EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Ouachita Baptist University
WORLD News Service
Florida Baptist Witness
Tom Auffenberg remembered for 40 years of service to Ouachita
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (Ouachita Baptist University) — Dr. Thomas Lynn “Tom” Auffenberg, a longtime professor of history at Ouachita Baptist University, passed away Aug. 21 at age 65, one day before he was to be honored for 40 years of service at Ouachita.
Dr. Auffenberg, the R. Voyt Hill Professor of History and chair of the history department, began teaching at Ouachita in 1973. It was his first and only teaching position throughout his distinguished career. He was one of three Ouachita professors scheduled to be recognized for their 40-year service milestones during the university’s Aug. 22 Faculty/Staff Banquet.
“Tom Auffenberg literally invested his adult life in his students and colleagues at Ouachita,” said Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr. “For 40 years we benefitted from his love of teaching.
“While he spoke with me about how Ouachita had blessed him, we have always known of our debt to Tom,” Dr. Horne added. “I, like hundreds of others, have been encouraged by his kindness, a timely word, his smile and sense of humor. Tom will be deeply missed but not forgotten.”
Dr. Randall Wight, dean of the Sutton School of Social Sciences, was among Dr. Auffenberg’s longtime friends and colleagues. Describing Dr. Auffenberg as “a teacher extraordinaire, mentor and friend,” he added, “He’s been a Ouachita institution for 40 years. In many ways he was the social center and beating heart of the Sutton School.”
Noting that Dr. Auffenberg was “someone I bounced ideas off of for over a quarter of a century,” Dr. Wight said, “I’ve always trusted his perspective. No one could say it like Tom. He had an extraordinary way of coming to the heart of an idea. He made everyone else feel at home no matter where you were.”
Born in Missouri in 1947 as the only son of Thomas and LaVelle Auffenberg, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, when he was an infant. He lived in Fort Worth until age 21, graduating summa cum laude from Texas Christian University with majors in history and political science.
Dr. Auffenberg held Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Vanderbilt University, with a specialization in British history. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship to complete his doctoral studies in England, studying at the Institute of Historical Research in London.
During his four decades at Ouachita, he was honored by the Student Senate as Outstanding Faculty Member and served as a sponsor of the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society. He was a contributor to Ouachita Voices, the university’s 125th anniversary history, and also had articles published in several publications including Great Lives from History: British and Commonwealth, the Journal of Church and State and the Red River Valley Journal of History. He was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha and Kappa Delta Pi and served as a director for the Southern Conference of British Studies. He also was a member of the American Historical Association and the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers.
Continually reinvesting his learning opportunities in his students, Dr. Auffenberg frequently studied in England and other parts of Europe during sabbatical leaves. In preparation for one such trip, he said, “The opportunity to immerse myself in medieval studies would naturally broaden my intellectual horizons in an important area related to many of the classes I teach.”
According to Dr. Raouf Halaby, professor of visual arts and English, “Tom was, without a doubt, one of the gentlest, kindest and most loving human beings I have had the privilege of meeting 40 years ago this week. He was an intellectual powerhouse; he was an outstanding teacher loved and admired by his students and colleagues. He was a scholar par excellence, and he never allowed his scholarly accomplishments to go to his head.”
Describing Dr. Auffenberg as “a Renaissance man whose interests reached across all disciplines,” Dr. Halaby said, “He was a citizen of the world in the best definition of the word. He was a strong advocate for justice, fairness and equality for all.
“I can honestly say that his students and his colleagues are better people because of the example set by him,” Dr. Halaby reflected. “Even though Tom has physically departed from our midst, his legacy will live on in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of students, colleagues and friends across the globe.”
As word of Dr. Auffenberg’s death spread across campus, students and alumni began posting words of sympathy and reflection on Twitter and other social media, including:
–“I truly hate that no other Ouachita students will be enlightened by Dr. Auffenberg’s wonderful teachings and personality.”
–“Ouachita lost someone fantastic today. Dr. Auffenberg will be greatly missed.”
–“Don’t know what else to say about Dr. Auffenberg’s passing except that I was so very honored to study history at Ouachita under his tutelage.”
