Archive for the ‘Education and Language’ Category

Academic Freedom   3 comments

AND ASSAULTS UPON IT

Academic freedom is precious.  It is also essential.  The advocacy for academic freedom is a core principle for me.  I strive to speak out for it and to practice it consistently, regardless of whether any given threat to it comes from the Right or the Left.  I aspire to avoid hypocrisy as much as possible.

For years, for example, I have cringed at calls for “safe spaces,” in practical terms, spaces in which to hide from theories and perspectives one does not like.  These kinds of “safe spaces” epitomize a misplaced sense of entitlement run amok.  One purpose of education–higher education, in particular–is to broaden the intellectual horizons of students.  Educators should, of course, teach their assigned subjects; staying on topic is crucial, too.  “Coloring inside the lines,” so to speak does not constitute bowing to censorship and does not indicate any threat to academic freedom.

Many conservatives pretend that liberals (with whom I usually sympathize) have a monopoly on seeking “safe spaces” away from certain perspectives.  Evidence indicates, however, that many conservatives seek “safe spaces” of their own.  This week, in Idaho, the controversial theory du jour is Critical Race Theory.  Moving to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory–even in public colleges and universities in Idaho–constitutes an assault on academic freedom.  Critical Race Theory is germane to certain academic disciplines.  Those whose disciplines include Critical Race Theory should have the right to bring it up when it is applicable.

My experience as a classroom instructor informs my perspective.  The prospect of some authority from on high legally forbidding me to teach a part of my discipline appalls me.  Even the threat of such a law or policy appalls me, regardless of the ideological roots of that prohibition.

Whether a person, institution, or government respects academic freedom is easy to determine.  One needs simply to observe actions and policies.  Deeds reveal creeds.

I have granted my students the right to disagree with me in subjective matters.  Objective reality is what it is.  Therefore, I have marked off for getting facts wrong.  I have also marked off for making incoherent arguments not rooted in facts presented.  That has been fair.  “Back up your arguments,” I have told pupils.  “Think critically,” I have instructed them.  I have returned papers bearing high grades–“A’s”–and comments about why interpretations were wrong.  That was fair, too.  When students fulfilled the terms of the assignment, they earned high grades.  And their interpretations were wrong.  Those interpretations did not affect their grades, nor should they have.  Certain students have expressed surprise at this combination of grade and comments.  These students have also tended to give me favorable evaluations.

In another case, I was grading final essays one semester.  I had specified that the minimum length was to be eight full pages.  One student submitted only four pages.  I read his essay closely.  He backed up his argument with evidence.  His interpretation was rubbish, but he backed everything up with facts.  I assigned his essay a grade of 50.  When the student asked me why, I explained that he had submitted half of an essay, so 50 was the maximum possible grade.  (This was consistent with the terms of my syllabus.  Regardless of content, 50 was the maximum possible grade for a four-page-long essay.)  I told him that, If he had submitted at least eight pages in which he had argued as well as he did in four pages, I would have given him an “A” on the essay.  (I would have.)  Anyhow, he earned an “A” in the course.   He seemed satisfied with my explanation.

I strive to avoid hypocrisy regarding academic freedom.  More people, institutions, and governments, should do the same.  They ought to respect academic freedom.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Day of Intercession and Thanksgiving for the Missionary Work of the Church (November 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Globe

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Day of Intercession and Thanksgiving for the Missionary Work of the Church comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England.

A cliché tells us that the church is always one generation away from extinction.  Some clichés are accurate.  This one hits home with much force when, in much of the world, “none” is the fastest-growing religious affiliation.  A complicating factor is the contrast between mainliners (such as yours truly, comfortably to the left of the theological center, overall) and the Global South, with its style of Christianity on the fundamentalist-Evangelical spectrum.  If being a Christian requires me to shut down my intellect, reject science and history, and turn into a homophobe, I do not want to be a Christian.  However, that is not true Christianity.  But how many people see that negative face of the church and turn away from the church and Christianity completely?  This concerns me.  Some of find much to admire about the Enlightenment.  Call me a radical if you wish, O reader.  Here I stand.  I can and will do no other.

Historically, organized Christianity has been its own worst enemy.  For example, many churches have identified with the kingdom, empire, or state so much as to become an arm thereof.  So, for example, when certain western kingdoms and republics became global empires, missionaries from those countries were frequently indistinguishable from imperial agents.  The predictable indigenous, nationalistic wave of resistance to the colonial masters often had an anti-Christian character.  Yet, in places where missionaries successfully indigenized the churches, Christianity did not seem alien and foreign.

I have always been a Christian.  My family has been Christian for countless generations.  Somewhere, long ago, in the mists of time, that chain of faith began with a missionary.

