2013 Mackinac Bridge Walk … and a Memorable Anniversary!

35 years ago today my beautiful bride and I were united in marriage on a hot August night in Hope PRC, Walker, MI. Early Saturday morning, after spending our first night in our castle in the trailer park in Wyoming (I was a poor Calvin College student), we headed up to the Mackinac Bridge area, where we spent a romantic honeymoon weekend, visiting the island and other places. On Sunday we worshiped in the only CRC in the UP – in the little town of Rudyard – where we were introduced as newlyweds before a packed holiday weekend crowd (a tad embarrassing for us!). On that Labor Day Monday, we walked the bridge with 5,000 other people. And when our $135 was used up, we came home. It was a memorable start to our lives together. Happy anniversary, honey, and thank you for all your love and loving memories. May Christ continue to be the glue that holds us together, as He has been for 35 years. CJT

Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 7:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

Baseball’s Wit & Wisdom

Wit&WisdomofBaseballFor our second “Friday Fun” feature today, let’s return to that classic work of literature The Wit and Wisdom of Baseball by Saul Wisnia and Dan Schlossberg (Publications International, 2007). From the last section of the book, “Diamond Gems” I have selected a few Chicago Cubs specials – and one great Detroit Tigers item. Read on – and keep rooting for your favorite team, whether it is in first place (Tigers) or last (Cubs – sigh 😩 .

When the Cubs beat the Phillies 26-23 on August 25, 1922, the two teams produced the most runs in a single game. The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox share the record for most runs scored by a single team (29).

William Schriver, catcher for the Chicago Cubs, was the first player to catch a ball thrown from the top of the Washington Monument, on August 25, 1894 (How many teams can make that boast?! -cjt).

Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, was angered when ‘Chicago Daily News’ sports editor Lloyd Lewis ran a midseason box asking fans to vote for a new manager. Wrigley had to be restrained from running a Cub-sponsored ad asking for readers to choose a new sports editor (It’s that kind of passion that drives Cubs’ fans. -cjt).

From 1961 through 1965, the Chicago Cubs operated without a manger. Decisions were made by a rotating board of ‘head coaches’ (Probably not one of the better decisions by Cubs managment. But, they saved some money, I’m sure! -cjt).

With his Chicago Cubs trailing by nine runs one afternoon, manager Charlie Grimm, coaching at third base, dug a hole and buried his lineup card (No doubt he also wanted to bury a few players! -cjt).

And for you Tigers fans, here’s a great one – I simply love this little anecdote!

Detroit first baseman Norm Cash, already a strikeout victim twice, tried to break up a Nolan Ryan no-hitter with a table leg in 1973. Cash came to the plate with the sawed-off leg of an old table in the clubhouse (If you ever saw Ryan pitch – especially his fastball – you will understand Cash’s desperation -cjt).

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 6:39 AM  Leave a Comment  
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“Ads from the Past” – Old-Time Panaceas! – Seeking Michigan

Ads from the Past « Seeking Michigan.

The Archives of Michigan’s blog “Seeking Michigan” features a series of posts called “Ads from the Past”, which always contain interesting pictures and descriptions of advertisments from the past. This latest post in the series is no exception. How about some morphine syrup for those teething children? Yes, they had that (see the note and ad below)! Might you save your marriage by using Wells, Richardson & Co.’s “Butter Color”? Indeed, you might! Read the ad with the poem about young Mary.

When you are finished reading this post, poke around a bit on some of the links. Good clean, Michigan Friday fun! 🙂

One of my favorite things about working in the Archives of Michigan is the opportunity to look through the wide range of primary sources that our staff or visitors pull for research. I’ve seen some really interesting court cases, great mug shots and evidence that legislators’ attendance has always been pretty spotty, but my all time favorite things to read are the advertisements from the past.

While scanning an almanac from 1885 (It will be featured in our weather exhibit, debuting in September 2013.), I found some great examples of the types of advertisements that were common before regulation. You will find some similarities between these ads from the past and the commercials we see on television and in print today. Even in the 1800s, advertisements often utilized testimonials from other customers and sometimes even allowed payment in installments!

Medicines and various “remedies” were readily available through mail order, and it was common to see advertisements for opium derivatives like laudanum, or calming syrups for teething or restless children containing morphine.

This ad features a "soothing syrup" containing morphine

Preaching on the Heidelberg Catechism (2)

HeidCat-Latin-1563Continuing where we left off last week, we post a few more paragraph’s from Rev. G. Van den Berg’s article in the December 15, 1961 issue of The Standard Bearer (vol.38, #6), including again the preceding paragraph for context:

It appears from this entire quotation that the real cause for opposition to Catechism preaching was not the dislike of that kind of preaching as such but is rather to be found in the general spiritual condition of the church at that time. The “volkskerk” was very weak. Many had joined the Reformation movement who did not belong with it. There was a lack of real spiritual hunger for the Word of God. They simply did not care to go to church more than once on Sunday. In our day this spirit of spiritual laxity and indifference is also very much present. Churches are crowded for the morning service and the Sunday School but the evening services are but sparsely attended. No wonder that some Reformed Churches have all but eliminated Catechism preaching in preference to the popular topical preaching. Others are about to do so—a mark of still further decline.

In an attempt to correct this situation the synod of Dordt passed several resolutions. We find these in Jansen’s “Korte Verklaring.”

“1. Synod reiterated the decision of the Synod of 1586 regarding Catechism preaching. Ministers who should fail to do their duty in this respect would be censured. Catechism sermons should be brief and understandable to the common people.

“2. No minister should neglect to maintain this service because the attendance is small. Though only the minister’s own family should be in attendance, he should proceed. This would be a good example.

“3. The government was to be asked to forbid all unnecessary Sunday labor, and especially sports, drinking parties, etc., so that people might learn to hallow the Sabbath day and come to church regularly.

“4. Every church should have its own minister as much as possible and unnecessary combinations of two or more churches should be severed, or else the catechism sermons should be maintained at least every other Sunday afternoon.

“5. Church Visitors were charged to take close note of this matter regarding every church. Negligent, unwilling ministers had to be reported to Classis for censure. Confessing members who refused to attend the catechism sermons seemingly had to be censured also.”

From all of this it is evident that the Reformed fathers regarded Catechism preaching as an important and necessary thing. By incorporating the above quoted article in the Church Order they made it a mandatory practice. With only slight modification this article has been preserved in our Church Order unto the present day.

In 1905 the synod of the Christian Reformed Church in our country added to that part of the article which speaks of explaining the catechism annually, the phrase, “as much as possible.” Then in 1914 the phrase “which at this time has been accepted in the Netherlands Churches” was dropped since this was not necessary for the churches here. At the same time the synod omitted the provision that the preaching of the Catechism take place during the afternoon service and it inserted the word “Heidelberg” before “Catechism.” Thus our present redaction reads as follows:

“The ministers shall on Sunday explain briefly the sum of Christian doctrine comprehended in the Heidelberg Catechism so that as much as possible the explanation shall be annually completed, according to the division of the Catechism itself, for that purpose” (Art. 68, D.K.O.).

If you wish to read further on this subject of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, you may find a pamphlet on this by Marvin Kamps at the PRCA website. Visit this page to read “Heidelberg Catechism Preaching: Our Reformed Heritage”.

Book Alert! “The Mother of the Reformation” – E.Kroker

Mrs. Reformation « THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT.

MotherofReformation-KrokerThere’s a newly published biography on Katherine Luther out (Martin’s wife), and it looks to be a fine one. “The Christian Pundit” had a post on it yesterday and since we are on Reformation subjects today, I thought I would let you know about it. The “CP” had a detailed description and review of it, so I will simply refer you to that. Below is the beginning of the post; read all of it at the link above.

