Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1950s’ Category

Feast of James Carney (September 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Honduras and Nicaragua, 1957

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

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JAMES FRANCIS CARNEY (OCTOBER 28, 1924-SEPTEMBER 16, 1983)

U.S.-Honduran Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, Revolutionary, and Martyr, 1983

Also known as Padre Guadeloupe

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To be a Christian is to be a revolutionary.

–Father James Carney

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The national security policy that justifies everything that is done in terms of U.S. security is an evil policy.  Father Carney got in trouble because he fell in love with poor people.  Other people get in trouble because they fall in love with riches and power and glory and pomposity.

–Joseph Connolly, brother-in-law of James Carney

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James Francis Carney took up his cross and followed Jesus to his death.

Carney, born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 28, 1924, grew up in a devout and middle-class Roman Catholic family in the Middle West.  He was an altar boy, a football player, and a member of the St. Louis University High School Class of 1942.  Our saint attended St. Louis University on a football scholarship.  While playing the sport he injured a knee; he had a bad knee for the rest of his life.  Myopia and a bad knee did not prevent conscription into the U.S. Army during World War II.  He, serving in the European Theater as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers, found living piously in the military difficult.  The frequent profanity proved especially disturbing.

Carney’s life changed after the war.  In 1946 he resumed studies at St. Louis University for a year.  Our saint matriculated at the University of Detroit, to study civil engineering, in 1947, but left after a year.  Religious life was calling.  While at Detroit Carney first read Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  He spent the rest of his life synthesizing Christianity and Marxism.  In 1948 our saint matriculated at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Flourissant, Missouri.  Carney joined the Society of Jesus.  He served as a missionary in British Honduras (now Belize) from 1955 to 1958 then studied at St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s, Kansas.  He became a priest in 1961.

Honduras has a sad political history.  The economically underdeveloped country has a long record of military dictatorships and corrupt and repressive governments.  Poverty is rampant, entrenched, and intergenerational, and institutional.  As in other parts of the former Spanish Empire, relatively few people own most of the land, control the majority of the wealth, and resist attempted at the redistribution of land, wealth, and political power.

From 1961 to 1979 Carney was a missionary priest in Honduras.  He, devoted to Our Lady of Guadeloupe, preferred that the peasants (campesinos) among whom he ministered call him “Padre Guadeloupe.”  Our saint, not content to stop at administering sacraments, became a social and political revolutionary for justice.  He identified with the peasants and lived as they did.  He became active in the peasants’ union, advocated for land reform, became a Honduran citizen, and came to identify as a “Marxist-Christian.”  He criticized the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Honduras for their close relationship with the United Fruit Company, which paid far below a living wage, thereby exacerbating poverty.  Our saint also condemned U.S. imperialism in Latin America.

Carney, after spending a few weeks at St. Louis University in 1979, moved to Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas had recently deposed Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the U.S.-backed dictator.  After spending a few years as a member of a revolutionary society, Carney decided to return to Honduras.  Doing so was dangerous.  The U.S.-supported government there arrested or executed alleged subversives–including leftists, liberals, and union activists.  Death squads were active in the Honduran Army.  This was the government that, according to U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1983, was promoting democracy.  The Honduran government was not promoting democracy while murdering or arresting its politically troublesome citizens.  It was, however, providing a base of operations for the U.S.-backed, anti-Sandinista Contras.

Carney, who resigned from the Society of Jesus in June 1983, had become a committed revolutionary.  He regarded the wealth of the Vatican with disgust and recoiled at bourgeois Christians who supported causes he considered antithetical to the faith.  His pacifism was gone; some violence was sadly necessary, Carney understood.

On July 19, 1983, Carney returned to Honduras as the chaplain to a small band of guerrillas.  The Honduran Army captured or killed the unit quickly; Carney disappeared.  There were, over the years, various proposed fates for Padre Guadeloupe.  The most likely one was that, on Friday, September 19, 1983, the Honduran Army, having tortured Carney, threw him out of a helicopter above a mountain.  Perhaps the priest died when he hit the ground.

Officially, nobody recovered Carney’s physical remains–just his stole and chalice.

Carney’s family has attempted to learn of his fate and what the U.S. Government knows about it.  A federal judge, citing national security, dismissed a lawsuit.  Requests under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed answers, but mostly indirectly.  In 1999 the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) released many pages of documentation; 75 of those pages were entirely blacked out.  Members of the the family have also had good reasons to suspect that the federal government has tapped their telephones.

The truth of the matter seems clear, especially considering the many redactions and the appeals to national security:  The Honduran Army executed Carney with the support of the U.S. Government, which does not want to admit this.

Carney, in his 1983 autobiography, “The Metamorphosis of a Revolutionary,” wrote:

Since my novitiate, I have asked Christ for the Grace to be able to imitate him, even to martyrdom, to the giving of my life, to being killed for the cause of Christ.  And I strongly believe that Christ might give me this tremendous Grace to become a martyr for justice.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 404-405

The United States of America is, unlike many other nation-states, a country founded on high ideals, which the U.S. Government and society has a long record of trampling, unfortunately.  Human nature makes no exceptions because of U.S. citizenship.  When my country is at its best, it seeks to live those ideals, embodied most nobly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, especially the Fourteenth Amendment.  The case of James Carney’s fate and the subsequent cover-up of U.S. Government knowledge of if poses a difficult question:  If a government founded on high ideals consistently makes a mockery of them, how are citizens supposed to respond to that hypocrisy?

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God of the poor, the oppressed, and the powerless,

we confess our sins, which we have committed either in knowledge or ignorance,

and which have harmed those less fortunate, many of them far away.

We acknowledge that, despite our best intentions,

we are complicit in the sins of our society, governments, institutions, and corporations.

We have the blood of innocents, many of whom we will never encounter, on our hands.

As we praise you and thank you for the moral courage of Father James Carney to take up his cross and follow Christ,

we also pray that you will forgive us and grant us the necessary grace

to confess and repent of our sins, and to act, as you lead us, to help the poor, the oppressed, and the powerless.

We pray through Jesus of Nazareth, executed unjustly as a criminal and a threat to imperial security.

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

Amos 8:4-8

Psalm 15

Revelation 18:9-20

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMNODIST; AND HIS NEPHEW, JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH PAYSON PRENTISS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JEREMY TAYLOR, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF JOHN BAJUS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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This is post #1600 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Frederick J. Murphy (September 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, Circa 1906

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a12944

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FREDERICK JAMES MURPHY (AUGUST 16, 1949-SEPTEMBER 13, 2011)

U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar

Also known as Rick Murphy

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Rick Murphy represented, perhaps better than anyone else on campus, what it means to teach, to do research, and to offer oneself wholeheartedly to a community such as ours. He was an internationally renowned and prolific scholar and a significant, if always unassuming, presence on campus. But what motivated him was our students and his desire to give them the many tools they will need to make their own marks on the world.

Students loved Rick, and their experience in his classrooms hints at what made him so special to all of us. Nothing was better than simply to hang out with Rick. He knew and loved politics, opera, classical and contemporary music, literature and history, theology. In his fifties he learned to pilot a plane, and in that same period he assembled, by himself, from the ground up, a computer that was years ahead of its time.

But more than all of this, everyone wanted to be around Rick because he had an endless supply of himself to give. I came to Holy Cross 40 years into my life and considerably more than a decade into my academic career. But I learned anew from Rick how to be a colleague, what it means to be a friend, and, in the past five years, I learned from him how a person can confront a devastating illness with such dignity and lack of self-pity as to truly astound.

So we learned from Rick, from his approach to life, from his words, from his ideas and ideals, from his books and articles, but more than anything from the way he lived-an unparalleled life of dignity and integrity that changed us all and that leaves a cherished, everlasting legacy.

–Dr. Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross, 2011

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Professor Frederick J. Murphy comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via The New Interpreter’s Bible (12 volumes, 1994-2002).

Murphy, a graduate of St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, became an internationally renowned scholar.  After graduating with his B.A. from Harvard University in 1971, Murphy joined the Society of Jesus.  During his seven years as a Jesuit, he taught high school, earned his B.D. from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and worked with poor people in South America.  Our saint married his wife, Leslie, in 1980; the couple had a son (Jeremy) and a daughter (Rebecca).  Murphy returned to Harvard, where he earned his M.A. then, in 1984, his Ph.D.

Murphy’s academic community, to which he contributed much, was the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution in Worcester, Massachusetts.  From 1983 to 2011 our saint was Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Second Temple Judaism, the Historical Jesus, and apocalypticism.  Murphy, the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in 2001, became the first Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament Studies in 2007.  He was a respected colleague and professor.  Like all excellent teachers, our saint taught not only the subject matter, but also intangible and no less valuable lessons.  Caitlin LoCascio-King, Class of 2006, wrote the following tribute:

I was shocked and saddened to read about the passing of Prof. Murphy in my Holy Cross email earlier today. A 2006 graduate, I was a religious studies major and a member of the Student Advisory Committee for the Religious Studies Department. More importantly for this email, my fourth year I had the pleasure of creating a one-on-one course with Prof. Murphy regarding the synoptic gospels. My first year, he taught the religious studies courses for the FYP program. His students all raved, and I was determined to meet this man and take a class. My third year I took Introduction to the Old Testament with him and quickly learned what they were talking about. Based on that experience, I set my mind to creating a seminar with him and ultimately he agreed to help me form one on the gospels.

Each week, he and I would meet in his office for a couple of hours and discussed various topics on the three gospels, their applicability to ancient times, modern times, the Old Testament, the New Testament and, inevitably, our own personal lives. That seminar was more reading and more work than almost any other class I took in my four years on the Hill, but it was one of my most memorable. He taught me how to think, how to write, how to hone a critical eye. But what he really taught me was self-confidence, a new understanding of my view on academics and that sacred book and the ability to really delve into anything I work on. I can say with confidence that Prof. Murphy knew more about the gospels than I will ever forget. But I certainly will never forget him.

