Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tozer for Tuesday

The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews is called the “faith chapter,” but have you ever noticed that it is also a works chapter? “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11:4). He offered it by faith, but he did offer it in obedience to some revelation God had given him. “By faith Enoch was translated” (v. 5), but also Enoch, by works, walked with God until he was no longer. “By faith Noah … prepared an ark” (v. 7), and by works he prepared an ark.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 70

Monday, January 30, 2023

Feel good story of the month

I received this link via an email list by Alan Jacobs. Delightful story. Here's a snippet to whet your appetite, but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.
There are other luthiers with expertise in instruments from the Italian craftsman’s golden period, from 1700 to 1725, but master violin restorers are rare — around 20 worldwide now — and Becker is widely regarded as the best. At 64, he has worked on more than 120 Stradivarius violins — likely more, he says, than any other living person. David Fulton, a Seattle-based former software engineer and entrepreneur who once possessed the world’s largest collection of historic Cremonese instruments (named for the city where Stradivari and other renowned Italian luthiers worked) with 28, including eight Strads, entrusted Becker to care for them. (Fulton has since started selling off the bulk of them.) “He’s probably as fine a woodworker as lives on the planet today,” says Fulton. “Without men like him, these things would have decayed into splinters long ago.”

People travel from all over the globe to hand-deliver their instruments to Becker’s office, across the street from Grant Park. (When it comes to multimillion-dollar instruments, FedEx doesn’t cut it.) Once, says Becker, Nigel Kennedy, one of the most famous solo violinists of the 1980s, flew in from England for a day just so Becker could make him a new sound post, the small dowel that sits inside the violin and transfers vibrations from front to back. “He’s like a great surgeon,” says Bell. “His work is so meticulous. It’s like constructing a sailboat inside a bottle. There’s a reason I fly here to bring him my fiddle. He’s the master.”

Confession, prayer, and praise and Pratt's col.

61 C. M.
Confession, prayer, and praise.

LORD! when we bend before thy throne,
   And our confessions pour,
   O may we feel the sins we own,
   And hate what we deplore.

2 Our contrite spirits pitying see;
   True penitence impart:
   And let a healing ray from thee
   Beam peace into each heart.

3 When we disclose our wants in prayer,
   O let our wills resign;
   And not a thought our bosom share,
   Which is not wholly thine.

4 And when with heart and voice
   We strive our grateful hymns to raise,
   Let love divine within us live,
   And fill our souls with praise.

5 Then, on thy glories while we dwell,
   Thy mercies we’ll review;
   With love divine, transported, tell——
   Thou, God, art Father too.
                Pratt's col.
                Episcopal Methodist hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
I have no idea what Pratt's col. is, but I suspect it's a collection of hymns assembled by a C. M. Pratt, or at least it seems the initials are C. M. Beyond that, I'm unable to discover more, but it does seem to be the source of quite a few hymns that appear in nineteenth-century hymnals.

If anyone can supply more information, I would be most grateful!
</idle musing>

A scriptural injunction

20 Defend the widow’s rights. Judge in favor of the fatherless. Provide for those who are in need. Protect the orphan. Clothe the naked. 21 Care for the broken and the weak. Don’t mock the lame, but protect them instead. Help the blind to see a vision of my glory. 22 Gather the old and the young within your walls. Watch over your infants. Let your servants and employees rejoice, and your whole community will have good morale. 2 Esdras 2:20–22 (CEB)

<idle musing>
For those of you who aren't familiar with 2 Esdras: It is considered part of the canon by the Ethiopic and Russian Orthodox Churches. The church fathers quote from it, including Jerome, who called it 4 Ezra. It doesn't survive in Greek, but does survive in Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Georgian, and Armenian (there's a nice short summary here).

According to most, the first two chapters are probably a later Christian interpolation. Thus, the status of the quotation above is probably a Christian injunction, and it certainly is a view that is heavily endorsed in the New Testament.

Let those who have ears, here!
</idle musing>

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Sabaoth

44 1st P. M. 6 lines 83.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Sabaoth

INFINITE God, to thee We raise
   Our hearts in solemn songs of praise;
   By all thy works on earth adored,
   We worship thee, the common Lord;
   The everlasting Father own,
   And bow our souls before thy throne.

2 Thee all the choir of angels sings,
   The Lord of hosts, the King of kings;
   Cherubs proclaim thy praise aloud,
   And seraphs shout the triune God
   And Holy, holy, holy, cry,
   Thy glory fills both earth and sky.

3 Father of endless majesty,
   All might and love we render thee;
   Thy true and only Son adore,
   The same in dignity and power;
   And God the Holy Ghost declare,
   The saints’ eternal Comforter.
                  Charles Wesley
                  Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
hymnary.org inserts two verses after verse 2:

3. God of the patriarchal race,
   The ancient seers record Thy praise,
   The goodly apostolic band
   In highest joy and glory stand;
   And all the saints and prophets join
   To extol Thy majesty divine.

4. Head of the martyrs’ noble host,
   Of Thee they justly make their boast;
   The church, to earth’s remotest bounds,
   Her heavenly Founder’s praise resounds;
   And strives, with those around the throne,
   To hymn the mystic Three in One.
</idle musing>

Friday, January 27, 2023

Jesus the very thought of thee

1 Jesus, the very thought of thee
   with sweetness fills the breast;
   but sweeter far thy face to see,
   and in thy presence rest.

2 O hope of every contrite heart,
   O joy of all the meek,
   to those who fall, how kind thou art!
   How good to those who seek!

3 But what to those who find? Ah, this
   nor tongue nor pen can show;
   the love of Jesus, what it is,
   none but his loved ones know.

4 Jesus, our only joy be thou,
   as thou our prize wilt be;
   Jesus, be thou our glory now,
   and through eternity.
                  St. Bernard of Clairvaux (?)
                  United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Rejoice, the Lord is King!

1 Rejoice the Lord is King,
   Your God and king adore;
   Mortals give Thanks and sing,
   And triumph ever-more.
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.

2 Jesus the Saviour Reigns,
   The God of Truth and Love;
   When he had purg'd our Stains,
   He took his Seat above;
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.

3 His Kingdom cannot fail,
   He rules o'er Earth and Heav'n;
   The Keys of Death and Hell
   Are to our Jesus giv'n.
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.

4 He sits at God's Right-Hand
   Till all his Foes submit,
   And bow to his Command,
   And fall beneath his Feet.
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.

5 He all his Foes shall quell,
   Shall all our sins destroy,
   And ev'ry Bosom swell
   With pure seraphic Joy.
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.

6 Rejoice in glorious Hope;
   Jesus the Judge shall come,
   And take his Servants up,
   To their eternal Home.
   Lift up your Hearts, lift up your Voice,
   Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.
                  Charles Wesley
                  #899 Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
OK, verses 4 & 5 are new to me. Some hymnals will include verse 5, but in order to find verses 4 & 5 together, you have to go back to 1791 on the hymnary.org site. (I really wish they had a digital version of the 1890 hymnal I'm using!)
</idle musing>

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A blessing from God's presence

32 C. M.
A blessing from God’s presence.

GREAT Shepherd of thy people, hear;
   Thy presence now display;
   We kneel within thy house of prayer;
   O give us hearts to pray.

2 The clouds which veil thee from our sight,
   In pity, Lord, remove;
   Dispose our minds to hear aright
   The message of thy love.

3 Help us, with holy fear and joy,
   To kneel before thy face;
   O make us, creatures of thy power,
   The children of thy grace.
                  John Newton
                  Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
This one is interesting in that there seems to be a wide variety of versions out there. At hymnary.org there is one version with seven verses, only the first of which agrees with this version. In fact, when I did a search there, I didn't see any that agreed with this version; in fact, a search for the first line of the second verse came up empty. Makes you wonder what the original really looked like…
</idle musing>

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tozer for Tuesday

Religious education at best is training men and women to think right and act right. Certainly, it is not to be decried, but rather desired. But without the secret and mysterious internal change, all of this outside change ultimately will be found only wasted.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 65

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Now that's a new verse!

1 Come, thou Almighty King,
   Help us thy name to sing,
   Help us to praise!
   Father all-glorious
   O'er all victorious,
   Come, and reign over us,
   Ancient of days.

2 Jesus our Lord, arise,
   Scatter our enemies,
   And make them fall!
   Let thine almighty aid,
   Our sure defence be made,
   Our souls on thee be stay'd:
   Lord hear our call.

3 Come, thou incarnate Word,
   Gird on thy mighty sword,
   Our pray'r attend:
   Come, and thy people bless,
   And give thy word success;
   Spirit of holiness,
   On us descend.

4 Come, holy Comforter,
   Thy sacred witness bear
   In this glad hour:
   Thou who almighty art,
   Now rule in ev'ry heart,
   And ne'er from us depart.
   Spirit of pow'r.

5 To the great One in Three,
   Eternal praises be,
   Hence — evermore!
   His sov'reign Majesty
   May we in glory see,
   And to eternity
   Love and adore.
                Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
I love this hymn, a wonderful trinitarian one. But, I had never seen the second verse before. In fact, when I went to hymnary.org, I had to go back to a 1791 hymnal to find it. (For some reason they don't have the 1870 edition of the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal.)

I can understand why it got dropped; with it you have two verses for Jesus; without it, there is symetry. And, to be honest the theology of the third verse is better than that of the second verse.

Anyway, it's another one of those hymns, such as "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," where some of the verses originally sung with it have dropped out. In the case of "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," the orignal was something like eighteen verses and the ones we sing today are definitely the best.

In the case of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," I like two of the verses tha dropped out and regularly sing them. Usually, when people hear them they are intrigued. It's easy to see why they dropped out, though, because they express the Wesleyan/Methodist belief in holiness in this life—not a popular theme in our Calvinistically dominated culture.

Here they are, in case you are interested:

4. Come, Desire of nations, come,
   Fix in us Thy humble home;
   Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
   Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
   Now display Thy saving power,
   Ruined nature now restore;
   Now in mystic union join
   Thine to ours, and ours to Thine. [Refrain]

5. Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
   Stamp Thine image in its place:
   Second Adam from above,
   Reinstate us in Thy love.
   Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
   Thee, the Life, the inner man:
   O, to all Thyself impart,
   Formed in each believing heart. [Refrain]

</idle musing>

Saturday, January 21, 2023

So-called benefactors

On the Anxious Bench the other day, but I just finished reading it now (I’ve taken it in chunks), reflection on the the mature Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This paragraph sums up what I’ve thought:

It was perhaps King’s commitment to the alleviation of poverty that got him killed. The night before his assassination, he was working with striking sanitation workers because it would expose the need for economic equality. King’s Poor People’s Campaign was meant to do precisely that work because after he moved his ministry from the South to the North, he was reminded that the fight against racism necessarily included a fight against poverty.
Yep. The one thing that the oligarchy has always feared is that the various groups of exploited people would see that actually they have more in common with each other than they do w/the oligarchs—the ones Jesus said call themselves “benefactors.” (As an interesting experiment, search that term in the books of the Maccabees for some context.)

A footnote in the book I’m editing sums up the benefactors pretty well:

Yale Daily News, November 10, 2021. A study by Philp Mousavizadeh found that the administration had expanded an incredible 44.7 percent since 2003, and that Yale had the highest manager-to-student ratio in the Ivy League and the fifth highest in the nation among four-year colleges. Thus the administration was larger than the faculty and cost $2.7 billion annually, with a 5 percent increase in only one year. An article by Isaac Yu, Yale Daily News, September 9, 2021, noted that over the same period, some key administrative units had grown 150 percent in staffing, as opposed to a 10.6 percent in faculty growth, and that Yale had gone from five vice presidents to thirty-one. The salaries of the president had increased 17.2 percent, of the General Counsel 6.2 percent, but of the faculty 3.6 percent.
I’m sorry to say that a recent survey found that Harvard has now surpassed Yale in the highest manager-to-student ratio…

Everybody needs to read ch. 1 of Heschel’s The Prophets at least once a year…

Just an
</idle musing>

Friday, January 20, 2023

The glories of our king

5 C. M.
The glories of our King.

COME, ye that love the Saviour’s name,
   And joy to make it known,
   The Sov’reign of your hearts proclaim,
   And bow before his throne.

2 Behold your Lord, your Master, crown’d
   With glories all divine:
   And tell the wond’ring nations round,
   How bright those glories shine.

3 When, in his earthly courts,
   We view The glories of our King,
   We long to love as angels do,
   And wish, like them, to sing.

4 And shall we long and wish in vain?
   Lord, teach our songs to rise:
   Thy love can animate the strain,
   And bid it reach the skies.
                Anne Steele
                Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Update on bike helmets

A friend sent me this article from Slate, entitled "The Cult of Bike Helmets."

It's a good read, providing a nice historical overview of how the helmet evolved and what it is designed to do and not to do. They also point out the "blame the victim" mentality of much media coverage of bicycle fatalities. Here's a nice little snippet, but read the whole thing, it isn't long.

I have been a bike commuter in every city I’ve lived in as an adult, including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Columbus, and New York City. I travel on two wheels for the exercise and fresh air, for environmental reasons, and for independent, efficient mobility.

In exchange, I feel unsafe, always, on my bicycle—and for sound reason. I’ve gotten doored in Times Square. I’m forced to weave in and out of bike lanes to avoid the vehicles that constantly park and loiter there. I hold my breath when a passing truck leaves only a few inches between my shivery flesh and its metal flanks.

I do what I can to protect myself. I use front and rear lights. I gravitate toward roads with designated bike lanes. I signal turns with my arms and ding my handlebar bells to attract the attention of inattentive drivers. And I never, ever leave home without my neon yellow helmet.

But as with many cyclists and lawmakers, I’ve increasingly found myself wondering: How much does my helmet help me, really? Are there costs to our single-minded devotion to it?

In the past 50 years, as helmet designs have become more sophisticated, adult cycling deaths in the United States have not declined—they’ve quadrupled. As I dug into the history of these humble foam-and-plastic shells, I learned that helmets have a far more complicated relationship to bike safety than many seem ready to admit.

The Song of Moses and the Lamb

2 C. M.
The song of Moses and the Lamb.

AWAKE, and sing the song
   Of Moses and the Lamb;—
   Wake, every heart and every tongue,
   To praise the Saviour’s Name.

2 Sing of his dying love;
   Sing of his rising power;
   Sing how he intercedes above
   For those whose sins he bore.

3 Ye pilgrims, on the road
   To Zion’s city, sing;
   Rejoice ye in the Lamb of God,—
   In Christ, the’ eternal King.

4 Soon shall we hear him say,—
   Ye blessed children, come;
   Soon will he call us hence away,
   To our eternal home.

5 There shall each raptured tongue
   His endless praise proclaim;
   And sweeter voices tune the song
   Of Moses and the Lamb.
                  William Hammond
                  Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Tozer for Tuesday

If we ever lose the wonder out of our hearts, just to hear these words, “Christ, foreknown before the foundation of the world but manifest in time for you,” if those words ever cease to move your heart, then your heart is hard.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 57

The highway of holiness

448 L M.
The highway of holiness.

JESUS, my all, to heaven is gone,—
   He, whom I fix my hopes upon;
   His track I see, and I ’ll pursue
   The narrow way, till him I view.

2 The way the holy prophets went,—
   The road that leads from banishment,——
   The King’s highway of holiness,
   I’ll go, for all his paths are peace.

3 This is the way I long have sought,
   And mourn’d because I found it not;
   My grief a burden long has been,
   Because I was not saved from sin.

4 The more I strove against its power,
   I felt its weight and guilt the more;
   Till late I heard my Saviour say,—
   Come hither, soul, I am the way.

5 Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb,
   Shalt take me to thee, as I am;
   Nothing but sin have I to give,—
   Nothing but love shall I receive.

6 Then will I tell to sinners round,
   What a dear Saviour I have found;
   I’ll point to thy redeeming blood,
   And say,—Behold the way to God.
                John Cennick
                Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
I wasn't familiar w/John Cennick. He was a friend and coworker of both Wesley and Whitefield, later becoming a Moravian and ministering in Ireland. You can read more at The Hymnary.
</idle musing>

Monday, January 16, 2023

Surveys of previous work

Sometimes, ok, frequently, when I'm reading surveys of previous work in a book, and it goes on for page after page, I think they should have read 2 Maccabees 2:32:
32 From this point then we will begin the narrative, not adding further to what was already said. After all, it would be absurd to prolong the preface but then cut short the history. (CEB)
Look, I get it, if it's a revised dissertation, you need to prove to the committee that you read everything written on your subject from the Jemdet Nasr period until today. Or, at least have read enough previous literature reviews from other dissertations that read literature reviews from other dissertations, ad infinitum.

As an aside, copyeditors know. I can usually find out the chain by chasing errors in citations back to the offending book or article. You might fool the dissertation committee or series editor, but the copyeditor will know. I've chased errors in citations back 20 years or more in some cases. And let's not even start with the padded bibliographies! I had one semirevised dissertation that was over 30 percent padded! OK, back to the matter at hand.

I've noticed a trend over the last 15 years or so: the literature reviews are getting longer; the morsels of insight are getting more tentative; the use of scare quotes is getting more prevalent. And, sadly, the synthesis of all this information, data, if you will, is disappearing—in many cases, totally disappeared.

So, while data is expanding and becoming overwhelming, the information, which is the synthesis of it all, has ceased to exist. We're drowning in data, but can't find the proverbial needle of real information/insight in the haystack of data.

I don't have a solution to it, because the way the system is set up, it encourages this type of baloney slicing, as they call it in STEM. You take your results, and slice them into tiny segments to coax out as many articles as you can.

Publish or perish! Tenure, where it still exists, depends on it! Or, if you are in that ever-growing segment of adjuncts, the possibility of a real job depends on it. And since, as an adjunct, you don't have a whole lot of time, you baloney-slice because of necessity.

All of this to go back to 2 Maccabees advice, don't prolong the preface to cut short the history…

Just an
</idle musing>

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The hope of redemption

509 C. M.
Cordial obedience

COME, Lord, and claim me for thine own;
   Saviour, thy right assert;
   Come, gracious Lord, set up thy throne,
   And reign within my heart.

2 The day of thy great power I feel,
   And pant for liberty;
   I loathe myself, deny my will,
   And give up all for thee.

3 I hate my sins,—no longer mine,
   For I renounce them too;
   My weakness with thy strength I join
   Thy strength shall all subdue.

4 So shall I bless thy pleasing sway,
   And, sitting at thy feet,
   Thy laws with all my heart obey,—
   With all my soul submit.
                Charles Wesley
                Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Friday, January 13, 2023

In the presence of the Lord

45    5th P. M. 4 lines 7s.
The Lord our righteousness.

IN thy presence we appear;
   Lord! we love to worship here,
   When, within the veil, we meet
   Thee upon thy mercy-seat.

2 While thy glorious Name is sung,
   Touch our lips, and loose our tongue;
   Then our joyful souls shall bless
   Thee, the Lord our righteousness.

3 While to thee our prayers ascend,
   Let thine ear in love attend;
   Hear, for Jesus intercedes;
   Hear us, for thy Spirit pleads.

4 While thy Word is heard with awe,
   And we tremble at thy law,
   Let thy Gospel’s wondrous love
   Every doubt and fear remove.

5 While thy ministers proclaim
   Peace and pardon through thy name,
   In their voices let us own
   Jesus, speaking from the throne.

6 From thy house when we return,
   Let our hearts within us burn;
   That at evening we may say,—
   We have walk’d with God to day.
                 James Montgomery
                 Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
Take a look at the guy's biography. In some ways it reads like Paul's! "Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries."

