keeping an eye on the tree and the forest

Dave's Exegesis is my eclectic site of exegesis on pretty much everything I can think of, whether biblical studies, theology, music, movies, culture, food, drink, sports, or the internet.

Men Hate Going to Church


I certainly don’t have all the answers about why men don’t go to church, but David Murrow tries to offer some explanation in this book. His main thesis is that he thinks men don’t think church is masculine. “(M)en want to know God, but they want nothing to do with church.” Perhaps this is a true statement, but it seems like men and women alike have this problem. Of course, I agree with Murrow that most active members in a church are female, but I don’t think it’s because men have a “religion of masculinity” (in his words). The bottom line is, that men who choose not to go to church while their wives do, simply don’t like God as he may be manifesting himself in that congregation. This is aside from those who have had terrible experiences with churches or the Church in their past. I guess my problem is with Murrow’s thesis is that you can’t suggest that you know the reason men don’t go to church. This must be taken on a case-by-case basis. I can appreciate the gender issues he addresses, and can certainly agree about making church a delightful, satisfying experience. I am thankful Murrow takes up the issue though, and think that his interest and efforts help to fill a void in this area resources.

One Year Blogoversary


As of Monday, I have been blogging for a year now. That’s very cool. In light of this, I’ve included a Bono anecdote below with regards to Johnny Cash from U2 Sermons:

Bono: When I visited him at home one time, he said the most beautiful, poetic grace. He said, “Shall we bow our heads?” We all bowed our heads. Then, when he was done, he looked at me and Adam Clayton and said, “Sure miss the drugs, though.”

I busted out laughing pretty hard when I read that. I suppose I understand.

Cover Letter to Sam Adams


Human Resources,

I am thrilled about the possibility of working at Samuel Adams/Boston Beer Company. I am a avid drinker of quality beer and Sam Adams enthusiast. I am certainly an amateur when it comes to understanding the intricacies of beer brewing, but have gained a basic knowledge through the internet (e.g.,, beer experts, and tasting experience. I have had the privilege of thoroughly enjoying most of the beers Sam Adams has to offer, so I can say that it is quite easy to promote such a fine product.

Although my field of expertise is theology and theological books, I have been able to have success in selling theological titles because of my personal interest in the subject. I do believe that I would be able to have the same level of success if given the chance to help sell Sam Adams. I believe my experience in Customer Service will be an asset to the company, and in keeping with the company emphasis on quality.

There are so few places in life where one can work for a business that they are passion about. I would love the opportunity be at such a place.

Please consider me in your search for a Consumer Relationships Representative.


David Herring

The Puritans and Education


The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the neerest by possessing our souls of true vertue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection.

–John Milton, Of Education

The topic of the Puritans and Education intersects with many other Puritan subjects.  Theology, philosophy, vocation/calling, ministry, preaching, family, and law are all factors, and it may be said that education is birthed out of all of these.  The current inquiry will first survey the educational life of a Puritan raised child to adulthood, and then examine the higher education model of Harvard College in its educational/philosophical context.

Family Origins

There is no doubt that the educational life of a Puritan began in the home.  In keeping with an ideal covenant household, the salvation of the children and their spiritual well being was at first place in the heart of every godly parent.  They universally understood, as Milton illustrates above, that education was a means to that end. Therefore, they believed that the education of their children in religion was their premier duty.  They would often imagine the horrors of what their children might say of them if they went to hell on account of their negligence in education:

They will follow thee up and down in that ever-burning lake with direful curses and hideous outcries, crying out continually, “Woe unto us, that ever we served such a wicked wretched master, that had no care of the salvation of our souls, took no course to save us out of these fiery torments!”  Even thine own dear children, in this case, will yell in thine ears, world without end, “Woe and alas, that ever we were born of such accursed parents, who had not the grace to teach us betimes the ways of God, to keep us from our youthful vanities, and to train us up in the paths of godliness!  Had they done so, we might have lived in the endless joys of heaven; whereas now we must lie irrecoverably in these everlasting flames.  Oh!  it was the fault of our own parents’ unconscionable and cruel negligence, that all our life long struck full deep in our souls, and hath now strangled them with everlasting horror.

Thus, they sought to catechize their children as soon as possible and instruct them in the Scriptures.  This included daily devotions, either in the morning or around the dinner table, and sermon discussion/application.

Elementary Schools

Although parents sought to educate their children in Religion, they were less effective in teaching them to read.  Because of “the great neglect of many parents and masters in training their children in learning and labor and other employments which may be profitable to the commonwealth,” the Massachusetts Bay Colony established an early law (1642) mandating the parental duty of teaching children to “read and understand the principles of religion and the capitall lawes of this country” (Massachusetts School Law; see p.19 in Selected Documents Section of Notebook).  Apparently, this law was “not well observed” because it left this responsibility up the parents, and it gave way for the “Old Deluder, Satan, Act” (1647).   This gave towns of fifty families the responsibility of offering a free, public education so that children could learn to read.  This is where the New England Primer and varieties of hornbooks would be used as tools.  It is evident from early legislature and these tools that reading and the Scriptures were closely connected.  It was also around this age, before the age of five, that girls started needlework.  Girls were not educated beyond this point.

