Jeremy Pierce: July 2011 Archives


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I thought I'd issue an update for anyone still checking in at my blog who isn't in contact with me in any other way. This past year has been the busiest but most productive year I've had in a very long time. I'd done a lot of reading but hadn't written much in the 2009-2010 academic year, and we made some schedule changes that allowed me to get out of the house and spend longer periods of time writing during the summer of 2010 and beyond (which increased even further by November or so). At that point I was revising my first chapter as a result of substantial comments from a philosopher of science who basically led me to tackle a whole new (to me) sub-discipline of philosophy of biology, and my first chapter is much stronger for that, but it took me most of the summer to do it.

I had a good draft of another chapter already, but that needed significant revising in light of a book that I'd read and marked up but just hadn't transferred any of it into my actual dissertation. I had parts of my other three chapters, but it felt like starting over in restructuring and figuring out where to put the parts I'd written. I knew what I was doing in each chapter, except one that needed some careful digesting of another book that I set about reading during this period. The new schedule allowed me to complete those chapters in quick succession, so that I had a good draft of the entire dissertation by something like January or February. I made revisions as I got comments back from my supervisor and other members of my committee. My final chapter was the only one not to get approval once I submitted it, and I needed to revise it again, dragging it into April or May before I could get my next draft of that chapter done.

The delay in receiving comments back slowed down my fast pace considerably, as did a much higher amount of activities for the kids in the afternoon and evening than we've ever had before (depending on the time of year: sensory therapy twice a week, piano, social skills, horseback riding, and extra speech therapy once a week, soccer three times a week, swimming 2-3 times a week). Then Sam's degenerating wrists led to therapy twice a week, eventual surgery, and more household responsibilities for me. During this time, we were also dealing with some severe complications with the medication we were giving our higher-needs autistic son (the lower-needs one has been doing very well). During a several-month period he required much more constant vigilance than the especially high amount of attention we usually have to pay to keep him safe and in the house and our stuff intact.

It's a good thing I was mostly done when all this took place, because there's more. By the end of the spring semester, I just had an introduction to write and some updating for my bibliography, and I had a few edits to make from my other committee members' comments. It was after I'd done a little of that that my hard drive died, and a few days later my two primary backup devices failed within minutes of each other. Then we got a call from school because of heightened behavior on a day with a staff shortage, which led to a hospital visit and a medication change (which turned out to help considerably). Our internet and therefore out home phone, which is voice-over-IP, went down that day, and Sam's cell phone had been missing for a least a week, so we just had one cell phone to keep in touch with each other during it all. One of the elders of our congregation described that day as rather Job-like.

The data loss was annoying and time-consuming but not devastating. I had the drafts I'd sent to my committee, but that didn't include the bibliography, which took a full week of two people devoting almost full-time work to get it updated again, with Sam working on the bibliography while I did the footnotes. Redoing the content that I'd worked on since my emailed drafts (which was the only content lost) took a few days of doing little else, but it was much quicker than trying to recover files from my flashdrive that were misnamed, often older deleted copies, and sometimes even unknown file types. Fortunately, I had a hard drive that had all my data as of last November, and I could run my computer on that drive while waiting for my new computer, because the damage to its hard drive is in the middle of the drive and therefore doesn't affect the booting up of the system. So recovery was mostly possible, and I just lost some lecture notes from the fall semester that I'll have to redo if I ever teach that course again with that book.

After all that, I emailed off my completed dissertation to my committee on July 16, and I've spent the two weeks since then catching up on my summer teaching, which I'd gotten behind on in the previous two weeks. Yesterday was the first day that I felt like getting the next task done wasn't urgent, just important. I'm in relatively good shape for the one class I'm teaching for the rest of the summer, and I'm done with dissertation stuff except for eventually preparing for my defense, which is scheduled for August 16. That's where things stand right now. In seventeen days I'll be defending my dissertation, and my fourteen years as a Ph.D. student will come to an end. I'll be on the job market this fall for academic jobs starting in the fall of 2012, and that's almost a half-time job by itself, but I'm going to be trying to work on some publications in the meantime as much as I can. I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing. The stress level is lower, which means it's now just higher than usual instead of completely crazy, and I don't expect it to get much lower than that very soon. But I hope I'll have moments when I can (a) come up with interesting things to blog about, (b) take the time to write them up, and (c) be able to respond to any comments that come without interfering with writing new posts. Blogging might be more regular if all those occur.


