3.31.2008

Sea Turtles


The children and I have been studying oceans and marine life lately. They love learning about all the animals that live in the water, especially sea turtles. A sea turtle lives quite a dramatic life, what with all the perils that face it from the moment it hatches and races to the sea to underwater troubles like sharks, hunters, and well-meaning fishermen. To help the little ones understand the ups and downs of sea turtle life, I made a quick little board game for them. Each player starts out as a hatchling and struggles to make it to the ocean. Once there, many trials await, including death events like being eaten by a shark! The pure joy on the kids' faces as their turtles made it to the island and laid eggs was priceless. My turtle got caught and was made into a purse. :(

3.28.2008

Communion Exhortation - 3/9/08

Text: Colossians 3:5-11

Discern the body.
Discern your spiritual frame and the body of sin within you. Are you striving to put sin to death? Does it feel like sin is winning 90% of the time, and you can’t stand it? Then come receive strength for the fight. Christ is all in all. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

But if you have given up the fight and are just going through motions here, then stop and do not take this Supper. Going through worship motions with your heart reveling in sin, is worse than staying away. But God commands you to repent of sin and pick up your sword again. Do that now, and tell your family and your church elder about it if you do.

Discern the body. Are you causing discord with your tongue among the body? Repent, and love the brethren.

Discern the Body. Christ’s body. About 12 hours after He held the bread and cup, His body, which became a sacrifice for sin, was put to death on the cross. He won the victory over the sin you are fighting today. Take confidence and renewed strength in that victory here. Let these tokens intensify your longing for Christ to return and finish off sin and death forever. We proclaim the Lord’s death here, until He comes.

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Communion Exhortation - 3/2/08

Text-Colossians 2:16-23

Rev 22:14 and 17: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life. The Spirit and the Bride say come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” We are back in the Garden, the veil torn, the tree of life available to us. When we eat of Christ, believing He has paid for our sins before the Father, then we have eternal life. The Spirit calls you to eat. The Bride, the Church, calls you to eat, as she stands before you at this table.

Have you died with Christ in baptism? Do you believe in Christ, as you are able given your age? Then you qualify for this gift. Don’t let anyone cheat you and tell you you aren’t worthy enough.

At the same time, we elders stand here as guardians, called to fence this table. We do this with the flaming sword of the Word of God, calling you to stay away if you have no regard for holding fast to Christ, for you will only eat and drink judgment upon yourself. Calling you to stay away, if you have been so charged by Christ’s Church here or elsewhere and have yet to repent. We call you, sword in hand, to pass through the fire of the Spirit, to pass through the waters of baptism, to let the sword pierce your soul, to die with Christ. Only then will you live in Him, and so sit down and eat here, at the only table that offers true life. Here at this table is one place where all the members of the Body are being nourished and knit together. The growth doesn’t happen automatically, or through some magic power in the Table or the elements or the words we say. The growth is from God Himself.

So hold fast to the Head, as you see the whole Body. In the bread and wine, discern Jesus’ Body broken and bleeding for you. In the eating and drinking, discern Jesus’ Body giving you life as you are united with Him. In this gathering, discern the whole Body, members nourished by the Head’s representative. Do not disqualify or disregard anyone here, but rejoice in God’s kindness to you. The gifts of God for the people of God.

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Communion Exhortation - 2/24/08

Text: Matthew 10:32-33

Here at this table you have tangible assurance and proof of God’s confession that you are His child, through faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. God confesses you are His before the world and before His angels. He does this here by visibly offering us His Son. He did not spare Him, but gave Him up for us all. Our heavenly Father proclaims His love for the world here, showing that He gave His Son, so that whoever believes in Him will have life.

God is acting here. He gives His Son for the life of the world.

We are also acting here. We are confessing and proclaiming that Jesus is the life of the world, even as we proclaim His death here. But God means for us to proclaim His death everywhere else we go, too. This Table in God’s house is at the center of the world, just as it always has been. At the beginning the tree of life was in the midst of the garden, but our sin cut off the way to the fruit of that tree. Later, the table in God’s house was in the holy place in the temple. The tables in our houses are at the center of our homes. We are fed food and the Word there, by fathers and mothers. And as the Gospel is proclaimed at family tables and at this table, our proclamation is to spill over into the world. Let this food strengthen you to do so.

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Blessing or curse for America?

A thought on the response to Obama's pastor's rantings by Doug Wilson:

"the most damaging clip was the one in which Jeremiah Wright was railing against the United States, saying, "God damn America for . . . God damn America for . . ." followed by a litany of of die-hard leftist complaints. But what is the real problem here? I recall Billy Graham's wife once saying, "If God doesn't judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." The real reason for the indignation directed at Wright was because he simply said God damn America, not for the screwed-up reasons he had for saying it. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson got a similar reaction when they said something similar after 911. Suppose Wright had said, "God damn America for the abortion carnage. God damn America for sodomite marriages." Now what? Wright is being condemned, not for having the list of sins wrong (which he did), but for being un-American with a camera running."