Murphy wrote books and articles.  He contributed an article, “Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature,” to Volume VII (1996) of The New Interpreter’s Bible.  His books were:

  1. The Religious World of Jesus:  An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism (1991), winner of the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award in the Humanities;
  2. Pseudo-Philo:  Rewriting the Bible (1993);
  3. Fallen is Babylon:  The Revelation to John (1998), for the New Testament in Context series;
  4. Breviary Lives of the Saints:  February-May:  Latin Selections with Commentary and a Vocabulary (2003);
  5. Breviary Lives of the Saints:  September-January:  Latin Selections with Commentary and a Vocabulary (2003);
  6. An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (2005);
  7. Early Judaism:  The Exile to the Time of Jesus (2006); and
  8. Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World:  A Comprehensive Introduction (2012), published posthumously.

Murphy died on September 13, 2011, after a long illness.  He was 62 years old.

One wonders how many more students Murphy would have helped and how much more he might have contributed to Biblical scholarship had he lived longer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMNODIST; AND HIS NEPHEW, JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH PAYSON PRENTISS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JEREMY TAYLOR, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF JOHN BAJUS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Frederick J. Murphy 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 Lynn Harold Hough (September 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lynn Harold Hough

Image Source =  Drew University Library

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LYNN HAROLD HOUGH (SEPTEMBER 10, 1877-JULY 14, 1971)

U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar

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Once more we are reminded that only God is to be met with a bended knee.  Even the high must not be given the place of the highest–even the good must not be given the place of the best.  The tragedy of mistaken loyalties is one of the greatest tragedies of the world.  Too late Wolsey realized that he had given to his king, Henry VIII, what belonged only to God.

–Dr. Hough’s exposition on Revelation 22:9, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 12 (1957), 545

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Lynn Harold Hough, with his Roman collar, Charlie Chaplin mustache, and keen intellect, comes to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Volume 12 (1957) of The Interpreter’s Bible.

Hough owed much to Eunice Richey Giles (1856-June 3, 1937), his devoted, single mother.  She had married Franklin M. Hough, father of our saint.  The marriage had ended in divorce in 1877, and Eunice had moved back home, to Cadiz, Ohio, when she gave birth to her only child, Lynn Harold Hough, on September 10, 1877.  Eunice, a devout Methodist, raised her son in the faith.  She also worked hard to provide him with the best education possible.  In 1898 he graduated (with his B.A.) from Scio College, Scio, Ohio, where his mother worked as a cook.  Hough, ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939), served in churches in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland from 1898 to 1914.  He also became the head of the household, which included his mother until 1936, when he married.

Above:  Drew Theological Seminary

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Matthew Simpson, ed., Cyclopedia of Methodism, Embracing Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, with Biographical Notices, 6h ed. (1876), 315

Hough continued his education, graduating from Drew Theological Seminary (now Drew Theological School, Drew University), Madison, New Jersey, with his B.D. in 1905.

Above:  Garrett Biblical Institute

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Matthew Simpson, ed., Cyclopedia of Methodism, Embracing Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, with Biographical Notices, 6h ed. (1876), 389

Our saint, from 1914 to 1918 Professor of Historical Theology at Garrett Biblical Institute (now Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), Evanston, Illinois, graduated from that institution with his D.Th. in 1918.  Our saint, from 1919 to 1920 the President of Northwestern University, host of Garrett Biblical Institute, established the graduate division of the university’s School of Commerce and laid the foundations, metaphorically speaking, for subsequent improvements at the university.  He resigned for health reasons.

Above:  Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Detroit, Michigan

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Matthew Simpson, ed., Cyclopedia of Methodism, Embracing Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, with Biographical Notices, 6h ed. (1876), 294

Hough returned to parish work for the period of 1920-1930.  For eight years (1920-1928) Hough served as the pastor of Central Methodist Episcopal Church (now Central United Methodist Church), Detroit, Michigan.  Our saint was, the “preacher to the intelligentsia,” according to his contemporary, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church, Detroit, from 1915 to 1928, and a fellow anti-Ku Klux Klan activist.  The outspoken Hough was not shy about expressing his opinions and opposing bigotry.  Our saint stated that the United States should have joined the League of Nations.  He condemned the Daughters of the American Revolution for being critical of Jane Addams (1860-1935).   In 1923 our saint described the second Ku Klux Klan as

the most diabolical organization this nation ever saw.

(That unequivocal statement was quite different from Donald Trump’s statement about the alleged presence of “very fine people” on both sides in he context of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.  That statement’s most avid fans were white supremacists.  This pattern of giving aid and comfort to unapologetic bigots has not surprised me, given Trump’s public statements and over the years, as well as many of his policies, to the present day.  Nativism, xenophobia, and white nationalism have been present in him for a long time.There were no “very fine people” in the Ku Klux Klan, according to our saint.  In 1925 years later Hough’s assertion that Evolution and the Bible were mutually compatible nearly prompted a heresy trial.  Hough was usually a delegate to the denomination’s General Conference, which met every four years, but he was not a delegate in 1928.  The reason for Hough not being a delegate that year was the backlash against his article, “Why Not a Catholic President?” (Plain Talk magazine, 1927).  The article did lead, however, to an honorary degree from the University of Detroit (Roman Catholic).  Of the eleven honorary degrees Hough received, he was proudest of that one.  From 1928 to 1930 Hough was the pastor of the American Presbyterian Church (amalgamated into the Erskine and American United Church, extant 1934-2011; now amalgamated into the Mountainside United Church), Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  During that time he also doubled as the President of the Religious Education Council of Canada.

Hough was active in many organizations, including the Federal Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the Society for Biblical Literature, the Masonic Lodge, the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939), The Methodist Church (1939-1968), and The United Methodist Church (1968-).  Furthermore, he traveled across the United States and the world, preaching at prominent churches and, in 1934, addressing the League of Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, on “The Church and Civilization.”

Hough returned to academia for good in 1930.  At Drew Theological Seminary he was Professor of Homiletics (1930-1933), Professor of Homiletics and Comprehensive Scholarship (1933-1937), Professor of Homiletics and Christian Criticism of Life (1937-1947), and Dean (1934-1947).  Our saint, a well-read Anglophile with an expansive vocabulary, as well as a firm grasp of history and literature, founded the Department of Christian Humanism at Drew.  He retired in 1947.

Hough, like any properly functioning human being, changed his mind as time passed.  He, a pacifist, initially opposed U.S. entry into World War II.  Our saint was not naïve, though; he recognized the necessity of Allied victory, for the sake of civilization.  Hough, with his customary tolerance, supported the causes of conscientious objectors while supporting the war effort and ministering to military personnel.  He remained committed to peace as he adjusted to reality.  Hough’s theology also changed.  He settled into what he called a “new orthodoxy” more liberal than Fundamentalism, more conservative than Modernism, and distinct from the Social Gospel and Neo-Orthodoxy.  The Social Gospel, Hough argued correctly, was utopian, therefore not realistic.  Neo-Orthodoxy, he insisted, went too far by emphasizing the human inability to arrive at Christian faith.

I reject Hough’s critique of Neo-Orthodoxy.

Hough, being a staunch Methodist–a thoroughgoing Methodist, not a Baptist masquerading as one, per the old joke that a Methodist is a Baptist who can read–placed a high premium on the power of human free will.  He came very close to putting the Pelagianism in Semi-Pelagianism.  Karl Barth (1886-1968) and Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), leading Neo-Orthodox theologians, had Reformed backgrounds, however.  Barth, a minister in the Swiss and Reformed Church, emphasized divine actions, not human ones.  Niebuhr, a minister in the Prussian Evangelical (Lutheran-Reformed) tradition, rejected the Social Gospel as placing too little stress on sin and assuming too much human agency.  He emphasized original sin, which he redefined beyond an individual focus to have a strong societal, institutional component.  Barth was probably more optimistic than the sometimes grimly realistic Niebuhr.  Original sin, having corrupted human nature, institutions, and societies, severely hampered one’s ability to act morally, even when one was trying very hard to do so, Niebuhr taught.  My reading of Barth and Niebuhr has convinced me that they were mostly correct.

I am, by the way, an Anglican-Lutheran Single Predestinarian, so my theology makes room for free will to have a role in salvation for those not predestined to Heaven.  My critique of Hough is that he placed too much emphasis on free will.  I hold that nobody finds God, but that God finds people.  Via free will those not destined to Heaven may obey the invitation of the Holy Spirit and say “yes” to God, and therefore find salvation and eternal life, in the Johannine sense of eternal life, which is knowing God via Jesus.

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Hough wrote prolifically.  His catalog included 35 books (about one a year for a while) and many articles.  In retirement he, a visiting professor at various elite institutions off-an-on, wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible in the 1950s.  He wrote the exposition on the Book of Revelation in Volume 12 (of 12), published in 1957.  (I quoted a portion of that exposition at the beginning of this post.)

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Hough also wrote “The Message of the Book of Revelation,” spanning pages 551-613 of Volume 12.

Hough, a Victorian in terms of morality, resided with his Eunice, mother (or rather, she lived with him) until 1936, when, at the age of 58 or 59, he married.  Our saint’s wife was Blanche Horton Trowbridge, a 57-year-old widow of a Congregationalist minister.  She had also been a missionary in Turkey then Egypt for a quarter of a century.  Sadly, Eunice Hough, who had devoted her life to her only child, died in New York City on June 3, 1937, after an automotive accident.  She was about 81 years old.  The Houghs died less than a year apart; the cause of death in both cases was heart attack.  Blanche, aged about 92 years, died on August 3, 1970.  Lynn, aged 93 years, died on July 14, 1971.

One might justifiably ask why Hough, one of the most famous preachers of his time, has fallen into obscurity.

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I also composed the collect and selected the passages of scripture.

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Compassionate God, you have created us in your image and endowed us with intellect.

We thank you for your servant Lynn Harold Hough,

who loved you with all his heart, mind, and strength, and who loved his neighbors as he loved himself.

