Archive for the ‘January 17’ Category

Feast of James Woodrow (January 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  James Woodrow

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


JAMES WOODROW (MAY 30, 1828-JANUARY 17, 1907)

Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic


Let the Church show herself the patroness of learning in everything…and let her never be subjected by mistaken friends, to the charge that she fears the light.

–James Woodrow, November 22, 1861; quoted in Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Vol. 1, 1607-1861 (1963), 508


Above:  Logo of the Presbyterian Church in the United States

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


James Woodrow, brother-in-law of Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822-1903) and uncle of President (first of Princeton University then of the United States of America) Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two authors.  For this post I draw from Clayton H. Ramsey’s article about Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia, in the Autumn 2018 issue of Georgia Backroads magazine.  I also derive information from the first two volumes of Ernest Trice Thompson‘s magisterial three-volume work, Presbyterians in the South (1963-1973).  I also derive information from Journals of Southern Presbyterian General Assemblies.

James Woodrow, a native of England, spent most of his life in the United States.  He, born in Carlisle on May 30, 1828, emigrated with his family as a youth.  He graduated from Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1849.  Then he studied under naturalist Louis Agassiz at the Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard.  After teaching in Alabama, Woodrow was a professor at Oglethorpe University, Midway, Georgia, from 1853 to 1861.  He taught geology, botany, chemistry, and natural philosophy.  Our saint also took a few years off to earn graduate degrees at the University of Heidelberg.  When he graduated in 1856, he could have become the Chair of Natural Sciences at Heidelberg, had he accepted the offer.  Woodrow studied theology after returning to Oglethorpe University.  He became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) on October 15, 1859; the ordination occurred at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia.

Columbia Theological Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina, created an endowed professorship, Woodrow’s next job, in 1861.  Judge John Perkins, of Mississippi, provided the funding for the position, with the intention that the Perkins Professor of Natural Science refute Evolution and prepare seminarians to do the same.  Woodrow, who started the job in late 1861, insisted on academic freedom, though.  He also carried into the professorship his conviction that God could not contradict himself in the Bible and in science, and that any seeming contradiction between the Bible and science must result from the misinterpretation of scripture.  This position left Woodrow, who refused to dismiss rock layers and fossil records, open to accepting Evolution, which he did by 1884.

The Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA) formed at First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, on December 4, 1861.   Wilson became a charter member of the new denomination.

The Civil War disrupted elements of church life in the South.  Columbia Theological Seminary closed for most of the conflict.  Furthermore, The Southern Presbyterian did not always go to the presses.  Woodrow remained busy, though.

  1. He edited The Southern Presbyterian.
  2. He became the Treasurer of the PCCSA’s Foreign Mission Committee in 1861.
  3. He became the Treasurer of the PCCSA’s Home Mission Committee in 1863.
  4. He taught chemistry at the College of South Carolina.
  5. He managed the Medical and Chemical Confederate Laboratory, which made silver nitrate for wound care.

In December 1865, after Confederate defeat, the PCCSA renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).

When Columbia Theological Seminary reopened and The Southern Presbyterian resumed publication, Woodrow’s roles at them resumed, also.  He was one of the more progressive members of his denomination; he favored friendly relations with the “Northern” (actually national) Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  As Woodrow became more accepting of Evolution, he moved in a direction opposite of that of the PCUS.  By 1884 his alleged heresy had become so controversial that the seminary closed for two years, reopening in 1886.  The seminary board requested in 1884 that Woodrow resign; he refused.  The heresy trial, held at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia, in 1886, ended in an acquittal.  Nevertheless, the seminary board fired our saint on December 8, 1886.

The PCUS General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889, and 1924 passed resolutions taking the position opposite of Professor Woodrow.

Life went on for James Woodrow, who remained prominent in the PCUS.  He, the editor of The Southern Presbyterian consistently since 1866, continued in that role until 1893.  On the side, he continued to teach at the University of South Carolina, where he had been on faculty since 1869.  The seminary board forbade Columbia students to attend his lectures, though.  Woodrow went on to serve as the President of the University of South Carolina from 1891 to 1897.  Furthermore, he was, for a time, the President of the Central National Bank, Columbia.  In 1896, when the Presbytery of Charleston sought to prevent African-American men from becoming ordained ministers, Woodrow sided against the presbytery and with the Synod of South Carolina.  The General Assembly supported the position of the synod.

