Remembering Sean Paddock

Two years ago today Sean Paddock died.

A 4-year-old adopted child, Sean Paddock, was the victim of what we so often see within the Christian subculture--parents who want to do everything right, who seek to control their children, who listen to questionable advice. The result was a child who suffocated from being wrapped tightly in blankets to keep him in bed, so tightly that he couldn't fill his lungs to breathe. His body was covered with "layers of thin, long bruises -- old and new -- stretch[ing] from Sean's bottom to his shoulder blade."

Sean's adopted mother relied upon two-foot lengths of plumbing supply line and parenting books by Michael and Debi Pearl to keep her children in line.

God have mercy.

Sean Paddock.jpg

Related here at TulipGirl:
More Sadness on Sean Paddock
On the Pearls and Parenting
Pearls Po-Russki


February 26, 2008  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Why I Study Psychology and Theology

Nearly all the wisdom we possess -- almost everything we know -- can be summed up under the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves.

--John Calvin


January 31, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Once Again. . .

Once again, I'm provoked to thought and challenged to reassess my assumptions in light of the Gospel and the Word by a lecture series from Covenant Seminary Worldwide.

This time I'm listening through the Dr. Nelson Jennings lectures on God's World Mission. (In the back of my mind, I'm trying to remember when I met Dr. Jennings and under what circumstances. I have a vague feeling it may have been during our initial MTW interview. Ack.)

This series is not just about "missions." Instead it is focused on the intersection of anthropology, missiology and theology--with a bit of history thrown in for good measure. And through it all, we are pointed back to God's mission in redeeming His people.

Perhaps I'll write more later about what I've been examining, reflecting upon, reconsidering. (Oh, the drawbacks of listening via podcast instead of being in a classroom.) Regardless, I highly recommend these lectures to all believers.


January 10, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



95 Theses in Bits and Bytes?

"The medieval church had Leo X and Machiavelli. We’ve got Bill Gothard and Gary Ezzo."



November 17, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Friends in Moscow


October 07, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For Demographic Fiends

Faith Communities Today: Final Report 2001


July 02, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Assembling Of Ourselves Together

"I have come to believe that I need to search out true Biblical likemindedness — and that has all to do with Jesus and with gospel essentials. If I am separating over choir robes or three point sermons or music styles or what the pastor wears or whether one uses humor or not, then I have put these things before Jesus. I love my preferences more than I love His people.

"Is it hard to find a church home? I can tell you that it is a struggle that I absolutely despise. I am being forced to repent daily. The only thing that is keeping me going in this struggle, in this literal heartbreak, is my family. On my own, I am sorry to confess, I would simply tell God that His command not to forsake the assembling together, and all His instructions about how Christians are to minister to one another, and His commission to us to make disciples — well, I would tell Him that this is all simply too much for me to bear. It is beyond me. It is a burden I cannot carry.

"But if I love Him, I will obey Him. And I will love His Body. Whether or not they wear choir robes. Even if they sing songs I don’t like. Even if they conduct church services that aren’t my personal cup of tea. Even if they disagree with me over the Lord’s Supper. Even if they don’t share my pet doctrines or practices. In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity. I am beginning to see the wisdom in that. Finally. But it is such a hard, difficult lesson.

"I can call myself a perfectionist curmudgeonette, but that’s simply a humorous way of saying that I’m lacking in love.

--Rebecca, who muses

Because of the value we see God places on the local church body, at various times we have been part of a church planting team, we've driven 2 hours one way each Sunday, we've submitted to guidance from local elders--and we've struggled to even make it to church.

What I've quoted above cuts to my heart and exposes it, and I find it oddly comforting. So much struggle, more than I could imagine. "On my own, I am sorry to confess, I would simply tell God that His command not to forsake the assembling together. . . I would tell Him that this is all simply too much for me to bear."

Now it seems as if the Lord has provided for us a local church body with which to worship, a pastor who proclaims the Gospel in the preaching of the Word--and even share my preferences in a way that doesn't distract me from worship. Yet, I am still struggling.


