Friday, February 29, 2008

Revival, revisited

<idle musing>
So, on Monday I posted asking what revival looked like. I intended to follow that up, but the week hasn't quite gone as I planned...

So, what are the "little sins" that are allowed by us? Well, how about complaining? The scripture comes down pretty hard on that one. What about depression? I would think that the commands to rejoice always pretty much rule out depression. How about impatience? Nope, that is circumscribed by scripture as well.

Of course, there is the repeated command to give thanks in everything, which seems a bit hard, but perhaps doable. But, what about this one: "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20, KJV). Did you see that? FOR everything! not just in everything! Yikes! When did they put that in there? I chose the KJV so you couldn't accuse it of being some new-fangled translation, but let me assure you that the new ones translate it the same way.

How can God expect us to keep that one? Now, before you retreat into positional/forensic language, deal with the text. Right! You can't. But, you can't do any of the other stuff either, so why not admit it up front? It is only by the moment-by-moment empowerment of the Holy Spirit that anything other than sin is possible.

That being so, why can't God do this, too? Hmmm...God's not powerful enough? He doesn't care enough? Sorry, wrong answers. This all ties back into the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the death of self. No death, no life. It's that simple. You live equals you don't live. You die equals you really live.

To put it another way, you can't get to Galatians 5 with the fruit of the Spirit without going through Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ, I no longer live. And you certainly have to go through Galatians 3: You foolish Galatians...having begun in the Spirit, are you now ending in the flesh? Spiritual fruit is only possible through the Holy Spirit! After all, it is the fruit of the Spirit!

So, how does this tie to revival? Simple, as long as we live in the flesh, there will be no revival. As long as we are impatient, critical, complaining, selfish, etc., there will be no real move of God. But, we can't eliminate those things; God already has, as long as we walk in Christ by faith and believe him when he says we are saints, not sinners!
</idle musing>

March things

March is almost here—February having cheated and stolen an extra day for itself—and with it is a new monthly sale at Eisenbrauns. This month (technically, next month) we are offering 30-40% off on titles in the Mesopotamian Civilizations series.

And, beginning this month, we are starting to offer special clearance items. You can save up to 80% off on some stuff. No, this isn't junk! This is good stuff, like a Nestle-Aland 27th with dictionary for 38% off. Or, some BHS fascicles for 48% off. Of course, the quantities are limited, so you had better move on over and get them here

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Smooth things

"And now, go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness for ever. For they are a rebellious people, lying sons, sons who will not hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, "See not"; and to the prophets, "Prophesy not to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more of the Holy One of Israel." Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, "Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on them; therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel which is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern." For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." And you would not, but you said, "No! We will speed upon horses," therefore you shall speed away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds," therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." Isaiah 30:8-18 RSV

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Yesterday's Oswald Chambers devotional really spoke to me (and still is):

Have you ever said to yourself, "I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!" When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, "Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?" Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, "It’s easy to say, ’Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things." And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, "Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself." If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly— "Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it."

<idle musing>
Lots to think on here. I think it ties in nicely with the questions I asked about revival on Monday...
</idle musing>

Update on Junebug

Joel has posted an update on Junebug; here is a portion of it:

Junebug has been diagnosed with Ebstein's Anomaly. The tricuspid valve through which blood flows from the right atrium to the right ventricle is displaced, lower than it should be. Thus the valve is not functioning as it should, and is allowing blood to flow back into the right atrium. The stress on the heart could quite likely cause failure, even in utero. But this hasn't happened yet.

Please pray for them and for Junebug.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What does revival look like?

<idle musing>
I don’t know about you, but I pray for revival. But what does revival look like? Would I recognize it if it came? Do I have any idea what I am praying for?

As I read about revivals in the past, one thing stands out above all else: revival begins with repentance. When the presence of God falls, people get honest and confess the “little sins” that they normally would overlook. Am I ready for that? Am I ready to admit that I am truly fallen, that without the continual, moment-by-moment empowering of God I will do nothing but sin? Or, am I content to think that I am not so bad after all, that God will overlook all those “little sins” that society and I accept in my life? Am I ready for the spotlight of the Holy Spirit to look into the corners of my life? Am I ready to truly surrender? No just a conditional surrender, but an unconditional, absolute, no strings attached surrender?

