Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Don't Get Caught.... the Meatrix!

Think your meat is safe cuz it is inspected? Have a look here.

Think there might be a problem with the orthodox theory of the cause of mad cow disease? Try reading this
Profound Thought for the Day

"Emotions are just emotions. They are not you, they are not facts, and you can just let them go...

"The first part, "Emotions are just emotions," may seem obvious, yet this is not how most of us live. We live in a culture that mainly deals with emotions on either end of a broad spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, we deny our emotions and the effect they have on our rational thinking processes, on our health or on our experience of life. On the other end, we deify our emotions, investing way too much importance on the supposed messages that they are here to deliver and what they mean about who we are.

"There are grains of truth in the perspectives of both acting rationally and of not denying our emotions. However, most of us lose ourselves, and our ability to choose, in each perspective. Depending on how our rational mind is interpreting our sensory input in the moment, we can often swing wildly between the two.

"Most of us tend to identify with our emotions as though they are who we are... We talk about "being angry" as opposed to "feeling angry." It is our identificationwith feelings that often makes it more difficult than it needs to be to let them go. We often cling to our identification with a feeling because we think, "It is who I am." We believe, "I feel, therefore I am."

"...I recommend that you examine this idea for yourself. See whether it is more accurate to notice that emotions come and go, while who you truly are always remains.

"... When you find yourself lost in identification with an emotion, you can ask yourself, "Am I this feeling, or am I just having a feeling?" This simple question can help you separate yourself from a false identification. ...

"As we explore the statement further, we come to: "They are not facts." Have you ever been sure of what you thought was a fact -- such as that someone you knew liked you -- only to find the opposite was true? Or have you ever been sure that something was about to go wrong only to have it go very right? These are just two examples of how we relate to the input that we get from our feelings. We live in a world of assumptions, thinking we are relating to facts. In some ways, our feelings are just stories that we have made up about a particular set of sensations. These stories often, if not always, come after the feeling has already arisen in our consciousness. We then use them to explain why we feel the way we feel.

"Treating emotions like facts can be a problem, because we often don't realize that we have made an assumption until it is too late. By then we have made what we thought was a rational decision, only to find out later that it was just based on an automatic emotional reaction.

"The final part of the statement focuses on what this whole book is about: 'You can let them go.' The more you accept and employ your natural ability to release [as in easing your grip on emotions or having them release their grip on you -- CG], the more every part of your experience of life will be transformed."

[Quoted from pages 102-104 The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin]

Monday, December 29, 2003

The Irony of Life

The glory of youth is their strength, cuz it sure ain't their wisdom! The young are too soon dumb and too late smart, and they don't even know it. Worse yet, they think they are the opposite. This, of course, is a generality. Some young people are exceptionally mature. Then there are tons of adults who never grow up in terms of responsibility or attitude.

Here is where the irony comes in. The longer I live, the more I see what a complete shambles I am and how completely hopeless I am at stuff and how un-together I am, which, conversely, is apparently the evidence that you are getting your act together.

It was Pastor Price who taught me the beauty of humility. (How could I not love and appreciate a man who is in so many ways better than I, but who humbly asks my pardon when he thinks he may have offended me? )

Last night I was at my daughter Trista's for supper with her husband and in-laws. Trista's mother-in-law and I go back a long ways and it was a pleasant evening visiting her. I was lamenting to Sue about all the mistakes and failures I had made along the way when I was raising my two eldest daughters. Trista broke into the conversation and said,

"Mom, there was one thing you did that always made up for the failures. You always came back to us and said you were sorry and asked us to forgive you."

Trista then related that this fact is what encourages her to do the same with her little daughter. Which made me glad.

