UCC Research Profiles: John Mee, Law
provide the City of Apeldoorn with a poem to reciprocate the poem they Mr. Koyonagi was instrumental in initiating the twinning relationship. Burning Wyclif, his collection of poems about the 14th-century English theologian , was chosen as an American Library Association personal and subjective nature of our relationship with God. . Pastoral Letter Regarding B Nov B Relationship to intended. 1=Intended respondent; 2=Spouse; .. Have you read books, including poem books to the child or showed pictured books.
And nowhere in this book was there relief from the attempt to convince the world by mere force of assertion that the author was among the group of the chosen ones who were different from ordinary ones and that this justified writing down everything that could be remembered.
It seemed to Robert Johnson that Gertrude Stein all her life had confused the personal with the artistic thinking her life the same as art merely because it was her life and she wanted recognition and saw that artists got it. Robert Johnson let the book slide from his fingers onto the spread in the room and saw the blank blue wall and burst into tears feeling the hot liquid on his fingers. And when it was evening he sat down with a pile of paper and a pen and began to write.
There was a small but excellent school for young ladies in Salawingo that had been founded in by Miss Nettie P. Turkington who had come to visit a friend and had been as she later said shocked that there was not an academy for the young ladies and as Miss Nettie P.
Turkington was well to do as they said in those days and came from Philadelphia she decided to stay and set up the Turkington Academy which soon changed its name to Marshall College after a benefactor.
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It became one of the most select schools for young ladies both from the surrounding area and the city of Baltimore and one of the most refined.
The parents of Robert Johnson had come to Salawingo in when it was still a tiny seaport town still dark and dingy from the neglect it had suffered after the period of its greatest wealth in the s with little streets lined with wooden houses inclining down to the water and the bay enclosed by the sand spits that opened around it and made it calm.
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The bay lapped slow and quiet against the side of the dark wood of the dock smelling of creosote where Robert Johnson sometimes sat watching the water in the afternoons when his parents did not know where he was.
Now it was mostly silent. Marshall College had only just before the arrival of Miss Nettie P. Turkington been a private estate gone to ruin. It had white columns in the front and a greenhouse and formal gardens where clogged fountains trickled and stone figures of Pan sat on pedestals overgrown by the vines. Turkington is said to have taken a look put a monocle to her eye and said it is sufficient simply it is sufficient and nothing more and then the gardens were cleaned the house was opened restored and supplied.
The first year Miss Nettie P.
Turkington had ten young professors and a student body of nearly fifty. She had given a program at the end of which she had sung Home Sweet Home accompanying herself on the piano and Ralph Shapey the grandfather of Robert Johnson had cried though he had not cared for the songs preceding it. Ralph Shapey was well to do as they said in those days and was in business.
And every time Robert Johnson was taken to Baltimore still called home by both his parents he was taken to a big house with a little old lady who spoiled him and fed him sugar cookies so lacy and thin they dissolved on the tongue and let him play with the bell pull on the wall that brought the maid.
But anyhow their daughter Marie was brought up in comfortable surroundings and as her parents were influenced by modern ideas they sent her to Paris from which she returned three years later full of modern ideas herself. The next month they left for Marshall College which was soon to have such a reputation.
Perhaps this is strange.
Many years later Robert Johnson was to remember going to receptions with his mother and father in the big high-ceilinged living room of the college main hall with the dark wood walls and the Persian rugs and the portraits over the fireplace and the alcoves with sofas and chairs and the young women standing about balancing tea cups on saucers that Robert Johnson always hoped would fall off just to see what would happen and the little cookies and the clusters of lights in threes on the wall.
It was his mother who was good at organizing who organized May Day every year on the lawn when the Queen of the May was crowned and the families were invited to come and there was a maypole with the girls in white skirts against the green trees.
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Thus Robert Johnson grew up in a house on one of the quiet side streets of this town that he had known since he was young he must leave in a house behind the county courthouse with the benches along the walkway up to its door where the old men sat under the oak trees in the afternoons.
Robert Johnson was an only child he was as I said born in there had been a baby after him a girl that had died early on and after that there could be no more. And Robert Johnson grew up confused though he did not know it he could not reconcile the knowledge that he would leave this town to the fact that it was after all his life. Was life then someplace else. He spent many hours reading novels and poetry and other things that were not true and of this of course his parents approved his father was a professor.
And so Robert Johnson grew up alone his father occupied with his position his mother with organizing. There were to be sure other children of faculty men and these he knew fairly well in fact he went to Johns Hopkins with one a pale blond boy named Marcus after the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius but there were only a few and they were not very interesting.
And though sometimes Robert Johnson thought about how pretty a girl was that he saw in passing in the corridors or on the lawn this was when he was alone up close they seemed large and sure of themselves and so when he was sixteen and went to Johns Hopkins with the other boys it was something of a relief.
And when he left Salawingo it seemed as if finally he must be about to enter the dream world of Baltimore that he knew only from visits and yet that his parents referred to as home these plain brick buildings on the Homewood campus that he had visited with his parents so often and not far from the large dark house of his grandparents in the rich dark Baltimore of after the War.
