An Annual Clingan Christmas Letter

An Annual Clingan Christmas Letter


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Easy answers make me cry / Easy words I cannot buy

Easy answers make me cry / Why else did Jesus have to die?




Books by Ralph G. Clingan

Against Cheap Grace in a World Come of Age, an intellectual biography of Clayton Powell, 1865–1953

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An Annual Clingan Christmas Letter, 2005

from Rev. Ralph G. Clingan, Ph.D. 

Dearly beloved!

Maria endured serious dental surgery in Spring and Summer, just before our vacation trip West to Oklahoma in August. On return, she had jaw construction surgery just before Thanksgiving, and will drink her food for a long time. Pressures at work, a driveway paving project, and replacing the back storm door and the lock on the front storm door have kept her very busy.

Daughter Rachel came to visit a few times, and we enjoyed those gatherings with her mother Alice. We also enjoyed her impromptu high school class reunion at a nearby Country Club. On our vacation, we visited Laura and Tim in Ohio, Mary Carl in Indiana, all the neat Mark Twain museums and sites in Hannibal, Missouri, and, in addition to Ralph’s mother, sister, niece, and grandnephews in Oklahoma, Talley cousins in Osawatomie, Kansas, and son Sam in the Central Lakes district of Minnesota. On the way home, we stayed a couple of nights with Arlene Taylor (friends with Ralph since they were 7) and Wayne Benson. Ralph sang a solo where Wayne preached on Sunday. The vacation was so pleasant we did not want it to end!

Ralph spent the Spring arranging for 11 student volunteers in mission from Seoul, Korea, to experience various forms of ministry and musical service in the USA. Korean seminaries are entirely academic, so these brief internships are the only field education type programs in Korea. A new Graduate School of Practical Theology near Icheon is the Presbyterian Church of Korea’s first venture into such training.

Ralph went to Korea for a week of lecturing and preaching 27 October–4 November. His new book, An Action Preaching Manual, detailing his use of method-acting principles in teaching delivery of sermons at ITC 1980–1988, was debuted by Preaching Academy, Seoul, his publisher, at a Conference for Preachers in Icheon on 31 October. A preview was published in the Korean magazine, Preaching, the November, 2005 edition.

The Korean translation was by Paul Junggap Huh, a colleague in Newark Presbytery before he went to teach the practical theology subject of Liturgics at Yonsei University in Seoul. Ralph also gave a lecture on “The Call to Worship” during a Fall Retreat at the Dongan Presbyterian Church’s English Worship congregation; a sermon, “Toward a World of Humble Servants,” for the 500-member College congregation of the 50,000 member Youngnak Presbyterian Church; and another sermon, “Toward a World Free from Worry and Fear” for the Global English Worship Service in the Luce Chapel, Yonsei University. Ralph lectured on Action Preaching for two 90-minute sessions at the Conference, and for another hour for Huh’s homiletics class later in the week.

The homiletics department at Drew Divinity has ordered copies of his manual in Korean and English for their students. Ralph’s first book, on Powell, is listed among the top 20 academic best sellers in The United Kingdom. Now Ralph is working on a manual for preparing action sermons for the same publisher. Like the manual on delivery technique, it develops the method of sermon construction Ralph taught at Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center, 1980–1988.

Thanksgiving Day brought the glad tidings of a great joy, that daughter Laura, three months pregnant, will deliver a child sometime around 1 June 2006, our first grandchild. Celebrate!

Ralph started serving on the Board of the Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association to the Synod of the Northeast in January, at Tucson. He kept on moderating Synod’s Public Policy Advocacy Network, which is one of the few entities surviving the restructuring.

Cedar Grove Church lost their TV capability, and no new members joined in 2005. The website continues, however:


Our new e mail address is: What is your e mail address? Send us an e mail! As Ralph turns 65 in February, he does not consider retiring at all; he is busier than ever!

