Rolfing Unshelved

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

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The Up Series

The Jesuits have a saying: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” And in a fascinating series of documentaries called Up, this is precisely the premise — except that there are no Jesuits involved.

The Up SeriesThe series begins in 1964. (At this point it’s called Seven Up!) We meet fourteen real-life seven-year-olds from the UK. They come from the city, the country, the suburbs. They hail from all over the socioeconomic spectrum. There are boys and a few girls. We hear them talk about their lives so far, what they like and dislike, the world around them, school, what they hope to do in the future.

There is Andrew, from a wealthy family, who proudly declares that he reads The Financial Times and plans to attend Cambridge someday. Then there is Tony, more of a middle-class boy, who wants to be a jockey when he grows up.  There are Jackie, Lynn, and Sue, who all attend the same elementary school in a working-class neighborhood; their commentary on seven-year-old existence is priceless. And there are nine other children, each with their own quirks and dreams.

Since then, every seven years these same fourteen Britons have had their lives documented on camera. Do their lives turn out as they expect? What influence does their upbringing have on their youth, their careers, their relationships?

The result is engrossing entertainment (the original reality TV!) and a profound education.

So, is the Jesuit saying true? You’ll have to watch the Up Series and see for yourself.

(The DVD boxed set, containing the first six episodes (ages 7 through 49), is available to check out. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have 56 Up, from 2012.)

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Jesus Will Be Here by 2050…

Jesus' Return pie chart

…or at least 48% of American believers think so, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

A solid but small remnant of 14% admitted that they have no idea whether Jesus will be coming back in the near future. (Which seems like the appropriate response, doesn’t it?)

But popular eschatology aside, such polls can do more than amuse us (though they’re good at that). They can also do more than confirm our worst nightmares about the state of American Christianity (though they’re good at that too).

Groups like Pew can provide pastors with on-the-ground data with which to be better missiologists. Maybe this particular pie chart is not helpful, but the Internet is replete with other kinds of helpful information about the people, cultures, and communities God has positioned you and me to serve.

And luckily for us, much of this information is entirely free to access and use.

Here are a few links to get you started exploring:

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Great Family Films for the Summertime

Did you know that the library has an ever-growing collection of family films? This summer, check them out! (Literally.)

Disney/Pixar Favorites:

Chronicles of Narnia:


Film reelOther Feature-Length Cartoons:

  • The Secret of Kells: “In a remote medieval outpost of Ireland, young Brendan embarks on a new life of adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying a book brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide.” (from the DVD jacket)
  • Rise of the Guardians: “An epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes — each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians [Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman] must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imaginations of children all over the world.” (from the Rise of the Guardians website)

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Summer Movie Marathons

For students, the summer is a golden opportunity to loosen up and cast off (some of) the cares of the academic year. What better way to do that than to hold a movie marathon!

The great news is that the library has in its DVD collection all three mainstays of movie-marathoners. Yes, my friends, the great Triumvirate of Trilogies can be found on our shelves: Indiana Jones (sorry, no Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Star Wars (the original three — of course!), and The Lord of the Rings (yes, even the extended editions!).

Each is epic. Each is exciting. Each is perfect for a summertime couch-bound decompression session. So put down the summer Hebrew homework, gather some friends together, pop some popcorn, and spend a day at your nearest home theater munching, gabbing, and enjoying the show.

Plus, unlike your local multiplex, tickets to these movies are free. Or as Yoda would say, “Free of cost they are.”



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Is Ministry Easier than Theology?

Absolutely not, says Sarah Coakley.

portrait of Sarah Coakley

Credit: Harvard University

Coakley is a celebrated academic theologian. She is also a committed churchwoman, ordained as a priest in the Church of England.

Recently she sat down with Duke’s Faith & Leadership blog for an interview later titled, provocatively, “Ministry Is Not Easier than Theology.” In it she confronts the worrisome gulf — hardwired, she argues, in how modern seminaries are structured — between pastoral (or practical) theology on the one hand and other theological disciplines, like systematics and biblical studies, on the other.

It highlights a larger conversation that is ongoing in the evangelical world about what a seminary education should look like in the first place.

I invite you to peruse the interview and then tell us what you think. In your experience, is Coakley right? Is pastoral theology devalued in seminary?

And if you want to read more of Coakley, note that we have more than a few of her works in our collection at Rolfing, and even more in our I-Share network.

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Introducing… OverDrive’s Next Generation Digital Library

300x250-A-EBy far one of the coolest resources Rolfing offers the Trinity community is OverDrive. Maybe you’ve accessed it before, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about it. OverDrive is an online platform that lets you borrow e-books and audiobooks from the library, and then download them to the kinds of devices you and I use on a daily basis: computer, tablet, e-reader, smartphone, iPod, etc. And now OverDrive has been redesigned to make using this digital library even easier.

Here’s how it works. Say you want to listen to an audiobook on your commute. Just hop on over to our OverDrive page, scroll through all that Rolfing offers (biographies, devotional lit, novels, theology, oh my!), find the audiobook you fancy, click the big blue “Borrow” button, and voilà. You can then listen to it on your iPad or your laptop or your smartphone, or a combination of these, both online and offline. And when the borrowing period is over, the audiobook is automatically returned to the virtual library so another patron can listen to it — which means overdue fees aren’t even possible with OverDrive (good news for people like me).

You know you’re intrigued. Go check it out now. It’s open 24/7.

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Book Review: Confronting the Holes in Holy Week

A book on Holy Week written by a physicist? Not appealing at first blush. But upon a thorough perusal, Colin J. Humphreys’ The Mystery of the Last Supper (Cambridge, 2011) proves an absolute gem. You know the saying about books and their covers.

Giotto’s “The Arrest of Christ” (c.1306)

Noted New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall declares in his foreword that this book is a tour de force. That is high praise, especially considering Humphreys’ biblical research is something he does in his free time — alongside his day job as a top-flight Cambridge materials scientist, for which work he was recently knighted.

Humphreys’ aim in The Mystery of the Last Supper is to present a coherent account of the chronology of Holy Week. Anyone who has read the accounts in the Gospels of Jesus’ last days before death knows that one is likely to run into all manner of apparent contradictions and chronological confusions in the quest to reconstruct just how the week must have looked.

Humphreys points out four central problems in this quest:

1) Did anything happen on Holy Wednesday?
2) Was the last supper a Passover meal?
3) How did all the events purported to have happened between the evening supper and the crucifixion the next morning happen within that short span of time?
4) Did the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus flout Jewish legal rules against capital trials being held at night?

These are crucial questions, both as matters of history (what really happened?) and of faith (are the Gospels trustworthy?).

Humphreys deals with these questions intelligently and straightforwardly. The result is a fascinating, well-researched, imaginative bit of scholarship. As it explores Jewish calendar systems and the like, the book comes out valiantly on the side of the reliability of the Gospels.

Wondering what happened on each day of Holy Week? Then read Humphreys. During the month of March, Rolfing’s copy of The Mystery of the Last Supper can be found in the Holy Week display near the library entrance.