We could use more hymn writers with a biography like that!
</idle musing>

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The order of authors in a reference list

This one is a bit tricky, and I had to confirm it in CMS17. What's the order of entries in an author-date reference list when there is more than one author?

That one is easy, you order put it after the single-author entry and order by date.

But what happens when there are multiple entries with multiple authors with the same leading author?

That one took a bit of digging, and it's not spelled out clearly in the text, but check the examples in CMS17 §15.16. The examples show that they are alphabetized by the Last name of the next author and then date, in the case of multiple entries. If the second author is identical, but the third authors differ, then alphabetize by that author and order by date. And so on.

Table of contents on copyediting stuff

The assembly of God's people

43 8th P. M. 87,87,417.
Heavenly joy anticipated.

IN thy name, O Lord, assembling,
   We, thy people, now draw near:
   Teach us to rejoice with trembling;
   Speak, and let thy servants hear:
   Hear with meekness,——
   Hear thy word with godly fear.

2 While our days on earth are lengthen’d,
   May we give them, Lord, to thee:
   Cheer’d by hope, and daily strengthen’d,
   May we run, nor weary be;
   Till thy glory
   Without cloud in heaven we see.

3 There, in worship purer, sweeter,
   All thy people shall adore;
   Sharing then in rapture greater
   Than they could conceive before:
   Full enjoyment,—
   Full and pure, for evermore
                  Thomas Kelly
                  Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The fulness of God

42 C. M.
The fulness of God

BEING of beings, God of love,
   To thee our hearts we raise;
   Thy all-sustaining power we prove,
   And gladly sing thy praise.

2 Thine, wholly thine, we pant to be;
   Our sacrifice receive:
   Made, and preserved, and saved by thee,
   To thee ourselves we give.

3 Heavenward our every wish aspires,
   For all thy mercy’s store;
   The sole return thy love requires,
   Is that we ask for more.

4 For more we ask;
   We open then our hearts t’ embrace thy will;
   Turn, and revive us, Lord, again;
   With all thy fulness fill.

5 Come, Holy Ghost, the Saviour's love
   Shed in our hearts abroad;
   So shall we ever live, and move,
   And be, with Christ in God.
                  Charles Wesley
                  Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Tozer Tuesday

God did not rush in to apply first aid when man sinned. Sometimes in our instinct for a direct statement, we forget and allow the impression that when man sinned, God looked around for a remedy. This is not the case. Before man sinned, the remedy had already been provided. Before paradise was lost, paradise had already been regained. Because Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world and in the mind and purpose of God, Christ had already died before He was born. In the purpose of God, Christ had already died before Adam was created. In the purpose and plan of God, the world had already been redeemed before the world was ever brought into being. Paradise lost did not drive God to some distracted action and bring about redemption, but paradise lost was foreseen before the world was and before paradise existed. God had already preordained and foreknown the Lamb that was without spot or blemish, and this purpose in eternity lay in the mind of God.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 55–56

Monday, January 09, 2023

A perfect longing

500 C. M.
A perfect heart the Redeemer’s throne.

O FOR a heart to praise my God,
   A heart from sin set free;—
   A heart that always feels thy blood,
   So freely spilt for me;—

2 A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
   My great Redeemer’s throne;
   Where only Christ is heard to speak,——
   Where Jesus reigns alone.

3 O for a lowly, oontrite heart,
   Believing, true, and clean;
   Which neither life nor death can part
   From Him that dwells within:——

4 A heart in every thought renew‘d,
   And full of love divine;
   Perfect, and right, and pure, and good,
   A copy, Lord, of thine.

5 Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
   Come quickly from above;
   Write thy new name upon my heart,—
   Thy new, best name of Love.
                    Charles Wesley
                    The Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Friday, January 06, 2023

Greater than the parts…

The prisoner statues of Pepi I and Pepi II clearly demonstrate this complexity. Their destruction should not be understood as an isolated ritual. Rather it occurred in a broader context and the results of the destruction, namely, the prisoner statue fragments, continued to operate within the ritualization of the pyramid complex. The destructive action was only one layer of this. The scattered prisoner statue fragments eternalized the annihilation of the kings’ enemies so that it would perpetually occur, and they served as permanent offerings to the king. This then reinforced other ritual activity that occurred within the complex, all of which served to benefit the king and aid his transition into the afterlife.

