Ten Commandments in Rhyme

I found these rhyming ten commandments I penned a few years back while packing boxes. My intention was to create a simple version that would be easy for preschoolers to memorize.

I am the Lord your God; "have no other gods but me."
Don't worship idols - nothing in the earth, sky or sea.
Love God when you say His name; remember it's the best.
Six days a week we may work but Sundays we must rest.
Love and obey your father and mother.
It's wrong to hate and hurt each other.
Love your husband or wife and keep your heart clean.
To take without asking is stealing and mean.
Keep your tongue from evil and don't tell lies
Give thanks for what you have - avoid greedy eyes.


Nouth... what?

"The pastor who is nouthetically oriented will tend to become lovingly frank with his people.... he will not mince words or spar around with people. Rather, he will be specific about personal problems and straightforwardly attempt to correct them. His people will discover that he is interested in the real issues, not secondary ones. They will count him to be a man of courage. Because he will not settle for the status quo, some people will be offended, but the majority will be helped greatly and nearly all (whether they agree with him or not) will respect him.... The conservative ministry desperately needs a nouthetic orientation."

Nouthetic? You'll have to read the book...

Who's steering this thing?

"My situation was not unique. Negotiating with preexisting staff... was a universal challenge.... Staff is often territorial and quite entrenched in their habits. I learned how personally every suggestion was taken.... My suggestions, I began to realize, were often viewed as tacit criticisms of the way things were being done, and occasionally as personal insults.

"Once on our aircraft as we returned home from England, my husband mused that every time he would buy himself a pair of Bally shoes, they would vanish. Hussein then noted that his most recent Bally acquisition was remarkably similar to a pair of shoes being worn by a staff member walking past our seats at that very moment, and he complimented the man on his taste. It turned out that the shoes were the very ones Hussein had just bought - passed on to the man by the King's valet, who had reportedly said, 'His Majesty will never wear them.'"

Not that I'm royalty, but I actually can relate. Sometimes you wonder just who the king is...

Look to Your Lord

"The Christian faith is a relationship.... We are covenantally, corporately, collectively God’s daughter-in-law – we married His only Son. We worship Him together now. The Christian faith is not a series of abstractions – it is a covenant with the living God. Look in heartfelt worship to Him, not merely to those true things said about Him."

Doug Wilson


Children of the Covenant

"The influence... of this sorrowful denial of the covenanted rights and privileges of children, has been, and still is, very great. For it has penetrated deeply into the ideas of almost all other branches of the church, until it may be said to predominate over their own original views. Even Presbyterians, in no inconsiderable numbers, have fallen away from the principles of our Confession of Faith, with respect to the children of the church, which are drawn purely out of the Abrahamic covenant; and are powerfully influenced, often without being aware of it, by Baptist ideas and tendencies.

Hence, instead of regarding and treating their children as presumably of the elect, instead of reckoning with covenant assurance upon the regenerating grace of God for them, and aiming thereupon to train them up in the way they should go to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, they assume—a fearful responsibility!—that they are not in the church, not “in the way,” not “in the nurture.” How widely this view prevails among us, can be measured by the general currency of the expression, “to join the church,” as applied to baptized children, when they come to their first communion."

Joshua H. McIlvaine, “Covenant Education,” from The Princeton Review (April 1861) 248-249), found at sacradoctrina.blogspot.com.

Poem of the Day

From "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold:

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world."


Paul and Job

I haven't posted on this in a while, but I am still reading Scripture devotionally with an eye to other-testament connections. When I read Philippians 1:19 just now, both my New Geneva Study Bible and my Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament pointed me to the Greek translation of Job 13:16, which uses the same words: "This will turn out for my deliverance" in Philippians, where Paul refers to his imprisonment. Job 13:16a goes like this: "He also shall be my salvation." (Amazing that those are the exact same Greek words, isn't it? Context is key in translating.)

But what really struck me was Job's context. Here's the whole passage:

"Hold your peace with me, and let me speak,
Then let come on me what may!
14 Why do I take my flesh in my teeth,
And put my life in my hands?
15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
16 He also shall be my salvation,
For a hypocrite could not come before Him.
17 Listen carefully to my speech,
And to my declaration with your ears.
18 See now, I have prepared my case,
I know that I shall be vindicated.
19 Who is he who will contend with me?
If now I hold my tongue, I perish."

