Tag: 1999 Newsletter

Evelyn Underhill and the “Rattle of Teacups”

by Deborah Smith Douglas

The man was a high-ranking cleric in the Episcopal Church; he had just led a day of reflection for the parish where I worship. I thanked him for his presentation and, referring to something he had said about the spiritual life, asked him if he were familiar with the works of Evelyn Underhill. He laughed briefly, waved a well-manicured hand dismissively, and said that he had tried to read her, but “couldn’t get beyond the rattle of teacups in the background.” Since the reverend father was drinking a rather good sherry at the time, it might have behooved him not to mock the cliches of genteel Anglicanism, but this irony (which would have delighted Barbara Pym) did not occur to me at the time: I was too astounded by the depth of ignorance and prejudice revealed … Read more