Archive for the ‘General Study’ Category

As all of you know I’ve dealt with some pretty difficult problems ever since this Sunday.  Between my beloved dog going from fully mobile to paralyzed in a matter of a few minutes to a major car repair in progress, this week hasn’t been easy on my head, my heart, or my wallet. [For those want more info: my car in the shop for a pretty major repair: heater core replacement].  Dealing with these issues really knocked me off my game so to speak.

We spent Sunday night at the Animal hospital until a half hour pas midnight- none of us has fully recovered from the combination of stress and a lack of sleep.  I probably could have started working out again on Monday but I am still carrying a feeling I can’t fully describe.  It feels like my head is in a dense fog and I just can’t seem to walk through it and find a sunny sky (or even a cloudy one that is at least cloud free).

It was just today that I confronted the question, how do I get out of this funk? (more…)

Good news, bad news, boring news, sensational news- it’s all in thousands of newspapers published in print and online daily, weekly, and monthly.  But since you can’t read them all, whatever should the aspiring mind do?  Are there some guidelines that might guide you through the avalanche of news available at the local newsstand and on the information superhighway.

Furthermore, there is more to reading and learning than newspapers right?  Of course.  There are journals, websites, blogs, etc.  So allow me to introduce you to rule #1 of the 10 Weeks to an Intellectual Transformation program and how it applies to a broad range of sources- mostly by introducing you to a broad range of sources.

Rule #1. If you aren’t reading things that might get you on an FBI list you probably aren’t reading enough. (more…)

Even as a boring researcher who spends days on end in dusty old archives, every now and again something shocks you. I came across this ad not long into my research regarding runaway slaves in Eastern North Carolina. [The full size image can be found below the page break].

Runaway Slave Ad

Why is an old advertisement so shocking and interesting? The above advertisement’s five simple (although surprisingly verbose) paragraphs are short hand for a much larger and even more interesting tale. Their story includes enslavement, betrayal, yearning for freedom, fatherhood, rebellion, courage, anger, and half a dozen other compelling emotional angles that should perk the ears and tug at the heart.

Beyond that, the characters are laid out in a detailed manner (considering the space allowed for an advertisement), but in such a way that you are left desiring to know more about them.

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I needed an outlet for my historical blogging needs so I opened a new blog here at WordPress at

http://thehistorydump.wordpress.com

I didn’t want to bore all those who check my blog for weight loss advice with long discussions of slavery and slave patrols.  So if you are interested swing on by  and leave a few comments.

Here is a copy of the inaugural post on my new blog…

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Ever have one of those days where you feel like scrapping everything you’ve worked for because things are just that hard? Today, I came too close for comfort.

The problem. Well it is complex. Apparently my previous university gave me about $1,000 too much in subsidized Stafford loans. I didn’t find out about this until I got accepted to UNC-Greensboro for my doctorate. At which point I was told I couldn’t receive ANY unsubsidized Stafford loans because of the over payment.

The last three months have been a quest to find out who is responsible: Wells Fargo (my lender), North Carolina State (my previous institution), or Direct Loans (the federal program). I have been told of two possible solutions.

  1. I figure out a way to pay my lender (representing the feds) $1,000+ dollars. Such is impossible since we don’t even know how we will pay our living expenses this July (no paychecks for either of us). So how in the heck am I going to find $1,000 bucks?
  2. NC State sends Wells-Fargo the money back and in return Wells-Fargo cuts a new unsubsidized loan for the same amount. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it is. In order to do that I would have to apply for a whole new loan and the process would take 4 – 6 months. I start classes at UNC-Greensboro in August- two months from now.

I could just scream I am so angry. No one at NC State is offering me any help. No one at my lender is offering any help. And no one at the U.S. Department of Ed. is lifting a finger. Each one says it is the other two’s problem.

Meanwhile I have no clue how I am going to afford the gas to drive back and forth to UNCG- a two hour drive each way. Much less pay for books, fees, etc.

Please keep me in your prayers. This is taking a serious toll on my sanity and my stress level is way up.

I just try to have faith that God will provide and remember Christ’s words

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34.

God values me and he will never forget me. Although it is a struggle, I will keep my faith that the Lord will provide. Whether it means finding a job for the month, a check in the mail, or a kind stranger. I have faith God will come through. And I must admit I can’t wait to see how he does it.

I find it useful to retake these tests every now and again. I found a good (and free) test over at humanmetrics.com. The results? I am a “mastermind.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Here is the description of a Mastermind…

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I have recently accepted an offer to write an entry for a new encyclopedia series written for undergraduates on the Early American Republic.  But before I write this, I am kind of curious what average folks (my readers) think.

What do you know about slave patrols?  I don’t care if your read it, heard it, or are simply making a wild guess.  Post a comment about what you think slave patrols were, who served in them, etc.

Thanks for your help.

Today I will be working on some unfinished work. I am polishing up a short article for submission to the New Bern Historical Journal about the events as Street’s Bridge in 1821. For anyone interested, a larger discussion of the events at Street’s Bridge can be found in the first chapter of my thesis.

