Jay Willingham, bio (long)

From: Jay Willingham (jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com)
Date: Tue Aug 20 2002 - 19:26:46 EDT

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    James Estes Willingham, Jr., Attorney and Counselor at Law, 2411 Mohawk =
    Trail, Maitland, Florida 32751-4032, phone: 407-645-5454, fax: =
    407-628-1170, jaywillingham@cfl.rr.com

    Age: 50, attorney, licensed in Florida, practicing before the Federal =
    and State Courts.

    Educational Background: =20

    Law: 1975 BA in English, University of Florida ; 1978 JD with Honors; =
    University of Florida College of Law.=20

    Science: Two years pre-Med at Duke University, one at University of =
    Florida, all Zoology courses completed for degree.=20

    Very wide ranging reading in history and science. =20


    Christian, non-denominational, Anglican, then Episcopalian private =
    Schools. Comparative Religion class at Duke. Formal Group Bible =
    studies. =20

    Have read the Bible carefully through several times and am working my =
    way back through again. It never ceases to amaze me how much I seem to =
    have missed each time. The Word is truly alive.

    Vocational Background:=20

    Over the last 24 odd years I have practiced law in large and small firm
    formats, but for the most part I have been a sole proprietor. During =
    time I have done about everything an attorney can be called on to do.

    I have created business entities, drafted contracts, done offering =
    memoranda for private investment fund raising for projects ranging from =
    citrus groves to aircraft
    maintenance facilities, worked on licensing bank, Investment advisory =
    firm and NASD broker/dealer.

    I have experience in the state and federal courts both defending and
    prosecuting matters in many areas including personal injury, copyrights, =
    contracts, mortgages, real property boundary, survey and title disputes, =
    securities, and bankruptcy. I have done many real property closings and =
    write title insurance.

    I have some experience in domestic relations and criminal law and have
    volunteered to be appointed as a attorney guardian ad litem for abused,
    abandoned and neglected children since 1978.

    My special love is music law, the contracts and intellectual property =
    surrounding the singer/songwriter. Linda, my wife of 29 years is such a =
    singer songwriter. The group Steely Dan got together recording her =
    first album on Roullette Records.


    It was at a high Anglican boarding school at 13 that I learned of God's =
    plan for salvation by grace alone, not works, by faith in the sacrifice =
    of Jesus Christ. The priest who answered my question was relying very =
    much on grace. I went from there to an "agnostic". A theology teacher =
    once called me a "heathen" for disputing the physical resurrection of =
    the long decayed body of a Christian.=20

    During my freshman year at Duke University, I took a comparative =
    religion course, examining the claims of the worlds great religions. =
    That summer, my mother had a great revival of faith and prayed for me =
    and witnessed to me about the reality of God's plan for my life. I had =
    my own plans and took a year off to doing what so many did during the =
    early 1970's, dropped out, tuned in and freaked out. To "find" (read =
    "indulge") myself I sang in various rock, blues and dance bands and =
    worked as a land surveyor.

    I met Linda and together we investigated one of the Jesus Freak =
    gathering places, The Agape House, in a big old house. We got to the =
    door several times but never entered, always ending up in a terrible =
    argument. Finally we got through the door and got a simple presentation =
    of the gospel which has sustained us ever since. My mother's prayers =
    were answered.=20

    We have attended many churches Presbyterian, Anglican (High), Community, =
    Southern Baptist, Gospel Tabernacle, and Free Evangelical churches. Like =
    Burgy, I find little difference in them when it comes to the essence of =
    salvation by God's grace by faith in the shed blood, death and =
    resurrection of Jesus Christ. =20

    A testimony:

    For several years my whole family and I performed in choirs, ensembles, =
    and dramas in the enormous First Baptist Church, Orlando, going on =
    mission trips to England with the choir and drama twice.

    It was on one of these mission trips that I was most impressed with the =
    power and present workings of the Lord in our lives.

