Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crucifixion

is back in style this year in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.


This from Caroline Glick at The Jerusalem Post.

The whole article is frustrating, but important. I have never understood why so many don't seem to take the words of world players like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il seriously. When found to lie, the Western governments intensify negotiations. When told of their desire to destroy the West, it's freedoms and faith, the West's leaders refuse to understand, even spoken with such clarity. Does this come from arrogance? I don't know, but I certainly do not understand it.

Right now, many dear friends from our congregation are touring Israel. Please pray for their safety, and for wisdom, justice and mercy to overwhelm the foolishness, corruption and treachery so often on display in this world.

Philokalia

-to love what is beautiful. It's been over a year since I've picked up my Mounce, so this new to me Greek word comes not through study, but through an attempt to deepen my prayer life. I've begun reading The Way of the Pilgrim, and for those of you who've read it, you'll know the book which is given the Pilgrim by the starets is titled Philokalia. I've not gotten far into TWotP yet, but this new word has been on my mind.

The "ancient triad" I try to keep before me when homeschooling is truth, goodness and beauty. Anyone who has studied philosophy or education has come across these ideas. Actually, anyone who has lived would know these ideas, even if in their current life they are in short supply. Oftentimes, when teaching or just going about with daily life, beauty is given the short end. We often see the value of truth, as much for utilitarian means if not for the truth itself, and we also often see the benefit of goodness. How else will society function if not some sort of goodness or morality guides our actions? Beauty seems more elusive. We desire it and often envy it. Some pursue it. Others try to ignore it, though I don't think they can. And, at least to me, unfathomably, some try to destroy it. God has placed in us a desire and attraction for beauty, for He is beautiful, and no matter how corrupted those desires may become, their purpose is to draw us to Him. Being created in His image, we are also able to create, or at least make the attempt, things of beauty, whether in art, music, architecture, design, or even an appealing meal.

Before Christmas break, I had decided that the girls and I would spend an afternoon when there was nothing pressing, (no dance or piano lessons, and no church meetings), to paint or draw. I hate that the busyness of our lives too often get in the way of these pursuits, which means perhaps we should reevaluate our priorities. Anyway here are some samples of what was accomplished, without formal lessons and just having fun. Unfortunately, I don't have anything of Emma's to show because she hasn't completed them.

Olivia's Cross



My two attempts





I leave this idea of philokalia for now with a quote from C.S. Lewis. from his sermon, The Weight of Glory.

If we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which nature is only the first sketch.




Saturday, December 27, 2008

For To Preserve This Day

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents for much of Christendom. It is a time to remember the baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of two who were killed by order of King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the new King, Jesus. (Matthew 2:1-18) These were not the first to be killed by this jealous tyrant. Herod was a man so consumed by jealousy and fear that he had several wives and sons killed. Augustus Caesar upon hearing of one of the prince's demise said, "It is better to be Herod's hog than his son.". If only King Herod had read the prophets, he might have known that this new King would be his salvation - if only.

It is difficult to think of today as a feast day, indeed we've already celebrated the first martyr after Christ's ascension, Stephen. How seemingly incongruous that within this season of the Holy Birth, we must look to those who have suffered for our Lord. Of course this is exactly what he has taught us, that perfect love is sacrifice, a pouring out of oneself. Christ is not called a Man of Sorrows for no reason. He has not told us to take up our cross for no reason. I think to remember these witnesses who have gone before us is so important, both as a reminder that evil is real so that we are not surprised when faced with it, but more importantly, so that we may learn how to face that evil with faith and love.

Let us also remember the innocents today who are martyred or maimed for Christ's sake, such as Namrata Nayak, a ten year old girl from Orissa where violence against Christians is great. Namrata was burned over 40% of her body which was also imbedded with shrapnel by a homemade bomb.

She says:

"[W]e forgive the Hindu radicals who attacked us, who burned our homes," she told Asia News. "They were out of their minds, they do not know the love of Jesus. For this reason, I now want to study so that when I am older I can tell everyone how much Jesus loves us. This is my future."


Probably the best answer I have heard as to why men and women do evil. They do not know the love of Jesus.

A carol to commemorate the day.



Coventry Carol

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling
For whom we do sing
By by, lully lullay?

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
By by, lully lullay

Herod, the king
In his raging
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might
In his own sight,
All young children to slay

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
By by, lully lullay

That woe is me
Poor child for thee!
And every morn and day,
For thy parting
Never say nor sing
By by, lully lullay!

Once in Royal David's City



Once in Royal David's City

Once in royal Davids city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

For He is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
And He cares when we are sad,
And he shares when we are glad.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle,
Is our Lord in heaven above:
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just Another Ponzi Scheme

The recent disclosures of Mr. Madoff who made off, (sorry, I couldn't resist), with many billions of dollars has produced much lamenting. Actually, he didn't really make off with other people's money in the sense that he just wanted to get rich and retire in anonymity to some tropical island, as much as didn't want to lose face as the investor guru. I can imagine him thinking, "Just a little more time, just a little more money, and I can turn this thing around and all will be well.". (That's how most of us think about money when we borrow it, isn't it?) And we are all so appalled,aren't we? (No, I don't mean the nuts out there with anti-semitic conspiracy theories.) Many of us also think, "How stupid could these people have been to not know this was just a scam, a Ponzi scheme?".

For those of us who are tempted to think this way, why do many of us still hold on to the idea that Social Security is any different? There is no "lock box" which keeps our withholdings safe until we retire. It is spent before it is even collected. Our government requires those in the work force to give over 12% of their income to pay, not only current Social Security beneficiaries, but also for what other spending the legislative and executive branches have passed into law. This is the ultimate Ponzi scheme, and yet the majority of the country and special interest lobbyists complain when there is an attempt to reform it. With Social Security, the deep national debt, (which just gets bigger with every financial institution in trouble demanding a bailout), and pet projects of Congressmen, we are bankrupting our children.

Here are some statistics from the government's Social Security website:

The main reason for Social Security’s long-range financing problem is demographics. We are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. When the Social Security program was created in 1935, a 65-year-old American had an average life expectancy of about 121/2 more years; today, it is 18 years and rising.

In addition, more than 80 million “baby boomers” started retiring this year, and in about 30 years, there will be twice as many older Americans as there are today. At the same time, the number of workers ­paying into Social Security per beneficiary will drop from 3.3 today to about 2.1 in 2034.

These demographic changes will severely strain Social Security financing.


And

Many people think that the Social Security taxes they pay are held in interest-bearing accounts earmarked for their own future retirement needs. The fact is that Social Security is a pay-as-you-go retirement system—the Social Security taxes paid by today’s workers and their employers are used to pay the benefits for today’s retirees and other beneficiaries.

Social Security is now taking in more money than it pays out in benefits, and the remaining money goes to the program’s trust funds. There are now large “reserves” in the trust funds, but even this money is small compared to future scheduled benefit payments. In 2017 benefits owed will be more than taxes collect­ed, and Social Security will need to begin tapping the trust funds to pay benefits. The trust funds will be exhausted in 2041. At that time, Social Security will not be able to meet all of its benefit obligations if no changes are made.


Notice the word reserves is in quotations.I actually think the statistics on the demographics are optimistic. My reason for that is as of 2006, America's birthrate was hovering around 2.1 per woman, (which is replacement rate), and a good portion of this is due to immigrants from Central and South America. As our economy weakens, there are fewer immigrants willing to risk coming for a job that may not be here, and statistics show that second generation immigrants birthrates fall to the level of most Americans. I also think, that unfortunately in our culture, children are seen as an expense rather than a gift, and couples will limit the number of children they have out of fear. Oh, there's that word again!

Mr. Madoff seems to have been afraid to lose face and ended up costing others, including charities, billions of dollars. The economy is self correcting, but we are afraid of the short term pain, so we are going into massive debt in order to delay the inevitable. (We could really learn a lesson from Germany right now.) We are relying on our children to supply our Social Security funds, so that we may retire in some comfort, but we are afraid they're too much of an expense or burden, so we won't have very many. At some point, we are going to need to face reality with integrity, logic, intelligence, hope and love. If we don't, I believe we will end up with a country so paralyzed with fear and pain that we will allow things that remain unthinkable to occur for a sense of comfort and order. I pray we do not come to that. Indeed, I am hopeful, because I know it need not.

Kyrie eleison

On the Feast of Stephen



Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fear Not

This Christmas Eve, I had the occasion to read two articles, both regarding the Biblical command , “Fear not!”. The first comes from Fred Sanders at The Scriptorium Daily. He relays a sermon that uses Linus’ speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas to illustrate how when we look to Jesus and take to heart, “Fear not!”, we can let go of our false securities, (Linus drops his security blanket.), and live freely in Christ. The second is from Joseph Morrison Skelly at National Review Online. He demonstrates how when our faith is strong, we are free to stand up to wrong, even when the consequences mean imprisonment or death.

Fear has always dogged me. Like Linus, I have moments when I drop whatever security blanket I am using at the time, but soon pick it up again. Oh, to have a faith like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who at every step placed his faith in Christ, hopeful of a full life, yet realizing that death may very well be thrust upon him by the Nazis, as indeed it was. Professor Gerry McDermott once said in a sermon that there isn’t really a problem in a Christian’s life that wouldn’t be improved or solved by more faith. Most of us who are Christians have seen the truth in this, yet we still seem to fall back on things that are without foundation strong enough to withstand the real dangers that face us all. We use money, friends, family, status, popularity, education, etc..., and they have all failed us, just ask a former lottery winner.

N.T. Wright points out in his concise book, Following Jesus, that, “Do not be afraid.”, or, “Fear not.”, is the most oft given command in the Bible - more than to love, serve, or even worship. Not a believer in coincidences, I suggest that we resolve this Christmas season, as we celebrate God incarnate, Jesus Christ, and look forward to His second coming, to keep dropping our blankets and to boldly fight the wrongs of this world so that we will be a light in the darkness and live in real freedom.

Here’s a clip of Linus’ speech.

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Blessed, Merry Christmas to You All

Light of the World

It's Christmas Eve and one of the most exciting times on the Christian Calander. Jesus is coming- in the form of a tiny, helpless baby. On this night 2000 years ago (give or take a few) God wrapped Himself in human flesh so that He might walk among us. Today and Christmas are the celebration of the light of the world descending into our darkness. Every year, at this time, I am overcome with thoughts of gratitude and awe. What if He had never come? What if He had allowed the darkness of the world to consume us?

Thankfully, such thoughts are the realm of the most extreme fiction because God did not leave us alone in the darkness to perish. He loves us so well, and so intimately, that He deigned to enter our darkness Himself-- transforming the darkness for all eternity by the very act of entering in to it.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Real Santa

We have been going to see Santa Claus at the History Museum since Emma was just two years old, and we haven't missed a year since. It's like seeing an old friend once again, and it's especially nice because he remembers us. If you have a chance to go, do. This isn't your typical mall Santa. This Santa, aka Tom, sings songs, tells stories, reminds the children to use their manners, and makes it clear that Christmas is about giving and love. My girls both say that he's the real Santa.

Here are our pics from a few days ago.





Shout out to Sid, who took the girl's pictures when my camera wouldn't work. Thanks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Majel Barret Roddenberry, R.I.P.

Actress Majel Barret Roddenberry died in her sleep yesterday. Many of us who grew up with Star Trek in syndication and then The Next Generation will remember her in roles as Nurse Chapel and the amorous mother of Deanna Troi, Lwaxana Troi. She was a delight on screen, particularly when pestering Captain Picard.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you want to know?

Daniel Henninger from the Wall Street Journal on the Maddoff scandal. He asks, Why we don't ask where our money comes from, where it's going, or how can we afford this mortgage? Unfortunately the answer too often is that we don't want to know because of the moral dilemma we'd have to face.

Watch an interview with him here.

My apologies

for any frustration with the format. I think I have figured out the problem and perhaps after this post it will be solved. Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The problem with Compassionate Conservatism

John O'Sullivan has a great article in National Review. In the article he posits that President Bush is not a true conservative, nor a populist. That while there is a thread of conservatism on the issue of life, much of his governing stemmed from his own personal morality and not a core philosophical understanding of conservatism or freedom, or even of compassion.

Here's a portion.

To begin with, the idea that libertarian conservatism ignores or despises the poor is a libel. Some eccentric libertarians may do so, but the single most distinguished and influential libertarian conservative in our lifetime was the late Milton Friedman. His focus was on limiting government power — in everything from budgetary policy to narcotics regulation — but Friedman was also the inventor of the negative income tax, education vouchers, and a thousand other schemes to lift people out of poverty.

Second, there is nothing in compassionate conservatism to compel governments to prioritize. All the pressures in government are to finance new social projects (especially when opposing them is the sign of a hard heart). Without the restraint of a “small government” ideology, the easiest course is to choose them all. Overspending, inflation, spiraling deficits, and finally severe fiscal retrenchment are the results. But maybe that point need not be stressed just at present.

Third, compassionate conservatism is myopic. It responds to the victims in view but ignores the invisible victims of its generosity. Thus, the white-male victims of affirmative action are not considered in its debates about racial preferences. Bush’s proposed immigration reforms ignored the interests of low-paid, often minority, Americans. Prudent savers today are enduring the economic consequences of policies designed to help imprudent non-savers. And, of course, the taxpayer is the ultimate invisible victim of this cumulative warm-heartedness. As William Graham Sumner said, compassion is A getting together with B to decide what C shall do for X.


I'm afraid we're about to experience more compassionate something or other with our new President, minus the protection of the most innocent and vulnerable.

Kyrie, eleison.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I now understand

why we became a nation that eats junk food. It is because of the culinary delights of the 1970's. Oh, my. Just check out these Weight Watchers recipe cards and you will no longer have any doubt as to why families ate their meals at McDonalds, Burger King and A&W. The cards are extreme, but go to a used book store and find a cookbook from the seventies. While there may be a few gems, most make you scratch your head or just laugh out loud. Probably the greatest culinary achievement to come out of that decade was Chex mix, and even that is a little weird. Anybody remember Koogle, or Pepsi's "The Boss", a gallon bottle of soda, not Springsteen.
H/T to Rod Dreher over at Crunchy Con.

Memory Book

For those of you personally educating your child, either by homeschooling or afterschooling, here is a helpful book by Drew Campbell. Many of us have been waiting for Memoria Press to publish it. I'm not sure what the hang up was, but it is now being published through Lulu.

Here is Drew's description:


Tantum scimus quantum memoria retinemus: We only know as much as we retain by memory. Now you can give your students the benefits of classical memory training with Living Memory. This comprehensive K-12 resource for memorization, copywork, and dictation can be used with any classical curriculum or as a handy reference for home or school.

Gaudete Sunday

I'm a few hours late, but hope you will still enjoy.



Gaudete, gaudete
Christus est natus
Ex Maria virginae, gaudete.
Tempus ad est gratiae hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus.
Deus homo factus est natarum erante,
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante.
Ezecheelis porta clausa per transitor
Unde lux est orta sallus invenitor.
Ergo nostra contio psallat jam in lustro,
Benedict domino sallus regi nostro.


Translation:

Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born.
Of the Virgin Mary, Rejoice!
It is now the time of grace that we have desired;
Let us devoutly return songs of rejoicing.
God has become man, and nature marvels;
The world has been renewed by Christ who is King.
The closed gate of Ezechiel has been passed through;
Salvation is found there whence the light rises.
Therefore let our assembly now sing a hymn of purification;
Let it give praise to the Lord: Greetings to our King.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Interview with D'Souza

Here's an interview with Dinesh D'Souza in Salvo Magazine. D'Souza's book, What's So Great About Christianity was a delightful surprise when I read it about a year ago. Too many times when an author delves into apologetics, the arguments are weak or they build up straw men to tear down. Not so with WSGAC. Find the book and read it, it's worth the effort. In the meantime, check out the interview. Here's a sample:

If you really look at the motivations of contemporary atheists, you'll find that they don't even really reject Christian theology. It's not as if the atheist objects to the resurrection or the parting of the sea; rather, it is Christian morality to which atheists object, particularly Christian moral prohibitions in the area of sex. The atheist looks at all of Christianity's "thou shalt nots"—homosexuality is bad; divorce is bad; adultery is bad; premarital sex is bad—and then looks at his own life and says, "If these things are really bad, then I'm a bad guy. But I'm not a bad guy; I'm a great guy. I must thus reinterpret or (preferably) abolish all of these accusatory teachings that are putting me in a bad light."

How does one do that? One way is liberal Christianity—you simply reinterpret Christian teachings as if they don't really mean what they say. The better way, of course, is to ask where morality comes from. Well, it comes from one of two places. It either comes from ourselves—these are the rules that we make up as we go along—or it comes from some transcendent source. To get rid of God, then, is to remove the shadow of moral judgment. This doesn't mean that you completely eliminate morality, but it does mean that you reduce morality to a tool that human societies construct for their own advantages. It means that morality can change, and that old rules can be set aside. You can see why this would be a very attractive proposition for the guy who wants to live his life unmolested by the injunctions and prohibitions of Christian morality.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

St. Nicholas

Here is a great blog post by Fred Sanders at The Scriptorium Daily from last December. I remember it so fondly, I had to look it up again this year. Here is one small part:

Back at Nicaea (to the tune of “Up on the Housetop”)

Back at Nicaea, Three-Two-Five
When St. Nick was still alive
He was a bishop wise and gracious
Hanging out with Athanasius
Ho, Ho, Ho! You oughta know
Ho, Ho, Ho! You oughta know, oh
Santa was not on the roof, roof, roof,
He was defending the gospel truth.

He came to stop a renegade
Preacher who taught the Son was made;
Nick knew that it would be quite odd
If the redeemer were less than God.
Ho, Ho, Ho-Mo-Ousios!
Hey Arius, Don’t you confuse us,
Santa was there with verve and moxie,
Taking good care of orthodoxy.

Arian doctrine was so bad
It made poor old Santa mad
Laying a finger aside his nose,
Up from his seat bishop Claus arose.
“Ho, Ho, Ho, sub-ordination?
Ho, Ho, Ho, there goes salvation.”
Then with some mighty pop, pop, pops,
Saint Nick was busting the bad guy’s chops.

Demographic Winter

Take an hour to watch this documentary which I'll post below.
There has been a confluence of information in my life this year related to love, family and children. Reading P.D. James' The Children of Men ">The Children of Men, Spengler's articles over at Asia Times, Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con blog; also studying Theology of the Body has led me to a greater understanding of what love really is. It is sacrifice.
I've known this to some degree for a long time, but am learning it in a much deeper way. If someone ever tries to tell you that true love is easy and comfortable like your favorite slippers, they either don't know what they are talking about or are telling you a bald faced lie. Love is wonderful, but at it's root is self-giving. The problem of a demographic winter that our world is now facing has everything to do with a lack of love, an unwillingness to sacrifice for another. In this season of Advent, when our Lord, Emmanuel, became one of us to bear our suffering out of His great love for us, I pray to be more loving in the truest sense of the word.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economic Advice

Here's some sound economic advice via Rod Dreher's blog, Crunchy Con. The best part:

ONE OTHER THING: Fear is endemic to bad economic times. Exercise caution, but don't give into fear. I try to counter greed with temperance in good times, and fear with prudence in bad times. Take Matthew 6:20 to heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas movie




Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas



Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

SNL Bailout Skit

Check out SNL's bailout skit. It's dead on.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Latin Carols

Check out the left hand margin for a Christmas carol a day, translated into Latin. Thanks to Laura Gibbs at Gaudium Mundo.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shopping?




You Are a Reluctant Shopper



You really don't enjoy shopping. For you, it's just another chore.

You approach shopping systematically. You research what you're going to buy and come prepared with a list.



Of all the types, you are the most likely to not buy things you don't need.

You try to de-emphasize stuff in your life. You find shopping and buying things to be a rather empty experience.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How a libertarian can love a Christian, or,

if you're like me, how to be a Christian and a libertarian. Anyway, it is explained well in this article, by Randall Hoven.

A portion:

The most obvious point to me is that it is the do-gooding liberals who are telling us all what we can and can't do. The religious right usually just wants to be left alone, either to home school, pray in public or not get their children vaccinated with who-knows-what. Inasmuch as the "religious right" wants some things outlawed, they have failed miserably for at least the last 50 years. Abortion, sodomy, and pornography are now all Constitutional rights. However, praying in public school is outlawed, based on that same Constitution.

Just think for a moment about the things you are actually forced to do or are prevented from doing. Seat belts. Motorcycle helmets. Bicycle helmets. Smoking. Gun purchase and ownership restrictions. Mandatory vaccines for your children. Car emissions inspections. Campaign ad and contribution restrictions. Saying a prayer at a public school graduation or football game. Trash separation and recycling. Keeping the money you earned. Gas tax. Telephone tax. Income tax. FICA withholding. Fill in this form. Provide ID.

For the most part, the list just cited is post-1960. Neither Pat Robertson nor James Dobson ever forced any of that on us.



And:

Let's talk about the unavoidable issue: abortion. Who made it a federal issue? The ACLU and then the Supreme Court. Before 1973 it was left to the states; some allowed it, some didn't. Different states could adopt different criteria. Some might allow it under all circumstances. Some other none. Some at 12 or 20 weeks. Some might define "health" of the mother in different terms.

But all that flexibility was halted with Roe v Wade. Since 1973 abortion has been a Constitutional right. Do you know where that right is found in the Constitution? In these words of the 14th Amendment: "[No state shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Those words, according to our finest Constitutional scholars, mean it's OK to shove scissors through the skull of a baby and suction its brains out, as long as that skull has not yet left the birth canal. I'm sure you see that in those words of the 14th Amendment. Look hard, into the penumbras and emanations - it might take a little imagination.

Regardless of what you think about abortion, to find it in the 14th Amendment is an act of ink-blot reasoning. It might almost be OK, if it meant the court said we have true sovereignty over our own bodies. But the court explicitly said otherwise.

"The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court's decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past... We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified..."


So you do not have the right to do with your body as you please. Neither women nor men own their own bodies. That's what Roe v Wade said. In short, the decision was not "pro-choice". It was pro-abortion, pure and simple. That is the only choice it protected.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Between Heaven and Hell

John J. Miller interviews Peter Kreeft about his book, Between Heaven and Hell. I read this book while in college. In it, Kreeft creates a "supposal" in which Lewis, Kennedy and Huxley, who all died on the the same day, meet and discuss their world views, Lewis taking the Socratic role.

Listen to the interview here or, better yet, read the book.

Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death wtih John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley

Update:
Today, November 22, is the day of all three men's deaths.

Can you say Merry Christmas?

Here's an a short but interesting interview with Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal. Henninger makes the argument that by taking religion out of society, moral restraints are loosening which has led to the financial meltdown.

I think he has a point.



Here's his article on the subject.

Update:
Sorry about the video. It was working yesterday. If you click on the link to the article, you can get to the video from there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Camille Paglia


Has the best post election analysis I have seen.

On Barak Obama:

No one knows whether Obama will move to the center or veer hard left. Perhaps even he doesn't know. But I have great optimism about his political instincts and deftness. He wants to be president of all the people -- if that is possible in so divided a nation. His natural impulse seems to be toward reconciliation and concord. The big question will be how patient the Democratic left wing is in demanding drastic changes in social policy, particularly dicey with a teetering economy.


While I don't share her optimism, I think she's correct in that we don't know how he'll govern. He has a very liberal and pro-abortion voting record as both a state and national senator, but being in the executive branch is a very different role. My guess is that he will, at least privately, hold President Bush in higher regard by the end of next year. At the very least, I think he'll be more sympathetic toward him because of the difficult decisions presidents have to make.

On the press:

In the closing weeks of the election, however, I became increasingly disturbed by the mainstream media's avoidance of forthright dealing with several controversies that had been dogging Obama -- even as every flimsy rumor about Sarah Palin was being trumpeted as if it were engraved in stone on Mount Sinai. For example, I had thought for many months that the flap over Obama's birth certificate was a tempest in a teapot. But simple questions about the certificate were never resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks to their own blathering, fanatical overkill, of course, the right-wing challenges to the birth certificate never gained traction.

