This book is in memory of Flannery O’Connor.
Since she was an ecumenical author, a Catholic who wrote of Protestant
evangelists, it is appropriate she be remembered by a Protestant.
Flannery died in 1964. I was a pallbearer at her funeral. I was a friend, a young Protestant minister who had enjoyed discussions of an intellectual and religious nature with her for some time. She had also regularly given me the benefit of her literary criticism on my writing.
She encouraged me to write a sort of illuminated rhetoric that seemed to grow from the nature of the material and to keep it brief. She encouraged me in writing intelligent religious expression. She did this, I suppose, because we both considered popular religious writing beneath contempt.
It is my feeling definitely encouraged by her, that there is a tragic schizophrenia in the religious personality of Christianity. A split religious consciousness divides works into intellectual or sentimental, utilitarian or romantic, head or heart. Books touching on theology are often hyper-intellectual, lengthy, abstruse, rarely moving, but they are vastly superior to books that are called inspirational. These books are usually vapid, sentimental and even inane. They put the Christian interior life on a sick-making level.
If the religious consciousness of the Christian community is to be the Biblically desired “whole”, there has to be works that merge intelligence and inspiration in the spiritual life.
These writings represent a thrust or attempt to unite the split intellectual and evangelical consciousness of the Christian church into a spiritual whole. It is then perhaps fitting that the work should be Catholic-protestant in its dedication. O’Connor was a great Catholic advocate of ecumenical things.
Because of the color in her writings, many tend to forget O’Connor was an orthodox Catholic concerned with the development of the interior life. Personally, she lived a life of remarkable piety and patience; faced, as she was, with a fatal disease that wasted her for years before inevitable death. However, in my opinion, her faith was not based on fear of death. It was my convincement that she would have been just as faith-oriented had she never been ill. Incidentally, she was a great believer in prayer and never lost her very dry sense of humor.
Some of the topics in this book are what we discussed or what I was writing at the time. The views expressed herein are certainly not meant to be construed as hers. The world view is uniquely mine. I am fully responsible for any heresy expressed.
The challenge of the interior life is the need of the next hundred years. It has almost gone under in this age, under the waves of commercialism, mass conformity, and shallow materialism. It is my hope that in some small way this book will help to keep it afloat.
Some of the views expressed herein are admittedly paradoxical, but I do not think that of any particular consequence. There is no easy solution to the problems of faith or organized religion.
In the past the churches have taken the easy way, which is that it is easier to try to force people to fit their minds into rigid creeds than to admit we cannot now write, nor has anyone ever written a theological remedy that will prescribe for all the needs of humanity.
“This day I am to go
to Willington; with joy
and fear I view the vast design.”
James Louis Petigru to his diary, October 14, 1804.
“This day, my dear
Carey, marks an important epoch
in my life.. .58 years ago I was well received
into the school at Willington.. where a Latin
grammar, as a substitute for the plough, was
placed in my hands.”
James Louis Petigru in a letter to his daughter, dated October 14, 1862.
Sara Macaulay McLeod
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A Presbyterian minister’s son, the
Rev. Dr. MacLeod was sent
to “prep” for college at the Darlington School, Rome,
Georgia, then received his B.A. degree from a center of
Southern history, Washington and Lee University. A history
major, the author was a student under the historian
Arnold J. Toynbee, then a visiting professor at Washington
and Lee. MacLeod was also taught by the social historian,
James G. Leyburn, author of The Scotch-Irish: A Social History and Dean at
Washington and Lee.
In graduate work MacLeod received a Master of Arts in Teaching at Emory University, Atlanta, an Educational Specialist’s Degree in School Administration, and his Doctorate in Secondary Education from Mississippi State University. His doctoral dissertation researched early American education in Charleston, South Carolina. MacLeod studied on a postgraduate basis at schools in France and Germany. Interested in theology, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, and the Candler School of Theology, Emory University where he received another Master’s degree in theology and religion.
MacLeod’s practical experience in education includes college teaching, school administration and three times a “Star” teacher in Georgia secondary schools. He is certified in teaching “gifted” students. In 1980 the author was chosen by the U.S. “Fulbright” Board to study at Jadavapur University in Calcutta, India. He was chosen in 1984 by the “Fulbright” Teacher Exchange to teach in Great Britain.
The author’s practical experience, awareness of educational methods, research in early American education, familiarity with the social history of the Scotch-Irish, and his theological and religious learning have made him uniquely skilled to assess the great, perhaps, greatest educator, the South has ever known, Moses Waddel.
MacLeod’s style of writing is intentionally lucid, a circumstance not always found in works of historical and particularly educational scholarship. The author attributes much of this absence of buzz words and scholarly jargon, commonly known as “educationese,” to his early training in writing by a literary friend, Georgia author, Flannery O’Connor. Her emphases were for him studiously to avoid jargon as well that tiresome piety that too often has marred studies of prominent Southern historical personages of this era. MacLeod recalls her saying, “you don’t have to write like Henry James to be complex,” and her sly observation, “A Ph.D. affects some scholars like religion affects other folks. They think they’ve got to speak in the unknown tongue to prove they’ve really got it.”
Dr. MacLeod observes, “If I wrote in the scholarly educational jargon about Waddel’s school, I would have to write: ‘The emphasis in this educational unit was time on task. The result was successful engaged learning.’ Well, of course, that's nonsense. Translated into English it means Waddel’s school meant hard work and the students learned a lot. (In educational scholarly jargon a school is called an educational unit, getting students to work is time on task, and successful engaged learning means somebody learned something.)
Dr. MacLeod was one of Flannery O’Connor’s pallbearers. He comments, ‘From her I learned a scholarly book is never to read like a government pamphlet. That’s too easy a way out. The difficulty seems to be that while a scholar may do good research, he or she may often be too insecure, untrained, or even academically frightened to say it in lucid English, something people can understand. A reformation is needed in writing English, not only in the schools, but in the professional educational circles that run them. This book is a trail blazer and something of a pioneer in that aspect.
MacLeod is descended from a family who sent their Sons to Waddel, the Griers, a prominent pioneer Scotch-Irish family that produced the Rev. Isaac Grier, first Presbyterian minister born in Georgia, a U.S. Supreme Court Judge, several college presidents, Georgia’s Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, and Robert Grier, founder of Grier’s ‘Almanac,’ referred to as a Bible for the Southern ante-bellum farmer. It was the death of Robert Grier, the Almanacer” that inspired his nephew, Alexander Stephens, to introduce as a U.S. Congressman the bill that founded the National Weather Bureau. Both the Rev. Isaac Grier and Alexander Stephens went to school to Waddel.
In December 1984 MacLeod was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Click on the chapter links below
Fifty Waddel Academy Alumni (biographies)
Thanks are due to Dr. Walter Sistrunk, Community
College Department, Mississippi State University: Dr.
Glover Moore, Professor of Southern History and author
of The Kentucky Compromise the late Dr. Neill V. Macaulay,
Columbia, South Carolina, for invaluable assistance in
locating sources; Mrs. Martha Bailey Burns, Secretary of
the Huguenot Society of South Carolina at Charleston for
her help and research on her family, the Legares, as well
as other Huguenot history. Thanks are also due to Ms.
Betty Gardiner, research librarian, Dr. H. Elizabeth King,
Chief Psychologist, Emory University, for review and
consultation on Waddel’s nervous collapses; Dr. Charles
Davis of Georgia Southern College for his editor’s skill,
and the library and staff of the South Carolinian Library,
University of South Carolina at Columbia; the library staff
of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and
historian Dixon Hollingsworth of Sylvania, Georgia, for
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