One of the worst things about the Fall is the way our sin nature makes us spend so much time focusing and wondering and fussing over our selves. I think one of the things I most look forward to in Heaven will be losing that all-pervading sense of self that is always yakking away in the back of my head, distracting me from really getting down to doing something. I waste a great deal of time worrying about how I am perceived as a mother rather than actually being one. I worry about how I look in pictures to the extent that I won't allow them to be taken of me. I worry about what others think of my housecleaning to the extent that I fuss over that to the neglect of my children. So much of what I do, even the things I excel at, are tied into wanting my self to be seen in a good light. And really, I know it is quite futile. Because even if I am good at something, this generally isn't what makes people like me or want to emulate me. Often the things I am good at become stumbling blocks to others because they either think they can't do it and become discouraged, or else it provokes envy. I have noticed more and more that the times I connect the most with people is when I am admitting to weaknesses and discouragements. "When I am weak, then am I strong."

I think one of the reasons that people are attracted to eastern religion is because of the promise of losing the "self" in the great One -- in a sense, to become unconscious. On rare occasions I have had a taste of what I think heaven will be like -- not an unconsciousness, but an attention that is directed completely outward and undistracted by thoughts of self. It doesn't happen that often, and it isn't anything I can conjure up by trying really hard. Instead, it is a Gift that has been given to me that gives me a sort of holiday from the eternal chatter of the self. I wouldn't mind an eternity-long holiday of that sort.
Good History!

I recently picked up and re-read a wonderfully engaging piece of historical biography by Otto Scott. The book in question is called James I: The Fool As King. Back when I was still a subscriber to Chalcedon Report, Otto was one of my favorite columnists. I was sorry when he and Rushdoony parted ways and he no longer wrote for CR.

If you want to gain a good understanding for the political arena of today, reading this book is one way of doing so. James I had a profound and negative impact on human government and in many ways is one of the prime architects of monolithic government intrusion. What is most interesting to me is that his views of government were formed deliberately to destroy the Reformation views he was taught by his tutor, George Buchanan, and to derail the personal liberty from government tyranny that the Reformation set in motion.

In addition to giving us insight into James I of England's life, Mr. Scott does a lot to strip Mary, Queen of Scots, of her glamour and mystique and reveals her as the conniving, murderous, and adulterous woman that she was. Elizabeth I is seen as the ultimate pragmatist who couldn't understand the religious passions or the logical outcomes of these passions led to. She was caught between the Vatican and pro-Catholic forces who would see her made illegitmate and de-throned in favor of her cousin, Mary Stuart, and the Reformed Christians who threatened the extent of royal prerogative by their insistence that the Crown govern only by consent of the people, and in subjection to God's Law. All in all, it was a fascinating read.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Go Here... see why Christmass is idolatry.

What a fiend we have in Santa
With his sled and jingling bells
And with all his empty banter
Leading pagan kids to hell.

Courtesy of Dr. F.N.Lee

Up until now, I have been an html quadrapelegic. That meant that I had to depend on Emeth to do any tweaking of my blog features. And Emeth is a very busy girl these days. So, my blog languished for want of tweaking, and the orange and green text and pale orange background made me feel bilious, not to say nauseated, every time I saw it.

Until today.....

I took my courage in hand, opened up the template, opened up Web Monkey so I could figure out which color codes to change, and voila! I am now an html parapalegic!

How do you like my new look???

Next thing to learn: How to post pictures. Anyone want to give me a hint?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Return of the King

Saw it. Wanna see it again. I enjoyed the look of bliss on Gollum's face as he fell into the fires of Mount Doom. The thing I didn't like was the unintended comedy of Gollum strugging with an invisible Frodo before he bit off the ring. It kind of marred the seriousness of the moment.

Do I have to wait almost a year before I can see the extended version??? Wah.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Strange Road Kill

We get all kinds of road kill in our neck of the woods, but none so strange as what we found on our own road the other day.

The four eldest children were driving into town with me after dark the other night and we saw what looked like a large animal with long hair lying motionless at the side of the road. We were in a hurry so we couldn't take the time to stop and investigate, but the way its "fur" was blowing in the wind made me think it was possibly a dog or wolf.

On our return journey, we stopped to see what it actually was, and to our surprise, we found an emu. Not exactly what you expect to see leaping out in front of your vehicle in the Canadian north!

