Terrible Twos?

Good stuff from Denise Sproul, RC, Jr.'s wife, in the Sept/Oct 2006 issue of Every Though Captive, page 7:

"We have not purged Darwinism from our minds even if we can give a cogent defense against macroevolution.... One way Darwinism affects our thinking is when we excuse sin because of the supposed inevitability of these stages... It is disturbing that many folks even in Christian circles assume that the so-called Terrible Twos are an inevitable part of being a child. Where in Scripture does it mention anything about that? Does it say to spare the rod and spoil the child - except when he's two, because you just can't do anything about that 'stage,' so don't even try?.... It is only 'normal' insofar as sin is normal. The only thing terrible about being two is that two year olds have indeed descended from Adam, and so are sinners, as they were at one and as they will be at three. The only solution at all ages is to repent and believe the Gospel....

"Where does the Lord in Holy Writ instruct us as Christian parents that we should just throw up our hands when our children turn thirteen because what can you do?.... Our children do not simply develop... through an unavoidable set of stages that can't be changed or influenced. Instead, our children are to grow in grace. The movement is... from less obedient to more obedient."

Poem of the Day

This one was appropriate for Reformation Day, I thought...

A Hymn To God The Father
by John Donne.

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.



Reformation Day is tomorrow, the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg, calling for a debate largely on the theologically questionable practice of selling indulgences (less time in purgatory as punishment for specific sins).

You'll notice on the sidebar that I'm reading a lot of books. Actually those are all the books I've started. Oops. Right NOW, I'm reading the bio of Knox, which has this good clip on the Reformation.

"The Reformation began in part with revulsion over the moral and doctrinal corruption that wealth had brought to the Roman church in Scotland. In this sense, there was an economic factor in the Reformation from the beginning. In the same way, we could say that when Christ drove the moneychangers from the Temple, he was engaged in an activity, which had direct economic consequences....

"Knox wanted the church to use its revenues for the genuine work of the Gospel - the support of ministers and schools and relief of the poor.... the Church had not been fulfilling her mission... no one knew what a fruitful kirk would actually look like." - pgs 193-5.


The 2 Faces of Iran

Getting to the library occasionally, I've fallen back in love with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Not so much their own editors' opinions (I tend to agree, though they are sometimes jaundiced and amoral). More with their invited outside writers. Presidents of foreign countries, historical pieces, etc.

Today an Iranian journalist, banned from publishing in Iran, wrote this:

"The well-to-do Iranian drinks and reads and watches what he wishes. He does as he pleases behind the walls of his private mansions and villas. In return for his private comforts, the affluent Iranian is happy to sacrifice freedom of speech, most of his civil rights, and his freedom of association. The upper-middle class has been bought off by this pact, which makes a virtue of hypocrisy....

A friend who sells banned books at a street booth says, "The authorities act impulsively based on whimsical assessments of risk. Their actions defy common sense and logic, so are completely unpredictable. It is that unpredictability that leads to panic and intellectual paralysis. That's the secret of the current Iranian despotism."

The anonymous author concludes: "The well-to-do are paying a price for their comforts, and I wonder sometimes if they understand what it is. How can you have a revolution when everyone is watching TV?"

Tabletalk blurbs

Once again, another golden nugget from Warren Gage's article in Tabletalk (Oct 2006):
"John has the whore of Babyon arrayed in scarlet (Rev 17:4) and dwelling in a city that has had a visit from two witnesses (Rev 11:3), a great city whose fall comes after a shout at the sounding of the last of seven trumpets (Rev 11:15; 14:8)."
Somebody help me out, here, the city is...

And from the 1st paragraph of the pastor's perspective column:
"When a pastor looks at his [using the possessive loosely!] assembled congregation, what does he see? If he accepts a biblical covenant theology, he knows that he is not looking at a collection of randomly gathered individuals, or even families, but at a part of the covenant people of God."


