The below is slightly modified from an email I sent my congregation Sunday.
Trying to enact Christian values in the public square and trying to map Christian virtues onto candidates and ballot questions can be challenging. There’s not a one-to-one match between what Augustine called the city of God and this earthly city.
Still, part of our calling as citizens of the kingdom of God is to be engaged earthly citizens. What Paul wrote to the church in Corinth applies to us: we are Christ’s ambassadors, joining God in his ongoing work of reconciling the world to himself. We want to be like the people God called through Jeremiah to seek the shalom of the cities in which we live.
It’s important that we bring our whole selves into the public square: our love, our hope, our witness, our God-shaped discernment, and our biblically informed values. We want to live out our faith in city council meetings and town halls and online forums and community events and in the voting booth.
Midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout, so however our Christian convictions lead each of us to civic engagement, I hope we will make every effort—acting in good faith as both a citizen of the heavenly city and this earthly one—to vote on Tuesday. (Click here to learn more: polling places, hours, candidates, ballots.) And encourage your friends, family, and neighbors—in this state and in others—to vote, as well.
As we vote, let’s be constant in prayer for our city, state, country, world, and all who lead… that they would pursue justice, freedom, truth, and love for all people. Here’s a prayer for elections from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer to help shape our praying:
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today I read Psalm 1 out of the just-released Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition, and it was just as wonderful as I’ve long imagined it would be!
First and foremost, this is due to the power of Scripture itself. The Psalms are just amazing. And there’s something about reading the Bible in its first languages that fosters (at least for me) a deeper sense of connection to the church throughout time and space.
But until this month, Bible readers and original language students could only read the Septuagint with the aid of a lexicon or Bible software. Other than a few tools with selected passages, there was no edition of the Septuagint with footnoted vocabulary and parsings throughout, so that you could pick up one book and read, with all the help you needed at the bottom of the page.
I fully applaud the decision to make this a two-volume work. (How could it be otherwise?) Included underneath the text is an apparatus:
In order to facilitate natural and seamless reading of the text, every word occurring 100 times or fewer in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text (excluding proper names)—as well as every word that occurs more than 100 times in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text but fewer than 30 times in the Greek New Testament—is accompanied by a footnote that provides a contextual gloss for the word and (for verbs only) full parsing.
For everything else there is a Glossary at the back of each volume.
Everything is beautifully typeset–much better-looking than the Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint text (all due respect to that typesetter!). The font is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. The pages are cream-colored (which looks great) and not at all the wispy-thin Bible paper I was expecting. AND the binding is sewn. This Septuagint will last a lifetime.
What does the text itself look like, you wonder?
The only thing I have approximating lack of complete satisfaction with these beautiful volumes is the exclusion of the Odes that are in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text. The decision of editors Greg Lanier and Will Ross is in keeping with a more attested LXX text; besides, other than the Prayer of Manasseh, which they include, the other Odes are already present elsewhere in the Septuagint. Best to think of the Odes as a sort of hymnal for the early church, rather than an actual “book” of the LXX. (The New English Translation of the Septuagint says in its introduction that the Odes have “dubious integrity as a literary unit.”) So I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this “critique” has no textual or methodological grounding whatsoever and is solely rooted in my own desire to read through the worshipful Odes with footnoted vocabulary and parsings. 🙂
Of course, if I know the right places to go, I still can read the Odes:
Now… about that apparatus! The two columns (rather than continuous lines) make it really easy to move back and forth between the vocab/parsings and the text itself. Again, A+ on typesetting and layout. And I so appreciate that Lanier and Ross have included verb parsings… not every reader’s Bible does. This way readers can work both on their vocabulary and their ability to parse less familiar verbs. Here’s a close-up:
I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the work Lanier, Ross, and others put in to this project. A major desideratum of Greek reading and Septuagint studies is finally here, and so far, it has far exceeded my expectations.
A full review is coming later. For now, check out this masterpiece here at CBD, where it is available for a totally-worth-it sale price.
Thanks to the awesome people at Hendrickson for the review copy, sent to me with no expectation as to the content of this review.
If you’re into exercising, you should know about VeloPress. If it’s a sport in the triathlon (or associated topics like nutrition), they’ve got you covered. Here’s a short review of Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Edition, by Patrick Hagerman.
I have barely seen this book since it arrived, since it has been my spouse’s constant companion for her triathlon training. She doesn’t usually travel with (or need) books for exercise, but this one has gone with her to the gym or pool regularly. That’s a good sign.
Here’s the publisher’s description:
Certified USA Triathlon coach and NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year Patrick Hagerman, EdD, reveals a focused, triathlon-specific strength training program that will enable triathletes to push harder during training and on the racecourse when the effort is hardest. Triathletes who master this progressive strength training program will also become more resistant to injury, meaning fewer missed workouts.
Strength Training for Triathletes features 75 of the most effective strength training exercises for triathlon swimming, cycling, and running plus core strength and general conditioning. Full-color photographs illustrate each simple exercise, and exercises are grouped so athletes can focus on their own individual performance limiters. Hagerman simplifies the science underlying strength training, offering easy-to-follow guidelines on resistance and reps that will make triathletes stronger through every phase of the season.
The exercises themselves are split into seven chapters: one for “core conditioning,” and then one each for upper and lower body for swimming, cycling, and running.
