Congregation: Stories and Structures by James F. Hopewell
At the time of his death in 1984, James F. Hopewell was Professor of Religion and the Church and Director of the Rollins Center for Church Ministries at the Candler School of theology, Emory University. Published by Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1987. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.
Chapter 8: Three Congregations
The intent of this chapter is to observe how in each of three instances a myth helps express and explore the genius that characterizes a congregation. The subjects are three ordinary congregations, two from the same denomination and two drawing their membership from the same neighborhood. In spite of their similarities of affiliation and context, however, each of the churches displays a remarkably different ethos. For each a myth will be related that seems to catch up the special sort of crisis, proficiency, mood, and hope that individuates that church. Myth, as argued earlier, is a way of catching sight of one’s corporate self. A good myth, from the perspective of this study of parish story, would be one that leads us into the thick of local church characterization.
The community I call Corinth,1 the town in which I spent my sabbatical year, has changed during the last thirty years from a rural, rather backward county seat town into a satellite community for a large metropolitan area. Its population has doubled once and a half since 1960, the growth due to the influx of families of persons who work in the large city or in new local industries and service agencies, or who retire in Corinth, attracted by its extensive recreational facilities. The two "first churches" in town, Baptist and Methodist, both constituted at Corinth’s founding nearly 150 years ago, have been profoundly altered by the newcomers. Membership in each has more than doubled since 1970, First Baptist now numbering 900 and First Methodist 400. Surprisingly few current members are county natives; only 5 percent of the Methodists have lived there from birth, and about 30 percent of the Baptists. The natives go to church elsewhere. They feel more at home in smaller churches farther away from the courthouse square, and frequently voice their suspicion of the modernist, watered-down religion of the first churches. Although some farmers are prominent and many politically significant in the county that surrounds Corinth, no farmer is a member of either First Baptist or First Methodist. The first churches serve instead white, middle-class business and professional families. Since they are close neighbors and business associates, the worshipers in the first churches find little religious or theological distinction between the two congregations, and some of them expressed discomfort with my attempt to discuss with them whatever differences there might be. Older members preferred to recall the period prior to 1940 when neither congregation had a full-time pastor and they would all attend one church on one Sunday and the other on the next, and in the same way attend together the staggered meetings of the Epworth League and the Baptist Training Union.
The third congregation described in this chapter is also United Methodist, but a younger church built to accommodate a major white population shift in the 1960s to a new suburban region within the metropolis itself. Lyle Schaller would term Bigelow Methodist a "teenaged church," because it is roughly that old and also because, after a spectacular growth to 1,250 members, it suffered an adolescent malaise that afflicted both its spirit and its program. The church is only now recovering. Bigelow serves primarily the families of business executives, many of whom travel throughout the week but live less than a ten-minute automobile ride away from its nondescript architecture. Two nearby Methodist churches enjoyed better fortune during the time of Bigelow’s affliction, and the people of Bigelow frequently base their self-assessment upon their sense that the programs in the two other churches are livelier and church life more opulent.
World view test scores for the three churches were the following:
Canonic Gnostic Charismatic Empiric
Bigelow methodist (n=97) 25.2% 11.1% 17.0% 46.8%
Corinth methodist (n=99) 24.8 15.5 13.3 46.4
Corinth Baptist (n=114) 43.8 8.5 19.2 28.6
Differences between the world views of the two Methodist churches are relatively minor. The Baptist church is, as we shall see, far more distinct.
The character of each church is illumined by a myth. Corinth Baptist follows the pattern of Oedipus. The New Larousse Enclopedia of Mythology summarizes the Oedipal myth as follows:
Laius, son of Labdacus, king of Thebes, had married Jocasta. Having been warned by an oracle that his son would one day kill him Laius carried the child to which Jocasta had just given birth to Mount Cithaeron. He pierced the infant’s feet with a nail and tied them together solidly, hoping thus to be rid of him. But a shepherd found the child and took him to Polybus, King of Corinth, who adopted him and named him Oedipus because of his wounded foot. When Oedipus had grown up he learned his destiny from an oracle who told him that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus believed that he could escape this fate by exiling himself for ever from Corinth, never again seeing Polybus and his wife whom he assumed to be his true parents. This scruple was his own undoing. He went to Boeotia and on the road quarreled with an unknown man whom he struck with his staff and killed. The victim was, indeed, Laius, his own father. Oedipus continued on his journey without suspecting that the first half of the oracle’s prediction had been fulfilled. He arrived in Thebes where he learned that the region was being devastated by a fabulous monster with the face and bust of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. Guarding the road to Thebes the Sphinx -- as the monster was called -- would stop all travelers and propose enigmas to them; those who were unable to solve her riddles she would devour. Creon, who had governed Thebes since the recent death of Laius, promised the crown and the hand of Jocasta to the man who delivered the city from this scourge. Oedipus resolved to attempt the feat. He was successful. The Sphinx asked him: "Which is the animal that has four feet in the morning, two at midday and three in the evening?" He answered: "Man, who in infancy crawls on all fours, who walks upright on two feet in maturity, and in his old age supports himself with a stick." The Sphinx was vanquished and threw herself into the sea.
And thus, still without realizing it, Oedipus became the husband of his mother, Jocasta. From their union two sons were born, Eteocles and Polyneices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. Oedipus, in spite of the double crime he had innocently committed, was honored as a sovereign, devoted to his people’s welfare, and appeared to prosper. But the Erinnyes were waiting. A terrible epidemic ravaged the land, decimating the population, and at the same time an incredible drought brought with it famine. When consulted, the oracle of Delphi replied that these scourges would not cease until the Thebans had driven the still unknown murderer of Laius out of the country. Oedipus, after having offered ritual maledictions against the assassin, undertook to find out who he was. His inquiries finally led to the discovery that the guilty man was none other than himself, and that Jocasta whom he had married was his mother. Jocasta in shame and grief hanged herself and Oedipus put out his own eyes. Then he went into exile, accompanied by his faithful daughter Antigone. He took refuge in the town of Colonus in Attica and, at last purified of his abominable crimes, disappeared mysteriously from the earth.2
In the same town, Corinth Methodist presents a character shared with the myth of Orpheus, here told by Edith Hamilton:
A few mortals [were] so excellent in their [music] that they almost equaled the divine performers. Of these by far the greatest was Orpheus. On his mother’s side he was more than mortal. He was the son of one of the Muses and a Thracian prince. His mother gave him the gift of music and Thrace where he grew up fostered it. The Thracians were the most musical of the peoples of Greece. But Orhpeus had no rival there or anywhere except the gods alone. There was no limit to his power when he played and sang. No one and nothing could resist him.... Everything animate and inanimate followed him. He moved the rocks on the hillside and turned the courses of the rivers.