Me, again. I think the difference is that Wright toward America is more like Jonah to Nineveh, delighting in the judgment he predicts, while Billy Graham's wife simply knows what we deserve. The scary part is that (reading the rest of the post) Sean Hannity is akin to the Biblical Jeremiah's persecutors...

3.25.2008

Still thinking Resurrection

Came across this verse online, attributed to Thomas a Kempis

O how glorious and resplendent,
Fragile body, shalt thou be,
When endued with so much beauty,
Full of health, and strong, and free,
Full of vigor, full of pleasure
That shall last eternally!

3.23.2008

"The Cardinal" or "Springtime Knocking on Our Door"

Once upon a Sunday dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a long and lengthy email that was a bore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my home's front door.
" 'Tis some salesman," I then muttered, "tapping at my home's front door;
Only this, and nothing more."


Presently the taps grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my home's front door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Dry leaves there, and nothing more.

Back into the house now turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, it must something at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.
Then the tapping - now more persistent - I flung open wide the door.
" 'Tis the wind, and nothing more."

Once AGAIN I heard the tapping, determined now to stop this rapping,
I observed a love-crazed cardinal, flying from my home's front door.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched outside my home's front door.
Perched upon a small hydrangea, just outside my home's front door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.


Then this tawny bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore,
"Though thy crest be bright, and brave art thou," I said, "you are no raven!
Now fly away and don't be brazen; go tap your beak not on my door.
The kickplate's not to be your mirror!" I flailed my arms and breathed a roar.
Quoth the cardinal, "Nevermore."

But the cardinal, sitting lonely on the hydrangea, uttered only
That one word, as if her soul in that one word she did outpour.
Nothing further then she uttered; not a feather then she fluttered;
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow she will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

The next day though - AGAIN the rapping - eternally that ceaseless tapping,
The cardinal fighting her reflection in my dilapidated door!
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath
Sent thee---sent thee to do my soul some sanctifying chore.
Quaff, O quaff this endless racket, and forget this home's front door!"
Quoth the cardinal, "Nevermore!"

And the cardinal, never flitting, SEVEN days now, still is sitting
On the doormat by the kickplate just outside my home's front door;
And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
Fighting 'gainst her mean reflection, till her scarlet head turns red with gore;
Papers posted won't deter her from pest'ring us down to the core
Shall she leave us? Nevermore!

-adapted from Poe's "The Raven"

3.20.2008

Children of Believers

"The issue is how do we treat baptized children, growing up in the church? Where is the burden of proof? Do they still, at some future date, have to produce some other evidence (other than their baptism and covenant status) in order to be accepted into the Church? The Southern Presbyterians said yes, and we say no....

"How are we to treat those children who have been brought up in the realm of the church?

[Wilson now quotes Thornwell, whose view he opposes:] 'They are born unto her as children, and as children, the great duty she owes to them is to educate them. But in heart and spirit
they are of the world. In this aspect, how is she to treat them? Precisely as she treats all other impenitent and unbelieving men -- she is to exercise the power of the keys, and shut them out from the communion of the saints. She is to debar them from all the privileges of the inner sanctuary. She is to exclude them from their inheritance until they show themselves meet to possess it.'

"The emphasis added is mine. This is certainly a recognizable form of the "vipers in diapers" doctrine, and while I honor Thornwell as a great man in the history of the church, and I follow him on many other issues (along with Dabney) this particular understanding of his is one that I reject with whole-hearted detestation. This rejection really is a central player in the FV controversy."


Doug Wilson

Communion Exhortation - 2/17/08

Text: Colossians 2:6-15

You are the branch of God’s planting, rooted in Christ. Here at this table we celebrate and symbolize our union in the vine of Christ. Wine is the fruit of the vine, and Jesus saves the best to give us in the last and Newest Covenant, produced from the water of the Old Covenant. Wine from water at Cana was a sign of the real fruit Jesus gives: we partake of His death and resurrection by faith. We must die for our sins, and in Christ we die.

This is the emphasis of the Old Covenant. Our body of death is cut away from us in circumcision. We are spared death when the Angel of death passes over us at Passover, seeing the blood of the Lamb. The feast celebrated at the same time as Passover emphasizes the unleavened bread, that all sin has been removed. The signs emphasize death, sin, and getting rid of sin.

Our new covenant signs communicate both death and resurrection, just like the old covenant signs did. But the new covenant emphasizes resurrection and life. The sign of baptism communicates not just washing away dirt of sin, but also cleansing and reminds us that water is the source of life. Our bread is leavened, not because sin has returned, but because we rise, like the bread does, and the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that works all through the loaf. We continue to proclaim the Lord’s death in the broken bread and poured wine, but the wine also communicates life and joy of resurrection in Christ.

