Archive for the ‘August 16’ Category

Feast of John Courtney Murray (August 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Vatican City

Image in the Public Domain



U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Robert Ellsberg, in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), lists John Courtney Murray as the saint for August 16.

Murray was perhaps the greatest U.S. Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, for he helped to pave the way to the Second Vatican Council (1959-1965), in which he was involved.  Our saint, born in Queens, New York, New York, on September 12, 1904, became a Jesuit in 1920.  He graduated from Boston College (B.S., 1926; M.A., 1927) then taught Latin and English literature at the Ateneo de Manila, The Philippines, from 1927 to 1930.  Murray, ordained a priest in 1933, graduated from the Gregorian University, Rome, four years later.  In 1940 he joined the faculty of the Jesuit college at Woodstock, Maryland.  The following year Murray became the editor of Theological Studies, a Jesuit journal.

Murray had liberalized by the late 1940s, when his theological writing attracted much attention.  Our saint argued, for example, that there was salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church.  he also contradicted Pope Pius IX, who, in the 1800s, had argued that constitutional government and Roman Catholicism were incompatible.  The Church had contended that

error enjoys no rights,

a justification for the rejection of religious toleration and for the union of church and state.  Murray countered that Roman Catholicism and religious pluralism were indeed compatible.  The Vatican silenced him in 1954, but our saint wrote in private.

Murray’s influence was evident in Vatican II.  Cardinal Francis Spellman took him to the Council.  On November 19, 1963, Murray completed the first draft of the Declaration on Religious Freedom, the final draft of which the Council approved in 1965.  Chapter 1 of the Declaration begins:

This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom.  This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wist that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a matter contrary to his own beliefs.  Nor is anyone to be forced to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The Synod further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and by reason itself.  This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed.  Thus it is to become a civil right.

–Quoted in Walter M. Abbott, S. J., ed. The Documents of Vatican II (New York:  Guild Press, 1966), 678-679

The Declaration, in its final form, was the result of vigorous debates.  The document was also a profound theological statement and a turning point in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Murray died of a heart attack in New York City on August 16, 1967.  He was nearly 63 years old.

I have added some other Modernist Roman Catholic theologians to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  They died prior to Vatican II, however, and some spent their final years as excommunicated persons.  Murray, unlike them, not only lived long enough to witness the vindicating revolution, but helped to make it.








Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant John Courtney Murray,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge

of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61


Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Jonathan Myrick Daniels (August 14)   9 comments



Above:  Kolbe and Daniels

Images in the Public Domain



Polish Roman Catholic Priest, and Martyr, 1941



Episcopal Seminarian, and Martyr, 1965


For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.

–St. Maximilian Kolbe


…in the only sense that really matters I am dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God.

–Jonathan Myrick Daniels, August 1965




By coincidence, on separate calendars, the feasts of Jonathan Myrick Daniels and St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyrs from different times and places, yet with much in common, fall on the same day.  August 14 is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe in the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), and much of the Anglican Communion.  The Lutheran calendars pair Kolbe with Kaj Munk (d. 1944), a Danish Lutheran minister, playwright, and martyr.  The Episcopal Church celebrates the life of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a seminarian from New Hampshire who died in Alabama in 1965.  August 14 is the anniversary of his arrest in Lowndes County, Alabama, while picketing whites-only businesses.

Both saints had much in common.  Kolbe was a priest; Daniels was studying for the priesthood.  Each man acted out of his faith, informed by Jesus and St. Mary of Nazareth.  Each saint died resisting institutional racism–in Kolbe’s case, genocidal racism.  Each man died voluntarily so that another person might live.

Merging these feasts on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days makes sense.

Before I proceed with biographies, some housekeeping is in order.  First, this post depends primarily on four books:

  1. Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997);
  2. Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge:  America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006);
  3. Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010); and
  4. A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).

Second, sometimes historians and biographers quote statements they consider execrable.  Paraphrasing such statements would not flesh out the description of circumstances and settings as well as quoting does.  In the Daniels section of this post I quote some execrable, racist, even profane statements.  I make no excuse for doing so, nor should I have to do so.  Any reader who does not know that I disapprove of those statements and the sentiments behind them should pay closer attention.




Raymond Kolbe came from a devout family.  He, born at Zdunska Wola, Russian Empire, on January 7, 1894, was a son of Marianne Dabrowska and Julius Kolbe, weavers who worked at home.  Eventually Julius operated a religious bookstore and fought for Polish independence.  Russian authorities executed him as a traitor in 1914.  (Empires disapprove of wars of independence.)  In time Marianne became a Benedictine nun.  Alphonse, Raymond’s brother, became a priest.  Raymond was a wild child for a while.  In 1906, however, the twelve-year-old reported a vision of St. Mary of Nazareth.  In it she offered him the white crown of purity and the red crown of martyrdom.  He accepted both.