Little is told about his life before his ill-fated marriage, for which he is even better known than for his music, but he went on one famous expedition and proved himself a most useful member of it. He sailed with Jason on The Argo, and when the heroes were weary or the rowing was especially difficult he would strike his lyre and they would be aroused to fresh zeal and their oars would smite the sea together in time to the melody. Or if a quarrel threatened he would play so tenderly and soothingly that the fiercest spirits would grow calm and forget their anger. He saved the heroes, too, from the Sirens. When they heard far over the sea singing so enchantingly sweet that it drove out all other thoughts except a desperate longing to hear more, and they turned the ship to the shore where the Sirens sat, Orpheus snatched up his lyre and played a tune so clear and ringing that it drowned the sound of those lovely fatal voices. The ship was put back on her course and the winds sped her away from the dangerous place. If Orpheus had not been there the Argonauts, too, would have left their bones on the Sirens’ island.
Where he first met and how he wooed the maiden he loved, Eurydice, we are not told, but it is clear that no maiden he wanted could have resisted the power of his song. They were married, but their joy was brief. Directly after the wedding, as the bride walked in a meadow with her bridesmaids, a viper stung her and she died. Orpheus’ grief was overwhelming. He could not endure it. He determined to go down to the world of death and try to bring Eurydice back....
He dared more than any other man ever dared for his love. He took the fearsome journey to the underworld. There he struck his lyre, and at the sound all that vast multitude were charmed to stillness. The dog Cerberus relaxed his guard; the wheel of Ixion stood motionless; Sisiphus sat at rest upon his stone; Tantalus forgot his thirst; for the first time the faces of the dread goddesses, the Furies, were wet with tears. The ruler of Hades drew near to listen with his queen. Orpheus sang . . . [and] no one under the spell of his voice could refuse him anything. He
Drew iron tears down Pluto’s cheek,
They summoned Eurydice and gave her to him, but upon one condition: that he would not look back at her as she followed him, until they had reached the upper world. So the two passed through the great doors of Hades to the path which would take them out of the darkness, climbing up and up. He knew that she must be just behind him, but he longed unutterably to give one glance to make sure. But now they were almost there, the blackness was turning gray; now he had stepped out joyfully into the daylight. Then he turned to her. It was too soon; she was still in the cavern. He saw her in the dim light, and he held out his arms to clasp her; but on the instant she was gone. She had slipped back into the darkness. All he heard was one faint word, "Farewell."
Desperately he tried to rush after her and follow her down, but he was not allowed. The gods would not consent to his entering the world of the dead a second time, while he was still alive. He was forced to return to the earth alone, in utter desolation. Then he forsook the company of men. He wandered through the wild solitudes of Thrace, comfortless except for his lyre, playing, always playing, and the rocks and the rivers and the trees heard him gladly, his only companions. But at last a band of Maenads came upon him. They were as frenzied as those who killed Pentheus so horribly. They slew the gentle musician, tearing him limb from limb, and flung the severed head into the swift river Hebrus. It was borne along past the river’s mouth on to the Lesbian shore, nor had it suffered any change from the sea when the Muses found it and buried it in the sanctuary of the island. His limbs they gathered and placed in a tomb at the foot of Mount Olympus, and there m this day the nightingales sing more sweetly than anywhere else.3
And, as might befit a teenaged church, Bigelow Methodist is described in the fairy tale of Briar Rose, here told by the brothers Grimm, translated by Francis Magoun and Alexander Knappe:
In days of yore there was a king and a queen who every day used to say, "Oh, if we only had a child!" yet they never had one. Once when the queen was bathing, it happened that a frog crawled ashore out of the water and said to her, "Your wish will be fulfilled: before a year’s out, you’ll give birth to a daughter." What the frog said came to pass, and the queen gave birth to a girl; she was so beautiful that in his joy the king didn’t know what to do and arranged a great feast. He invited not only his relatives, friends, and acquaintances, but also the wise women, that they might be gracious and well disposed toward the child. There were thirteen of them in his kingdom, but because he had only twelve gold plates from which they might eat, one of them had to stay home. The feast was celebrated with all splendor, and when it came to an end, the wise women presented the child with their marvelous gifts. One gave it virtue, the second beauty, the third riches, and so on, with everything the heart desires. When eleven had finished bestowing their gifts, suddenly the thirteenth came in. She wanted to revenge herself for not having been invited, and without greeting anyone or so much as looking at anyone, she cried out in a loud voice, "In her fifteenth year the king’s daughter will prick herself with a spindle and fall down dead." Without another word she turned about and left the hall. Everybody was frightened. Then the twelfth, who still had her wish left, stepped up and because she couldn’t undo the evil gift but merely temper it, said, "It won’t be a real death; the princess will fall into a hundred years’ deep sleep."
The king wanted to guard his dear child against this misfortune and issued a decree that all spindles throughout the whole kingdom should be burned. The gifts of the wise women were, however, quite fulfilled in the girl, for she was so beautiful, well mannered, friendly, and intelligent that whoever looked at her couldn’t help loving her. On the very day she became fifteen the king and the queen happened not to be at home, and the girl was left all alone in the palace. She went all about, looking into rooms and chambers to her heart’s content, and finally even got to an old tower. She climbed up the narrow winding stairs and came to a little door. There was a rusty key in the lock, and when she turned it, the door flew open and in the little room was sitting an old woman with a spindle and spinning her flax industriously. "Good day, Granny," said the king’s daughter, "what are you doing there?" "I’m spinning,,, said the old woman, bobbing her head. "What sort of thing is it that’s jumping about so gaily?" asked the girl. She took the spindle and wanted to spin too, but no sooner had she touched the spindle than the spell started working and she pricked her finger with it.