If the answer to any of those is no, then revival will continue to tarry, at least in my life. Those are the conditions God lays down. And, one could go further and question whether I have any right to say that I am a Christian if I am not living on God’s terms instead of my own. . .
</idle musing>

Say it isn't so!

I just heard that Larry Norman died yesterday. Those of you who remember the underground days of Jesus Music know will know him. The rest of you should :) There is a nice post at Razing the Bar:

Larry, who died yesterday, was a friend I never knew, and a frustratingly untrustworthy witness to the faith. He was talented, insecure, prone to fanciful tales that bore little or no relationship to the truth, possibly mad as a hatter, and utterly, fearlessly in love with Jesus. The truth is that he made about three good albums over the course of thirty five years and dozens of releases. He repackaged his thirty great songs over and over again, made ridiculous claims about his role in the music industry (the founder of rap was my favorite), and claimed to be the spiritual mentor to everyone from Paul McCartney to Bob Dylan. He was also the self-proclaimed Father of Christian Rock, and for once he got it right.

Those who are familiar with the safe, sanitized world of Contemporary Christian Music might be startled if they listened to those thirty songs. There was nothing safe and sanitized about Larry Norman’s music. He sang about gonorrhea, drug addiction, NASA’s foibles, the death of Janis Joplin, and Jesus. Always about Jesus. Larry was wrong about some of those things. The devil never ever had all the good music. Larry Norman had some of it, too, and so did all the lost pagans Larry both excoriated and loved. But there was an emotional directness and honesty and prophetic tenacity about those songs that anyone – CCM musician or otherwise – would do well to recapture...

RIP Larry.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quote for this day

"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who requires of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:11-17, RSV

<idle musing>
Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? I'm glad he doesn't stop there but goes on to proclaim the new day of the LORD.

I love Isaiah, the way judgment is juxtapositioned with hope. It smacks of reality: look around you and you know judgment has to be imminent (on everybody except me, right?), but look to God, and you see hope, forgiveness, and love—provided you quit doing it your way and let God do it his way!
</idle musing>

He's back

Well, a little over 24 hours later, and the irrepressible Jim West is back. I hope we don't regret this :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In memoriam

Somebody hacked Jim West's blog. For those of you who haven't been around the biblioblog world for long, Jim was one of the first biblical scholars to begin blogging. He originally was on Blogger, but then was corrupted by the dark side and moved to WordPress, where his blog was until early this morning.

While I didn't always agree with Jim (I'm not sure he agreed with himself, sometimes!), I did make it a point to catch his posts everyday. Whoever hacked his site and deleted it definitely deserves the total depravity award that Jim would hand out from time to time.

Jim has said that he doesn't have the heart to start again, but I certainly hope he reconsiders. He did it once before when he moved from to (anybody else remember that?); surely he can do it again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good stuff

I've run into some good stuff in the blogosphere today:

Musings on church:

Tell me something... what if we've got it all wrong? The church thing I mean...

What if church is not supposed to be about "worship"? What then?

What if music is supposed to play a minor role and not a major one (excuse the pun).

What if God doesn't care for self-focussed, romantic lyrics sung to boomer, 1980s, soft pop music...

What if church is supposed to be less about music, monologue, lecture-style teaching in theatre style auditoriums and more about living life with people who share the same questions, struggles, joys and challenges that I do?...

Do read the whole thing—thoughtfully and prayerfully (HT: The Heresy)

Some good thoughts on intercessory prayer by Ted Gossard:

Probably the most important aspect of intercessory prayer is to know that our Lord Jesus is interceding for us. And our intercessions are taken up into his perfect intercession. Because of that, we're encouraged to keep praying our often poor prayers, and those prayers are turned into something very good in God's will.

A new blog, by a cousin in Kentucky. I like his first post:

I must warn you I am controversial. I have an axe to grind with the Church in America. I may have one to grind with the world, but I only know the actions of American Christians. What makes me controversial may ask? I believe strongly in orthodoxy, and that orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy. From "right" belief to "right" action. My theology is experiential; I believe followers of Jesus Christ should read and experience what the Bible says. But I am most controversial because of my beliefs about sexual brokenness.

Read the rest. It's definitely going to be a blog to watch.

A less than favorable review of Pagan Christianity. He raised legitimate complaints, but glosses over legitimate points by Viola. I must admit, I was disappointed in what I have read of the book so far (some day I have got to update my sidebar!).