Missionaries perform invaluable work.  And not all of them travel to far-flung places.  I try to function as a missionary where and when I am, in person and at a keyboard.  And I am most like one of those Hobbits who remained in Hobbiton all the time.  Perhaps you, O reader, do not consider yourself a missionary or an evangelist.  Maybe you are one anyway.

Tactics matter.  The first rule is not to be obnoxious or to place the other person on the defense immediately.  I recall a story I heard from an exchange student from Nepal in the middle 1990s.

Lax (as she encouraged people to call her) was a Tibetan Buddhist.  (“Lax” was one syllable of her polysyllabic name.)  She was also a student at Valdosta State University.  Lax told me that, one day, another student told her that she would go to Hell if she did not convert to Christianity.  That was a terrible opening line.  It placed Lax (a sweet person, by the way) on the defense immediately.  Also, if I understand Tibetan Buddhism accurately, the threat of going to Hell made no sense to Lax. (According to what I have read in reference works, not having broken the cycle of reincarnation is Hell in Tibetan Buddhism.)  Christianity made about as little sense to Lax as Tibetan Buddhism did (and still does) to me.

I thank God for missionaries who have used–and use–effective, culturally-sensitive techniques.  Using such techniques creates an opening for potentially successful evangelism.  Such work is essential, whether far away, very near, or in the middle.

One obstacle organized Christianity faces is the impression that Christians are judgmental.  This impression exists because many Christians are judgmental.  I know some, O reader.  Maybe you do, too.  I know some Christians who were pleasant, kind people until they had a conversion experience.  Perhaps you do, too.  In reality, if we mere mortals are honest with ourselves, we will admit to ourselves that we need divine mercy as much (at least) as do all other people.  So, what right do we have to be judgmental jerks?  We have no such right, of course.  Another cliché is accurate and applicable here, too:  many recent converts frequently embarrass long-term adherents.

May the missionary work of the Church thrive and expand.  May the love of God define it.  And may missionaries heed the advice of St. Francis of Assisi (1181/1182-1226).  May they preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COWPER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADELARD OF CORBIE, FRANKISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, FRANKISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

THE FEAST OF RUTH BYLLESBY, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBISTA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940; AND SAINT WLADYSLAW GORAL, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR, 1945

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, who called your Church to witness

that you were in Christ reconciling men to yourself:

help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,

that all who hear it may be reconciled to you;

through him who died for us and rose again

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 97 or 100 or 2 or 46 or 47 or 67 or 87 or 96 or 117

Ephesians 2:13-22

Matthew 28:16-20

The Alternative Service Book 1980 (1980), 907-908

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Love Thy Neighbor   Leave a comment

Above:  The Presbyterian Student Center, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, December 9, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

While walking this afternoon, I passed by one of my haunts from my days as a graduate student at The University of Georgia (UGA).  I took all the photographs in this post.

I approve of the messages in the signs.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 9, 2020 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fifteen Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I grew up moving with my family every two years, on average.  Since 2005, however, I have lived in Athens-Clarke County.  I have recently acquired my third address within Athens-Clarke County.  I have put down roots.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County on Tuesday, August 9, 2005.  I was about to start a doctoral program in history at The University of Georgia.  My major professor cut me from the program in the Fall Semester of 2006.  This action was unjust.  I was neither the first nor the last graduate student to run afoul of a misanthropic major professor.  I remained in Athens, though, and build a new life.

I have been active in St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church since August 2005.  As time has passed, I have become more active, in different ways.  People have come to think of me whenever a task needs an organized person to complete it.  I have, therefore, come to lead the lectors and the money counters, to choose movies for a film series, and to teach a Sunday School class.  That class has moved to Zoom on Thursday evenings since the pandemic started.

My life has been in a drawn-out transitional state since Bonny died on October 14, 2019.  Her death drew boldfaced double lines through my life, with “before” on one side and “after” on the other.  Parts of my life have fallen away.  I have not regretted the departure of most of them.  I have been in a stage of simplification, reorientation, reevaluation, and rebirth.  The process has not ended.

I wonder what I will become.

I still hope for a new, professional relationship to The University of Georgia (UGA).  I bear the university no ill will.  I also recognize that I am the kind of person who can fit in there, if only someone will answer one of my applications for full-time employment there affirmatively.  I have no relationship to UGA, as of today.  Whether that status will change depends mostly on others.  A university or college campus is my natural habitat.  UGA offers an inviting habitat with many opportunities to put skills and talents to productive use.

2020 has been a terrible year, mainly because of the pandemic.  2019 had been my worst year to date before COVID-19 started spreading as far and wide as it has been doing.

