Miscellaneous Winter-time Meanderings

On this Friday, we post a little fun in photos for our readers, which we will call miscellaneous meanderings, because I have a collection of miscellaneous pictures that I have taken this winter while meandering here and there. So, join me as we move about randomly, enjoying this, that, and the next thing. At least I did 🙂


Of course, we have to show some pictures of our seminary animal friends! This was taken during our January thaw.

And then we got hit some with some major snow again.


With several grandsons involved in winter basketball, we took in a few of their games. Future CCHS Chargers are they.

And we have seen the current CCHS Chargers play a few games too – including last week at Calvin  College against South Christian. A certain quartet was privileged to do the national anthem. 🙂

Last night we took in Heritage CS’s “Fine Arts” night, which included this fine piece by our granddaughter, Laelle – a budding artist.

And Mr. Dan Van Dyke’s room included awesome book summaries in poster form. Yes, I was pretty excited about these!

Speaking of books, here are a few miscellaneous items related to such real, printed-on-paper things:

A book snowman made at Herrick Library in Holland, MI (thanks to Bob Drnek for the photo!)

A few more bookplates from books in the Letis collection found in the Seminary library.


And a few examples of title pages with wonderful publisher ensigns – a distinguishing mark of publishers in the past, and still today, though not as elaborate as these.


And how could we forget on such days that we do still have our Friday grilled burger/brat lunches. Tim Bleyenberg at Sheldon Meats is our supplier. Once you’ve had his meats, you will not need to go elsewhere. The best!



Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 8:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Death of the Michigan Wilderness

…originally the lumberman was highly selective. He wanted nothing but pines, and they had to be fully grown; he took only the larger ones, and only those that grew near running water. Now [That is, after the development of better tree-cutting instruments and the construction of narrow-gauge railroads deep into the Michigan forest.] he realized that he wanted everything, and so he took everything. He could use small pines as well as big ones; more important, he could use hardwoods as well, because the railroad could move hardwood logs as readily as logs of pine.

All of the old limitations were gone. The lumberman could go into every corner of the forest and cut down all the trees, and that is exactly what he did. He still preferred pine, but by the 1890s the end of the pine supply was in sight, and so while a number of operators dismantled their mills and tracks and moved out of the state in search of virgin timber farther west, a good many remained and went after the hardwoods. Grand Rapids took walnut, oak, maple and black cherry and before long was boasting that it was the furniture capital of the United States, or possibly of the entire world. Traverse City suddenly discovered that it[s] largest single employer of labor was a mill that made hardwood chopping bowls, salad bowls, butter bowls and so on. Out of the dwindling forest came railroad ties, telephone poles, fence posts, shipyard timber, and blocks cut from pine stumps to be used for matchsticks. Even the supposedly worthless aspen, that came up in matted profusion when a stand of pine was removed, became an article of commerce; men could use it to make boxwood, or feed it into the pulp mills to make paper, and boats and trains that once carried saw logs went off to market loaded down with the slim logs of aspen.

So over most of the state of Michigan the forest was destroyed, with single-minded dedication and efficiency. Sometimes it seemed as if men of that time actually hated trees….

waiting-train-catton-1987Taken from chapter 6, “Death of a Wilderness,” in Bruce Catton’s Waiting for the Morning Train (Wayne State University Press, 1987), pp.117-118.

As promised in my last post on this book, we have to face what the greedy lumber industry did to the Michigan wilderness. Catton doesn’t hide the sad history of what man did to the beautiful forests of Michigan’s north country. While there are still glimpses of what once was, it is hard to imagine the trees that formerly covered the area of Benzonia County and beyond. And with that destruction of the wilderness, as Catton notes, went the killing of bird (passenger pigeon) and fish (the grayling in the Au Sable River, for example), and even people, for the industry also produced massive forest fires.

Such is another manifestation of the sinfulness of man. Created a steward of the land and its resources, in his fallen state he recklessly rapes the land and ruins its resources, leaving a trail of barren wilderness, vacated towns, dilapidated buildings, and ruined lives. Such was “progress” in the industrial age, just as it is still man’s “progress” in this information age. Just the resources and tools have changed.

