Wednesday, December 31, 2008

40 Days for Life Audio

The leader of the national 40 Days for Life Campaign, David Bereit, was on the Sean Hannity show recently. I do not care for Mr. Hannity or his show, but this interview was really good. That may have something to do with the guest host Scott Hennen. I really encourage you all to listen to this 10-minute segment. You will have to scroll down a little to get to it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lord Howe Tree Lobster

ICR has an interesting article on the Lord Howe tree lobster. It is an insect that supposedly evolved several million years before its habitat existed. (Insert eye-roll here.)
The article explains how evolutionists try to rationalize this with sinking islands. Go figure.

My Computer Died

My computer completely died last night. I am thankful to have a husband in IT who can tell me what to order and assure me that the shadow whatzit has a copy of all of my information. And I also have the bedroom computer for Internet (hence the post). I am also glad that I have a small business (see sidebar) and can count a new computer as a business expense.

But still I didn't realize how much I use my computer for until now that it is gone. All of my information is in there. Ah, well. I can certainly still function. And unlike pets or people, computers can be re-built. Especially with an IT husband on staff.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I watched the movie Arranged last night and really liked it for several reasons.

1. It showed marriage as a lifetime commitment. It today's world you hardly ever see movies where young ladies take marriage seriously.

2. It gave me some insight into the Orthodox Jewish and Muslim religions. I don't know much about either of these. It was very interesting to get a glimpse of the family lives presented in the movie.

3. It contrasts the "modern woman" jumping from man to man and party to party with two young women who are pretty independent yet respectful of their parents and who can see the value of marriage and family.

4. There is a scene where one of the ladies gets fed up and goes to a party with her cousin. Instead of being sucked into the drugs, alcohol, and sex available, the experience only solidifies in her mind that she does not want that kind of life.

5. Though I wouldn't want to go back to the world of arranged marriages, I did like the emphasis in the movie of getting advice from parents and spiritual advisers about courtship and marriage. I can't imagine having a marriage relationship with children involved where my husband and I were not on the same page religiously. Yet so many people enter marriage thinking that won't be too big of a deal.

Here is the trailer for the movie. I don't know that it does the movie justice, but I thought people might want to check it out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

OK, So I'm a Little Behind the Times

I just got back from Christmas (and therefor back to the internet) and found this little gem from Wickle at 1TrueBeliever. It is a great post about Christmas that I really hope you will read even though Christmas is past.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We are supposed to be with relatives over Christmas. So I thought I better say, "Merry Christmas" now.

I hope that all of you have a great time celebrating the birth of a King. It is amazing to think that the Creator came to earth and became a tiny baby.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I have been sick the past few days. Aside from listening to the New Testament on MP3s, I have been watching useless rubbish downloadable from the MSM. After watching a couple of episodes of The Biggest Loser Families and Survivor Gabon, I was struck by something. People are longing for true fellowship.

Since we in church circles have misused the word fellowship (using it to mean eating with other people whom we barely know), let me define it here. According to fellowship is

1. a. The condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality.
b. The companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere and on equal terms.
2. A close association of friends or equals sharing similar interests.
3. Friendship; comradeship.

For my purposes, I have condensed this to something simpler. Fellowship is a camaraderie built around a common goal.

In The Biggest Loser, fellowship exists. It was obvious that even though there was a competitive element there was a bigger element of camaraderie. They were all on equal terms of poor health and obesity. They all had a common goal of winning a prize and losing weight.

In Survivor, the fellowship is less because of the back-stabbing nature of the game. But it was there anyway. Everyone had an equal chance. The last three people were a 57-year-old teacher, a pin-up model, and a 40-ish mom. All of them people had the same goal of surviving for 39 days in the wilderness of Gabon.

In both of these shows, the people said that it was one of the best experiences of their lives. I would submit that this was because the fellowship was intensified by the extreme difficulty of the objective. You see this a lot in war movies. The men from different backgrounds are friends for life because of the fellowship that they shared in accomplishing a difficult objective.

So if this is true, is this a missing element in our churches? We tell people in sermons that the Christian life involves sacrifices and will be difficult. Then we proceed to make it as easy and fun and comfortable as possible. But I submit to you that people want to be a part of something world- and life-changing. And if it is difficult, so much the better if you want to build a true fellowship.

I think that church leaders are so nervous about scaring potential converts away that they inadvertantly hamper the growth and fellowship of those already in the fold. In the short term this might lead to more members, but it seems to me that the Church in the US is getting wider without gaining depth.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

I rode my bike to the post office (1 mile) with 2 kids and two dogs in tow. Then I rode back with a box strapped to my stomach by a sweater (which I thankfully didn't need as it was in the 70's).

Now you may be asking why I did this.

1. I didn't have the keys to the car.
2. I have really been looking forward to this box (it was gifts from Mindware thanks to my Granddad).
3. Exercise is good for you.
4. The dogs need exercise too.
5. As my husband would say, "In this family, we adapt and overcome." (I think he got that from his stint in the Marines.)
6. It was a nice day.

So there you go. Am I crazy or what?

And just in case you were wondering, I got Bendominos and Logic Links. I might report on what I think of them after I get a chance to play them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I was wondering. . .

If parents paid for Bible class (like they pay for dance class or art class), would they still be satisfied with classes that dole out 80% fluff and 20% (on a good day) substance. At least 80% of the time in the 5th grade class that I "assist" in is taken up in crafts and snacks.

Now I am not saying that parents should have to pay for their kids to come to Sunday school or Bible class. What I am saying is that I think most parents have very low expectations of their kids actually learning anything in a church Bible class. They don't put anything into it (no money, time, thought, etc.) and therefor expect very little out of it.

It seems the main focus in the younger years is to keep the little ones out of parents' hair while Mom and Dad go to their own Bible class. In elementary, the focus seems to shift to fun. "We want kids to think God and the Bible is fun." Then in middle school and high school the focus shifts (at least at our church) to "life issues".

Of course, I strongly recommend against relying on church run classes to give your child a solid foundation of biblical knowledge (or even a strong Christian worldview). But shouldn't Bible class focus on the Bible. Have we really bought into the idea that the Bible is boring? Or that our children are too stupid to understand it? Shouldn't our children be challenged to grow spiritually?

The teacher today actually did that for a full 5 minutes. Then apologizing for getting off lesson went back to the written speech that she is to read off the sheet. I was glad that she challenged the students and sad that it happens so infrequently.

