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Archive for May, 2007

A truly stellar collection of thoughts and stories.  Please read here or here.

America’s Honor
The stories behind Memorial Day.

BY PETER COLLIER
Monday, May 28, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.Former football star Pat Tillman and Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham were killed on the same day: April 22, 2004. But as details of his death fitfully emerged from Afghanistan, Tillman has become a metaphor for the current conflict–a victim of fratricide, disillusionment, coverup and possibly conspiracy. By comparison, Dunham, who saved several of his comrades in Iraq by falling on an insurgent’s grenade, is the unknown soldier. The New York Times, which featured Abu Ghraib on its front page for 32 consecutive days, put the story of Dunham’s Medal of Honor on the third page of section B.

Not long ago I was asked to write the biographical sketches for a book featuring formal photographs of all our living Medal of Honor recipients. As I talked with them, I was, of course, chilled by the primal power of their stories. But I also felt pathos: They had become strangers–honored strangers, but strangers nonetheless–in our midst.

In my own boyhood, figures such as Jimmy Doolittle, Audie Murphy and John Basilone were household names. And it was assumed that what they had done defined us as well as them, telling us what kind of nation we were. But the 110 Medal recipients alive today are virtually unknown except for a niche audience of warfare buffs. Their heroism has become the military equivalent of genre painting. There’s something wrong with that.

What they did in battle was extraordinary. Jose Lopez, a diminutive Mexican-American from the barrio of San Antonio, was in the Ardennes forest when the Germans began the counteroffensive that became the Battle of the Bulge. As 10 enemy soldiers approached his position, he grabbed a machine gun and opened fire, killing them all. He killed two dozen more who rushed him. Knocked down by the concussion of German shells, he picked himself up, packed his weapon on his back and ran toward a group of Americans about to be surrounded. He began firing and didn’t stop until all his ammunition and all that he could scrounge from other guns was gone. By then he had killed over 100 of the enemy and bought his comrades time to establish a defensive line.

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Memoria

I sort of look at this Memorial Day as the one year anniversary of TBAP (though the actual date is a little sooner in May).  It’s been an off and on relationship [and I'm not willing to muse long on it now] but I think it has been a blessing, and I haven’t even begun using it as I intended yet.

It was also one year ago today exactly that my son became my brother, and I am thankful for the gift of salvation that was imparted to Karsten.  He has matured in a definite way, though he still only 5 years old.  God, give him grace to continue to grow.

And also, Chrissy and I are pleased to share with the world that we are expecting our fourth child…our fourth heaping of blessing.  Chrissy is only ever and always ill during her pregnancies, so we hope that you will remember to pray for us as we (especially her) endures the curse of Eve.  May we prepare well for whatever God will give us.

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Littlejohn and Evans…

“We have to be careful, as we ecucate our students to live ‘Christianly’ in this world, to do more than just teach them how to be a good example to others, should anyone care to look over their suburban privacy fences.  Teaching them to think, to discern, and to behave wisely should be coupled with instilling in them a sense of obligation to contend for those same values throughout society.”

Wisdom and Eloquence, p. 20

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mess.jpg

Feel free to supply the caption.

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Photblog

Inigo Montoya

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Quote of the Day

King Edmund (of Narnia) speaking his mind…

“That’s the worst of girls, they never carry a map in their heads.”

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Francis Schaeffer on education…

“If the Judeo-Christian position is the truth of all reality (and it is!), then all the disciplines, and very much including a knowledge of, and I would repeat, an appreciation of, the humanities and the arts should be a part of Christian education.

Some Christians seem absolutely blind at this point. If Christianity is not just one more religion, one more upper story kind of thing (as I speak of it in Escape From Reason and in my other books) then it has something to say about all the disciplines, and it certainly has something to say about the humanities and the arts and the appreciation of them. And I want to say quite firmly, if your Christian school does not do this, I do not believe it is giving a good education. It is giving a truncated education and it is not honoring to the Lord.

If truth is one, that is if truth has unity, then Christian education means understanding, and being excited by, the associations between the disciplines and showing how these associations are rooted in the Creator’s existence. I do not know if you know what you are hearing or not. It is a flaming fire. It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God. If we are going to have really a Christian education, it means understanding truth is not a series of isolated subjects but there are associations, and the associations are rooted in nothing less than the existence of the Creator Himself.”

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It’s not a panacea, but it would be a start:  FairTax.

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Life is Good

Half Full

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If you are a runner, you are prone to get bad knees.

If you walk, you’re much more liable to get hit by a car than if you’re at home flipping channels.

Lifting weights causes muscle tears.

Eating health food causes grumpiness and malcontent.

AND NOW THIS! Ergh!  Should I throw away my Z-BEC?

How about we just get back to following the Solomon’s summary admonitions in Ecclesiastes to enjoy life while we have it (2:24-26; 9:7-10)

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Can you believe I’ve actually updated my “What I’m Reading Page”?  Sorry for the delay.  That Friedman book really knocked me on my seat.

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The State of Michigan is arguing about allowing same-sex couples to adopt.  Tim Schmig, the executive director of the Michigan Association of Christian Schools, was just allowed to testify at a House Committee meeting.  His comments were not reported squarely by the Detroit Free Press, but you can see their report here, as well as my comments.

Also, you see a more fair treatment of the matter here.  I hope you’ll consider giving some input.

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Leftovers Tonight

Me [hoping to sense some altruism]: “Karsten, I have two pieces of garlic bread but three sons. To whom should I give them.”

Karsten (who is a boy well fond of garlic bread): “Give them to my two brothers.”

Me: “Wow! Are you sure you want to do that?”

Karsten: “Yes, that’s ok.”

Me: “That is so kind, Karsten. Good job.”

Haddon (having received his share): “Papa, can we split this piece in half so Karsten can have some?”

Me [to myself]: “Cool!”

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I am preaching a sermon soon on the topic of God is Good.  When I consulted Noah Webster’s 1827 Dictionary, this is the full entry for the word, good.  I was taken aback by the breadth and depth of it, and I trust we find it complete.

GoodGOOD, a.

1. Valid; legally firm; not weak or defective; having strength adequate to its support; as a good title; a good deed; a good claim.

2. Valid; sound; not weak, false or fallacious; as a good argument.

3. Complete or sufficiently perfect in its kind; having the physical qualities best adapted to its design and use; opposed to bad,imperfect, corrupted, impaired. We say, good timber, good cloth, a good soil, a good color.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and

behold, it was very good. Gen 1.

4. Having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God’s law requires; virtuous; pious; religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vitious, wicked, evil.

Yet peradventure for a good man some would

even dare to die. Rom 5.

5. Conformable to the moral law; virtuous; applied to actions.

In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.

Titus 2.

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Life is Good

Life is good.

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While this is an idictment, it should also be an exhortation to ponder our foundations.

First Amendment: the right to watch ‘The Simpsons’

By Gerry Doyle
CHICAGO TRIBUNE March 2, 2006CHICAGO – A survey released yesterday showcases a bit of data that should surprise nobody: Americans know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment. The study, conducted by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, focuses on the First Amendment and found that less than 1 percent of the respondents could identify the five protected rights – freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly and to petition the government.


On the other hand, about 20 percent of respondents could name Bart and Homer and all the other three members of the animated Simpson family.The random telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by the marketing research firm Synovate Jan. 20-22. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

“There was a depth of . . . confusion that we weren’t expecting,” said Dave Anderson, executive director of the museum, which will open April 11 in Chicago. “I think people take their freedoms for granted. Bottom line.”

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