Alex Watt

About Recommended Books

Singing Hymns

When I came to Grove City College, I was unfamiliar with a good hymnal and knew only a few hymns. I am very thankful for the way that changed: At Hillcrest, the church I attend, I learned by imitation what it means to sing hymns joyfully and exuberantly. Being exhorted by brothers and sisters in song is beautiful, and I am always encouraged by the way that everyone sings; this is worship, not a professional performance.1

Apart from Sunday worship, I have also had the pleasure of singing hymns regularly with college friends every Saturday night. That has helped me to learn many I would not otherwise have encountered, or remembered. Take, for instance, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted,” a hymn I hadn’t sung prior. But I think my favorite hymn is “Abide with Me,” one I also learned from my college friends.

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Announcing Project 119

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

– Psalm 119:32 (ESV)

I like to be organized, but have never found a good way to log my Bible reading. Yes, I have tried the paper Bible reading plans with checkboxes. I really wanted an app for that.

So over the past couple weeks I created Project 119 (not to be confused with this Project 119). Now I’m able to log what I read each day on the site, and see what chapters remain if I want to read the Bible in a year.

If you’re interested, you should check it out! It’s free, of course, and I think for a first release of the program it’s not bad. If you have feedback, please let me know in the comments!


Taking Off and Landing

As I left Pittsburgh for New York not three weeks ago, and New York for Boston, I got to experience the joy of flying again: The takeoff, the exhilaration of launching a ship into space, the views of the city when every skyscraper becomes a doll house.

Photo credit: Noah Silliman

On the flight to New York, I had the privilege of sitting by a window in front of a little girl also sitting by a window. Takeoff was, for her, one of the greatest things in the world. I knew it by what she said. And when we left the city behind, we traded that view for literally golden clouds, shining in the glory of the new day.

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Book Review: Leisure, the Basis of Culture (Josef Pieper)

Author’s Note: This review was originally written for a seminar class, hence the academic tone.

Photo credit: Steve Richey

Leisure may seem to be the defining fruit of Western affluence: Free time is more abundant than ever, as are the diversions with which to fill it. The availability of movies, music, games, and all kinds of hobbies, combined with a general lack of concern over the most basic needs in life, would seem to crown the typical Westerner a veritable king of leisure. Yet, according to Josef Pieper, leisure “is a mental and spiritual attitude — it is not simply the result of external factors.” It requires a man to be at one with himself, something rarely needed for many activities considered leisure today. By Pieper’s understanding of leisure, the modern world is in trouble.

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Keeping the Sabbath

I never thought much about keeping the Sabbath until high school. While I went to church, and enjoyed two large meals with my family (breakfast and dinner), I didn’t necessarily seek ways to rest. In fact, I remember studying for AP exams in the afternoon.

But at some point, I had two friends who shared how they didn’t study on Sunday. The idea was quite foreign to me, and I was concerned that if I took a day off every week, I would never be able to get everything done. Nonetheless, I decided I should.

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