Woodrow retained the ability to create controversy at the end of his life.  The General Assembly of 1901 elected him the Moderator for a year.  The following year, at the General Assembly, our saint offended many in his sermon; he recognized the Roman Catholic Church as a Christian organization.  The General Assembly of 1902 passed a resolution NOT to print his sermon.

Woodrow, ailing in 1906, had surrendered his leadership roles in the church.  That year, as he neared death, the Board of Directors of Columbia Theological Seminary passed resolutions praising him for his piety and orthodoxy.

Woodrow, aged 78 years, died in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 17, 1907.

The General Assembly of 1969 affirmed:

Neither Scripture, nor our Confession of Faith, nor our catechisms, teach the creation of man by direct and immediate acts of God as to exclude the possibility of evolution as a scientific theory.

Woodrow would have approved.

Good science should always overrule bad theology.

The Christian Church has a mixed record regarding science, faith, and reason.  On the positive side are giants such as James Woodrow, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei.  The Society of Jesus has a venerable tradition of astronomy.  One may reach back as far as St. Clement of Alexandria (d. 210/2015), the “Father of Christian Scholarship,” who affirmed the value of truth, whether or not of Christian origin.  One may also continue that line through his pupil, Origen.  When one skips a few centuries, one arrives at St. Albert the Great (d. 1280) and his student, St. Thomas Aquinas, who affirmed the compatibility of faith and reason.  On the negative side are figures such as St. Robert Bellarmine (who confronted Galileo and whom I will never add to my Ecumenical Calendar) and William Jennings Bryan (who, likewise, has less probability than  a snowball in Hell of joining the ranks at my Ecumenical Calendar).

All this is easy for me to write, for I am unapologetic product of the Northern Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the best of Roman Catholic tradition.  My intellectualism and my acceptance of science inform my Christian faith.  God is not the author of confusion.  Furthermore, God does not deceive us with manufactured fossils and rock layers meant to test our faith.  God cannot lie, but human beings are capable of misunderstanding.





God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

We thank you for James Woodrow and all in whom you have planted

the desire to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Jesus Christ your eternal Word, through whom all things were made.  Amen.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-37

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 738


Feast of Thomas A. Dooley (January 17)   Leave a comment


Above:  Dr. Thomas A. Dooley

Image Source = The Catholic Advance (Wichita, Kansas), January 27, 1961, page 5

Accessed via



Physician and Humanitarian


It must be a source of heartened gratification to realize that in so few years you have accomplished so much for the good of distant peoples and have inspired so many others to work for all humanity.

–Telegram from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Thomas A. Dooley, January 17, 1961; quoted in The Catholic Advance (Wichita, Kansas), January 27, 1961, page 5 (accessed via


The name of Thomas Anthony Dooley, III, came to my attention via In Faith and Love (1968), an adult Christian education resource from The Methodist Church (1939-1968), a predecessor of The United Methodist Church.  (I find some wonderful books in thrift stores!)  In Faith and Love, by Orlo Strunk, Jr., tells the stories of a few great and relatively contemporary Christians.  It is an example of mainline Protestant hagiography, minus the feast dates.  As I read Strunk’s account of Dooley’s life, I was impressed by our saint.  I also noticed a gaping hole in the narrative.  Why did Dooley leave the U.S. Navy in the middle 1950s?  As I consulted other sources, some of them openly homophobic, I learned of the part of Dooley’s biography that Strunk omitted.  One cannot understand the life of Thomas A. Dooley properly without grasping that he was a guilt-ridden homosexual struggling against homophobia and with himself.

Dooley, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 17, 1927, grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family.  His parents, Thomas A. Dooley, Jr. (1885-1948), and Agnes Wise Dooley (1895-1964), took him to Mass frequently led prayers at home, and taught him to be aware of the needs of others, especially the less fortunate.  Our saint, as a young man, enjoyed music, boats, horses, and travel.  His father’s high school graduation present to him was a trip to Mexico.  There Dooley traveled through the countryside on a burro and wanted to help the poor people of the mountain villages.

