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Beyond the Lone Islands

Thursday, 18 February 2010

In Memoriam - Dr John

Today the sad news reached me that a Blogger friend passed away a few days ago. Dr John Linna, Wisconsin USA, of the blog Dr John's Fortress died on Monday, 15 February. His funeral, as I understand it, is/was held today (Thursday). My sincere condolences go to his wife Betty.

I think I first made blog aquaintance with Dr John about a year ago through the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge hosted by Raven of Views from Raven's Nest. Possibly, it might have been the other way round. Anyway, Dr John was an inspiring and imaginative partaker in the weekly Wordzzles. As I came to understand after a while, he was also hiding behind another signature: Fandango of the blog Dragon's Lair.

Dr John had a very special gift for mixing "crazy" fantasy fiction with profound Christian theology. At his Fortress, each Sunday, he preached a double sermon: One as himself, and one through the fictional pastor Joan of the village Pigeon Falls, where the most incredible events often took place. Like the whole village disappearing and going back in time a century or so... Somehow, Dr John still always managed each week to fit a "real" sermon into the situation, following the Common Lectionary used by the Liturgial churches.

The last sermon(s) published on the blog is from 1½ weeks ago, 5th Sunday after Epiphany. The Bible context is from Luke 5, when Jesus first meets the fisherman Simon, later to become Peter, leader of the twelve Apostles and founder of the Church. Here is a quote from the sermon that Dr John chose to put in the mouth of fictional pastor Joan of Pigeon Falls:

He does not notice the fish. He does not smell the fish.
He sees only Jesus.
In a moment everything has changed.
Coming back to shore he leaves his boat and catch behind and follow Jesus.

"In a moment everything has changed."
Dr John - You are ashore now, having left your boat and catch behind.
You will be missed by all your followers.
But we know where you went and whom you followed!

Psalm 23
A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD


GB said...

What a beautiful post, Monica.

It is awesome (in the true sense of the word, I think) that the passing of a person such as Dr John can now be known about and thought about and give rise to emotions all over the world.

I wonder what Dr John would think if he could see the WV for this comment: cophins!

DawnTreader said...

Thankyou Graham.

That last sentence of yours had me completely mystified for a while though, until it dawned on me what WV stood for... Word Verification, right? I feel pretty sure he would have appreciated that twist!

Raven said...

This was a lovely tribute to Dr. John. Regarding GB's comment. It amazes me sometimes how the Word Verification words are suited to the topics of the posts.

Connie T. said...

Dr John would love this. This is a nice post about him. I loved his stories. He had a wonderful gift of story telling.

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...I did not know Dr. John or his blog but your post really brought home how we can develop relationships in the blogisphere.

Blogs allow us to touch people and be touched by people in ways that are otherwise entirely impossible. It is sad when one drops off for any reason. Thanks you for a great epitaph of a man I would liked to have known.


bettygram said...

Thank you Monica.


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