Sunday, April 29, 2007

Connections again

We finished listening to Amazing Grace: The Inspirational Story of John Newton while sitting in the car upon returning from church. Only a few minutes remained to finish it, so we sat quietly and listened. My throat caught and my eyes became moist. The story is so true, so touching, and so beautifully told. I had listened to this before, and my husband had been listening to this as be drove to and from church over the past few weeks.

As we turned off the car, retrieved the CD, and headed inside for lunch to fill growling stomachs, my husband asked me if I knew who else lived near John Newton and was his contemporary. No, I said, Who?

William Cowper, the hymnist, said he.
Only he pronounced it Cooper. He told me that it is spelled Cow-per but pronounced Cooper.

Interesting. I had just read some of Cowper's poetry this week in The One Year Book of Poetry (Comfort), and in church, we sing one of his many hymns at least once a month it seems. (Every time we ready to sing a hymn in church, while the introduction is being played, I always glance down to see the author of the hymn and the composer of the music. Always. Do you have this habit too?)

My husband told me that Newton was of great comfort to Cowper. Cowper struggled with severe depression much of his life and unsuccessfully tried several times to commit suicide.
His life was providentially preserved. Interestingly, one of his hymns is entitled, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." And Cowper worked with Newton to produce a new hymnal.

To read more about Cowper and see the many hymns he wrote, click here.


I am trying to organize my content for teaching on The Industrial Revolution on Wednesday. The topic is massive. I would love to do a six week study on it. But I only need to do 45 minutes. And I need to do it well. After narrowing the topic, my plan is to try to impress upon the students these main thoughts: what the terminology Industrial Revolution really means, how the IR affected (and still does) all aspects of life, how dramatically it changed life in the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries, and why the IR matters today.

I plan to follow the trivium approach in lesson planning. I've always thought that the trivium grammar--logic--rhetoric stages apply to every stage of development and biblically follows the sequential learning found in Proverbs 24: 3-4 -- knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

While I am trying to gather my thoughts (I will be spending Monday and Tuesday doing this too), husband is watching The Name of the Rose without me. I don't know when I'll ever catch up and got it because I knew I would not get to read the book any year soon.


Kathleen Hamilton said...

Cowper's God Moves In a Mysterious Way is my favorite hymn. I have read a lot about his life--have you ever read Orthodoxy by Chesterton? One of the things that really made me mad about that book was Chesty saying that Calvinism drove Cowper insane. I nearly threw my copy of the book out the window when I read that.

I do the same thing you do with hymns--look at the author, composer, when written, etc.!

Seasonal Soundings said...

How about that! So, when you look at the date written and see the date in the, say, 300s, or 1200, do you get really excited? I do! I've made copies of certain ancient hymns (especially those by Ambrose of Milan) and stuck them in my huge notebooks of material. If I ever get a chance to teach that again, I'll have it already there.

I've had Orthodoxy sitting on my shelf for years and haven't been willing to read it yet. I intend to, but it always gets pushed back. About Chesterton and Calvinism....the teacher of our little country church Sunday School class is really a Baptist cloaked in Presby garb. He has made it plain before his disdain for Calvinism (and this is in a Presby church!!). Of course, to my dh and me, we realize that he doesn't really understand Calvinism. He's not so vocal about it now because we give him a run for his money and derail the whole lesson when he does. [We don't try to derail the lesson; it just happens, if you kwim!;)]

Carol in Oregon said...

Hi Janie,

Cowper was my father's favorite poet. I have his complete works (including all his hymns) and read through them on a semi-regular basis. Some are very funny (i.e. The Diverting History of John Gilpin).

Add me to the Get Excited About Ancient Hymns club! I love to sing hymns that the church universal has been singing for centuries. Of the Father's Love Begotten is one of my current favorites.

Dana said...

Here's a link to an article about Cowper, which I received by email the day you posted....

Me, too! I check the author and tune right away when turning to the hymn.

Praying for your IR lesson plan/lecture.

Dana in GA