Monday, June 29, 2015

"A prison of your own design"

Apart from a silly reference to Fox News and Drudge (which makes one wonder whether he takes his own advice), this essayist has some wise things to say about "Safe Spaces and Comfort Zones":
...[T]o avoid discussion of sexual violence, racism and oppression is not to fight such evils; it is to pretend that there are public spaces in which they cannot exist. To live in a prison of your own design does not make you any less of a prisoner.

Is this not contrary to what the study of literature and history is about? Surely both are at least in part concerned with understanding how and why horror rises in the human heart, about the ebb and flow of power and resistance, of humanity against inhumanity, the moral and political struggles of individuals and societies, the fight of hope and faith against hunger, fear and death? Are not both subjects ultimately about the infinitely complex varieties of experience flowering endlessly into events, patterned yet unique, as we all are? ....

It is the historian’s duty as much as the novelist’s or poet’s to understand what people think and why. We must resist anything that pushes us towards the comfortable and the familiar rather than challenges us with the arbitrary and exceptional.

Neither serenity nor strength come from avoiding difficult thoughts and feelings. Experience inures us; only by accepting reality can we begin to change it. Safe spaces and comfort zones, whether emotional or intellectual, may be invaluable for dealing with personal trauma, but they diminish us all if they do not equip us for the multiplicity of the world as it is. [more]

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Psalm 119

Via Mere Comments, Psalm 119 read by Alexander Scourby. It takes about 15 minutes.

Alexander Scourby from Wikipedia:
He is best known for his film role as the ruthless mob boss Mike Lagana in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953), and is also particularly well-remembered in the English-speaking world for his landmark recordings of the entire King James Version audio Bible, which have been released in numerous editions. He later recorded the entire Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Scourby recorded 422 audiobooks for the blind which he considered his most important work.
Early on as a teacher of high school US History I sometimes used the film (i.e. condensed) version of the documentary television series Victory at Sea when teaching WWII. Scourby was the narrator. His script was filled with biblical allusion. The soundtrack score for that film was by Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame.

Friday, June 26, 2015

On reading something again, and again, and again
One reader of Anecdotal Evidence brands me “an old foggy [sic]” and a reactionary for “reading all those old books.” I don’t read enough new books, he tells me, I “waste too much time reading books you read before,” and so forth. Similar notes arrive periodically and they leave me, at first, puzzled, and then amused. I suppose I should be grateful that someone cares enough about books to get angry about them. ....

One reliable test of any work is memorability. Do we remember it, even memorize it? Not often, but always happily. The present is a very small place, a place of diminished accomplishment and minimal expectations. Our wealth is in the past. No book is good or worth reading simply because it is old (or new), but because it is good and someone thought enough of it to pass it along. [more]
The illustration, of course, reflects my own tastes, not, probably, the types of books Professor Kurp had in mind. The picture comes from

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"God's daisy chain"

Many magazines and websites publish lists like this one: "What Books To Read This Summer." These recommendations come from contributors to the Federalist site. For instance, this from Rebecca Cusey:
There are two types of people in this world: Those who love P.G. Wodehouse novels and those who have not yet read them. If you fit into the second group, do yourself a favor and pick up The Code of the Woosters this summer.

Set in the downy rose gardens and stately breakfast rooms of old-time English manors, the novel sets stuffy Downton Abbey on its head. Here, gentlemen throw bits of bread at dinner and nurse hangovers in the morning. Bertie Wooster has to mend the broken hearts of his formerly engaged friends Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeline Basset while also assisting his loony aunt [in] a scheme to acquire a silver cow-creamer.

Patching up Gussie and Madeline’s engagement is top priority because the daft girl suffers from the delusion that Bertie loves her himself and will “make him happy” by marrying him if the Gussie thing falls through. Nothing could be farther from the truth. After all, who would set up shop with a girl who thinks bunnies are gnomes in disguise and stars are God’s daisy chain? But Bertie has his code and will traipse down the aisle unless his faithful valet Jeeves can save the day.

Come for the wacky characters and the frivolous setting. Stay for the masterful use of the English language. Wodehouse rivals the greats in his turn of phrase. You will find yourself laughing out loud as you read. He creates a world in which the greatest worry is wearing the wrong spats at dinner and where love always comes through. It’s a universe a million miles away from today’s worries and darkness. When you’ve finished with the many adventures of Bertie and Jeeves, move on to Lord Emsworth at Blandings Castle, a myopic would-be farmer with the noble goal of guiding his prize pig to victory at the fair, if only the younger generation would leave him in peace.
Some Wodehouse is now in the public domain and can be downloaded without cost. The Code of the Woosters was published in 1938 and must still be borrowed or purchased. The Kindle version is here for about $10.00.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Toward the breaking of day

I'm reading Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII. This was quoted by George VI in his Christmas address in 1939. Britain had entered the war in September but there had thus far been little fighting in the West. It was the period known as "Phony War" leading up to Germany's invasions in the spring and summer of 1940 and the fall of France.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

"So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”
Minnie Louise Haskins, God Knows, 1908
▶ King George VI's Christmas Speech 1939 - YouTube

"In sure and certain hope of the Resurrection..."

