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Van & Davy

In his book, A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken writes of how he and his beloved Jean Palmer Davis (Davy) came to be married...
In September as the new term began, we were secretly married — secretly because of my father’s forbidding views on early marriage, especially of people still in statu pupillari. Why, then, marry? Not, certainly, as a sanction for sex: we had known each other in the spring without guilt. There was no great reason: there might be in some emergency a legal value in our being wed. And I thought Davy would be pleased—which she was. It was not, assuredly, a desire to feel ‘married’, for we thought of marital attitudes and jokes as destructive of love; and we never did overcomeour distaste for the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’: we said we were ‘comrade-lovers’. Perhaps we had a sense that there ought to be a confirmation by ritual of our deep vows. At all events, one Saturday morning, license in hand, we set forth to find a clergyman in some village far from our usual hau…
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Glenmerle

Glenmerle in the 1950s
In 2013 I published a biography on one of my favorite authors, Sheldon Vanauken. If you are interested, you can learn more and/or purchase a signed copy here: Signed Copy or an unsigned copy here: Amazon.

One of the things that got me writing the book was my search for the location of Glenmerle, Vanauken's childhood home, so lovingly described in his book, A Severe Mercy. A visit to Van's alma mater, Staunton Military Academy, alerted me to the fact that Van grew up in Carmel, Indiana. Then, with the help of a local historian, we identified the location of Glenmerle. 

Because Van had suggested, in my first conversation with him, that Glenmerle was destroyed, I naturally assumed that the house no longer existed. However, another one of Van's fans recently contacted me to let me know that she believed she had found Glenmerle still in existence. I was able to look up the house on a real estate web site and compare current interior photos of the house with…

Increase Our Faith

John Lennox, a professor of mathematics at Oxford University, argues that everyone has “faith” in something—even atheists. Lennox notes that the word faith isn’t just a religious word. It comes from the Latin word fides, which means “trust” or “reliance”. Lennox writes, “The irony is that atheism is a ‘faith position,’ and science itself cannot do without faith.”
Lennox backs up his case by quoting the famous 20th century scientist Albert Einstein who once said, “I cannot imagine a scientist without that profound faith [that the universe is comprehensible to our reason].” The contemporary atheist Richard Dawkins once wrote, “An atheist … is someone who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe …” Notice that the atheist believes there is nothing beyond the natural world because he or she can’t actually prove it. The physicist Paul Davies, who is not a Christian, says, “Even the most atheist…

Journey with Jesus to the Afterlife

Pastors deal a lot with death, and though it may sound strange, sometimes funny things happen in connection with funerals. I was involved in a funeral here at our church not too long ago where I was co-officiating the service. In the middle of her homily, the other pastor officiating the service said, “You know I am a lot more successful at funerals than I am at weddings. Some of the people I marry don’t stay married, but everyone I have done a funeral for so far has stayed dead.”
That statement leads to a question as old as time itself: is there anything after this life? In some ways, our text for today from Luke 16:19-31 answers that very question. Listen for God’s word to you. Jesus said…
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man …

Find Us Faithful

In an article way back in the summer of 2000, The New York Timesreported:
J. P. Morgan & Company, a bank worth $21 billion, was disconnected from the Internet on June 13, 2000 for failure to pay a $35 bill. The venerable Wall Street firm found itself without a Web site or an e-mail connection to the outside world because it had failed to renew the registration of www.jpmorgan.com, the domain name that serves as its address on the World Wide Web. Throughout the day, clients were unable to visit the Web site or exchange e-mail messages with the firm’s bankers and traders. All that frustration could have been averted if Morgan had sent a check for $35 for the annual registration fee to Network Solutions, a domain-name registrar in Herndon, Virginia. It pulled the plug on Morgan six weeks after Morgan’s bill came due and after sending the firm at least three bills, said Chris Clough, vice president for corporate communications at Network Solutions.[1]
It makes one wonder: if J. P. Morga…