Monday, November 17, 2008

Connection to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

I have been doing some cleaning in our garage within the past week. It is a detestable job but I have made some progress. In a box of items we inherited from a distant cousin of my husband, I found a newspaper clipping of interest. I will explain.

The distant cousin's name was Eylene Worden Sherman. She grew up in Hillsboro, WI and married a local boy, O.W. Sherman. He became a radiologist and practiced at the VA hospital in Temple, TX as his career closed. Both Eylene and O. W. were only children in their family's of origin and they had no children. My husband and I moved to TX a few years before Eylene passed away. He was one of her few living relatives and nearly the only relative close enough to Temple to drive there to receive items from her estate that only family would want. We were able to purchase some of her treasures and were given the things not suitable for an estate sale. So Eylene's boxes of memorabilia have been stored in our garage since we received them in late 1989. I decided this fall it was time to tackle those boxes and make some decisions. Since I'm not in the bloodline of this family, I decided I needed my husband's advice about things in the boxes. There have been all sorts of interruptions in our life making it nearly impossible to get to the task - other more urgent boxes, an out of town business trip for hubby for a week, election responsibilities, life... I'm sure you all understand the difficulty of putting a 20 year old box full of non-strategic things at the top of anybody's priority list. So the box made it to the table where it was scheduled for attention but it has now been put back on the shelf from where it came until after Jan. 1, 2009 because life has gotten in the way. But before closing the box and reshelving it, I pulled one item out and have it in front of me.

This item is a 5x7 frame with a newspaper clipping from the Madison, WI Capital Times of Oct. 1941. The short article has the heading, HAD FAMOUS COUSIN. The article begins with these words, "O. W. Sherman,... tells us that he is a third cousin of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, famous leader of the 'March from Atlanta to the Sea' in Civil war days." The article gives the connection of O. W's father and Gen. Sherman and more accurate bio information about the Gen. which I confirmed by doing some web searches today.

I give this information only as a preface, however, to the closing paragraph of the article which has prompted some reflection on my part. That paragraph is this:
"Gen. Sherman had an individual code of religion which, expressed in his own words, was:
'I believe that if people only act half as well as they know how, God will forgive the balance.'"

So what are my thoughts in response to this Code of Religion?
  1. What is the biblical chapter and verse for this statement?
  2. When will I find out if God decides that half of my acts are good so that I qualify for forgiveness of the other half?
  3. What if my goodness is only 49%?
  4. If there is a God, which this statement assumes, has he made this policy clear in the book where his other teaching is located?
I assume that these words are Gen. Sherman's code for how God will decide whether or not the Gen. will make it into heaven upon his death. Through the Bible Study I'm currently doing with women at my church, THE VISION OF HIS GLORY; Finding Hope Through the Revelation of Jesus Christ by Anne Graham Lotz, I have focused on scripture in Rev. 21 this week stating a different "code": v. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will qualify to go to heaven. And fortunately, God forgives 100% of all sin of any sinner when that sinner repents, opens the door of their heart to God's knock (Rev. 3: 20) and invites him in. I'm not sure I would qualify for even half of my choices being good and I certainly don't want to run the risk of finding out at heaven's door that I came short of the cut-off by a fraction or any amount for that matter.

I'm grateful for Gen. Sherman's service to our country but my hope is that he had opportunity to find the way to make certain his name was written in the Lamb's book of life before he died.

I haven't exhausted possible responses to Gen. Sherman's code. If you have comments to add to this discussion, please add them to this blog. I appreciate your thoughts.

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