Eagles, ravens and other carrion birds have not taken long to reduce said emu to a rack of ribs picked clean, feet and legs, and a pile of feathers. The funny thing is, they congregate in large numbers during the day to eat, but by sunset there is nary a bird to be seen except the remains of the emu.

If the bird had to go, I am thankful it chose to make its suicide run at this time of year. No bugs and no nasty smell!
Signs of the Times

This article details the signs of the times which are merely the logical outworking of a corrupt foundation when America was established.

Gary North was right. Pluralism is a myth. There is no such thing as religion vs. no religion, but instead which religion. If that is the case, then establishmentarianism is the only logical conclusion. There must be one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, not many. Christians who refuse to acknowledge this are trying to live in an alternate universe that doesn't exist.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Gerbil Population Control

About a year ago my daughter, Hannah, purchased a pair of young gerbils. Unfortunately, their nether parts were not fully developed at the time and we ended up with a male and female. As is the wont of the rodent world, it wasn't too long before two gerbils became 8. And then 18. In short, we had an embarrassment of gerbil riches.

Hannah tried mightily to give her gerbils to all the local pet stores. They were full up, no doubt with the offerings of other hapless gerbil owners. So several of her friends had gerbils bestowed upon them as birthday gifts or because the said children were successful in nagging their parents into getting some too.

When all was said and done, and Hannah had also bestowed three male gerbils upon a younger sister as a birthday gift, we still had too many gerbils and keeping the males and females separate was becoming something of a problem. The older males and females had been separated successfully, but sibling-like, they objected to sharing their living quarters with younger sisters or brothers. To the point of death.

To spare her younger brothers and sisters the trauma of gerbil fratricide, (and possibly to prevent them from getting any ideas of new ways to deal with sibling rivalry), Hannah decided to take things into her own hands. For a very brief time she considered letting the dogs eat them, but decided this was too gruesome an end for them. Instead, she placed several of the males who could get along in a kleenex box with some kleenex, food, and water, and took them out into the deeps of the woods, in the middle of our Canadian winter, with the idea that dying in the cold was a more merciful end than the quick snap of the jaws or a bonk on the head.

Imagine Hannah's surprise next day when she returned to the scene of pre-meditated euthanasia to find that the gerbils, deciding that they preferred to live free and wild instead of dying in fluff, had burrowed under the stump of a tree and dragged all the free bedding and food in after them. And so they continue to live. Hannah and the other children bring them free offerings of seeds, nuts and water on a daily basis and the gerbils continue to populate our woods and have even expanded their living quarters into a few tunnels to other parts of the country.

Thankfully, there are none of the fair sex with them so we won't need to host an annual gerbil hunt to keep down the population.

Friday, December 19, 2003

TULIP, or The Five Points of Evanjellyfish Christianity

courtesy of Carmon and Mike Scruggs

T: Tolerance and relativity of beliefs.
U: Unthinking conformity to majority opinion (Is there a reason why God characterizes us as sheep?)
L: Liberty of conscience in all things -- to the point of violating every Law of God in the name of freedom.
I: Inequality is Evil -- No fair if you are smarter or prettier than me!
P: Personal Peace and Prosperity at any Price. Speaks for itself

Read more here.
Presbyterians Do Not [SHOULD NOT! -- CG] Observe Holy Days
by Samuel Miller.

We believe, and teach, in our public formularies, that there is no
day, under the Gospel dispensation, commanded to be kept holy, except
the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath."

We believe, indeed, and declare, in the same formula, that it is both
scriptural and rational, to observe special days of Fasting and
Thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of Divine Providence
may direct. But we are persuaded, that even the keeping of these
days, when they are made stated observances, recurring, of course, at
particular times, whatever the aspect of Providence may be, is
calculated to promote formality and superstition, rather than the
edification of the body of Christ.

