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 Half.com. 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.


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.

What does a seminarian/vicar listen to?

Ever wonder what a seminarian listens to on his iPod?

Here is your chance to find out!

I actually use my iPod for a number of things. I do watch movies and tv shows on it occasionally, especially on trips. I wasn’t sure if I would like the small screen, but I’m sold on it now. I also listen to my CDs that I’ve put on it over the years: rock, alternative, rap, classical, comedy, R&B, movie soundtracks, to name a few of the genres. The only thing not represented: country. Sorry… I can’t listen to it. My wife can, but I can’t handle it.

The other big use for my iPod is for podcasts. Here are the podcasts that I currently listen to (by category) with a few notes:



  • Car Talk. My mom and I would often listen to NPR’s Car Talk while driving home from church. When it came out as a podcast… who could resist? Lisa and I normally save up episodes and listen to them on trips. Yes… we have listened to five straight hours of Click and Clack.
  • USGS Corecast. This is a rather new edition that was added to my podcast feeds after the small earthquake that happened last spring in St. Louis. While surfing the USGS website I found the podcast. Very understandable and reasonably short.
  • PotterCast
  • MuggleCast.


Now please don’t think that I listen to every episode of all of these podcasts. Many sit in my iTunes directory for a while only to have me delete them…. that is especially true for the Harry Potter and the technology podcasts.


It is official. I have my vicarage assignment!

Lisa and I are heading to Trinity Lutheran Church, Howards Grove, Wisconsin. More later. We are incredibly excited about what awaits us when we move next month.

Remembering Collective Shame

Remembering Collective Shame

I would encourage you to check out the above link to go to an article by Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto.

I’m a history student and the above article hits home. Why did Hitler rise to power? It was because of a poor economy and national shame after World War I. The people wanted the hope and change that Hitler offered, even ignoring his clear anti-semitism. What is Obama campaigning on? Hope, Change, and the economy. Millions are ignoring the fact that a vote for Obama is a vote for death. Obama has been an accomplice to the murder of millions of children. 

Kyrie Eleison

Chapel Ablaze?

Part of my duties as sacristan include dealing with the candles in the chapel. This morning before our chapel service I was working on an older candle, trying to get it to fit into the stand that holds it for our evening prayer services. Eventually I got it to fit, put the brass follower on top, and realized that it needed to burn for a bit for it to settle correctly. I went ahead and lit the candle (as I have done probably 50 times… in the sacristy), let it burn for a bit, and then lit my candle lighter, extinguished the candle, and went to light the candles in the chancel.

As I exited the sacristy… the fire alarms went off. Sure enough, the small amount of smoke from extinguishing the candle set off the fire alarm in the chapel. I have to say… it is effective! Incredibly loud! Thankfully, a seminary maintenance supervisor was in the building and shut it off quickly. I fessed up immediately and retreated to the vestry to get the student ready for the service. In doing so, I missed the fire department arriving. Two trucks and the chief. 

Thankfully, my boss got a good chuckle out of the whole situation. No harm, no foul. The only think… I was the brunt of many jokes in my post-chapel class.

Debate Tonight

In about thirty minutes I’m heading with Lisa to the seminary to pick up a friend. From there we are off to the Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University to watch the debate on the big screens at the Republican Debate Watch Party/Rally. I know a number of other folks from the seminary community are heading there too. 

I know that things will be a zoo around the sem campus because of our location just down the street from Washington University. A staging area is located on the old CBC campus and they are prepared to host overflow parking at the seminary.

Check out Respublica for more info on all the activity that has happend around St. Louis… including a robbery of a bank just down the street from the seminary. The thief was caught on the sem campus. Apparently he didn’t notice the line of police cars down the street from the bank…. or the constant helicopter overflights. Oops.