If it is possible to binge on biographies, that is what a friend of mine spent the summer doing. Books on Luther, from The Barber Who Wanted to Pray to Bainton’s classic Here I Stand, she ploughed her way through volume after volume. There were also a couple books on Katharine Luther, Martin’s wife, that she read and passed along. Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther is a keeper. If you are married to a pastor, professor, missionary, or extrovert, it would make an especially relevant read.

Originally published in German in 1906, Ernst Kroker’s work was republished this year (Concordia). Mark E. DeGarmeaux’s translation is easy to read but still retains an early 20th century flavour. Katharine is known because of her famous Reformer husband and she lives in his shadow in our minds. Kroker’s biography brings her into the light. There is a lot about Luther in the book—how can you write about only one spouse in a remarkable marriage?—but Katie is the emphasis.

Unearthing much about Katie’s childhood and adolescence, Kroker outlines what we know about her early years, doing a good job of giving a sense of what it must have been like, despite scant sources. Katharine’s early entrance into convent life and her faithful service there, her eventual conversion, escape, marriage, motherhood and widowhood are all there within a rich context. One of Kroker’s strengths is his ability to put this woman not on a pedestal for us to inspect and venerate but in her own world for us to watch and learn from.

Word Wednesday: “School”

Yes, it IS that time of year when children and young people return to school. Some have already done so and others will be doing so in the next week. And so, what better word to feature on our weekly Wednesday word post than the word “school”. We take our entry from the Reader’s Digest Family Word Finder (1975). Just remember, students, while we want you to relax as you study, we don’t want you to go about your studies in a leisurely fashion (see below)!

Family Word Finder -RDschool n. 1 ‘The children go to school every morning by bus’: place for instruction; academy, lyceum, institute; (variously) kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, university, seminary (Yes, don’t forget that institution! -cjt). 2 ‘The old school refused to accept new ideas’: group of people who think alike, order, faction, denomination (such as the “Old School Presbyterians” -cjt), way of thinking, thought, ism, system, method, style, view; persuasion, doctrine, theory, faith, belief; Informal bunch, crowd. -v. 3 ‘She was schooled at Harvard’: teach, train, instruct, educate.

Word origin: If you are taking some classes during your leisure time, you understand the original meaning of school. ‘School’ and its forms ‘scholar, scholarly, scholarship, scholastic’, etc. come from Greek ‘schole’, leisure, studies undertaken during leisure time. The other word ‘school’, as in a ‘school of fish’, is an old Dutch word meaning crowd, company, troop (p.695).

As we take note of this word and time of year, we pray that our covenant children may begin the new year of instruction with fresh zeal for learning and a humble trust in the Lord to be their spiritual Guide. May you be and become true scholars in God’s school of truth and wisdom. And may our Christian school teachers be respected, encouraged, and prayed for daily by us as both students and parents.

Good Fantasy Read: The Aedyn Chronicles – Alistair McGrath

AedynChronicles-1One of the new “reads” I took along for our summer cottage vacation was book one of The Aedyn Chronicles: The Chosen Ones by noted Christian theologian and apologist Alistair McGrath (Zonderkidz, 2010).  If you enjoy fantasy books such as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis, then you will also enjoy this series, I believe. This title is the first children’s book by McGrath and I would judge it a good read. The book is well-written (older Junior High to young teens [Zondervan says 9 and up] – although, obviously, adults may enjoy it too!) and the story line is exciting and instructive (really follows the basic biblical story of redemption).

Here is the publisher’s dscription:

The land of Aedyn is a paradise beyond all imagining. But when this paradise falls, strangers from another world must be called to fight for the truth. Peter and Julia never suspected that a trip to their grandparents’ home in Oxford would contain anything out of the ordinary. But that was before Julia stumbled upon a mysterious garden that shone on moonless nights. It was no accident that she fell into the pool, pulling her brother along with her, but now they’re lost in a strange new world and they don’t know whom they can trust. Should they believe the mysterious, hooded lords? The ancient monk who appears only when least expected? Or the silent slaves who have a dark secret of their own? In a world inhabited by strange beasts and magical whisperings, two children called from another world will have to discover who they truly are, fighting desperate battles within themselves before they can lead the great revolution.

