Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1910s’ Category

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 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 Bertha Paulssen (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Image in the Public Domain

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BERTHA TONI AGNES CAROLA PAULSSEN (JANUARY 15, 1891-APRIL 2, 1973)

German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist

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Modern men and women suffer most deeply from their inability to love their neighbors.  How can they love their neighbors if they know nothing of God?

–Bertha Paulssen; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 38

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Bertha Paulssen devoted most of her life to helping “the least of these” in the name of Christ.  She, born in Leipzig, German Empire, on January 15, 1891, grew up in a wealthy, cultured, and Lutheran family.  She internalized the Christian faith and concluded that the church of her youth was too dogmatic and insufficiently addressing human needs.  Our saint, educated at a Moravian school then at the Universities of Leipzig and Göttingen, earned her doctorate at Leipzig in 1917.  Next, Paulssen worked as a librarian and a teaching assistant.  She moved to Frankfurt in 1919, to manage a home for girls who had dropped out of school.  After a few years, our saint worked with children, with prostitutes, and with prisoners in Kiel and Stettin.  Starting in 1923, Paulssen assumed a supervisory role in Hamburg.  She, a state employee, supervised 800 social workers.  Our saint replaced top-down management with tactics that emphasized individual solutions.  The rise of the Third Reich ended Paulssen’s career in Germany in 1933.

Paulssen, who fled Germany, spent most of her life after 1935 in the United States.  She headed first for England, before departing for New York City.  Our saint worked with youth in the “Big Apple” before teaching at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Next, she taught at the (Lutheran) Deaconess Motherhouse, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before teaching at Wagner College, Staten Island, New York City.  Paulssen, legally an “enemy alien” after early December 1941, had to leave the United States.  She settled in Cuba, naturalized as an American citizen in 1944, and returned to the United States.

From 1945 to 1963, Paulssen was a professor jointly at Muhlenberg College, Gettysburg College, and Gettysburg Theological Seminary.  She became the first woman and lay person to hold a tenured professorship at a Lutheran theological seminary in the United States.  Our saint’s social ethic informed her presentation of the Christian faith and brought sociology and psychology to bear on theology.

Paulssen, aged 82 years, died in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1973.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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

and to give his life for the life of the world.

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

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

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), 60

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Feast of Eivind Josef Berggrav (January 14)   1 comment

Above:  Eivind Josef Berggrav

Image in the Public Domain

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EIVIND JOSEF BERGGRAV (OCTOBER 25, 1884-JANUARY 14, 1959)

Lutheran Bishop of Oslo, Hymn Translator, and Leader of the Norwegian Resistance During World War II

Born Eivind Josef Jensen

Also known as Eivind Josef Jensen Berggrav (1907-1917)

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Mighty God, to thy dear Name be given

Highest praise o’er all the earth and heaven.

All saints distressed,

All men oppressed,

Their voices raising,

United in praising

Thy glory.

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God is God, though all the earth lay wasted;

God is God, though all men death had tasted.

While nations stumble,

In darkness fumble,

By stars surrounded,

Countless aboundeth

God’s harvest.

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Highest hills and deepest vales shall vanish,

Earth and heaven both alike be banished.

As in the dawning

Of every morning

The sun appeareth,

So glorious neareth

God’s kingdom.

–Petter Dass (1647-1707), translated by Eivind Josef Berggrav; quoted in Service Book and Hymnal (1958), #357

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Bishop Eivind Josef Berggrav comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).  January 14 is his feast day, according to the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

Philip H. Pfatteicher and Carlos R. Messerli, Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship (1979) inform me that the correct pronunciation of our saint’s surname is BEAR-grahf.

Eivind Josef Berggrav was originally Eivind Josef Jensen.  He, born in Stavanger, Norway, then under Swedish rule, on October 25, 1884, was a son of Marena Christine Pederson (1846-1924) and Otto Jensen (1856-1918).  Otto was a minister in The Church of Norway, as well as  a teacher.  The father served as the Minister of Education and Church Affairs in 1906-1907, at the dawn of Norwegian independence.  He went on to serve as Dean of Kristiania (now Oslo) (1912-1917) the Bishop of Hamar (1917-1918).  Our saint legally changed his surname to Jensen Beggrav (in 1907) then to Berggrav (in 1917).  “Berggrav” had been his grandfather’s surname.

Our saint followed in his father’s footsteps.  He studied theology at the University of Kristiania (now Olso), starting in 1903.  Ordained in 1908, Jensen Berggrav taught until 1918.  He also worked as a newspaper correspondent during World War I.  Berggrav’s early political involvement in linguistic controversy entailed advocating for the integration of East Norwegian (Østnorsk) and the national written form of Norwegian.  In 1924 Berggrav became a prison chaplain in Oslo and a parish minister in Hurdal.  From 1928 to 1937 he served as the Bishop of Hålogaland.  Our saint became the Bishop of Oslo and the primate of The Church of Norway in 1937.

Berggrav became the Bishop of Oslo during challenging times.  Nazism, on the ascendancy to the south, ascended to the north, also; the Third Reich invaded Norway in April 1940 and occupied the country until May 1945.  For a few months in 1940, Berggrav led the national Administrative Council, which sought to save lives by discouraging interference with German rule.  Before the end of the year, though, our saint became the leader of the Norwegian resistance.

