Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher and essayist during the 19th century. One of his best-known essays is “Self-Reliance.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1821, he took over as director of his brother’s school for girls. In 1823, he wrote the poem “Good-Bye.” In 1832, he became a Transcendentalist, leading to the later essays “Self-Reliance” and “The American Scholar.” Emerson continued to write and lecture into the late 1870s. He died on April 27, 1882, in Concord, Massachusetts.
Early Life and Education
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the son of William and Ruth (Haskins) Emerson; his father was a clergyman, as many of his male ancestors had been. He attended the Boston Latin School, followed by Harvard University (from which he graduated in 1821) and the Harvard School of Divinity. He was licensed as a minister in 1826 and ordained to the Unitarian church in 1829.
Emerson married Ellen Tucker in 1829. When she died of tuberculosis in 1831, he was grief-stricken. Her death, added to his own recent crisis of faith, caused him to resign from the clergy.
Travel and Writing
In 1832 Emerson traveled to Europe, where he met with literary figures Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. When he returned home in 1833, he began to lecture on topics of spiritual experience and ethical living. He moved to Concord, Massachusetts, in 1834 and married Lydia Jackson in 1835.
Emerson’s early preaching had often touched on the personal nature of spirituality. Now he found kindred spirits in a circle of writers and thinkers who lived in Concord, including Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau and Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott).
In the 1830s Emerson gave lectures that he afterward published in essay form. These essays, particularly “Nature” (1836), embodied his newly developed philosophy. “The American Scholar,” based on a lecture that he gave in 1837, encouraged American authors to find their own style instead of imitating their foreign predecessors.
Emerson became known as the central figure of his literary and philosophical group, now known as the American Transcendentalists. These writers shared a key belief that each individual could transcend, or move beyond, the physical world of the senses into deeper spiritual experience through free will and intuition. In this school of thought, God was not remote and unknowable; believers understood God and themselves by looking into their own souls and by feeling their own connection to nature.
The 1840s were productive years for Emerson. He founded and co-edited the literary magazine The Dial, and he published two volumes of essays in 1841 and 1844. Some of the essays, including “Self-Reliance,” “Friendship” and “Experience,” number among his best-known works. His four children, two sons and two daughters, were born in the 1840s.
Later Work and Life
Emerson’s later work, such as The Conduct of Life (1860), favored a more moderate balance between individual nonconformity and broader societal concerns. He advocated for the abolition of slavery and continued to lecture across the country throughout the 1860s.
By the 1870s the aging Emerson was known as “the sage of Concord.” Despite his failing health, he continued to write, publishing Society and Solitude in 1870 and a poetry collection titled Parnassus in 1874.
Emerson died on April 27, 1882, in Concord. His beliefs and his idealism were strong influences on the work of his protégé Henry David Thoreau and his contemporary Walt Whitman, as well as numerous others. His writings are considered major documents of 19th-century American literature, religion and thought.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
C.S. Lewis was a prolific Irish writer and scholar best known for his Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series as well as his pro-Christian texts.
“I did not say to myself, ‘Let us represent Jesus as he really is in our world by a lion in Narnia.’ I said, ‘Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a man in our world, became a lion there, and then imagine what would happen.’ ”
Born on November 29, 1898, in Belfast Ireland, C.S. Lewis went on to teach at Oxford University and became a renowned apologist writer, using logic and philosophy to support the tenets of his Christian faith. He is also known throughout the world as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series, which have been adapted into various films for the big and small screens.
Author Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on November 29, 1898, to Flora August Hamilton Lewis and Albert J. Lewis. As a toddler, Clive declared that his name was Jack, which is what he was called by family and friends thenceforth. He was close to his older brother Warren and the two spent much time together as children. Lewis was enraptured by fantastic animals and tales of gallantry, and hence the brothers created the imaginary land of Boxen, complete with an intricate history that served them for years.
Lewis’s mother died when he was 10, and he went on to receive his pre-college education at boarding schools and from a tutor. During WWI, he served with the British army and was sent home after being wounded by shrapnel. He then chose to live as a surrogate son with Janie Moore, the mother of a friend of Lewis’s who was killed in the war.