I thought of Paul in prison, being interrogated, accused and put on trial for believing in Jesus as Christ. I almost think that Paul was thinking of this whole passage, feeling like Job, as he wrote Philippians 1. They also both speak of living in the flesh being in doubt.

Cell Phone vs. Bible

What would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones.
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it as we traveled?
What if we used it in case of an emergency?

What if we placed calls, left messages and knew that even if we didn't get through at first, our message would be heard and answered in due time?

And what if we had the mentality that we should always have it with us because at any given time, an important message could arrive from it?


Life Together

"The desire we so often hear expressed today for... 'authoritative personalities' springs frequently enough from a spiritually sick need for the admiration of men, for the establishment of visible human authority, because the genuine authority of service appears to be so unimpressive. There is nothing that so sharply contradicts such a desire as the New Testament itself in its description of a biship (1 Tim 3:1ff).... The Church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren....

"Pastoral authority can be attained only by the servant of Jesus who seeks no power of his own, who himself is a brother among brothers submitted to the authority of the Word."
(Pages 108-109).

What is Communion all about?

My friends posted this quiz at their blogs.

Eucharist, by the way, is Greek for thanksgiving. It is a term for the Lord's Supper used most by Anglicans and Lutherans.

You scored as Calvin. You are John Calvin. You have a Nestorian Christology and separate the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus. You believe only those who have faith are united to Christ, who is present spiritually, yet you call this "Real."











Eucharistic theology
created with QuizFarm.com

I also had to laugh at how Calvin is interpreted by the obviously Lutheran author of this quiz. "Nestorian" always comes up, which means us Calvinists separate the divinity and humanity. This must be true, since Jesus' body is in heaven, and not in the bread/wine, those pesky Lutherans say. But then, Lutherans must also separate our Lord's two natures, since they confine His humanity's presence to being around the bread/wine, and not everywhere else - Jesus' divinity is everywhere else, isn't it?

And "you call this [presence of Jesus] 'real.'" Putting it in quotes, spurning the idea that the spiritual presence of Jesus in Communion is real. So something that is not physical but only spiritual isn't as real? Like the Holy Spirit? Is the Spirit less real than the Son? There is a real difference between Zwingli and Calvin here, even if Lutherans refuse to see it.

I wonder what I said to make me more Zwinglian than Lutheran. I'd hope for a balance between the two. The sacrament is more than a mere symbol/picture, but does not involve the physical body of Jesus.

I also note that, for being one who tends to like the Federal Vision people, I am only 6% "on the road to Rome," as their critics like to say.


Poem of the Day

I'm really liking my poems of the day lately. Get one short poem to your email each day here. Here are selections from William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence."

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent....

Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro' the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.


Fiber Festival

Today was the Michigan Fiber Festival, held in Allegan, MI on the fairgrounds. I've been looking forward to this all summer (Steve probably wasn't), but we piled the 6 of us into the van and made the hour trek.

We've never been to something like this, and didn't really know what to expect. I think we all had fun!

There were many, many sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits to entertain the kids. Our family's favorites were watching the sheep shearings the fuzzy angora rabbits. I also enjoyed the similarities between the topknot on the alpacas' heads to our son Isaiah's curly hair cut. The boys were most impressed with the antique tractors, and Steve, well, I think he was glad he didn't have to buy a spinning wheel!

I have never seen so many bags of wool in my life. Mountains of it. And I have never seen so many beautiful hand spun and hand dyed yarns. Gorgeous. I really appreciate all the work that goes into spinning such beautiful yarn, but I don't think I need another hobby. Not now, at least. There was plenty of handsome knitting on display, too. My eyes were drawn to the many fine lace shawls and fair isle socks.

So what did we take home? Believe it or not, nothing with animal fibers! Two deep coral-colored skeins of a silk/linen/cotton blend were my birthday present to myself. Super silky and soft with a luster like rubies. I think it'll become a stole or shawl. And the kids scored a favorite library book, "Sheep in a Jeep."


Fan into Flame

I had the privilege last night of hearing Dr. Sinclair Ferguson speak at the installation of the new minister at a wonderful PCA congregation nearby. He spoke on 2 Timothy 1:1-14, noting 5 principles for ministry.

1. A heart for ministry (vs 6)
You can have the gift, and have it confirmed by others, but still not use it. Fan it into flame. Don't withhold your heart from God's people. Paul made himself a servant of the church (2 Cor 4:5).