Our reasons for entertaining this opinion, are the following:

1. We are persuaded that there is no scriptural warrant for such
observances, either from precept or example. There is no hint in the
New Testament that such days were either observed or recommended by
the Apostles, or by any of the churches in their time. The mention of
Easter, in Acts 12:4, has no application to this subject. Herod was a
Jew, not a Christian; and, of course, had no desire to honor a
Christian solemnity. The real meaning of the passage is, as the
slightest inspection of the original will satisfy every intelligent
reader; " intending after the Passover to bring him forth to lie

2. We believe that the Scriptures not only do not warrant the
observance of such days, but that they positively discountenance it.
Let any one impartially weigh Colossians 2:16 and also, Galatians 4:9-
11 and then say whether these passages do not evidently indicate,
that the inspired Apostle disapproved of the observance of such days.

3. The observance of Fasts and Festivals, by divine direction, under
the Old Testament economy, makes nothing in favor of such observances
under the New Testament dispensation. That economy was no longer
binding, or even lawful after the New Testament Church was set up. It
were just as reasonable to plead for the present use of the Passover,
the incense, and the burnt offerings of the Old economy, which were
confessedly done away by the coming of Christ, as to argue in favor
of human inventions, bearing some resemblance to them, as binding in
the Christian Church.

4. The history of the introduction of stated Fasts and Festivals by
the early Christians, speaks much against both their obligation, and
their edifying character. Their origin was ignoble. They were chiefly
brought in by carnal policy, for the purpose of drawing into the
Church Jews and Gentiles, who had both been accustomed to festivals
and holy-days. And from the moment of their introduction, they became
the signal for strife, or the monuments of worldly expedient, and
degrading superstition.

As there were no holy-days, excepting the Lord's day, observed in the
Christian Church while the Apostles lived; and no hint given that
they thought any other expedient or desirable; so we find no hint of
any such observance having been adopted until towards the close of
the second century. Then, the celebration of Easter gave rise to a
controversy; the Asiatic Christians pleading for its observance at
the same time which was prescribed for the Jewish Passover, and
contending that they were supported in this by apostolic tradition;
while the Western Church contended for its stated celebration on a
certain Sunday, and urged, with equal confidence, apostolic tradition
in favor of their scheme. Concerning this fierce and unhallowed
controversy, Socrates, the ecclesiastical historian, who wrote soon
after the time of Eusebius, and begins his history where the latter
closes his narrative; speaking on the controversy concerning Easter,
expresses himself thus: "Neither the ancients, nor the fathers of
later times, I mean such as favored the Jewish custom, had sufficient
cause to contend so eagerly about the feast of Easter; for they
considered not within themselves, that when the Jewish religion was
changed into Christianity, the literal observance of the Mosaic law,
and the types of things to come, wholly ceased. And this carries with
it its own evidence. For no one of Christ's laws permits Christians
to observe the rites of the Jews. Nay, the Apostle hath in plain
words forbidden it, where he abrogates Circumcision, and exhorts us
not to contend about feasts and holy-days. For, writing to the
Galatians, he admonishes them not to observe days, and months, and
times, and years. And unto the Colossians, he is as plain as may be,
declaring, that the observance of such things was but a shadow.
Neither the Apostles nor the Evangelists have enjoined on Christians
the observance of Easter; but have left the remembrance of it to the
free choice and discretion of those who have been benefited by such
days. Men keep holy-days, because thereon they enjoy rest from toil
and labor Therefore, it comes to pass, that in every place they do
celebrate, of their own accord, the remembrance of the Lord's
passion. But neither our Savior nor his Apostles have any where
commanded us to observe it." Socrates, Lib. 5, cap. 21.

Here, then, is an eminent Christian writer who flourished early in
the fifth century, who had made the history of the Church his
particular study; who explicitly declares, that neither Christ nor
his Apostles gave any command, or even countenance to the observance
of festival days; that it was brought into the Church by custom; and
that in different parts of the Church there was diversity of practice
in regard to this matter. With respect to Easter, in particular, this
diversity was striking. We no sooner hear of its observance at all,
than we begin to hear of contest, and interruption of Christian
fellowship on account of it; some quoting the authority of some of
the Apostles for keeping this festival on one day; and others, with
equal confidence, quoting the authority of other Apostles for the
selection of a different day: thereby clearly demonstrating, that
there was error somewhere, and rendering it highly probable that all
parties were wrong, and that no such observances at all, were binding
on Christians.

