"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 14, Number 9, September 2011
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
will show partiality to no one. Nor will
I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Earl of Kent
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]
Forty Years Ago, Last Month
It was just past 1:00 a.m., early Saturday, August 14, 1971. I was driving home after having spent several hours with Lanny, a friend from church, passing out Gospel tracts and witnessing to people in a downtown Wichita park. Just before we parted, he asked me, “When are you going to go to Bible college?” I was then a student at Wichita State University, double majoring in political science and business administration, and in 3 semesters and a summer school had accumulated 60 credits toward my degree, with plans after graduation to head to law school. I replied, “I didn’t know I was.” He answered, “It’s inevitable.” I got into my 1966 Chevy and headed for home in far west Wichita. On Maclean Boulevard, just after passing the Second Street bridge and directly opposite the old Kansas Gas and Electric power plant, I clearly sensed God saying to me, “It IS inevitable.” At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was calling me into the ministry, and have not doubted it for a second in the subsequent four decades. I didn’t resist or question the “call” as some do, but embraced it with enthusiasm. I had not the least inkling of the path that it would take me, but I gladly surrendered to it immediately.
I had come to Christ in February of the previous year, during my first semester of college, as a direct consequence of reading the Gospels for myself for the first time. I had managed, without any encouragement, to read through the whole New Testament in the course of the following year. Lacking anyone to guide me or disciple me, my walk with Christ was very inconsistent, and I was often fighting against the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The church I attended, though large and influential locally, had no effective ministry to teens or college students (I eventually started going to the pastor’s men’s Bible class on Sundays--I was the youngest in the class by far; my uncle, age 43, was the next youngest; those lessons on the Gospel of John were excellent).
In April of 1971, a co-worker’s aunt died, and at the funeral, Cleve along with his brother and his sister-in-law heard the Gospel and were converted. Cleve become zealous for Christ, and in May invited me to a Friday night Bible study at his church. I agreed to go, once, not out of any real interest, but just as a favor to him. But wow, was I impressed! The teacher, in his early 30s, was actually teaching from the Bible, and answering questions from the 20 or so present. I went back the next week, and the next, and began attending that church twice on Sundays, as well as on Wednesday evenings. I began receiving the discipling I had needed for over a year, and activities and people began to drop out of or enter my life as I had confirmed by people what the Holy Spirit had been trying to teach me all along. I soon transferred my membership to that church, First Bible Baptist, and became increasingly active.
On August 12, there was a special Thursday night service at the church, with a notable preacher from the Chicago area. I brought with me Tom, my best friend from high school, hoping that he would find the Savior I had found. Well, he wasn’t at all favorably disposed toward this preacher or his message (but did respond to the Gospel some 20 years later), but I certainly was. And this was the frame of mind I was in the next evening when I went to the park to pass out tracts.
What to do now, after God’s unmistakable summons? On Sunday, I spoke to the associate pastor Richard who was the Friday night Bible study leader and college and career teacher. He first inquired as to what I meant by being called into the ministry and how I knew. Satisfied with my answers, he told me that I needed to inform the church of my call, and I did so that Sunday. When I told my unsaved, deistical physician father about these events later that day and of my newly-forged plans go to Bible college, he was just sure that I had lost my mind. I was half-way through the local university with a promising career ahead of me--why would I throw it all away so suddenly, and on religion?!
I was determined to go to Bible college, but where? There were about twenty young people from this church in training for the ministry--a few at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, one at Dallas Bible College, a handful at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, but more than a dozen at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, a school that to that point in the middle of August, I had never even heard of. I mailed off for an application to BBC, received it promptly, and filled it out, needing only a $100 check as the application and enrollment fee. This being the next weekend, I had no way of getting it from my bank account before Monday. So, I asked my dad for it before heading to the Sunday morning church service. He adamantly refused, saying he thought I was throwing my life away. Well, I prayed with the college teacher about the matter at church, and when I got home there was the check. I enrolled, was accepted, and headed off to BBC, sight unseen, on September 5, 1971, enrollment day, around 5:00 a.m., less than three weeks after being called into the ministry. By 10:00 a.m., I had covered the 265 miles down Highway 96 from Wichita to the campus of BBC, which I found teeming with more than 2,000 students, hundreds of parents, and dozens of faculty and staff, all busily engaged in the enrollment process. I got in line and completed my enrollment and got a dorm assignment. For six semesters and a summer school, this campus would be the scene of my preliminary Bible training.