2. Unashamed fidelity (vs 8)
Being unashamed may mean suffering, even within the church. Will we draw back, even if it means suffering. Paul tells Timothy not to be ashamed of Jesus, and not of Paul, either. Why Paul? Because standing with Jesus results in standing with His people. "Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these... The poor, disadvantaged and tedious, must all be loved. Don't imagine you are reconciled to Christ if you are alienated from a fellow church member.

3. A life of holiness (vs 9)
Seldom do we hear other believers referred to as holy, anymore.

4. Guard and love orthodoxy (vs 12-14)
The ancient church fathers said that martyrdom can't hurt your soul, but false teaching can!
We must love the truth. Paul uses wedding language here: guard it, hold it, cherish it.

5. A life without hypocrisy (vs 5)
Hypocrite was an actor. Behind the mask, he could be anything. We don't necessarily parade our piety today, as Pharisees did, but we don't come out from behind the mask, either.
Your pastor is the real deal. You will accept him gratefully, or stay behind the mask and try to deflect or push him away, as his preaching convicts you.


From America to Jordan

Also picked this up at the local library for a quarter. Queen Noor is an American born, part-Arab, part-Swede, who married King Hussein of Jordan, who died about 4 years ago. She wrote this after his death, and a friend recommended it as a good moderate Muslim perspective on things.

In the Presence of My Enemies

I'm storing some books for a friend while he's away. Now that we're moving I suddenly have to read them all before I have to give them back!

Here's one. Martin Luther plants a left uppercut squarely on the jaw on the very first page:

"The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?"

Primitive or Progress?

Also read this one quickly. I got onto James Michener reading The Source, which I highly recommend for its historical insight into the land of Israel, though not for its view of the age of the earth or some graphic (though accurate) portrayals of ancient religious rituals.

Caravans is about an upperclass, Ivy League girl who runs away from society and progress to Afghanistan. Interesting contrasts Michener portrays between primitive freedom of nomads and complex progress intruding into nations like Afghanistan. For most of the book, the girl who runs seems to have the best insight, that western progress is mundane and messes things up, but that the simplicity of nomads is pure and clean. But she is disillusioned when the man she's with uses everyone around to play politics to get elected leader of the confederation of nomads. This only grows when a man's hand is cut off for stealing, and when a woman is stoned to death for adultery.

There are some good snippets of history in a little known part of the world, and insight into the lifestyle of Afghans and nomads. Apparently, Michener himself traveled with nomads in Afghanistan for a while. It's not all pristine and happy-go-lucky, that's for sure.

We learn that in the midst of primitive barbarism or progress and creature comforts, everyone is "spiritually wounded" (Michener's phrase) and still haven't found what we're looking for.

There's a strong nihilist, or existentialist, streak in here. The runaway believes all the ruins we see, where often no one even remembers the name of the cities, are the future of every civilization. That the best thing is to be a non-person, with no worries or responsibilities, and don't worry about society around you too much. Rather like Ecclesiastes - everything is meaningless - which makes sense if there is nothing more certain to hold on to.

"We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:18-19).

How to Read

Interesting - reading about reading.

It got a little abstract at times, but it was helpful. There are four levels of reading: (1) elementary: knowing what the words are. (2) inspectional: skimming a book to see what it's about and if it's worth reading further. (3) analytical: reading to understand the argument the author is making. (4) syntopical: reading several books on one topic to understand differing views on that issue.

The authors make the point that of the many books written, few are actually worth reading. Quality, not quantity is key. To be well-read is to read the right books often, not to read a lot of books.

Here's a sample:

"Poetry and fiction are not nearly so concerned with the unambiguous use of words as expository works... the best poetry is that which is the most richly ambiguous.... If every word had only one meaning, if words could not be used ambiguously... the reader would see straight through the writer's words to the content of his mind. If that were the case... interpretation would be unnecessary.... The only thing to do... is to use language as skillfully as possible when you want to convey, or to receive, knowledge.

"Because language is imperfect... it also functions as an obstacle to communication.... The likelihood of a meeting of minds through language depends on the willingness of both reader and writer to work together.... no author, regardless of his sill in wrtiing, can achieve comunication without a reciprocal skill on the part of readers." (pgs 98-99)

A Woman's Place: Family and Church

Good discussion on this topic in the comments section down a few posts.

Tell me what you think. We've been lacking some **ahem** "spirited" discussion lately...

On television

George Gilder, Telecosm, pp. 245, 247.