June 17, 2007  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



O God, Our Help In Ages Past

O God, Our Help In Ages Past

1 O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

2 Under the shadow of thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth receiv'd her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.

4 Thy word commands our flesh to dust,
'Return, ye sons of men':
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

5 A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

6 The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by thy flood,
And lost in following years.

7 Time like an ever-rolling stream
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

8 Like flowering fields the nations stand
Pleas'd with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower's hand
Lie withering ere 'tis night.

9 Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Lyrics by Issac Watts
Music by William Croft

Posted with prayers for the believers in Malatya.


April 29, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Praying for the Persecuted Church

A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,

This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have
heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place
in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the
city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary
and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing
his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the
priceless memory, "Goodbye, son. I love you."

Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was
preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the
location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of the
church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya
and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year
old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife,
leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and
prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be
attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.

None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study
was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would
conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of
righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them
in the Lord's presence.

On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put
into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living
out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt
undermined Islam.

On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a
by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men
had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were
known to the believers as "seekers."

No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the
gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did
they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning
of their story.

These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of
Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of "faithful believers" in
Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it's like a
fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into
public office without membership in a tarikat.

These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university
entrance exams. The young men got guns, breadknives, ropes and towels
ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would
be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10

The rest of the letter is below the fold. Be aware it include sensitive, graphic information.

Continue reading "Praying for the Persecuted Church"


April 28, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Drugs and the Brain

To make this trivial world sublime
Take half a gramme of phanerothyme

--Aldous Huxley

To fathom hell or soar angelic
Just take a pinch of psychedelic

--Humphry Osmond

Drugs and Behaviour, lectures by David Presti


March 04, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



League of Reformed Bloggers

League of Reformed Bloggers


February 27, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Galatians Six

Restoring Gently and Carrying Burdens

Reposted, because I needed to reread it.

Related: Are You Spiritual?


February 20, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



PCA Blogs

PCA Blogs


January 27, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Living Free When UnFree

Quoting wholecloth from Prof Camille:

Philip Yancey describes my European cousins demonstrating grace in a godless culture–dancing a kind of graceful and irresistible polka amid the ungraceful, goose-stepping soldiers. What would happen if we Christians extended our hand to (instead of waving our fist at) the lost and dying world? What would happen if we stopped viewing ourselves as pilgrims just passing through and started acting as God’s children relishing and sharing His gifts?

For many years dissidents in Eastern Europe met in secret, used code words, avoided public telephones, and published pseudonymous essays in underground papers. In the mid-1970s, however, these dissidents began to realize that their double lives had cost them dearly. By working in secret, always with a nervous glance over the shoulder, they had succumbed to fear, the goal of their Communist opponents all along. They made a conscious decision to change tactics. “We will act as if we are free, at all costs,” Polish and Czech dissidents decided. They began holding public meetings, often in church buildings, despite the presence of known informers. They signed articles, sometimes adding an address and phone number, and distributed newspapers openly on the street corners.

In effect, the dissidents started acting in the way they thought society should act. If you want freedom of speech, speak freely. If you love the truth, tell the truth. The authorities did not know how to respond. Sometimes they cracked down — nearly all the dissidents spent time in prison — and sometimes they watched with a frustration bordering on rage. Meanwhile the dissidents’ brazen tactics made it far easier for them to connect with one another and the West, and a kind of ‘freedom archipelago‘ took shape, a bright counterpart to the darkling “Gulag archipelago.”

Remarkably, we have lived to see these dissidents triumph. An alternative kingdom of ragged subjects, of prisoners, poets, and priests, who conveyed their words in the scrawl of hand-copied samizdat, toppled what seemed an impregnable fortress. In each nation the church operated as a counterforce, sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly insisting on a truth that transcended, and often contradicted, official propaganda. In Poland the Catholics marched past government buildings shouting, “We forgive you!” In East Germany, Christians lit candles prayed, and marched in the streets until one night the Berlin Wall collapsed like a rotten dam.

Early on, Stalin built a village in Poland called Nowa Huta, or “New Town,” to demonstrate the promise of communism. He could not change the entire country at once, he said, but he could construct one new town with a shiny steel factory, spacious apartments, plentiful parks, and broad streets as a token of what would follow. Later, Nowa Huta became one of the hotbeds of Solidarity, demonstrating instead the failure of communism to make just one town work.

What if Christians used that same approach in secular society and succeeded? “In the world the Christians are a colony of the true home,” said Bonhoeffer. Perhaps Christians should work harder toward establishing colonies of the kingdom that point to our true home. All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way.


November 28, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pictures from the WIC Conference

I went to the PCA 2006 Women in the Church Conference with ladies from our home church. We drove up Thursday, attended the pre-conference workshops on Friday, learned and worshiped together on Saturday, and returned home on Sunday. These are the women who attended from my home church.

Some CTK Ladies and WIC Sign1.JPG


More CTK Ladies1.JPG

CTK Ladies1.JPG

I'm not posting identifying details, such as names and locations, out of respect for other's online privacy or transparency.

(More updates and photos to come.)


September 19, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Profane, The Wise, And Common Grace

"Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the Giver. How, then, can we deny that truth must have beamed on those ancient lawgivers who arranged civil order and discipline with so much equity? Shall we say that the philosophers, in their exquisite researches and skilful description of nature, were blind? Shall we deny the possession of intellect to those who drew up rules for discourse, and taught us to speak in accordance with reason? Shall we say that those who, by the cultivation of the medical art, expended their industry in our behalf were only raving? What shall we say of the mathematical sciences? Shall we deem them to be the dreams of madmen? Nay, we cannot read the writings of the ancients on these subjects without the highest admiration; an admiration which their excellence will not allow us to withhold. But shall we deem anything to be noble and praiseworthy, without tracing it to the hand of God? Far from us be such ingratitude; an ingratitude not chargeable even on heathen poets, who acknowledged that philosophy and laws, and all useful arts were the inventions of the gods. Therefore, since it is manifest that men whom the Scriptures term carnal, are so acute and clear-sighted in the investigation of inferior things, their example should teach us how many gifts the Lord has left in possession of human nature, notwithstanding of its having been despoiled of the true good.

Moreover, let us not forget that there are most excellent blessings which the Divine Spirit dispenses to whom he will for the common benefit of mankind. For if the skill and knowledge required for the construction of the Tabernacle behaved to be imparted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, by the Spirit of God (Exod. 31:2; 35:30), it is not strange that the knowledge of those things which are of the highest excellence in human life is said to be communicated to us by the Spirit. Nor is there any ground for asking what concourse the Spirit can have with the ungodly, who are altogether alienated from God? For what is said as to the Spirit dwelling in believers only, is to be understood of the Spirit of holiness by which we are consecrated to God as temples. Notwithstanding of this, He fills, moves, and invigorates all things by the virtue of the Spirit, and that according to the peculiar nature which each class of beings has received by the Law of Creation. But if the Lord has been pleased to assist us by the work and ministry of the ungodly in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other similar sciences, let us avail ourselves of it, lest, by neglecting the gifts of God spontaneously offered to us, we be justly punished for our sloth. . .

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
Book 2, Chapter 2, sections 15-16


August 25, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



God's Science, Understood By Men

"As far as the principle of interpretation is concerned, the natural man makes himself the final point of reference. So far, then, as he carries through his principle, he interprets all things without God. In principle he is hostile to God. But he cannot carry through his principle completely. He is restrained by God from doing so. Being restrained by God from doing so, he is enabled to make contributions to the edifice of human knowledge, the forces of creative power implanted in him are to some extent released by God's common grace. He therefore makes positive contributions to science in spite of his principles and because both he and the universe are the exact opposite of what he, by his principles, thinks they are."

Cornelius Van Til , A Christian Theory of Knowledge, pp 21, 22


August 22, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What's Abortion, Mom?

Just the sort of question I haven't wanted to hear. And today J9 asked it.

