Tuesday, December 31, 2002

New Year's...

May God grant that we would walk more closely with Him in this year ahead. May we not forget the mercies and blessings of the year that is past.

Wayne is back to blogging. Yeah!

Thursday, December 26, 2002

A Christmas Sour Puss

The other day I was in a store and ran into an elderly lady that I used to know when I attended a Baptist Church. She was behind a counter passing out samples of food. We said hello and she went on to ask if I had everything ready for Christmas. I replied, "As ready as I am gonna get." Which is to say, not at all, since we don't observe this day. This is my polite way of deflecting discussion when I am in a hurry or don't want to get into a protracted discussion.

My daughter Bethany, who was with me, was a lot more forthcoming. "We don't do Christmas," she bellowed across the crowd to the lady. This brought raised eyebrows and an incredulous look. "You don't do Christmas???"

"No," I replied, sighing inwardly.

"Whyever not? You aren't a JW now, are you?"

"No, Mary, we aren't JW.s"

"So why don't you celebrate Christmas?"

"Because we believe it is a violation of the second commandment."

Mary looks puzzled. "Second commandment? Which one is that?" [Cheryl thinks to herself, "What DO they teach them in the Baptist churches?"]

"That is the commandment that tells us not to worship God in ways that He hasn't commanded."

Mary looks at me in disgust and gives the Christian equivalent of the one finger salute and then turns her back to me.

Hmmm... Nice example of the "Christmas spirit," I think.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Why Bother to Catechize?

I was going over some questions and answers to the Smaller Catechism the other day with the children and we happened to be studying one of the questions that deals with the Lord's Table. It reminded me that one of the points of catechizing was to prepare people for the Lord's Table. The job of elders is to fence the Table to keep out the scandalous AND the ignorant. Why? So that they don't eat or drink judgement unto themselves. Communion has a serious negative sanction attached to it. Catechisms were then formulated as a way of instructing people so that they would be able to discern the Lord's Body before they partake of it.

A Heroic Mother

The following came from a medical newsletter I get each week.


What We Discovered Changed Everything For Me And My Father…

By Marilyn Holasek Lloyd

My family understands how much Christmas means to me because I am reminded every year of the greatest gift I have ever received.

I was born in 1946 and was therefore a post-war baby boomer. I learned from my father many years later that when I was about two months old, he and my mother were watching me sleep, and my mother had said, "When Marilyn smiles at me, she repays me for everything a mother goes through." With that, she turned to my father and said, "I don’t feel well." He told her to lie down and rest, but she began foaming at the mouth and she died. For most of his life, my father felt that he perhaps could have done something that might have helped to save her. He lived with this heavy burden.

I was always told my mother died of a heart attack. And that perhaps my mother’s rheumatic fever that she had contracted in her childhood had hastened her death. But those facts never computed when I became a nurse because, for one thing, heart attack victims do not foam at the mouth.

Some medical history backtracking and conversations with medical personnel led to a series of discoveries and what we found out changed everything for me and my father: Apparently, after my mother died, the doctor said that my mother’s rheumatic fever in childhood had greatly affected her heart. And the doctor said he was so concerned about my mother while she was pregnant that he sent her to a cardiologist. My mother didn’t want to worry my father and never told him. Her doctor believed that she died from very sudden heart failure. In other words, her heart just gave out, and it couldn’t pump and she died.

I couldn’t wait to tell my father the facts, because he had to know that there wasn’t anything anyone probably could have done to save my mother. I was just so thankful my father found this out before he died.

And in the following years, I also pieced together more medical facts. My mother could have also died of a blown mitral valve. In any case, her heart was so damaged that in this day and age she would have likely needed either a valve replacement or a heart transplant.

The stunning part of the story is that she lived through the pregnancy and delivery. My husband, a doctor, always has said that the biggest strain on the heart occurs at seven months of pregnancy and at the delivery. Furthermore, my mother continued to work in the family grocery store right up to the time she went into the hospital.

After finding out the facts surrounding my mother’s death, I was never the same. I knew that my mother sacrificed herself so I could be born. She knew the risks and yet wanted a child. I have therefore felt a tremendous responsibility to live my life so that my mother’s gift would not be in vain. And I wanted children to pass her gift on to them.

As I contemplate these things at Christmas time, I am very thankful for my mother’s gift. I give thanks for her and my father everyday. And when my children were little, I glanced down on their cribs as they slept just as my parents watched me, and now I just glance up at their grown-up faces and say to myself, "They have the most beautiful smiles."

Wednesday, December 18, 2002



If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Elrond, Elf, ruler of Rivendell and father of Arwen.

In the movie, I am played by Hugo Weaving.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software


I have made Sora's blood boil by posting the anti-paedocommunion poem by the Insane Calvinist Poppy. I am going to post some of my own reasons about why I am against it in a few days, but in the meantime, here is some stuff by Calvin and McKnight to chew over.

