Saturday, October 27, 2007

At the Risk of Losing Readers--Rubber Ducky in Greek

My nephew, who is a minister in Texas, told me that I lost readership of this blog (dropped from 4 readers to 3, I suppose) last year when I started diagramming sentences in Greek.

I've enjoyed team teaching 2nd year Greek this year with my highly esteemed colleague, Kenny Boles. I was a student in 2nd year Greek (under Kenny Boles) 35 years ago. When his children were small, he translated the Rubber Ducky song sung by Ernie on Sesame Street into Greek.

His classes have sung it at least once a year ever since. I had that privilege this week. If you want to check it out, you can download it in PDF by clicking here.

Hope you all have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Power of the Cross

"The Power of the Cross"
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
There are times in corporate worship that a song reaches into my inner being and resonates with my soul. Usually I'm not given to emotional touchy, feely moods, but in our chapel service this morning, the lyrics above did a number on me. Rooted in Scripture, the gospel Passion accounts, plus a number of important texts from the epistles, the song summarizes the work of Christ for us on the cross. May it never cease to amaze us!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Beauty of a Phrase Well-Turned (Reprise)

Last week I wrote about a beautiful paragraph in Isabel Allende's book Inés, del Alma Mía. I quoted the Spanish text verbatim, without an translation. I received an e-mail from a friend commenting on the blog, telling me that she enjoyed reading it even when I wrote in Spanish or in Greek.

I answered her e-mail, with my own translation, but the original Spanish was much better. Yesterday, I checked to see the English translation of the book was in our public library. It was, and was even checked in, so I put in a hold request on the book. I went to pick it up at lunch time today. If you have not read the other piece, you must understand that one of the suggested meanings of the name Chile means where the land ends.

The original in Spanish reads like this:

El Jardín del Edén, la tierra prometida, el paraíso. Mudo, mojado de lágrimas, el conquistador conquistado iba descubriendo el lugar donde acaba la tierra, Chile.

The translation in the book published in English reads like this:

The Garden of Eden, the promised land, paradise. Mute, his face wet with tears, the conquered conqueror was coming to know the place where the land ends: Chile.

The translatorʼs name is Margaret Sayers Peden. I think she has translated all of the Isabel Allende books into English. She is an excellent translator. More beautiful still, though, is the original Spanish.

I checked it out of the library. Maybe Rose will enjoy reading it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Quiet Testimony of a Woman of Faith

I've just returned home from a funeral service of a friend. The eulogy printed in the bulletin (picture included below) began this way: "Julia (Judy) Leann (Hutton) Williams, 55, Joplin, "transcended to heaven" Thursday, October 4 after a brief battle with an exceedingly rare breast cancer. She is survived by her loving husband, Martin, and their two children, Ryan Michael, and April LeAnn."

Martin and Judy were special to both of us. I first met him when Rose was working at the old Revival Fires Ministry located across the street from Ozark. Martin was actually her boss, during part of the time that she worked for Revival Fires. I got to know him a bit better during 1974 and 1975, as I was playing on a fast-pitch softball team in Joplin, and he was a teammate. When Rose and I got married, they were some of our "older married" friends. I really didn't realize how close in age Judy and I were. Martin was five years older than she. In 1976, when we made plans to go to the mission field, they asked us to share our plans with them. I remember going to their home, slide projector and all, and sharing our plans for the mission field. They supported us regularly while we were on the field. On several furloughs we would get together with them, and share about life.

Judy got sick in August, and ended up in the hospital. At first she was at Freeman Hospital, not far from our home. After several weeks there, she was transferred to Freeman East. I visited Martin and Judy at Freeman, during a time that she was heavily sedated. On a later visit, she told me that she didn't remember that. Rose visited her about a month ago (I wasn't able to go), and came away talking about how Judy was ready to go to be with Jesus. The last time we visited her about about 2 weeks ago today. We went there, and saw the sign on the door, which said to limit visits to about five minutes. We entered, and visited with Judy. She was there by herself. It was Sunday evening. Martin plays the organ for the Park Plaza Christian Church, and was at their evening service at the time. We were there beyond the five minute limit, and I was feeling guilty about it, so I prayed for her and we tried to leave. We couldn't get away from her, though, because she wanted to talk. The five minute visit turned into about 40 minutes, but we left, being encouraged, because we could see that she was ready to meet her maker.

As we were leaving, Martin was arriving from the evening service at Park Plaza. We visited with him briefly in the hallway. We went to the funeral home for visitation yesterday. The entire family was there, resting in the goodness of God. Martin told me that he doesn't understand how people who don't know Jesus can go through things like this. Judy's hope was firmly fixed on Christ, and gladly went to meet him. It was obvious that she had left a legacy of faith in her family, as well.

Paul penned these words: "And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word." (1 Th 4:13, The Message).
B. A. Austin, Jr., former minister at College Heights Christian Church, and current minister at Park Plaza Christian Church, gave the funeral message. In it he related that Judy had told him recently that she had called both her children, Ryan and April, and had given them a stern message: "Don't ever do anything that will keep you out of heaven, because I want to see you there." She is now resting with Jesus, and has joined the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). She went home to be with Jesus, facing a terrible cancer with dignity, grace, and faith. To paraphrase words from the author of Hebrews (11:4), by faith she still speaks, even though she is dead.
Judy, we will miss you, but will look forward to seeing you in our true home. Thanks for ministering to us! May God be praised!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Baseball Season Over for Cubs--Basketball Season On for Roger Powell

The Cubs' Season is Now Over!

Yes, I'm disappointed. The Cubs were humiliated by the Arizona Diamondbacks, nicknamed the BabyBacks. During the regular season, Arizona ranked 14th (out of 16 NL teams) in hitting. They scored 20 fewer runs than their opponents scored against them, yet they had the best record in the National League. Their bats came alive in the Divisional Series against the Cubs, while the Cubs forgot how they got to the playoffs. Next year will mark the 100th anniversary since the Cubs won their last World Series. You just wait 'til next year!

Roger Powell is back in the lineup at Siviglio Wear Teramo!

Roger Powell, Jr. took an elbow to the upper jaw in a practice session early in September. He missed the first regular season game, but played on Thursday night, scoring 15 points in 20 minutes. I wish you well, Roger! If you can read some Italian you can see the box score by clicking here:
  • 15 points in 20 minutes
  • 1-4 in 2 pt. shots
  • 2-3 in 3 pt. shots
  • 7-8 in Free Throws
  • 2 offensive rebounds

That's all I have to say right now.


Friday, October 05, 2007

The Beauty of a Phrase Well-Turned

I've always appreciated wordsmiths. I've got little or nothing of artistic creativity, but I enjoy words. Being a multilingual reader adds to my sense of amazement at the power of artistic words, capable of creating mental image, with no need of paint or canvas.

Southern Chile is beautiful. Eusebio Lillo and Bernardo de Vera y Pintado may have been thinking of her beauty when they wrote these words that Chileans sing as part of their National Anthem:

Puro Chile, es tu cielo azulado, Puras brisas te cruzan también, Y tu campo de flores bordados, Es la copia feliz del Edén.

Those lines speak of Chile being a "perfect copy of Eden." Say, did you know the meaning of the name, Chile? Though disputed, one of the suggested meanings has its origin in an Aymara word that means "end of the earth." That's an interesting thought, a perfect copy of Eden, at the end of the earth.

Over a very long period of time now, I have been reading Isabel Allende's new book, Inés, del Alma Mía (link to English translation), which is the story of Inés Suárez, who with Pedro de Valdivia, conquered Chile. I have seen her name on street signs before, without knowing about her story. Pedro de Valdivia is legendary in Chile (I knew a bit about his story), founding the city of Santiago (where we lived for many years). Academician don't usually admit to liking or using Wikipedia. It is not a refereed encyclopedia, and doesn't meet academic or scholarly standards. Many Wikipedia articles lack documentation. If you don't tell anyone I pointed you to it, you can get some information about Inés Suárez without having to read the book by reading this article.