"The supreme time waster, though, is television. Many people still have trouble understanding how egregious a time consumer... and how debauched a cultural force it is. You sit down on a couch in front of a screen, to watch degrading and titillating lowest-common-denominator trivia, scheduled for you in some netherworld between Madison Avenue, the FCC, and Hollywood, offering a sordid stream of sleazy banalities, gun grunge, bedroom mayhem, and offal innuendoes, some preening as 'news' and some leering as entertainment, for as much as seven hours a day, on average, consuming perhaps two thirds of your disposable time, year after year, all in order to grab your eyeballs for a few minutes of artfully crafted advertising images that you don't want to see, of products that you will never buy. Is it a breast? Is it a thigh? No, it is a fender! A frosted Beemer? No, a beer bottle. TV ads that are as irrelevant to you, 90 percent of the time, as the worst telemarketing spiel. Justifying this scheme is the 'free public service' that television supposedly offers, namely the 'serious' portions of the 'news' (chiefly government propaganda) and Saturday morning children's programming (more propaganda)."


Strolling the links

Found this great quote here, appropriate as we're moving across the country soon:

"The will of God, I have discovered, will never take me where the grace of God cannot keep me, protect me, sustain me, calm my fears, and teach me".

2 cheers for Constantine:

"The problem with Constantine was that he was the first pagan emperor to submit to Christ, and it should not surprise us in the least that he did it very badly. And as Chesterton admonished us, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." But compared to what had been going on before him, the conversion of Constantine was a glorious improvement."

Going public

"Christians in America have preseved the fundamentals of the faith by hiding them in caves. But when we are isolated in our caves, there are only a limited number of options. We can go outside with our hands up, and surrender to the zeitgeist. Or we can drift to the back of the cave and quietly despair, losing our faith. Or we can gather the remannt around us, and keep everyone pumped by means of robust (and increasingly lurid) dogmatism. But in a time of reformation, the Lordship of Jesus Christ will be preached in the public square, and it will be a proclamation of His ownership of the public square."

A Second Exodus

Psalm 107:10 - "Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death..."

Luke uses the same words to describe those to whom Jesus comes and lives. But here in Psalm 107, it looks like God is talking about Israel's Exodus from Egypt.

"He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to Yahweh for His goodness, and for His wornderful works to the children of men!" (Ps 107:14)

And yet, Israel went back to the darkness after their liberation. The darkness returned with their idolatry and the resulting exile, and it continued after Israel's return. Hearts remained captive to self and to other idols. Then a great light dawned, and the Redeemer, the Captain of our salvation, came forth, whose sandals I'm not worthy to touch.

"He calms the storm, so that its waves are still." (Ps 107:29)

Talk about Exodus! God saved His people by controlling the sea in un-natural ways. Jesus did the same for His disciples on the Galilee sea. It is by water and Spirit that we are brought into His kingdom (John 3:5), and our loving God moves both as He wishes.

God "has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13). In Jesus of Nazareth, the one anointed (Messiah) to deliver us, we are the people of a second exodus. So let's make sure our hearts, words or hands don't go back to Egypt, to that kingdom of darkness (1 Corinthians 10:1-22).

Rip My Heart Out

The Jaywalker socks I've been knitting for nearly 2 MONTHS now have finally irked me enough to warrant a trip to the frog pond. After knitting and ripping the heels out 3 times, I decided this two-socks-at-once on one circular needle, toe-up method of knitting socks was the most backwards thing ever invented by man (or woman).

So I ripped everything I had done in the past 2 months apart. It was very liberating. And now these socks will be knit, one at a time, in the old fashioned way on double point needles, from the cuff down. Aaah, it feels so good!

The creative process is beautiful - if you don't like something (or you royally mess up), you can always turn it around into something great, even if it means starting over or going by a different route.


Latest purchase - 15 feet of history

This "book" is a fold-out chart, 15 feet long, produced in the 1890's. It follows Bishop Ussher's timeline, beginning with 4004BC, has Biblical events at the top, and then, beginning with Babel, charts civilizations beneath, so it is easy to compare and see what was going on when. Excellent resource.

I got it at Barnes & Nobles, and was surprised they sold it, but then saw they added a little blurb about the "real" age of the earth, being 4.6 billion years, blah blah blah...


In non-essentials, charity

Great quote by John Frame, found here:

"[In the Reformed world today,] the assumption seems to be that any difference of opinion amounts to a test of fellowship, that any truth I possess gives me the right to disrupt the peace of the church until everybody comes to agree with me. But surely there are some disagreements that are not tests of orthodoxy, some differences that should be tolerated within the church."