Beyond that I need to begin work on a new article I hope to submit to the North Carolina Historical Review. My new article will discuss the condition of the North Carolina Militia between the war of 1812 and the Mexican-American war of 1846.

Beyond the above topics I am looking into possible papers on

  1. “Amazing Grace:” A Look into the Religious Outlook of Southern Slaves. Reading through slave narratives, the amount of faith in Christ (and their own personal redemption from slavery) is amazing considering their unique circumstances. (I’ll post an example later)
  2. North Carolina Slave Patrols on the Eve of the Civil War.  Very few have researched North Carolina’s slave patrol system.  With the exception of Sally Hadden’s work (not to mention my own thesis; and that of another grad student) the study of North Carolina’s slave patrol has been largely neglected.
  3. Wards of the State: The Orphans of War.  The story of how the children of one officer who served in the war of 1812 received significant compensation directly from the state- including financing an education at West Point (books, uniforms, etc.).

I was originally going to title this post, “How to Leave Your Church.” However, the title fell far short of what I wanted this post to convey. While this post will address the right way to leave a church, this post is much bigger than that. I want to speak to our western world view and how it plays into our actions within the church and as a body of believers.

Take that phrase, “body of believers,” and think on it.

Paul refers to the “body” often in his various epistles. But can we understand what he means? Is our frame of reference able to comprehend the gravity of that word?

Living in a Constitutional Republic, each of us is accustomed to knowing and exercising our rights. Even those ignorant of the Constitutional specifics know that they have rights. Those rights don’t belong to certain groups, but to the people. They are individual rights that each member of society is capable of exercising without seeking permission or blessing. And while this has been a political blessing, it has also served as a spiritual curse.

As a result, we feel entitled even in the church setting to seek comfort, to go after what pleases us, and to find our own happiness. Just think of how many times you’ve heard the phrase, “How can I grow in Christ” compared with the phrase, “How can we grow together in Christ.” Sadly, church has become an individual exercise of weekly attendance. Where is submission? Where is sacrifice? Where are the shared burdens?

To make matters worse we use or freedom to avoid growth.

Too often, as members of the church we take offense, and instead of confronting our brother, we simply move on to another congregation. Instead of letting these kind of conflicts lead to stronger bonds of brotherhood and friendship, we seek the immediate comfort of avoidance. But in doing such you haven’t solved a problem, you have merely carried your own problem to another church- where it is destined to arise again at some point.

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Since this is a slow day for workouts, how about some news stories from around the web.

Sharpton’s Collateral Damage

Future of Imus Charity Ranch Questioned, Deborah Baker (AP).

“Don Imus’s banishment from the public airwaves also deprives him of a critical platform to raise money for the sprawling Imus Ranch, where children with cancer and other illnesses get a taste of the cowboy life…

…Imus said he and his wife Deirdre are round-the-clock surrogate parents to the youngsters who spend a week at the property, nearly half of whom are from minority groups and 10 percent are black.”

[Someone who asked a similar question stirred up a lively debate over at “Yahoo! Answers” (See also this discussion on the same forum). For those of you unaware of Sharpton’s slash and burn (not to mention callous disregard for the truth) past see Larry Elder’s recent article. I’ll leave you to decide if Imus’s good works are of far greater worth than three words- “nappy headed hos.”

Aside: I despise this topic; however, I discuss it because the media has turned it into a major news event. I emphatically state for the record that I can’t stand Imus or his radio show.

For your perusal I have also linked to several comments on Imus’s firing.

Cowards Kick Another Piece of America’s Soul, Kinky Friedman.

“Wavy Gravy says he salutes mistakes. They’re what makes us human, he claims. And humanity beyond doubt, is what appears to be missing from this equation. If we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves, to laugh at each other, to laugh together, then the PC world has succeeded in diminishing us all.”

Music Lyrics Take Spotlight During Imus Controversy, Goff and Alexander [Could also be called “The Giant Double Standard Elephant in the Room.”]

[When asked to defend a rap act where the N-word was used more than 100 times (I bet if the H word (ho) and the B word (b*tch) had been counted the tally would have been much higher) the student body president responded with the following statement- contained in the article linked above]

“Being they are a performing artist group they’re merely here to entertain us. That’s nothing serious in content, they’re here to entertain.” – Student Body President Deven Anderson.

[Imus Fired for Threatening to Reveal 9/11 Secrets?] American Radio Icon Don Imus Disgraced, Fired after Threat to Reveal 9/11 Secrets, Sorcha Faal.

“In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically ‘connected’, and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.”

[Is this kind of stuff supposed to be taken seriously?]

The Ten Commandments for Husbands, Doug Giles.

Thou shalt not hang out with horndogs. Hanging out with guys who hateth their wives, who loveth to indulge in the superfluity of naughtiness and who are out to convert the faithful to the Cult of Infidelity is muy goofy. Be not deceived: bad company will land thee in a strip club or an illicit affair which will causeth thou to meet with the chainsaw of Jehovah. Be afraid.”

[An excellent list of ten rules to live by that will keep us men out of most of the stupid and ridiculous situation we often find ourselves in. I also recommend my series (a new section is in the works) on living the deliberate life.]

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