Saturday, March 6, 2021

Saturday Good Reads

In the early 1930s, the modernist poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams were at similar career crossroads. Stevens was 54 and Williams was 50. It appeared their great poetry was behind them. And then came a young publisher named Ronald Lane Latimer who published their poetry and relaunched their careers, and he helped launch the careers of several others, including Robert Penn Warren. In 1938, Latimer disappeared from publishing. And it turns out that Ronald Lane Latimer wasn’t really his name. Alan Klein at Literary Hub has the story.  

Amazon recently made headlines with its cancellation of a book questioning the prevailing philosophy on transgenderism. The company’s only response to questions was to point to its community standards on hate speech. And yet, as many critics of the decision pointed out, Amazon seems to have no problem with listing Hitler’s Mein Kampf, with all of its lunatic anti-Semitic ravings. Abigail Shrier at The Truth Fairy talks about book banning in an Age of Amazon.


Tim Challies has been writing about his son Nick; the young man died suddenly and unexpectedly during a sports game at college in Kentucky, where he was studying for the ministry. Many of us might question why. That’s not where Challies goes. He’s written several posts honoring the boy’s life, including this one, “To My Son on His Twenty-First Birthday.”


More Good Reads




The Deepening Life of Prayer – Malcolm Guite, George Herbert, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Gwyneth Lewis, Kelly Belmonte, and John Donne.


“The Magpie’s Chorus” and “Brighter Horizons” – David Watt at Society of Classical Poets.


Truth is never lost, a spoken word poem – Seth Lewis.




The Lens Through Which a Christian Views Reality – Michael Kelley at Forward Progress.


How to Capture a Child’s Heart: Wrap Truth in Story – Carl Laferton at Desiring God.


Live According to a Plumb Line, Not a Pendulum – Alan Shlemon at Stand to Reason.


British Stuff


Hurst Castle Could Have Been Saved – Brice Stratford at The Critic Magazine.


The London Alphabet – Spitalfields Life.


Writing and Literature


What is an Author Platform? – Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent.


Innocence Lost: Reading 19th Century American Literature – Paul Krause at The Imaginative Conservative.


Life and Culture


Once Upon a Presidency – Joshua Hochschild at The American Mind (Hat Tip: James Mathew Wilson).


Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracism Can’t Heal Us – John Hanna at The Gospel Coalition.




So, Who Were the Khazars? – Dan Shapira at Tablet Magazine.


The Present

Painting: The Woman Reading in a Garden (1903), oil on canvas by Yeghishe Tadevosyan (1870-1936)

Friday, March 5, 2021

Two become famous

After Acts 6:1-7

They are chosen almost
by acclamation, their character
and behavior known and
admired. Reputation is
the decisive factor, the men
chosen to serve the body,
officers of daily distribution
to the needy, chosen to calm
a complaint of partiality. 
Seven chosen, seven names 
noted, seven names remembered 
through all time. Seven chosen,
two explained – one a martyr,
one an evangelist. One dies
for speaking truth. The other
flees to Samaria, confronts
a sorcerer, teaches an Ethiopian,
preaches in Philistia and Caesarea,
One named Stephen.
One named Philip.

Photograph by Will Kell via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

“The Football Murder” by Roy Lewis

It begins with a setup involving the police. A minor crook needs to be dealt with; a source gets Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Spate involved. At a racetrack, drugs are planted on Dieter Barschel, a one-time football (soccer) player whose best days are long behind him. Spate, transferred from London to Newcastle, is not above dipping himself into cooperation with villains and hanging out with known prostitutes. This time, these activities will bite him. 

At the preliminary hearing, Barschel’s attorney, Eric Ward, makes short work of Spate on the witness stand. The Crown prosecutor is forced to drop the case. Spate is more than furious; he’s now in political hot water with his boss who’d like nothing better than to boot him out the door.


Barschel asks Ward for a place to lie low; Eric finds an old, abandoned house on the estate of his former wife, Ann. Then Ward is approached by a young woman claiming to be a reporter, desperate to interview Barschel. When Ward brings her to the house, they find Barschel dead from a shotgun blast. The so-called reporter soon finds herself the victim of a hit-and-run. Ward and Spate, who dislike each other on a good day, soon find themselves having to work together to learn what’s really going on. And it’s far more sinister than anyone realizes.


Roy Lewis

The Football Murder
 is the fifteenth Eric Ward mystery by British author Roy Lewis. First published in 2006 under the title of Death Squad, it’s been republished along with the other mysteries in the series by Joffe Books. It’s a fast-paced story, taking twists and turns in almost every chapter to keep the attention focused and usually riveted.


Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too ManyMurder in the MineThe Woods MurderError of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.  




The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Farming Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Quayside Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Diamond Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Geordie Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Shipping Murder by Roy Lewis.


The City of London Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Apartment Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Spanish Villa Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Marriage Murder by Roy Lewis


A Cotswolds Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Wasteful Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Phantom Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Slaughterhouse Murder by Roy Lewis.


The Tattoo Murder by Roy Lewis.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

“An Effort to Understand” by David Murray

It may be the most idealistic definition of communication I’ve ever seen: “With sincere intent and real imagination,” writes David Murray, “all human beings can understand one another.”  