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that I will be alive and well a year from now, I wonder what my life and the world will be like.  I pray that the answer will be “much better.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

Tagged with

Grow a Thick Skin   2 comments

One of my favorite scenes comes from Aaron Sorkin‘s The American President (1995).  After environmental lobbyist Syndey Ellen Wade, sitting in the West Wing of the White House, condemns the environmental policies of President Andrew Shepherd as weak, she discovers, to her dismay, that his standing behind her.  Then Shepherd invites Wade into the Oval Office.  She begins to apologize.  Then the President asks her,

Are you under the impression that I’m angry with you?

He is not angry with her.  He has a thick skin.

I have noticed that thin skins seem increasingly commonplace across the spectrum.  One may find thin-skinned people in positions of obscurity, in high offices, and in positions in-between at concentrations either greater or more obvious than in olden times in my memory.

Thin-skinned people have always been with us.  Why not?  Human psychology offers many constant factors.  I have offended people by politely disagreeing with them.  I did so in Sunday School in Sumner, Georgia, in the autumn of 1991, for example.  Those who took offense were to my right.  They probably spent much of their time upset, given their low threshold for taking offense.  I have also offended people to my right by dispassionately reciting facts of ancient comparative religion without offering any subjective content.  Those offended students were listening more to what they thought I was saying, not what I was saying.  On the other hand, years ago, when I went through a similar litany of objectively accurate information about ancient comparative religion in an article I wrote for an online publication considerably to my right, I seemed to have caused no offense.  The editor read what I wrote, after all.  It passed a fact-check.

I have also offended people to my left by using pronouns such as “he,” “his,” “her,” and “she.”  People need to get over taking offense at accurate pronouns.  Besides, I respect the difference between the singular and the plural.  In my lexicon, “they,” “them,” their” and “themselves” are always plural.  One can speak and write inclusively in singular language, as well as in plural language, while respecting the distinction between the singular and the plural.  One can, for example, use “one,” “one’s,”, and “oneself” in the singular.

Topics that expose one’s thin skin need not be political, religious, or gender-related.  All of them are psychological, however.  Some of them pertain to entertainment.  I state without apology that modern Star Trek, beginning with Discovery and extending through Picard, so far, is a steaming pile of garbage.  I make no secret of this opinion on this weblog.  This opinion offends some people.  Why not?  Increasingly, I hear Robert Meyer Burnett (one of my favorite people, with whom I agree frequently and disagree strongly much of the rest of the time) repeat on YouTube that not liking a movie, series, or episode someone else likes is acceptable.  Of course it is.  Why would it not be?  Obviously, many people have thin skins about their entertainment.  Burnett should not have to keep repeating that liking or disliking something is okay.

The following thought is accurate and not original.  Identity is frequently a cause of a thin skin.  To be precise, insecurity in one’s identity is often a cause of a thin skin.  I despise 2017f Star Trek.  This opinion has no bearing on my ego, however.  If John Doe thinks that Star Trek:  Picard is a work of compelling storytelling, he may watch that series all he wants, in my absence.  His opinion has no effect on me.

Life is too short to go through it with a thin skin.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

Feast of Mark Hopkins (June 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Mark Hopkins Stamp

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MARK HOPKINS (FEBRUARY 4, 1802-JUNE 17, 1887)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, Educator, and Physician

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.

–James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831-September 19, 1881), President of the United States of America (March 4-September 19, 1881)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mark Hopkins 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).

Hopkins came from a devout Congregationalist family, which shaped his destiny.  He, a son of Archibald Hopkins (1766-1839) and Mary Curtis Hopkins (1772-1868), debuted in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on February 4, 1802.  A great-uncle was Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803), a prominent Congregationalist minister, theologian, and abolitionist.  Our saint, who graduated from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1824, worked as a tutor at Williams College (1825-1827) prior to matriculating at Berkshire Medical College, Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Class of 1830).  The our saint returned to Williams College as Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy (1830-1887).  He also served as the president of the college (1836-1872).  Hopkins, a skilled practitioner of the Socratic Method, became an ordained minister in 1833.  He chose to remain at Williams College; our saint declined a host of offers from churches, universities, colleges, and seminaries elsewhere.  Hopkins also found time to serve as the President of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions from 1857 to 1887.

Hopkins married Mary Hubbell (1813-1898).  The couple had ten children.

Hopkins produced a range of published works of theology.  His theology anticipated Charles Darwin‘s On the Origin of Species (1859), which was unoriginal.  (Ask Alfred Russel Wallace.)  Our saint’s On the Argument from Nature for the Divine Existence (1833), rooted in Aristolelian philosophy and the theology of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1768), argued that evolution is a driving force within nature and is consistent with the existence of God.

Hopkins, Renaissance man and Christian apologist, died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on June 17, 1887.  He was 85 years old.

