Archive for July 2020

My Eleventh Anniversary of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  Lambda, the Eleventh Letter of the Greek Alphabet

Image in the Public Domain

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I created SUNDRY THOUGHTS on July 27, 2009.  In time, I spun off seven weblogs from it.

Much has changed since my tenth anniversary of blogging.

  1. I have completed and published lectionary-based devotions for dates through the end of church year 2020-2021.
  2. I have spun PUNS BLOG back into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.
  3. I have added more saints to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.
  4. I have written the episode guide for seasons one and two of Starhunter Redux.
  5. I have written perhaps the definitive episode guide for The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  6. I have openly grieved for Bonny Thomas (1965-2019), whose death has forever altered my life.

One does hope to improve with experience.  My recent blog posts are of a generally higher quality than my earliest ones were.  Most of my earliest blog posts no longer exist, nor should they.  When I read an old blog post and think,

I can do better than that,

I may delete that post and seek to do better.

I plans for more blogging.

  1. I intend to return to lectionary-based devotions eventually, of course.
  2. I plan to revise and update A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days off-and-on until I can no longer do so.
  3. I have plans for blogging at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  I intend to blog my way through 2 Kings 22-25, 1 Esdras, 2 Chronicles 34-36, Ezra, and Nehemiah, with a portion of Sirach 49 included, in one project.  The spreadsheet for that project constitutes evidence of my detail-oriented nature.  I also plan to blog my way through 3 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 50 incorporated into that project.  Furthermore, I plan to blog my way through 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees, with a portion of Sirach 45 included in that project.  The spreadsheet for that project is also ready.  The first and third projects entail parallel passages.  And, given that strict adherence to chronology is not the organizing principle of Ezra and Nehemiah, I will read those books out chapter-and-verse order.

I have read all 78 book of the Russian Orthodox canon of scripture.  However, I did that more years ago than some of my former students have been alive.  Reading some of these texts again has, therefore, been like reading them for the first time.

Blogging is a hobby and an outlet.  We should all be cautious what we reveal on the internet, which retains everything.  Stories of people fired because of posts on social media outlets abound.  My use of social media is limited.  I belong to my Nextdoor Digest group, for example.  My major contributions to it are helpful hints in response to other members’ questions.  I know I probably will not get into trouble for answering a neighbor’s request for information about which local thrift stores send out trucks to pick up furniture.  Likewise, I know that my weblogs are public.  I hope they edify others at best.  May other posts be merely harmless, perhaps amusing.  Calling a spade a spade, so to speak, is fine; I will not excuse the inexcusable.  However, I seek to call spades what they are without publishing content I should not publish.  And I feel no obligation to express most of my thoughts.

When 2020 began, I had high hopes for it.  So much for most of those!  We may yet save our republic from internal threats to the Constitution of the United States of America–and from one–Donald Trump–in particular.  The Constitution allows for elections, after all.  And we will eventually get through the Coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.  We will do so sooner if we, as a people, act responsibly.

2020 may yet have a relatively positive end.  We, as a people, must accept our obligations to and for each other, though.  Mutuality must override individualism in the context of a public health emergency.  I do not like wearing a mask in public, but I do so.  This is about what I need to do, not what I want to do.  This is about what I have a moral obligation to do, not what I want to do in an ideal circumstance.

Next year, I hope to write about my twelfth anniversary as a blogger under much improved circumstances.

Be safe and well, O reader.  Take care of your neighbors and, therefore, of yourself.

Peace!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Detergents   Leave a comment

Opposition to puns should never deter gents from telling jokes about clothes washers.  No, these punny men should maintain their commitment to clean humor, no matter how others spin the witticisms.

Anti-Intellectualism and Right-Wing Populism   1 comment

Truthiness, Alternative Facts, and Damn Lies

Stephen Colbert, during his years of hosting The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, spoke, in the character of a composite of most of the on-air talent at the FOX News Channel of “truthiness,” defined as

the quality or seeming or feeling true, even when being false.

“Truthiness” is the quality of anti-intellectualism, of the distrust of expertise and reference works.  Objective reality, the character of Stephen Colbert said on October 17, 2005, is

all fact and no heart.

The television persona of Colbert rejected objective reality.

