Every Vote Should Count   Leave a comment

Above:  “I Voted” Sticker

Image Source = Dwight Burdette

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Every vote should count.  That is a timeless principle.

This is the year of many close elections in the United States.  The new Senator-Elect from Arizona owes her election to a razor-thin margin, as the counting of votes has continued.  Three races in Florida are in recounts, for the margins of victory from election night are less than half of a percentage point, thereby triggering mandatory recounts.  The race for Governor of Georgia is too close to call, with local elections officials finding previously uncounted votes.  Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who puts the bully in “bully pulpit” and specializes in spreading rumors while labeling confirmed facts “fake news,” is making charges of corruption in recounts.  If there is evidence for such corruption, local law enforcement knows nothing about it.

Every vote should count.  That is a timeless principle.  I hold to it, even when I have no guarantee that my preferred candidate will win.  This is a matter of principle, not convenience.  This is a matter of standing up for what my country, the United States of America, says is a major principle.  Suffrage is a right about as close to sacred as a civic activity can be.  It is a right for which many brave men and women have died, and for which many men and women have yearned.

One benefit of counting every vote is to validate the electoral process.  There can be no doubt that Candidate X is the rightful winner if election workers have counted all the votes.  What can be wrong with counting all the votes, especially in close elections?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Posted November 13, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2018

Tagged with

Students’ Individual Responsibility   3 comments

Above:  A Portion of My Home Desk Area, November 5, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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When I was an undergraduate at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, taking upper-level history courses, a research paper was part of every such course.  The format was Turabian, of course.  In 1993-1996, my time at Valdosta State, I used an electronic typewriter to create my written assignments.  Almost always the professors were kind enough to permit endnotes instead of footnotes.  Those professors also never took any time to explain the Turabian format.  Doing so was not their job, and I never imagined that it was.  No, my responsibility vis-à-vis formatting was to consult and follow the style manual, then in the fifth edition.  My copy of the style manual was an essential volume in my library.

Many of the students I teach at the Oconee Campus of the University of North Georgia apparently lack the initiative to consult the current Turabian manual (ninth edition) or an online Turabian guide.   Many of them seem to think that my job is to tell them everything about the Turabian style, especially with regard to footnotes (easy to do via computer) and bibliographic entries.  Many of them ignore my written guidance (more than any of my professors gave, that is, none) and plead ignorance.  Yet ignorance, especially the variety born of laziness and apathy, is not a good defense.

Many of my colleagues and I see the same disturbing pattern:  pupils, overall, expect proverbial hand-holding through tasks that should be simple for college students yet prove challenging.  Furthermore, proverbial hand-holding often does no good anyway, based on results.

As I tell students, the more they put into their education, the more they will get out of it.  Regardless of what they did or did not learn at their high schools (some of which report high test scores), they are responsible for showing the necessary initiative.  Instead, many of them give up and avoid taking any of my courses again.

I accept my responsibility to my students.  They deserve my best efforts to prepare them for the world.  One lesson I hope I teach is the importance of showing initiative.  Another lesson I strive to teach is working hard through struggles to emerge better off in the end.

I ponder the causes of the problems I recognize in many students.  A partial list follows:

  1. The sense of entitlement commonplace in Millennials;
  2. The results of helicopter parenting;
  3. The failures of schools, especially the coddling of students, often for the purpose of raising scores on high-stakes tests;
  4. The endemic lack of time-management skills;
  5. Short attention spans; and
  6. The plethora of distractions, mostly technological.

Responsibility is both collective and individual.  Regardless of the negative influences of others on one’s life, one does have much agency.  Those other influences may not cease to exist, but one can, at least, consult and follow a mandated style manual in a university course.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 5, 2018 COMMON ERA

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I Will Blog Here Again Soon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Binder of A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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This year the renovation (begun in late 2016) of A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days has occupied most of my blogging time.  I have scheduled myself to complete the renovation of the October section of my Ecumenical Calendar before the end of 2018, and have made much progress toward accomplishing that goal.  Already I have blogged through saints with feast days as late as October 13, plus the Feast of the Reformation (October 31).  I have left 26 planned posts, for October 14-31, left for later this year.

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Now, however, I discern the need and desire to step aside from my Ecumenical Calendar and commence a new blogging project–the long-abandoned two-year lectionary from the U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship–Provisional Services (1966).  I collect lectionaries the way many people collect stamps or baseball cards.  This old lectionary, used from 1966 to 1970, until U.S. mainline Presbyterian denominations replaced it with a three-year cycle revised from the Roman Catholic lectionary of 1969, is both experimental and a dead-end.  The history of liturgical renewal in the United States tells us that the Presbyterian lectionary was a predecessor of the Common Lectionary (1983) and the Revised Common Lectionary (1992).  The experiment fascinates me, though, so I intend to blog through it at BLOGA THEOLOGICA off-and-on until I complete the project.

The composition book is ready.