My first attempts at public Bible teaching or preaching were limited during that first year in Bible college--an evening dormitory devotion in the middle of the year, a brief message at a Springfield rescue mission, the fifth or sixth “preacher boy” to address a very patient congregation at Halstead (Kansas) Baptist Church on New Year’s Eve, 1971 (actually New Year’s Day when I got up to speak--at about 1:20 a.m.!), and a small “new converts” Bible class taught at High Street Baptist church for most of one semester in the spring of 1972. My first formal message in a regular church service was on the last Wednesday night of July, 1972 at First Bible Baptist.
The pastor, knowing that I would be getting home from summer school that week, had invited me some 6 weeks earlier to speak on that night. During the intervening weeks while in summer school, I prepared for hours on end, studied, wrote, copied, re-copied and rewrote my sermon outline--it eventually reached 8-10 pages!! The crowd of perhaps 125-150 was friendly and sympathetic (and included both my parents--my father had been converted some five months earlier), though also likely resigned to the torture of hearing a first sermon from a preacher-boy with one year of Bible school under his belt. The text was Ezekiel 33:1-11. My younger brother, unbeknownst to me, taped the message on cassette; when I listened to it perhaps 20 years later, I was not embarrassed at my performance, and confess to having re-preached that message, scarcely altered, several times in recent years.
Whatever the benefits that may have accrued to my audience upon hearing me that Wednesday night, I am sure that I got more out of the message than anyone else. Let me explain: the following Sunday morning, after the Bible study hour ended, I was in the rather crowded hallway, and a dark-haired, dark-eyed and rather attractive young lady standing nearby turned to me and said, “That was a good message Wednesday night.” “Who is this?” I asked myself, since I had never seen her before. I discretely asked a friend of mine Steve who she was. “Oh, that’s just Naomi Cross.” “When did she start coming here?” “She’s been coming here forever.” “How come I never noticed her before?” “I don’t know.” That evening, after church as she waited for her younger brother who was attending a youth activity, I introduced myself (come to find out, she had known who I was for some months). As the church was having a special Thursday night speaker--John Walvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary--that week, I asked her if she would like to accompany me. To my amazement, she immediately said yes (whether she has since had regrets about her quick answer, she hasn’t said!). To compress the account, we dated regularly until I returned to Bible college a month later; we were engaged before Thanksgiving, and married the next June.
(Knowing that I was not adequately equipped to study the Bible as I wanted and needed to, after Bible college, I attended seminary [actually, several seminaries] and graduate school, but detailing those years would require considerably more space than I want to devote to the subject here, other than to say that without this additional very extensive training, especially linguistic, a great deal of the ministry I have been involved in in subsequent years would have been impossible, or greatly inferior compared to what it has been.)
The implementation of my call to the ministry has had numerous facets. I have been almost continuously a Sunday Bible class teacher since 1974. I have served as a part-time, volunteer youth pastor (3 years), volunteer song leader (6 months--boy were they desperate!), and also a deacon, church trustee, missions committee member, usher and part-time paid college-age teacher. I have never pastored (though I have certainly been willing), but was the designated summer pulpit supply for three different churches in years past.
As for formal, institutional teaching, I have taught part-time, full-time or as an adjunct professor, in two Bible colleges in Ohio, one each in Missouri and Arizona, seminaries in Romania, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Kansas, and several Bible institutes in Romania, Ukraine, and elsewhere (plus 6 years as a high school teacher, with Bible, Greek and Latin among the subjects I taught).
I have been a commuting missionary now for upwards of 20 years, making 58 trips (so far) to Europe, ministering in 7 countries in all, and encompassing more than 1,000 days, teaching in Bible institutes and a seminary, conducting youth camps and preaching many hundreds of times.
