For All Saints' Day - Nov 1

Part of my prayer of thanks to God for leaders He has provided His Church

Thanks for Athanasius, who stood for Trinitarian truth against the majority of churchmen; Chrysostem, the golden-tongued preacher of Constantinople; Augustine, the African bishop who taught the church her confidence as Rome fell around her; Patrick, who converted most of Ireland without any violence; Columba, who took the Gospel to the Scots and the rest of barbarian Europe; Boniface, who courageously cut down their idols; Charlemagne, who provided for much Christian learning; Anselm, who considered the infinite atonement needed for the infinite dishonour of our sin; for faithful soldiers serving the Lord as they knew best against militant Islam in Spain and in Israel, for Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller; for the learning of Abelard and Aquinas; the piety of Francis of Assissi; the reforms of Wycliffe and Hus, Tyndale and Bucer, Luther and Zwingli, Calvin and Knox; for the enterprise and ambition to take the faith to a new world of Columbus, John Smith, Willliam Bradford; for the faithful walking into a modern world, for Westminster assemblymen like Jeremiah Burroughs and Samuel Rutherford, Pascal, Bunyan, Whitefield, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, David Brainerd, Machen, Bonhoeffer, and Francis Schaeffer.


Liszt and Hanon - piano

My wife beat me to it, but if you're interested, I just played through the entire 60 pieces of Hanon for the first time, ever. It took two hours - it's supposed to take one.

I have a new favorite piece of Liszt: Totentanz. Watch it here
We heard it performed last night - perfect for Halloween - Totentanz is German for Dance of Death :)
See here for more info on it.

It will have to wait, though. Right now I am learning the soundtrack theme to the movie "Sabrina," and Rachmaninoff prelude 5 in g minor.


On America's Repentance and Wars

Doug Wilson: 

"Since the founding of our nation, Americans have seen themselves as having a consistent pivotal role in fighting a global super villain. That spot has been occupied by different entities over time, but that spot in the narrative has never had a vacancy. For example, through most of the twentieth century, that place was held by "godless communism." This would be a good place to note that while Americans have always had a narrative running in which there is a super villainous threat to the peace of the world, this does not mean such a threat was imaginary. Some of them have been quite real. Communism was a genuine threat, and evangelical hostility to communism throughout the 20th century was one of our glories.

"But like all the others, this kind of narrative cannot be sustained in any kind of healthy way without explicit reliance upon the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus must be owned. Unless Americans repent, and return to an open confession of Jesus as Lord, then Jesus will repudiate us before His Father (Matt. 10:32). Fighting the Antichrist, which heirs of the Puritans do, without relying upon Christ Himself, is the surest and fastest way to become the Antichrist."


Stories are Soul Food: Don't Let Your Children Hunger

Great 4 paragraphs on why children need stories, from the author of "Dragon's Tooth," which I'm currently reading to our children.

Stories are Soul Food: Don't Let Your Children Hunger


The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird PondThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this before the kids, who are now up to Pilgrims and New England in their history. I'd heard bad things about the book at some point, but also wanted to give it a chance, as the same author wrote "The Bronze Bow," which I highly recommend.

My kids will be reading it next. While I'm not an expert on New England during the witch trials, some things are clear. There was irrational hysteria and superstition of witchcraft. The clergy or religion was NOT the driving force of that superstition - most clergy argued for solid evidence before condemning the innocent. This book reflects those facts.

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Changing minds through feelings

"It is the usual way of seducers to insinuate themselves into people's affections, and by that means to draw them into their opinions."

John Calvin, Commentary on Galatians, 4:17


How the Irish Saved Civilization

How the Irish Saved CivilizationHow the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun read, while my wife was IN Ireland for 2 weeks. Basically, when Rome fell, the barbarians destroyed texts all over Europe. Those that survived found their way north and west, away from the carnage. Ireland is furthest that direction, and the Irish fell in love with these Christian and classical texts, following Patrick’s dramatic conversion of the nation to Christ. Copying and preserving these texts, they then sent missionaries to re-Christianize Europe, starting with Scotland and England, and on to the continent. Lots of snippets from Irish poetry along the way.

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James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant PeachJames and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a lark. James is generous and giving, resourceful and helpful. His aunts are greedy and stingy, refusing to help when they could. James is open to making friends with those who are different. The police at the end… are not.

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Instructing a Child's Heart

Instructing a Child's HeartInstructing a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a sequel to Shepherding a Child’s Heart, targeting the 7-13 year old. It was a little frustrating in that ¾ of the book was background and worldview, with the last ¼ being more practical. But that was also good. The parent has to have, live and breathe faith in the Lord Jesus before any conversational method will be effective. Some keys are guiding conversations, asking the right questions, and giving possible options for what’s going on inside them to draw out the heart of your child.

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"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human life of which Christ, Who is Sove-
reign of all, does not cry: "Mine!"

Abraham Kuyper

What money does

Money creates power FOR the one who gives, and OVER the one who receives.

Abraham Kuyper, "Sphere Sovereignty"
Inaugural address to the Free University, Oct 20, 1880