Friday Recap of Seminary Week (and a Little Library Fun Too)

It was an exciting week at the PRC Seminary, especially weather-wise (no major storms this week!) and new addition-wise (what progress this week!).

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On the weather front, we started with a few inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning, and it was cold – due in part to clear skies and a February “super moon.” But then we had some glorious sunny weather and two beautiful sunrises in a row.

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Today too (Friday) was a gorgeous day, with temperatures in the low 40s (F). Which leads us into the next subject – the new addition being constructed. When we left off last time, we were in the throes of winter storms and the work had slowed down. But the hardy handymen hung in there and finished their work, starting with the “Bouwkamp brickies.”

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Yesterday they completed their brick-laying on the north wall, and today they returned to take down the scaffolding and clean up (“brickies” are not as bad as plumbers, but they’re still messy!). It’s a great-looking masonry job, don’t you think?

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But now that last picture gives away what else happened this week – yes, indeed, the trusses for the “second” roof went up (remember the first roof that went over the new archive room and future workroom consisted of concrete planks and a rubber seal – like a “pool” to collect any water this second roof may let through)!

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Monday morning the trusses were delivered, and yesterday and today the Bosveld crew went to work setting them and then the base boards of the roof, including plastic and a bit of tar paper. The weather was good and the gang amazingly efficient.

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In no time it all, it seemed, the roof was on, and a new look emerged inside. Exciting! And just in time for our latest challenge – another winter storm forecast for Sunday and Monday, with high winds part of the picture. We shall see if the “BBs” (Bosveld builders) put it all together firmly. 🙂 (I have utmost confidence.)

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Speaking of challenges, we had one of another kind this week. There can be a “down side” to all the nice sunshine and fairer temps this time of year, especially for flat roofs after snow and ice have built up. Thursday at noon a small gusher erupted right over Sem. Matt K’s study carrel, barely missing his books and papers. So a certain fellow took time after lunch to climb up on the roof and get rid of the snow and ice so as to cut off the source of said dripping. It was over the library, after all, so I suppose the librarian should tend to it. 🙂

And the good news is that the gusher stopped shortly thereafter, a fan set overnight dried up the wet carpeting, and Sem. Kortus returned to his own carrel today. O, and the roofing repair company came out today to find and fix the leaks! Thankful we are for all the folks in construction, new and old.

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Inside the seminary, we had another blessed week of instruction, learning, devotions, and fellowship. Sem. Josiah T. led us in devotions this week, and took us through Genesis 1. The singing was good, which led me to make this video – something about a group of men singing acappella.

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Finally, in a non-seminary-related matter but still connected to books and libraries, a friend sent me this link today to a very cool “little free library” in the beautiful town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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Here’s the first part of the story; read the rest here. And thanks, Matt M. for passing this on. He knows these stories really get me excited!

In the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, known to many as a sleepy lakefront resort town, a woman named Sharalee Armitage Howard has turned a dying 110-year-old black cottonwood tree into a magical library.

Stone steps lead up the sloped front yard to what remains of the tree. The 10-foot-tall trunk has a shingled roof that extends a little over the edges. A lantern-style lamp lights a row of tiny faux wooden books that make up the library’s decorative dentil molding. The real books, however, are visible through a vintage window-turned-door. The door itself features hardware that looks like it would have been at home in Middle Earth.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are! And remember to take time to read. 🙂

The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told | Museum of the Bible

Have you heard about this unique Bible before? Do you know why it held this name?

I had not until I received this months “Museum of the Bible” newsletter, which featured this striking exhibition, “The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told.”

