David’s Diary – December 31, 1970

Thursday, 31 December 1970

Up shortly after 8:00; had a cup of coffee while reading St. Paul—then began in Eissfeldt. When Bonnie and Debbie got up I had breakfast with them. Then shaved. One of the things that I had to do was fill out a long personality test for John Stuart—Ph.D., connected with Cape Ann Family + Child Center. More than 200 forced choice questions, so it took a while. The mail man brought letters from Paul + Marty, and the Kings, who seem to be doing well. Before lunch I finished the personality test. Immediately after lunch Bonnie left to do shopping—grocery mainly. I helped her unload the car when she got home. While she was gone I was occupied at my desk, writing letters—to Bob Waugh [1] and to Planned Parenthood/World Population. After Bonnie got back with the groceries she set off for Beverly—bought $23 worth of aquarium supplies! —including new fish: algae eaters, catfish, 2 moon fish, 2 guppies. I got some reading done before she arrived home—then was occupied with the aquariums. Then studied briefly again before supper. After eating watched CBS news. Bonnie went off on errands, I read, then 8:30–1:000 TV (Ironside + Odd Couple)  Then snacked and studied more—mainly on Holiness Code. At 11 o’clock watched news for weather report—big snow coming; watched Johnny Carson New Year’s celebration; 104 year old guest (!); bathed; OBLO c. 1:05

1971

 [There are four pages of the 1971 diary, before 1 January, titled “Reflections”]

1971 will be a very important year—perhaps for many reasons—but certainly on the personal level. Foremost in my mind at the present time are the exams—the whole future depends on them—i.e., my passing them. And 1971 will tell the story on those. By the end of this year I should be devoting most of my time to dissertation research. If I pass the retake exam on Feb. 1, hopefully I can take the second exam by conference time, the third by the end of the summer; the fourth—the Hebrew—in the fall. But things have been thrown off greatly in the past year—so who knows what will happen. My great wish right now is to be able to pass the Feb. 1 exam—as much as anything to be able to regain some confidence. I do have my moments of doubt about ever getting my Ph.D.—my interview with Richardson following the first exam was pretty severe—and most of what he said was quite right. But if I pass the Feb. 1 exam at least I’ll be reassured that I can pass—not to pass a “qualifying” exam naturally means that the candidate doesn’t qualify. So my spirits as well as my career academically will be moved along by a pass.

1971 also means the enlargement of the family, the new baby being due about July 1. So here are things competing for my time: we’re planning to attend parenthood classes so that I’ll be “qualified” (!) to be in the delivery room. So there goes one evening a week—also—as far as an activity consuming time is concerned—when the garden starts up again in the spring, I’ll be the main worker for our family, since Bonnie will be further along with the pregnancy. We have some names picked out—or rather, one: Daniel Josiah, if it’s a boy—but no girls’ names yet. I’ve suggested Rachel Sarah so that the initials would be RSY!

Another exciting event in 1971 is the homecoming of Bonnie’s folks from Penang—we’re looking forward to that very much—and I’m sure they are too. Debbie is going to be very confused about just who “grandma” and “grandpa” are. The terms apply to my folks and we also called Grandma + Emil that—so here another set is arriving this summer. 1971 will also means a significant year in Debbie’s development—by Jan 1, 1972 she should be talking rather fluently.

June 1971 will also be my last appointment to the Rockport church. When we came here in Nov. 1967 we really didn’t dream that we’d be here until June or Sept of 1972—almost 5 years it will be. It has been a most helpful experience—but I’ll be glad when it’s over. I’m preparing for something else—I have been since 1968—so I’ll be glad to move on to that “something else.” I’ve calculated that I have about 75 sermons to go! Unless, as has been suggested—Nutting, Bamforth and I can work out some pulpit exchange for the summer. A very staggering thought: 75 more sermons to prepare!

Besides learning a lot more about the OT in 1971 (I’d better!) I also want to deepen my knowledge of St. Paul (although not necessarily my appreciation). I’ve already started rereading his letters—for 1971 I should read them all through several times, in RSV, NEB, TEV—a little each day. After all, I may be having to teach St. Paul next year! His writings leave me very cold—there is a glimmer here and there, a gem—a beautiful phrase or thought—but largely it is useless. Christ for St. Paul was a man, with a specific biography. I prefer to think of the “Christ principle” or the “Christ Process”—its happening all the time, in all generations and ages. Pope John XXIII,  Martin Luther King was a modern “Christ” —an anointed one—and perhaps he and many other people in history have been greater Christs than Jesus was—we know so little about Jesus really—and some of the things that we do know aren’t very complimentary. I think that we need to outgrow “Jesus exclusivism”—which of course is what St. Paul represents. Theism is very beautiful, but it can be so flawed by narrow creeds and doctrines. Theism shouldn’t be the exclusive possession of the followers of Jesus Christ—that is, contrary to the New Testament, there is not only [one] way to God through Jesus Christ, whatever that may mean. God is approachable, accessible on a much wider basis. “What does the Lord of you—but to do justice, to love mercy—to walk humbly with your God” [2]—there’s more truth to this than John 3:16. [3] The God of infinite and eternal compassion does not react to (does not deal with) the world and to people in the narrow ways which the Bible sometimes assumes. (e.g. John 14:6 [4])

1971 should also hold the key to our course as a nation; i.e., by this time next year we should have a better idea as to Nixon’s chances of being re-elected. So many pieces of evidence have appeared to confirm Chet Huntley’s analysis of Nixon (later denied!) as very shallow. At a time when we need brilliant and outstanding leadership—our president is one whose friends include Agnew, Mitchell, Billy Graham, Bob Hope  (and whose appointees include Haynworth + Carswell!); he refuses to disassociate himself from J. Edgar Hoover’s labeling of ML King as a liar (Dec 1970 news conference); he brags about $10 Billion over several years for anti-pollution—and supports the SST [5]; he “Vietnamizes” a war he has the power to STOP—to save face—maintain our pride—he maintains our involvement—withdrawing so slowly—how many will die because of his vanity and stupidity? Surely the country will be ready for an alternative—in 1971 we will discover who the Democrats have to offer.


[1] A friend from my days at Indiana University.

[2] Micah 6:8

[3] “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only abegotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not  perish, but have eternal life.”

[4] ‘Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersonic_transport

©2017 copyright owned and transcribed by David Madison and Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2017/11/22/davids-diary-december-31-1970/

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