National Library Week – Join in the Celebration!

ALA_NLW2015_FB

This week is the annual observance of National Library Week (April 12-18), sponsored by the American Library Association, but marked by many library associations, including the Association of Christian Librarians of which I am a part.

You will find this brief description of the event on the ALA website:

National Library Week (April 12 – 18, 2015) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2015 National Library Week is “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

So what can you do during this National Library Week? I can think of a number of things:

  • Make a special effort to visit your local public library this week and appreciate the resources it makes available to you.
  • Take your children or grandchildren to a public library and expose them to the value of its place in the community and in their education.
  • Visit a “new” library in your area and discover its special resources. Have you ever been to the large and rich Grand Rapids Public Library downtown? Or how about the State of Michigan Library in Lansing? Why not make this the week you take one of these in?
  • On a smaller scale, but no less important, help support your local Christian school library. Make sure your children make use of it. Thank the librarians who serve in them. Offer your help, including donating good books.
  • Build your own library at home, making good books available for yourself, for your friends, and for your children and grandchildren.
  • Give thanks to God for our PRC Seminary library and the role it plays in the preparation of men for the ministry of the Word. And continue to support it – especially with your prayers! Thank you!

SemLibrary2

April 3, 1956 – The Great Hudsonville/Standale Tornado

April 3, 1956 – Hudsonville/Standale Tornado | WOODTV.com Blogs.

Today marks the 59th anniversary of the deadly F5 tornado that struck West Michigan – especially Hudsonville and Standale – killing 17 people and leaving widespread damage.

Local Wood-TV Meteriologist Bill Steffen referenced this historic event on his weather blog today (linked above), providing a brief summary of it and posting some links of interest. I include his opening sentences and then give you two videos available on this tornado.

Today, April 3rd, 2014, is the anniversary of the strongest tornado ever to hit the state of Michigan. The strongest wind on the surface of Earth in 1956 was on Van Buren Street in Hudsonville, Michigan on April 3, 1956. There were 17 fatalities (13 in Hudsonville) and 340 were injured.

I recall being told about this terrible storm as a youngster (I was born two years after it). The lake across from which we lived for a time (Fennessy) was virtually filled with dirt and debris (still great for bass fishing though!); and the home my parents live in now, which was being framed at the time, was twisted on its foundation.

I also remember hearing about the sermon Rev.Gerrit Vos preached in Hudsonville PRC after the event, which became a meditation on Psalm 46, later published in the Standard Bearer (April 15, 1956). If you have wondered about the context of this unique meditation, now you know.

Here is the opening text of that message – powerful exposition of God’s Word and well worth your reading in its entirely (just follow the above link).

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Ps. 46:8, 10, 11

Our village received a very special visit by the Lord Christ.

It was a visit of the majesty on high.

What we really received is a little foretaste of the end of the world.

Some of us went to heaven in the process of that visit. Others are in the hospital because of that visit. Some of us had a brush with death. All of us were deeply impressed by that visit.

God came to us, and He roared: I have never yet heard a voice such as we heard around supper time, Tuesday evening, April 3, 1956. It sounded as though a thousand express trains were traversing the sky.

His footsteps were seen; He walked from the southwest to the northeast, skirting our village: everyone was aware of His august presence.

And we were afraid: many cowered in the basement of their homes, while God ravaged their properties (?). He flung houses and barns far and wide. Such debris was mixed with black muck and the dust of the earth. He snuffed out the lives of some of us, broke the bones and the flesh of others: they were left moaning in His wake.

Oh yes, no one can dispute it: God walked among us; His Christ paid us a special visit; He left desolation, death, pain and misery.

But also awe, the awe of the childlike fear of Jehovah.

One man said: My Jehovah was beautiful in His raging! And that man lost half of his worldly goods, and his life was in jeopardy.

Yes, I have seen Him too.

His pathway through Hudsonville was about 3 or 4 city blocks from my dwelling.

 

PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ – ChristianityToday.com

PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

marriagepic-1Christianity Today’s latest “Gleanings” feature (March 18, 2015) carried this note of further apostasy from the teaching of God’s Word about marriage on the part of the mainline Presbyterian church in this country.

Below is the first part of that story; for the full news item, visit the “CT” link above. The report includes a map showing how the various states have voted to this point (Michigan has not yet decided.)

May the Lord call out of this apostate denomination those who are truly His and who desire to be faithful to His Word and the true Presbyterian heritage (Rev.18:4).

The Presbyterian Church (USA) will now define marriage as a “unique commitment between two people,” rather than a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman as an act of Christian discipleship.