Teaching Career and Wartime Broadcasts
Lewis graduated from Oxford University with a focus on literature and classic philosophy, and in 1925 was awarded a fellowship teaching position at Magdalen College, which was part of the university. There, he also joined the group known as The Inklings, an informal collective of writers and intellectuals who counted among their members Lewis’ brother, Warren Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. It was through conversations with group members that Lewis found himself re-embracing Christianity after having become disillusioned with the faith as a youth. He would go on to become renowned for his rich apologist texts, where he explained his spiritual beliefs via platforms of logic and philosophy.Lewis began publishing work in the mid-1920s with his first book, the satirical Dymer (1926). After penning other titles—including The Allegory of Love (1936), for which he won the Hawthornden Prize—he released in 1938 his first sci-fi work, Out of the Silent Planet, the first of a trilogy which dealt sub-textually with concepts of sin and desire. Later, during World War II, Lewis gave highly popular radio broadcasts on Christianity which won many converts; his speeches were collected in the work Mere Christianity.
‘The Chronicles of Narnia’
During the ’50s, Lewis started to publish the seven books that would comprise The Chronicles of Narnia children’s series, with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) being the first release. The story focused on four siblings who, during wartime, walk through an armoire to enter the magical world of Narnia, a land resplendent with mythical creatures and talking animals. Different parts of the series represented a variety of Biblical themes; one prominent character is Aslan, a lion and the ruler of Narnia, who has also been interpreted as a Jesus Christ figure. (Lewis would assert that his Narnia stories weren’t a direct allegory to the real world.)
Though the book received some negative reviews, general readers took to the story in a big way. The series has retained its international popularity over the decades.
Max Lucado is a best-selling Christian author and writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church (formerly the Oak Hills Church of Christ) in San Antonio, Texas.
Lucado was born on January 11, 1955 in San Angelo, Texas, the youngest of four children to Jack and Thelma Lucado. He grew up in Andrews, Texas. His father was an oil field worker, while his mother served as a nurse.
Lucado attended Abilene Christian University where he received an undergraduate degree in Mass Communication. During his time at the university, he was a member of The Fraternity of Galaxy. Initially he wished to become a lawyer, but has said that a required Bible course at the university and a mission trip made him change his mind, deciding instead to become a missionary. However, this required that Lucado get a graduate degree in Bible and have at least two years experience ministering to a church. Lucado graduated from Abilene Christian University with a master’s degree in Bible and Biblical Studies.
After graduation, Lucado became an associate minister at Central Church of Christ in Miami, Florida. His responsibilities initially included overseeing a singles’ group and writing a column for the church’s newsletter. After two years in Miami, the now newlywed Lucado and his wife, Denalyn, moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to become full-time missionaries. In 1987, Lucado’s father died from Lou Gehrig’s disease. After five years in Brazil, he brought his family back to the United States to be closer to his mother. In 1988, he was hired as a minister to the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas (known simply as Oak Hills Church since 2003).
Lucado has been associated with some progressive teaching causing divisions amongst some Churches of Christ. He no longer affiliates himself with the Churches of Christ.
After serving as the senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX for 20 years, Lucado announced in early 2007 that he was stepping down due to health concerns related to atrial fibrillation. Lucado has since resumed the more limited ministry role of writing and preaching at Oak Hills with co-pastor Randy Frazee, formerly of Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, Illinois. The Lucados have three daughters, Jenna, Andrea, and Sara.
Lucado has written almost 100 books with 80 million copies in print, including three recipients of the Charles “Kip” Jordon Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year (Just Like Jesus, In the Grip of Grace, and When God Whispers Your Name), and has also appeared regularly on several bestseller lists including the New York Times Best Seller List.
Lucado was named “America’s Pastor” by Christianity Today magazine and in 2005 was named by Reader’s Digest as “The Best Preacher in America.” He has also been featured on The Fox News Channel, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live, LLBN, and USA Today. He has been featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast.
- On the Anvil: Being Shaped into God’s Image, Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1985. ISBN 978-1-4143-1553-9.
- No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, New York, New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1986. ISBN 978-0-8807-0611-7.
- God Came Near: Chronicles of the Christ, Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1987. ISBN 978-0-8807-0206-5.
- Six Hours One Friday: Anchoring to the Power of the Cross Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8807-0314-7.
- The Applause of Heaven, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1990. ISBN 978-0-8499-1324-2.
