Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Boreham and the God of Small Things

Source of Values
F W Boreham’s themes represented an appreciation of small things, a vision of beauty in the unexpected and the discovery of good in what appeared to be the worst. In a late-in-life editorial in which Boreham appealed for a new kind of looking, he revealed the source of these values:

The New Testament represents the record of One who excelled in the sublime art of seeing the best shining through the worst. In a craven coward who had thrice denied Him, he saw a martyr who would dauntlessly die for his faith. In a woman of the street, he saw a saint of intimate sweetness and charm. In a ruthless and relentless persecutor, he saw a singularly winsome and persuasive evangelist. When he passed by, every berry bush stood beflagged with poems and every thoroughfare was brave with pageantry and masquerade.[1]

Countercultural Values
Dr. Boreham’s portrayal of a new kind of seeing involved a practical and holistic theology expressing counter-cultural values. His articles on the contribution of ordinary people, unsung heroes, the anonymous and the imperfect are expressions of grace and point to what contemporary author, Arundhati Roy, has described as ‘the God of small things’.[2]

Too Small for Public Interest?
F W Boreham was aware of the charge that a discussion of ordinary things could be viewed as too small, trivial and therefore beyond the scope of the public interest. While his titles often appeared to be quirky, Boreham believed that the domain of the ordinary and the everyday had a widespread appeal and a timeless quality. His discussions about work, leisure, play, simplicity and quietness suggested by nature’s rhythms, were clearly addressing matters of public concern.

F W Boreham

Image: “every thoroughfare was brave with pageantry and masquerade.”

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 25 February 1956.
[2] Arundhati Roy, The God of small things (London: Flamingo, 1997).