As I did my research and wrote about Titus Coan, I kept coming across Bible verse after verse in his journals, letters, and other writings. Most of the time I recognized them. But some times I checked what might be a verse, a paraphrase or an allusion to a verse. And there it was! Often, the verses I did not recognize were from the last part of the first part of the Bible–the Old Testament–in a section called “The Minor Prophets” (minor only because of the shorter length of the books). Many verses I had read over the years but they did not stick–but they did with Titus! You could say about him as people did about John Bunyan (the author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” that he “bled Bible”!
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Some of you reading these posts know that I am very close to publishing a biography of the missionary Titus Coan. It looks like Wipf and Stock will publish it in late September or early October. At that time you may buy it from the publisher or receive and inscribed copy by me. If you wait a few (4-8) weeks, it will show up on Amazon.com.
It has been a long and mostly fun ride. If you have my email or phone number, you may contact me and request my unpublished series of essays on the research journey entitled “Titus Coan and Me.”
Titus Coan once wrote words to the effect that “if I am a Christian then I am a peace man!” He was not always that way. He served in the New York militia and as a pre teen “played army” leading a group of friends in pretend military activities during the war of 1812. But after he had a eepening experience of the Christian faith, he came to see the importance of preaching and living peace.
In Hawai`i he organized children and adults alike into military groups for peace! He raised money from the Hawaiians and himself sacrificially gave to the publication “The Advocate of Peace.” For many years his letters on peace were published in that journal. He provided pece material to sailors who visited Hilo harbor. He corresponded with two Quakers (pacifists) by the last name of Bean.
Titus Coan preached, gave and lived as a “peace man.”
Titus Coan was born Killingworth, Connecticut, in early 1801, a little before Thomas Jefferson became President. While in upstate New York in his early 30s he was deeply influenced by the Second Great Awakening under the ministry of Charles G. Finney. He signed on with the only American mission organization at the time–the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. After a scouting trip to Patagonia he returned to New England where he married Fidelia Church and was commissioned to go the Sandwich Islands, which we know as the Hawaiian Islands. After being assigned to the little town of Hilo on the Big Island God used him to lead the “Hawaiian Great Awakening” between 1836 and 1840. On the “day of days,” he used a bucket of water and a big brush to baptized 1,702 individuals. For a while, his was the largest church in the world.
Coan also was a Renaissance Man. He kept track of weather statistics. He wrote about earthquakes and what we call tsunamis. But most of all he wrote about each of the major eruptions during his 35 plus years. He put it all down in his memoirs, which he wrote when he was 80! In his earlier years to his mid years he climbed active volcanoes, some times at great risk to himself. To this day, the Hawaiian USGS web site “proudly links” to Coan’s digitized memoirs, provided in large part by a descendant, Ed Coan.
Recently I returned to a short Bible prayer that was very popular in 2000. It was an obscure Old Testament verse until Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book entitled “The Prayer of Jabez.” Since then, Karin and I and our daughters have prayed it out loud a lot together (we put it into the plural. I commend it to you for your use. I hope you do not just say it or say it over and over as if saying it is magic or by putting in a quarter prayer God will present you something big out of His non-existent machine. Instead, thoughtfully pray it. I sometimes pray it silently when I see someone I don’t even know. As you pray it, it is a way of praying the most dangerous two word prayer: “Use me!” “O that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory; that Your hand would be with me and that I would not cause pain.” The “O” is for intensity. 1 Chronicles 4:10. Read the preceding verse for context. May God enlarge your territory and use you mightily for His glory!
Have you heard of the prayer of St. Francis? This portion of it is used by Protestants and Catholics alike. I have used it during times of national or international stress. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. “O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
Have you heard of the “release and receive” prayer? It is simple yet profound. You hold out one of your arms in front of you, palm down. You think of whatever is stressing you or challenging you and either to yourself or out loud you say, “Lord, I release this to you.” Then you turn your palm up and “receive.” You receive by saying by thinking a word or words. If you message me after you do this, I will tell you what my “release” wording is. Try it. You’ll like it!
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