The very moment she felt the prick, she fell down on the bed there and lay in a deep sleep. This sleep spread over the whole palace: the king and the queen, who’d just come home and had entered the great hall, fell asleep, and the entire court with them. The horses in the stable also fell asleep, the dogs in the courtyard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the wall, even the fire that was flickering on the hearth died down and fell asleep, and the roast stopped sizzling, and the chef who was about to pull the scullery boy’s hair because he’d done something wrong let the boy go and fell asleep. The wind died down and not a leaf stirred on the trees in front of the palace.
Around about the palace a hawthorn hedge began to grow. This grew higher every year and finally surrounded the entire palace and even grew out beyond it, so that nothing more was to be seen of it, not even the flag on the roof. The legend of the beautiful sleeping Briar Rose—for such was the name of the king’s daughter—went about the country, so that from time to time kings’ sons came and tried to break through the hedge and reach the palace. They found it impossible, however, for the hawthorn bushes held together as if they had hands, and the young men remained stuck in them, couldn’t get free, and died miserable deaths. Once again after many, many years, a king’s son came to the country and heard an old man telling about the hawthorn hedge: a palace was said to be behind it, in which a most beautiful king’s daughter, named Briar Rose, had already been sleeping a hundred years, and the king and the queen and the whole court sleeping along with her. From his grandfather the old man also knew that many kings’ sons had already come and tried to break through the hawthorn hedge but had remained stuck in it and had died miserable deaths. Then the youth said, "I’m not afraid; I’ll go out and see the fair Briar Rose." No matter how hard the good old man tried to dissuade him, he wouldn’t listen to his words.
Now the hundred years were just up, and the day had come on which Briar Rose was to wake up again. When the king’s son approached the hawthorn hedge, there were nothing but beautiful big hawthorn blossoms that moved aside of themselves and let him through unharmed, closing again behind him like a hedge. In the palace courtyard he saw the horses and spotted hunting dogs Lying asleep; on the roof were perched the pigeons with their heads under their wings. When he entered the house, the flies were asleep on the walls. In the kitchen the chef was still holding his hands as if about to take hold of the scullery boy, and the kitchen maid was sitting in front of the black chicken which she was supposed to pluck. Then he went on and in the great hall saw the whole court lying asleep, and up near the throne lay the king and the queen. He went on still farther, and everything was so quiet that one could hear oneself breathe. Finally he got to the tower and opened the door of the small room in which Briar Rose was sleeping. There she lay and was so beautiful that he couldn’t turn his eyes away and stooped down and kissed her. As he touched her with his lips, Briar Rose opened her eyes, woke up, and looked at him in friendly fashion. Then they went downstairs together, and the king woke up and the queen and the whole court, and they all looked at one another in astonishment. The horses in the courtyard got up and shook themselves; the hounds jumped about, wagging their tails; the pigeons on the roof drew their heads from under their wings, looked about, and flew out into the country. The flies on the walls went on crawling; the fire in the kitchen came up, blazed, and cooked the meal; the roast began to sizzle again; and the chef boxed the scullery boy’s ears so that he cried out; and the maid finished plucking the chicken.
Then they celebrated the wedding of the king’s son with Briar Rose in all splendor, and they lived happily until their death.4
To compare the distinct characters of each of the three churches we shall treat each story four times. In succeeding rounds we shall note: (1) how each church finds an integrity in crisis, (2) its manner or proficiency, (3) its mood, and, finally, (4) its expectation.
1. The Theme of Crisis and Integration
"Violence," says René Girard, "is the heart and secret soul of the sacred,"5 yet its presence in congregational life in expressions other than Christ’s crucifixion is frequently ignored.6 But the character of each of the three parishes examined here develops in relation to a specific, if symbolic, death, making a virtue of it and knitting its consequence into the patterned behavior of that church. Samuel Heilman reports a similar phenomenon, which he calls "symbolic murder," in a study of a synagogue.7
1a. Threshold death. At Corinth Methodist the death that became a symbol was that of a small child. Three years earlier the infant son of Sam Singer, the pastor, had died suddenly, and this tragedy had become critical to the church’s self-understanding. "I’m frankly up to here with the death of his baby," muttered one parishioner recently, but in spite of several muted objections, the frequent representation of that innocent death altered the manner in which the parish comprehended and behaved itself. A member recalls:
Before he died, for a short time we didn’t have a unifying thing. His death unified us in sadness, but we began to live on a caring basis. It was a time of massive compassion; group compassion. And it made a difference in Sam. In his own spiritual growth. He had not been touched by grief personally, but now Sam knows personally what he is saying. He is better able to minister. And see the things that have happened.
The things that happened after the death included the increase of membership and worship attendance to the extent that the church later won the conference evangelism prize. After the death, more laity volunteered for church posts than there were positions, and Sam’s perception of his own ministry notably deepened:
I always knew the mechanics of ministry, what is expected of a minister, but there is a tremendous difference in the gut level feeling and in the way you do that ministry. I have been around death all my life and was told "You do good funerals," but now I think I have a new understanding.... [I now have a] ministry in the midst of death. And this is why we stay here in Corinth. You know I’m on the move list, but we’re going to stay.
The child’s mother, Sam’s wife, refers to:
the strength we found and the strength [the church] found. Not just lip service. God is really here. For the first time in my Christian life I really had to grasp that strength. It was kind of like John Wesley: no blinding light, but I was strangely warmed.
From the sudden death of a child came an unprecedented cohesion, strength, purpose, and exertion to Corinth Methodist.
Orpheus also signifies the potent promise beyond death. He crosses the threshold, charms the powers of death with sublime music, and wins from them the right to bring his beloved Eurydice back to life. He nearly succeeds but loses her at the last step before the threshold. When the head of Orpheus was ripped from his body by the Maenads of Thrace, it survived to deliver oracles from a fissure of rock on Lesbos. A principal teaching of the Orphic mysteries was that death was but a threshold to another, more powerful life.8
On the Sunday following the death of his son, Sam preached a sermon.
The kingdom of God has already begun in Corinth. It is a long way from being fulfilled, but it has begun. God has promised that he will work through everything for those who love him, and as I have viewed the experience of the life of [my little son], I can see how the kingdom has come.... Oh, my friends, I have been through the valley of the shadow, but I have been to the mountain!
Sam also survives the ritual death of the Methodist appointment system, overcoming the threat of transfer for a full decade. At Charge Conference the spokesperson for the congregation stood up and addressed the district superintendent:
Now, not that we would give you a hard time, but we just sort of dare you to move him.
