Calvin Quiz

john calvinI was asked by the Presbytery of Denver to do a humorous “John Calvin Quiz” tonight on the floor of Presbyterian in honor of John Calvin’s 500th birth year. There are a few references to Zimbabwe, Scotland and England, because there were members from those countries in attendance at the meeting, which explains references to those countries.

I’ll take the challenge out of it: the last answer is always the correct one!

Laugh, learn and enjoy!

1. John Calvin was born in:

(a)  Edinburgh, Scotland

(b)  Harare, Zimbabwe

(c)   London, England

(d)  Louisville, Kentucky (USA)

(e)  Noyon, France

2. Calvin’s birthday falls on a day of celebration. He was born on what day:

(a)  July 4 (American Independence Day)

(b)  July 1 (John Knox preached first sermon in St. Giles)

(c)   March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)

(d)  February 14 (Valentines Day)

(e)  July 10 (my birthday!)

3. John Calvin was not a contemporary of:

(a) Sir Thomas More (author Utopia);

(b) Copernicus (earth moves around the sun)

(c) Suleiman, the Magnificent (Sultan of Ottoman Empire)

(d) Pope Gregory XIII (Gregorian calendar)

(e) Margaret Thatcher

4. John Calvin was married to a woman named:

(a)  Harmony

(b)  Candy

(c)   Pre-Destiny

(d)  Bambi

(e)  Idelette du Bure

5. John Calvin was originally trained as a:

(a)  Welder

(b)  Veterinarian

(c)   Banker

(d)  Presbytery Executive

(e)  Lawyer

6. Which of the following did he not suffer from:

(a)  Migraine headaches

(b)  Irritable bowel syndrome

(c)   Chronic asthma

(d)  Continual stomach cramps

(e)  Inflamed mucous membrane

(f)    Pleurisy

(g)  Gout

(h)  Colic

(i)    Arthritis

(j)    Nephritis

(k)  Gallstones

(l)    Kidney stones

(m)           H1N1 (Swine Flu)

7. John Calvin’s Institutes were addressed to whom:

(a)  Suleiman, the Magnificent

(b)  Augustine of Hippo

(c)   Susanna Wesley

(d)  Billy Graham

(e)  King Francis I of France

8. John Calvin’s tombstone says:

(a)  In God We Trust

(b)  Do Not Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow

(c)   To Err Is Human, To Repent Is Divine

(d)  I Told You I Was Sick

(e)  None of the above (He is buried in unmarked grave at his own request.)

9. The Book of Order says Presbyterians shun ostentation. Calvinists in 16th century Geneva were not allowed to wear decorative jewelry. This gave rise to what industry:

(a)  Swiss Knives

(b)  Swiss Chocolate

(c)   Swiss Cheese

(d)  Swiss Banking

(e)  Divorce Lawyers

(f)    Single-malt Scotch

(g)  Swiss Watches

10. John Calvin’s “coat of arms” or family symbol was:

(a) the Burning Bush (symbol of the Church of Scotland)

(b) a flaming, red, white and blue cross that looks simultaneously like a chalice, a baptismal font and a pulpit, topped with an open Bible with a descending dove (the symbol for the Presbyterian Church USA)

(c) a giant, blue Mustang with flaming red eyes (a statute at Denver’s airport)

(d) a passionate heart on fire held up to God by an open hand!

11. Which of the following is not one of the 5-points of Calvinism?

(a)  T – Total Depravity

(b)  U – Unconditional Election

(c)   L – Limited Atonement

(d)  I – Irresistible Grace

(e)  P – Pass the Offering Plate  (Perseverance of the Saints)

12. Calvin wrote a commentary of every book of the Bible except:

(a)  Genesis, saying Copernicus discovery was playing with his head

(b)  Obadiah, saying he lost “a sword drill” to Luther, who found it faster

(c)   James, questioning whether or not it belonged in the canon

(d)  II Hesitations, recognizing this would cause some to give pause [Note: Calvin did NOT write a commentary on II Hesitations … because it is NOT a book of the Bible. This was a slippery one. You all get 1/2 credit.]

(e)  Revelation, saying he did not really understand it

13. John Calvin last attended church on April 20, 1564, Easter Sunday. He was remembered fondly by his followers for joyfully singing what final hymn with a smile on his face:

(a) Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

(b) A Mighty Fortress is Our God

(c) I Greet Thee who My Sure Redeemer Art

(d) Bohemian Rhapsody

(e) Lord of the Dance

(f) The Nunc Dimittis or the Song of Simeon

Who wrote the following:

“We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal.” John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.VII.1

The Mercedes Benz

mercedesMy father died in April, following a two-year battle with multiple myeloma, which is a painful form of bone cancer. By the grace of God, the end came swiftly, and he did not experience the awful, final stages of the disease. Within a few days of his death, he was able to play golf, go to church, talk on the phone and even listen to my sermons on the internet. He woke up one day, had trouble breathing, went to the hospital and died later that evening from pneumonia, which is a complication of the disease.

We were very close and shared a love for many things: the Presbyterian Church USA, sports (including a heavy diet of ACC basketball), playing golf together … and Mercedes Benz. (If someone could tell me what the plural of “Mercedes Benz” is, I would be most grateful!)

I talked him into buying his first Mercedes Benz. He was a loyal Buick man prior to 1974. I had been pestering him for sometime to ditch the barge-like, puke-green Buick Electra and buy something a little more sporty – hoping, of course, that when I turned 16 he would simply pass on the keys to me.  He saw through my efforts and resisted my sales pitch, but we went to Europe that summer and he rode in a Mercedes Benz taxi on the autobahn. I saw the smile on his face as the Benz effortlessly sailed through the Black Forest.

When we returned to America, I convinced him on a rainy Saturday (We only bought things when it rained on Saturday; otherwise, we played golf.) to go test drive a Mercedes. He consented. Our entire family went to the nearest dealer, and we were soon sailing down Intestate 40 in a light blue 1975 Mercedes Benz 450 SEL … at 110 miles an hour. When my mother pointed out the speed, his only comment was, “Gee, it feels like we are only going about 55 miles an hour.” I knew he was hooked.450SEL

He bought the car that day and drove Mercedes faithfully ever since. He drove big ones, small ones, clunky ones and one station wagon (aka The Bat Mobile). He loved his Mercedes but he never worshipped them. He was always generous with them. He let me borrow them whenever I needed a car. He didn’t get upset if it came back with a ding or a scratch. He gave me an old one once, and one his grand-daughters totaled it. He didn’t sound upset on the phone when I broke the news to him. His concern was for her safety.

A few months before he died he bought a new one – a spectacular silvery light brown 350E. In grief, my mother insisted that she couldn’t sell the car, so she gave it go me. And I think of him every morning when I crank it up.

Of course, it’s a little awkward for a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be seen driving such a fine automobile. (“What would Jesus drive?” makes for good discussion.) But my father taught me well not to covet or worship things – like cars. One of his favorite phrases was, “Its only money,” meaning money is not ultimately important. And he taught me not to define myself by what I drive (or wear). I am who I am whether I am in my daughter’s old 1992 beat-up Cabriolet or his brand new whip.

When I returned to Denver with it, I was rear-ended within a week by some women texting and driving. I didn’t get angry. I didn’t panic. I smiled to myself, thinking that this was God’s way of reminding me: it’s just a car. And I heard my dad’s comforting voice (through the OnStar speaker?), saying, “Well, that’s why people have insurance. Are you okay?”

I feel a little silly driving a Mercedes. My mother has given me permission to sell it next year if I have to, but you’ll probably have to bury me in it.