By some parents' standards we're pretty permissive. The boys have seen all of the LOTR movies, myriad times. We've read them Greek myths and talked about false gods and beliefs. They've known street kids and learned how to look for syringes at the park and what to do if they see one. By other standards, we're over-protective. They have carefully guarded them from any sexualized media. They haven't spent the night with anyone outside the family. We spend limited time away from the kiddos. They only learned what divorce was in the past year. Only last month did the two older boys get a "talk" about how God brings babies into families.

The concept and reality of abortion is something I've wanted to protect them from. Knowing some babies are killed? While they are defenseless and still growing in mommy? And that it done intentionally? What a horrid idea for a child to learn.

J9 is quite politically-inclined. He has a Katherine Harris t-shirt. Wants to form a Young America's chapter in the neighborhood. Is proud to be an American, and a Republican. Somewhere along his reading he's seen the word abortion. He saw that word on my screen this evening, and that's what prompted the question.

"What's abortion, Mom?"

My first answer, "Honey, it's bedtime and I'm too tired. Let's talk about that later." Yup. The lazy answer.

A minute later I called him to me. "What do you think abortion is?"

"I don't know. I've just seen the word."

And I weighed. Do I bring him a step further into the knowledge of how fallen our world is? Can I delay it? Please, my son is only nine-turning-ten-this-week. I don't want him to know about abortion yet.

I was his age when I first read Diary of an Unborn Child. My mom had a tract from Last Days' Ministries. I think there were daisies on the front. I know I had a concept of abortion before then, but that's when I really became aware of what abortion truly was.

I have a small pregnancy diary online from when I was expecting C5. Along with it are pictures of several stages of development. So I took J9 to that webpage and we looked at the pictures and I told him about how babies grow in the womb. We talked about how they start with just two cells and the difference between those two cells and a 10 year old is simply time and nutrition. We talked about how funny they look at 6 weeks old. We laughed at the 24 week "old man" baby picture.

And then I told him.

Abortion is when people go to a doctor to intentionally kill a baby before he is born.


I watched his face. His eyes flitting from picture to picture. The look of horror, bewilderment.

He sat on my lap and we hugged and were sad and silent together.


June 28, 2006  |  Comments (22)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Headline of the Week

Luther defeats Pope by 10 votes in Republican Race

There he stood.
He was destined to win.
Other suggested subtitles?


May 08, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Another Series from Rebecca

Within the conservative, Christian, often-homeschooling subculture, a new(ish) idea has caught on--encouraging the father/daughter relationship, but with an emphasis on "purity."

Check out these thoughtful (and somewhat disturbing) posts:

I'm all for purity but...
Fathers and daughters
Let girls be girls
Alternatives to father-daughter balls

Also disturbing to me is that the mothers are strangely missing from this event, and that there is no corresponding event to urge sons to pledge their purity to their mothers. Doesn't it seem odd that purity is pledged to the opposite sex parent, rather than to both parents?

I don't have daughters. I have sons. And we will pass on to them our values about character, family commitments, sexual purity. . . And while I'm not going to limit our discussion about the birds and the bees, early sexualization is not something that is healthy. Even when done to emphasize "purity."


May 03, 2006  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For the Beauty of the Earth / Earth Day 2006

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Lyrics: Folliot S. Pierpoint

This hymn is special to me because of my mother. I didn't know it until she asked that I learn to play it. I took several years of piano lessons. Squirmed during practice, back always ached, had trouble concentrating. But I loved playing from my hymns in easy arrangements book. The church we attended at that time didn't include hymns in Sunday service very often. But I would play them, all the verses, singing under my breath.

I'm posting it today for its praise of our Lord of Creation, who provides our sustenance, relationships, and sanctification.


April 22, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



He is Risen!

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

Lyrics by Keith Green


April 16, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



St. Patrick's Day

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

This is one of the first hymns the boys learned. We love singing hymns together, and they sing this one with extra zest.

On Thursday I made the boys eggs with spinach. Packed their lunches with green veggies--broccoli, snow peas, green peppers, celery--for dipping. I wore my only green shirt. I told the boys about St. Patrick's Day, and how we can remember on this day how the Lord used him to bring the Gospel to Ireland. We also talked about the differences between how things are celebrated culturally and Christianly.

