Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Friday, April 27, 2007

Boreham on Looking Slowly and Praying

F W Boreham often wrote about the importance of ‘seeing’ and his call to be ‘looking through’ ordinary things in order to experience the sacred. While Boreham did not use the term ‘prayer’ to describe this action, writer Alan Ecclestone, in his primer on prayer, teaches people to start by looking further at those commonly experienced “sudden annunciations which occur day by day and are not specifically religious in content at all.” Ecclestone continues:

"Praying at this point means deliberately prolonging, extending, savoring the expression of gratitude so that it doesn’t drop away unused and unexplored. To pray is to make the most of our moments of perception. You pause on the thing that has happened, you turn it over and over like a person examining a gift, you set it in the context of the past and future, you mentally draw out its possibilities, you give the moment time to reveal what is embedded in it."[1]

F W Boreham would have endorsed Ecclestone’s view that a useful starting point was to look slowly and deeply at the ordinary everyday things, but Boreham went on to call people to look reflectively at nature, history, art and literature until they experienced an “ampler vision of life.”[2]

Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama defined the art of theology in simple terms when he said, “Theology … requires the mind to see something more in the ordinary things.”[3] Boreham adopted this approach in conveying theology to his unchurched readers. His role as a ‘pointer’ and his teaching on the art of ‘seeing more’ was an indication of the way he encouraged and trusted his readers to share in the task of theology.

Geoff Pound

Image: “look slowly and deeply at the ordinary everyday things.” A flower upon which to feast your eyes.

[1] Alan Ecclestone, ‘On Praying’, Spirituality for today, ed. Eric James (London: SCM Press, 1968), 31.
[2] F W Boreham, Mercury, 14 August 1943.
[3] Kosuke Koyama, 50 meditations (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1975), 16.

Further Review of Lover of Life

The reviews on F W Boreham’s, Lover of Life, are coming in thick and fast.

I love the one that was sent to Michael Dalton today.

Entitled, JJD, the review can be found at F W Boreham Publishing News, 27 April 2007.

Geoff Pound

Image: Key characters in Lover of Life.

Boreham Points to Daily Life

While F W Boreham pointed his readers to some special spheres where he had found great delight, “the deuteronomy of daily life”[1] was the area he believed was most accessible and offered “a virgin field of novelty and freshness.”[2]

Others, like author Elizabeth Dreyer, who have drawn attention to studying the spiritual in the ordinariness of life, have highlighted the way this focus “reminds us that the reach of God has no bounds.” Furthermore, she says, this spirituality which is “located within the human situation” is attractive because it is unspecialized and devoid of any ‘churchy’ connotation.[3]

Australian poet Les Murray suggested further reasons for exegeting the everyday, when he said, “Human order has at heart an equanimity …. Christ spoke to people most often on this level … all holiness speaks from it.”[4]

Geoff Pound

Image: “the deuteronomy of daily life” was the area he believed was most accessible and offered “a virgin field of novelty and freshness.” Drinking coffee in the Sudan.

[1] James McAuley, ‘Chorale’, in Les A Murray, Anthology of Australian religious poetry (North Blackburn: CollinsDovePublishers, 1986), 164.
[2] F W Boreham, My pilgrimage, 7.
[3] Elizabeth A Dreyer, Earth crammed with heaven: A spirituality of everyday life (New York: Paulist Press, 1994), 81, 106.
[4] Les A Murray, ‘Equanimity’, Collected poems 1961-2002 (Sydney: Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002), 179.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rowland Croucher: Review of F W Boreham’s Book on Mentoring

Rowland Croucher has read and reviewed F W Boreham’s book, Lover of Life.

To read his review and his suggestion as to what you might do with this book click on this link—Victoria Concordia Crescit, 26 April 2007.

Thanks Rowland.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the 'Ten New Blogs' that Rowland has just created, check the same blog and his entry at the 22 April 2007.

Geoff Pound

Image: Rowland Croucher

New Book: The Best Stories of F W Boreham

Mike Dalton and I are excited because Laura Zugzda has just sent us the new cover design (pictured) for our forthcoming book, “All the Blessings of Life: The Best Stories of F W Boreham."

We thought you’d like to have a look at this superb cover and click on the photo to get a closer look.

And what’s behind the cover? There are about 250 of the best stories by F W Boreham in this new book and Mike Dalton has helpfully added some indexes for quick and ready finding of that story that you’re after.

I’ve said in the foreword:

“This volume is a compilation of the best stories of F W Boreham. Such a rating is subjective and the compiler of this book could do another marathon Boreham book and come up with a different selection. If you do not find your favorite Boreham story in this book it may be because it has been saved for the forthcoming Best Essays of F W Boreham.”

“While many readers of this new volume will be devoted ‘Borehamaniacs’ or ‘Borehamphiles’, others may be sampling Boreham for the first time. For such readers the biographical essay by Irving Benson has been included as it provides an introduction and the setting for understanding the life and work of this storyteller.”

And if you’re not familiar with that title and its origins, that’s another story. Here is that story from this forthcoming book, in Dr Boreham’s own words:

"It is great to be alive—at any age. As a small boy, following in the Prayer Book the liturgy of the Church, I was always impressed by one phrase in the General Thanksgiving: We bless Thee for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life. "

"In those days I only dimly discerned the meaning of the phrases that followed—inestimable love, redemption, the means of grace, the hope of glory, and so on. All this, to me, was enfolded in a golden haze. But I loved that opening expression of gratitude. I felt that it belonged to me. I was glad to be alive, and this particular clause gave me the opportunity of saying so. It is certainly good to be alive today."

