Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1900s’ Category

Feast of W. Sibley Towner (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Image Source = Google Earth

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W. SIBLEY TOWNER (JANUARY 10, 1933-MAY 23, 2018)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

W. Sibley Towner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Ecclesiastes in Volume V (2000).

Towner was a gentleman and a scholar.  He, born to Wayne A. and Frances S. Towner, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on January 10, 1933, studied at Yale University.  Our saint earned his B.A., B.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  Our saint became a Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., not the Presbyterian Church in the United States) missionary in Lebanon.  For three years he taught secondary school at the Gerard Institute, in 1954-1957.  While in Lebanon, Towner met Jane Ann Miller.  They married in Beirut in 1956.

Towner, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1960, taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary through 1976.  In 1976 our saint became The Reverend Archibald McFayden Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from each other in Richmond, Virginia.  [Note:  The two institutions federated as Union-PSCE in 1997 and became Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009.]  Towner, known as “Sib,” was a respected and admired member of the faculty.  His sense of humor, his penchant for writing limericks, and the twinkle in his eyes set people at ease.  Towner also wrote columns, articles, and Biblical commentaries.  Our saint, who retired in 2002, remained active in seminary life until Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop.

One can acquire Towner’s book-length commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, Volume V of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and Prayers that Sing and Stir the Heart (2018).

Towner, aged 85 years, died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, on May 23, 2018.

He must have been a wonderful man to know, under whom to study, and with whom to work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [W. Sibley Towner and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Edgar J. Goodspeed (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  The University of Chicago

Image in the Public Domain

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EDGAR JOHNSON GOODSPEED (OCTOBER 23, 1871-JANUARY 13, 1962)

U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator

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In the beginning the Word existed.  The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.

It was he that was with God in the beginning. Everything came into existence through him, and apart from him nothing came to be.  It was by him that life came into existence, and that life was the light of mankind.  The light is still shining in the darkness, for the darkness has never put it out.

There appeared a man by the name of John, with a message from God.  He came to give testimony, to testify to the light, so that everyone might come to believe in it through him.  He was not the light; he came to testify to the light.

The real light, which sheds light upon everyone, was just coming into the world.  He came into the world, and though the world came into existence through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to his home, and his own family did not welcome him.  But to all who did receive him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God, owing their birth not to nature nor to any human or physical impulse, but to God.

So the Word became flesh and blood and lived for a while among us, abounding in blessing and truth, and we saw the honor God had given him, such honor as an only son receives from his father.  (John testified to him and cried out–for it was he who said it–“He who was to come after me is now ahead of me, for he existed before me!”)

For from his abundance we have all had a share, and received blessing after blessing.  For while the Law was given through Moses, blessing and truth came to us through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; it is the divine Only Son, who leans upon his Father’s breast, that has made him known.

–John 1:1-18, The New Testament:  An American Translation (1923)

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Edgar J. Goodspeed comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his translation of the New Testament and the Apocrypha, as well as from The Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the general article, “The Canon of the New Testament,” for Volume I (1952), of The Interpreter’s Bible.

TWO EDGAR J. GOODSPEEDS;

DO NOT CONFUSE ONE FOR THE OTHER

Before I write about our saint, I choose to distinguish between the two Edgar J. Goodspeeds–uncle and nephew–and to explain which one was which.  Some print and online sources conflate the two men.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (1833-1881) and his brother, Thomas Wake Goodspeed, were Baptist ministers.  This Edgar J. Goodspeed served as the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, from 1864 to 1876.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (October 23, 1871, in Quincy, Illinois-January 13, 1962, in Bel Air, California), the topic of this post, was a son of Thomas Wake Goodspeed and Mary Ten Broek.

As I advise my students in history courses, keep the facts straight and the chronology in order.  I think about that counsel when I read sources that list Edgar J. Goodspeed (1871-1962) as the pastor of Second Baptist Church, Chicago, from 1864 to 1876, and Edgar J. Goodspeed (1833-1881) as the translator of An American Translation of the New Testament (1923) and the Apocrypha (1938).  This is a matter of history, not a Doctor Who story.

EDGAR J. GOODSPEED (II)

(THE PROFESSOR AND TRANSLATOR,

NOT THE PASTOR OF SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH)

Edgar J. Goodspeed came from a family with traditions of academia, intellectualism, and Baptist ministry.  His father, deeply involved in The University of Chicago, taught his son to embrace education.  This family milieu influenced the course of his life.  Goodspeed earned his B.A. degree from Denison University, Granville, Ohio (1890), studied Semitic languages at Yale University in 1890-1891, and pursued graduate studies at The University of Chicago, culminating in his Ph.D. in 1898.  While a graduate student in Chicago, Goodspeed taught classics at Morgan Park Academy and the South Side Academy, Chicago.  After studying in Europe and Palestine (1898-1900), our saint joined the faculty of The University of Chicago in 1900.  He remained there for 37 years.  Goodspeed became the Professor of Biblical and Patristic Greek (1915) and the Chairman of the Department of New Testament and Early Christian Literature (1923).  He also built up the university’s collection of New Testament manuscripts.

