On July 5th 1944 a methane explosion in the Powhatten #1 mine near Dillie's Bottom Ohio took the lives of sixty-six men. One of them was my grandfather, Hiram Dorsey Hartline. My mother, the youngest of five, was twelve at the time. It was months before the bodies were recovered and when they were, they found, in my grandfather's lunch pail, a letter written to my grandmother. He had used a pencil and the side of a cardboard dynamites case. It read in part -
"I am trusting in God. I know he pulled Jack out. Should I not come home, trust in the Lord, and you and the kids can make it. Should we not meet here, meet me in heaven"
(Jack was my uncle who survived serious wounds on D-day). There is a monument to the sixty-six who died. It's down the Ohio River from the mine at Powhatten Point. My grandfather, who was known as "Hi", loved the mines, his family, and God and is an inspiration to me even though I never met him.
If you want to read more, a report from the United Mine Workers can be found at-
Mark Lawrence and I have been friends for over two decades. For many years we were in the same clergy support/prayer group here in Pittsburgh when he was the rector in McKeesport. There are few clergy in the church who I think more highly of than Mark. He is currently the Bishop of South Carolina. He attended GAFCon (if briefly) and is preparing for Lambeth and has written his diocese about both. I can think of few dioceses more similar to Pittsburgh than South Carolina. Both are largely conservative with conservative leadership. Both have had a sense of spiritual vibrancy and excitement. I think Mark's comments are instructive because while he supports GAFcon he says that it does not address any particular need they have in South Carolina (paragraph 3). This is what I would maintain is true in Pittsburgh as well; we have a diocese in which it is safe to preach the gospel and to hold to the traditional understanding of the faith unmolested. It is the push for realignment which has caused so much disruption and anxiety in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, not our stand for orthodoxy. What is true in South Carolina has been true here - there is no need to go anywhere. You can read Bishop Lawrence's remarks here http://www.dioceseofsc.org/mt/archives/000357.html
The father-son-grandfather baseball trip ended with a rain out in Washington PA. The Wild Things were to play the Sliders (Slippery Rock PA) but mother nature had other plans. So instead I went to Mom and Dads and had dinner with my sister and her family who are in from Santiago Chile. (Her husband and two sons were on the trip). There will, however, be two addendum. Monday my son Zach and I will see the Pirates play the Astros and Thursday I have tickets to the make-up Pirates Yankee rubber game. Stay tuned.
Back to the comments on Titus One Nine about my paper criticizing the realignment plan. Comment #32 by "Phil" reads in part
"My problem with Jim Simons is that he is being played for a fool by PEP and the Schori loyalists in Pittsburgh - and, if he ever picks up the Post-Gazette, which I’m sure he does, he knows it. Worse, as the link to Lionel Deimel’s site shows, Simons is negotiating with these people to divide up the spoils."
I don't think he understands that the pirates I'm rooting for are a baseball team.
This morning I received an e-mail from a dear friend of 26 years who had just finished reading David McCullough's award winning book on John Adams. He was struck by something Adams wrote near the end of his life. Since so many who want to realign keep drawing parallels to the events in this country in 1776 and its almost the 4th of July (Adams died on July 4th on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and just hours after Jefferson had died) I thought it was appropriate to post.
“ The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough…” (McCullough, John Adams, 2001, p. 650)
Wisdom gained from a long life well lived and from God.
The father-son-grandfather baseball trip continues. My beloved if sometime hapless Bucs beat the Reds tonight 9-5. Xavier Nady had two home runs and we had a great time on a beautiful night in Cincinnati. We bought tickets from a scalper (legally) and sat six rows behind the first base dugout. Great seats. First time in the new park (Great American) doesn't even begin to compare with PNC but a whole lot nicer than the Red's old River Front stadium. http://3riversepiscopal.blogspot.com/2008/06/baseball-fathers-sons-and-grandfathers.html
My good friend and seminary classmate Kendall Harmon was nice enough to post my paper about the proposed realignment on his Blog (Titus One Nine). While most of the ensuing discussion is constructive and there are some supportive posts (see especially #27), some of the rhetoric is a bit... well harsh. So far I've been compared to an abused wife who goes back for more, accused of being a prop for Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, and another commenter is being kind enough to weep for my naivete. (Sigh) If you're not a regular reader of Titus One Nine (and you should be, Kendall and his "elves" do a tremendous job) you can see the comments at
The annual father - son - grandfather baseball trip continues. Former Pirate Josh Fogg, on a rehab assignment with AAA Louisville, pitched 8 shutout innings last night. Chris Dickerson hit a grand slam in the third inning and drove in the fifth run with a triple in the seventh. It was a perfect night for a game that lasted only two hours and five minutes. This morning we toured the Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum (pictured). Tonight we'll see the Reds and Pirates at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
The great English reformer and father of the Book of Common Prayer was born on July 2, 1489. He ministered imperfectly (as we all do) in a time of great moral ambiguity. His desire was to see the Church reformed and led to his martyrdom in 1556. If you'd like to see a brief biography of this Archbishop of Canterbury go to -
And then rising, he said, 'Every man desireth, good people, at the time of their deaths, to give some good exhortation, that other may remember after their deaths, and be the better thereby. So I beseech God grant me grace, that I may speak something, at this my departing, whereby God may be glorified, and you edified....
Update from the father-s0n- grandfather baseball trip. Charleston WV - So we're sitting three rows behind home plate and about a half hour before the game starts this guy named Rod shows up with a seat in the first row and he's carrying a toaster and a big loaf of Sunbeam bread. He sets up a small table, plugs in the toaster, and starts making toast. I've been to a lot of ball games but never seen a toaster before. The first batter for Greensboro strikes out and Rod gets up and starts the crowd chanting, "You - are -toast - you - are - toast" and then he starts throwing pieces of toast into the crowd! ("Don't eat it you don't know where it's been," he cautions). All night long. When a batter had two strikes he'd purposely start burning toast and blow the smoke out onto the field. "Smell the toast - smell the toast". Gotta love it - only in A ball !
Nicholas+ in Phoenix sent me this link that fills in the blanks. Turns out that Rod is the assistant to the mayor !
Baseball's unique possession, the real source of our strength, is the fan's memory of the times his daddy took him to games to see the great players of his youth. Whether he remembers it or not, the excitement of those hours, the step they represented in his own growth and the part those afternoons - even one afternoon - played in his relationship with his own father is bound up in his feelings toward the local ball club and toward the game. When he takes his own son to the game, as his father once took him, there is a spanning of the generations that is warm and rich and - if I may use the word - lovely.
Bill Veek (as in "wreak") The Hustler's Handbook 1965
Monday I leave for our annual baseball trip. This year it will be with my father, brother-in-law, and his two sons. We'll see three minor league games and visit the new park in Cincinnati. This tradition started ten years ago when my son Zach was twelve. He can't go this year as he has just graduated college and is gainfully employed at a film production company in Pittsburgh but he and I will see the Bucs play on July 7th, the eve of my birthday. So I'm looking forward to a week with my dad, baseball, and reading Charles Williams.