Dooley understood that he had responsibilities to his country and his fellow human beings, especially the less fortunate.  In 1943, at the age of 16 years, he matriculated at the University of Notre Dame.  He left the following year, to become a Naval medical corpsman, after learning of the injury of his brother Earle, in the U.S. Army in Europe.  Our saint learned subsequently of Earle’s death in Germany.  The U.S. Navy discharged Dooley after V-J Day.  Our saint visited Lourdes, France, in 1948, as he struggled with the fact that he was, according to many doctors, too sensitive to be a physician.  Dooley resumed his studies, enrolling at the St. Louis University School of Medicine, becoming an M.D. in 1953.

Dooley returned to the U.S. Navy, which commissioned him a Lieutenant and assigned him to the naval hospital at Camp Pendleton, California, then, in 1953, as the Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Montague.  In that capacity our saint assisted in the evacuation of Haiphong, Vietnam, and saw more than 600,000 refugees suffer.  Dooley, who became aware of his lack of training in building a refugee camp, learned the Vietnamese language and performed surgeries on victims of atrocities Communists had committed.  The events of 1954 and 1955 haunted our saint.

The U.S. Navy discharged Dooley because of his homosexuality yet attempted to cover up the cause of his separation from military service.  Our saint could have simply returned home and pursued a lucrative career, but he chose to return to the former French Indochina as a medical missionary.  As Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) told Dooley,

The significance of a man, Tom, is not in what he attains, but in what he longs to attain.

Our saint traveled to Laos in 1956.  There he worked as a doctor with Operation Laos and helped to found Medical International Cooperation (MEDICO).  Dooley also wrote three books:  Deliver Us from Evil (1956), The Edge of Tomorrow (1958), and The Night They Burned Down the Mountain (1960).  “Dr. America,” as many Laotians called him, raised funds for MEDICO.  His donors included President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Dooley was also sensitive toward his patients, sometimes even playing the piano for them.  He combined humanitarian concern, mere human decency, and Cold War politics to finance his good works.

In 1959 Dooley returned to the United States for the treatment of his melanoma.  The University of Notre Dame awarded him an honorary degree in 1960, shortly before his death.  According to a Gallup poll in 1961, the only two people more respected by Americans were President Eisenhower and Pope John XXIII.  Dooley died in New York City on January 18, 1961, one day after his thirty-fourth birthday.  Later that year the U.S. Congress awarded Dooley a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal and President John F. Kennedy cited his example when launching the Peace Corps.

Despite his piety and humanitarian works, Dooley’s reputation among some people has become or remained negative.  The reason for this reality is homophobia.  On the other hand, some have criticized Dooley for not having been an out and proud homosexual.  Our saint was a man of his time in certain regards.  He was also exactly what God created him to be.

The legacy of Dr. Dooley is alive.  Dooley Intermed International helps refugees in several countries and emphasizes preventive medicine and self-help projects.  The Dr. Tom Dooley Society is an organization for medical alumni of the University of Notre Dame dedicated to global service to humanity.  Finally, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s gives the Thomas A. Dooley Award, which

honors individuals who, through their faith-based background, have demonstrated personal courage, compassion, and commitment to advance the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

Dooley loved his neighbors as he loved himself.  He also understood that many of his neighbors lived as far away from his home in St. Louis as Vietnam and Laos.  His Roman Catholicism inspired his humanitarian works.  He was indeed a saint.








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

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

Through us give hope to hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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 St. Antony of Egypt (January 17)   2 comments


Above:  Icon of St. Antony

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism

Also known as St. Anthony of Egypt, St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Anthony the Great, et cetera


Let us not look back upon the world and fancy we have given up great things.  For the whole earth is a very little thing compared with the whole of heaven.

–St. Antony, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 34


Asceticism is a vocation from God.  It, like other divine vocations, is not universal.  Asceticism has helped many people deal effectively with their idolatry related to physical and psychological attachments and appetites.  For others, however, it has not proven proper or useful.  So be it.