May we likewise recognize your presence in history, literature, and each other,

as well as employ our intellects fully, as we confront forms of bigotry;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who,

stretching his arms on the hard word of the cross beckoned all the world to himself.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15

Psalm 1

Philippians 2:1-11

Matthew 7:24-27

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 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, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Feast of Beyers Naude (September 7)   Leave a comment

 

 

Above:  Flags of South Africa

Images in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FREDERICK BEYERS NAUDÉ (MAY 10, 1915-SEPTEMBER 7, 2004)

South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist

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Because of my experience, I’ve been able to tell other white Afrikaners, who despise me or have rejected me and feel that I’m a traitor to their cause, “I pity you, because I feel that you, in fact, have become the victims of your own imprisoned philosophy of life.  And therefore you cannot be free.  You cannot be free to love people of color deeply and sincerely.  You cannot be free to look at the future of South Africa outside the confines of your present political viewpoint.  You cannot be open to the concept of Christian community with Christians of all denominations around the world.  And therefore, as a result of those things that you have imposed on yourself, your vision is limited.”

–Beyers Naudé, interviewed for Sojourners magazine, 1987;  quoted in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses, Revised Edition (2005), 152-153

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The Reverend Beyers Naudé comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Of Orthodoxy and Heresy

What do we mean by orthodoxy and heresy?

Orthodoxy literally means “correct opinion.”  But who defines “correct”?  Ideally, all of us would recognize God as the definer of correctness and agree on the contents of orthodoxy.  Actually, though, competing orthodoxies exist within traditions, such as Christianity.  An orthodox Lutheran, for example, is a heretic by standards of an orthodox Calvinist or Roman Catholic or Methodist.  We who follow God or try to do so are attempting to read God’s mind partially.  Usually we adopt an institution’s definition of orthodoxy as the gold standard.  As I try to be a faithful Christian, I do not color outside the lines, so to speak.  I reject some strands of tradition and favor others, but I am generally fairly conventional, in the context of broader Christianity, but not the Bible  Belt of the United States.  I try, however, to be theologically humble, and to acknowledge that I am mistaken on certain points; I just do not know which ones.  I am therefore tolerant of a wide range of Christian orthodoxies, for I recall having changed my mind on major theological issues, such as, years ago, when I disposed of my Wesleyan-Arminian upbringing sufficiently to accept Single Predestination, an Anglican, Lutheran, and moderate Reformed doctrine.

“Heresy” comes from the Greek verb meaning “to choose.”  A heretic therefore a person who chooses what to believe, in opposition to orthodoxy, as at least one institution defines it.  The implication, therefore, is that the heretic chooses wrongly.

Understand me correctly, O reader; I am no postmodernist.  Orthodoxy and heresy are real, and we can know them partially.  I also affirm that, as much as each person is somebody’s schismatic, each person is also somebody’s heretic.

Beyers Naudé, raised a heretic, came to orthodoxy when he rejected the norms of his church, society, and nation-state.  Voltaire wrote that is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.  Our saint learned that lesson painfully.

Early Years

Damn you when everybody speaks well of you!  Recall that their ancestors treated the phony prophets the same way.

–Luke 6:26, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Christian Frederick Beyers Naudé, born in Roodeport, Transvaal, South Africa, on May 10, 1915, was a man baptized into a racist denomination. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, hereafter the DRCSA, taught that the Bible justified racism and racial segregation.  In 1948 Apartheid became the continuation of various laws and customs.  The DRCSA quoted the Bible to justify that execrable system.  The architects of Apartheid and its antecedents came from the Broederbond, an Afrikaner organization our saint’s father, the Reverend Jozua Naudé, a hero of the late Boer War, had helped to found.  Naudé the elder named his son, our saint, after Christian Frederick Beyers, a Boer general from that war, and a friend.  Our saint moved in influential, devout, and unapologetically racist circles; he was on track to rise to the office of Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.  His background, South African Dutch Calvinism, included not only a toxic stew of racism, imperialism, and ethnocentrism, but the sense that Afrikaners were part of God’s elect.  Afrikaners understood and embraced what Rudyard Kipling gleefully called “White Man’s Burden” in 1899, to celebrate the debut of the United States of America as an imperial power:

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Until the 1950s Naudé the younger did not question the orthodoxy–the conventional wisdom–concerning Apartheid.  He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch and became a minister in the DRCSA in 1939.  He married Ilse Weder, daughter of a Moravian missionary, in 1940.  Also in 1940, at the age of 25 years, he became the youngest person to join the Broederbond.  Naudé rose through the ranks of the DRCSA.

The Road to Damascus

Consider this:  Treat people in was you want them to treat you.  This sums up the whole Law and the Prophets.

–Matthew 7:12, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

The conversion of Beyers Naudé was gradual.

That process began in 1953, when he was part of a DRCSA delegation studying youth work in Europe, the United States of America, and Canada.  Some of what he witnesses outside his home culture and country affected him to the point of sowing the seeds of doubt regarding the morality of Apartheid.

