Author Archive

Feast of Richard Hooker (November 3)   1 comment

Above:  Richard Hooker

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD HOOKER (MARCH 25, 1554-NOVEMBER 2, 1600)

Anglican Priest and Theologian

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…sorrow conceived for sins committed, with hope and trust to obtain remission by Christ, with a firm and effectual promise of amendment, and to alter the things that have been done amiss.

–Richard Hooker’s definition of repentance, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (1597)

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Richard Hooker was one of the most important Anglican theologians and a great intellectual.

Hooker, born in Heavitree, near Exeter, on March 25, 1554, manifested his brilliance at an early age.  He, a fine student at Exeter, benefited from the patronage of the schoolmaster, John Jewel (1552-1571), the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 to 1571.  In 1568 our saint matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  One of his tutors was John Rainoldes, who became a life-long friend.  Hooker, still a student, became a tutor.  He tutored George Cranmer (1563-1600) and (Sir) Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Cranmer’s uncle was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555.  Sandys (Jr.) was a son of Edwin Sandys (Sr.) (1519-1588), the Bishop of Worcester (1559-1570), the Bishop of London (1570-1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576-1588).  Sandys (Jr.) went on to serve in the House of Commons, help to found the Virginia Company, and become a critic of King James VI of Scotland/I of Great Britain (reigned 1567-1625 in Scotland and 1603-1625 in England, Wales, and Ireland).  Hooker graduated with his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577.  He, a fellow since 1579, taught Hebrew and logic at Corpus Christi College.

Hooker joined the clerks of the clergy.  He, ordained a deacon in 1579 and a priest in 1581, was the absentee Vicar of Drayton-Beauchamp, Buckingham.  Our saint left for London in 1584.  There he was, off-and-on, a member of the household of merchant John Churchman from 1584 to 1595.  Hooker married Joan Churchman in 1588.  His literary assistants were George Cranmer, (Sir) Edwin Sandys, and Benjamin Pullen, a Churchman family servant.

The Travers Controversy prompted Hooker to begin to write his influential treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  In 1585 Queen Elizabeth I appointed our saint to the Temple Church, London.  His new position made him the chief pastor of the Inns of Court, a prominent legal center in the city.  Hooker preached in the morning, but Walter Travers regularly preached to overflow crowds in the afternoon, despite his silencing by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1584.  Travers, a Puritan, condemned priestly vestments, the sign of the cross, the practice of kneeling for communion, the episcopacy, and the status of the Sovereign as the Head of the Church.  Hooker, needing more time to write his treatise, left the Temple Church in 1591.  From 1591 to 1595, he, residing in London, was the absentee Vicar of Boscombe, Whitshire, near Salisbury.  During this time our saint visited Salisbury.  In 1595 Hooker and his family became resident in his new cure; he became the Vicar of Bishopsbourne, Kent, near Canterbury.

In an age of religious extremism and rampant intolerance, Hooker was relatively tolerant and irenic.  He, critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism, considered the Roman Catholic Church to be Christian.  Our saint reserved his most pointed barbs for the margins of pages.  In his copy of A Christian Letter to Certaine English Protestants (1599), a Puritan text, Hooker wrote,

How this arse runneth kicking up his heels as if a summerfly had stung him.

Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Books I-IV published in 1593, Book V published in 1597, Books VI and VIII published in 1648, and Book VII published in 1662) was the first important work of philosophy, theology, and political theory in the English language.

  1. Hooker defended the Elizabethan Settlement.
  2. Hooker argued against the Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship.
  3. Hooker argued against the Papacy and for national churches, with the Sovereigns as heads of national churches.
  4. Hooker accepted the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the idea that nothing outside scripture is necessary for salvation.
  5. Hooker defended the episcopacy.
  6. Hooker rejected the Divine Right of Kings.  He did, however, accept that God may give some kings commissions to govern, and that monarchs are accountable both to God and the consent of the governed.
  7. Hooker gave the world the Three-Legged Stool:  scripture, tradition, and reason.

Hooker, aged 46 years, died on November 2, 1600.  He, hardly obscure in life, became more renowned posthumously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C:  THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST” AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

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O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy

to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion:

Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace,

but as a comprehension for the sake of truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:10-15

Psalm 19:1-11

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 667

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Watch Your Mouth, Etc.   1 comment

Unlike many people, both famous and obscure, I feel no compulsion to express most of my thoughts.  Perhaps the advice my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), gave to my father, and my father passed down to me has influenced me properly.  My grandfather said,

It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

One may also substitute tweet, blog, and other verbs in lieu of “open your mouth” and be true to the statement.

General George Patton said that a man should be able to swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  Patton satisfied his standard, I am sure.

That standard, however, is not for me.

Donald Trump is a megalomaniac, a menace to free society, a threat to the free press, and a peril to the Constitution of the United States, the free world, the global environment, the future of the human race, and much else.  He is also an uncouth lout.  I condemn him and all his menacing ways.  I also condemn Trump’s uncouthness.  He is probably the oldest profane toddler.

My standards require me to be consistent in these matters.

Pelagius said that one’s enemy triumphs when he makes one like himself.  Based on news, which I barely sample these days, so to avoid turning into Patton verbally on the matter of Donald Trump, the Mussolini wannabe with bad hair who has made some of his political opponents like himself, at least verbally.

This is wrong.  Public service requires one to live up to the highest possible standard.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

Spiritual Paths   3 comments

Above:  My Desk, December 19, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Christian spiritual directors have, for some time, understood the variety of spiritual types, related, quite often, to preferences in prayer styles.  The last time I read deeply in the field, I learned that the middle two characters of one’s Myers-Briggs personality type often correlate to a preference of a certain style of prayer.

Another way of classifying spiritual types comes from Roman Catholicism:

  1. The Path of Intellect (Thomistic Prayer), in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Teresa of Avila;
  2. The Path of Devotion (Augustinian Prayer), in the style of St. Augustine of Hippo;
  3. The Path of Service (Franciscan Prayer), in the style of St. Francis of Assisi; and
  4. The Path of Asceticism (Ignatian Prayer), in the style of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The test for determining one’s spiritual type takes only a few minutes.  A one-page document with fourteen rows and four columns requires one to look at a row of four words and rank them (“1” to “4,” “1” meaning least descriptive and “4” meaning most descriptive of oneself at the time).  Then one tallies each column.

My spiritual type has changed.  In the middle 1990s, when I was in my twenties, I was, first and foremost, a Thomist.  I have forgotten what the second, third, and fourth rankings were, but I was definitely on the Path of Intellect.  This morning I took the test again.  My scores were as follows:

  1. The Path of Asceticism–48;
  2. The Path of Intellect–43;
  3. The Path of Devotion–30; and
  4. The Path of Service–19.

Asceticism, according to this definition,

involves imagining oneself as part of a scene in order to draw some practical fruit from it for today.

It also entails a certain rigor in spiritual discipline.

The Thomistic preference for spiritual order applies to me.

Spiritual growth over a lifetime entails both change and constancy.  I, as a Christian, embrace that principle as I affirm another one:  one’s spiritual path must flow through Jesus.  Furthermore, to assume that one’s spiritual path in Christ is the only proper path for all people is in error.  In fact, one’s spiritual path in Christ in the present may not be one’s spiritual path in Christ five years from now.  In my case, the new preference for asceticism is consistent with my embrace of minimalism.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF RAOUL WALLENBERG, RIGHTEOUS GENTILE

THE FEAST OF CHICO MENDES, “GANDHI OF THE AMAZON”

THE FEAST OF ROBERT CAMPBELL, SCOTTISH EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ADVOCATE AND HYMN WRITER

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On to Version Nu of My Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days   Leave a comment

Above:  Part of the Area Behind My Desk, December 9, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Back in late July 2009, when I created this weblog, I began what became my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I defined the earliest versions (starting with Alpha) by feast days ranging from January 1 to December 31.  Version Alpha was the first complete year’s worth of coverage.  Version Beta was the second January-December revision.  Eventually I began to define versions to calendar years.  The renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar began in late 2016, when Version Kappa was in effect.  The renovation continued throughout 2017 and 2018, when Versions Lambda and Mu were in effect.

