Monday, December 31, 2018

Streetsboro Rules For Rook

At the church of Christ's building in Streetsboro, Ohio around 1992, a group of guys got together to play Rook.  We had self-professed hillbilly transplants from WV, Monroe County, OH loyalists, and others—a proverbial "band of brothers." Well, each person had their own little twist to the game they brought to the table. After playing a hand or two, we found out there were other twists, turns, or variations. This would not do!

So, we all sat down and hashed out all the various rules, forget the rule book Parker Brothers provided, and came up with what we all agreed would be "Streetsboro Rules for Rook".  We played every chance we were together.  Many of us played and brought new players (including girls when we HAD to, joking ladies) into the fold including:  Roy Woofter, Tom Hatfield, David Kenney, Brent Harris, John Harris, Mitch Stanley, Barry Hatfield, Doug Woofter, Kevin Liticker, Kathy Liticker, Annette Kenney, Pam Harris, Celeste Miller, Gary Shovestull, Dan Kelley, Dayton Hickerson,  Eddie Vanhorn,  and others along the way.  Playing with these characters we agreed cheating was a free offense to keep those who were nodding off and losing track of what was played.  We always played New Years' Eve.

Here are Streetsboro Rules of Rook to the best of my recollection:

1.) Play with cards numbered 1-14, no cards omitted.

2.) No counting of tricks, too much of a hassle for the mathematically challenged.

3.) Five-card "nest" went to the winner of the bid in an effort to supplement their hand, but sometimes such became a detriment.

4.) Five cards were to be discounted except for point cards and trump (unless you had too--hate that when that happens!)  If trump was to be put in the nest, the bidder had to state so. Whoever took the last hand captured the nest including any points.

4.) The 1-cards are high (almost like being a "15." The Rook Card is low trump, but with the most points so one had to guard and protect it.

5.) Score::

1s = 15 points each
14s = 10 points each
10s = 10 points each
5s = 5 points each
Rook = 20 points
Total points 180

6.) Minimum bid was 70; although that was a joke!  Person left of the dealer began bid.

7.) Trump is not to be led until broken into play on another hand, then it could be led.

8.) You had to follow suit, but if you could not then you could trump or throw off. If you were caught reneging, well we just laughed at you and made up whatever penalty we wanted.

The interesting thing about Rook (and other such games) is one can come up with all kinds of variations of the game. I recall my parents' deck of Rook had a rule book that included all kinds of variations. People are free to adapt the rules to suit their tastes because they have the authority to do so. But not everything is subject to the authority of men.

The Bible is God's Word. No one has the right to set it aside. Sometimes people do not understand how Christians can say they believe the Bible but are governed by the New Testament. Man did not set the Old Law aside, God did (cf. Col 2:14; Heb 8:13.) God has that authority, we do not. When we use the Old Law to try and establish religious practices today, we are dishonoring God by not obeying His will. Christians, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. I anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Pet  4:11 NKJV.)

Play with the rule book to Rook is one matter, but tampering with God's rule book is strictly forbidden and those who take liberties with God's book will have to answer to God for their disobedience and disrespect.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hymns & Hymn Writers: O Come, All Ye Faithful

This song was apparently originally in Latin and known as Adeste Fideles. It is also referred to as the Portuguese Hymn” because some thought it originated from Portugal. Some thought John Reading produced this work. Some even argue for an anonymous group of monks. Some sources suggest it was originally written in Latin by John F. Wade. We will focus on John Francis Wade, as our hymnbooks generally credit him. The words have been translated by many different people, but the words we sing are credited to Frederick Oakeley. Even though the original composition and earliest history of the hymn have been lost, the song endures because of its elegant qualities. Even the hard rock group Twisted Sister recorded a version of this song. As some say, “Stranger things have happened.”

Incidentally, the term “carol” comes from “two Latin words: cantare, ‘to sing’, and rola, which is an exclamation of joy. Thus in Italian we find the verb carolare, which means ‘to sing songs of joy’” (Giles, 3). Although we associate carols with Christmas, this is not accurate. We sometimes call music around Christmas time as “Christmas Carols” which would be more accurate. A “carol” is not bound to the Christmas season or theme.