Not only is your debt cancelled, your chains broken, but you are rooted in Christ, nourished and flourishing on his tree. So commune and fellowship with Christ, root and branch, with Christ Himself and all the other branches on the tree – the Church gathered here, those gathered around the world, and those already enjoying His immediate presence in glory. We come proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. Let us survey the wondrous cross, where God defeated His enemies, where our burden was removed. Let us commune with Christ without that burden, with the triumphant joy He meant to restore to us.

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Poem of the day

Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

3.19.2008

Communion Exhortation - 2/10/08

Text: Colossians 1:24-2:5

As Paul said that he bore in his body the marks of Jesus, so we here commune with Christ in His suffering on our behalf. He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself. We must be united with Christ by faith if His death is to pay for our sin, and here is a sign of that union, as we eat the bread – Christ in you. But we are to see the Lord, not only in the bread, but in those who eat the bread. Christ in all of you. We are to see the Lord in one another. Discern Body in each other, and examine yourselves to ensure you are not dividing or disregarding Christ’s body.

This sacrament is a feast of remembrance and of hope. We remember what Christ did for us in the past, and we look forward to what His sacrifice will lead to – life eternal in His glorious presence. This meal is a foretaste of Christ in you, the hope of glory.

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Poem of the Day

SONNET 18
by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

3.17.2008

Communion Exhortation - 1/27/08

Sermon text - Colossians 1:19-23

Jesus told us to do this to remember Him, and so we set before ourselves the signs He gave us of His body, His sacrifice, His death. But we are not remembering Christ and His benefits in isolation from the Father. We are communing with the Father as we remember His Son. And so we are also setting before the Father the signs Jesus gave us of His body, His sacrifice, His death. We want the Father to remember Jesus, and so be at peace with us. This is not a sacrifice that appeases the Father, but it does picture the only sacrifice that did satisfy His wrath against us. We come to this Table and plead Christ’s death to the Father, sure of friendship His death brings.

The table itself is a true sign of peace. You have a meal with those you are most at peace with. Everyone comes washed up and ready. Of course, we cannot clean ourselves before this supper, we have to be given a bath in Christ’s blood to be presented holy at the Table. We can only prepare ourselves to partake if God first prepared our hearts to want to partake.

We proclaim the Lord’s death here at this Table until He comes again. We show forth His death here – broken bread signifying a torn, sacrificial body offered up to atone for sins. A broken body. Adam’s body was divided and a bride brought out, only to be reunited with Adam’s body more gloriously and fruitfully. The world, created through Christ, was broken and fell out of fellowship with Him. But a new creation came from a new Adam, whose body was also broken. A new bride came from His side, born of blood and water, a new union with our creator begun, both more glorious and more fruitful than ever.

So enjoy the fellowship the relationship, the communion you have with Your heavenly Father, with His Son, and with His body gathered around you.

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St Patrick, post 2

This is an AWE-FUL (as in awe-inspiring - trying to avoid the cliched "awesome") hymn, especially if sung with full organ. I haven't experienced that, yet, but heaven awaits. Funny - the churches that would sing this don't have the building or the organ; the churches that have the building and organ typically won't (try to) sing it...

attributed to St. Patrick himself:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

St Patrick post 1

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is a song about... Pelagius? Oh, well.
Not that I like ale or barley brew, either, but I'm wearing green, at least...


The Pelagian Drinking Song
Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
Especially barley brew!


Hilaire Belloc

Poem of the Day

If
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Grandma's Cream Puffs

Grandma was definitely not a cream puff, but she sure knew how to make them!

CREAM PUFFS
1/2 c. butter
1 c. water
1 c. flour
4 eggs

Boil water and butter together, add flour when boiling. Stir mixture until it forms a ball. Remove from stove and add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Drop big spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

PUDDING
3/4 c. sugar
7 T. flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix above in bowl.

In separate bowl mix together

1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 c. milk

Add to flour mixture slowly. Put on stove and stir over medium heat until boiling and thickened. Cool.

To serve, slice each cream puff horizontally and put a large scoop of pudding inside. Place on a plate and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Sprinkle powdered sugar over all.

Our Favorite Brownies

Our family loves these brownies! Hope you enjoy them too.

BROWNIES
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

FROSTING
3 T. butter, melted
3 T. baking cocoa
2 T. warm water
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Beat sugar, eggs & vanilla in mixing bowl. Add butter, mix well. Combine dry ingredients & add to batter, mixing well. Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 min.

For frosting, dissolve coffee in warm water. Combine this with butter & cocoa, mixing well. Gradually stir in powdered sugar until smooth, adding additional warm water if necessary to get a good spreading consistency. Frost brownies.

Weight of Glory - Jamie Soles

I'm not a music reviewer by trade, but do want to commend this artist and album to you. Jamie Soles' lyrics are creative and closely tied to Scripture. The music on this album is bright and light, paradoxically describing the weight of glory (2 Cor 4:16-18). In addition, he has some children's albums that actually made me laugh out loud. And they help with memorizing various portions of Scripture. This can get cheesy, but Jamie pulls it off sans cheese. Check out his website - there are lots of free music clips.

Next cross-stitch project


If you can make sense of this, you're doing better than me

3.13.2008

Luther on preaching and diligent study

Reading the Legacy of Sovereign Joy has been very edifying. Short bios of Augustine, Luther and Calvin, with brief application.

Here are some quotes by and about Luther.

Page 87, Piper and Meuser: "Between 1510 and 1546 Luther preached approximately 3000 sermons.... Never a weekend off... never any respite at all from preaching, teaching, private study, production, writing, counseling."

93, Luther: "For a number of years I have now annually read through the Bible twice."

94, Piper: "The Bible is the pastor's vineyard, where he ought to work and toil."

95, Luther, on reading: "A student who does not want his labor wasted must so read and reread some good writer that the author is changed, as it were, into his flesh and blood. For a great variety of reading confuses and does not teach. It makes the student like a man who dwells everywhere and, therefore, nowhere in particular."

97, Luther, on the importance of knowing Hebrew and Greek:
"Languages are the scabbard that contains the sword of the Spirit; they are the [case] which contains the priceless jewels of antique thought; they are the vessel that holds the wine.... No sooner did men cease to cultivate the languages than Christendom declined, even until it fell under the undisputed dominioin of the pope. But no sooner was this torch relighted, than this papal owl fled with a shriek into congenial gloom."

101, Luther, on diligence in study:
"Some pastors and teachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture.... you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well.... This evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring."

Against Third Parties

We believe that individuals, the Church and society at large will not be completely sanctified before Christ returns. So what sense does it make to demand a perfect candidate before we vote for him? I'm LIKELY to vote for the one who is 80% there over the one who is 40-60% there, instead of voting for the 3rd party who is 95% there but hasn't a chance.

A lot depends on how you view your vote. Is it a statement to God that must line up 100% with your conscience and beliefs, for your integrity's sake? (3rd party view) Or is it like your words and your money: a limited resource you must employ strategically and wisely in the location of the battleline that will have most effect? (1 of 2 parties view) Note that in that second view, your vote is still accountable to God.

We drastically underestimate the cultural difference between the parties if we write off both as bigger-gov't-than-is-right. It still holds true generally that red state/blue state refers to one of two positions on a set of social issues as much as political parties. Rare is the pro-choice but anti-gay marriage person, e.g. Perhaps we ought to support the more Biblical of the two, until a more viable choice comes along. I'm not against actively working for that 3rd choice, either...

Next cross-stitch project



So sweet and heart-warming, isn't it?

If you can make sense of this, you're doing better than me.
Dooyeweerd was a Dutch Reformed theologian and philosopher. Sometimes they are in such high verbal orbit they fling out into space...

Arnold supports homeschooling

San Francisco Chronicle, March 8

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced a state appeals court ruling that severely restricts homeschooling and promised Friday to change the law if necessary to guarantee that parents are able to educate their children at home.

"Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children," Schwarzenegger said in response to the ruling, which said children educated at home must be taught by a credentialed teacher.

"Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education," Schwarzenegger said. "This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will."


State Education Secretary David Long, a Schwarzenegger appointee, said that meant the governor supported allowing parents without teaching credentials to educate their children. "The governor sees this as a fundamental right of parental choice," he said.

3.12.2008

Right Wright on Sacraments

Yes, yes, I know. I don't agree with everything Wright says, either. But he isn't always wrong. And besides, here he is speaking at my alma mater, good 'ole Calvin College. 10 minutes on the sacraments - very good.

Balanced Patriarchy

The problem with the patriarchalist label is the same one with the fundamentalist label.

We MUST hold to the fundamentals of the faith, which the fundamentalists of the early 20th century fought bravely to do. We must also hold to Scriptural patriarchy, where the husband is the head of the home, and exercises that authority positively.

What we may not do is distort and redefine a defense of the fundamentals into a crankiness toward the world, legalism against drinking, smoking or dancing, naive interpretations of Scripture (dictation theory or KJV only), etc.

We also may not distort or redefine God's gift of male leadership into a set of unwritten rules about what women can't do (beyond what Scripture says), allowing men to wield authority abusively or tyrannically in their homes, or giving the head of household more authority than he really has with regard to older children or the Church.