Achtung! Germany drags homeschool kids to class
Authorities haul crying children away to avoid 'danger' from parental teachings
Posted: October 25, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

A Nazi-era law requiring all children to attend public school, to avoid "the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions" that could be taught by parents at home, apparently is triggering a Nazi-like response from police.

the Remeike family has been "home educating their children since the start of the school year, something which is legal in practically the whole of the (European Union)."

they were confronted by police officials, who, in an incredibly inconsiderate manner, forced their crying children into a police car and drove them to the school. The police stated that they had been instructed to continue this measure in the coming week," the network statement said....

The court said the Konrads [another case] belong to a "Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible" and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental "wish" to have their children grow up in a home without such influences "could not take priority over compulsory school attendance." The decision also said the parents do not have an "exclusive" right to lead their children's education.... that schools represent society, and "it was in the children's interest to become part of that society.... The parents' right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience," the ruling said.

See link for full article.

Here's another family's summary:

They have been to court, they have been visited by welfare workers to make sure the children are "safe", they have been threatened that their children will receive a police escort to school, and they have been threatened with loss of parental custody.

Mrs. M does not answer her front door unless she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt who is there, and she doesn't answer her telephone (they have multiple unlisted lines....) but screens all calls through her answering machine.

During the ponderous lull at the end of the conversation, I whispered audibly, "Polizei-Stadt" [police state]

Mr. M looked up from his laptop. "Exactly".


Group Project - YOU ARE INVITED!

I've read so much about group knitting or crocheting projects on the net that I've decided to start one as well.

THE RULES: Our goal will be to make a blanket out of 6" squares, either knitted or crocheted. Do whatever stitch pattern appeals to your eyes and abilities. Use worsted weight machine washable yarn. All squares must be in to me by November 30 so I can assemble the blanket by Christmas.

Have fun! Even if you're a beginner, YOU CAN DO THIS!! If we got LOTS of squares, I'll make as many blankets as possible to donate to charity. Our goal will be at least one blanket, 48 squares to make a 3x4' lap blanket.

Whoever donates the most squares will receive a special gift...so get those sticks and strings moving!!

Impulse Shopper

I proved to myself that I am not immune to emotional shopping: I bought something a few days ago simply because it was from Hudsonville, MI.

It was a butternut squash. We don't even like butternut squash!


What separation? What state?

There is a GREAT article on the background of "separation of church and state" here, by my good friends at Hillsdale College. It gives background on why Jefferson wrote that, to whom, etc. Check it out.


Presbytery and Samuel

Presbytery went very well. When it began there were 14 member churches - now there are 20, with another 5 set to join next year. We are one of the six new member churches. God is good.

Preached on 1 Samuel 2 this morning - the corruption of Eli's sons. Here's the outline of the text:

I. Prophecy against Eli - vss 1-10
II. Samuels serves and grows - vs 11
III. Eli's sons' corruption - sacrifices - vss 12-17
IV. Samuel's robe and priesthood - vss 18-21
III. Ili's sons' corruption - women - vss 22-25
II. Samuel serves and grows - vs 26
I. Prophecy against Eli - vss 27-36

Samuel is pictured as a faithful priest in contrast with Eli's sons, as Jesus is our faithful high priest (Hebrews 2:17), who intercedes for us before Yahweh.


Out to Presbytery

Sara and I are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the rest of the week with the 3 other elders and their wives, for presbytery meeting. (For the folks from home, this is the same thing as classis.)

The congregation I am now pastoring is joining as a full member at this meeting. Both the church's origin and history and my ordination credentials (in a more liberal denomination!) will be up for review on the floor, so we're a little nervous, but also know we're among friends and brothers in Christ.

We'll keep you updated. Reception with hors d’ouerves at 7pm tonight.


Hannah, Samuel and Eli

I began a sermon series on the book of Samuel yesterday, going through 2:11 to start. Here's the outline:

I. 1-8: Hannah’s barrenness
II. 9-11: Hannah’s prayer
III. 12-18: Eli and Hannah
IV. 1:19-23: Birth of Samuel
III. 1:24-28: Eli and Hannah again
II. 2:1-10: Hannah’s song
I. 2:11: Hannah’s fruit

Notice the symmetry. It's called a chiasm, in the scholarly world. I prefer the "sandwich theory," because it's what's in the middle that defines a sandwich - so also it is what is in the middle section that is key. Here it is God remembering Hannah and the birth of Samuel.

Some extra stuff that didn't make it into the (already too long!) sermon:

1. The text hints that Eli is less than faithful in his sitting in the temple and assuming Hannah is drunk. The language in verse 12 highlights this. The word used for Hannah praying is "intercede," "mediate," "arbitrate." This is what Eli was supposed to be doing. But what is he doing? He is watching Hannah! And Hannah is interceding "before the face of Yahweh" which is the exact language for what a priest was supposed to do. I suppose this makes the argument for some liberal friends that women ought to be allowed to be ministers. But I'd say instead that it foreshadows Hannah's child (she prays for a boy), who will intercede that way, and that it contrasts with what Eli should be doing.

2. The effect of prayer on our spiritual condition: verse 18. After she prays and is blessed by the not-utterly-corrupt Eli, she eats and is not sad. She is already comforted, even before knowing if she will receive what she asked for. This is like the Psalms, where the Psalmist is in distress, prays, and then gives thanks right away. Nothing has happened yet - except the most important thing of pouring out one's heart before Yahweh.


Whatsa covenant?

"Covenants are, at bottom, relationships. Covenants are not doctrinal abstractions. Covenant is not a mere word that we use to distinguish ourselves from other denominational traditions. Covenants are structured in the very way that God created the world, and in the way He recreated the world in Jesus Christ. Simply put, you are never alone. Everywhere you go, in everything you do, you are always in relationship."
- Douglas Wilson

Too Tempting

There's an article here about William and Mary being required by the NCAA to change it's logo because the presence of the two feathers was ruled "hostile and abusive." (more here) They are still allowed to have use their nickname "Tribe."

Hmmmm.... after having done 3 school logos (which required the use of feathers), it's fun to think about doing one for W&M! But I don't think I want to put my feet by that fire. However, I am very curious to see what they'll come up with! It will be difficult to come up with any logo for a name like Tribe that is less "offensive" than 2 simple feathers.

If we're not careful, our society will require us all to use 50% grey in an ambiguous blob-shape to represent EVERYTHING (but then I suppose the evolutionists would be offended by the use of such a shape!)

Persecution continues

"On Monday Somali jihadists declared holy war against Horn of Africa rival Ethiopia. But at least 48 hours before the pronouncement, church leaders in southwestern Ethiopia already had discovered they were at war with radical Islamists.... Within a matter of two days, they had burned over 350 homes belonging to Christians, killed 31 Christians, and took dozens as hostages, according to local church leaders. Muslim attackers burned one Catholic church, one Orthodox church, and and three evangelical churches." - World Magazine

Be aware of persecution against Christians today. Get the full story here.


Jehu and Armageddon

Well, having mentioned Left Behind in my first sermon, and had interesting responses, I figured, "Why not more?"

2 Kings 9 unfolds Jehu's ascension to the throne by killing the kings of Israel and Judah, who were allied together in wickedness. I was startled to find several allusions to the book of Revelation here. (More accurately, it is the other way around: Revelation refers to this chapter.)

Elisha's servant anoints Jehu king, proclaiming that he "may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yahweh, at the hand of Jezebel" (vs7). Rev 6:10; 18:20,24; 19:2 for similar lingo. We find the sorceries of Jezebel in 2 Kings 9:22 and in Rev 2:20; 9:21.

But perhaps most intersting the Left Behind fans would be the Armageddon connection in 2 Kings 9:27. The king of Judah is wounded by Jehu and flees to Megiddo and dies there. Revelation 16:16 says this is where the kings of the earth will gather together to fight against the Lamb at the end (Armageddon is Hebrew for Megiddo Mountain). And sure enough - here are two kings allied together, and Jehu comes charging in destroying them to avenge the blood of the prophets killed under their reign.

The point? The history of God's people as found in the Bible helps us know how God acts today and will act in the future as well. Because God acts consistently with His world. Know the family history of God's people, so you will know who God is and how He deals with His world. Those who harm His people will be punished; those who claim allegiance to Him may suffer now, but will be vindicated.


