Friday, May 26, 2017

Francis Asbury: American Saint (Book Review)


EVERY GENERATION PRODUCES a forgotten character that is foundational to the experience of later generations. Such was Francis Asbury
(1744-1816). The great Methodist biographer, Abel Stephens, wrote, "No one man has done more for Christianity in the western hemisphere" than Francis Asbury.

A student of George Marsden, historian John Wigger, in his book, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists, contends that Asbury is the most important American Christian that no one knows anything about today.

Historians call the nineteenth century the Methodist Century. The reason is simple. Under Asbury's leadership the Methodists grew from 300 souls, when he arrived in 1771, to about 200,000 members and 3 million attendees by the time of his death in 1816. Thirty years after his death, Methodists occupied one out of three church buildings in America.

This influence was not due to Asbury's pulpit eloquence. He was not a good preacher. It was due to the power of his example. He was a servant of massive proportions. Riding 5,000 miles per year on horseback, never taking more than $65 salary per year, he was an apostle of the Christian religion. In other words, he was a modern Paul. He trained and disbursed circuit riders throughout the U.S. during its westward expansion. They traveled circuits of remote home-churches, preaching and pastoring on the way. Eventually they became local churches. The hardships Asbury endured to accomplish this task were remarkable.
Traveling conditions were always difficult in the backcountry, and Georgia was no exception. He preached nearly every day while riding about 30 miles a day. “Frequently we have not more than six hours’ sleep; our horses are weary, and the houses are so crowded, that at night our rest is much disturbed,” he complained on March 4, after preaching near the banks of the Ogeechee River. “Jesus is not always in our dwellings; and where he is not, a pole cabin is not very agreeable.” (Pg. 187).
He was fruitful. As the nation expanded West the Methodists did also, riding on the backs of Asbury's fiercely loyal, dedicated, band of itinerants. These men were well-suited for frontier life. Long after Asbury's death they were still imitating his example. While the Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Congregationalists rooted themselves in their East coast congregations, sent their young men to seminary, and lived the genteel life, Asbury's boys were taming the western frontier. This despite the fact that most of them had little formal education.

I was personally challenged by this book in several ways. First, by the example of Asbury's single-minded dedication and holiness. Second, Asbury's willingness to risk all by sending very young men (19-22) into full time ministry challenged me. We would not do this today. Are we missing something? Third, I was challenged by Asbury's willingness to overlook the necessity of formal education. He believed in formal education, and so should we, but he was unwilling to see it as a necessary precedent to ministry, and so should we.

Asbury had weaknesses. He tended toward asceticism. He could be impatient. In addition, although he and his men were crystal clear on the gospel, as a group, they were not theologically oriented. In succeeding generations this proved to be a significant limitation.

Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this book. I profited greatly from it. You will also. The author concludes,
Asbury wasn’t an intellectual, charismatic performer or autocrat, but his understanding of what it meant to be pious, connected, culturally aware, and effectively organized redefined religious leadership in America (pg. 13). 


Saturday, February 11, 2017

What's wrong with Social Media?


IN HIS BOOK, The Road to Character, David Brooks nails whats wrong with social media. “Social media encourages a broadcasting personality. Our natural bent is to seek social approval and fear exclusion. Social networking technology allows us to spend our time engaged in a hypercompetitive struggle for attention, for victories in the currency of “likes.” People are given more occasions to be self-promoters, to embrace the characteristics of celebrity, to manage their own image, to Snapchat out their selfies in ways that they hope will impress and please the world. This technology creates a culture in which people turn into little brand managers, using Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and Instagram to create a falsely upbeat, slightly overexuberant, external self that can be famous first in a small sphere and then, with luck, in a large one. The manager of this “self” measures success by the flow of responses it gets. The social media maven spends his or her time creating a self-caricature, a much happier and more photogenic version of real life. People subtly start comparing themselves to other people’s highlight reels, and of course they feel inferior.”


Brooks, David. The Road to Character (Kindle Locations 4819-4826). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Over Fifty Percent of California on Welfare

The following Statistics came from an individual named Hap Gotzian in Spokane, WA. 

 Rather amazing California statistics January 02, 2017
 California

CA. stats are:

Hispanic............ 14,990,000 million
Caucasian..........14,920,000
Asian.................  5,736.098
Black .................  2,552,858
Am Indian..............  648,172

Note, Hispanics outnumber Caucasians. But, another interesting statistic is this:

34% of the nations 67,980,000 million people who receive welfare live in California,
and California has only 12% of the entire U.S. population [Fed stats].

This means: 
23,113,200 million welfare recipients live in California.
39,487,345 million people total live in California. [more welfare recipients than workers]
According to your stats, Clinton beat Trump in CA by 2,708,893, so you could say she didn't do that well in California!

  We hear a cacophony of blaring and bleating from the media and the Hillary gaggle that she won the popular vote and therefore she should be president. 
65,124,828 to 62,652,263 or 48.2% to 46.3% with the remaining 5.5% going to the other candidates.

But here are the facts:
Trump led in the total popular vote for all states……. except California.
Hillary won California 5,860,714 to Trump’s 3,151,821.  61.6% to 33.1% exclusive of the other candidates.  [a margin of 2,708,893]
Thus, California gave Hillary the popular vote for all states as claimed by the Democrats and their media stooges.
But, deduct her California vote from her national vote, leaving her with 59,264,114, and deduct Trump’s California vote from his national total,leaving him with 59,500,442.
So, in effect, Hillary was elected president of California and Trump was elected president of the rest of the country.

This exemplifies the wisdom of the Electoral College, to prevent the vote of any one populace state from overriding the vote of the others.  Trump’s Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway, whose expertise is polling, saw this early on and devised her strategy of “6 pathways to the White House”.  This meant ignoring California, with its huge Democrat majority, and going after the states that would give him the necessary Electoral votes to win, FL, NC, MI, PA, OH, and WI.  It worked and our country Will Be Secure - after January 20, 2017.


One other tidbit: California is one of 11 “welfare states” where there are more people living off the government dole than there are working for a living. A perfect example of those who vote for a living. Since they have some time on their hands they are the ones who have time to “protest,” (in other words riot)!