Will we learn from this history?

Creation: The Theater of God’s Glory

Can the Christian faith offer a richer, deeper account of the natural world than its pagan or atheist rivals? The importance of the question is obvious. Both the credibility and utility of the Christian faith can legitimately be called into question if it fails to offer a better account of reality than its rivals.

Christian theology offers a distinct angle of gaze, a way of seeing things which both discloses the true identity of nature and mandates certain ways of behaving toward it and within it. Theology enables us to see the fullness of reality, the world as it really is or could be. For contrary to what most thinkers of the Enlightenment believed, nature is not an autonomous, self-defined entity; rather, it is something that is always interpreted, whether consciously or unconsciously, from a theoretical standpoint.

…Christians see the natural world through a theological prism. In the eighteenth century many Christians chose to interpret nature through a lens that was deist, rather than trinitarian. God was seen as the creator of nature, whose involvement with the natural realm ceased thereafter. This encouraged the emergence of a functional atheism, in that God was, to all intents and purposes, thought of as being absent from the world. Yet during the twentieth century, through the influence of theologians such as Karl Barth and Karl Rahner, there has been a rediscovery of the coherence and explanatory power of a specifically trinitarian vision of God.

…If God created the natural world, does it not bear the divine imprint? Is not one of the implications of a trinitarian doctrine of creation that the natural world displays in some sense the marks of its Creator? {Which leads the author to point to Psalm 19:1.}

Israel already knew about its God, and did not need to look at the natural world for proof of God’s existence. Yet it saw God’s glory reflected in the creation. To use John Calvin’s phrase, the natural world is to be recognized as the ‘theater of the glory of God.’ God’s glory is stamped on the world by the act of creation; this is supplemented by the mighty acts by which God chose to redeem the world, which take place within this same theater of nature.

PassionateIntellectbookTaken from Chapter 5, “The Theater of the Glory of God”, in Alister McGrath’s book The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind (IVP, 2010), a book I picked for review a few years ago and have picked up again to continue reading.

While not agreeing with all that McGrath posits, I like his “apologetics” approach to the subjects treated in this book. He makes you think, and he makes you think about defending the Christian faith intellectually and rationally (of course, also by faith in God’s revelation of truth in the Bible alone), in the face of unbelief’s ridicule of our faith.

The title is still available for review if someone would like to do so.

Winter Has Arrived in West Michigan! (Updated with Lake Michigan Pictures)


No doubt those outside of Michigan have heard about the fast, furious, and frigid winter that has descended on us here in West Michigan. After a beautiful, mild, drawn-out Fall, winter came with a flourish in mid-December and has not let up yet – although the hope of a “January thaw” is in the forecast for next week.


These are pictures taken back and front of our home last weekend when we received over a foot of lake-effect snow in two days. And this week on top of 8-10 inches of fresh snow, it has been bitter cold – -3 (F) this morning and wind-chills below 0 (F) all day yesterday and today – and colder yet tonight!


But, as you can see, there is a marvelous beauty that is revealed in God’s winter work. Truly, He makes a wonderland of white that covers all the death and decay underneath and around us. What a gospel picture!


And His creatures all look to Him for food – the deer and wild turkeys have been coming close at Seminary, poking around in the landscape for food (where are those luscious hostas?!) – or visiting Prof .Cammenga’s bird feeders for free seed.



How do we snow-stricken, frozen-chosen Michiganders cope? Why, we get out and enjoy the snow, of course! Monday, a few brave souls in our family – including some grandkids for the first time – went cross-country skiing at Pigeon Creek Park west of us. It was cold but was it ever beautiful in the woods and along the creek!



And if one really wants to have fun, do some backyard ice bowling! [This video appeared on MLive this week.] See what you are missing!