- In the Eye of the Storm: A Day in the Life of Jesus, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8499-4325-6.
- Just In Case You Ever Wonder, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1992. P
- And the Angels Were Silent, Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1992.
- Tell Me the Story Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992.
- He Still Moves Stones, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1993.
- Tell Me the Secrets, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1993.
- The Crippled Lamb, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1994.
- When God Whispers Your Name, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1994.
- The Children of the King, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1994.
- The Final Week of Jesus Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0-88070-630-8.
- A Gentle Thunder, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1995.
- The Song of the King, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1995.
- The Inspirational Study Bible Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1995. ISBN 978-0-84995-123-7.
- In the Grip of Grace, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996.
- The Glory of Christmas, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996.
- God’s Inspirational Promises, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996.
- Walking with the Savior, Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1996.
- Alabaster’s Song, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1996.
- Life Lessons Bible Study Guides 1996-1998.
- The Great House of God, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1997.
- You Are Special, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1997.
- Cosmic Christmas: An Angel’s Story, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1997.
- The Greatest Moments, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1997.
- The Cross, Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1998.
- The Heart of Christmas, 1998.
- Just Like Jesus, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1998.
- The Christmas Cross, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1998. (the 2003 American Christian film, Christmas Child, was based on this short story)
- Let the Journey Begin, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1998.
- When Christ Comes, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1999.
- Just the Way Your Are, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1999.
- The Gift for All People, Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1999.
- Opening Windows, 1999.
- Because I Love You, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1999.
- Topical Bible Study Series, 1999-2000.
- He Chose the Nails, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 2000.
- Grace for the Moment, Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2000.
- In the Footsteps of Jesus, Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2000.
- He Did This Just For You, 2000.
- Small Gifts in God’s Hands, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2000.
- Traveling Light, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2001.
- Traveling Light Journal, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2001.
- America Looks Up, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2001.
- One Incredible Moment, Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2001.
- Safe in the Shepherd’s Arms, Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2001.
- Just For You, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2002.
- A Love Worth Giving, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2002.
- Traveling Light for Mothers, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2002.
- He Chose You, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2002.
- Just Like Jesus (Devotional), 2002.
- A Heart Like Jesus, 2002.
- What the Cross Means to Me, 2002.
- Next Door Savior, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2003.
- Experiencing the Heart of Jesus,
- God Thinks You’re Wonderful, 2003. Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2003.
- Hermie, A Common Caterpillar, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2003. ISBN 1-4003-0126-2
- It’s Not About Me, Nashville, Tennessee: Integrity Publishers, 2004.
- Come Thirsty, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2004.
- Everyday Blessings, Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2004.
- Cure for the Common Life, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2005.
- Turn, Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2005.
- God’s Mirror, Nashville, Tennessee: Integrity Publishers, 2005.
- The Way Home: A Princess Story, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.
- God’s Promises For You, 2006. (Updated Edition)
- Your Special Gift, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006.
- Grace For The Moment II, Nashville, Tennessee: J. Countryman, 2006.
- Facing Your Giants, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2006.
- Every Day Deserves a Chance: Wake Up to the Gift of 24 Hours, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
- 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing Group, 2007.
- Cast Of Characters, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2008.
- Fearless, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
- You Changed My Life, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
- The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible, NKJV, 2010.
- Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
- The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People” Teen Edition, Zondervan, 2010 – 2011. ISBN 978-0-310-72280-9
- Max on Life; Answers and Inspiration for Today’s Questions, 2011.
- God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours, 2011. ISBN 0-310-29403-7.
- God’s Story, Your Story: Youth Edition, 2011. ISBN 0-310-72546-1
- The Christmas Candle, Thomas Nelson, 2013.
- Who Is This Jesus?, Worthy Publishing, 2013 ISBN 9781936034666
- Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2015. ISBN 978-0-718000882
- Hermie, A Common Caterpillar, 2003. the first in a series of Christian videos for children, based on his book with the same title (The series ranked #8 on The Top Christian Cartoon Series list.)
- 3:16: Stories of Hope3:16: Stories of Hope2007
- God’s Story, Your Story, 2011. DVD ISBN 0-310-88986-3
- The Christmas Candle (2013)
John Maxwell –
The Apostle Paul –
John Eldridge –
S.E. Hinton –