Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Flavors being pulled:
Neapolitan Dynomite - Cherry Garcia and chocolate fudge brownie ice creams, side by side (Mmm! Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt is my favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream.)
The Gobfather - Chocolate ice cream with fudge-covered almonds and a nougat swirl (Almonds are good for you, right?)
Black & Tan - Cream stout ice cream with swirled with chocolate ice cream (Granted, I am not a beer drinker, but this just sounds gross to me. Beer ice cream? Only in America... and maybe Ireland.)
Turtle Soup - Vanilla ice cream with fudge and caramel cashews and a caramel swirl (Pecans are good for you, right?)
Fossil Fuel - Sweet cream ice cream with with chocolate cookie pieces, fudge dinosaurs and fudge swirl (Our budding paleontologist is very upset that she was not told about this sooner.)
American Pie - Apple pie ice cream with pieces of crust and apple pie filling (Apple pie a la mode in the freezer!)
Coffee - Coffee ice cream made with Fair Trade Certified (tm) coffee (I'm not a coffee person. What do you think of Earl Grey ice cream? Hey, I already have Earl Grey soap.)
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Not on the Test
by John Forster & Tom Chapin ~ copyright 2007 Limosine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)
Go on to sleep now, third grader of mine.
The test is tomorrow but you'll do just fine.
It's reading and math. Forget all the rest.
You don't need to know what is not on the test.
Each box that you mark on each test that you take,
Remember your teachers. Their jobs are at stake.
Your score is their score, but don't get all stressed.
They'd never teach anything not on the test.
The School Board is faced with no child left behind
With rules but no funding, they're caught in a bind.
So music and art and the things you love best
Are not in your school 'cause they're not on the test.
Sleep, sleep, and as you progress
You'll learn there's a lot that is not on the test.
Debate is a skill that is useful to know,
Unless you're in Congress or talk radio,
Where shouting and spouting and spewing are blessed
'Cause rational discourse was not on the test.
Thinking's important. It's good to know how.
And someday you'll learn to, but someday's not now.
Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.
Don't think about thinking. It's not on the test.
HT: Why Homeschool
Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace posted this great list of what non-homeschoolers may not know. Our own family and friends have been very supportive, but I found that I needed to read this and found great encouragement in it. Enjoy!
What Non-Homeschoolers May Not Know:
We've been educating our children at home for ten years now. In those ten years, I have observed that there are expectations that non-homeschoolers can place on homeschooling moms simply because they lack the practical knowledge of what it means to homeschool.
If you are the mother, grandmother, sister, friend, father, or brother of a homeschooling mom, here are some things you should know:
1. Educating children at home is a full-time job. Don't get irritated if she consistently allows the answering machine to do its job. If she were a teacher in an institutional classroom, you probably wouldn't think of calling her during school hours, so try to realize that while still at home, she is keeping regular school hours, too.
2. Unlike homes in which the children are gone for eight straight hours, her home is in a constant state of activity. The children are not only home, they are home making messes. All day long. Their mother doesn't even have the opportunity to go into their rooms while they are at school and weed out the junk. And if she is like me, you might find odd homeschooly things lying around- like the month we had a dead turtle in the garage fridge.
3. Housekeeping and homeschooling are mutually exclusive. If she is doing her job educating her children academically, then her house is not being cleaned. If she takes the day to clean the house, then school wil not be accomplished.
4. Place realistic expectations on her- she cannot simultaneously teach school, make three square meals, keep a house that looks like it has sprung out of the pages of Architectural Digest, have her nails done, drive children to extracurricular activities, and have all the clothing laundered and pressed. Something's gotta give, and in my experience, it is usually her personal care. So don't expect her to don the latest styles, have her roots meticulously dyed at just the right moment, and her aforementioned nails filed and polished to perfection. And while most of us aren't slovenly, we just tend to put some superfluous aspects of personal care at the bottom of the to-do list.
5. For many of us, homeschooling isn't an option. Many believe it is not only the best way for their family, it is the only way. Many see homeschooling as a Scriptural directive. When sharing a particular struggle unique to homeschooling, comments like, "Well, why don't you consider putting them in school? Maybe homeschooling just isn't your thing" aren't helpful. Instead, offer a listening ear and your fervent prayers on her behalf.