The 399th Christian Carnival is up at Jevlir Caravansary.

I'm hosting the 400th edition here next week, and then I'm done with any official responsibilities for the Christian Carnival. I won't even be hosting. I've cut out my weekly announcements, and I only link to it if I get something written and submitted in time for it to go up (my rule with carnivals generally). It's been hard for me to keep up with scheduling the hosts, and it's better left in hands that have a little more time to spare for this sort of thing. I'm glad to have played a hand in reviving it when the person running it disappeared off the face of the internet. (I did find out that she's perfectly fine but just got busy and quit her online activities cold turkey.) If I'm going to have time to devote to my blog, though, I'd rather actually write posts with content beyond just the ongoing project of putting my church's sermons online. It got to a point where I was struggling each week to get a chance to write something just to submit to the very carnival I was supposedly running, and every week or two I had to find new hosts. So I'm done with the Christian Carnival for now except to submit posts when I have them and to link to it when I've got a post in it. I hope that will allow me to spend a little more time writing posts that aren't intended for the Christian Carnival as well. We'll see.

You can find the updated Christian Carnival hosting schedule (through next summer!) here. You can submit a post here (something of a Christian nature written during the week before the carnival, which goes up every Wednesday). If you're interested in hosting, you might have a long wait unless you can serve as a replacement for someone who backs out at the last minute, but you can see the hosting guidelines here. You can stay up-to-date with Christian Carnival goings-on at the relatively new Facebook page.

There was no introduction and sermon schedule for this part of the book.

1. Isaiah 13-14 Judgement on the Conquerors (Ed Van Cott) 7-8-84
2. Isaiah 15-16 Condemnation, then Compassion, on Moab (Doug Weeks, Louise "Mom" Lynip) 7-15-84
3. Isaiah 17-18 Make no Provision for the Flesh (Jeremy Jackson) 7-22-84
4. Isaiah 19-20 In Frightening Times Fear the Lord (Doug Weeks) 7-29-84
5. Isaiah 21 Prophecies of Babylon, Edom and Arabia (Al Gurley) 8-5-84
6. Isaiah 22 (Bill Finch) 8-12-84
7. Isaiah 23 Oracle concerning Tyre (Al Gurley) 8-19-84
8. Isaiah 24 (Rick Erickson) 8-26-84
9. Isaiah 25:1-27:1 The Reproach of God's People (Jeremy Jackson) 9-2-84
10. Isaiah 27:2-13 Climax of God's Judgement and Grace (Al Gurley) 9-9-84

The Gospel Coalition has several options for filling in the ch.24 gap. By reputation alone, I recommend Liam Goligher, although I have not listened to that particular sermon. This section of the book will be covered again in the fall of 2014. I will put a link here to that series once it begins.

See also the 2014 sermons on this same section.

For more sermons, see here.

There was no introduction and preaching schedule for this part of the book.

1. Isaiah 1:1-9 Judgement and Mercy of God (Jeremy Jackson) 7-3-83
2. Isaiah 1:10-31 (Rick Erickson) 7-10-83
3. Isaiah 2 God's Judgement makes Mercy Appealing (Doug Weeks) 7-17-83
4. Isaiah 3-4 Branch, Cleansing, and Canopy (Jeremy Jackson) 7-24-83
5. Isaiah 5 (Bill Finch) 7-31-83
6. Isaiah 6 The Keys to Spiritual Keenness (Doug Weeks) 8-7-83
7. Isaiah 7 Trying God's Patience (Ed Van Cott) 8-14-83
8. Isaiah 8:1-9:7 Rejection of Isaiah's Counsel (Al Gurley) 8-21-83
9. Isaiah 9:8-10:34 (Rick Erickson) 8-28-83
10. Isaiah 11-12 Exalting the Root of Jesse (Jeremy Jackson) 9-11-83

The Gospel Coalition site has sermons to fill in the gaps, for example you could listen to Robert Rayburn's sermon on 1:10-20 and Raymond Ortlund's sermon on 1:21-31 and the two sermons on 9:8-10:34 by Raymond Ortlund. Once the 2013 series covering this section (see below) is complete, those passages will have been covered.