There are two other books in this series now published: Flight of the Outcasts (Zondervan, 2011) and Darkness Shall Fall (Zondervan, 2012).

Published in: on August 28, 2013 at 6:14 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Reformed Worldview – Rev.S.Key in “The Standard Bearer”

SBLogoA few months ago Rev.Steven Key, pastor of Loveland Protestant Reformed Church in Loveland, CO, began a series of articles in The Standard Bearer under the rubric “Reformed Worldview”. He intends and has started to develop a comprehensive series on what it means to live out of our Reformed faith in this present world, not on the basis of the error of so-called “common grace” or on a faulty teaching on the kingdom of God and the “cultural” mandate, but on the basis of God’s sovereign, particular, covenantal grace to His people in Christ.  In his opening articles he has defined the term “worldview” and contrasted the Reformed view with other false conceptions.

In his latest installment (in the August 2013 “SB”) he treats an important but neglected Reformed truth – the antithesis. From this article I quote today. If you are not already a reader of this fine Reformed periodical, I urge you to subscribe and become one. You may find all the information about this magazine at the link provided above. Here, then, are some of Rev.Key’s thoughts on the antithesis as it relates to the Reformed worldview:

The way in which God would have His people express their holiness is seen in the significant truth of the antithesis.

We do not hear much in today’s church world about the antithesis. The very life of the antithesis has been lost in churches overcome by worldliness. But so important has been that truth that God set it before Adam immediately in the first paradise. No less important is that truth today.

Only by a clear understanding of the truth and the significance of the antithesis, and a will to live it, are the waves of worldly corruption kept out of the church and our own families. If we deny our antithetical calling either in doctrine or life, then worldliness will sweep over us, engulfing and destroying us.

What is meant by the word antithesis? While not a biblical word, it expresses a biblical truth. The word antithesis comes from two words – anti which means against, and thesis or that which is set forth. The antithesis, therefore, is a contrasting position, one characterized by holiness unto the Lord over against all that would oppose Him.

…From the time of the placement of the two trees in the garden, through the giving of the law to His people, and through all His dealings with His people in the Old Testament, God made clear to them that they were to be a people ‘set apart.’ Their entire worldview was to be distinctive, different from those around them. It was to be distinctive because the entire perspective of God’s people was to be God-centered. Life itself is to be found in God’s fellowship, the fellowship of God’s own covenant life. In that light the people of God would confess with the psalmist, ‘Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee’ (Ps.63:3). Knowing God in that way is to see that all of life falls under God’s authority. Every aspect of life is to be carried out in His service and to His glory. That is the privilege of being numbered with His people! (pp.446-447).

For a preview of the Sept.1, 2013 issue of The Standard Bearer, visit this page!

▶ A Conversation with Diet Eman – Dutch Resistance in WW II

▶ A Conversation with Diet Eman – YouTube.

If you have never heard of Diet Eman and her involvement in the Dutch resistance (against German aggression) during WW II, you will benefit from this video series on the “Relevant Christian” channel produced by “Missions in Media”. The video below is the first in the series and the longest. You may also preview all of the videos here.

ThingsWeCouldntSay-DEmanDiet also told her story in the 1994 book Things We Couldn’t Say, co-authored with James Schaap and published by Eerdmans (I just pulled my own copy off my shelf to peruse again – a great read!).

You may not agree with everything that was done by the Dutch underground, nor will you agree with all that is said here (including by the narrator), but this is an important aspect of Dutch history and of Christian involvement in the face of great evil. You will be instructed and inspired by Diet’s Christian spirit and action.

Discipline in the Home & Encouraging Your Husband – August “Tabletalk”

Discipline in the Home by Tom Ascol | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-Aug2013As we have noted here on previous Mondays this month, the August Tabletalk is on the theme of discipline (“The Blessing of Discipline”). The third main article on this subject is written by Dr.Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL. In his segment he addresses “Discipline in the Home”.