6. If you are truly concerned about the state of her emotions, home, children, or marriage, offer practical help to ease her burden. Personal time is at a premium for her, so consider offering to take her kids for the day so she can recuperate. If you like to do laundry, offer to come over and get the loads going, fold, and/or iron. If you like to cook, consider putting together some meals that she can store in the freezer for days when time is at a premium. If she teaches a broad spectrum of ages and grades, consider offering to come in once a week or more to teach preschool to the little ones. One grandma I know created "Nana U" for her preschool grandson (number five of seven) and not only did it ease her homeshooling daughter's burden, it created a special bond between grandma and the child.
But there’s a caveat here: ASK her what would be most helpful to her. Don’t presume to know what would help her. Taking the oldest children for the day might be fun for you, but it’s quite possibly not at all helpful to her. The living room might need to be vacuumed, but it’s not helpful if she’s trying to take a nap. Someone once told me, “If it’s not wanted, it’s not helpful.”
7. Think about what a financial burden homeschooling may be placing on the family. The loss of her possible income can be a real struggle nowadays, and you might be able to buoy her for another year by offering to purchase little things like simple school supplies. Gifts for the children like books on subjects of interest to the child, field trip fees, museum memberships, and the money to pay for music lessons or other extracurricular activities are the best thing you could give a homeschooling family. Not only does a homeschooling mom not need one more thing to manage or pick up, she would be thrilled to see you take an interest in the many academic items on her wish list.
8. Simple questions like, "How can I pray for you?" and "Is there any way I can help you?" are like a cool breeze in her life. Don't assume you know her needs- ask. You could just be the vessel God uses to carry her on through this very demanding and ultimately rewarding season of her life.HT: Stepping Heavenward
The Well-Trained Mind
2. ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULDN'T BE WITHOUT
Rod and Staff
(anything: English, Math, Music, Art... I love it all)
3. ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT
4. ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST YEAR
Story of the World
(I also wouldn't be without this)
5. ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING NEXT YEAR
Real Science for Kids: Physics 1
6. ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY
7. ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED
You know those thermometers you can stick on your kids'
foreheads? I want something like that that I can stick on my kids' heads
to know instantly whether they are learning anything I am trying to teach them.
8. ONE HOMESCHOOLING CATALOG YOU ENJOY READING
Veritas Press and Rainbow Resource Center
(Sorry, but I can't pick just one)
9. ONE WEBSITE YOU USE REGULARLY
The Well-Trained Mind Message Boards
10. TAG OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS
Life on the Yellow Brick Road
The Foil Hat, Inc.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
- Why do we set federal emissions standards based on the standards of the state with the top 6 counties in a list the nation’s 26 most polluted counties and none in the top 25 cleanest counties?
- Why do homeschools require the oversight of an education system that is failing to properly educate the students directly under their tutelage by doing things like using math texts where the authors admit in the teacher’s manuals that they “do not believe it is worth students’ time and effort to fully develop highly efficient paper-and-pencil algorithms for all possible whole-number, fraction, and decimal division problems. Mastery of the intricacies of such algorithms is a huge endeavor, one that experience tells us is doomed to failure for many students. It is simply counter-productive to invest many hours of precious class time on such algorithms. The mathematical payoff is not worth the cost, particularly because quotients can be found quickly and accurately with a calculator.” (as excerpted on Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth; the video is just over 15 minutes long, but well worth the watch… if you can stomach it)?
- Why should we casually accept the idea that global warming is an impending crisis from the same people who told us thirty years ago that global cooling was an impending crisis?
- Why do we spend an average of 24 hours (check page 81 of your 1040 instruction booklet) and a bottle of TUMS collecting and filling out paperwork to prove that we are not hiding any potential sources of government revenue while that same government runs a deficit in the trillions and frequently circumvents its own budgetary rules by hiding pork barrel projects in legitimate appropriations bills?
- Why does the average American work 84 days (it’s 133 days if you include all levels of government) to earn enough to pay taxes to a government in which the members of Congress worked a total of 103 days in 2006?
- How could a weather-forecasting rodent with an accuracy rate of only 40% spawn a national phenomenon and a major motion picture?
