Monday, February 15, 2010
When I went to Talbotton as the Methodist preacher in 1976, it was a small place. Still is. The last census reported a few over 1,000 folks. However, small does not mean insignificant. Per acre it may be the most historical place in Georgia. The current Macy chain has its roots in the Straus family who started their first retail business in Talbotton back in the 19th century. The first session of the Georgia Supreme Court was held there in 1846. Before the depression took its toll, there were two colleges. Even the Methodist Church is a part of the historical parade. It was built in 1857 and is one of the earliest brick churches in Georgia. The parsonage was built in 1890 and is on the National Historical Registry. Legend has it that the town fathers deciding against the railroad coming through changed what might have been. Who knows?
However, one of the most influential men Talbotton produced was a man named Clarence Jordan. Back in the 1940's before anyone was thinking about racial injustice and the need for radical change, Clarence Jordan was living it out in a bold experiment in an inter-racial communal farming community known as Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia. While seldom mentioned his impact cannot be forgotten. His vision inspired many, including Millard Fuller whose name will always be attached to Habitat for Humanity.
While I never met Clarence Jordan, my stop in Talbotton introduced me to his story. It is a Kingdom of God story. It is the mustard seed story all over. From the smallest of places, the Kingdom of God becomes visible in mighty ways for those who have eyes to see.