P. S. Wickle made me think of something else. It seems to me that most parents have one main priority for a Bible class. That is safety. At least, that seems to be true for the little kids. Not that I am against safety. But shouldn't we give as much attention to learning as to safety?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Blood

This video is of one of my favorite artists, Lewis Lavoie, working on a mosaic mural called One Blood, Many Nations. It is a painting about how all peoples came from Adam. It is very fascinating to watch Mr. Lavoie work and combine so many images into one giant masterpeice.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Combining Evolution and the Bible

ICR recently had an article about Pres. Bush's belief that you can combine evolution and the Bible because he isn’t a literalist when it comes to reading the Bible, but he thinks “you can learn a lot from it.”

There are so many reasons to trust the Bible. It is accurate historically and scientifically. Archaeologists and scientist are discovering more reasons to believe every week. They just aren't what the MSM wants you to hear so you don't. I will give two brief examples here and move on. In 2007, a cuneiform tablet was found by the British Museum confirming that Nebo-Sarsekim mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3 did indeed bring a gold tribute to King Nebuchadnezzar. The RATE project (which studied helium leak and zircon crystals) gives much evidence for a young earth.

It makes me sad that so many Christians, like Pres. Bush, try to combine the millions of years of death and decay with "and God saw that it was good." This is especially bothersome to me because most leading evolutionist would agree with Stephen J. Gould (a big fan of Darwin) who once wrote:
The radicalism of natural selection lies in its power to dethrone some of the deepest and most traditional comforts of Western thought, particularly the notion that nature’s benevolence, order, and good design, with humans at a sensible summit of power and excellence, prove the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent creator who loves us most of all…. To these beliefs Darwinian natural selection presents the most contrary position imaginable.
Evolutionists understand that the two belief systems are incompatible. So why can't we?

The ICR article further laments,
Bush called himself a “simple president,” implying that he does not feel qualified to speak authoritatively on scientific matters. Few people do, since American science education, under the guise of “separation of church and state,” has for decades hindered students from understanding even basic science by limiting their studies to the evolutionary worldview and forbidding an open exploration of the evidence. This effort to suppress sound science continues as special interest groups pressure the Texas State Board of Education to drop the teaching of evolution’s “strengths and weaknesses” from the state science curriculum requirements, which the Board will review in early 2009.

I truly hope that the Texas State Board of Education has the guts to allow children to learn the "strengths and weaknesses" of the theory of evolution. And if they don't, I hope that it motivates more parents to take charge of their children's education.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Transformation Stinks

Some of you might recall that I bought some paperwhite bulbs several weeks ago. Well now they are blooming. They are very pretty, but boy do they stink. Then I got to thinking about how often my attitude stinks when God is transforming me into something more beautiful. So I am trying to give the poor paperwhites a chance.

Trapp Family Singers

I recently finished reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. It was a very interesting book especially since I had grown up with The Sound of Music. This will not really be a book review of it. Rather it is a list of things that I found interesting basically in the order they occur in the book.

1. Maria was about 20 when she married Captain Trapp whose oldest child was about 14 or 15.

2. In order to protect her honor, Captain Trapp left the country directly after their engagement and did not return until 2 weeks before the wedding. At that point she was at the Abbey doing prayers and meditations in preparations for marriage. Can you imagine what would happen if every bride spent 2 weeks in prayer and meditation before marriage?

3. The children all call her Mother. There is never a mention of step-children or half-sister or anything.

4. Christmas is such a spiritual and Christ-centered holiday for them. They attended several times in the period before Christmas. Letters were written to Jesus as the giver of all good gifts instead of to Santa. Saint Nicholas was (in real life) a bishop and after Christmas someone dressed up as him and came to the house. He announced some of the various sins of each person and asked if they solemnly promised to act better in the coming year. The candles on the tree represented the light of Christ coming to earth.

5. Even as a very wealthy woman, Maria gives birth at home. Even in America where she is told that the hospital is the way to go, she responds that hospitals are for sick people and babies must be welcomed into a home.

6. When Austria is "liberated" by the Nazis, the government schools are used as weapons against the parents. The students are told that their parents are old fashioned and won't understand the new ways. They are asked to spy on their parents and report to the teacher (a dedicated party member).

6. When Captain Trapp, the eldest son (a doctor), and the singers are all offered prestigious positions within the Reich, a family conference is held. All of them, even the young children, agree that they would rather give up their position (Baron's family) and likely wealth than to align themselves with Hitler.

7. As soon as they are on the boat headed for America, they diligently try to learn English.

8. They never conform to American fashion, but stay with their Austrian costumes. Maria says it is cheaper and much less stressful to not have to change one's wardrobe at the whim of fashion.

9. Their conductor is a Catholic priest. When they build their own home in Vermont, they build a chapel. (Their home in Austria had a chapel as well during their last years there.) This is where they worshipped twice daily as a family.

10. One of the things Maria liked most about Americans, was that they came to their concerts even though the Trapps were all registered as enemy aliens with thick German accents.

11. Over time Maria came to see that it was OK to do school in a bus while on tour. It was a slow progression from boarding school, to school at home, to school on the bus.

12. When they were not yet citizens, two of the Trapp sons fought in Italy for the USA.

13. Maria was also impressed at the generous spirit of Americans. Shortly after the war ended, they Trapp family started using their concerts as relief efforts for starving Austrians. Over time they shipped 300,000 lbs. of food and a great deal of clothes to the poor from their homeland.

14. Their home in Austria had been used as Nazi headquarters in that part of Austria. After the war, they were told that it was still their property and they could do with it what they wanted. The thought of owning property where Hitler had stayed and shot people from the balcony was horrifying to them. They sold it as quickly as possible.

15. It was a truly joyous thing for them to become American citizens.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Warned You

I warned you guys. So here I am posting one of my "art" projects. This picture is a scan of the lower right side of a painting that I am calling Images of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that I was labeled "graphically challenged" by my college professors.

Still an Amazing Country

America is still and amazing country.

Where else could a little Vietnamese refugee grow up to become a law-maker in the US House of Representatives. Where else could an "ethically-challenged" incumbent whose party had held the position since 1890, have been defeated without bloodshed or at least a riot or something.

I am talking about Anh "Joseph" Cao from New Orleans. Here is a quote from the news article:
With his win, Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to the U.S. House, is poised to take the helm of a district whose demographics don't favor candidates like him. Drawn to give African-Americans an electoral advantage, 62 percent of the voters in the 2nd District are black, and two-thirds are registered Democrats -- although those percentages may shift as voters who have moved away since Hurricane Katrina are removed from the rolls.

And I thought this quote was kind of funny.
With Jefferson's political might weakened as he awaits trial on federal bribery and corruption charges, Cao stopped short of attacking the incumbent for his legal problems, questioning instead his effectiveness and ethics.

So congratulations Mr. Cao. I hope that you take a stand in Washington, DC and show Nancy Pelosi what a true Catholic looks like.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Me and My Jesus Themed Christmas

Around here we try to keep out decorations for Christmas about Christ and his coming. (Imagine that.) So here is what we have so far. The main thing is the nativity scene. My kids set it up with Nana and Papa. Nana and Papa made it look like a normal village with people in or near their houses and Jesus in the stable. But the kids always want everyone to be around Jesus worshipping him. Then my daughter brought out all of her new princess dolls because, "even princesses should worship Jesus."

Then we have the Christmas wreath. (It isn't on the door because my husband doesn't like the wapping sound every time the door opens or closes.)

There are also the Jesus themed Christmas cards. Though I can't send all of you one. I do wish you all a Christ-filled Christmas. May what He has done bring you joy that no one can squelch.

And yes, we do have a Christmas tree. Largely because we got tired of various relatives feeling sorry for the kids with no tree.

Friday, December 5, 2008

House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparlulo is the first in a series called Dreamhouse Kings. I was a little disappointed in this book. Not because of the book itself so much as that it didn't meet my expectations for Thomas Nelson. I was expecting something with Christian undertones. This book is largely irreligious except for one mention of the family looking for a church after their move. From a Christian mom perspective, I found some of the slang a little crude. Also I think that some people might object to a sentence revealing that the main character smoked two cigarettes and didn't think his dad would make too big of a deal about it.

The story line is pretty intriguing. The cliff hanger ending makes you want to purchase the next book. There is even a cool twist at the end. But through all of this the family never turns to God. They never pray about their perilous situation. They are completely reliant on themselves. You never get a hint that they are reliant on him in any way.

The parents are decent examples, firm but kind. The mother quit her job to stay home with the kids. The dad is the obvious leader of the home without being overbearing. The family dynamics seemed decent. The main character, Xander, is a little whiny at the beginning, but gets over himself quickly enough that I didn't have to grit my teeth to get through the book.

I think had I just checked this book out from the library I probably would have given it 3.5 or even 4 stars. But I was expecting so much more from Thomas Nelson that I can only give it 3 stars.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Success Without Laws

This video summarizes the recent 40 Days for Life. One of the things that I want to emphasize is that all of these amazing changes took place without a change in laws. They will likely take place again next year even with an Obama presidency. So watch the video. Let it embolden you to do something about abortion in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Freedom and Liberals

I found Thomas Sowel's latest article interesting. Here is the link and a few clips.

Most people on the left are not opposed to freedom. They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.

One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the left's many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement by schools and by college admissions committees that students do "community service."

The arrogance of commandeering young people's time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

You can make anything an "entitlement" for individuals and groups but nothing is an entitlement for society as a whole, not even food or shelter, both of which have to be produced by somebody's work or they will not exist.

The most fundamental question is: What in the world qualifies teachers and members of college admissions committees to define what is good for society as a whole, or even for the students on whom they impose their arbitrary notions?

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others. But this all depends on who defines compassion. In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the left's vision of the world.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others-- a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.
The essence of bigotry is refusing to others the rights that you demand for yourself. Such bigotry is inherently incompatible with freedom, even though many on the left would be shocked to be considered opposed to freedom.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Step Ideas

I got something interesting from my church in the mail today. They call it "Christmas Step Ideas". (Step is a kind of outreach thing at our church.) I thought I would pass them along to you (at least the summaries).

1. Go caroling in a neighborhood with your small group and tell your neighbors about Christmas services and special events (take your children with you).

2. Have a Christmas Dessert at your house for your neighbors. You will be surprised at how many neighbors will come to your house for desserts.

I (That would be the outreach minister) read a testimony recently in an outreach newsletter of one couple having a Christmas dessert open house from 6 PM - 8 PM on a Thursday night. They noted that people came and stayed for the whole time. They also noticed that many of them- even thought they had lived down the street from one another for 30 years- had never met! You can talk to the whole group and thank them for coming and invite them to the Christmas Eve service.

3. Instead of first figuring out how to get your neighbors to visit church, why one involve your neighbors as upfront willing partners in doing Kingdom work. Plan a food drive in your community. Maybe even start something long term that would bless your community throughout the year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

OK I'm Ready

I got up this morning and put on my extra thick skin. So I here I am writing a likely controversial post in style.

While many of you will likely disagree with the point of this post, I want to start out with the stuff we likely agree on.

1. We are saved by grace through faith (an alive faith that is accompanied by action) not by works (trying to earn your way to Heaven).

2. We are saved only through connection to Jesus. Just because you are a good Jew or Muslim or Buddhist doesn't mean that you will go to Heaven when you die. Jesus Himself said that no one comes to the Father except through Him. He also said that no one is good.

3. There are no partially saved people. Though salvation is a journey, there must come a point in time where you go from lost and living a walking death to saved and living a new life.

So here comes the controversy. I believe that this point in time is baptism. Let me tell you why.

1. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV) The only way we can stand before a just God and survive is to be clothed in His Son. I believe that being clothed in Jesus is the point of these vereses from Matthew 22 (NIV) in a parable of Jesus. "10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. 13 "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "

2. This is how we connect with Jesus' death and resurrection. From Romans 6 (NIV), "1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

3. Forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. These verses are from Peter's first Gospel sermon in Acts 2 (NIV). 36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
This idea of forgiveness of sins being bestowed on us at the point of baptism is confirmed by Paul when he explains his own conversion story in Acts 22 (NIV). 12 "A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14 "Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.' "

Now I know that there will be some objections, so let me answer them as best I can.

1. Isn't baptism a work? I would say that it is less a work than praying. Baptism is something that one submits to. It is something done to you. I have never heard of anyone baptizing themselves. The work at baptism is all God's doing. We only submit to it.