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Apparently, our pastor decided that this topic would need more time than was allotted in one class period, so with the knowledge that we would be discussing into at least one additional class period, he spent a lot of time on introduction today. This introduction took the form of listing a lot of Scripture references and questions to go with them for us to ponder over the next week in preparation for the next class. I will attempt to present the information as clearly as I can here, but please take these passages and questions and study them yourselves. Hopefully, all this will become clearer and easier to discuss/ debate after next week’s class.
*A reminder before I get to the lesson: Please feel free to leave comments, thoughts, questions, etc. in the comment section (be considerate in your presentation, please). Don’t forget that if you receive these posts by email that you will have to come on over to the actual blog to post a comment. If you simply reply to an email, I and all the other email recipients will receive your response, but not blog readers.
Italics indicate an interjection of my own thought, comment or opinion.
Some questions that have been asked in regard to the role of women in the church:
- Why is the difference between men and women so important?
- What is meant by “unbiblical female leadership”?
- How did Jesus treat women? Did He acknowledge (and thus condone) the hierarchical tradition? Did He give women access to all levels of His ministry?
- Paul mentions women in teaching roles. In what areas and whom were they teaching?
- How can women prophesy in church yet not be pastors?
- How can women be silent in church and prophesy?
- Galatians 3:28 states “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Huh?
- God endorsed female judges in the Old Testament. How does this reconcile with the teaching of women’s roles in the New Testament?
Adam was created with a ‘design deficit’. He was alone and this was not good. He needed a helper. God allowed Adam to discover this lack on his own by presenting him with all of the animals to name and allowing Adam to discover that none was a suitable helper. With this knowledge provided, God created Eve as a help-mate for Adam.
What comes to mind when we hear the word “help-mate”? “Submission” was the general response. The pastor was really bolting through this material, so I did not have a chance to offer my response, which is “power” and “relief”. We have all heard the phrase, “Man is the head, but woman is the neck”, and I think that there is great truth in this statement. Women have a great deal of power in their marital relationship (which is what we are talking about when we are discussing help-mates). I know that my opinion holds great influence with my husband. Also, men tend to be more analytical and women more emotional, so we have a great ability to influence the directions of our husbands… to manipulate, to be completely frank. Thus, a help-mate wields great power. The relief comes in because, although I have all this power, I do not carry the majority of the burden. My children are responsible for their own spiritual states. I am responsible for my own spiritual state and, to a large extent, the states of my children. My husband, however, shoulders the burden of his own spiritual state and those of myself and my children. The concept of “the buck stops here” applies in spades to the head of the family. Thus, a help-mate has some relief, for she does not have to bear the full burden of the one over whom she has great influence. The help-mate is a completer. Adam is more “Adam” because of Eve. However, they are still individuals. Thus, the distinction between the sexes exists from Creation.
This is where a list of Scriptures and questions gets thrown out there with basically no discussion or comment. Just keep them in the back of your mind, ponder them through the week (I will be doing the same), and, hopefully, some of those questions and comments begging for answers will receive those answers next week.
Is the concept of the head covering cultural?
How would one define “long hair”?
Is a shaved head culturally symbolic?
What does the term “head” mean as it appears in verse 3?
How does this passage apply today?
At this point, the pastor drew a diagram on the board of a cone (point up) that he called the “cone of certainty”. The closer to the top (point), the more certain he was of something (such as Christ being Savior) and he would be willing to die for it. Near the center of the cone were those things he held to be true (i.e had a personal conviction about) but was not certain of. He stated that the role of women in the church would fall in the middle of the cone for him. He stated that it was enumerated in Scriptures, but not as law, only as wisdom. I am afraid I see where this is going, but I will hold-off judgment until we discuss the topic in detail next week. To be honest and upfront in my presentation, I should let those of you who do not know me well that I wear a heard-covering in formal worship (formal worship= anything inclusive of a call to worship).
What does it mean to be ordained?
Is it simply a question of giftedness, or is it also a question of authority?
How does Jesus treat women?
Jesus spoke to them. It was against cultural custom at the time to speak to a woman in public who was not his wife or daughter. It shows respect on the level of a man.
Luke 13:16 -> Jesus expresses great respect by calling the woman a “daughter of Abraham”
John 8:10-11 -> however, coupled with this show of respect is a willingness to not gloss-over a woman’s sin
In the Old Testament, lust wasn’t really a sin, but in Matthew 5, Jesus equates it to adultery
Also in the Old Testament, men could divorce, but women could not. This left many women destitute. Jesus stated that all divorce (with one caveat) was sinful.