Hopkins, as an educator, intrigues me.  I have much experience in postsecondary education.  I have been around long enough to witness changes in the student body.  Nothing is new under the sun, of course.  However, I recognize that some negative patterns have become more prominent lately.  Increasingly, students do not know how to take notes and/or do not want to take their own notes.  No, more pupils expect their professors and instructors to give them notes, preferably in the form of overly verbose and poorly-designed PowerPoint slides.  Attention spans have become shorter.  Socrates did not need billboards and PowerPoint slides.  Neither did Mark Hopkins.  He had what he needed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 6, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANNA ROSA GATTORNO, FOUNDRESS OF THE INSTITUTE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT ANNE, MOTHER OF MARY IMMACULATE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALEXIS TOTH, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND DEFENDER OF ORTHODOXY IN AMERICA

THE FEAST OF CLARENCE DICKINSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA CATALINA TROIANI, FOUNDRESS OF THE FRANCISCAN MISSIONARIES OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS WILLIBALD OF EICHSTATT AND LULLUS OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT WALBURGA OF HEIDENHELM, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; SAINTS PETRONAX OF MONTE CASSINO, WINNEBALD OF HEIDENHELM, WIGBERT OF FRITZLAR, AND STURMIUS OF FULDA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS; AND SAINT SEBALDUS OF VINCENZA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MISSIONARY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Mark Hopkins 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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2020: Best Wishes   2 comments

Above:  The Middle Oconee River at Ben Burton Park, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, December 8, 2019

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I find myself at the convergence of turning points as 2019 comes to an end.  On the personal front, I deal with two deaths.  Professionally, I look to the future with a combination of confidence, hope, and uncertainty.  The result will be better than what it will replace, I affirm.  However, I do not know what will happen between now and then.  How long should I remain in Athens-Clarke County?  What I do not know outweighs what I understand.  I know, however, that I must not make rash decisions, especially while I grieve and adapt to my “new normal.”

Experience is a fine teacher.  A wise pupil heeds it.  One lesson experience teaches me is that a grudge is a burden one should never impose on oneself, regardless of how righteous one’s indignation may be.  I acknowledge objective reality.  (Why should I not?) I know that a particular professor at The University of Georgia (UGA) fired a torpedo into the bow of my doctoral program and sank it like the Lusitania.  I also understand that my anger over that example of academic abuse burned out years ago.  Whenever I walk on the UGA campus, I feel simultaneously at home, in a familiar place, yet on virgin territory different from a place I have ever been.  The area does look different than it used to, due mainly to construction on campus.  It is a place I want to call home again.  A relationship, however, has more than one party.

My congregation, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, keeps providing incentives to remain in town.  I am active in the parish, in which I have found my niches.  The emotional and spiritual support members of the congregation have been providing to me since Bonny’s death has become a source of much gratitude.  I can never repay them.  Perhaps I will have opportunities to “pay it forward” in time, not that I seek grief for anyone.

Praying for one’s needs is not sinful, but being selfish in prayer is.  With that in mind, I issue the following prayer:

May God’s best for each person be that person’s reality.  May you, O reader, receive all the help you need and provide all the aid you should.  May the light of God shine in your life, attract others to God, and strengthen the faith of many.  May 2020, by these standards, be a better year for you than 2019 has been.  May it be a better year for all countries, nation-states, peoples, and refugees.  May 2020 be a better year for the planet.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; AND HIS SON, MARKUS BARTH, SWISS LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fourteen Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

Above:  Clayton Street at College Avenue, Athens, Georgia, May 17, 2008

Photographer = Richard Chambers

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For a long period of time during my youth, I moved with my family an average of every two years.  My father was a minister in the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Given my background, with its mobility, living in one place (Athens-Clarke County) as long as I have has astonished me.  I have put down roots.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, on Tuesday, August 9, 2005, shortly prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester at The University of Georgia (UGA).  My doctoral program in history died prematurely and ingloriously in December 2006.  That affiliation with UGA ended in bitterness and tears, but my affiliation with St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church has been constant since late 2005.  The number of my responsibilities in the parish has increased overall, and I have accepted these tasks gladly.

We do not know what the future holds or should have in store for us, but I do know the following:

  1. I like Athens-Clarke County very much.  It is one of the few places in which I do not feel like a marginal figure, an outcast.
  2. UGA creates the intellectual and cultural environment that makes me feel welcome.
  3. I want to continue to live here for a long time.
  4. I may leave it one day, to pursue an opportunity.
  5. I continue to hope for a professional, long-term relationship with UGA.  I realize that, although my previous applications have not been successful, I cannot succeed if I do not try.  I am persistent.
  6. UGA is a place where I should have a place to make my full-time professional contribution of society joyfully.   If that place is not UGA, it will probably be another college or university.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++