Berggrav, as the primate of The Church of Norway, was in a special position to lead the resistance.  All clergymen of The Church of Norway were civil servants, so when the state church resisted the Nazis and the Norwegian puppets, that action carried more weight than when ministers of other denominations did.  Resistance from the state church constituted rebellion within the Norwegian government.  Berggrav led the ecumenical Christian Council for Joint Deliberation, formed in 1940.  The Bishop of Oslo defied orders from the Nazi overlords that interfered with the state church.  One of these orders mandated changes to the liturgy.  On February 1, 1942, Nazis invaded Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim; an unauthorized service followed.  A crowd gathered outside the cathedral and sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  Soon thereafter, all the bishops of the state church resigned in protest against the invasion of the cathedral.

Berggrav, the main author of the resistance movement’s declarations, spent much of the war as a prisoner.  Authorities arrested him on Good Friday in 1942.  He was not the only prominent church-based prisoner; other members of the Christian Council for Joint Deliberation were also inmates at a concentration camp.  Our saint, nearly executed, spent the rest of the occupation in solitary confinement north of Oslo, in a wooded setting.  His guards, however, helped him escape periodically, to meet with members of the resistance.

Katherine Seip (b. 1883), Berggrav’s wife, died in 1949.

Berggrav remained active after the liberation of Norway.  He, leader of the Norwegian Bible Society since 1938, continued in that role until 1955.  He retired as the Bishop of Oslo in 1950.  Our saint was a leader of the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches until his death in Olso on January 14, 1959.

Berggrav had to make difficult decisions and endure hardships during the occupation of Norway.  We who have never been in such circumstances have been fortunate.  May we draw positive lessons from Berggrav’s example and do our duty in circumstances better than those in which he labored faithfully.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Eivind Josef Berggrav.

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

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

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of A. J. Muste (January 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  A. J. Muste

Image in the Public Domain

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ABRAHAM JOHANNES MUSTE (JANUARY 8, 1885-FEBRUARY 11, 1967)

Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist

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Only the nonviolent can apply therapy to the violent.

–A. J. Muste

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A. J. Muste 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).

Muste changed his mind on major points more than once, each time sending his life in a different direction.

Our saint, born in Zierkzee, The Netherlands, on January 8, 1885, to Martin and Adriana Muste, came from a Dutch Reformed family.  He, his parents, and his siblings, seeking economic opportunity, emigrated in 1891.  They settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, joined the Dutch Reformed Church there, and naturalized in 1896.  The working-class congregation that shaped Muste was quite conservative–diehard Republican and puritanical.  Dancing, attending plays, and listening to secular music were allegedly sinful.

Muste, intelligent, was a fine student.  He, the valedictorian of Hope College in 1905, taught Greek and Latin at Northwestern Classical Academy (now called Northwestern College), Orange City, Iowa.  Then our saint studied at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, from 1906 to 1909.  After ordination into the ministry of the Reformed Church in America (1909), Muste married Anna Huizenga before the end of the year.  The couple raised three children.

Muste liberalized significantly during 1909-1914, his tenure as pastor of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, Washington Heights, New York, New York.  He questioned the religious strictness of his youth, accepted the Social Gospel, and earned a degree from Union Theological Seminary.  Muste had changed so much in 1912 that he cast his vote for Eugene Victor Debs, nominee of the Socialist Party, in the presidential election of 1912.

Muste was theologically honest.  By 1914 he no longer accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith, so he resigned his pastorate.  Our saint served as the pastor of Central Congregational Church, Newtonville, Massachusetts, for about three years.  (Muste succeeded Jay Thomas Stocking in that role.  Stocking’s immediate predecessor was Ozora Stearns Davis, who served in 1900-1904.)  Muste, a pacifist, founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1915.  In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, Muste resigned his pastorate under pressure.  Our saint volunteered for the Civil Liberties Bureau (a precursor of the American Civil Liberties Union) in Boston, in 1918.  He defended draft resisters.  Later that year, in Providence, Rhode Island, our saint joined the Quakers.

Muste became a labor union activist in 1919 and remained active in the cause for the rest of his life.  For sixteen weeks that year, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, workers went on strike.  They had a just cause; they worked 54-hour-long work weeks for $0.20 an hour.  (That amount, adjusted to inflation and keyed to the Consumer Price Index for 2018, the most recent year I can adjust amounts for inflation, is $2.90.)  Police spies tried to goad workers into committing violence, but Muste encouraged striking workers not to resort to violence.  Police beat him and incarcerated our saint for a week, though.  Later that year, Muste helped to found the Amalgamated Textile Workers of America.  He served as the secretary until 1921.

Muste became a radical–a Marxist-Leninist, even, for a time.  He, the president (1921-1933) of Brookwood Labor College, Katonah, New York, left the American Federation of Labor in 1929.  Our saint helped to found the Conference for Progressive Labor Action.  He also worked to build a labor third party, culminating in the Workers Party of the United States (1934-1936).

Muste changed direction again in 1936.  He left Marxism-Leninism behind and became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A..  Our saint’s writings, starting in 1936, were clear; the proper revolutionary force was Christianity.  From 1937 to 1940, he was the director of the (Presbyterian) Labor Temple, a mission of the Presbytery of New York to working men of New York City.  Our saint, the Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation from 1940 to 1953), mentored Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), who taught nonviolent resistance tactics to Martin Luther King, Jr. (1939-1968).  Muste’s obvious opposition to Marxism-Leninism, starting in 1936, did not spare him from allegations during the 1950s of being a communist.  He was certainly a consistent pacifist, opposing wars, whether declared or “police actions.”  Muste also spoke out against racism at home and abroad.  Furthermore, he insisted that good housing and proper, affordable health care were human rights.  Those views were sufficient to prompt much criticism of him.

Muste died in New York, New York, on February 11, 1967.  He was 82 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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

and to give his life for the life of the world.

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

Through us give hope to the 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

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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