The City Directories

The TSLA has the 1880 and the 1881 city directories online. In just a few short minutes, here’s the cool stuff I learned. The Allens (Ben and his parents) lived at 117 South Spruce (not to be confused with Nathaniel Baxter living at 117 North Spruce).

In 1881, the Allens were living on Spruce and the Ewins (Sue’s mom and step-dad) were living at 26 Vauxhall, which would have been 9th Avenue, South, I think. Just a block apart.

But how’s this for interesting? So, James (Sue’s brother) was listed as a salesman working at 55 N. Market, his home at 26 Vauxhall. The other Ewin who worked at 55 N. Market? “Zachariah (c) porter.” The only Ewins who spell their name “Ewin” and not “Ewing” in town are this family.

Anyway, I didn’t find a listing for 125 S. Spruce in 1880, but in 1881 Alexander J. Porter was living there. And then, after they got married, Ben and Sue would.

Religion as Team Fandom

Coble and I were talking a little bit on twitter about this last night and I still don’t have my ideas fully formed. But I do think that there’s a large segment of our population for whom being a Christian is like being the fan of a sports team. You just wear the right things and know the in catch-phrases and spend part of your Sunday really paying attention to it and just like “We are Marshall!” you are a Christian.

I’ve been thinking about that since I read this story of a woman who refused to give her raped daughter Plan B. You know, I actually have great sympathy for the person caught at the intersection of “here’s what I think would be the right thing to do” and “here’s what my religion says is the right thing to do.” But I think what’s catching me up is that this woman doesn’t seem to actually be at that intersection. It’s not just that some of the details are strange–what women’s shelter does sexual assault exams? It’s not just that this seems like an incredibly difficult thing for her daughter to go through, regardless of the outcome, and putting your name to her story–in other words, identifying her–without her consent is really problematic. It’s not just the judgmental tone that the woman takes about her daughter’s birth mother (a story that I, sorry after knowing what my cousin went through with the dishonesty of her Christian adoption service, would not put full faith in, if I were that mother.

It’s that, if you really felt caught at the intersection between “here’s what I think would be the right thing to do” and “here’s what my faith tells me is the right thing to do,” you would be grieving your difficult choice. You’d be questioning whether you made the right decision.

I believe, truly, that God calls on people to do difficult and counter-intuitive things.

But I know that, when called to do that, it can be very isolating and lonely.

Faith isn’t always a firm bridge over a calm stream, you know? Mostly it’s a tightrope walk over a raging gully.

If you can brag on the internet about how easy it was for you to make it from one side of your problem to the other, I have to think that’s more about reaffirming your Jesus-fandom with other Jesus fans than it is about your faith.