Asceticism was among the vocations of St. Antony of Egypt.  He came from a wealthy Christian family at Heracleas, near Memphis, Egypt, in 251.  St. Antony’s parents died when he was 18 or 20 years old, leaving him as the heir to a fortune and as his sister’s guardian.  Eventually, in church, he heard the gospel story in which Jesus told the rich young ruler, “Go sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”  Our saint took this message to heart and acted on it, leaving just enough to meet his needs and those of his sister.  Years later he felt guilty for doing that much, given the biblical injunction not to be anxious about tomorrow.  At the age of 35 years St. Antony sold the rest of his possessions and gave himself to God.  His sister entered a convent (and eventually became an abbess) and he went off to live in the desert–to be precise, in a series of caves, huts, and cemeteries.  Our saint, a hermit for 20 years, survived the risks of wildlife and rejected temptations, such as wine, women, food, and indolence.  He remained healthy, living to the ripe old age of 105 years.

St. Antony ceased to be a hermit and became an abbot.  Not only did monks gather around him, but pilgrims came to him for spiritual guidance.  At Mount Kolzim, near the northwestern corner of the Red Sea, our saint was a magnet for those seeking to be near a holy man.  St. Antony, who encouraged Christians suffering under the persecution of Maximinus II Daia (reigned 305-313), was so removed from the priorities of the world that, when he received a letter from Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337), he was not impressed.  In his final years St. Antony condemned the Arian heresy.

He died at Mount Kolzim in 356.  Our saint’s biography has come to us courtesy of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373), author of the Life of Antony.









O God, by your Holy Spirit you enabled your servant Antony

to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil:

Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow you, the only God;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

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

Isaiah 61:1-3

Psalm 139:1-9 or 139:1-17

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)


Feast of St. Pachomius the Great (January 17)   1 comment


Above:  St. Pachomius the Great

Image in the Public Domain



Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism

St. Pachomius the Great has several feast days–May 15 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, May 9 in the Roman Catholic Church, and January 17 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.  The January 17 date seems to pertain to St. Antony of Egypt (died in 356), whose feast falls on January 17.  He founded the hermetic form of Christian monasticism, but his contemporary, St. Pachomius, founded communal Christian monasticism.

St. Pachomius converted to Christianity.  The native of Upper Thebaid, Egypt, grew up a pagan.  At the age of 20 or 21 years he entered the Roman Army quite unhappily.  Military life was not our saint’s vocation.  During his time in the Army, however, he spent time in Thebes, where some Christians extended kindness to him.  After his discharge from the military (about 314) our saint became a baptized Christian.

Our saint’s life as a monk filled most of his life.  Immediately he became a disciple of Palemon, an anchorite in the tradition of St. Antony of Egypt.  Palemon and St. Antony of Egypt lived austerely at Tabennisi, on the banks of the Nile River, performing manual labor and praying ceaselessly.  After several years our saint perceived a vocation to found a monastery.  Palemon helped our saint to build the first cell at Tabennisi in 318.  Soon about 100 monks (including John, a brother of our saint) and a number of nuns (including a sister of our saint) joined the new order.  When St. Pachomius died on May 14, 346, the order had eleven monasteries and two convents.  He had written an influential monastic rule, one from which St. Basil the Great (died in 379) and St. Benedict of Nursia (died circa 540) incorporated much of that rule into their rules.

Our saint’s order survived into the eleventh century.  Members of the order lived austerely, fasting and obeying a rule of silence much of the time.  (They were excellent mimes.)   They also sang psalms often while working.  Among their duties were caring for the sick.

Thus monasticism, which has contributed to Western civilization, began.  For centuries monks and nuns have devoted themselves to devoted themselves to seek worthy pursuits such as education, scholarship, health care, child care, and intercessory prayer.  May nobody doubt the value of the monastic life.  Even hermits, such as St. Antony of Egypt, have become magnets for people seeking spiritual advice.  The world would be much worse off without the contributions of monks and nuns.








O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant, St. Pachomius the Great,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722


Feast of Sts. Deicola, Gall, and Othmar (January 17)   1 comment

Above:  Plan of the Abbey of St. Gall, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from January 18

brother of 


Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from October 16



Roman Catholic Abbot at St. Gallen

His feast transferred from November 16


St. Deicola and St. Gall, Irish brothers and monks, accompanied St. Columban  on his missionary journey to Europe.  Theuderic II of Burgundy and Austrasia expelled the St. Deicola, the elder brother, at age 80, as well as St. Columban, in 610.  St. Deicola settled at Lure, Gaul, where he founded a monastery and devoted the remaining years of his life to prayer and meditation.  Illness forced St. Gall to break way from St. Columban’s main missionary band in 612.  The latter traveled to Italy, but the former and some hermits settled in the area of Lake Constance, in modern-day Switzerland.

