Reaching Upward web videos

Reaching Upward web videos

Ben Hall and David Mast shooting the 4/28/2013 video – How We View Others – – thank you two for your efforts!

Photo: Ben Hall and David Mast shooting the 4/28/2013 video - How We View Others - - thank you two for your efforts!

Footnote 18 – D.A. Carson, ed., Worship By the Book

D.A. Carson, ed. (with Mark Ashton, R. Kent Hughes, and Timothy J. Keller) Worship By the Book (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), pp. 48-49, 52-53 (Kindle Edition, @Location 689).

Context: In the opening chapter of this collaborative work, Carson quotes what he describes as “one of the most succinct summaries of such evidence as the New Testament provides” from an essay by Edmund Clowney, who observes that “The New Testament indicates, by precept and example, what the elements of [corporate] worship are.”  Carson then continues:

“I am not sure that we would be wise to apply the expression ‘corporate worship’ to any and all activities in which groups of Christians faithfully engage – going to a football match, say, or shopping for groceries.  Such activities doubtless fall under the ‘do all to the glory of God’ rubric and therefore properly belong to the ways in which we honor God; therefore they do belong to worship in a broad sense. Yet the activities the New Testament describes when Christians gather together in assembly…are more restricted and more focused.  Doubtless there can be some mutual edification going on when a group of Christians take a sewing class together, but in the light of what the New Testament pictures Christians doing when they assemble together, there is something slightly skewed about calling a sewing class an activity of corporate worship.  So there is a narrower sense of worship, it appears; and this narrower sense is bound up with corporate worship, with what the assembled church does in the pages of the New Testament.”

[In the pages of the New Testament] “there is no mention of a lot of other things: drama, “special” (performance) music, choirs, artistic dance, organ solos.  Many churches are so steeped in these or other traditions that it would be unthinkable to have a Sunday morning service without, say ‘special music’ – though there is ot so much as a hint of this practice in the new Testament.44

44 By ‘special music’ I am including not only the solos and small groups that a slightly earlier generation of evangelical churches customarily presented but also the very substantial number of ‘performance’ items that current ‘worship teams’ normally include in worship.  These are often not seen by the teams themselves as ‘special music’ or ‘performance music,’ but that is of course what they are.

45 There are many entailments to these cultural differences beyond the differences in the corporate services themselves. For example, Britain, without much place for “special music” in corporate worship, does not have to feed a market driven by the search for more “special music.” Therefore, a great deal of intellectual and spiritual energy is devoted to writing songs that will be sung congregationally. This has resulted in a fairly wide production of new hymnody in more or less contemporary guise, some of it junk, some of it acceptable but scarcely enduring, and some of it frankly superb. By contrast, our addiction to ‘special music’ means that a great deal of creative energy goes into supplying products for that market. Whether it is good or bad, it is almost never usable by a congregation. The result is that far more of our congregational pieces are dated than in Britain, or are no more than repetitious choruses.

There’s more nuance in the extended discussion – read for more observations. Usual caveats apply – without accepting every conclusion or using terms identically, these comments have the ‘ring of truth.’   (Hat tip to John Gentry for the Kindle reference) –SW

Battlefields of the Civil War-An awesome interactive map tool

Very cool Civil War map app!

Civil War History

Hat tip to my good friend Dr. Laura Munski, who shared this interesting site, created by ESRI, who produces the software ArcGIS, which is used for GIS, cartography, and many other uses. They also have a series of sites, called Story Maps, which all look interesting (yes, I am into geography as well as history).

The Story Map on the Civil War is quite interesting, as it highlights battles, in chronological order, offers the user the chance to narrow the range, and, it animates the battle sites on the base map. One great feature is the linking to the battle sites through the Civil War Trust, who links to this site. Civil War Trust is a pretty cool site for learning about the war, and battlefield preservation. It also has a page for smartphone apps (if you are able to enjoy that technology).

If you have…

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The Revolutionary Effect of the Paperback Book – Smithsonian

The Revolutionary Effect of the Paperback Book – Smithsonian

The Revolutionary Effect of the Paperback Book

This simple innovation transformed the reading habits of an entire nation

By Clive Thompson

  • Illustration by Alanna Cavanagh
  • Smithsonian magazine, May 2013


30 is the number of trees, in millions, cut down annually to produce books in the U.S. (Alanna Cavanagh)

The iPhone became the world’s best-selling smartphone partly because Steve Jobs was obsessed with the ergonomics of everyday life. If you want people to carry a computer, it had to hit the “sweet spot” where it was big enough to display “detailed, legible graphics, but small enough to fit comfortably in the hand and pocket.”

Seventy-five years ago, another American innovator had the same epiphany: Robert Fair de Graff realized he could change the way people read by making books radically smaller. Back then, it was surprisingly hard for ordinary Americans to get good novels and nonfiction. The country only had about 500 bookstores, all clustered in the biggest 12 cities, and hardcovers cost $2.50 (about $40 in today’s currency).

De Graff revolutionized that market when he got backing from Simon & Schuster to launch Pocket Books in May 1939. A petite 4 by 6 inches and priced at a mere 25 cents, the Pocket Book changed everything about who could read and where. Suddenly people read all the time, much as we now peek at e-mail and Twitter on our phones. And by working with the often gangster-riddled magazine-distribution industry, De Graff sold books where they had never been available before—grocery stores, drugstores and airport terminals. Within two years he’d sold 17 million.

“They literally couldn’t keep up with demand,” says historian Kenneth C. Davis, who documented De Graff’s triumph in his book Two-Bit Culture. “They tapped into a huge reservoir of Americans who nobody realized wanted to read.”

