Thursday, December 31, 2015

And didst Thou love the race that loved not Thee

Another hymn by the author who wrote I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew, in the same meter.

And didst Thou love the race that loved not Thee? 
And didst Thou take to Heaven a human brow? 
Dost plead with man’s voice by the marvelous sea? 
Art Thou his kinsman now? 

O God, O Kinsman loved, but not enough; 
O Man, with eyes majestic after death, 
Whose feet have toiled along our pathways rough, 
Whose lips drawn human breath: 

By that one likeness which is ours and Thine, 
By that one nature which doth hold us kin, 
By that high Heaven where, sinless, Thou dost shine 
To draw us sinners in; 

By Thy last silence in the judgment hall, 
By long foreknowledge of the deadly Tree, 
By darkness, by the wormwood and the gall, 
I pray Thee visit me. 

Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away, 
Die ere the Guest adored she entertain— 
Lest eyes which never saw Thine earthly day 
Should miss Thy heavenly reign.

(Actually an excerpt from Part II of "The Answer" in a very long poem titled "Honours")

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This day

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

"Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808 in North Carolina."

* Is Andrew Johnson the worst president in American history? -- "Today marks the birthday of perhaps the most-maligned president in American history. But was Andrew Johnson really that bad, or just the target of some second-guessing historians?"

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bi-vocational ministry, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

“He first loved me.”

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to it Who sought for me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
No, I was found of thee.

Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea;
But not so much that I on Thee took hold,
As by Thy hold of me.

I find, I walk, I love, but ah, the whole
Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee;
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul–
Always Thou lovedst me.

Words: Anonymous, Found in One Hundred Holy Songs, Carols and Sacred Ballads. Original, and Suitable for Music, London: Longmans, Green & Company, 1878 [Issued anonymously, but modern scholars credit this as the work of Jean Ingelow (1820-1897] 

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas "meditation"

I am to a large degree ambivalent about Christmas. Perhaps it's easy to have mixed feelings about a holiday that brings out such wild extremes in people. Some great acts of random kindness are associated with and arise from the "spirit" of Christmas -- while otherwise "normal" people can pummel and maul each other over the last item on the shelf at Wal-Mart. Christians on one end of the spectrum rigorously rage against Christmas as a pagan heathen holiday. Christians on the other end of the spectrum breathlessly battle with the world to keep Christ in Christmas. The cunning crusade knows no bounds, vanquishing all "opponents" of Christmas, whether on the right or the left, whether holding biblical or secular reasons.

There is no scripture that commands Christians to observe Christmas (or the birthday of Jesus). It is evidently also true that there are some pagan roots behind some of the Christmas traditions. There is not, however, one singular origin of Christmas. It is a pastiche of all sorts of religious traditions and folk customs from around the world. It is not a "Christian" holiday. In the U.S. it is a religious, secular and national holiday.

As people of the book, we should not easily dismiss the fact that there is no command to celebrate as a custom the birth of Jesus. We are given commands to observe his death, burial and resurrection in our baptism, to memorialize his body and blood in the communion, and we remember him (and resurrection) in our gathering on the first day of the week. But Christmas is just not there. However, one needs to carefully consider some precepts and examples found in the New Testament before going hog wild in hatred of the day.

It seems that folks in the early church who were Jews continued to celebrate, without compunction, days that were part of their culture and heritage. Notice Acts 2:1-2; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 21:22-24; 27:9 for examples. Some believe that the unnamed feast Jesus went up to in John 5:1 was the feast Purim (and occurred before Passover, cf. John 6:3) and that the feast of dedication in John 10:22 was Hanukkah. These were not feasts of the law, but later cultural feast added to the Jews to commemorate past events. Could this suggest that national or cultural holidays are not immediately suspect? Further, Paul shows some ambivalence toward the celebration of days in his writing to the Romans. For example, in Romans 14:5-6 it is written, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Not only this, but he seems to connect this to his teaching about eating meats offered to idols. If one is not condemned for buying at the market and eating meat that only a few days before was part of an idolatrous temple service (cf. 1 Cor. 8:6-8), how likely is it that one is condemned for some long lost pagan connection that he or she knows nothing about?