At first each thing at Johns Hopkins seemed a part of the dream fresh and new the buildings the other young men the pathways overhung with elm trees the voices of the professors. But of course as is true with all dream worlds it simply with the passage of time became real it simply and slowly as the days passed that first winter disintegrated into the sensation of the edge of his desk against the palm of his hand the sound of the tree branches on his window the chill of the water against his face in the morning.
And he felt it leaving and it was then that Robert Johnson understood for the first time the difference between what is imagined and what is lived it was the first time he felt this strange flattening of life that he was to know once more in his life felt the world lose its golden glow and turn dull. And for the first time in his life he was afraid. He had always been solitary but it had never bothered him now he felt as if others threatened him by their very being.
That spring he read political history he did not know why it seemed as if he must understand to control this world of other people and he was; afraid. And yet time passed one year and then two and Robert Johnson led a solitary life meeting some people who were amusing some that were interesting but no one he really cared for and around the end of the third year after many courses in politics and having settled on the idea of reading law the fear that had laid under the surface all this time simply disappeared.
He was not aware of its going but one day he was aware that it was gone and he became peaceful. And in his last year he began to read books in literature again and one day in late winter while watching the rain against the windows from his room he had the thought that he might become a writer. And he sat down right them and wrote a poem about the rain on the window and he was pleased with himself. And for the rest of the year he read and wrote poems. In the spring there was a poem of his published in the literary magazine the Calumet and he said to himself now I am a real writer.
And it was late in the fall of this year that Robert Johnson with a renewed interest in literature where it seemed that the person was no longer threatened by others came to visit 27 rue de Fleurus and to meet Gertrude Stein. He had heard at Johns Hopkins about Gertrude Stein and the artistic life and he set out to find them.
The people with whom he was staying knew someone who knew a friend of Gertrude Stein and so it was that he knocked on the door at 27 rue de Fleurus and heard the deep contralto voice of Gertrude Stein ask after a pause de la part de qui venez-vous on whose part do you come and he stuttered at first he was unsure as to what to say and while he was still tongue-tied the door swung open and there was a large woman in a shapeless dress and sandals saying well come in anyway perhaps it will be all right after all.
And after he had introduced himself as Robert Johnson from Johns Hopkins the woman had said well come in Robert Johnson and turning abruptly had padded towards a room where there were lights and already several people. The woman settled herself in her chair again motioning Robert Johnson to a place by two other young men who got up quickly to shake hands with him neither of them seemed to speak English and then they all sat down quickly and turned again to Gertrude Stein who motioned towards a thin woman with a hooked nose in the corner with another woman who had not ceased talking quietly.
Miss Toklas she said and the other woman was not introduced then she cleared her throat and as I was saying she went on and she leaned back in her chair half-closing her eyes for a moment.
And so Robert Johnson met Gertrude Stein when he was twenty-one. He came back several times to 27 rue de Fleurus always listening always awed by this new world opening up to him after the easy well-to-do stuffiness of Baltimore and Johns Hopkins the world of the paintings on the walls of the people he saw and sat with this large woman who commanded the most self-assured of all and who ruled this room if not possibly also the world.
It seemed as he walked along the Seine at night looking at the glittering lights of the boats reflected on the water that here was the only solid world this world of people becoming history by their own activities producing works that lived independently of them and would live beyond them this was the possible dream the justification of art. Robert Johnson did not talk much when he went to the rue de Fleurus but he talked and so he was invited back three times.
Gertrude Stein had at first evidently taken an interest in this quiet and interested young man from Baltimore later she may have lost it or decided that he was too quiet or not interested enough.
But he did go three times. Robert Johnson had found a room not far from the Pantheon and he had friends now men and women writers models actors he had met in bars other writers and painters who had parties in tiny rooms filled with smoke. He saw Ernest Hemingway in bars and Picasso at the picture exhibitions everyone saw everyone at the picture exhibitions.
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His believes that in the Holy Scriptures God has made it clear that sexual intimacy is only blessed in the context of marriage between a man and a woman, and that Jesus did not in any way issue a corrective to that understanding.
There might be an argument for taking the bishop to task for his read of scripture and his understanding of everything from sin to sexual intimacy, but that give too much emphasis to his very threadbare argument. And, I must confess, I have little interest in going over all this again. However, on the way to issuing the prohibition that comes at the end of his letter, he also opined about the state of the Episcopal Church.
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A number of these are startling in their condemnation. It is these comments that deserve further attention. Sexual intimacy is a reality in the lives of many people, including same-sex couples.
Assuming such intimacy is a gift, it seems to me the primary givers are the members of the relationship. Understanding that God is the ultimate source of all good gifts, then, of course, the gift of sexual intimacy is finally a gift of God.
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If so, in what larger context does this gift arise? Unless something changes, The Episcopal Church is going to die. Who wants to lead or serve an unblessed church? The death of the Episcopal Church, on the other hand, has little to do with its position on the issue of marriage between same-sex couples.
At some point, our work as a separate Church will be done, and the wider body of Christ will take our efforts into itself and move on. But that death will have little or nothing to do with God removing his blessing. In fact, it may be a blessing to have completed our task as a separate denomination.