Sunday, September 3, 2006

So What's With the Name of This Blog?

Praisegod Barebones is, believe it or not, the name of a real historical person.

Praisegod Barebones sold leather to keep meat on the table, but in his heart he was a Dissenting preacher. His connection with the early Baptists has been disputed somewhat down through the years. Some have said that he was a Baptist, others have (successfully in my view) suggested that he was not a Baptist. He was definitely connected with the famous "JLJ" church that gave birth to the Particular Baptists in England.

Barebones led a congregation from his house on Fleet Street. He apparently lived in the same neighborhood as the young Samuel Pepys in the 1640s. By all accounts he was a boisterous preacher given to vocal advocacy of strong (and sometimes radical) views.

I've chosen Praisegod Barebones as the namesake of my blog for two reasons:

First, it is just a cool name. Praisegod really got the better end of the deal. He had two brothers who suffered under much more lengthy names. One brother was named "Christ-Came-Into-The-World-To-Save Barebones." The other was "If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebones." Apparently, the latter's friends simply referred to him as "Damned Barebones." Aren't you glad I didn't name the blog after him? Suddenly "Ima Hogg" of Texas fame doesn't sound quite so bad!

But Praisegod Barebones is a great name. It includes a little doxology of sorts right there in the saying of it. And I thought it was a great name for entitling a blog.

Second, Praisegod Barebones exemplified the overlap of religion and politics. Since my dissertation is basically about the overlap of religion and politics, and since I am an avid follower of both spheres, the name seemed especially apropos for my blog.

Oliver Cromwell appointed Praisegod to the Parliament in July 1653. In fact, all of the members of this Parliament were Cromwell appointees to replace the Rump Parliament. History has adjudged them an inept legislature, and their contemporaries mocked them by referring to them as the "Barebones Parliament." Praisegod Barebones probably didn't do much to make the Parliament operate so poorly, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a very memorable name, and the rest is history.

Praisegod Barebones has been connected with the radical Fifth Monarchy movement. He vehemently opposed the restoration of Charles II. In the later years of his life he kept his tongue in order to keep his head, but he continued to follow politics and religion until his death.

So much has been going on in Southern Baptist life that I really haven't had much opportunity to blog on the whole religious-political idea. But sooner or later things will quiet down. When that time comes, in order to live up to the name of the blog, I'll have to post some more political things.

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