I have also done very extensive ministry-related writing in these forty years. My first published writings appeared during my student days in Bible college in the campus paper “The Banner” as part of the required work for a class in journalism. I had additional articles appear in the same campus paper a decade later as a faculty member. My first articles to appear in a national publication came in 1983, first in the Baptist Bible Tribune, and later in The Biblical Evangelist edited by Robert Sumner (for whom I later worked full-time for 17 months in 1985-6 where I learned a great deal about writing and editing). I co-founded a short-lived quarterly print publication, Baptist Biblical Heritage in 1990, and threw caution to the wind and launched As I See It as a free, monthly internet cyber-magazine in January 1998. By the nature of the case, the great majority of my writings have appeared here (not surprising considering that 165 issues counting this one, and totaling just under 2,000 pages of As I See It have been published).
Since that August night in 1971, I have gone places and experienced things vastly beyond my wildest imaginings at 18, when God called me to this work. These forty years have been the scene of much labor, some grief and sorrow, some joy, numerous controversies even battles, and above all a satisfying recognition that I have been engaged in the most worthwhile of pursuits--bringing the claims of the Gospel to the lives of others. While I do regret not having fulfilled my ministry more fully, faithfully and effectively, I do not regret in the least having answered the call.
George Washington Carver: “Doing Science” with God at His Elbow
“He devoutly believed that a personal relationship with the Creator of all things was the only foundation for the abundant life. He had a little story in which he related his experience:
‘I asked the Great Creator what the universe was made for. “Ask for something more in keeping with that little mind of yours,” He replied.
“What was man made for?” “Little man, you still want to know too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.”
Then I told the Creator I wanted to know all about the peanut. He replied that my mind was too small to know all about the peanut, but He said He would give me a handful of peanuts. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth . . . to you it shall be for meat . . . . I have given you every green herb for meat; and it was so.”
I carried the peanuts into my laboratory and the Creator told me to take them apart and resolve them into their elements. With such knowledge as I had of chemistry and physics I set to work to take them apart. I separated the water, the fats, the oils, the gums, the resins, sugars, starches, pectoses, pentosans, amino acids. There! I had the parts of the peanuts all spread out before me.
I looked at Him and He looked at me. “Now, you know what the peanut is.”
“Why did you make the peanut?”
The Creator said, “I have given you three laws; namely compatibility, temperature and pressure. All you have to do is take these constituents and put them together, observing these laws, and I will show you why I made the peanut.”
I therefore went on to try different combinations of the parts under the different conditions of temperature and pressure, and the result is what you see.’ “
George Washington Carver by Rackham Holt, pp. 226-7
Correction re: Psalm 119
In the previous issue, we stated (from memory) that all but three verses of Psalm 119 expressly mention the word of God (through a variety of synonymous terms and phrases). When a reader asked for the specific verses, on checking we found five, not three, verses which we had marked in our Bible (a copy of the NIV) as not specifically mentioning the word of God: verses 84, 90, 121, 122 and 132. So, five it is.
From the Usher’s Desk to the Tabernacle Pulpit: the Life and Labours of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon by R[obert] Schindler. London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1892. Authorized edition. 316 pp., hardback.
Of the many, many biographies of the great English preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), the ones that I find to be the most satisfying are those wherein the author writes from direct personal knowledge of the subject, through close personal association with him. Among these distinctive biographies are those by W. Y. Fullerton, W. Williams, G. Holden Pike, and of course the 4-volume “Autobiography,” the compilation of his widow Susannah and his long-time personal secretary J. L. Keys. Another in this group is the biography currently in view. Robert Schindler met Spurgeon first in 1855, the year after his arrival in London, and knew him well for the remaining 37 years of his life. Schindler wrote frequently for Spurgeon’s monthly magazine, The Sword and the Trowel, and was in fact the author of the articles published in 1887, often mis-credited to Spurgeon, which began the “Downgrade” controversy. This present volume was complete, except for the final chapter recounting Spurgeon’s death at Mentone, France, January 31, 1892. The title page, besides identifying this as an “authorized edition,” tells us “the proof-sheets of this life were revised at Mentone, under Mr. Spurgeon’s supervision.” Here, then, is a largely first-hand, Spurgeon-sanctioned biography, and a well-written one at that.
Naturally, the book reports on Spurgeon’s ancestors, his youth, remarkable conversion, baptism, early labors in the ministry, call to London, predecessors in the London church, family, diverse ministries and extensive labors, and death. (The “Usher’s Desk” in the title refers to Spurgeon’s position as assistant teacher at a school, a position he held when 16 years old, just after his conversion, and just before he became pastor at Waterbeach--at 17!). The book is amply illustrated with pictures and drawings. It is bound in uniform size and format (but not color) with what serves as a “companion volume” to this biography, the W. Y. Fullerton-edited detailed account of Spurgeon’s death and burial, From the Pulpit to the Palm-Branch (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1892).