The festival of Easter, no doubt, was introduced in the second
century, in place of the Passover, and in accommodation to the same
Jewish prejudice which had said, even during the apostolic
age, "Except ye be circumcised, after the manner of Moses, ye cannot
be saved." Hence, it was generally called pascha, and pasch, in
conformity with the name of the Jewish festival, whose place it took.
It seems to have received the title of Easter in Great Britain, from
the circumstance, that, when Christianity was introduced into that
country, a great Pagan festival, celebrated at the same season of the
year, in honor of the Pagan goddess Eostre, yielded its place to the
Christian festival, which received, substantially, the name of the
Pagan deity. The title of Easter, it is believed, is seldom used but
by Britons and their descendants.

Few festivals are celebrated in the Romish Church, and in some
Protestant Churches, with more interest and zeal than Christmas. Yet
when Origen, about the middle of the third century, professes to give
a list of the fasts and festivals which were observed in his day, he
makes no mention of Christmas. From this fact, Sir Peter King, in his
Inquiry into the Constitution and worship, &c. of the Primitive
Church, &c. infers, that no such festival was then observed; and
adds, "It seems improbable that they should celebrate Christ's
nativity, when they disagreed about the mouth and the day when Christ
was born." Every month in the year has been assigned by different
portions and writers of the Christian Church as the time of our
Lord's nativity; and the final location of this, as well as other
holy-days, in the ecclesiastical calendar, was adjusted rather upon
astronomical and mathematical principles, than on any solid
calculations of history.

5. But the motives and manner of introducing Christmas into the
Christian Church, speak more strongly against it. Its real origin was
this. Like many other observances, it was borrowed from the heathen.
The well known Pagan festival among the Romans, distinguished by the
title of Saturnalia, because instituted in honor of their fabled
deity, Saturn, was celebrated by them with the greatest splendor,
extravagance, and debauchery. It was, during its continuance, a
season of freedom and equality; the master ceased to rule, and the
slave to obey; the former waiting at his own table, upon the latter,
and submitting to the suspension of all order, and the reign of
universal frolic. The ceremonial of this festival was opened on the
19th of December, by lighting profusion of waxen candles in the
temple of Saturn; and by suspending in their temple, and in all their
habitations, boughs of laurel, and various kinds of evergreen. The
Christian Church, seeing the unhappy moral influence of this
festival; perceiving her own members too often partaking in its
licentiousness; and desirous, if possible, of effecting its
abolition, appointed a festival, in honor of her Master's birth,
nearly about the same time, for the purpose of superseding it. In
doing this, the policy was to retain as many of these habits which
had prevailed in the Saturnalia as could in any way be reconciled
with the purity of Christianity. They made their new festival,
therefore, a season of relaxation and mirth, of cheerful visiting,
and mutual presents. They lighted candles in their places of worship
and adorned them with a profusion of evergreen boughs. Thus did the
Romish Church borrow from the Pagans some of her most prominent
observances; and thus have some observances of this origin been
adopted and continued by Protestants.

6. It being evident, then, that stated fasts and festivals have no
divine warrant, and that their use under the New Testament economy is
a mere human invention; we may ask those who are friendly to their
observance, what limits ought to be set to their adoption and use in
the Christian Church? If it be lawful to introduce five such days for
stated observance, why not ten, twenty, or five score? A small number
were, at an early period, brought into use by serious men, who
thought they were thereby rendering God service, and extending the
reign of religion. But one after another was added, as superstition
increased, until the calendar became burdened with between two and
three hundred fasts and festivals, or saint's days, in each year;
thus materially interfering with the claims of secular industry, and
loading the worship of God with a mass of superstitious observances,
equally unfriendly to the temporal and the eternal interests of men.
Let the principle once be admitted, that stated days of religious
observance, which God has no where commanded, may properly be
introduced into the Christian ritual, and, by parity of reasoning,
every one who, from good motives, can effect the introduction of a
new religious festival, is at liberty to do so. Upon this principle
was built up the enormous mass of superstition which now
distinguishes and corrupts the Romish Church.