The original work was four verses; however, some have extended the song to eight verses. Here are all the verses that have appeared in some places, I have highlighted the ones from our songbook, Church Gospel Songs and Hymns):

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of Angels:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

God of God, light of light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb;
True God, begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God, glory in the highest:
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Lo! The flock abandoned, the summoned shepherds
Hurry lowly to the cradle:
May we too make haste with exultant gait!
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

A star leading, the Magi, worshipping Christ,
give gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
May we proffer our hearts to the infant Christ!
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

We shall see the eternal splendour
Of the eternal father, veiled in flesh,
The infant God wrapped in cloths.
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

May we warm him, needy and lying on hay,
With our pious embraces:
Who does not love him who loves us thus?
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

Sing now choir of angels hymns!
Sing now halls of the heavenly!
Glory to God in the highest!
O come, let us adore Him, (3×)
Christ the Lord.

John Francis Wade (1710-1786), Lyricist & Composer

He was an English Roman Catholic who was a part of the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland. Those defeated fled to France, and Wade sent them compositions in Latin (since these were Roman Catholics.) It is believed he wrote the words in 1743 under the title Cantus Diverst. Based on various documents, some suggest he composed the music sometime between 1740–1743. Some have suggested similarities to Frederick Handel’s opera Ottane of 1723. He passed away August 16, 1786 in France. He is buried in Westminster Cathedral.

Frederick Oakeley (1802-1880), Translator

Frederick Oakeley was born in Shrewsbury England on September 5, 1802. He was privately educated and also studied at Oxford. He obtained the Doctorate of Divinity. He was a fellow at Balliol College and a part of the Church of England. He published some controversial pamphlets that led to his leaving the Church of England and joining the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. Some sources state that his writings are still quite valuable among collectors. He died January 29, 1880 in London and is buried in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

There is certainly nothing wrong with studying with wonder the birth of Jesus. In my opinion, we need to be careful not to give an inconsistent message to the world that we celebrate Christmas as His birthday when we do not have any Biblical authority for such a celebration. There is certainly nothing wrong with singing songs like this at any time of the year. There are all kinds of songs about various facets of the life of Christ, and we should sing them all provided such are in agreement with the sacred text. Some have strong opinions on some of these matters, but we should keep in mind that these are opinions. We do not know the day, month, or even the year that Jesus was born. In fact, one would have a difficult time finding scholars defending A. D. 1 December 25th as the date of the Lord’s birth.

We need to remember that Jesus may have come into the world as a babe, but He is not a baby any longer. He will be returning as our Savior, our Redeemer, our Mediator, and our Judge. What roles He fulfills on your behalf is contingent on your faith and obedience to the grace of God!

There is one of the slogans of the restoration movement that we do not mention often enough. The slogan is not the one of this song: “O come ye, to Bethlehem.” No, the slogan is that we need to go all the way back to the old Jerusalem gospel. What is meant by this is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the launch of the church goes back to the first Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection which was first preached in Jerusalem. Recall that Jesus told His followers after His resurrection but prior to His ascension: “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:46–49 NKJV.)

I like the expression “Wise men still seek Him!” and the place we need to seek Him is in His word, the Bible. Jesus is no longer the baby in a manger; He expects us to come to Him in faithful obedience to His will, the Bible. O come, all ye faithful!


“Frederick Oakeley.” No Pages. Cited 29 December 2018. Online:

“Frederick Oakeley.” Cited 29 December 2018. Online:

 “John Francis Wade.” No Pages. Cited 29 December 2018. Online:

Giles, Gordon. The Music of Praise: Meditations on Great Hymns of the Church. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004.

John P. Wiegand, Editor. Praise for the Lord. Nashville, TN: Praise Press, 1997.

“O Come, All Ye Faithful.” No Pages. Cited 29 December 2018. Online:,_All_Ye_Faithful.

“O Come, All Ye Faithful.” No Pages. Cited 29 December 2018. Online:

Robert Guy McCutchan. Our Hymnody. Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937.

V. E. Howard, Editor. Church Gospel Songs & Hymns. Texarkana, TX: Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.