I'm almost done reading the book. Allende is a wordsmith in Spanish, a master storyteller. On page 328, I found these words, that describe Pedro de Valdivia being smitten with the beauty of Southern Chile, using the analogy of the garden of Eden, as well:

El Jardín del Edén, la tierra prometida, el paraíso. Mudo, mojado de lágrimas, el conquistador conquistado iba descubriendo el lugar donde acaba la tierra, Chile.

Whoa! Such a beautiful phrase takes the sting out of the Cubs being down 0-2 in the NLDS. Part of being made imago Dei, is our ability to use language to communicate about the glory of God. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Because I Care About More Than Baseball

Why am I writing this post? Because I care about more than baseball, that's why! This afternoon I came across a transcript of a debate between William Lane Craig (Talbot School of Theology) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). I have written previously about Bart Ehrman.

Ehrman is a former fundamentalist who lost his faith and became an agnostic. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, of the Colbert Report interviewed Ehrman, and told him what an agnostic in reality was, but I'll let you google that for your own discovery, if you wich. The tragic thing is that Ehrman is the Chair of Religious Studies at UNC.

The debate was held at Holy Cross University in March of 2006 on the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. You can download the transcript of the debate in PDF. I found it interesting that the moderator of the debate mentioned that his all-time-favorite debate was between a man (whom many of us know and love), Alexander Campbell and a Roman Catholic Bishop, James Purcell, held in Cincinnati in 1837. That debate lasted for 6 days, and each participant was very wordy. If you should care to read the transcript of the Campbell-Purcell debate, you can read it all (360 pages of it, with the exception of page 348, which is a tad bit blurry) by clicking here.

I do care about more than baseball. But I am excited about watching the Cubs in the post-season. Eamus Catuli!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Good-bye to XM Radio--a Baseball Fan's Dream (when travelling)

Last July, we began a serious look at personal finances. One of the things that I really enjoyed was XM Radio. I bought an XM radio receiver on an impulse, when I saw it available for only $5 after rebate. The monthly subscription fee, however, was something that we could easily cut from the budget, in order to reduce expenses.

I made the call to cancel my subscription during the month of July. I was offered 3 months for FREE, and made myself a note in my calendar to re-cancel the service before I would be charged again. In July I was told that I would not be charged the monthly subscription fee until October 11. My calendar was to inform me to call again on October 7. I made the call this morning. They tried to get me to stay with them, but my service is cancelled. This time I was told that it was paid through October 27, so the service will remain active until then, at which time it will lapse. I have enjoyed the service. Yesterday was a particularly enjoyable XM Radio day.

Yesterday was the last day of the baseball season. We drove Emily and Samuel to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, then headed for home. The Cubs were playing the last game of the final season, a game that had not importance whatsoever, because they had already clinched the NL Central Crown. Though Alfonso Soriano led off the game again with a home run, and though the Cubs had a 3-0 lead, they lost the game 8-4. After leaving the DFW airport, I listened to the end of the Cubs game. The NL East was at stake still, so after the Cubs game ended, I listened to the end of the Mets-Marlins game, also to the end of the Phillies-Nationals game, then to the end of the Brewers-Padres game, and finally to the end of the Diamondbacks-Rockies game.

All of those games were significant to MLB playoffs, and, particularly since I was driving (and because Rose was sleeping), I got to listen to ALL of them.

The AL Division series looks like this:
Angels vs. Red Sox
Indians vs. Yankees

The NL Division series is not yet set, awaiting the playoff game between the Padres and the Rockies, later today.

It will be:
Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
Phillies vs. Padres or Rockies.

The games begin on Wednesday. The NL games will be broadcast on TBS, with play-by-play done by Chip Caray, and color commentary by Steve Stone. They worked together as Cubs broadcasters for several years. I always enjoyed Steve Stone's color commentary. Chip Caray seems to have a chip on his shoulder against the Cubs. I hope he will be objective.


Reprise of Face Time with Samuel

Isn't he cute?