By chance this morning I came across Chad Bird's "The Tragic Death of the Funeral" in which he argues that a "celebration of life" is "necronarcissism," and doesn't serve well the real needs of the mourners:
.... Whereas a funeral, at least in traditional Christianity, takes death seriously, and balances the truth of grief and loss with the hope of life and resurrection, the Celebration of Life looks neither to the present of grief nor the future of hope, but solely to the past. Its focus is neither faith nor hope but only love of what was lost. .... Call it a celebration all you want; life is not so much celebrated as death is ignored. Therein lies a great tragedy, for a Celebration of Life is a missed opportunity to understand death aright.

.... When a funeral degenerates into a Celebration of Life, mourners may find temporary relief in the nostalgia of the memories, but they will be deprived of true and lasting healing that comes only after confronting death and finding life in Another.

While the old adage, “A funeral is for the living,” is true, it is an ambiguous truth. It leaves unanswered the question: for what purpose is it for the living? The assumption behind the saying is that death creates a need, or needs, that must be addressed. While these needs vary in kind and number from individual to individual, at the core of them all is this: the need to find that death is not the end, that life will have the last word. Call it a celebration all you want; life is not so much celebrated as death is ignored.

Despite its name, a Celebration of Life is ill-equipped to address that. It’s focus is upon a dead person, not a living and vivifying God. Nor does it take seriously the reality and cause of death, without which life cannot be understood. Indeed, it seems an ideal Trojan horse to roll into a religious service, for inside it are hidden many of the same errors that devalue life in our culture.

The bereaved need, and deserve, something better. They deserve a service that speaks frankly and honestly about death, while anchoring the survivors in a hope that extends beyond this world. If any life is to be celebrated, let it be the life of the One who alone can lighten the load of grief borne by the survivors, and who shines a ray of his life into the gloom of death. [more]
The Tragic Death Of The Funeral

Monday, June 22, 2015


Jerry L. Walls, a professor at Houston Baptist University, "has written a book defending eternal hell...." He writes "I will be most delighted if one of the things I have spent a lot of time and energy in my career defending turns out to be wrong." From his "10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hell":
.... The Christian hope is not defined in terms of a lifetime of happiness that lasts 80 or so years and is at best partial, intermittent, and hit or miss. Rather, the Christian hope is for nothing short of perfect happiness that literally lasts forever and answers our deepest longings for satisfaction and joy.

No sane person can be indifferent to such a prospect. You may doubt that it is possible, but you cannot rationally be indifferent. Not to care is not to understand. And that is why every sane person cares about hell. ....

God wants to elicit our love and he has gone to the extreme length to demonstrate the depth of his love for us by sending his Son to die and save us from our sins though we turned our backs on him. Amazing as it is, we can resist his love and continue to go our own way.

If we persist in doing so, hell is the natural result. God certainly does not want anyone to go to hell, but precisely because he is love, we are free to walk away, and if we really want hell instead of love, we can have it. ....

[In that view] God does not lock sinners into hell against their will, but rather, they are in hell because they have locked God out of their lives. C.S Lewis famously put it this way: “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell and locked on the inside.”

The notion that anyone would freely lock themselves in hell sounds incredible. Why would anyone do that? This is one of the most puzzling things about hell. Lewis attempted to answer that question in a little book called The Great Divorce.

If you want to read one book on heaven and hell, I would recommend this one. The premise is that a group of the denizens of hell take a bus ride to heaven and are given every opportunity to stay. Indeed, they are implored to do so.

As surprising as it may seem, almost all of them choose to go back to hell. Why? Because they need to make some profound changes in their lives in order to enjoy the heavenly society of perfect love and joy. In particular, they need to give up various resentments, jealousies, attitudes of self-righteousness, and so on that they have been clinging to.

When faced with this reality, they choose to go back to hell. .... [more]

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Then let our songs abound"

I have the responsibility of planning worship for our small congregation in the month of June. I decided to do a series of services that each week used hymns by a single writer. We have already done services using hymns by William Cowper and John Newton. Tomorrow it will be Isaac Watts based on a 1948 200th anniversary commemoration of his death. My Skaggs grandfather apparently preserved the bulletin below. I have somewhat modified the service.