Sneak Peek

I'm working on a personal design project.... can you guess what it'll be?

Evangelism and worship

Also from the CREC website -

"The Church, for whom Christ died and purchased with His own blood, is the central institution of redemption and regeneration, and through her and her members the kingdom of God marches through history evangelizing the world. We happily admit that politics, education, or any other lobbying efforts will not accomplish redemption of others or the ultimate transformation of society. The primary way this redemption and transformation is accomplished is through corporate worship. The Church, gathered according to the Scriptures and in the power of the Holy Spirit, is trained, motivated, and commissioned so that the culture may be properly engaged and transformed. When the Church is confused about worship, her message about transformation will be muddled. We must begin with God’s priorities. This is why we emphasize the priority of corporate worship and acknowledge that Ezra must precede Nehemiah, which is another way of saying, once worship is in place, we have an acceptable starting point for cultural engagement. From corporate worship, the Church disperses into the world as salt and light..."

Oh, to be catholic...

From the CREC website -

"The CREC is determined to be catholic and Reformed in the true sense of both words. All theological positions included within the Reformed tradition, broadly understood, are welcome. What we seek to avoid is the spirit of sectarianism that narrowly defines the faith and excludes all who do not fit with the sectarian distinctives of a small group. We sincerely welcome all varieties of Reformed Christians to join us and we sincerely hope to fellowship with other Reformed denominations all over the world in the spirit of true and biblical catholicity."


Dedicated to my lovely wife...

... on this, our anniversary.

by George Gordon, Lord Byron, 1788-1824

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Fuller Understandings - Sacraments

First installment of essays describing theological changes that have led us to where we are going. There are no radical departures from Christianity, Protestantism, or Reformed theology here (some would argue the last one). I think it's getting back to what the Reformation was all about.

Tabletalk, the devotional magazine from Ligonier Ministries (RC Sproul), says this today: "The medieval abuses of the church, coupled with the modern tendency toward naturalism, have caused many evangelicals to be wary about the sacraments."

No kidding.

What happens in sacraments?
Protestants still suffer from over-reaction against Roman medieval abuses today. We have an allergic reaction to anything hinting that something real might actually happen in sacraments. No, we say, it's just a picture, a symbol, another way for our minds to get around the Gospel. Neither Calvin, Luther, nor the Westminster writers agreed with this. When God gives signs (to Abraham, Moses, etc.), it actually builds up our faith. There is a middle ground between saying the sacraments do nothing, and saying they save you automatically. Those with true faith in Jesus Christ are truly, really, spiritually nourished by Him through the Spirit when they eat at the Table. And when one is baptized, he is truly, really, spiritually connected to Jesus (John 15:1ff), and His Body the Church, through the Spirit. Gotta be careful there, I know. Can you be connected to Jesus, but not be saved in the end? I think so. Hebrews 6:4-6: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back..." Or John 15:2: "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit." So a branch that WAS in Christ is cut off in the end. That falling away, that cutting off, is not from salvation, but from having been a part of the Body, the Root, of Christ. The sacraments, especially baptism, make us a part of that Body/Root. So the sacraments actually DO something, they actually confer a grace (they are called means of grace, after all), but not without true faith and not automatically - only by the Spirit's working. And there are exceptions to this - the thief on the cross wasn't baptized but was saved. God is not confined to use baptism and the Supper to confer grace, but He usually does use these means. One other caveat: this doesn't undermine the perseverance of saints either, as it is not considering them. The tares within the church who are baptized won't persevere. Those with saving faith will have that faith nurtured in the Sacraments, and WILL persevere.

How often?
I've come to believe that the Church should commune with Christ at His Table each time she gathers for worship and hears the Word preached. We ought to move in the same church service from hearing God's Word to beginning to obey Him by coming to Him at His Table, each week. Of course, this is an ideal. Calvin wanted it in Geneva, but never got there, if my memory serves. Many fellowships are realizing the importance of the sacraments and moving slowly to monthly, or bi-weekly Communion. This is great. The more often we sit to eat with our Lord, the more often He deals with our sin and feeds our souls in a mysterious but real way. We are not fed spiritually merely by mentally hearing words in a sermon, but also through water, bread and wine.

