James H. Wolfgang (August 13, 1922 — March 20, 2015)

Today, I’m thinking of my father on what would have been his 93rd birthday. It is the first of his birthday anniversaries since he passed earlier this year — and the first time we can’t celebrate with him. The Blessed Hope of the resurrection in Christ tempers our loss, as we anticipate the more sublime celebration after awhile. In the meantime, I am posting some comments by my brother John, which he read at Dad’s funeral on March 28, 2015. Well said, John!


My Dad taught us many things. He taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car. When I was in Cub Scouts, he tried to teach me how to climb a tree, but that didn’t work. When I was in 7th grade, he tried to teach me the rules of football, but that didn’t stick. But there were many things we learned from him just by being around him and by observing, because “more is caught than taught”.

When I was cleaning out Mom and Dad’s house a few months ago, I came across Dad’s office– that’s not the room with the computer and file cabinet, etc. It was the dining room table. That was his “office”. That’s where he did his “book work”–church finances, home finances, correspondence, etc. And in these last few years, when it became more difficult for him to get around, he “nested”, gathering the things around him that he needed. What I found among these “office” things was 4 books. For some reason, I laid them out and took a picture of them and later came understand that each one represented something about Dad. And that’s what I want to share with you.

The first book was a recent gift to him from Steve called, “Lost Indianapolis”. There wasn’t anything about Indianapolis that was lost to Dad. He knew everything about the city, having lived here for all of his 92 years (except for his years in the service). He could tell you where anything was or where it used to be i.e., “oh that’s on Capitol Ave….” or …”that’s where the RCA plant used to be” or whatever. And he knew the state of Indiana, too. You could ask him anything about any town or county and he could get you there…”take State Road # whatever and go up through such & such town”. And if for some reason he was stumped, he would get his map and a magnifying glass and find it for you and then report back to you when he talked to you the next time.

And he was mentally sharp to the end. He knew who some distant relative was that I had never heard of, and without missing a beat could tell me her name and the relationship to the family.

And Dad was the first GOOGLE. The only difference was that it was all in his pocket. He wrote down everything that was important to him. And he could give all kinds of information from the notes in his pocket…like, when Lesley was born, or what Liam’s middle name is. And that was one of the important things I learned, ASK DAD.

The second book was a book about Song Leading. It had things in it like, “what to do with a rogue singer” etc. I found it amusing and thought he would enjoy it. Dad had a really nice voice. At the Care Center, when I would play the piano for him, he would sing along. And one of the residents commented, “Your Dad sure has a nice voice. He must have been in the choir.” If he was in the right mood, you might get him to sing the Wheaties song, or his a high “a,” believe it or not, in La Golandrina, or maybe even the Tech Fight Song. He loved to lead the songs at church and he was good at it. He learned from older men when he was young and he taught the younger men when he was older…how to use the pitch pipe and beat the time, etc. And, I think most importantly, he wanted to do it well. So he would practice at home, in front of a mirror, to get it right. And if he needed a little help with a melody, Mom would help him. He would work hard at it, just as he did at everything else–his job, the yard, the house, the church jobs–all done with HARD WORK–another thing I “caught” from my Dad–WORK HARD.

The third book was from Tech HS, called “400 Words Everyone Should Be Able To Spell”. Doing things RIGHT, mattered to Dad. How it looked. He had very neat handwriting even into his last years. Small numbers, tiny print, etc. And he kept this ready reference book handy (I believe) so he could check his spelling. And if he needed some help, he ASKED MOM. I have a picture in my mind of him sitting at the office table, and summoning Mom from the kitchen, he would seek her assistance. She would be there in her apron, dish towel and dish hand, looking over his shoulder, checking his work and giving her help or approval. What was caught, more than taught? If you need something done right… ASK MOM! (she was the first Spell Check, by the way).

Book number 4 was car book–a Ward’s mileage book, where he kept a record of every trip, every gas fill (to check mpg) and every maintenance done on the car. And it really was a record of their life. Where they went travelling, what they did and who they visited. And he had a brand new one for this year, ready to use. He loved his cars and could tell you every single one he had, beginning with 1941 Chevy Coupe (?). He was a Chevy man, then digressed for a few years to Plymouth and Dodge, and then returned to General Motors. And then I guess they had a sale on red Cadillacs, that was their favorite. It was his pride and joy to drive and to take care of. Washed, cleaned, swept out regularly with a whisk broom, and always looking brand new. And that was the lesson observed, TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE. And that, of course, extended to us, and so it wasn’t surprising that during my last visit with him, he said, “Take care of your Mother.” Take care of what you have and those around you.

