Archive for the ‘That's History’ Category

Dr. Suess, the Father of of Bloogs, Bims, Brown Barbaloots, Bellars, Billy Billings and the Blindfolded Bowman from Brigger-ba-Root, would be 107 today.

Dr. Suess is not remembered for truth, goodness and beauty. His works are not epic. They are not foundational inspirational texts, historical treatises, clear-thinking biographies or theologically astute tomes. His work will not stand on these merits. In fact, he used some of his children literature to convey political idea [the Butter Battle was about the arms race, for instance] and sometimes a strong liberal ideology.

Geisel (his real name was Theodore Suess Geisel) should be known though as epically brilliant as a poet and wordsmith. He was a creative giant who taught us that reading isn’t all Dick-and-Jane-dumb. Belly-laughing is allowed when holding a book of his creative tongue twisters and imaginative illustrations. His books teach us that words are important and very fun.

You may not know that the original pronunciation of Suess is not the pronunciation you know. He wrote these lines early-on to teach people the way it was pronounced:

You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.

He did later change the pronunciation because it sounded more useful to children’s literature.

One of my favorite books of his is a compilation of his early writings–The Tough Coughs as He Plows the Dough. My other favorites are maybe Fox in Sox and Oh Say Can You Say?

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This is one of the best Presidential addresses I have ever heard, and it’s stunning on several fronts. It’s worth hearing several times. Brilliant. Poetic. Historical. Consoling. Gritty. Heroic.

“The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave.”

If you weren’t born when this happened, you should know that this event was a much bigger deal than shuttle launches are now. The publicity was heightened even for this one (I remember anticipating it for weeks) and it had even more attention because of Christa McAuliffe’s addition to the crew as the first teacher in space.

The speech was written that morning by Peggy Noonan.

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I loved this story of redemption and renewal from Sunday’s New York Times:

Cunning, Care and Sheer Luck Save Rare Map

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An interesting series of photos from Field and Stream magazine from 1941-1945.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

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The Berners Street Hoax was perpetrated by Theodore Hook in the City of Westminster, London, in 1810. Hook had made a bet with his friend, Samuel Beazley, that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address in a week, which he achieved by sending out 4,000 letters in the name of Mrs Tottenham, who lived at 54 Berners Street, requesting deliveries, visitors, and assistance.

On 27 November, at five o’clock in the morning, a sweep arrived to sweep the chimneys of Mrs Tottenham’s house. The maid who answered the door informed him that no sweep had been requested, and that his services were not required. A few moments later another sweep presented himself, then another, and another, 12 in all. After the last of the sweeps had been sent away, a fleet of carts carrying large deliveries of coal began to arrive, followed by a series of cakemakers delivering large wedding cakes, then doctors, lawyers, vicars and priests summoned to minister to someone in the house they had been told was dying. Fishmongers, shoemakers, and over a dozen pianos were among the next to appear, along with “six stout men bearing an organ”. Dignitaries, including the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of the City of London also arrived. The narrow streets soon became severely congested with tradesmen and onlookers. Deliveries and visits continued until the early evening, bringing a large part of London to a standstill.[1]

Hook stationed himself in the house directly opposite 54 Berners Street, from where he and his friend spent the day watching the chaos unfold.

Source: Wikipedia

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Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank. That is hardly what God had in mind.

So says Bruce Shelley, author of Church History in Plain Language. C.S. Lewis called his generation out on their chronological snobbery, that condition in which they/we are so nearsighted, that we almost refuse to look backward to the past. Consider the rare feat among so many to be able to name the names of even their own great-grandparents. They were vital to your history, and you may have even known them. But who were they and what were they about? What about their parents?

I love that my pastor, even though he cares deeply about his ministry, it’s vitality and the state of the flock, does not see our church as the center of anything or as an end of all woes. He sees it as the current, vital cog in the the mandate of God–a part in which we get to play. And just as important, he looks to the past as an important way of living for today and for the future Kingdom we will inhabit.

In our SS class, he is walking us through the history of the church from Christ through the Reformation, and I asked him to answer the question here for us, “Why Do We Need Church History?”

I hope that you will hear.



William Carey


I’m a pastor and I believe the people I shepherd need to have a rich and colorful understanding of church history. The story of the church needs to be told because it’s our story. It’s where we came from. Church buildings don’t just pop out of nowhere—every part of a worship service from the doctrinal statement to the hymnbook is the result of ideas and traditions being passed down for centuries in the minds and hearts of believers. When we know that history, the entire experience of worship and church life becomes richer and more meaningful—and much more likely of being preserved.

Our connection with other believers (past and present) should be stronger than even familial and national loyalties. I love my country and I am proud to claim John Adams and George Washington as part of my national heritage, but in comparison, I am much more a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and my communion with Paul, Augustine, and John Bunyan is eternal, not temporal. When we stand together on Sundays and recite the Apostles’ Creed, we are linking arms with something much bigger than ourselves. Our American history is full of providence and mighty acts of God, no doubt, but it is still merely a truncated version of the whole story. A lot of us grew up with more pride in our American heritage than our religious heritage, and we need to change that.

For the church to rally, we have to pass on a heritage that evokes a visceral response, emotionally charged with love and loyalty. The hearts of believers have to be trained to love and hate the right things. If the church is to be preserved, the next generation has to give it more than a head nod—it has to love it fiercely and defend it against its enemies. Our story is full of heroes and tales of bravery, integrity and self-sacrifice. If we want our kids to love the church, then we have to tell them the whole story.

The church is changing a lot right now and the history of the church gives us stability. It gives us a point of reference that grounds us, stabilizes us and gives us certainty as we look out into a quickly changing world. There is nothing new under the sun and every heresy is just an old heresy repackaged for our time. I really believe that the church’s best inoculation from false teaching is simply an awareness of the church’s past. Most of our questions have already been asked and answered, but our ignorance keeps us searching around in circles for answers. We can only stand on the shoulders of giants if we study the past.

The last, but immensely important, reason that we must know our history is simply gratitude. Abigail Adams wrote: “Posterity, who are to reap the blessings, will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and suffering of their ancestors.” Our generation’s lackadaisical attitude about church shows that this is sadly true. We owe our ancestors a debt of gratitude and the least we can do is not forget what they did for the church. As the anniversary of the Reformation approaches, it is with great love and pride and gratitude that I remember Martin Luther and the hundreds of other reformers who sacrificed all this world’s pleasures for the sake of the church. Their legacy inspires me to work hard and persevere. It keeps me from getting too tied to this world and this time and this place. It reminds me of our future home where all the church will be united and God’s plan throughout history will be made clearer than we see it now. And it is there that I want to be found faithful in working hard to preserve the only lasting institution of this world: the Church.

— Samuel Gage is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church in Joelton, TN.

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At least that’s what they imply on every commercial, and that’s what I’m doing now–telling you what to think. This month there will be some emphasis put on church history on TBAP. Early church history is the topic of this quarter’s SS lessons, I’m reading two books on it, and my pastor has written an article that will be posted here next week.

It’s not because I’m proficient or wise on the matter that it is emphasized, but rather, because I fear spiritual myopia/amnesia. Let us fear this state:

Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank.

Bruce Shelley

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