Objectively, surveys revealed that more self-described conservatives than self-described liberals did not get the joke.  More self-described conservatives than self-described liberals failed to realize that Colbert was playing a character.

That which Colbert said in political satire has become the governing strategy of the Trump Administration.  One may recall that, in early 2017, Kellyanne Conway used a now-infamous term:

alternative facts.

Her boss is a proponent and purveyor of alternative facts, half-truths, conspiracy theories, and what Samuel L. Clemens called

damn lies.

Anti-intellectualism is a political and religious tradition in the United States and elsewhere.  (Traditions are, by definition, old, so I choose not to call anti-intellectualism an “old tradition.”)    Related to anti-intellectualism is another tradition, distrust of science.  I trust science and consider myself an intellectual, of course.  Another cousin, so to speak, is the distrust of expertise.  I like experts, people who have read, studied, researched, et cetera.  They are well-informed, by definition.  I do not pretend that they are infallible, but I trust them before I trust an uninformed person on the street.  If that makes me an elitist, so be it.

Right-wing populism embraces truthiness and alternative facts as it rejects intellectualism, expertise, and science.  This tendency is proving deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wearing masks in public and maintaining social distancing should NOT be controversial, but they are.  The Coronavirus will not vanish one day, magically.  No, it will remain with us for a very long time.  The Bubonic Plague still exists, but how often does it become a news story?  COVID-19 will eventually join the ranks of generally contained diseases that break out here and there, now and again, with limited effects.  We will get to that day sooner rather than later by acting responsibly, both collectively and individually, and by trusting that people who study this disease know more about it than people who do not.

Unfortunately, as human psychology proves, ego defense mechanisms are generally impervious to objective reality.  The least effective way to convince one to change one’s mind may be to present objective information, especially if one’s ego is invested in an erroneous belief.  Consider opposition to vaccination, O reader.  I understand why, centuries ago, when vaccination was new, that many people feared it.  However, given that vaccination has proven effective, fear of it is irrational and contrary to objective reality.

Aside:  I report that the worst reaction I had to an immunization was the exception to the rule.  My standard reaction is none, except for momentary discomfort; I despise needles.  I recall, however, that I passed out momentarily once.  On the other hand, I got a piece of chocolate, so I cannot complain.

This pandemic presents people with a choice:  Behave responsibly and reject misinformation or embrace conspiracy theories and racist, nativistic, xenophobic, and objectively false statements and those who peddle them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Moving   Leave a comment

And Preparing for It

I am preparing to move for the first time in thirteen years.  My new home is only four or five miles away, depending on the route, so I will remain in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.

The time for moving is right.  My lease will expire in fourteen days.  I need to leave my apartment and neighborhood, given how many memories of Bonny permeate both of them.  And, by grace, I have a much better place to which to go.

I have been downsizing in stages consistently since the summer of 2016.  A hoarder’s house scared the hell out of me.  I have never been a hoarder or close to being one, but I have had a burdensome overabundance of certain items.  I have been downsizing again with zeal as my deadline as the gap between my present day and the deadline to move out has shortened.  I resumed immediately after Bonny died on October 14, 2019.  Since that date, I have been extravagantly generous to thrift stores.  I have made plans for one more act of generosity to my favorite charity, Project Safe (which helps battered women), early next week.

My father was a United Methodist minister in southern Georgia, U.S.A..  We moved every two years, on average.  Certain boxes remained unopened and left in storage between moves.  For example, I remember one day, the day prior to a move out of a parsonage we had inhabited for three years.  We were loading the moving truck.  I opened a closet and saw boxes of books.  I remembered having placed those books in that that closet three years prior.  We had not thought about those books for three years.  Yet we moved them again.

I understand why one may choose to keep some items in storage.  I keep family archives, for example.  Good reasons for keeping certain items in storage can exist.  I intend to keep my maternal grandfather’s ring, for example.  Nevertheless, if one can live comfortably without using an item for a year, one should ask oneself whether one should keep it.  My zealous downsizing testifies that my answer has usually been “no.”

My policy with books, for example, is that they belong on bookcases, not in boxes, in the long term.  More than once during any given year, I reconsider my library and decide which books to keep and which ones to send elsewhere.  I choose to impose the discipline of limited book space on myself.  How can I best use that space?

Downsizing can be liberating.  Knowing that my move will be easier than it would have been feels good.  Certain possessions, in proper quantities, can enrich life.  We cannot take those possessions with us when we die, however.  And I have no intention of imposing a great burden upon those who, in time, will decide the fates of my possessions after I die.  Downsizing is considerate and respectful of them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Allegedly Pro-Life Republican Politicians Who Are Pro-Death During a Pandemic   Leave a comment

ESPECIALLY THE GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA, WHO IN WORDS OF THE MAYOR OF SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, TODAY, DOES NOT “GIVE A DAMN ABOUT US”

Some politicians who claim the label “pro-life” with regard to abortion are pro-death with regard to COVID-19.

I will get a side point out of the way.  I am cautiously pro-choice.  On principle, I oppose abortion except in extreme cases.  Medical emergencies do exist.  Sometimes somebody will die, regardless of the decision one makes.  Life does not always spare people those dilemmas.  I hold that the people who should make those decisions are usually the ones closest to the individuals affected.  In certain circumstances, however, they may not be.  This can be a complicated issue.

Now, back to the main point….

Recently, the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, mandated that we who live here wear masks in public places.  This was a socially responsible order consistent with science.  This morning, while watching the news briefly (for the few minutes I could bear to do so), I heard that the Dishonorable, Excrable (to use an old word) Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, overrode that ordinance and its counterparts elsewhere in Georgia.  He decreed that no local government may issue a COVID-19-related order stricter than state policy.

Kemp, elected in 2018, ran as a pro-life, pro-gun liability.  He captured what political analysts call the Bubba Vote.  I voted for Stacey Abrams, his main opponent, who came close to winning.

If Kemp were as pro-life as he claims to be, he would issue stricter statewide policies and support the mandating of wearing masks in public.  He is only one politician I condemn for hypocrisy related to being pro-life regarding abortion but not regarding COVID-19.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 16, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Becoming   4 comments

One’s life is the continuous process of becoming the next version of oneself.  Former versions of oneself are legion; the next version of oneself awaits.  We all change in a plethora of ways throughout life.  Hopefully, we improve.  Hopefully, we deepen in faith.  Hopefully, we become kinder and more forgiving.  Hopefully, we become more knowledgeable.  Hopefully, we become more compassionate.  Hopefully, we become better at work.  Hopefully, we improve at all worthwhile pursuits.  Hopefully, our language skills will improve.  Hopefully, we will improve (in a number of activities) with practice.  Hopefully, we become more grateful.  Hopefully, we become more loving and less judgmental.  Hopefully, we become more aware of social injustice and refuse to turn a blind eye to it and to defend it any longer.  Hopefully, we practice the Golden Rule more often.

I can speak and write only for myself.  That is all I try to do in this post.

I have noticed changes in myself.  Times of loss and great stress have led to spiritual and emotional growth.  Even during times loss and great stress have not defined, I have changed spiritually.  I have, for example, started growing into mysticism.  Nobody has found this more surprising than I have.  I have also shifted theologically; I have moved toward the center, overall.  I have retained my propensity to ask questions and understand doubts as gateways to deeper faith, though.  When I was an undergraduate at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, one of the other residents in the dormitory told me I would go to Hell for asking too many questions.  I have never changed my mind about her; she did not ask enough questions.  God, who gave us brains, does not intend for us to check our intellects at the church door.  Healthy faith is never anti-intellectual.  I could name some people who do not consider me a Christian, but I will not do so in this post.  To them I say, “You know who you are.”

I am becoming the next version of myself.  Who will he be?  May he be the person God wants him to be.  Those to whom I say, “You know who you are,” will think what they will think.  So be it; I do not answer to them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, SECOND FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ATHANASIUS I OF NAPLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, SR.; AND HIS SON, DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, JR.; EPISCOPAL BISHOPS OF MISSISSIPPI AND ADVOCATES FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF GEORGE TYRRELL, IRISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN AND ALLEGED HERETIC

THE FEAST OF SAINT SWITHUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

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Some Oxymorons   Leave a comment

I have been pondering some oxymorons.  “Business ethics” and “military intelligence” are ubiquitous on such lists.  I point out, however, that “military intelligence” need not be oxymoronic and is not always so.  Furthermore, ethical businessmen and businesswomen exist.  I know some of them.