Goodspeed, a fine scholar, wrote books and articles for academic audiences, as well as books for general audiences.  He translated the New Testament (1923), the Apocrypha (1938), and the Apostolic Fathers (1950).  He also helped to translate the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952).  His original works for popular audiences included:

  1. The Story of the New Testament (1916, 1928),
  2. The Story of the Old Testament (1934),
  3. The Story of the Bible (1936),
  4. Introduction to the New Testament (1937),
  5. The Story of the Apocrypha (1939),
  6. How Came the Bible? (1940),
  7. How to Read the Bible (1946),
  8. Paul (1947), and
  9. A Life of Jesus (1956).

Goodspeed was a fairly liberal yet not revolutionary scholar.  He wrote, for example, that some of the Pauline epistles were not of St. Paul the Apostle and that St. John the Divine/Evangelist/Apostle did not write and could not have composed the Gospel of John.  These positions have continued to irritate fundamentalists, who tend to have low thresholds for becoming irritated.

Goodspeed retired to Bel Air, California, in 1937.  He died at the age of 90 years, in 1962.

His written legacy persists, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Edgar J. Goodspeed and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Harold A. Bosley (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Harold A. Bosley, 1948

Image Source  = Internet Archive

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HAROLD AUGUSTUS BOSLEY (FEBRUARY 19, 1907-JANUARY 20, 1975)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

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It is impossible to believe that the rulers and spiritual leaders of Israel took Micah’s judgment seriously.  They were not bereft of the kind of evasions which men in similar situations had used before and have used since.

–Harold A. Bosley, on Micah 3:8-12, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), 920

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Harold A. Bosley comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), for which he wrote the exposition on Micah.

Bosley, who had an active faith, sought to leave the world better and less unjust than he found it.  Our saint, son of Merrill Bosley and Effie Sinclair, entered the world in Burchard, Nebraska, on February 19, 1907.  He studied at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln (B.A., 1930); and The Univesity of Chicago (B.D., 1932; Ph.D. in Christian Studies, 1933).  Next, Bosley worked as the Director of Religious Activity at Iowa State University, Ames (1933-1934); and at Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls (1934-1938).  While at Cedar Falls, our saint became a popular preacher and lecturer.  He spent most of the rest of his life as one, traveling to preach and lecture, in addition to attending to his other duties.  While in college, our saint had married Margaret Marie Dahlston, on April 21, 1928.  The couple raised five children.

Bosley spent all but three years of 1938 to 1974 as an active parish minister.  The served in prominent congregations, first in the Methodist Episcopal Church (-1939) then in The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-).

Above:  Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served at Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church from 1938 to 1947.  He left that position to become the Dean of Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.

Above:  First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served in First Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois, from 1950 to 1962.

Above:  Christ Church, United Methodist, New York, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

Finally, Bosley was the Senior Minister at Christ Church, (United) Methodist, New York City, from 1962 to 1974.  He succeeded Ralph W. Sockman (1889-1970).

Bosley, who wrote books, received many honorary degrees, and preached on radio and television, lived his faith.  Churches had become timid in the face of social injustice, he stated candidly.  He was not timid as he supported civil rights, human rights, and world peace.  Bosley joined a Fellowship of Reconciliation-sponsored delegation that visited South Vietnam in 1965.  He also joined teams that visited Spain in 1967 and the Soviet Union in 1966, 1967, and 1971.  In 1966 our saint attempted to ship 10,000 Jewish prayer books to the Soviet Union.  Also, he chaired the Committee on Christian Social Concerns at the United Methodist General Conferences of 1968 and 1970.

The Bosleys retired to Beach Haven Terrace, New Jersey, in June 1974.  Our saint’s retirement was brief.  He, aged 67 years, died on January 20, 1975.

Given Bosley’s emphasis on social justice, writing an exposition on the Book of Micah was a fine assignment for him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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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 servant Harold A. Bosley, 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

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Feast of Elmer G. Homrighausen (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ELMER GEORGE HOMRIGHAUSEN (APRIL 14, 1900-JANUARY 3, 1982)

U.S. German Reformed and Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education

Elmer G. Homrighausen comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume XII (1957), for which he wrote the exposition of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude.