Raymond continued his studies.  He matriculated at the Franciscan junior seminary, Lwow, in 1907; there he was an attentive student of physics and mathematics.  He felt a call to military life, but the call of God was stronger.  On September 4, 1910, the sixteen-year-old Raymond Kolbe became a Franciscan novice and took the name Maximilian.  He made his first vows on September 5, 1911, and his final vows on November 1, 1914.  Meanwhile our saint studied philosophy at the Gregorian College, Rome (1912-1915).  Next Kolbe studied theology at the Collegio Serafico, Rome (1915-1919).  He, ordained a priest at Rome in April 1918, received his doctorate in theology on July 22, 1922.

Kolbe and six friends founded the Knights of Mary Immaculate on October 16, 1917, in Rome.  The Knights promoted devotion to St. Mary, the Mother of God, as well as evangelism.  Kolbe took this evangelism as far as India and Japan, founding monasteries, radio stations, newspapers, and a journal.  He did all this despite his consistently poor health; he suffered from tuberculosis occasionally.  Failing health forced our saint to focus on ministry in Poland, starting in 1936.

The invasion and partition of Poland in September 1939 made matters worse for Kolbe.  The Gestapo targeted the Roman Catholic Church, including the Knights of Mary Immaculate.  Nazis dispersed the order in Poland.  Monasteries of the order had sheltered Jews.  Kolbe became a prisoner of the Third Reich in February 1941.  He arrived at Auschwitz in May.

At Auschwitz Kolbe endured much.  He continued to suffer from tuberculosis, the labor was intentionally hard, and guards abused him.  Through it all our saint was a faithful priest, ministering to other prisoners, hearing their confessions, and conducting Masses.

The escape of a prisoner in July 1941 led to Kolbe’s martyrdom.  Policy held that, whenever a prisoner escaped, guards executed ten prisoners.  One of the ten prisoners selected to die that day was Francis Gajowniczek, who protested that he, a husband and a father, did not want to leave his family behind.  Kolbe volunteered to take Gajowniczek’s place.  After three weeks of starvation and dehydration, our saint died of an injection of carbolic acid.

The Church recognized Kolbe.  Pope Paul VI declared him a Venerable in 1969 then a Blessed in 1971.  Pope John Paul II canonized Kolbe as a martyr of charity in 1982.  Gajowniczek was present at the ceremony.




The Episcopal Church added Jonathan Myrick Daniels to its calendar of saints in 1991.  The Church, in doing so, fast tracked him, for the usual waiting time has been at least fifty years or two generations after someone has died.  Other ecclesiastical recognitions of Daniels have occurred at Canterbury Cathedral, where he and Martin Luther King, Jr., are the only Americans recognized in the Chapel of Saints and Martyrs of Our Own Time, and at Washington National Cathedral, where he is one of the heroes in the Hall of Heroes.  His alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, has also honored him with the Daniels Courtyard and a plaque bearing a quote from his valedictory address of 1961:

I wish you the decency and the nobility of which you are capable.

For more than twenty years there has been an annual Jonathan Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage in Hayneville, Alabama, each August.  The tradition has been to begin at the Lowndes County courthouse, walk to the old jail and the store where Daniels died, and to conclude with Holy Eucharist in the courtroom in which a jury acquitted his murderer.

Daniels, a Yankee, died in Alabama.  He, born in Keene, New Hampshire, on March 20, 1939, was a child of language teacher Constance Weaver Daniels and obstetrician Philip Brock Daniels.  Our saint grew up a Congregationalist, but he converted to The Episcopal Church during high school.  He graduated first in his class from Virginia Military Institute in 1961 then pursued graduate studies in literature at Harvard University.  On Easter Sunday 1962, at the Church of the Advent, Boston, Daniels resolved to study for the priesthood.  He matriculated at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the following year.  He was on track to graduate in 1966.  Then came the events at Selma, Alabama, in March 1965.

In March 1965 civil rights protests at Selma, Alabama, were prominent in the news.  Martin Luther King, Jr., made a televised appeal for people to travel to Selma to march for the right to vote.  At Evening Prayer at Cambridge the words of the Magnificat confirmed Daniels’s sense to calling to go to Selma.  He and ten other seminarians from Cambridge flew there on March 9, 1965.  Daniels thought he would remain for just a few days, but he changed his mind.  That was the first of three visits.

With permission Daniels took time off from seminary to work for civil rights in Alabama.  He and Judith Upham, another seminarian, returned to Selma late in March.  They, sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, lived with African-American host families at the Carver Homes Apartments.  Daniels and Upham also took residents of these apartments to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Selma, integrating it, thereby causing much controversy.  On Palm Sunday one parishioner confronted the African Americans and called them

You goddamn scum.

County judge (and chief usher at St. Paul’s Church) Bernard Reynolds told Daniels and Upham that they were welcome at the parish, but that their

nigger trash

were not.  Daniels wrote,

There are moments when I’d like to get a high-powered rifle and take to the woods, but more and more I am beginning to feel that ultimately the revolution to which I am committed is the way of the cross.

