Feast of John Wright Buckham (March 30)   1 comment

John Wright Buckham

Above:  John Wright Buckham

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN WRIGHT BUCKHAM (NOVEMBER 5, 1864-MARCH 30, 1945)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Writer

Hymns of John Wright Buckham appear in few hymnals these days.  That is unfortunate, for he poured theological substance and poetic skill into them.  Consider, O reader, “Hills of God, Break Forth in Singing” (1898), a Christmas hymn:

Hills of God, break forth in singing;

Winds, breathe balm on every shore;

Stars, your glittering gems far flinging,

Lead to Jesus evermore;

Whisper, pines, where tempests sweep;

Palms, by angels stirred from sleep,

Jesus comes, in love bend low.

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Vanish, warfare, from the nations;

Cease, all cries of pain and grief;

Hush, drear sighs and lamentations;

Jesus comes to bring relief.

Sing, O silent tongue of dumb;

Leap, O lame man, as the hart;

Joy to poor, to bruised, to bond!

Jesus comes to bear your part.

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Chant high praises, young man, maiden;

Age, your songs are not all sung;

Children, with glad hearts love-laden,

Sing the Child who makes all young:

Haste, O Messengers of peace,

Swift through all the wide world run,

Gladness speak, love, hope, release;

Joy! for Christ the Lord is come.

–Quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904)

O God, Above the Drifting Years” (1916), which Buckham wrote for the fiftieth anniversary of the Pacific Theological Seminary/Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, is available at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Buckham was a scholar from an academic family.  The native of Burlington, Vermont, debuted on November 5, 1864.  His father was Matthew Henry Buckham, President of the University of Vermont from 1871 to 1910.  Our saint graduated from the University of Vermont (A.B., 1885) and from Andover Theological Seminary (1888).  The self-described practitioner of “Progressive Orthodoxy” accepted biblical criticism and sought to balance idealism and pragmatism in social ethics.  He strove not to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Our saint, the middle of five children of Matthew Henry Buckham and Elizabeth Buckham, married Helen E. Willard (1866-1950) on January 1, 1889.  The household record of the Buckhams in the U.S. Census of 1900 indicated three children (aged 0-10 years old) and a servant.

Buckham, ordained a Congregationalist minister in 1888, served just two congregations–Second Church, Conway, New Hampshire (1888-1890), and Crombie Street Church, Salem, Massachusetts (1890-1903).  From 1903 to 1937 Buckham, who received an honorary degree from the University of Vermont in 1904, was Professor of Christian Theology at Pacific Theological Seminary, renamed the Pacific School of Religion from 1916.  He studied the philosophy of religion and wrote about it prolifically in many books and articles.  In 1914 he applied his depth of knowledge to the Nathaniel W. Taylor Lectures at Yale University.

Among Buckham’s many articles, I found the following at archive.org:

  1. The Return of the Truth in Mysticism” (1908);
  2. Monism, Pluralism, and Personalism” (1908);
  3. The Organization of Truth” (1909);
  4. Dualism or Duality” (1913);
  5. What is Fundamental?  An Irenicon” (1915);
  6. The Contribution of Professor Royce to Christian Thought” (1915);
  7. Good-Will Versus Non-Resistance” (1916);
  8. The Contribution of Professor Howison to Christian Thought” (1916);
  9. The Principles of Pacifism” (1916);
  10. The Heroisms of Peace” (1916);
  11. Luther’s Place in Modern Theology” (1917);
  12. The Pilgrim Tercenternary and the Theological Progress” (1918);
  13. The New England Theologians” (1920);
  14. American Theists” (1921);
  15. Mysticism and Personality” (1921); and
  16. Baron von Hugel:  Theologian and Philosopher” (1922).

Buckham also delivered an address included in Religious Progress on the Pacific Slope:  Addresses and Papers at the Celebration of the Semi-Centennial of the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California (1917).

Our saint’s published books included the following volumes:

  1. Whence Cometh Help:  An Aid to Home and Individual Devotions (1902);
  2. The Salem Pilgrim:  His Book (1903);
  3. Christ and the Eternal Order (1906);
  4. Personality and the Christian Ideal:  A Discussion of Personality in the Light of Christianity (1908);
  5. John Knox McLean:  A Biography (1914);
  6. Mysticism and Modern Life (1915);
  7. Progressive Religious Thought in America:  A Survey of the Enlarging Pilgrim Faith (1919);
  8. Religion as Experience (1922);
  9. The Humanity of God:  An Interpretation of the Divine Fatherhood (1928); and
  10. Personality and Psychology (1936).

Buckham retired in 1937.  He died at Alameda, California, on March 30, 1945.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BENSON POLLOCK, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY FOTHERGILL CHORLEY, ENGLISH NOVELIST, PLAYWRIGHT, AND LITERARY AND MUSIC CRITIC

THE FEAST OF RALPH WARDLAW, SCOTTISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [John Wright Buckham 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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This is post #1400 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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One response to “Feast of John Wright Buckham (March 30)

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  1. Pingback: O God, Above the Drifting Years | GATHERED PRAYERS

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