2. What about Cornelius (Holy Spirit before baptism) or the Samaritans (no Holy Spirit until Peter laid hands)? These are exceptions in special circumstances not the general rule. Let's take an example from the Old Testament. (For the whole story, read 2 Chronicles 30.) Hezekiah led the Israelites in a Passover feast after they had neglected it for many years. They celebrate it on the wrong day and for two weeks (instead of one) and some of the people aren't properly prepared. Though God allowed this and was pleased with Hezekiah, it would be silly for future kings to have used this as proof that Passover could be celebrated whenever or without preparing. Exceptions don't negate the rest of God's Word. Throughout Acts baptism is the point of salvation. Even the exceptions mentioned were baptized.

3. Aren't you negating grace? I think that I have answered that in various ways above. None of us deserve to be saved. None of us can earn it. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a point in time where salvation occurs.

There are probably more which I am sure you will leave me in the comments.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Great Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving week. Tuesday we got to meet my brother- and sister-in-law for lunch. They are from Florida so we don't have to see them that often. Wednesday my daughter got to go with my husband to work for the day. She had a great time being Daddy's helper. My son and I had a great time just hanging out and relaxing. Thursday we slept in and then opened presents. The kids presents were numbered. I was so glad that I did that. That saved the best for last and I didn't have to remember what was in what box. We had lunch of turkey, corn on the cob, broccoli with cheese sauce, and chocolate chip cookies. All of these are super easy and made for a relaxing day for me. Friday we cleaned up a little the next day to get ready for company on Saturday. I also spent some hours playing around with my art supplies. Today my husband's other brother from Florida came by for the day. It was pleasant to see them. For lunch, we had Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup which is a great way to use left over turkey. I also tried a brand new recipe: Walnut-Cranberry Tart. Everyone gave it 5 stars. They came bearing gifts. One of mine was a very cool kind of silly putty called Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty. I got Twilight which changes from purple (room temperature) to bright blue (warm hands). We will have to use it to try out some experiments on its non-Newtonian properties. Throughout the weekend we have been lighting scented candles and saying the things that we are thankful for. It has been really pleasant.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Odd Tradition

In our nuclear family, we have an odd tradition. We wanted to move away from secular Christmas and focus more on Jesus so we started giving gifts at Thanksgiving. So tomorrow we are opening presents, eating a nice (but not huge) meal, and discussing things we are thankful for.

I am super excited about my present. It is from my mom, my husband's mom, and my husband. It's (insert drum roll here) a box full of art supplies. (I know because I ordered them all myself.) I am warning you in advance that I might feel compelled to post some of my attempts at art.

Anyway, have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow. Remember to thank the Lord for all he has done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Moon Shines Down

I have received my second book from Thomas Nelson for review. It is The Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown.

I have read Good Night Moon once a long time ago. I have a vague recollection of a mother and baby rabbit. So if you are looking for a review comparing the two, this is not the one for you.

I started this book with a slightly tainted mindset; I had read a negative review several weeks before. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't horrid, but I can't say that it was great. Let me start with the negatives and get them out of the way. The wording was very choppy. The rhythm didn't seem consistent throughout the book. Some of the rhymes seemed forced. I thought the story would have flowed better if it followed some recognizable path around the world instead of jumping from one continent to another. I also found it annoying that at the very end it suddenly tries to become a Christmas story. This just did not flow for me.

On the positive side, my mission minded heart like the idea of visiting children from different countries around the world and asking God to bless them. I also found the illustrations pleasant. The are colorful and fun. The koala as a main character adds an international flair.

Overall I give this book three stars. It was OK, but certainly not great.

Monday, November 24, 2008

George Washington and Thanksgiving

Did you know that the first presidential proclamation was about giving thanks to God? Here it is in its entirety. I did change the f's into s's where appropriate.

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wife, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington

Friday, November 21, 2008

One Up Side to the Economic Drop

It seems as if these economic hard times are negatively effecting Planned Parenthood. State governments faced with smaller budgets are cutting their funding. Take this example from Corpus Cristi, TX. I am also pleased that the reason Planned Parenthood was dropped from the budget was because about 20 concerned citizens showed up at the City Council meetings and voice their opinions.

Oh, the Insanity!

Stupid criminals are my favorite kind. Take this fellow for instance. He shot a man twice (and not fatally). Then he recorded a rap song about the experience stating the injured man's name. A jury of his peers gave him 20 years.

Stupid (or just left-leaning liberal) judges, on the other hand, are my least favorite kind. Even when they are in Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that obese people are functionally disabled and therefor deserve two seats for the price of one. I ask you, "Why should airlines have to suffer the consequences of other people's eating habits?"

Stupid (or just left-leaning liberal) law-makers are almost as bad. Especially when they are in my own state. Texas Sen. Shapleigh is trying to pass a bill to make it illegal for a restaurant to prepare, pakage, store, or serve food with tras fat unless the food in question is yeast dough or cake batter or pre-packaged food served in the original package. (Insert eye-roll here.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pro-life Legislation to Be Introduced in Texas

I got a heads up from Free Market that new pro-life legislation is going to be introduced this session in Austin. I think these kinds of laws are still being proposed despite the looming Obama presidency. Here is the official press release.

Contact: Logan Spence (512) 463-0107
November 10, 2008
Kathi Seay (512) 463-0646
Important legislation enjoys broad and united support

AUSTIN – This morning, Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and Representative Frank Corte (R-San Antonio) filed legislation to ensure that women are better informed about the decision to obtain an abortion.

The legislation will require abortion providers to give a patient an ultrasound of her child and an explanation of the child's current state of development before the abortion procedure. However, the patient is not required to view the ultrasound against her will or in the case of medical emergencies.

"Passing this bill is a high priority for me this session because women seeking abortions deserve to be fully informed about the consequences of this procedure," stated Representative Corte.
The bill is strongly supported by several pro-life organizations. "Including the ultrasound as part of informed consent for women undergoing abortion is a matter of medical consumer protection to further safeguard the health of women," said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life.

"We strongly support this bill," stated Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. "There is no other medical procedure in which women are denied such relevant information like they are during an abortion."

"Ultrasound technology is the result of extraordinary medical progress. This bill is a step forward for all pregnant women in Texas, and to deny women such information would be a terrible injustice," said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs and attorney, Free Market Foundation.