F W Boreham, Cliffs of Opal, (London: The Epworth Press, 1948), 172.

Do keep an eye on Michael’s blog site F W Boreham Publishing News to learn more about when this book will roll of the printing press and be available for purchase.

Geoff Pound

Image: Front Cover of All the Blessings of Life.

Eureka!: Discovering F W Boreham in California.

Eureka! They’re discovering F W Boreham in California.

If you’d like to read an article about the John Broadbanks partnership between Michael Dalton and Geoff Pound, here is the link to the Times Standard newspaper.

Mike has also posted this at his newly established F W Boreham Publishing News web site with the article entitled: Author Published Again by Long-Distance Teamwork.

Geoff Pound

Image: The Times-Standard Masthead.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Boreham Pointing to Art

F W Boreham’s many references to artists and paintings indicated that art was a significant sphere to which he pointed and encouraged his readers to gaze.[1] His convictions that “art has a special ministry”[2] and “we owe more to pictures than we suspect,”[3] hint at the spiritual dimension of art.

The capacity of art to serve as a subtle ‘pointer’ to God is helpfully discussed by author Richard Harries, when he said:

"True art always has a spiritual dimension. Yet, if religion tries to turn it into propaganda the spiritual would slip away. Works of art inescapably witness, by their truth and beauty to their fount and origin in God himself. Yet religion, always in danger of being corrupted and corrupting does not have this at its beck and call …. It cannot use it for its own ends. It can, however, recognize and praise both the artist and the artist’s God, and, where appropriate seek to express its own deepest truth in works of truth and beauty, regardless of whether the artist has a professed religious faith or not."[4]

Geoff Pound

Image: “Art has a special ministry.” The iconic triptych, ‘The Pioneer’, by the Australian artist, Frederick McCubbin.

[1] References to many of the painters and paintings cited in Boreham’s editorials are listed in an earlier posting, entitled F W Boreham on Art.
[2] F W Boreham, The other side of the hill, 31.
[3] F W Boreham, Rubble and roseleaves (London: The Epworth Press, 1923), 227.
[4] Richard Harries, Art and the beauty of God (London: Mowbray, 1993), 113-114, 139.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boreham Pointing to History and Literature

In thinking about the communicator’s role as a ‘pointer’, the “shining web of history”[1] represented for F W Boreham a source by which people might be enriched from its “priceless hoard.”[2] The historic ‘vaults’ to which he directed his readers included books, shrines, monuments and anniversaries.

Boreham also pointed people towards books because he recognized literature to be “a mirror to the face of life.”[3] When reading, Boreham said, a character in a book “delights us and rebukes us”, thus saving the author from needless moralizing or sermonizing.[4]

Geoff Pound

Image: Boreham recognized literature to be “a mirror to the face of life.” Bernado Strozzi’s painting, ‘Old woman at the mirror’.

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 23 November 1946.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 20 November 1926.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 14 August 1948.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 23 July 1949.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Boreham Pointing to Nature

In adopting the communication metaphor of ‘the pointer’, it is interesting to ask, “To what did his editorials point?”

In his newspaper editorials the Bible was certainly not the first place to which he directed his readers. Furthermore, his editorials had scant ecclesiological references and he did not seek to draw his reader’s attention to the church as the primary place where they might discover truth. Rather, Boreham pointed his readers to various public spheres in the hope that they would come to a deeper understanding of God. One of the spheres was the realm of nature.

In his nature editorials, in which he wrote of the “maxims of the mud”,[1] the “stones articulate”,[2] the “rhetoric of the rocks”,[3] rocks as “the manuscripts of God”[4] and the universe as “the archives of the ages”,[5] Boreham was following the biblical tradition of pointing his readers to “look at the birds of the air” and “consider the lilies of the field.”[6]

Geoff Pound

Image: ‘the rhetoric of the rocks.’ Rock faces from the Hajar mountains, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

[1] F W Boreham, The other side of the hill,152.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 5 July 1952.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 25 May 1957.
[4] F W Boreham, When the swans fly high (London: The Epworth Press, 1931), 63.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 26 October 1957; Age, 5 September 1953.
[6] Matt. 6: 26, 28.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Boreham on Pointing Toward Something More

A major theological idea that undergirded Frank Boreham’s communication was Boreham’s view that theology was seeing something more in ‘ordinary’ things.

He revealed an important insight into his role of encouraging his readers to see beyond the surface of things and experiences when he noted, “The papers that I have written possess no value or importance of their own; but they point to things that no man can afford to miss: that is their only glory.” Boreham went on to link the origin of the ‘pointer’ image to his experience on an ocean voyage, when someone exclaimed, “There are the pointers of the Southern Cross.”[1]

Although, many years later, Archbishop Donald Coggan used the image of a ‘pointer’ as a metaphor for preaching, Boreham drew his analogy from the nocturnal vistas with which his readers would have been familiar—the southern skies.[2]

Geoff Pound

Image: Pointers to the Southern Cross.

[1] F W Boreham, The crystal pointers, 8.
[2] Donald Coggan, Preaching: The sacrament of the word (New York: Crossroad, 1988), 109-110.