Early March Madness for PRC Ministers and Seminary Students

Our “Friday Fun” item for this week comes a day late. But it is no less fun on Saturday morning. 🙂

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As you know, March in the U.S. is known as “March madness” time, because of all the basketball tournaments – both at the high school level and at the college level.

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Last week Saturday (March 4) saw a very special version of “March madness,” as down in Dyer, IN (Hoosier-land!) a group of PRC ministers from that area and a group of PRC Seminary students  (“Sons of the Prophets”, I have now learned) from up here combined to form a team to play against the basketball teams of Heritage Christian High School (the Defenders!). The big game was a fundraising event put on by the young people of Cornerstone PRC.

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Thanks to some pictures taken by Prof. R. Dykstra, who was in the area to preach last Sunday, we can show you some highlights.

DSC_0013Ryan VO and Ted A at the scorer’s table. Do you have a tape of the game?

After seeing his album of pictures and hearing who did the announcing (Ted Andringa) and listening to the stories of the contest at Seminary coffeetimes this week, I wish I had been there. Sounds like a great time was had by all – and for a good cause!

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Rev. G. Eriks shooting a big freethrow with the game on the line.

Who won the game? Well, just check out that last picture here.

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The scoreboard doesn’t lie – our students contributed to the one-point victory! Perhaps it was Coach “R” and his smart maneuvers throughout the game (That would be Sem student Stephan Regnerus). Go “Sons of the Prophets”! Are there any other challengers out there?!

In any case, thankful to report that there were no serious injuries. But I can imagine there were some mighty sore muscles Sunday morning. 🙂

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Published in: on March 11, 2017 at 8:33 AM  Comments (2)  

PRC Archives: YP’s Convention and Mystery Photo #1 of 2017

We are overdue for some pictures from the PRC archives! So, on this Friday we will have some fun and include TWO items – and make them into mystery photo contests too.

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The first is from the 1957 Young People’s Convention held in…. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you everything, now, did you? That’s part of your responsibility to find out.) But I am sure you will recognize some of these young people and members of the crowd in the photos above and below. Some are clear; others you will have to work harder at.

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The question with these photos is not only who are the people in the numbered pictures, but WHERE was the 1957 YPC held? And if you were an attender, let us know – and whether you made it into one of these pics!

Our second photo is a mystery PRC church building one. It’s in a folder by itself in the archives photo file cabinet. But it’s an important church from our past, so take a stab at it and see what you can guess.

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Have fun! Friday fun! Can’t wait to hear back! 🙂

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 2:26 PM  Comments (4)  

Friday Seminary Culture Session – Art History!

You may recall that for a few years now those providing food for the Friday brat/burger lunch at Seminary (we divide ourselves up into groups) have the opportunity also to provide a “cultural” experience for the entire group.

In the past we have enjoyed unique music, learned to sing the Psalms chant style, benefited from a presentation on coins from the biblical era, and learned about Philippino life, among other things.

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Today we were privileged to have Mr. Peter (Robert) Adams, retired PRCS teacher and former administrator/teacher at Eastside CS in Grand Rapids, give a presentation on art. It is actually a two-part presentation, with today’s being on the Renaissance and art, while next week’s will be on the Reformation and art.

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Today we learned how art was influenced by the humanism of the Renaissance movement, so that the Christian themes that once dominated art in early Christianity and in the Middle Ages were replaced by man-centered themes (as you will see from the pictures).

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Now we look forward to “part 2” next week and hearing about how the Reformation influenced art.

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For the rest of our “Friday fun” feature today, we include these pictures of a great gathering of deer last month in the Seminary’s “backyard.” First we counted 13, then a little later we counted 16 – the most we have ever seen at once on our grounds! The snow was gone after our January thaw, and the deer had “fresh” grass to nibble on. No doubt, thoughts of Spring were on their “minds.” They are on us humankind’s minds too. 🙂

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Hope the rest of your Friday is good too!

Published in: on February 10, 2017 at 3:10 PM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives – Sermon Conversions

Over the last few years the PRC archives has received an abundance of sermons by PRC ministers on cassette tapes. Add to that the multitude (boxes!) of reel-to-reel sermon tapes already in the archives, mostly organized and cataloged, but nothing more.

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Special tapes and covers Rev. B. Woudenberg made and donated.

These are both magnetic types of tape, with a shelf-life of 25 years we were told. We are well beyond that. And yet, amazingly, these tapes have preserved the sermons. The problem is (among other things), these sermons are not accessible, and they ought to be. And they ought to be preserved digitally (mp3), which will also make them more accessible.

In the last year we have begun to organize the hundreds (thousands?!) of cassette tapes, cataloging them by minister, text, and sermon title, as well as occasion (if special). Kevin Rau did some initial sorting, but now Bob Drnek with help from his wife Anne has been making a master list of what we have.

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All the equipment we need for cassette conversion!

And now, he and I have begun to convert them to mp3. Right now, we are doing cassettes, using some old players we have (note my personal custom boombox!), an audio cable, a PC, and a a free software program called “Audacity.” We can get it set up, let them run, and go about our other business – he at home and I at Seminary.

The results are that we have better preserved these sermons and made them accessible. Where are they?, you ask. Saved in the cloud, for one thing. And gradually, I am also uploading them to the PRC website, audio sermon section. And because we are focusing on the oldest of the sermons and mostly our deceased former ministers, you will find them going mainly under the “Classic PRC Sermons” section. Check it out when you get the chance.

A recent one that was referred to by Prof. R. Dykstra in his recently completed Interim course (The History of the PRC Schism of 1953) is that by Rev. Richard Veldman (former minister at SE PRC in Grand Rapids, MI) on Q&A 74 of the Heidelberg Catechism (“Infant Baptism”) – a marvelous defense of our covenant view and the place of children in that covenant of grace. Listen to it and be edified!

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Bob D tinkering with the reel-to-reel machine. We are glad no one recorded us “mad scientists” trying to thread our first trial tape!

We are also preparing to convert the reel-to-reel sermons. We found some old equipment downstairs at Seminary (3 reel-to-reel players/recorders), and tried them all. The newest-looking one – a nice Sony machine – worked the best, but needs to be repaired. This week I found a shop that specializes in this (Blackies’ Radio and TV), so soon we will also be able to start on these tapes. There are some gems tucked away in the archives room.

Do we want any more old cassettes or reel-to-reel tapes? Of course! We would never turn them away. There is history in these tapes! Not just preaching history, but also special programs, congregational anniversaries, lectures, etc. Bring them in! Just not all at once. 🙂 Thanks for all the donations we have received!

Lest we forget, the PRC 100th anniversary is approaching. We are looking for archive material of ALL kinds. Think about what YOU can donate for the preservation – and enhancement – of our history! Documents, pictures, tapes, etc. We will be grateful for anything you have.

The World-Tilting Gospel – D. Phillips

world-tilting-gospel-phillipsOne of the Kindle books I am currently reading is Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel; Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight (Kregel, 2011).

I believe this book was offered free last Fall and I grabbed it, not knowing what to expect. But I have been pleasantly impressed with its content and message. I am a couple of chapters into it and find it soundly biblical, edifying, and challenging.

Chapter 1, “Knowing God and Man,” (with a subtitle that asks “Which Comes First? What Difference Does It Make?”) immediately references John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, pointing out that the magisterial Reformer wrestled with these issues too. Calvin taught that we can look at it both ways: we cannot know God without knowing ourselves, and we cannot know ourselves without knowing God.

But, then, Phillips makes his own case, with a little humor:

It’s impossible to measure without a standard. Its impossible to apply a standard if we don’t know what we’re measuring. But which comes first?

Chronologically, self-awareness comes first, and indeed fills our whole conscious life. No healthy baby has to be persuaded to be self-concerned. Nor have I ever met an infant who would say, ‘You know, some nice, warm milk would be great…but it would glorify God more if I let Mom get some sleep.’ Babies don’t even rise to ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made,’ but rather, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully wet.’