During the last legislative session, Senator Patrick pushed a similar bill through the Texas Senate with broad bipartisan support. "This bill is about enabling women to become informed patients as they make this vital decision," explained Senator Patrick. "No conscientious person can oppose this proposal."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Parental Rights in the State of Texas

Thanks to JR at A Keyboard and a .45 I have been alerted to a new parenting law introduced in Texas by Texas Rep. Alonzo that makes me cringe. The proposed law talks of ensuring that children are a priority and a good education, etc. Here are the things that popped out at me.

From Article 1-
The child has a right to live in a home where "the child is treated with respect". I agree with this, but I can see the government (or judges) twisting this to: It is disrespectful to the child to swat, ground from the prom, limit friendship choices, etc.

It even specifies later that "any form of discipline that humiliates or demeans the child" would be banned. I can see this being almost anything but time outs.

This phrase "access to a quality education" opens the door to homeschool regulation.

This one "receive appropriate medical, dental, vision, and mental health services" bodes of more regulation of people who oppose vaccinations or medical birth or Western medicine all together.

Article Two largely deals with "Family Education Centers". Somehow I can't really imagine that these will be based on God-centered biblical parenting. One of the things new parents are supposed to learn is to "develop short- and long-term family goals". Now I can only imagine that these would be more in line with the State's goals and less in line with God's goals.

Needless to say, I will do my part in fighting this rubbish. Parents are responsible for the character molding, health, education, and training of their children. The State needs to get the c*** out. (The stars are for OneMom's benefit.)

Arzigul Tursun

I found out about this yesterday but couldn't bring myself to post about it because it was too sad. Now that the story has a happy ending, I can type the sad and horrific beginning. Arzigul Tursun is an ethnic minority woman in China. She had been told by authorities that she would have to have an abortion because she already had two children. She ran away to a different city. When she was captured and taken to the hospital, she escaped despite two guards. She finally surrendered when the government threatened to take away her house and livelihood. There has been an international protest and the prayers of thousands have been said. Today LifeSiteNews reports that Arzigul Tursun has been released without having the forced abortion. Praise the Lord! I plan to keep this poor woman in my prayers. May God bless her for trying to protect her child.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christians and Politics

A friend of mine had a letter published in the Star Telegram. I thought it was so excellent I got permission to publish it here as well.

Columnist Cal Thomas appears to believe that Christians should abandon politics and instead be just about the business of doing "good works." (See: "Christians may have learned the most from the election," Nov. 9)

Even though some valid points were made, some of the opinions were, I believe, misguided.
Many Christians have an incomplete picture of God’s plan for his people in society. We stray from one extreme to the other: retreating or becoming like the culture.

Thomas’ answer is the former extreme: retreat — at least in politics. I heartily agree that Christians should do good works, but to abandon the institution of civil government that was established by God is not only unscriptural, but foolish.

"Are we to sit back and expect the ungodly to produce the fruits of godliness?," asked the Plymouth Rock Foundation. "That would not be faith, that would be folly. It would be handing the nation to humanism by default."

Does it not make sense that Christians would want civil government to be filled with godly men who understand godly principles?

There are reasons that some Christians do fail in politics and in efforts to transform government.
One is that they have little or no understanding of what God’s design for government is supposed to look like.

Secondly, we believe that we must vote for the lesser of two evils when it comes to choosing civil magistrates (i.e., president of the United States) instead of voting according to the clear qualifications in Scripture. We fail to realize that God can easily take care of the results when his people are obedient.

Thirdly, we, as Christians, must take back the authority of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation and understand that the word of God, in principle when not explicitly, is applicable to every area of life.

Finally, although not exhaustively, churches must stop worshipping at the altar of their 501(c)(3)’s and stand up and be heard. What a shame to us all that we too often fear to let our voices ring out today.

A clear reading of Scripture and knowledge of history leave no doubt that Christians should and must be involved in civil government in whatever capacity God calls them.

— Kerri Jackson

Monday, November 17, 2008

Review of My Little Girl

Thanks to Wickle, I am now receiving books to review from Thomas Nelson. My first one is My Little Girl by Tim McGraw.

I have to start this review by saying that I am NOT a country music fan. So I would probably never have purchased it as there is a picture (a small one) of Tim McGraw on the front cover. That being said, I found this book to be delightful.

It is a story about having fun just being together. The story line follows a father/daughter pair from morning until bedtime. It reminded me that all of my best memories of my dad are of doing normal non-spectacular things like building snowmen or riding on his back. This book is a good reminder that children don't need to be razzle-dazzled by fancy gifts or big vacations; children need interacting parenting parents.

The little girl in the book reminded me very much of my own little girl. She has a hodge-podge of tastes which I enjoyed glimpsing. I liked the father as well.

The illustrations are great. They fit right in with the story. The vibrant colors go so well with a vibrant girl.

If you have a daughter between 4-6, she will likely love this book. When I read it to my daughter, she asked, "Mommy, can I keep this book because I love it." It would make a great Valentine's day gift, but really would be appropriate any time. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unsolicited Advice

I have been wondering, "When is it my duty before God to give unsolicited advice?" I look at people in the Bible like Elijah and Jonah and Nathan and John the Baptist. They all gave unsolicited advice (most of it unpleasant). Of course they were prophets. But as a child of God don't I have some of the same responsibilities: to warn, to rebuke. Now I know that unsolicited generally negative advice will likely turn many (if not most) people off. Then again, Jonah led a whole city to repentance and Nathan, a king. So how does this fit into my life?

When should I speak out against daycare (in a loving way of course) to people that have their newborn in daycare?

When should I speak out against shacking up to people that have been living together for years?

When should I stand up for husband headship amid Christian women who are disrespecting their husbands?

I have often heard that you need to have a strong relationship first. But is that what we find in the Bible? Nathan had a strong relationship with David, but Jonah hated the people of Nineveh and waited for them to die. John the Baptist rebuked whole crowds of people at a time.

When are we to speak the truth in love and when are we to keep our big mouths shut?

Am I more likely to be sinning when I remain silent or when I speak up?

In part I think that the real crux of this matter is: Am I willing to speak the truth even at the cost of friendships or ridicule?

