Saturday, October 22, 2016

Remembering Bob Alton

Remembering Bob Alton

My friends and I lost a good friend this past October 19, 2016, Robert M. Alton, Jr., who just seventeen days earlier entered his 90th year.

Many of us, however, are not aware of his history of achievement and disappointment. He lost his 14-year old son many years ago, a loss most difficult for any parent to accept and endure.

Bob was born in Tallassee, Alabama on October 2, 1927. Tallassee, a small town populated with less than 5,000 in the 2010 census, is geographically located in both Elmore and Tallapoosa counties. Its claim to current-day fame is a major hydroelectric power plant at Thurlow Dam operated by Alabama Power Company. Tallassee’s historical recognition is the central area of the Creek Indians.

As a young man Bob Alton worked as a tinsmith, coppersmith, and sheet metal worker. On August 6, 1946 he enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort McClellan, Alabama. His service at that time was with the Panama Canal Department. At the time of his enlistment Bob had completed one year of college.

Later Bob would complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama. He played trumpet in the Alabama “Million Dollar” Band and was a member of the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity. In 1951 he graduated from the Alabama Law School and received his Juris Doctor degree (J.D.).

He practiced law in Elmore County, Alabama, became an officer in the Army Reserves and the Alabama National Guard where he served for twenty-six years, and retired as a Lt. Colonel. Bob developed laudable careers in the military and in the practice of law. 

Robert M. Alton, Jr. was an American patriot.

Most of all, Bob was a follower of Jesus Christ. As a member of The Gideons and the Full Gospel Business Men Association, Bob lived his faith hour-by-hour and day-by-day. He was a shining light for many to see, not shining for himself but shining as a reflection of his Lord and Savior.

Bob was a loud (perhaps a hearty) singer of hymns. If you ever sat in church in front of Bob, you knew who was singing. And he could carry a tune. Obviously his college trumpet-playing years continued the development of his musical skills. He and his wife Kay of 46 years exemplified a wonderful duet/couple for the rest of us.

At our church, Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Bob was stalwart, a person of deep faith and of high personal integrity. He was a friend to everyone.

God has called our brother-in-Christ to be with Him. It is indeed a sad time, but it is a joyous time, too.

It is Christ in Whom we live, both now and at our time of eternal rest.

Rest in Peace, Bob.

© 2016 Worth Earlwood Norman Jr

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What's Left

What’s Left?

Has it all gone away?
Our conscience, our soul, our will?
What’s left is here to stay.
Though many chill, the left thrill.

What’s left is any progression
To confuse, mislead, or destroy
Our most prized possession
And its unraveling, their method deploy.

What’s left to control,
Oppress, and dominate
Is not some part but the whole
Social strata to subjugate.

What’s left is a “living” Constitution
And not our Forefathers’ foundation.
It lives to prepare for adversarial persecution
Of murmuring winds from an original nation.

What’s left are new winds
Of persistent change incapable of standard.
What’s left rescinds
Rights, politically gerrymandered.

 What’s left is a humanly constructed deity
Of poverty, attachment, and death.
A government of forced homogeneity,
All the left’s lie, its shibboleth.

What’s right is saving our nation.
What’s right is seeing through the storm.
What’s right is saving the next generation
From what’s left to conform.

© October 2016 Worth Earlwood Norman Jr

Friday, October 14, 2016

Challenging Russell Moore

Challenging Russell Moore

The other day several of my Facebook ® “Like”s cited, and recommended as a favorable read, an article by Russell Moore. Therefore, I had to read it.

In The Washington Post opinion article of October 9, 2016, Moore headlined (or The WP editor headlined) his opinion as “If Donald Trump has done anything he has snuffed out the Religious Right.”

I, for one, never want to criticize Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Church’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. But I challenge his initial assertion.

Trump did not and has not “snuffed out the Religious Right.” Moore credited the wrong person. The Religious Right described by Moore as the “old guard,” has for decades been a dying phenomenon.

The likes of Oral Roberts, Jim & Tammy, Robert Tilton, and Jimmy Swaggart were not mentioned by name in his article, therefore one has to assume that Moore is referring to those older TV evangelists as well as to the more politically active evangelists of the past namely Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. (Falwell eventually walked away from his political activism and returned to the Gospel.)

For this current political cycle, again, one must assume that Moore obliquely refers to and lumps in Dallas Baptist minister, Dr. Robert Jeffress as part of the “old guard.” Fair enough. But to headline that it is Donald Trump who has snuffed out the Religious Right is a stretch, a stretch that actually undercuts Moore’s conclusion – the Gospel witness of Millennials.

