Facts About Lottie Moon – Part 2

This information is continued from last month and comes from The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on www.COYFaith.com. Each “fact” can be used as a comment in a church’s bulletin leading up to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

4)  Lottie was absent from chapel twenty six times during the last two quarters at Albemarle.She enjoyed exciting her friends. With a full name of Charlotte Diggs Moon, she often reminded them that the middle initial of D stood for Deville. They were concerned for her soul.

One night in December of 1858, the barking of a dog prevented sleep as her mind raced with thoughts of eternity. The next evening she attended a prayer and inquiry meeting to scoff at her friends. Instead of poking fun, she returned home and prayed till the sun rose. The next night she formally gave her life to Christ and was baptized on December 22.

Week 5:  Lottie Moon’s life became intertwined with the aftermath of the Civil War. Her mother had converted all the family currency into Confederate bonds…which were worthless after the war. With the poor and homeless everywhere in the south, Lottie took on the role of teacher and helped start a school. She did her best to bring relief to others as well as to her mother, who faced the prospect of losing Viewmont. One of Lottie’s quotes later in life was, “Sorrow has but done its legitimate work.” Is it possible that character cannot receive its “fullest and most beautiful development until it has passed through the fiery furnace of affliction?” [Nettles, Tom, The Baptists, Volume 2, Christian Focus Publications, Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, IV20ITW,Scotland, pg 366]

Week 6:  She had to choose between the man she loved and the God she loved. As a student atAlbemarle, she met Crawford Toy, perhaps the youngest instructor there. He taught Lottie Hebrew and English grammar. Through the years, they developed a close friendship.Some letters imply that marriage was even considered. Crawford planned to become a missionary. At which point, Lottie planned to either move toJapanwith him if that was his appointment, or he would join her inChina. He became a professor at aSouthern Baptist seminary until such time as he entered the mission field. But Crawford came under fire at the seminary because of his liberal beliefs. When two of his students, who had been appointed as missionaries toChina, had their appointments revoked because of their beliefs, Lottie realized that Crawford would never become a missionary.She had to choose between remaining on the field inChinaor joining Crawford at a university in theStates. Lottie was later asked whether she had ever been in love. Her reply: “Yes, but God had first claim on my life, and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the results.”

Week 7:  People in China still know who Lottie Moon was and the work she did. When we visited Tengchow in theShantung province, our cab driver, who is a member of the church where she served, told us everyone in that area of China knows Lottie Moon, whether they are Christian or not. When they spoke to us of Lottie, they referred to her as if she were still alive and active in the church. The pastor of that church could not meet with us because he was attending a pastor’s conference where the problem of converts was being addressed. With 400,000 conversions each week inChina(a number equal to the birthrate), and thousands seeking to enter the ministry, the Church there is facing the wonderful problem of how to address issues related to phenomenal growth. Lottie’s impact and legacy continue even today.

See more at “The Courage of Your Faith,” this month featuring “The Missionaries.” The “The Courage of Your Faith” consists of 12 short stories from our history and 12 Bible Studies on issues as relevant today as they were in the past. Each study includes supplemental information and a Power Point slide presentation.

All documents can be downloaded at no charge.  If you are planning on giving a Nook or a Kindle for a Christmas gift, why not download the stories for free as part of the gift. By Christmas, a compilation of the stories into one eBook will be available for a small charge at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as The Courage of Your Faith. Have fun and let me know what you think.

Facts About Lottie Moon – Part 1

Did You Know…

1) Lottie Moon was a real person and considered by some to be the most educated woman in the south. Her parents had high expectations of their children. A tutor was employed in the home for languages and classical literature. Lottie’s sister Orianna became the first female medical doctor south of the Mason/Dixon line. Lottie attended Albemarle Female Institute, the women’s counterpart to the University of Virginia. In 1861, she was one of the first women in the South to receive a master’s degree. Lottie spoke 6 languages fluently. At 15, while attending Albemarle Female Institute, she wrote the following which is included as an example of her critical thinking.

