By Andrew Lazo
Down in Houston has come something new:
She’s amassing a masterful crew.
Holly fights for the Lord
Foils false thoughts like a sword,
With a faith-defence at HBU.
In the Gulf, right across from the beaches,
Doug quotes Bible and Bard as he teaches
Lewis, Spurgeon, and lit,
(Even dog moments fit);
Jackson crafts living poems as he preaches.
Becka gardens and nurtures and cooks,
But with wisdom deeper than it looks
Friend community blooms
In her warm quiet rooms
As she keeps us all in her good books.
In Virginia a well-spoken word
Captures students and leaves them well-stirred
As they hasten to heed,
Her Lewisian lead
Her class echoes with praise Crystal heard.
Kelly challenges, cheers, and amuses
From a room of one’s own as she chooses
To pen light out of pain
From good Woodholme down Maine,
Until grace shines upon all her Muses.
As you may know, Professor Holly Ordway heads up the M.A. in Apologetics at HBU, where, along with President Robert Sloan and Provost John Mark Reynolds, she’s gathering a world-class faculty including herself, as well as renowned C. S. Lewis scholar Michael Ward, Nancy Pearcey, Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, and others. Holly’s account of her conversion, Not God’s Type, is being reworked and retitled; The Cross and the Sword alludes to her past as a fencer, a reference I tried to incorporate a little (I cheated by using a British spelling. I hope Holly won’t mind!;). You’ll find more about Holly here; she’s unwinding miracles and wonders for heart, mind, and strength in Houston.
I know a little Lewis, I know some literature, including a bit of Shakespeare. Never do I feel more ignorant and inept than when I have the privilege to speak with Professor Doug Jackson. He reads more, remembers more, and shapes words in a more stirring tour de force than anyone I know; every time he speaks about what he’s read and thought about, I learn (and feel like a lunkheaded fool!). As much as I love the man’s preaching, I love this wise, witty man even more. Find his newly-published poetry right here; click here if you want to check out his musings about the spiritual implications of A Dog and his Doug.
One of my bimonthly highlights comes from walking into Becka Choat’s beautiful home, with something yeasty and a little sweet just out of the oven. A number of my friends gather every two weeks for a C. S. Lewis book group under my doubtful leadership and hosted by Becka’s redoubtable hospitality. Picture a home where Bilbo Baggins, Rubeus Hagrid, Mr. Tumnus, and Samwise Gamgee (and their creators) would all feel perfectly at home and you’ll have some sense of how all of us in the Glome Library Fellowship fortunately feel twice a month. Indulge yourself a little as you support her at Books by Becka, from which we will hear more good things quite soon. And ask her about how her garden grows.
Dr. Crystal Sullivan Heard continues to impress and amaze me, regularly making me wish desire could destroy distance. Many of us reeled in awe last Autumn when she stunned the Bag End Café with her acapella, amazing rendition of Brooke Fraser’s “C. S. Lewis Song,” which I appreciated all the more because Crystal helped us understand the lyrics better than we ever had before. With a doctorate on Lewis as Leader and her increasingly wise and important writing, Crystal Hurd and her work offer wide gifts to our world and make me glad to live in such an age and to call her friend.
Ah, Kelly. When trying to tell the best thing about her, I end up endlessly at a loss. She’s a haiku nut. She’s married to one of the greatest guys I know, one of the kind men of our generation, and a very, very fine author, Kevin Belmonte. She’s mother of Sam, whose wide eyes and deep sweetness ever tug my heart. Her poem “How I speak to God / How God speaks to me” brings me to tears every time, so that I take vengeance on that spare and gorgeous poem by regularly reading it to others so that they can taste tears too. You can read more about her and her book of poems Three Ways of Searching in Lancia E. Smith’s interview complete with such lovely images. I tried to slip in a little Virginia Woolf reference, as well as a sense of the Belmonte home, which seems a major character in her story. Wise, witty, gracious, honest, deep as a river under moonlight, Kelly gently leads all her glad stable of muses, and we stand sorely in her debt for such a beautiful spot in such a time as this.
Andrew Lazo is a teacher, writer, and sought-after speaker on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. Read more from him at his website: http://andrewlazo.com