Russell Moore attributes to the next generation a witness to Christ as counter-cultural. Who can argue with that? For the past decade or more I have read articles by young people who have become fed up not only with TV evangelists but with churches that deftly identify with the culture.

Many of us have seen this emerging Gospel generation close up. Take for example Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Beeson is an academically top-notch school of theology and trains its students with sound and fundamental Christian teaching. In my own parish we have had a dozen or more seminarians from Beeson taking part in our church life as interns – a requirement of the Beeson curriculum.

These students and most of their non-seminary peers are replacing the “old guard.” Their Christian witness is implicitly counter-cultural, not anti-cultural. It took 40 years for God to transform the Israelites [read the details of the difficult transformational process in The Book of Numbers]– it took the passing of one Israelite generation to the next to understand its mission.

It is the witness of this younger Christian generation who are replacing the “old guard” and not Donald Trump.

© 2016 Worth Earlwood Norman Jr

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Aftermath - The Conundrum

The Aftermath - The Conundrum

Now, we at the end of an octave
Of massive social transformation,
Of tradition turned upside down,
Decadence as norm, mutilation.

We had no Second Coming,
The center did not hold,
The right indulged its false purity,
The left continued toward its progressive fool’s gold.

We endured this decadent octave,
A relentless imposition of elite sophistry into fact.
Now in the advent of change,
Our solace seemingly sacked.

We lost our gut, our constitution,
Right, wrong, and morals relative.
Our once-stable pyramid, its foundation
Now teetering on its summit.

On the cusp of this octave’s aftermath
With no stalwart to elect,
People should vote their wrath,
Reversing this season of disruption and neglect.

(c) 2016 Worth Earlwood Norman Jr

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Fix Was / Is In

The Fix Was / Is In

On our political left
The fix was (always) in.
No integrity in government, bereft.
The chosen candidate was (always) to win.

Obfuscation and misdirection pressed into motion,
Aided by journalist, broadcasting continually on air.
Lying, cheating proffered as truth-promotion,
But to the wide-eyed, they now in despair.

Discomfort and anger rumbled on the right
As their world of normalcy turned upside down
For eight years (seemingly as if over night).
Only one aspirant spoke to their issues while others just frown.

Establishment-right knows not how to win,
For eight years they were passive.
Having endured revenge, must take it on the shin.
Abandonment of their constituents quite massive.

So here we are both left and right
With two political deplorables delivering immoralities, lies, and tricks.
It’s too late for us to kick and smite.

Help us, Lord because we are really in a big fix.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Father Stephen, Mother Mandrine

Father Stephen, Mother Mandrine

It was fifty years in the past
When Stephen and Mandrine wed.
A marriage expected to last
Far into the future, this love has led.

Our Lord’s blessings upon them flowed
Like God’s love for His lamb.
This couple’s love for each other never slowed,
Yielding another generation in son Sam.

The gospel in marriage lives through people,
Each with their own praise to carry.
With their marriage bound under a steeple,
Mandrine gave birth to daughter Mary.

With two children delivered through grace,
To their mother with honor we curtsy.
But all was not yet complete in this case,
Until the arrival of baby Mercy.

There are grandchildren and generations to come,
For God has blessed this family with His love.
Stephen and Mandrine follow God’s sacred drum
Sharing our Father’s Spirit like a dove.

Family, mission, and service – their calling.
This is not some idle theory.
Any different work would be appalling.
This is the family Ireri.

May God the Father bless their marital union.
May God the Son be their salvation,
And May God the Spirit advocate in Holy Communion.
The Holy Trinity, their Foundation.

© Worth Earlwood Norman Jr
September 17, 2016
Birmingham, Alabama

Our parish, St. Peter's Anglican Church in Mountain Brook, Alabama, has had for more than a decade Kenyan families as members. Stephen and Mandrine Ireri celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 17, 2016 at our church. The ceremony was fully Christian and fully Kenyan. The Ireri's are parents to three adult children and many grandchildren. For them this celebration was also a family reunion as relatives came from near and far for this special occasion. Stephen is an assisting priest and has been active in Torati Vision International Torati Website click here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Emerging Chamber

The Emerging Chamber

Its parents were Athens and Jerusalem.
One the abstract, of logic and beauty.
The other the real life, hope, and love.

Sages provided concepts of order.
Patriarchs followed created order.
Jerusalem gifted Athens.

Heraclitus and Anaxagoras were on to something:
Science, philosophy, the cosmos.
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle their beneficiaries.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob:
Obedient, patriarchs, wrestler.
David, Solomon, Jesus beneficiaries.