1b. Displacement. A different sort of death modified the character of Corinth Baptist. It removed "the Godfather," Tom Layce, from the control of the church. "Mr. Layce and persons subservient to him held everything together -- and down." He was so powerful and wealthy that projects were never finished by congregational effort. "We’d always look to him, and he would say, ‘Well, I’ll do the rest of it."’ Sitting in his properties office down the street from his bank, the "Godfather" reminisced:
I was chairman of the board of deacons for twenty-five years, at first the youngest one of them, and now I’m a lifelong deacon. Was chairman of the finance committee, too.... I built one Sunday school plant -- frame -- just built that one myself. Built another Sunday school plant in 1947 but got some help on this one. The church used to stand on a hill on the other side of town. My father moved it to where it now is. I started out ringing the bell and putting wood in its stove.
But the recent newcomers to Corinth Baptist pay their own way, and, unlike the old-timers, they had accumulated neither a moral nor a monetary debt to Layce. They allied themselves with Robert Foote, the new Baptist pastor. Said Layce:
The newcomers are all on Robert’s side; they all came in under him. And, if the old and the new disagree, we old ones would be outvoted. You can just see that and feel it.
In an epic scene that reminded observers of King John signing the Magna Carta, Robert and the newcomers wrested the power from Layce. For a century and a half the church had operated without a constitution and with no way to rotate deacons off the board. That was changed in conflict culminating in a confrontation between Layce’s group and the newcomers in a private dining room of the local restaurant. Layce backed down. Robert, the pastor, remembers:
My first major hurdle was that we began to develop a constitution and bylaws. Heretofore we had always operated on oral tradition, and there was real opposition to changing this at first. "What do we need this for?" they would say, and they got real suspicious.... Throughout the fuss I never got the feeling my job was in jeopardy, but I was sure uncomfortable. One of the things about youth is that you think you were invulnerable.
Robert recites the benefits of displacing the "Godfather":
The first benefit was that we got new men, new ideas, new experiences. We then worked on education, the children’s church.... Then we began to work up Wednesday Fellowship suppers and mission groups. We put all choirs under one roof. Our fiscal policies began to change; we began to get more money appropriated for missions, going for both home and foreign missions. The church is a lot warmer, even though larger, nowadays.
Edmund Leach explains the central motif of the Oedipal myth:
Roughly what it amounts to is simple enough: if society is to go on, daughters must be disloyal to their parents and sons must destroy (replace) their fathers. Here is the unreasonable, unwelcome contradiction, the necessary fact that we hide from consciousness because its implications run counter to the fundamentals of human morality. There are no heroes in these stories; they are simply epics of unavoidable disaster.9
The story of Oedipus shows repeatedly the murder and banishment required for the survival of the city of Thebes. First the dragon, then the Spartoi, then Oedipus’ father, the Sphinx, and finally Polyneices are killed. Three banishments occur: Oedipus exiles himself from Corinth, and then is banished from Thebes; later his son Polyneices is also banished.
At First Baptist the idea of banishing Robert is mooted among some of the senior members in veiled language. "We want to turn Robert loose; he really needs time to study, meditate." "Our church is trying to relieve the pastor of duties so that he can devote full time to ministry." Tom Layce is more blunt:
I love Robert to death. But preachers after they’ve been around five to seven years become old preachers. They repeat the same sermons. The Methodist way of a preacher staying two or three years is much better than ours. But I’m not going to make any noise about this.
1c. Death by rescue. Bigelow Methodist killed the pastor who tried to rescue the church, stopping him before he really got started. The Briar Rose myth is the Sleeping Beauty tale in which the thick briar hedge imprisons the castle, protecting its sleeping occupants during their hundred-year slumber. The news of a sleeping princess spreads, and various kings’ sons attempt to penetrate the briars to reach her, only to be impaled and killed by the thorns. They were premature. Julius Heuscher writes of the adolescent: "His ideas though noble, delicate or princely, are still immature and brittle and cannot yet become a fully effective part of the adolescent’s real life. They perish at the contact with the rude aspects of reality, just like the young princes who came too early to Briar Rose’s castle."10
The king’s son who came to Bigelow was told by his district superintendent (who himself had founded Bigelow nineteen years earlier) to shake them up: "Your vigorous approach to ministry is just what Bigelow needs now, and they will respond to it." Bringing a reputation as a successful pastor in a smaller and somewhat more naive congregation, Bill Prince unfortunately let it be known that he considered himself a missionary going to sluggish Bigelow. Before Bill’s time the title of the church newsletter was first "The Briar Patch" and later "The Grapevine." When he came, he changed its name to "The Visitor." But, as Bill said a year later, "A master who wakens the dog stands the chance of being bitten." He was indeed bitten, and six months after that he was removed from the charge.
The congregation was not prepared for Bill. His predecessor was a much-loved "lazy good ole boy" who at the end of his Bigelow pastorate let the church lapse into lethargy. Given an opportunity to move to a better appointment in midyear, the predecessor left abruptly and did nothing to dispel the impression that the conference had forced that decision upon him. The bereft congregation impaled Bill with their anger. Bill had an aggressive style of ministry and a decidedly more canonic world view than did the Bigelow congregation:
I have some definite ideas about what it takes to develop a dynamic, successful, good, local church. I am structurally oriented to the Methodist Church and I know how it is to be organized. Bigelow didn’t have the right committees: no work areas, only chairmen.... Basically my sermons are all calls for commitment to the institutional church, the Church of the Living Christ. I expect a sermon to be a discipling process. Of course there are levels of commitment among people, but I try to conclude each sermon with a challenge that calls for a decision.
As one church official put it, "He came in like dropping Mein Kampf on my desk." Bill announced that the church would not have a "retreat" that year; its sessions would be called an "advance." He seldom took time off. He was tireless in the pursuit of what he considered a "positive, enthusiastic approach [that] was the type of ministry this church wanted."
"Bill," sighed one of the members, "has no capacity to be seductive."
Bigelow resisted Bill from the day of his arrival. They presented him with what he felt was a messy parsonage. He was not invited to intimate occasions of parish grief and celebration. Bill summed up the relationship a year later:
I literally feel like I am preaching to a wall. They sit there with their arms crossed, saying, "O.K., let’s get it over with and get home." There has been real, gross rejection of my leadership. I am amenable to leaving because of the hell I’ve been through in the last twelve months and the hell yet to come.