Two good quotes

"We are a generation that is more interested in 'how to' than 'for whom and to whom.' Also, we have emphasized our relationship with God in a way that can't carry the weight of God's holiness. Of course, we could equally err by emphasizing God's transcendence and differentness..... Our humanizing of God usually means that we also minimize His holiness."
Pg 150-151.

"'What works?' reveals our theology, our view of God. Doesn't this question suggest that we think God is a celestial genie, who makes everything better? But when we really know God, we worship and love him when our lives are comfortable and when they are difficult. And doesn't 'What works?' focus on ourselves rather than God?.... What's missing is an awareness... that Jesus is the reigning King."
Pg 156

Political Sigh of Relief

I'm thanking God today that my government representatives here in Virginia are closer to my own understanding of how government should function than they were in Michigan. Back in Michigan, some very liberal US senators are entrenched, though more locally we had good representation (liberal Detroit, conservative west side, the rest a bit of a mix). Here in VA, while I'm not versed in the regional landscape yet, and don't know all the details of each legislator's platform, still, except for the state governor, Tim Kaine, everybody else is on the right side of the aisle (pun intended), from US senators George Allen and John Warner to the US House rep, Jo Ann Davis, to the Virginia state delegate Melanie Rapp and senator Martin Williams. And while I'm increasingly frustrated with that party, I think it's genuinely better than the only politically viable alternative.

Still, I'm considering tossing my vote to a 3rd party. While it takes a vote from a real contender, it also sends a message to that contender of where their support is coming from - further down the political spectrum to the right, not to the center.

A golden parenting moment

So we're slowly reading through the Bible in our family devotions. The kids are small, so I do a lot of paraphrasing and editing on the fly (just can't read some parts yet!).

Well, we got to Sodom and Gomorrah, and I was plowing through and got wrapped up a bit in sternly applying Lot's slow obedience and the terrible result (mostly to Owen!). Then Isaiah needed some attention, so I had to put the book down for a minute. When I got back, I finished the story. Grace looked at me, and said, "But dad, you forgot the part about Lot's wife!" Sure enough, I had. But how did Grace know about her in the first place? I thought this was their first exposure to the story, but lo and behold, she knows it so well she's correcting ME! I was giddy about it the rest of the night - "our kids are learning"... surprise, surprise.

Oh, trust me, there are plenty of the other moments, where you're sure it's all going over their heads, too. But be encouraged - it ain't so.


Baptism and history

Had the privilege of baptizing a congregation member at the historic Sir Christopher Wren building, on the campus of William and Mary in Williamsburg today. This is the oldest college building in the USA (built in 1690s). Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and others went to school here. It was chartered by the Dutch William of Orange and his wife Mary, who were then king and queen of England.

The child's grandfather spoke of his family's history 20 generations back, of how his son was baptized in the same place 26 years ago, and of how we must think of ourselves and our families across many generations, and not isolated from our past and future. What a great setting for such a theme! What a rich history we inherit, not just in our own families, but as Christians baptized into a family which has served God faithfully for millenia. How well do we know our family history?

Feeling Loopy

This week the kids and I had a "ball" doing what turned into to a family project. We looped cotton potholder loops together into on l-o-n-g chain, with the intent of knitting it into a rug.

The final loopy ball was immense, nearly the size of our baby!

We never did get a final count on how many loops we chained together, but I did weigh the final ball. Any guesses?

This was a great project to do with young children: cheap and easy to do; kids could spread out all over the floor, making their own chains to be looped onto the master chain; and it kept everyone very well occupied and entertained. They made jump ropes, queen's necklaces, prison chains, snakes and more! The only drawback was when someone wedged a potholder loom onto their head (after a few tears and fears that they'd have to live that way forever, we got it off with no harm done). But neat freaks be warned: this project leaves a ton of rainbow colored lint everywhere! Keep the vacuum handy.

