Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Haiku: Stillness


trees stand shadow-less
cold overcast winter day
the earth finds stillness




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Image: " Chicago, Trees in Snow," 1950, The Art Institute of Chicago
Artist: Harry Callahan, American, 1912-1999
Medium: Photography - gelatin silver print



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Friday, December 15, 2017

A New Day in Alabama



Sunrise on Orange Beach, Alabama (National Wildlife Federation photo by Pam Smith)


It was a closely watched election throughout the country last Tuesday. In Alabama, some of us were beginning to wonder if we could ever elect a Democrat again. When I first heard that Doug Jones was entering the race for senate, I was thrilled that such a decent, honorable and capable man was putting himself forward for a statewide office.

We have many citizens who proclaim that they are "a bright blue dot in a deeply red state," but the fact has remained that we are indeed a deeply red state. Last Tuesday's political upset that will send a Democrat to Washington has been an occasion of rejoicing for those bright blue dots scattered about the state.  

While I am glad that the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, won the Alabama special election for senate, the graph below is a sobering look at where we are in this state. 72% of white men voted for Moore, 63% of white women voted for Moore! In a statistic elsewhere, a majority of college educated white voters voted for Moore. Evangelicals disregarded their own moral standards to back Roy Moore as well.


(source: http://www.cnn.com/election/2017/results/alabama-senate )

The Evangelical Factor

Elsewhere, an editorial in the premier evangelical publication, Christianity Today,  rightly took evangelical voters to task for their support of Roy Moore:

“No matter the outcome of today’s special election in Alabama for a coveted US Senate seat, there is already one loser: Christian faith. When it comes to either matters of life and death or personal commitments of the human heart, no one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation,” the editorial explained. “Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.”

I stated a similar sentiment in November of 2008 when in a blog post I lamented the corruption of both the evangelical Christian witness and the Republican Party. It was then that I wrote: “I have seen better examples of faith and better examples of political action than has been exhibited by the Religious Right and the Republican Party over the past few years.”  In that blog essay, I was appalled at the level of hate and fear coming from some of my fellow Christians. 

Moving Forward

Doug Jones, in a news conference on Wednesday, stated that “No matter whether you’re a United States senator, whether you’re a member of Congress, whether you’re a City Councilman, all the way down, all too often, we forget those people that did not vote for you, to put you in office. Those people can’t be forgotten.”

He seems to be a man of integrity who will take the high road and who will indeed represent everyone in Alabama. An article in the Religious News Service outlines some key factors in his life of faith and public service. Most notably, he has been an effective prosecutor for justice as a U.S. Attorney in the case of bringing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombers to trial. Moreover, as a Methodist layman who attends church regularly, he believes in living his faith by caring for everyone, even “the least of these,” and treating people fairly.  Doug Jones can be a leader for all the people of our state, and a light in Washington, D.C. 

We will rejoice this day, but know that there is much work to be done, and it will be an uphill terrain from here onward. Let this day be our marker, and let us go forward, not backward in our efforts to pull our state out of ignorance and bigotry.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday Greetings (Merry Christmas, or Not)

This one has been making the rounds on Facebook this year. I like what this fellow says about the Christmas season, and I like what he says about living in a pluralistic society.






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Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Word about Snowfall Down South




Southern Snowfall
         
It was one of those rare days
When all the conditions were right
And a bright soft snow fell
All day long.
Everything was covered in beauty.
Unneeded activity came to a halt.
No hurry.
A wonderful quiet in the city.
All is well.
It will last a day (two at the most)
Then there will be mud and slush
And life as usual.

Once, while attending Midnight Mass,
I suddenly saw that everyone was aglow.
A subtle light from within
Revealed wonder in every person,
Joy in every action.
Everything was covered in beauty
And I was completely connected
(Not the usual outsider).
No doubt that all shall be well.
Life returned to normal after a day (two at the most)
Except I carried with me the realization
That what was seen only for an instant
Is always true,
Even while life goes on as usual.

                                                   ~ CK






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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Haiku: Young Monk


a morning shadow
from the young monk's ascent
lingers on the steps




______________________________

Image: A monk ascending the steps of a temple in Bangkok
Photo by Charles Kinnaird



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Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Satire - Because Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

So my satire blog, "The Vidalia Onion," which has been dormant since January, saw a little life this week. Yesterday I posted my commentary on the Republican Tax Reform Bill:



And at the beginning of the week, I shared a fun video that I found on Twitter:




Give the site a visit. Let me know what you think.