Call to Worship:
“Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne;
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues
But all their joys are one.”
Isaac Watts, 1707

Worship Theme:

“We worship and bow down before the Lord, Our Maker”

Meditation Verses: 
Bless the LORD, O my soul:
And all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits:
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
And into his courts with praise:
Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting;
And his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 103:1-2; 100:4-5

Hymn of Praise “From All That Dwell Below the Skies”  by Isaac Watts, 1707

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue. 
Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

Responsive Call to Prayer
Leader: O Come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.
People: For He is the Lord, our God: and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
Leader: Let us pray:
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose Name we pray:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Pulpit Reading: from Psalm 72
Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king's son.
He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment.
They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: All nations shall serve him.
His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun:
And men shall be blessed in Him: All nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things.
And blessed be His glorious name for ever: And let the whole earth be filled with His glory;
Amen, and Amen.
Hymn of Old Testament Prophesy  “Jesus Shall Reign Where’Er the Sun”  by Isaac Watts, 1719

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,    
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
Blessings abound where’er He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His name.

"As new as it was on the seventh day of creation"

Joy is related to wonder, I think. From a Chesterton essay "A Defence of Baby-Worship":
THE two facts which attract almost every normal person to children are, first, that they are very serious, and, secondly, that they are in consequence very happy. They are jolly with the completeness which is possible only in the absence of humour. The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. ...[W]e ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea. .... [more]

Thursday, June 18, 2015

200 years ago, June 18, 1815

On the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo a blog re-publishes Jules Crittenden's review of a book about the battle, from which:
A couple of times a year, some old warriors I know get together, a small group of friends. They are men who have seen heavy combat, including, for two of them, a day at the Ia Drang in 1965, when a third of their battalion's men were killed and another third were wounded in the space of a few hours. But they held, giving better than they got.

Forty years later, they fight tears when they talk about absent friends. They remain intensely interested in war in all its aspects, and when we meet, we talk about war. The old wars and today's wars, how they are being fought and where they will take us. Courage and cowardice, the timeless misery of infantrymen, and the cleverness and failings of officers. ....

There is one constant of war through time, and that is the base experience of it. Technical aspects may change, but the gut feelings remain the same, and in varying degrees of intensity are shared by everyone who has done this. They are conflicting feelings of horror, fear, commitment, despair, camaraderie, discipline, honour, fatalism, hilarity, sacrifice, bloodlust and the desire to prevail, elements of which combine to carry us through, carry us away or destroy us. ....

You know more or less how [the Battle of Waterloo] goes. As Napoleon tried to resurrect his shattered empire in 1815, nearly 200,000 men engaged on a few square miles of Belgian woods and farmland. The British and their allies, badly beaten two days earlier at Quatre Bras, had stopped on a ridge while falling back toward Brussels. The British squares held, and the Prussians arrived on the French flank. Exactly how many British, French, German, Dutch and Belgian soldiers died on June 18 1815 is unknown, but estimates range to about 20,000, with twice as many missing or wounded. The future of Europe hinged on it, and two magnificent generals, the greatest of their age and artists of war, faced each other. ....

Barbero (the author of the book being reviewed) quotes Sgt. William Lawrence of the 40th Foot, on being ordered to bear the regimental colours.
This, although I was used to warfare as much as any, was a job I did not at all like: but I still went as boldly to work as I could. There had been before me that day 14 sergeants already killed and wounded while in charge of these Colours and officers in proportion... This job will never be blotted from my memory; although I am now an old man, I remember it as if it had been yesterday. I had not been there more than a quarter of an hour when a cannon-shot came and took the captain's head clean off. This was again close to me, for my left side was touching the captain's right, and I was spattered all over with his blood. The men in their tired state began to despair, but the officers cheered them on continually throughout the day with the cry of 'Keep your ground, my men!' It is a mystery to me how it was accomplished, for at last there were so few left that there was scarcely enough to form a square.
It's nearly 200 years, but that's not so much time. It could be yesterday. .... [more]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Signing the cross

I am probably much too self-conscious to adopt the practice but Joel Miller makes a pretty good case for this physical expression of faith:
Reading Letters and Papers from Prison, I was surprised to discover Dietrich Bonhoeffer used the sign of the cross in his daily prayers. “I’ve found that following Luther’s instruction to ‘make the sign of the cross’ at our morning and evening prayers is...most useful,” he said in one letter. “There is something objective about it....”

Growing up evangelical, I always understood signing oneself to be empty superstition. It was something Catholics did, not Protestants. And yet here’s a famous Protestant pastor and theologian comforting himself with the sign while imprisoned.

Not to mention Martin Luther instructing every Lutheran since his own day to “bless yourself with the holy cross,” as he says in his Small Catechism. ....

...[S]igning oneself is more than mere symbolism. It is, as Bonhoeffer said, “objective.” There is something tangible and actual about tracing the points of the cross over one’s body. It goes back to something covered in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Christians, the senior demon informs the junior, “can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers, for they constantly forget...that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.”

What we do physically affects us spiritually. Whether it’s lowering our gaze, raising our hands, bending our knee, or crossing ourselves, physical actions have a qualitative, spiritual effect. .... [more]

Monday, June 15, 2015

"A far green country under a swift sunrise"

I have been watching once again, and over several evenings, the extended Blu-ray version of The Lord of the Rings. Tonight in The Return of the King comes one of my favorite passages:

In the book those words come later and not as dialogue:
And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Magna Carta and the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Mural in the Wisconsin Supreme Court
On the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta the Wisconsin State Journal notes a connection in the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
Monday marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the document that curbed the power of King John of England and established the foundation of America’s modern judicial system. It’s also 100 years after a mural depicting its signing was installed in the Capitol hearing room. ....