The marriage of Athens and Jerusalem,
The thought, the idea, and the true reality:
“The Way” the beneficiary.

“The Way” from the two cities
Westward tamed barbarians.
Europe the beneficiary.

Two thousand years
European mission.
The world, the beneficiary.

Two millennia passing,
Followers losing their way,
Forfeiting their benevolence.

The formerly Holy now deemed offensive,
Positive law overshadowing “The Way.”
Hush or be taken to jail!

Despite appearances,
No separation between secular and divine.
But secular subjugation close at hand.

Excluded from public square assembly,
Holy spaces soon to be quashed.
Prepare “The Way” for a new chamber.

A new catacomb.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Tale of Two Restaurants

A Tale of Two Restaurants

Every once and a while
My love and I go out to eat.
We do not dine in high style,
A reasonable restaurant is more our beat.

One mostly a burger place,
The other southern border cuisine.
The first a fairly recent face.
The latter with well-tested corn, salsa, and bean.

Considering both with quality food,
Service reigns as the organized ship.
If servers to customers be rude,
We have the basis for leaving no tip.

Many visits went well,
Our 20% minimum thus exceeded.
But one day service went to hell,
And our 20% offering not needed.

Upon entering, we were placed at a booth.
I said, “No, I prefer over there that table.”
Silently she complied, it was her youth,
But for the servers to get our orders seemed unable.

After fifteen minutes waiting,
I began to shake and bake.
My patience grating,
From the premises we escape.

Then there is the other
So efficient and good,
No problems to bother
With, just good service and good food.

One wonders how that burger place thinks,
With poor service in this era.
Although both conduct business in our precinct,
We prefer to dine at Frontera’s.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Personal Truth?

Personal Truth?

At some point you’ve heard
What is true for you may not be true for others.”
That statement is logically absurd.
Unfortunately, most people accept it and don’t bother.

The statement, though groundless in its assertion,
Requires an agent external to truth
Who simultaneously lies through verbal assertion.
Logically not truth, a sleuth.

Truth by its nature objective,
Not proven of its own, but revealed.
Belief in truth subjective,
Truth is for all. Thus our appeal.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Epistemology of Enlightenment Science

Epistemology of Enlightenment Science

Enlightenment or modern science rests
On faith-commitments
Which cannot themselves pass the tests,
The very methods of science being insufficient.

Two beliefs are foundational
On the development of science, the infringement?
That the universe is rational,
That the universe is contingent.

Rationality itself cannot be proven
By the methods endeared by science.
But it must be an assumed conclusion
That a faith-commitment is starting point compliant.

If contingency were not creation’s groan
But an emanation from an absolute spirit,
Then all would be totally known
Thus to science, not sincere it.

Pure contemplation, if thus so,
And not of scientific explanation,
Ultimate reality directly accessed, though,
No need then for laborious, scientific experimentation.

But if the Spirit of creation
Were a personal God, an alliance
Gifting a degree of autonomy through incarnation,
Then contingency is foundational to science.

Therefore, let it be known in our memories
That Enlightenment science motifs,
In a culture of centuries
Were born and shaped by these two beliefs.

A versed interpretation and re-presentation by Worth Earlwood Norman, Jr. of
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1989, page 20.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beeson Divinity School Installs Anglican Chair Professor


The Fall Semester 2016 of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University began today at its morning Convocation. Two significant events occurred at the gathering in Hodges Chapel.

First, forty-two incoming first year students were welcomed by Dr. Timothy George. The new seminarians and their families come to Beeson from many states and from several nations around the world.

Secondly, the Reverend Dr. Gerald R. McDermott was installed as Anglican Chair of Divinity, one of five academic chairs at the school. Assisting Dr. George in the order of installation was the Most Reverend Doctor Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.

Although the service today was noticeably Anglican, Dr. George reminded everyone that the school is interdenominational.

Participants leading the service in addition to Dr. George were Dr.  Andrew Westmoreland, President of Samford University; Archbishop Beach; Bishop Alphonza Gadsden, Bishop of the Diocese of the Southeast (REC-ACNA); the Rev. Katherine Jacobs, Cathedral Church of the Advent-Birminghan (TEC); and Dr. Mark Quay, Rector, Saint Peter's Anglican Church-Mountain Brook, Alabama (ADOTS-ACNA).

Also attending the service were members of the Board of the Anglican Institute.

Prior to the installation portion of the service, Dr. Beach delivered his sermon on "Prayer." He told incoming students, and all present, that Christian leaders must always be "praying leaders." The Archbishop said that "prayer is work, not preparation for work."