Finally, you need to check out the 2 posts at today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

God in the ordinary

I needed this, maybe you do to.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.


But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.
I rely, my whole being relies, Yahweh, on your promise.
My whole being hopes in the Lord,
more than watchmen for daybreak;
more than watchmen for daybreak
let Israel hope in Yahweh.
For with Yahweh is faithful love,
with him generous ransom;
and he will ransom Israel from all its sins.

Psalm 130:4-8 New Jerusalem Bible

Friday, February 15, 2008

Let them eat crow...

Whom? Me, of course. On Wednesday I said that I would probably regret posting this. Sure enough, at about the same time that I posted it, the site that had the survey on it posted this:

First Steps to Finding a Seminary

1. Pray - Seminary is a big decision. So much of what you learn at seminary will greatly impact your ministry down the road (whether vocation or not). With so much riding on this season of your life it is only proper to being your search in humble prayer before your loving Father God. Place your life and decisions into his hands and commit the whole process to his glory. From first to last, keep prayer a central theme in your journey to find a seminary....

4. Pray - In case you already forgot… pray.

I'm sure he didn't know I existed, although he will now that I have linked to him, so I know it wasn't my post that did anything. But, let it be known to all: I was too hasty! [I know you are all shocked that I would be hasty in anything :)] And I ask for forgiveness for a wrong conclusion based on a limited dataset.

So, even though I didn't cite the site in the original post, I want to now so that all can see a good model in how to decide if and where one should go to seminary, with special emphasis on points 1 & 4. Now that I think about it, points 1 & $ would be a good set of guidelines for anything in life...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

And the winner is...

We have posted the results for the ANE Valentine contest here. The winners get a free book, which is shown below each winner.

I must say that the entries were very good and showed originality. We kept the judging totally arbitrary; I didn't decide it and Andy can't read any of the ancient languages that they were written in—although he did ask me on several of them.

We're thinking about having the contest again next year; what do you think? You have 366 days to come up with an entry. It might just be a reason to get out of bed next year :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Believe, part 2

I will probably regret posting this...

<idle musing>
Part one was about Joel and Renee and believing prayer. Well, meanwhile, on a totally different subject, I was noticing (in my role as Marketing Manager) that Eisenbrauns was not well known among seminarians. So, as part of my market research, I began seeking out blogs by and for seminarians (great, more blogs to read!). I wanted to find out what their needs and thought processes are so that Eisenbrauns can better serve them.

One thing that I immediately noticed is that seminarians now are just like they were when I was in seminary—stressed out : ) Well, that is a subject for another post. . . But, the second thing that bothered me was the lack of feeling a need for, or sense of, God’s direction. One site has a poll on how to choose a seminary. Nice idea, but none of the options listed was “pray.” All of them were logical, cerebral things. Where is the sense of God’s direction?

On a different site, a person was worrying aloud about the future: Would there be a job? Would the church boards hire them? OK, reasonable concerns, in the flesh! Did God call you to the paid ministry? If so, then whose responsibility is it to supply the job? If not, what are you doing there in the first place!

And so it went, one site after another. On some there was a nod at God. On others, there was an acknowledgment of God in the abstract. But, what I missed seeing—and it might be there, but I didn’t see it expressed in writing—was an acknowledgement that since God called them it was HIS idea. He was in charge, not the person going. He was calling the shots, not them.

Please, if you are in seminary, tell me I am wrong! Tell me that you are depending on God for direction and support (financial, sure, but more importantly, spiritual, emotional, and physical) on a moment-by-moment basis. Tell me that you know that God has called you; that he is the one directing your life, both now and in the future.

If that is not true, then I submit to you that you are a practicing atheist, or perhaps deist. Either one of them denies God has an active role to play in your daily life. Both don’t expect God to intervene; nor do they expect prayers to be answered.

Another name for Christians is “believers.” What a misnomer in our society! If what I am seeing is the norm, then it goes a long way in explaining the current state of the church in the western world.
</idle musing>

Today at Eisenbrauns

Today was "Warm food for a cold day" at Eisenbrauns. Periodically we have informal events, such as Eisenbrownie day, or Eisentreat day. In fact, we even have a trophy made of oak that circulates. So, without further ado, here are a few pictures...

This was Marti's contribution; read the placard carefully (especially you, Nick!)