The painting looms large on the left of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Hearing Room at roughly 9 feet tall by 18 feet, 6 inches wide. It’s one of the room’s four murals, which depict sources of Wisconsin Law: “The Signing of the Magna Carta” depicts English common law, a scene at a trial before Caesar Augustus Octavius depicts Roman law, “The Signing of the Constitution” represents federal law and “The Trial of Chief Oshkosh Before Judge Doty” represents territorial law. ....

Finding an artist to paint them was...trying. The state first selected Francis Millett, but by the time Millett and [Justice] Winslow had finished debating the content of the murals, Millett had died on the Titanic.

Another artist proved too expensive before the state settled on Albert Herter, who charged $28,000. ....

In the front of the painting, a young boy holds a large dog. Neither are historical figures; they’re Herter’s son and family dog.

The artist’s son, Christian Herter, coincidentally went on to become the governor of Massachusetts and Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. ....

Albert Herter completed the murals on the East Coast, rolled them up and installed them in Madison in less than a month. .... [more]

Sunday, June 14, 2015

People pleasing

Via Kevin DeYoung, from an ordination charge delivered by John Witherspoon (1723-94):
This leads me to exhort you in the whole of your work, public and private, to beware of the sin of man-pleasing. I do not say, beware of popularity: because, in the sense to which common language hath confided that word, it is but one half of the snare. Besides, in propriety of speech, popularity should signify only being accepted and beloved, which in itself is neither duty nor sin, but a blessing.

Man-pleasing signifies, in Scripture, having this as the end and motive of our actions, rather than being acceptable to God. You ought, indeed, for edification, to avoid displeasing any without necessity. But as in this, so in every other thing, you should have a far higher principle, than merely courting the favor either of great or small, good or bad.

Flag Day

As has become my custom on Flag Day I post this:

Several years ago I was part of an exchange with secondary teachers from Japan. The Japanese teachers spent time with us in Madison and in our schools and we did the same in Japan. As preparation for the experience, all of us were together in Washington, D.C., learning about each other, getting acquainted, and trying to bridge some of the cultural differences. In one of the sessions a Japanese teacher asked why Americans seemed to place so much emphasis on the flag. Many Japanese are, for understandable historical reasons, very skeptical of anything smacking of nationalism. I explained that in our case we have no national figure—no queen or emperor—who symbolizes the nation. Nor does the flag stand for blood or soil. It stands for our ideals—"the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." It stands for what we believe in and aspire to be as a country. We honor the flag because it represents the Constitutional system that protects our freedoms and our rights.

In my files I came across a pamphlet, undated, published by the Marine Corps, titled How to Respect and Display Our Flag. A stamp on it indicates that it was distributed by the "Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-Station" in Janesville, Wisconsin. Since the flags in the illustrations have forty-eight stars, it must be from the late 1950s. The rules it specifies seem almost quaint after the events of the last half century. The flag has been burned and trampled by Americans. It is flown night and day in good weather or foul—even by those who intend to honor it. A colleague used to put one on the floor of his classroom, inviting students to decide whether to walk on it. How one treats the symbol became partisan, expressing a political rather than a patriotic allegiance.

Here is the section from that pamphlet titled "How to Display the Flag":
Respect your flag and render it the courtesies to which it is entitled by observing the following rules, which are in accordance with the practices approved by leading flag authorities:

The National flag should be raised and lowered by hand. It should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, or between such hours as may be designated by proper authority. Do not raise the flag while it is furled. Unfurl, then hoist quickly to the top of the staff. Lower it slowly and with dignity. Place no objects on or over the flag. Various articles are sometimes placed on a speaker's table covered with the flag. This practice should be avoided.

When displayed in the chancel or on a platform in a church, the flag should be placed on a staff at the clergyman's right; other flags at his left. If displayed in the body of the church, the flag should be at the congregation's right as they face the clergyman.

Do not use the flag as a portion of a costume or athletic uniform. Do not embroider it upon cushions or handkerchiefs nor print it on paper napkins or boxes.
1. When displayed over the middle of the street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
2. When displayed with another flag from crossed staffs, the flag of the United States of America should be on the right (the flag's own right) and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
3. When it is to be flown at half-mast, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-mast position; but before lowering the flag for the day it should again be raised to the peak. By half-mast is meant hauling down the flag to one-half the distance between the top and the bottom of the staff. On Memorial Day display at half-mast until noon only; then hoist to top of staff.
4. When flags of states or cities or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States of America, the latter should always be at the peak. When flown from adjacent staffs the Stars and Stripes should be hoisted first and lowered last.
5. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope, extending from house to pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out from the building, toward the pole, union first.
6. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at any angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should go clear to peak of the staff (unless the flag is to be displayed at half-mast).
7. When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
8. When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.
9. When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, the Stars and Stripes should be either on the marching right, or when there is a line of other flags, our National flag may be in front of the center of that line.
10. When a number of flags of states or cities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs with our National flag, the latter should be at the center or at the highest point of the group.
11. When the flags of two or more nations are displayed they should be flown from separate staffs of the same height and the flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

A federal law provides that a trademark cannot be registered which consists of, or comprises among other things, "the flag, coat-of-arms or other insignia of the United States, or any simulation thereof."