Later, when Naudé was the acting Moderator of the Transvaal Synod of the DRCSA, some of his ministers came to him with troubling questions.  Some white ministers were serving in Colored (to use the South African term) congregations.  Parishioners were confronting these ministers for supporting Apartheid.  Naudé’s subsequent visits to these congregations shook him as he witnessed the human toll of Apartheid.  Between 1955 and 1957 Naudé undertook a private study of the question of whether the Bible justified Apartheid; he concluded that scripture and Apartheid were opposed to each other.

The last straw for Naudé was the Sharpeville Massacre of May 21, 1960.  On that day agents of the national government shot and killed 69 peaceful, unarmed protesters, most of whom were running away when security forces shot them.  Naudé became an outspoken opponent of Apartheid.

Taking Up His Cross

Congratulations when people hate you, and when they ostracize and denounce you and scorn your name as evil, because of he son of Adam!  Rejoice on that day, and jump for joy!  Just remember, your compensation is great in heaven.  Recall that their ancestors treated the prophets the same way.

–Luke 6::22-23, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

That was when trouble started for Naudé.  Yes, he continued in parish ministry until 1963 and became the Moderator of the Southern Transvaal Synod in 1961, but our saint was on a collision course with the DRCSA.  In 1963 Naudé became the Director of the Christian Institute of South Africa, an ecumenical and multiracial organization that challenged Apartheid and distributed humanitarian aid.  That year the DRCSA also gave our saint an ultimatum; he had to choose between the Christian Institute and his ministerial function in the denomination.  Naudé chose the former.  The title of his final sermon was “Obedience to God.”  Our saint was, for all intents and purposes, a defrocked man.

Naudé spent most of the next three decades in trouble with South African government.  Security forces raided the offices of the Christian Institute occasionally.  Our saint, allegedly a heretic, as well as a traitor to the Afrikaner cause, opposed violence as a method of political change.  That did not satisfy the hardline government, which, on one occasion, accused him of being a communist.  Naudé was not a communist, but he was a subversive, as he should have been.  He traveled in Europe, speaking against Apartheid and collecting honors.  In October 1977 the South African government banned our saint and the closed the Christian Institute.  Naudé, as a banned person, was under house arrest.  The law also forbade him from speaking to more than one person at a time.  Foreign honors continued.  In the early 1980s the government relaxed the ban somewhat, permitting Naudé to leave his house yet not the magisterial district of Johannesburg.  The ban ended in September 1984.

Naudé was a free man again.  In 1984 He succeeded Desmond Tutu (a man destined for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar eventually) as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.  In the early 1990s our saint, without joining the African National Congress (ANC), was the only white member of the ANC team that negotiated with the national government as Apartheid collapsed.

Naudé, marginalized within the DRCSA, had made the emotionally difficult decision to leave it in 1980.  He transferred to the majority-Black Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA).  The DRCA, by the way merged with the (Colored) Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) in 1994 to form the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA).

The Hero

Well done, you competent and reliable slave!

–Matthew 25:23a, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Naudé, once a pariah, was a hero at the end of his life.  President Nelson Mandela was one of his friends.  Our saint lived long enough to witness his vindication.  He even lived long enough to witness the DRCSA denounce Apartheid and issue a formal apology for having affirmed the execrable institution.

Naudé lived to the age of 89 years.  He, surrounded by his wife and children, died at a retirement home in Johannesburg on September 7, 2004.

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I also composed the collect and chose the passages of scripture.

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Loving God of all nations, races, ethnicities, and cultures,

your command that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves

is as ancient as the Bible and as contemporary as the news.

That command continues to challenge us as we confront our own prejudices

and contend with those of people in power, as well as those around us.

Negative pressure to consent to injustice actively or passively is frequently intimidating.

We thank you for your faithful servant Beyers Naudé, whom you converted,

and who took up his cross and followed Jesus in South Africa,

thereby becoming an agent of transformation of his church, society, and nation-state.

May we follow the divine path of love in our circumstances,

and thereby radiate the light of Christ when and where we are,

regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord and Savior,

in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Amos 1:21-24

Psalm 27

James 1:22-25

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Feast of Charles Fox (September 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of New Zealand and Melanesia, 1958

Image Scanned and Cropped from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1958)

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CHARLES ELLIOT FOX (OCTOBER 1, 1878-OCTOBER 28, 1977)

Anglican Missionary in Melanesia

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), of The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, lists September 6 as the feast of “Charles Fox, Scholar, Missionary, 1977.”

Charles Fox, an Anglican priest, was a missionary in Melanesia.  He was the longest-serving expatriate missionary in the Solomon Islands, regardless of denominational affiliation.  He served in Oceania for 71 years (1902-1973).

Fox, a native in England, grew up in New Zealand.  Our saint, born in Stalbridge, England, on October 1, 1878, was a son of Canon John Eliot Fox and Emma Phillips.  Fox and his family moved to New Zealand in 1884.  Our saint was physically frail, especially when very young, so home-schooling was initially necessary.  Later he studied at Napier Boys’ High School, Napier, then at the University of New Zealand, Auckland (B.A. in geology then M.A. in theology).

