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Archive for September, 2008

Listen to John Piper read his biographical/narrative poem Job. It will teach you much. It will stir your soul deeply.

It’s available for listening or download or reading free (as are almost everything he does) by following the link above.

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I’m a big advocate of the power-nap. I set my phone to wake me up after 17 minutes 3-4 days a week. In fact, I just woke up four minutes ago from my afternoon recharge. Here is a great summary of the why and how of what makes for a great nap. “Getting even the briefest nap is better than nothing.”

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Awaken by Lawrence Tribble (1770)

One person awake can awaken another,
The second can awaken their next door neighbor,
Three awake can rouse the town,
And turn the whole place upside down,

And many awake can raise such a fuss,
That it finally awakens the rest of us,
One person up with dawn in their eyes,
Multiplies.

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This sounds like odd advice to the modern ear. Chrissy just finished a biography of Anne Bradstreet by Douglas Wilson. These are two of the last paragraphs in the book that come in the way of application of Anne’s story:

“If we are homeschooling, or if we are associated with Christian schools, we will reinstitute the memorization of poetry in the curriculum. Not only will we reinstitute memorization, but we will reinstitute memorization in vast amounts. It is a shame that several generations ago even the government schools required more poetic memorization than do many Christian schools today.

“What we are looking for is a reformation and a renaissance. We are not looking for a ‘movement.’ We are looking forward to the day when a Christian who wants to ‘make a difference’ will not think first of running for Congress, but will rather find a pleasant place in the library and will set himself to write a poem. He might do well to dedicate it to Anne Bradstreet.”

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I was forraging through old pictures tonight for a little while and found these from a school trip to England/Paris in 2004. These are not a very good summary of the trip, just a pile of misc.

Do you agree with the descriptors on this plaque I found near our hotel on Baker St or Gloucester Pl? Truth in advertising?

I love and have collected a few neat tavern signs I have found in different places. This is one of my favorites (London). Bag O’ Nails was runner-up on this trip.

Unusual architecture in London

“Spurgeon’s” Tabernacle at the corner of Elephant and Castle (and right across the street there is a very non-descript indoor mall at which we ate a very non-descript hole in the wall called Jenny’s Burgers where I had my first ever burger with egg…wow!).

Chrissy ran into Sean Connery at a museum.

And Had met Lincoln.

Castle Rising Castle

That AMAZING tree at Blickling Hall

Had loved the train to Paris.

Looking down from the Eiffel Tower (Chrissy’s least favorite spot of the trip–for the height).

At night

From our Parisian hotel window. Smell the bread.

Back to England…

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HT: Andrew Kern

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Keep the cold out. Keep the warm in.

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G.K. Chesteron:

“The most important fact about the subject of education is that there is no such thing. Education is not a subject, and it does not deal in subjects. It is instead the transfer of a way of life.”

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Grace-Filled Fatherhood

Douglas Wilson on his blog:

You have asked me how it is possible to have a rebellious and out-of-control son when you have not ever thought of yourself as an indulgent father. You are right to see that radical indulgence on the part of a father is a disaster for sons — boys need direction, counsel, admonition, and correction. Of course. And if a father does not provide this, the boy grows up rudderless. That being the case, other more powerful voices will step in to provide direction. Those voices are best categorized under the heading of lusts.

But rebellion in sons can come from another direction as well. If a father’s disposition is negative, if he provides nothing but direction, counsel, admonition and correction, then the father has become nothing but law to his son. And what does law do when it comes into contact with sinners? It reveals sin (Rom. 3:20). More than this, it provokes sin (Rom. 5:20).

Grace deals with sin. Indulgence does not. Law would like to, but cannot. To cover up for its impotence, law in a father can deliver yet another disapproving lecture. And the son concludes that if he is going to be hanged for a thief no matter what he does, he might as well steal something.

Gracious fathers lead their sons through the minefield of sin. Indulgent fathers watch their sons wander off into the minefield. Legal fathers chase them there.

