Archive for April, 2010

One of the most profound things I learned this month was the introduction to and then meditation on this hymn by John Newton. It’s a wholly uncomfortable lesson of being a pilgrim. (I couldn’t find a tune online to commend to you, though I learned it to the tune “Appalachia,” aka “The Water is Wide” .)

I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow

I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know;
And seek more earnestly His face.

Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair!

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins–and give me rest!

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part!

Yes more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe!
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds–and laid me low!

“Lord, why is this!” I trembling cried,
“Will you pursue your worm to death?”
“This is the way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.”

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set you free;
And break your schemes of earthly joy,
That you may seek your all in Me!”

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The World Adult Kickball Association is Now Hiring!

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Christians are a race of dragon fighters. Our sons are born to this. Someone ought to tell them.

— Douglas Wilson, Future Men

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Here is a fun sequence of three (in-a-row) botched throws back to the pitcher from Monday’s night’s Brewers/Pirates game in Milwaukee. Gregg Zaun was having spasms through the inning that kept the infielders hopping.

Watch the three throws here.

More from Big League Stew

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Attic Books has reprinted this classic fold-out Bible chart (29″ x 34″) that was originally published in approximately 1860. It’s a good resource of biblical chronology and sequence, facts, genealogy, history and measurements. It has a beautiful, antique look and is abundantly important.

I commend it to you for framing in your office.

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I’m new to this controversy, but was Shakespeare Shakespeare?

George Grant says no, in his Christian Almanac: A Book Of Days Celebrating History’s Most Significant People & Events. Today is the Shakespear’s/Shakspar’s birthday and Grant says,

Three is no evidence that Shakspar was ever actually literate–there are no extant manuscripts of his writing and the only evidence we have of his hand are two barely legible “X-marks-the-spot” signatures. He had no formal education, owned no books, never traveled abroad as far as we know, and never claimed authorship of the works attributed to him. His parents were illiterate, his wife was illiterate, and his children were illiterate–hardly what you might expect from the undisputed “single greatest author of English prose.”

The same was poted today on his blog. Read it here on Grantian Florilegium.

If you wish to delve in further, let me know how it goes in the pool of controversy.

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TBAP’s 1000th Post

In honor of 1,000 posts, this video was produced especially for you TBAP readers to commemorate the significance that this blog makes on your mind and heart. I think the idea of culture-making is not too big of a word to use for something like this, and I trust you will continue your happy and loyal reading as we progress onward.

Please do not be put off as you wait for this video to load, this is a culmination video of great import. Really.

….oh, and grab the tissue.

In Honor of 1000 Posts

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…but that’s mostly ok, because I thrive and am most productive on routine and regular. But it’s been the overwhelmed fluid that’s been leaking into the rut that has sort of led to this of-late-brain-fog that I have been battling.

So I decided to set a measurable goal for myself to invigorate and renew. Goals are good benchmarks that help us keep our eyes forward. No timetable has been issued because this goal is a doozy. This probably came about after seeing all those amazing athletes run the Country Music Marathon last weekend. I suppose telling you so you will keep me accountable and help me along the way.

I’ve decided to purchase the Detroit Tigers.

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I’ve had a couple of conversations in the past few weeks with other parents about allowances for kids. Tell me what you do and/or recommend. You know…please.

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Here’s a 100 question vocabulary quiz for your betterment. I got a 63%, primarily because I am a good guesser.

I don’t know if something wasn’t working, but I ended up grading it myself because I couldn’t see a way that they did it for me.

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Glenn Beck tweeted a link to this online book that offers the opinion of the colonial pastors: They Preached Liberty.

All men are naturally in a state of freedom, and have an equal claim to liberty. No one by nature, nor by any special grant from the great Lord of all. has any authority over another. All right, therefore, in any to rule over others, must originate from those they rule over, and be granted by them.

John Tucker / Newbury, MA / 1771

If you would like the book in print, here are some options.