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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another Look at Faith and Politics

The following essay was first posted on November 8, 2012. It was titled, "My Best Wishes to the Republican Party," and it was an appeal for the party to return to its roots that had served our country well. We had a balance in the "point-counterpoint" between the Democratic and Republican perspectives. At the time, I saw increased levels of fear and hate in our public discourse with the advent of the Tea Party and the Republican's catering to their movement. At the time, I understood the fear and hate in our national dialogue to be a hindrance to our ability to come to a consensus in matters that are important for community and national life.

I stated at the time, "The next couple of years may reveal whether the Republicans will do some soul searching or simply redouble their strident and provincial efforts." As we have seen with the Presidential election last November and the continued support of Roy Moore in my home state of Alabama, the Republicans have indeed doubled down in their appeal to fear and hate along with the promotion of white supremacist views.

The Alabama senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore is at the moment a statistical dead heat. Whoever wins the special election next Tuesday will depend upon who turns out to vote. In my 2012 essay below, I expressed dismay over both the faith and the politics that were at the forefront. Today my dismay is only increased when I see how professed people of faith can simply disregard their own values in their efforts to win a political victory. In the case of Roy Moore, even before any of his interests in teenage girls surfaced, he was not fit for the senate based upon his record as a judge, his white supremacist views, and his misunderstanding of church and state.


Here is that essay from 2012. You can judge for yourself how well it still applies to our current state of affairs.

My Best Wishes to the Republican Party


I did a blog post a while back, How the Republicans Could Win by Losing. The point of that essay was that the Republican Party has changed over the past 30 years by increasingly catering to the radical right wing and that a loss in the presidential election might cause the party to steer back to what it used to stand for.  The next couple of years may reveal whether the Republicans will do some soul searching or simply redouble their strident and provincial efforts.

We have seen the Republican Party veer from its staid roots of business and enterprise to embrace the religious right and oust some of its most solid members. Long time Republican senator Richard Lugar of Indiana was rejected during this election cycle by his party in favor of a Tea Party radical as was Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania back in 2010.  In Indiana’s case, that senate seat will now go to a Democrat.  The radical right-wing element of the Republican party has made it clear to long-respected  moderate Republicans that they are no longer welcome.

It is Time for a Divorce

The union between Christian evangelicals and the Republican Party has not been good for either.  I grew up a Southern Baptist and have friendships with evangelical Christians that have continued to this day.  I chose to leave the Baptists but continue to claim my Christian heritage.

Increased levels of Hate and Fear

The marked change that I have noticed among evangelicals that is most distressing to me is the level of hate and fear that I see coming from them. There was a time when conservative Christians tried to be a light to the world wherever they happened to be.  When the Republicans co-opted the “Religious Right” and snagged them into the political system, many of those Christians, so it seems, became so identified with the political party that they lost the heart of their own faith-identity. Instead of seeking to preach the love of Christ, the Religious Right began to see political opponents as enemies. Never mind what Jesus said about loving one’s enemies, the Religious Right began to see their true mission to be a political cause that would seek to vilify and remove anyone with different views.  I have been appalled by the levels of fear and hate projected throughout the social media on the part of my religious friends, many of whom I have known since their younger days when they had better judgment.  

Unsavory Appeals to Matters of Faith

If right-wing politics has distorted the faith of conservative Christians, religion has been just as bad for the Republican Party. I can remember when Democrat Jimmy Carter was running for president and spoke freely of his Baptist faith as a born-again Christian. Gerald Ford was his Republican opponent and his Episcopal tradition did not quite know how to respond to such born-again talk. Since those days, the Republicans have capitalized on the sentiments of born-again Christians. They have expanded on Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy to bring the Southern white voters into their fold, and the evangelicals were just one element of that strategy.  By convincing Southerners that their party was the place where traditional values were honored, white evangelical Christians came in by the thousands, first as “Reagan Democrats,” then as registered Republicans as the Southern states shifted from Democrat to Republican. 