7. The observance of uncommanded holy-days is ever found to interfere
with the due sanctification of the Lord's day. Adding to the
appointments of God is superstition. And superstition has ever been
found unfriendly to genuine obedience. Its votaries, like the Jews of
old, have ever been found more tenacious of their own inventions, of
traditionary dreams, than of God's revealed code of duty.
Accordingly, there is, perhaps, no fact more universal and
unquestionable, than that the zealous observers of stated fasts and
festivals are characteristically lax in the observance of that one
day which God has eminently set apart for himself, and on the
sanctification of which all the vital interests of practical religion
are suspended. So it was among the Israelites of old. As early as the
fifth century, Augustine complains that the superstitious observance
of uncommanded rites, betrayed many in his time, into a spirit of
irreverence and neglect towards those which were divinely appointed.
So it is, notoriously, among the Romanists at the present day. And
so, without any breach of charity, it may be said to be in every
religious community in which zeal for the observance of uncommanded
holy-days prevails. It is true, many in those communities tell us,
that the observance of holy-days, devoted to particular persons and
events in the history of the Church, has a manifest and strong
tendency to increase the spirit of piety. But if this be so, we might
expect to find much more scriptural piety in the Romish Church than
in any other, since holy-days are ten times more numerous in that
denomination than in the system of any Protestant Church. But is it
so? Let those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear, decide.

If the foregoing allegations be in any measure well founded; if there
be no warrant in God's word for any observances of this kind; if, on
the contrary, the Scriptures positively discourage them; if the
history of their introduction and increase mark an unhallowed origin;
if, when we once open the door to such human inventions, no one can
say how or when it may be closed; and if the observance of days, not
appointed of God, has ever been found to exert an unfriendly
influence on the sanctification of that holy-day which God has
appointed, surely we need no further proof that it is wise to discard
them from our ecclesiastical system.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Thoughts on Making an Impact

One of the reasons that many Christians claim they celebrate Christmass is because they believe that the focus of this season forces the unbeliever to consider Christ at least once a year. I have noticed though, that most of the pagans seem to be really good at dodging a lot of what the season is aimed at. My ears have been assaulted with the sounds of Christmass songs in every store I go into, and not one of them has been one that focused on the so-called "reason for the season." Instead, there has been much of mistletoe and holly, walking in winter wonderlands, and chesnuts roasting by open fires. Reindeer, Santas, and elves people the malls and aisles of the stores with only an occasional nod to the shepherds and wise men.

If Christians were really serious about making an impact and visible statement on our culture about the primacy and rights of our King, then maybe they should consider keeping the Lord's Day a whole lot better than they do. After all, this is something we are commanded to observe, while Christmass is not. But like my other post on the dropping of standards, this is yet another place where Christians have fallen away.

It used to be in Canada, that no matter where you went, each province had a "Lord's Day Act" that forbade the opening of stores and businesses in order to honor the Christian Sabbath. God could have commanded that we worship Him two, three, or four and more days of the week leaving the rest of the week for our worldly business, but instead He asks only one day a week from us and allows us to go about our worldly employments and lawful recreations on the other six.

When I was still attending one of the local Baptist churches here in town, it was nothing for the pastor to tell the congregation in the course of the sermon that he intended to go home after the service to watch a basketball or football game on the TV. It is nothing for professed Christians in this community to go to malls, grocery stores, restaurants, or movies after they have "done their duty" in attending church.

I wonder....

Do you suppose that the Lord looks on all this activity and says, "Well done, good and faithful servant," or "This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,"? We Christians are good at keeping the traditions of men that God never required of us and in ignoring His actual commands, making them of no effect. (Mk. 7:1-9)

If you want to know why I don't observe Christmass, go here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Quote of the Week

"The woman most eager to jump out of her petticoat to assert her rights is first to jump back into it when threatened with a switch for misusing them."