But Obama could have ended the entire matter months ago by publicly requesting Hawaii to issue a fresh, long-form, stamped certificate and inviting a few high-profile reporters in to examine the document and photograph it. (The campaign did make the "short-form" certificate available to Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.) And why has Obama not made his university records or thesis work widely available? The passivity of the press toward Bush administration propaganda about weapons of mass destruction led the nation into the costly blunder of the Iraq war. We don't need another presidency that finds it all too easy to rely on evasion or stonewalling. I deeply admire Obama, but as a voter I don't like feeling gamed or played.


And:

Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.


On Sarah Palin:

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.


Read the whole article. I've enjoyed reading and listening to Paglia for many years now, beginning with her smack down with Naomi Wolf on the Donahue show. How can someone talk so fast??!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Form over Substance

A great article by Thomas Sowell, (When does he ever not write a great one?), looking at what sells as intellectualism is most often an appearance rather than the real thing. Here's a portion:

Among the many wonders to be expected from an Obama administration, if Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times is to be believed, is ending "the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life."

He cited Adlai Stevenson, the suave and debonair governor of Illinois, who twice ran for president against Eisenhower in the 1950s, as an example of an intellectual in politics.

Intellectuals, according to Mr. Kristof, are people who are "interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity," people who "read the classics."

Adlai Stevenson was certainly regarded as an intellectual by intellectuals in the 1950s. But, half a century later, facts paint a very different picture.

Historian Michael Beschloss, among others, has noted that Stevenson "could go quite happily for months or years without picking up a book." But Stevenson had the airs of an intellectual -- the form, rather than the substance.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.


Sowell goes on to say that Harry Truman, who was considered a country bumpkin, would read Thucydides and Cicero in Latin. So much for country bumpkin.

What makes this even more absurd is that Beschloss himself was found wanting when speaking of President elect Barak Obama's high IQ. When asked the number of his IQ, Beschloss was at a loss. He himself has fallen into the form trap.

So, what is it about the form? What makes a certain form appear intellectual, and how did it even get started? What does it bode for our society if a certain form is so misinterpreted?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is your taste in art?

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.


People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Carve a pumpkin without all the mess!

The Golden Rule

CNN has this story. Tracy Orr was about to lose her house at auction due to foreclosure. Marilyn Mock couldn't bear to see this stranger, Orr, lose her home, so she bought it for the purpose of letting Orr buy it back. Why did she do it? She says,


"She was just so sad. You put yourself in their situation and you realize you just got to do something," says Mock, who says she has trouble walking by homeless people on the street and not helping them out.

"If it was you, you'd want somebody to stop and help you."


I don't know if Mock is a Christian, but this is an example of true Christian charity. One thing that cannot be legislated is charity. No matter how good the intentions, if giving is legislated, no one really receives the joy that both the giver and the receiver gain when a gift is freely given.

By this good deed, freely given, Mock has sacrificed knowing that someone is truly being helped, and has probably gained a good friend on the way. Orr has the knowledge that someone has truly cared for her in her time of need. This can never happen when the transaction is carried out by a bureaucracy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interviewed

I was interviewed last week by Shanna Flowers, of The Roanoke Times, regarding Sarah Palin coming to the Roanoke Valley. She got in touch with me through a friend of mine who is an editor at the Times. She was very pleasant and the article turned out well, unlike an article I was interviewed for with a reporter from The Guardian. I won't post that one here because most of what I said went unreported and what was reported was basically irrelevant to the article's theme - slam McCain/Palin.

So, kudos to Ms. Flowers. Read the article here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

When God Talks Back

My relationship with the Lord has been somewhat rocky over the last 11 months or so. In fact, I have barely been speaking to Him. I have only listened to Him for the briefest of moments.

When God speaks to certain of my friends, He always has wonderful things to say about how much He loves them and how dear they are to Him. He is so affirming and encouraging and always has something sweet to say. Sometimes I wonder why I do not experience His voice that way.

When He speaks to me, I often feel as if the very fabric of reality is being torn apart. I cannot help but feel completely overwhelmed with a sense of awe and am overcome by a sense of His holiness. Interwoven with those feelings is almost always a sense of fear, sometimes almost terror. His mighty voice always impacts me at the very foundation of my psyche. Sometimes His voice is painful. It always changes everything about my perspective. There is no voice that I love more than the voice of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months avoiding Him. There is no presence more comforting than the presence of my Lord, but I will sometimes go for months walking alone.

When I can no longer stay away from Him and I feel desperate for His presence, I cry out to Him and He is always there, loving me. Sometimes I wish that He would simply say sweet, affirming things to me but He never does. His love is a truer and more authentic and sincere love than any human being is capable of. When He speaks to me, I understand what love is.

Last night He woke me up about about 1:30 am, inviting me to speak with Him. I surprised myself when I accepted His invitation. I spoke to Him last night about how frustrated and hurt I have felt. I asked Him how He could have allowed certain things to happen. I asked Him what was wrong with my perspective.

He answered me by simply saying: "The first will be last and the last will be first. I want you to cloth yourself with the fabric of being last. There is no fabric that is more alluring to me."

Well.... Where is the space to continue to feel hurt and frustrated when God says that to you? I think that when we fix our eyes on ourselves, we grow sicker and progressively more unbalanced/darker as human beings. It is only in fixing our eyes on God and on other people that we become balanced and more healthy in our minds and souls.

I went spontaneously into a time of meditation-- contemplating deeply the 7 demotions of Jesus Christ: He relinquished His equality with God, He made Himself nothing, He took on the appearance of a man, was made in the likeness of a man, became a bond servant among humankind, He became obedient to death and He accepted death on a cross. The Sovereign God of the universe did this, for us.