St. Othmar founded the great Abbey of St. Gall and became its first abbot.  He and his monks cared for the poor of the surrounding community, operated a hospital, and established the first Swiss leper colony.  St. Othmar died in exile because of false accusations two nobles had made against him.  His good deeds, alas, did not prevent him from suffering due to the perfidy of others.

From the Abbey of St. Gall generations of faithful monks did great things for God.  Consider the cases of St. Tutilo and St. Nokter Balbulus, for example.

What will your legacy be?







O God,

whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world,

that we, inspired by the devotion of your servants Saints Deicola, Gall, and Othmar,

may serve you with singleness of heart,

and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), pages 249 and 927


Revised on November 20, 2016


Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  The Right Reverend Keith Whitmore, Assistant Bishop of Atlanta, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, April 25, 2010

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

The Call of Discipleship

JANUARY 17, 2021


1 Samuel 3:1-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli.  The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.  Then the LORD called,

Samuel! Samuel!

and he said,

Here I am!

and ran to Eli, and said,

Here I am, for you called me.

But he said,

I did not call, my son; lie down again.

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.  The LORD called Samuel again, a third time.  And he got up and went to Eli, and said,

Here I am, for you called me.

Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.  Therefore Eli said to Samuel,

Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before,

Samuel, Samuel!

And Samuel said,

Speak, for your servant is listening.

Then the LORD said to Samuel,

See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears it tingle.  On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.  For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.

Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD.  Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.  But Eli called Samuel and said,

Samuel, my son.

He said,

Here I am.

Eli said,

What was it that he told you?  Do not hide it from me.  May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.

So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.  Then he said,

It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.

As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.  The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 LORD, you have searched me out and known me;

you know my sitting down and my rising up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places

and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,

but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before

and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

12 For you yourself created my inmost parts;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made;

your works are wonderful, and I know it well.

14 My body was not hidden from you,

while I was being made in secret

and woven in the depths of the earth.

15 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;

all of them were written in your book;

they were fashioned day by day,

when as yet there was none of them.

16 How deep I find your thoughts, O God!

how great is the sum of them!

17 If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

All things are lawful for me,

but not all things are beneficial.

All things are lawful for me,

but I will not be dominated by anything.

Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,

and God will destroy both one and the other.  The body is not meant for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?  Never!  Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her?  For it is said,

The two shall be one flesh.

But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Shun fornication!  Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

John 1:43-51 (New Revised Standard Version):

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said tohim,

Follow me.

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him,

We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.

Nathanael said to him,

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Philip said to him,

Come and see.

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him,

Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!

Nathanael asked him,

Where did you get to know me?

Jesus answered,

I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.

Nathanael replied,

Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!

Jesus answered,

Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than these.

And he told him,

Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A:

1 Samuel 3:

John 1:

Feast of St. Bartholomew/Nathanael (August 24):

Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Son of Alphaeus (May 1):


The readings for this Sunday relate to the demands of discipleship.

Young Samuel had to tell unpleasant news immediately to his mentor, the elderly Eli.  The fact that Eli responded as well as he did has stood him in good stead.  In the long term, of course, Samuel became a priest and a judge of pre-monarchical Israel and the man who anointed two kings.

Paul reminds us through the ages that our bodies are temples of God, so we ought not to fornicate with them.  But with what else ought one to involve his or her temple?  I think immediately of excessive consumption of junk food.  There is nothing wrong with eating an occasional hamburger or cheeseburger or doughnut, for example.  Yet I have found that want fewer of these as time passes.  No, I would rather eat home-boiled and mashed potatoes, for example.  And the combination of a sedentary lifestyle with too much high-calorie food is physically dangerous.  This is a medical fact, one which affects society as a whole by driving up insurance and health care costs.  Beyond food and physical activity, there is the question of drugs, some of which are legitimately medicinal.  Yet many others are not.  If there were less demand for illegal drugs, there would be less violence involving street gangs and drug cartels.  Bodies are temples; may we treat them respectfully.

