My brother, Dr. Mike Sims, has served as a family practice physician in Columbus, Georgia since the mid-1970’s. For many years his practice included obstetrics– the delivery of babies. Mike often expressed to me how much he enjoyed participating with God in the divine miracle of birth. Mike has always been pro-life and has never wavered. Obstetrics only strengthened his conviction that life begins at conception.
Sadly, sometimes even the best of care and the most effective medicines cannot prevent miscarriages. In the early 1980’s my brother was in the midst of a one of those crisis moments with a young expectant mother, when something absolutely unexpected occurred. Here is the incredible story.
Family stories are the best. Aunt Charlotte, my mother’s only sister and my granddaughter’s namesake, loves family stories as much as I do. Sometimes we laugh and carry-on during a phone call like nobody’s business! I can seem to get Charlotte to laugh at almost anything, and we enjoy every moment of it. When we’re not discussing politics, religion, or Auburn football, we are recalling and re-telling our family stories. Aunt Charlotte and I are truly oral history junkies.
As a pastor, I am often called upon to conduct funeral services for members of our church family or for extended members of their families. Every once in a while, I get a phone call from a local funeral home about a family who has no pastor, and am given the opportunity to come and minister to them. It’s something I welcome, and know that it might be a divine appointment for a grieving family to hear about God’s love for them.
I am eternally grateful for the spiritual heritage and upbringing I received from my family. Passed down to me and to my siblings was the truth about Jesus Christ, and a solid faith in His Word. My parents took seriously the biblical admonition from Deuteronomy 11:19: “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
But spiritual precepts are not all that my family passed down to us. Oral history is a part of the fabric of our family. The following is another excerpt from a book I am presently penning about my late father, Coolidge Sims. His last days in an assisted living center gave me a brief season to hear him again rehearse the stories of his childhood that I had heard all of my life. One evening in June of 2012, I joined Dad for supper in the dining hall of his final residence, The Oaks.
Our conversation that memorable evening includes his version of one of my favorite family stories. Enjoy!
“Make no mistake about it, I believe in the supernatural– miracles, dreams and visions. Yes, to believe in the God of the Bible is to believe in His ability to do “anything.” But not everything that God does looks like a miraculous healing, a dream or a vision. His agenda is much deeper than that. He is most interested in transforming lives– resurrecting the spiritually dead to new life in Christ.
Here is the question: If God can do anything, then can He also use anyone in getting His message across? You’d better believe it! Have you ever read the biblical story of Balaam and his donkey? In the Autumn of 1978 I clearly saw it first hand. I’ll never forget the night I had a brief encounter with a bona fide “hippy” named Sid. Here’s the story.
It’s all the rage to talk about right now– “fake news.” What’s so crazy is that people tend to think that it’s a new thing. Oh, no. It’s been happening for a very long time, only it’s been historically called by different names: “yellow journalism,” “communist propaganda,” “disinformation,” “media hack,” and more recently “digital deception.”
As soon as Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1439, “fake news” became a staple commodity in selling papers. Some would print almost anything to increase circulation and readership. In 1835, The Sun (a small, struggling news outlet in New York City) began printing fake stories about an alien civilization on the moon, even presenting scientific facts and multiple endorsements from well-respected scientific communities as proof. It was all a lie, but it established The Sun as a leading, profitable New York morning newspaper. Later it all became known as “The Great Moon Hoax,” but The Sun remained a major news outlet until 1950! For 115 years The Sun laughed all the way to the bank!
In last week’s post, Snake Doctors and All Things Southern, I shared some of my family’s most colorful Southern sayings. It’s just part of the Southern way of communicating, and each is full of meaning. Today I want to continue with other sayings that were heard often in the Sims household. My sister, Donna, and I were sharing a ride to the town of our birth, and had so much fun reaching back into time and pulling these sayings out of our memory banks. Some of them were common to many people around us, but a few were only spoken in our family circle. Enjoy.
Have you ever heard of Russian roulette? Russian roulette is a wicked game (usually a drinking game) to “test one’s bravery.” If you’re lucky, nothing will happen and you get to live to see another day. If you aren’t you move immediately to the afterlife. (I’m not sure what happens if you chicken out, but most likely it’s fatal.)
Let me be clear– I’ve never played that game, nor would I ever play it. But have I taken stupid chances? Have I played Russian roulette with thoughtless decision-making? You’d better believe I have– especially when I was young and “invincible.” What comes to my mind is a series of events that occurred during a camping trip with four teenaged friends– at a place in the Talladega National Forest we simply called “The Train Tunnel.”
- Last week’s “Epic Fail” post got more blog site comments and Facebook shares than almost any other in the past year. And still the whole story has not been told. Like the Happy Days TV show in the seventies, there are multiple spin-off stories surrounding our epic fail. If you haven’t read the Epic Fail post, read it first, then this post will make sense. If you’re one of those who are still laughing at our epic fail (and feeling sorry for poor Pastor Benny) then hold on– the ride continues.