Is most of this angst really about the right or wrong of saying something or is it fear of people and what they will think, say, or do?
I would love to hear all of your comments!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cry of the Orphan

Orphans and widows are mentioned throughout the Bible as people the faithful should take care of. I am not well suited to foster care or adoption, but I am interested in helping financially. The Cry of the Orphan website has information about all three avenues to helping orphans (foster parenting, adoption, helping organizations that care for orphans). There are also resources for churches that want to start orphan ministries. It is a great site and I recommend that you check it out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

White House Bathrooms

Back in January, I did a post called "Is That a Man in the Women's Bathroom?" It looks as though we might soon be asking the same question about the White House bathrooms. According to OneNewsNow, Obama has pledged to not discriminate based on gender identity. They also have an article suggesting that Vicki Robinson (the gay priest whose ordination started a fissure in the Episcopal church) has become Obama's new spiritual advisor. The two have had three meetings so far.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Local More Personal

AP had a story recently that I found encouraging. It talks about "anti-abortion" leaders and activists are even more resolved now than ever. "Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. "But that disappointment and anger are forms of energy. ...I believe a lot of people on the sidelines for last eight years will now get engaged." The article talks about how many efforts will now involve more vigils and protests. O that many people will go public this year that have never had the guts to do so in the past. The article also predicts that there will be more volunteers at those "anti-abortion" crisis pregnancy centers. O God, please let it be so.

The article goes on to discuss contraception. "Under a Democratic-led government, abortion-rights supporters will call on conservatives to join in an effort to reduce abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies. Anti-abortion leaders say they are unwilling to do this if it means abandoning their abstinence-only approach and supporting greater access to birth control for unmarried women." Praise God that these leaders are standing firm for abstinence only until marriage!

"Any time you have a loss like that, you have an opportunity to reassess and come back stronger," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. "If they want to see this as a big loss that will set us back, that's OK. Our people are very energized, and ready for Round Two." As someone who was never physically involved in round one, I am certainly more ready for Round Two. I hope and pray that there are many thousands like me.

I will leave you with a biblical mandate and encouragement: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Ephesians 5:11
"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1John 3:18

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

To all of you who are serving or have served in the US Military, I say thank you. Thank you for loving this country enough to be willing to die for it. Thank you for loving freedom.

If you would like more information about Veteran's Day, the Department of Veteran's Affairs has this website.

Special thanks to my husband for serving as a Marine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Read It

This is one of the best posts I have ever read. It has a suprise ending that I will not spoil. But I will tell you how it starts.

It's just one of many pictures from a photo album full of pictures of the staff at Auschwitz relaxing and having a great time, sometimes with their children, during on-site retreats. I originally posted it as part of my post about "good people" and "bad people," but I've thought about it many times since then.


Star Parker has a great article about principles being more important to the American people than process. These are the last few paragraphs, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.

How can it be that even now many suggest that the problems of the party relate to process? They suggest that the party platform must change to appeal to this new constituency or reach out to that one?

Who is asking what do we believe to be true? What principles are crucial to assure that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be born into and grow up in a strong and prosperous nation?

Those who suggest that Americans have turned liberal are not paying attention. In California, as Obama captured 61 percent of the popular vote. In the same election, Californians passed Proposition 8 -- getting 71 percent of the black vote and 53 percent of the Latino vote -- to codify traditional marriage in the state constitution

The future of the Republican Party is not in process but in restoring leadership for traditional American principles that are relevant to every demographic group, to every ethnic group, in every time.

Let the work begin.

OneNewsNow has a story along similar lines.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Socialized Education

I was looking around at F3 Coalition and found this article. It is from World Magazine and written by Joel Belz. It makes several good points, and my favorite was this one:

Socialized medicine? Most of us recoil at the idea. Socialized airlines? Reminds us of Aeroflot. Socialized banks? When it happened last month, it terrified us.

But socialized schools? Nine out of ten of us patronize them regularly.

And we do so with na'ry a thought or concern about how such an arrangement affects next week's election, or the election after that, or the lifetime of elections to come.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Life After Birth

It is often mentioned that pro-life views should extend past the womb. This week in Fort Worth something happened that is a good example of this. A lady had arranged to give her child up for adoption. Adoptive parents were lined up. Then the little boy was born at 25 weeks. The adoptive parents had second thoughts at this point. The birth mother decided to look for someone else. CPS gave the birth mom 48 hours to find new parents before they would order the life support systems pulled.

Someone pointed out that if the mom had given birth at home and then not taken the extremely pre-mature boy to a hospital, she would have faced manslaughter or neglect charges. So what gives these punks at CPS the right to decide whether the child lives or dies? I understand that NICU is very expensive. But should CPS be the ones to put a price tag on life?

I am glad to report that the little boy did get a set of adoptive parents (with a runner-up even) before the deadline. God bless these new parents and the little boy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Marriage Wins!

Amid the flurry of Wednesday, I got a glimmer of hope. OneNewsNow had an article celebrating the fact that marriage won across the country. Praise the Lord! Though our country seems morally bankrupt, I can still see the Lord working in mighty ways.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Predictions and a Prayer

Kevin Tracy has a prediction map for tonight's results. His ending electoral college tally is Obama 375 and McCain 163. I tend to think he is right. At the very least, he is a better political predictor than I am. If he is right, this is my prayer: May an Obama presidency energize God-fearing people across this country. Not because they are excited about his policies but because they finally understand that we, each one of us, must stop relying on the government to solve all of our problems. Moral decay in this country will only shrink when Jesus grows in each heart and spreads to other hearts. We God-fearers must actually do things. Things that are outside of our church buildings. Things that are outside our comfort zones. Things that we have never done before. May we all prepare ourselves by reading His Word and praying. Then may we have the courage to go public with our faith. May we go public in our stand against evil.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Death, a Fight for Life, and Hope of New Life

A Death
Our rat, Stefano, died last night. In fairness, we had been expecting him to die for the last few months. He was about 150 in rat years and very decrepit. But it was still sad. He was a very good rat. He never bit anyone even when he was carted around the house in little jostling hands. He was very smart and friendly. His cage looks lonely with no cardboard house. I used to loathe rats until I got to know Stefano.
A Fight for Life
Today was the last day of the 40 Days for Life campaign. I have really enjoyed it. It was a great growing experience. I also enjoyed spending time in prayer about a subject that I haven't given much focused prayer time about previously.
Hope of New Life
I bought some paperwhites bulbs today. Somehow I find encouragement in watching dormant plants come to life. Maybe it reminds me of the Resurrection.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Silly Silly-String Law

I found this picutre here from a link at A Keyboard and a .45. Welcome to the Nanny State (AKA California).

While I'm On an International Kick. . .

Bravo, Queen Sophia. Queen Sophia of Spain made the news this week for making statements against "gay marriage" and abortion in a biography. According to Yahoo News!, "The Queen of Spain drew criticism Friday after she was quoted as condemning gay marriage, gay pride marches and abortion in an upcoming biography." This goes against her country's official policy; Spain made "gay marriage" legal in 2005.
I find it refreshing that a political figure who claims to be Catholic actually stand for what the Catholic Church believes. If only there were more of them in America.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

South Korea Upholds Jail Time for Adultery

According to Yahoo News!, South Korea's highest court has upheld its adultery law. From the article. . .

The law was enacted in 1953 to protect women.

In this male-dominated society, women had little recourse against a husband who had an affair. Back then, if a wife walked out of a marriage, she would often end up alone and penniless.

Today, it is rare for people to be jailed but that has not stopped several thousand angry spouses from filing criminal complaints each year.

Critics have said a better compromise might be to allow spouses just to sue for compensation in civil court.

I think that this is a very interesting law. It led me to wonder if there are any consequences for adultery (as far as the law goes) in America. I know you won't be thrown in jail here, but can you be sued for breaking a marriage contract? Should the laws be stricter here?

As a side (but related issue), I think that one of the worst marriage laws in the country is the no fault divorce.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NEA Custodian Mocks "Amatures" Teaching at Home

The general arguments are the usual.
1. Homeschoolers don't believe in social interaction.
2. Parents can barely teach their kids manners let alone educate them.
3. Degrees prove competence.

I can't even begin to answer all of the asinine blather in this article. So I am just posting quick answers from my own families experience.

1. My kids interact with both kids and adults of various backgrounds, ethincities, and income levels. We interact with neighborhood children, friends from church, librarians, postal workers, etc. on a weekly basis.
2. Homeschooled kids consistently outscore public school kids in every test thrown at them. My kids are learning manners, Bible, Spanish, reading, handwriting, astronomy (planets, asteroids, etc.), biology (toad life cycle, tropical rainforest habitat, etc.), math, and art this week. While my son might be behind a little in reading, he is almost a year ahead in math. My daughter is 4 and easily doing kindergarten level work.
3. Degrees prove nothing except that you can nicely stack bologna. Bill Gates has done a fine job of running Microsoft (and now passing it on to another CEO) without an MBA or even a bachelor degree. I have a degree in Landscape Architecture with something like a 3.8 average. Big freaking deal. Probably the two most successful people in my class had a C+ average. I am just a better bologna stacker who had more free time to do a good job on projects because I didn't have to work my way through school.

Educational Links

I have added a new section of links on to the right. They are some of my favorite homeschool resources. I thought I would highlight some of them here.

Dick Blick Art Supplies- This is the Amazon of art supplies. If you want it, they likely have it at a price that usually saves you money even with the shipping. From wiggle eyes to paints to mosaics, this is your online super store.

Home Science Tools- This site is a great source for everything from microscopes to insect collection supplies to fetal pigs to dissect. They have things for kindergarten through adult.

Interactive US Atlas- This is a USGS service. The online US map maker tab allows you to show the data that is of interest to you. You can click on agriculture, tornadoes, coal mines, etc. Then the map adds those features. There is also a print map button if you want hard copy of the information.

Jungle Walk- This is a great source for animal sounds.

North American Animals- This site will let you print a field guide showing all of the mammals indigenous to your exact location.

The Online Art Class- My kids and I just signed up for this. It costs $30 for the whole family. All of the lessons are simple enough that I feel confident that my six-year-old can do them. Yet even the more advanced student could learn a lot.

Rosetta Stone-This is a great foreign language computer program. For younger kids you can remove the typing (writing) modules. My four-year-old can do it with help on the reading part. For an older child you can leave on the speaking and writing modules. The voice recognition software does a good job. There is no memorization so it is fun and functionality comes more naturally. You can order a free sample on their website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

384 Lives

With only one week left in the 40 Days for Life, the number of confirmed babies saved is 384. Praise God! Here is the report about one of them.

Luke in South Bend, Indiana tells of praying at the40 Days for Life vigil on a day he was tired, hungry and really looking forward to taking a break. About that time, a woman drove up and asked if he worked at the abortion center. "No, I'm working for the Lord,"he said, "and praying."The woman told Luke she was under extreme pressure to have an abortion, and then asked him, "Can I have your advice? What do you think I should do?"Luke prayed for the Holy Spirit to give him the right words. He then asked the woman, "Who gave you this child?" Those were indeed the right words; she responded, "God did."He asked her how she could reject such a gift. She thought about that for a moment and said, "You're right. I could never have an abortion." Luke told her she could find help at the nearby pregnancy resource center, and then she drove away."I broke down and cried for joy," he said. "Blessed be God forever!"

You can still be a part of this effort. Spend some time in prayer asking the God of Heaven to put an end to abortion in your community.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Free Churches

There are very few free churches in America. Most congregations are bound to the government via 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporations. Pastors and preachers are not free to speak their minds about politicians from the pulpit. In fact, a Catholic bishop may be in hot water for publishing a post comparing Obama to King Herrod. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State dropped a 100,000-piece mailing this week to churches, threatening them to stay silent on moral issues-or else.

According to Alliance Defense Fund, this has not always been the case. Here is a long quote from their website.

Historically, churches have emphatically, and with great passion, spoken Scriptural truth from the pulpit about government and culture. Historians have stated that America owes its independence in great degree to the moral force of the pulpit. Pastors have proclaimed Scriptural truth throughout history on great moral issues such as slavery, women’s suffrage, child labor and prostitution. Pastors have also spoken from the pulpit with great frequency for and against various candidates for government office.

All that changed in 1954 with the passage of the “Johnson amendment” which restricted the right of churches and pastors to speak Scriptural truth about candidates for office. The Johnson amendment was proposed by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, and it changed the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit churches and other non-profit organizations from supporting or opposing a candidate for office. After the Johnson amendment passed, churches faced a choice of either continuing their tradition of speaking out or silencing themselves in order to retain their church’s tax exemption. The Internal Revenue Service, in conjunction with radical organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, have used the Johnson amendment to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear for any church that dares to speak Scriptural truth about candidates for office or issues.

So I pray for more pastors, preachers, bishops, etc. who are willing to speak out from the pulpit. I also pray for more free churches to form.

As far as free churches go, here are some interesting websites.

All of this free church business also brings me to the FairTax. Under the FairTax there would be no more need for 501(c)(3)'s. If you don't know about the FairTax, go and check it out here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Voter Fraud

With accusations of ACORN voter fraud swirling around the Internet, I thought I might open it up for discussion here. In Harris County (Houston) alone, at least 4,000 dead people voted. Now I have some questions.

1. Did these dead people vote mostly for one party over another or are they pretty evenly divided?
2. If they all voted the same way, would they be enough to change the out come of any particular race?
3. If you wanted to go about voting as a dead person, how would you do it? Not that I want to. It just seems like a lot of work for a few extra votes.
4. Do you think that voter fraud will have an impact in these elections?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ADHD and Being Outside

Institute for Creation Research has an article on their site talking about the benefits of being outside in green spaces (that is places with plants). The article specifically sites a study involving ADHD children. According to the study after a 20-minute walk in a park the kids showed a significant increase in attentiveness. Walks in non-green urban areas did not produce the same results. ICR points out that it makes sense that green spaces would benefit us. After all our perfect habitat was the Garden of Eden.

So whether you (or your kids) has ADHD or not, get outside. Walk in the park. Enjoy God's creation. Maybe I'll follow my own advice and take my kids to the botanic gardens today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reprint from Education Conversation

Tammy Drennan at Education Conversation did such a good article this week that I got permission to reprint it here.

by Tammy Drennan

I had a meeting recently in which I and several other people had to solve a problem. My fellow conspirators had already tried to solve the problem, but their solution had not worked. The thing is – they thought it was working.

My job was to explain to them exactly why it was not working and yet looked as if it was.

This is a dilemma that all people who know public schools do not work face. Most people think public schools are working – pretty well, anyway, or at least did work in the past and only need to return to those glory days.

It looks as if they’re working. We’re still a free country, we still have a high standard of living, lots of opportunity, plenty of food and clothing and entertainment, lots of technology… the list goes on.

If schools aren’t responsible for all this, what is? Isn’t that where people are trained to create all this plenty and hope? We don’t actually know, but this is what the “authorities” and “experts” tell us.

Could it be possible that we’re doing so well in spite of schools and not because of them? That something is compensating for what schools don’t do or for the harm they do?

The evidence supports this idea.

Compulsory state schooling took root in the mid-1800s and spread around the country, hindered for a short while by the conditions of the Civil War and finally coming into its heyday in the early 1900s.

Our country was already the land of opportunity for scores of immigrants by that time. Remember that the gift to the United States of the Statue of Liberty from France was to celebrate our centennial in 1876. It was to celebrate the freedom and opportunity we represented and offered to the rest of the world – something we became with education almost entirely in the hands of private individuals who taught their own children, hired tutors and teachers for home study or community schools, and who funded schools for the poor.

Horace Mann, father of modern state schooling, complained in 1846 that “…there is not at the present time, with the exception of New England and a few small localities elsewhere, a State or a community in Christendom, which maintains a system of Free Schools for the education of its children.”*

At the time of this lament, our nation was 70 years old and the beacon that called the world to freedom and prosperity and that offered inspiration and hope for the oppressed and poor of the world.

“By 1940,” according to public school historian Lawrence A. Cremin, “the average American adult had completed 8.6 years of schooling.”** That’s an average of about an eighth grade education 164 years into our nationhood – in school years that were considerably shorter than they are today. By that time, we’d built a phenomenal infrastructure, been through many wars, including a devastating civil war that we managed to emerge and move on from without further bloodshed, and a world war. We’d been conducting vigorous trade with nations around the world since well before our nationhood, and we were making progress in every area that could be called a health indicator for the growth of a free nation.

We were far from perfect, but we were working on it and making steady gains – because we wanted to, not because the state was commandeering people’s children and forcibly improving them.

At this point, the logical person is thinking, “Uh, so what did public schools have to do with all this progress?” It’s a good question, because public school advocates would have us believe that America would be wallowing in a mud pit of backwardness and poverty had it not been for state schooling. That would be the sort of state schooling that hardly existed until after World War I.

Today, we have state schools that literally monopolize children’s and family’s lives and that have taken over almost every area of education that used to be in the hands of parents. Truant officers track down recalcitrant students, schools offer bribes to get students to perform and rewards to citizens who turn in any child making a break for freedom. Our incarceration rate is among the highest in the world, as is the rate at which our citizens medicate themselves and their children for mood and behavior disorders. On the economic front, most families find it nearly impossible to live on one salary.

And yet, Americans keep plugging along. We aren’t as free as we once were. We aren’t as articulate (in spite of the internet), or well-read or fiercely independent or secure in our property. We no longer have the attention span to tolerate a Lincoln-Douglas debate, nor the critical thinking skills to follow the lines of argument. The writings of our founders challenge many of us far beyond our academic skills.

But we have a legacy that was so strong, so compelling, that it still lingers in our souls. For how much longer, it’s hard to say. That may depend on how much longer we offer up our children’s minds to the state for enlightenment.

The moment of freedom will come at different times for different people. It will come when the light goes on and they see they’re being sold a big PR job that reflects what state school advocates want them to believe and not what is reality. Without doubt, many of the PR reps believe their own stories – and many of them will also eventually see reality.

But we can’t hope that some genie will emerge from a lamp and open everyone’s eyes. We must help the process along – sometimes passionately and even vehemently, sometimes gently and patiently.

We must ask questions, offer literature, give of our time to explain, and yes, offer help to those who need it in order to choose freedom. It takes effort. It took considerable effort on my part to simplify my explanations and make them clear and understandable in order to help my “committee members” see my point. I had tried many ways before and met with dismal results. I tried harder and finally met with success, though I have no doubt it will be success that will require reinforcement.

Change takes effort and time and patience – and above all, persistence. Never surrender, said Winston Churchill at a truly dark and hopeless hour. Never give up.

Victory goes to the person who is willing to persevere, to the person with the most to lose. State school advocates stand to lose money, power, sway over public opinion, a captive audience for their many agendas.

The rest of us stand to lose liberty, intellectual and moral excellence, a rich and meaningful culture and a healthy society, the strength of family and community, our children.

The greater loss seems clear to me. Never give up.

* From Horace Mann’s Tenth Annual Report to the Massachusetts State Board of Education, 1846

** From Popular Education and Its Discontents by Lawrence A. Cremin
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