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Tuesday, March 9th | The Golden Spike

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
May 9, 2023 9:00 am

Tuesday, March 9th | The Golden Spike

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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May 9, 2023 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks about the Transcontinental Rail Road and his experience growing up in a rail road town.

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Welcome back, everyone. Today is Tuesday, May the 9th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm Jon Galantis. You're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can send us an email at contact at

That's right. You guys can help us keep this conversation moving by supporting the show, sharing it online, leaving us a good review on iTunes or Spotify, anywhere you get your podcasting content from. We're going to leave a link in the description so you can do just that. But before we do, you know what time it is. It's the verse of the day. The verse of the day. That's copyrighted. Nobody steal that. I will sue you. No, we're not going to do all that now. We're not going to engage in all that.

But please don't steal that. The verse of the day today comes from Psalm 145. I like that we've been in the Psalms a lot recently.

You know why? Because I'm doing a class on the Psalms right now. Dr. Shah gave me a commentary by Charles Bullock, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm, at this point, kind of just reading it for fun. The verse of the day today is Psalm 145, verses three and four. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. Yeah, I was thinking on this when I was writing the run sheet, I was thinking on that Psalm, talking about his greatness is unsearchable.

There's so much to it. And every single fact that any human being has ever thought or known about God is contained to our brains. No matter how much we learn about God, it's limited by what we can comprehend.

Every single human thought or idea about God is 0.0001% of what there is to know about him. At a certain point, you just can't even continue to think about it anymore. I had a conversation with a guy. This was years ago when I was in college.

I was working at a local amusement park, a mini golf course. We were sitting in the break room, and he found out I was a Christian. He found out I was eventually going to seminary to pursue religious higher education. So he was like, oh, I'm going to stump this guy. He was one of those combative atheists, almost.

Actually, I think he would term himself an agnostic. But he was like, what about this? What about this? What about this? I would graciously say, here's what the Bible says about that. Here's what the Bible says about that. I'm not sure about that.

Let me go look it up, and I'll have you answer next week. I looked at him one day and said, hey, I'm more than happy to continue to engage in these discussions. I hurt my feelings at all. You're being very respectful of what I believe. I'm more than happy to continue discussing this. But at some point, you're going to have to acknowledge that you're going to get to a point where you just can't understand anymore about God. There are things about God that you are never going to understand, and you have got to be okay with that.

God is infinitely more than we are. We can't comprehend everything there is to know about God, but we should try to. And the goal isn't to know Him, meaning to fully comprehend Him. It's to understand that relationship and desire to grow closer to Him. Yeah, we want to understand as much as we can, but it's like you said, you have to at some point be okay with saying, I'll never know everything.

And that's the point. He's God, and we're not. You were talking about being in school, and I just mentioned this class that I took on the Psalms.

I wanted to tell you about this huge tactical error that I made this week. I goofed up with my Psalms professor. I'm at Southeastern, and I'm taking a class, an Old Testament study. It was a book study, and I was like, well, being a worship pastor, I'm really into the Psalms. I would like to take a class diving deep into the Psalms. And so, it was pretty cool, because Dr. Shaw gave me that commentary by Bullock, and I was going through it and reading it. There was a lot of great stuff about the Psalms.

How they categorized the Psalms, the different like, okay, these Psalms have these elements, and these Psalms have these elements, but sometimes these elements will be over here. And after the quizzes were done, it was like, alright, we're going to do worksheets. And this will be in place of any quizzes or any final exams.

There's no final exam. You're going to do these eight worksheets, but they're pretty hefty. They're pretty thick. It takes the week to do them all, because you're looking up Hebrew, you're going on Blue Letter Bible, you're looking in Strong's Concordance and finding Hebrew words, and finding different passages where they are. So, they're involved.

They're very involved. All that to say, you really don't want to miss one. You don't want to put that off to the last minute, because you'll be up literally all night, and even then, you'll probably get half of it done. So, last week, I didn't do it. I just forgot, because we had Easter break. And then the week after that, my brain was still on Easter break, and I was like, yep. So, Friday comes along.

They're due on Saturday. I'm like, I didn't do worksheet six. So, I'm like, okay.

I goofed up. I'm going to have to do what college students do, and I'm going to email the professor, and I'm going to list all the things going on in my life and hope he takes pity on me. So, I was like, hey, this was my fault. Here's all the things that I was doing this week that took precedence. I didn't use my time wisely. I would love it if you would reopen worksheet six and let me turn it in.

