Fall Colors Around Seminary

As the week has progressed, the colors in the trees in West Michigan have exploded in beauty! But it has been a rather cloudy, rainy week, so we have not been able to enjoy them as much. But this morning the sun is shining (before a cold front moves in and more clouds and rain hit this afternoon and evening) and I went out to take a few pictures of God’s glorious handiwork in our immediate surroundings.

Here then are a few pics to give you a glimpse of what we are seeing in our little part of the world. The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps.19:1). So do the woods and trees.

Sem Fall 2014-1 DSCN4186 DSCN4187 DSCN4188 DSCN4189 DSCN4190 DSCN4191 DSCN4192

Published in: on October 17, 2014 at 10:54 AM  Leave a Comment  

Who Has the Best Facial Hair in Baseball History?

Who Has the Best Facial Hair in Baseball History? | History | Smithsonian.

Even though the baseball season is winding down (or, if you are a true fan, winding up, since the World Series matchup is now set – Yes, I know, no Cubs or Tigers :( ), and though this item was posted back in July on the Smithsonian website (July 22, 2014), it is still going to be part of our “Friday Fun” today. Because, well, it IS still baseball season, and it is Friday, and this is a bit of fun for us – especially for us guys with mustaches!

Rollie FingersSo, if you remember Rollie Fingers and other famous mustached players, you will enjoy these 25 pictures. Don’t laugh too hard. They’re coming back :)

Here is the opening part of the post:

At the turn of the 20th century, the majority of baseball players sported mustaches. But by the 1930s, the trimmers came out, and a fuzzy upper lip was prohibited, not explicitly, but rather via an unwritten rule of conduct, in the major leagues. The idea was to make the game more appealing to families, by keeping the boys clean-shaven and well groomed—and a shift in social etiquette, which mandated that decent men be clean-shaved, reinforced the move away from mustachioed players. Baseball players would remain clean-shaven for several decades, until 1972, when a mustachioed Reggie Jackson arrived at spring training with the Oakland A’s. The look wasn’t a hit with his fellow teammates, but their manager embraced it: He offered each player $300 to grow his own ’stache.

In the 1970s, facial hair represented a burgeoning counterculture, and the move by the Oakland A’s was a controversial one: still, almost all of the team grew their mustaches out for the bonus, earning the team the nickname “The Mustache Gang.” The ensuing years were a confusing time for baseball facial hair—individual clubs, like the Brewers and the Blue Jays, issued explicit bans on facial hair within their clubs, while other clubs embraced players with full heads and faces of hair (the afro was big during this time).

Since the late 70s, baseball has seen a number of mustachio-clad players on the diamond. Recently released statistics on the last decade of All-Star Games reveal that those with facial hair actually outperform their clean-shaven counterparts. But even if the mustache doesn’t make the man, it sure makes the man memorable. Here are 25 of the most memorable mustaches in baseball history.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/who-has-best-facial-hair-baseball-history-180952101/#PLif2oQBfjFEsdV9.99
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Published in: on October 17, 2014 at 8:28 AM  Comments (4)  

PRC Archives: The Growing Seminary Library, 1980

And for our PRC archives item today we post this one-page article involving a little Seminary history – specifically on the library!

In the Oct.15, 1980 issue of The Standard Bearer (v.57, #2) the PRC Seminary was featured (There are many other interesting items and pictures in that issue, if you care to look it up!), and Prof.Herman Hanko, who was partly in charge of the library at that time (and a certain current professor was a student assistant!), penned an article about “Our Growing Library.” And indeed it was, compared to what it had been!

Our secretary, Judi Doezema came across this issue and article this morning, and when she showed it to me, I knew we had our PRC archives feature for this week. Besides, you will also learn about the origin of our PRC archives.

So, read on and enjoy this little trip down Seminary memory lane. It’s only 34 years old :)

O, and for those who like a challenge, how about identifying the students in the picture. Shouldn’t be that hard (click on the image to enlarge it.)

P.S. I might also add that I am SO glad they made the switch to Library of Congress cataloging!

Sem Library art in Oct15-1980 SB_Page_1

In the Stacks of the Smithsonian Institution Archives | Book Patrol

In the Stacks of the Smithsonian Institution Archives | Book Patrol.

