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      T as in Tulip, or Calvin Revisited: A Sort of Elegy

      Total depravity,
      Unconditional election,
      Limited atonement,
      Irresistible grace,
      Perseverance of the saints.
      --from notes on Calvinism taken in Buckner B. Trawick’s EN 541: The Old Testament and American Literature, University of Alabama, Fall, 1963. Trawick was the author of two widely used college textbooks, The Old Testament as Literature and The New Testament as Literature. I recently learned that Professor Trawick passed away about fifteen years ago.

      Bless his little Baptist heart,
      Old Bucky Trawick wrote the book
      On evil and the fall of man,
      On all the fruit that fell
      From the forbidden Eden tree.

      (Hey! Hey!
      Ho! Ho!
      Jean Cauvin,
      What do you know?
      We love your Institutio!)
      An anointing overcame him when he taught,
      And he would not notice if we sometimes slept
      As he traced the ancient texts to show
      How limited atonement at bottom means
      Jesus died so Baptists only might be saved.
      And when he sought to explicate
      Each nuance of election he was enraptured
      And did not know he’d left us far behind.
      (Hey! Hey!
      Ho! Ho!
      Jean Cauvin,
      What do you know?
      We love your Institutio!)
      And then the T-U-L-I-P. . .
      John Calvin’s views mnemonicized
      Lest we forget,
      Lest we forget. . .
      Especially the T that we inherit
      From those pomegranate thieves of Eden.
      Oh, when Bucky wailed on mankind’s fall,
      When he emoted on depravity,
      We thought that he might levitate
      Or speak in tongues
      Or be translated to celestial spheres.
      (Hey! Hey!
      Ho! Ho!
      Jean Cauvin,
      What do you know?
      We love your Institutio!)
      Buckner Trawick’s dead and gone,
      But his memory lingers on.
      May God grant that Bucky B
      Rest more content than Calvin taught
      And more at peace than me.
      (Hey! Hey!
      Ho! Ho!
      Jean Cauvin,
      What do you know?
      We love your Institutio!)

      -- Warren F. O’Rourke, January, 2004