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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, December 3 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Charisma

I can't adequately define "charisma" but the most charismatic person I ever met was Buford Pusser. He was the sheriff who cleaned up a very corrupt Tennessee county carrying a big stick (literally) and was immortalized and played by Joe Don Baker in the movie Walking Tall and several sequels. Some years after the first movie came out, Pusser died in an auto accident. But I met him in San Francisco for a press interview session when the first movie was released.

Buford PusserIt was a rare instance in which I went to a movie celebrity interview without having seen the movie first. I didn't know anything about him, but from the introduction onward, he struck me as a man "bigger than life" for some not comprehended reason. As the other reporters (who had done their homework) questioned him, his exploits and the story came out. He was not uncommonly handsome or anything like that; it was just that he had this "aura" about him. I even wondered if he might be a "saint" in some sense, but from the conversation I concluded that that wasn't it! He was a genuine hero of American law enforcement, but I sensed that even before his exploits he had a hero's aura.

Charisma is used in several senses that might be worth exploring this week. Literally, it's rooted in "gift" in a spiritual sense. The "charismatic movement" is the current name for what was called, when my parents met for the first time circa 1925 at a revival meeting, as "holy roller" Protestantism. Later, more politely, that was called the "Pentecostal movement," but when even Episcopalians and Roman Catholics started writing about their gifts of tongues, discerning spirits, and related phenomena it had to have an even more polite and "intellectual" label, so "charismatic movement" was used to refer to its delineation by the spiritual gifts its followers manifested.

Aura, likewise, is used in several senses. New agers and some Christians claim to see actual energy fields or special "lighting" around certain persons, so in this use it's synonymous with "halo." I didn't see any special light or glow about Bufford Pusser; the aura I referred to as belonging to him was an internal quality, what the French call "je ne sais quois" (pronounced jen nay say qua, and probably misspelled here!). That's just a "certain something" that some people radiate, but not literally. Maybe it's akin to what they used to call "it."

So...this week's conversation starters: have you ever met a person who struck you the way Buford Pusser struck me? Did you ever feel, upon coming into the presense of some person, like you were in the company of holiness or something above the normal human planes? Have you ever met a "saint"? Have you ever been "touched by an angel"?

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Signs across America


 Fast elderly must cross elsewhere?




—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for today

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

—Frank Herbert, Dune; Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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