“Literature has acquainted man with himself and the nature of things surrounding him. It has made us to know our history. The circumstances of his creation and the advancement of the race, up to his own existence, are not lost in oblivion, but preserved with almost perfect accuracy by those nations blessed with literature. Without it, age would succeed to age without gaining knowledge. Love, like the rays of light, would vary in its import as it passed from hand to hand, and one generation could not be enriched by the acquisitions of its predecessor. But literature does exist and the present age, like the posterity of an ancient family, revels in the riches entailed by its ancestors.” [Nettles, Tom, The Baptists, Volume 2, Christian Focus Publications, Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire, IV20 ITW, Scotland, pg 364]

2)  Lottie Moon’s sister Edmonia was the first unmarried woman to be appointed as a missionary; and, at her urging, Lottie applied for an appointment as well.  The next year she joined her sister in Tengchow, China, in the Shantung province. Throughout her career, Lottie wrote numerous letters home, urging Southern Baptists to greater missions involvement and support. One of those correspondences triggered the first Southern Baptist Christmas offering for international missions. The receipts were enough to send three new missionaries to China. In 1918, the Woman’s Missionary Union named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after the woman who had urged them to start it.

3) Lottie Moon grew up in antebellum Virginia. Their plantation was named Viewmont. Her family owned 52 slaves. In her younger years, she approved of the institution of slavery. Viewmont still exists north of Scottsville. The original homestead had two huge fireplaces. These still can be seen in the home that currently exists on that site.  After a short time in China, she wrote a letter with the comment that ”…living among the heathen makes one stupid.” The belief in the superiority of the white race was still playing at her mind. However, within a few years, that changed. She began dressing like the Chinese and loved the people.

See more at “The Courage of Your Faith,” (www.coyfaith.com). The “The Courage of Your Faith” consists of 12 short stories from Baptist history and 12 Bible Studies on issues as relevant today as they were in the past. Each study includes supplemental information and a Power Point slide presentation.

All documents can be downloaded at no charge.

Is the United States a Christian Nation?

Most Christians today (evangelical or not) will jump up and down and yell, “YES! YES!” But what does it mean to be a Christian nation?

We were founded upon Christian principles. The founders called upon God for guidance and felt a self-governed people needed to hold to scriptural truths. So, in that respect, YES we are a Christian nation. But early Baptists believed God had defined a “civil state and a spiritual state” as in Matthew 22:21. We pushed to have James Madison amend the Constitution, strengthening this distinction.

While the term “separation of church and state” derived from a letter sent to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in 1802, the idea was part of Baptist writings from Thomas Helwys (A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity) to John Leland (A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia). These Baptist forefathers wrote that “all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.” They held that the government role is to “protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another.” So, in this respect, some may say that we do not have a Christian government. The founding of the US was arguably the first time a government did not establish a state religion. The United States was unique among the nations of the world.

I gave a talk to the Windsor Optimist Club on how Baptists were responsible for the First Amendment. During a Q and A at the end, the question was asked, “What about things like nativity scenes on display in public buildings?” Interesting question!

See more at “The Courage of Your Faith,” (www.coyfaith.com) in “The Revolutionaries.” The “The Courage of Your Faith” consists of 12 short stories from our history and 12 Bible Studies on issues as relevant today as they were in the past. Each study includes supplemental information and a Power Point slide presentation. I will feature different studies monthly…for example, Lottie Moon and Missions during November/December and “The Separates” in May.

All documents can be downloaded at no charge.  Have fun and let me know what you think. If you like it, please pass it on.

Where Did These Terms Come From

Researching First Fury, provided some side benefits. One was that it answered questions I never knew I had; but, after the research, I knew I should have asked. Did you ever wonder about where these came from?

  • Why is the toilet sometimes called a “head”?
  • Why are office rumors sometimes referred to as “scuttlebutt”?
  • Why is a hard time sometimes called “trying”?
  • Why do some people refer to discarding something as “deep sixing” it?
  • Why do some people yell “shake a leg” to motivate someone to move faster?
  • Where does the term “son of a gun” come from?
  • When someone is not making sense, why are they sometimes said to have “three sheets to the wind”?
  • Why would someone dressed poorly be called a “clod hopper”?

