The 40 Fiats of Chairman Boz – T.Boswell

wrigleyfieldWhat would you do if you were appointed the commissioner of baseball for a year?

“Chairman Boz” – aka Thomas Boswell, sports columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Heart of the Order – tells us in a section of his book titled “The 40 Fiats of Chairman Boz.”

Here are a few of my favorites:

1. The home plate umpire shall have a button. If a batter takes more than thirty seconds to adjust his uniform, tighten his batting glove, wiggle his toe, call for time and otherwise delay the game, the ump shall push the button. The button will open  a trapdoor to a pit, full of reptiles, under the batter’s box. This shall be known as the Rickey Henderson Hole, in honor of the potential Hall of Famer whose career was tragically cut short. Carlton Fisk and Cliff Johnson: consider yourselves warned. The trapdoor will also work for home run trots, but with bigger reptiles. Jeffrey Leonard gets a free trial (pp.38-39).

8. Only nicknames shall be allowed on the back of uniforms hereafter. Instead of Jim Dwyer: Pigpen. Floyd Rayford; Sugar Bear. Give us Chicken Man and Oil Can. Who knows ‘Davis’? But Chili, Storm and Eric the Red are easy. This would have been especially helpful in the old days. We could have known the difference between ‘Puddin Head’ and ‘Available’ Jones or ‘the People’s Cherce” and ‘Mysterious’ Walker. Pittsburgh’s low-budget GM Sid Thrift’s name shall legally be changed to Sid Cheap (p.40).

And, in honor of the Chicago Cubs, this one – to which I strongly object!:

18. Let there be lights for Wrigley Field, for crying out loud – and not just for eight games a year. What’s all the fuss? Be honest. Who doesn’t like night games better than day games [Not I?!]? Man, it gets hot in July. If you can get a weekday afternoon free, go swimming, play golf or have a stroke in your garden. Don’t sweat your brains out in the bleachers. …Sensible teams long ago went to Saturday night games because people prefer them. Baseball is night baseball and has been for decades. Let those who refuse to learn from the Chicago Cubs be condemned to repeat them.

The only people who really want day ball in Wrigley Field are sportswriters (great deadlines – the Chicago scribes get home for dinner and the visiting laureates have more time on Rush Street).

All weekday World Series games shall be at night. All weekend World Series games shall be in the day [Now we’re getting sensible!]. It’s cold in October. Play a couple in sunshine, but don’t get carried away (p.42).

And that’s the “Friday Fun” for July 31, 2015! Have any fiats of your own, future baseball commissioners?

Western Michigan and the Dutch Immigrants – H.Brinks

write-back-soon-hbrinks-1986From chapter two of Herbert J. Brinks’ book Write Back Soon: Letters from Immigrants in America (CRC Publications, 1986), about the Dutch immigrants who settled in West Michigan:

By the 1870s Dutch communities in Michigan, Chicago,and Wisconsin boasted ethnic churches and schools supported by a constituency of artisans and farmers. Arriving in these neighborhoods between 1870 and 1920, new immigrants found their own people, language, and institutions. By the mid-twentieth century, when urban blight spoiled the attractions of city life, many urban Dutch-Americans joined their country cousins who had established agricultural communities on the metropolitan fringes. These new suburbanites were again able to enjoy familiar social patterns, including the churches, schools, and general mores they had previously supported in their urban neighborhoods.

This conveniently pleasant arrangement of urban-rural mobility occurred first in western Michigan. Albertus C.. Van Raalte, who founded his colony on the shores of Lake Michigan, had neither planned nor encouraged this arrangement. But economic necessity forced his followers to send their children off among the Americans as hired hands, housemaids, and factory workers. They scattered in all directions; Allegan, Grand Haven, and Grand Rapids. Among these, Grand Rapids offered the best opportunities for employment. In addition, a pious Zeelander named H. Van Driel had already organized a Dutch-language worship service there in 1848. Thus, only one year after Van Raalte’s people occupied the wooded shore of Black Lake, Van Driel was reading Dutch sermons to an audience which included over one hundred young women who were providing domestic service among the American families of Grand Rapids. By 1851, it is estimated that a total of four hundred Hollanders were living in Grand Rapids.

“Michigan: A Model for Ethnic Solidarity” (pp.25-26)

Rare Look Inside The Famous Iron Mountain – KDKA-TV

▶ Rare Look Inside The Famous Iron Mountain KDKA-TV – YouTube.

Have you ever heard about the amazing archives that are stored in some massive mines north of Pittsburgh? I have heard of this place before but forgot all about it until this link was posted at Challies.com this week. I saved it for one of our Thursday archives features today.