Today, politicians freely appeal to the religious values of voters with buzz words like “right to life,” and “family values” while instilling fear that Democrats would take away our religious freedom if given the chance to serve in public office.  The result has been that many conservative Christians have bought a political package with an agenda of selfish exclusion and myopic hate. It is time for Christians to look to the rock from which they were hewn and it is time for Republicans to return to the examples of their more staid and responsible leaders of the past.

Regroup and Retool

My point is that I have seen better examples of faith and better examples of political action than has been exhibited by the Religious Right and the Republican Party over the past few years. The presidential election this year [in 2012 when this essay first appeared] has demonstrated that a significant number of Americans are rejecting the fear, hate, and exclusion demonstrated by the new Republican Party. I hope that this means that we as a country have made a turn. I hope that we can continue to put racism, enmity and division behind us and begin to work together to build a country that works better for the common good.

Unfortunately, the election result also shows us that a significant number of Americans are fine with racism, enmity, division, and provincialism. There are still a lot of people who will vote to cede power to wealthy corporations and think that they are securing their own liberty. There was not a “landslide” political win.  My hope is that we will begin to see a more reasonable Republican Party that does not kowtow to the radical right. I would love to see responsible Republican opponents who respect science and education.  We need a healthy two-party system, not one of gridlock and bitterness.

Whether the Republican Party will rethink its options or redouble its narrow efforts is yet to be seen.  Nevertheless, my hope is that in our current struggle we can rise to our better angels (to borrow a phrase from another Republican: Abraham Lincoln). My best wishes go to the Republican Party. I hope that they can return to the political arena with a healthier message and a true concern for the country that is not clouded by fear and hate.     



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Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Music: Ecce Novum (Ola Gjeilo)

"Ecce Novum," (Behold the new thing), a warm holiday piece by Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo, from the album, Winter Songs.






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Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Wexford Carol

St. Andrew's Church in Winter
photo by Parrish Nored
I have posted this rendition of The Wexford Carol before. It is one of my all-time favorite Christmas carols. I am presenting it again here because I heard it performed by the Birmingham-Southern Choir at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook last Friday under the direction of Dr. Lester Seigel. It was one of several superb arrangements in their Festival of Lessons and Carols. 

My first encounter with the carol was in the mid 1980s when I was singing in the choir at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Birmingham. We were then under the direction of a young Lester Seigel, a most superb organist and choirmaster who was also choir director at Temple Emanu-El at the time (his weekends must have been quite busy!). These days, Dr. Seigel is an internationally known conductor and is Department Chair for the Music Department at Birmingham-Southern College. I am proud to have known him back in the day.

While I do not have a recording of the Birmingham-Southern Choir to present here, I have John Rutter’s arrangement and recording of the carol. 






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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday Haiku: 10,000 Buddhas


ten thousand Buddhas
sitting in solemn witness
to the soul awake











___________________________

Image: From Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong (Shatin district)
Photo by Charles Kinnaird



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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Musical Interlude: Just the Two of Us (Grover Washington, Jr.)

Quite a musical ensemble here: Grover Washington Jr. on saxophone, Bill Withers on vocals, Marcus Miller on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, and Richard Tee on the Fender Rhodes keyboard. 





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Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Music: One (by Birdtalker)

Here is a recent discovery for me. An indie folk group from Nashville, Birdtalk seems to bring an eclectic mix to their original songs. Concerning the name of the band, according to an interview,  "Birdtalker is a playful homage of St. Francis of Assisi. At the time we were reading about St. Francis, and just reading about that approach to life was inspiring to a lot of the stuff we wrote early on (and still does now).  He is the patron saint in the Catholic tradition of poverty and nature, and the specific story we are quietly referencing is when he was walking in Italy with some of his monks and walked over to a flock of birds and starting thanking them for what they did, and was preaching the gospel to them.  The story taught about respecting and learning from the things that are natural around you, and just taking the time to recognize their importance.  The story was so whimsical to us, and we wanted to pay homage without the name being explicit and overly religious."




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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sufi Tears

Sufi Mosque on the Sinai Peninsula (European Press photo) 
(Headline from The New York Times)


Sufi  Tears

They opened doors to a world
Where sunlight lifts the heart
And words are like
The sweetest garden nectar.

The Sufi’s song to the Beloved
Created a space
Where all can find peace.
Their poets
Brought wholeness
To a fragmented world.

They told the world
Of a divine realm,
Just behind the breath
Of every searching soul,
Where the Beloved offers companionship
Throughout the measure of our days.