Bill was glad to leave eighteen months after his arrival, and few members of the congregation regretted his leaving. Not being a watcher of Saturday Night Live, he missed the irony of Bigelow’s youth referring to him as "Mr. Bill," the unseen television figure that macerated a doughboy every week.
2. The Theme of Proficiency
As characteristic as its response to crisis is each church’s talent for trustworthy accomplishment. Each uses a predictable set of sharpened skills to achieve the group’s immediate goals. The skills and their results form the dominant style of parish life, its dependable behavior.
2a. Proof. "Work" is the key word used by the Corinth Methodists to describe their proficiency. "Things just work like clockwork" at the church, "and the workings of the church are being worked by laypeople." Since the baby died, there developed a remarkable effort by members to ensure that attempted programs or projects were in fact successful. Sunday services were said by their participants to work. The sermon that Sam preached after his son’s death was entitled "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: Thank God, It Works." Proficient work at Corinth Methodist was proof that the gospel message is true and church activity valid.
The power of the human Orpheus to coerce nature and the gods of the underworld was an extraordinary message in traditional Greek religion.11 This image of human triumph helped make Orpheus founder and hero of the Orphic mysteries, a cultic practice noted for personal asceticism and accomplishment,12 that demonstrated the immortality of the human soul. Followers of Orpheus expressed their accomplishment in rites, obscure to us, called teletai which, in Ivan Linforth’s estimation, "acted like a sacrament to bring purification and release from the consciousness of wrongdoing, to renew the sense of vigor and vitality, and to give assurance of happiness after death."13 Whatever the specific nature of these rites, they provided for initiates the proof that their souls would indeed cross in triumph the threshold of death, and that thereby they were not merely the mortal playthings of gods nor the hapless objects of fate.
Proofs of accomplishment abounded at Corinth Methodist. "They needed proof that they could keep a pastor for four years," Sam Singer said, and together they kept Sam for over a decade, not only by raising his salary each year beyond what he would make in another assignment but also by giving him a bonus each year from the surplus of an oversubscribed church budget. Earlier the congregation had complained that it had no purpose. A work group therefore sat down with Sam and wrote a Purpose Statement, an unexceptional compound sentence that thereafter appeared in each bulletin:
In response to the call of Christ, the Corinth Methodist Church seeks to be a redemptive fellowship serving God and community effectively by: (a) enabling each person to achieve God’s will through individual fulfillment; (b) providing religious training for all; (c) ministering to the community through service and witness.
This seemed to solve the issue. The church has proved it had a purpose. Church membership doubled.
But the rite of accomplishment most often employed was church work. When programs worked, it was a proof of the larger triumph of human transcendence. Members made sure things got done, and done abundantly, with everyone having something to work on. The church work groups doubled in size. "Sam is a conniver. He sees to it that every member is involved. Makes you feel like somebody." The church had to develop a three-year roster to accommodate volunteers for leadership positions.
The concept of hypocrisy took different forms in the two churches in Corinth. Among Baptists, for reasons that will later be evident, it meant taking both sides in an argument; among the Methodists it meant not living up to one’s promise to work.
2b. Adventure. Corinth Methodist’s proficiency was to prove its promises; Corinth Baptist’s was to venture beyond the ordinary. The Baptists would oscillate between seasons of local frustration and global quest, contending in one moment among themselves and then setting out to the ends of the world. The half dozen airline pilots who attended church typified its prowess, but the "Godfather" was the prototype. In the 1920s Layce brought to railroadless Corinth its first automobile dealership and thereby loosed the town from its domestic tether. During the depression he loaded a bunch of Corinth men in the back of his truck and drove them all the way to Chicago to see the 1933 World’s Fair.
Layce now fueled the frustration. Both churches in town needed larger buildings to accommodate their larger numbers, and the Methodists characteristically executed their funds campaign with aplomb, and with some smugness because the corresponding efforts of their Baptist neighbors were "down in the doldrums . . . God just doesn’t seem to want us to build right now." Nor did Tom Layce. Layce made a $5,000 contribution for the Methodist building but said he was only going to put an organ in the new Baptist structure. Layce was said to be "holding his foot." The campaign, headed by one of the pilots, did not get off the ground until a rival bank in town gave the church a large loan. But until that occurred, they were "in a rut.... We need to push forward or drop backwards."
At the same time they quested to the ends of the earth. The teenagers were preparing for a revival in Kansas City; one of the pilots helped run a jungle aviation service for missionaries; another’s daughter was a missionary in Paraguay. A former pastor of the church was serving in Israel. An Australian evangelist campaigned at the church that summer. Methodists interpreted their mission largely as making Corinth a more effective community; the Baptists pressed their mission only beyond the gates of the town.
Constraint and journey mark the full life of Oedipus. As a babe he was pinned to the mountain, his feet pierced with a nail, and Claude Levi-Strauss emphasizes the lameness implied in his name and that of his forebears.14 Oedipus was then blocked at the crossroads by Laius, and later stopped by the Sphinx. But these events only temporarily check the larger unfolding of his life that carried him first to Corinth, then in flight to Thebes, and from there into exile, wandering for the rest of his life to Colonus, where he vanished, journeying into what Sophocles called "mysteries not to be explained."
An inner adventure at Corinth Baptist accompanied the outer quest, one that took the quester into scriptural territory. The Methodist members did not use Bibles, but many Baptists carried theirs to church, often had them in their briefcases and would spend some time each day reading them. "God’s word is the road map," the pastor would tell them. A Baptist wife talked about her husband:
I was amazed what was happening in Ron’s life. He reads a lot, but he never was able to read the Bible. It "just doesn’t say anything to me," he would say. But after all my illness happened, he picked up a Living Bible and he couldn’t put it down. He kept getting so full of what it meant.... We then got into a neighborhood Bible study group and this really got us into the Bible. We’ve met every week for two years.
As one pilot put it, "We read God’s instruction manual." Blocked at home, the Baptists searched the extrinsic worlds of earth and Scripture.
2c. Curse. Members of Bigelow Church exercised a different sort of proficiency, one directed perversely against opportunities for parish accomplishment. To typify their independent spirit they called themselves a "maverick" church, an unbranded beast who resists identification with any herd. The church skillfully resisted Bill Prince’s canonic attempts to identify its household. A substantial number of participants asked that, even though they would remain members, their names be removed from the church’s mailing list.