If you just give me 24 hours, I'll have it in. So, he emails me back, hey buddy, no problem. Happy to do that. Here's where I goof up even further. I go on and I download, because I'm in a rush, I'm trying to get it done, because I want at least two days to go through it.

So, it's late at midnight, going on one in the morning, and I download worksheet seven by mistake. And I start doing it, and I'm like, none of this looks familiar. I don't know any of these words. I don't know any of these. We haven't gone over royal psalms.

Didactic psalms? We haven't done that. So, I'm looking in the notes and stuff, and I'm doing the best I can. So, it takes the full two days.

And I'm a day overdue of when I said I would have it done. So, I go to turn it in, and I can't. And I'm like, wow, he said he opened it. Did he only open it? So, I emailed him again.

I was like, hey, are you still OK if I turn in worksheet six late? I can't open it. And he's emailing me back.

He's like, hey, it's open on my end. I'm not sure what's going on. And I'm like, OK, I can't drop it in. And then I look and I'm like, oh, wait, this isn't for the wrong week. This is worksheet seven. So, I go and look, and I'm trying to turn it into worksheet seven.

So, I'm like, what in the world? So, it turns out I got my weeks mixed up. I didn't miss worksheet seven. I missed worksheet six. So, now I've got to email him again and say, hey, you did open it up, but I did the wrong worksheet. I said, good news is, worksheet seven is done early, but I need you to open up worksheet six, and I need to just turn that one in.

So, I had to basically cram two of them, which are supposed to take a week each, in like three days. Good grief. It was horrible. Because he was like, I'm looking at it, and it's open.

And I was like, no, it's not letting me turn it in. And I'm trying to turn in worksheet seven into the wrong week. And it just was a big mess.

And I looked like a crazy person. Your professor's like, I don't understand. I feel like it's pretty straightforward. And I'm not a lazy guy. We work really hard. We're pretty organized. More or less, here at Clearview, we're on top of our game. And we're also doing stuff in the community. We're helping other people. We're putting on events for other people who are coming in.

We're collaborating with other podcasters and other radio shows and advertisers and all this stuff. But I looked like a fool. I looked like a crazy person. I was like, it's not letting me turn it in. And then I was like, oh, hey, I did the wrong one. Sorry. I know you did me a favor, but can now you do me another favor?

In my head, you are Doc Brown from Back to the Future, like hair just standing out crazy and goes, 1.21 gigawatts. I've been reading Hebrew all day, Marty. It's not in Strong's Concordance, Marty. It's you kids, Marty. They're not reading Hebrew.

I'm so sick of Hebrew words, I don't know what to do. It was bad, dude. It was bad. I did not look professional at all.

I did not look like a competent person. I really hope your professor listened to this show. I'll send it to him. And if not, you should at least send him this episode. I'm going to send it to him. He'll be like, hey, just give me a shout out.

I'm going to send it to him. Dr. McDaniel, thank you very much for being merciful for me. I hate that that happened. That's too funny. We've got an exciting episode planned for you guys. I'm not sure if it's as exciting as that.

I want to hear from you guys. What are the school blunders that you have been in your life? What are some things that you've done? Maybe you missed an assignment.

Maybe like John, you downloaded the wrong worksheet for the wrong week. I don't know. Write in and let us know. We've got an exciting episode planned for you guys today. We're going to get Dr. Shah. But if you have any questions or suggestions, make sure you text those in, or you can visit us online at

We'll be right back. Hey everyone, my name's Elli and I'm David. We want to take a minute and let you know how we can actually serve you as you're listening to Clearview Today. The Bible paints an extraordinary picture of who we are as a church body. The mission of Clearview Church is to lead all people into a life changing, ever growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A huge part of leading people is praying for them. A big reason that Christians have unanswered prayers in their life is because they're not praying.

You know, 1 John 5 15 says, and if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of him. If you're listening to the Clearview Today Show, we want to know how we can pray for you as well. There's a number of ways that you can get in touch with us at Clearview and share your prayer request. But the best way is by texting us at 252-582-5028. You can also send us an email at prayer at

Or you can download the Clearview app on iTunes or Google Play. You know, on that app, there's a dedicated prayer wall that helps us to get to know what's going on in your life, how we can pray for you, and how we can take any necessary steps to get you moving in the right direction. Thanks for listening.

Now let's get back to the show. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

That's absolutely right. And if you've never listened to the Clearview Today Show before, today's your first day ever joining in with us. We want to thank you for being here, make you feel welcome, let you know who's talking to you. Dr. Abbadon Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website. That's That's right. Dr. Shah, this train is about an invitation. Oh, Ryan, you had to. Yeah, all aboard. All aboard the Clearview train.