Here’s part of the introduction to the video describing the exhibition:

The Slave Bible, as it would become known, is a missionary book. It was originally published in London in 1807 on behalf of the Society for the Conversion of Negro Slaves, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of enslaved Africans toiling in Britain’s lucrative Caribbean colonies. They used the Slave Bible to teach enslaved Africans how to read while at the same time introducing them to the Christian faith. Unlike other missionary Bibles, however, the Slave Bible contained only “select parts” of the biblical text. Its publishers deliberately removed portions of the biblical text, such as the exodus story, that could inspire hope for liberation. Instead, the publishers emphasized portions that justified and fortified the system of slavery that was so vital to the British Empire.

Watch the video below to learn more. This wonderful new museum in our nation’s capitol remains on my radar for a visit soon. Along with the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. And the National Cathedral. And…. You get the point. 🙂

Source: The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told | Museum of the Bible

Published in: on February 15, 2019 at 9:48 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Prayer After the Explanation of the [Heidelberg] Catechism

prayer-bible-1The 1934 edition of the Psalter Hymnal published by the Christian Reformed Church contains a section of “Christian Prayers” in the liturgical part in the back. Two of those prayers relate to the preaching of the Heidelberg Catechism. Prof. B. Gritters referenced these in his first Interim course lecture last Friday (Jan.4).

[This course on Heidelberg Catechism Preaching is being live-streamed daily this week and through next Tues, Jan.15 on the PRC Seminary’s YouTube channel. The videos from each day (2 lectures, except for yesterday’s class) may also be found there.]

In our Sunday post (Jan.6) we quoted the first one; in this one we post the other. This one has the heading “Prayer After the Explanation of the Catechism.” I believe you will find it to be thoroughly Reformed and biblical, and therefore, a prayer that is edifying and fit to be used ourselves.

And this is the prayer (slightly edited with paragraphs):

O gracious and merciful God and Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast established Thy covenant with believers and their seed. This Thou hast not only sealed by holy baptism, but Thou daily showest it by perfecting Thy praise out of the moth of babes and sucklings, thus putting to shame the wise and prudent of this world.
We beseech Thee that Thou wilt increase Thy grace in them, in order that they may unceasingly grow in Christ, Thy Son, until they have reached complete maturity in all wisdom and righteousness. Give us grace to instruct them in Thy knowledge and fear, according to Thy commandment.
May by their godliness the kingdom of Satan be destroyed and the kingdom of Jesus Christ in this and other congregations strengthened, unto the glory of Thy holy Name and unto their eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Lord, who taught us to pray, saying,
Our Father who art in heaven, etc. Amen.

Posted yesterday on the PRC Seminary’s new website blog.

The Wonder of a Sprouting Bean | Aeon Videos

 

Two days ago I referenced Aeon Essays for the first time year. Today, for our “Friday Fun” item we point you to Aeon Videos for the first time. They have some wonderfully inspiring clips of the simplest things, but things that make you say “Wow!” all over again.

Such as the miracle of a bean kidney seed sprouting. I realize there are thousands of such videos on the Internet, but Aeon does some unique things with theirs, such as adding classical music to the sprouting bean.

So, enjoy the amazing growth of a bean plant, bottom to top. And stand in awe not just of “nature” but of nature’s God. For this is our Father’s world and He is Designer, Maker, and Sustainer of every such little bean seed. Watch His work and wonder!

Here is Aeon’s brief introduction:

Though it’s rather more ordinary than its Jack and the Beanstalk cousin, the kidney bean in this timelapse video puts on quite a performance as it sprouts, breaks through the soil’s surface and springs upward into a plant. Just as enchanting is its development below ground, where a single tendril expands into a complex and deeply embedded root system.

Whimsically employing Johann Strauss’s famous waltz ‘The Blue Danube’ (1866), the video puts one of nature’s unsung spectacles front and centre stage.

Source: It might not be magic, but a sprouting bean can still hold you under its spell | Aeon Videos

Published in: on September 28, 2018 at 9:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

RFPA Interview with Prof. R. Cammenga on “Here We Stand”

Last week on its blog the Reformed Free Publishing Association published an interview it produced earlier this year in connection with the publication of its Reformation 500 title Here We Stand: Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

The interview is with Prof. Ronald Cammenga, editor of the book, which is made up of the speeches given at the PRC Seminary’s 2018 Reformation 500 Conference.

