Rolfing Unshelved

Books, news, and events from TIU's Rolfing Library

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Constitution Day: Don’t Think You Can Make a Difference?

“Write a paper about the governmental process.”

20-year-old Gregory Watson, one in a sea of 300 faces in the 1982 spring semester American Government survey class at the University of Texas, read through his syllabus and considered his final assignment. The prompt was broad enough — that was for sure. He figured he’d take a look at the deadline extension of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was set to expire right around the end of the semester. He found a book in the library that listed all the proposed-but-not-ratified amendments to the US Constitution. One in particular caught his interest.

ConstitutionIn 1789, when the ink of the Constitution itself was still drying, Representative (later to become the 4th President) James Madison was concerned about the fact that senators and representatives could vote pay raises for themselves without any oversight. He lobbied to get a clause put into the Constitution itself, but failed — so he decided to take the long way around. He proposed a constitutional amendment that simply read, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” In other words, any salary changes wouldn’t take effect until after the next election (so the American public could have a say in the process). Seven states ratified the amendment, two short of the necessary two-thirds, and then the movement lost steam. However, there was one peculiar characteristic of this particular amendment: James Madison didn’t write in an expiration date. Thus, at least theoretically, it was still eligible for ratification, even if the necessary “two-thirds” was a lot bigger in the 20th century than it was in the 18th.

Gregory had his topic. He dove in with relish, seeking to show that this amendment was both viable and valid in late 20th-century America. He crafted his argument, supported his assertions — and ended up getting a C on the paper. His professor said the idea was “too unrealistic.” Gregory was furious. He quit school, found work as a staff member in the Texas legislature, and started his letter-writing campaign. Armed with little more than a typewriter, he spent long evenings crafting letters to representatives and senators in states that had not yet passed the amendment. Battling (often uphill) against bureaucracy and political inertia, he remained tenacious. Even after gaining key political partnerships and taking advantage of souring popular opinion against US Congressional conduct, he would still have to put in a grueling decade’s worth of work before enjoying the fruits of his labor. But that work did eventually pay off — on May 7, 1992, almost 203 years after John Madison’s initial proposal, Michigan became the 38th state to add its approval to what became the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

All because one seemingly insignificant undergrad took the initiative and followed his passion.


 Editor’s Note: Constitution Day is September 17, 2014! Check out our display in the front of the library for more books and films about the Constitution.

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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Atlases

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.

Cover ArtBasic Description of Atlas

A Bible atlas is a reference tool that systematically and visually (e.g., often through the use of maps and pictures) presents geographical, topographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information relevant to Biblical studies.

Key Atlases

Sample of Atlas

“The Tribal Distribution of the Land” by Barry J. Beitzel in The New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), pg. 122-123. * Click on photo for larger image.

* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to atlases here.

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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Greek NT Eclectic Texts

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.

Basic Description of Greek NT Eclectic Texts

The main Greek New Testament texts used in New Testament studies are eclectic. That is, their ‘finalized’ forms are compositions of various readings from a variety of manuscripts as opposed to being equivalent to one complete New Testament manuscript. Because the texts of various manuscripts differ at points (these differences are known as ‘varients’), methods are used to conclude which reading is most likely the original one. (This process of determining the most likely reading is known as ‘text criticism’).

Significant Greek NT Eclectic Texts

Novum Testamentum Graece: Nestle-Aland (e.g., NA28) – Used in Trinity courses.

The Greek New Testament by United Bible Society (UBS).

The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text.

The Textus Receptus Greek New Testament.

Helpful Resources

Greek NT Sample

Eberhard Neslte, Erwin Nestle, Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., Novum Testamentum Graece: Nestle-Aland, 28th ed. (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2012), 298-299. * Click on photo for larger image.

* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to Greek NT Eclectic Texts.

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Book Displays: September 2014

Welcome back to campus! As the fall semester comes into swing, we invite you to swing by Rolfing and check out our Recommended Reading displays — or open our e-books directly from this page!

Asian Theological Education

Policy and Practice in Asian Distance Education, edited by Tian Belawati and Jon Baggaley

Policy and Practice in Asian Distance Education

With a current population of almost 4.5 billion and an area of over 17 million square miles, Asia is a prime candidate for the benefits of non-traditional and distance education. However, negotiating the logistics of such a task is a gigantic undertaking. In order to help educators (theological and otherwise) in their task, the PANdora Task Force (made up of representatives of Pakistan, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Philippines, Bhutan, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong) has created a guidebook for Open and Distance Learning in a specifically Asian environment. The 23 chapters in this volume are modular in format, so that educators can use only what they need in their specific contexts.