Daniels, when asked on Easter Sunday 1965 why he was integrating St. Paul’s Church, explained,

We are trying to live the Gospel.

Reality dictated that the seminarians return to Cambridge to complete their academic work for the term.  They had tests to take and papers to submit.  Daniels, after completing those tasks, returned (sans Upham, who was fulfilling a seminary obligation) to Selma on July 8.  By then he was contemplating pursuing ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood instead of the Episcopal priesthood.  In Selma Daniels had found a mentor, Father Maurice Ouellet, a pastor to African Americans.  Soon, however, Archbishop Thomas Toolen banished Ouellet to Vermont.  Daniels’s presence more than irritated Frank Matthews, the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, as well as Charles Carpenter, the Episcopal Bishop of Alabama.  Once Carpenter had had a reputation as being liberal (certainly by Alabama standards) on matters of race, but his public conduct during the Civil Rights Movement tarnished his reputation.  He had been one of the moderate white clergymen to whom King had addressed the seminal Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963).  Carpenter’s public position during the Civil Rights Movement belied his private, pro-civil rights activities, which he kept very quiet for political reasons.  His public statements and activities mattered, though.  Regarding Daniels, Carpenter wrote to Matthews:

If he is hanging around causing trouble, I think I will just have to write his bishop and tell him to take him on back to Seminary.

Daniels, who made no secret of his disapproval of Carpenter, just as Carpenter made no secret of his disapproval of Daniels, called African Americans his friends.  He lived among them and marched with them.  In Hayneville, in August, he marched with a group of African-American parents.  They had applied, under a freedom-of-choice school integration program, for their children to attend Hayneville High School.  Authorities had rejected those applications.  So the parents marched in protest.  When some hostile white people asked Daniels why he was doing this, he replied,

I’m with my friends.

Daniels also emphasized with white segregationists, in his words,

absorbing their guilt as well and suffering the cost which they might not even know was there to be paid.

For Daniels racism was a sin and Christian ethics mandated civil rights.  Segregationists, not evil, needed to repent.

Police arrested a group of 30 protesters, including Daniels, Father Richard Morrisroe (a Roman Catholic priest from Chicago), and Ruby Sales (Daniels’s friend and a 17-year-old African American who had marched at Selma), at Fort Deposit, Alabama, on August 14, 1965.  The protesters had been picketing whites-only businesses.  For six days the prisoners endured substandard conditions.  They had no opportunities to shower, the food was inedible, and the toilets in the cells backed up routinely, spilling their contents onto the floors.  Release came on August 20, when the temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  There was no transportation back to Selma, so they had to walk.

Tom Coleman was a road construction supervisor and a part-time deputy sheriff in Lowndes County, Alabama.  He was standing inside Varner’s Cash Store when Daniels et al, thirsty and unarmed, approached.  Coleman told them,

The store is closed.  Get off this property or I’ll blow your goddamned heads off!

Then Coleman aimed for Sales.  Daniels, however, pushed her out of the way and took the bullet, dying immediately.  Next Coleman shot Father Morrisroe, wounding him seriously.  Then the shooter drove to the sheriff’s office, from which he called his son, a state trooper.  Coleman told his son and the son’s superior,

I just shot two preachers.  You better get on down here.

Morrisroe survived after a surgery that lasted for 11 hours.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson summoned federal forces to arrange for the delivery of Daniels’s corpse to New Hampshire, where the family held the funeral.  There was no memorial service for our saint at St. Paul’s Church, Selma; that was fine with Matthews and Carpenter.

Coleman went on trial for manslaughter, not murder, and got off, of course.  The bases of his defense were the state stand-your-ground law and the lie that Daniels and Morrisroe had carried weapons.  The all-white jury acquitted him in an hour and a half.

Sales has dedicated her life to human rights activism.  She, a graduate of the successor to Daniels’s seminary, founded The SpiritHouse Project, devoted to racial and social justice.




There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s brother or sister or friend or neighbor or a complete stranger.  A martyr is one who dies because of one’s faith.  A martyr, out of faith, might choose to offer his or her life so that another may life; that is one form of martyrdom.  The Roman Catholic Church calls it martyrdom of charity.

The process of drafting this post drained me emotionally.  As I sat at my desk in silence and wrote longhand in a composition book, I became sad and pensive.  Tears came to my eyes.  In a better world Kolbe and Daniels would not have had to suffer as they did.

The world is what it is, however.  Society is another word for people.  Society is what the consensus of people make it.  Society also influences value judgments.  By the power of God may enough people change society so that the decency and nobility of which people are capable will transform societies so that good individuals, such as Kolbe and Daniels were, will no longer have to suffer and die for being merely decent human beings.








Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Jonathan Myrick Daniels,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Feast of St. Alipius (August 16)   Leave a comment

Carthage Ampitheater

Above:  Ruins of the Amphiteater at Carthage

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagaste and Friend of Saint Augustine of Hippo

Also known as Saint Alypius

His feast transferred from August 15

The Roman Catholic feast day for St. Alipius is August 15.  I have, however, reserved that date on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days for St. Mary of Nazareth, Mother of God.  Therefore I have transferred his commemoration to August 16.

St. Alipius had much in common with St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430).  Both men were natives of Tagaste, Numidia, Roman Empire (now Souk Ahras, Algeria).  St. Alipius came from a noble family.  He studied grammar under St. Augustine at Tagaste then rhetoric under him at Carthage, sometimes to the great displeasure of his (St. Alipius’s) father.  At Carthage St. Alipius became a fan of the bloody sports of chariot racing and gladiatorial fighting.  Once he, under the influence of St. Augustine, who disapproved of such entertainment, ceased to attend those events briefly.  Then he returned to them with zest.  St. Alipius also became a Manichean and followed his teacher to Milan.  There he also came under the influence of St. Ambrose of Milan (337-397), the bishop.  St. Alipius, who found chastity easier to practice than his longtime teacher did, was among the people baptized with St. Augustine and Adeodatus (372-388) at the Easter Vigil in 387.  St. Alipius abandoned bloody sports forever.  The following year he joined St. Augustine’s monastic community at Tagaste.  He and his famous friend became priests at Hippo Regius in 391.  The friends worked together for a few years.  St. Alipius made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and befriended St. Jerome (347-450).  In 393, upon his return from the Holy Land, St. Alipius began his 30-year-long tenure as the Bishop of Tagaste before St. Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo Regius.  The two bishops cooperated in efforts to refute Manicheism, Donatism, and Pelagianism.  The two men also died at about the same time.

It would be easy to forget or ignore St. Alipius.  After all, he seemed to dwell in the shadow of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most influential theologians in Western Christianity.  I am certain, however, that many members of St. Alipius’s flock, the Diocese of Tagaste, testified in their time with regard to his abilities as a bishop.  He was no mere second banana.







Almighty God, you have raised up bishops of your church, including your servant St. Alipius.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 3411-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Feast of John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, and Lester Pearson (August 16)   5 comments

H2O 2004 01

Above:  Canadian Houses of Parliament, from H2O (2004)

A Screen Capture I Took Via PowerDVD



Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (1956-1967) and Prime Minister of Canada (1957-1963)



Premier of Saskatchewan (1944-1961) then Leader of the New Democratic Party (1961-1971)



Leader of the Liberal Party (1958-1968) and Prime Minister of Canada (1963-1968)


Today I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days three Canadian statesmen who, despite their political differences, were each partially responsible for creating the national health care system.

Our story begins, however, with Prime Minister Richard Bennett (1870-1947), who led his country from 1930 to 1935.  In 1935 he, the leader of the Conservative Party, was seeking another mandate.  The Prime Minister proposed a set of social programs, including national medical insurance.  Bennett lost the election and his proposal died.  Within a few years, however, a Baptist minister (whom some accused of being a Communist) influenced by the Social Gospel picked up the torch.


Above:  Tommy Douglas

Image Source =

Thomas Clement Douglas (1904-1986), son of Thomas Douglas and Annie Clement Douglas, was born in Falkirk, Scotland.  The family immigrated to Canada when he was six years old.  His father, an iron moulder, suffered from an injury which almost led to the amputation of one leg.  Douglas, whose future depended greatly on his father’s ability to earn a living, became convinced that quality health care should not depend upon one’s ability to afford it.  The family returned to Scotland during World War I then went back to Canada.  Douglas, shaped by the Social Gospel and by social injustices (many of them economic), earned his B.A. at Brandon College, Manitoba, in 1930 (the same year he married Irma Dempsey), and is M.A. at MacMaster University in 1933.  Then he became pastor of a Baptist congregation at Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

Politics beckoned Douglas.  He ran unsuccessfully for the provincial legislature on the Farmer-Labour ticked in 1934.  The following year he ran successfully for the federal House of Commons as a candidate of the Co-opearative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a Fabian Socialist party.  Douglas, elected to a second term in 1940, resigned four years later to run successfully for Premier of Saskatchewan.

The CCF, founded in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression, was an outgrowth of Progressivism.  It received much support from trade unionists, farmers, and urban intellectuals.  Causes the CCF supported included:

  1. Clearing slums;
  2. Electrifying rural areas;
  3. Establishing public works programs;
  4. Socializing financial institution and public utilities;
  5. Creating national health insurance;
  6. Establishing pensions for disabled people;
  7. Subsidizing affordable rental housing;
  8. Supporting agricultural prices; and
  9. Passing a national bill of rights.

Many of these goals became realities in governments led by Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker and Liberal Lester Pearson.

Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, instituted important and historical reforms.  He granted public employees the right to bargain collectively.  The Premier’s administration granted equality of access to public places and ownership of property regardless of race, creed, color, or nationality.  And, in 1947, the provincial government began to offer a variety of insurance programs (including medical).