    At the invitation of the local churches, we took 200 voices, ensembles, =
    and orchestra to the Royal Opera House in Nottingham. The reception we =
    received was always a blessing of the first order. We would spend the =
    days scattered among the churches speaking to groups and going door to =
    door telling folks about the concert or drama. Every concert was =
    followed by a brief invitation to accept Christ. Counselors from the =
    local churches would ministered to anyone who came forward and followed =
    up with them.

    Linda and I stayed with the pastor's family of a little Baptist Church. =
      The elders would get together with us early every morning and pray. =
    Then they would give us an itinerary. The last morning we were exhausted =
    by straight 18 hour days, but Eric, the head of the elders, told us they =
    had been impressed by the Lord that Linda and I were the ones to go into =
    "The Vicarage", just two blocks away.=20

    We were told that the Vicarage was one of many such places started by an =
    man who had become wealth then was saved and to the glory of his Lord =
    had promptly begun renting huge old unused Vicarages from the Anglicans. =
    Into these places he would invite young people who were in trouble with =
    the law for various reasons and try to help them. Eric said no one from =
    their church had ever really gotten past the front door of this =

    We had been passing the grand old gray stone manse every day. It lay =
    surrounded by a wall of the same stone at the top of a hill overlooking =
    a green park, large enough for two soccer pitches. Our knock was =
    answered by an angelic faced teenage girl who welcomed us in like long =
    lost friends. She quickly led us past a line of polite, outlandishly =
    dressed and coiffed young people and up wide stairs. =20

    We finally arrived at a great carved wooden door on the second floor. It =
    was notable for the number of recently added locks. A TV blared behind =
    it. Our little guide knocked and the door swung open to reveal a pale =
    shirtless young man, covered in tattoos. His eyes grew wide and he =
    turned pale. Clutching at his chest, staggered back across the room and =
    fell on his bed, stammering "me heart, me heart...". =20

    The girl who had escorted reappeared with tea and turned the TV down. =
    Then I started telling him why we had called and about the concert at =
    the Opera House that night.=20

    Our host said that was very strange, as he had only recently been =
    subject to a strange urge to read his mother's old Bible and had dug it
    out. He has been reading in it but was at a loss as to what it really
    meant to him. He then said that he had a dream the night before our
    visit. In that dream, he had been walking in the bright sunlight through
    the tree lined park behind the overgrown garden of the Vickerage. The
    trees along the park held deep shadow. A voice had repeated to him over
    and over, "Keep out of the darkness, stay in the light." I took him
    through the verses we all know so well and he eagerly accepted the Lord.
      That night all the "inmates of the Vickerage were at the Royal Opera
    House. To hear old staid Southern Baptists hesitantly tell of real
    healings at coffee mornings and other wonders was to see the power of
    the Spirit of God. It is true that when we minister we are ministered
    to. He has since gone on to run the farm for the organization and deal
    with the most troubled and dangerous of the lot. His mother had sown
    the seed, the Spirit had drawn him and we were privileged to be present
    when the Lord brought one of his beloved from death into life.

    The List:

    I have the highest regard for the various attempts to reconcile the
    canon of Scripture with the empirical geologic, paleologic and
    archaeologic data. After years of seeing truth turn out to be what one
    would have deduced was highly improbable, I must admit to an extreme
    skepticism for hypothesis masquerading as fact. I firmly believe in
    the inerrancy and reliability of scripture. I also believe that the
    keys to relating scripture to the empirical data are right before our
    eyes, possibly so improbable that its obviousness is obscured. Seek God
    and you will find him.

    On a personal note, Linda and I have two sons, James, 21, at Ringling
    School of Art and Design in Computer Animation, and Toft, 18, starting
    at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in Guitar in the fall. I
    hunt, fish, run, and write fiction and hunting and fishing stories. I
    love to sing, anything and everything. I train dogs (Catahoulas), have
    one very old cat, a few reptiles and a very cranky sun conure.


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