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At Christie’s prompting, we watched most of the two opening hours of the History Channel’s AMERICA: The Story of Us as it premiered last night. In a kernel, it’s supposed to be a 12-hour summary of the history of the United States. There were only a few commercials thanks to Bank of America.

The first two hours sped quickly from John Rolfe and Jamestown, through the Pilgrims, through the Revolution and Independence and ended with mention of Washington’s inauguration.

There are some spectacular special effects used that were pretty compelling and helpful, especially the geographical ones, and the basic story was well-covered. 1620-1789 is my favorite slice of history, so I was feeling a gut check as they skipped too quickly over things I would have liked them to emphasize [they jumped from the first shots of the Revolution at Concord almost straight to Washington being run out of NYC by the British without describing Bunker Hill, Henry Knox, Dorchester Heights and running the British out of Boston.] The story is sticking to the facts and is not really try to lift and inspire. They missed a good chance to revel in American ingenuity and bravery and the stupor it put the British in when they skipped that stuff right there.

The story is also personality-lite. They speak very little about the major players, though I’m wondering if they will spend more time with Washington when it resumes next week.

Real quickly, two other things that really put me out:

  • The story was “interrupted” several times by commentary. That’s fine and helpful usually, but the commentary was by high-profile celebrities, not authorities. It wasn’t David McCullough, but it was Michael Douglas commenting on the Pilgrims?, Aaron Sorkin,  Rudy Gulliani, and Donald Trump. Colin Powell wasn’t bad and neither was the high-ranking military officer (he was spot-on). But what is supposed to be helpful about Sheryl Crow’s take? And Henry Louis Gates Jr….um maybe, but….really.
  • Also, Washington had lots of generals, great ones and influential ones. Friedrich von Steuben was a good general and made important contribution, but to mention only him so they could remind us that he was probably gay was too much and is the kind of tripe I was expecting in the first place.

There are lots interesting parts, and overall, the series should be helpful. Check the replay schedule (they replayed the two hours immediately after the premier but it might also be on through the week) or you can buy the episodes for $3/each iTunes. Or you can wait for the $27 set to come out this summer.

You can check out select scenes from the series, a wonderful American history quiz and a trailer of the series on this site.

Here is another review from the Boston Globe.

What did you think?

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Time Zone Visual

Here is a great visual overview of every time zone…well, all the important ones at least. They seem to have forgotten Mountain Time.

Every Time Zone

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I liked it. Better than I thought I would. I’m not gaga, but they are really neat…totally different than anything else, fun to touch, not as hard to type on as I thought it would be.

Here’s how an iPad helps this 99-year-old woman.

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Nevermind that it was only released three weeks ago today, I wish I had read this book when I was in high school, then again in college, and then again as a young college grad.

Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. is a very profitable and easy read for those at the start of their teen/adult journey and those facing crossroads of decisions in their lives.

Basically, the book debunks the vast array of new and false notions that the will of God is waiting to be found and that you must sit until you find it, you must pray until it’s clear enough, and you must work up enough faith to be sure you’re right. “Flee the fleece,” DeYoung writes.

DeYoung relys on Scripture, reasoning and the close-at-hand testimony of his grandparents’ generation as his proofs of point, and I thought he was spot on.

The most important issues for God are moral purity, theological fidelity, compassion, joy, our witness, faithfullness, hospitality, love, worship and faith. These are His big concerns. The problem is that we tend to focus most of our attention on everything else. We obsess over the things God has not mentioned and may never mention, while, by contrast, we spend little time on all the things God has already revealed to us in the Bible. (44)

I happily commend it to you to read and distribute widely. It’s a good book to hand out at graduations, counseling sessions…and in the church foyer.

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I would really like some help wondering what I should think about this. Please.

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Faith in Jesus does not guarantee that everything will go our way…. As Bible commentator Bruce Waltke has pointed out, Abel had faith and he died; Enoch had faith and he did not die; Noah had faith and everyone else died.

— Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, p. 29

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Red and the Pledge

Good stuff.

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A few weeks ago, I met a couple of guys who I ended up talking to about technology and education and the fusion/non-fusion of them. Well, my ideas are pretty backward and perhaps we should discuss them sometime, but they ended up mulling it over and then told a mutual friend that they had talked to me. They suggested that perhaps they could pull me out of the Dark Ages into reality by getting an iPhone into my hand.

The friend stated for them plainly, that I own an iPhone [2 years, 2 months and about 27 wonderful days] and he called me one of the most “connected” people he knows. I would have loved to have been part of the conversation.

Anyway, I think I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been online almost constantly since 1998. BUT…I did appreciate some of the comments those guys gave me and will continue to mull them over as they pertain to my aversion to computers in education (so-to-speak). I accept this tiny, little, electo-metallic boxy thing that I carry in my pocket as a gift from God. I use it to communicate (email/text), build community and share updates and pictures with family (Facebook), to entertain myself (MLB App), to bank, to worship (Bible/iTunes), to navigate/map, to take and edit pictures/video, to shop (Amazon), to read news, to be my watch, to refer/learn (Dictionary, Wikipedia), to wake me up in the morning and tell me the time during the night, to know what is on the schedule (CalenGoo), to read news/weather, to rent movies, to watch live baseball games, to take notes, to find restaurants and dozens and dozens of other things on a more irregular basis. That’s actually all the same stuff I used to do before I got my iPhone. Now I just use my PC less and my TV a lot less. (The weirdest app I have is one where I can sort of take a “walking” tour of the Louvre.) My kids use my phone to play games.

Convenient and helpful as it is, it can be a crutch. It can be a distraction. And it’s an inner war I face to turn to the little screen for a diversion instead talking to the persons near me, especially people near me.

For instance, for six months or so I have been using my iPhone as a Bible reader during Sunday School. I like it. I can take notes on it and can turn between chapters faster than those with a Bible. It’s easy to read and easy to use, but the temptation to research my dissertation or baseball stats or shop for books is present.

For instance two, comparing the horsepower between vehicles, better grass-seeding tactics or listening to the police scanner in Dubque are not acceptable activities when I ought to be talking with Christie, feeding Bear, instructing my children in righteousness, or just laughing at their jokes.

There are further dangers that stem from believing what only seems to be true that Google and Wikipedia have all the answers–or at least they’re gaining ground.The fact is, “the world is too much with us, late and soon” (Wordsworth). There have always been these same struggles.

Further, I am a Gospel-bound supernaturalist. I believe that the things of this world are not real, in that, they won’t last, they will fade, they cannot come with me to eternity. My credo confirms that “it is not death to die.” And so I must live like I believe that the things of the world belong ultimately to the rubbish heap. And that includes iPhones (I’ve already spent through one) and the things thereon.

But still we are allowed to enjoy the blessings and graces and pleasures that God permits. Video rentals and White House press briefings are not off-limits to Christians just because some of them are foul. Some people are going bonkers for the iPad, but I can’t imagine holding a conversation with that thing pressed to my ear.

There will always be abuses. Grown men and women will forsake sleep so they can play video games through the night. Television sets carry deep immorality and irreverence to all homes. Calendars, journals, restaurants and baseball can all be abused, too.

I really, really try not to be an iPhone snob. I really do. I almost always try not to even refer to it. My little bit of playfulness about its superiority is 99% play and tease. The phone doesn’t need me to sell it. Last night, in a heroic act of deference, I sent Christie to the store with my phone and took no phone to run my two-hour work errand with three of the boys. I didn’t even miss it…though I did wish I had an old-fashioned watch.

[I’m taking a breath right here, surveying the broad swath of mess I just made and haven’t yet addressed the title of the post…and now going on.]

So—to be abrupt and to throw in a non-sequitur just for kicks—what I really started out to say here in this post is that someone lost their new, prototype, camouflaged iPhone. It fell in the “right” hands so we could revel in it’s niceness. Read about it below.

