Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am very grateful to Mrs. Pamela (Ela) Williams for providing a necessary correction to my last week’s letter, concerning the way the United States keeps Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. It is important to get statements in writing as correct as possible and my divergence from this needed to be pointed out, particularly where it concerns a close family branch, so to speak, of the tree we ourselves are perched in. When such things are not pointed out, misunderstandings of a variety of sorts can grow which are totally unproductive. Please see the letter with its amendment on my website at .

The same general idea of the unfortunate growth of misunderstandings, especially from the misuse of language, can be seen in many fields. For instance, the term “solar wind” has become an inevitable description of something that actually is not a “wind” at all. A real wind is a movement of a gas, for example of the air that we breathe. There is no such gas moving between the Sun and the Earth. What we experience in a “solar wind" is an electric current passing through the thin sea of plasma in which the Sun and the Earth are situated. We do not normally call electric currents, for example one flowing through a fluorescent light tube, a “wind”. By misuse of language we become content to avoid the true reality of what we are talking about, which is why our young children in school are still rarely if ever instructed about the state of matter that is rightly called “plasma” (called that because in some ways it behaves like blood plasma), and why even NASA and others who should know better still avoid the idea of electric currents in space like the plague, even when “Birkeland currents”, for example, have been known about and investigated from the earliest days of the twentieth century.

This avoidance of the true reality of what we are talking about is also at the very heart of many controversial issues in social science and the law, some of which we are either trying to grapple with, or trying to avoid like the plague currently. When we avoid them because we are afraid to confront a “settled” story (“settled” like the story of there being no electric currents in space) because we want to avoid getting accused of being ignorant or something worse, we contribute to the problem. A good schoolteacher does not shrink from the task of telling a student he got a mathematics problem wrong, if he did. If he were to shrink from that, he would be contributing to the confusion of the student. Hopefully we shall be bold enough to apply this to some of the most vexing issues of our own time, in which much of the traditional and “social” media are hugely complicit, mostly by their silence, but sometimes also by something worse.

The Collect for the Sunday Next Before Advent, in 2021 the 21st November, is

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As the Collect implies, the “wills of [the Lord’s] faithful people” do not by some automatic process by themselves bring forth “the fruit of good works”. Rather, they are as capable as others of being indolent and unconcerned, even in the face of the problems of the current times. We pray therefore that the Lord will “stir up” our wills and all those of people counted ”faithful” to the Lord. By such grace “through Jesus Christ our Lord” of being stirred up by Him we too may be of those who bring forth such good fruit - and correspondingly rewarded.

As I write I am wondrously grateful for the level of healing granted to me from my recent malady; and by the Lord’s grace have the intention to resume the regular Holy Eucharist schedule from this Sunday the 21st November, according to such strength as He provides. I join you in being truly grateful to Peter Westin for faithfully stepping in with the Morning Prayer services for the last four Sundays.

In faith in the holy Name of our Lord Jesus, who will continue to provide guidance to us all.

+ Nicholas