Fox discerned his vocation to missionary work in the 1890s then acted accordingly.  In 1895 our saint, still in school, met a cricket team of Melanesian boys.  He resolved to serve as a missionary to Melanesians.  Years later, after a brief stint as a science teacher in New Zealand, Fox joined the Melanesian Brotherhood at Norfolk Island (east of Australia and north of New Zealand) in 1902.  He took Holy Orders the following year.

Above:  Map Showing Norfolk Island

Fox was initially a teacher at St. Barnabas School, Norfolk Island, the Brotherhood’s main school.

Above:  Map Showing Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides

Then Fox spent a few moths on Mota Island, in the New Hebrides.

Above:  Map Showing the Solomon Islands

Next Fox went to Pamua, on Makira Island/San Cristobal Island, in the Solomon Islands.  There he remained until 1905, when he returned to teach on Norfolk Island.  From 1908 to 1918 our saint lived and worked on Makira Island/San Cristobal Island again.  There he opened St. Michael’s School, the first boarding school in the Solomon Islands, in 1911.  The setting was dangerous during the early years; guards were necessary, to protect staff and students from bushmen who beheaded victims.  On the island Fox also became an adopted member of the Arosi tribe and a member of the chief’s household.  Our saint’s exchange name was ‘Takibaina.”  Due to Fox’s short stature, his nickname was “Kakamora.”

Fox earned his Ph.D. in literature from the University of New Zealand in 1922 for his ethnographic study of the Arosi region of Makira Island/San Cristobal Island.

In 1922 the Melanesia Mission closed St. Barnabas School, Norfolk Island, and established its new main school, All Hallows’ School, Pawa, Ugi Island, Solomon Islands.  (Ugi Island is a small isle north of Makira Island/San Cristobal Island.)  From 1924 to 1932 Fox served as the principal of the school.

Fox remained a priest in Melanesia.  In 1932 he declined an opportunity to become the Bishop of Melanesia.  He served at Guadalcanal (1933-1944) then Malaita (1944-1950).  While on Malaita Island Fox served as a coast watcher during World War II.  He also paid pastoral and sacramental visits to villages in the jurisdiction of the anti-colonial Maasina Rule (1944-1952) when his bishop refused to do so.  From 1950 to 1952 Fox was the principal of the diocesan catechists’ school.  He, briefly the chaplain at the headquarters of the Diocese of Melanesia in 1952, went on to serve as the chaplain of the Melanesian Brotherhood at the school at Tabalia in 1952-1954.  Fox, from 1956 the Canon of Melanesia, was again a chaplain, based at Taroaniara, from 1968 to 1970.

Fox retired to New Zealand in 1973.  He, a Member of the Order of the British Empire since 1952, became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974.  He died in Waipukurau, New Zealand, on October 28, 1977.  He was 99 years old.

Fox’s legacy included not just the usual fruits of missionary work, but also books about the Solomon Islands and dictionaries of several islands.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Charles Fox,

whom you called to preach the Gospel in the Solomon Islands.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of William F. Albright and G. Ernest Wright (September 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Seal of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-18405

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WILLIAM FOXWELL ALBRIGHT (MAY 24, 1891-SEPTEMBER 19, 1971)

mentor of

GEORGE ERNEST WRIGHT (SEPTEMBER 5, 1909-AUGUST 29, 1974)

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U.S. BIBLICAL SCHOLARS AND ARCHAEOLOGISTS

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According to an old joke, an Evangelical is one who says to a liberal,

I will agree to call you a Christian if you agree to call me a scholar.

This witticism, like many other jokes, depends on a stereotype.  Stereotypes are overly broad generalizations, of course.  You, O reader, might know or have known at least one person who fits that stereotype.  I know and have known some who do.  (I have taught some of them too.  My experiences as a bookish, ritualistic, introverted, and left-of-center outsider with inherent Catholic tendencies growing up in and in the vicinity of Protestant churches in rural southern Georgia, U.S.A., have left me with an overall negative impression of Evangelicalism.)  

Albright was an exception to that stereotype.

Albright came from Methodist stock.  He, born in Coquimbo, Chile, on May 24, 1891, was a son of missionaries Wilbur Finley Albright and Zephine Vila Foxwell.  Our saint, a graduate of Upper Iowa University, earned his doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University in 1913.  In 1922-1929 and 1933-1936 Albright was the Director of the American School of Oriental Research, Jerusalem.  Furthermore, he was a professor of Semitic languages at The Johns Hopkins University from 1927 to 1958, when he retired.

Albright was an Evangelical, but not a Biblical literalist.  He, a leading figure in Biblical archaeology, followed the evidence to conclude, for example, that the Jewish people were originally polytheistic, and that they become monotheistic over time.  (I have repeated that conclusion, much to the consternation of some people.)  Albright also argued against German literary criticism, asserting that, for example, the historical parts of the Hebrew Bible are mostly accurate.

Albright, a great scholar, helped to authenticate the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948.  He also wrote an article, “The Old Testament World,” for The Interpreter’s Bible.  Albright also edited the volumes on Jeremiah on Jeremiah, Matthew, and Revelation in The Anchor Bible series and co-wrote the volume on Matthew.  For his scholarship Albright received many honors, including the title Yakir Yerushalayim, or “Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem.”