Familial headship authority is not absolute and rigid. A woman may speak and converse with another man or an elder at church, without being viewed askance. (1 Cor 14:34 speaks of interrupting, contradicting and arguing IN the service.) She doesn't always have to go through her head to speak to the church. Though if she always or usually goes around him there is a problem. Familial headship is real and normative and a blessing, but the individual emphasis of 1 Cor 12:27 is also relevant here (granting the ambiguous Greek). The Church ought to formally recognize both familial headship and individual baptism.

Sacrifices required

Numbers 28-29

Daily - 2 lambs
Each Sabbath - 2 lambs
Monthly - 2 bulls, 1 ram, 7 lambs
Passover - 2 bulls, 1 ram, 7 lambs, 1 goat, each of 7 days
Firstfruits - same as Passover
Trumpets - same except 1 bull
Atonement - same except 1 bull and 2 goats
Tabernacles:
First day - 13 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
2nd - 12 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
3rd - 11 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
4th - 10bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
5th - 9 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
6th - 8 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
7th - 7 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs, 1 goat
8th - 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs, 1 goat

Anything stand out here? What are the big feast days, sacrificial quantity-speaking? What do you know about them?

By the way, this was a yearly total of
100 bulls, 37 rams, about 1,089 lambs*, and 19 goats

*How many days and sabbaths in a lunar year? Didn't know so used 50 sabbaths and 365 days.

3.11.2008

Guest poster...

Ralph Smith, responding to a survey of American pastors indicating 80% of them are depressed and feel inadequate.


I have some questions about the results and the meaning of the "shocking survey" below.

How shall we think about depression? David was depressed quite a bit and wrote lots of Psalms that we are supposed to pray and sing.


My take is that God wants us to think about and understand depression so that we can pray our way out of it or at least pray our way through it. Depression is part of the life of every great saint in the Bible.


And for some of them it is essential to their ministry. David could not have written Psalms without it. Job could not have written his book without it (if he is the author). And consider Jeremiah -- the most depressed man in history. How could Jeremiah write Lamentations if he didn't know deep depression. In his case, it characterized his whole ministry. He hardly had a happy day.


Remember the famous words "Behold and see if there by any sorrow like unto my sorrow." (Lam. 1:12)?


Handel changed it to "His sorrow" and made it a reference to Christ, because Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I think that was a legitimate application of the verse since Jeremiah is a type of Christ in His sorrow.


But it is very different to say behold my sorrow and behold his sorrow. Jeremiah wishes he had never been born (Jer. 20:18), and calls on the world to behold his sorrow, asking if we have ever seen anything like it.


I am not sure how much more depressed a person can be -- except for the Man of Sorrows on the cross.


But Joseph, Moses, David, Job, Jeremiah, and all the other depressed people in the Old Testament were godly people. Most of them were depressed on occasions when depression was the correct response to their situation.


For example, if you son betrays you, plans to kill you, sleeps with your concubines on the roof of your palace, and sends his armies to finish you off, depression seems to me an essential aspect of your godly response to the circumstances God has dropped into your lap.


If a man has been in the ministry for any length of time and has not been seriously depressed, he is either gifted with a special sort of personality, retarded, mentally ill, or he is an apostate swine who has no care for his flock and the trials of others, not to mention no feeling about his own sins and failures.


Visit the war zone, look at the soldiers in the hospital. Visit the poorest of the poor in the third world.


We have lots of good reasons for being depressed and if we are not depressed at least sometimes, we are spiritually dead.


I do believe that depression, sorrow, and anguish are /not/ incompatible with a certain kind of joy, and with hope and thanksgiving.


Depressed, but not despairing should be normal, shouldn't it?





The real shock -- 80% feel unqualified and discouraged. How can that be? I would think it should be at least 100% who feel unqualified.


Do any of you "feel qualified"? I sure don't.


The longer I am in the ministry and the more I realize what is required of a good minister, the more deeply I feel how unqualified I am. If I knew 35 years ago what I know now, I would have never had the audacity to assume I could enter so high and difficult a calling.


I don't feel qualified at all.


A good minister should:


1) know the Bible very well, including the original languages
2) know church history, theology, world history, etc. well also
3) understand music well enough to read it and to be able to intelligently lead his congregation; this includes knowledge of music history and an ability to sing.
4) be able to manage the business affairs of the church and direct those who do the actual work
5) be a wise counselor to members of the congregation on every sort of problem they face
6) be an evangelist to the non-Christian community
7) be a godly husband and father
8) be a man of spiritual depth and holiness, filled with love for God and His people
9) etc., etc.,


I fall so far short on everything that I believe a good minister should be that I feel very inadequate all the time.


The only reason I don't quit the ministry is that I believe God called me to it. Also, as I look around, I find that though there are many, many men who are better qualified than I and who do a much better job than I, there is still a need for someone like me.


I am still better than nothing, but that is about all.