Frodo and I both had problems with these statements. Mine was more of a gut reaction, but Frodo was more eloquent in our discussion on the way home, so I will let him elaborate on this when/ if he gets opportunity to do so. (Are you reading this, hon? Hint, hint.)
John 19:26-27 -> Jesus provided for His mother at the time of His crucifixion
Women were used as examples of how we should act. One of these lessons was in the story of Mary and Martha where Jesus makes clear that women should sit under His teaching.
Women were the first to encounter the resurrected Christ. It was counter-cultural for women to be witnesses. Jesus used their action of performing their womanly duty (i.e. taking care of the dead) and used it to promote them from mourners/ caretakers to witnesses.
Despite all the ways in which Jesus treated women counter to the way they were treated culturally (lifting them higher than they were generally regarded), He still recognized distinct sexual roles. Luke 6:12-16 -> only men were chosen to be apostles with the knowledge that they would be the leaders of the first century church. According to Matthew 19:28, they were closest to Christ with special positions in Heaven. They were given a specific, earthly teaching ministry.
With this, a tense discussion began (this is guaranteed to happen when there are -2 minutes left in the class). One member of the class expressed the opinion that, given how men and women were regarded at the time (mentioning specifically the idea of women not being considered worthy of being witnesses), that Jesus had to choose male apostles because the message of the Gospel would not spread through women in a culture that did not value their opinion or what they had to relate. There was a great deal of agreement with this opinion. Our pastor felt that this could not be the case because Jesus had so obviously countered cultural views of women in His interaction with them without concern for how it would effect His message that He could have chosen female apostles if He had wanted to, so He must have chosen men for a reason. Precedent. Appeal to Creation. Something. This did not go over well. We will have to see where this discussion goes when we resume it next week.
BTW, if you find any broken links, please let me know (leave a comment or email me). I put the links in last when I was tired, so I may not have entered them correctly. Thanks.
Me: Secondo, don't forget to brush your hair.
Secondo: I did.
Me: You did? Well, I think you missed a spot. Get me the brush, and I'll show you.
(Secondo leaves and returns momentarily with requested brush.)
Me: Remember how I told you that if you comb your hair straight back like this (I run the brush from the center of her forehead to the nape of her neck) your hair will fall into a straight part and then you just have to...
Secondo: Ow! You're hurting my scallop!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Last Sunday’s Sunday School lesson covered the topic of free will. A rather heavy topic for an hour’s class. I was hoping that after a few days, I would be able to find a more fluid way of presenting the information presented in the class. It is now the eve of the next class, so I suppose that this will have to do. I hope that my presentation of it will be more thought-provoking than confusing.
Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire.
With this seemingly simple prayer, the infamous debate between Augustine and Pelagius over the concept of free will began. But why? What does this prayer of Augustine’s really express? Pelagius had no problem with the second half of Augustine’s prayer “command what Thou dost desire.” Here, Augustine is acknowledging God’s omnipotence (all-powerfulness) and submitting to it. It is the first part of the prayer, “grant what Thou commandest”, that Pelagius took issue with. In this simple phrase, Augustine is acknowledging that man cannot choose what God does not allow him to choose. In other words, free will has boundaries, and these boundaries are set by God and not by the desires or abilities of
Let’s look at Scripture and see if we can make some sense of this issue by asking a few questions:
- Was Adam able to sin in the Garden of Eden? Obviously, yes. (Genesis 3)
- Could Adam do what God required? Yes because until he disobeyed God, he remained in fellowship with Him
- Why would Adam and Eve, in perfection, want to disobey God? We have no idea. There are some questions that aren’t answered. We know that Satan was present in the Garden in the form of a serpent. We do not know what caused his fall and his pride.
I’m going to leave you hanging for a second while we delve into a question that comes up when discussing The Fall. What did God mean in His admonition to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:17, “…from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die”? Specifically, what does God mean by “surely die”? Did God mean a physical death? He could have, but we know by reading Genesis 3 that God did not slay Adam and Eve upon their confession of disobedience. So physical death must not have been the only type of death to which God was referring. Knowing that man is spiritual being in addition to being a physical being, maybe God was referring to a spiritual death. But what would a spiritual death look like? Following the golden rule of interpretation, that we try to understand the unknown by first looking at the known, let’s look at the characteristics of physical death to try to determine the characteristics of spiritual death.
