God of the Living, in Whose Eyes

God of the Living, in Whose Eyes

stevewolfgang:

Carl Peterson on John Ellerton – worth reading!

Originally posted on Off the Top of My Bible:

When the hymnal Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (PHASS) was published in 2012 by Sumphonia Productions, it introduced to its users a number of texts which had not been available previously in hymnals commonly in circulation among its primary audience. Some of these were more recent texts that had not yet had opportunity to do so (or had not been sought out until this publication); others were much older, going back 100 years or more, that for various reasons had never penetrated “the brotherhood.”

One such hymn (to my knowledge and ability to research) is “God of the Living, in Whose Eyes.” The text was written by John Ellerton, whose hymn, “The Day Thou Gavest,” is well regarded in some quarters and has appeared in brotherhood hymnals since at least Jorgensen’s Great Songs of the Church (both editions). The tune used in PHASS was composed by C. E. Couchman in 2011, presumably…

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How To Sell A Lie

This blog – as well as the Facebook Page to which it is connected – is generally A Politics-Free Zone. But since this is an Election Year in the Virtuous Wonderland that is Illinois politics (only three of four recent governors – bipartisan – have served time in prison) and in other places where corruption is Officially Unknown, it is increasingly difficult to ignore – especially in the Political Paradise known as Chicago.

So please forgive the irresistible urge to record a few Obvious Observations on how it is so easy to foist off on an Unsuspecting Population any Demonstrable Untruth deemed Necessary. And since this is normally a space devoted to Matters Religious and Historical, I should note that, Historically, these tactics have worked just about as well in the Religious Realm.

So, How does one Sell A Lie?

First, Give The Lie a Make-Over. Shave off a corner or three. File off some rough edges. Shampoo it. Apply a bit of polish. The Base (the core of True Believers in The Lie) will still recognize The Lie and support it – even in a Slightly Modified form. They will understand the need for Perfumers and Costumers in order to make it more palatable to the Great Unwashed Masses who are not yet Wise Enough to accept The Lie as the Truth.

Create Plausible Deniability. Cleaning It Up and Watering It Down also creates numerous opportunities to negate criticism of The Lie and its Guardians. To obfuscate, even. No, we didn’t really mean to say that. Someone mis-spoke. Mistakes were made. You MisUnderstood (read: Opponents of the Lie are really not Smart Enough to understand it – poor souls).

Cry Foul and Claim Misinterpretation. Cover your own fabrications with allegations of the same. Tu Quoque to you too, buddy. Misquote. Omit significant details. Launch a few ad hominem arguments.

Construct Emotional Cover. A sick child. A disabled husband. A crippling disease. A dead pet, even. Anything will do, really, if it generates enough Emotional Resonance for many in The Audience to give the perpetrator A Pass Due To Overwhelming Grief – justification for even the most outrageous statements in support of The Lie. Or crafting the demolition of any who dare challenge it.

Demonize the Opposition. They’re not Really interested in enforcing the law, or seeing that rules are applied fairly. They’re just Nasty, Shrewd, and Brutish. Interested only with the Wanton Destruction of Innocent Bystanders. Devilish. Klutzes in Satan’s Service.

Proclaim Yourself Under Attack. Then declare yourself Exhausted from the Herculean Effort and Unable To Continue. Take yourself off the air (and/or Social Media) for at least a day and a half. It’s sure to generate sympathy and support – maybe even more financial contributions.

Form a Committee of the Committed to Run Interference. The Lie will go so much farther with an Army of Enablers who are much more concerned with correcting anyone with the audacity to criticize, than with worrying about whether The Lie might in fact be, well, Untrue. Counterfactual, even. Maybe downright False. If you can’t produce an angry Mama Bear type, protecting her poor li’l cubbies, maybe just an Outraged Friend or 2nd cousin, preferably with all the personality of a wounded rhinoceros, may do in a pinch. If all else fails, a pack of hyenas should suffice.

Utilize Overheated Rhetoric. Dark Forces are working to silence The Truth of The Lie. Opponents are perpetrating the most Critical and Devious Assault on Motherhood and Apple Pie since, ummm, at least last quarter. Invoke the wrath of the Almighty. We Stand At Armageddon, And We Do Battle For The Lord.

Stage It Professionally. Good video is absolutely essential — steady pans, tight shots on the featured heroes — and don’t neglect the music, building to a conclusive climax. If funding is an issue, borrow the semi-professional Praise Team (and their backing band) from the local megachurch — call it “grassroots” to make it sound chic.