The pattern of putting down the church began before Bill came. Several leaders started in Bigelow’s fourteenth year to say aloud that the church was "a waste of my time." At midpoint, in its fifteenth year, the church began its drastic decline in worship attendance, even though total membership continued to increase.15 The church abused itself in other ways: it eliminated the posts of associate pastor and youth minister; it sold off its adjacent property. It in effect turned over the youth of the community to the Presbyterians when it closed its own kindergarten and day care programs. Presbyterian programs thereafter prospered, while Bigelow’s dwindled. About the only program for which Bigelow received persistent community recognition was its service to retarded children.
The curse that impeded Briar Rose occurred in her fifteenth year, when, as predicted, she was pricked by a spindle and fell asleep for a hundred years. Before then her life abounded in all the blessings of the other dozen wise women, but, in spite of efforts of her father, the curse of the unrecognized thirteenth brought her down. Querulousness characterizes the story of both Briar Rose and Bigelow Methodist. Commenting upon Briar Rose, a Jungian analyst remarked: "In the anima also there is a certain nastiness, for the anima is primitive woman. Women, and man’s entire anima, have a way of reacting to disagreeable situations by being downright nasty."16
Although other churches in the neighborhood continued to show promise, Bigelow did not. "We are in a declining situation," its leaders would tell each other, and they refined the knack of deflating ideas and enthusiasms that would suggest otherwise. Chief among the pessimists was Stan, who had arrested his own promising career in a big company to keep his family in the neighborhood. Once a district lay leader, Stan had mastered dour behavior. "He was everything I feared he would be," the ‘good ole boy’ pastor said about his meeting Stan. "He gave me nothing but problems the whole time I was there, not liking what was happening, either in weekly programs or on Sunday morning." Stan had a teenaged daughter who had been born with Down’s syndrome, and it was Bigelow’s program for retarded children that brought Stan’s family to its somber fellowship.
3. The Theme of Pervasive Mood
A distinctive temperament also characterizes each of the congregations. Mood is more disposition than accomplishment. It displays the recurrent attitudes that affect how parish members measure and otherwise evaluate their situations.
3a. Innocence. At Corinth Methodist the mood is one of tranquillity and harmony. Unlike most gods and heroes, gentle Orpheus is neither pugnacious nor trapped in strife. Instead, his extraordinary musical talent resolves the contention of life, and he soothes both beasts and his aggressive companions. He lulls to sleep the dragon who guards the golden fleece, and later he so calms the tormentors of hell that they allow his entry and escape. Orphics distinguished themselves from the "unwashed" by a cleansed life (Katharos Bios) of controlled harmony, producing, according to J. R. Watmough, a "tranquillity [that] is, above all, restrained and sober. It is a state of peace which flows naturally from the life of self-discipline and communion with the source of infinite Eros."17
I was struck by the innocence of worship in Corinth Methodist. Its sanctuary was unusually attractive, offering white walls and woodwork, with a fresh rosebud placed in each clear window at service time. Choir robes were pastel shades, and although the choir sat behind Sam Singer, facing the congregation, it did not counter his dominance. All attention was directed toward Sam. The congregation remained alert, passive, good-natured, with chins up to watch him. Sam only momentarily shunted that attention to the children, whom once in each service he called to the front of the church, re-presenting the innocence.
The symbols of First Methodist provided tireless encouragement for commitment. Dilemmas about the persistence of sin and the incongruity of life were not addressed; the service included neither a regular confession of sin nor an acknowledgment of ethical contention. Instead, Singer’s message was deft but unequivocal, light but persuasive. "I preach for commitment," he repeatedly said. "I don’t want people to feel good, as they do over in the Baptist Church, but to be good."
Total commitment is what we need. "You must love me totally," God said, and not just have a batting average.
Like gentle Orpheus, Sam wooed people to innocence. His voice was so musical, in fact, that he would regularly sing religious songs as his sermon for the day. Sam traveled around the state as song leader for revivals and, while pastor at Corinth Methodist, made two recordings of gospel songs.
Members of the church frequently attested to its mood of harmony, comparing it with the conflict that seemed to mar the Baptist Church and the Methodists’ own past. "Before Sam came, the church was divided; lots of dissension. Every time a new member came, he was not accepted. But dissension is now all gone; now you just don’t have any."
3b. Ambiguity. "Baptists fuss and build" was the way that those in First Church Corinth described their contentious mood. Unless the sun shone brightly, their sanctuary tended toward gloom, its windows clouded by dark stained glass, its walls beige and furnishings a rich brown. Here the choir robes were gold and dark green, and their wearers sometimes noisily entered their seats after Robert Foote had begun the worship service. Robert shared both program and platform with the deacon of the week and the music director, between whom and Foote there was open competition. While the congregation respected and enjoyed Robert, their gaze also drifted to their Bibles and their neighbors. Announcements, prayer requests, and testimonies arose from the congregation at various points in the service. Children were not presented at the front of the church. Instead, what was called "the gall bladder report" was posted on a tripod there. The report listed the conditions of sick members and the needs of those requesting prayer.
The myth of Oedipus portrays life’s ambiguity. "The killer you are seeking is yourself," Teiresias the prophet tells a righteous Oedipus who seeks the murderer of his father. Earlier, Oedipus flees to avoid the possibility of parricide and thereby kills his father. By ridding Thebes of the Sphinx, its menace, he brings the greater menace of plague to the city. "Show me," cries Sophocles’ chorus, "the man whose happiness was anything more than illusion followed by disillusion." In ultimate ambiguity Oedipus enters in love the woman from whom he was born.
Harmony characterized neither the worship nor the politics of Corinth Baptist. "Christ came to make us clean," Robert preached, "but, as Martin Luther says, we have been liberated from prison but the stench and disease of prison still lingers in our lives." "We think we are the masters of our fate," he tells the congregation, "but the more I live the more I feel that events over which I have no control shape my destiny. I am almost a pawn on a chessboard."
Confession inaugurated the Baptist worship service, and the last congregational action at worship was to come forward to the altar to acknowledge faults and shortcomings. Having had training in clinical pastoral education (which Sam Singer had not), Robert more than most ministers found it easy to disclose publicly his shortcomings. "How easily I run out of steam," he confessed one Sunday. On another, he echoed the plight of Oedipus: "All of us are blind. Not literally so, but handicapped in some way or another."