We read in John 1 of Jesus calling Philip, who invites Nathanael/Bartholomew to follow Jesus too.  The process of Nathanael/Bartholomew agreeing to do this is the theme of that text.  I have consulted commentaries, including some written by major league, heavy-hitting New Testament scholars, in search of an answer to the question of what was so impressive about Jesus seeing Philip under a tree.  Even Father Raymond Brown, in the first volume of his commentary on the Gospel of John for the Anchor Bible, could do nothing more than offer several possible answers without settling on one.  I have concluded that why Nathanael/Bartholomew was impressed was irrelevant, but that the fact he was impressed did matter.  More than that, the facts that he followed Jesus as an Apostle, became a great missionary, and died as a martyr matter a great deal.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the call of discipleship is the realization that one’s actions affect others.  Samuel told people uncomfortable truths out of reverence for God.  Eli listened in 1 Samuel 3, but the masses chose to act contrary to Samuel’s warning in 1 Samuel 8  (  Whether we manage our physical and psychological appetites or they manage us can determine whether we wreck our lives and those of others.  And would Nathanael/Bartholomew have followed Jesus and brought others to him had Philip not spoken to him?

What will discipleship demand of you, and what will your legacy be over time?



Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain


  • Holy Name of Jesus
  • World Day of Peace


  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister, and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions
  • Narcissus of Tomi, Argeus of Tomi, and Marcellinus of Tomi, Roman Martyrs, 320
  • Odilo of Cluny, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer


  • Edward Caswall, English Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Elmer G. Homrighausen, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan
  • William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist


  • Angela of Foligno, Italian Roman Catholic Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Founder of the American Sisters of Charity
  • Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Johann Ludwig Freydt, German Moravian Composer and Educator
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer


  • Antonio Lotti, Italian Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr, 1527
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels
  • John Nepomucene Neumann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia
  • Margaret Mackay, Scottish Hymn Writer


7 (François Fénelon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cambrai)

  • Aldric of Le Mans, Roman Catholic Bishop of Le Mans
  • Jean Kenyon Mackenzie, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa
  • Lanza del Vasto, Founder of the Community of the Ark
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr, 312
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • A. J. Muste, Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist
  • Arcangelo Corelli, Italian Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary
  • Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines

9 (Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions)

  • Emily Greene Balch, U.S. Quaker Sociologist, Economist, and Peace Activist
  • Gene M. Tucker, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Johann Josef Ignaz von Döllinger, Dissident and Excommunicated German Roman Catholic Priest, Theologian, and Historian
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr, 1569
  • Thomas Curtis Clark, U.S. Disciples of Christ Evangelist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

10 (John the Good, Roman Catholic Bishop of Milan)

  • Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator
  • Louise Cecilia Fleming, African-American Baptist Missionary and Physician
  • María Dolores Rodríguez Sopeña y Ortega, Founder of the Centers of Instruction, the Association of the Sodality of the Virgin Mary, the Ladies of the Catechetical Institute, the Association of the Apostolic Laymen/the Sopeña Lay Movement, the Works of the Doctrines/the Center for the Workers, and the Social and Cultural Work Sopeña/the Sopeña Catechetical Institute
  • W. Sibley Towner, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • William Gay Ballantine, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Educator, Scholar, Poet, and Hymn Writer

11 (Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Roman Catholic Monk)

  • Charles William Everest, Episcopal Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Ignatius Spencer, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer; and his protégé, Elizabeth Prout, Founder of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus II of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Aquileia
  • Richard Frederick Littledale, Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

12 (Benedict Biscop, Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth)

  • Aelred of Hexham, Roman Catholic Abbot of Rievaulx
  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arles; and his sister, Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Italian Roman Catholic Priest
  • Henry Alford, Anglican Priest, Biblical Scholar, Literary Translator, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Bible Translator
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame

13 (Hilary of Poitiers, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers, “Athanasius of the West;” and Hymn Writer; and his protégé, Martin of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Edgar J. Goodspeed, U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends
  • Mary Slessor, Scottish Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa
  • Samuel Preiswerk, Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

14 (Macrina the Elder, Her Family, and Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger)