Homrighausen came from the Reformed tradition.  He, son of Henry and Sophia, entered the world in Wheatland, Iowa, on April 14, 1900.  The family was German Reformed, members of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS), which merged into the Evangelical and Reformed Church (ERC) in 1934, which merged into the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1957.  The religion of Homrighausen’s youth and early adulthood was stern; fear of divine judgment was always present.  After nearly dying as a child, he was thankful for every day of the rest of his long life.

Homrighausen became a scholar and a German Reformed minister.  He studied at Mission House College, Plymouth, Wisconsin, from 1921 to 1923.  Mercersburg Theology, or relatively High Church Reformed theology with an emphasis on sacraments and liturgy, began to influence our saint there.  In 1923, before transferring to Princeton Theological Seminary as a senior, married Ruth W, Strassburger.  The Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy divided the faculty.  Our saint identified as a Modernist.  (The couple went on to raise six children.)  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and became an ordained minister in 1924.

Above:  The Former First English Reformed Church, Freeport, Illinois

Image Source = Google Earth

Homrighausen’s first pastorate was the First English Reformed Church (now Bethany United Church of Christ), Freeport, Illinois, where he served from 1924 to 1929.  Our saint applied Mercersburg Theology to help resolve a difficult situation.  Some of the leaders of the congregation were members of the Ku Klux Klan.  This appalled Homrighausen and many of his parishioners.  Our saint understood that the honor, integrity, and unity of the congregation were at stake.  He practiced reconciliation, followed by a communion service.  Then Homrighausen initiated outreach to African Americans in the community.

Above:  The Former Carrollton Avenue Reformed Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Image Source = Google Earth

Homrighausen served as pastor of the Carrollton Avenue Reformed Church, Indianapolis, Indiana (now St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Carmel, Indiana), from 1929 to 1938.  While there, he earned his Ph.D. (1929) and Th.D. (1930) from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, as well as his M.A. from Butler University, Indianapolis (1931).  Homrighausen also worked as a lecturer in church history at Butler University from 1931 to 1938.

Homrighausen liberalized in academia and became a Barthian.  Our saint stood in the theological center and criticized positions to his left and his right.  The relationship between church and culture interested him.  Homrighausen read the writings of St. Justin Martyr (d. 166/167) during the process of loyalty to empire versus loyalty to the Kingdom of God.  Our saint found in St. Justin Martyr openness to the truth, regardless of its source, while affirming Christ as the Savior.  Doctrinal rigidity was not a virtue, according to Homrighausen.  Neither was setting social progress in opposition to perceived orthodoxy.  And, in the theology of Karl Barth, our saint found a Christocentric theology.

NOTE:  I identify as a Modernist, for I accept science.  I, as a generally liberal person, think of myself as occupying a center-left position on the spectrum.  I tend to be more conservative in liturgical matters–traditional worship please, preferably Rite II from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  And, if if I see so much as a guitar or a tambourine, I will kvetch inwardly.  I like the Roman Catholic Church’s “Seamless Garment” theology of life, with some caveats regarding tactics, never ideals.  I understand church history well enough to be able to rattle off instances of ecclesiastical leaders, from antiquity to the present day, deploying “orthodoxy” against necessary and proper social progress.  I make no excuses for that.  I also know of examples of the predictable, reflexive tendency in much of the Christian Left to focus on social progress in reaction against false, reactionary orthodoxy.  Social progress is a principle firmly entrenched in the Law of Moses, the Hebrew Prophetic tradition, and the Gospels, therefore in actual Jewish and Christian orthodoxy.  Actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule, facilitates social justice. 

Homrighausen worked full-time at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1938 to 1970.  He was, in order, the:

  1. Thomas Synnott Professor of Christian Education (1938-1954),
  2. Chairman of the Department of Practical Theology (1953-1960),
  3. Charles R. Erdman Professor of Pastoral Theology (1954-1970) and
  4. Dean (1955-1965).

Homrighausen, a recipient of many honorary degrees, was also active beyond the seminary.  He traveled the world, preaching, from 1941 to 1971.  Starting in the 1930s, our saint was active in the movement to found the World Council of Churches, formed in 1948.  Then he became a leader of that organization.  Likewise, Homrighausen filled leadership roles in the Federal Council of Churches and its successor, the National Council of Churches.  Our saint also served as the Vice Moderator of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Homrighausen, aged 81 years, died in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 3, 1982.

Princeton Theological Seminary has created the position of Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor of Christian Social Ethics.  While preparing this post, I read the list of faculty members of the seminary.  I noticed that this position was vacant.  I found names of previous Homrighausen Professors in Internet searches, however.

