Category Archives: Christianity

CCXVIII 

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The first church in the set of acrostics below shall remain blessedly anonymous–but examples are, sadly, not hard to find.  The second was Trinity Fellowship of Toccoa, Georgia, which had a significant ministry in the 1990’s before she succumbed to the fact that she was just too radical for her sleepy little Southern town.  She was formed on the pattern of University Church, Athens, GA. (www.theuniversitychurch.org), which manages still to survive as a testament to the fact that a New-Testament church is not, even in this decadent age, a complete impossibility.

ECCLESIA I

(The Generality, America, Late 20th Century)

Enemies before her would retreat,

Could find no refuge, even in their gates,

Could she but once advance; and yet defeat

Lies heavy on her face.  She hesitates,

Ever stumbling over her own feet.

She cannot lift them, cumbered by the weights.

Insane!  She thinks herself well clothed and rich—

All but naked, headed for the Ditch.

The House where University Church Meets

ECCLESIA II

(When It’s Working)

Fellow pilgrims following the Way,

Ambassadors who serve the King of kings,

Members of the Body and the Head;

Itinerants who seek a place to stay,

Listening, believing, questioning,

Yearning to enflesh the Truth they’ve read.

Overcomers through Another’s might,

Finders of the Joy that seeking brings,

Givers of their bounty: beggars’ Bread;

Owners of white robes and crowns of light

Derived from One who lives but once was dead.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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THANKSGIVING

With Christmas Carols and Christmas decorations taking over the stores when Halloween is barely past, and Black Friday looming right after it, Thanksgiving is a holiday that has a hard time maintaining its position in American life.  And what that position is can be hard to determine, beyond an excuse to consume obscene amounts of Turkey and doze through a football game under the influence of all the Tryptophan flooding one’s system.  I will probably consume a little more Turkey than is ideal for my diet and  watch some football myself.  But I hope I don’t forget what the Pilgrims were thankful for: not prosperity but survival, and a survival which meant a chance to have a new life in which they could worship God according to Scripture as they understood it, without interference from prying magistrate or prelate.  I hope I don’t forget that they thought such freedom something worth risking their survival over.  And I hope I will not be the only one pondering the question whether they might have been right about that after all.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember our Forefathers and what they struggled for.  It is also a time to ponder the virtues of thankfulness in itself.  I remember once at a picnic a rather gaudy, elaborately articulated, and heraldically colored bug flew by and landed on one of us.  We spent a few minutes oohing and ahing over its surreal beauty, and then my friend David Stott Gordon made a profound observation on the moPilgrims2ment.  “It must be rather depressing to be an atheist,” he mused, “because they don’t have anyone to thank.”

 

We are made to give thanks and praise for the thousand little wonders that the world constantly showers upon us.  Think about that football game: When a receiver makes a particularly acrobatic, even balletic catch as the consummation of the incredible timing between him and the quarterback, combining power and grace in the way that only American football allows for, some response is required of us.  We don’t just raise a Spockian eybrow; we pump our fist and shout if it was for our side, and exclaim that it was a great play even if it wasn’t.  The enjoyment of the moment is not complete without the expression of praise.  And if all such wonders are merely chance occurrences due only to the random motion of atoms and ultimately mean nothing–if indeed there is no One to thank–then our enjoyment of the world must of necessity be truncated and incomplete at best.  The holiday can serve as a reminder of the virtue of receptiveness to the blessings with which life showers us, as blessings–as gifts from the hand of God.  The thing we should be thankful for most of all is the fact that as Christians, as people who know the Creator as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have some One to thank.

Pilgrims1

Thanks be to God.

For more of Dr. Williams’ writing, go to the Lantern Hollow estore and order his books, Stars Through the Clouds, Reflections from Plato’s Cave, and Inklings of Reality.

https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/.

CCVIII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Bach’s Philosophy of Composition

Jesu, juva.

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say;

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

“Come, sweet death!”  How so?  Inspiring

Men and women thus to pray?

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say.

 

“Sheep may safely graze,” retiring,

Learn the Shepherd to obey.

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

Musicologists inquiring

Cannot brush the thought away:

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say.

 

“Jesus, help!” he’d write, requiring

Aid on every page.  Today,

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

Every page he wrote, aspiring,

“God’s alone the glory!  May

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,

Be what words and music say.”

 

Just aesthetically admiring

Misses what he would convey:

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,

Stirs the spirit in the clay.

 

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say;

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay–

Drive the dark of doubt away.

Soli Deo gloria.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CCVII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Gerard Manley Hopkins

THEODICY

Hopkins knew the Lord was just, yet pled

The justice of his own request for rain.

ThePsalmist’s echoed accents make it plain,

It wasn’t the first time such words were said.

Even Jesus wondered as he bled

Why God had turned His back upon the pain.

The Spirit’s calculus of loss and gain

Cannot be quickly figured in your head.

 

So when like Job we groan and question why

And plead our case, but seem to plead in vain,

We might remember that the Lord’s reply

Was simply a refusal to explain,

And then a pure, white Lamb who lived to die.

It is enough:  We follow in His train.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CCIII

 Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

What actually happened on the Day of Pentecost?  And how does it relate to modern phenomena that go by the same name?  Not exactly what you might expect.

PENTECOST

(Compared with Later Imitations)

 

Stronger than a hawk, the Dove

Swept by, and in the eddies of

His passing, tongues of flame were fanned

And men fell to the ground unmanned.

They stuttered as their wits were lost

And thought it a new Pentecost:

The merely inarticulate sigh

Of His furious passing by.

 

But when He stopped to build His nest

First in the Apostolic breast,

A different language was expressed

In fit words, honed and well disposed;

Those were not drunk as men supposed,

But spoke real tongues they had not learned:

Thus the true tongues of fire burned.

Men heard about their sins and grieved;

They heard the Gospel and believed,

For each one heard of Jesus’ blood

In his own tongue—and understood.

 

Does that Dove’s nesting in the heart

Drive it and the mind apart?

Never!  Rather, say He brings

The two together ‘neath His wings.

The mind alert was not the cost

Of the primal Pentecost,

Where true wit was not lost, but gained

When the showers of blessing rained.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD