What have I been doing lately?

Published by:

I really should be using this blog more often and not filling my Facebook blog with so much stuff that really does not matter in the long run. So many books, so little time. I have been listing books on eBay and now have about 150+ items out there just waiting for buyers to take off my hands, and will be listing more as time allows. Books books books. They are of no use to anyone sitting here in boxes. Better to get them out in circulation where hands and eyes may benefit. For now I have mostly Christian books in my eBay store, including about 80+ Christian books in Spanish. However I will be adding some thrift shop rummagings to the list as time allows.


Founder of Trust magazine had unusual ministry opportunities

Published by:

Complete In HimIt is so easy for “contemporary” people to look back at the religious teachers of a century ago with a certain disdain for what may seem to us old-fashioned clothing styles. We may imagine their lives very regimented and strict, all work and no play. This is partly because we only see them from the context of our own times. We find it very hard to imagine the social environment into which they were born and shaped their lives. Only bits and pieces of the past survive, perhaps a few old black-and-white photographs or battered newspaper clippings that present a dimly gray glimpse into the events and the people of earlier times. Elizabeth V. Baker (1849-1915), a leader of the early Pentecostal movement, is just such a enigma from the past.

Following her self-described unhappy childhood in Rochester, New York, Mrs. Baker and her four sisters, daughters of the Rev. James Duncan, a Methodist minister, collaborated later in life to build a church and a Bible training school, and published a magazine, Trust, which continued publication from 1902 until 1932, reprinting Mrs. Baker’s sermons and articles long after her death in 1915. In the final issue, the magazine’s editor, reports that after completing 30 years of publication she is 78 years old and unable to continue the magazine financed solely by freewill offerings.

Mrs. Baker’s success is one of those unexplained anomalies of history. At a time when divorce would have sidelined most people aspiring to the ministry, Mrs. Baker was twice divorced. An abusive marriage at age 20 ended quickly. A second marriage started well. When she was ill of a throat condition, her husband called in doctors and specialists. But relief came through an experience of divine healing, after a local pastor prayed for her.

Baker soon became an advocate for the cause of faith healing, an enthusiasm not shared by her husband who left her about 10 years later. In Rochester, she and her four sisters—Mary Work, Nellie Fell, and Hattie and Susan Duncan—founded a faith healing home, a place where persons suffering from debilitating illnesses could retreat for prayer. Elim Faith Home opened in 1895.

After doing short-term missions work in India in 1898, Mrs. Baker raised $75,000 to support the outreach to the Mukti people. Then in 1907, after hearing of the Pentecostal revival at Azusa Street, Baker and her sisters hosted revival meetings that led to the founding of a Pentecostal church in Rochester, Elim Tabernacle. Because a male pastor was not easily found, Mrs. Baker continued to supervise the ministry and preached regularly in the pulpit. The Duncan sisters also founded Elim Publishing and Rochester Bible Training School, training numerous missionaries who went on to spread the gospel message around the world. After her death in 1915, her sisters published her autobiography, “Chronicles of a Faith Life.”

The extraordinary depth of Mrs. Baker’s ministry seems to demonstrate that with faith one can certainly overcome many difficulties and personal shortcomings. In some strictly denominational church circles, such a ministry never would have blossomed, but with the unconditional support of a family, Mrs. Baker was able to do amazing things.

Methodist book’s authors is among millions of Hugh Calkins’ descendants in America

Published by:

In “The Mind of Methodism,” Harvey Reeves Calkins (1866-1941), a Methodist minister from Illinois who wrote this book while serving as a missionary in India 1900-1910, discusses the ideals of a Methodism that is represented by worship with liberty in the Spirit, which he contrasts with the rigid Calvinism of the Puritans of earlier generations, and by its flexibility in administration, and its practice as a living witness of the living God.

Although this book’s author surname is identical to mine, one has to go back to the 1700s to find the New England connection. That was before the westward migration of some parts of the Calkins family. It is interesting to note that according to biographical information this Harvey Reeves Calkins pastored a Methodist church in Denver, Colorado, in about 1890. His first wife died there in about 1891, apparently of the consumption which is tuberculosis.

Interestingly, my great-grandfather’s family was living in Colorado at about this time. He was born in Colorado but soon after 1900 the family moved to Oregon or Washington and later California. I am not sure whether they were aware of Harvey’s existence. It is hard to ask people who are no longer with us.

The Everlasting Arms

Published by:

This short work by the founder of Christian Endeavor Societies offers hope and encouragement to persons who are weary, depressed, and burdened. Author Francis Edward Clark was a prominent Congregationalist minister in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Society. In 1881 he founded the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor to encourage the young people of his church to get involved in short-term ministry projects. By 1908 the organization had more than 70,000 chapters and 3.5 million members and is still in existence today.

A Ship Of Fools

Published by:

The printing press was newly invented and printed books still quite a novelty when “The Ship of Fools” was first set in type. This is a collection of moralistic ditties with a humorous twist. Here is one example of a “fool” poem with editing by myself to clarify:

An exhortation of Alexander Barclay

But you that shall read this book: I exhort you,
And you that are hearers thereof also, I pray
Whereas you know that you are of this sort:
Amend your life and expel that vice away.
Slumber not in sin. Amend your sins while you may.
And if you do so and virtue and grace ensue
Within my ship you get no room nor place.

This little verse may seem sort of oxymoronic but I suppose the author is saying that if you have no vices, and you have virtue and grace to spare, then you will have no use for the advice dispensed by the author(s) of “A Ship of Fools.” You are perfect and it will not be necessary that you expose yourself to the rough-hewn translation of “fools” who live without pretensions of having already achieved that state of perfection and with full humility confess their human follies and foibles, having in common with humanity at large that tendency of human nature to sin and, like sheep, to go wander and stray from the fold of God and to be in need of forgiveness and restoration.