Elizajane C. Shackleford

Also, on April 30, Died, ELIZAJANE C. SHACKLEFORD, daughter of B. W. Stone, and wife of Alexander Shackleford, in Maysville, Ky. aged 23 years and 11 months.  She had been baptized on the profession of her faith in Christ a few years ago–lived the life of a Christian and died in the fearless and triumphant hope of immortality.  Her warm affection–her cheerful temper–her modest, unassuming conversation–her patience in suffering–her devotedness to her God, her parents, her husband, her sisters, brothers, and friends, were surpassed but by few.  These endeared her in life–these will endear her memory to surviving friends.  She and her infant daughter which died the evening before, sleep in the same coffin, interred in the same grave.

The Christian Messenger June 1831, vol 5 no 6, page 143.

Preaching on the Titanic Disaster

By late April 1912 the reality of Titanic’s sinking set in and Kromer C. Ice had time to reflect.  He prepared his thoughts and held forth in the Sunday evening service, April 29, at the Christian Church in McMechen, West Virginia.  McMechen is a river town, tucked between a hilly ridge to the east and the Ohio River on the west, just south of Wheeling.  In April 1912 K. C. Ice was about half-way through his second stint as McMechen’s minister.  He preached there from July 1907 to May 1908; returning in December 1911, he left in July 1912.  I have a few of his manuscript sermons from the second McMechen ministry; I do not have the Titanic sermon. I wonder what went through his mind for two full weeks, 14 to 29 of April, 1912. I wonder what he said.  Preaching to people he knew, trying to speak a word about unspeakable tragedy…I wonder how he wrestled and, after ascending the pulpit stairs, what he said.

McMechen church as it appeared during K. C. Ice’s ministry; an envelope:

Dr. K. C. and Rosa B. Ice, 1908. They were married in November 1908 not long after the conclusion of his first stint preaching at McMechen. By the time of their return in 1911 they had a two year old son, McGarvey.

McGarvey Charles Ice, born 5 October 1909 at Bethany, WV. Age in this photo about 2 years?

Home for Christmas

Having spent several days with Laura’s family, we are now safely back home in brown, wet–balmy even– Middle Tennessee.  We left Nashville last week with temps in the 60’s.  Lincoln County, MO had highs of about 12 Sunday and Monday.  We skirted some ice and freezing rain (fine by me) and missed snow (disappointing) only to return home to temps in the lower 60’s.  We had a great time and we are glad to be home.


Some time ago Josh Graves blogged about those whose place at our tables will be emtpy this year.  This year in our family there are several empty places:  Ellay May Ice (Mac’s grandmother), R. C. Thompson (Laura’s grandfather), Tommie Roberts (Mac’s great-aunt), and Areta Ice Hartman (Mac’s great-aunt).  As life moves on we come to difficult moments of death and separation.  Holidays without them remind us of the pain of ‘good-bye’ ; at the same time they afford us an opportunity to love here, now.   Alert communities of faith can make these unbearable moments more bearable and even redemptive.  Josh’s post moves quickly to the Lord’s Table, and I think his comments are well-put.  One example of how a congregation can act redemptively is described here by Bobby Valentine.  After reading these two posts I am more and more and more disappointed that with all the opportunity to minister in redemptive ways, many will revert to (so-called) Christmas sermons about why Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December.   We can do better than that, and I think Josh and Bobby have some things to say that will help us do better.

“Our Little Darling,” An Obituary for Carrie Louise Dorris

Our Little Darling
Obituary of Carrie Louise Dorris
The Bible Student
Vol. 2, No. 13, September 1900