  • Abby Kelley Foster and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Feminists
  • Eivind Josef Berggrav, Lutheran Bishop of Oslo, Hymn Translator, and Leader of the Norwegian Resistance During World War II
  • Kristen Kvamme, Norwegian-American Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Co-Founder of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Co-Founder of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac; and Charles Gore, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace
  • Sava I, Founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and First Archbishop of Serbs

15 (Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader and Martyr, 1968)

  • Bertha Paulssen, German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist
  • Gustave Weigel, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Durham
  • John Marinus Versteeg, U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Nikolaus Gross, German Roman Catholic Opponent of Nazism, and Martyr, 1945

16 (Roberto de Noboli, Roman Catholic Missionary in India)

  • Berard and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs in Morocco, 1220
  • Edmund Hamilton Sears, U.S. Unitarian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Biblical Scholar
  • Edward Bunnett, Anglican Organist and Composer
  • Juana Maria Condesa Lluch, Founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Immaculate Conception, Protectress of Workers
  • Timothy Richard Matthews, Anglican Priest, Organist, and Hymn Tune Composer

17 (Antony of Egypt, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks; and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at Saint Gallen
  • James Woodrow, Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic
  • Pachomius the Great, Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, President of the United States of America
  • Thomas A. Dooley, U.S. Roman Catholic Physician and Humanitarian



19 (Sargent Shriver and his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Alessandro Valignano, Italian Jesuit Missionary Priest in the Far East
  • Charles Winfred Douglas, Episcopal Priest, Liturgist, Musicologist, Linguist, Poet, Hymn Translator, and Arranger
  • Henry Twells, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

20 (Fabian, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 250)

  • Euthymius the Great and Theoctistus, Roman Catholic Abbots
  • Greville Phillimore, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Harold A. Bosley, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Harriet Auber, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Richard Rolle, English Roman Catholic Spiritual Writer

21 (Mirocles of Milan and Epiphanius of Pavia, Roman Catholic Bishops)

  • Alban Roe and Thomas Reynolds, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1642
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea, 1867

22 (John Julian, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist)

  • Alexander Men, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1990
  • Benjamin Lay, American Quaker Abolitionist
  • Ladislao Batthány-Strattmann, Austro-Hungarian Roman Catholic Physician and Philanthropist
  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Society for the Catholic Apostolate, the Union of Catholic Apostolate, and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate

23 (John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Grubb, English Quaker Author, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer
  • George A. Buttrick, Anglo-American Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar; and his son, David G. Buttrick, U.S. Presbyterian then United Church of Christ Minister, Theologian, and Liturgist
  • James D. Smart, Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, and Hymn Writer

24 (Ordination of Florence Li-Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion)

  • Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo
  • Lindsay Bartholomew Longacre, U.S. Methodist Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Hymn Tune Composer
  • Marie Poussepin, Founder of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Virgin
  • Martyrs of Podlasie, 1874
  • Suranus of Sora, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 580



27 (Jerome, Paula of Rome, Eustochium, Blaesilla, Marcella, and Lea of Rome)

  • Angela Merici, Founder of the Company of Saint Ursula
  • Carolina Santocanale, Founder of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes
  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Evelyn “Mev” Puleo, U.S. Roman Catholic Photojournalist and Advocate for Social Justice
  • Pierre Batiffol, French Roman Catholic Priest, Historian, and Theologian

28 (Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas; Roman Catholic Theologians)

  • Andrei Rublev, Russian Orthodox Icon Writer
  • Daniel J. Simundson, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer
  • Somerset Corry Lowry, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer


30 (Lesslie Newbigin, English Reformed Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • David Galván Bermúdez, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Mexico, 1915
  • Frederick Oakeley, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest
  • Genesius I of Clermont and Praejectus of Clermont, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Amarin, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Jacques Bunol, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Nyasaland, and Martyr, 1862)

  • Anthony Bénézet, French-American Quaker Abolitionist
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader

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

Feast of Rutherford Birchard Hayes (January 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  President Hayes

Image in the Public Domain



President of the United States of America (1877-1881)

Governor of Ohio (1868-1872 and 1876-1877)

United States Representative (1865-1867)

Ecclesiastical calendars of saints are interesting documents.  I read about some people on them–whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, or Anglican/Episcopalian–and understand the presence of many of those people on them, yawn at some, and wonder what possessed anyone to put such a person on any calendar of saints.  (I am especially weary of any saint involved in the Crusades, which is why St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Louix IX of France are not present on the Ecumenical Calendar.)  But I choose whom to exclude and whom to include, and many of my choices are of people not on anyone’s calendar of saints, as far as I can tell.  So I add President Rutherford Birchard Hayes to the Ecumenical Calendar today.