Take every precaution to prevent the flag from becoming soiled. It should not be allowed to touch the ground or floor, nor to brush against objects.

When the flag is used in unveiling a statue or monument, it should not be used as a covering of the object to be unveiled. If it is displayed on such occasions, do not allow the flag to fall to the ground, but let it be carried aloft to form a feature of the ceremony.

On suitable occasions repeat this pledge to the flag:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The pamphlet also has the words of our National Anthem. We almost never sing anything beyond the first verse. The third is particularly good:
Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

First posted in 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2015

How particular a Baptist are you?

Thomas Kidd is co-author of the recently published Baptists in America: A History. His post at Desiring God, "Calvinism Is Not New to Baptists" interests me because the question of Calvinism also affected my Baptist denomination. We had churches, both in America and Britain, that identified either as Particular (i.e. Calvinist) Baptist or as General (Arminian or "Free Will") Baptist. Here is part of what Kidd writes about the situation among Baptists in America in the 18th century:
In a 1793 survey, early Baptist historian John Asplund estimated that there were 1,032 Baptist churches in America. Out of those, 956 were Calvinist congregations. These were “Particular Baptists,” for they believed in a definite atonement (or “particular redemption”), that Christ had died to save the elect decisively. “General Baptists,” who believed that Christ had died indefinitely for the sins of anyone who would choose him, accounted for a tiny fraction of the whole. Even some of those, Asplund noted, believed in certain Calvinist tenets such as “perseverance in grace.”

How did this preponderance of Baptist Calvinists come about? Both Calvinist and Arminian (General) Baptists had existed in the American colonies since the early 1600s. But the Great Awakening of the 1740s, the most profound religious and cultural upheaval in colonial America, wrecked the General Baptist movement, and birthed a whole new type of Calvinist Baptist — the “Separate Baptists.” ....

Isaac Backus, the most influential Baptist pastor in eighteenth-century America, perfectly illustrated the journey from Great-Awakening convert to Separate Baptist. Backus experienced conversion in 1741, writing that “God who caused the light to shine out of darkness, shined into my heart with such a discovery of that glorious righteousness which fully satisfies the law that I had broken . . . . [N]ow my burden (that was so dreadful heavy before) was gone.” But Backus’s Norwich, Connecticut church would not permit evangelical itinerants to preach there, and the pastor refused to require a conversion testimony of prospective church members. So Backus and a dozen others started a Separate small group meeting, apart from the church. In spite of his lack of a college degree, Backus also began serving as a Separate pastor.

Backus also started to have doubts about the proper mode of baptism. He, like virtually all churched colonial Americans, had received baptism as an infant, but in 1751, after a season of prayer, fasting, and Bible study, Backus became convinced that baptism was for adult converts only. A visiting Baptist minister soon baptized Backus by immersion. Thousands of colonial Americans would go through a similar sequence of conversion and acceptance of Baptist principles.

Because the move to Baptist convictions happened under the canopy of the Calvinist-dominated Great Awakening, Backus and most of these new Baptists were Calvinists, too. .... [more]

Friday, June 12, 2015

There are limits

In "Do Not Speak Well of Randianism" David Mills expresses a view I share. (Note: He is not equating Randianism and libertarianism.) From his argument:
Ayn Rand was a mean girl in person and in politics America’s ideological mean girl, I wrote recently. In my weekly column for Aleteia, I quoted as evidence two of her comments on abortion and pointed out that they were both stupid and evil.

The Randians grumbled, or snarled, that the criticism was ad hominem, a term they apparently didn’t understand. I wasn’t arguing that her ideas were bad because she was an awful person, but that her ideas were bad and she was an awful person....

I’m speaking here of Randianism as a public ideology. The individual trapped in that ideology is a different matter. Even while rejecting Randianism, you don’t reject the Randian, though your pastoral engagement with him (it will almost always be a him) must recognize the peculiar character of his ideas and the moral choices one has to make to accept them. ....

No one believes as an absolute principle that every view deserves public respect. The American ideal holds that all views deserve a hearing and argument, but societies rightly impose moral limits to the views to which this applies. We do not treat anti-Semitism, terrorist apologias, eugenicism, white supremacism, ideological misogyny, radical Islamism, Holocaust denial, neo-Nazism, pedophilia, and North Korean-style communism as respectable ideas with a legitimate place in the discussion of the human good. ....