Other Titles:

History of American Missions

Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape, edited by Joel W. Martin and Mark A. Nicholas

amindThe history of Native Americans and Christian missionaries has been a long and complex one. The interplay of the two cultures has produced both blessing and bloodshed, with positive engagement and painful misunderstanding taking place on both sides. Joel Martin and Mark Nicholas bring together authors from a variety of disciplines and contexts to add to a robust discussion of both the historical and the ongoing interactions between these groups of people, and how they have shaped what it means to be both an American Indian and an American Christian.

Other Titles:

Academic and Professional Writing

Exploring College Writing: Reading, Writing, and Researching Across the Curriculum, Dan Melzer

explWhat is “college writing?” How is it different than the writing you did in high school, or the writing that you do in your spare time? What’s involved in crafting this style of communication? How do different academic disciplines go about understanding and undertaking this task? In this textbook, Dan Melzer seeks to help undergraduate composition students (and anyone who could use a refresher) navigate this territory. He uses real-world examples of student writing to highlight the important attributes and key strategies of effective college writing, and guides readers through crafting their own work.

Other Titles:


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.

Basic Description of BHS

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) (BS 715 1990) is an edition of the Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament text. It is based on the Lenigrad Codex B19A (the oldest known manuscript of the complete Hebrew Bible), includes a textual apparatus (provides information relevant for textual criticism), and is the most widely used scholarly text of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Helpful Resources

Online edition of BHS.

For more information on BHS or using BHS, see William R. Scott’s A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters, and Other Markings (Richland Hills, TX: D & F Scott Publishing Inc., 2007). (BS715 2007)

For a helpful introduction to Old Testament text criticism in general as well as text criticism as it relates to BHS in particular, see Ellis R. Brotzman’s Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Intorduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1993). (BS1136 .B765 1994)

BHS Sample

Elliger, K. and W. Rudolph, eds., Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1998), 17-16. * Click photo for larger image.

* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to BHS here.

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Google Calendar: Setting Your Schedule up for Success

It’s the beginning of a new semester. Sixteen weeks lie ahead of you like a blank slate. Honestly, that’s one of the things I like best about academia — regardless of how you did last term, you get to start fresh this time around. And through my years of school, I’ve found that time management plays a huge role in my overall organization. If I know what I’m doing with my day, I’ll know how to plan for (and around) it.

TIU has set us up for success in that regard — since our student accounts are run through Google, we’re automatically set up with our own calendars. I personally swear by mine; I’ve tried other apps and programs, and nothing else seems to work as well for me. If you’ve never used it before and aren’t sure how to access it, you have a couple of easy options: either navigate directly to, or click on Calendar from the Apps icon (the nine boxes) in the upper right-hand corner of your Gmail page.

Now, setting up events is pretty intuitive — click on a specific time in the schedule and a dialog screen will pop up. What I’d like to focus on instead are some of the bells and whistles you might not know about:

  • gcalendarShare your schedule with friends, family, etc. On the left side of the calendar page, you’ll see a list called “My Calendars.” Hover over the name of your particular calendar, and click on the down arrow that pops up. Click on “Share this calendar,” and you have the option make your calendar public (so that your profs or advisers can see if you’re busy), or to share it with specific people (with or without editing access). This can come in really handy if you’re trying to coordinate a group project.
  • Create and coordinate multiple calendars. If you’d like to create separate calendars for, say, class responsibilities and extracurriculars, it’s a snap. Click on the down arrow beside “My Calendars,” and you’ll find the option to create a new calendar. You’ll also see “Settings,” which will give you a chance to tweak all the calendars that have been shared with you and that you’ve created.
  • Manage your to-do list. On the right side of the calendar, you’ll see a “Tasks” list. If your particular task is fairly straightforward, you can type right into the line; if you’d like more options, click the right arrow beside the line and you can add a due date and additional notes. If you do add a due date, the task will show up on the top of that day in your calendar. (Likewise, you can add these items directly to the calendar — click in the box without a time designation at the top of the particular day, and you can choose either an all-day event or a task.)
  • Send invitations. After you’ve created your event, click its name in your calendar. On the right side of the editing screen, you’ll see the “Add Guests” option. Enter the email addresses of anyone you’d like to invite, and they’ll be sent an email asking them to RSVP. (You also have the option to allow them to invite guests of their own, see who else is coming, and modify the event itself.)
  • Set appointment slots. Since we here at TIU are using Google Apps as an educational institution, we have a few extra options that normal free users don’t. Perhaps the best of these is the ability to create appointments. When you click on your calendar and get the quick add popup, click on “Appointment slots” instead of “Event.” Set up the number and duration of your appointment slots, and then you can email the link to people who need to sign up for them. (Likewise, if you have a tech-savvy prof this semester, you may see one of these emails show up in your inbox.) Once you (or the people you’ve emailed) choose a slot, it will show up as an event on both your calendars.
  • Coordinate schedules across platforms. Like all the other Google utilities, Calendar has its own standalone app for Android (not surprisingly — Droid is developed by Google!), so syncing across those platforms is a breeze. Google has also developed an all-in-one iOS app that allows you to sync your email, calendar, hangouts, Google+, etc. onto Apple devices. The best part? At least on Droid, if you put the address of the event’s location into its details, the system automatically coordinates with Google Maps to calculate how long it will take you to get there from your current location and will send you a notification when it’s time to leave. (Behold, the wonders of modern technology!)