As I considered all of the goals that I have in my life, and how frustrated I have been in achieving certain of those goals, I could not help but consider what Jesus might have desired to have in His own life. All of the things that He gave up for us, so that we might live and have eternal life in the abundance that He promises.... The agony that He suffered so that we might be "healed by His stripes"... The complete abandonment of all of His personal interesets & intentions so that the will of God might be completed in Him... His masterful rejection of every temptation that would have led Him off of the path that His Father had set before Him....

He emptied Himself perfectly and His horrific visage on the cross was the pinnacle of all of the beauty in the cosmos. This is the beautiful garment of humility and servitude and love that God calls all of His children to put on, that we might be acceptable in His sight. The fabric is the blood of Jesus; His blood that courses through our own veins and somehow is seen by God as a radiant white bridal garment. We cannot put on this holy and beautiful garment without emptying ourselves and allowing ourselves to be filled with God.

How difficult it is-- this constant crucifying of our flesh and our desires! How difficult it is to surrender our lives to God! How unfathomably more difficult it was for Jesus though!

When God talks back to us, the clay of our flesh is remolded by His voice. How much easier it is to simply not listen for the sound of His dear voice and to become deadened to His presence. Then we can continue to fight for the things that the world tells us are of the utmost importance-- for those things that we feel that we are entitled to as human beings.

The first will be last and the last will be first. God's words, not mine. Who can hear His words and not be changed forever?

In Christ's Love,
Janine

Another Quiz?

Here's another quiz from Fred Sanders at The Scriptorium Daily. It's a vocabulary quiz from A Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, that Fred put together for a college course he taught on the book.

I've been mulling over for some time putting together lessons to teach The Chronicles of Narnia for an adult Sunday School class. The only thing that has caused me to hesitate is that I'm afraid we'd have to rush through them in order to get the set completed within a year, but I still may do it. What has not caused me to hesitate, is that they are children's books. These books were written for children, but they are the best kind of books written for children, with the bigger themes of life woven through them, such as: our relationship to God, God's reaching down to us, Gods providence and our free will, sin, repentance, forgiveness, results of unrepentance, redemption of all of creation. Not exactly lightweight books, but lots of fun and very touching and relatable. If they help improve one's vocabulary, all the better.

Well, should you?




You Should Be Allowed to Vote



You got 15/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.



If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The overwhelming reason

I cannot vote for Senator Obama for POTUS is his extreme voting record on abortion. There are many other periphery issues on which I disagree with the senator, but this issue is at the center of how I vote. If we as a society will not protect the most innocent of human life, we will continue to disdain and degrade all of human life. Robert George, professor at Princeton University, has written a compelling article in which he say's,

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ''that question is above my pay grade.'' It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.


Read the whole article here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Campaign 2008

This article, by Victor Davis Hanson, expresses the complete irony of this year's presidential campaign. I have always expected bias in the media, but this year, everything seems to be turned upside down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October

is my favorite month.

I love the colors of the trees.


I love the crisp mornings that beckon for a fire on the hearth.

I love the azure blue of the sky when the sun is shining.

I love the rainy, windswept days when all that's called for is a pot of tea and a good book.


I love the quickening pace of preparation for the coming freeze.

I love that my favorite band has a song devoted to just that month and which captures its mood.

I love that most of my senses of longing, or as C.S. Lewis would call it, joy, have usually occurred in October.

October is truly a gift.

Come to Obama

Have you read about a Smith College girl's come to Obama moment? H/T Jim Geraghty

Or, perhaps you've seen this.

H/T Jonah Goldberg

Everyone has a faith, even Christopher Hitchens. To paraphrase Chesterton, "If you don't believe in God, you'll believe in anything.". I wonder if this looking to Obama as saviour is a backlash to the legalisms that must occur when one thinks God's law/love is too tough, and try believing in animal rights, global warming, social justice, etc. While all of these types of movements have their merits, they cannot save and and they are never satisfied. Are you against global warming? Then why have haven't you gotten rid of that car yet? Do you really love animals? Then why are you drinking milk? Do you love the poor? Then how can you possibly shop at Walmart?

False gods are never satisfied, and if someone thinks that Obama is god, woe to him when he finds out just what price he exacts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Christopher Hitchens. Believer?

This just up over at The Corner on National Review. It appears that Mike Potemra has just witnessed a debate over the existence of God between Christopher Hitchens and Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete. I've always loved reading Hitchen's articles. He is so clear, biting, passionate and logical, except not so clear and logical when he writes about God. From Mike's witness, Hitchen's problem is confusing professed God followers with God Himself. Never a good idea, though some of His followers get confused on that point sometimes also.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Private Patient

Just got back from a three day camping trip with my family at Douthat State Park. While there I was able to read P.D. James', The Lighthouse . Now I see she will have another book available in November. I thought that perhaps The Lighthouse might be the last Adam Dalgliesh mystery, but I'm glad it's not.

.

Happy reading.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Theology and Politics

I am probably one of the most non-political people you will ever meet. I have always been much more interested in morality and, since I became a Christian, in biblical morality. That is always how I have tended to vote--- according to the moral values expressed by the candidate.

I am much more passionately interested in theology and I do not believe that these 2 arenas can exist completely independent of one another.

As Christians we are encouraged by God, to conform to the mind of Jesus Christ. This is the essence of theology—to think God’s thoughts after Him. Jesus Christ is the Living Word and, through the bible, we can come to know His mind and heart. His Word promises that His children are being transformed more and more deeply into His image and that God will “complete the good work that He has begun in us”.

What does this mean when we, as Christians, consider for whom we are going to vote? As Christians, ideally, we are supposed to read the Word of God and, wherever our beliefs conflict with the Word, abandon our beliefs in an effort to conform to the highest truth that we are privy to as human beings.

For these reasons, I have never made it past the issue of abortion, as I have considered who would get my vote. God’s Word tells us firmly, and without uncertainty, that we are not to murder. Taking the life of another human being is the definition of murder…. Any politician or political party that bases part of its platform on the acceptance of murder will never get my vote. It is that simple and clear cut for me.

However, I have many good Christian friends who are democrats. In the weeks to come, I plan on asking them how they can adopt political positions that are in direct opposition to scripture. I am truly seeking to understand, what seems to me, to be such a strange phenomena.

In Christ,
Janine

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Medieval Occupation?

