It is hard to find much good news these days as we relive the horrific events of 9/11 that took the lives of 2,977 innocent souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
And then after some 2,500 American deaths, we have withdrawn our troops from that hellhole called Afghanistan. We will now have to endure those jive-talking, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals dragging their poor inhabitants back to the Dark Ages where women are less than second-class citizens and wonder why we went there in the first place.
At home, we are in a dither over vaccinations (I got mine) and masks (I wear mine) and tearing down statues (I don’t have one to tear down. Sorry.) and ignoramuses spouting hate and threatening public officials via social media — anonymously, of course.
Even God’s House is not immune. The North Georgia Conference of the United (?) Methodist Church has taken the largest church in their jurisdiction — 10,000 member Mt. Bethel in Cobb County — to court in the latest iteration of an internecine struggle between the bishop and members of the church over money, power and real estate. I suspect Baptists are laughing their heads off at their Methodist brethren. I suspect I am going to get a lot of mail from folks on both sides of the issue taking me to task and talking about everything in this unfortunate happening except what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.
But like the proverbial pony in the pile, there is some good news available if you are willing to dig down for it. So with shovel in hand, I offer you the following, starting with the fact that this month of September is Gospel Heritage Month.
Gospel Heritage Month was the result of the efforts of two Democrats in Congress, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, of Texas, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, of Arkansas, back in 2008. That says to me that God just may not be the exclusive province of the Christian Right after all.
I don’t think the jive-talking, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals or the anonymous social media ignoramuses are aware that this is Gospel Heritage Month. If they were, they wouldn’t be acting the way they are. Neither would the Methodists. In my humble opinion, they all could use a few verses of “Loving God, Loving Each Other,” written by my heroes, Bill and Gloria Gaither, or “God Is Good All The Time,” sung by the exquisite Babbie Mason, of Carroll County, Georgia, who has the voice of an angel — only better.
The good news is that for me every month is Gospel Heritage Month. I grew up a big fan of gospel music, listening to the LeFevre Trio — Alphus, Urias and Eva Mae — and Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quarter, as well as The Happy Goodman Family and Lee Roy Abernathy among others.
But there is more good news to follow because October is Country Music Month, thanks to President Richard Nixon declaring it so in 1970. Other than opening up relations with China, this may have been one of Nixon’s finest hours. I must add that had he listened to a little gospel music, like “Not by Might, Not by Power,” Watergate may never have happened.
By the way, Richard Nixon was the first president to visit the Grand Ole Opry, where he was given yo-yo lessons by the legendary Roy Acuff. Write that down and remember you read it here.
Frankly, today’s country music has gotten a bit too slick for my tastes. I’ve got nothing against Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood and Alison Kraus, but I lean toward Ray Price and Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Of course, at the top of my list is Willie Nelson. Who else would get tired of life and go lie down in the middle of the road, waiting for a car to run over him? Thankfully, none did and the rest is history.
I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better already talking about Gospel Heritage Month and Country Music Month instead of that mess in the Middle East, people who want to defund the police and then burn down buildings, those who threaten public officials’ families anonymously and a bunch of Christians who are acting like anything but.
The good news is that they will still be there if and when I decide to get back to them. In the meantime, did I tell you that November is Model Train Month?