… To the uttermost parts of the earth

Via hawkeyed reader DLB, a National Geographic article about … and I’m not making this up … the headhunters of Nagaland (headhunting as in skulls, not executive jobs) and gospel music.

His necklace sports five small brass heads representing, he tells me, the five heads his father and grandfather took during battles to defend their village.

“Where are those skulls today?” I ask.

“Under the floor of our meeting house, where we buried all of the skulls after we became Christians.” It’s a response that I’ll hear repeatedly in this tribal area. In only three villages do I actually see the skulls, the evidence of Nagaland’s violent history.

In the last village that I visit, I talk with another former headhunter, then return to our vehicle. That’s when I hear a familiar sound coming from a small hut. Not quite believing my ears, I ask my guide, “What is that music?”

“Do you happen to know the Gaither Vocal Band?”

“Yes, I do,” I reply. Bill Gaither’s group comes out of the Southern gospel tradition, playing music you might hear on a Sunday morning in small-town Mississippi. But hearing it on a Thursday morning in a village in remote Nagaland is a bit surprising. “The Gaither Vocal Band is very popular in Nagaland,” my guide explains. Gospel music and headhunters in the same village? What’s next?

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Comments

  1. Bud wrote:

    Has anyone seen former Gold City members lately?

  2. Wade wrote:

    If you have ever had to work with more than 3-4 HOMECOMING Friends in a one night event might identify with HEAD HUNTING!!! Candy Christmas might have her head there as a sacrifice!!! DON’T MESS with Da Boss!!!

  3. carl wrote:

    “One of my best friends…”.
    The proportion of the population that’s Christian is higher in Nagaland than in most states in the American South.

    They’re mostly Baptists.

    I worked in India during the 1980s and truly, one of my best friends…

    It’s not as though they are the only ethnic group in the world with histories of institutionalized violence during the 19th (and 20th) century. It’s more about who’s willing to pose in a loin cloth for National Geographic.

  4. irishlad wrote:

    sure it wasn’t five heads of former GVB members

  5. Janet B wrote:

    I read this article a couple of months ago; it was in an email from Gaither.com.

    It tickled me that I have something in common with former headhunters, as well as Boyd Matson. Who woulda thunk that? ;)

    Bill should invite these people to be special guests at the next Homecoming video taping…in Nagaland.

  6. ode wrote:

    3, Right,Carl, they are not the only ones with such history. As a Christian I feel compelled to humbly add that conversion to Christianity doesn’t prevent ethnic groups or nations from engaging in institutionalized violence, as the Trail of Tears, reasons for SBC formation or genocidal ambitions that made half a Europe tremble definitely prove (to limit the dateline to 19-20 century). While the likes of ol Naga descendants, prefectly fit and fatfree, might not be willing to pose in loin cloths, modern descendants of American, German, etc. christian perpetrators of violence shouldn’t pose in those for esthetic reasons :)

  7. irishlad wrote:

    bet you bill would look sweet in a loincloth.. Me tarzan you jane…or something like that

  8. Wade wrote:

    Ha Ha …that is ME laughing at all the people ode just HIT BETWEEN the EYES!!!! Kinda like Little David strikes AGAIN!!! Except she is way hotter than Little David!!!

  9. Wade wrote:

    Baptist strike again!!!

    irishdude I could add to #4 & #7 but it would never make it through moderation…maybe I will send it to Ode… I am sure she could get it through!!! lol ;-)

  10. Ode wrote:

    7, he-he-he.. :D Bill is in excellent shape for his age, he’d make a good Tarzan. Who’ll play Jane ? no, Lowry wont work, she was a brunette. Gary McSpadden ? Help me here, Wadey :)

  11. irishlad wrote:

    wade chum,u know very well why i held back :)

  12. Just Thinking wrote:

    Headhunter Homecoming?

  13. Butch wrote:

    Mr. Harrison, Allow me to express my frustration on the sexual coversation that seems to have increased at an alarming rate on this once very intellectually stimulating site. Years ago I would come here to learn and enjoy this forum with my family. Any more, we are talking about female body parts, sexual positions and topics that seem to be dominated by a 5 or 6 men who I probably would not leave my 13 year old daughter in the same room alone with-excuse the bad English. But seriously, my kids, who love sgm, cannot sit here any longer and read about the music I love from a professor who forgot more than I’ll ever know about it. I know we have differences on some areas of human sexuality, but I respect that and still have enjoyed the things learned here. But it is different now, and your commitment to free speech has allowed this site to become a place where a couple of perverted men ruin it for those of us who love integrity, morality, and our wives and kids and good old sgm. I beg you to do something about it.

  14. irishlad wrote:

    13. Don’t forget Ode, or are you being deliberately sexist Butch?

  15. Wade wrote:

    Butch I want to personally apologize for what irishlad & CVH are doing with this site… but both are weak and being lead by ode. There is a LONG history in the bible & history of good men being lead astray by hot women!!!