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John Newton quoted in Jerry Bridges’ Respectable Sins (p. 66):

“[One of the marks of Christian maturity which a believer should seek is] an acquiescence in the Lord’s will founded in a persuasion of his wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness…So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views, and short-sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the Lord may be done, must be accomplished. How highly does it become us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointment of our Maker! and how necessary is it to our peace! This great attainment is too often unthought of, and overlooked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to his purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good. From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings [i.e., complainings,], which are not only sinful, but tormenting; whereas, if all things are in his hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; – then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue…How happy are they who can resign all to him, see his hand in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!

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Jonathan Edwards:

“We sing in worship to engage and express our affections. There is no other reason to sing. If we aren’t dealing with our affections in worship, we might as well just read the lines of the songs dryly together in paragraph form without any music. We worship with music to because God has created music with a certain nature where it tends to move our affections deeply.”

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While we are waiting for JECA to get going… This week I started a new job slightly outside my comfort zone. Last week I went to the local public school district and inquired about a position as a substitute teacher in the system. I listed 5-12 grades as my preference. Well, before I could leave the building, they had told me about a new position and the next day they offered it to me…and they made it really hard to say no.

I now teach 5 year old Kindergarten.

At the Ashland City Elementary School, there are six Kindergarten classrooms with about 20 kids each. They handpicked the six worst-behaved kids in the lot and sent them to me.

On the bright side, I have two aides, only spend 3 1/2 hours in the building total per day, spend more than one of those hours at lunch and recess, have an out if I want to stop teaching in a week or two months, only have to drive a mile or less to school, and have a great support system of teachers and administrator and other staff at my disposal.

On the duller side, I now teach six crazy Kindergartners with a curriculum that I have never known, and it has been a crazy week. Come see me. I have the loud classroom at the end of the hall.

The biggest change from private to public school [and this is the first time I have ever been in public education other than for driver's ed...which was appalling enough], is that I am so limited to train them in a theologically appropriate way. Also, there is practically no discipline exerted by anyone on these students as is exhibited in their behavior.

I’m not sure how long it will last. I struggle with the limitations that are on me. I don’t see Christianity being opposed in the school because most of the faculty I have interacted with would profess Christ, but if I am not allowed to acknowledge Christ in all my ways, not allowed to give hope to my students about their sinful states, then why am I here other than to make money? I struggle with this at the same time that I acknowledge that, yes, this is a valid and valuable place to do missions.

Ergh. I’m still thinking through it. I guess I need to wonder if the culture of this city is going to be better or worse by my taking the position.

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An excerpt from the chapter “The Art of Home School Opera: The Blessing of Family Eccentricities,” from The Little Boy Down the Road: Short Stories and Essays on the Beauty of Family Life, by Douglas W. Phillips, to be released from Vision Forum, October, 2008:

Every day there are thousands of sounds competing for the attention of fathers.

There is the sound of the television set. This is the intoxicating call of the ancient siren, lulling men to slumber, urging them to check their brains at the door of their homes and float into a sea of passivity until they crash upon the rocks of life. There is the sound of the city and the business world. These sounds sometimes give men the false assurance that corporate success is the true test of manhood.

Then there are the diverse sounds of the world in general — a never-ending barrage of sound coming from the hum of machines, the chatter of people, and the background music that follows modern man from elevators to his car to the local coffee shop. These sounds remind us that we are not alone. But they also train us to be incapable of sitting in silence and communing with our God. Like a drug that takes away the pain of life at the expense of the clarity of the mind, these sounds often fill our heads with unnecessary distraction, such that it is a struggle to focus on the most important things.

We live in a world of sound pollution — too much sound, all the time. We spend so much time listening to indiscriminate sounds that we often fail to hear the music of life. We need to reduce the pollution and start listening to the most important music — the sounds that make a Christian household a Christian household.