The book itself contains a considerable amount of information I do not recall having met with in other Spurgeon biographies that I have read (more than 20). Among these, we learn that the church pastored at Stambourne by Spurgeon’s grandfather had only three pastors in a period of 150 years, the grandfather himself pastoring there for 54 years. Charles Spurgeon was one 17 siblings, of whom but two sons and six daughters survived until 1892. The book contains, inter alia, portraits of W. Y. Fullerton and J. Manton Smith, two notable Spurgeon associates and biographers (a portrait of Schindler--with long beard-- though not to be found in this volume can be found on the back cover of the 2009 Pilgrim Publication reprint of The “Downgrade” Controversy, which picture was published earlier on p. 333 of the original 4-volume Spurgeon autobiography). Schindler gives a more detailed account of Spurgeon’s boyhood encounter with noted preacher Richard Knill than any other account I’ve read. And the celebration for Spurgeon’s “Jubilee” birthday (50th) is reported in detail with the remarks of his father, brother, son Charles, and D. L. Moody quoted at length.
Those who “know not Spurgeon” should acquire a good Spurgeon biography at once; those who know him will relish reading once again of his great accomplishments by God’s power and for His praise. Of single-volume Spurgeon biographies, this is in the first rank, and is worth hunting for.
Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 by David Eisenhower with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. New York: Simon & Schuster. 323 pp., hardback. $28.00
My earliest memories of any president of the United States date to 1959 or 1960, when I was somewhere between ages 6 and 7, and an article in “My Weekly Reader” described a visit by David and Susan Eisenhower to the White House to see their Grandfather Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Eisenhower was of course from Abilene, Kansas, an hour and a half north of my hometown, Wichita. In the spring of 1962, my fourth grade class made a field trip to the newly-opened Eisenhower Museum and Library in Abilene, where we saw many artifacts of World War II (I especially liked Ike’s khaki-green Cadillac command car which logged some 200,000 miles during the war), the Cold War, and the Eisenhower presidency. Feeling a little ill from the afternoon heat after lunch, I napped in the car while the rest of the class toured the still-incomplete library. Thus my early limited introduction to and knowledge of President Eisenhower.
In subsequent years, of course I have read much about Eisenhower directly (his history of World War II, Crusade in Europe) and indirectly (histories of the U.S., of the 20th century, of the two World Wars, biographies of MacArthur, Patton, Nixon, and more). This present volume focuses, not on Eisenhower’s formative years, his education, his military career, or his presidency, but on his post-presidency years from January 20, 1961 to his death on March 28, 1969. The chief author, the General’s grandson and namesake, during much of the 60s lived on the same Gettysburg, Pennsylvania farm as his grandfather, saw him often, traveled with him occasionally, and had regular summer employment on the farm as a common laborer, at “10 cents above minimum wage.”
Unlike some more recent Presidents (notably Clinton), Eisenhower transitioned graciously into being an “ex-President.” He moved from the White House to the small 190-acre Gettysburg, Pennsylvania farm (which was part of the historic battlefield) he had acquired in 1950, and where he raised horses and pure-bred Angus cattle, sought to improve the soil, and wrote the memoirs of his presidency, Mandate for Change: 1953-1956 (Doubleday, 1963) and Waging Peace: 1956-1961 (Doubleday, 1965), and his pre-presidency autobiography, At Ease, as well as occasional articles for magazines. He played much golf, read numerous books, especially biographies and western novels, and traveled to Eldorado near Palm Springs, California for the five months of winter.
The arrogant “young Turks” of the Kennedy administration, initially viewed Eisenhower largely with contempt (Kennedy’s inaugural address is characterized by David Eisenhower as highly contemptuous and insulting to the out-going president). When consulted by Kennedy over military and international matters early during the Kennedy administration, Ike found JFK to be utterly and personally incompetent (his candid views of Kennedy’s failure of resolve at the Bay of Pigs, and his take on the Cuban missile crisis are frankly presented). When consulted by Johnson early on regarding Vietnam, Ike urged that once the decision to intervene was made, there be a strong use of overwhelming force to secure victory and avoid a long stalemate; Johnson most assuredly did not heed the general’s counsel. On the political side, his support for “anyone except Goldwater” in 1964, and his support of Nixon in 1968 are chronicled.