Knitting something so CHUNKY on such fat needles was a challenge - I could only do a few rows at a time because my deltoids got sore! Grace and Owen took turns trying their hand at knitting, too. It was easy for them to learn with large needles and yarn. The final rug knitted up to be 3x2' in size. It's super squishy and such a delight to walk on. Almost makes me want to stand in front of the sink and wash dishes all day. Pics to come.

Zachariah is Baptised!

On Sunday, October 1 our baby Zach was baptised. Steve performed the baptism after being installed as pastor for our new congregation. This one will go down in our memory as the only child who was baptised under a disco ball (worship services are held at a banquet facility). Our other children watched; Owen even had to rub Zach's head to make sure it was really wet! Steve's mom and brother Cal visited for the weekend and were able to worship with us.

We love fat, happy babies!

Zach, Owen, Grace & Isaiah


President in town

Check out the news here. Church members probably worked on this ship...


"Castle & Dragon" by Grace

The outward covenant

The next Tabletalk article (October issue) is on the history of the covenant (pg 8-11, and is also quite good. It seems to turn into a brief against Federal Vision people, though. Here is the end:

"According to them [Fed Vis guys], every baptized person is elect and united to Christ through baptism, but this election and union can be forfeited through faithlessness."

I haven't read many FV guys - mainly just one. But I would agree with the above quote if the words elect and election were removed. We are baptized into union with Christ, but can be broken off if we don't bear fruit (John 15). This doesn't mean we were saved or elect, just part of the visible church for a while. This is probably is a bit more "high view of sacraments" than most Reformed people are comfy with - majority would say baptism is a sign of union with Christ, not that baptism actually does that. The sticky point is that we don't know who is elect, and God has called us to act this way, so by faith we ought to believe what He says in His word about the baptized being buried with Him in baptism, unless their fruit later in life shows otherwise.

Ironically, the same article, a column earlier, summarizes this quite well as it lays out Caspar Olevianus' position (author of Heidelberg Catechism):

"Since only God knows who is elect... the covenant of grace... can be said to be with all the baptized. Therefore we baptize on the basis of the divine command and promise, and we regard covenant children (before profession of faith) and all who make a credible profession of faith as Christians until they prove otherwise. Those who are in the covenant only in this broader sense or externally, do receive some of the benefits of the covenant (Heb 6:4-6), but they do not receive what Olevian called the 'substnace of the covenant:' justification and sanctification. Only those who are elect actually appropriate, by grace alone, through faith alone, the 'double benefit' of the covenant of grace."

What about faith?

Tabletalk for October is looking at Covenant Theology, and has been really good.
Sproul, Sr. says:

"All covenants that God makes with creatures are gracious in the sense that He is not obligated to make any promises to His creatures."

So even in the "covenant of works," before any sin was present, God was gracious to us.

Sproul then goes on to say the distinction between covenants before and after sin is important, though, because we need to be assured that God will accept/forgive us even after we have sinned and broken His commands. Amen, I say.

He then defends the imputation of Christ's obedience to our account, so that God CAN accept us. Again, Amen and Amen, I say.

But what is missing in all of it is faith. It is faith that kept Adam and Eve obedient as long as it did, before they ate the fruit. Only when Eve believed the snake instead of God did she disobey. We miss the crucial role faith plays in obedience when we focus so hard on a covenant of works - "do this and live." By faith, the heroes of faith conquered kingdoms, etc. Not by how hard they prayed, how little they slept, how dour their expressions, how sad they were when they confessed, how efficient they were, how stoically they held up against temptation, ultimately. No, the crucial element is faith. Obedience flows out of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

This is important for today because we can rely on our own efforts overmuch in our sanctification. If only our family worship/devotions are a little longer, if only I my standards for behavior for our children were a little higher, then God would accept me (or at least like me more).

It is also important because without it we can see Jesus' obedience for us as one of employee (the Son) for employer (the Father), instead of what it is - love and faith flowing into ready submission. If we're not careful, we end up imposing our ungracious legalism onto the Trinity Himself, distorting the image of God we are supposed to reflect into the world.

By their books you shall know them

Awesome post by Al Mohler here, on how you know a person by their books.

Still can't get Library Thing's sidebar figured out. They tell me they are working on it, and if it works, I'm on board. Till then...

