An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Pierre-Charles Marcel forthcoming publications

Pierre-Charles Marcel, a Pastor of the French Reformed Church, Editor-in-Chief of La Revue Réformée and Vice-President of the Calvinist Society of France, was a French scholar who produced a French summary of Herman Dooyeweerd's work. Unfortunately, it has never been published and at present are only available in typewritten form. Colin Wright, however, has been working on these and will make the French versions available at the end of 2010 and English translations will follow. For more details check out the new website:

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Homeopathic A&E

music for a Sunday morning

In praise of slow reading

Ray Pennings points to the Slow Reading Movement mentioned in the Guardian. Slow is the new fast. John Newkirk, a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, has some helpful advice to help us slow read:

  • Memorizing: Memorization is often called “knowing by heart,” and for good reason. Memorizing enables us to possess a text in a special way.
  • Reading Aloud: Reading aloud is a regular activity in elementary classrooms, but it dies too soon. Well-chosen and well-read texts are one of the best advertisements for literacy. By reading aloud, teachers can create a bridge to texts that students might read; they can help reluctant readers imagine a human voice animating the words on the page.
  • Attending to Beginnings: Writers often struggle with their beginnings because they are making so many commitments; they are establishing a voice, narrator, and point of view that are right for what will follow. These openings often suggest a conflict. They raise a question, pose a problem, create an “itch to be scratched.” Readers need to be just as deliberate and not rush through these carefully constructed beginnings. As teachers, we can model this slowness.
  • Rethinking Time Limits on Reading Tests: We currently give students with disabilities additional time to complete standardized tests; we should extend this opportunity to all students. Tests place too high a premium on speed, and limits are often set for administrative convenience rather than because of a reasoned belief in what makes good readers.
  • Annotating a Page: In this activity, students probe the craft of a favorite writer. They pick a page they really like, photocopy it, and tape the photocopy to a larger piece of paper so they have wide margins in which they can make notations. Their job is to give the page a close reading and mark word choices, sentence patterns, images, dialogue—anything they find effective. A variation of this activity is a quote and comment assignment in which students copy out passages by hand that they find particularly meaningful and then comment on why they chose those passages. Copying a passage slows us down and creates an intimacy with the writer’s style—a feel for word choice and for how sentences are formed.
  • Reading Poetry: Even in this age of efficiency and consumption, it is unlikely that anyone will reward students for reading a million poems. Poems can’t be checked off that way. They demand a slower pace and usually several readings—and they are usually at their best when read aloud.
  • Savoring Passages: Children know something that adults often forget—the deep pleasure of repetition, of rereading, or of having parents reread, until the words seem to be part of them.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Odds and sods

Brian Walsh 'BP, the Gulf and the assault of God'
Calibre can
download entire websites and convert them to any eBook format [HT]
Peter Enns 'The faith to doubt'
Send pdfs to iTunes for iBook syncing
Brad Littlejohn 'Kuyperian tug-of-war'

Pennings on Colson, Crouch and Hunter

Are we called to change the world? Yes—just as we are called to be holy. We can no more change the world than we can change ourselves. But our inability to change ourselves is not an excuse of unholy living. Neither is our inability to change the world a reason to hide in our privatized bushels. It is precisely because our involvement is faith-inspired that a very different calculus is invoked to measure the results of our activity. When the benchmarks for our success are linking our activities with world-changing consequences, we are almost always on the wrong path.

Ray Pennings 'Embracing the paradox' Comment 25 June

Monday, 5 July 2010

The unshakable kingdom

A Hindu chairman at the close of one of my addresses said: "If what the speaker has just said isn't true it doesn't matter, but if it is true then nothing else matters." If what I have just said about the Kingdom isn't true it doesn't matter, but if it is true when nothing else matters. Then all science, all knowledge, all achievements, all nations, all persons, all things must be related to this Unshakable Kingdom in surrender and obedience and alignment or else end in frustration and failure and decay. I have never penned a wilder or a wiser statement than I have just penned. Nor has anybody else. And I can pen it because it is true!

E. Stanley Jones The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person (Abingdon Press, 1972)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Make College Count - Derek Melleby

Derek Melleby, co-author of the excellent The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness, has written another book which promises to be just as good: Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life and Learning.  According to the advance notice, it addresses important issues for college students:
  • Why are you going to college?
  • What kind of person do you want to be?
  • How do you want your life to influence others?
  • With whom will you surround yourself?
  • What do you believe?
It will be published in 2011.