But perhaps this overstates matters. Maybe I should retract what I said about such tactics working in the Religious Realm as well as for Politicos. We all know Christians would never do such things – right?

Where Were You?

stevewolfgang:

Re-blogging from 9-11 last year – a perpetual anniversary, and another date which shall live In infamy.

Originally posted on ἐκλεκτικός:

Numerous posts on Facebook and other social media by friends (virtual and real-life ones) have asked, “What were you doing on 9/11?”

I was prepping to lecture to my Tuesday classes at the University of Kentucky – History of Journalism (JOU 535) and an introductory survey section of HIS 109 – grappling with Reconstruction (which A. Lincoln called the greatest challenge ever presented to practical statesmanship) and the aftermath of the Civil War (stagger your imagination by thinking of the loss 9/11 EVERY Tuesday for four years).

After a brief lecture, I let the students, disturbed and full of emotion (as we all were) talk and ask questions – “Does this mean we are at war?” or “how could this happen?!” – and then dismissed to gather around the TV sets tuned to news broadcasts all over campus. Many of the History of Journalism students (and I) were scheduled to…

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Life in the Trenches–Ashkelon Grid 16

stevewolfgang:

What archaeologists do …. from Trent & Rebekah’s Blog

Originally posted on Trent and Rebekah:

First of all, we would like to thank our readers for their interest in our photo product–we had a wonderful time putting it together during our Vagabonding Tour, and it is now linked in our sidebar if you would like more information.  As today marks our 2nd Independence Day in Ashkelon, we would like to describe what life has been like for Rebekah for the past 4 weeks.

One of the exciting aspects of field archaeology is the various experiences available: occupation levels, the nature of finds, even the methods used can vary depending on where you are digging, and what you are digging for. Last season, I had the opportunity to work in Grid 38, where we carefully traced floors and occasionally broke out the delicate tools to flake up layers of phytolith (vestiges of organic materials like baskets or grain) or carefully pedestal beautiful Philistine artifacts…

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Mind Your Music – by Doy Moyer

Mind Your Music – by Doy Moyer

Worth reading at

http://www.mindyourfaith.com/mind-your-music.html

 

Outline:

I. A Case for Mindful Singing
A. The Message of our Music
B. Music as a Communication Tool
II. A Brief Religious Musical History
A. What about Instruments?
B. What about women?
III. Fundamentals of Music
A. Role of the Song Leader vs the Role of the Congregation
B. Pitch
C. Rhythm
D. Expression
IV. Final Thoughts

Passages for reference:

Ecclesiastes 5:2-7
Romans 15:1-11
1 Corinthians 14
Ephesians 5:15-21
Colossians 3:12-17; 4:2-6
James 5:13

 

 

Please Don’t Steal Hymns!

From Matt Bassford’s excellent blog, His Excellent Word

Please Don’t Steal Hymns!

Monday, September 1, 2014

If you copy or distribute a copyrighted hymn without the copyright holder’s permission, you are breaking the law.  ALWAYS ask permission before copying or distributing!

New hymns and praise songs are exciting.  Nearly all of us who love the worship of God love the opportunity to “sing a new song”, and we are eager to introduce these new songs in our own assemblies and other devotional settings.  This eagerness is commendable.  However, we must make sure that our eagerness does not lead us to violate the law.

At the bottom of most modern hymns, there appears a notice that looks something like the following:

© Copyright 2014 by John Smith, Owner.  All Rights Reserved.

It indicates that the author has chosen to copyright the hymn.  Legally speaking, such a copyright notice is unnecessary.  Since 1989, United States law has provided that any creative work is automatically copyrighted, whether the creator includes a notice or not.  However, most hymnists include the notice anyway, to preclude the possibility of someone unintentionally infringing their copyrights.  As a practical matter, it is safe to assume that any work copyrighted 1923 or later is still under copyright.

Under Sec. 106 of Title 17 of the United States Code, the copyright owner has the exclusive rights to do the following:

  1. “Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords.”  In other words, if you make a copy of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission (whether by transcription or scanning, photocopying, etc.), you are breaking the law.  If you make a recording of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  2. “Prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.”  In other words, if you change the words of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.  If you rearrange the harmony of a copyrighted hymn without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  3. “Distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership.”  In other words, if you photocopy a copyrighted hymn and pass it out at a singing without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.   If you e-mail a PowerPoint or PDF of a copyrighted hymn to a friend without the owner’s permission, you are breaking the law.
  4. “Perform the copyrighted work publicly.”  In other words, if you sing a copyrighted hymn in an assembly without the owner’s permission (which is presumed to be granted when the owner grants permission to copy), you are breaking the law.
  5. “Display the copyrighted work publicly.”  In other words, if you make a PowerPoint of a copyrighted hymn without the author’s permission, you are breaking the law.