On the personal side, Ike’s painting, his legendary explosive temper, his “take-no-prisoners” approach to playing bridge, his commitment to Christianity and his prowess at the barbecue grill are all reported. Through the years, Ike advised grandson David regarding career, education, marriage, and more.
(One person left out of this account is late historian Stephen A. Ambrose, who in the 1960s worked extensively with Eisenhower as a researcher and assistant in the publication of Ike’s official presidential papers, and later wrote numerous books about World War II in Europe, and about Eisenhower. Perhaps the omission was deliberate, due to Ambrose’ early-on strong contempt for David Eisenhower’s father-in-law, Richard M. Nixon, though Ambrose eventually grew to reluctantly admire Nixon’s intelligence, breadth of knowledge, and handling of foreign affairs).
On the negative side, the authors ineptly buy into the fraud that John Kennedy was an intellectual and a “speed-reader”; and claim, against strong evidence to the contrary, that FDR’s New Deal policies lifted the U.S. out of the depression (rather, they prolonged and deepened it). They also misquote a word in the chorus of “America the Beautiful.” Peccadilloes.
Presidential sunset years can well seem to be, and often are, nearly or entirely all anti-climax. That would not be true of Eisenhower’s final years. An interesting and informative read.
Quotes from Going Home to Glory --
“Author Robert Nisbet, criticizing the liberals’ fondness for crisis, wrote that ‘crisis is always an opportunity for a break with the despised present, liberation from the kinds of authority which are most repugnant to bold, creative and utopian minds.’ Kennedy was now president. The ‘despised present’ was the Eisenhower administration and the ‘liberation’ from constraints had been accomplished by the inaugural ceremony.” (p. 9)
“Eisenhower was skeptical of the clamor for federal aid to education. When the federal government begins to fund education, he argued, educational institutions will find they cannot live without the assistance they receive. Then, he added with dark emphasis, the government eventually tells educators what to do.” (p. 11)
“Based on his own experience, [Eisenhower] questioned whether religious, moral, and political questions could be divorced from one another without sacrificing all morality in politics.” (p. 107)
“Our form of government is the political expression of a deeply felt religious faith.” (p. 108)
“What Granddad valued about himself were his ‘Germanic’ traits--persistence, hard work, and thoroughness. These qualities had undoubtedly equipped him well in the Oval Office. But they did not get him there. Indeed, as Dad pointed out, Granddad’s boldness and independence as a middle grade officer had distinguished him, and his intuition and self-confidence had advanced him in ways that higher education and refinement could not. For the most part, he and his colleagues were unfettered personalities, eccentrics, individualists--far cries from the bland corporate types that they held up as examples of model officers.” (p. 142)
“In 1966, for the eleventh consecutive year, on doctors’ orders Eisenhower took a nap and slept through the annual Army-Navy football game. His passion for Army football was so intense that it threatened his health.” (! ; p. 196)
“Too many of us are allowing too much authority and responsibility for our lives to become concentrated in Washington. . . . Indeed, if we had better and stronger government at lower levels we would do much to reduce the risk that one day we are going to be governed by an entrenched and organized bureaucracy.” (pp. 198-9. Written in 1966; what would he say of today’s federal leviathan?)
At Ease: Stories I Tell to My Friends by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1967. 400 pp., hardback.
I was given this volume for my birthday nearly nineteen years ago (and thank you once again, See-Long, wherever you happen to be these days), but just now am getting it read, the long delay nearly entirely due to the title. This is one of those books that suffers very much from being quite uninformatively named (and there are regularly editorial confabs that propose, discuss, argue about and then select “just the right title” for new books; they failed miserably here). As titled, I assumed that this was just a book of collected anecdotes, some about Eisenhower personally, but most drawn from incidents he heard or read about, in short, a hodge-podge of who-knows-what by a president not particularly noted for literary prowess, all for the sake of “making a buck” from the reading public. In short, a real ho-hum book. My assumption was very much off the mark. If the book were to be accurately titled, it would be something like, “My Autobiography, excluding World War II and the Presidency.” Or, if you like alliterations, this could have been called, “My Life, from Abilene [Kansas] to the Academy [West Point] to the Army to Academia [Columbia University].” (World War II was covered in Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe [published in 1949; 559 pp.] which I read in 1994, before I began “As I See It,” and so did not write up a review of it [I do recommend that book as a good general treatment of World War II in Europe]. He also wrote a 2-volume history of his administration which I don’t recall ever having seen). I only learned of the actual contents of this book from grandson David Eisenhower’s Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 (reviewed above).
