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Kudos to the CPH Bookstores

In college I hated dealing with the bookstore at Seward (not owned by the university, but by our foodservice company). The only thing decently priced their was CUNE gear (T-Shirts, gifts, etc). Their prices on textbooks were outrageous. They also regularly put out flyers that claimed that it was cheapper to buy and sell books in the bookstore.

That of course, was an outright lie. If you’ve ever priced textbooks, the bookstore is normally the last place you want to go. For my last two years at Seward I bought a total of three books from the bookstore. Everything else was purchased from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and I even sold books online. In some cases, due to the market, I was actually able to make money on textbook sales. I made detailed spreadsheets and showed them to the bookstore manager but she continued in her lies. Oh well… I didn’t have to shop there.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to the seminary with the bookstore being run by CPH. I’d always had positive experiences in dealing with bookstore personel (at the Seward CPH warehouse sale). In fact, I really enjoyed getting to know the manager who came up from St. Louis. We still greet each other on a first name basis to this day. But what about the prices? I started pricing books and realized that whether I was buying a CPH book or a book from another publisher I was going to get a good price from the Sem bookstore. In most cases book prices were right at the online price or maybe a buck or two more. In that case the higher cost was worth it for convienence sake.

Another plus of working with the sem bookstore was their helpfulness. They always were willing to order books for me and were always friendly. In fact, I had a great conversation yesterday with one of the bookstore employees I’ve known for a while when I called to order something.

Overall… great job CPH. You have fine bookstores and fine employees.

Book Confessions Meme

Book Confessions

1. To mark your page you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down?
It depends on the situation. I leave lots open face down, but I have developed quite the stash of bookmarks that I have begun to use.
2. Do you lend your books?

3. You find an interesting passage: you write in your book or NO WRITING IN BOOKS!
What??? You write in books? Sinner!

4. Dust jackets – leave it on or take it off.
I take them off most of the time.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book?
I prefer hard cover because they are more durable.

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines?
Subject, then size, then color. I am currently working on getting all of my books entered in a program to enter in the Library of Congress call number. I will then proceed with printing spine labels and really getting into organizing my books.

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library later?
I prefer to buy, but see my previous post.

8. Do you put your name on your books – scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp?
I used to use a stamp but I’ve actually begun using LSB Book Plates on some of my books.

9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications?
I have lots of different kinds of books in my collect. I do have some rare books on my wishlist right now.

10. Page edges – deckled or straight?
Eh… doesn’t matter.

11. How many books do you read at one time?
Maybe three at most.

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book?

Immersion Baptism

Because I enjoy pain and suffering… I occasionally read LutherQuest. While some discussions are profitable, most of the discussions turn into personal attacks based on assumptions (you know what they say about assumptions…).

One discussion thread caught my eye recently and it was in regards in baptism by immersion. Apparently an LCMS church had installed a baptismal pool (the link doesn’t work anymore). Some came out firmly against baptism by immersion and others offered a more tempered response. One of the most interesting comments was “when have Lutherans ever done baptism by immersion?” What a denial of history. Pastor Weedon pointed at that Luther spoke about baptism by immersion and that for a good chunk of history baptism by immersion was the norm. I can understand those who are hesitant because they live in an area where baptism by immersion is required by denominations such as the Baptists). However, to completely deny history is just plain wrong. They are also all focusing on the baptism of adults. Why is it wrong to immerse a child? It isn’t! Why do you think the baptismal font at the seminary (CSL) is so big? Because it fits the space and so that we could immerse a child if we wanted!!

In a paper written this past summer I advocated a return (but not a requirement) of this practice. What a beautiful way to show the drowning of the Old Adam!! What a beautiful way to tie together the history of the church where baptism by immersion has been clearly practiced.

I will admit there are times when baptism by immersion is a bad thing. I could see a new convert insisting on baptism by immersion so that their family (who is Baptist) will recognize it. They need to understand that it is not the method that makes the baptism valid, but that the water and the Word are present. I could also see how baptizing by immersion in an area dominted by those who only baptize by immersion could be taken wrongly. It might be better at that point to make a bold confession of our faith and only baptize by pouring or sprinkling. Why? Because our fellow Christians need to be instructed in their error. We need to boldly confess that no matter what practice (immersion, sprinkling, pouring), God himself is present in the Water and the Word.