.... Randianism’s view of the individual and all that flows from it, not least its social Darwinist hatred for the weak and the poor, is deeply, fundamentally inhumane. It is a settled dogma set against basic and public truths of human life. It is not mistaken about human dignity and human flourishing, it rejects them. The Randian is the man who brings dynamite to the barn-raising. ....

[I]t should not be given a place at the table.... (Whatever of value a Randian might say will be said as well, and probably more humanely, by a libertarian.)

...William F. Buckley came to a similar conclusion way back in the mid-fifties when he published Whitaker Chambers’ take down of Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, “Big Sister is Watching You.” The review effectively read Rand and Randianism out of the conservative movement—which purge proved to be one of the conditions of its later success. .... [more]
From Mill's Aleteia column:
...Flannery O’Connor wrote of her fiction, in which Rand incarnated her philosophy in a stick-figure kind of way: “I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.”

Then there is the famous comment ascribed to the writer Raj Patel: “There are two novels that can transform a bookish fourteen year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs.” ....
Do Not Speak Well of Randianism - Ethika Politika, The Childish Ayn Rand - Aleteia

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The faith once delivered

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation,
I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all
delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 3-4

In preparation for leading a study of Jude Derek Rishmawy found that when it comes to heresy there is nothing new under the sun:
Apparently, false teachers and “believers” had stealthily snuck into the church and were threatening to lead people astray with their doctrines. What kind of doctrines are these? .... [I]t seems licentious antinomianism is probably the biggest issue. ....

.... There are about two or three arguments that I can spot Jude pointing to.

1. Abusing Grace. First, it appears that they were making a false appeal to Paul’s preaching of the gospel of grace. Mistaking grace for permission, they could be preaching “sin in order that grace may abound.”

Oh look, someone abusing the gospel of grace. How surprising.

2. False Appeals to “Visions”. Second, and the next two points are connected, they are appealing to “the strength of their dreams” (Jude 9). In other words, possibly some hyper-charismatic experience, or an appeal to a new, special experience of the Spirit that elevates or moves them beyond former moral norms given in the teaching of the Apostles or Scripture.

Oh look, someone abusing the claim of spiritual experience to downgrade Scripture. How surprising.

3. Assaulting the Law. Third, these “dreams” or visions taken to be superior to Old Testament moral law as given by lesser beings. ....

Oh look, someone is denigrating the revelation of the Scripture and the Apostles’ teaching as revealing God’s creative intent of Christian moral practice because we’ve moved past that. How surprising. ....

I know there are difficult issues involved with parsing the relationship with the OT and the NT, or contextualizing the preaching of the apostles in the 1st Century in the 21st Century. I have to say, though, when you begin to study the structure of heretical arguments made in the history of the church, there is a redundancy in form that becomes increasingly familiar. ....

Of course, that means that, despite the complexities, modern nuances, and varied ambiguities we need to manage, Jude’s call to “maintain the faith once for all delivered to the saints” remains the same. We haven’t “moved past” this, or progressed on to a fundamentally new stage in spiritual history. Yes, history moves on, but now, as then, we live between the comings of Christ. .... So, as difficult and tempting as it might be, we are called to keep ourselves from being drawn off into false teaching:
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 20-21)
If you click through to Rishmawy's post you will find an interesting explanation of the context of Jude's letter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"An intellectual inferiority complex with a moral superiority complex"

This pastor can think of many reasons not to be an Evangelical (although he still is):
.... For one, Evangelicals like to put on a show. Literally. Worship in Evangelical churches often deteriorates into an entertainment hour, with people choosing their church by the genre of music that’s used. The unchallenged authority of personal preference in worship, or in any other matter of faith and practice, is a very troubling development.

Something else about Evangelicals I don’t like: we too quickly borrow the latest methods used by secular businesses to achieve our goals. If the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan taught us, the Evangelical message is sometimes “We’re the cool kids on the block.”

Then there’s the fact that Evangelicals are eager to get people into heaven but unskilled at helping them live on earth. We tend to focus all our energy in getting people “saved” – helping them make a decision for Christ – but do little to help them remain spiritually solvent thereafter.

I have also seen Evangelicals employ means that are inappropriate to their chosen end. Too often Evangelical preachers manipulate people’s emotions and play on their fears, in an attempt to get them to choose heaven. But when the sermon is over and the emotion fades, the new convert finds he has nothing to stand on and is all too likely to fall.

And then there’s David Brooks stinging assessment of Evangelicals. He says that “Intellectual standards in the evangelical community are not as high as they could be,” and explains “that what drives people away the most [from Evangelicalism] is a mixture of an intellectual inferiority complex with a moral superiority complex.” Ouch!

