Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Friday, April 20, 2007

F W Boreham Shares His Greatest Secret

What was the secret to F W Boreham’s effectiveness as a communicator in print and in pulpit?

Writing and Speaking that Connects
The notion of ‘connection’ was at the heart of what Boreham was seeking to accomplish through his editorials, essays and sermons and this idea had childhood origins. He revealed that it was when his parents resolved their domestic dispute by drawing on their common faith that he learned about life’s interrelatedness.

What’s the Point of the Church?
He admitted that earlier he had appreciated the church. “Yet one thing puzzled me; I could see no utility in it at all. I used to wonder what end was served by it. It seemed so hopelessly remote from real life and from the pleasures and pursuits of the week”. After witnessing his parents’ pain and the way they eventually made reconciliation, Boreham exclaimed:

"It was here that I made my discovery. Here was the long-lost secret! Here was the connexion between religion on the one hand and real life on the other. I saw for the first time that there was a strong and subtle link between the services of the old grey church and the daily struggle in which my father and mother were so valiantly engaged. The discovery of that day took to itself all the elements of a great sensation. My eyes were opened; the whole world seemed changed. And among the big things of my little life the revelation of that memorable day stands out in bold and heroic relief."

This ‘big … revelation’ about ‘the connexion between religion … and real life’ provides a key to understanding Boreham’s theological approach in his editorial writings. In telling the stories of heroes, some triumph from history or a wonder from nature’s showcase, Boreham was seeking to facilitate in his reader a discovery of the way that the story from life connected with God.

Geoff Pound

Image: “there was a strong and subtle link between the services of the old grey church and the daily struggle.” This is the old grey [?] church—St. John’s Tunbridge Wells or did he have in mind the Immanuel Church that the Boreham family joined, that no longer exists?

[1] F W Boreham, My pilgrimage, 47-50.