In the first part of his article Ascol stresses that our discipline in the home must reflect the discipline our heavenly Father lays upon us His spiritual children. From there he goes on to show the two important aspects of parental discipline as found in Eph.6:4: the discipline of the Lord and the instruction of the Lord, the first being physical, the second being verbal.

In that connection he points out how these two work together in the Christian home, and it is from this part that I quote. These are not new things to us, but they need to be said again and again, so that we may in truth train our children as our Father in heaven trains us.

God has given a significant safeguard to prevent the discipline he commends from ever degenerating into abuse, namely, the use of the second tool—instruction. Parents are teachers and the instruction that they are to give their children requires talking. Lots of talking. The whole book of Proverbs is an example of how parents ought to regularly be teaching their children the wisdom of God through the various experiences and situations—both good and bad—that life offers.

This certainly includes times of correction. It is not enough for a parent to employ the rod, he must also employ words. He must give the instruction of the Lord as well as the discipline of the Lord. When the rod must be employed, the child must be taught to see the situation in the light of biblical truth.

When your daughter sins, explain to her what she did in simple terms. Make clear what she should have done. Bring to bear the authority of God by telling her what God says about the situation, either directly (as in “Do not bear false witness”) or indirectly (“Children obey your parents in the Lord”). Teach her that you are administering the rod for her sin because you love her too much not to correct her (13:24) and you love the Lord too much not to obey Him (John 14:15).

Then, simply explain that Jesus died on the cross to pay for these kinds of sins. Remembering this helps parents turn every occasion of serious discipline into an occasion for gospel conversation. “You and daddy are sinners. But Jesus died for sinners like us, so that we can be forgiven of our sins. God forgives everyone who trusts Jesus. I am going to pray now for God to give you a new heart that will hate sin and trust Jesus for forgiveness.”

Then do it. Repeat as often as possible.

Speaking of matters relating to the Christian family, another profitable article found in this issue was “Good News and Good Deeds” by Elyse Fitzpatrick, director of Women Helping Women Ministries. Using her own marriage as an example, she has written a fine piece on how Christian wives ought to encourage their husbands to the doing of good, in the home and outside of it. And it’s not by being a list-maker. It is by pointing them to the gospel of Christ. Here is a small part of her article; read the rest at the link I’ve provided here.

Of course, this command to encourage others applies in all of our relationships, but for those of us who are married, perhaps it applies most particularly to our spouses. In other words, part of my vocation as a wife, is to spend time carefully thinking how I might encourage my husband, Phil, to love God and his neighbors and to do them good. How might I do that? What would it mean for me to give a careful consideration to the ways I might inspire Phil to a love that eventuated in good deeds? Should I make a list of good things that Phil might do and give it to him every morning along with his cup of coffee? “Here’s your Love and Good Deed List for the day, Dear: Go next door and offer to mow our neighbor’s lawn.” Knowing Phil, he might respond back with “Make dinner for the lady across the street.” But is this list-making what the writer of Hebrews has in mind when he calls us to stir up one another to love and good works?

Although this kind of thing might be helpful for some people, I doubt that writing a list of “errands for others” would eventuate in the kind of “faith-working- through-love” motivation that transforms our good deeds from worthless to valuable (Gal. 5:6). Why not? Because only deeds that are performed solely out of love for God qualify as being truly good. Mowing our neighbor’s lawn might actually have nothing to do with Phil’s love for God and neighbor. It might be a way to win my favor, avoid my criticism, become more popular on our street, or reassure his heart that God is smiling at him. No, his good deed needs to be performed out of a true, selfless love for God and neighbor—not out of self-love, self-protection, competition, or reputation-building.

Where would this kind of love come from? First John 4:19 tells us that “we love because he first loved us.” Our work-producing love for God is engendered first by considering how we’ve been loved, and the broader context of Hebrews 10:24 is a wonderful place to start in considering how much we have been loved—since it is filled with such good news.