Since we are studying the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in our home studies, this seemed appropriate - and fun. I'm not sure what it means that I scored higher for a monk and a knight than for a lady, other than it's probably a good thing I live in the 21st century. Anyway, give it a try. H/T Drew at RRLS.


Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Monk

You scored 5% Cardinal, 72% Monk, 44% Lady, and 49% Knight!


You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes your way and you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with The Good Book makes you perfectly content.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Camper

That's what I am. I didn't think I'd be excited about this election until this:




I have been telling my mom that I hoped Senator McCain would choose Governor Palin for his running mate. This morning, my husband and I were reading all the rumors swirling around the internet and I could hardly believe it. She is a member of Feminists for Life, a fiscal conservative and an all around crunchy mama. I may even have to get a bumper sticker. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Balance of the Man

Today, I read an article by James Bowman over at Armavirumque. The author compares Barak Obama to the Scarecrow and John McCain to the Lion, both characters in The Wizard of Oz. His thought goes something like this: Obama represents someone who will think his way to avoid danger, and McCain will deal with danger when confronted by it. (Bowman cites Sally Quinn's article yesterday where she comments on the Saddleback forumn.)

All this led me to think of Harry Potter, naturally. Then I began to think of Jesus. (Yes, that was the order of my thoughts. Sanctification is a process, you know.) First, my thoughts began comparing the houses of Hogwarts. There are: Ravenclaw, the house that chooses the intellectual and witty, then Gryffindor which chooses the brave and chivalrous, Hufflepuff, the loyal and hardworking. The fourth house, Slytherin, chooses the prideful and power hungry. Throughout the series, one sees Gryffindor always leading the way, but not able to accomplish what needs to be done to conquer evil without both Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. (There also is the need for self-sacrifice, but we'll leave that for another post.) What that means politically is an interesting thought. Are those who are courageous and firm in their beliefs better suited for the office of POTUS? What of those that have greater giftings of the intellect? Are they better suited as advisors or congressmen and women? And what of the loyal and hardworking? Was this part of our founders intuition when setting up our government of checks and balances? There may be a some merit to the thought of a Gryffindor or Lion type as president, but I can't help but think the better would be to have all those characteristics prominent in one person.

Of course this is when I thought of Jesus, our Christ. One only has to take a brief look at His life to see all of these in perfect balance and in their fullness. His courage was displayed by confronting the leaders of Israel on their hypocrisy, forgiving sinners, facing the cross and taking on our sins; His wit and intellect in answering questions, many which were asked to trap Him, His teaching and teaching style, and understanding our human nature; His loyalty and hard work in healing the sick, associating and identifying with sinners, and praying to our Father for great stretches of time. These are just a few examples.

While we may not get the president we want or need, we do have a King and High Priest who knows, cares, and reigns in perfection now and forever.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

'Tis the Season

A little fun between spectating.



You Are Fencing



You're competitive but not brutally so. You compete to make yourself better.

You find having an opponent to be challenging and rewarding.

You are fierce when you're in a competition, but you don't wish your rivals any real harm.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Meaning of Life

The meaning of life is so simple and yet so complex....

The meaning of life is union with God, the constant emptying of ourselves and the constant need to be filled with God. He requires our desire, our cooperation and our surrender. He does all the rest. By His hand, He will craft a willing and striving human soul, painfully and joyfully, into the perfect image of His Son, Jesus Christ. The dance between our free will and God's grace is called synergy. Synergy is the sum of our union with God, on this side of reality. When we are face to face with Him, on the other side of reality, we will be united with Him for all eternity.

God's grace is invisible but His grace is more powerful, and more tangibly real, than any calm sea or raging hurricane. Because we cannot see His grace with our human eyes, He has given us Holy Sacraments. These sacraments are deeply mysterious because God is, in His essence, deeply mysterious. He has given us tangible and material signs of His grace. As we partake of His body and blood in communion and are baptized by water and His Spirit as we enter His Kingdom, we realize, with even more certainty than we can know that we are knit into our own bodies, that He is with us.

We enter union with Him thru water and Spirit and, when we are His children, His blood flows thru our veins and his flesh feeds us. There is no union conceivable to the human mind that is closer than the union that God provides thru the blood and flesh of his Son. However, when we are face to face with Him, our union will be even closer than that. "For nearer is He than breathing and closer than hands and feet".

Faith is belief in what we cannot see with our human eyes. Once He touches your eyes with His light, you can truly see that all things exist in Him. In Him, we live and move and have our being. We are animated and sustained by our all powerful and sovereign creator. His grace is truly all that we need for our survival.

We were made for God and our hearts cannot rest until they rest in Him. This is the meaning of life and He has not left us alone.

Janine

Friday, August 1, 2008

Feeding Mind and Body

I stumbled across this Free Rice site last year. It's a lot of fun, educational and truly does someone a good turn. Give it a try.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

American Heresy

is the title of Ross Douthat's post over on TheAtlantic.com. It relates to my post below regarding how culture shapes the church, rather than the church shaping culture, but looks specifically at at the American Church. Here's an excerpt:

The people who read Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer and The Prayer of Jabez may be more politically conservative then the people who read A Wing and a Prayer, and read certain passages of Genesis and Leviticus more literally, but the theology they're imbibing is roughly the same sort of therapeutic mush. Indeed, the big difference between the prosperity gospel that Osteen and his ilk are peddling and Schori's liberal Episcopalianism has less to do with any theological principle and more to do with what aspect of American life they want God to validate.



Take a look.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Church of England R.I.P.?



Here is a fascinating article from the Spectator, by Theo Hobson. His take on the current state of the Church of England is that the church was supposed to be diffused "liberally"through society under the state's laws and culture, but since Rowan Williams, (who previously was not a part of the state church, being from Wales), became Archbishop of Canterbury, his focus on the Anglican communion rather than solely on the Church of England, allowed the evangelicals to gain too much power and left liberated England out to dry, and now it will die.

What's fascinating to me about the article is how Machiavellian it is. There is nothing about what is true or scriptural. His explanation for the problems in the church is that the "bigots" have gotten too much control and the Archbishop inartfully let them have it by not sitting on the fence regarding homosexuality which would then have allowed the culture to transform the church in this matter.