"We only contend for the true and legitimate constitution of the
Church, which requires not only a communion in the sacraments, which
are the signs of a Christian profession, but above all, an agreement
in doctrine (John Calvin, Institutes Bk.4, ch. 2, sec. 12).

"For everyone to be admitted to the Lord's Supper, without
distinction or selection, is a sign of contempt that the Lord cannot
endure. The Lord himself distributed the supper to his disciples
only. Therefore anyone not instructed in the doctrine of the gospel
ought not to approach what the Lord has instituted. No one should be
distressed when his Christianity is examined even down to the finest
point when he is to be admitted to the Lord's Supper. It should be
established as part of the total state and system of discipline that
ought to flourish in the church that those who are judged unworthy
should not be admitted." (John Calvin, "Letter on Various Subjects"
from Calvin's Ecclesiastical Advice).

"How often have I heard, how often have I read, some such language as
this: —"Who can forbid a child of God to come to his Father's table?
Who dare stand between the child and the Father's table?" All this
seems, I have no doubt, to those who utter it, very conclusive, and,
often to others, very devout and very charitable; yet it is in
reality very shallow and deceptive. It is, however, so often and so
confidently uttered, and is withal so plausible, that good men and
good minds are carried away. We do not always think; the
sensibilities obtain the mastery, and in very simplicity we are
deceived. The doctrine of open communion is popular, and if our sole
object were to add to our numbers, we would of course adopt it.

"To our own table we have a right to invite whom we please, but not
to a friend's. In that case we do not consult our own feelings, but
what may be agreeable to the host. When we invite to the table of the
Lord we are to be regulated by what may be acceptable to Him. This is
triumphantly met by —'We invite a child of the Lord.'

"1. Friend, how do you know this? The Lord alone searches the heart.
Open communion, at the very outset, invades God's province. We may
believe a man to be a Christian, but we do not know it, so as to make
that knowledge the ground of action in the Church. Hypocrisy is often
more flashy and imposing than humble piety. Jehu is ostentatious
of 'zeal for the Lord,' and Judas of care for the poor.

"There is no Presbyterian, who knows his own principles, who ever
thinks of making regeneration the condition of membership in the
Church. He accepts him who witnesses a good confession, sustained by
a corresponding practice, and treats him as a child of God, till by
transgression he falls from his place.

"2. If we know a man to be a child of God, it does not follow that he
is to be admitted to fellowship in the Church. Paul instructs the
Thessalonians, 'If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note
that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet
count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.' Here is
one whom Paul will own as a brother, and will have the Church to own,
and yet his present conduct, his refusal to submit to inspired
counsels, excludes him from fellowship. The open communionist, to be
consistent with himself, would stand up before Paul, and demand, 'How
dare you forbid God's child access to his Father's table!'

"Close communion, in excluding from fellowship in the Church and in
breaking of bread, does not deny a spiritual relationship to Christ;
but open communion, in making regeneration the condition of
fellowship, pronounces a very unwarrantable and uncharitable sentence
on such as are excluded. God's strokes are safer than man's kisses."
(William Sommerville, Reformed Presbyterians and Open Communion).

"There are those who feel that by the practice of Close Communion we
are claiming to be better than other Christians. Such a view is based
on a total misconception of the entire subject. As we have already
seen, the question of character is not at issue. Christ takes care of
that. We have nothing at all to do with this aspect of the case,
except perhaps indirectly by implication. That matter is handled in
the Supreme Court, to which reference has been made, and in no other.
As to whether those whom we exclude from the Lord's table are better
or worse at heart than we are, we have no means of forming a final
judgment. God alone knows that. As Christians they may be far
superior to us who are sitting in judgment on their public profession
and their conduct; oftentimes, no doubt, they are; at all events, let
us hope that they are never worse. But that question, as we have said
repeatedly, is not in the balance. What we have to do with is the
profession the communicant makes, and the way he lives. Christ does
His part by looking into the heart; He expects us to do ours, and He
tells us that the way to do it is by taking account of faith and
conduct. What He entrusts to our care we ought to do. We ought to do
it in the spirit of meekness and humility, but we ought to do it. For
having done, or not done, what we ought to have done, the King, when
He comes in to view His guests, will hold us responsible. The work of
the Lower Court will be reviewed in the Court of last appeal, where
the test is, and always has been, that a man 'be found faithful'
(1 Cor. 4:2)." (W.J. McKnight, Concerning Close Communion).

PS. If you read Emeth's blog, you may have already seen this.

Monday, December 16, 2002

From an Email I wrote to a friend....

There is much that we don't know and much still to discover. But I believe that we are living in the times prophecied of by Daniel when knowledge would increase. The explosion of knowledge about things in our universe is occurring at a rapid pace. I truly believe that it is God who reveals these things even to unregenerate man. "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are ALL THINGS, to whom be glory forever, Amen." Romans 11:33-36. Man can discover nothing unless God reveals it to him.