Other publishers rushed into the business. And, like all forms of new media, pocket-size books panicked the elites. Sure, some books were quality literature, but the biggest sellers were mysteries, westerns, thinly veiled smut—a potential “flood of trash” that threatened to “debase farther the popular taste,” as the social critic Harvey Swados worried. But the tumult also gave birth to new and distinctly American literary genres, from Mickey Spillane’s gritty detective stories to Ray Bradbury’s cerebral science fiction.

The financial success of the paperback became its cultural downfall. Media conglomerates bought the upstart pocket-book firms and began hiking prices and chasing after quick-money best-sellers, including jokey fare like 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. And while paperbacks remain commonplace, they’re no longer dizzingly cheaper than hardcovers.

Instead, there’s a new reading format that’s shifting the terrain. Mini-tablets and e-readers not only fit in your pocket; they allow your entire library to fit in your pocket. And, as with De Graff’s invention, e-readers are producing new forms, prices and publishers.

The upshot, says Mike Shatzkin—CEO of the Idea Logical Company, a consultancy for publishers—is that “more reading is taking place,” as we tuck it into ever more stray moments. But he also worries that as e-book consumers shift more to multifunctional tablets, reading might take a back seat to other portable entertainment: more “Angry Birds,” less Jennifer Egan. Still, whatever the outcome, the true revolution in portable publishing began not with e-books but with De Graff, whose paperback made reading into an activity that travels everywhere.

Read more:

Wealthiest Cities in America – Huffington Post/NerdWallet

Wealthiest Cities in America – Huffington Post/NerdWallet

Wealthiest Cities in America – by Aaron Sankin – Huffington Post

Posted: 04/29/2013 4:10 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/30/2013 3:20 am EDT

There are 16 cities in the United States where more than 50% of the households in the city earn over $100,000 per year.  California and Texas dominate this list of high-earners.  Most of these cities are well-to-do suburbs of larger metro areas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago (Naperville comes in at #8).

There are lots of ways to measure the wealthiest city in America. You can look at median household income or the percentage of people who rake inungodly amounts of money every year.  However, while those sorts of measures can tell you a lot about a given place, they typically only give a portrait of a small subset of the population.

Personal finance site NerdWallet’s new study, on the other hand, measures the richest cities in the country by crunching U.S. Census Department data to determine which cities have largest percentage of households earning over $100,000 per year.  By setting the income bar comparatively lower than many other studies, NerdWallet was able to capture a larger portion of a city’s population and really measure broad-based prosperity.

What NerdWallet’s analysts found were 16 cities, primarily clustered in California and Texas, where over half of the households earn more than $100,000 annually. All of the cities are well-heeled suburbs orbiting economically vibrant metropoles.

Interestingly, because the measure penalizes a city for a high rate of income inequality, the towns populating the list might surprise you. For example, most San Francisco Bay Area residents would likely point to some of the tonier suburbs of Marin County or Silicon Valley as the richest towns in their midst. However, it’s actually the East Bay community of San Ramon, most famously the home base of oil giant Chevron, that ranks as the richest city in the nation with nearly two-thirds of its populace earning over $100,000.

Check out Nerdwallet’s list of the richest cities in the country in the slideshow below:

NerdWallet’s Richest Cities
8. Naperville, IL Percentage of households making over $100,000: 54.8% Suburb of: Chicago

8. Naperville, IL
Percentage of households making over $100,000: 54.8%
Suburb of: Chicago

A HYMN FOR TODAY – Our Faithful Care


Our Faithful Care

“Glory to God!” In all lamentation,
Teach us to suffer like our Lord;
Then may we seek Thy holy compassion,
Our arms outstretched, Thy love outpoured.

“Glory to God!” In all tribulation,
Measure the portion each can bear;
Cover new pain with fresh consolation –
Balm for our hearts to heal and share.

“Glory to God!” In all our tomorrows,
Ready Thy throne for coming prayers,
Some future tears, or some distant sorrows;
Be Thou our God, our Faithful Care. – C.A. Roberts and Glenda B. Schales, 1997

Tune: PARAKALEO – C.A. Roberts and Glenda B. Schales, 1997

#419 in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2012

OUR FAITHFUL CARE takes thoughts from 2 Corinthians 1. Each verse glorifies God for the sufferings and trials He permits. The three verses pray for the proper response to suffering, ask God to allow suffering in tolerable doses, and to expect more prayers as His children experience future trials. (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:3-11).

Benefits of Singing

Benefits of Singing

Huffington Post – Posted: 04/28/2013 8:53 am EDT

Whether it’s an a cappella group or the church chorale, a small new study shows that singing in a choir could do a lot for your state of mind.

The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Music and conducted by researchers at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Turkey, show that singing in a choir is associated with decreased levels of anxiety.

The study included 35 people who were assigned to either one hour of choir singing, or one hour of “unstructured time” (the control group). Researchers analyzed their positive and negative affect, as well as their levels of anxiety and salivary amylase (amylase is an enzyme that is often used as a marker for inflammation).

Researchers found that the participants assigned to sing in the choir had decreases in their negative affect and anxiety, compared with the control group. Meanwhile, the control group experienced more anxiety and negative affect before and after the hour period.

The benefits of joining a choir could go beyond mental health, too. Norwegian researchers previously reported that participation in a choir is linked with better health and workplace engagement, ScienceNordic reported.

“The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological,” Graham Welch, chair of music education at the Institute of Education at the University of London, said in a Heart Research UK statement. The benefits of singing range from the physical — because it boosts oxygen levels in the blood — to the psychological — because it lowers stress and boosts feelings of community, he said.

For more wonderful health benefits of music, click through the slideshow:

11 Health Benefits Of Music

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