I don’t deny these things. In fact, I could list more. So why am I still an Evangelical? .... [his reasons]

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Whenever we see a funeral"

Via Anecdotal Evidence, Samuel Johnson in Rambler #78:
Since business and gaiety are always drawing our attention away from a future state, some admonition is frequently necessary to recall it to our minds, and what can more properly renew the impression than the examples of mortality which every day supplies? The great incentive to virtue is the reflection that we must die; it will therefore be useful to accustom ourselves, whenever we see a funeral, to consider how soon we may be added to the number of those whose probation is past, and whose happiness or misery shall endure for ever.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"When the miserable quibbling hair-splitters..."

Simon Templar makes a speech. From The Avenging Saint (1930):
".... Fighting is for the strong—for those who know what they're fighting for, and love the fight for its own sake. We were like that, my friends and I—and yet we swore that it should not happen again. .... The flags flying, and the bands playing, and the politicians yaddering about a land fit for heroes to live in, and the poor fools cheering and being cheered, and another madness, worse than the last. Just another war to end war...But we know that you can't end war by war. You can't end war by any means at all, thank God, while men believe in right and wrong, and some of them have the courage to fight for their belief. It has always been so. And it's my own creed. I hope I never live to see the day when the miserable quibbling hair-splitters have won the earth, and there's no more black and white, but everything's just a dreary relative grey, and everyone has a right to his own damned heresies, and it's more noble to be broad-minded about your disgusting neighbours than to push their faces in as a preliminary to yanking them back into the straight and narrow way...."
I suspect from other things I've read that this is the voice of the author, Leslie Charteris. It reminded me of George Orwell's statement in the middle of the next war: "The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it," or, I would suggest, to refuse to fight it. In 1933 the Oxford Union debated the question "that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country" and the students voted in favor of the resolution by a majority of 213 to 138. No doubt World War I was much on their minds. 1933 was the year Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.

Demand a story!

Stefan Beck, in "Crime Pays Off: Why you should raise the kids on crime fiction," argues that — if you want kids to read —  crime fiction ("noir, detective novels, police procedurals, and madcap adventures") is a great way to go, better than most Young Adult (YA) fiction. Worked for me growing up. From Beck:
.... At first glance, it is an odd candidate for this task: Isn’t it violent, frightening, and perhaps even a corrupting influence? Isn’t it laced with profanity and, in some cases, sexually explicit?

Yes, but the same is true of so much of the music, television, film, and even network news that parents are helpless to keep from their children. The same is true, for that matter, of many YA novels with far less literary merit than the best crime writing. ....

...[M]ost crime fiction, like YA, is aggressively, unapologetically plot-driven, with nothing to skip, making it ideal for those with Disney Channel attention spans. And needless to say, the sex and violence that might make crime fiction a tough sell for parents make it anything but for kids, who crave a taste of the forbidden.

Crime fiction presents not only the forbidden but also the merely grown-up. ....

Crime writing is, by definition, travel writing.... The best crime writers mark their territory and then bring it to life. Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy can take you to California; James Crumley to Montana; Elmore Leonard to Detroit; James Lee Burke to Louisiana; Charles Willeford and Carl Hiaasen to Florida; Daniel Woodrell to the Ozarks; Dennis Lehane to Boston; and Richard Price to New York City. Get your kids a library card, and they will know their country and its underbelly—and develop a sense of empathy and curiosity—long before the time comes for a college tour.

By empathy and curiosity, I do not mean gullibility. Crime writers rarely glamorize crime and violence the way television and movies do. They do not present bad guys who are always victims of society and circumstance. Often they fulfill a scared-straight function, showing how one decision born of greed or impatience can send a life into a tailspin of cascading failure. ....

I didn’t read my first crime novel (Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest) until college.... I wish my teachers had given it to me sooner. It taught me to demand a story from everything that I read. It showed me a moral universe both more ambiguous and more exacting than anything I had hitherto encountered. It taught me that, notwithstanding man’s fallen nature, good and evil are not primitive myths.

If kids today need to be tricked and conned into reading something worthwhile, something as morally instructive and beautifully written as it is entertaining, then these bloody, crazy books ought to enjoy pride of place in every school library in America. [more, probably behind a pay wall]

"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take"

This morning I am leading a worship service comprised entirely of scriptures and hymns chosen for their relevance to the theme "We worship God because He is our Help." The texts of all the hymns are by William Cowper (1731-1800).

Worship Theme:

“We worship God because He is our help”

Meditation Verses:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are called according to His purpose.
[Romans 8: 28]

I. He cares about His people.

Pulpit Readings: Exodus 2:23-25; Judges 2:18; Psalm 102:1-11, 25-27, 19-20.
Hymn: “O For a Closer Walk With God”    (William Cowper, 1769)

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road  
That leads me to the Lamb!
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view  
Of Jesus and His Word?

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!   
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Pulpit Readings: Psalm 77:1-9; Psalm 22:1-5
Hymn: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”     (William Cowper, 1773)

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;   
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

II. He endured suffering.

Responsive Reading:
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:
He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
And we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:
He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?
For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;
Because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
Because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors;
And he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. [Isaiah 53:1-12]

Friday, June 5, 2015

The true myth

In "The Inklings Were Not Closet Pagans" Louis Markos corrects a reviewer's misapprehension:
...[T]he love for paganism that Lewis, Tolkien, Barfield, and Williams shared rose up out of their belief that the myths and sagas of the Norsemen, together with those of Greece and Rome, were filled with glimpses of greater divine truths whose fullness would not be revealed until the coming of Christ. Indeed, it was this very belief—that Christ fulfilled not only the Old Testament Law and Prophets but the good dreams of the pagans—that led Lewis from a generic belief in theism to a radical faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

The person who opened his eyes to this belief was none other than Tolkien. In answer to Lewis’s argument that Christ was merely the Hebrew version of the pagan myth of the dying and rising God, Tolkien replied that the reason for the parallels between Balder, Adonis, Osiris, and Mithras on the one hand and Jesus of Nazareth on the other was that Jesus was the myth that became fact.

For the Inklings, Christianity was a religion that, though fixed in history (Jesus died and rose again in real time and space at a specific moment in human history), was also bathed with the warm glow of myth. As such, it appeals with equal power to our reason and our imagination, to our adult logic and our childlike wonder, to our search for truth and our hunger for meaning. (more)
From Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" included in his Tree and Leaf:
The Gospels contain a fairy story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has preeminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be “primarily” true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the “turn” in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth. (Otherwise its name would not be joy.) It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused. (my emphases)

Church discipline among Baptists

Serving on my Baptist church's historical committee as a teenager gave me access to the church's vault where resided the minute books for business meetings dating back to the organization of the church in the 19th century. A recurring matter of business was the discipline of church members. That doesn't happen often (if ever) in our churches today. There are Baptist congregations that do attempt it and 9Marks has advocated its revival along with a greater significance attaching to church membership. Here Collin Garbarino explains how church discipline was once practiced among Baptists and how it differed, because of Baptist polity, from the practice in other traditions. First, its basis in Scripture:
In Matthew 18, Jesus says:
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
...[I]n the traditional Baptist understanding of discipline, the leaders don’t have that much authority. If one wants to understand the 9Marks model of church discipline, then one needs to understand the Baptist traditions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Authority rested with the congregation, and the congregation operated in a democratic fashion. ....

This democratic bent wasn’t merely expressed in church discipline. It was expressed in Baptists’ conception of membership as a whole. One isn’t born into a Baptist church, and someone can’t join without the church’s consent. The congregation must vote to let the member in. This vote has become a formality in some Baptist churches, but 9Marks encourages congregations to take it seriously. In the same way, a member of a Baptist church doesn’t just leave. Traditionally there were only two ways out of a Baptist church—death or the congregation votes you out. This discharge could be either honorable or dishonorable. One’s membership in a Baptist church isn’t voluntary.

These Baptist features make their form of church discipline different in character from other Christian groups. Those groups who baptize infants think about membership in a decidedly different manner. Those groups who invest authority into some form of hierarchy will wield authority in a very different manner. ....

Of course, oftentimes Baptist churches don’t practice discipline well. Sometimes discipline does become abusive, and sometimes leaders aren’t ready for the problems that crop up in their congregations. Unfortunately, Baptist leaders in democratic churches sometimes slip into lording over their congregations, rather than recognizing that the congregation wields authority in the name of Jesus. ....

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I really like the story, and enjoyed noting where it appeared. Via Ray Ortlund:
Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, the celebrated Brooklyn divine, was visiting the famous London preacher, Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon. After a hard day of work and serious discussion, these two mighty men of God went out into the country together for a holiday. They roamed the fields in high spirits like boys let loose from school, chatting and laughing and free from care. Dr. Cuyler had just told a story at which Mr. Spurgeon laughed uproariously. Then suddenly he turned to Dr. Cuyler and exclaimed, "Theodore, let’s kneel down and thank God for laughter!" And there, on the green carpet of grass, under the trees, two of the world’s greatest men knelt and thanked the dear Lord for the bright and joyous gift of laughter.

The Sabbath Recorder, 4 January 1915, page 157.
I couldn't find an image online of the specific issue of The Sabbath Recorder referenced above but I did find this cover from 1915 which I especially enjoyed because among the Milton College faculty pictured were several still living, although retired, when I was a boy. Prof "Si" Inglis, for instance, is on the right end of the front row. Prof. Leman Stringer, who directed the Milton SDB church choir and from whose orchard we purchased apples is second from right in the back row, Miss Mabel Maxson, second from left in the second row, was librarian when I was still exploring the children's section, and Miss Alberta Crandall, who taught at the college for forty-five years, is the center person in that row.  All were Seventh Day Baptists, members of the churches in Milton or Milton Junction, Wisconsin.

The Sabbath Recorder is, I think, the oldest continuously published religious periodical in the country. Here is how it looks today.

The gift of laughter | TGC