We are descendants of pagans; there is no doubt that some of that has trickled down to our culture. Much of it we accept with little thought. The days of our week and names of our months are based on pagan gods, yet most of us use them daily with never so much as a nod to thoughts of paganism. Many other customs are steeped in a long forgotten past. The handshake originally was based on exposing the weapon hand to prove peaceful intent, yet a modern handshake proves little more than observance of custom. One can become so obsessed with latent paganism as to become a Pharisee preoccupied with cleaning the outsides of cups and straining at gnats. While raging against Christmas, many of the same will celebrate the July 4 declaration that energized Christian Baptists in America to raise their muskets to blow out the brains of, and thrust their bayonets to gore out the guts of, their British Baptist brethren who were guilty of little more than joining the British army (a few even bringing it into church services).

The conscience and motivation of a person has real significance. Notice such texts as 1 Corinthians 6:12; chapter 8; 10:31, Romans chapter 14, etc. Celebrating days such as a birthdays and national holidays may not necessarily be bad, but rather a matter of conscience and preference. Don’t violate your conscience, and don’t help others to violate their consciences. Even if you are free in conscience for your family’s practice, leave that practice at home. Don’t bring them into church. Church is for the worship of God and the practice of what He commanded. Christmas is not commanded.

A piece that might be of interest:
2 Reasons NOT to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’

A Cradle Hymn

"A Cradle Hymn," by Isaac Watts (Excerpted from Divine Songs, Attempted in Easy Language, for the Use of Children, 1715)

1. Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber,
    Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings, without number,
    Gently falling on thy head.

2. How much better thou'rt attended
    Than the Son of God could be;
When from heaven he descended,
    And became a child like thee!

3. Soft and easy is thy cradle,
    Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay;
When his birth-place was a stable,
    And his softest bed was hay.

4. Blessed babe! what glorious features,
    Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must he dwell with brutal creatures!
    How could angels bear the sight!

5. Was there nothing but a manger
    Cursed sinners could afford,
To receive the heav'nly stranger!
    Did they thus affront their Lord!

6. See the kinder shepherds round him, 
    Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought him, there they found him,
    With his virgin mother by.

7. See the lovely babe a dressing;
    Lovely infant, how he smil'd!
When he wept, the mother's blessing
    Sooth'd and hush'd the holy child.

8. Lo, he slumbers in his manger,
    Where the horned oxen fed;
Peace, my darling, here's no danger,
    Here's no ox a-near thy bed.

9. 'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
    Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans and endless crying,
    That thy blest Redeemer came.

10. May'st thou live to know and fear him,
    Trust and love him all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near him,
    See his face, and sing his praise!

11. I could give thee thousand kisses,
    Hoping what I most desire;
Not a mother's fondest wishes
    Can to greater joys aspire!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Puppy love, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources.

"Puppy love may just be puppy love, but it seems quite real to the puppy!" -- copied

"If Christianity is a psychological crutch, then Jesus Christ came because there was an epidemic of broken legs." -- Bob Prall

"The LORD causes HIS WORD to have free course, and HE does and will bless it in His time, where, when, how, and in whom HE WILL, irrespective of men's cavils and opposition as enemies of the cross." -- Ken Wimer

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." -- Pierre Auguste Renoir

"Many look upon forgiveness as a duty, when in reality, it is a great privilege to be chosen as a vessel of mercy." -- Mike McInnis

"Mercy is kindness shown to the guilty." -- Charles Garrett

"There is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"God is much greater than anything we can imagine. Whatever you imagine God to be, God is other than that." -- Mark Hanson

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul,
Wisdom is better than silver or gold." ― Bob Marley

"From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it." -- Katharine Whitehorn

"There may be those on earth who dress better or eat better, but those who enjoy the peace of God sleeps better." -- Thomas Holdcroft

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Use of imperatives in the Bible

The comments below are excepted from some originally posted by Scott Ransom at the Baptist Board (I've lost the direct link). He said these were from notes he took in a class on moral theology. They address a subject of interest to me, orthopraxy/normal biblical practice. I'm not sure I agree on all points, but I found it interesting.

Summary - Use of imperatives of the Bible is enduring for us if:
  • it is addressed to an enduring audience
  • it is based on a permanent relationship
  • it is repeated, especially transculturally
  • it is supported by prescriptive, and not merely descriptive, passages
  • it is supported without abusing its literary genre
  • it is taught as principle, not merely a manifestation of a principle

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Books and book reviews

The linking of book reviews does not constitute endorsement of the books reviewed or the book reviews.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

God of my life

1. God of my life, whose gracious power
Through varied deaths my soul hath led,
Or turned aside the fatal hour,
Or lifted up my sinking head!

2. In all my ways Thy hand I own,
Thy ruling providence I see:
Assist me still my course to run,
And still direct my paths to Thee.

3. On Thee my helpless soul is cast,
And looks again Thy grace to prove;
I call to mind the wonders past,
The countless wonders of Thy love.

4. Thou, Lord, my spirit oft has stayed,
Hast snatched me from the gaping tomb,
A monument of Thy mercy made,
And rescued me from wrath to come.

5. Oft hath the sea confessed Thy power,
And gave me back to Thy command;
It could not, Lord, my life devour,
Safe in the hollow of Thine hand.

Charles Wesley, 1740

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Constitution check, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, December 18, 2015

If my people, briefly

2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The broad context
  • David is dead (1 Chron. 29:28)
  • Solomon is ascending the throne as king of Israel (Chapter 1)
  • Solomon is preparing to build a temple in Jerusalem (Chapters 2-5)
  • Solomon’s prayer and dedication of the temple (Chapter 6) 
  • God fills the temple with His glory (chapter 7:1-11)
The immediate context
  • God appears to Solomon (7:12a)
  • God attends the prayer (7:12b)
  • God accepts the temple (7:12c)
  • God will honor the prayer (7:13-16)
Who and What
  • God is speaking to Solomon. 
  • My people are the Jews.
  • This place is the temple. 
  • The land is Israel.
Can America claim this promise? Not exactly; perhaps as a general principle that God responds favorably when a people turns to God and humbles themselves.
We learn that God is merciful and gracious. He desires to commune with His people. God's prescription for Israel to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness are repeated principles for Christians in the New Testament.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"I think" or "I feel"

Another follow-up to what I've written on "offenses": Offense Welcome: Please Debate This Article

“When 'I feel' began to overtake 'I think' in my classroom, I took a closer look at disagreeing well.”

“I’ve noticed that when you’re discussing things, you rarely preface your opinions with 'I think' or 'I believe.' Do you know what you say?”

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The pain passes, but the beauty remains

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a French impressionist painter who helped launch the art movement called "Impressionism". In the 1890's Renoir began a battle with rheumatoid arthritis, which eventually disfigured his hands and damaged his joints. He was confined to a wheelchair for much of the later years of his life. However, he continued to paint. 

One day while watching Renoir paint, Henri Matisse (1869–1954), a friend and also an artist, asked him, "Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such pain?" 

Renoir replied, "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." 

Whatever one thinks of Renoir the man or his paintings, one must certainly admire his attitude. He had learned a lesson many seem to not learn. "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." 

Renoir is also reported as saying, "For me, a painting must be a pleasant thing, joyous and pretty — yes, pretty. There are too many unpleasant things in life for us to fabricate still more."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Errata for Songs Before Unknown

