Archive for August, 2014

Getting Along Better with Others

August 29th, 2014 No comments

Would you like to get along better with your husband or wife, or with you children, especially your teenager?  Or, if you are a teenager, would you like getting along better with your parents or with a teacher in high school or college.  Or, if you are a teacher, are you making mistakes that lead students to feel put upon?  Or, at work, do you want to get along better with your boss, or do higher-ups in the company want to get along better with the people working under their supervision?  And on the list goes: let your imagination complete the list for you. 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to know about a very common error in grammar that so many of us make when we are talking with others—a very simple error that is easy to correct.  I am talking about whether to use “to” or “with.” Read more…

Overcoming Fear and Disappointment

August 20th, 2014 No comments

His family moved in 1831, and he lost his job.  In 1832, he ran for the state legislature, and he lost.  In 1833, he and a friend borrowed money and started a store; his friend died, and the store lost money and went out of business.  In 1834, he was elected to the state legislature. In 1836 and 1838 he was re-elected to the state legislature.  In 1838 he was defeated in his attempt to become the speaker of the state legislature.  In 1840 and 1842 he was re-elected to the state legislature.  In 1843 he was defeated in his effort to become his party’s nominee for the United States House of Representatives.  In 1846 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives.  In 1848 he failed in his effort for re-election to the House.  In 1849, he failed in his attempt to be appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office in Washington, DC.  In 1855 was defeated in his attempt to get his party’s nomination for the United States Senate.  In 1856 he was defeated in his attempt to win his party’s nomination for Vice President of the United States.  In 1858 he was defeated again in a run for the United States Senate.  In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Read more…

Gospel Music: Evangelists and their Song Leaders

August 11th, 2014 No comments

This is a continuation of last week’s blog: “What is Gospel Music?”  

The origin and development of Gospel music goes hand in hand with the history of evangelism in the United States.  Dwight L. Moody, an evangelist of the mid-to-late 1800s, was the primary “architect” of a new kind of church music that has become what we now call Gospel Music.  Moody’s song leader and soloist, Ira D. Sankey, was the “craftsman” who composed the music that fulfilled the architect’s vision.  

The initial thrust of Colonial America’s “Great Awakening” (1730-1740s) focused on “reviving” the religious fervor of church members, and was immediately followed by the trail of itinerate evangelists who went from town to town pitching their tents and preaching “hellfire and damnation” to the unchurched.  It was then that Dwight Moody came to the fore with a new approach to evangelism that was utilized later by evangelist Billy Sunday and refined to its greatest use by Billy Graham. Read more…

What is Gospel Music?

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

Recently I was asked, “What is Gospel music?”  That would have been very easy to answer prior to the mid-1800s.  Prior to then, the term “Gospel music” was not used.  Instead, people referred to “Gospel hymns”—stately, dignified religious songs with definite references to the Gospel message of the New Testament.  One of the earliest of these Gospel hymns goes back to 1529, when Martin Luther wrote the words and composed the music of the stately and much sung A Mighty Fortress is our God.  The theme of the hymn is “relying on Jesus Christ to overcome the Devil,” with specific references to Psalm 46, Galatians 5:22, and Philippians 2:9-10.  This is not, however, the kind of music we think of today as Gospel music.

In the mid-1800s two men developed a new kind of religious music that was to become today’s Gospel music.  The two men were famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his music director and soloist, Ira D. Sankey, known as the “Sweet Singer.” Read more…

Ingenious Compromise: Reason for Hope

August 1st, 2014 No comments

Here are some headlines appearing in major newspapers recently:

  • “A Deeply Divided Supreme Court . . .”;
  • “Divided Congress is Deeply Fractionalized . . .”;
  • “The Deep Divide in Congress . . .”;
  • “Obama Warns a Divided Congress . . .”;
  • “The Sharp Political Divide in America . . .”;
  • “The Most Divided Congress Ever . . .” 

These stories all suggest that the United States today is so divided along political lines that the politicians are unable to pass meaningful legislation and that judges (even in the Supreme Court) are unable to make unbiased legal decisions.  But does a sharply divided America necessarily mean that no meaningful legislation can emerge from our political leaders on both sides of the aisle?  I don’t think so!  Read more…