You know, I don't like to toot my own horn, but toot toot. So, we're using the railroad lingo today because on this day, May the 10th, in 1869, Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroads were joined together to form the Transcontinental Railroad. This is the day that that golden spike, that commemorative golden spike, was driven in the ground at Promontory Point, and our nation was officially connected. Well, if we had this show back in 2019, it would have been the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. You know, this was a monumental engineering achievement that laid down almost about 2000 miles of railroad. In a stagecoach, not only is it dangerous, but also it's so difficult.

And then ships, of course, hard to do. So, railroad, you know, this was the way it was going to be. Is it James Watts who saw the steam engine thing, you know, how to, he was boiling water or whatever. He learned from that, you know, the power of steam. Oh yeah, the steam engine. Yeah. You know, and so, you know, this all began going back to American history, the Union Pacific built west from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific built from Sacramento, California, and with a little help from Western Pacific. And so they moved and they went through mountains and valleys and even deserts.

I mean, can you imagine that? Mountains, valleys, and deserts. Yeah, trying to play railroad track through all these different terrains. Right. And this was done during the Civil War. Right in the middle of like this big tumultuous thing.

Yeah, 1863 to 1869. That's crazy. I don't think I realized that, that it was happening at the same time. Those are just separated in my mind. Like, this is something that happens during peacetime, obviously, because this is major construction. So this wouldn't be when we're fighting a war, but it's, they're happening at the same time. They're doing it right when the country is, in a sense, falling apart.

Wow. And you know, maybe, maybe not everybody would say that, but I mean, it's, I mean, I don't know how else to say it, but the North is fighting, fighting the South, South is fighting the North. You've got two sides of the country, literally fighting each other, killing each other. And, and it seems like, you know, they're, we're more divided than we've ever been. And yet there's this big unifying construction marvel happening that brings us together. How significant that it's happening at the same time when there's such, such pronounced division, here's this act of unification. Right. And so this is happening. And so on May the 10th, so you're going back 1869, 153 years ago now, they put that golden spike into the ground where these two met. And so this was a, it's called Promontory Summit, Utah is where this happened. And it completed the first railroad connecting the U.S. East coast with the West coast. Wow. 1869. That's something I've never done is ridden on a train.

I would, really? I've never been on a train. I've never been on a train. You've never been on a train? I've never been on a train.

How about you? I've never been on a train. Now I've been on the Metro when we went to DC, but like a train.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Have you been on a train, David? No. Never been on a train. I would love to.

I never have. So that was the thing that, that was the thing that interested me because you told me, and I've seen videos on your phone that you've shown me that growing up in Vusaval, India, it was, it was a complete railway junction. Like there was nothing but trains. Yeah. This would be a good impetus for our viewers to watch this on YouTube because I want us to drop some pictures here.

We can drop some videos right here. Tons of pictures, old pictures and new pictures of railroad. No, growing up, in fact, we are a railroad family. My grandfather, Thomas Franklin, that's who our son, Thomas Franklin is named after. Now keep in mind on my dad's side of the family, you wouldn't find Thomas Franklin as names. It's the Muslims side of the family. My dad got saved. So that's a different story.

But my mom's side, you know, several generations, you know, they're Christians and you know, we don't know exactly how these things happen. But anyways, her dad was Thomas Franklin. Her mom was Rebecca Franklin. So anyways, Thomas Franklin, he moved from North India to Vusaval. That's where I grew up. Vusaval is in Maharashtra, which is the same state where Bombay or Mumbai today is the capital.

Wow. So he moved to Vusaval because Vusaval was a massive train junction. And this is during the British time. So my grandfather worked with the British and the trains would come and these are steam engines at the time. Diesel hasn't come. Definitely no electric engines. This is steam engine, the old fashioned way.

And he was instrumental. Thomas Franklin was instrumental in building a full fledged locomotive shed. It was called the local shed, but locomotive shed in Vusaval. His name was in a plaque and stuff. I don't know where it is now.

I'm sure they demolished that and have something else new built. Cause that's going back to the fifties and sixties. Sixties he was already retiring. So anyways, so we are a railroad family. My grandfather was living in a type one.

Type one is like a big house for, because he was ahead of the local shed. Wow. What was it like growing up in a railroad family and in like a railroad junction, just constantly seeing those trains going in and out, in and out. What was that like? Well, I didn't grow up in the railroad family because you know, by the time I came along, my grandfather had died because of an accident.