Albright, aged 80 years, died in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 19, 1971.  A posthumous honor was the renaming of the American School of Oriental Research, Jerusalem, as the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.

Albright was an influential professor who mentored men who went on to become great scholars.  One was Father Raymond E. Brown (1928-1998), about whom I have planned to write a post.  Another student and worthy successor was G. Ernest Wright.

George Ernest Wright, born in Ohio on September 5, 1909, was a Biblical scholar and archaeologist, as well as an expert in dating ancient pottery.  The son of a Presbyterian minister and graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary became a Presbyterian minister in 1934, the year of his graduation.  He continued his studies at The Johns Hopkins University (M.A., 1936; Ph.D., 1937) under the guidance of William F. Albright.  Wright was Professor of Old Testament History and Theology at McCormick Theological Seminary (1939-1958).  Then he moved to Harvard University (the Divinity School, to be precise), serving as the Parkman Professor of Divinity (1958-1974) and the Curator of the Semitic Museum (1961-1974).  He died of a heart attack on August 29, 1974, aged 64 years.

Wright, like his mentor, was a prominent and influential Biblical scholar.  One of Wright’s primary assertions was that study of the Hebrew Bible was germane to the Christian faith.  (That might seem obvious, but obvious statements need scholarly support sometimes.)  He also wrote two commentaries on Isaiah (one of them for The Layman’s Bible Commentary in 1972), and founded The Biblical Archaeologist magazine.  Furthermore, Wright was a General Editor of The Westminster Press’s Old Testament Library series, for which William McKane (1921-2004) wrote Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970).

Albright and Wright were great Christian scholars and Biblical archaeologists.  Their conclusions have continued to come under scrutiny, some of it baseless.  These saints were mere mortals, so, of course, they did not get everything right.  Nevertheless, they got more right than they got wrong.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [William F. Albright, G. Ernest Wright, 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 William McKane (September 4)   1 comment

Above:  My Copy of McKane’s Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970)

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM MCKANE (FEBRUARY 11, 1921-SEPTEMBER 4, 2004)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

William McKane comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Biblical Studies section of my library, which includes his seminal commentary (all 670 pages of it), Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970).

McKane had a passion for excellence in his academic work, on which he labored until one day before his death.  He did not seem destined for that career, though.  Our saint, born in Dundee, Scotland, on February 11, 1921, dropped out of school at the age of 15 years to become a clerk in the firm of H and A Scott, Dundee.  Soon McKane discerned a vocation for ordained ministry, so he attended night school while keeping his day job.  From 1941 to 1945 he served in the Royal Air Force.  Then, in 1946, our saint matriculated at St. Andrews University, St. Andrews.  He, graduating in 1949, became a minister in the Original Secession Church (extant 1822-1956), which merged into The Church of Scotland.  He was, therefore, from 1956, a minister in The Church of Scotland.  McKane, from 1949 to 1953 the pastor at Kilwinning, married Agnes Howie, his wife for the rest of his life, in 1952.  The couple had three sons and two daughters.  He earned his doctorate from Glasgow University in 1956.  The title of the dissertation was “The Old Israelite Community and the Rise of the Monarchy.”

McKane, who had a distinguished academic career, received many honors, none of which I list here, for the sake of brevity.  His career started at Glasgow University, where he was Assistant in Hebrew (1953-1956), Lecturer in Hebrew (1956-1965), and Senior Lecturer in Hebrew (1965-1968).  During those years McKane translated Book 33 of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, by the Medieval Islamic mystic al-Ghazali; Al-Ghazali’s Book of Fear and Hope debuted in 1962.  In the realm of Hebrew Biblical studies our saint published his commentary on I & II Samuel:  Introduction and Commentary (1963), followed by Tracts for the Times:  Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (1965).  Also in 1965, McKane published his first major work, Prophets and Wise Men (1965), in which he distinguished between the empiricism of the sages and the intuition of the prophets.

From 1968 to 1990 McKane was Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages at St. Andrews University.  He also doubled as the Dean of the Faculty of Divinity (1973-1977) and the Principal of St. Mary’s College (1982-1986).  With Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970) our saint cemented his international academic reputation by helping to restore the study of Biblical wisdom, previously overshadowed by the “salvation history” approach to the theology of the Hebrew Bible.  Other important works were Studies in the Patriarchal Narratives (1979), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Jeremiah (two tomes, 1986 and 1996), and Selected Christian Hebraists (1988).  McKane also served as a translator of The Revised English Bible (1989), one of my favorite versions.

McKane retired in 1990; he was 69 years old.  Our saint remained active during his final years.  He published A Late Harvest:  Reflections on the Old Testament (1995), a collection of essays.  Micah:  Introduction and Commentary followed three years later.  McKane’s final project was a commentary on the Book of Job; he had written though Chapter 33 on the day before he died. McKane died in St. Andrews on September 4, 2004.  He was 83 years old.

McKane is a worthy addition to my Ecumenical Calendar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [William McKane 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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