In 1961 the CCF ended its existence; the New Democratic Party (NDP), more moderate than the CCF, took its place with Douglas as the first federal leader.  He, returned to the House of Commons in 1962, remained there through 1979, except for a brief gap in 1968-1969.  Douglas, who left the national leadership of the NDP in 1971, received the honor of the Order of Canada in 1980.  The staunch defender of civil liberties died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1986.

Diefenbaker 1926

Image in the Public Domain

Now we turn our attention to John Diefenbaker (1895-1979), a man who defended his opinions vigorously then acknowledged that those fellow countrymen who disagreed with him were also loyal Canadians.  National unity mattered greatly to Diefenbaker, as did how decisions which governments and corporate boards made affected common people.  “Dief the Chief” was a Western populist whose principles made him unpopular with elements of his political party, the Progressive Conservatives.

Diefenbaker, born at Neustadt, Ontario, in 1895, was son of William Thomas Diefenbaker and Mary Florence Bannerman Diefenbaker.  The future Prime Minister, who moved to the Fort Carlton region of the North-West Territories with his family in 1903, relocated with them to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, seven years later.  He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with his B.A. in 1915 and with his M.A. the following year.  Diefenbaker served in the Army in 1916 and 1917 then entered law school, graduating in 1919.

The Saskatchewan attorney entered political life.  In 1925 and 1926 he ran unsuccessfully for the House of Commons on the Conservative Party ticket.  In 1929 and 1938 Diefenbaker ran unsuccessfully for provincial offices.  Yet, from 1936 to 1940, he led the provincial Conservative Party.  And from 1940 to 1979, he sat in the House of Commons.  Diefenbaker, federal leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (renamed in 1942) from 1956 to 1967, served as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963.

Along the way Diefenbaker married twice.   His first wife was Edna Mae Brower (1899, 1951), whom he married in 1929.  He remarried in 1953, wedding Olive Freeman Palmer (1902-1976).

As Prime Minister Diefenbaker had some important accomplishments.  As a matter of principle he opposed government favors for millionaires.  This policy disturbed many members of the Eastern, big business-oriented wing of his party yet pleased his fellow Western populists.  Diefenbaker, like Tommy Douglas an advocate of a national bill of rights, secured passage of it in 1960.  The Prime Minister led the international movement to isolate the Apartheid government of the Republic of South Africa.  And, in 1961, he appointed a Royal Commission on Health Services.  Three years later the Royal Commission endorsed the Saskatchewan model–mandatory health insurance.  (This had been mandatory in the province since 1961.)

The Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) was a landmark law.  It was the first national legislation to protect human rights and basic freedoms.  This bill of rights lasted until 1982, when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms superceded it.

Diefenbaker, a Baptist, died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1979.


Above:  Lester Pearson, July 16, 1956

Copyright: Copyright assigned to Library and Archives Canada by copyright owner Duncan Cameron
Credit: Duncan Cameron / Library and Archives Canada / e007150483

Mikan number 3727308,3727311,3840421,3727310,3840420,3727308,3840408,3840418,3840414,3727312

The final luminary in our Canadian triad is Lester Pearson (1897-1972), Diefenbaker’s frequent political adversary.  Pearson was born at Toronto, Ontario.  He, the son of a Methodist pastor, attended public schools at Peterborough and Hamilton.  Pearson served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.  His military service ended when a bus ran over him and the Corps sent him home.  Then Pearson attended the University of Toronto (B.A., 1919) and Oxford University (degrees in 1923 and 1925).  Next he worked as a Lecturer (1924-1926) then as an Assistant Professor (1926-1928) of History at the University of Toronto.

Then Pearson commenced his career as a diplomat.  He, married to Maryon Elspeth (1901-1989) since 1925, became a first secretary in the new federal Department of External Affairs in 1928.  This led to a series of diplomatic postings and service on two royal commissions then a stint as Secretary (later Counsellor) of the Canadian High Commissioner’s Office in London.  Pearson, nearly the first Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), served as the first Ambassador to the United States in 1945-1946.  Next, in 1946-1948, he was the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs.  In 1947 Pearson served as Chairman of the UN’s Political and Security Committee; he proved instrumental in the partition of Palestine in 1947.

Then, in 1948, Pearson entered politics, his arena for the next two decades.  The future Prime Minister, a member of the Liberal Party, joined the House of Commons and became Secretary of State for External Affairs.  His diplomacy continued–he was ever a diplomat–into political life.  In 1956, during the Suez Crisis, Pearson proposed the creation of a UN peacekeeping force, thereby aiding British and French withdrawal from Egypt.  For this he won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.  In 1957, with Diefenbaker’s rise to the office of Prime Minister, the Liberal Party became the main opposition party.  Pearson led that party from 1958 to 1968, when he retired from public life.