Yep, two tables full of goodies, and two more goodies were on their way when I took these pictures. Everyone was ready for a long winter's nap after the feast :)

Here's the Eisentrophy. Makes you want to work here, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The voice of God

I don't often read My Utmost for His Highest, but once in a while a headline pops into my RSS feeder that piques my interest. Today was one of those days:

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him...

We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, "Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth."

<idle musing>
</idle musing>

Monday, February 11, 2008

Desk shot

There is an untagged meme running around right now that asks us to put up a picture of our desk. Well, I finally remembered to take the camera home this weekend. Here are two shots of my desk.

By the way, I just built this desk last week. I have used a door as my desk for years, but the weight of the books had caused it to bow too much; everything was sliding to the middle! So, I went out and bought a 4' x 8' piece of 3/4" pressboard and a few 2" x 3" x 8' boards and built a new one. The desk itself is 33" x 85" supported by the 2" x 3" frame and a 2-drawer filing cabinet.

Believe, part one

<idle musing>
As you know, if you read this blog with any regularity at all, our daughter is pregnant and the ultrasound revealed a problem with the heart of the baby. I asked people to pray for the baby’s health, and we received some good news shortly thereafter: the problem is not genetic, which means the baby probably will not die immediately after birth, or have Downs Syndrome, or things like that. We praise God for that, and are thankful for the prayers on behalf of the unborn child and parents.

But, one thing that bothered me is that quite a few people were praying that God would direct the surgeons’ hands. Nothing inherently wrong with that, unless that was the first thing thought of. What I mean is this; did these people seek the will of God in this situation before they defaulted to medical science for the answer? If so, great, I firmly believe God can use medical science. If not, then that is idolatry, stealing God’s glory and giving it to man. I know that God still heals today. I know that he doesn’t need to use medical science. As all of us in the family were seeking God on how to pray, we all came to the conclusion, independently, that we were to pray for total healing in utero. So, that is how we are praying.

There is a marvelous story told about George Mueller, the prayer warrior of the nineteenth century; he was on his way to a meeting in Canada, via boat on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The fog was so thick that the boat was barely moving and it looked like Mueller would be late to his meeting. The captain came to Mueller’s cabin to tell him the bad news, and Mueller replied that he had never been late before, and God wouldn’t allow him to be late this time either. He said, “Let’s pray.” He then fell to his knees and asked God to clear the fog and allow him to arrive on time. After he finished his prayer, the captain was about to add his own words of prayer, but Mueller gently stopped him and told him not to even bother praying, since he (the captain) didn’t really believe God would answer. The captain was a bit taken aback, but had to agree. They stood up and opened the door of the cabin to a flood of sunshine. God had answered Mueller’s prayer.

So, while I know Joel and Renee truly appreciate all the prayer support they can get, I also know that they are receiving enough unbelieving prayers from local people that the last thing they need is unbelieving prayers from strangers!

Please, don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying don’t pray. I am saying to seek God’s face and discover what you are hearing from him on how to pray. Then pray believing that he will do what he promised.
</idle musing>

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Of cups and coffee

I don't usually just grab a post wholesale and repost it, but in this case, I can't just excerpt it without destroying it, so with thanks to Grace Roots:

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: 'If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.

God brews the coffee, not the cups.........

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Round up

I collect links, thinking I will get around to blogging on them. Problem is, I never get around to some of them and they start getting old. Sometimes I just delete them, but sometimes they are too good, so I post an assortment. This time I am posting an assortment...

First, a couple from Christianity Today:
Nice little post from the January issue of Christianity Today about the incarnation. They ask if Jesus would have been incarnated without the fall. Good food for thought.

And, in the February issue, some musings on the level of conversion we see now versus in the book of Acts. The article is entitles Singing in the Chains

The conversions I witness generally aren't as radical as they seem to be elsewhere and at other times. Our hunger and thirst for righteousness, the first mark of kingdom-dwellers, is for the most part anorexic, and our lust for self-vindication appears as hearty as ever. Domestic problems seem to be as prevalent among evangelicals as they are among the wider public. The amount of interchurch migration, and the low level of actual net church growth, is embarrassing. The willingness, as the apostle Paul put it, to share in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings so that we might attain to the resurrection from the dead is at a low ebb in most North American churches. . .

