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In This Issue:
From the Director
In thinking about teaching, it is appropriate to hear from a student intern who has been working at CCEL. Below are some of Laura de Jong's thoughts concerning her CCEL intern experiences this past summer.
As I sit in the office on a hot July day, I can honestly tell you that I haven't the foggiest notion what most of the people here are doing. I have some idea of the projects they're working on: we've got people uploading books, creating a book editing program, fixing bugs in the coding, entering hymn data, writing about hymn stories, and researching up-and-coming web developments. But apart from that, my not-very-tech-savvy self is at a loss for what working on those projects actually entails. At any given moment of the day, people will be discussing web programming in what sounds to me like another language, others will be punching the air in excitement after they find that ornery bug in a piece of coding, and I'll chime in with a particularly fascinating hymn story. No two people are ever working on the same project, and yet, essentially, we're all doing the same thing.
We work on all these different projects because we want to make books and hymns and useful information available to anyone and everyone. That is our one “project” here at CCEL. This is the vision that drives the work we do, whether we’re here for the summer or have been here for a number of years already. So we hope and pray that our coding, research, fist pumps, high fives, phone calls, frustrated glares at the computer screen, and everything else that happens in this office, have created something which will be used by God to be a blessing to you.
-Laura de Jong
"The Self-Reflective Teacher in Christian Ministry"
In this article, Dr. Witvliet lists six pedagogical questions that are typically encountered in the world of education. Each question is then discussed in terms of how that question can be "fruitful for anyone eager to teach the gospel of Jesus."
The article concludes with these encouraging words, "Whether you are teaching a church membership class, a nursing home enrichment course, a deacon's training event, your high school youth group, or a seminary-level theology class, you have the opportunity to unfold nothing less than the beauty, power, and glory of the gospel of Jesus. When its grandeur strikes you again, there is no need to contain your joy. Your testimony may end up being contagious." Although this article deals specifically with curriculum at a seminary, Dr. Witvliet's article also discusses teaching in a variety of settings and is relevant to us all.
What We're Reading
Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Lord, Teach Us to Pray brings together twenty-three sermons by Scottish theologian and preacher, Alexander Whyte. Divided into three parts, this collection of sermons describes the general features of prayer, certain important qualities of prayer, and a variety of examples of prayer from biblical characters. The title of the book is taken from Luke 11:1, and the sermons are from several prayer series Whyte delivered from 1895 to 1906. Possessing a strong education, Whyte often incorporates the work of theologians, philosophers, poets, and scientists in his well-crafted sermons. His sermons, though originally delivered over one hundred years ago, retain their power of conviction and spiritual aptitude. Enriched with spiritual insight, Whyte's sermons demonstrate how the Lord can teach us to pray.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"Now Thank We All Our God" by Martin Rinkart; Translated by Catherine Winkworth
It's appropriate to think about this hymn as we transition from summer into the fall when many of us return to school and/or work. We thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us this summer, and as we move into our regular routines and activities we ask that God would be continually with us and bless us.
Martin Rinkart was a minister in the city of Eilenburg during the Thirty Years War. Apart from battles, lives were lost in great number during this time due to illnesses and disease spreading quickly throughout impoverished cities. In the Epidemic of 1637, Rinkart officiated at over four thousand funerals, sometimes fifty per day. In the midst of these horrors, it’s difficult to imagine maintaining faith and praising God in this sort of situation, and yet, that’s exactly what Rinkart did. Sometime in the next twenty years, he wrote the hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God,” originally meant to be a prayer said before meals. Rinkart recognized that our God is faithful, and even when the world looks bleak, He is “bounteous” and is full of blessings, if only we look for them. Blessings as seemingly small as a dinner meal, or as large as the end of a brutal war and unnecessary bloodshed are all reasons to lift up our thanks to God, with our hearts, our hands, and our voices.
Edwards thoroughly discusses Hebrews 5 -- focusing on verse 12 -- in an extensive discourse containing a lengthy introduction followed by 6 sections. Edwards explains his purpose in this work with these words: "In handling this subject, I shall show—what is intended by divinity? What kind of knowledge in divinity is intended? Why knowledge in divinity is necessary. And why all Christians should make a business of endeavouring to grow in this knowledge."
If you would like more information on Hebrews 5:12, this would be a good place to start.
Book of Mark Study Group
Participants in the Book of Mark Study group have been registering for this group and posting introductions in the study group forum, but it's not too late to join! The first lessons will start in early September, and a study outline has already been posted in the forum. Please contact Ken Verhulst (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or would like to join this group.Join a CCEL online study group