Following the service a luncheon was given to honor Dr. McDermott and Archbishop Beach. In the late afternoon the Archbishop met with a gathering of Beeson Divinity School students for a question-and-answer session.

L-R: Dr. Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School;
Dr. Gerald R. McDermott, Anglican Chair of Divinity;
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

The 42 Incoming Divinity Students
Fall Semester, 2016
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
Birmingham, Alabama

Saturday, August 27, 2016



It was a wonderful epoch of oversight hardly noticed,
Without scandal nor coerced compliance of the masses.
A Cool Age free from elite restraints and shackles,
A bountiful normalcy.

But it was followed by a chain of progressive rules
Led by those who claim to know all the better,
Forcing their active thoughts into mandatory adherence
Through the son of Abinoam.

In the interim was the City on a Hill,
Giving rise to promising normalcy again.
But its life once bright grew steadily dim.
Where went the Cool Age?

WENjr 8-27-2013

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meetings between the OCA and ACNA

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have held meetings for the past 12 to 18 months. I suspect that in the not-too-distant future the two Christian jurisdictions will jointly announce some level of inter-communion.

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach has nurtured this potential union/inter-communion perhaps since before he was elected archbishop. Whatever happens will be historic.

The OCA has its origin in the Russian Orthodox Church. As the ROC in America evolved it was given semi-autonomy in the 1970s as The Metropolia. Eventually OCA was established. I believe the ROC gave the OCA autocephaly, or self-headed government; other Orthodox jurisdictions recognize OCA as autonomous, meaning not fully self-governing. Either way there is no dispute within Orthodoxy of OCA's system of belief or doctrine.

The ACNA is a new structure/jurisdiction within the faith system known as Anglicanism. Few Anglican Provinces recognize ACNA as a legitimate province, however, the majority of established Anglican Provinces worldwide recognize the ACNA as a true Anglican entity. Indeed, the majority of Anglican Provinces formed the ACNA.

There were meetings last year in Washington, D.C. among the OCA, ACNA, and the Metropolitan of Moscow. OCA and ACNA leaders later traveled to Moscow to meet with the Moscow Metropolitan and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Only time will tell whether these meetings will produce results, as in ecclesiastical inter-communion, or remain simply in "talk" mode until the Second Coming.

Somethin's happ'nin!

See the OCA website news here.

OCA announcement

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Remembering Askew Marable

Remembering Askew Marable

Our dear friend died just the other day.
It was August Fourteen
On a Sunday when we did pray
For him, not knowing what later we would glean.

I remember our first meeting
At Saint Peter’s on a Thursday morn
When Askew came to me with his welcoming greeting,
A new friendship quickly born.

To know me he asked a few questions
And introduced me to other men.
First to Rector John, then others at the session,
We listened to British Pastor Graham Tomlin.

Betty, his bride of 64 years,
Was introduced to Askew
By a friend mutually dear.
George “Goober” Lindsey it was, who provided that glue.

Betty and Askew stalwarts at Church,
He ushered and she greeted,
For they the friendly faces strangers on Sunday searched.
Each welcomed newcomers and helped them to be seated.

Askew and I had our kind of joking.
Our first names at times misleading.
My name of “value” provoking,
His of “nobility” and fine breeding.

But one might view him obliquely
At an angle so askew,
 Failing to recognize discreetly
An honorable man, not one to casually eschew.

One Sunday morning while di-vesting,
With young Deacon Andrew at my side,
I asked usher Askew something interesting,
A question I knew Askew would abide.

Making sure Andrew’s attention grew,
I turned and asked Mr. Marable,
“There’s something I want to ask you, Askew.”
Andrew’s laughter became unbearable.

An honor to know Askew Marable,
A faithful servant of Our Lord,
Lay he today in casket coronal
He and his Savior now in one accord.

© Worth Earlwood Norman Jr
Birmingham, Alabama
August 19, 2016

Friday, August 5, 2016

June Norman Black

June Norman Black

Cousin Cathy called just the other day,
To tell me Aunt June had passed away.
I could have received her news in stride,
After all, she was ninety-five.

But no, I had a different reaction
Because June was quite an attraction
Not only to me
But a positive person for all to see.

In her youth she was physically beautiful,
With her family and work she so dutiful
In taking care of her own
With never a groan.

During my boyhood she changed my comfort zone
By placing me in a Sears fashion show.
Wearing white bucks and gray herringbone
She made me a male model. I know!