–“Sad to hear of Dr. Auffenberg’s passing. Ouachita lost someone truly devoted to his field, who strove to make you love it just as much.”
–“Heartbroken over the news of Dr. Auffenberg – one of my favorite professors. Prayers lifted for my home away from home at Ouachita.”
A memorial service was held on the Ouachita campus on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. in McBeth Recital Hall of Mabee Fine Arts Center. Memorial gifts to Ouachita Baptist University may be designated for the European Study Tour or scholarships to benefit history majors.
Does poverty make kids mentally ill?
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WORLD News Service) — Federal health regulators are investigating why so many doctors are prescribing antipsychotic drugs to Medicaid-eligible children. The number of poor kids on the powerful medication tripled between 1999 and 2008, and the program now spends more money on antipsychotics than any other drugs.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been investigating the phenomenon for several months, according to a Monday story in The Wall Street Journal. The study focuses on drugs like Abilify, part of the newest class of antipsychotics called “atypicals.” Though Abilify is the no. 1 drug in the country, drugs like it are prescribed to the poor in highly disproportionate numbers.
Stephen Crystal, a health policy professor at Rutgers University, found that children on Medicaid are four times more likely to be on antipsychotics than privately insured children. And while 1.4 percent of Medicaid-eligible children are prescribed the drugs, doctors order them for 12.4 percent of foster children.
Dr. Stephen Cha, a chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said doctors should consider other options, including therapy for psychological baggage that ultimately may be at the root of misbehavior. The government, he told the WSJ, wants to reduce “the unnecessarily high utilization of antipsychotics.”
It’s true that foster children, often subjected to some form of abuse, can have emotional impairments. Mistreatment by caregivers in the earliest years can damage emotional development. With Reactive Attachment Disorder, for example, disastrous, often violent tendencies can emerge and progress even after a child moves to a loving home.
The sheer number of kids on medication, though, casts doubt on whether they’re being treated for genuine mental issues. Some doctors say medication is too often the first resort. But for Dr. Fernando Siles in Dallas, it isn’t that simple. Medicating a child with serious behavioral problems is preferable to seeing him kicked out of another foster home, making the situation worse, he told the WSJ.
The problem isn’t isolated to children, though, or even the United States. HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson conducted a similar investigation two years ago into nursing homes and Medicare. That study found 22 percent of claims for these same drugs violated current standards regarding unnecessary drug use in nursing homes. Canada has seen its number of children on antipsychotics nearly quadruple.
For now, all we know is that the pharmaceutical industry is raking in money, at taxpayers’ expense. Whether the inspector general will find a problem with that — and effectively do something about it — remains to be seen.
Belize Baptist Association president visits Campbellsville
By Joan C. McKinney
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) — Pastor Ruperto Vincente, president of the Belize Baptist Association and the Belize Football Association, visited Campbellsville University recently to discuss various items including theology training for Belizeans pastors, visiting soccer exhibitions and working with athletic teams, opportunities for missions, and further partnership to send Belizean students to CU.
He also saw his son, R Lee Martin Vincente, the first Belizean student to receive a degree at CU, graduate. R Lee Vincente obtained his bachelor of science in business administration degree in marketing.
“As the president of the Baptist Association and parent of the first Belizean student to graduate from Campbellsville University, I was very impressed with what I experienced at this university community,” he said. “I must say that the atmosphere is one that must be envied.”
Vincente, who said “the future of the nation is in the hands of our youth,” was working with CU to create a partnership between CU and the Baptist Association of Belize.
“I am convinced that a divinely planed partnership between Campbellsville University and the Baptist Association of Belize can be of great benefit to both parties,” he said.
“There would be more Belizean students going to the university to be prepared for leadership in Belize not only for the secular world but also for our churches.”
He said Campbellsville University will benefit from graduating students promoting CU in Belize.
“Pastors will now have an opportunity to take advantage of the theological training opportunities offered by the university. I am very excited about this new development,” he said.
Dr. Shane Garrison, assistant professor of educational ministries, was one of the theology professors who met with Vincente.
