And the truth will make you free


Among my first thoughts: Notasulga sounds like a place we swiped from the Natives. It’s a town in Macon County and come to find out, it absolutely bears a Creek name. Noti sulgi, meaning “many teeth.”

Notasulga is where I am staying for the May family pilgrimage. Yes, I’m bound for Alabama and though my roots may be buried in the soil of these parts, I have questions.

Like: Who exactly had/has many teeth?

Like: How in the world is there so little just south of Auburn? I grew up in rural America and this place is COUNTRY.

Before the enthusiasts holler roll tide, roll (or ask, how ‘bout them Tigers?) let me just say that the Mays were disbelievers in much of what white folk of 20th century Alabama tended to value.

Great Uncle C.A. May held together the part of the church that had zero interest in breaking away from the Methodist Church because of Methodism’s support for the Civil Rights Movement. You read that right. Dad says that C.A. May and company held services in a basement until the Alabama-West Florida Conference and the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that they (the faction that seized the building and the personage) were in the wrong.

Union Springs, Alabama

Union Springs, Alabama

As for Jimmy May (I called him Grandpop), it’s hard to know where to start. He was a conscientious objector; which as you can probably figure, didn’t go over particularly well in the WWII era. He was a conscientious objector who went to Europe anyway because a critical mass of the laity had been drafted and he discerned that if his flock was over there, he too would need to set sail.

Chester Arthur and James May were Alabama boys who claimed their hometown. So it is, that I am traveling to Notasulga – Notasulga because that’s the closest lodging I can find.

The truth that sets us free may be the truth about God in Jesus. It may also be the truth of our origins. Forty-eight hours will pass quickly, I realize. But here’s to colliding with truth. Union Springs, let’s do this.


Rachel May

If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8).
Drew Willsontruth, John 8, Alabama