Physical death is the in ability to respond to physical stimuli. Therefore, spiritual death must be an inability to respond to spiritual stimuli, i.e. God. This definition can be supported by the text of Genesis 3 where we see Adam and Eve hiding from God in shame, and God making their break in fellowship obvious by banning Adam and Eve from the Garden. Spiritual death differs from physical death in one significant way, however. It is a condition which exists from generation to generation. Let’s ask some questions about Cain and Abel to clarify this point (ref. Genesis 4):
1. Could Cain sin? Yes.
2. Could Cain not sin? No. In Genesis 4:6-7, Cain cannot respond to God by doing what is pleasing to Him
3. If men cannot do what is pleasing to God, then why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice? In Genesis 4:4, we are told “the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering”. God’s regard for Abel came before His regard for Abel’s offering. It was God’s regard for Abel that made Abel’s sacrifice acceptable. Abel simply gave in faith.
Let’s leap forward in to this generation.
1. Can we sin? Yes.
2. Can we not sin? Yes.
This answer caused a bit of hoopla and requires some elaboration. First of all, most Christians would agree that we are able to not sin in Glory, in Eternity. The question is, when does that Eternity begin? To steal and completely twist a quote from When Harry Met Sally, “… when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” If we are able to not sin in Eternity and Eternity begins at conversion, then we are able to not sin now (assuming we are converted). Does this mean we are sinless? No. We still have free will. We are still free to choose sin. And sin is what it is in our nature to choose.
1. How can we choose Christ if we can choose sin only? Something must come from without if it cannot come from within.
2. Why me? Why was I able to choose Christ? Does Christ’s death bring us back to a place of neutrality? A place like
We have all heard this answer before, but it still doesn’t answer why. Why choose me? What did I do? Nothing. God does not choose based on what we do. The choice is one of grace through the sacrifice of Christ. We live what we are not and work for what we want to become because of this grace. This spurs more questions:
- Are we accountable for our lives? Yes.
- How can this be if God predestines/ chooses what we will become? Paul asked this very same question, and his conclusion was “Who are you to question God?” See Romans 9:19-21.
- If we can only choose what we desire and all we desire is sinful, how can we choose not to sin? We cannot choose not to sin; God chooses us.
“But that’s not fair!” we protest. Grace isn’t fair; it’s offensive. Just ask the workers in the vineyard.
I will leave you with this essay by John Piper to ponder until my post on tomorrow’s class which will cover the role of women in the church.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I find myself drawn to it. I love it for so many reasons. Here are three(-ish):
1. It is a nice picture. I am not a great photographer, but I love to take pictures, so when I take a good one, I am happy. (And this one translated well to black and white, which I love, so I m doubly happy.)
2. It brings back wonderful memories. We had never hiked here before, so there were all kinds of things to discover. We came across a pond where there were at least a hundred people swimming, but despite the very public nature of the park, once we went onto a side trail, we felt very much alone. There were butterflies everywhere. I have never seen so many butterflies and in such bright blues and yellows! And there were ferns. I love ferns, and the whole forest floor was covered with them. Is there anything more perfect than an emerging fiddlehead? On some of the side trails, we came across some old foundations from the furnaces that used to be there, so we speculated about what life must have been like and what the area looked like when the furnaces were there. We threw rocks into the stream and played a variation of Pooh Sticks.
3. It captures my family very well. Frodo is enjoying his walk with Quarto on his back. He is holding hands with Primo and their heads are turned towards each other slightly. I am sure they are having an intriguing conversation as they usually do. Terzo is walking "by himself" alongside Frodo... like Frodo's own version of "Mini-Me". He is carrying his own water bottle and wearing his own hiking hat. Secondo is just a few steps behind looking off the path at some creature or plant that she has discovered and trying to get a second look. In a moment, she will holler to me or grab Frodo by the arm, point in the direction where she was previously looking, and shout, "Did you see that? What was it? Will we see another? Can we go back and look?" If I were closer to them (I was catching up after a pit stop), I would have been with Secondo or just behind Frodo so I could point things out along the path to Quarto.
