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Book of Days – June 21 – Summer is Here!
Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 9:15 AM

Bed In Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Book of Days – June 19 – Juneteenth
Monday, June 19, 2017, 6:50 AM

On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops. The following day, June 19, 1865, General Granger publicly read “General Order No. 3” announcing the total emancipation of slaves pursuant to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

This completed the final legal emancipation of all slaves in the areas covered by the terms of that proclamation, namely

the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)].

It is frequently asserted that the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves. This is demonstrably false. The New York Herald and the New York Times reported on the January 1, 1863 celebration of thousands of emancipated slaves in Hilton Head, South Carolina and Port Royal, South Carolina respectively as a result of the Proclamation. One contemporary account estimated that up to 20,000 slaves were emancipated on the first day of the proclamation going into effect. And slaves were continually emancipated thereafter for the remainder of the war, as the Union soldiers advanced into the territories covered by its terms.

Booker T. Washington, then aged 9, remembered the day in early 1865 when the emancipation was effected where he lived in Virginia:

As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. … Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.

And, so, on June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in Texas, with General Granger’s reading of “General Order No. 3”:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

The Final ACNA Ordination Report
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 7:37 PM

Returning recently from vacation I discovered that the fourth and final report of the Anglican Church of North America’s Holy Orders Task Force (primarily on women’s ordination) has now been made available on the denomination’s website.  In an earlier Mere Comments posting, I had predicted the Task Force would conclude:

Arguments pro and con (including the one found here) all carry some weight, but at the end of the day they are, taken as a whole, inconclusive because they are associated with conflicting and inconclusive ecclesiologies [already resident and accepted in the ACNA]. On that account, for the sake of unity, no departure from the status quo, that is, the denominational acceptance of women’s ordination, can be urged. There you have it.

Was I right? Not entirely, for the Task Force, despite the methodological groundwork it had laid in irresolution because of the existence of differing ecclesiologies, was careful not to tell the bishops explicitly what they should do, but employed terminology that tended toward making the change of the current denominational status quo (i.e., ordained women in some dioceses) a long, distasteful, divisive, anger and angst-filled process, making it easier, much easier, not to change anything, and thus to fall back on denominational unity as the principal value to be served, with no weightier theological reasoning than the necessity to accommodate pre-existing ecclesiologies–the acceptability of none of which is apparently open to questioning–that is, the threat of more time-consuming, divisive, destabilizing, and unpleasant theological work.  Better all-round, it would appear, to make unity the thing by waking only one sleeping dog, and doing it carefully:

The Task Force is aware that there is a great deal of anxiety for many in our Province on both sides, who hold this issue to be of great importance. Some may be tempted to act on this anxiety, if their desired outcome is not realized in this report or in the College’s use of it.  We encourage the College of Bishops to be aware of the extent to which anxiety can be a powerful motivator toward detrimental, reactionary behavior and to be a model of peace and stability to each other and the dioceses we serve . . . . Both positions on this issue cannot be right, but both positions are held by good and godly people. Work toward a resolution of this issue must move forward, but it should be done with patience and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  (pp. 316, 318)

The Report is heavily larded with the customary affidavits in defense of the learning, goodness, and godliness of all parties involved.  Alas, another red herring in which this long report seems to have specialized, as in this whole business of treating varieties of churchmanship as bearing on the issue.  A person’s goodness and godliness cannot, we are assured, be tested by his endorsement or rejection of women’s ordination.  Clever, but deceptive, since if someone is right about it, those opposing–who may be good and godly in a general way, but in this case are rejecting his word and will by promulgating error–are behaving badly, even if they don’t usually.  We may certainly believe that the lot of them are Very Nice, but none of that is to the point either.  Right doctrine and practice is good and godly; bad teaching and disobedience is not, and the question here is which of the two mutually exclusive possibilities is right.

My guess is that a number of ACNA members are now wishing they had some way back joined a church where women’s ordination wasn’t even on the agenda, for they are now able to see what happens when the good and godly put it there, in good and godly awareness that “women’s ordination has not been accepted by the whole church, despite its existence for [!] decades.”  (316)

Book of Days – June 11 – St. Barnabas Day
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 2:17 PM

June 11 is the date on which the Western Church remembers St. Barnabas. For today’s writing, Maude O. Coote’s hymn, The Son of Consolation!  On this year of our Lord 2017, St. Barnabas’ Day also falls on Trinity Sunday.  Scripture tells us that Barnabas’ given name was Joseph (Joses), but that the Apostles gave him the nickname or surname Barnabas:

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4:36-37


The Son of Consolation!
Of Levi’s priestly line,
filled with the Holy Spirit
and fervent faith divine,
with lowly self-oblation,
for Christ an offering meet,
he laid his earthly riches
at the Apostles’ feet.

The Son of Consolation!
O name of soothing balm!
It fell on sick and weary
like breath of heaven’s own calm!
And the blest Son of Comfort
with fearless loving hand
the gentiles’ great Apostle
led to the faithful band.

The Son of Consolation!
Draw near unto his Lord,
he won the martyr’s glory,
and passed to his reward;
with him is faith now ended,
for ever lost in sight,
but love, made perfect, fills him
with praise, and joy, and light.

The Son of Consolation!
Lord, hear our humble prayer,
that each of us your children
this blessèd name may bear;
that we, sweet comfort shedding
o’er homes of pain and woe,
‘midst sickness and in prisons,
may seek you here below.

The Sons of Consolation!
O what their bliss will be
when Christ the King shall tell them,
“Ye did it unto me!”
The merciful and loving
the Lord of life shall own,
and as his priceless jewels
shall set them round His throne.


Book of Days – June 8 – Richard I arrives at Acre
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 1:40 PM

On this date in 1191, Richard I, the Lionheart, arrives at Acre, which was then under siege, as part of the Third (or Kings’) Crusade.  Today’s writing is a poem by Richard I, known as King Richard’s Lament.  The following is an anonymous translation.

NO captive knight, whom chains confine,
Can tell his fate and not repine;
Yet with a song he cheers the gloom
That hangs around his living tomb.
Shame to his friends!—the king remains
Two years unransomed and in chains.

Now let them know, my brave barons,
English, Normans, and Gascons,
Not a liege-man so poor have I,
That I would not his freedom buy.
I will not reproach their noble line,
But chains and a dungeon still are mine.

The dead,—nor friends nor kin have they!
Nor friends nor kin my ransom pay!
My wrongs afflict me, yet far more
For faithless friends my heart is sore.
O, what a blot upon their name,
If I should perish thus in shame!

Nor is it strange I suffer pain,
When sacred oaths are thus made vain,
And when the king with bloody hands
Spreads war and pillage through my lands.
One only solace now remains,—
I soon shall burst these servile chains.

Ye Troubadours, and friends of mine,
Brave Chail, and noble Pensauvine,
Go, tell my rivals in your song,
This heart hath never done them wrong.
He infamy, not glory, gains,
Who strikes a monarch in his chains.

Book of Days – June 6 – Birth date of Sir Henry John Newbolt & D-Day
Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 5:31 PM


Today is the birth date of Sir Henry John Newbolt.  The writing for today is his poem, Drake’s Drum.  It is based on a legend that a drum owned by Drake will beat in times of national crisis and Sir Francis Drake will return at its summons, aiding the British nation.  It is, perhaps, especially meaningful on this date, as this is also the anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the Invasion of Normandy in the Second World War.


Drake he’s in his hammock an’ a thousand mile away,
(Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?)
Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
An’ dreamin’ arl the time o’ Plymouth Hoe.
Yarnder lumes the island, yarnder lie the ships,
Wi’ sailor lads a-dancin’ heel-an’-toe,
An’ the shore-lights flashin’, an’ the night-tide dashin’
He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.

Drake he was a Devon man, an’ ruled the Devon seas,
(Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?),
Rovin’ tho’ his death fell, he went wi’ heart at ease,
An’ dreamin’ arl the time o’ Plymouth Hoe,
“Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder’s runnin’ low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I’ll quit the port o’ Heaven,
An’ drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago.”

Drake he’s in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
(Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?),
Slung atween the round shot, listenin’ for the drum,
An’ dreamin’ arl the time o’ Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
Where the old trade’s plyin’ an’ the old flag flyin’,
They shall find him, ware an’ wakin’, as they found him long ago.

Book of Days – Pentecost Sunday
Sunday, June 4, 2017, 2:12 PM

Whitsunday is the British and Irish name for Pentecost Sunday, a contraction of White Sunday.  The origins of the name White Sunday are debated.  For today’s writing, John Keble’s Whitsunday, from his book of verse, The Christian Year.


Also included is a YouTube video of the musical setting for this poem, without singing:


And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts ii. 2-4.

When God of old came down from Heaven,
In power and wrath He came;
Before His feet the clouds were riven,
Half darkness and half flame:
Around the trembling mountain’s base
The prostrate people lay;
A day of wrath and not of grace;
A dim and dreadful day. Click to Read More!

Book of Days – June 3 – Ode to Billie Joe
Saturday, June 3, 2017, 10:48 AM

I’m sure some will find this a somewhat out-of-place writing for this series of posts, but I find Ode to Billie Joe to be a compelling work of poetry.  Country music songwriters are, on the whole, in my view, the best songwriters in popular music.  They tell stories, frequently compelling ones.  Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe is a particularly compelling one, a Southern Gothic, contrasting the suicidal death of a young man with the indifference of those discussing it and the mystery of what the narrator knew to be the cause, a mystery which remains unanswered.  Ode to Billie Joe was released 50 years ago this summer and as the open line dates the fictional events as having occurred on this date, June 3, I decided to post a YouTube video.  I am omitting the lyrics as they are, of course, still in copyright.

Book of Days – June 2 – Birth of Thomas Hardy
Friday, June 2, 2017, 5:00 AM

On this date in 1840, Thomas Hardy was born in Stinsford, Dorset, England. Today’s writing is his poem, The Darkling Thrush.


I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

Insurance companies promoting assisted suicide
Thursday, June 1, 2017, 10:01 AM

“Death with Dignity” laws seemingly manipulated to force treatable patients into the terminal category long before it is necessary to do so.

The home-states for the two patients were California and Oregon. If the patients had been residents of Texas and Florida, then perhaps their treatments would have been approved. Those of you who live outside of the 6 states that currently allow physician-assisted death may want to contemplate Callister’s experience if you should ever vote on the matter. (h/t Legal Insurrection)

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