“Negative growth.”

This is a term from business reporting.  Is not an instance of negative growth a loss?

“Auto correct.” 

As frequently as “auto correct” is hilariously or embarrassingly wrong, we should call it “auto incorrect.”

“Jumbo shrimp.”

This is an oldie and a goodie.

“More/less/very/not as/somewhat unique.”

Degrees of uniqueness do not exist.  Period.  Please do not speak or write like a half-witted illiterate who does not know what words mean.

“Mandatory volunteerism.”

Volunteerism is voluntary.  Forcing people to work without pay for a fixed period of time is indentured servitude.  Forcing them to do it for life is slavery.

“Google Translate.”

There is a good reason that the inaccuracy of “Google Translate” is fodder for YouTube Channels and segments of late-night talk shows.  Literal translation frequently yields awkward phrasing and/or gibberish.

“Cat Owner.”

Unless one refers to the cat as owning himself or herself and probably the human(s), too, “cat owner” is an oxymoron.

“New Tradition.”

Traditions are old, not new.

“Instant Classic.”

Classics have stood the test of time, so cannot be instant, by definition.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 10, 2020 COMMON ERA

Posted July 10, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Language

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A Few Reasons I Am Grateful   Leave a comment

I am grateful for many reasons.  If I were to do nothing but count all of them and elaborate on each one, I would spent much time doing so.  I have learned that the best way to proceed is to focus on a few at a time.

A few reasons I am grateful follow.

I grateful that experiences of great loss become opportunities of grace.

Grace is free, not cheap; it carries with it the obligation to extend grace to others.  I seek such opportunities.

Bonny died last October 14.  Her sudden, violent death has created a persistent, open wound in my psyche.  I have accepted that I will never be the person I was prior to that fateful morning.  My life changed that day.  Since then, parts of my life have been stripping away.  I have learned more clearly the distinction between the necessary and the desired.  That has been a form of grace.

And, just as I have learned who my friends really are, I have gained experiences I can use to help others experiencing their own emotional traumas.  I have begun to wonder to whom God may send me so that I may, out of my pain, contribute to healing.

I am grateful for my parish.

De facto, I have belonged to St. Gregory the Great the Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, since August 2005.  My membership transferred slightly later.  For nearly fifteen years, I have, so to speak, become part of the woodwork of my church.  I have assumed leadership roles (usually ones I did not seek) and formed relationships.  This parish has seen me through the darkest times of my life and functioned as a vehicle of grace.  Individual parishioners have also prevented me from falling too far into the abyss and proven that I am not alone.  They have taken care of me when I have needed that.

As long as I reside in Athens-Clarke County, I will remain part of St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church.

I am grateful for necessities fulfilled.

I had plans at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.  They were rational plans, not half-baked, magical thinking.  Then the pandemic and its economic fallout derailed those plans.  Through it all, I have never been at risk of going hungry, becoming homeless, and not being able to pay my bills.

The fulfillment of necessities continues by a variety of means.  Words are inadequate to express my gratitude.

I am grateful for a better understanding of what constitutes a necessity.

Simple living is a blessing.  We live, we accumulate, and we die.  Then others decide the fates of our worldly possessions.  Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, although one does need certain possessions.  Taming one’s appetites for consumption is a good spiritual practice.

Now that I am in the midst of packing to leave my apartment, full of memories that grieve me, I am grateful to rid myself of many possessions.  My identity is in God, not my stuff, for lack of a better word.

I am grateful for the joy that comes from serious Bible study.

I have spent hours at a time studying texts, consulting commentaries, pondering what I have read, taking notes, and synthesizing ideas.  I have derived much pleasure and fulfillment from doing so.

I am grateful for wonderfully bad movies.

I mean movies that are so bad they are good.  If they make Ed Wood flicks seem like plays by William Shakespeare by comparison, so much the better.  We all need harmless, escapist pleasures, do we not?

I am grateful for good movies.

Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and John Huston version of The Maltese Falcon, among other fine films, enrich my life.

I am grateful for my intellectual nature.

I descend from a long line of bookworms.  I am suited for life in a college or university town.  I recall the intellectual stagnation and the anti-intellectualism of many of the communities and small towns in which I grew up and my father served as a minister.  I cannot honestly deny that these experiences helped to shape me both intellectually, spiritually, and politically.

I would starve intellectually and spiritually in many towns and congregations.

I am grateful for the Incarnation, the life of Christ, the crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

Thereby came the atonement.

 

I saved the best for last.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 9, 2020 COMMON ERA

Feast of Helen Barrett Montgomery (July 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  Helen Barrett Montgomery

Image in the Public Domain

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HELEN BARRETT MONTGOMERY (JULY 31, 1861-OCTOBER 19, 1934)

U.S. Northern Baptist President, Social Reformer, Biblical Translator, and Supporter of Foreign Missions

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Jesus Christ is the great Emancipator of woman.  He alone among the founders of the great religions of the world looked upon men and women with level eyes, seeing not their differences, but their oneness, their humanity.

–Helen Barrett Montgomery, at the Baptist World Congress (1923)

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Helen Barrett Montgomery comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year With American Saints (2006).

Helen Barrett Montgomery blazed trails for women in Christianity in the United States of America.  Helen Barrett, born in Kingsville, Ohio, on July 31, 1861, was a daughter of educators Amos Judson Barrett (d. 1889) and Emily Barrows (Barrett).  The family moved to Rochester, New York, in 1874; Amos matriculated at Rochester Theological Seminary.  He went on to serve as the pastor of Lake Avenue (Memorial) Baptist Church, Rochester, New York (1876-1889).

Helen became an educator.  She graduated from Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, in 1884.  She had mastered Greek.  Our saint, a teacher in Rochester, New York, then in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, married William A. Montgomery. a businessman of Rochester, on September 6, 1887.  The couple adopted a daughter, Edith Montgomery.

Montgomery was a Christian feminist.  She, a suffragette, remained active at Lake Avenue (Memorial) Baptist Church for more than four decades.  The congregation licensed our saint to preach in 1892.  Montgomery also taught a Sunday School class for women for forty-four years.  She also served as a delegate to annual conventions of the Northern Baptist Convention (now the American Baptist Churches U.S.A.), organized in 1907.  Our saint, elected the President of the Northern Baptist Convention in 1921, became the first female leader of a denomination in the United States of America.  Montgomery also served as the President of the Women’s American Baptist Foreign Mission Society.  Our saint, a theological Modernist, helped to fend off the fundamentalist faction of the denomination.  Northern Baptist fundamentalists favored an official confession.  Montgomery championed the Baptist principle of liberty.  Much of the fundamentalist wing of the Northern Baptist Convention broke away.  Schismatic groups included the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (1932) and the Conservative Baptist Association of America (1947).

Montgomery, a progressive and a reformer, worked with Susan B. Anthony in founding the Rochester chapter of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union.  Our saint, chapter president (1893-1911), helped impoverished women and children, frequently immigrants.  Tangible improvements included health clinics, a legal aid office, and playgrounds.

At a time when few women held public office, Montgomery spent a decade (1899-1909) on the Rochester School Board.  She helped to introduce vocational training, kindergarten, and health education.

Montgomery and Susan B. Anthony helped to make the University of Rochester co-educational.  They and the university trustees agreed that, if Montgomery and Anthony raised $50,000 ($1,574,901.72 in 2020 currency) by 1900, the university would become co-educational.  The women succeeded, and the university admitted female students in 1900.  However, the university operated a separate campus for women from 1930 to 1955.