It was tragic, but he passed away a year before I was born. But we lived literally, I would say one, a quarter of a mile from the train station. Oh wow. Okay. So all hours of the day, this is not like in the morning, in the afternoon, evening, no, all hours of the day, three o'clock, six, one 30, you know, whatever you could hear the train whistle. Just always. Yeah.

All yeah. And you could hear the, you know, the, the tracks. Was it all through the night too? All through the night.

Wow. And for me it was comforting to hear the train. It's like, Oh yeah. When you came to America, did you, did it feel like too quiet? Oh yeah. It was quiet.

Especially in Georgia, like in the country. I would, my brother would take me down to the train station. There was a crossing there, just like we have in Henderson. And I would sit there and watch train for a couple hours. See, that's the thing is like growing up, I saw trains, but they were always like cargo trains that were just passing. You had to stop. But like trains that people get on to travel places, that was, I knew that it happened, but it was just kind of foreign because I'd never done it.

And I'd never known anybody for a long time. For me, I thought that was something that didn't happen anymore. Like that was, that was an old timey thing. People didn't ride trains anymore.

It was just for like, just for cargo. When you, when you have that many people like growing up in a railway junction and there's a station where people are just constantly filing in and out and getting on one train and going to another, was it difficult, do you think, for people who lived in Bousaville to kind of make routes with other people or did that not factor into it? You're talking about people getting on different trains? Yeah. I mean like did people, did people come to Bousaville to settle? Yes.

Yes. Because, in fact, our church, all right, our church was there from like late 1800s. The British used to worship there. You know, it, there's a lot of story there. One day I'll talk about it.

But anyways, can I, can I share a quick on that? This church was part of a revival that was started by a missionary who came from near Charlottesville, Virginia, and he was funded, he was supported by the Lee family. Like Robert E. Lee? Robert E. Lee family.

Go figure that out. How in the world from Virginia, Charlottesville, to me in India. But this is way before my time. So this is like in the, you know, 1850s, 60s when these revivals happened.

That's wild though. And these churches were founded. And so this building was built and there was two brothers. They were known as the Black Brothers, the British officers who built that church. And initially it was for the railway officers in the British government who were, who were staying in all these places. But when British left India, you know, it still continued as a railway junction, but this, but now more and more Indian officers were coming in or train drivers or as simple as peons who would work for this officer or that officer in the railroad. RPFs, Railway Police Force officers were also settling there and many of them were Christians. So they would come to our church and we were one of the only churches where not only was the gospel preached, but also it was in the English language. It was in the Hindi language, all of this. So it was quite fascinating.

Wow. So you saw a lot of people coming into the church that were just there from the railway junction. Like they came because of the railways and they went looking for a church and some of them came from many different denominations.

Like they were CSIs, Church of South India, or CNI, Church of North India, or I mean just you name it, you know, Syrian Orthodox Church from South India. So a lot of different kinds of people who came to our church. See, I think that's interesting because I think in, at least here, no, maybe not at Clearview, because at Clearview we have people that are not just from our town. Like people travel from other towns to come here. But I think with smaller churches across America, it's like you live in this town, you go to this church. But here it seems like people are traveling in.

So it would not be uncommon for people to be like, yeah, I'm from some other completely different part of India. And I, but I wanted to come here and look for this church at the rail, like coming in from the railway. Yeah.

Yeah. But here, here it was, it was quite interesting. And so my dad, you know, he had that calling to come to that church by my grandfather who was kind of a lay pastor helping the church as long as he could. And then when he felt like my retirement time is here, so he called up the seminary to see if they could send pastor. And that's how my dad came. And he started two services. There was a Hindi service, there was an English service.

And keep in mind the local language is Marathi. So these are all transplants. And they ended up staying there. Many of them instead of going back home and they're retired, it's like they're from New Orleans, but they're coming here to work in tobacco. Let's just say that.

But once, once you cross a certain age, I mean, why would you want to stick around here? You would go back to New Orleans, but they would stay because of the church. You know, and that, that, that was very, very special. That's beautiful. It's a beautiful picture of, of just the impact that, that the church and that your dad had.

I mean, that would, that would draw people, that would, that would keep people there when they didn't have any reason to stay other than the church. That was that sticking power. I think that's lost on a lot of people. Yeah.

Yeah. But, but going back to the railroads, I mean, it was a fun life. We traveled so much by railroad. I mean, I went to see the Taj Mahal, you know, or the railroad to go see. Were they comfortable? Were the trains comfortable?

Well, you had to, you had to make sure that you were in either the first class or the air condition. Oh no. If you go further back, it gets rough. Not going to be a good ride.

