Friday, September 18, 2015

An autumn tradition: Shakespeare in the North Country

It’s time once again for a favorite part of fall, the American Shakespeare Center performances, and your favorite duty, which is telling others that FREE tickets are now available at the Brewer Bookstore and the Sullivan Student Center. For those who shamelessly procrastinate, FREE tickets should be available at the door of each night's performance.  Since they are FREE, I might be wrong, and if I am, shame on you!

If you’re new to St. Lawrence University, the American Shakespeare Center’s touring troupe, based in Staunton, VA, has visited us for nearly 25 years, since 1992 (we’re one of only 3 colleges in the country with such a long relationship). The actors bring us three shows a year, typically two of Shakespeare’s plays and one from his era, and offer workshops here as well. This year, however, we’ll get to see a late-Victorian comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, along with Henry V, and Julius Caesar. These are modified original practices performances: the house lights stay on, the actors do not perform on an elevated stage (you’re encouraged to stand up to see, as some in Shakespeare’s audience would have done), there are no microphones, and there is lots of music. It’s a lot of fun, particularly if you sit in the front row, where you might become part of the action.

All tickets are FREE this year, but as always I do recommend picking them up early, and arriving to the shows around a half hour early, to catch some of the pre-show music and to get a great seat.

All performances are in Eben Holden Center. The schedule is:

• Thursday, October 8, 7:30 pm, Henry V
• Friday, October 9, 7:30 pm, Henry V
• Saturday, October 10, 7:30 pm, Julius Caesar
• Saturday, October 10, Midnight, The Importance of Being Earnest
• Sunday, October 11, 5:30 pm, The Importance of Being Earnest

Do note that SLU’s traditional midnight performance (did you know we are the only campus in the country for whom the actors are willing to perform at midnight?)—my consistent pick for best show, year after year; there’s some adrenaline in that room—has moved from Friday to Saturday. Sunday’s performance, too, has moved later into the evening by popular request.

Finally, this year, we’re featuring two events in conjunction with the performances:
• a FREE lecture by Dr. Sarah Skwire of the Liberty Fund on “Political Economics in Henry V” in Sykes at 8 pm on Wednesday, October 7
• a FREE panel discussion on “The Economics of Performance and Production” featuring PCA’s own Zip Trainor, visiting ASC actor Andrew Goldwasser, and Dr. Skwire at noon on Thursday, October 8 in Eben Holden North (you’re encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch)

[Shamelessly plagiarized in large part from a campus email sent by Sarah Barber of the English Department and there is nothing you can do about it.  So there!]

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

John Newton in the 18th C. on a 21st C. problem

I asked the Lord that I may grow
in faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
and seek more earnestly his face.

'Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
and He I trust has answered prayer,
But it has been in such a way
as almost drove me to despair.

I thought that in some favored hours,
at once he'd answer my request,
And by His love's transforming power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of that He made me feel
the hidden evils of my heart,
And bade the angry powers of hell
assault my soul in every part.

Nay, more, with His hand He seemed 
intent to aggravate my woe,
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
blasted my gourds*, and laid me low.

"Lord, why this?" I trembling cried,
"Wilt Thou pursue this worm to death?"
"This is the way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."

"These inward trials I employ
from sin and self to set thee free,
And cross thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou might find thy all in Me."

John Newton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

Text Source:
Treasures in Christ by Jean Oathout (7 July 2015).

: "Hymn 36" in A Selection of Favorite Conference Hymns with Historical Sketches of Church History: through every century of the Christian Era, edited by J.A. Burke (Albany, NY: A.N. Sherman, 1829), p.34.

*Alludes to the plant that provided shade in Jonah (4: 6-7, KJV).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Arminian v. Calvinist? Don't think so.....

This afternoon I read this exchange between an elderly John Wesley and a young Charles Simeon which occurred in the mid-1780's. I then found it reprinted online and did a cut and paste. Here Simeon writes of the meeting and refers to himself in the third person.
CharlesSimeon.jpg Wesley  Simeon A young Minister, about three or four years after he was ordained, had an opportunity of conversing familiarly with the great and venerable leader of the Arminians in this kingdom; and, wishing to improve the occasion to the uttermost, he addressed him nearly in the following words:

Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

Yes, I do indeed.

And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

Yes, solely through Christ.

But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?


What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms?

Yes, altogether.

And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?

Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things where in we agree.

Sources: here and there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Abbot & Costello on Unemployment

The following is one of the clearest explanations I've read of alternative unemployment statistics.  Someone sent me this so I do not know the original source. However I have updated the numbers to reflect the January 2015 unemployment statistics

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 5.7%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 11.3%.

COSTELLO: You just said 5.7%.

ABBOTT: 5.7% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right, 5.7% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 11.3%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 11.3% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 5.7%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 5.7% or 11.3%?

ABBOTT: 5.7% are unemployed. 11.3% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss the point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls that would count as less unemployment? 

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how it gets to 5.7%. Otherwise it would be 11.3%. 

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an Economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the heck I just said!

ABBOTT: Oh, now you're thinking like a Politician.