  16. Ode wrote:

    13,
    In case this is not just a satirical post …. “Butch”, get your mind outta the gutter. Strongly doubt a pervert like you has a wife and a 13 y old, but if you do, she must have the perfect arms, holding on to a dumbbell like you for 13 years.

    I hope they know what their daddy is doing online, you sicko! Unrelated to any context, out of nowhere, you spewing whats on your mind “…female parts, sexual positions, stimulating, dominated by 5 or 6 men” in detail - are you coming to a SG site to jerk off?? We are not interested in your sex fantasies,you disqusting, dirty old man.

  17. Butch wrote:

    Ode, You proved my point well. I have a wife of 20 years with 6 beautiful kids. I am sure you will have fun with that one too. Why don’t you ask them if their father is the one you described in the previous post. Then again, don’t bother. You’ve proven your inability to get it over and over on this site. Just find another place to spew your stuff.

  18. irishlad wrote:

    15 He(Butch)thinks you’re a man Ode, he’ll never get his repressed, sex-addled mind round the fact that a “mere” woman could think, never mind voice such depraved and dissolute notions.OMG Ode you’re gonna burn in hell! which of course could be perhaps a debatable + or minus one worse senario to spending eternity with a modern day Oliver Cromwell like our Butch. :-/

  19. Just Thinking wrote:

    I agree with Butch one hundred percent. I used to love to come here for interesting conversation about Southern Gospel Music and related topics. Now every thread degenerates to the same dull conversation. It has become soooo boring. I seldom come here anymore, and it looks like there are plenty more like me. Too bad.

  20. Wade wrote:

    JUST THINKING… You come here EVERYDAY!!!!!

  21. irishlad wrote:

    19. This is boring??…what do you do in your spare time ..rob banks?

  22. ode wrote:

    17, Now you lying and being totally unreasonable. I am sorry for your kids having such an old pervert for a dad. I use the reader for the blog, so clicking on your name reveals that all your posts since last fall are related to sex - ALL 5 of them. My recent posts are about : gospel music, singing, remixing, sound quality, Gospels of Luke and Mark, Christian history, live performances, church choirs, acapellas, etc.

    So its your fault you are not interested in anything else but sex..

    18,
    you are my knight in shining, as always, ilad :) the old bastard’s fantasies include men only, i bet.

    20, good point, Wadey. BTW, I understand I dont lead you (who ever listenes to his mom?) , but then who are the hot women that lead you astray, my sweet angel? I cant beleive you are naughty on your own, sunny :D

  23. quartet-man wrote:

    To be fair, just because the sex posts draw people out to post, doesn’t mean they like reading them or don’t enjoy reading the others. Some like to read and not post. I would liken it to someone not having much to say to another friend until that other friend says something bad about their wife, girlfriend or mama. The fact that they only speak when defending them doesn’t mean they enjoy the talk.

  24. Butch wrote:

    Thank you quartet-man.

  25. Ode wrote:

    quart man,
    No, your analogy totally fails. Reacting to attack on one’s mother is not the same as reacting to unrelated to him talk on other matters - matters that Butch seem to be so driven to,oblivious to all other topics. In blog comments one that doesnt post has no right to demand, unless asked for input; we dont exist to provide him with the entertainment he likes.

    He claims that there is no intellectually stimulating talk here. I proved to the old pervert that there is MORE THAN enough, but he is driven to sex posts only, man appears really sick.

  26. quartet-man wrote:

    #25, No it does not. It stands to reason if there is talk here that someone feels is wrong (no matter what it is) that the person who is normally silent will be more likely to speak up. You should realize that Christians are called to stand up for things whether or not they are directly involved. Now, some will debate what those things are and whether one is overreacting or putting their own spin on things (and I am not saying Butch is), but Butch apparently is bothered by this, so he is.

    Also, as a “customer” here (whether or not he posts) he does have the right to make his desires known. Now granted as a free place here, with Doug as the owner, he has the right to reject the requests, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made.

    I will go on record as saying I would not rather read all of that stuff either. Now, it isn’t the first time I have read or heard filthy stuff and I have not lived a spotless life in the fact I have taken part to some degree in such stuff at certain points in my life in the past. But that doesn’t mean I want to read it. There are several places online where people could get all of that that they want, I presume. As Christians we are supposed to not take part in the same filth as the world.

    This was originally a Southern gospel and culture site. That stuff is not related at all. Now, Doug can allow it, go another direction or what have you, but it isn’t what the audience comes to see. I think he is allowing it to try not to censor (although he did do some censoring like not allowing unrelated posts on other threads) and maybe also to try to keep posts going here, but I feel it might cost him readers.