Library-Lower-Main-Hall-Smithsonian-Institution-Building-1914-640x512On our archives day we post something first from another archival source - the Smithsonian Institution! I should have known that this scientific institution would have a library, but I never gave it much thought. And now, having never visited the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C, I want to do so even more. And, no, it wouldn’t bother me in the least to “get lost for days”! :)

This story about the book side of the Smithsonian archives was posted Oct. 3, 2014 on the “Book Patrol” blog. The picture is compliments of the same. As “BP” says, enjoy!

For this installment of the In the Stacks we visit The Smithsonian Institution Archives for some bookish love.

The SI archives are a repository that:

 captures, preserves, and makes available to the public the history of this extraordinary Institution. From its inception in 1846 to the present, the records of the history of the Institution—its people, its programs, its research, and its stories—have been gathered, organized, and disseminated so that everyone can learn about the Smithsonian. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of American history, of scientific exploration, and of international cultural understanding.

It is also another one of those archives where you can get lost for days.  


The Reformation and the Men Behind It – Steven Lawson

The Reformation and the Men Behind It by Steven Lawson | Ligonier Ministries Blog.

Reformation-GeneralStarting today and leading up to Reformation Day (Oct.31, 2014) Ligonier Ministries will be blogging about the key figures of the Reformation. These posts will contain excerpts from Dr.Steve Lawson’s book Pillars of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men (Reformation Trust, 2011).

Today’s post introduces us to the Reformation and its leading figures. Below is the first part of this excerpt. Find the rest at the Ligonier link above.

The Protestant Reformation stands as the most far-reaching, world-changing display of God’s grace since the birth and early expansion of the church. It was not a single act, nor was it led by one man. This history-altering movement played out on different stages over many decades. Its cumulative impact, however, was enormous. Philip Schaff, a noted church historian, writes: “The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history. It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII: Modern Christianity—The German Reformation [1910; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980], 1). The Reformation was, at its heart, a recovery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and this restoration had an unparalleled influence on churches, nations, and the flow of Western civilization.

Also, if you are looking for some good titles for reading and to add to your personal or family library, I can recommend the people at “Grace & Truth Books”. The link will take you to their Reformation section, where they have a number of good books at special prices, including books for young readers.

Whatever Happened to Sunday? – John J.Timmerman

Markings on loong journey-TimmermanWhile browsing through Markings on a Long Journey: Writings of John J. Timmerman (Ed. by Rodney J.Mulder & John H. Timmerman; Baker, 1982) yesterday, I came across several well-worth-reading essays by this former Calvin College English professor, including one titled “Whatever Happened to Sunday?” (pp.58-63).

Here are some thoughts of his on what Sunday used to mean for Dutch Reformed folk (especially in the Christian Reformed Church):

At that time and even into the sixties (1960s-cjt), there was a remarkable consensus as to the meaning and practice of Sunday. Although the Bible did not specify the number of services to be held on Sunday, congregations attended with notable faithfulness and did not appear to grow weary of that kind of well-doing. Even though the services in the earlier decades of the century were a surcease from loneliness on the empty prairie, a stay against loss of identity in a strange land, and the warm concourse of friends, these reasons did not bring them to church. What did bring them to church was a felt spiritual need and a sense of duty. They believed God wanted them to come as often as they could and that it was good for them to be there. That kind of concensus has been eroding for years, whether out of spiritual amplitude, secular diversions, boredom, or alienation. So also has the drawing power of popular preachers. It has been decades since I have seen churches packed to hear a particular preacher. I can name half a dozen preachers during the thirties and forties who packed the evening service wherever they went. The sense of duty in going to church and the pleasure anticipated through the sermon have both waned, so that today churches with excellent ministers rope off many pews for evening services during the summer, while some of the saints go marching off (61-62).

It is not becoming so with us, is it? How is your and my sabbath observance? Waxing – or waning?

Treasures found in Israel’s National Library | Book Patrol

Kafka’s notebook, the first written evidence of Yiddish and more as Israel’s National Library opens up | Book Patrol.

israel-national-library-mossad-bibleThis digital library news headline came in my daily “Book Patrol” email today and I found it amazingly interesting!