After watching the video and learning more about this significant contribution to Reformation 500 studies, visit the RFPA website and order yourself a copy.

 

 

Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy | Aeon Videos

Not too late to squeeze in our “Friday Fun” item while also appreciating amazing video of the moon and a beautiful piece of classic music.

Below is the introduction; click on the link at the end to view the wonderful video.

Behold the handiwork of God – in creation and in creative music! Enjoy!

Vast lunar landscapes set to the aching, shimmering piano of Claude Debussy’s 1905 composition ‘Clair de Lune’ (French for ‘moonlight’) offer an enchanting melding of science and art through the interplay of light, texture and music. The video, which traces the flow of sunlight over the Moon’s surface, was created by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio using images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It was first shown at a celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary along with a live performance of Debussy’s music.

Source: Soar around the Moon, carried by the music of Debussy, in this breathtaking space flight | Aeon Videos

New and Notable Books (Three-Minute Thursdays #16) – Tim Challies

Pastor, author, book reviewer, and blogger Tim Challies has a relatively new book feature called “Three-Minute Thursdays,” in which, by means of video, he presents briefly some “new and noteworthy” books.

I appreciate the format and in general the books he features. This one (#16) is from last week (May 17, 2018) and introduces six new Christian titles. As we approach the summer reading season, I am confident you will find one here of profit – or from one of the other episodes. You may recall that I already featured that last one here (God’s Timeline).

If you click on the YouTube link to the video below, you can subscribe to this channel also.

Here is Challies’ introduction to this particular episode.

Welcome to another edition of Three-Minute Thursdays. Every year I get literally hundreds of books in the mail—one of the perks of being a book reviewer. From time to time I take the big stack and turn it into a little stack, so I can tell you about some of the new and notable books that I think will be interesting to people like you.

And that leads to a short video like this one: The books featured in this episode are: Watchfulness by Brian Hedges; Christianity Considered by John Frame; Christ from Beginning to End by Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum; Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi Reformed Expository Commentary by Iain Duguid and Matthew Harmon; The Gospel According to God by John MacArthur; and God’s Timeline by Linda Finlayson.

Source: New and Notable Books (Three-Minute Thursdays #16) – Tim Challies

Reshaping Marriage, Reformation Style – “Refo Thursday”

On this Thursday, the last day of August, we bring to mind again the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And we do so through another video clip from the Church History Institute, which they are sending out each Thursday this year – what they refer to as their “Refo Thursday,” “your weekly throwback to the Reformation.”

This particular video, sent out on August 10, celebrates the Reformation’s reform of marriage, including Martin Luther’s wonderful union with Katherine von Bora. On this day of my own thirty-ninth wedding anniversary to my lovely bride (August 31, 1978!), this post seems appropriate. Verna and I are personally grateful to the Reformers for restoring this aspect of the Christian life to its biblical foundation!

The article that goes with it – “The Reformation of Marriage” – includes these paragraphs at the beginning:

It is a remarkable fact that none of the leading Protestant reformers ended up a bachelor—Luther, Zwingli and Calvin all married in the course of the Reformation. It is remarkable because the prevailing late medieval ideal was that one should not marry in order to devote full attention to serving God. The same ideal prevailed for women. St. Jerome, writing in the fourth century, even offered a kind of algorithm for measuring one’s devotion to God. He assigned a spiritual value of 100 to virginity, but to marriage he assigned a paltry spiritual value of 30. The message was clear: if you really loved God, you would remain a bachelor or bachelorette.

The Reformation is most often identified with theological debates, whether over  justification by faith alone, predestination, or the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. However, it can be argued that the most enduring consequence of the Reformation was not theological developments, but the transformation of the institution of marriage. By 1520, just three years after the 95 Theses, Luther publically renounced clerical celibacy in his famous pamphlet, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.