And so, thanks Dad, for the many lessons you taught us; not just these 4, but so many more. Rest now, from you labors, and know that your work was not in vain.

The new look at Magdala


Ferrell Jenkins’ blog is always worth reading!

Originally posted on Ferrell's Travel Blog:

Magdala was high on my list of places to revisit to see the changes taking place.

The town of Magdala is not mentioned in the Bible, but Mary Magdalene is mentioned a total of 12 times in the four gospels. This place may have been her birthplace or her home. A few late manuscripts mention Magdala (Matthew 15:39 KJV), but earlier manuscripts read Magadan. Magdala is located about 4 miles north of Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Josephus had his headquarters at Magdala during the first Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-70). He was able to get a group of at least 230 boats to go from Magdala to Tiberias (Jewish Wars 2.635-637). Vespasian attacked the town from the sea and destroyed it.

We first learned of the new excavation planned for Magdala in early 2008 (here). Then in September, 2009…

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Can You See What I See?


This is spot on!

Originally posted on finding hope in the word:

pain and suffering

Over the years I have had the opportunity to labor with so many wonderful people. I have preached in Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and Iowa. I have gone overseas to Norway and met with the saints there. I have traveled and met with saints all over the states. (Although I realize that I am nowhere nearly as traveled as others preachers I know). One thing that I have learned over the years is that Christians are often blind. We like to think of ourselves being enlightened. We like to think of ourselves of being able to clearly see the truth of God’s word. We like to think of ourselves as being able to see what ails the world. We like to think of ourselves as being able to see the cure that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But, my friends, we are blind.

While we might see the problems that…

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Lightning-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final is second-most watched final in 18 years

Lightning-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final is second-most watched final in 18 years


Go Hawks!

Originally posted on ProHockeyTalk:

The 2015 Stanley Cup Final has averaged 4.965 million viewers on NBC and NBCSN through the first four games, making it the second-most watched final through four games in 18 years.

Only the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the the Blackhawks and Bruins had more viewers through the first four games (5.341 million).

Last night’s Game 4 produced the most-watched Stanley Cup Final quarter-hour ever on NBCSN (5.489 million, 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET).

Through four games, this year’s final has produced a 2.91 household rating.

Locally, Chicago’s average rating of 24.1 through four games is up 18 percent compared to its four-game average rating for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final (20.5). In Tampa, Game 4 set the record for highest rating in the market for a Lightning game on NBCSN (13.9).

Chicago’s Game 4 win produced a 2.23 HH rating and averaged 3.914 million viewers, replacing Game 3 of the series as the third-most watched…

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Footnote 32 – Bob Greene, Duty: A Father, His Son, And The Man Who Won The War. HarperCollins, 2000, 2009. Kindle Edition, pp. 13-15.

Bob Greene’s book about his father’s death reports conversations he had with Paul Tibbetts, who lived in retirement not far from the Green family home in Columbus, OH. For those who might not know, Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. (February 23, 1915 – November 1, 2007), was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force, best known as the pilot of the Enola Gay – named for his mother – the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb in the history of warfare. That bomb, code named “Little Boy,” was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945.

Any child of “Greatest Generation” parents, especially those of us who are losing or have lost them, can surely relate to Greene’s reflection on this Memorial Day. Today I am remembering James H. Wolfgang (August 13, 1922 – March 20, 2015), whose one and only “European trip” was via Omaha Beach in 1944, and for whom Memorial Day was always very meaningful.


“Do people know my name?” Tibbets asked. He was repeating the question I had just asked him. A soft, private look crossed his face.

“They don’t need to know my name,” he said. The deed he had carried out was one of the most famous the world has ever known; it will be talked about in terms of fear and awe forever. He, though, even here in the town where he lived, was not as famous as the local television weatherman.

“People knowing my name isn’t important at all,” he said. “It’s more important—it was more important then, and it’s more important now—that they know the name of my airplane. And that they understand the history of what happened. “Although sometimes I think that no one really understands the history.”

And so we started to talk. Neither of us knew it that day, but it would be the first of many conversations—about the war, about the men and women who lived through it, about their lives, and the lives of their sons and daughters: the lives of those of us who came after them, who inherited the world that they saved for us.

As I sat with Tibbets that first day—thinking of my father in his bed just a few miles away—it occurred to me that Eisenhower was dead, Patton was dead, Marshall was dead, MacArthur was dead. And here was Tibbets, telling me in the first person the story of how the great and terrible war came to an end.