At this point, if you haven’t used Google Calendar before, your head’s probably spinning. But it’s not as difficult as it may seem — that’s the beauty part of Google. Their program developers try to make apps as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. Plus, if you get too lost, all you have to do is… well… Google it. :)

Have a great semester, and keep checking in for more study tips and resources!

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WHY are you here?

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a TED junkie. If you’ve never heard of it before, let me explain the idea — it’s simple. Take somebody who’s an expert on something or other, put them on a stage, give them between 2 and 20 minutes to talk about their passion, record it on video, and post it online for the world to see. For free. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, TED serves as a clearinghouse for over 1,800 videos on everything from neuroplasticity to how to tie your shoelaces.

goldencircleTo date, the third most-watched video in their collection (with over 18 million views) is by a leadership expert named Simon Sinek, and it’s called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” (He later wrote a book called Start with Why that unpacks these ideas even further.) The talk is worth watching in and of itself — but so we can move on to my main point, let me give you a quick run-down of his main argument. He says that we as human beings (and organizations) operate on three levels — whathow, and why.

  • What describes the actions that you or your group undertakes – for example, the products a company markets or the events a ministry group coordinates.
  • How describes the plans or strategies by which these actions get done – for example, the style of music at a worship service or the manufacturing practices a company uses.
  • Why describes the purpose, cause, or belief that fuels the whole process– it’s the reason an organization exists or a person gets out of bed in the morning.

He goes on to explain that while everybody knows what they’re doing, and most know how they’re doing it, shockingly few actually understand why. Thus, we tend to live our lives backwards – we waste time and energy worrying about and trying to coordinate the whats rather than letting them fall into place naturally when we truly understand the whys.

So, then, as we gear up for another year at Trinity, let me challenge you to take Simon Sinek’s words to heart. Especially if you’re a returning student, you’re familiar with the whats of college/seminary life: going to class, reading books, writing papers, participating in clubs and teams, getting a job, spending time with friends, getting (probably not enough) sleep… the list goes on and on. And if you think a little harder, you can probably figure out how you’re doing those things: showing up to class on time, paying attention to your professor, making sure the sources you cite are reputable, picking activities that interest you, etc. But have you considered why you’re doing it?

A complementary strategy to Simon Sinek’s is the “Five Whys” technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda and implemented within the Toyota Corporation (yes, that Toyota). When an issue would arise on his production lines, he’d ask why five times in succession, in order to get down to the heart of the matter. So let’s try that here with the question I posed in the previous paragraph. Imagine two classmates. They’re both in the same program and taking the same classes — so their whats are the same. They both get good grades and are well-respected by their professors and fellow students — so you could even say their hows are pretty similar. But ask them why, and you’ll get two completely different stories.

Student 1:

  • Why are you going to college? To get a degree.
  • Why do you want to get a degree? To get the job I want.
  • Why do you want that job? To make enough money.
  • Why do you want to make money? To buy the things I want.
  • Why do you want to buy these things? To make my life feel fulfilled.

Student 2:

  • Why are you going to college? To broaden my understanding of the world.
  • Why do you want to broaden your understanding of the world? So that I can better fulfill the place to which God has called me within it.
  • Why do you want to fulfill your calling? Because it will bring God glory and me joy.
  • Why will it bring God glory? Because I’m living in harmony with God’s plan.
  • Why will it bring you joy? Because I’ll be doing what God created me to do.

Like I said before, these two students are doing the same things, using the same methods. Which of them, though, do you think will be under less stress to succeed at any cost? Which will be able to bounce back more easily from setbacks along the way? Who’s in charge of each particular student’s whys? Who do you think will ultimately end up more fulfilled?

I encourage you to try the same exercise on your own life. Why are you at Trinity? (And, while you’re at it, why are you at Trinity?) Be honest — it’s OK if you encounter answers that you’re not completely happy with right now. Part of college/grad school (honestly, it’s not all about writing papers!) is finding and examining those hidden parts of your own life, so that you can better understand both who God created you to be and what role He’s called you to fulfill. Yeah, it might be a little daunting, but it’s totally worth it.

Blessings to you as you begin this new semester!


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