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The plan for my immediate blogging future will be thus:

  1. I will draft posts for Year 1 of the old lectionary through at least the Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday initially;
  2. I will create the corresponding posts at BLOGA THEOLOGICA; and
  3. I will, when ready, return to the project of renovating my Ecumenical Calendar, beginning two posts for October 14.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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Posted October 10, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Communion of Saints

Feast of Vincent Taylor (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Part of The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VII (1951), 114

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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VINCENT TAYLOR (JANUARY 1, 1887-1968)

British Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Vincent Taylor comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the article, “The Life and Ministry of Jesus” (Volume VII, 1951).

Taylor, born in Edenfield, Lancashire, England, was an active scholar for nearly half a century–1920 to 1968.  His family moved to Accrington, in 1890; there he finished growing to adulthood.  Our saint studied for the Methodist ministry at Richmond College.  He was a parish minister from 1910 to 1930 and during World War II.  Along the way he earned his doctorate from the University of London (1922), worked as Tutor in New Testament Language and Literature at Wesley College, Leeds (1930f), and served as the Principal of the same college (1936-1953).

Taylor was conservative yet not fundamentalist; he rejected Biblical infallibility.

  1. He recognized the existence of disagreements within the New Testament.  Some books supplemented others, he insisted.
  2. He, a practitioner of textual, form, source, and historical criticism, rejected Bultmannian skepticism regarding the historicity of the four canonical Gospels.  At the same time, Taylor did not reject Bultmannian demythologizing completely.
  3. Our saint neither defended miracle stories uncritically nor rejected them; he knew the limits of what history could prove and disprove.  Taylor, in a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, accepted the Virgin Birth of Jesus, defending it on dogmatic, not historical, grounds.
  4. Our saint argued that Luke incorporated Q into the Gospel of Luke.
  5. Taylor also recognized the presence of multiple theories of the atonement in the New Testament.  He, not seeking to harmonize them, rejected Penal Substitutionary Atonement, criticized the Classic Theory of the Atonement also, and affirmed the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Taylor wrote:

The New Testament is not a fortuitous collection of separate writings, but a medium in which the significance of Christ, as the Word of God and the Saviour of men, emerges clearly into the light of day.

Taylor also had a balanced view of individual and societal sinfulness, and interpreted the Bible in the context of his times.  He, taking into account the evils of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, interpreted the “obey the government” passage in Romans 13 in a particular way.  St. Paul the Apostle, Taylor argued, obviously had not considered mass-murdering dictators or the possibility of the Holocaust.  Therefore, our saint wrote, nobody should permit Romans 13 to stand in the say of resisting tyrants.  He, understanding that sin is both individual and collective, also wrote of the necessity of both individual and collective salvation.

Major works by Taylor included The Gospel According to Saint Mark (1952), Doctrine and Evangelism (1953), and The Epistle to the Romans (1955).

Taylor, aged 81 years, died in 1968.

Taylor’s argument regarding Romans 13 rings true with me.  I cannot imagine God condemning anyone for refusing to obey Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, or Pol Pot–dictators with extremely bloody hands.  After all, the commandment to effect social justice is always binding.  Nevertheless, I recall reading a chilling argument to the contrary in the October 30, 1974, issue of The Presbyterian Journal, the magazine that had midwifed the birth of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) the previous year.  The editor, G. Aiken Taylor, approved of the following statement, submitted by a reader, one J. B. Finneran, “an elect lady from Simpsonville, MD”:

The Bible commands us to obey earthly authority, for God establishes governments….When a Herod or a Hitler comes into power, we must thereby assume this is the Lord’s plan; He will use even such as these to put His total plan into effect for the good of His people here on earth.

–Page 11

I affirm the sovereignty of God, too, but is there no good reason to resist tyrants, according to J. B. Finneran and G. Aiken Taylor?  Their argument is law and order on steroids.

Vincent Taylor, being a mortal, was incorrect on some points, of course.  He was, however, a man who loved God with his intellect and who got much right.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Vincent Taylor and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Claus Westermann (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of Isaiah 40-66:  A Commentary (1969), October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CLAUS WESTERMANN (OCTOBER 7, 1909-JUNE 11, 2000)

German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar

Claus Westermann comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Biblical Studies section of my library, which his volume, Isaiah 40-66 (1969), graces.

Westermann, born in Berlin, Germany, on October 7, 1909, was a son of Diedrich and Katharina Westermann, formerly missionaries to Africa.  Our saint’s father had become a professor of African languages in Berlin by 1909.

Westermann became one of the major Old Testament scholars of the twentieth century.  He, educated at the Universities of Tübingen and Marburg, served as pastor of a church in Berlin-Dahlem prior to World War II.  Our saint, drafted into the German Army in 1940, served in Russia.  He resumed advanced studies after the war.  Westermann graduated from the University of Zurich with his doctorate in 1949; his dissertation was, “The Praise of God in the Psalms.”  Our saint, from 1949 to 1952 the pastor of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, began to teach full-time in 1953.  He joined the faculty of the University of Heidelberg in 1958.  Our saint retired 20 years later.  The student of Gerhard von Rad wrote more than 70 published works.

