Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Boreham on the Kitchen and the Sacred Art of Cooking

There hangs at the Louvre a great painting by Murillo, in which the artist pictures the interior of a kitchen. But the toilers moving to and fro are not mortals in old work-a-day dresses, but beautiful white-winged angels.

One serenely puts the kettle on the fire to boil; one is lifting a pail of water with most perfect grace; one is at the dresser, taking down the plates; whilst a youthful cherub is moving here and there, his face radiant at being permitted to take part in such sacred tasks.

The charm of the picture lies in the fact that no incongruity strikes the beholders. It seems the most natural thing in the world that the angels should be busying themselves with pots and pans. It is not that the angels are degraded into being cooks; it is that the kitchen is made to seem worthy of the angels.

It really seems to me that a school of cookery is an order of priesthood. The cook is not very far from the kingdom of God. He is a priest presiding continually over a frightful hecatomb of slaughtered victims. Innocent victims, too, and innocent victims who have died that, by dying, they may nourish the life of others more guilty than themselves. Upon this holocaust of sacrificial blood the cook gazes continually; and he must be blind as the blindest bat yet born if he does not perceive in it all an expression of that great vicarious law that is the very crux and climax of the gospel. The kitchen table is an altar, if the cook only knew it; and he is himself a priest, presiding every day over scenes of solemn sacrifice. Yes, the table is an altar, and Professor Robertson Smith, that prince of Hebraists, tells us that we miss the whole spiritual beauty of the Old Testament unless we see that the sacrificial altar was the natural evolution of the sacrificial table.

It is not strange, therefore, that the kitchen is sometimes crowded with angels. It would be wonderful, all things considered, if no heavenly visitants appeared there. 'Dining in company is a divine institution,' says Edward White, in his Minor Moralities, 'so let the art of cooking be honoured by all people. Cookery distinguishes humankind from the beasts that perish.

Cakes for angels! The angels in the kitchen! Dear me! How the angels and the cooks seem to meet and mingle at every turn! Between the cooks and the angels there seems to be some subtle affinity, some indefinable relationship! The whole matter is too deep for me, as I feared, when I set out, that it would be.

I can only see that things secular and things sacred are inextricably interwoven. Heaven invades earth at every point; and the more sweetly human a thing is, the more solemnly divine it is as well. I cannot write half a dozen lines about cooks without coming on the angels; and next time I venture tremblingly into the kitchen I shall confidently expect to hear such songs as the shepherds heard in the fields near Bethlehem.

F W Boreham, ‘The Angel of the Kitchen’, The Golden Milestone (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 169-177.

Image: Murillo’s Angels in the Kitchen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Stories by F W Boreham

With American Thanksgiving approaching I thought it would be good to select some of the stories (specific and general) about gratitude and thanksgiving that are in the writings of F W Boreham.

This links with the related Stories for Speakers and Writers site where there is a recent posting of Thanksgiving stories.

Some Boreham Stories of Gratitude
Back to Front Generosity
On Leaving a Useful Bequest
All the Blessings of Life
Beauty in the Unexpected
Boreham’s Grace
Boreham on Thanksgiving Day (the story behind the celebration)

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Celebrating Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Boreham on Names and Numbers

I was reading the other day a story of a census taker who was working on the east side of lower New York, and came to a tenement that was literally crowded with children.

To the woman who was bending over the wash-tub he said:
‘Madam, I am the census-taker; how many children have you?’
‘Well, lemme see,’ replied the woman, as she straightened up and wiped her hands on her apron. ‘There's Mary and Ella and Delia and Susie and Emma and Tommy and Albert and Eddie and Charlie and Frank and—‘

‘Madam,’ interrupted the census man, ‘if you could just give me the number—
‘Number!’ she exclaimed indignantly. ‘I want you to understand that we ain't got to numbering 'em yet! We ain't run out o' names!’

The more I see of the world and the more I read my Bible the more clearly do I see that I am living in a world of Marys and Ellas and Delias and Susies, and not in a world of tens and hundreds and thousands and millions.

F W Boreham, ‘My Lost Faith’, The Golden Milestone (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 165-166.

Image: There's Mary and Ella and Delia and Susie and Emma and Tommy and Albert and Eddie and Charlie and Frank and—

Monday, November 19, 2007

Boreham on Discernment Forces

I once heard Dr. A. T. Pierson advise the students never to leave one church for another unless they felt both a propelling and an attracting force at work.

‘Do not go,’ he said, ‘unless you distinctly feel a hand pushing you out of your old sphere and distinctly see a finger beckoning you to the new one! Was I conscious of these dual forces?

F W Boreham, My Pilgrimage (London: The Epworth Press, 1940), 176.

Check out the free, online book, with 40 days of personal reflections and 7 Group Studies on the theme of discernment entitled:

Making Life Decisions

Image: “unless you … see a finger beckoning you.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Boreham on Discernment by Accident

A story with a discernment theme by F W Boreham has been posted on the new site entitled:

Discernment Resources

Image: Statue in Hobart of Sir John Franklin that FWB refers to in the story.

Also on the theme of decision making is a new online book by Dr Geoff Pound at this link:

Making Life Decisions