Library Philistine

I’ve been a library philistine most of my life. While I would check out books from our school library in elementary and middle school, in high school I barely checked out any books. Why? Because my family generally has the attitude, “If it is good enough to read it is good enough to buy.” We didn’t have many luxury items in our family (including Grandma and Grandpa). We never had cable or satalite TV, never had a big TV, and I only had a game boy with a few games. But what we did have was books. They were the most common gift in our family. I am so thankful that all my family instilled in me a love of reading and of books in general.

In college my library usage wasn’t the best either, although in a more academic setting it did become necessary. Pleasure reading took a big hit during my college years so I didn’t accumulate many more books to read in that area.

When I hit the seminary I started working in the library. One advantage of working in the back of the library was that I was exposed to nearly all of the new books that were added to our library’s collection. I have a list of well over 50 books that I would like to read just from our CSL Library. One downside to working in an academic library is that you turn into a bit of a library snob. I would go with my wife to the local public library branch and would practically have a fit trying to find stuff. Haven’t these people heard of shelf reading?? And don’t even get me started on the dewey decimal system.

Now on vicarage things have taken a turn. I have plenty of theology books to read. My pile is ever growing. At the same time, the number of “Pleasure Reading” books that I have to read has dwindled. What to do? Buy more? Soon after we arrived we ventured out to the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan to check things out. What a great library! This library has a very large collection and is well organized. We’ve started checking out movies from there and Lisa and I have both started checking out books. I’ve found some great history books to read. I’ve actually got another list started of books from the Mead library to read.

In short, I’m trying to amend my philistine ways. I’m checking out more books and only buying books that I’d like to add to our permanent collection in the Powell household. Hopefully my progress will continue.

All You Have To Do Is Ask

When I graduated from high school I had a member of my church who also wrote for the local weekly paper come up to me and tell me that a number of people in the community were upset with me. I was surprised and asked, “Why?” Apparently they were upset about the amount of scholarships and grants that I received at my high school’s awards assembly.

After my trip to the carrier last summer, a number of people (a little grumpily) asked, “How?” 

Check out this brief blurb in a newspaper from Jefferson City (close to my hometown), especially note the comments. In the comments you have an anonymous individual bashing the subject of the article and claiming that he shouldn’t be working for the Sheriff’s department because he’s sure there is a younger person who needs the job more.

What a load of bunk. This is exactly the same crap that I had to deal with. How did I get to go on the carrier? My mom and I asked the right questions at the right time. If we wouldn’t have asked I never would have got to go. How did I get so many scholarships and grants? I applied for every single scholarship and grant that I was eligible for and even applied on some that I wasn’t even sure I was eligible for. I let the committees decide. How did that guy get the job? He applied and went to school. Just because there are people who might want to get into law enforcement, doesn’t mean they should get the job on a “want.” They actually have to do something. The guy, while older, jumped at the opportunity and went for it. Cry me a river if you think he’s “too old” and cry me a river if you complain about what other people get when you didn’t try for it.

First Icon: Christ the Just Judge


As a gift for my vicarage I received my first icon (actually a gift certificate that allowed me to purchase my first icon). I purchased the “Christ the Just Judge” icon that is pictured with this post. It hangs on my office wall.

It truly is beautiful and full of symbolism. Of course Christ is depicted at the center. Mark is in the bottom left depicted as a Lion. In the upper left corner a “living creature with the face of a man.” In the upper right is John as an eagle. In the bottom right is Luke as an ox. It is quite common in Christian tradition to connect the four evangelists to the four living creatures spoke of in the book of Revelation, “And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight” (4:7). 

This gift has now got me hooked on icons. Go to Archangel Books in Maplewood (south of the Sem) to find a wonderful sampling of icons (and even more on the web).