This brings to mind that to those without faith, the matters of the Kingdom of God are incomprehensible, and for those of us with faith, often difficult. Hobson obviously cannot acknowledge that the purpose of the church is to transform culture nor that this is because Christ is the true King, Lord of Heaven and Earth - even of the Church of England.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Emma

Today, my eldest daughter, Emma, turns twelve years old. This is a photo of her from her May performance in Anastasia. She is growing into a fine young lady who is caring, thoughtful, always ready to have fun, (she asked for a zip-line this year), the only extrovert in our family, and a natural leader. Her ambition is to be an artist and a dress designer. Happy birthday, dear.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Segmented

One of the things that really bothers me about society is its segmentation of ages or life stages. Rod over at Crunchy Con has posted a letter from a single woman who can't find her way into the society of fellow crunchy cons because she is single. This is such a shame, particularly when most crunchy con's are people of faith. While society continues to fragment itself, the church should be moving in the opposite direction; building unity by having the old teach the young, letting the young aid the old, and everyone sharing their gifts with one another because we are all members of the body of Christ.

There is so much that needs to be done to rectify this, but one thing that could help would be to offer hospitality. Inviting someone to one's home who does not share the same station is a good start; whether they be older, younger, married, single, richer, poorer, working class, white collar, professional, etc... Hospitality is a command given to all Christians, and is even listed as a qualification to be an elder in the church, yet it seems to be one of those "old-fashioned" commands that is easy to ignore.

While not a cure-all, it could be a start. If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jesse Helms R.I.P.

God works in amazing and ironic ways. Who'd have thought that He would use a rock star quoting scripture to soften an old politician's heart? That's exactly what happened when Bono spoke to Senator Helms about the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Here is an ad. for an organization set up as a result of that change of heart. May I let God's Word soften my heart as well.

Happy Independence Day

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blink

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has been getting pummelled in the Canadian press with their investigation into Mark Steyn and Maclean's. They've decided to cut their losses. Read about it here from Ezra Levant.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

What Does it Mean to be the "Bride of Christ"?

I have been thinking alot lately about what it means to be the Bride of Christ, both as an individual and as part of the Body of Christ. We are the Bride for our Eternal Bride Groom, our precious Lord Jesus Christ. It is only thru His sacrifice that we are made spotless and beautiful in His sight.

We are His in His eternal Kingdom, both here and now and in eternity. In the present, Communion is an act in which we literally take the Lord into our bodies. In doing so, we become one flesh with Him. This is the beginning of our eternal union with Him.

Union with God, or eternal separation from Him, is the ultimate end of all reality. Union with God, or eternal separation from Him, is the final destiny of every human being.

As the Bride of Christ, it is our role to receive His love, freely given, and give Him all of our love in return. This reciprocal love is the essence of our eternal union with Him. This reciprocal love is what existed between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit before time began and the foundations of the Earth were laid. This is love beyond human comprehension and we are being invited to participate. This is love and union so all encompassing that human sexuality within the bonds of marriage is only the palest foreshadowing of what He has prepared for us, His Bride.

One of my favorite poems, by John Donne, speaks of this union in far better words than I could muster.

BATTER my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely'I love you,'and would be loved faine,

But am betroth'd unto your enemie:
Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe;
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.

There is no greater love than the love of God, no greater passion within the grasp of a human being than the passion that only He can stir in us. We are helpless to initiate this love. We can only, thru our free will, choose to receive Him or to reject Him. He offers union beyond our wildest ability to imagine.

Our God is a God of mystery and paradox. Truly, we shall never be free unless we allow ourselves to become enthralled and imprisioned by the embrace of the Lord. We shall never be pure and chaste until we stand face to face with Him, ravished by His love for all eternity. He created us so that we would never be satisfied with anything but union with Him.

The courtship, leading to eternal marriage, can begin now, if you allow it to. Your relationship with Him can be growing closer every day until it is finally consummated in the eternal union that He has promised. He is coming back for His Bride one day. Are you willing to receive Him?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

C.S. Lewis/Natural Law

Here's a good article by Michael Ward about C.S. Lewis and natural law.

Ward has also written a book, (which I've forgotten the title of), which explains the Narnian Chronicles in light of medieval astronomy. I never cease to be amazed by Lewis's depth of knowledge nor how he was able to integrate his vast knowledge into his works.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the light posting. Between participating on various committees, teaching The Great Divorce for Sunday School, and volunteering for my daughters' ballet performance of Anastasia, along with normal life stuff, the blogging has been light. I'm also not quite acclimated to blogging yet. I can't even get the Amazon Associates links to work today. Bleh

I'll be posting more soon though, partly on The Great Divorce. It is amazing how much more one gets out of a book if one teaches from it. Hopefully the pictures from the ballet will turn out well and I'll have a couple of nice pictures too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wise words

from Dr. Avelda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., about both abortion and race. May there be more people with her courage.

More than a little disturbing

Update :

Apparently Ms. Shvarts real senior art project was "performance art". The story she told the Yale paper was a hoax. Does this let her off the hook? For not having abused her body and terminating the lives of many unborn, we can be thankful. This does still reveal a callousness to those who are suffering the effects of abortion and a willfulness to deceive. It is different than true performance art, where there is an audience and one acquiesces to being "played".
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A senior art student at Yale, Aliza Shvarts, decided that her senior art project would include video of multiple self induced abortions. Read here. She says she wants to "inspire some sort of discourse.", and that it is not for shock value.

Of course this is for shock value along with a large dose of exhibitionism. She has shown disregard for the life growing inside of her, the donors of the sperm, the viewers of her work, anyone else related to the now dead unborn babies, (including herself), and the Giver of all life. She is quoted as saying, "I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just for commodity." What? How about art to inspire, to elevate, to show truth, goodness and beauty?

There are times when art must show grim reality to inspire good people to take action, such as photos of holocaust survivors and those that did not survive, but that is not what this is about. One might say it is murder for the art's sake, but that would be a pretty twisted definition of art.

Kyrie eleison.