“Meeting with Pastor Ruperto was a thrill,” he said. “His vision and passion for ministry in his country is challenging and inspiring. I firmly believe Pastor Ruperto has God-sized dreams for the pastors and churches in the Belizean Baptist Convention and for their impact on the kingdom of God in their country and around the world.”
Dr. DeWayne Frazier, dean of graduate and professional studies, associate vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of political science, was host to Vincente during his visit.
“I have personally been blessed from my relationship with the Vicente family and feel honored to call them friends,” Frazier said.
“I know that Pastor Ruperto has a heart for the Lord and wants to see the spread of gospel in his home country of Belize. I look forward to future partnerships and ways that Campbellsville can assist our Belizean brothers and sisters in meeting the Great Commission.”
Frazier said Vincente has a strong influence across the country of Belize as evident in the positions he has held over the past decade including serving as a school teacher.
“I am eager to discover more ways Campbellsville can be involved in his ministries that have spanned over the past several decades.”
Frazier said there are many opportunities for synergy for CU and the Baptist Association of Belize.
He said there are opportunities for teaching positions at the Baptist High School in Belmopan, Belize as well as various mission opportunities for university students and local churches.
He said CU is “uniquely situated” to offer online and face-to-face theological training for local pastors throughout the country.
“Belize provides an unique opportunity for Campbellsville University faculty, staff and students in that the location is not only set in a beautiful tropical region of Central America, but it is also a English speaking country,” he said.
Vincente said Frazier made him “feel at home and part of the university family” during his visit. He said Elaine Tan, international activities assistant, made them feel “extra special,” and the staff at the university displayed their “love and appreciation for cultural diversity – something a university should always embrace.”
He said CU’s professors are humble and “willing to meet with a leader from another country to share their experience and desires to serve the less fortunate.
“The churches’ participation in the life and activities of the university is one that is unmatched.”
Campellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
Pastor’s wife pens autobiography of ‘Green Acres’ life
By Carolyn Nichols/Florida Baptist Witness
DESTIN, Fla. (Florida Baptist Witness) — Sally Rideout Smith, a pastor’s wife who lived in Florida 16 years, recently penned her autobiography, My Green Acres. The title of the work is a nod to the 1960’s TV show that Smith says resembles her life story.
In the sitcom that ran on CBS 1965-1971, Oliver and Lisa Douglas, played by Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, move from New York City to a country farm in the south. Oliver, an attorney, had longed dreamed of being a country farmer, but his farming skills were lacking. He relied on his farm hand, Eb Dawson, played by Tom Lester, who referred to the Douglases as “Mom and Dad.”
Tom Lester joined Sally Smith for a book signing in Laurel, Miss. in April, after the release of My Green Acres. Sharber Smith served as pastor of nearby Shady Grove Baptist Church in Heidelberg, Miss., for 10 years.
Smith, Mrs. Vermont in the Mrs. America Pageant in 1978, has worked as a ventriloquist since 1972. Her husband, Sharber, is a Southern-born rodeo clown and ventriloquist. The two met at a convention for Gospel magicians in the Midwest, and they have spent most of their 35 years of marriage in the rural South.
In her autobiography Sally Smith writes of her experiences as a northerner learning Southern ways.
“I introduced them to escargot, and they introduced me to catfish,” she wrote.
The book also contains anecdotes of the couple’s ministry in Gospel illusions, chalk talks, character portrayals and ventriloquism. They have travelled the nation as “Creative Ministries Visual Evangelism,” and in countless performances Smith has used her doll, Speckles, to tell audiences about the Body of Christ, and how using Body parts properly is essential to the Church.
Sharber Smith was pastor of Rosemont Baptist Church in Niceville 1994-2010, and Sally Smith taught Adult Sunday School and Discipleship Training, and sang in the choir. She and her daughter, Ginger, owned and operated Slendersmith Day Spa in Destin, which her daughter still manages. The Smiths frequently performed in churches and other venues in the Panhandle.
The couple has three children and eight grandchildren. The Smiths live now in Theodore, Ala., where he is pastor of San Souci Baptist Church in Bayou La Batre. They remain active in their creative ministries.
For more information on My Green Acres, go to www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.