Last June, the PC(USA) general assembly voted to change the language in its Book of Order, the denomination’s governing constitution. Following the vote, a majority of the PC(USA)’s 171 presbyteries also had to approve the measure for it to go into effect. On Tuesday, this number (86) was reached.

The conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee (PLC) criticized the denomination’s shift.

“In terms of the PCUSA’s witness to the world, this vote demonstrates a complete accommodation to the prevailing winds of our culture,” said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, PLC president, in a statement. “Any prophetic voice that the denomination may have once had to speak truth and call people to repentance is now lost.”

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post.

YP reading-1Here is another striking report (posted Feb.22, 2015) on the reading preferences of those who have grown up with digital content (young people known as “digital natives”). Once again, reading printed material is the choice for such college-age young people who read for “pleasure and learning.”

Warms my heart – and I do a fair amount of digital reading during the course of a day too. But when I can grab that printed book or magazine or newspaper in hand and feel the pages between my fingers and read the content on real paper – ah, I am a happy man. And I haven’t even mentioned the smells! :)

What’s your preference for reading – digital or print? What would you say is the percentage breakdown for your reading on any given day?

Here’s the first part of the news item as it was carried by the Washington Post; find the rest at the link above.

Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today.

This “CT” story of how Egypt’s Christians are responding to the intense persecution they are suffering at the hands of Muslim terrorists (ISIS) is as heart-warming as the recent slaughter of 21 Libyan Christians is heart-chilling.

As you read the report of this response, may we be led to pray for the body of Christ in that part of the world, and for many others suffering for the name of Christ throughout the Middle East and, indeed, throughout the world.

Here is the first part of the story; read the rest at the “CT” link above.

Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity.

“We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, Two Rows by the Sea was sent to the printer.

One week later, 1.65 million copies have been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever. It eclipses even the 1 million tracts distributed after the 2012 death of Shenouda, the Coptic “Pope of the Bible.” [A full English translation is posted at bottom.]

Arabic tract (outside)Image: Bible Society of Egypt

Arabic tract (outside)

The tract contains biblical quotations about the promise of blessing amid suffering, alongside a poignant poem in colloquial Arabic:

Who fears the other?
The row in orange, watching paradise open?
Or the row in black, with minds evil and broken?

“The design is meant so that it can be given to any Egyptian without causing offense,” said Atallah. “To comfort the mourning and challenge people to commit to Christ.”

The Scheide Library at Princeton University: A $300 Million Rare Book Bequest

Princeton University Receives $300 Million Rare Book Bequest.

Scheide_Library,_Princeton_University,_Princeton_NJThis item has been in the news this week, and it is significant both from a library standpoint and from an archive standpoint.

Lisa Peet, writing for Library Journal, summarizes the story and the holdings of this wonderful collection of rare books and manuscripts (for the full story, visit the link above).

To read about it on Princeton’s website, visit this page (along with some amazing pictures). I think you will find it interesting as well.

I might also add that the Scheide Libraryfound within the Firestone Library at Princeton, is itself quite amazing; be sure to check out the images of that as well.

Princeton University’s Firestone Library recently received the largest gift in the university’s history, the university reported on February 16: some 2,500 rare books and music manuscripts, with an expected appraised value of nearly $300 million. William Hurd (Bill) Scheide, a Princeton alumnus and third-generation collector of rare books, bequeathed the collection to the university upon his death, at age 100, in November 2014.

And here is a description of some of the materials in the Scheide collection:

The collection focuses strongly on the history of printing in Europe and the Americas. Other themes include the exploration and development of America, the history of the Bible—including the first six copies ever printed, starting with a 1455 Gutenberg Bible that Bill’s father, a member of Princeton’s class of 1896, purchased in 1924—and the history of science. It is not primarily concerned with literature, although it does contain two copies of Shakespeare’s first folio (as well as the second, third, and fourth); Needham considers it to be more about “the history of thought.” In addition, Bill Scheide, a musicologist, added a small but important collection of music manuscripts and notebooks by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, and others, including many autographed pieces.

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol.

The “Book Patrol” reports (Feb.10, 2015) on an amazing historical archive discovery in the town of Sandwich, England, just as the British Museum is preparing to display all the original copies of the Magna Carta.

Here’s the opening segment of the “BP” post, along with a picture of the four copies to be displayed at the British Museum (photo: Clare Kendall/British Library/PA).

The timing is impeccable.

On the heels of the beginning of the festivities celebrating the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta, in which all four surviving copies of the original edition of 1215 edition will be displayed together for the first time, word comes that another early copy has been discovered!

Four-copies-Magna-Carta-009

Unearthed at the Council Archives for the town of Sandwich the copy was found when researchers happened upon it while looking for a copy of the town’s original Charter of the Forest.