My incompetence, my failures over the last 35 years, the slowness of my growth as a Christian man and minister, my sinfulness and foolishness, and many other things are discouraging.


So what?


I would be discouraged if I were a psychological counselor and had failed to help people -- which has to happen in 35 years.


I would be discouraged if I were a medical doctor and had seem my patients die when I thought I could help them.


Who can do any work for 35 years that has a major impact on people's lives and not experience failures that will haunt you till you die?






Then there are problems with the staff, fellow elders, etc.


Well, again, look at every other profession. Start with politicians! The staff argue, fight, and quit, right in the middle of the election campaign! Doctors, lawyers, business leaders, etc. all have problems like this. Anyone who is the leader of a group of people faces the problem of personal relationships in the group -- that includes the leaders.


There was a man named Jesus, who had twelve disciples who fought among themselves about who would be greatest -- even on the night that He was betrayed.


Being told that staff, elders, and deacons are sometimes hard to get along with, compete for power, or cause problems in the church is like being told that if I don't brush my teeth, I will get a cavity -- SCHOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!


Every business will tell you that one of their major problems -- if not the major problem -- is personal relationships among the workers.


Men are sinful and their sins make a mess of things. This is unpleasant and I really wish it were not part of the life of the church, but I am unshocked on this point, too.




In conclusion, I don't mean to say that this survey shows us that the church in America is healthy and good, or to say that it means nothing -- though I have deep doubts about the value of surveys and their helpfulness for understanding the church.


But I am certainly not shocked. I haven't lived in America since 1981, so my knowledge of the American church comes from my recollection of the way things used to be and from what I see on the internet and through my occasional visits.


But considering that the liberal churches still dominate the American ecclesiastical scene, that evangelical churches are pathetically weak, and that reformed churches major on minors, that even in Christ, men are sinners, etc., there is nothing in the survey that shocks me -- except that someone would be shocked by this.


Crusty, bald, bad-smelling, old guy,
Ralph

Poem of the Day

If
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

3.10.2008

Recent book buys

Found all these through friends, at antique shops or library sales in the past few days.

The City of God - Augustine
Preaching and Preachers - D Martin Lloyd-Jones
How the Reformation Happened - Hillaire Belloc (Catholic view)
The Church of Our Fathers - Roland Bainton (Church history for students)
American Historical Documents - Harvard Classics
Compact Guide to World Religions - Dean Halverson
Battlestar Galactica - Glen Larson and Robert Thurston
Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond
A Skeleton in God's Closet - Paul Maier
Knowing Scripture - RC Sproul
Between God and Satan - Helmut Theilicke
Jehovah's Witnesses - Walter Martin
The Sickness unto Death - Soren Kierkegaard
Capitalism and Freedom - Milton Friedman
A Fair Wind Home - Ruth Moore
Lives of the Caesars - Plutarch
Biography of Abraham Lincoln - Carl Sandburg

3.07.2008

Scripture that makes you go hmm: Ruth

Friend:
Ruth, at best, put herself in a sexually compromised situation with Boaz where Boaz told her not to tell anyone about it. At worst, given the connotations of the Hebrew words, she exposed his genetalia and approached him seductively (Ruth 3:1-14); and she was heralded as a righteous woman (3:11)

My reply:
This one fascinates me. I just read it again in devotions. Yes, the feet was sometimes a euphemism for private parts, but I'm not convinced here. I only found the eupehmistic use towards the bottom of my Hebrew dictionary, anyway. The word "lie down" is also interesting. It can mean sexual relations, or an act of submitting oneself to another. Which is it? I think the context of Ruth putting herself before Boaz, but waiting for him to act tells us there was no hanky-panky going on. It may also give some balance to how guy-girl relations should work these days! (Nothing wrong with perfume and nice clothes, but wait for him, don't lead him along or manipulate him.) I think the reason Ruth does this is the same reason Tamar goes after Judah. This was the only means she had to seek out her redeemer-kinsman. Given the culture, to approach him in daylight one on one would have cast her as a shameless harlot. Funny, but all the women in that Matthew 1 geneology (Rahab and Bathsheba are the other two) have this in common: they find themselves in hard situations, and commit acts of bold faith (some of which are or appear to be morally questionable) to resolve the situation.

Friend:
As to the Ruth instance, I don't think our notions of morality would permit any unmarried woman to make herself desirable and lay down next to another man. The comments I have found on this passage all point out the ambiguity of the words used describing what happened that night. "uncover" "feet" and "lie down" all have sexual overtones and yet the narration does not explicitly say something sexual transpired. In addition, threshing floors were a place where only men slept and so a woman at the threshing floor would make Ruth to be a prostitute, and the threshing floor setting in ancient Israel suggested sexual compromise (Hosea 9:1), with the parallels of "treading" and "fertility." The whole setting and buildup compare to modern soapoperas where the suspense is around whether they "did it" or not.