Not too busy to visit friends and family, however, so feel free to come and visit!

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Easy Answers

       By Ralph Garlin Clingan


Easy answers make me cry

Easy words I cannot buy

Easy answers make me cry

Why else did Jesus have to die?

Why else?

Why else?

Why else did Jesus have to die?




Easy answers to who is bad

Easy answers are our death bed

Easy answers get wrapped up with fire!

Bullets! Bombs! and Burnings!

Search a while! (refrain)


Once we nailed Christ up on a cross

Sure, his death was no great loss

But he rose up from death on that morn

Giving us a new birth, one new hope (refrain)


Once we say others have to die.

Pure hearts and minds plot their demise

Come on, rise up from deep in our souls!

See the Spirit rising,

Even in foes! (refrain)

(c) Ralph Garlin Clingan, 2005 Reprinted by permission

Ralph Garlin Clingan wrote the poem and song on 1964, just after the burned station wagon was found in Mississippi, and revised it after the shootings in Columbine, Colorado. He wrote Against Cheap Grace in a World Come of Age, an intellectual biography of Clayton Powell, 1865–1953 (New York: Peter Lang, 2002), and Action Preaching (Seoul: The Preaching Academy, 2005).

For information regarding use of this poem or the musical setting, contact Dr. Clingan at, or by calling 1-973-239-8520.

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Dr. Clingan studied poetry, music, theater, art, philosophy and religion at University of the Ozarks enjoying workshops with Soulima Stravinsky, one of Igor Stravinsky’s sons, who said he should write music every day. In the wake of the discovery of Violet Liuzo’s station wagon with charred bodies slain by the Klan in 1964 Mississippi, Clingan wrote “Easy Answers” in less than an hour. The present arrangement is prettier than the first, but suitable for most singers. Dr. Clingan is a skilled musician, actor, poet and scholar (PhD, Drew University). He composed verse 2 in 1999 and verse 3 in 2002.

Rev. Ralph G. Clingan, Ph.D. / Phone: 973–338–8663 /

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Forged: Writing in the Name of God

Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

By Bart D. Ehrman

The evocative title tells it all and hints at the tone of sensationalism that pervades this book. Those familiar with the earlier work of Ehrman, a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and author of more than 20 books including Misquoting Jesus, will not be surprised at the content of this one. Written in a manner accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman argues that many books of the New Testament are not simply written by people other than the ones to whom they are attributed, but that they are deliberate forgeries. The word itself connotes scandal and crime, and it appears on nearly every page. Indeed, this book takes on an idea widely accepted by biblical scholars: that writing in someone else’s name was common practice and perfectly okay in ancient times. Ehrman argues that it was not even then considered acceptable—hence, a forgery. While many readers may wish for more evidence of the charge, Ehrman’s introduction to the arguments and debates among different religious communities during the first few centuries and among the early Christians themselves, though not the book’s main point, is especially valuable.—Publishers Weekly  / Forged Bart Ehrman’s New Salvo (


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Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals 

of a Growing Religion in America

By Miguel A. De La Torre

This book by Miguel De la Torre offers a fascinating guide to the history, beliefs, rituals, and culture of Santeria — a religious tradition that, despite persecution, suppression, and its own secretive nature, has close to a million adherents in the United States alone. Santeria is a religion with Afro-Cuban roots, rising out of the cultural clash between the Yoruba people of West Africa and the Spanish Catholics who brought them to the Americas as slaves. As a faith of the marginalized and persecuted, it gave oppressed men and women strength and the will to survive. With the exile of thousands of Cubans in the wake of Castro’s revolution in 1959, Santeria came to the United States, where it is gradually coming to be recognized as a legitimate faith tradition.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 24 December 2008




Home  Books N Review   DuBois Malcolm King

Related files: Nuking Westerns and White Manliness  An Annual Clingan Christmas Letter  Against Cheap Grace   A Lively Living Word

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