So what I'm saying is... I love this picture.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
From what I know of Dr. Paul, I like his political theory. This quote from his website, for example, stuck out to me and seems to encapsulate his philosophy:
For Rep. Paul, each piece of legislation must be examined for its constitutionality; that is, on the basis of whether or not the US Constitution allows the Congress or the Federal Government to engage in the actions described by the proposed legislation. If the Constitution does not allow it, then it must be opposed.
To see his voting record, look here. To read his bio and learn more about his political philosophy, look here. I will be listening closely in the next few months as Dr. Paul speaks more about his philosophy and what he feels his role as President would look like. The election is almost two years away, so I defenitely have time! (Is it just me, or does it seem like candidate announcements are coming out really early for 2008?)
Who knows, I may even have to register as a Republican long enough to vote for him in the primary.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margerine, melted
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar or syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, flour, and salt; stir until smooth. Pour butter into 13x9x2 baking dish. Add batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Do not open the oven door for first 30 minutes of baking but don't forget to keep the oven light on so the kids can watch it grow. It is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with syrup and serve immediately. Serve with fresh fruit to help stop the cholesterol in it's tracks... or at least make yourself feel better.
These are Frodo's results from this morning (he made a double batch):
The pancake in the front had an eight inch peak and the one in the back puffed up almost a foot! It was amazing... and so yummy.
Primo and Secondo joined a Homeschool Square Dancing class in October, and a large number of them have been focusing on the competition since late November (Secondo didn't participate in the competition). The group sent three squares to the competition. Their two lower division teams received blue ribbons and their upper division team received a red ribbon. There were sixty squares entered in all. That's 480 dancers! That's a lot of Do-si-dos! And a lot of dust. The competition was held in the Large Arena... the same place where we saw a cattle competition a few hours before. It smelled like a cattle stampede, but what else do you want at the fair?!
There were dancers there of all ages... from infants through seniors. The local paper caught this little guy dancing with his dad during one of the exhibition dances, and he wasn't the littlest. His little sister, only a few months old, was strapped to Mom in a front pack. This looks like the best ride at the fair, doesn't it?! And talk about a workout for mom and dad!
Primo can't wait until next year... when she hopes there will be enough boys so that she can dance in the girl's position and wear a fluffy skirt! In the meantime, we can listen to their call CD and reminisce. Now all we need are two more kids, and we've got a square!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Our pastor is a nice guy. He loves to open up opportunities for people to discuss issues that are important to them. That is why, in the Sunday School class that he is teaching on Practical Theology this quarter, he decided to tailor the class by allowing us, the students, to ask questions that we would like him to teach on and have the class discuss. Poor, trusting, naïve man. I don’t think he knew what he was in for.
I have to say that I am honored to be among such thoughtful and vulnerable people and am looking forward to the discussions that grow from these questions.
Here are the questions that were submitted (our pastor tried to make them more manageable by organizing them into categories):
If the PCA (reformed faith) believes in predestination, where does our free-will fit into our future? In other words, if God knows our future and it is already planned, what choice do we have?
Sacraments: Use and Meaning
Please explain again the use of Baptism & Communion as a sign and seal of salvation. What is the right attitude in which to receive these? Is circumcision still a sign and seal?
Are there any additional or only spiritual signs of salvation?
Sniffing Out the Truth of Cultish Coercion
1 John 2:18-26 & 1 John 4:1-3 & Galatians 1:6-9 – These verses have been presented to me to support “we know the truth and no one else does.” How do you view these verses in light of inner core and outer core beliefs? (Looking back, outside the dogma, there seems to be a contradiction between the Scriptures and the statement.)
A Case for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in the PCA
What is a woman’s role in the PCA? How are women viewed? If women are thought to not be able to hold a leadership role in the church, how is that carried over into everyday life? Such as:
a. Woman CEO with men as employees: how will she be viewed?
b. How do we bring our children up respecting a woman’s role without formulating an opinion that may be demeaning?
Does the reformed faith allow for changes? Is the culture at the time a basis for the role that women play?
Christ and Culture
How does the church determine what in Scripture is cultural practice and what is commanded by God as an act of obedience, worship, etc.? If sanctification is a reality that bears fruit in the life of the believer, why is the church virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding culture in so many ways?
Mixed Bag of Nuts
Why has [our church] chosen a contemporary worship format over hymnody/ psalmody?
How does Christianity (or reformed theology) reconcile Biblical truth with quantum physics?
How does Christianity (or reformed theology) reconcile Biblical history with dinosaurs?
What role does the Holy Spirit have in Christian life today? Is this purpose/ function any different now than from the time of Pentecost?
What theological differences are there between reformed Presbyterian and reformed Baptist? Reformed Episcopal?
Are there levels of “saintliness” or “sinfulness”?
Speak to the issue of iconoclasm and the role of arts in the church.
Can you guess which ones Frodo and I submitted?
As our class delves into these questions, I will share my thoughts (and the many questions which are sure to follow) here. Maybe I can convince Frodo to also. Just check the theology category. If these topics interest you, I encourage you to check out Heather’s blog, Stepping Heavenward, where she will also be sharing her musings on her Sunday School’s teachings on Chapter 22 of the Baptist Confession of Faith.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
In their never-ending effort to "help" homeschoolers, public school bureaucrats periodically try to increase homeschooling regulations. This makes K-12 education perhaps a unique endeavor: it's a field in which the failures regularly, and astonishingly, insist that they should be able to regulate the successful.
Never mind that homeschoolers consistently outperform children institutionalized in government schools or that the longer a child is institutionalized in a government school the worse he does in relation to homeschooled children. Never mind, also, that international surveys of academic performance show that in the course of 12 years government schools manage to turn perfectly capable children into world-class dullards. No, the same education bureaucrats who consume an annual cash flow of roughly $600 billion to achieve previously unknown levels of semi-literacy and illiteracy among otherwise normal American children feel compelled from time to time to abandon their diligent pursuit of intellectual mediocrity to offer proposals for regulating homeschool parents.
You can read the rest of the article here.
A few days ago, I woke up and that little boy was gone. In his place, I found this little man instead. Notice the missing tooth. My little boy had all of his baby teeth, so this couldn't possibly be my little boy.
This young man is also doing first grade math. My little boy would have just turned 6 and only be in kindergarten, so this can't be my little boy.
This young man offered me the dollar that he got from the tooth fairy when we were out grocery shopping the other day. "Are you sure you don't want it?" he asked. "Are you sure you have enough money?" Of course, before leaving for the store, this young man informed me, "You know what I'm gonna do with my dollar? I'm gonna put it in the change machine at the store and get four quarters 'cause four quarters is more monies than one dollar." Very my little boy-ish.
This young man prays the most eloquent and thoughtful prayers. "Dear God, thank you for this beautiful day and thank you for this good food that gives us strength to serve you. Thank you for Jesus being born on Christmas Day so that he can die on the cross so we can love you and be with you. Amen." My little boy was... well, little. He sang songs like Jesus Loves Me and I'm in the Lord's Army. He wasn't so spiritually astute... was he?
This young man holds doors for people. Everyone. If he is near a door, and someone has to go through it, he'll open it for them. And hold it open. No matter how many people have to go through it. Or how cold it is outside. Or how long his family must wait for all of those people to file through the chivalrously opened door. He must hold it... for he is a gentleman. A young man.
Come to think of it, maybe he is, or should I say was, my little boy. When told he could choose to do anything he wanted on his birthday, my little boy chose to help me clean out the fridge. That sounds like something this young man would do, too. My little boy did work hard to earn his first Tiger Track beads and earn a weather belt loop. This young man certainly knows the meaning of hard work, too.
Besides, this young man, who recently built a birdhouse with Frodo, looks an awful lot like Frodo. Doesn't he? And this young man just asked Frodo if they could go hiking, and my little boy went on a three mile hike with Frodo last year. A three mile hike where he insisted on walking by himself and pointed out every stick, rock, daddy long-legs, bird, tree, and blaze along the way. And that reminds me, when we took this young man ice skating today, he too insisted on doing it by himself when Frodo offered to help him... just like my little boy with the hiking. And the roller blading. And the two-wheel bike-riding. And the scooter.
Could it be that this young man is just my little boy? My Terzo? Just grown?
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
- A.A. Milne
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