UPS Delivers!

The boys in brown rang our doorbell this afternoon amidst the rain and wind. I gladly accepted the 12x12x1" package, curious as to what could be inside. But since it was addressed to Steve, I didn't tear it open on the spot. I delivered it via interoffice mail (I ran up the stairs and handed it over) and hung around to see what it could be. Obviously it wasn't a secret present for me (like my long desired Latvian Mittens book). So what was inside?? I waited with anticipation to see...

Trash bags. No packaging or labels, just a stack of trash bags neatly folded inside the delivery box.

And here's the kicker: a telemarketer sold them to him. It was sort of a charity/benefit thing, but I still had to laugh at this one!

If those UPS guys knew what was inside half the boxes they so bravely face the elements to deliver, I think they'd quit their jobs!


I found the source of this quote today in my poem of the day.

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."


Muslims' view of others

Passing this on from a friend - assuming it is legit and true.

Allah or Jesus?
by Rick Mathes

Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their belief systems.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: "Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."

I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!"

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?"

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame. Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of manditory 'Diversification' training seminar were not happy with Rick's way of dealing with the Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslim's beliefs.

I think everyone in the US should be required to read this, but with the liberal justice system, liberal media, and the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized. Please pass this on to all your e-mail contacts.

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry.

Immortal souls?

Here's my side of a conversation with a reader on this topic...

We don't disagree when you say

"If the resurrection is a Scriptural doctrine, then so is the continuing existence of the soul. God's activity is in creating us--body and soul. Death is the separation of the two. One to live on forever, one to die, decay, and be resurrected/reunited with the soul."

Phil 1:21ff supports this, I would say. We either live in the flesh now here, or go to be with Christ there, without the flesh is implied.

We disagree in what doctrine we want to protect. I think you want to protect eternal heaven and hell, and I'm not an annihilationist or going down that road. I want to protect God's sustaining of everything. He didn't create everlasting souls, and now he's stuck with us. He didn't decree everlasting souls to exist and we're just there, existing independently and on our own. No, He plans on sustaining our consciousness forever, out of love.

Also, continuing existence of the soul is derived from the resurrection of the body, so that latter doctrine should be primary. Existence without the body is less than God's intention for us - note Adam and Eve in garden. While we are blessed to be with Christ, that blessing is tempered with body-lessness for a time. (I'd still say it's better to be with Christ without a body than to be here with one, though, a la Phil 1:23.)

Another thing to avoid is gnosticism - viewing the body and flesh as less than pure in itself. If we want to depart and be with Christ because we want to get out of this yucky body, if we want to emphasize the immortal soul over this corruptible and gross body, then we are unorthodox in our desires. Emphasizing the everlasting soul as you do tends toward this. "The body comes and goes, but the soul - that's the REAL you." Both our bodies and our souls/spirits/minds need redeeming and transforming to be fit for heaven. Both are the real us. Our soul isn't immutable, eternal and unchanging like God, though there are attributes within us that do reflect who God is - His image. The categories aren't so neat as body/spirit, if we look at 1 Cor 15. Flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom (vs 50), but the flesh will be raised as a spiritual body, which CAN (vs 44).

What is the point of the resurrection of the body, if we are already "all there" in heaven after death and before the judgment?
The Last Knit

A knitter's last ditch effort to kick the habit.

(No, Steve wasn't up at 3am - that's just when the UTube people got it posted, I guess)


Constitution Pary

Just found these guys over at Margaret's blog. Looks pretty good, but haven't read it all yet...

But is it really wise to effectively give another vote to the Democrats?


Just back from lunch, and must say that


I'm not normally much of a fruit guy, as mealy textures don't typically appeal to me. But these apples - so crisp - and just the right amount of sour...

Books, books, books

A reader pointed me to an awesome webtool at www.librarything.com

It catalogs your books in a very simple way using Amazon and other places.
If I can get it to work, you'll be able to search my library from this blog to see if I have a certain book. Right now I'm having trouble getting it to show in the sidebar the books I'm reading. Instead, it is showing random books from our library. Stay tuned...