Late this (Saturday) afternoon my wife and I went out to Holland State Park to see Lake Michigan. Word was that the ice formations were amazing, so we decided to check things out, partly because the time-frame for seeing ice caves, etc. can be so short. Though we have seen icier conditions, it was still good. Here are a few pictures I took with my phone.






Summer Creation Marvels

When we are daily surrounded by God’s creative and providential work in this season of summer, it is easy to overlook these miraculous marvels, large and small.

Gorgeous Hibiscus and Asian lilies at my parents’ flower garden.

Lilies amid other blossoms in my rock garden.

I have been taking pictures throughout the summer, here and there, and share a few of them with you tonight.

A trip to Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids after dinner out in June.

Storm clouds over the area this past Thursday.

New family of deer (fawns) at seminary.

Lying down in the shade this past week.

View of the one of the lakes at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids (another bike ride).

Catching a turtle with grandsons on the 4th of July (It was fish we were trying to catch!).

It was the last one my wife and I saw tonight by the Grand River that especially prompted me. Enjoy! Isaiah 40:31

Yes, a bald eagle was perched above the river at Grand Ravines Park (new Ottawa County park along the Grand River just north of where we live). Earlier in the week I rode my bike there and enjoyed this serene scene.

Published in: on August 5, 2017 at 9:15 PM  Comments (2)  

More Special Visitors to the PRC Seminary (and some beautiful blossoms)


This week the PRC Seminary once again hosted some special visitors – two more Christian school classes. On Tuesday, April 25, the fourth graders from Hope PR Christian School (Walker, MI) paid us a visit (taught by Mr. Dan Hanko).


After listening to Prof. R. Cammenga’s introductory talk on the seminary and its work, the students were given a tour of the building.


Following that, the students gathered for devotions with the faculty and students, with the students introducing themselves for the benefit of the Hope CS students. And then it was time for snacks over coffee – or, in the students case, over juice boxes.


On Thursday, April 27, Mrs. Jordan Pettit’s fourth-grade class from Heritage Christian School (Hudsonville, MI) made a visit to us. This group too was informed by Prof. R. Cammenga of the nature and labors of the seminary and then given a tour of the facilities.


And, of course, shared homemade snacks were provided – something we always look forward to! 🙂

We are grateful that our Christian school teachers take an interest in the special school we have in our PRC Seminary, and that they take the time to stir up interest in their students. In this way we are encouraged in our labors – and we trust some special seeds of interest in the ministry of the Word are sown in the souls of a few of the young boys. May the Lord so work!


As part of this post, I will also include some pictures of the beautiful trees blooming on our property. April and May are special times as the spring trees blossom here and everywhere in West Michigan. Once again, see the handiwork and glory of our Creator-Father!



O, and it’s Friday – time for grilled brats! 🙂 Have a good day!


Published in: on April 28, 2017 at 2:22 PM  Leave a Comment  

World-tilting Truth: God is Wise

If Creation is an act of unimaginable power, it is no less a work of immense wisdom. Every vast and staggeringly complex movement issues from His mind. He needs no manual, counsel, or outside authority.

…When you watch those marvelous nature specials [on TV or the Internet], you are beholding an exhibition of God’s wisdom. Though the narrator blathers on about ‘Mother Nature,’ you should know better. These are the works of God’s hands, and He made them all in wisdom (Ps.104:24).

….God has both an infinite array of facts at His command, and infinite wisdom concerning the meaning, significance, and weight of all those facts in every possible arrangement. He has that knowledge, because He created them and rules over them.

All of this is also a world-tilting truth. The current mind-set makes much of the supposed meaninglessness of ‘life, the universe, and all that.’ The common subtext of many media’s storylines is that life is meaningless in itself; that we must choose our meaning and define ourselves. But history itself has no aim, meaning, or purpose.

This truth [that God is wise and possesses perfect wisdom] demolishes that notion, insisting that we have neither the right nor ability to redefine the universe, since it is a created universe, and since every fact has a value assigned to it by the Creator. Including us. We have neither the right nor ability to assign meaning to the universe. Its Author is the one who assigns definition and meaning. At best, we discover and uncover that meaning.

world-tilting-gospel-phillipsTaken from Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel; Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight (Kregel, 2011), Chapter 4 “The God Who Plans” (Kindle version).