Now zealot bombs have shattered
That sacred space,
Spilling blood
And taking lives
In a mindless cacophony
Of shrapnel and smoke.

Mothers wail
As bodies lay scattered.
Bitter grief
Seizes the chests of husbands and fathers
While the Beloved weeps nearby.

What world is this
That cannot endure beauty,
Whose sons must shatter every light?
  
Sadness descends upon us
As we grieve
For our Sufi kin.
We would almost
Despair for our own future.

Yet in our sorrow,
We reach out
To those Sufi souls we seek to comfort.
It is they who will continue to nurture
The song of the Beloved,
And it is they who will dress
The wounds of the world
Until our violence ceases.

                                                ~ CK




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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday Haiku: Old Canton



out of old Canton
a woman wheels her wares
into a new world









__________________________

Image: Woman pulling a cart in Guangzhou, China
Photo by Charles Kinnaird



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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Our Political State ~ Not Business as Usual

LIA sticker from Left in Alabama
When I began this blog, Not Dark Yet, I first described it as an odd mix of poetry, political commentary, and spirituality. I later emended that to poetry, social commentary, and spirituality, because I realized that it is social commentary rather than political agenda that drives my concern in this blog space. I then decided that I would create a separate satirical blog, The Vidalia Onion Fake News Rooted in the South which I would reserve for the occasional political commentary for a satirical take on what is going on in the world of politics. (I should note that I used that term Fake News in 2013, before Mr. Trump began using it for the mainstream media). I had some fun with that site when I needed to express my exasperation over what those politicians were doing.

This year, however, that satirical blog has been silent since January. Real life politics has seemed so much like satire that it seemed almost a sacrilege to try to make it funny. Instead, I began a project on this blogsite that I refer to as Journalistic Poetry. I stated at the time that The best thing that poets can do is to bear witness to the times – articulate what is happening in the moment; speak to the real life experiences of your people ... My thinking was that if I could write one poem a week there would be some chronicle of our sacred/tested/doubtful union.

 High Stakes and Low Ebbs

Today I am stepping more into the realm of political commentary because of the increasingly high stakes at the local and national level. On the national stage we are seeing a dangerous dismantling of of our grand experiment in democracy as corporations strengthen their oligarchy while using the nation's culture wars to further ensconce themselves into the political fabric. 

Commentator David Brooks has been an astute observer of our national divisions. He recently pointed out that The acceptability of Trump must also have something to do with millions of religious voters being willing to abandon the practical wisdom of their faiths — that what exists inside a person is more important than what is external, that no bad tree yields good fruit, that you should never trade spiritual humility for worldly ferocity because in humility there is strength and in pride there is self-destruction.(1)

That abandonment of basic tenets of faith while publicly proclaiming religious beliefs has been on national display in my home state of Alabama. In a special election to fill the senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became Attorney General in the Trump administration, we have a choice like we have seldom seen. We have Doug Jones, a true statesman running as a Democrat. The Republican nominee is Roy Moore, a twice-removed state supreme court judge whose claim to fame is promoting his own brand of religion while presiding in court. 

Roy Moore (NBC News photo)
For years our state has had to deal with the embarrassment of Roy Moore. He was removed from office TWICE for defying lawful court orders. I don't see how that did not disqualify him from running in the Republican primary. The big problem is that so many in our state hear someone shouting the name of Jesus and wearing God on their sleeve and say Let's get God back into the government. He's our man!” They turn a blind eye to the unethical behavior and lawless acts because, he is one of us, he believes in God.” By our actions, we have abandoned the faith we attempt to preserve.

Religion professor Randall Balmer correctly states:

Moore claims to represent “family values” and, more broadly, evangelical Christian values. Aside from the disquieting specter of a 30-something Moore trolling shopping malls for teenage dates, Moore does not represent the evangelical movement he claims to herald. Historically, evangelicalism once stood for people on the margins, those Jesus called “the least of these.” Evangelicals in the 19th century advocated public education, so that children from less-affluent families could toe the first rungs of the ladder toward socioeconomic stability. They worked for prison reform and the abolition of slavery. They advocated equal rights, including voting rights, for women and the rights of workers to organize. The agenda of 19th- and early-20th-century evangelicals is a far cry from that of Moore and the religious right.(2)

Doug Jones (Birmingham News photo by Joe Songer)
Doug Jones, on the other hand is a statesman who would serve honorably in the senate and would represent our state well. He is the attorney who successfully prosecuted the bomber Sixteenth Street Baptist Church more than 40 years after the tragic bombing. He represents an opportunity for our state to rise above mindless rhetoric and to rationally address the real problems facing our state. Not since Gov. Albert Brewer has our state had a man of such stature and integrity to run for public office. (Albert Brewer completed Lurleen Wallace's term as governor when she died in office, and much to our state's detriment was defeated in his bid for a full term in office by George Wallace's racial scare tactics and demagoguery).