Pearson became Prime Minister in 1963.  He led two successive minority governments (1963-1965 and 1965-1968).  His tenure was eventful.  In 1965 Pearson signed the Canada Pension Plan (similar to Social Security in the U.S.A.), something for which Tommy Douglas also advocated.  Pearson also presided over the centennial of Canadian confederation in 1967.  Of great importance also were two other laws.

In 1966 the Government of Canada created Medicare–socialized medicine–via the Medical care act.  This accomplishment also had the fingerprints of Richard Bennett, Tommy Douglas, and John Diefenbaker all over it.

Flag of Canada Pre-1965

Above:  The Flag of Canada, 1957-1965

Image in the Public Domain

And, in December 1964, Parliament voted to change the national flag, switching from a flag with the Union Jack prominent in it to the current banner, the one with the maple leaf symbol.

Flag of Canada Current

Above:  The Flag of Canada Since 1965

Image in the Public Domain

This was not a universally popular decision.  John Diefenbaker, a defender of Canada’s British heritage, opposed the new flag.  He spoke of the two founding nations of Canada–Britain and France–and of how the flag should show both heritages.  The former Prime Minister also spoke of the Canadian soldiers who had died fighting under a Canadian flag with the Union Jack on it.

Pearson, ever the diplomat and mediator, tried to resolve a variety of disputes, sometimes unsuccessfully.  In 1965, for example, the Prime Minister, in a speech at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, criticized U.S. policy in Vietnam and suggested that, if the United States were to halt bombing in Vietnam, there might be an opening for a negotiated settlement.  President Lyndon Baines Johnson took great offense and invited him to Camp David.  There the President demonstrated his displeasure by grabbing the Prime Minister’s lapels and scolding him.  Canada, Johnson said, did not do its fair share to spread freedom around the world, so Pearson had no right to criticize U.S. foreign policy.  The Prime Minister came away from that encounter convinced that the President was a bully and that the United States was not a senior partner but a nation to view from a distance.  Pearson’s subtle description of the encounter to his cabinet was to recount

the story of a British policeman giving evidence at a murder trial.  “My Lord,” the policeman told the judge, acting on information received, I proceeded to a certain address and there found the body of a woman.  She had been strangled, stabbed and shot, decapitated and dismembered.  But, My Lord, she had not been interfered with.”

At Camp David, the Prime Minister concluded, he had at least not been

interfered with.

–Quoted in Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant:  Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 (New York, New York:  Oxford University Press, 1998), page 259

Pearson, a member of the United Church of Canada, died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1972.

I have been pondering and studying Canada for years.  It is an interest which many people do not understand.  This interest has led me, however, to learn of these great men–statesmen, really–who left Canada better than they found it.








Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, and Lester Pearson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Feast of John Jones of Talysarn (August 16)   Leave a comment

Flag of Wales

Above:  The Welsh Flag



Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Tune Composer

Young John Jones had to work in a quarry, for his father had died.  But Jones did educate himself.  For years (even after his ordination) he was involved in one way or another in that industry, but did not find that satisfying.  No, his vocation was ordained ministry.  The Calvinistic Methodist Church gave him credentials in 1829.  Jones, gifted with a deep voice, a formidable personality, and an inquiring mind, preached to open-air congregations numbering in the thousands.  And, according to James Moffatt, in the companion volume to the 1927 Church Hymnary, Jones broke

the tyranny of the hyper-Calvinists (page 388).

Moffatt disliked hyper-Calvinists, apparently.

Jones settled at Talysarn, hence the description

of Talysarn

to distinguish him from other people named John Jones.

His legacies include hymn tunes, such as “Tan-y-castell,” named for his birthplace.

I am glad that Jones had the opportunity to pursue his vocation from God, for the benefit of others (many not born or imagined yet) and divine glory.  May all people have such opportunities and pursue them.  The willingness to pursue one’s vocation means nothing, however, without the opportunity.








O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant John Jones of Talysarn

to be a pastor in your church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ

and stewards of your divine mysteries, through Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 719

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for August   Leave a comment


Image Source = Santosh Namby Chandran


2 (Georg Weissel, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Christian Gottfried Gebhard, German Moravian Composer and Music Educator
  • Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Priests’ Eucharistic League; and Organizer of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament


4 (Frederick William Foster, English Moravian Bishop, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • Frédéric Janssoone, French Roman Catholic Priest and Friar
  • John Brownlie, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns
  • Lambert Beauduin, Belgian Roman Catholic Priest and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

5 (Alfred Tennyson, English Poet)

  • Adam of St. Victor, Roman Catholic Monk and Hymn Writer
  • Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, Renaissance Artists
  • George Frederick Root, Poet and Composer


7 (Colbert S. Cartwright, U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Liturgist, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Guglielmo Massaia, Italian Cardinal, Missionary, and Capuchin Friar
  • John Scrimger, Canadian Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Liturgist
  • Victricius of Rouen, Roman Conscientious Objector and Roman Catholic Bishop

8 (Mary MacKillop, Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart)

  • Altman, Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau
  • Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers
  • Raymond Brown, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

9 (Edith Stein, Roman Catholic Nun and Philosopher)

  • Herman of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Monk and Missionary to the Aleut
  • John Dryden, English Puritan then Anglican then Roman Catholic Poet, Playwright, and Translator
  • Mary Sumner, Foundress of the Mothers’ Union

10 (William Walsham How, Anglican Bishop of Wakefield and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Frances Jane Douglas(s), Hymn Writer)

  • John Athelstan Laurie Riley, Anglican Ecumenist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Cyriaca, Roman Catholic Martyr at Rome, 249; and Sixtus II, His Companions, and Laurence of Rome, Roman Catholic Martyrs at Rome, 258
  • Edward Grzymala and Franciszek Drzewiecki, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1942

11 (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Neocaesarea; and Alexander of Comana “the Charcoal Burner,” Roman Catholic Martyr and Bishop of Comana, Pontus)

  • Equitius of Valeria, Benedictine Abbot and Founder of Monasteries
  • Matthias Loy, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and Conrad Hermann Louis Schuette, German-American Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Maurice Tornay, Swiss Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949

12 (Thaddeus Stevens, U.S. Abolitionist, Congressman, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Charles Inglis, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia
  • Józef Stepniak and Józef Straszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyrs, 1942
  • Karl Leisner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

13 (John Henry Hopkins, Jr., Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; and his nephew, John Henry Hopkins, III, Episcopal Priest and Musician)

  • Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Jeremy Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • John Bajus, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

14 (William Croft, Anglican Organist and Composer)

  • Matthias Claudius, German Lutheran Writer
  • Maximilian Kolbe, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr, 1965
  • Sarah Flower Adams, English Unitarian Hymn Writer; and her sister, Eliza Flower, English Unitarian Composer


16 (John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, Prime Ministers of Canada; and Tommy Douglas, Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Alipius, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagaste and Friend of St. Augustine of Hippo
  • John Courtney Murray, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • John Jones of Talysarn, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Tune Composer

17 (Samuel Johnson, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, President of King’s College, “Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut,” and “Father of American Library Classification;” Timothy Cutler, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, and Rector of Yale College; Daniel Browne, Educator, Congregationalist Minister, and Anglican Priest; and James Wetmore, Congregationalist Minister and Anglican Priest)

  • Baptisms of Manteo and Virginia Dare, 1587
  • George Croly, Anglican Priest, Poet, Historian, Novelist, Dramatist, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • William James Early Bennett, Anglican Priest

18 (Artemisia Bowden, African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Erdmann Neumeister, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Francis John McConnell, U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer
  • Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

19 (Sixtus III, Bishop of Rome)

  • Blaise Pascal, French Roman Catholic Scientist, Mathematician, and Theologian
  • Magnus and Agricola of Avignon, Roman Catholic Bishops of Avignon
  • William Hammond, English Moravian Hymn Writer


21 (Bruno Zembol, Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942)

  • Camerius, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia, Martyrs, 303
  • Martyrs of Edessa, Circa 304
  • Maximilian of Antioch, Circa 353; and Bonosus and Maximianus the Soldier, Martyrs, 362

22 (Jack Layton, Canadian Activist and Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 1947, 1964, and 1973
  • John Kemble and John Wall, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1679
  • Thomas Percy, Richard Kirkman, and William Lacey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1572 and 1582

23 (Martin de Porres and Juan Macias, Humanitarians and Dominican Lay Brothers; Rose of Lima, Humanitarian and Dominican Sister; and Turibius of Mogrovejo, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima)

  • Theodore O. Wedel, Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar; and his wife, Cynthia Clark Wedel, U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist


25 (Michael Faraday, Scientist)

  • Andrea Bordino, Italian Roman Catholic Lay Brother
  • Maria Troncatti, Italian Roman Catholic Nun
  • William John Copeland, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

26 (Frederick William Herzberger, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Translator)

  • Levkadia Harasymiv, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Nun, and Martyr, 1952
  • Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi, Italian Roman Catholic Humanitarians
  • Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars, Catalan Roman Catholic Nun and Cofoundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly

27 (Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, Episcopal Priests and Educators of the Deaf)

  • Amadeus of Clermont, French Roman Catholic Monk; and his son, Amadeus of Lausanne, French-Swiss Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Dominic Barberi, Roman Catholic Apostle to England
  • Henriette Luise von Hayn, German Moravian Hymn Writer

28 (Ambrose of Milan, Roman Catholic Bishop; Monica of Hippo, Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo; and Augustine of Hippo, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo Regius)

  • Denis Wortman, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Laura S. Coperhaver, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Missionary Leader
  • Moses the Black, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Martyr


30 (Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor)

  • John Leary, U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized
  • Karl Otto Eberhardt, German Moravian Organist, Music Educator, and Composer



Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.


Proper 15, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: Paul Writing His Epistles (1500s C.E.)