Me:
Our notions of morality are not always the best definition of righteousness. Jesus blasts the Pharisees for doing this (Mark 7:6-13). Sometimes loving our neighbor calls for violating our /notions/ of morality.

The terms have sexual /possibilities/ but not those overtones every time it is used. The same verb "lie down" appears in Gen 28:11, where Jacob goes to sleep, fleeing Esau, and dreams the ladder. There is no sexual overtone there, given the context. Ruth's context is different, but I believe any overtone of sex is meant to show that Ruth's goal is to marry Boaz - future sex, not present. I've seen similar readings of Ruth as soap opera - had it in seminary, in fact - and reject it as eisegesis: reading our modern sensationalism into the text. The sexual overtones simply reflect the nature of Ruth's request. Both Boaz and Ruth's faithful righteousness are pointed out in other places.

Interesting threshing floor picture. I love that kind of thing. I'd say it could also be a positive image of bread being produced in Bethlehem: the Bread of the world, that is. Bethlehem meaning "house of bread," after all. Threshing and treading were also joyous harvest times. But I get your point that a woman at the threshing floor at night is unorthodox and gives the appearance of impropriety. But again, to automatically equate the appearance of sin with immorality is a gross injustice when they are not in fact the same. Personally, I think in heaven there will be a LOT of apologies to Ruth from today's scholars for making such suggestions.

Scripture that makes you go hmmm: crass language

Search the title for the rest of the series - a while back.
Further conversation with a friend, never posted, but drafted.

Parental advisory - rough language implied below...

Friend:
Paul used the Greek equivalent of "bulls____" to emphasize the contrast between worldly gains and knowing Christ (Phil 3:8)

My reply
Assuming it isn't garbage, but human waste, your terminology may be right, but we also have words like "waste" to refer to this. Maybe you've studied this, and it is the vulgar use instead of the polite one. If that is the case, I still don't see a problem. The problem is with our wacky verbal values these days, making as big a deal over "sh__" as we do over "God d___ it" or "Jesus Christ" as a flippant expression of surprise, alarm or disgust. Honestly, I don't know that I would always consider the verbalization of "sh-t" as a sin. Almost never wise or helpful, either, of course, but I think its use is certainly edifying in Phil 3:8! The principle is that we too easily equate victorian, discrete politeness with Biblical morality. "Righteousness" is not defined as "nice," or "polite." The two are not always the same. For more examples look in the KJV at 1 Sam 25:22, 34; 1 Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8; or in the NIV at Ezekiel 23:20, or much of the Song of Solomon.

Friend:
1 Samuel includes a quote from Saul saying their equivalent of “son of a b____” (20:30)

My reply:
Many principles of the previous answer apply, but also Saul's sin is showing in his unjustified and abusive anger toward his innocent son.

Friend:
On Paul's use of vulgarity, I agree that our concept of unacceptable language is flawed in that we tolerate misuse of God's name and recoil in horror at the "sh" word or even the "f" word. Biblically speaking, vulgar language doesn't come close to the misuse of God's name in the degree of sinfulness. I include this and Saul's words in the list to try and point out our simplistic and Biblically flawed, yet supposedly air-tight notions of sin. Christians I know would bristle at that language, but why would the Biblical writers document it as such instead of saying that Saul cursed Jonathan?

Me:
To give us a picture of Saul's out of control character? Don't know exactly.

Poem of the Day

The Charge Of The Light Brigade
by 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
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & 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 & 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 & Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter'd & 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 & 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 wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Emotions present, but not driving the car

An acquaintance wrote a great piece called "Head and Heart," and allowed (a while ago!) my reprinting in part here:

Some "Christians tend to exalt theart at the expense of head - those who are led and who rejoice, not at the sound of the truth, but at what plays the heart-strings. Emotion laden forms of religion are all around us.

"Yet I think that man, espeicailly in the Reformed churches, overreact against that.... I am troubled that many seem to be more in love with the head of the Reformed faith, and neglectful of its heart. That is many love the high intellectual and rational truths of the Reformed faith, but do not understand that such intellectual comprehension must be met with love for God, and a vital Christian piety."


Ken Pierce, "Head and Heart"
In Facts, Jan 2007, pg 5

3.05.2008

Old stuff and Scripture

I've discovered about a dozen posts that I drafted but never posted online.
Bear with me as I unload a bit...



I'm reading Numbers in my devotions and have been impressed with some things I guess I already knew, but learned for the first time - know how that goes?

Judah led Israel whenever she moved anywhere.
Judah was the most numerous tribe, more so even than Joseph's 2 tribes combined.

I think there is a parallel between Numbers 1-10 and the pastoral epistles to Timothy, where Paul is setting in order and reconstituting the New Israel after her redemption from Pharoah/Satan.