Al Gurley preached on Isaiah 9:1-7 in 1980. See the topical sermons here.
Stefan Matzal preached a sermon on Isaiah 9 in 2009. See the topical sermons here.
See also the 2013 sermons covering this portion of the book.

For more sermons, see here.

Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series, which I am listing as separate series. But individual sermons do occur, usually between series or on special days (most frequently Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Reformation Sunday, Christmas, and New Years).

This list consists of topical sermons delivered between the spring 1989 topical series and the summer 1990 series A Selection of Our Convictions.

4. Philippians 3:1-15 Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (Keith Studebaker) 10-29-89
5. Luke 2:8-20 The Christmas Story (Rick Wellman) 12-24-89
7. Ephesians 6:18-20 Co-Workers with God (Jeremy Jackson) 4-22-90
8. Luke 10:25-33 The Good Samaritan (Lionel Avila) 4-29-90

For more sermons, see here.

John Stott died yesterday at age 90, after only four years of retirement. One of the most well-loved among influential evangelicals, Stott rarely drew much criticism from fellow evangelicals, even among those who considered his few controversial positions to be wrongheaded. Stott was the rare pastor-scholar. As a single, celibate minister, he had the time to devote a day each week, a week each month, and a month each year to engaging in scholarly study outside his normal preaching preparation. His popular-level expositional commentaries on books of scripture are among the best in that genre, and his commentary on John's epistles was perhaps the most useful commentary for the actual teaching of scripture for something like two decades after it was published. His popular-level presentations of what the gospel is all about have been among the most influential works in teaching those in a largely biblically-illiterate generation what the basics of Christianity really are. People in the media who are outsiders to evangelicalism tend to see leaders of political movements like the Christian Coalition as the influential leaders of evangelicalism, but nothing could be further from the truth. People like John Stott, John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Chuck Swindoll, and Rick Warren have far more influence among evangelicals as preachers, spiritual leaders than anyone seeking a purely or largely political agenda.

I can think of three areas of controversy that have led Stott to be criticized by fellow evangelicals. One is his annihilationism. He never denied the reality of hell, but he conceived of hell as the complete annihilation of the person. They simply no longer exist. It's one thing for theological liberals like Clark Pinnock to hold such a view, but Stott was the rare conservative annihilationist. The second is his moderating position on women's preaching. Complementarians typically hold that a congregation's elders should be men, and the primary teaching of scripture should be restricted to men. Stott agreed, except that he had women as elders, and they preached, provided that there was not a majority of women on the elder team, and as long as the person occupying the role of overseeing the elders was a man. More conservative complementarians thought he went too far, and egalitarians didn't think he went far enough. The third is his remaining in the Church of England when numerous Anglicans evangelicals have left over various issues in that denomination that conservatives have disagreed with. He sought to resist change from the conservative direction while remaining an Anglican, and he sided firmly with evangelicals against fundamentalism in not endorsing separatism over such issues.

It's interesting what NPR chooses to focus on in their headlines. I can't find anything on their site about him, but I heard them announce his death least night, and they repeated it this morning. Their emphasis was on his unusual combination of views (to their mind). They said that, despite his conservative views on homosexuality and abortion, he drew criticism from other evangelicals for pursuing social justice issues. Really? I can't think of any evangelical who might have criticized Stott on such concerns. That has played no role in the controversies over his life and ministry. His positions on social justice are recognized by most evangelicals as being perfectly biblical. There might be disagreements among evangelicals about the best methods of pursuing social justice, but evangelicals typically recognize the concern and would laud his efforts to pursue such goals. I realize that the NPR news staff have probably never met an evangelical and don't quite grasp what drives evangelicalism in any way, but it seems they've invented a controversy out of thin air to serve a political narrative about evangelicals when there are actual controversies they could have mentioned. Wikipedia captures at least two of them very well, and I couldn't imagine why they couldn't just use its presentation of the issues to guide their presentation of it if they can't figure out how to understand those issues coherently themselves.