    Now, I haven’t said anything myself up until now and have simply skipped over the stuff (and will continue to do so if he allows it here), but face it this blog is not the blog it once was. I don’t always have comments to make on every blog and my time is limited at times, but I have commented in the past here a lot and still try to read at least, so don’t go throwing the crap my way and act like I only post on bad things too. Since this is a southern gospel blog, there are certain expectations. Mostly that would be that Southern gospel be covered at least most of the time. Granted, I can joke around and take things off course too temporarily, and some don’t like that, but at least most probably don’t find any moral objections to that even if they think I should stay on topic. Usually those start and stop with me (or very soon after) and don’t go off on a long tangent involving several people feeding off of each other.

  27. irishlad wrote:

    26 Q-man,i’m in shock!…you of all people using filthy words like “crap”, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, go write 100 times on DBM’s blog “i must not say crap” and on your way over pick up your pacifier and don’t toss it away again…bad boy!

  28. ode wrote:

    26, “Demands”are not same as “wishes”. All can express their desires- it doesn’t mean Doug/posters ought to fulfill their requests. I’ll always,on this blog, speak against enourmous pride, lack of morality, fake religiosity and blatant sinfulness so prevalent in SG culture – do I realistically expect them to change their ways? No. I just enjoy the music and harmonies and buy cds.

    The only way to change the topic of conversation is to make a post. If one doesn’t, he is stuck with what is offered by others. It’s not our job to provide you with the entertainment of your liking.

    As archives prove,that old song “oh,the blog is not what it used to be” started appearing here in 2006/07, shorty after the blog launch and remains a perennial ever since. Code word for “cater to me,I don’t feel entertained enuf” ;)

  29. quartet-man wrote:

    27, I knew someone would mention that and have something to say. I am a big boy, no harm no foul. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade I guess. Either way, that is not near the stuff that went on here. Whether or not you agree, this place’s audience was mostly Christians with the intent to read about SG in a place where *ahem* excrement is kept at bay. The stuff that was posted on here is more like locker talk and even if a few like it, it doesn’t fit the topic or the audience here overall.

    It is sort of a shell game in that someone comes here for one thing and gets another. This blog was the best one at one time and lots of great things to read here as well as without the tyrannical control that there was at the other main hangout at the time. With the right to say what you want comes a little bit of responsibility. I am glad to see this blog continue and the old posts available, but it is easy to lament what was. I hope at least the old stays up, but would love for it to be more like it used to be. I didn’t even bring this up until after Butch (whom to my knowledge I don’t know and haven’t had interaction with) was accused of stuff that I think is *ahem* dung. It seemed like a stretch to go there. I can’t guarantee I am correct, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and explained why. It was only then that I got into my opinions on things and likely wouldn’t have anyhow as I just skip past the *ahem* defecation. Now, I don’t usually use that description at all, let alone so many times, but that is in your honor to show you I know other words for it. :-P

  30. quartet-man wrote:

    #28, you are right there is a difference between demand and request. I am not sure I saw any demands, but it’s been a while since I read the stuff.

    Ode, you weren’t around at the beginning, but let me assure you this is a different blog than it was. A good part is the lack of posts from Doug. Granted, there are limits to what people have to say, he has real-life time commitments in particular his book that he has worked on uhm I mean on which he worked, and he might have lost some steam with the blog thing as far as getting burned out or not as excited. I don’t know. But, the heading beneath the title “Criticism and commentary on southern gospel music” tells the original purpose of the blog. Seeing as how it is his, he can post what he wants and when he wants and change the description at any time. However, that is what brings people here or at least did. As far as making posts, some have tried, but generally Blog topics are started by the Blog owner and people respond. It is different than a message board where that is more member-led. Now, his open topics do give people more of a chance to start topics. However, not all are good at that and even if ones do sometimes there are several conversations going on at the same time. I guess it is sort of like a party instead of listening to a speech.

  31. quartet-man wrote:

    #27 BTW, Laddy, the last I heard this is America and I have the right to share my viewpoints whether they step on your toes or not. As far as pacifiers, I haven’t had one for quite some time, but I do know some people who use the “bottle” as pacifiers.

  32. Wade wrote:

    WoW Q-Man is pissed he is not using any smiley faces!!! :-) ;-)

  33. CVH wrote:

    Wow…go away for a week or two and look what happens…

  34. Ode wrote:

    29, Doug asked to cut down on this, so let’s give it a rest, shall we?

    It has been a consensus among psychologists as well as an official position of American Psychology Association - the behavior of most vocal protesters against homosexuality is usually just a way to suppress their own homosexual desires. One that keeps pounding on how he hates sexual sin/talk, IGNORING EVERY OTHER SIN, is usually a pervert. He might not be, but he surely acts like one. You can’t argue against professional people that are much smarter then you and me. I reposted butch’s comment to a christian forum with the link to AFL (so there is no doubt it’s not a satire), and people are having a lot of fun with it, while also lament his delusion and spiritual poverty.

    So we can stop about it here, ok?

    30, you are chasing your own tail, quart-man. If you are understanding that it’s “like a party” right now, you have to understand that until Doug has time/desire to post more on sgm, it will remain as such ;)

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