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Rabindranath Tagore: Poet of Power at Age 150

By Herbert F. Vetter


My introduction tells a tale, beginning with this poem:

All the black evils in the world have overflowed their banks,
Yet, oarsmen, take your places with the blessing of sorrow in your souls!
Whom do you blame, brother?

Rabindranath Tagore: The Heart of God: Poems

The following are selections from Herbert F. Vetter’s collection of poems by Tagore, The Heart of God

Prayers and Meditations from Gitanjali
By Rabindranath Tagore


You have made me endless, such is Your pleasure. This frail vessel You empty again and again and fill it ever with fresh life.…

Tillich, Paul (1886-1965)

When Hitler came to power, this vigorously anti-Nazi philosopher of power was the first non-Jewish professor to be expelled from his post. Thanks to Reinhold Neibuhr’s efforts, Paulus Johannes Tillich became one of Hitler’s gifts to the New World. This rare and original interpreter of the meaning and value of existence has been highly honored by theist and humanist, Jew and Christian and Buddhist.…

Paul Tillich

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1881-1955)

A contribution of great thought came from a priest who came to the shores of the United States in 1951 and died and was buried here in 1955. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Roman Catholic paleontologist taught us new ways in which religion is related to science.…

Pierre Teilhard de chardin

Murray, John Courtney (1904-1967)

The first book of John Courtney Murray was We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition. When it was published in 1960, Time magazine ran a feature article and also put Murray’s picture on the cover as “unquestionably the intellectual bellwether of this new Catholic and American frontier” of building the city.…

John Courtney Murray

Wise, Stephen (1874-1949)

Consider “Stephania”—the code word of hope that spread from captive to captive in the Nazi death camps. This symbol of longing for liberation from unutterable atrocities sprang up in tribute to an American rabbi who was known to be working with all his might to rescue victims of Hitler’s reign of horror.…

Stephen Wise

Fosdick, Harry Emerson (1878-1969)

When he was seven, Harry’s mother collapsed. Caring for three children amidst deepening debt were factors in her first nervous breakdown. Later on she sought to comfort her son amidst his dread that he had committed an unpardonable sin, which would thrust him into the everlasting hell described by their family pastor’s fire and brimstone sermons.…

Henry Emerson Fosdick

Reeb, James (1927-1965)

In 1965 fifty nuns marched in Selma, Alabama to get ‘liberty and justice for all,” They marched arm in arm with black and white laity and clergy of varied faiths. They responded to the call of Martin Luther King, Jr. to put their lives on the line in a protest affirming faith in the American Creed of individual equality in freedom.…

James Reeb

Thurman, Howard (1899-1981)

A strong example of relevance in ministry is Howard Thurman, who left a secure position as a university professor to pioneer in the founding of the first effectively integrated church in twentieth-century America. What his life’s work has meant is told in Footprints of Dream: the Story of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco.…

Howard Thurman

King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s national career began when one woman, Mrs. Rosa Parks, firmly said, “No!” to the white driver of a Cleveland Avenue bus, who ordered her to stand farther back in the Negro section so a white man could have her seat.…

Martin Luther King, Jr.