Errata for Songs Before Unknown:a Companion to The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012
  • Page 40, Tenth Edition: Change "This book is printed sometime after 1927..." to "This book is printed sometime after 1936..." (B. P. Poyner and the Faust brothers still owned the book in 1936.)
  • Page 68, Add "by George Horne of Norwich, England" to "the text is from The Christian’s Magazine, 1760."
  • Page 79, Leonard C. Everett: Add "L. C. Everett is probably the son of Nathan Everett and Sarah Holden."
  • Page 86, Add "Steven Helwig passed away Sunday, January 21, 2018 in Gridley, Butte County, California."
  • Page 94: Add "Elder Johnny Lee died November 1, 2016 and Delorese Lee died February 12, 2017. They are buried at the High Bluff Cemetery, Hoboken, Brantley County, Georgia."
  • Page 98, in R. C. Lowry bio: change "Printed versions of this tune may possibly exist to the mid-1800s, or it may have only existed previously in oral tradition" to "The melody of Farther On is at least as early as Orestes by Leander Thompson in The Devotional Harmonist, Charles Dingley, New York, NY: George Lane and Levi Scott, 1849, p. 343. It may have existed previously in oral tradition." (Thanks to Erin Fulton.)
  • Page 138, in E. F. Williams bio: change "W. L. Williams (q.v.)" to "W. L. Williams (q.v., pp. 250-251)"
  • Page 143, Gathering Home (33): TEXT: replace "Isaac Watts, 1709, stanza 1..." with "Isaac Watts, 1707, stanza 1..."
  • Page 144, Sessions (38a): Add a footnote: "Text altered by Rippon from “The Hardy Soldier” by Isaac Watts, which was written circa 1695."
  • Page 144, Lenox (40); TEXT: replace "Charles Wesley, 1750" with "Hymns for New-Year’s-Day, Bristol: 1749." Add a footnote "Attributed to Selina Hastings in the 18th century." (Thanks to Gerald Montagna)
  • Page 148 Saints Bound for Heaven (60); TEXT: consider replacing "Elliott’s The Sacred Lyre, 1828" with "Social and Camp-meeting Songs, for the Pious (9th edition), Armstrong and Plaskitt, 1827." (Thanks to Wade Kotter)
  • Page 150, Show Pity, Lord (73a); TEXT: replace "Isaac Watts, 1707" with "Isaac Watts, 1719."
  • Page 162 Morality (136); TEXT: replace "Hannah More, 1803" with "Hannah More, circa 1762; “Florella’s Song” in A Search After Happiness (alt.)."
  • Page 162, Liberty (137); TEXT: Replace "Unknown" with "“Anthem for the Fourth of July” (Stanza 2), author unknown, printed in The Weekly Museum (New York, NY), Vol. VIII, No. 373, July 4, 1795, p. 4." (Thanks to Rachel Hall)
  • Page 163 Complainer (141); TEXT: replace "Southern Harmony, 1835" with "John Purify’s A Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs in Two Parts, 1831 (maybe 1826)." (Thanks to Wade Kotter)
  • Page 168 Star in the East (175); TEXT: replace "Reginald Heber, 1811" with "Anonymous, The Brick Church Hymns, New York: 1823." (Thanks to Gaylon Powell)
  • Page 169, The Gospel Invitation (181): Change "Charles Wesley, 1747, with added chorus text that appears as stanza one of Room For All in Songs of the Pentecost, 1894; words credited to L. B. Bates" to "Anonymous from The Psalmist, Stowe and Smith, 1844, Hymn No. 418 (Though incorrectly credited there to Huntingdon’s Collection)" [This hymn, titled "Yet there is room," only shares the first line with Wesley’s 1747 hymn.]
  • Page 176, The Christian’s Song (240): Change text attribution to "Love Triumphant, or Constancy Rewarded, Troy, NY: Luther Pratt and Co., 1797" with the footnote that Love Triumphant is generally attributed to Abner Read, though not in the book itself. (Thanks to Gerald Montagna); Add to tune attribution "Alto by Minnie Floyd, 1902"
  • Page 178, Restoration New (265a): After "Rippon’s A Selection, 1787," in text attribution, Add "Altered from Sacred Hymns for the Children of God, in the Days of Their Pilgrimage, Part II, John Cennick, London: Printed by John Lewis, 1742; The first stanza of Hymn CXIV on p. 157" (Thanks to Wade Kotter)
  • Page 179, Restoration (268a): Change "Alto from The Sacred Harp, 4th Edition with Supplement, J. L. White, 1911" to "Alto arranged from The Sacred Harp, 5th Edition, J. L. White, 1909 (possibly by Rev. A. B. Carrell)"
  • Page 181, Cross for You and Me (279): Change "Thomas Shepherd, 1693" to "Stanza 1: Thomas Shepherd (alt.) 1693; Stanza 2: Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes, Henry Ward Beecher, 1855)"
  • Page 191, Jesus is My Friend (345a): Change tune attribution from "Arranged by J. P. Rees for 1860 Sacred Harp" to "Arranged by J. P. Rees for 1870 Sacred Harp"
  • Page 201, The Loved Ones (413): Change "11s.8s." to "11s.8s.D." To clarify text, add "Margaret Courtney, by 1844; Printed in The Poetical Works of Margaret Courtney, 1850"
  • Page 216: Peterborough (504a): Change "Ralph Harrison, 1786" to "The Musical Instructor, Lewis Seymour and Thaddeus Seymour, New York, NY: Printed by John C. Totten, 1803" (Thanks to Chris Brown and Karen Willard)
  • Page 216, North Jersey (504b): Change "The Christian’s Magazine, 1760" to "George Horne, The Christian’s Magazine, 1760." (Thanks to Aldo Ceresa and Gaylon Powell)
  • Page 220, Heavenly Grace (527): TEXT Change "A Choice Collection, Occum, 1774" to "James Maxwell, 1759" [This is in Maxwell’s, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, in Three Books] (Thanks to Chris Brown.) TUNE Change "Thomas Willard Loftin, 1911/1927" to "Thomas Willard Loftin, 1909/1927"
  • Page 223, Gone Home (550): Change "W. T. Dale, circa 1886" to "W. T. Dale, 1884; first published in The Gospel Shower, 1885" (Thanks to Erin Fulton)
  • Page 227, Savannah (583): Change "William Billings, 1778" to "Arranged from a tune by William Billings, 1778" (Thanks to Ron Trial and others)
  • Page 306, Footnote 156: Add "J. L. White's 5th edition, 2 years...(combined 106 years)"
  • Page 311, Footnote 207: Add "This song appeared in J. L. White’s 1909 Fifth Edition of The Sacred Harp, page 214 (new section)."

Monday, December 14, 2015


O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry;
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide;
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.
From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation
Of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord!

-- G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Quotes from The Easy Instructor

Quotes from The Easy Instructor: or, a New Method of Teaching Sacred Harmony, William Little and William Smith, Albany, NY: Websters & Skinners and Daniel Steele, n.d. (copyrighted in 1798, but apparently not published until 1801)

  • "...We know of no objection to this plan, unless that it is not in use..."
  • " easy...that any person of a tolerable voice might actually learn the art of psalmody without an instructor, if they could but obtain the sounds of the eight notes..."
  • "We have, therefore, the pleasure to inform the public, that since subscriptions have been in circulation, for this book, we have been honored with upwards of three thousand subscribers: In consequence of which, we flatter ourselves, that this book will meet with a kind reception."
  • "Above all things affectation should be guarded against-for whilst it is contrary to that humility which ever ought to characterise the devout worshipper, it must be an enemy to the natural ease which always distinguishes the judicious performance."
  • "Those who have but indifferent voices, will find great benefit, if after faithfully trying an easy tune themselves, they can get a good singer to sing with them..."
  • "Beating of time should be attended too before any attempt to founding the notes is made. Counting and beating frequently while learning the rules, will be of great service. A large motion of the hand is best at first, but as soon as the learner can beat with accuracy, a small motion is sufficient."
  • "Divine song is undoubtedly the language of nature."
  • "Joy is the natural effect of praise, and song the proper accompaniment of joy."

Saturday, December 12, 2015

How many shootings, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, December 11, 2015

I'm not offended...

..., but would you care if I were?

Yesterday I stopped by a coffee shop situated in the liberal capital of a conservative state, only to be completely confused when I went to the toilet -- labeled "gender-neutral". Now, I'm aware that there are bathroom discussions and debates raging around the country. Also, I grew up in a "gender-diverse" (not neutral) home with only one bathroom. So I understand the concept of a bathroom not being for just one gender. Plus, there are plenty of businesses that only have one bathroom (caveat usor). So I'm not unaware of this business about doing your business. But...

First, the gender-neutral bathroom struck me as a bathroom that is for people who are gender-neutral (as in a bathroom labeled "men" is for men,a bathroom labeled "women" is for women and a bathroom labeled "gender-neutral" is for gender-neutral). I'm not neutral about my gender, so I wasn't sure whether I was welcome. Second, the "gender-neutral" label that they had was confusing, if not a little disconcerting. Does having a half-man/half-woman symbol really give us the information that this bathroom is welcoming for all who apply? Third, there was a "Monty Hall problem". There were TWO doors labeled "gender-neutral". I felt like I was on "Let's Make a Deal". Do I choose door # 1 or door # 2? Is the left bathroom for gender-neutral liberals and the right one for gender-neutral conservatives? "Is there no help for the widow's son?" Finally fate took its course. Door # 1 was locked, so I chose door # 2 (and locked it).

In my opinion, the "gender-neutral" label is political correctness run amok. Why not just call it a toilet and leave it at that? Sam Killermann (doubtless with much sarcasm) suggested there should simply be a commode icon on the door. Makes sense to me! Have a look: 

Seriously, "gender-neutral" may mean different things to different people.* A toilet symbol probably makes people expect to see a toilet behind "door # 1"! Let all single service bathrooms be "first come, first serve". But don't try to make us swallow your political and philosophical agenda as well. 

*For example "relating to, intended for, or common to any gender" is radically different from "noting or relating to a person of neutral gender, neither male nor female."

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Christian Harmony 1873, and other music links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, December 07, 2015

A famous Lewis quote

C. S. Lewis: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Sunday, December 06, 2015

With whom did Jesus eat?

Several weeks ago at church meeting we were talking about Jesus being the friend of sinners, and that He ate with “publicans and sinners”. I commented that He also ate with Pharisees, and I could see lights going on in some of the heads – they had not thought of that angle before. We must be careful, lest we be like radio teacher Steve Brown, who acknowledged, “One of my great sins in being Pharisaical about Pharisees!”

To remember only that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners is to miss an historical and theological truth of the Bible. With whom did Jesus eat? Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. He ate with Pharisees. He ate with His disciples. He even ate with (and fed) a mixed multitude of people who had gathered to see and hear Him. Jake Grogan says cutely that Jesus ate with sinners, snobs and saints. That’s a pretty good way to remember it – as long as we remember that both the snobs and saints are sinners also!

More has been written on the subject of Jesus's eating habits than one might suppose. Jeremy Sweets provides a nice brief chart of Meals in Luke’s Gospel. One author titled his book Eating Your Way Through Luke’s Gospel. Others have gone so far to say that "Jesus ate his way through [all four of] the gospels.

Let's notice a few with whom Jesus ate (and drank).

He ate with Pharisees.
Simon: Luke 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment
A chief (unnamed) Pharisee: Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. (check Luke 11:45 and 12:1).

He ate with “publicans and sinners”.
Levi (Matthew): Luke 5:29-30 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
Zaccheus: Luke 19:2,5,7 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich...And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house...And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

He ate with His disciples.
In the fields: Luke 6:1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
The Passover supper: Luke 22:11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
Cleopas and another disciple: Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

He ate with a (mixed) multitude.
Feeding over 5000: Luke 9:13-17 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

Some other Lucan references to eating:
Luke 11:37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

If Jesus’s eating habits were important enough for God to inspire them into the eternal record, they must be important enough that we are supposed from learn from them. Well, what should we learn?

Let’s notice a few possibilities.

Jesus didn’t eat “at the devil’s table.”
Luke 4:2-4 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. After Jesus had fasted forty days in the wilderness and was hungry, the devil appeared with an “offer of bread” – particularly that Jesus satisfy his hunger by turning stones into bread. Rather than eat according to the devil’s direction, we learn from Jesus the wonderful truth of the priority of God’s word and God’s will over the physical and circumstantial. Situations such as sitting down at supper with an unbelieving neighbor are not “eating at the devil’s table,” but we need to learn what is and when to avoid it (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:21).

Jesus is a friend of sinners.
Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! Though Jesus didn’t eat “at the devil’s table,” he is “a friend of sinners.” Since Jesus is a friend of sinners, we ought to learn from that to be welcoming to those who “aren’t like us”. Jesus sat down with both some immoral sinners and intolerant scribes – those who likely aren’t our first choices for “communitas.” In Jesus ate his way through the gospels, Mark Glanville writes, “We learn from Jesus fellowship meals that our tables should be places of radical welcome, especially for those who feel lonely and on the outside. This is the shape of the Kingdom of God!” What shape does your table take?

Jesus used meals as occasions of instruction.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus’s meals (and examples of food and drink) serve as occasions for teaching. For examples: after his fasting, at his temptation of Jesus teaches about the true bread (Luke 4:1-4); when his disciples pluck grain on the Sabbath, Jesus teaches his Lordship over the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5); when sending the seventy, he teaches the laborer is worthy of his hire, and to eat what is set before them (Luke 10:1-9); with a story of three loaves, he teaches the importance of importunate prayer (Luke 11:1-13); with the example of feasting in the parable of the prodigal son and his elder brother, he teaches the joy over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:11-32); in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, he shows that faring sumptuously and begging bread are not indicators of one’s spiritual condition (Luke 16:19-31). Some mistake Jesus’s actions as an example to use meals as a pretense to evangelism, while caring little or nothing for the person or persons with whom he ate. Such is far from our Lord’s actions. Jesus did not feign feasting to cover a bare evangelistic outreach. For example, in the Gospel of Luke chapter 11:37ff. Jesus accepted an invitation of a Pharisee and spent much of his time upbraiding the Pharisees and lawyers. Jesus’s overall sharing of meals was ostensibly incidental while yet exquisitely determinate.

Jesus used meals as occasions of fellowship.
Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. All meals are a form of fellowship, but meals with his disciples were a family fellowship. There are times to withdraw from the world for the singular casual and peaceful fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ – when we gather together around the word of God, around his praises, around his Spirit, and, yes, around his table.

Jesus did not overlook, whitewash, or excuse sin, but He did not kowtow to either the culture or the religion of the day. He conversed with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:27). Jesus forgave an immoral woman who washed His feet (Luke 7:47-50). He healed a Syrophenician woman’s daughter (Mark 7:26-30). He touched the untouchable (Luke 5:13). He entered the tax gatherer Zacchaeus’s house (Luke 19:5). But, in including these “outcasts,” Jesus did not cast out the “included.” He conversed with the Pharisee teacher Nicodemus who came to Him by night (John 3:1ff) and went to eat at Simon the Pharisee’s house (Luke 7:36). He pitied the importunate young rich ruler (Mark 10:17-22), healed the daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:22-42) and wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). There was room in Jesus’s love for all who came to Him (There’s room in God’s eternal love to save thy precious soul; Room in the Spirit’s grace above, to heal and make thee whole. Anon.)

Jesus defied the social and religious establishment. This was not defiance for the sake of defiance, but the defiance of obedience – the obedience to God rather than men, the exaltation of truth above tradition, the being about his Father’s business rather than just being. He ate with saints and sinners, Pharisees and publicans, according to the purpose of his coming, as well as the purpose of eating. Jesus is better than any of us have imagined. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). He feeds the hungry and sits down at the table of the undeserving. He invites himself and accepts invitations. Perhaps one day you may hear “...make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.”

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Jesus Fell Asleep, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Addenda for Songs Before Unknown

Addenda for Songs Before Unknown: a Companion to The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012

Butterfield, James Austin (May 18, 1837–July 6, 1891) was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England in 1837. He learned to play the violin by the time he was four years old. He dreamed of following music, but at age fifteen his parents put him to work in a trade. He came to the United States in 1856, first lighting in New England but shortly moving to Chicago. He gave violin lessons and taught singing schools, and later established Butterfield and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. His composed When You and I Were Young for lyrics written by George Washington Johnson of Hamilton, Ontario. The tune was first published by Butterfield in 1866 and later by Oliver Ditson and Company. In 1868 he was made director of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church choir in Chicago. He moved to Connecticut for a period of time, but returned to Chicago and his directorship of the Centenary Church choir in 1888. He was the second president of the Music Teachers National Association. Though he is usually remembered as a secular composer, he also composed religious tunes – for example, Victory Over Sin for words by Henry S. Perkins (1833-1914). Butterfield died in Chicago and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. B. L. Andrews used When You and I Were Young as a template for the tune Long Ago, Comrades.
        582      Long Ago, Comrades (When You and I Were Young)

Butterfield, James Austin
A Hundred Years of Music in America, William Smythe Babcock Mathews, Chicago, IL: G. L. Howe, 1889, pp. 647-650

Hitchcock. “Hitchcock” wrote the music for Fairfield, No. 29a. This composer likely is Miles Hitchcock, the son of Asahel Hitchcock (1743-1824) and Abigail Law (1747-1827) – and a nephew of preacher, music teacher, compiler, and composer Andrew Law (1749-1821). He was born February 3, 1767 in Cheshire, New Haven County, Connecticut and died December 9, 1843 in Gowanus, Long Island, New York. He was a merchant in New York City for many years, having arrived there at least by 1798. After the death of his first wife (name unknown), Hitchcock married Caroline Catalina Vanderbilt (1782-1851) on October 24, 1825. She was born in August 1782 and died April 10, 1851. Miles and Catalina are buried at Flatbush Reformed Dutch Cemetery in Kings County, New York. According to The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family, Miles Hitchcock had at least four children – two by his first wife and two by his second wife. Two compositions by Hitchcock appear in Andrew Law’s Rudiments of Music between 1786 and 1790. During this period, Miles Hitchcock was procuring music plates for these revisions. His relationship to Andrew Law and his involvement in the publication of Rudiments of Music make it very likely that this Miles Hitchcock is the “Hitchcock” who composed Fairfield. It is worth noting that Fairfield, Connecticut is in Fairfield County, a neighboring county to New Haven County, where Miles Hitchcock was born. Wilton by Hitchcock appeared in a variant second edition of Law’s Rudiments in 1786. There is a Wilton, Connecticut in Fairfield County.
            29a       Fairfield

Thanks to Mary Huffman and Warren Steel for discovery and information on Miles Hitchcock, with additional information from,, et al.
Fairfield is attributed to “Hitchcock” in the third edition of Rudiments of Music, by Andrew Law, 1791 (A Companion to the New Harp of Columbia, Marion J. Hatchett, Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2003, pp. 6, 245). “Fairfield first appeared in the variant second edition of 1787-90 [of Andrew Law’s Rudiments of Music].” (The Makers of The Sacred Harp, David Warren Steel, Richard H. Hulan, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010, p. 123).
History of Cheshire, Connecticut, from 1694-1840: including Prospect, which, as Columbia parish, was a part of Cheshire until 1829, Joseph Perkins Beach, Cheshire, CT: Lady Fenwick Chapter, D. A. R., 1912, p. 361.
“Died,” The Evening Post, Monday, December 11, 1843, p. 2
The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family: Who are Descended from Matthias Hitchcock of East Haven, Conn., and Luke Hitchcock of Wethersfield, Conn., by Mrs. Edward Hitchcock, Sr., East Haven, CT: Press of Carpenter & Morehouse, 1894, p. 158

Howard, Samuel Lafayette Sr. (December 10, 1860–October 8, 1940) was born in either Muscogee or Harris County, Georgia, the son of James W. Howard and Tinsey Narramore of Muscogee County. He was a composer and singing school teacher, a student of A. J. and J. H. Showalter. He began teaching singing schools in 1886. He was editor of Gospel Banner and an associate editor of Crowning Vocalist and Hymns of Glory. Howard lived with his parents in Muscogee County, Georgia in the 1870, 1880, and 1900 censuses, and was living in Columbus in 1904. The 1900 census lists the occupation of the 38-year old Samuel Howard as “Music Teacher.” Howard married Lydia Dowdell on December 24, 1907 in Lee County, Alabama, and lived at or near Auburn in that county until his death in 1940. In the 1910 census, Howard’s occupation is “Farmer” and he is listed simply as “Prof. Howard”. The B. F. White Sacred Harp added At the Golden Gates to the book in 1950. It previously appeared in The Vocal Class Leader under the title They are Waiting for You and Me, tune by Howard and the words written by G. Beaverson. S. L. Howard died October 8, 1940. He and his wife Lydia are buried at the Pine Hill Cemetery at Auburn, Lee County, Alabama.
            476      At the Golden Gates
Howard, Samuel Lafayette
The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers, A. J. Showalter, Dalton, GA: The A. J. Showalter Co., Dallas, TX: The Showalter-Patton Co., 1904, p. 285
The Montgomery Advertiser, Thursday, October 10, 1940, p. 8
U. S. Federal Censuses, Muscogee County, Georgia, 1870, 1800, 1900; Lee County, Alabama, 1910-1940

Lee, David Jonathan “Johnny” (July 20, 1934–November 1, 2016) Johnny Lee passed away Tuesday November 1, 2016. He was buried Friday the 4th at the High Bluff Cemetery near Hoboken, Georgia.

Helwig, Steven (November 18, 1957–January 21, 2018) Steven Helwig passed away Sunday, January 21, 2018 in Gridley, Butte County, California.