Saturday, November 12, 2016

Using an Old Portable Radio as an iPhone Docking Station

We have a couple of old, pre-iPhone portable radios, neither of which has an external port that would accept and amplify an iPhone's audio.  What do you do in such a situation?  You google the problem.  Lo! I found a fantastic You-Tube video on the subject by "The Post Apocalyptic Inventor," and here it is:

This brings out the, right now, completely frustrated amateur radio being that lives inside me, and so I am going to see if I can modify the two radios I have on hand.  I will update this blog post as I proceed with the project.

At the threshold, I want to mention that I pulled out one of the radios from a trash pile a couple of weekends ago.  (Raiding trash piles is a Stokes-male tradition in our family.)  Our church was having one of its "work-days" and people were plundering the vacant Sunday School rooms and piling it all on a trash heap next to the rear parking lot.  This radio (photo to be supplied) was among them.  It had no electric cord and was full of batteries that were dead and bleeding acid into the battery compartment.  So I took it home to nurse it back to health.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hebrews and Psalm 2:7

We are studying the Book of Hebrews in our adult Sunday School class at Crossbridge Miami Springs. Today was our sixth “lesson”, Hebrews 3: 1 – 6. As the class “commentary” we are using N.T. Wright’s, Hebrews for Everyone, and it really is very good for the student whose preparation will consist of just the time it takes to read nine or ten short paragraphs on the given passage.

I have led (I am not sure it rises to the level of “teaching”) our class in its studies for many years, and it is usually one of the high points of my week.  My practice is to acquire additional commentaries or studies that will supplement our class commentary.  For Hebrews, I have The Epistle to the Hebrews (Revised Edition) by F.F. Bruce; The Holiest ofAll: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews by Andrew Murray, and The Psalm Citations in the Epistle to the Hebrews by Simon Kistemaker.  

 A substantial part of my class preparation are the “real” books that I have at hand.  I can spread these out on a large surface behind my desk (actually a low queen size bed – and on the floor), as I read through and compare the scripture passages.  In addition to the specific books I acquire for a given study (usually used books from,, and Amazon), I also have  some Bible Dictionaries, Bibles in various English translations, including Study Bibles, a Strong’s, a couple of one volume commentaries, and a number of other helps.  On line, I use quite a bit, especially to compare translations, and it has some free commentaries.  (I am not embarrassed to say that I use its links to Matthew Henry’s commentaries and really like them.)  Google has links to free, mainly 19th Century sources, which can be very helpful. 

Returning to Hebrews, I want to discuss very briefly Psalm 2 and the messianic use that is made of it by the author of Hebrews.

Being a lawyer, a professional who often deals with documentary evidence as part of his profession, and having majored in history at Duke in a department with wonderful teachers (I can think of one exception to that, but he proves the rule), I am always curious about NT citations to the OT that would prove a point (and what citation would not be used that way?), especially one that would be controversial in the conversation with Judaism.  Jesus of Nazereth as the expected Messiah and Son of God comes to mind. 

Obviously, the question is whether the Early Church simply read back into the OT passages their messianic implications.  Psalm 2, for example.

Kistermaker, in his book cited above, makes the following statement about Psalm 2:7:

The Psalms of Solomon, composed during the first century B.C. and used generally in local synagogues [footnote omitted] testify that the second Psalm, out of which the author to the Hebrews has taken his first quotation [Heb. 1:5a, and also is 5:5], was understood messianically [footnote omitted].  Although Targum Jonathan [part of the Talmudic books] may give evidence of this same type of interpretation, [footnote omitted], yet in later years, when the controversy between Christianity and Judaism waxed hot, the Rabbis poured quite a different meaning into the term “Anointed.”

 (The Psalms of Solomon are among the books of the Pseudepigrapha.)

Rather than the citation of the OT passages for the messiah being back-read by first and second century Christians to Jesus, the fact that those passages were in the minds of the people of Palestine when Jesus came accounts for his acceptance as the Messiah by so many Jews of that time, especially in view of his teachings, his healings and other miracles, his sacrifice on the cross, and his resurrection and ascension. 

Monday, March 07, 2016

What's Wrong with Modern Law, its Lawyers, and its Judges

It took a systematic dose of arcane philosophy in order to instruct lawyers and judges over the years that there are no moral ends intrinsic to the definition of law, that law is simply whatever is promulgated by the sovereign and enforced as law, and that, in the words of Justice Holmes, “every word of moral significance [ought to] be banished from the law altogether.” [footnote omitted] In the interest of a new analytic clarity, the philosophers of legal “positivism” schooled generations of lawyers to an understanding of law that was intellectually truncated. For they had detached from the very definition of law that which had been understood from the earliest times to be incorporated in its character: not merely that law was binding, but that it was binding precisely because it sought to embody principles about the nature of right and wrong. It required a teaching that was distinctly modern in order to make a whole profession of jurists forget professionally what Blackstone taught: that the law represents “a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong.”

From Arkes, Hadley, First Things: an Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice. Princeton University Press 1986, at p. 26

I had this quote on a new blog that I started in January on the subject of estate planning, Miami Estates and Trusts.  I thought better of posting it there after a few days because it was not specifically about estate planning but more about the philosophy of law.  It seemed to me, then, that I should put it over here on Kith and Kin.

I had first read Hadley Arkes, at least as far as I can recall now,  when I read his article on the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonio Scalia, in the February issue of First Things. In that article, Arkes writes of Scalia's reluctance to use the phrase "natural law."  It was Arkes' view, however, that largely unknown to Scalia himself, Scalia's  approach to the law proceeded from that very philosophic base.  I was unclear about the concept myself.  It was not talked about much at the University of Chicago Law School, to say the least.  In my American intellectual history studies at Duke, Justice Holmes was the colossus astride not only the development of American law but of that history itself.  As Mr. Trump might say (and with the same level of general ignorance), "I love Justice Holmes!"  Holmes is Exhibit A for the case in opposition to that for natural law, the case for positivism, a case for which UC Law is well known.

So when I read the FT article last month, I became interested in Arkes, a professor at Amherst College. I read the Wiki article about him, and bought a used copy of the book that I quote above.  I am very carefully making my way through that book.  It is "clarifying," that is, it is very helpful to  the way that I think about my practice, the law, Christianity, and just about everything important.

Arkes is on the Advisory Council of the publication that I cite above, First Things.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A "Free Clinic" Solution to Medical Services for the Poor?

At more than 100 clinics across the state, low-income Floridians can receive healthcare for much less than it would cost to buy insurance, often for free or a small donation.

-from last Sunday's Miami Herald.

Baptist Hospital identifies several of these in Miami-Dade which it supports.

Read more here: