie". Here are some exerpts:

All I need to make me happy
Is four little kids to call me pappy....
Love my woman, love my babies,
Love my biscuits sopped in gravy...

Then we have
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy". This popular country song shows the gradual shade between country and bluegrass.

...Well a simple kinda life never did me no harm
A raisin me a family and workin on a farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm
Thank God Im a country boy...

Another one of my favorites is
"Simple Life", by Ricky Skaggs. Here's the refrain:

My favorite book was wrote about
A man that died to save my soul
And my favorite thing to hear is
Daddy, Im so glad you home
And my favorite woman is 5'3"
With long black hair and green eyes
Still I live a simple life.

Now, not all modern country music is good, as a matter of fact, a lot of it is terrible!
Most young artists are pretty bad, but one of the "contemporary Southern" songs I enjoy is
"I'm Country", by Craig Morgan.

...Well, there's my Mama in the rockin' chair by my screen door:
The red, white, and blue hangs off of my front porch.
There's my darlin' in the garden pickin' black eyed peas:
Kids are bouncin' up and down on the trampoline.
My truck cost less than my champion 'coon dog:
My neck is painted red, by the Grace of God.
My kids say: "Please, Sir, Thank you and Ma'am."
I ain't what I ain't, but I am what I am...

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Music Of The Simple Life

In the "olden days", music was one of the main forms of entertainment. Funny songs, work songs, serious songs, drinking songs, ballads, even hymns. Now, their music was similar to ours in that some writers had poor taste in choosing lyrics, to say the least. The vast majority of songs, though, focused on the joys of living simply: home, family, land. One thing I have found absolutely fascinating, is the similairity between Celtic music and Southern traditional, or bluegrass, music. Many popular bluegrass songs have Celtic tunes. Songs like Whiskey before Breakfast, Turkey in the Straw, Soldier's Joy, Sally Goodin, and Bill Cheatum, to name a few. The impact of Celtic music on the South is even better illustrated in music sung during the War for Southern Independence.

Here's an example of a fight song with the old Scottish lyrics, then with the Southern lyrics. I think the tune is "Bonnie Dundee".

To the Lords o' Convention 'twas Claverhouse spoke
E'er the King's crown go down there are crowns to be broke
So each cavalier who loves honour and me
Let him follow the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can
Come saddle my horses and call out my men
Unhook the West Port and let us gae free
For it's up with the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee

Dundee he is mounted and rides up the street
The bells they ring backward, the drums they are beat
But the provost douce man says just let it be
For the toon is well rid o' that devil Dundee

There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth
Be there lords in the south, there are chiefs in the north
There are brave downie wassles three thousand times three
Cry hey for the bonnets o' Bonnie Dundee

And awa tae the hills, tae the lee and the rocks
Ere I own a userper I'll couch with the fox
So tremble false whigs in the mid'st o' yer glee
For ye've no seen the last o' my bonnets and me

And the Southern lyrics...

'Tis ole Stonewall the rebel that leans on the sword
And while we are mounting, praise laud to the lord,
Now each cavalier that loves honor and right
Let him follow the feather of Stuart tonight

Come tighten your girth and slacken your rein
Come buckle your blanket and holster again
Try flick of your trigger and balance your blade
For ye must make sure, who go riding the raid.

Now gallop, now gallop, To swim or to ford,
And Stonewall still watching, praise land to the Lord,
Goodbye dear old rebel the river's not wide
And Maryland lights in the window to guide.

There's a man in the White House with blood on his mouth,
There's knaves in the North, there are braves in the South,
We are three thousand horses and not one afraid
We are three thousand sabers and not a dull blade

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Simplicity: Blessing Of Land

I'm not sure I quite understand this principle, but I know it's got significant implications.

In the movie Tall Tale, a land grabber comes to a small western town and attempts to buy everyone's land, offering an exorbitant sum of $20 an acre. As all the other farmers sell their land, the main character's father refuses to be bought out. "That land is where my fathers are buried, where my children were born", he says. "And that's worth more to me than $20 an acre".

