Bullying

We generally think of bullying as something that happens in the hall ways of our schools or on the play ground but unfortunately it has permeated every strata of society. It is not really a new thing: it goes back to Genesis and Cain uses violent force against his brother.

I got in a bit of an argument the other day with a young man who believes the government education dogma which exonerate the North and vilifies the South. Their version of history is that the civil war was fought because of slavery. Our righteous Northern friends were outraged over the immorality of slavery and they joined the army in mass to fight the evil Southern slave owners. Actually, Lincoln had a draft and for $300 any Yankee son could be exempted. I don’t think there is a more credible source than Robert E. Lee and he said that the war was not over slavery. A bit ironic wouldn’t you say since we have been taught for over 100 years that is was a holy war.

I believe that truth is found in Patrick Henry reluctance to have a federal government. Not only did he fear the loss of States Rights which is now a joke, he foresaw the Northern majority as being a bully over the Southern minority. When you keep pushing your weight around, the little guy will eventually fight back. Abraham Lincoln didn’t think there would be a war; he thought the show of force would intimidate the Southern Confederacy. He was wrong and hundreds of thousands died as a result. I do not believe that there was any problem that could not have been worked out had the North not tried its customary bullying tactics. They started a war that they could not finish ethically and then they took the moral high ground by propagandizing the entire event. Let me ask you one question: where is the bible belt? Where is the heartland of our country today? Is is not the South and the Mid-West. Is this not where conservatism lives and thrives? Am I wrong or right? But this is just one illustration: I have more to prove my point.

Bullying is very real in the corporate world. I feel for any pastor who has to deal with corporate America. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying: I am not talking about small business. I am a friend of small business and they are in the same boat that we are in. A few years ago we had a contract with BFI which is a waste management firm. One of the County employees told me off record, “We can save you a lot of money but you will have to get out of your contract with BFI before we can talk to you.” I said, “Are you kidding, what contract.” “Ah”, said he, “You have a contract somewhere and you will not have an easy time getting out.” He went on to explain the corporate contract world. You have to find out when it expires and terminate it or it will automatically renew. Sure enough, I got to dealing with them and we lacked a year and half. I got my letter in to corporate headquarters stating that we did not want to renew. End of story right? Wrong, very wrong. First they give me the run around. Then they tried strong-arm tactics and finally I threatened to get a lawyer. It took me the better part of two months to get out of the contract. It is the same thing with the printer corporations: I will not tell you what I think of Ricoh and I am not 100% sure that Xerox is any better. Dealing with these people is unbelievable. They send you a salesperson, usually young female, and they make all these verbal promises that are not worth a dime. Then they slide a contract in front of you and you think that you are agreeing on what’s been said, right? Wrong! What’s in the contract is totally different from what they told you. Ricoh even sets the printer default on color. They have tricks you would not believe and yes, if they don’t sell you a new machine before your lease runs out, they too will pull out the contract which has very small print. You have a window in which to notify them or they can automatically renew your contract for the old machine at the same monthly fee.

Bullying also takes place in churches. One side has more votes so they attempt to force their will on the opposing side. What happened after the civil war? My great-great grandmother and her family hid from Union {Yankee} soldiers by hiding in a well. What the North did to the South after the war was as bad as what they did during the war. Who had the numbers? Who had the show of force? Who got their way? You know the answer, the North forced their will on the South. What did they create? Resentment, mass resentment and if you think that it is a thing of the past, you have not been listening to Hank Williams Jr. when he sings and your sure have not taken a ride through Winston County. People do not like to be bullied period. Bullying creates resentment, mass resentment. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong; people don’t like being forced to change. Maybe the South needed to make some changes but I can think of a few that would make the North a better place to live or even visit but it’s not worth a civil war. Might does not make right. I believe in majority rule but not even the majority is right all the time.

I offer a better solution than war, bullying and bloodshed. How about we sit down and talk. Are there some terms that we agree on? I am not talking about compromising principles, I am talking about respecting the opinions and rights of others. Slavery had no future in America, the hand writing was on the wall and most of the Southern Planters could see the end in sight. War or no war, slavery was coming to an end. Did the war expedite the end of slavery [forced labor] in America? Sure it did. By how many years? That is a question that no one can answer but the real question is: can Lincoln justify the deaths of over 600,000 Americans just to sped the process. Let me ask one more question: which stirs your blood the most, slavery or abortion? Do you think that it is a greater sin to make a man a slave than it is to kill him? One other think: did Lincoln stop slavery in America? The answer to that is no, he birthed a new form of slavery: we call it entitlement and 47% of Americans are now entitled.