I know this-- I am finding it impossible to look into these things without becoming more and more amazed at the wonder of God. It is inconceivable to me how the LORD of the universe who orchestrates and keeps all things together (and if you want to blow your mind, think of the quantum physics implications of Col.1:15-17 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."). When this first began to sink down into my soul, I realized several things: the great and awful majesty of God, the utter humility and unsearchable depths of love that would cause Him to take on human flesh and die in our stead, and how all things work together for His ultimate glory. Who is a God like ours? Is salvation of man the chief end of God? NO! But we often act like it is.

I used to fear the judgement seat of Christ where our works will be tried by fire. But I don't fear it any more. I have developed a new perspective on it. I will see all my wood, hay, and stubble burn up before the Lord. And any gold or silver that comes out will be because it was CHRIST working through me, and sanctifying what He ordained I would do (Eph.2:10). We will all declare ourselves to be unprofitable servants and gladly cast our crowns at the feet of the One who is worthy to receive all glory and honor, and power, and we will do so in awe of the mercy and love of God for such worms.

No, the chief end of God is not man's salvation. Salvation is the means to glorifying God and we will be glad to have it so! I am seeing through the glass darkly, but even these glimpses of future glory blow me away at times. It has transformed my life and worship. I am overcome by such mercy, by such love, by such sacrifice.
My Bad

I must confess that I posted that poem by an anonymous friend to see what kind of comments it would bring.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Infants and idiots

They both profane
The meaning of his table
When they take His Name in vain.
In covert of their minds
Wherein is no reflecting
Their hearts are truly blind
To the G-d they're not respecting.
How often do His children
Without a searching thought
Trample underneath their feet
The redemption He has bought?
And so, should faithful ministers
Partake of such great sin
Or should they guard the sacrament
E'en from those who are within?
A blessing there is surely there
For those who use it rightly
But those that cast aside His rule
He shall not dismiss lightly.

by Insane Calvinist Poppy

The other night we watched Amadeus. Very interesting movie but rather uneven in the quality of acting. The guy who played Mozart looked and laughed like he was still acting on the Animal House set. The fellow who played Salnieri (sp?) was excellent and deserved the award he got for that movie. The actress who played Mozart's wife was atrocious. It sounded ridiculous to have a Vienniese woman speaking with very definite, almost Bronx-like accents. The music, of course, was wonderful.

Speaking of music, I found my lost tape of Poiema by Michael Card. Card remains one of my most favorite Christian artists.

Son Nathanael brought home an interesting CD from the library the other day. Guy who goes by the moniker "Moby." Some interesting sounds on it. Maybe I am not as much of a fuddy duddy as I thought.

More Dreams...

I also often dream that I am in high school again. Only my kids are with me. One of the things that typically happens in these dreams is that we are catching the school bus home and inevitably one of my kids is missing off the bus and I have to (frantically) track them down before the bus leaves.

I wonder what I would have dreamed if I had been homeschooled.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Frustration Dreams

Speaking of dreams... Anyone besides me have what I have come to call "frustration dreams?" My frustration dreams are where I am trying to look something up in a phone book, but I can never find the entry because things are not in the right order, or the name is no where to be found or some other glitch in the phone book.

I also remember, as a child, having dreams where I was trying to run away from something that was coming after me, and I couldn't move my feet, or else was moving in a painfully slow way. I don't have those dreams any more. I wonder why.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Sabotaged by my Sub-Conscious Self
They say that dreams are a way of sorting out the events of the day. I wonder what in the world to make of last night's dream. It was a fairly happy dream where I was in a strange place doing various things. But then I walked into a bathroom where I heard water running. I remember thinking, "Strange. I don't remember running a bath." There in the bathtub was three year old son, Garnet, playing in the bathwater. Behind him, under the water, was Elodie, who had drowned and was laying there with her lifeless eyes gazing ahead of her. I started crying, "God! oh God!" as I grabbed her out of the water and attempted to get her to breathe. Then I woke up.

I hate dreams like that.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Rabbits and The Fall

I am thinking of posting a "Beware of Rabbit" sign at the end of my driveway.

Three of my children now own rabbits. Two bucks and one doe. Somehow, despite the fact that they were in segregated units, and despite the fact that I had sternly warned them NOT to put them together, the doe is pregnant. Hmmm...

I was accustomed to think of rabbits as shy, meek, and voiceless creatures. No longer. I now understand the Monty Python sketch in the Holy Grail movie where they were attacked by a man-eating rabbit. The doe is positively vicious. If you put your hand any where near her, you risk losing a finger. I didn't know that rabbits could growl or that those pink eyes of theirs could hold such hatred.

Once she has her litter, great care must be taken not to disturb her lest she devour her children. Now what kind of scheme for survival is that? "Sorry son. I am feeling stressed and threatened Pass the salt, please." I often feel stressed, but have yet to develop a desire to consume my children when this happens. Shoot them, maybe. But not eat them.

Hey that reminds me of a little ditty I learned many years ago at Disney World in Florida:

Mama don't whomp little Buford
Mama don't stomp on his head
Mama don't whomp little Buford
I think we should shoot him instead.