Mercy–Even For Foreigners

The Sunday Closest to August 17

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 16, 2020



Genesis 45:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, `Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there– since there are five more years of famine to come– so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

Psalm 133 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is,

when brethren live together in unity!

2 It is like fine oil upon the head

that runs down upon the beard,

3 Upon the beard of Aaron,

and runs down upon the collar of his robe.

It is like the dew of Hermon

that falls upon the hills of Zion.

5 For there the LORD has ordained the blessing;

life for evermore.


Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

Thus says the LORD:

Maintain justice, and do what is right,

for soon my salvation will come,

and my deliverance will be revealed.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,

to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,

and to be his servants,

all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,

and hold fast my covenant–

these I will bring to my holy mountain,

and make them joyful in my house of prayer;

their burnt offerings and their sacrifices

will be accepted on my altar;

for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Thus says the Lord GOD,

who gathers the outcasts of Israel,

I will gather others to them

besides those already gathered.

Psalm 67 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

May God be merciful to us and bless us,

show us the light of his countenance and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth,

your saving health among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide all the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

6 The earth has brought forth her increase;

may God, our own God, give us his blessing.

May God give us his blessing,

and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.


Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 (New Revised Standard Version):

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.


Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28 (New Revised Standard Version):

(Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:  it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what goes out of the mouth that defiles.”  Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?”  He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.  Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.  And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”  But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”  Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?  But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.  For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.  These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”)

Jesus left Gennesaret and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Genesis 45:

Matthew 15:

Matthew 15 by way of the parallel readings in Mark:


Portions of my North American culture tell me that I should not show weakness.  No, they say, I ought to be “strong,” which is to say, tough.  So, according to that logic, the example of Jesus, who showed mercy, is a sign of weakness.  But that analysis is far from the truth.

Persistent anger is corrosive, especially to the one who wallows in it.  At some point the grudge-bearer must lay down his or her burden, for his or her own sake.  Consider the case of Joseph, the foreign-born Vizier of Egypt.  He could have taken out his vengeance on his brothers, who sold him into slavery.  They would not even have known who he really was, unless he had told them.  But he forgave them; the better angels of his nature triumphed.

The reading from Isaiah 56 speaks of the extension of salvation to faithful Gentiles.  Unfortunately, the Temple establishment in the time of Jesus kept such believers at the margins.  These monotheists followed the God of Judaism, but they were still Gentiles, after all.  Jesus, surrounded by Gentiles in the region of Tyre and Sidon, recognized the faith of a Gentile woman.  And Paul preached to Gentiles while acknowledging that God had not abandoned the Jews.

Those who have known mercy have the obligation to extend it to others, regardless of meaningless categories, such as Jew and Gentile, native-born or foreign-born.  All who come to the Judeo-Christian God sincerely are equal to each other in relationship to God, in sinfulness, and in access to forgiveness.  We ought not discriminate against each other.

I was a doctoral student at The University of Georgia from the Fall Semester of 2005 to the Fall Semester of 2006.  My program ended when I learned that there would be no third year, hence no Ph.D.  I received a letter encouraging me to take a Master’s Degree instead.  But I already have one, I said.  The second-ranking professor in the Department of History said that I should take a second M.A., this time from a “superior institution.”  I scoffed and refused.  So I never registered for Spring Semester 2007 classes.  Much of Fall Semester 2006 constituted a very difficult time for me; I melted down emotionally, holding myself together with proverbial twine and duct tape until the end, when I exploded in anger and said what I really thought.  It was impolitic, unwise, and brutally honest.

Initially I was openly hostile to UGA, especially the History Department.  But that was years ago.  As I write these words, a sense of uneasiness with UGA and the History Department persist within me, but the hostility has run its course.  I am painfully aware that I need to forgive my “foreigners,” namely UGA, the History Department, and certain professors–for my sake, not theirs.  I have not “arrived” spiritually, O reader; I am weak.  But God is strong, and the fact that I have come as far as I have in my relationship to UGA and the History Department as I have indicates extravagant grace.  That grace has more work to do, but at least the process of forgiving has begun.

Forgiveness can be very difficult.  It might not even happen all at once.  But may it begin then continue to completion, all by grace.

One professor extended me great kindness while I melted down.  My stress levels and emotional collapse neutralized me academically during that final semester.  But thanks to one professor who cut me a deal, I received a respectable grade in one particular course.  Since then, as I have functioned as a classroom instructor, I have been increasingly aware of good students struggling with their own issues.  As I have received grace, I have extended it to others.  Jesus would have me to do no less.

No, I have not “arrived” spiritually, but, by grace, I have come as far as I have.  I wonder how much farther I have to go, and I look forward to the journey.




Forgiveness occurred some time ago.  I became conscious of it only after the fact.




[Update: Those negative emotions washed out of my system years ago.  I would not have been human had I not had such emotions, but I would have been foolish not to drop that burden years ago.–2017]


Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on February 11, 2011