In addition to the political tension surrounding the "Godfather," First Baptist expected trouble from its new members. "We need two churches. This one is too big. We could separate the church we joined from the church that joined us." Charismatics in the church generated another conflict that aligned them opposite "seventy-five percent of the people who just sit there and are scared to death of us." Sophocles’ tragedies, Thomas M. Woodard reports, "like the Greek world of the 5th century, presuppose inescapable, unrelenting power struggles."18 The paradoxical Oedipus, righteous and guilty, fugitive and aggressor, figures the ambiguous mood of Corinth Baptist.
3c. The big sleep. "Bill," said one Bigelow parishioner, "do you think that we are complacent?" "Would you believe docile?" Bill rejoined. "And I believe that means dead." Many members joined Bill in considering Bigelow’s life to be dormant; a "sleeping giant," some said. "The fire has gone out." In its fifteenth year Bigelow’s newsletter carried the motto "Where Dreams Become Reality."
The fire went out when Briar Rose fell asleep, and everything else in the castle slumbered. Bruno Bettleheim asserts:
Whether it is Snow White in her glass coffin or Sleeping Beauty on her bed, the adolescent dream of everlasting youth and perfection is just that: a dream.
The alteration of the original curse, which threatened death, to one of profound sleep suggests that the two are not all that different If we do not want to change and develop, then we might as well remain in a deathlike sleep. During their sleep the heroines’ beauty is a frigid one; theirs is the isolation of narcissism. In such self-involvement which excludes the rest of the world there is no suffering, but also no knowledge to be gained, no feelings to be expressed.19
Bigelow’s deep repose began after its decision not to build the large sanctuary projected in its original plans. In a meeting later hailed as "probably the most healthy conversation that ever occurred in the church," the congregation overwhelmingly voted not to take on the large debt of new construction but rather to remodel what they already had: a long, low fellowship hall. In consequence, pews were installed in the hall, carpet was laid, its windows outfitted with rich stained glass, and its ceilings deadened with thick acoustic tile. The resulting worship space looked and felt like a casket. "Everything seems to suck up the sound," complained a former associate pastor, who found the place too dark and soporific. "Things are so nice and cozy and soft in here!" exclaimed a visitor. Standing in a chancel sunk below the floor level because of the low ceiling, the altar is invisible to most of the congregation. When the pastor rises to preach, the lights further dim.
Throughout its life and worship Bigelow slumbered. "The church really doesn’t want that much going on," said one untroubled member content with its inactive nature. Others were more concerned that Bigelow had "no central rallying point" and "no goals or objectives." Groups in the church virtually ran themselves; communication systems in the church fell into disuse; for a while the bulletin ceased publication altogether. "The church," said Bill, "is not yet a mature adult."
4. The Theme of Hope
Each of the churches also follows a quest that takes it well beyond its present accomplishment: it seeks a telos, a goal or outcome, promised but not provided in parish story. The proficiencies and moods of parish character are given further value in the deep faith a congregation places in its future.
4a. Initiation. Members of a church may identify the focus of their common hope with the phenomenon of warmth20 and point to specific occurrences of warmth in places or phases of congregational life.21 Members of Corinth Methodist experienced warmth at various physical and temporal thresholds that bound its life to its larger neighborhood. At these boundaries they encountered the outgoing love and concern that members considered the congregation’s most valuable characteristic.
The immediate feeling of warmth. You just cannot come in here without someone speaking to you.
The warmth. I just feel a glow, an acceptance of people. They accept people for what they are and don’t expect them to conform. We’re constantly having one program after another to draw people in.
Such a threshold welcome
reflects Sam Singerts personality. He’s a very friendly, outgoing, easy type of person, and the visitor sees this. His personality has not taken hold until recently. Before that the church was dominated by an older and colder membership.
Sam’s wife spoke of being strangely warmed at the death of her son, and members recalled their "characteristic afterglow" when they responded to a family that had experienced death.
People joined First Methodist without fulfilling prior requirements. Instead, the church met them where they were and beckoned them to cross the threshold. To serve children at their entry into education the church ran the best kindergarten program in town. "It’s got to be the greatest -- probably the turning point for our getting members, what with the young adults it reaches out to." Sam Singer himself marked this threshold:
Sam has always been an integral part of the kindergarten. In other churches the minister is not seen at all by the kids, but here he comes by every day and speaks to them, and they love him, and they and their parents learn that the church loves them.
First Methodist produced an outstanding daily kindergarten program. The rest of the Methodist education program, not associated with threshold entry, was ill-resourced and ineffective. "We have just stopped teaching young people."
At Sunday school time Sam Singer was on another threshold. He went to a nearby lake to preach to crowds of one to two hundred unchurched people who stopped at an outdoor chapel before getting into their boats. Unlike his Baptist counterpart, Singer did not teach a Sunday school class. More important for him was to reach out to lonely, uncommitted people, to love them and invite them across the threshold. "The kids will not remember any of the Bible verses after twelve months," he would insist, "but they will remember the love you gave them. This is what the church is. We nurture, but for the implementation of love, and not for the acquisition of knowledge."
Plato complained that the Orphics
persuade not only individuals but also whole communities that, both for the living and the dead, remission and absolution of sins may be had by sacrifices and childish performances that they are pleased to call initiations and which they allege deliver us from all ills in the next world, where terrible things await the uninitiated.22
The focus was the threshold, for, once initiated, the member was assured of perpetual, divine happiness. Orpheus was a liminal symbol because he was able to lead through hell’s gate the dead to life. Orphism and Corinth Methodist hoped for a similar transcendence in their own initiations.
4b. Growth. Warmth was not generally described as a threshold characteristic at First Baptist. Rather, warmth was said to increase as initiates matured in membership, as they moved toward the center of the church and developed there toward God. "Warmth is in process," explained Robert Foote. During worship it did not occur for him in preliminary welcomes but in the "gall bladder times," when reports of troubles and requests for prayers "can be very warm and even get out of hand." A senior Eastern Airlines pilot talked about the fervor generated in his Sunday school class:
We get so involved in Bible study that we go on and on, and that gives you a warm feeling, and the men are so anxious to get so involved in God’s Word that they don’t want to leave class to go to the worship service.