This volume is in fact quite interesting, as Ike, post-presidency, traces his life from boyhood in Abilene, Kansas, to and through the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (which he entered chiefly to get a “free” college education, not originally intending the military as a career). As a junior officer during World War I, his repeated attempts to get assigned to infantry duty in Europe were frustrated by being repeatedly assigned to training recruits and draftees in preparation for combat in France. After the war, he was first active with a young Colonel Patton in promoting and developing tank warfare tactics, then served at a number of widely diverse duty stations. During this period, he repeatedly was assigned--much against his wishes--to coach collegiate football teams (he had been on Army’s team at the academy). During the 1920s, the Eisenhowers lost their first-born four-year-old son, Icky, to meningitis. The pain of this loss never left them. For the better part of the decade of the 1930s, Eisenhower served under Douglas MacArthur, both in Washington and the Philippines, “studying dramatics,” as Eisenhower characterized it.
Ike does give considerable personal information about himself and his service in World War II, the kinds of things not suitable for a general history of the conflict, as his previous book, Crusade in Europe was. He traces the path by which he ultimately became the commander-in-chief of all Allied forces in Europe.
After the war, after serving in Washington for a time in the newly-created Department of Defense, Eisenhower was selected president of Columbia University, in which position he served about 4 years, in the latter part of which he had a leave of absence, as he was requested by President Truman to organize and administrate the newly-created North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was during his service as NATO chief that a virtual “draft Eisenhower” movement led to his nomination as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate in 1952. Here the narrative ends.
Eisenhower had a strong Christian heritage--two uncles, a grandfather and great grandfather were all preachers. His father learned Greek in college and often read the Bible in Greek, not fully trusting translations. His mother was a great memorizer of Bible passages (though she eventually became a Jehovah’s Witness!). There was daily family Bible reading in the Eisenhower home in Abilene. He himself had read the Bible through by age 12. On a short leave while commanding troops in North Africa, he make a quick one-day flying trip to Jerusalem. It was during his presidency that the words “under God” were added to the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
I have set it as a minor personal goal to eventually read something on the life of each of America’s presidents. Besides Eisenhower (with the two books about him reviewed in this issue), I have read one or more (in some cases, many more) books on the lives of Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama (over 1/3 of the total). Of some already covered, I want to read more (especially Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Reagan). Of several not yet studied, such as Pierce, Buchanan, Arthur, Harding and Carter, I can scarcely conceive any reason to read on them, other than a desire to complete this self-imposed project.
Some quotes from At Ease--
“George Patton. . . the finest leader in military pursuit that the United States Army has known, . . . .” (p. 172)
“The War Department moves in mysterious ways its blunders to perform.” (p. 196)
“Always try to associate yourself closely with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you. Don’t be afraid to reach upward. Apart from the rewards of friendship, the association might pay off at some unforeseen time--that is only an accidental by-product. The important thing is that the learning will make you a better person.” (pp. 200-1; for Eisenhower, his great mentor was General Fox Conner, under whom he served in Panama for three years, and who mightily challenged him to read and study and learn all that he possibly could--editor)
“For me, the next six years [i.e., 1939-1945] would be thronged with challenges and chances, work and decisions, for which all my life I had been preparing.” (p. 232; the preparation is essential, even when we are not sure when or even if the challenges will come--editor)
“War, as so many men have said, is the most stupid and tragic of human ventures. It is stupid because so few problems are enduringly solved; tragic because its cost in lives and spirit and treasure is seldom matched in the fruits of victory. Still, I never intend to join myself with those who damn all wars as vile crimes against humanity. World War II, not sought by the people of the United States or its allies, was certainly not, on their part, either stupid or in vain. Satisfaction, and memories precious beyond price, rewarded those who survived and who, in loyalty to country and to ideals, answered the attacks.” (pp. 250-1)