National Readathon Day Today

National Readathon Day on Saturday.

i love reading bagAre you ready to do some reading this Saturday afternoon? I hope so. Especially because it is National Readathon Day, sponsored by the National Book Foundation as well as some other book and reading promoters.

Publishers Weekly carried the story as introduced here. Follow the link above to learn more about it – and better yet, to participate! That could include reading to your child or grandchild! :)

This Saturday, January 24, marks the first National Readathon Day sponsored by Penguin Random House, GoodReads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation to raise money for NBF’s reading programs.

Since the program was first announced last fall, readers have been encouraged to pledge their support and to participate in the Readathon from noon to 4 p.m. (in respective time zones). They are also encouraged to share their experience on social media, using the hashtag #timetoread.

Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 7:28 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 – ChristianityToday.com

The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

Every year at this time Christianity Today posts the top stories in the world of Christian news based on what its readers visited the most on the “Gleanings” section of its website (“important developments in the church and the world”).

MIbrahim-2014At the link above is this year’s list of twenty (20) most read stories – with a brief introduction from “CT”. When you see their list, you will understand why these were indeed the stories people were most interested in.

What do Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Meriam Ibrahim, and the KJV have in common? All were subjects of the most-read Gleanings posts of 2014.

This one goes with the picture above, as reported by “CT”:

As advocates for the Sudanese mother sentenced to death for not renouncing her Christian faith topped more than 1 million, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag gave birth early this morning to a baby girl in a Khartoum prison hospital wing.

So reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), as well as her lawyer Elshareef Ali to the BBC. The 27-year-old mother sentenced to death for apostasy named her little girl Maya, according to The Telegraph.

Sudanese authorities are allowing Ibrahim two years to nurse her daughter before they will carry out the death sentence. Ibrahim’s lawyers lodged an appeal last week, according to CSW.

C.Hansen’s Top 10 Theology Stories of 2014 – The Gospel Coalition

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2014 | TGC | The Gospel Coalition.

Year in review-1I have learned to appreciate Collin Hansen’s (editorial director for the Gospel Coalition) annual list of a different nature – the top 10 theology stories of the year. Past years have shown a church world in turmoil for various reasons – doctrinal controversy, persecution, and sin within and without. 2014 revealed more of the same (Posted Dec.22, 2014).

Yet we believe that the church remains our Lord’s and that He is at work in the church, in the world, and in us to accomplish His master plan of ultimate redemption and renewal when He returns in glory, executes His righteous judgment, and makes all things new. May our remembrance of this year’s theological stories remind us of the goal of all things.

Here is Hansen’s introduction and one of the picks that was of particular interest to me. To see the rest of the stories that make his list, visit the “Gospel Coalition” link above.

I’m not satisfied with how we ascribe value to certain news stories over others. While social media direct us to stories that might have been overlooked in older newsrooms, these outlets and cable news lead us to obsess with certain stories and ignore others for no apparent reason. While news editors formerly acted as judge and jury for public knowledge, our mob mentality hardly produces better results. The trending hashtag does not necessarily reflect what’s most valuable in the kingdom of God. In fact, this fallen world threatens to distract us from from thinking about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” (Phil. 4:8).

As you’ll see in my list of top theology stories, I haven’t solved this problem. You may recognize these stories from your news feed, but you might arrange them in a different order or replace some altogether. I don’t claim unbiased perspective, and even if I did, past failings would betray me (see my lists from 20082009201020112012, and 2013).

…So consider my list an admittedly foolhardy attempt—written from the vantage point of an American who subscribes to The Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement—to discern the most important theology stories of 2014. Consider it an opportunity to reflect on whether your priorities align with God’s and a challenge to spread good news in a world that seeks peace but finds none apart from Jesus Christ.

8. Debate over justification and sanctification reaches breaking point.

Can someone be too focused on the gospel? Of course not. Unless “gospel” becomes shorthand for privileging certain biblical teachings and isolating them from others. Then again, Paul told the Corinthians that the matters of “first importance” are Jesus’s death for sins and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3–4). Shouldn’t those priorities dictate how we read the rest of the Bible? This hermeneutical tension didn’t suddenly leap from the biblical text in 2014, but as co-founders Don Carson and Tim Keller noted with regard to recent changes at TGC, the debate over the relationship between justification and sanctification became “increasingly strident” this year with charges of legalism and antinomianism. They said, “Recently it became clear that the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity.” How do Christians find that unity? Perhaps futher debate will resolve the outstanding issues. But we must all first humble ourselves before the God of the Bible and each other to live out the grace we so fervently preach.

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