Copyright law is civil rather than criminal, so there is no prison time attached to any of these offenses.  However, any of these actions gives the copyright owner grounds for a lawsuit.  According to 17 U.S.C. §§ 504-505, statutory damages may be as high as $150,000, in addition to court costs and attorney’s fees.

Now, on the basis of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, neither I nor any other hymnist I know would sue a brother in Christ for copyright infringement, but it is certainly ungodly to treat our forbearance as license to violate the law!  According to Romans 13:1, God commands Christians to obey the law.  Copyright violators, then, engage in activity that is not merely illegal but also sinful.

The cure for the disease is simple.  Before copying or distributing a copyrighted hymn, always ask the owner’s permission!  In our digitally connected age, this is much less onerous than it has ever been before.  All the hymnists I know have e-mail addresses or Facebook accounts.

I have never yet refused permission to someone who wanted to copy or even to record one of my hymns, and (even though hymnists do have the Scriptural right to ask compensation), I have never asked a penny in return.   I also make the effort to reply to permission requests in as timely a fashion as possible.  Once again, this is generally true of the writers with whom I am familiar.  Alternatively, websites such as songsofthechurch.org have secured the relevant permissions from copyright owners and offer the opportunity to download clean copies for a nominal fee.

All hymnists write because we want our hymns to be sung.  However, we also want our work protected, from everything from innocent transcription errors to would-be editors who think they can improve our hymns by rewriting them.  Copyright is the legal means we have to make sure that the integrity of our work is preserved.  It is ethical, legal, and godly for all who want to use our hymns to honor those copyrights, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.  All of us should want to glorify God with new hymns, but we must make sure that we glorify Him with our actions too, by obeying the law of the land.

Think A Comma Means Nothing?

This is more than grammar and punctuation … but it begins there.

How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand

By Leah McGrath Goodman / Newsweek / August 14, 2014 (Excerpts from a much longer Newsweek article)

…on the Friday before Christmas Eve 2011, then-U.S. assistant attorney general Virginia Seitz quietly issued a 13-page legal opinion that changed everything. She reinterpreted the federal Wire Act of 1961, which, until that time, had been viewed by U.S. courts—and the DOJ’s own Criminal Division—as prohibiting all forms of online gambling….

For Seitz, reversing 50 years of legal precedent came down to the placement of a comma. In the key passage of the Wire Act, the description of the ban on gambling over state or international lines applies to “bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers.”

The first comma, for Seitz, was crucial. The question, she said, boiled down to whether “sporting event or contest” modified each instance of “bets or wagers” or only the instance it directly followed. She decided the former, writing, “We conclude that the [DOJ] Criminal Division’s premise is incorrect and that the Wire Act prohibits only the transmission of communications related to bets or wagers on sporting events or contests.”

Punctuation aside, Seitz opened wide the door to online gambling—and in the process, critics say, may have opened a Pandora’s box. Lawmakers and experts warn that online gambling is dangerously addictive for some, especially children raised in a culture of online gaming and smartphones.

Seitz, who came from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (once characterized by Newsweek as “the most important government office you’ve never heard of,” and the same office that wrote the legal justifications for drones and waterboarding), was appointed in June 2011 by President Barack Obama and previously worked at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, where Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, met and worked until they married.

“That a single, relatively unknown person in an office at the Justice Department can just bring about such massive change to our economy in direct contradiction to what Congress sees as the governing law signals a gravitational shift in power that is very concerning,” says Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University in Washington.

“The Office of Legal Counsel once held a unique and revered position within the DOJ and government as a whole,” Turley continues. “It was viewed as the gold standard of legal analysis. This office was once tasked with the job of saying no to the president. Its job was to objectively interpret the intent of our laws passed by Congress. It had a tradition of independence and excellence, and that tradition was viewed as inviolate by past presidents….

What has not changed about that tradition, says Turley, is that once the Office of Legal Counsel has spoken, its word is treated as sacrosanct by the other government agencies. (Reached by Newsweek, the DOJ, as well as the FBI, both confirmed that, as a result of Seitz’s opinion, they have ceased cracking down on online gambling and will leave it up to the preferences of the states.) “It’s problematic that this office’s opinions are treated as legally binding, as if they came down from Mount Olympus,” Turley says. “Even in its heyday, it should never have been this way.”

“This is just the beginning,” predicts Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representative from Utah, the only state other than Hawaii that prohibits all forms of gambling, even the lottery…. “Many parents already can see how easy it is for a kid to get addicted to a video game that does not involve money. You put them on the Internet and they are gambling with money, now you have a real problem.” … Chaffetz, who has become a bit of a gaming connoisseur as he pushes to restrict the spread of online gambling across the states, is only too aware that the line between real-money “gambling” and social-media “gaming” has all but disappeared, especially for the young.

……………

“The millennials are greater risk takers; they’ve grown up on the technology of video games and watching other young people winning the World Series of Poker, and they think they are smarter than everyone else,” says Jeffrey Derevensky, a professor of applied child psychology and psychiatry at Montreal’s McGill University and one of the world’s leading authorities on youth gambling addiction. On average, he says, 5 to 8 percent of university students are what he would classify as “at-risk gamblers,” with 2 to 4 percent suffering from “a serious gambling addiction.”

“Online and mobile gambling is going to be a big thing, and those aged 18 to 25 have the highest prevalence of gambling-related problems among adults,” says Derevensky, who has treated dozens of kids at McGill’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors.

One of the hardest parts of the job, Derevensky says, is “getting parents and teachers to realize the dangers of gambling are often no less severe and sometimes much greater than drinking, reckless driving, drugs and unprotected sex.”

Once hooked, kids can take years to recover—or never recover—with the most severe cases only able to substitute one high-risk behavior for another. Some kids even commit suicide. “Once they’re addicted, these kids will take their parents’ credit cards, gas cards, anything they can find to gamble with,” he says. … when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways to their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance.”

Marc Potenza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University specializing in the neurobiology of gambling, impulse control and addictive disorders, has noticed the same link. “We are only beginning to understand this condition and the potential for treatments, using brain imaging to investigate the neurocircuitry that underlies human decision making and similarities between substance abuse and gambling disorders,” he tells Newsweek….

Seitz’s opinion has essentially opened the U.S. market to what some estimate could be a $1 trillion global industry. The Center for Public Integrity has reported on the battle between offshore companies and brick-and-mortar casinos over how to regulate online gambling, with both sides investing heavily in lobbying and campaign spending….

As an Illinois state senator, Obama told National Public Radio in 1999 that herefused to take any money from the gambling industry, even though there were no limits on contributions in Illinois or on tribal donors. “It is very hard to separate yourself from the interests of the gaming industry if you’re receiving money,” Obama said. The president, who enjoys poker and blackjack, has often gone on the record stating his concerns about “the moral and social cost of gambling.”

Yet by 2007 Obama had cracked the list of the U.S. Senate’s top 10 biggest recipients of gaming money, and by 2008 he had risen to become the Senate’s No. 3 highest-paid recipient. During his 2012 re-election campaign, he accepted more money from the gambling industry and tribal casinos than any individual politician now in Washington.

McGill’s Derevensky, a consultant to international online gaming companies, says it’s not just campaign finance that’s at issue. Only a decade or two ago, most politicians would have been loath to cozy up to the gambling industry, he observes. But the financial crisis has brought a new urgency to raise revenue at both the state and federal levels, where the proceeds of gambling can provide valuable contributions. In the U.S., an online gambling license alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, in addition to the proceeds states can reap from the winnings of casinos and online gambling companies.

“Since the economy tanked around the world, you’re seeing the greatest move to gambling ever,” Derevensky tells Newsweek. “Three states have online gambling, and you will see it proliferated throughout the United States. We’re never going back. The governments are just too dependent on it for tax revenue.”

The Obama administration’s ties to the industry go beyond money. Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and a close confidant, earlier this year signed on as a consultant to the American Gaming Association, a powerful pro-gaming lobby in Washington that is pushing to make gambling more commonplace and less taboo.

Since Seitz handed down her 2011 opinion, Sidley Austin, her former employer, has expanded its deal-making practice in the gambling space, which now includes major markets in North America, Europe and Asia … Seitz, who left the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel in December 2013, plans to return to Sidley Austin to practice law, the firm’s Washington office tells Newsweek. In addition to being the place where the Obamas met, Sidley Austin has been one of the most generous contributors to Obama’s two election campaigns, donating $606,260 to his 2008 campaign and $400,883 to his 2012 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. …

Read more at http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/22/how-washington-opened-floodgates-online-poker-dealing-parents-bad-hand-264459.html