Grammar Schools

The purpose of grammar schools was to train boys for the university.  If boys lacked ability in elementary school, they would work with their parents until or while they learned a trade.  In grammar school, the subjects were English grammar, Latin, and Greek.  Boys that could make it through would be in grammar school for about seven years.  According to the exact accounts kept by the Boston Latin School (1712), the first three years were spent learning Latin “accidence” and works in Latin like Aesop’s Fables, the fourth year Erasmus’ Colloguies, Ovid de Tristibus, etc., the fifth year Cicero, more Erasmus and Ovid, the sixth year more Cicero  and Ovid along with Lucius Florus and Virgil, and the seventh year Cicero, Justin, Isocrates, Homer, Virgil, Horace, Persius, and the Greek Testament.  Every college hopeful was to master Latin because that was all that was spoken in the university classroom.

Higher Education at Harvard

Higher education was certainly the matrix of Puritan thinking.  This is evidenced by the influence that William Perkins and William Ames had in their respective university posts.  Concordantly, much thought was being spawned on the best Christian approach to scholarship in their time (1590’s-1630’s).  The predominant notion among influential Puritan minds was that of educational “integration”.  Works, such as Alexander Richardson’s Rule of Encyclopedia, John Alsted’s Encyclopedism, Ames’ Technometry, and John Comenius’ Pansophism advocated an integrated “circle of knowledge” from which to view the world.  Among their common convictions was the use of logic as a means to truth, along with Scripture and Nature, setting them apart from their Reformation predecessors.  Thus, given the Puritan movement toward technologia, the integration of a unified system of truth, and the emigration to the new world, it was inevitable that a school would be birthed in order to practice such integration; Harvard College.  Although Harvard was modeled after Cambridge, as well as the University of Paris, it was unique in its curricular structure, in that metaphysics was left out of the six “arts” (logic, grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, physics, and theology).  This is because technologia took the place of metaphysics, fulfilling the “roles normally assigned to metaphysics of defining ontology, epistemology, cosmology, and anthropology”.   Such commitment to educational integration is evidenced by the motto on the seal of Harvard, Veritas, “Truth,” which is inscribed over three books, representing nature, Scripture, and logic as the three “books of truth”.  Admission to Harvard consisted of an interview with the president, with no applications to fill out or essays to write.  Normally he would flip to a passage in the Greek New Testament, expecting a translation of the chosen passage and an exegesis.  He would also do the same for some work in Latin, and would also test the mathematic skills of the prospective student.  According the New England First Fruits (1643), which has a section, “In Respect of the College, and the Proceedings of Learning Therein,” the times and subjects of learning for matriculated students were as follows:

The second and third day of the week, read Lectures, as follows.
To the first year at 8 o’clock in the morning Logic, the first three quarters, Physics the last quarter.
To the second year, at the 9th hour, Ethics and Politics, at convenient distances of time.
To the third year at the 10th.  Arithmetic and Geometry, the three first quarters, Astronomy the last.

The first year disputes at the second hour.
The 2nd year at the 3rd hour.
The 3rd  year at the 4th every one in his Art.
The 4th day reads Greek.
To the first year the Etymology and Syntax at the eighth hour.
to the 2nd at the 9th hour, Prosodia and Dialects.

The first year at 2nd hour practice the precepts of Grammar in such authors as have variety of words.
The 2nd year at 3rd hour practice in Poesy, [with] Nonnus, Duport, or the like.
The 3rd year perfect their Theory before noon, and exercise Style, Composition, Imitation, Epitome, both in Prose and Verse, afternoon.

The fifth day reads Hebrew, and the Eastern Tongues.
Grammar to the first year hour the 8th.
To the 2nd Chaldee [Aramaic] at the 9th hour.
To the 3rd Syriac at the 10th hour.

The first year practice in the Bible at the 2nd hour.
The 2nd in Ezra and Daniel at the 3rd hour.
The 3rd at the 4th hour in Trostius New Testament.

The 6th day reads Rhetoric to all at the 8th hour.
Declarations at the 9th.  So ordered that every Scholar may declaim once a month.  The rest of the day vacat Rhetoricis studiis.  The 7th day reads Divinity Catecheticall at the 8th hour, Common places at the 9th hour.

The first hour reads history in the Winter,
The nature of plants in the Summer,
The sum of every Lecture shall be examined, before the new Lecture read.