Consider Isaiah 40-66 (1969), O reader.

Westermann, who accepted that there were three Isaiahs, acknowledged internal disagreements within chapters, as in Chapter 66.  He identified discrepancies within 66:18-24:  verses 18, 19, and 21 indicating a mission to the nations, and verses 20 and 22-24 emphasizing the primacy of worship in Jerusalem.  The second section amended the first, our saint wrote.  The presence of the two traditions, Westermann insisted,

made terribly clear that in the post-exilic period what people had to say about the way in which God was going to act upon Israel and upon the other nations lost all unanimity and took two different roads.

–Page 429

Westermann continued:

In the light of the New Testament our only course is to agree with the first, the one which proclaims the great missionary move out to the nations.  This means, then, that we must be critical of vv. 20, 22ff.  But over and above this, an Old Testament critic is bound to say that a theology which ordains one place of eternal annihilation for all God’s enemies along with the perpetuation of a worship restricted to one place is alien to the central core of the Old Testament.  Here, in the interests of rendering absolute a worship that is tied to a place and in the counterpart which the verses give this, the avowal of God’s action in history and towards the people who are travelling onwards, the avowal of very foundation, is abandoned.

–Page 429

Thus ended that commentary.

Westermann, aged 90 years, died in Heidelberg on the Day of Pentecost, June 11, 2000.  His wife, Anna, had predeceased him in 1991.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Claus Westermann and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Herbert G. May (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HERBERT GORDON MAY (NOVEMBER 26, 1904-OCTOBER 7, 1977)

U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator

Herbert G. May comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction to and the exegesis of Ezekiel in Volume VI (1956).

May was an influential scholar and translator of the Bible.  He, born in Fair Haven, Vermont, on November 26, 1904, graduated from Wesleyan University (1927).  After earning his B.D. degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1930, he went to work on his Ph.D. (The University of Chicago, 1934).  May was Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Oberlin College (1934-1970) and Vanderbilt University (1966-1970).  In retirement he taught at Yale Divinity School and continued to teach at Oberlin College.  Our saint, one of the translators of the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952; Apocrypha, 1957; RSV II, 1971), chaired the translation committee (1966-1974) and its Old Testament section (1960-1977).  He also helped to edit the Oxford Bible Atlas (1962), The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (1962), and The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (1973, 1977).

Our saint, aged 72 years, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 7, 1977.  His wife, Helen (February 8, 1902-November 3, 1977), died shortly thereafter.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Herbert G. May and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Edith Cavell (October 12)   2 comments

Above:  A Stamp Depicting the Death of Edith Cavell

Image in the Public Domain

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EDITH LOUISA CAVELL (DECEMBER 4, 1865-OCTOBER 12, 1915)

English Nurse and Martyr, 1915

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I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.

–Edith Cavell

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Edith Cavell comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England, where her feast day is October 12.

Cavell, born in Swardeston, Norfolk, England, on December 4, 1865, grew up to become a pioneering nurse and a martyr.  Her father was a priest in The Church of England.  Our saint grew up in a loving home and shared a pleasant childhood with her siblings.  Cavell, a governess in Belgium (1890-1895), returned home and took care of her ailing father.  Next she studied nursing in London (1896-1898) and became a nurse.  After working in various hospitals, Cavell became the matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium, in 1907.  She revolutionized the nursing profession in Belgium and trained other nurses.

Cavell might have led a longer life had she not returned to Belgium in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I.  In the summer of 1914, when the Great War started, our saint was visiting relatives in Norfolk.  She knew she had to return to Belgium and work as a nurse, given the need for her abilities there.  Our saint, committed to saving lives, regardless of wartime politics, provided medical care to both Allied and Central Powers soldiers.  Saving the lives of military personnel of the Central Powers scandalized many on the Allied side.  On the other hand, when Cavell helped to smuggle more than 200 Allied soldiers out of German-occupied Belgium, she became a target for German military “justice.”  Our saint, arrested for treason on August 3, 1915, and later convicted, died via firing squad on the morning of October 12, 1915.  She was 49 years old.

On October 11, 1915, Cavell had told a visiting Anglican priest:

Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.

Yet the British Government counted on bitterness and hatred toward the German Empire for executing her.  The British Government used her death as part of a military recruitment strategy.

Cavell’s story has become the basis of movies:

  1. Nurse and Martyr (1915),
  2. The Martyrdom of Nurse Cavell (1916),
  3. Nurse Cavell (1916),
  4. The Woman the Germans Shot (1918),
  5. Dawn (1928),
  6. Nurse Edith Cavell (1939), and
  7. Nurse Cavell (1948).

Cavell’s legacy stands for the propositions that human life is sacred, and that a state of war does not alter, minimize, or negate this reality.  Nationalism and patriotism have their places, but when they dehumanize the “other,” they become morally destructive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Edith Cavell:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in her triumph may profit by her example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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