But what do we mean, what should we mean, by saved? Does it not also include freedom and power, here and now, to live a life so transformed that others glimpse in it the possibility of their own transformation? Please, let us always, in the name of the God who saves us, mean this by the gospel as well.

Rick Mansfield on the heritage we are missing: rejecting tradition in all forms, we've thrown out the spiritual baby with the bathwater. Our churches try to replace tradition with one new program after another, but we're so afraid of tradition that we cannot even stay with one program for long. We follow trends and seek after the NBT's [Next Big Thing] of the contemporary "Christian" culture, but I'm more than ever convinced that for all the programs we've involved ourselves in and for all the activities we pursued under the guise of discipleship, we haven't moved anywhere nearer to the image of Christ.

Finally, I found this one via ecclesia, but he got it here. On living the Christian life:

"There are basically four ways to live the Christian life. The first way is to attempt to do it entirely on our own, by our own effort and willpower. This way is doomed to failure...

The second way to live the Christian life is frequently a reaction to the first. Having experienced the futility of the self-effort way, we go to the other extreme, deciding to do nothing at all...

A third way is the 'Lord, help me' approach. The chief characteristic of this way is a partial dependence on the Lord: the unconscious but nevertheless real attitude that I can of my own self live the Christian life up to a point but that I need the Lord's help after that point. It is the assumption--unconscious, perhaps, but very real--that there is a certain reservoir of goodness, wisdom, and spiritual strength within my own character that I should draw on for the ordinary duties of life, but that beyond that, I need the Lord's help...

The fourth approach to the Christian life is the abiding-in-Christ way. the believer who practices this approach knows that the self-effort approach and the 'let go and let God' approach are both futile. He has also learned that he needs God's help not just beyond a certain point but in every aspect of life. He doesn't pray for hep just during crises or stressful times. Rather, his prayer is, 'Lord, enable me all day long, for without You I can do nothing.'

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! The only way that the Christian life can be lived is by abiding; that's how Jesus did it, by abiding in the Father; that's how we have to do it, too.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rain and books

Sunday night we got about 6 inches of very wet snow, and then it suddenly turned to a light rain. Last night, at around midnight we got a thunderstorm (the temperature was around 50F) and lots of rain. Because it had been cold (about 0-10F) the week before, the ground was frozen solid.

So, let's add rain to snow, add warm weather and you get...lots of water. Add frozen ground and you get: Flooding! Now, add a book warehouse to the mix, and what do you get? Yep, here it is, part of the north wall:

The north and west walls leaked, and some books got damaged. We won't know for sure if some are salvageable until they dry out—so if you see damaged books for sale on our website next week that say slight water damage, you know why! Here's a sample:

It wasn't as bad as it could have been, and insurance will most likely cover it, but what book lover ever enjoys seeing damaged books? Oh, and then Marti brings me this little gem, which got caught in the conveyor of the postal service:

Think I should sell it used? :)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Eisenbrauns February sale

For February Eisenbrauns is running a 30% sale on selected Paternoster titles in the series Paternoster Biblical Monographs, Paternoster Theological Monographs, Regnum Studies in Mission, Studies in Baptist History and Thought, Studies in Christian History and Thought, and Studies in Evangelical History and Thought.

These are revised dissertations, original monographs, and essay collections that are reasonably priced. The revised dissertations are actually readable, if you know what I mean :) They get rid of a lot of the dissertationitis, as I call it, and write readable sentences. I have reviewed some of them on this blog, Jim West has reviewed one or two, and Scot McKnight has mentioned them several times, most recently today he mentioned Saint Paul as Spiritual Director (that title isn't on sale, it is too new).

Oh, you can see the whole list here. Enjoy!

And it's not even April first

You can’t make this stuff up! Well, maybe you can if you are Lark News; in fact I had to check to make sure it wasn’t really from them. Anyway, this showed up on my RSS reader on Friday from Out of UR:

In 2008, the language of missiology is changing, so look for "church franchises" in your town.

Eddie Johnson, the lead pastor of Cumberland Church, espouses the franchising concept when it comes to the relationship between his church in Nashville, Tennessee, and North Point Community Church in metro Atlanta. On his blog, he states, "Just like a Chick-fil-A, my church is a 'franchise,' and I proudly serve as the local owner/operator."

