Category Archives: Personal

An announcement, and an amusement

The announcement is:

The coming Riley

And the amusing story to accompany the announcement: I had taken a picture of the ultrasound with my phone and made it my phone background. While my boss and I were loading our delivery trucks for the day, I decided to show him the picture of our coming baby. So I pulled out my phone and showed him the picture, but I didn’t tell him what it was. His reply: “Hurricane Alex?”

And thus, the baby has a nickname.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 12, 2010 in Personal


Interpreting Herbert’s “The Sacrifice”

George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice” is among my favorite works of devotional poetry. When I was a dorm supervisor at IBC, on several occasions I used the evening devotional time to read the work to the men in its entirety (and the reading never fit in the ordained fifteen minutes).

As Good Friday and Easter approach, I am again hoping to be able to read the poem for devotional benefit, both for myself and for some who will hear me. I am currently putting together a small booklet of hymns and poems for a Good Friday service, and with the poems, I am adding short notes to help explain the more complex syntax and allusions.

Unfortunately, I am myself stumped regarding a handful of phrases, and I would be very interested in getting some help from others who are better at reading poetry than I. Here are the expressions that I am struggling to understand:

Line 26: “both the Hemispheres”: Some notes suggest that this is a reference to eyes; it seems to me that it could also refer to the whole world.

Line 55: “Comments would the text confound”: Here, I am unsure what meaning of confound Herbert is using, and I am also unclear what is the referent of the text.

Line 119: “more than heav’n doth glass”: Again, I have a general idea of Herbert’s meaning, but am not certain about his specific idea.

Line 146: “That he before me well nigh suffereth”: Here, I’m pretty well lost. I assure he refers back to the taunter in the previous line, but I’m not able to unpack much more than that.

I apologize that the version of the poem to which I linked has no line numbers; I wasn’t able to find a online version which did.


Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Personal, Worship


Bring on the gimmicks!

I don’t intend to make a habit of gimmick posts, but for whatever reason, as I was surveying my music collection recently, I asked myself: if I had to pick five of my albums, and only five albums, to last me through the rest of my earthly existence, which five would I pick?

In the interest of a full disclaimer: I wish I knew more and understood more about music. I can’t claim any particular expertise, other than that of an enthusiastic listener. Unfortunately, this means that I can’t explain in any satisfying way why you should like these albums; I do ask your pardon for this failure on my part.

As to my five: I’m not sure I have a final answer yet; some on this list have a firmer grip on their spot than others. But, for the sake of it, here’s the five I came up with:

1. Handel: Messiah
Taverner Choir & Players, Andrew Parrott
Confession: when I was a student at Bob Jones, the University choirs combined for a performance of Messiah. My incredibly profound evaluation: “That whole thing could have been done in fifteen minutes without all the repetition.” Since that time, I have repented.

At this point, I’m actually not sure that a person can be thoroughly Christian and not love Messiah.

I’m partial to this recording, primarily because I tend to like period performance recordings with smaller choirs.

2. Grechaninov: Passion Week
Phoenix Bach Choir, Kansas City Chorale, Charles Bruffy
I admit that some bias may well have crept into this selection: I had opportunity to attend a few performances and practices of the Phoenix Bach Choir (now The Phoenix Chorale); they are awe-inspiring. For those who read this blog who live in the Phoenix, do your soul a favor and attend one of their concerts. If you visit their website, you’ll also see that they do free, open rehearsals occasionally.

Did I mention that they are free? You have no excuses whatsoever.

This recording was Grammy-winning, if I recall correctly. The full CD booklet is available from Chandos’s website. I would love to link to a full recording of this on lala, but it is unavailable there. If you download albums anywhere, get a copy of this one; it is very, very rich.

3. J. S. Bach: Cello-Suiten
Mstislav Rostropovich
This selection was very difficult; I could quite easily fill this entire list with Bach, and be justified in doing so. However, I wanted at least some variety.

For me, the choice was between Bach’s cello suites and his sonatas and partitas for solo violin. I would hate especially to give up the Chaconne, but the cello suites were my gateway into Bach, and for that reason hold a particularly special place in my affections.

4. Psalms for the Soul
Choir of St. John’s, Elora; Noel Edison
This is a relatively newer addition to my collection, so its position here is perhaps a bit shaky. However, I find the simple Psalm-singing on this album to be very contemplative.

5. Arvo Pärt: A Tribute
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Theatre of Voices, The Pro Arte Singers, Paul Hillier
If memory serves, I was introduced to the music of composer Arvo Pärt through the blogging of dissidens; Thank you, dissidens. This album doesn’t have all of my favorite Pärt pieces, although I do love the Berliner Messe and “Which was the son of…” at great deal. It lacks his “The Beattitudes” (track 11 here), which may be my very favorite of his choral works.

What think ye? And, would anyone else like to offer their five “desert island” albums?


Posted by on January 9, 2010 in Personal, Random links


Be nice to your delivery guy

If you can’t read your address on your house or your mailbox when driving close to the posted speed, please fix that. Consider it a Christmas present to your friendly FedEx or UPS guy.



Posted by on December 17, 2009 in Personal


Blog silence

I will continue my series on Weaver, Van Til, the one-and-the-many, and being conservative; I am currently in the employ of FedEx, and the training that I’ve been undergoing and the upcoming peak shipping season are conspiring to reduce my blogging energy.


Posted by on November 22, 2009 in Blog, Personal


Have sermon, need text

I have recently started my new job cleaning the auditorium (and several other rooms) for Inter-City Baptist Church. This experience has lead me to a specific conclusion, which I’d like to make a point of doctrine (and also a sermon), but I need a reference from which to launch my sermon. Here’s my premise: bringing glitter into the church auditorium is grounds for excommunication.

Do we all agree that this is good theology? And can someone find me a text to support this point?


Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Personal


Most recent eMusic downloads

For nearly two years now, I have subscribed to the music download service I was introduced to this service by my friend Ryan Martin, a fellow music lover and Zune aficionado.

A quick digression: eMusic is still a good place to download music, although they’ve recently just changed their pricing structure. As things stand right now, a CD on eMusic probably averages $6.00 or so; not bad, and a bit cheaper than iTunes, but not as great as it was before they added Sony/RCA/etc. If anyone is reading this and thinks, “I’d love to have a good place to download classical CDs,” let me know; I’ll send you an invitation to join, and if you do, you get bonus downloads, and so do I.

Anyway, my new subscription plan allows me to pick new downloads every three months; I thought I’d list here the CDs I just acquired. I haven’t listened through them all yet; I may do a follow up post with some very amateur evaluations. (One item on my long list of “things I plan to do when my dissertation is done”: study music theory.)

So here’s the list:

Psalms for the Soul
Choir of St. John’s, Elora, Noel Edison

Music of the Reformation
Himlische Cantorey

Brahms: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano
Nikolaj Znaider, Yefim Bronfman

Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, The Prague Philharmonia, Jiří Bělohlávek

C. P. E. Bach: Cello Concertos
Hidemi Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Birgit Remmert, Hans Peter Blochwitz, Ensemble Musique Oblique, Philippe Herreweghe

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius
Robert Tear, Alfreda Hodgson, Benjamin Luxon, The Scottish National Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Alexander Gibson

The American Cello
Paul Tobias, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Joann Falletta

Respighi: Il Tramonto
Brodsky Quartet

Comments Off on Most recent eMusic downloads

Posted by on August 7, 2009 in Personal