No, no, no. Bumpy. But it's not about the bumpy. You have a lot of people jumping in on it. Oh really? You know, and.

Like people, like people jumping in, like in the boxcars? Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

And the RPF is there, the Railway Police Force. I mean, they'll get them. Yeah. But by the time they get them, they already made your ride miserable. Yeah. You know, you're sleeping and they'll come and sit on your berth, you know.

Oh no. And you're like, hey, you want to fight with them because you lose. Are they just like bums or like. They're bums. They are, you know, just, just, you know, very low workers who just. Trying to get a free ride. Trying to get a free ride to here to there. It's bad.

So first class and AC is the way to go. Okay. And sometimes it's hard to get the tickets. There's a story. Yeah.

Okay. So this happened. I was with my dad and you know, we got the ticket, but the ticket, we couldn't get it. It was kind of an unexpected train ride we had to make. And so he said, let's just go to the first class. I'm like, dad, we don't have the tickets. I, well, let's just go and see what happens.

Now. You gotta be careful when you do that. You get arrested. I'm like all scared. Don't play.

No, you don't, you don't, you don't want to do that. So, you know, we, we got in there and then the, the ticket collector started coming and I'm like, Oh word. How old were you? I was maybe eight or nine years of age. So old enough to know this might be bad, bad.

And so he keeps coming, keeps coming. And I'm like, gosh, we're going to get thrown out at the next day. How embarrassing it is.

Or maybe get arrested. I don't know how this, why would my dad even do this? Why, why, why, why? This is crazy. Well, there's a reason why dad did that.

Several reasons. Number one, my cousin was high up in the railroads. So he, he started as a ticket collector, but he moved up. He's very industrious, very hardworking, very smart. He's like 20 years older than me, but, but he was high up.

So there was already that umbrella there. My other cousin was also in the, in the railroads. He was not very hardworking, but because of his brother, he was quite, he could do whatever.

Yeah. He was kind of like a goon type, you know, tough guy, the muscle kind of guy. And then the guy shows up to our thing and he sees my dad, he said, Oh, Mr. Shaw, how are you doing? And my dad is like, Hey, you know, just shake hands. And my dad kind of whispers in his ears. He's like, Oh no, no problem. Just, we just, we'll take care of that at the next station, whatever we got.

It's all good. So I'm like, what just happened? My dad's like, Oh, he was my student back in, in in college. I was like, Oh, cause see, my dad was also a college professor teaching math and science, physics really.

And a lot of these guys actually came study under him and he recognized his old professor and he's like, Oh, don't worry about that. We'll take care of you next station. This guy's getting off.

You have that birth. Wow. Like, Oh, okay. He had it on lock the whole time. He had it on lock, but here I'm an eight year old sweating bullets thinking we're about to get tied up. I like when, I like, that's a very dad thing to do though. Like, you know, the whole situation is going to be fine.

But you're like, well, let's just go see what happens. So it looks like they kind of pulled out the trump card out of nowhere. Did your dad travel a lot on the railways when he was like going to preach other churches? He, this was not by plane.

My dad never traveled by plane to go anywhere in India. Coming back, he would hire a, um, they, they, they call, what's the name for, they call them coolies and they are porters. Okay. And they carry a bag all the way to where you're going. Wow. They're porters.

Coolie work. Yeah. And so he would, he would hire one of his favorite ones and, and they would have like five bags on top of the, yeah.

I mean, it's crazy how they do that on top of your head. Wow. And, and my dad would walk in front and they would be walking behind and come home. Dad would always have some things for us, you know, and then he would have plants. He would love to bring plants from all parts of the world. Yeah. I remember you saying that in one of your messages. He would bring, he would bring plants back from climates that like didn't match. Yeah.

And then these coolies would be holding this bag and this bag. What is, even now, I mean, as you maybe are passed by a train or you think about, you think about railways, does it bring about any like nostalgia for you for childhood or anything like that? Absolutely. You know, where we are as a country, as a people, you know, we're forgetting a lot, which is worth remembering keeping in mind because those things, trains, train stations, traveling, you know, watching the countryside, the farms, the valleys, the mountains, the rivers, you know, going over them, the bridges, all those things are things that make life special. And I think we're sort of, like I said, last Sunday morning, we're sort of drowning in this technological, I don't know, goo, which is fine.

I'm all for technology, but maybe we're missing something. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can visit us online at You can also partner with us financially on that same website. Every gift that you give goes not only to building up this radio show, but countless other ministries by the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love you guys. We'll see you next time on Clear View Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-09 10:22:06 / 2023-05-09 10:35:11 / 13

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