Homrighausen left a fine and faithful legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 8, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MACKILLOP, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF THE SACRED HEART

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALTMAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PASSAU

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINIC, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF PREACHERS

THE FEAST OF RAYMOND BROWN, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Elmer G. Homrighausen and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of James Woodrow (January 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  James Woodrow

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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

Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic

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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

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Above:  Logo of the Presbyterian Church in the United States

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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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.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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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

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Feast of Gustave Weisel (January 16)   1 comment

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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GUSTAVE WEIGEL (JANUARY 15, 1906-JANUARY 3, 1964)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist

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Whether we like it or not, Protestants and Catholics are inevitably related to each other by the concept of opposition, and the opposition is stronger the nearer we approach the moment of split of one from the other.  Today we are all striving manfully to overcome the sense of opposition, but we are descendants of the past and history works in all of us.

–Father Gustave Weigel; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 452

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Gustave Weigel, a Jesuit priest and a professor of theology, became a pioneer of ecumenism in the Roman Catholic Church.

Weigel, a native of the United States, taught in both the United States and Chile.  He, born in Buffalo, New York, on January 15, 1906, was the second of three children of Auguste Weigel and Louise Leontine Kiefer.  He attended Catholic schools in Buffalo.  After graduating from high school in 1922, our saint became a Jesuit novice at Poughkeepsie, New York.  In 1926 he transferred to Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland.  There he earned the A.B. and M.A. degrees in three years.  After teaching Latin and English at Loyola College, Baltimore, during the 1929-1930 academic year, Weigel returned to Woodstock College, to study for the priesthood.  He, ordained a priest on June 25, 1933, earned the Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree the following year.  Our saint continued his education in Rome, where, in 1937, he earned his Doctor of Sacred Theology degree.  Weigel taught theology at the Catholic University of Chile from 1937 to 1948 and for two months in 1949.  He spent the rest of his academic career at Woodstock College while writing books and articles, as well as lecturing in the United States and Germany.

Years before Pope St. John XXIII opened the windows of the Church, so to speak, Weigel became involved in ecumenism.  He engaged with Protestantism in writing as early as 1954.  Six years later, our saint and Presbyterian Robert McAfee Brown collaborated on An American Dialogue.  That year, Weigel became the first Roman Catholic to deliver endowed lectures at Yale University.

Weigel, aged 57 years, died on January 3, 1964.

As Weigel wrote, final ecclesiastical reunion will be the work of God.  Christians, however, can and must overcome misconceptions they harbor about each other and their traditions.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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God our Father, your Son Jesus prayed that his followers might be one as he is one with you,

so that in peace and concord we may carry to the world the message of your love,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 2:2-4

Psalm 133

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 17:15-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of Gene M. Tucker (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cannon Chapel, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Image in the Public Domain

(I spent some quality time at Cannon Chapel during my youth.)

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GENE MILTON TUCKER (JANUARY 8, 1935-JANUARY 4, 2018)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Gene M. Tucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Isaiah 1-39 for Volume VI (2001) of the set.  (Tucker accepted the scholarly consensus that there were three Isaiahs.)

Tucker, from Texas, became a minister and a scholar.   Our saint, a son of Raymond H. Tucker and Lorene Tucker, debuted in Albany, Texas, on January 8, 1935.  He grew up in West Texas and became an avid outdoorsman as a youth.  Throughout his youth, Tucker remained an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing.  Our saint, who graduated from McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, in 1957, was on course to become a minister and a Biblical scholar when he married Charlyne “Charky” Williams that year.  Tucker earned his B.D. (1960), M.A. (1961), and Ph.D. (1963) at Yale Divinity School.  He, ordained in The Methodist Church (The United Methodist Church since April 23, 1968), commenced on his academic career.  Tucker’s first position was at the Graduate School of Religion, the University of Southern California, from 1963 to 1966.  In 1966-1970 Tucker taught at Duke Divinity School.  While there, he served as the President of the Council on Human Relations, a civil rights organization, in Durham, North Carolina.

From 1970 to 1995, Tucker taught at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  He edited scholarly works, cowrote a commentary on Joshua (1974), wrote Form Criticism of the Old Testament (1971), and contributed to Preaching the New Common Lectionary (1984-1987) and Preaching Through the Christian Year (1992).  Furthermore, our saint served on the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version (1989) of the Bible.  Tucker also taught Sunday School at Briarwood United Methodist Church, Atlanta, for a quarter of a century.

The Tuckers retired to Denver, Colorado, in 1995, to be close to their children.  Our saint taught in Australia for a time, focused on theological-ecological concerns, continued to enjoy the outdoors, and wrote a commentary on Genesis (2001).  He donated his academic library to the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Puerto Rico in 1911.

Tucker, aged 82 years, died in Denver on January 4, 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Gene M. Tucker and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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