Time to Repent and Vote 

We Alabamians have tarnished the word Christian” and have corrupted the concept of democratic government. I am sad that our corruption and ignorance have not only gained the national spotlight, but that same corruption is tarnishing the country at large. It is time for us evangelicals to repent and make restitution for our sins.

December 12 is election day in Alabama. Our choice has never been clearer. How we will choose is unfortunately still up for grabs. We could take the high road of justice and compassion, or we could choose hate, bigotry, and racism at the hands or a morally corrupt judge masquerading as a religion and family values man.

The sad part is, I cannot tell you today how my state will choose.

_____________________

1. "The Essential John McCain," by David Brooks, October 19, 2017, The New York Times, retrieved at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/opinion/the-essential-john-mccain.html

2. "Religion Professor Says Roy Moore Is a Fraud," by Randall Balmer, The New American Journal, retrieved at https://www.newamericanjournal.net/2017/11/religion-professor-says-roy-moore-is-a-fraud/. (Originally published in The Washington Post, November 17, 2017, under the title, "I know Roy Moore. He’s always been a con artist."



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Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Music: My Back Pages (Bob Dylan)

Here is one of Bob Dylan's more poignant renditions of "My Back Pages," with some great harmonica accompaniment.





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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Haiku: Distant Songs

sometimes a ruin
calls to that place of turning
to hear distant songs









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Photo: Ruins of Whitby Abby
Source: Earth Spotter

The 12th century abbey was built on the site of the 7th century monastery where Hilda was abbess when she encouraged Caedmon, the first English poet. The feast day for St. Hilda of Whitby is November 18.



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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Windows of St. David's Church

(Logo for St.David's Episcopal Church
Denton, Texas)
Many years ago, I happened upon a photocopy of an article from The Living Church. “A Literary Succession,” by Edward Rutland told about a unique set of four windows at the St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Denton, Texas. The windows “honor four saintly persons who contributed in different ways to English literature.” The saintly persons celebrated are Hilda of Whitby, The Venerable Bede, John Donne, and C.S. Lewis.

Having majored in English Literature in college, and since I was involved in social services at an Episcopal Church at the time, the article caught my interest. One thing that amazed me was in learning about Hilda of Whitby and her encouragement of Caedmon, the first English poet. In my English Lit studies, I had felt a connection with Caedmon since high school days. The fact that he was a shy person who loved music and became inspired to write songs of beauty gave me hope. I read in Rutland's article how Hilda had been the encourager of Caedmon. The astounding part, after being drawn in to learn about Hilda of Whitby, was to discover that her feast day is on my birthday! I had just found a new patron saint.

Searching for the Windows

Last year, I began searching for photos of the windows at St. David’s Church. I was only able to find one of them online, but I wanted to view them all and I didn’t have any plans to travel to Texas. I sent an email to the church when I found their website and asked if any photos of the church windows were available. The rector, Canon H.W. Herrmann, graciously emailed me four beautiful photos of the windows.

I am sharing those photos here, along with text from the article* by Edward Rutland in which he gives a brief sketch of each life depicted in the windows.  As the article states, “Four companion windows in St. David's Church, Denton, Texas, indicate the history and variety of literature and learning in Anglicanism.”


St. Hilda of Whitby


St. Hilda of Whitby (614-680) is included because she was both a woman in the decision-making processes of the early church (important in the city which includes the main campus of Texas Woman's University) and because she is a person of literary significance not to be forgotten. She is shown with the pastoral staff of her abbotship and holding a small church, representing her simple monastic settlement and its successful school.

She is noted for her Celtic sympathies but cooperative spirit at the Synod of Whitby (664). And she is appreciated for the literary and spiritual sensitivity with which she sponsored a rustic farmhand named Caedmon. Her encouragement helped him produce for his own Anglo-Saxon people vernacular poetry on Christian themes. Though his poems, done in bardic manner, were mostly lost in antiquity, they place him at the head of the long line of English poets. Honored as a saint according to early Celtic custom, her day in the Christian calendar is Nov. 18.


The Venerable Bede


The Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) said “study, teaching, and writing have always been my delight.” Indeed, his writings are wide ranging in subject matter, and vast in number, including 25 words of scriptural commentary, translations, treatises on grammar, poetics and calendar reform, plus biographies and more. He is said to have been the first known writer of English prose, though his vernacular prose texts have been lost.

A hint of his piety may be found in two of his poems set to music in the Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982. But it is as “the first English historian” that he is generally known. His Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written in Latin, often translated, is still valued by scholars for being authoritative historiography according to 20th century criteria.

His attire identifies him as a “monk of Jarrow,” as he is often called, for it was there that he did his life's work. But in the 11th century his remains were moved to Durham, and in 1370 were relocated to their present location, now a lovely shrine, in that cathedral. The day of his commemoration has been changed several times; since 1969 it has been May 25.


John Donne


John Donne (c. 1572-1631) “No man is an island” - with such nautical analogies Donne spoke to the sea-faring people of England when he was dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. His writings are daunting if he is not identified at the outset as a multifaceted personality of genuine Renaissance proportions. (In the window he is shown in the garb of period, except that the dean's cassock is of a later date.)

Much is known of him through Izaak Walton's Life, through Ben Johnson's observations, through the erudite and often poetic correspondence which he exchanged with others, through their memorializations of him, but most notably through the autobiographical character of his writings.

To those who through his writings know him and perhaps love him, he is fascinating, exasperating and inspiring. He is a mixture of the sensuous, secular and worldly, and the intellectual, pensive and devotional.

Though in early adulthood a spendthrift who lived in respectable poverty, he was widely traveled and a man of immense learning. In both poetry and prose his language is in the style of the times: figurative, evocative and metaphorical - often in the extreme. His friend Ben Johnson reckoned that, as a result, his writings would perish. Happily T.S. Eliot regarded him as being in the direct current of English poetry. In his polemics he was careful to place himself in the theological mid-road of Anglicanism.

John Donne, priest, is one of the "worthies" added in recent years to the calendar of the prayer book in this country: March 31.


C.S. Lewis



C.S. Lewis - Seven days short of the 65th birthday, and in failing health, C.S. Lewis died quietly at home Nov. 22, 1963. Since his home parish, Holy Trinity, Huntington Quarry, is on the outskirts of Oxford, he often went to confession and communion at the Church of St. Mary Magdalen, a high church parish in the heart of the university city that was the center of Lewis's life. Now, nearly a third of a century afterward, the world knows him better, and loves him more, than in 1963.

He was one of a remarkable group of 20th-century lay people - G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden, to name a few. In an age of unfaith, cynicism, moral disorder and strange spiritual searchings, Lewis is read and admired by all sorts and conditions of people - the young, the old, from sacramentalists to fundamentalists, and beyond!

Born an Anglican, Lewis lost his faith during his teen years. In his maturity he knew the other side, the side of unfaith, its viewpoints and arguments. That perspective adds richness to his writings, and charm saving him from pedantry.

Because he popularized serious concepts, Time called him an “amateur theologian.” Chad Walsh, in the New York Times Book Review, said Lewis had “the ability to make Christian orthodoxy exciting and fit for the brave rebel.” His creed was stated in Mere Christianity: “the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.”

That he was sharply aware of humankind's sinfulness is seen in such works as The Great Divorce. In The Screwtape Letters, he deployed humor to disclose the wiles of the Devil. He wrote straightforward apologetics in The Problem of Pain, a luminous book to be read alongside Letters to Malcolm. And he did a very readable "word study" of biblical terms in The Four Loves.

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Photos of the windows at St. David's Church were sent by the Reverend Canon H.W. Herrmann, SSC, rector of St. David of Wales Episcopal Church, Denton,TX


*"A Literary Succession" by Edward C. Rutland, The Living Church, May 14, 1995, vol. 210, no.20, p. 12-13. (archived at https://episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/the_living_church/TLCarticle.pl?volume=210&issue=20&article_id=2) 



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