The prisoner statues were only one feature of the late Old Kingdom pyramid complex. Consequently, any attempt to reconstruct the ritual life of these monuments cannot be based only or even primarily on them, but rather it would need to take into account the rest of the architecture and decoration.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 173

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Location, location, location

The scholarly focus becomes what people do in ritual and how they do it; what objects do they use and how are these ritualized. Ritualization is a culturally specific phenomenon; rituals are not universal, and one needs to study them contextually in order to recognize and interpret them. By concentrating on the ritualized actions and artifacts within their original context, one can begin to reconstruct their meanings and significance even when one cannot reconstruct the entire ritual itself.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 166

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Tozer Tuesday

As a young preacher in West Virginia, I preached against tobacco. I still hate it as much as I did then, but I have sense enough to know that it is only a pimple on the body of morality. So I do not preach against tobacco, although I hate it. But in those days, I attacked anything that did not look good, and tobacco was one. I used to tell them they were dirty if they used it and could not be Christians. Do you know the response to that kind of preaching? White-faced anger.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 45

Monday, January 02, 2023

On drinking and cycling

Bicycling magazine has a post up today about the effects of alchohol on the body. Here's a nice little snippet, but if you drink, even moderately, you might want to read the whole article. The statistics, some of which I was not aware of, are definitely in favor of totally abstaining.
If the health impacts of drinking seem abstract to many fit and healthy-feeling cyclists, most athletes have some awareness that ethanol impairs multiple aspects of performance, especially recovery. Probably most widely known is alcohol’s dehydrating effect, which happens because booze inhibits the antidiuretic hormone that tells the body to hold on to fluid, causing too much to be released through urine. Alcohol also impairs the uptake of glycogen in your muscles, inhibiting the refueling effect of any postride carbs you eat and possibly affecting your performance for up to a couple of days, says sports dietitian Bob Seebohar, R.D.

Most people also know that drinking disrupts sleep, and Kevin Sprouse, director of medicine and sports science for EF Pro Cycling, enlightened me on the details. Specifically, alcohol shortens deep sleep cycles and disrupts REM sleep. Deep sleep is when the body releases human growth hormone, repairs tissues, and recovers physically; REM sleep is generally when cognitive recovery happens. When drinking sabotages these cycles, the result is compromised reaction time and mental focus and the ability to, say, navigate a pack or push through a tough workout the next day. EF riders wear Whoop fitness trackers, and performance staff have seen deviations in their sleep quality—as well as in metrics such as resting heart rate and heart rate variability—after as little as a single drink. Research supports their observations on sleep quality, too.

Well, something had to be done!

Execration figurines are examples of heka, or magic. All images in ancient Egypt were extremely powerful. The image of the bound captive alone had magical power; the depiction of the desired effect or event guaranteed its reality. By depicting the enemies of the king, and thus the enemies of Egypt, bound and helpless, as the prisoner statues do, the Egyptians ensured that all evil forces, in all realms of the cosmos, would remain powerless and contained. The execration figurines take this further; the proscription formula that usually covers or is associated with them explicitly connects named threats, both foreign and domestic, with the generic captive form. Moreover, the active, ritualized manipulation of these figurines sets them apart from passive images of bound captives. While the exact content of the rituals remains unclear, they do seem to have changed over time and been somewhat variable, with elements not always appearing or being executed in different combinations. These elements could include breaking, binding, incineration, striking, and burial, all of which served to further damn and destroy the targeted individuals, places, and things that were mentioned on the figurines themselves.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 161

<idle musing>
Now, before you snicker and say, "Oh, those silly Egyptians!," think about the little rituals you do every day to make the day go your way.

How Christian are those? How "logical" are they?

Right. That's what I suspected.
</idle musing>