Read the rest of the article at the link provided, and be sure to watch this video and many others that make up this informative and interesting series. You can sign up to receive the “Refo Thursday” posts each week at the CHI website.

Friday Fun: Cubs-Diamondbacks’ bullpen antics during rain-delays

On this rainy Friday here in West Michigan, my thoughts turn to the rain delays at Wrigley Field in Chicago yesterday, when this cool front started to make its way through the area.

In another classic display of bullpen entertainment, the Cubs pitchers challenged the Arizona Diamondbacks to some friendly competition. And what you are about to see is the result.

Great, fun baseball stuff. Even if the Cubs lost. No wonder they are the lovable winners! 🙂

Need a good laugh on this cool, gloomy Friday afternoon? Cheer up with these images and video. Yes, by all means, watch the video found at the link below.

Here’s part of the description as found on the MLB.com website:

The D-backs beat the Cubs, 10-8, on Thursday in a game that featured three rain delays (Paul Goldschmidt homered after EACH one). Although much action happened on the field, perhaps the most important action occurred during the second stoppage in play in the Wrigley Field bullpens.

Source: Antics amaze in D-backs-Cubs delays | MLB.com

Published in: on August 4, 2017 at 3:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

2017 Reformation Books for Children – ABCs and More!

Looking for good books for your children during this year of celebrating the great Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary? I have a fine one for you, one I purchased this week and read through last night.

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Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation from A to Z is a wonderful children’s “ABC” book written by Stephen J. Nichols (author) and Ned Bustard (author/illustrator) and published by Crossway (2017). The publisher gives this description:

Reformation ABCs is a fun way for kids to learn about the places, things, events, people, books, and ideas that shaped this pivotal time in church history. Through whimsical illustrations and engaging storytelling, this book teaches kids that even though the Reformation occurred five hundred years ago, it isn’t just about people and places in the past. The Reformers’ fight to reclaim the gospel is still relevant today.

To give you an idea of what’s inside, under “A” the book has “A is for ants, artists, and Augustine” (showing how the Reformation was a return to the theology of St. Augustine); “H” has “H is for hippos, hats, and Heidelberg” (a nice tribute to the Heidelberg Catechism)’ “T” has “T is for torch, trains, and Tyndale” (pointing out the significant Bible translation work of this godly man and martyr). One of my favorites was what they had for “Y” – “Y is for yellow, yodeling, and YOU,” part of which says this:

The Reformers wanted children to learn the Bible. Every morning Martin Luther opened his doors, and young boys and girls ran across his yard and gathered around his dining table to be taught. Since all of the German boys and girls could not fit around his table, he wrote a catechism for them. The Reformers in Heidelberg wrote a catechism. And the Reformers at Westminster wrote a catechism. All of these catechisms had one purpose: to teach boys and girls the Bible, the gospel, and the truth of the Christian faith. When these young boys and girls grew up, they became the next Reformers. And for centuries God has given the church Reformers. You are the next Reformer.

The back part of the book includes a section on “Reformation by the Numbers” (noting the significant numbers associated with the movement, such as Luther’s  95 Theses and the 5 solas of the Reformation) and a Reformation timeline.

I highly recommend this book to you. If you buy one Reformation children’s book this year, make this the one. In light of my post on Tuesday of this week about reading to your children, this would make an excellent one to use. Read it to your young children and let the young readers in your home read it again on their own. And, grandparents, this would make a great gift for your grandchildren. That’s what I bought it for. 🙂

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Also, do not forget the wonderful church history series Reformation Heritage Books publishes, “Christian Biographies for Young Readers” series, featuring Reformed author Simonetta Carr. This series includes Reformation titles on Martin Luther,  John Calvin, John Knox, Lady Jane Grey, and the newest, Peter Martyr Vermigli. Here’s a video on that title: