Jonathan Myrick Daniels vs. Florence Li Tim-Oi

The Elate Eighty continues as Jonathan Daniels face Florence Li Tim-Oi. The winner will join Joanna the Myrrhbearer in the Faithful Four following her overwhelming victory over Blandina 78% to 22%.

To get to the Elate Eight, Jonathan defeated Rutilio Grande and Josephine Bakhita, while Florence took down Nicolaus von Zinzendorf and Enmegahbowh.

Vote now!

Florence Li Tim-Oi

When Florence last made it to the Saintly Sixteen in 2013, there was no kitsch to speak of. Thankfully, that’s changed, and there’s some solid Florence Li Tim-Oi merch out there. Kitsch can be funny and cute, and it can be inspiring and informative. I’ll let you decide which direction this kitsch goes.

Chris Corbin is one of the folks who solved our “I need a Rev. Li poster” needs with his drawing of Rev. Li. Vested, smiling, and ready to adorn your gear - thanks, Chris, for creating this opportunity to put Florence Li Tim-Oi on front street! Poster, postcard, t-shirt - Rev. Li will go where you take her. Which, of course, could be staying on the wall in your home. That’s fine, there’s lots of ministering needed there, I'm sure.

Katherine Mumey was like, hold on: I create minimalist saint icons. I’ve got a visual of Rev. Li for the people. She created this stylized image of Rev. Li, which you can get as a sticker, phone case, tote bag (my favorite - IYKYK), and pet bowls. Your pets already know about Florence; she’s on the bowl to remind YOU about deep faithfulness. Thanks, Katherine, for the opportunity to evangelize!

On eBay, you’ll find this 1984 photo from a newspaper archive on the 40th anniversary of Florence Li Tim-Oi’s ordination. The caption says that the celebrant was Bishop Gilbert Baker, Bishop of Hong Kong, and the preacher was the Rev. Joyce Bennett, a friend from Hong Kong who happened to be the first English woman ordained to the priesthood in 1971.

You can read Raindrops of My Life: The Memoir of Florence Li Tim Oi, First Woman Priest in the Anglican Communion by Florence Li Tim-Oi. Published in 1996, copies of the book are expensive and rare. If you can read Chinese, you can read the original version published in 1993. Or you can borrow it from libraries that own it using WorldCat.

You can get a copy of Much Beloved Daughter: The story of Florence Li by Ted Harrison. Getting your hands on this book is much easier and affordable. Perhaps someone needs to write another book about Rev. Li! I’m sure this one is great, it’s got some pretty good reviews. And it’s the only published book about her.

Finally, this piece of kitsch is a photo of an icon of Rev. Li at its dedication service in 2004. The details in the caption show great intention to bring relics from her ordination to this celebration. It reads: From right to left: the Revd Nicholas Holtam, then Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, now Bishop of Salisbury, who dedicated the icon, wearing the cope made for Bishop R. O. Hall who ordained Li Tim-Oi in 1944; the Rev. Dr. Ellen Francis OSH who wrote the icon; Canon Ruth Wintle, then chair of Li Tim-Oi Foundation, who presided at the eucharist, wearing a chasuble from Zimbabwe; Canon Christopher Hall, secretary and founder of the Foundation and son of Bishop R. O. Hall.

Miriam Willard McKenney

Jonathan Myrick Daniels

So, “kitsch”—not a word that springs easily to mind when considering the legacy of a murdered 26-year-old civil rights worker. I don’t think we need to hesitate, though. Jon was a serious young man, but that doesn’t mean he took himself too seriously.

Although Jonathan Myrick Daniels is a newer and lesser-known addition to our saintly pantheon, there are more than a few ways to remember Jon, and walk in his footsteps. But your search for JMD merch might be waylaid briefly by material related to Jonathan W. Daniels, a prolific author and White House Press Secretary for all of 45 days. Should you acquire one of his books on Confederate history, do what Jon M. Daniels did – hollow it out, and use it for storage.

Two calls brought Jonathan to Selma, Alabama. The first were the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday. The second call came during evening prayer, in the words of the Magnificat. Why not get yourself an icon so you can find yourself, like Jon did, “peculiarly alert, suddenly straining toward the decisive, luminous, spirit-filled Moment…I knew then that I must go to Selma.”

Jonathan and his classmate Judy Upham felt called to work with in Lowndes County, Alabama. There they joined SNCC workers in voter registration efforts; the county population was over 80% black yet there was not a single black person on the voter rolls. You can watch the documentary Bloody Lowndes, to learn more about the struggle for freedom and safety there. Here’s the trailer.

Despite the terror of Lowndes County, Jon and his friends sang songs of freedom, love, and the power of God’s justice. When he was arrested, Jonathan kept on singing in jail. Check out the 16th chapter of Acts and then scoop up a copy of the CORE sit-in songbook, published by the Congress of Racial Equality in Summer

When Jon was arrested for the last time, in Ft. Deposit, Alabama, bail for each participant of the sit-in was set at $100. Jonathan paid his bail but chose to stay locked up with his companions, in solidarity and out of concern for their safety. Perhaps you’d like to contribute to a bail fund in Jonathan’s honor, or spend some time learning about this complex issue and its relationship to racism and classism in our criminal justice system today.

Jonathan ultimately gave up his life to save another person, throwing a young Ruby Sales out of the way of a shotgun blast. This icon commemorates Jonathan and so many others who were murdered for the cause of legal equality and human dignity for black people in the United States. As we approach Palm Sunday, consider Jonathan’s words from a Texas Observer article, only published posthumously: “Death at the heart of life, and life in the midst of death. The tree of life is indeed a Cross.”

— Eva Suarez


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75 comments on “Jonathan Myrick Daniels vs. Florence Li Tim-Oi”

  1. I came here to vote for Jonathan and his martyrdom, but did because uncomfortable with his whiteness celebrated over the black heros. However, he seems to have known his white privilege was a currency, and he shared his currency to help others.
    I was also struck by some of the comments emphasizing Jonathan's martyrdom over Florence being "the first". So I went to remind myself what suffering did she endure on behalf of the church.
    After reading about her being forced to work in labor camp; sent to camp for political re-education; forced to cut up her own vestments: surviving a dark night of the soul that brought her to the brink of suicide, I chose to vote for her. Her time being persecuted by the Chinese government reminded me of those persecuted and martyred by Saul before his conversion. She may have been a "first," but her Christian story is a modern day version of the Book of Acts.

  2. What, no Kitsch? Impossible! Never fear: there are Cocktails! (which I refuse to “cute-ify” by spelling with a “k,” as the U.S. is still scourged by three too many K’s). Ever since the brilliant move on behalf of the Martyrs of Memphis to give us the recipe for a “Yellow Death,” it has been Tradition (well, by me) to include a cocktail for the Kitsch round. I searched for “cocktails of the Civil Rights movement,” and came up with . . . nihilo. Apparently King liked a Screwdriver.

    I did find an amusing article at on “You Don’t Want to Know what your Parents were Drinking in 1966.” That martini James Bond ordered in “Dr. No,” with vodka? “shaken not stirred”? He bought himself a “watery, bad drink.” Apparently the 1960’s were the worst era, ever, for cocktails.

    However, that does not mean that there is not amazing drinkology today, and even socially aware cocktails, such as this one, the “Black Maybe.” In the “spirit” of the lesser known Lambeth Pentalateral, whose primary tenet is “Wherever there are four Episcopalians, there’s a fifth,” I offer this concoction from the Leah & Louise in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bartender, wasting nothing, used an accident while making simple syrup. The title comes from the U.S. Black experience, where on the job market the white man is told “yes” but the black man is told “maybe.”

    1 1/2 oz. George Dickel 12 whiskey
    1 oz. “smurnt” (smoked and burnt) sugar syrup
    1/2 oz. Amaro Montenegro
    1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

    “Smurnt” Sugar Syrup:
    2 cups smoked brown sugar
    2 cups water
    1/2 cup mint
    1/2 cup fresh chopped ginger

    In a pot cook the brown sugar only on low heat until fully melted. Increase the heat to high and cook the sugar until it starts to smoke and turn dark brown (almost black). Take the pot off of the heat and add water. Put the mixture back on medium heat until all the burnt sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup come down to room temperature and then pour it into a blender. Add the mint and ginger and blend on high for 1 minute. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate. Combine all of the ingredients in shaker with ice and vigorously shake. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and garnish.