The renovation will continue into 2019, when Version Nu will be in effect.  The renovation of the November and December portions of my Ecumenical Calendar will complete the project of renovating my Ecumenical Calendar and precede the resumption of merely updating and revising it when I return to the January portion of my Ecumenical Calendar.

I have made plans for the renovation of the November portion.

My Ecumenical Calendar is a project I have designed to go on and on until either my death or incapacitation.  The strategy by which it will continue year after year, assuming, for the sake of discussion, that I will continue to live and be able to work on the project, is addition of an additional layer with each January-December cycle.  The maximum number of posts per date, as of now, is four.  I plan to make that five when I return to the January portion of my Ecumenical Calendar, sometime in 2019.  Then, with each successive pass, the maximum number of posts per date will increase by one.

May my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days bless you, O reader.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF MARC BOEGNER, ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT GIULIA VALLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ISAAC HECKER, ROUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Feast of Paul Shinji Sasaki and Philip Lendel Tsen (October 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Far East, 1930-1941

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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PAUL SHINJI SASAKI (MARCH 11, 1885-DECEMBER 21, 1946)

Anglican Bishop of Mid-Japan, Bishop of Tokyo, and Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei

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PHILIP LENDEL TSEN (JANUARY 7, 1885-JUNE 6, 1954)

Anglican Bishop of Honan, and Primate of the Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui

The Episcopal Church added this feast to the General Convention of 2009.  This feast debuted in Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) and continued into its successor, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  The denomination, with its two-track calendar of saints, has not included this feast in the official calendar, the guide to which is the new Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.

Paul Shinji Sasaki suffered at the hands of the imperial Japanese government. He, born in Japan on March 11, 1885, studied theology in England.  He, ordained to the diaconate on December 21, 1912, then to the priesthood on April 27, 1917, was Professor of Liturgics and Applied Theology at Central Theological College, Tokyo.  He, the Bishop of Mid-Japan (1935-1944), Bishop of Tokyo (1944-1946), and primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei (the Anglican Church in Japan) during most of World War II, suffered persecution by the Japanese government.  The Japanese government forced more than 30 denominations to merge into the United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan), without regard to doctrine and polity, in 1941.  Sasaki, citing the absence of Apostolic Succession and the Apostles’ Creed in the Kyodan, refused to lead much of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei into the merged body.  (Portions of the Anglican Church in Japan did join the Kyodan, however.)  Sasaki and bishop Tomudo Sugai, endured harrassment and incarceration.  They, arrested in late 1944, endured torture and malnutrition in prison.  On June 16, 1945, when the bishops left prison, they could not walk.  Sasaki, who never fully recovered, died in Tokyo on December 21, 1946.

Philip Lendel Tsen, born in Anhui province, China, on January 7, 1885, also went on to run afoul of authorities.  He, as the Bishop of Honan, in the Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui (the Anglican Church in China), led his flock faithfully during World War II.  After World War II our saint also led the denomination as its Presiding Bishop.  Tsen attended the Lambeth Conference in 1948.  After he returned, Communist authorities arrested him.  The Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui did not long survive the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.  Tsen died in Shangha on June 6, 1954.  He was 69 years old.

Governments and denominations come and go, but God and the Church continue.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF MARC BOEGNER, ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT GIULIA VALLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ISAAC HECKER, ROUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty God, we thank you for the faith and witness of Paul Shinji Sasaki,

bishop in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, tortured and imprisoned by his government,

and Philip Tsen, leader of the Chinese Anglican Church, arrested for his faith.

We pray that all Church leaders may be delivered by your mercy,

and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may be faithful to the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:22-31

Psalm 20

1 Thessalonians 21-8

Mark 4:26-32

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 661

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Regarding Clutter   2 comments

Above:  My Desk, December 9, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I live in a small space.  In that space I keep my desk, my dining table, and my kitchen counters mostly empty the majority of the time.  At the moment the surface of my dining table is unusually full of candles, but this is a holiday season.  As of the first full week of January, it will be mostly empty again.  Furthermore, I enjoy being able to see walls and floors.  I abhor clutter.

I have possessions; they do not possess me.  I have fewer possessions than I did a few years ago; this fact delights me.  My library is down to about 800 volumes, from more than 2400.  I prefer donating to thrift stores to shopping at them.  When I do shop there, I almost always do so with a goal in mind; I seek a particular item or items.  My bedroom has two closets; my wardrobe fits easily into the smaller of the two.  This is a change from the time that my wardrobe filled both closets.  The recent rearranging of some furniture means that I no longer have a place for one lamp.  That object occupies space in a closet, for now.  That closet is mostly empty anyway, and I may decide to part company with that lamp, in time.

I recall a statement from a Buddhist monk regarding hair and vanity:  “It is just hair.”  Regarding possessions I say, “They are just objects.”  Many of them are useful objects.  I am fond of many of them.  I even have sentimental attachments to many of them.  But I possess them; they do not possess me.  And they are not in the way.  Neither is my home junky.

Life is good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Posted December 18, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Tagged with

Feast of Gerhard von Rad and Martin Noth (October 31)   1 comment

Above:  Volumes by Von Rad and Noth, from My Library, December 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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GERHARD VON RAD (OCTOBER 21, 1901-OCTOBER 31, 1971)

German Lutheran Biblical Scholar

colleague of

MARTIN NOTH (AUGUST 3, 1902-MAY 30, 1968)

German Lutheran Biblical Scholar

Gerhard von Rad and Martin Noth were German Lutheran Biblical scholars who placed much emphasis on oral traditions and their roles in forming certain Biblical texts.  Both of them also wrote for The Old Testament Library series, of the Westminster Press.

Von Rad, resisting the anti-Semitism rife in his culture, reclaimed the Old Testament for the Church, especially the German portion thereof.  He, born in Nuremberg on October 21, 1901, married Luise (von Rad), born on January 13, 1901.  (Luise, aged 86 years, died on November 25, 1995.)  Our saint studied at the Universities of Erlangen and Tübingen.  He, ordained a Lutheran minister in 1925, became a tutor at the University of Erlangen in 1929.  He taught at the University of Leipzig (1930-1934) before becoming a professor at the Universities of Jena (1934-1945) and Göttingen (1945-1949).  From 1949 to 1951 our saint was Professor of Old Testament at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg.  During the 1960s he was also a visiting professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Von Rad objected to the anti-Semitic tendency, especially in German Christian circles, to minimize the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament.  His Old Testament Theology (two volumes, 1965 and 1967), Genesis (1949 and 1972), and Deuteronomy (1966) pushed back against that tendency.

Noth was a leading scholar whose theories have never ceased to provoke criticism, especially from fundamentalists and many Evangelicals.  He, born to Gerhard and Cölestine Noth in Dresden on August 3, 1902, studied at the Universities of Erlangen, Rostok, and Leipzig.  He was a professor at the University of Königsberg (1930-1939, 1942-1943) and a soldier in the German army during World War II.  Then he was a professor at the University of Bonn (1945-1965) and the Director of the Deutsches Evangelische Institut, Jerusalem (1965-1968).  Our saint, husband of Helga and father of Albrecht, wrote the volumes Leviticus (1965) and Numbers (1968) for The Old Testament Library Series.  He also posited a common source for the Yahwist (J) and Elohist (E) sources, as well as the existence of separate Deuteronomistic (Joshua-Kings) and Chronicler histories.

Noth, aged 65 years, died suddenly in the Negev Desert of Israel on May 30, 1968.

Von Rad, aged 70 years, died in Heidelberg, West Germany, on October 31, 1971.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF MARC BOEGNER, ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT GIULIA VALLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ISAAC HECKER, ROUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Gerhard von Rad, Martin Noth, 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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