Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dr. Donald J. Drew

"Donald was dapper, a lifelong bachelor, white-haired and distinguished looking, and a classical music record collector whose one collection was a monster sound system. We studied Shakespeare, Chaucer, and the Bronte sisters. I would write essays for Donald once a week. He was a good teacher, and over the course of about eighteen months I more or less received a "great books" British university-level literature course".
Crazy for God, Frank Schaeffer, pgs. 207-8.

Last evening, I attended a G.K. Chesterton reading club for the first time -a cool event where we discussed lots of theology, drank beer, and never really got around to the Chesterton article (On Evil Euphemisms) we were to discuss. Isn't this always  the case?

A name was mentioned-Donald Drew-which took me back more years than I would like to remember. On hand, was a copy of Frank Schaeffer's "Crazy for to God" (2007), and as it so happened, someone mentioned that they knew a person cited in the book and had heard him lecture. That person happened to be Dr. Donald J. Drew!

I read "Crazy for God" back in 2007 and wrote a review of the book, and recalled this wonderful depiction of Donald, and one which brought back many happy memories of Donald from Geneva College and England. Many of us at Geneva College were fortunate to have Dr. Drew as a teacher, friend and mentor. So deep was his  influence on many, several of us called ourselves "Drewids". For us, we too studied Shakespeare, Chaucer, the Brontes, and also Dickens, Hardy and Shaw.  We too heard the lines of Keats, Byron and Shelley as never before and really for the first time. To this day, I cannot read George Herbert's poetry without hearing Donald's voice.  

I particularly recall one of Herbert's poems, Love (III) which Donald loved to recite:

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd any thing.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.

Great stuff and great poetry. These thoughts  caused me to see if any of Donald's lectures were on line. I am happy to say I found several located on the following link which can be listened to for free. Tonight for example, I listened  to a wonderful lecture on C.S. Lewis. What a terrific overview!

It was fantastic to hear Donald voice again, feeling his passion for literature, hearing that noticable cough, and recalling his wisdom and gentleness. I closed my eyes and imagined myself back in the old English Department at Geneva. Those were great times and a great place.

Donald, we need more  people like you in today's world who want to share a passion for learning and who love the arts and are not afraid to share their Christian faith and the arts!

God bless you wherever you are!