    And because we are bidden to offer non-alcoholic drinks, served “equally attractively,” here is a lovely concoction from Lebanon, called a “jallab.” Fill a tall glass with ice water, add 2 Tbps of date molasses and 1 tsp. of rose water. Add 1 tsp. of honey if you want more sweetness. Stir well. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds on top.

  3. This was the hardest match. I really wanted to vote for both of them, Florence for being the first woman ordained to the priesthood and Jonathan for his selfless sacrifice to save a young woman. Maybe I'll get some "kitsch" of each of them.

  4. This was a horrendous choice. How do you choose between two such worthy people that we know so much about?!? This was the cruelest choice that the Supreme Council have given us so far this year.

  5. No quandary today - availability of kitsch is irrelevant. Jonathan is the choice. He gave up his life for another. What is that quote that begins “Greater love….?”

  6. This has to be the hardest match of all in my time in Lent Madness. My decision was swayed only by the expectation that Florence would be behind. I am deeply thankful for the life and witness of both.

  7. I have a fabulous book about Lowndes County Alabama but I had not known there was a video! Thank you Eva Suarez for such a fabulous addition to my knowledge of this inspiring young man.

  8. His story really speaks to me. He literally gave his life. I wonder if I could be so brave.

  9. I was leaning toward Florence because of her connection to Canada but when I saw the name Judy Upham linked with Jonathan Daniels, my mind was made up. Upham is my married name and very uncommon in Canada--the only one in our phone book when we lived in Alberta years ago.

    Jonathan's story inspired me in the previous round and I had voted for him then. More people should know about his courage and faith.

  10. Doesn’t seem right that the description of Florence is about “kitsch” rather than her saintly qualities while Jonathan gets a description of his saintly qualities. Might be influencing the voting tally?

    1. Did you miss the part where Tim and Scott said this was the round of Saintly Kitsch. They’ve already talked about what they did in their lives. This is all kitsch, all the time this round. Lighten up!

  11. While I greatly admire the courage and perseverance of one small woman who stood up to the communist leaders in China- and maintained dignity while waiting for men to accept her calling and gift to be a priest… (voted her her before) … I decided to vote for Jonathan Daniel’s today. The choice to stand up to discrimination in the politically charged climate of the 60’s required courage and a belief that the Holy Spirit, through the Magnificat, had called him to action. And Daniel’s answered. Many chose not to…then and house not to now.

  12. At a time when “Social Justice Warrior” is bizarrely being used as a slur by our fellow Americans, it is a pleasure and a burden to vote today. As the wonderful old song “The House I Live In” reminds of the “fight that sill remains” I cast my vote for Jonathan Daniels and thank God for Florence’s steadfastness and perseverance.

  13. "The Elate Eighty continues as Jonathan Daniels face Florence Li Tim-Oi."

    EIGHTY??!!?? Will we finish before Easter??

  14. In honor of those who must hide their vocations, I voted for Florence, but as someone born in the South, I will be glad for Jonathan to win.

  15. I did not have the "vote" icon at the end of this article, so just wanted to cast my vote today for Jonathan Myrick Daniels.

  16. Oh this is hard. I want to vote for both. I have a minor in Human Rights from Southern Methodist University *and* I have long admired the Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi. I have read both of the books mentioned above and our parish library owns each of them. Whilst an undergrad I went on the SMU Spring Break Civil Rights Pilgramage, so I have been to, among other places, Selma (just not the weekend of the big commemoration) and walked across that bridge. This is so hard.

  17. Objectively: kitsch quantity, kitsch quality and cost of kitsch relative to "Jesus Image On Toast" (Ebay), for both St. Jonathan Myrick Daniels and St. Florence Li Tim-Oi were not the same. Unobtrusive measures...backed by a little online research about these two... reflects substantial differences in their sacrifice stories.

  18. My vote goes to Jonathan Myrick Daniels, especially in light of the most recent mass shooting in the USA. Jonathan threw his body in the way of a shotgun blast, saving Ruby Sales life at the expense of his own. The shooter was an officer of the law who felt he had the right to shoot a black woman simply because she was black and had been working to register other black citizens to vote. As much as I admire Rev. Li, my vote goes to St. Jonathan.

  19. Well this one was my bracket buster. I had dear Florence winning the golden halo. I was so inspired by her being the first woman ordained - so many have followed in her precious footsteps. She is an original glass ceiling breaker, but also she was blessed with deep pastoral gifts.