Yet while self-awareness comes first in time, surely the knowledge of God comes first in importance. Christian readers will grant that our concept of God affects how we see everything. The case I want to make is that our view of ourselves as we stand before God is inextricably interwoven with our view of God.

To which he adds, “Think it through with me.”

More on that next time, because Phillips has some great examples of how our (world)view of God affects how we see ourselves – and our relationship to God. We need to be introduced to Bud Goodheart, Lodowick Legup, and Misty Call.

I said, next time. These are some real (make-believe) characters! 🙂

 

What Was Happening in the Literary World the Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series?

My readers do know that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series this year over the Cleveland Indians with a nail-biting, persevering, game-seven victory at Progressive Field on Wednesday night (or rather, early Thursday morning!), right? After being down 3 games to 1 in the series – a come back for the ages! Their first in 108 years – the longest championship drought for any major league team! I mean, how could you not know?!

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But, being the sophisticated, educated, book-loving readers that you are, do you also know what was going on in the literary world the last time the Cubbies won the World Series? I won’t fault you for not knowing at this point. But today we can learn what was going on in the world of literature then, thanks to the “Literary Hub,” which tied the two together in a post yesterday.

So, for our Friday Fun item today, you will learn that when the Cubs beat the Tigers in 1908 some very significant authors were around and some significant literary works were being produced. Check it out below, and be a very smart Cubs fan. 🙂

Posted Nov.3, 2016 at Literary Hub

Even if you aren’t the biggest sports fan—or hey, even if you’re no sports fan at all—it’s likely you’ve heard that the long-cursed Chicago Cubs won the MLB World Series last night in a game of epic proportions. It’s been 108 years since the Cubs won the World Series—the longest amount of time any American major sports team has had to wait between titles. So what was the world like in 1908?

Well, in literature at least, major philosophers and future legends were being born, Ezra Pound was self-publishing his very first book of poems, and everyone was reading Winston Churchill. It was a banner year for children’s literature, giving us at least two major enduring classics and an installment of (arguably) the most-loved children’s book series of all time. Nobel Prizes were being given out to obscure German philosophers. So it’s safe to say that things have changed.

Here, a brief sketch, necessarily incomplete, and with the benefit of hindsight (again, 108 years of cursed, cursed hindsight), of the year in literature, 1908.

Source: A Literary Look at the Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series | Literary Hub

Samples of Recent Seminary Scenes

On this Friday (fun day!) we shall give you a sampling of some recent scenes taken at Seminary.

Yes, we do all work hard during the week, but we also look forward to Friday, when we are privileged to enjoy our special lunches (grilled brats, etc.), with special guests (such as Prof. Gritter’s mother from Redlands, CA) – and sometimes special birthdays – like that of our Singaporean student’s (Josiah Tan) wife, Hui Qi (or “HQ”, as we more easily and affectionately like to call her).

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The Tans also enjoy playing some ping-pong against each other. Can’t imagine. 🙂 We hope Josiah goes easy on his expecting wife (November)!

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Speaking of ping-pong, have you seen the new upgrades to the backstop this year? The students of the past have used assorted pieces of cardboard and wood to keep the ball from going into unwanted areas, but this year’s group has taken it to a whole new level. Hope they informed their wives about these sheets.

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And finally, while you are accustomed to seeing deer and wild turkeys on Seminary hill, you may not be used to seeing foxes. We aren’t either. But recently one mangy one (maybe literally!) was wandering behind the building at coffeetime (look carefully in the lower corner in the shade – it’s the best shot I could get!).

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And to this I can now add a few Fall pictures – not peak yet but still some good colors around.

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Have a great Friday!

O, and Go Cubbies! One more win at Wrigley and we are in the World Series! Now, that will be historic. 🙂

Published in: on October 21, 2016 at 10:51 AM  Leave a Comment  

Of Brats, Ping-pong, and Cherry Trees

Our “Friday Fun” feature has a Part II today. It just had to be after second-year seminarian Matt Kortus sent me this photo of what was really happening as lunch was being prepared today.

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You see, each Friday during the school year we share a brat cookout lunch, and today was our first one. The students usually do the grilling and today was no exception. What was the exception is that, unbeknownst to any of us, they moved the ping-pong table outside!

