Father Hollywood has tagged me to respond to the following question -- What five people, past or present, inspire your spiritual life?? There's an additional rule, which is, being Lutherans, it is assumed that Jesus Christ and Martin Luther would be on the list. Which, in terms of direct influences not just on, but from, what I believe to-day, pretty well sums it up. My reading to-day is about 100% listed on the sidebar element "Book List". So the question really is, What five people, past or present, besides Jesus Christ and Martin Luther inspire your spiritual life? And my answer is not so much who has inspired its content, since they are assumed and not listed, but who got me ready, humanly speaking, to hear it.
1. Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.
Growing up in the pre-conciliar Roman Catholic Church, it was his weekly shows, which I never missed, that brought a greater depth and clarity to what I was taught in school in the Baltimore Catechism series. This was absolutely the foundation of my faith. In later years, I read some of his books, most notably "Life of Christ", which I have seen in Lutheran parish and pastor libraries.
2. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.
Before the groaning starts, let me mention I first heard of him in one of Bishop Sheen's telecasts, who spoke approvingly of him, surprise, surprise. The Divine Milieu, particularly, was of great influence in seeing redemption and salvation inclusive of all creation, and far from being the jumping off place to heterodoxy that he was for some, to me reinforced the pre-conciliar faith.
3. Godfrey Diekmann, OSB.
The only one of the five I knew personally. He was a peritus at Vatican II and one of the leading lights for "reform", liturgical and otherwise. Though him and those around him I got to see "the changes in the church" from the inside out, to know them as those who advocated them, what I am saying, formed them, knew them. I agreed with him on absolutely nothing, but I can find no better description of him than the one Father Hollywood wrote for Pastor Marquart: "Aristocratic in bearing, devout in faith, articulate in discourse, and yet genuinely humble and ever ready to help anyone in need, he was completely fluent in several languages and was gifted in rhetoric. He brought a kindness and warmth to his teaching, which was always designed to make the material accessible to his students - no matter how difficult the subject matter. He was a true gentleman, churchman, scholar, educator, and above all, a genuine pastor." If, at the Heavenly Table, I have a choice for Communion distributors, I shall be in his line.
4. Rabbi J.H. Hertz.
Joseph Herman Hertz was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire from 1913 until his death 14 January 1946. His "Pentateuch and Haftorahs" -- the Torah portions for each Sabbath and festival, with each's associated portion from (usually) the Prophets, along with his extensive notes and essays, was the bedrock for my devotional life during most of the time I was a Righteous of the Nations, ie, not a convert to Judaism but a Gentile who acknowledged the God of Israel and lived by the Noahide Law incumbent on all mankind (which, according to the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts, it still is). His commentary exposed, years before time of the particular proponents I read in theology in college, the utter baselessness of the historical-critical school and method. And, understanding the Scripture from a Hebrew perspective did more than any Christian apologetics to allow me to see Jesus was indeed the Christ.
5. Friedrich Nietzsche/Richard Wagner.
Yeah I know, that's two guys, but as Nietzsche, the only philosopher worth reading, said himself, the two are forever bound to-gether. Though hijacked in support of things grossly at odds with what they had to say, as Nietzsche himself foresaw they would be, the two represent a re-introduction into modernity through new art forms of the Greek classical concept arete, which may be rendered excellence, not at all of the kind meant in "mission statements" littering modernity now. For a completely different stumbling across arete in modernity, try Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
Honourable Mention, that being the rest of the guys who belong on the list if the number weren't limited to five.
Conrad Diekmann, OSB, brother of the better-known Godfrey, whose World Lit I was the greatest class of my life, as the ancient Greek tragedians and comedians (that's when a comedian was someone who wrote non-tragic plays, not someone who mugs in front of the camera to get you to laugh) and Homer came to life. His course on haiku was great too.
Gerard Farrell, OSB, an Eastman School of Music graduate who taught us music from the venerable Eastman Series, which is part-writing based on the Bach (the "Fifth Evangelist" and I sometimes think the best Lutheran I ever read, so to speak) chorales, which taught me to hear music as a linear event in time, making sense out of pretty much any music, and would lead to the next named person. He was also director of the abbey schola cantorum in which I sang, until he was removed and exiled in the pogroms following the Revolution, er, Vatican II.
Heinrich Schenker, the only real music theorist in centuries -- and who like Nietzsche and Wagner has been hijacked in support of things he did not say, though stuff about "structural levels" boring the hell out of college music students is not likely to cause the damage the hijacking of Nietzsche and Wagner has, though it may cost an academic his job here and there.
Lao Tsu, whose Tao-Te-Ching, if there is no revelation, is the highest to which Man can reach.
The Confessional Lutheran Blogosphere, especially the blogs listed on my sidebar element "Lutheran Blogs", who at first showed me that, whatever else there may be in LCMS, it is where Lutherans such as myself are too in greatest numbers, and now continue to feed me. In particular, the blogs by Pastors Weedon, Beane and Snyder.
That's it. I'd have put BB King, the other Luther in my life, Allison, and Modern Jazz Quartet in there but they didn't ask about music. I don't know who to tag either, since the ones I would think of tagging have already been tagged. So, if you want to be tagged, you're it!