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Walter Hesford

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Walter Hesford, born and educated in New England, gradually made his way West. For many years he was a professor of English at the University of Idaho, save for stints teaching in China and France. At Idaho he taught American Literature, World Literature, and the Bible as Literature. He currently coordinates an interfaith discussion group and is a member of the Latah County Human Rights Task Force and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow. He and his wife Elinor enjoy visiting with family and friends and hunting for wild flowers.

In Praise of Quaker Colors

I can’t find the passage now, but I know it’s there. Sometime in the late fall or early winter of 1853, Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal that nature now has Quaker colors.

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Do We Worship at the Church of the NFL?

I value supportive prayer and rejoice like everyone else in Hamlin’s recovery, but I am made a bit uncomfortable by the public displays of Christian piety common on football and other sport fields. What about all the non-Christians among players and fans? Who is not included in the circles of prayer? I am uncomfortable in general with the merging of sports and religion.

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Are Us Old Folk More Spiritual?

old folk

For Christmas, my 80 year-old-brother gave me, soon to turn 77, Priscilla Long’s "Dancing with the Muse in Old Age."  A celebration of artists and others who do great work in their later years, Long’s book includes a short discussion on “A Spiritual Life” in which she posits that “in old age many persons become more spiritual.”

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The Evil in this World: Do You Renounce the Devil?

“Do you renounce the devil and all the forces that defy God? ... Do you renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God? ... Do you renounce the ways of sin that draw you from God?” These three questions are asked in Baptism and Confirmation services in my Lutheran church and probably in similar services in some other Christian churches. To each question, those assembled are asked to respond, “I renounce them.”

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Advent Is One of Many Religious Paradoxes

On December 4, the second Sunday of Advent, the pastor of my congregation reminded us that this season is traditionally considered “a little Lent,” a time for penitence and lamentation. It is also a time of joyous expectation, as we look ahead to the birth of Jesus. This is certainly a paradox. We are asked to be simultaneously sorrowful and happy.

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Confessions of a Denominational Snob

nondenominational church

Confessions of a Denominational Snob Commentary by Walter Hesford I am a denominational snob. Blame it on my wayward New England youth. With my family I faithfully attended a Lutheran church. With friends I worshipped at Roman Catholic, Congregational and American Baptist churches, as well as a Conservative Jewish synagogue. …

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