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Vol II No. 5

Goodness had nothing to do with it classical anglicanism from Elizabeth I to Mae West

by
William Noble McKeachie

Dean McKeachie, in the first of a two-part article based on his presentation to the Prayer Book Society’s most recent conference, pays tribute here to the remarkable personality and erudition of the late Fr. William Ralston. He was a man of formidable and diverse talents –as reflected in his being a preacher of note who was also a pianist. He was a leading figure in the founding of the Prayer Book Society and a long serving Rector in the distinguished tradition of St John’s Church Savannah. He was, as the article brings out, a man of wide ranging and always passionate convictions. His early study of the famous apologist William Porcher Dubose firmly grounded the way he deployed his wit and engagement with wider culture in defence of a classical Anglican tradition. Who else could juxtapose Queen Elizabeth I with Mae West to such theological advantage?

I. MIXING MEMORY AND DESIRE

“If only the good were clever
And only the clever were good
This world would be so much better

Than ever we thought it could;
But the good are seldom clever
And the clever are hardly good:
The good are so harsh to the clever

And the clever so rude to the good.”

Such was the Sewanee version of a discerning

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