June, a local Norfolk television star,
Started lawn mowers by hand in commercial breaks.
In years later I challenged whether the mowers were
Warmed up for the ratings stakes.

“No,” June insisted,” the mowers were cold.”
So I am to believe that a 100-pound young lady,
When asked decades later to me so bold
Would not admit to something perhaps a little shady.

I remember June as our family so dear,
On Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving
In her home we gathered every year.
Those were good times for living.

June’s siblings were large in number,
Hazel, Bonnie, Pat, and Jean;
‘Doc’ [Worth], my dad, and Harry, and ‘Toots’ him I don’t remember,
Perhaps ‘Doc’ the family’s dean.

It is difficult to lose a person so dear,
Even when meeting eye-to-eye infrequent.
On hearing this news I shed more than one tear,
Through her life, I know what love meant.

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Title Released - THE HERESY OF HAM print edition

Our Archdeacon Books imprint is proud to announce the print edition of "The Heresy of Ham: What Every Evangelical Needs to Know About the Creation-Evolution Controversy" by Dr. Joel Edmund Anderson.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Signs of the Total Secular State

Signs of the Total Secular State
The Total Absence of God

Gradually the loss of human dignity
Is no belief in the sanctity of life.

Filled with ambiguity,
The new secular order rife
With its version of people value

Creates a culture for each individual,
A dignity seemingly better than biblical.

The politics of covenant is gone,
A collective responsibility forsaken
For the common good previously undertaken.

Deep roots has a relationship of covenant,
A willing sacrifice for the sake of others.

Secular citizens begin caring less
About any such political fundament
And more about their private living.
Society dissolves into a series of pressure groups, chilling.

No deep, stable structure
Lives in the secular ever-variable.
The steady religious tenet they puncture
With lies never tenable.

The secular floats on the surfaces,
On tides and waves uncertain,
No meaning and no purposes,
The real life behind their curtain.

Morality also a loss,
Though citizens not necessarily immoral.
Words losing force and original meanings now dross.
Duty, obligation, honor, integrity, loyalty and trust,
In secularism, all a loss.

Relationships no longer consecrated,
Marriage becomes a mistress.
New forms of friendship reconfigure and break
Relationships with no emotional distress.

The idea of marriage as commitment,
A loyalty at the depths of our being,
Easy to discard and unsustainable,
Bring personal resentment.

Fewer people marry,
More divorces ensue,
Parents with no connection to their children,
Bonds across generations subdued.

The possibility of life meaningful,
Not a personal project
As offered by secular culture,
But from the outside bedecked
As a call, a mission, a vocation.

From the outside means a Transcendence,
Perhaps the final religious functioning in your presence
To teach, heal, and fight all forms of injustice.
The total secular order
Has no space for transcendence, vocation, or the life meaningful.

When life floats on the surfaces
It is a purposeless and self-centered fantasia.
Life becomes meaningless and disposable
In the form of abortion and euthanasia.

This is a versed adaptation/interpretation taken from the writings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’
The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning.
Schocken Books/Random House, New York, 2011, pp. 103-4.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oh Really, O’Reilly?

Oh Really, O’Reilly?

There is this commentator O’Reilly
An expert on all things entirely.
If you don’t think it so
Just let him know
How his thoughts not always regarded highly.

It was just the other day
When Christian forgiveness came into play
Felt he necessary to correct a viewer
That repentence, required from a wrongdoer,
Releases forgiveness held at bay.

Reconciliation, though, can start with either side
But one may be obstinate with personal pride.
So the process begins
Regardless of who sins,
The high road therein attempted and tried.

God is in this high road action
Where repentance gains traction
With the two persons aggrieved.
Repentance and forgiveness now agreed,
Meet full reconciliation, not a fraction.

Thursday, July 21, 2016



‘God has healed’ is Rafael,
But he seemed so far afield
When principles are held
As a protective shield.

Not meant here
To be a comparison,
But principle’s tier
Should learn from some.

The nine of Mother Emanuel
Lost life’s breath
Suddenly, not gradual
But instant death.

Then Mother Emanuel’s faithful
Shocked the nation;
A congregation not ungrateful
For the gift of reconciliation.

Though not of the same magnitude
Rafael’s bride was wronged
And her spouse went on to brood
In front of a mighty throng.

This principled angel earlier attracted
Evangelical hearts, their admiration
He extracted
His principles, though, his fixation.

Why did he persist with vengeance?
Why not cross that political isthmus
With spiritual transcendence
To heal with God’s forgiveness?

Rafael, O Rafael
You should have lived up to your name.
Your principles so dearly held,
Withholding Godly healing became shame.