For generations land has been considered an inheritance. In Joshua 13-19, God refers to the promised land as Israel's inheritance. At the beginning of creation, man was designed to till the ground. Land is very important because whoever owns the land has a lot of clout. There's only so much dirt.
The violation of home and land is what our ancestors fought against for centuries. In Scotland there is a piece of land near the town of Kilmarnock, that the Boyd's owned for over 200 years. This was their "wee bit hill and glen", what they fought and died for.
Douglas Southall Freeman, the great Southern writer once said,
"I think the American people lose a large part of the joy of life because they do not live for generations in the same place".

How true! And how sad!

What's the longest you've lived in one place? For me, that's 10 years. 10 short years!

Notice how the fast paced American life is so contrary to the old way. In Deuteronomy 28, the great "blessing and cursing" chapter, God is establishing his covenant with Israel. One of the top three curses, in verse 18, is God cursing the fruit of the land.

In America, we not only forget those who have come before us, and slaughter our children, we disregard the land, God's gift to us as an inheritance to our children.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Excellent Officer And Christian Gentleman"

Brigadier General Archibald Gracie Jr, the third of that name, is one of the least known names in our War for Southern Independence. He was born in New York, New York, but soon moved down to Alabama with his family to help with his father's shipping business. When the war began, he remained in the South and led a volunteer unit, the 3rd Alabama. To make a long story painfully short, he eventually found himself in command of a brigade on the Petersburg line, during the siege. During late November of 1864, having recently heard the news that his wife had given birth to a little girl, he obtained a leave of absence to go visit his family in nearby Richmond.
His furlough was dated December 2nd, in His providence; God had decreed that Gen. Gracie would never see his family again. One of the soldiers would later record:

“The next day he was going along the breastworks, as was his custom every day; and when he got to the Crater, where the 23rd Alabama was stationed, the General, with two others, a captain and a private, stopped to look at some Yankees. Some of the boys asked him what he saw, to which he replied that he saw a general and staff riding along the rear. About that time the Federals shot at them and when the shell struck the top of the breastworks, it exploded and killed all three, all falling in a heap together. I did not see this, but write of what was told to me by some of my company who did see the catastrophe. When the ambulance brought him out, it stopped near our headquarters. I looked into the front of the ambulance and lifted the hat from his face, and saw it so changed and cold in death. We all loved General Gracie and I was not the only one who cried that day.”1

General Lee, who was very close to General Gracie, wrote to Mrs. Lee:

“The death of Gracie was a great grief to me. I do not know how to replace him. He was an excellent officer and a Christian gentleman. I had been all over his line with him the day before his death, and decided on some changes I wished made. He had just received the telegram announcing the birth of his daughter, and expected to visit his wife the next day. Our loss is heavy, but his gain great. May his wife, whom he loved so tenderly, be comforted in the recollection of his many virtues, his piety, his worth, his love...I grieve with her and for her daily.”2

In another letter, written to the wife of General Gracie, and including a photograph of himself, Lee wrote:

“It may serve to remind you of one who from his first acquaintance with your noble husband, then a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy, discerned his worth and high sense of honor, and whose esteem and admiration for him increased to the day of his death”.3

One thing I admire about all the Gracie’s, was the strong bond between father and son. Although his father returned to the north when the war broke out, the son received the father’s blessing to fight for the Confederacy.

In a letter to his father, which was delivered after his death, General Gracie wrote:

“Once having placed my hand to the plow, I have never yet looked back…I have never regretted the course I have pursued. However, I do regret conditions which have robbed me of parents, friends, and home. My heart yearns more and more with the same warmth as when I was a child to my parents, my brothers, my sisters. The consolation in my distress is my conviction of rectitude, of having followed the course of my conscience pointed out to me as right…would to God that the war would end- not in subjugation, but in an acknowledgment of our rights, our independence! O that that hour may come, and that right speedily, when I may again be restored to my family!”3

May we emulate General Gracie and resolve, as his men did, “That his noble example shall continue to live in our memories and never cease to exert its beneficial influence on our actions; it shall cheer us on in our endeavors to do our duty to God, our country, and our fellow men”.4

1. Article in Confederate Veteran, March 1907, pg 127.
2. Article in Confederate Veteran, General Archibald Gracie, by his son, pg 429
3. ibid, pg 430
4. ibid, pg 433

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