Yes, indeed, students of all ages and institutions are always students, given to non-convention and invention.

So while Darren Vink kept diligent watch on the brats (and I assume, Matt Kortus too), Jacob Maatman (left) and Josiah Tan (right) carried on a tense match. Who won? You will have to check with them.

As for the brat lunch, it was delicious! Topped off with ice cream with fresh peaches and strawberries, compliments of Prof. Dykstra. Now you know why we look forward to Friday lunch.

And I didn’t even mention Mrs. Judi Doezema’s famous Friday coffee-break snacks. Today’s platter: blueberry muffins and poppyseed bread. Yes, we are spoiled (blessed).

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Now, what about these cherry trees I mention? Just one, actually. A new Kwanzen Cherry tree planted by Kregel’s Nursery this week, to replace the crab apple that was uprooted by the tornado that passed near Seminary on August 20 (above photo).

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We look forward to Spring and the beautiful pink blossoms this tree will have.

Published in: on September 9, 2016 at 9:54 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Furry Faces of Bookselling: Bookstore Pets

chickens-at-wild-rumpusFor our first “Friday Fun” item today, we feature an article on pets in bookstores. These are obviously not your bland, boring bigonomous bookstores, but your local, friendly, personal, indie ones – the ones who, because they are owned by your neighbor, may have their pets in their stores. 🙂

So enjoy this list of bookstores with pets of all kinds – yes, chickens and pigs too! Below is the introduction that goes with the article. Be sure to click on the critter pictures on the right and see what you may find in your local bookstore!

With bookstore companions ranging from cuddly cats and friendly dogs to guinea pigs, birds, and potbellied pigs, indie booksellers around the country foster a sense of warmth and community in their stores while also setting themselves apart. Bookstore pets — like the collection of chickens, ferrets, chinchillas, and more at Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis or the litters of kittens looking for “furrever” homes at Horton’s Books & Gifts in Carrollton, Georgia — inspire an extra smile from customers browsing the stacks for their next great read.

Source: The Furry Faces of Bookselling: Bookstore Pets | American Booksellers Association

Published in: on September 9, 2016 at 6:44 AM  Leave a Comment  

New and Notable Books (July 2016) – T.Challies

Calvin-Institutes-Gordon-2016To add to our book lists this week, we include this post of pastor Tim Challies from this past Monday (July 4, 2016). In it he highlights some of the new titles that are available for your reading pleasure and spiritual growth.

It is a fine variety of books – the second one here (on the history of Calvin’s Institutes) was recently added to the Seminary library. The Ephesians commentary is one I will be getting soon.

Here are Challies’ introductory words:

When it comes to good books, we are spoiled. We have access to more good books than previous generations could have even dreamed of. That is true whether we want to read Christian Living books or read deep, academic works. Here is a round-up of some of the new and notables that have come across my desk in the past few weeks.

And here are the first two on his list; visit the link below to catch the rest.

Ephesians by Richard Phillips (A Mentor Expository Commentary). Richard Phillips has written some key volumes in the Reformed Expository Commentary series—Hebrews and John—and both have been of the highest quality. There is no reason to think his volume on Ephesians in the Mentor Expository Commentary will be any different and, in fact, with comes with commendations by Derek Thomas, Guy Waters and others. Thomas says it “easily rises to the top of recommendable books on Ephesians.” Here’s hoping it quickly makes its way to Logos. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography by Bruce Gordon. The publisher says this: “John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a defining book of the Reformation and a pillar of Protestant theology. First published in Latin in 1536 and in Calvin’s native French in 1541, the Institutes argues for the majesty of God and for justification by faith alone. The book decisively shaped Calvinism as a major religious and intellectual force in Europe and throughout the world. Here, Bruce Gordon provides an essential biography of Calvin’s influential and enduring theological masterpiece, tracing the diverse ways it has been read and interpreted from Calvin’s time to today.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Source: New and Notable Books (July 2016)

And if you don’t do some reading this summer, this will be my reaction (compliments of Calvinist Cartoons):

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There, now you have your Friday Fun item too. 🙂