I think you will be astounded by the things stored away in the depths of these mountains. When you are ready for the tour, visit the video below. You will need about 6 minutes.

Hidden away in the hills of rural Butler Pennsylvania, Iron Mountain houses some of America’s most amazing, priceless treasures. KDKA’s John Shumway got a rare look inside this incredible archive.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 6:52 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Book Alert! “150 Questions about the Psalter” – Bradley Johnston

150-Questions-Psalter-Johnston-2014As book review editor for The Standard Bearer, we recently received a complimentary copy of a new publication from Crown & Covenant Publications titled 150 Questions about the Psalter: What You Need to Know about the Songs God Wrote (2014, 112 pgs., $9.00). The author is Bradley Johnston, a pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, an exclusive Psalm-singing denomination.

The publisher provides this brief summary of the book on its website:

Who wrote the psalms, and why? Can we find Jesus in the Psalter? How do these ancient songs matter today?

In the style of a catechism, this books draws you into the majestic, meditative depths of the inspired songs of God. Divided into seven short sections, 150 questions and answers address the content and arrangement of the Psalter, Psalm genres and groupings, the historical context of the author, the Psalms relationship to the rest of Scripture and the life of Christ, and their use in private and public worship.

With appendixes that feature worksheets and charts, quotations from theologians and church fathers, this resource helps individuals, families, and churches understand and embrace the psalter for themselves.

This is a fine little book on the OT Psalter of the church, with the 150 questions and their answers giving Christians and the church today ample reason to sing the Psalms yet today, whether exclusively or predominantly. Think of it as a “catechism on the Psalms.” In addition, there are seven appendixes that treat special topics relating to the Psalms, such as “The Psalter in the New Testament”, “Martin Luther’s Favorite Psalms”, and “Arranging the Psalter in Your Head.” Charts and lists in this section add to the profit of the material covered.

As an example of the type of questions asked and answered, we quote two of them here:

8 How is the Psalter helpful to Christian saints?

There is no one book of Scripture that has been more helpful to Christian saints in all the ages of the church than the Psalter, ever since it was written. When we sing the Psalms we join our voices with true worshipers among the nations and throughout history who lift their souls to the Lord in faith (Psalm 25:1).

9 Why should Christians sing the Psalter?

Christians should sing the Psalter because the new covenant is like a marriage bond between God and his people, bringing joy and delight. But the main reason we ought to sing Psalms is because this practice is commanded by God through the apostles (p.4).

▶ The Frequency of English Words: Bubbled (Part 1)

▶ The Frequency of English Words: Bubbled (Part 1) – YouTube.

This is an interesting video using the latest technology to show how frequently certain words are used in the English language. We feature it today for our “Word Wednesday” post.

 

Published in: on July 29, 2015 at 7:01 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Luther on the Christian Life (2)

Luther on Chr Life -TruemanWith Justin Smidstra’s permission, I re-post his recent review of a book I have mentioned here as well: Carl Trueman’s new title, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Crossway, 2015).

Justin plans to do a chapter-by-chapter review of the book, so look for more to come here as well as on the Young Calvinists blog. This post is his comments on chapter two of Trueman’s book.

Young Calvinists

In the second chapter of Luther on the Christian Life Truman explains Luther’s important theological development at the Heidelberg Disputation. This disputation took place early in Luther’s career as a reformer. The significance of this event lies in the fact that it gives us a glimpse of Luther’s thought as it was in the process of maturing. Much of the theology of the Reformation can be found here in seed form in Luther’s Heidelberg theses. To help us understand this event, Truman provides a little historical background. In April of 1517 Luther was given opportunity to present his theology at a convention of the Augustinian order held at Heidelberg. Luther’s presentation was carried out in the form of a disputation. The disputation was a common method employed in the middle ages to address questions of theology and philosophy. In this format a number of theses were defended and an opponent…

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Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 9:38 PM  Leave a Comment  

Chain, Chest, Curse: Combating Book Theft in Medieval Times

You will appreciate this fascinating post about how libraries battled book theft in the Middle Ages. I am glad we no longer have to resort to such measures! 🙂

medievalbooks

Do you leave your e-reader or iPad on the table in Starbucks when you are called to pick up your cup of Joe? You’re probably not inclined to do this, because the object in question might be stolen. The medieval reader would nod his head approvingly, because book theft happened in his day too. In medieval times, however, the loss was much greater, given that the average price of a book – when purchased by an individual or community – was much higher. In fact, a more appropriate question would be whether you would leave the keys in the ignition of your car with the engine running when you enter Starbucks to order a coffee. Fortunately, the medieval reader had various strategies to combat book theft. Some of these appear a bit over the top to our modern eyes, while others seem not effective at all.