You can find the answers at Where Did These Terms Come From in the Fun Stuff link at First Fury. These phrases became part of Ann’s vocabulary.

More pictures and resources are available on the book’s web site by clicking the “Pictures, Notes, Docs, etc” link.

Ann Served on a Ship Like the C.W. Morgan

Way back in 2002, while attending a conference in Boston, I took one day for a side trip to Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, to tour the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, the oldest American commercial vessel still in existence, and almost identical to Ann’s ship the Christopher Mitchell. Over her 80 year career, the Morgan made 37 voyages, one where she “gammed” with the Mitchell; where the story of Ann was relayed and subsequently documented by Nelson Cole Haley, one of the Morgan seamen, in his book Whale Hunt.

What would Ann have thought as the small whaleboat that carried her drew closer to the ship floating in icy December Nantucket waters? Could she even fathom the idea that she would be working on the masts? Fifteen men (or in Ann’s case, 14 men and one woman) called the foredeck home. (The deck from the main mast aft was for the officers, harpooners, and tradesmen.) Not much area for a 3 year voyage. Below a portion of that deck was the forecastle. As I climbed down into the forecastle that would be their living quarters, I hunched over to avoid bumping my head on the beams that were no more than 5 feet above the floor. With two rows of bunks,  one above the other, little room was left in a bunk for much else than lying down, yet she used it for all kinds of things she could not do in front of men. And she did these things in the dark; the forecastle had no windows and only one small entry way. Out of modesty, some men (and Ann for sure) covered the bunk with a curtain. Like the forecastle, the blubber hold gave her no room to stand up straight, yet she worked there (sometimes on her knees, sometimes bowed over) unhooking large slabs of blubber from the hooks as they were lowered into the hold.  Then, after all the blubber was in the hold, she lugged smaller chunks of the bloody, oily, sometimes rancid flesh to the hold’s hatch and up. When trying a whale (boiling the blubber into oil) the tryworks fire cast an eerie light around the deck and the fumes hung about the ship as if all the worst smells in the world congregated there. Ann single-handedly saved the ship during a storm by leaping from the tryworks to the forward rigging and cutting loose the ropes that held the sails.

This was Ann’s life while she served as a crewman on the Mitchell. More pictures and resources are available on the book’s web site by clicking the “Pictures, Notes, Docs, etc” link.

An 18 Year Old Girl? Whaling ??

When I tell people that I wrote a book on whaling, you would be surprised how many think it is a book on wailing. So, let me clarify that up front. This is a book about a young woman who participated in one of the most dangerous and vile professions of her time. First Fury was a fun project; and, every 2 or 3 months, I would like to share some interesting facts covered in that work. These updates should be educational as well as entertaining. But, as always, you can opt out any time by clicking the Remove Me link.

Whaling ships of the mid-19th century were about 100 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 17 feet deep. The forward half of the ship was home for a contingent of 15 men. In the case of our true story of Rebecca Ann Johnson, the ship Christopher Mitchell was home to 14 men and 1 woman, whom everyone thought was a young man of about 16.

Each ship carried 3 whaleboats stocked with items required to attack a whale. When a whale was seen, the crew manned each boat with 5 rowers and a Mate. The boats were launched and approached the whale as quietly as possible. If lucky, at least one pulled close enough for the harpooner to throw the harpoon into the side of the whale. This, of course, tended to excite the beast which took off, sometimes straight down. The harpoon was attached to the boat with a rope. If the whale swam away at the surface, then the boat was pulled along in what was known as a Nantucket sleigh ride. If it swam straight down and the rope was not released in time, the boat could be pulled down with the whale.

Find out more about what whaling was like by going to this fun link on the First Fury web site.

Next time I will talk about and attach a picture of the Charles Morgan, a ship displayed at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, and almost identical to the Mitchell. I toured that ship to get a feel of what Ann would have experienced.