On Friday, May 19, 1899, our home was made brighter and happier by the birth of our little darling, Carrie Louis Dorris, but on Monday, Aug. 13, 1900 at 12:45 P.M. the angel of death brought much darkness and gloom into this home by entering into and claiming our darling daughter as his victim. She was permitted to live with us only 14 months and 24 days. During this time she threw much happiness and sunshine in our home. Her stay with us was short, and we may not be able, during this life, to understand the motives and purposes of God in making our hearts sad by sending his divine sickle into our home and plucking this young and tender bud, but we believe that she stayed with us long enough to accomplish the purpose for which God placed her in out home. Her accomplishment her on earth will be revealed “over on the other shore.” During her short stay here, she suffered many pains. Her health was never good, and consequently was a little sufferer all her life. During the latter part of Spring and the first part of Summer her health began to fail more rapidly and she became nervous and could not occupy one position long at a time before expressing to us, by her sign, that she was tired and wished a new position. God, not willing that she should occupy temporal positions, provided better things for her and removed all pains and scorching fevers, and placed her little sinless body in a place of final rest and took her little spirit and transplanted it among the angels of God in the beautiful city above. She is now quiet and sleeping a sweet sleep in a silent tomb in the family burying place. She and grandmother are sleeping side by side only a short distance from their temporal home. Yes, sleeping where papa and mamma, can, with sad hearts, visit the little mound during the cool of the evening and water it with their tears.
The disease that took her from us was Cholera Infantum. On Sunday, August 5, she had some fever, but on Monday (next day) the fearful disease began to show itself. Physician and medical aid were sought, but no relief obtained. She died, seemingly, in perfect ease. She passed slowly away just as a light goes out for the want of oil. She recognized everything to the end. She took her medicines dose by dose as she was called upon without murmuring. After seeing that medical aid could give no relief, and after the last ray of hope was gone, yea, even after she had closed those little beautiful brown eyes never to open them again until the morning of the Resurrection, she knew and recognized the meaning of the touch of a cool spoon upon her parching lips, open her mouth, receive, and swallow cold water. She knew papa, mamma and grandpapa and would turn her little head to keep her eyes upon them until the finger of death’s cold hand bore upon her eyelids so strong that she was compelled to surrender to its wish, close her eyes and pass under the sheltering wings of the good Shepherd. It seemed that she knew that she was going to leave us and that she wanted to tell us about the journey she was going to take but nature forbade. Peace, sweet peace. But oh how hard to give her up. Have you lost a darling babe? Then you understand the grief. Have you not lost one? Then you cannot understand it. Our darling is dead. She is gone never to return. We put away her playthings and things used by and for her in memories drawer where they will be safe. We would not have them broken or lost for worlds like this. Her clothes, we lay away. We shall often look them over. Each of the colors that she wore will remind us of her as she looked when she was here. The little wagon, we place away. It reminds us of the many happy rides that papa, mamma and grandpapa has given here in the beautiful shade of the yard in the cool of the evening, and of those tender little hands that would grasp and hold to the sides of the little wagon bed, of those sweet brown eyes gazing through the tree tops into the heavens, and of those sweet beautiful little smiles which expressed her joy. The old rockingchair is another monument erected to her memory. We will often think of her as she sat in the old chair, watching papa and mamma while they were setting type. The lap-board, that was formerly used by papa for writing purposes, is placed with the other relics. This does not recall any pleasure or sunshine during the life of our darling. It recalls one of the saddest pictures, but we desire to keep it. It causes us to think of the pains and scorching fevers that snatched our darling from us. A pillow was placed upon the board, our darling upon the pillow. Upon this pillow and board the little doll suffered and died. Here she fell asleep in the arms of Jesus while in grandpapa’s lap. Last, but not least, the lock of curls, clipped from the little head of brown hair, when looked upon, will cause our minds to run back to her first existence in this world, to happy hours, beautiful smiles and sunshine, to sufferings and burning fevers, to the sad dark hour in which the angel of death took our darling from us; as well as to the facts that she is dead, that her eye has lost its luster, that her hands are still and cold, that her body is decaying and mouldering in the tomb and that her spirit is in heaven to welcome papa and mamma into the beautiful home of the soul.
The first Lord’s day in August was the last time that a smile was seen upon our darling’s face until breathing the last breath a smile appeared, which she wore upon her face to the grave. Little Carrie was the idol of a loving mother’s heart, and may this idol be a beacon light in the city of God to assist papa and mamma to the home of the soul, and to take comfort in the hope of that country where there is no sorrow and separations. The blossom which withered here upon its stalk, has been transplanted in the sweet paradise of God. “We live in the past by a knowledge of its history; and in the future by hope and anticipation.” God often calls the little ones home. This, viewed from a human standpoint, is the bitter cup God gives us to drink. But we, if children of God, must trust our Father. He chastens for our profit that we may be partakers of his holiness. God’s cup may seem bitter, and we may be long in draining it but at the bottom lies a precious blessing. We realize this as our Father’s cup and we drink it, unhesitatingly, uncomplainingly and with the spirit of Him, who said: “Not my will, but thine, be done.” God allures to brighter worlds, by removing our brightest objects of affection here. He cuts the ties which bind us down, that our affections may be free to aspire upward to things above. Heaven seems nearer when we know that our loved ones have passed in at the beautiful gate and are sleeping upon the bosom of Jesus. The ties which bound our hearts to earth, will henceforth bind them to heaven. Methinks I hear our darling saying: “Dear Parents, the King of kings has sent for your ‘little pet’ to confer a blessing upon her. He has taken her from a dark vale of sin and transplanted here in that land where redeemed spirits serve God, having all tears wiped from their eyes. As well as you love me, I would not be with you again. Weep not for me, but for yourselves, and count not yourselves at home till you come to be, as I am, forever with the Lord.” Darling, we know that you would not thank us, should we wish you degraded to earth again. It would not be the part of a wise parent to call you down from a sphere of such exalted pleasure, to our low lives here upon earth. We hope that we shall shortly leave this world of tears, and be free from all sorrows, pains, temptations and anxieties and dwell with you in the city of our God. Darling, we bid you good night, and say farewell once more, hoping to meet you in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. PAPA and MAMMA.