Montgomery’s published works included:

  1. Life in Old Florence (1895);
  2. Christus Redemptor:  An Official Study of the Island World of the Pacific (1906);
  3. How to Use Christian Redemptor:  An Outline Study of the Island World of the Pacific (1906);
  4. How to Use Gospel in Latin Lands (1907);
  5. The Empire of the East (1908);
  6. Western Women in Eastern Lands:  An Outline History of Woman’s Work in Foreign Missions (1910);
  7. How to Use:  A Handbook of Suggestions to Accompany the Text Book The Light of the World:  An Outline of Christianity and Non-Christian Religions, by Robert E. Speer (1911);
  8. How to Use:  A Handbook to Accompany China’s New Day (1912);
  9. Following the Sunrise:  A Century of Baptist Missions, 1813-1913 (1913);
  10. The King’s Highway:  A Study of Present Conditions of the Foreign Field (1915);
  11. Our Neighbor Japan:  A Book for Adult Classes in the Sunday School (1917);
  12. How to Use Our Textbook Women Workers of the Orient:  A Handbook of Suggestions (1918);
  13. The Bible and Missions (1920);
  14. A Woman’s Life and the World’s Work (1921);
  15. Prayer and Missions (1924);
  16. The Centenary Translation of the New Testament, a.k.a. the Montgomery New Testament (1924); and
  17. From Jerusalem to Jerusalem (1929).

Montgomery was the second woman to translate the New Testament.  Julia Evelina Smith self-published her translation, The Holy Bible:  Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated Literally from the Original Tongues in 1876.  The Northern Baptist Convention published Montgomery’s Centenary Translation of the New Testament (1924).  The translation’s genesis was necessity; extant translations proved unsatisfactory to our saint and unintelligible to many younger people.

Montgomery, an indefatigable supporter of foreign missions and a philanthropist, died in Summit, New Jersey, on October 19, 1934.  She was 73 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 9, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF AUGUSTUS TOLTON, PIONEERING AFRICAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN RUDOLPH AHLE AND JOHANN GEORG AHLE, GERMAN LUTHERAN ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SCHEFFLER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF GORKUM, HOLLAND, 1572

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GRANT, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life

[such as your servant Helen Barrett Montgomery].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Isabella Graham (July 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Isabella Graham

Image in the Public Domain

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ISABELLA MARSHALL GRAHAM (JULY 29, 1742-JULY 27, 1814)

Scottish-American Presbyterian Educator and Philanthropist

Isabella Graham comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year With American Saints (2006).

Our saint, in the name of and for the love of Christ, became an active philanthropist.  Isabella Marshall, born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, on July 29, 1742, was the sole daughter of John Marshall and Janet Hamilton (Marshall).  Young Isabella, educated at a boarding school, came from a devout Presbyterian family.  Our saint officially joined The Church of Scotland at Paisley when she was 17 years old.  Her minister was John Witherspoon (1723-1794), with whom she was in contact on-and-off.

Our saint married Dr. John Graham, a surgeon in the Royal Army, in 1765.  She their four children (three daughters and one son) who survived infancy accompanies Dr. Graham to Canada then to Antigua.  When Dr. Graham died after a brief illness on November 22, 1774, Isabella was pregnant.  She and her children settled in Scotland, and our saint raised five children as she took care of her aging father in Paisley.  Our saint also founded two successive schools, the second one being a boarding school for girls in Edinburgh.  Furthermore, Graham founded the Penny Society, to help the destitute sick.

Meanwhile, Witherspoon, who had moved to Princeton, New Jersey, in 1768 then signed the Declaration of Independence years later, had built a new life in the United States of America.  He, visiting Graham in Scotland in 1785, encouraged her to cross the Pond for good.  Our saint waited until July 1789, when her children had finished their schooling.

Graham settled in New York, New York.  She taught for a few years before devoting herself entirely to philanthropy.  She founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children in 1797.  Our saint went on to found and/or organize the Orphan Asylum Society (1806), the Society for Promoting Industry Among the Poor, and a Sunday School.  She was also crucial to the first missionary society in New York City and led (1812f) the Magdalen Society in New York City.  Furthermore, Graham visited hospital patients and female convicts, supervised the writing of tracts, and distributed Bibles and tracts.

Graham, aged 71 years, died in New York, New York, on July 27, 1814.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GERALD FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND AGENT OF NATIONAL HEALING; AND BETTY FORD, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

THE FEAST OF ALBERT RHETT STUART, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF GEORGIA AND ADVOCATE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF ALICE PAUL, U.S. QUAKER WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF GEORG NEUMARK, GERMAN LUTHERAN POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GIOVANNI BATTISTA BONONCINI AND ANTONIO MARIA BONONCINI, ITALIAN COMPOSERS

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Lord God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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