Cool curmudgeons preserve traditions

Fr Hawtin

Tradition is a vital ingredient in the cement that binds society together. And it is the casual shucking off of ancient traditions, for no better reason than they are ancient, that reflects that growing uncouthness that characterizes not only public debate, but so many aspects of society.

Folks who deplore the abandonment of time honored . . . → Read More: Cool curmudgeons preserve traditions

More to a prayer than a mere four short lines

Fr Hawtin

The “Serenity Prayer”—composed by the famous 20th-Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr—is a favorite of many people who are under heavy stress. Indeed, it is virtually the official prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, most of those who frequently resort this great prayer are familiar only with its first three lines.

God, grant me the serenity to . . . → Read More: More to a prayer than a mere four short lines

Praise ye the Lord in the beauty of holiness

Fr Hawtin

The Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer are among the great glories of Anglicanism. A measure of the regard in which they have been held is that some of Christianity’s greatest choral music has been specifically composed for Mattins and Evensong.

Until the middle of the last century, Morning and Evening Prayer services were . . . → Read More: Praise ye the Lord in the beauty of holiness

The high price of failing to honor our principles

A time traveler arriving at this point in time from fifty or sixty years ago would be struck by fact the religious beliefs—or lack thereof—of the candidates in upcoming mid-term elections have figured very little in either the national or local campaigns.

This reflects the fashionable notion that the constitutional separation of church and state . . . → Read More: The high price of failing to honor our principles

Sorry, but Hymns ain’t what they used to be

“Not to know what happened before we were born,” wrote the Roman orator Cicero, “is to remain perpetually a child—for what is the worth of human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history.”

Cicero was certainly no slouch when it came to observing the human condition . . . → Read More: Sorry, but Hymns ain’t what they used to be

Preconceptions and the historical Jesus

Every Christian, I’d venture to guess, has a unique mental picture of Jesus Christ—an image formed in large part by what they’ve learned about him in Sunday School, modified to a greater or lesser degree by what they have learned about him since.

When I was a very small boy, my mental image of Jesus . . . → Read More: Preconceptions and the historical Jesus

Au revoir, but not farewell to a much loved couple

There’s no easy way to break sad news: The time had come for us to bid adieu to Anne and Bill Hawkins. The pair will be leaving Timonium on September 10th to be closer to their family and to make a new home in Llanelli, the small town in south Wales where Annie was born.

. . . → Read More: Au revoir, but not farewell to a much loved couple

It’s a fact: Tolerance is a two–way street!

Fr Hawtin

America’s self-appointed arbiters of morality devote much time and energy to lecturing the peasantry (that’s us) on the need for “tolerance”—a virtue that apparently entails accepting uncritically all manner of unpleasant, antisocial and offensive behavior.

Since I hail from England, tolerance is an area in which I claim a modest degree of expertise. The . . . → Read More: It’s a fact: Tolerance is a two–way street!

Explaining the Anglican two finger typographical tradition

The British Railways Lost Property Office was the place where travelers were usually able to retrieve overcoats, umbrellas or briefcases absent-mindedly left on station benches and carriage luggage racks.

Indeed, it was quite normal in the distant, rather more honest, days of my youth for folks to turn in lost items rather than making . . . → Read More: Explaining the Anglican two finger typographical tradition

The remarkable life of the father of English hymnody

Isaac Watts

Soon after Charlotte and I married, my mother-in-law revealed to me her secret for staying awake during long and boring sermons. “I leaf through the hymnal,” she said, “The composers of so many of the hymns are so much more eloquent than the preachers. Just take Isaac Watts.” Our former Associate Rector James Johnson would . . . → Read More: The remarkable life of the father of English hymnody