Update 8:12am: There's a great writeup by Tim Stafford that not only gives a much fuller picture of Stott's life and influence but gets the social justice issue right. Also, Justin Taylor quotes Stott's conclusion of his last book (which he wrote two years ago, still by pen and paper):

As I lay down my pen for the last time (literally, since I confess I am not computerized) at the age of eighty-eight, I venture to send this valedictory message to my readers. I am grateful for your encouragement, for many of you have written to me. Looking ahead, none of us of course knows what the future of printing and publishing may be. But I myself am confident that the future of books is assured and that, though they will be complemented, they will never be altogether replaced. For there is something unique about books. Our favorite books become very precious to us and we even develop with them an almost living and affectionate relationship. Is it an altogether fanciful fact that we handle, stroke and even smell them as tokens of our esteem and affection? I am not referring only to an author's feeling for what he has written, but to all readers and their library. I have made it a rule not to quote from any book unless I have first handled it. So let me urge you to keep reading, and encourage your relatives and friends to do the same. For this is a much neglected means of grace. . . . Once again, farewell!

I'm not about to revert to writing books with pen and paper, but I have to agree about electronic books. It's nice to have ready access to stuff online, and I've benefited from not having to go to the library to find journal articles or to look briefly at online portions of books, but I can't read anything of any decent length online. It was torture going through my dissertation on the computer to edit it as a result of my desire not to print it out to save several hundred pages of paper. Thirty-page articles are hard enough for me to read through on PDF. There's something about holding it in your hands, being able to carry it around without having to lug around some proprietary electronic device whose manufacturer can revoke your ability to read it at any time, and being able to mark it up however you like, never mind being able to put it on a shelf near other works of a similar kind in an organized way (not that I've been able to do that part for years for anything but my commentaries).

In every translation I've read of Aquinas' discussion of love, I find a completely worthless translation of the two categories of love he discusses. If you translate them with a formal-equivalence model, you get "the love of desire" and "the love of friendship". What he means by those is that the love of desire is when you love someone or something for the benefit you get from it or them, and the love of friendship is when you love someone in a way that takes what they desire as becoming among your own desires, and you desire it for its own sake and not just to get something out of them.

To an English speaker, the expressions "the love of desire" and "the love of friendship" suggest no such thing. They sound more like the thing you love is desire for the first, and the thing you love is friendship for the second. A much better translation would be "desire-love" and "friendship-love". Those preserve the connection with desire and friendship rather than paraphrasing them, but they change the form of the grammatical construction in order to remove the different sense that the form carries in English.

A formal-equivalence translation has this danger. It preserves the form as a higher priority than the basic meaning of the expression in its context, and you get this kind of misleading nonsense that someone teaching the material then has to explain. Isn't it better just to translate the expression in a way that conveys its meaning? If this can be done without altering the basic linguistic units, as my translation above does, then that's ideal. The problem with most dynamic-equivalence or thought-for-thought translations is that they don't do that. They might translate this as something like "self-seeking love" and "unconditional love". Such a translation would make no sense of Aquinas' attempt to explain why love having to do with desire is self-seeking and why love having to do with friendship is unconditional. It doesn't translate what's said but adds to it based on the background knowledge about how Aquinas is using the terms. It's probably rare that you can find the happy medium that I've come to with this case, where you avoid both extremes, but that seems to me to be the goal.

Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series, and the introduction and preaching schedule for this one is here.

1. The Meaning of Giving (Rick Wellman) 7-8-90
2. The Centrality of the Word and the Sacrament (Ed Van Cott) 7-15-90
3. Call to Missions (Bill Merry) 7-22-90
4. Matthew 23:1-24 Essentials and Options in Belief and Conduct (Jeremy Jackson) 7-29-90
5. The Nature and Role of Leadership (Doug Weeks) 8-5-90
6. Ephesians 3:14-21 The Family, Sexuality and the Church (Jeremy Jackson) 8-12-90
7. The Place of Small Groups (Rick Wellman) 8-19-90
8. Evangelism I: 'The World is My Parish' (Doug Weeks) 8-26-90
9. Evangelism II: The Mobilization of the Church (Jeremy Jackson) 9-2-90
10. The Basic Principle of Organization (Jeremy Jackson) 9-9-90
11. 'We preach Christ crucified' (Jeremy Jackson) 9-16-90
12. Ephesians 3:14-21 The Strength to Love (Keith Studebaker) 9-23-90

For more sermons, see here.

Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series, which I am listing as separate series. But individual sermons do occur, usually between series or on special days (most frequently Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Reformation Sunday, Christmas, and New Years).

This list consists of topical sermons delivered between the Final Destinies series, which ended in May 1998, and the Apostles' Creed series that began in November 2004.

1.1 Exodus 20, Romans 1 The Authority of God vs the Authority of Idols (Tony Carnes) 8-8-98 [recorded, awaiting permission]
1.2 The Holiness of God and the Profanity of Idols (Tony Carnes) 8-8-98 [recorded, awaiting permission]
1.3 The Hiddenness of God vs the Hiding of Idols (Tony Carnes) 8-9-98 [recorded, awaiting permission]
2. I Corinthians 1 Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (Bill Lott) 10-25-98
3. Hope: torment or encouragement? (Doug Weeks) 4-11-99
4. Genesis 4:1-8 Anger: the Story of Cain (Rick Wellman) 6-20-99
5. I Peter 1:3-9 "Hymn to Joy" (Gary Pasquarell) 8-8-99 [recorded, awaiting permission]
6. The nature of spiritual leadership in the church (Doug Weeks) 9-26-99
7. Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (Richard Bennett) 11-7-99
8. "Tribulation ... good cheer" (Doug Weeks) 12-19-99
9. Matthew 2:1-12 "Maranatha!" (Jeremy Jackson) 12-26-99
10. I Corinthians 2:1-5 Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (Bill Greenman) 1-23-00
11. When the NT saints talked with God, what was on their lips and in their hearts? (Doug Weeks) 4-30-00
12.1 Augustine session I (Jim McCullough) 8-5-00 [tape missing]
12.2 Augustine session II (Jim McCullough) 8-5-00 [tape missing]
12.3 Augustine session III (Jim McCullough) 8-6-00 [tape missing]
13. Ephesians 5:15-17 "It's About Time" (Doug Weeks) 8-13-00
14. II Corinthians 12:7-10 "Learning Grace" (Bill Greenman) 8-20-00
15. Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Numbers 6:22-27 "Blessing" (Stefan Matzal) 8-27-00 [retracted]
16. Genesis 3:1-8 "God is good" (Doug Weeks) 9-3-00
17. Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (Carlos Dimas) 10-29-00
18. Christmas (Jeremy Jackson) 12-24-00
19. Galatians 6:14 "Integrity of the cross" (Bill Greenman) 12-31-00
31. "Wisdom and Money" (Stefan Matzal) 6-30-02
32. "Three Great Sayings of Jesus" (Jack Roberts) 8-4-02
33. Colossians 2:8 (Bill Greenman) 9-1-02
34. Ephesians 2:1-10 (Carlton Walker) 10-27-02
35. Christmas: "Word Became Flesh" (Jeremy Jackson) 12-22-02
36. Habakkuk 3 (Stefan Matzal) 12-29-02
37. "Three Truths in Uncertain Days" Trinity Fellowship Silver Anniversary (Al Gurley) 2-2-03
38. Forgiveness (Doug Weeks) 4-27-03
39. Jonathan Edwards (Bill Greenman) 8-10-03
40. John Wesley (Doug Weeks) 8-17-03
41. John 13.31-35; 17.20-26; I John 3.11-24 Love, Unity, Evangelism (Stefan Matzal) 8-24-03
42. Acts 15:3-4 "Good news about the Good News: Feedback from summer youth missions" (Doug Weeks) 8-31-03
43. Mark 7:1-15 (Milton Kornegay) 10-19-03
44. Christmas (Doug Weeks) 12-21-03
45. "Thirst, Drink, Live" (Bill Greenman) 12-28-03
46.1 Our Church (Kirk van der Swaagh) 8-28-04
46.2 Our Society (Kirk van der Swaagh) 8-28-04
46.3 Psalm 90 (Kirk van der Swaagh) 8-29-04
47. Luke 17:11-19 (Tom Worth) 10-31-04

For more sermons, see here.

Acts 1:1-4:31 sermons

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There was no introduction and preaching schedule for this section of the book.

1. Acts 1:1-14 (Doug Weeks) 4-27-86
2. Acts 1:12-26 (Al Gurley) 5-4-86
3. Acts 2:1-21 Witnessing to the Cross (Jeremy Jackson) 5-11-86
4. Acts 2:22-36 What is the Meaning of Pentecost? (Jeremy Jackson) 5-18-86
5. Acts 2:37-47 (Al Gurley) 5-25-86
6. Acts 3:1-10 One Day in the Life of the Early Church (Doug Weeks) 6-1-86
7. Acts 3:11-26 Responding to the Seed (Jeremy Jackson) 6-8-86
8. Acts 4:1-22 (Ed Van Cott) 6-15-86
9. Acts 4:23-31 (Doug Weeks) 6-22-86

Al Gurley preached on Acts 2:14-21,36-47 in 1981. See the topical sermons here.
Also from the same list of topical sermons, Jeremy Jackson preached on Acts 2:36-47 in 1982.
Rick Wellman preached on Acts 1:3-11 three weeks before this 1986 series started. See this topical series.

For more sermons, see here.

Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series, which I am listing as separate series. But individual sermons do occur, usually between series or on special days (most frequently Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Reformation Sunday, Christmas, and New Years).

This list consists of topical sermons delivered between the summer 1990 series A Selection of Our Convictions and the November 1994 ad hoc series on missions.

1. Isaiah 66:1-6 Sola Scriptura (James Blaine) 10-28-90
6. Moving on to Maturity (Norman Moran) 9-8-91
7. Song of Solomon [Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange] (Bill Greenman) 10-27-91
16. Angels & miraculous births (Jeremy Jackson) [Christmas Sunday] 12-20-92
18. Being like a weaned child (Doug Weeks) 8-15-93 [missing tape]
19. topical sermon (Doug Weeks) 8-22-93 [missing tape]
20. not taped 8-29-93
21. not taped 9-5-93
22. Romans 1:17 The Just Live By Faith (Rick Armstrong) 10-31-93 [recorded, awaiting permission]
28. I John 5:1-5 Reformation Sunday Pulpit Exchange (Jonathan Cramer) 10-30-94

For more sermons, see here.

Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series, which I am listing as separate series. But individual sermons do occur, usually between series or on special days (most frequently Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Reformation Sunday, Christmas, and New Years).

This list consists of topical sermons delivered between the November 1994 ad hoc series on missions and the summer 1997 series Being Distinctively Christian.

5. 1995 Teaching: Review and Sharing (Doug Weeks) 12-31-95
8. John 10:1-21 I have other sheep (retreat talk) 9-1-96
11. Christ our hope (Doug Weeks) [Christmas Sunday] 12-22-96
13. Be good (Doug Weeks) 4-6-97 [bad recording]
14. Suffer the little children (Lionel Avila) 5-25-97

For more sermons, see here.

Missions sermons

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Trinity Fellowship sermons typically work through books or sections of books at a time. Occasionally there will be a topical series. This one appears to have been a brief ad hoc series on missions. There is no outline/introduction to this series, and I don't have permission at this point to put two of them online.

1. Jacob Goes to China (Gary Pasquarell) 11-6-94
3. Matthew ? Harvest Jews [Rus.] (S. Winograd) 11-20-94

For more sermons, see here.

2 Timothy sermons

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The 127th Philosophers' Carnival is up at Ichthus77.

Apparently some people who are hard of reading have been misinterpreting my post, and Maryann has closed comments. I'll have to respond at my own post.


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