(more…)

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Here’s the photostory of what Ike left behind.

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Wedding Pictures

Here is a link to pictures from Eddy and Danielle’s wedding (8/16/08).

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Had [out of the blue]:  “Slavery is bad.”

Me: “What is slavery?”

Had: “When people have to work for other people.”

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Here is a compilation of some amazingly unpalatable recipes from the early 20th century. Very tempting, indeed. This is the food of the greatest generation.  “First you take one calf’s head…”

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This is a Gem

“The character of John McCain and Sarah Palin can best be seen in the small things rather than in the big policies–as this amazing Rush Limbaugh Transcript demonstrates only too well.”

HT: George Grant

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Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies 247:

“For God to glorify himself is to discover himself in his works, or to communicate himself in his works, which is all one; for we are to remember that the world exists only mentally, so that the very being of the world implies its being perceived or discovered. Or otherwise for God to glorify himself, is in his acts ad extra to act worthy of himself, or to act excellently. Therefore God doesn’t seek his own glory because it makes him the happier to be honored and highly thought of, but because he loves to see himself, his own excellencies and glories, appearing in his works, loves to see himself communicated. And it was his inclination to communicate himself that was a prime motive of his creating the world. His own glory was the ulitmate [end], himself was his end; that is, himself communicated.”

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This Candian official is worried that the Palin’s decision not to abort their son is going to cause other families to NOT ABORT their children, either.

HT: Challies

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Seven Years Ago Today

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StormTracker Central

Here’s the best site I’ve found for keeping apace of the the progress of the hurricanes. StormPulse

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Susanna Wesley’s childrearing advice (she was also the 25th child in a family of 25 children):

In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will and bring them to an obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time and must with children proceed by slow degrees as they are able to bear it: but the subjecting the will is a thing which must be done at once; and the sooner the better. For by neglecting timely correction, they will contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which is hardly ever after conquered; and never, without using such severity as would be as painful to me as to the child. In the esteem of the world they pass for kind and indulgent, whom I call cruel, parents, who permit their children to get habits which they know must be afterward broken. Nay, some are so stupidly fond as in sport to teach their children to do things which, in a while after, they have severely beaten them for doing.

Whenever a child is corrected, it must be conquered; and this will be no hard matter to do if it be not grown headstrong by too much indulgence. And when the will of a child is totally subdued and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies and inadvertences style may be passed by. Some should be overlooked and taken no notice of, and others mildly reproved; but no willful transgression ought ever to be forgiven children without chastisement, less or more, as the nature and circumstances of the offense require.

I insist upon conquering the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education; without which both precept and example will be ineffectual. But when this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by the reason and piety of its parents, till its own understanding comes to maturity and the principles of religion have taken root in the mind.

I cannot yet dismiss this subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children insures their after-wretchedness and irreligion; whatever checks and mortifies it promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident if we further consider that religion is nothing else than the doing the will of God and not our own: that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, no indulgencies of it can be trivial, no denial unprofitable. Heaven or hell depends on this alone. So that the parent who studies to subdue it in his child works together with God in the renewing and saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil’s work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable; and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever.

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Alaska’s First Dude

Great quote from Todd Palin:

“If I had a crystal ball a few years ago, I might have asked a few more questions when Sarah decided to join the PTA.”

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Here is an interesting word cloud that shows what words were most dominant at the DNC and RNC over the past two weeks.

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My esteem of President Washington as a Christian man–not a Deist–is skyrocketing as I am plowing through Stephen McDowell’s biography. There really can be no objection when presented with the great and many evidences.

Lincoln loved the man he followed. He said…

“Washington is the mightiest name of earth–long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty, still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name no eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible. Let none attempt it.”

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Edmund Burke:

“People will not look forward to posterity who will not look backward to their ancestors.”

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It seems that the Democrats trashed thousands of miniature flags at the conclusion of their Denver convention.  That’s ok.  John McCain has a use for them.

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