good for the soul

You should read Mike Cope’s post on the Ex-Demoniac’s Testimony.  As I’ve come to expect from him, it is a word well-crafted in which the warp of the biblical text and the woof of his own story intersect.  The intersection makes for powerful and nourishing reading.  At one level his own story is an entree into the biblical story (this is the very move that makes for good narrative preaching).  But at another level, aside from sermon form or strategy, he speaks the gospel to our hearts.

So, to anyone who would inquire about what ‘narrative preaching’ is or should be, I’d point them here.  Narrative preaching isn’t telling a lot of stories, or neglecting the biblical text in favor of illustrations.  Such isn’t narrative preaching, rather it just poor preaching.  Narrative preaching enters into the world of the text and connects our stories to its Story.  The two are not the same, and the former is not a fair characterization of the latter.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that for anyone who needs to hear a good word, this is essential reading.  What he’s shared with us is good for the soul.

It was a happy day on September 23, 1863,

in the Lipscomb household.  Margaret Lipscomb gave birth to a son.  They proudly called him Zellner Lipscomb, a fact not surprising to anyone who knew the family.  It was a proud family–even the women shared the family name with their children.  However, the happiness turned to helplessness and the sadness within nine months.  While teething Zellner became quite ill, probably becoming dehydrated.  Because of the war, it was impossible to get him to medical help or to bring a doctor to the Bend [Bells Bend, and area near Nashville where the Lipscomb’s farmed, MI].  On June 26, 1864, David’s and Margaret’s baby died.  Years later the mother told her great-niece that if she had known in 1864 what mothers knew in the 1920’s, her baby would not have died.  Had they not been surrounded by war, maybe Zellner would have lived.


Zellner died during the night before the morning of June 26.  At four o’clock of that day, after preparing the child for burial, the Lipscombs placed the small casket on their laps in the buggy along with a few belongings and headed for Maury County where they planned to bury their son–their only son–in the Zellner family plot in the Hughes cemetery.  They chose not to bury Zellner on the farm because of the fear of losing all their possession, including the land.  In fact, the few things they carried with them in the buggy might be all the possessed in the world.  They lost their son; they might lose their farm as well.  Lipscomb spoke sadly as the young family left the Bend: “We have no baby and when we get back we may have nothing here.”

It was difficult crossing the Federal picket lines in Nashville.  nor did the Confederates allow them to pass unstopped.  Because of these delays, they did not reach Franklin until the evening of the first day…Late on the second day, they arrived at the Zellner home where they laid their son to rest.  Anyone who knew Lipscomb was not surprised when he took the death of his son with so much emotion.  As is true of all fathers, he had great plans for his son.  The morning after the funeral, he remarked in a subdued voice: “I’ll just have to work hard and try to forget.”  In 1917 T. B. Larimore, writing in the Christian Standard, quoted David Lipscomb as saying following the death of Zellner: “I hoped to raise him up to work for the Lord; I shall have to work all the harder myself.”

The death of their son was never forgotten.  Some thirty years later when John S. Sweeney was holding a meeting at the College Street congregation where David Lipscomb served as an elder, mention was made in his sermon of the grief of King David over the death of his child, Sweeney said: “Friends, if any one of you are ever so unfortunate as to lose a little one, the best thing is try to forget.” Lipscomb, sitting on the front row, bowed his head.  A convulsive sob was heard by the hushed audience.


Pardon such a long quote, but Dr. Hooper tells it so well.  I’ve excerpted only a few paragraphs…there is more to the story, and more to D.L., and you should read it: Robert E. Hooper, Crying in the Wilderness, A Biography of David Lipscomb. Nashville: David Lipscomb College, 1979, excerted from pages 82-86.

I hear that a new edition of Crying in the Wilderness will be out soon.  I’ll call attention to it when I see it.

a messy blend of comfort and affliction

good evening friends,

the ice’s are safely back home.  the girls are bathed and in bed; the car is unloaded; we think we are ready to start the week.  but given the last two weeks, i cringe when the phone rings.

it has been a long two weeks.  we had time to prepare for my grandmother’s passing.  she had been in a nursing home for about 3 years or so, and her last three weeks were a slow, but steady progression through the stages of a natural death.  six months shy of 98, she lived longer than many and was lucid until very near the end.  we knew she would soon pass and we had time to accept it. 

on the other hand…laura’s grandparents visited with us just two days before RC passed.  one day Pop and I are sitting in my study talking over the long day of Joshua, the prospects for unity in the Movement, and how this upcoming year would mark 25 years for him at Fairview Heights and 55 in the ministry…and the (day after the) next we get an early morning call that he died.  we didn’t have time to prepare for his passing; he was just with us, in a very tangible and just-like-he-always-was-way…and we hoped we’d have several more years with him.

as i gather my thoughts i’ll post some about RC, include some pictures too.  i have a sketchy outline of the remarks i made at the memorial service for my grandmother which I’d also like to post.  Also some pictures and some memories of her. but, it will take a few days to process it all and get it to a point of coherency.  in the mean time, i’m still searching for Pop’s obit…seems like one isn’t online.  if one doesn’t turn up, then i’ll just write on and post it here.

simply put, we miss them and we grieve their loss.  there is comfort in knowing they enjoy rest and full communion with the Father, Son and Spirit; and there is hurt and pain from the void in our hearts.  for us, we’re back home now and life goes on…in joy and hurt, a messy blend of comfort and affliction. 

two songs are in my mind these days: from grandma’s memorial service it is How Great Thou Art and from Pop’s funeral it is Sweet By and By, which the family stood and sung at the funeral as our promise to him.  i particularly like the Anonymous 4’s rendition of Sweet By and By from their American Angels CD (one that is well worth your purchase, trust me).  i’m listening to it now.

       we shall sing on that beautiful shore

       the melodious songs of the blest

       and our spirits will sorrow no more

       not a sigh for the blessing of rest

grace and peace.



a brief update on several fronts…

–I drove up to Scottsburg, Indiana Tuesday for my grandmother’s memorial service.  I’ve not blogged about her very much, but want to do so.  I’ll post my eulogy and upload a couple of my favorite pictures.  Six months shy of 98, she passed in her sleep early Saturday morning. 

–Now we hear of the sudden death of Laura’s grandfather, R. C. Thompson sometime yesterday/last night.  He, Laura’s grandmother and her aunt and uncle were traveling and had just arrived in Ireland when he died suddenly.  We got to spend Sunday night and most all day Monday with Laura’s grandparents as they came to Nashville a day early to see the girls.  We had a wonderful day with them, of course made more special now.  Details of the arrangments are incomplete.  RC (or Bob, or Pop) preached for 50 years on the Illinois side of the Mississippi opposite St. Louis.

–I’m back in the office, finally, after two weeks away and have a lot of catch-up work to do.  One of the joys of taking off (well, first of all, was the joy of being with Laura and the girls) was resuming a more regular blogging habit.  Having days free made it so much easier.  I’ll try to maintain the momentum, but we’ll see.  It may be that Henri and Uncle Dave will have to wait a couple weeks.  I’ve gotten quite used to not having so many things going at once, and having reclaimed some sanity, am very hesitant to add blogging to the list. 

–We still have room for Stalcup Seminar for Congregational Historians, Septmber 25-27, click here for all the info: http://www.discipleshistory.org/programs/lectures_stalcup.htm

Ella May Ice, 1911-2008

This from the Louisville, KY, Courier-Journal, August 31, 2008:

SCOTTSBURG ICE, ELLA MAY, 97, died Saturday, August 30, 2008. She was a homemaker. Prior to caring for her children full time, she was a home economics teacher. She was a member of the Henryville Church of Christ. Survivors include daughters, Juanita Wood, Rosemarie Hobbs (Dale), Carol Foote (Larry) and Phoebe Carey; sons, Rhoderick Ice (Gwen), Kromer Ice (Mary) and Fred Ice (Zita); 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Funeral service: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Collins Funeral Home. Visitation: 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Collins Funeral Home. Burial will be at a later date.

From the Columbus, OH, Dispatch, August 31, 2008:

ICE Ella May Ice, 97, of Scottsburg, IN, died Saturday, August 30, 2008. She was married to Dr. McGarvey C. Ice, who preceded her in death on January 28, 1999. She was a homemaker and prior to caring for her children full time was a home economics teacher. Survivors include daughters, Juanita Wood, Rosemarie Hobbs, Carol Foote and Phoebe Cary; sons, Rhoderick, Kromer and Fred Ice. She was preceded in death by a daughter Lorna Simmons. Memorial Service 7 p.m. on Tuesday at COLLINS FUNERAL HOME. Visitation 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Collins Funeral Home.


More to come.