Below is the introductory note from the “BP” people (posted Oct.9, 2014), which is followed by a series of fascinating images, including pictures of a 13th century German prayer book containing Yiddish, Franz Kafka’s Hebrew vocabulary notebook, a page of Sir Isaac Newton’s theological writings, and an early copy of the Hebrew Bible (image posted here).

What a wonder the digital world has become! There is plenty more to explore here at the Israel National Library website, so take your time and marvel at what is now public.

The goal is daunting: Undertake “a worldwide initiative to digitize every Hebrew manuscript in existence.”

To celebrate the project, the National Library of Israel is opening its vaults to give the world a peek and some of the jewels of their collection.  The Associated Press was offered “a rare glimpse at its most prized treasures,” some never before seen and others that has been locked away for years. 

The jewels include manuscripts by Sir Issac Newton and Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon and a Hebrew vocabuary notebook by Kafka, who took Hebrew lessons with an 18-year-old Jerusalem native who was in Prague in the 1920s studying math.


Blessing and Cursing – T.D. Alexander

Blessing and Cursing by T. Desmond Alexander | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-Oct 2014Last week we began to introduce the October issue of Tabletalk and its theme of “Biblical Dichotomies”. Today we can continue by considering the next feature article, “Blessing and Cursing”, by Dr.T.D. Alexander (Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, N.Ireland).

Alexander explains well these two dichotomies found throughout the Scriptures, tying it especially to Jesus Christ, in Whom alone fallen sinners are blessed.

I leave you with his starting point and encourage you to follow through and read the rest at the Ligonier link above.

 Although it is rarely noted, the concept of blessing lies at the very heart of the gospel. The Apostle Paul highlights this in his letter to the Christian believers in Galatia. In vigorously defending the inclusion of Gentiles within the people of God, he writes, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’ ” (Gal. 3:8). As Paul goes on to emphasize, the blessing given to Abraham comes to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (v. 14).

Paul’s observations recall how the concepts of blessing and cursing are highly significant within the book of Genesis. At creation, God blesses humanity when He instructs them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28). Unfortunately, Adam and Eve’s subsequent disobedience of God brings them under His condemnation. Blessing gives way to cursing, as God pronounces the punishments that will blight the lives of Adam and Eve and their descendants (3:16-19). God’s curses upon humanity bring hardship for both man and woman, affecting the whole of creation.

Against this background, God summons Abraham to initiate a process by which blessing may be restored to people everywhere.

Prayer is “lovers’ talk” – H.Hanko

When-You-Pray -HHankoFrom the first chapter (“The Idea of Prayer”) of Herman Hanko’s book When You Pray: Scripture’s Teaching on Prayer (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2006), which our discussion groups at Faith PRC begin studying tonight:

Prayer is to the Christian what breathing is to a healthy person. Without breathing a person cannot live. Without prayer a Christian dies. Breathing is spontaneous; in many ways so is prayer.

Prayer is like a river that returns to its source, for prayer has its power in the Spirit of Christ working life in the heart of God’s child; that life returns again in prayer to God who gave it. It is the expression of the thirst for God that makes a stag panting after water brooks an apt simile (Ps.42:1).

Prayer is lovers’ talk, for it is a holy conversation between the living and eternal God and the redeemd child of God in which both speak to each other in the most intimate relationship of love.

Prayer is a child coming to his Father, knowing that his Father loves him and will provide for him in every need. We must begin our prayers, the Lord says, with ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ (p.1).

At the heading to this chapter Hanko also has this wonderful quotation from Charles H. Spurgeon:

Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love.

Historian Tracks Down The World’s Oldest Book Doodles

Historian Tracks Down The World’s Oldest Book Doodles.

Since I am going to be gone for the rest of the week, I will give you a little “Friday Fun” item early this week. This caught my eye last weekend in one of my book emailings (posted Oct.2, 2014). A fascinating book discovery has been made! Medieval doodling in books included the smiley face! See for yourself by visiting the link above.

Historian Erik Kwakkel has spent years at Leiden University in the Netherlands examining some of the world’s oldest books and manuscripts. He’s fascinated with “pen trials”—small sketches drawn by medieval scribes testing the ink flow of their quills. Among his discoveries: the smiley face goes back centuries.

Medieval book doodling


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