The author asks right away: why train for strength when the triathlon is an endurance sport? Why train muscles and not just cardiovascular?
The short answer is that strength training makes muscles stronger, and stronger muscles can perform longer at higher intensities before they fatigue.
Or, in other words, “When you have more muscle to rely on, it takes longer to wear it out.”
As a runner I found compelling the science behind this that Hagerman unpacks. When I think about working out, I only ever want to run (more miles!), but he makes a convincing case for the value of strength training—not just as its own end, but also as a means to the end of better race endurance (and speed).
As for the exercises themselves, the descriptions are short, easy to follow, and accompanied by pictures so you are clear on what to do.
There’s a great accompanying Website for the book, with more exercises and excerpts here.
To quote the apostle Paul, “I know a person in Christ” who has received his reader’s edition of the Septuagint. (Whether Paul’s statement was self-referential or not, mine isn’t.) That means it’s now shipping from CBD, where it is also on sale for a great price. Check it out here, and see my previous post about this long-awaited edition here.
First thing I did when it arrived: I emptied out my pockets and satchel pouches and put my EDC into this suave, all-grown-up version of a Trapper Keeper.
There are more compartments than I have been able to use this first week of owning it, but I think that is sort of the point here: maximum versatility.
Here it is from the front. You can see at the left that it’s got a collapsable carry handle, and a front pocket for a phone or notebook that you want to regularly reference.
The construction is careful:
The logo on the back is subtle and done well:
Here’s a closer look at some of the lines and zippers:
It’s got a pretty slim profile. It measures 8 x 11 inches and weighs 1.4 pounds—not light, but pretty compact for all it does. It’s easy to throw into a satchel or carry around on its own.
So far there are two things I find wanting:
There are tons of loops for pens or cords, but most of them are too big for just one pen or pencil to securely stay put.
There are lots of little pockets (and the mesh insert pictured above is awesome), but just one big pocket for an iPad or larger notebook. One more large pocket would help.
However, the “modular case” is “built to solve the needs of those that carry tech and other small gear,” so perhaps it’s best conceived as one part tech Dopp kit, one part notebook/writing utensil holder.
Where it really excels is in its versatility in helping the user stay organized… plus it looks and feels really good. The leather pictured above (“Rhum”) comes from South America. And it’s full grain!
The Mod Tablet 5 isn’t cheap: $385. In that sense I’d consider it a luxury item.
It’s been a lot of fun to use this first week—I’ll post more after further use. The color of the Mod shown above is “Rhum,” a beautiful, dark, rich brown.
You can read more about it and find purchase information here.
Thanks to This Is Ground for the review sample, sent without expectation as to the content of my review. See our other This Is Ground reviews here and here. Cross-posted also at Words on the Goods.
Yesterday in the mail I received for review a Runner’s World book I’ve been looking forward to reading: How to Make Yourself Poop: And 999 Other Tips All Runners Should Know.
It’s a book of lists. It reads like a series of short, digestible blog posts, which has already made it easier for me to pick up and dive into.
34 chapters are divided into 6 sections:
Section 1: 205 Training Tips
Section 2: 193 Nutrition Tips
Section 3: 126 Gear Tips
Section 4: 158 Motivation Tips
Section 5: 169 Tips for Staying Healthy
Section 6: 157 Racing Tips
(That adds up to 1,008 tips, if you’re curious.)
The book is helpful from the beginning, with “The 5 Golden Rules of Training”:
The vast majority of your miles should feel easy.
Your “easy effort” should be really, really easy.
Increase milage gradually.
Aim for three… quality workouts each week: a speed workout, a long run, and an in-between workout at a comfortably hard pace (a “tempo run”).
Follow every hard or long run with at least one easy or rest day.
As you might guess from the title, the book is playfully irreverent at times (though not in the tiresome way that The Brave Athlete is). Given its nature as a book of lists, I’m not expecting to find in-depth running science or extended philosophical reflections on running. However, I think this might be the first running book I’ve seen that has a whole section on how to lace up your shoes! Something I do before every run, but have barely considered how to do (except to crank them down as tight as possible).
I look forward to digging in more. You can check out the book at Amazon here, and at its publisher’s site (where you can read an excerpt) here.
Thanks to the publisher, who sent me a review copy, but with no expectation as to the content of my review.
This summer we played with PlaSmart’s Watermelon Ball JR, a water toy I thought the kids might play with for a couple minutes and then get bored. But we all found it really fun!
As you can see, it floats! Here the predator stalks its prey:
But it also moves underwater really well. Whether at the beach or (better) in a swimming pool, we had lots of fun passing it to each other and playing keep away by pushing it through the water. Even though it pops up to the surface to float, you can move it around pretty easily underwater.
The ball comes with a mechanism to easily fill it with water from a hose—we filled it to probably about 2/3 full, which ended up working just fine. It hasn’t leaked at all.
Here are a couple of more images from PlaSmart.
The Watermelon Ball is so named because it is:
Designed to look, feel, and behave like a watermelon in water. Real watermelons are nearly neutrally buoyant: first sinking to the bottom then slowly rising to the top, making them ideal for all kinds of water games.
It probably would have been pretty fun to be among the group of people testing out real watermelons to discover that they are “nearly neutrally buoyant” (probably a pool party accident). I didn’t cross-test this toy against a watermelon, so can’t speak to the similarities, but the toy definitely does what it promises.