… gradually the stories would expand in context, would begin to explain to me certain things not just about this man, but about the generation of men and women who are leaving us now every day.

It is a wrenching thing, to watch them go. As the men and women of the World War II generation die, it is for their children the most intensely personal experience imaginable—and at the same time a sweeping and historic one, being witnessed by tens of millions of sons and daughters, sons and daughters who feel helpless to stop the inevitable.

For me, as my father, day by day, slipped away, the over-whelming feeling was that a safety net was being removed—a safety net that had been there since the day I was born, a safety net I was often blithely unaware of. That’s what the best safety nets do—they allow you to forget they’re there. No generation has ever given its children a sturdier and more reliable safety net than the one our parents’ generation gave to us.

The common experience that wove the net was their war. And as I began to listen to Tibbets—to hear his stories, later to question him about the America that preceded and followed the war from which his stories came—I realized anew that so many of us only now, only at the very end, are beginning to truly know our fathers and mothers. It was as if constructing that safety net for their children was their full-time job, and that finally, as they leave us, we are beginning to understand the forces that made them the way they were.

Tibbets began to speak, and as I listened I thought I could hear a rustle of something behind the words—I thought I could hear the whisper of a generation saying goodbye to its children.

Pentecost in Jerusalem



Originally posted on Ferrell's Travel Blog:

Last evening at sundown the Jews began to celebrate their modern interpretation of  Pentecost (Shavu’ot). Christians know this from the Old Testament scriptures as the feast of weeks (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). Last evening we saw many Jews heading for the Western Wall through the Damascus Gate when we were there. The Orthodox Jews were the easiest to detect because of their distinctive dress.

Pentecost comes 50 days after Passover. It follows a sabbath and amounts to a two-day holiday here in Jerusalem. Those who are not religious may be seen at recreational places enjoying the time off as many persons in America do on any holiday. Some of the religious take the family to a hotel and allow non-Jews to serve them the food they wish. The hotel has a Shabbat elevator. You only make the mistake of getting on it once. It requires no work (= pushing the…

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Up To Bethany

Whew!! Today is a “decompression day” after a truly “WOW!!” week with 50+ “Restoration History” or “Stone-Campbell” (choose your own terminology) enthusiasts packed onto a bus with “all the comforts” (WiFi, on-board restroom, wireless PA, video screen and great driver!) on a trip from Nashville, “up to Bethany” and back. Some of the sites packed into 6 days: Lipscomb sites in Nashville; Mt. Olivet Cemetery (gravesites and discussion of DL, Tolbert Fanning, Sewell family, etc.); Bowen-Campbell House at Mansker’s Station (BW Stone’s home after marrying Celia Bowen following Eliza Stone’s death); James A. Harding gravesite at Bowling Green (and continuing discussions); speaking in the Midway church on the site where one of the first musical instruments was introduced — the melodeon now at Midway College (formerly Dr. L.L. Pinkerton’s Kentucky Female Orphan School); BW Stone and Bacon College sites in Georgetown); speaking in the Old Morrison Hall chapel using JW McGarvey’s Chapel Talks, delivered in that very hall by JWM himself, and singing some of the hymns JWM discusses in some of those lectures); hiking through Lexington Cemetery (one of the nation’s most beautiful) to see gravesites and discuss the lives of Henry Clay, McGarvey, John Rogers, Robert Graham [1st president of what’s now the University of Arkansas, 2nd President of Kentucky University], “Raccoon” John Smith, John T. Johnson, L.L. Pinkerton, Robert J. Breckinridge, Robert Milligan, Isaiah Boone Grubbs, Robert B. Crawley, Henry Hampton Halley [of Halley’s Bible Handbook], and Charles C. Moore {BW Stone’s grandson who became, and was jailed for his writings as, a “freethinker” {atheist}, among others; Cane Ridge and museum, May’s Lick (home and grave of Walter Scott and church where he preached); and then “up to Bethany” to the Campbell home and Cemetery and Old Main at Bethany College; through the country roads of West Virginia to Washington, PA, and the site of the printing of Thomas Campbell’s “Declaration and Address” in 1809; and then back to KY to Winchester for JW and JA Harding sites and the location of the Neal-Wallace debate on premillennialism) finally to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Danville, whence two of the signers of the famous “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery” defected, leaving BW Stone and David Purviance alone of the signers; and many other sites, lectures, and conversations too numerous to mention! What a trip – exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time!