Ambrose Bierce

Friday, December 12, 2003

Unseen Benefits

I had a new paying client the other day [yippee!] who intends to return with her children. Then I had a phone call from another lady I saw when I was doing my practicum and she is planning on returning with her children for allergy testing/desensitization as well. The homeschool network is starting to get the word out about me! Word of mouth will probably be the main means I use for developing my client base. I don't have the money to advertise, and I don't want to be so busy that I feel too squeezed by life. Life is plenty busy already with homeschooling seven, cooking, cleaning, etc. This nice steady trickle of one or two people a week suits me just fine.

One of the pleasures of doing my kinesionics work is that it allows me to spend time with people talking about a variety of things. Generally, the people I am seeing are professing Christians for the most part and this opens the door for discussing the Faith once delivered to the saints. The very best part of the discussion is when you know you made a measurable difference and that they are following up on something you said and press deeper into study of God's Word. I don't think anything else gives me as much satisfaction as this.

A Nice Phone Call

Ever since the girls left home in a precipitous way four years ago, I have had an extreme inferiority complex about my abilities as a parent.

My eldest son, Nathanael, is away visiting some friends on Protection Island, and mother-like, I had to check up on him by phone. The phone was answered by the school chum's father, and I made my inquiries.

"Whatever you are doing with your kids, keep on doing it!" was the enthusiastic reply of the father. It appears that Nathanael has impressed with his good-natured optimism, his polite demeanor, and his helpfulness and consideration. These are things that thrill a mother's heart and which I would love to take credit for. But I know that one of the reasons that Nathanael is like this is because he takes after my father in a lot of ways, and not because I am such a model of patience and virtue.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Pirates and Depravity

This past weekend, I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2 1/2 times. I have never seen Johnny Depp before, and I found his quirky mannerisms quite entertaining.

One of the surprising things that this movie did for me was demonstrate the compassion and mercy of God. Just think how horribly and infinitely worse this world would be if we didn't die! It was a merciful act of the Creator to make death the punishment of Adam's breach of the covenant. This has ensured that the evil we do in this life is limited and, moreover, restrained to a large extent.
Too Casual?

One of the things Mom and I did when I was back home, was to go through the old picture slides that she and Dad still have of my sister and I when we were little. It was nice to revisit my childhood in this fashion.

And speaking of fashion, there were a number of photos of us or old friends we knew at church. How times have changed! Then we all wore nice "dress up" clothing to church, had hats, and gloves. It was almost a formal affair. Now, people slouch into church in jeans and sweatshirts and think nothing of it. I have also seen people dressed this sloppily at weddings and funerals. It appears that nothing is worth dressing up for, least of all worshipping God.

The lowering of standards in dressing up for going out is another reflection of the casual attitude that we seem to be taking towards so many other things: marriage vows, language, fraud: The list is endless.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Singing Psalms

On my recent visit back home for my maternal grandmother’s funeral, I had opportunity, with my parents, sister and her family, to visit my paternal grandmother in the nursing home she now lives at. During the visit, my sister and I gathered at the piano and Darlene played the music while we sang a few of the less doctrinally objectionable hymns that I could find in the hymnals.

It occurred to me, as I read the words to the hymns, that a lot of church wars over contemporary music versus traditional hymn music have been fought over a lot of second-rate verse and sentiments. I have spent the last 10 years or more singing Psalms only in corporate and family worship and there just isn’t any comparison to the lofty sentiments and pungent and robust expressions found in the Psalms. Moreover, the focus in the Psalms points always to Christ and the Godhead whereas a lot of the hymns are navel-gazing in nature.

I don’t think I will ever go back to hymn singing for worship. Psalms rule!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Suffer Little Children

The quote that comes below my own comments is from the blog of a cyber acquaintance whom I have come to enjoy reading. I am posting it here because it is one of the things that has been on my heart and mind lately: what to do with the children on the Lord's Day.

