Thursday, January 15, 2009

On Being Presbyterian PowerPoint

Many people have emailed me for my PowerPoint slides for On Being Presbyterian; now you can download them for free here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Struggle with Church History Dates?

Here is an interesting solution--a ten-minute (!) church history rap. Not much for either rap or pedagogy, but Duncan has a very cool accent.

Inaugural Bibles

An interesting interactive piece at Wall Street Journal; why has no one used an ESV Study Bible? Maybe because it'd break the arms of the Chief Justice to hold it for the entire vow! But the president of Ghana used an ESV Bible...

One other thing: is it more than ironic that at his first inauguration, Bill Clinton chose Galatians 6:8: "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life"?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bono, op-ed writer

A brilliant piece in the New York Times on Frank Sinatra, the New Year, and the power of music.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Simple Minds

Last night, my wife and I took a trip down memory lane and worked our way through the 50 songs on my 80s playlist on my iPhone. One of the things that struck me was how good the band Simple Minds was.

They came to US notice with their 1985 song, "Don't You Forget About Me," which was on the sound track from the movie, "The Breakfast Club." They followed that song with their album, "Once Upon a Time," which had three big songs on it: "Alive and Kicking," "All the Things She Said," and "Sanctify Yourself" (which I tried to use to argue to my parents that they were a "Christian" band).

The band probably appealed to me for the same reasons that I liked U2 and the Alarm during my teenage years: big anthem songs with big beats and big hair. Still, it was fun to listen to those songs again.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


When I was a freshman at Liberty University, squeezed into a space about the size of my office here at Covenant Seminary with three other 18 year-olds, there was one thing that helped me maintain my sanity: cribbage. One of my roommates, Ambrose Lovely from Maine (great name), taught me how to play; throughout the fall and winter, we would stage all-day tournaments on Sautrdays (and cardplaying didn't get in the way of our studying, because we both pulled 4.0 that year).

I hadn't played cribbage much after my freshman year until the other day when I downloaded a cribbage app for my iPhone. After reteaching myself how to play, I've become a cribbage fanatic again (which will become apparent to my wife when a very nice cribbage board shows up at the house next week, with brass pegs instead of the stupid plastic ones that break in the pegs). I taught my oldest son how to play (as well as my daughter; she is very lucky with cards, which is to say she beat me) and we've been staging mini-tournaments on these cold, gray St. Louis evenings.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It has been a while...

...since I've posted. For me, three weeks is a long time and really, when you get right down to it, the fall was pretty sporadic. Of course, that is an indication of how hectic things have been. So, one of my resolutions is to make sure I get on here more often--my goal is 12-15 posts a month. Being on sabbatical this spring will help that, I'm sure.

I know that I'll be posting on the Ref21 Calvin blog: Blogging the Institutes. My first posts will be somewhere early in Book 2; so I think they'll show up in March! As part of this (in addition to the fact it is Calvin's 500th birthday!), I decided this year to read straight through the Institutes, which I've never done. I'm doing my ten pages each morning and am now up to 1.18.

One of the things that has struck me afresh is how the Institutes really are what Calvin (and what I in class) say they are: a manual on piety. Over and again, Calvin preaches, cajoles, directs, persuades and urges; he calls on us to "lift your hearts up" to heaven in order to mediate on the grace and glory of God. He wants us to be changed through a genuine love of God our gracious and loving father. It has been quite refreshing spiritually to do this.