According to Johnson, his job is to "establish a local, autonomous church that has the same beliefs, values, mission, and strategy as North Point." He completed a three-month internship at North Point and continues to receive training and support. He claims to rarely deviate from the "training manual."

"Just like that Chick-fil-A owner/operator," he says, "I'm here in Nashville to open up our franchise and run it right. I believe in my company and what they are trying to 'sell.'"

<idle musing>
Right! Let’s take God and package him up in a nice digestible portion. We certainly don’t want him to get out of our little box, if we do he might actually have the power to convict and change us! No! Can’t have that! It might upset our consumer model of Christianity.

No wonder the church is a laughing-stock and is relegated to the edge of society.
</idle musing>

Friday, February 01, 2008

Book meme

Ah yes, I've watched it go round and round, and now it descends upon me. Jim Getz has tagged me. Here are the rules:
* Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)
* Find page 123
* Find the first five sentences
* Post the next three sentences
* Tag five people

OK, well, I have three books about equidistant from me, but one is still shrink-wrapped (Megiddo IV, volume 2 only, which is why it is sitting here), and the other two—well I'll pick this one: A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries. Page 123 is part of the catalogue of ossuaries, number 193 to be exact. The first five sentences give the provenance and description. What we get here is the ornamentation Here goes:

F. Two metopes in line frames, each containing a six-petalled [sic] rosette inside a zigzag circle; segments link petal-tips; ivy leaves between petals, pointing inward. L. Zizag frame containing whirl rosette inside a zigzag circle. R. Zigzag frame containing eight-petalled [sic] rosette inside a zigzag circle; petals in form of ivy leaves, pointing inward.

Now wasn't that interesting? If anyone ever asks me about ossuary 193 in Rahmani's catalogue, I will now know what it is!

Now, who is left to tag? How about Charles Halton, Ted Gossard, Alan Knox, and two co-workers (in alphabetical order by last name): Jon Erdman, and Andy Kerr.

Now I'm going to lunch :)

Pricing and availability

I was wondering what to put on sale for February, so I started looking over what might be of interest to our customers. One of the things I do is visit some of our competitors to see what they have as a price—after all, it would be embarrassing to put something on sale and have the sale price be higher than their regular price :(

So, I was thinking about running a sale on the new BHQ fascicles (Biblia Hebraica Quinta, a replacement for the standard Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia). The newest volume is Deuteronomy, on which that nasty river in Brazil is beating us by about a dollar. But, it is interesting that when you look at the older volumes, General Introduction and Megilloth and Ezra-Nehemiah, they have them at list price.

So, what's going on here? Simple, run the newer stuff at a bit cheaper than your competition, lose a bit of money, but convince people that you are the cheapest. Then, jack up the price on the older and less in demand titles to make up the difference. That is business 101. Wal-mart has used it for years, as have the grocery chains; we call them "loss leaders."

So, out of curiosity, I looked up a few other titles:
Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon Old Testament: Study Edition, 2 Volume Set, the standard Hebrew Lexicon:
Eisenbrauns: $151.20
Amazon: $154.98
But, check this out: CBD doesn't even carry it! They carry The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon with an appendix containing the Biblical Aramaic (cheaper, but that is because Hendrickson and CBD are the same company...), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (more expensive), and Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament (a bit cheaper), but they don't carry the standard Hebrew lexicon.

Tuebinger Bibelatlas / Tuebingen Bible Atlas
Eisenbrauns: $120.00
Amazon: $150.00
CBD: nothing. Just in case they might have had the ISBN wrong, I did a search on "tubinger" and got a whole bunch of jewelry! Hmmm...

The Context of Scripture:
Eisenbrauns: $169.15
Amazon: $172.00
CBD: Nothing! Am I noticing a pattern here?

Don't get me wrong, I have spent thousands of dollars over the years at CBD (I started buying from them in 1979), and they are a customer of Eisenbrauns, but I have noticed a trend away from academic/scholarly stuff over the last several years. I suspect they took a look at the demographics of their customers and decided to concentrate their energy where they make the most; makes sense to me—that's why Eisenbrauns doesn't sell non-academic titles :)

So, where is this whole thing going? I feel sort of like Garrison Keillor with a stream of consciousness kind of thing going on.

I don't know what I'm trying to say! I guess that is why it is an idle musing :)

By the way, I still don't know what to put on sale for February! Any ideas? I need to have it up by Monday's BookNews.