Growth rather than initiation was the prevalent aspiration of Corinth Baptist. While Robert Foote was as personable and outgoing as his Methodist counterpart, and his attractiveness brought new members into the church, the characteristic comment about Robert concerned his and the congregation’s growth. "Robert’s grown a lot since he has been here, and the church has grown also." "Robert has matured, and it is spreading to us."
So important was maturation to First Baptist that it introduced a Watch Care program for persons who wished to join the fellowship. The program was intended even for those joining from other Baptist churches. Contrary both to widespread Baptist custom and to the practice of Corinth Methodist, Robert did not extend the right hand of fellowship to persons desiring to enter the church. The candidates first had to undergo a four-week period of training. "People need to be born again," argued Robert, "but not again and again and again. After birth they need to grow."
Growth, no liminal events, draws the Oedipal myth to its telos. Oedipus’ discovery that "the child grows into an adult, who grows into an old man" releases Thebes from bondage to the Sphinx. The motif recurs in the story of Oedipus himself: a babe abandoned, a young man at the crossroads, a mature ruler at Thebes, and an old man at Colonus.
Despite all the instances one can find in the play to show that Oedipus turns away from knowledge of himself, he is more heroic than most men in his struggle to attain it. In his search for self-knowledge, Oedipus discovers resources of which he was previously unaware: a capacity for intellectual honesty that overcomes the pride that prohibits it, and a power of endurance that exalts him and those who, as chorus or audience, are involved in his destiny.23
"After one accepts Christ, what next? The command is to grow, to move on from milk to meat." Systems at First Baptist were therefore tiered to provide that growth. There were the adult choir, the young adult choir, the junior choir, the primary choir, and the beginning choir -- "just like a feeder system," grinned the music director. Three handbell groups served different ages; four age groupings staged the Women’s Missionary Union; and the Sunday school provided five levels for preschool groups, classes for every year until high school, two grades for high schoolers and four levels for adults. "Warm things started to happen when we started participating," said another member. "The church provided spiritual strength that we desperately needed at the time. It is a growth process. You don’t take it in all at one time; you take it in little doses."
4c. Awakening. Members in sleeping Bigelow did not sense much warmth anywhere. "Just not an overly friendly church in my opinion," said a longtime participant. Their expectation was, rather, that if they really tried, they could bring about an awakening that would once again bring ardor to Bigelow’s work. "The world," says Bettleheim, "becomes alive only to the person who herself awakens to it. Only relating positively to the other ‘awakens’ us from the danger of sleeping away our life. The kiss of the prince breaks the spell of narcissism and awakens a womanhood which up to then had remained undeveloped. Only if the maiden grows into woman can life go on. 24
While new undertakings were belittled by some of Bigelow’s powerful members, the projects were also invested with fervent hopes that they could wake the church up. Considerable anticipation accompanied the arrival of Bill Prince’s replacement, but since he was close to his retirement, he did not ignite warmth and the congregation continued to languish. Some of the more charismatic members prayed for revival but then left the church. The expectation of many more people centered on a New Life Mission to be led by a distinguished Methodist official. Its meetings were well attended, and throughout its preparation and several days’ execution there was "a spirit of expectancy . . . a hope not found here before." Participants signed cards on which they volunteered their efforts in new ways, but the cards were mislaid after the mission. Nevertheless, as one member put it, "You can see Spring coming." The congregation still awaits the new life promised first by the frog, then by the twelfth wise woman.
1. Except for the titles "First," "Baptist," and "Methodist," all names of persons, organizations, and places are fictitious.
2. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 192-93.
3. Edith Hamilton, Mythology, 103-5.
4. Francis P. Magoun and Alexander H. Knappe, trans., The Grimms’ German Folk Tales, 182-85. Called Dornroschen in the German text, Briar Rose is also known as Heather Blossom and Rose Bud. Magoun and Knappe use Heather Blossom but I have substituted the more familiar Briar Rose.
5. Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1972), 31. Girard demonstrates the presence of violence throughout mythology, ritual, and cultural activity dependent upon ritual. The unifying rationale is the necessity of killing a sacrificial victim to protect human beings against their own inevitable escalation of retributive violence. "There is a unity that underlies not only all mythologies and rituals but the whole of human culture, and this unity of unities depends upon a single mechanism, continually functioning because perpetually misunderstood the mechanism that assures the community’s spontaneous and unanimous outburst of opposition to the surrogate victim" (pp. 299 300).
6. "The mysterious union of the most evil and most beneficial forces is of vital concern to the community, and can neither be challenged nor ignored. Nevertheless, it is a paradox that totally escapes human comprehension, and religion humbly acknowledges its importance" (ibid., 86).
7. Samuel C. Heilman (Synagogue Life, 9-12) finds parallels between the two initial expulsions of authoritative members and the reports of Philip Slater about rejection of the leader in therapy groups. Through such violence, groups gain their solidarity.
8. W. K. C. Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods (London: Methuen & Co., 1950), 317; Martin P. Nilsson, A History of Greek Religion (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1964), 221.
9. Edmund Leach, Claude Lévi-Strauss (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1970), 88. Cf. Rene Girard’s treatment of the "violent unammity" with which the scapegoat, prirnarily Oedipus himself, is destroyed by the society that benefits from his departure (Girard, Violence, 68-88).
10. Julius E. Heuscher, A Psychiatric Study of Myths and Fairy Tales: Their Origin, Meaning and Usefulness (Springfield, III.: Charles C Thomas, 1974), 164. Cf. Bruno Bettleheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (New York: Random House, 1977), 233.
11. Guthrie, Greeks and Their Gods, 180.
12. J. R. Watmough, Orphism (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1934), 68-71.
13. Ivan M. Linforth, The Arts of Orpheus (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1941), 166.
14. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundbest Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963), 274.
15. Average Sunday attendance at Bigelow:
12th year 326
19 (Bill Prince’s arrival) 315
16. Marie-Louise von Franz, Problems of the Feminine in Fairy Tales (Zurich: Spring Publications, 1972), 34.
17. Watmough, Orphism, 80.
18. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Sophocles."
19. Betdeheirn, Uses of Enchantment, 234.
20. Mircea Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries (London: Fontana Library, 1968), 146.
21. Gerardus van der Leeuw, Religion in Essence and Manifestation (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1936), 455.
22. Plato, The Republic, trans. H. D. P. Lee (London and Tonbridge: Whitefriars Press, 1955), 96.
23. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Sophocles."
24. Berdeheirn, Uses of Enchantment, 234
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