Murray is the editor of Vital Speeches of the Day. He’s the force behind the Professional Speechwriters Association. He leads the Executive Communications Council. He blogs, usually daily, at Writing Boots. He’s spent more than three decades in the communications business; I first met him when he was editor of Speechwriter’s Newsletter, back in the dark ages before social media, web sites, smart phonies, Amazon, and Google. 


He’s also politically blue. But he’s an unusual blue, one who believes that the politically red might actually be worth talking with. And thus his new book, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half.


To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Poets and Poems: Charles Hughes and “The Evening Sky”

Poet Charles Hughes teaches us something about poetry – and the evening sky. When you see the sky of the fading day, late afternoon turning to twilight, you may see a sky of sunlit and kaleidoscopic brilliance, or a sky of muted pastel color, or even neutral grays and whites and fading blues. Hughes sees those things, too. But he also sees life. 

His latest collection, The Evening Sky, is a slender volume of 31 poems exploring and honoring family, memory, people, children, Christmas, faith, and joy. One poem, “Elegy for My Father,” is six connected poems exploring key events in his father’s life – events that shaped his father’s life, and thus his own. 


To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A wise man speaks

After Acts 5:33-42

I hear your anger
and rage, I get it,
I understand, but
cool your jets,
take care what
you do here; you
know what happened
when you condemned
the Nazarene – you
got this before you now.
In your rage and anger
you want to do it again,
repeat the same mistake,
believing you’ll get
a different result. Chill,
people, and consider
all the ones who came
before, making their
claims. You know them,
you remember them,
we ignored them and
they slipped into obscurity,
remembered only
as examples of fools.

If these we see today
are likewise fools,
they will likewise slip
into obscurity. But if
they are from God,
nothing will stop them,
least of all your anger
and rage. Nothing
you do will have
any effect, because
you would oppose
the One who cannot
be stopped. 

This time, the powers
did the unexpected
and the unusual: 
they listened to and
heeded good advice.

Photograph by Susmita Saha via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Good Reads

David Murray at Writing Boots is a longstanding friend of more than 30 years. We met when he was editor of Speechwriter’s Newsletter; today, among other things, he’s editor of Vital Speeches of the Day and director of the Professional Speechwriters Association. He recently reread a novel about speechwriting, The Chronicles of Doodah by George Lee Walker, published in 1986. He calls the novel an “unreliable time capsule.” I haven’t read it; from David’s description, it both rings and doesn’t ring true to my own experience.  

David has a new book being published this coming week, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half. I’ve recently read it, and I’ll have more to say next week. For now, if you value communication, this is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. I say that as one who stands on the moderately reddish side of the political spectrum about a book written by an author on the bluish side of the spectrum.


In St. Louis, we call it the “Old Cathedral,” the Catholic Church left standing in the shadow of the Gateway Arch when everything around it for blocks was demolished to make way for the national monument. It’s called “old” to distinguish from the one called the “New Cathedral,” located in the city Central West End and its green dome highly visible from Interstate 64. Photograph Chris Naffziger took some pictures of the Old Cathedral and found some 80-year-old photographs to compare it with.


Poet John Keats died 200 years ago this month in Rome at the age of 25. He left behind a body of poetry that is still read and celebrated. The Keats House in Hampstead had planned all kinds of festivities, but then came the pandemic and lockdown. As a substitute, it’s put together a collection of online resources, entitled “Keats and Keats 200.” 


More Good Reads


News Media


3 Values That Drive Social Media – Chris Martin at Terms of Service.


How Americans Navigated the News in 2020: A Tumultuous Year in Review – Pew Research.


Life and Culture


Where as a Nation Do We Go from Here? – Chris Arnade and Michael Lind at Pairagraph. 


How Martin Luther Rewired Your Brain – Joseph Henrich at Nautilus Magazine.


Race, Police, and Innumeracy – Rod Dreher at American Conservative.


American Stuff


The Founders’ Lost World – Richard Gamble at Law & Liberty. 


Slavery Old and New: Comparing Early America with Biblical Times – Thomas Kidd at Desiring God.


W.E.B. Du Bois's Little-Known, Arresting Modernist Data Visualizations of Black Life for the World's Fair of 1900 – Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.


British Stuff


Vanishing London – Spitalfields Life.


Murder in Saxon England – Annie Whitehead at Casting Light upon the Shadow.


Writing and Literature


An Experiment in Criticism of the Literary Canon – Jessica Hooten Wilson at Church Life Journal.


“Demons” at 150: Dostoevsky’s prophetic tale of societal decay – Jacob Howland at The New Criterion.




Why I’m Mostly Quoting Dead Guys These Days – Jared Wilson at For the Church.


3 Marks of the Burden-Bearing Leader – Michael Kelley at Forward Progress.




Owl Ensconced on Oaken Branch – Corey Elizabeth Jackson at Society of Classical Poets.


The Blizzard of ’96 – Merrill D. Smith at Nightingale & Sparrow.


How Great Thou Art – Taryn Harbridge

Painting: Young Man Reading, oil on canvas by Eugen Ispir (1909-1974).