Numbers 5:5-7 is a good OT principle that carries over directly to apply in NT today.

Interesting in chapter 10, how God leads Israel by pillar of cloud and fire, and then Moses asks his father-in-law to go with them, since HE knows where they should camp...

On Num 9:15-10:36, I've heard (2nd-hand) that Israel considered God their shepherd, who went before them and led them to green pasture and water. Poetically speaking, the cloud was one foot, and the fire was another foot, and God walked before them when moving them, and came back in their midst as the tabernacle was set back up.

Communion Exhortation - 1/20/08

Text: Colossians 1:15-19 - Christ's Pre-eminence

Jesus Christ is first in all things, and He is first at this Table. He is the host, at the head of the Table. We gather around as His younger brothers, knowing that when we open our mouths wide in faith to receive from Christ, Jesus will fill us from His fullness.

We show forth His death here – broken bread signifying a sacrificial body offered up to atone for sins; wine signifying His blood sprinkled on the cross, as covenantal blood was sprinkled on the wooden doorpost at Passover, and the wooden ark in the tabernacle. His death reconciles us to Himself, sets right the original purpose – that we live in Him, to Him, FOR Him.

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Tolkien reads "One Ring"

Courtesy of George Grant

Poem of the Day

A Poison Tree
William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree

Communion Exhortation - 1/13/08

Text: Colossians 1:1-14

God the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, has qualified us to partake, to have a share, in the inheritance of the saints of light. This brings us to this table, where we act out the share we have with Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, Epaphras, all joint heirs with Jesus.

This is a service of covenant renewal worship. This means that we believe we have assembled here to renew covenant with God. But it is important for us to understand the nature of this renewal.

We are not renewing covenant because "if we don’t" it will somehow expire. We are not renewing covenant the way a tenant renews a lease with his landlord. Rather, we are renewing covenant the way food renews the body, the way wine renews the heart, the way lovemaking renews marriage.

When a covenant is made, it is made on the basis of an oath. That oath is then sealed in some fashion, and is periodically renewed. Every time the covenant is renewed, the oath is reaffirmed.

Whenever we bring new members into our fellowship, we ask you to renew your membership vows as you accept their membership vows, and we ask you to do this with the solemn and joyful oath – a corporate, “I do,” or “Amen.” But you are renewing your connection to Christ, and to your brothers and sisters, more often than that. Every time you come to this Table, your connections are renewed. Every time you come, the oath is renewed.

Now, never forget one of the central features of the new covenant. What is the work that is required of you? It is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you are vowing obedience, you are vowing reliance on His obedience on your behalf. When you are resolving to live in a manner that befits a Christian—as you should be—you are resolving to trust Him to work out in your life the good works that He is willing to instill in you, and accomplish through You.

The covenant oath we are renewing here is the covenant oath that recognizes that Jesus Christ is everything. Christ is master, Jesus is Lord. The Son of man is victim, the Messiah is king. Jesus is servant, Christ is bread and wine. You in Christ, and Christ in you, that God may be all in all.

Labels:

3.02.2008

Call me a Muckle-head

Here's some shots of my (ahem, mom's) walking wheel, otherwise called a great wheel or muckle wheel.
Here she is, my guess about 200 yrs old.
This is the miner's head (aka muckle head or accelerator head) that was replaced. The bottom portion is an original/antique, the top part of the side posts (maidens) and the double wheel were recreated to finish it off. Yes, that's me spinning on it with lime green wool. Sheep are hard to come by in that color. :) Note my little guy in the background holding a spindle & bobbin; at least he's not pretending it's a sword. Sleeping Beauty wouldn't stand a chance with him around.

Another view of the miner's head. It's amazing that all wood parts can work as well as they do, albeit tempermentally.
I've enjoyed the learning process involved with aquiring this wheel. But it's another great case of "the more you learn the less you know." Take my wool, for example. I spun it on a drop spindle with no problems, but feel that it's not prepared well enough for this type of wheel; it needs to be combed out a bit more. I met a spinner from the area who has a similar wheel who attested to the moody nature of these great wheels. She also suggested that plying would be difficult if not impossible (sounds like a challenge to overcome!!).
My biggest difficulting in using this wheel is not technical at all, but rather human-related. As in all the little humans hovering about who wish to "help" spin that big wheel for mom! So yarn production has been very slow due to overabundance of helpers. But perhaps we'll set to work and sew up a bunch of colonial costumes for the family - I can spin while the kids embroider and work the garden and Steve chops wood. We can even charge admission. I think people would pay to see Steve chop wood. Hey, I'd pay to watch him chop wood, especially since we don't even own an axe!





Labels:

Computer humor

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT

ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer Store. How can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks, I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: No, the name is Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: I told you, my name is Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals,
track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: For my office?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
ABBOTT: Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything, I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

..... A few days later.
ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer Store. How can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START".............