Elk hunting

I'm listening to more podcasts recently, but don't have time to update them here.
One is Ken Davis, a Christian comedian. True story he tells:

He flew his plane to the wild to go elk hunting, got one, butchered it, packed it into the plane and flew back. It's just Ken and the elk in the plane. On the runway he loses control of the plane and it crashes, but he's all right. The FAA guy comes driving up yelling, "Are you okay?!" Davis yells back, "Yes! But I think you'd better check my passenger..."



The generous ladies from our church stocked our fridge and pantry with many necessities and goodies (who bought all that Ben & Jerry's? Naughty!!). I have a pair of whole chickens in my freezer - but I have no idea of how to cook them or how to fancy them up!

If you have an idea or recipe to share, please post it or email sara_hemmeke@hotmail.com

Are you married?

Al Mohler has some interesting stats from USA Today on marital status determining your politics.

"Republicans control 49 of the 50 districts with the highest rates of married people.

Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.

The political tug-of-war is between people who are married and those who have never been."

See here for more. He also notes correctly that the value of tuning in to politics is that it reveals cultural values.

Good Chesterton quote on the family in there, too.

Poem of the Day

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Discerning good and evil

"Solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" - Hebrews 5:14.

God expects us to grow up to maturity which is characterized by discernment of good and evil. And not just knowing all the right stuff, but having our senses exercised. This means living the truth, not just knowing it. You could even say that the immature know the right stuff; the mature live it.

As I continue to be sensitive to connections between the Old and New Testaments, I found a fascinating one here. These Scriptures all include the phrase "know/discern between good and evil": Genesis 2:17; 1 Kings 3:9; Isaiah 7:15.

Genesis - here we are in the Garden before the Fall with Adam and Eve, and with a tree of the knowledge of good and evil they could not eat. God only knows why they were forbidden it, but it is the same phrase we find in Hebrews 5. Hm.

1 Kings - when Solomon becomes king, he asks for wisdom, "that I may discern between good and evil." Solomon fulfills the creation mandate to rule the earth. He names animals (1 Kings 4:24, 33). Yet there was sin mixed in. He goes back to Egypt; he multiplies horses, wives and gold, as God commanded the king through Moses NOT to do (Deut 17:16ff). God gave him wisdom to rule, but he could not rule over himself, it seems.

Isaiah 7:15 - a much overlooked passage, after the famous "virgin shall conceive" verse. The Child will "know to refuse the evil and choose the good." While this has immediate application to Ahaz's own son, assuring that his immediate enemies would be consumed before the boy got very old, I believe it also refers to the coming Messiah, whose discernment would be complete in knowledge and action. Jesus Christ obeyed His Father wholly.

And we are called to follow Him into that discerning obedience.

I'm not sure how far or where to take this exactly, but there is something here to chew on for a while (see Hebrews 5:13-14 again!).


Potholders on hold

I've had my eye on this little gem for quite some time. After a full two weeks of settling in after our move south, I bought this book for myself as a little gift to myself. I have never read such hilarious writing about knitting. If you're current with the knitting blog world at all, or just love to knit and go outside the box, this book will probably tickle your funny bone, too. It has inspired a new crafty project....

Potholder Loops! Remember those sock remnants that you can buy to make potholders? My Grandma had a huge stash of these linty loops and gave them to me and the kids. We made a few potholders and gave them back to Grandma as a thank you, but the remaining grocery bag-full was shoved to the back of a closet. Then it moved with us. Then Grace rediscovered them. She declared Craft Time!

Now no crafty mom can resist a child's urge to create. But another potholder? Ugh. Then I found a fun idea in my new book. Why not loopy-loop all those loops together into one GIANT chain...I mean yards long, many yards...yards enough to KNIT. Yup, I've got my 5 year old making me a monster-sized yarn ball of potholder loops. And we're having fun.

I've got a pair of turkey-baster-sized knitting needles that will work with such a clunky "yarn". We're going to knit us a rug... pure, unadulterated, rainbow-colored garterstitch to wipe our feet on. Or set hot dishes on.

Our loopy yarn ball is currently the size of a small basketball.