I’m just telling you that bullying does not pay, there is a better way and it is call synergy which is not my way or your way but a better way that can only be achieved when we work together. Yes, it does take a lot of time but in the long run you don’t have the resentment. I had rather deal with the delay than the resentment. In my youth, I thought the solution was a bigger hammer. In those days, you could not tell me a square peg would not go in a round hole, I would show you, and if I had to, I would get a bigger hammer. I had rather not think about the damage and scars I have caused by forcing the issue. Over time, I have come to realize that getting my way is not always the best for myself or others.


In Memory Of James Martin Newby

Jame M. Newby
Mar. 8, 1922-Oct.14, 2012

Along with Calvin Inman, Mr. James helped me form my convictions. He was a noble man of rare integrity. His mantra was to “Work hard and tell the truth.” My history with Mr. James goes back to my boyhood. On a cold January night in 1955, our house caught fire from an upstairs coal heater. The house was old and it burned down quickly. Mr. James was the first neighbor to arrive and he carried the fridge out by himself. He was a big strong man in his day but we do not remember him for his physical strength but for in his incredible wisdom and insight. Mr. James was the E. F. Hutton of Sardis Springs. When he talked, people listened. That is the astounding thing: I was a hard headed kid that didn’t pay attention to anyone except James Newby: when he talked, I listened. I do not think you can find a witness that will testify that I ever back talked James Newby or even argued. The amazing thing is that I would argue with a sign and throw rocks at it for not arguing back. The night the house burned; the Newby’s carried me home with them. I have no idea where my siblings went that night: Mother had to be carried to the hospital and daddy went to be with her and all I know is that I went home with Jimmy and Jerry. Then at age 13, Mr. James hired me to ride a planter. I am sure that Jimmy and Jerry had something to do with it but Mr. James signed my paycheck. I loved my job and every now and then I got to drive one of the tractors [3010 John Deere]. I would like to have a 3010 diesel right now. I would drive it to church.I don’t know how many years I worked for the Newby’s. Off and on, I helped them through high school and I worked some in college during the holidays. I took a week of vacation in the late 70’s and helped them plant. I love tractors and they had the best.Mr. James loved his family, he loved people and treated everyone with respect. He especially enjoyed working with cattle and attended the sale at Decatur every Thursday for many, many years. He loved McCollums Restaurant. He would eat a catfish plate and then attend the sale. He was also a veteran of WWII.

family

I tell people that working for Mr. James was the best job I’ve had: got to eat with them at lunch and got a snack every time we went by a store. I ate my first Penn’s hamburger with Jimmy and Jerry. I loved farm work;  hauling hay was a delight compared to chopping cotton. Jerry and I graduated Athens College about the same time and then June and I moved to New Orleans in the fall of ‘71.  Mr. James came and saw us and had supper with us at the apartment. We graduated seminary in 1974 and moved to Cherokee, Alabama. We had a pretty rough time in those days: we kept having young ones and our outgo was much more than our income. In those days, we lived 82 miles from home but we made the trip every time we got a chance especially during the holidays. I think Jimmy and Martha were living in Tennessee at the time and they sent us the most beautiful Christmas Card with a gift enclosed. That gift was the only thing that kept the Jack Bailey family from being flat broke during the holidays. Over the years we have been blessed time and time again with cards from the Newby’s {all of them}. As I said at Mr. James’ Celebration of Life Service, “I could not pay these folks back if God gave me ten life times.”

James, William, Martha

I did Bro. Tim wrong but I knew he would forgive me. I told him on the eve of the service, “I am going to say a few words and tell one story—you have the message and the obituary.” He agreed reluctantly. He did just what I expected: a great job. I have heard Tim do a lot of funerals and he has never struck out. He has a marvelous gift when it comes to celebrating a persons life. The entire service was moving to me; especially the congregation singing God Bless America. I wish I had that on tape.