In this chapter, Phillips is preparing the way to introduce God’s amazing salvation plan for lost sinners fallen in Adam (see my previous post on this book). He discusses three of God’s attributes – holiness, love, and wisdom – to explain how they come together in His sovereign purpose to save sinners – that’s chapter 5 – next time! The above quote is from the section where he treats the wisdom of God, especially as it relates to His work of creation.


Morning has Broken – January 6, 2017

A glorious sunrise appeared on Seminary hill this morning. With the white coat of freshly fallen, lake-effect snow, it was beautiful. I captured these out the front windows. Yes, it was cold (around 5 F) and I stayed in! 🙂


On December 27, 2016, during our thaw period, these deer and turkey were roaming and grazing in the green grass up front. Always a treat to see them. Well, the deer at least. Those turkeys, well, they are a tad messier, if you know what I mean. 🙂


Published in: on January 6, 2017 at 12:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

White Walkers and Other Wonders in Our Sudden Michigan Winter

I know those in West Michigan know, but in case those outside of our great state do not, we are experiencing winter in full force in the last two weeks! After a frigid week with plenty of lake-effect snow, a major system is coming our way today, with promises of 6-10 inches of more snow.

Rather than complain or run to warmer climates, we cherish and relish “the treasures of the snow”, our winter wonderland! Our mighty Creator and loving Father certainly displays His glory in special ways through the season of winter.

“Michigan in Pictures” had another beauty posted this morning (see below).

White Walkers, photo by Aaron Springer I think we can all agree that Winter is not merely coming, it’s here. View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Source: White Walkers | Michigan in Pictures

But we have also seen some special beauty in our little “neck of the woods” here at the PRC Seminary. Yesterday I took a few pictures of the grounds out front. Enjoy! And know what you “outsiders” are missing! 🙂

dec-2016-1 dec-2016-2 dec-2016-3 dec-2016-4 dec-2016-5


Light and Time – Dr. B. Looyenga, December 1 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (December 1, 2016) contains an interesting and edifying assortment of articles, among which is one by Dr. Brendan Looyenga (Calvin College professor in the science department) on “Light and Time” for the rubric “All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee.”


Dr. Looyenga writes about God’s amazing creation of light and time, showing the close relation between these two creatures. At the end of his article, he makes some points in answer to the question, How does the knowledge of these creatures bring glory to the Creator?

Here are two of his significant points:

Secondly, it is notable that the very first creative act we read of in the Bible is God’s creation of light (Gen. 1).  Remarkable!  Why?  Because as we discussed above, the central constant in our cosmos is this very creature!  No matter where you are, no matter how fast you move, no matter when you observe it,  light moves at a constant speed.  And as such, though we do not read that time was God’s first creation, He in effect made that creature too when he fashioned light as His first creature.  And so, while Einstein’s work may have pointed to the primacy of light as a constant, it was our heavenly Father who fashioned it to be His standard for the physical laws governing the creation.  A mere coincidence, says the scoffer.  No, say we, a providential work of the Creator!

In the third place, I would point out that God’s omnipotence over time is not only key to our understanding His creative power, but also to understanding the possibility of the cross.  It was there that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for sin, conquering it completely and atoning for sin such that we may have fellowship with God.  But the puzzling thing about that atonement is that our Lord accomplished it in the space of just three hours.  Stop and think about that.  Complete atonement for an eternity of punishment for sin—in just three hours.  No mere man could do this, regardless of his perfection, because no man could bear eternity in the space of time, regardless of its length.  But we confess that Christ is not only man; He is God incarnate!  As fully divine, He was able to bear an eternity’s worth of suffering for all His people, compressed into a temporal space of three hours.  No man could do this; but “with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37).

For more information on subscribing to this Reformed bi-monthly magazine, visit the SB link above.