What to use?
Which brings up another question. What's with the grape juice? Old Testament saints, Jesus, and the Church for 1800 years used wine. Recently we've become aware of the addictive dangers of alcoholism and so are hesitant to stumble a weaker brother. The Temperance movement preached the evils of alcohol itself, sensitive to the social decline that does set in when it is abused. This may be a legitimate reason to have grape juice available for such an addicted person. But we ought not make it the general rule for everyone if Jesus instituted bread and wine for His followers. We neglect God's gifts to us (Ps 104:15; Isa 25:6; many others) if we are overly scrupulous. Like the Pharisees, we build a fence around the law and end up breaking its spirit. To avoid working on Sabbath, they would refrain even from helping their neighbors. We, to avoid stumbling, neglect God's gifts and commands regarding the sacrament. Martin Luther: "Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?" This isn't a big deal in itself - the wine or juice thing - but it points to spiritual problems within ourselves.

This was really condensed for such big and controversial topics. Feel free to ask questions!


Classical Education?

While this can be done at home or in a school setting, at least these guys are on to actually implementing a Christian worldview in every area of life. Kudos to 'em.

On the Middle-East Conflict

"Both Hezbollah and the Israelis kill innocent civilians. That is the nature of war. But Hezbollah does it as a matter of deliberate and avowed policy. That is the nature of Islamo-fascism. Israel does not affirm it as their goal, just the reverse. In other words, when Hezbollah fires a rocket at Israel, if they happen to kill any soldiers, it is entirely accidental. When Israel bombards a position in Lebanon and kills civilians, it is an accident. And that is all you need to know. There is no moral equivalence here.

"Even if your view of Israel is entirely cynical, and you believe that they are deliberately targeting civilians, and hypocritically dropping leaflets warning civilians for pr reasons, etc., this still makes the point. The world expects Israel to behave as a Western power. The world expects Hezbollah to behave as an Islamo-fascist band of thugs. And both of them conform to the stated expectations. And with regard to who we should pull for in the current hostilities, this is all we need to know."

Douglas Wilson


Prayer of the day

"Teach me... that there is no wrath like the wrath of being governed by my own lusts for my own ends."

Valley of Vision, pg 147.

Poem of the Day

The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

(For background on the charge, see here)


Finished Objects Show and Tell

Baby Cabled Cardigan, size 3 months (modelled on a 95-degree day, what a trooper!)

Patchwork Cross Quilt, crib size - made in 3 days!

Johanna's Jaywalker Socks, size 2 yrs.

Hemmeke Tower of Power

Grace, 4; Owen, 3; Isaiah, 2; Zachariah, 2 weeks

Wright or Wrong

Good article here for conservatives who are nervous about NT Wright. Here are excerpts:

"Wright has said he thinks the Reformers were absolutely correct to apply the biblical texts to the problems of their own day in the way they did, but they were mistaken to think that contours of late medieval Catholicism matched those of 2nd Temple Judaism in quite such a direct, precise way.

"It is important to note, I think, that Wright's end results still look very much like standard evangelical doctrine even if he arrives at those conclusions by somewhat different, and often times more complex, exegetical routes. But not everyone is comfortable with that.

"As Wright himself says, the call of the Gospel 'is the offer of forgiveness. It is the summons to receive God's gift of a slate wiped clean, a totally new start...As we saw earlier, just as you can't set up a ladder of human logic and climb up it to get to some kind of "proof" of God, so you can't set up a ladder of human moral or cultural achievement and climb up it to earn God's favor. From time to time some Christians have imagined that they were supposed to do just that, and have made a nonsense of everything.' (Simply Christian 178)

"For Wright, Jesus' resurrection was God's declaration of Jesus' own right-standing before the divine court, a verdict legally vindicating Jesus in what he did on our behalf. And when we are united to Christ and incorporated into him, what is true of Christ in his humanity is also true of us so that very same forensic status becomes ours....That's more or less Wright's version of how the traditional Reformed doctrine of imputation functions in Pauline theology in more Pauline language and thought-forms and, as far as I can see, it really isn't so different from the understandings of Calvin, Ridderbos, Gaffin, and others. At the very least, there's nothing about Wright's overall picture of justification, if one were to accept it, that necessarily would force us to exclude more traditional understandings of imputation.

"So, if we really believe in justification by faith alone, suggests Wright, human traditions and even biblically-inspired customs or non-essential doctrines should not divide Christians whether those boundary markers are drinking and smoking, or race and gender, or subscription to the Westminster Standards, or belief in credobaptism or speaking in tongues or transsubstantiation. One can imagine why this might get Wright in trouble with fundamentalists and certain kinds of sectarian Protestants."