This is Apple’s Next iPhone

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I had heard of Mark Buerhle’s ridiculous play from Opening Day, but didn’t get around to viewing it until last night. Neato.

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Here is a fun graphic video showing the growth of Walmart over the years.

There’s a new one opening near me on Wednesday.

Growth of Walmart and Sam’s Club: 1962-2010

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Today is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts and Maine. On today’s date in 1775, the American Revolution started getting loud.

Paul Revere and William Dawes made their famous run last night. British troops reached Concord and Lexington made their tromp to Concord/Lexington through the night. That “shot heard ’round the world” zinged through the air at Old North Bridge on this date.

Celebrate responsibly.

(More info.)

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Peter Baur is a model spokesman for classical ed. Here he is featured in a a Memphis Daily News article talking about the model and the school he helps, Westminster Academy.

Baur Takes Passionate Approach to Education

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Here is one guy’s really good take.

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He was chosen to present his book to Al Roker’s book club. Here’s the link and video.

And here is his book: 100 Cupboards

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Reader Recommendations

I would like to start putting some more reader input in to TBaP and would like your help assembling some lists. This will require (please do it) some of you to click out of your reader and over here to the actual blog for a minute. Come on, the air is fresh and sweet.

Let’s start with simple one:

What are some of (let’s say three) your favorite non-fiction books that you have read in the past couple of years?

Please leave your responses in the comments section.

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Stuff Guys Dig

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch Funness

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Hmmm. You know I like lists, right? This looks like an interesting list to choose 1-2 books from.

Ron Paul’s Revolutionary Reading List

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Originally published in 1842 by the American Sunday School Union, Life of Washington by Anna C. Reed has been recently re-printed by Attic Books. It finishes with a beautiful tribute to America’s father:

You have learned why there was cause for joy in in Washington’s birthday, and for sorrow in the day of his death. If you have been attentive to what you have read of his conduct, from the one day to the other, you know that in childhood he was a lover of truth, and a peacemaker among his schoolmates; –that in boyhood he was a diligent scholar, and the leader of his companions–not in mischief, folly or vice–but in harmless and healthy exercises: and was a pattern of obedience to the wishes of a parent;–that, when the years of boyhood were passed, he immediately applied to useful purposes the knowledge which he had acquired by attention to instruction; and that early in manhood, he merited the confidence of his native Province, and was instrusted [sic] with important and dangerous duties, which he performed with faithful perseverance; –that he used all his talents, and spent almost all his years, from manhood to declining age, in the service and for the benefit of his fellow-beings; and even in old age, was willing to yield the peaceful enjoyments which he loved most, because he thought that it was “the duty of every person, of every description, to contribute, at all times, to his country’s welfare.

This little book was an immense boon to me. It was full of riveting anecdotes of the great man, examples of his deep piety and grace, and a deeper understanding of the causes and struggles for liberty from England. Washington was a peacemaker. He was a gentleman. He was a giver. He was protected and preserved by God.

This book is slanted. It’s written by a God-fearing human who lives by the Gospel. She makes assumptions and provides commentary that today we find unscholarly…right as she was. It was written by a Christian, probably for a Christian audience about a Christian man. Or was he? This book helped me gel in my mind some of the thoughts I’ve had about Washington’s Christianity.

My favorite period of history is that which falls from the Pilgrims to the American Revolution. There were times I wondered if this book were more about Washington or the War of Independence. It was a treat getting some blanks filled in for me, and it was interesting reading a history written so closely (50 years) to Washington’s death.

This is a great book to hold; it has a good feel in the hand and it’s one of the few books on which I appreciate the deckle/feather edge. I took lots of notes in this book, lots of markings throughout and almost two full pages of references in the back blank pages. That’s a great sign that I got much from this and much that I wish to enjoy again later.

Life of Washington by Anna C. Reed

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