Chains
The least subtle but most effective way to keep your books safe…

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Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 6:43 AM  Leave a Comment  

Humanism and the 15th Century Church: Erasmus and the Greek NT – R.Reeves

Setting the Stage by Ryan Reeves | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

Before taking leave of the July issue of Tabletalk, we will spend one more post looking at the history of the church during the 15th century – the theme of this month’s issue.

Dr. Ryan Reeves has the final featured article on the subject and he gives us another “big picture” glance at this important century of church history.

ErasmusHis entire article is worth your time and effort – lots of new things to learn or be reminded of as far as major events during this time; but I will give you the end of his article because of the special significance of a certain Dutchman whom God used to set the stage for the Reformation in a special way, and whom a certain great Reformer would engage theologically and biblically on the doctrine of free will (Remember the great Reformation work The Bondage of the Will?!).

Sensing the opportunity to expand learning and literacy, the humanists unleashed a torrent of writing on theology, Bible, classical studies, and history. Of all the humanists, Erasmus of Rotterdam was their prince. Born in 1466 as the illegitimate son of a priest, Erasmus demonstrated skill with languages and textual criticism that propelled him onto the stage as a leading light of the new intellectual movement of the Renaissance. In the course of his life, Erasmus gave the world complete editions of the works of the church fathers as well as numerous tracts on theological subjects.

By far his most impactful work was the Greek New Testament—a work he admitted was gathered in a slapdash manner from twelfth-century Byzantine texts, with some passages wrongly added to the Bible and six verses of the book of Revelation missing entirely. The Greek New Testament was something like a modern interlinear Bible. In one column was the Greek text; next to it was a fresh Latin translation by Erasmus. Not only did this provide readers with the original Greek, but it also provided a road map for students to help determine how to render the Greek into their language. It is no surprise, then, that Luther used this text as the basis of his German New Testament, which he translated after his trial at the Diet of Worms.

Through destruction and exploration, the fifteenth century did more than bridge the gap between the medieval age and the modern world; it set the stage for the Reformation.

 

Fighting the Prince of Darkness through the Prince of princes – D.Thomas

Christian & his burdenSatan or ‘the devil’ has ‘wiles’ – schemes and ploys to cause us to falter and halt our perseverance. One of these is to speak evil against us (as the label devil, which means ‘slanderer,’ suggests), making us out to be worse than we think and therefore unworthy to be called Christians. This Satan does a great deal, but he overplays, as John Bunyan so brilliantly illustrates in The Pilgrim’s Progress. There, Apollyon (‘destroyer,’ another name for the devil; Rev.9:11) mockingly berates Christian for the tardiness of his profession of faith. In short, he is a hypocrite. Christians responds:

All this is true, and much more which you have left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honour is merciful and ready to forgive. Besides, these sins possessed me in your own country; I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, but now have obtained pardon from my Prince.

We are much worse than we ever confess, but the gospel is for sinners. Christian, get to know this wily ploy of Satan’s – and stand firm in the gospel.

From the pen of Dr. Derek Thomas, as found in the July 25-26, 2015 weekend devotional in Tabletalk.

To find this classic online, visit this link.

“To desire peace at the expense of truth is hypocrisy and weakness – and highly displeasing to God. ” ~ Abraham Kuyper

Moreover, there can be no real and lasting peace in the church of God without full harmony of opinions and belief. If doctrines were so toned down and moderated that they were capable of more than one interpretation, those who differed in opinion would still argue and each would do all he could to uphold and spread his own interpretation. For what a man conscientiously accepts as truth, he desires others to believe also. The false unity would not last.

We must indeed seek peace, with all earnestness. Bitterness, ill will, malice, and love of dispute should never characterize a Christian in his defense of the truth. Instead, there should be a sincere interest in the honor of God and in the well-being of our fellowmen. Paul says, ‘As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men’ [Rom.12:18].

But when he says, ‘As much as lieth in you’ he plainly implies that sometimes peace is impossible. When peace is injurious to the truth, peace must give way. Peace with God is of greater value than peace with men. To desire peace at the expense of truth is hypocrisy and weakness – and highly displeasing to God.

Having then purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently [1 Pet.1:22]. Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love: endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace [Eph.4:1-3].

And the God of mercy and peace, the God of order and unity, grant that we may be of one mind and may together praise Him in unity of faith, now and eternally.

PracticeofGodliness-AKuyper-1948-2Dr. Abraham Kuyper in the chapter titled “The Church of Jesus Christ”, found in The Practice of Godliness, (translated and edited by Marian M. Schoolland; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1948), pp.51-52.