For those of us who desire to observe this day as being a day of rest from our worldly employments and amusements, it is too easy to make it a day of drudgery for our children if we are not careful. We live in a world that is oriented to work so that we might play rather than playing so that we might work. Given that fact, and the fact that, try as we might, it is nearly impossible to be completely free from this influence, the temptation is to really crack down on the kids and to apply the "stick" and neglect the "carrot."

I think it is fair to say that I and most in my congregation have gathered together after our congregational worship to visit with each other and left the children to play. Some of the parents keep their kids inside, but this is easier to do with little kids than it is with the teens. The result has been a tendency on the part of the teens to get into trouble with foolish talk. This then nets rebukes and frowns and clicking tongues which in turn makes the young people feel even less inclined to spend time around the adults.

I think the time has come to be pro-active in how we approach this. Just recently, at a Bible study, we decided that we would do things *with* the children after church is done -- things like Bible games and quizzes, sword drills, catechizing, etc. This will keep us involved with them, limit the opportunity for foolishness, and allow all of us to become better acquainted with the children. It is easy to regard them as a herd in need of corralling or controlling instead of as individuals that we are to love and care for as a covenant community.

If anyone has any ideas of other edifying and interesting things that could be done as a group, please leave a comment.

Here is the quote:

With the Children on Sundays: Through Eye-Gate and Ear-Gate into the City of Child-Soul, by Sylvanus Stall.

"In some households Sunday is looked forward to with anticipations of pleasure throughout the entire week. In these homes, the father does not come down stairs on Sunday morning and say: "Now, children, gather up those flowers, throw them out of the window, pull down the blinds, get down the Bible and we will have an awful solemn time here to-day." neither is the day given to frivolity or the home to demoralizing influences. From morning until night there are two great principles that govern; first, the sacredness of the day, and second, the sacredness of the God-given nature of childhood. The day is not spent in repressing the child nature by a succession of "don't do that," "now stop that," etc., that begin in the morning and continue throughout the day, and end only when the little ones los consciousness in sleep on Sunday night. In these homes, the parents recognize the fact that the child nature is the same whether the day is secular or sacred. On Sunday the child nature is not repressed, but the childish impulses are directed into channels suited to the sacredness of the day. In such homes the children, instead of being sorry that it is Sunday, are glad; instead of regretting the return of the day with dislike and dread, they welcome it as the brightest, the cheeriest and the best of all the week."


"The absence of the children from the services of the sanctuary is one of the alarming evils of our day. There are but few congregations where children can be found in any considerable numbers. No one will attempt to deny the sad consequences which must follow at the inevitable results of such a course. The children at eight years of age [from infancy! ~Carmon] who have not already begun to form the habit of church attendance, and are not quite thoroughly established in it at sixteen, will stand a very fair chance of spending their entire life with little or no attachment for either the Church or religious things. The non-church going youth of this decade will be the Sabbath-breakers and irreligious people of the next."

What to Do Now?

Last night I finished the last portion of the "behind the scenes" stuff from the extended version of The Two Towers. I eeked it out as long as I could because I didn't want it to end. So for the past week, every night I would watch a little bit at a time in order to savour it as much as possible.

I think I probably enjoyed the peek behind the scenes as much as I did watching the movie itself. It would have been just an incredible experience to be involved in the making of this movie. I especially enjoyed the segments that dealt with the Weta Workshop and all the props that they made. The sheer beauty and intricacy of the many costumes and weapons and buildings was just breath-taking.

I tend to be a very driven, focused person, particularly when it comes to getting work done. Movies like Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and Return of the King remind me that play is just as important and necessary to life and that it can be done seriously and well to God's glory. I don't know if Peter Jackson or any of the other who worked on this film are Christians, but their work is certainly a testimony to the fact that we are stamped with the image of the Creator.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Sick Humor

For those of you who enjoy Homestar Runner and Strong Bad, you will probably also enjoy this.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Whither Canada?

Why is it that I almost always hear the distinct sound of a flushing toilet whenever I consider this country's political landscape?