Hayes never knew his father, who died before the future President’s birth.  A native of Delaware, Ohio, Hayes grew up with his mother, Sophia Birchard Hayes, and his sister, Fanny.  His uncle, Sardis Birchard, was his father figure.

Hayes attended Norfolk Seminary, a Methodist school in Ohio, from 1836 to 1838.  There he maintained a good academic and personal reputation.  After his time at Norfolk Seminary, the future President enrolled at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, from which he graduated four years later.  Studies at Harvard Law School followed beginning in 1843 and ending in 1845.  As a student from 1836 to 1845, Hayes kept up with his studies, enjoyed nature walks, and maintained a daily regimen of prayer and Bible reading.

Hayes practiced law from 1845 to 1858, when he won election as Cincinnati city solicitor.  Defeated for reelection to that post two years later, the future President joined the U.S. Army in 1861, rising from a Major to a Major General.  At the end of the Civil War Hayes resigned from the Army to join the House of Representatives, where he served from 1865 to 1867.  Congressman Hayes supported Radical Republican-sponsored civil rights measures and opposed President Andrew Johnson, an unrepentant racist who vetoed such measures.

Hayes served honorably in the constiutionally weak office of Governor of Ohio from 1868 to 1872 and 1876 to 1877.  Ohio was a racist state where opposition to the Fifteenth Amendment (voting rights) was strong.  But the fact that the state constiitution denied the Governor the veto power spared the good name of Rutherford Birchard Hayes when the legislature did something morally repugnant, such as deny voting rights to African Americans.

The presidential election of 1876 was nasty.  At the end of Ulysses S. Grant’s scandal-ridden presidency, the Republican Party turned to honest Rutherford Birchard Hayes to run for President.  Hayes came 20 electoral votes shy of winning the presidency before the settlement of the question of the assignment of twenty electoral votes.  The election commission gave all of these to Hayes.  The means were underhanded, but Hayes was not involved in this process.

So, on March 4, 1877, Rutherford Birchard Hayes became President and his wife, “Lemonade” Lucy Hayes, became First Lady.  (There were no alcoholic beverages at Executive Mansion functions.)  The major issue of the Hayes Administration was the end of Reconstruction, a noble and failed civil rights movement.  A political compromise required Hayes to end miliary reconstruction formally and leaving the Southern African Americans to the non-existant mercies of the state governments controlled by racist conservative whites, many of whom had been slaveholders and allies of slaveholders prior to the Thirteenth Amendment (1865).  But this was already a reality on the ground, so the transition from de facto to de jure was a mere formality.  There was nothing Hayes or anyone else could do in 1877.

As President, Hayes supported civil service reform (passed in the subsequent Chester Alan Arthur Administration), sympathized with the grievances of oppressed laborers while condemning labor riot violence, spoke out on behalf of Southern African Americans, advocated for the rights of Native Americans, and continued his regimen of prayer, Bible reading, and daily duties of his office.

Hayes retired from the presidency in 1881.  He spent his last twelve years traveling with his beloved Lucy (until her death in 1889), sitting on boards of colleges, and presiding over the Slater Education Fund (for African Americans), the National Prison Association (which advocated for prison reforms), and the Garfield Monument Association.  As head of the Slater Education Fund, Hayes helped fund a young W. E. B. DuBois, whom he admired.

A liberal by the standards of his day, Hayes tried to lift up the oppressed, downtrodden, and marginalized members of society as best he could.  Although he never joined a church, Hayes understood the Bible well and acted on it, as best he knew to do.  And, like a good tree, he bore good fruit.


God of justice and mercy, we thank you for the life and legacy of Rutherford Birchard Hayes.  May we, like him, seek to produce fruit indicative of righteousness.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 26:1-19

Psalm 72

James 2:14-26

Matthew 7:15-23


DECEMBER 20, 2010




Revised on November 20, 2016