Halfway through the day, someone told me I was a day early and a dollar short. I did all these special things for the wrong day!

One of our boys' first readers was about St. Patrick, "A Pet for Pat." It is one of the early short-vowel readers in the Veritas Press "Phonics Museum"--gotta love homeschool materials that emphasize the spreading of the Gospel and history and art. Later today we also received an e-mail from some friends in Ukraine, which I wanted to share with you:

Yes, even in Ukraine we're wearing green today, but did you know that Patrick wasn't Irish? He was actually born Maewyn Succat about 390 A.D. in England to wealthy parents. Patricius was his Romanicized name and he later came to be known as "Patrick." When he was just 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and enslaved, forced to spend lonely days tending sheep. It was during this time of reflection that he came to place his faith in Jesus Christ, and after six years finally managed to escape. Before leaving Ireland, however, he had a dream of an angel telling him to return to his captors and tell them the good news of Christ's sacrifice for them. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years, and then he returned to Ireland.

One of the things that made Patrick so successful is that, being all things to all people for the sake of Christ, he became Irish. He lived as they lived, spoke their language, adopted their customs, and considered himself as one of them. That's something that we desire to do as well. As we settle again among the Ukrainian people, please pray that we would integrate into their language and culture, and that Christ would be seen through our words and deeds.

We also hope that today, as you remember and honor Patrick, you'll give highest praise to the One on whom Patrick placed his affection -- the Holy One who motivated a slave to return gladly to his captors.

--Bob and Andrea Burnham, Odessa


March 17, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Heart of Discipline

A lot of this comes down to how the Gospel is viewed, and the position of Children in the Church and how the Gospel applies to Children.

I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross not only for me, but also for my children. I believe that the Gospel applies to them as much as it does to me. I believe the Bible teaches this--and even Christ does. We all know the passage where Jesus says, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them. . ."

I believe Christ paid the penalty for my children's sins on the cross. When my children sin--I want to point them to the One who has already been punished for their sin. When my children sin (and they do--I do not have a weak view of sin)--I come alongside them, confront them with the ugly reality of sin in their lives, and help them repent. I pray that the Holy Spirit softens their hearts and enables them to truly repent. We pray together. We ask for God's grace to do the right thing.

I do discipline. I help them form habits of right behaviour. I teach them right from wrong. I correct them. One of the most powerful passages on child discipline in the Bible is Duet 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

That constant presence is the heart of discipleship, the heart of discipline.

See also:
The Heart of Grace


March 12, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Independent Spirits

Independent Spirits

Freedom from the Umbrella of Deception

(Via X-ATI Guy)


February 06, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



William Gouge: Theologian and AP Advocate

Thanks to Lydia, Nathan's Helpmeet, who has drawn my attention to the works of William Gouge--specifically his pages upon pages of reflection on the Bible and breastfeeding. Lydia quoted a passage on cry-it-out and breastfeeding, but the section below really stood out to me.

Among other needful things, the milk of the breast is fit for young babes, and with it they are to be nourished. I think none doubt of the equity of this. It hath in all ages, and in all countries, been accounted the best food that can be for young babes. The metaphor, which S. Peter useth, taken from young infants [in the words, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2)] confirmeth as much. So doth also the desire which such infants have to the milk of the breasts: and the ability, and promptness which is in them to suck: and God's providence in causing a woman's breasts to yield forth such milk: and the constant manner of nourishing little infants after this manner, commended in the Scripture: and [to conclude] the natural instinct which many unreasonable creatures have thus to nourish their young ones.

. . .

God hath given to women two breasts fit to contain and hold milk: and nipples unto them fit to have milk drawn from them. Why are these thus given? to lay them forth for ostentation? There is no warrant for that in all God's word. They are directly given for the child's food that cometh out of the womb; for till the child be born, there is no milk in the breasts: anon after it is born, milk ordinarily floweth into the breasts: yea a great part of the meat which they eat turneth into milk. They make this admirable work of God's providence to be in vain, that dry up this spring, and suffer not their children to partake of the benefits of it.

--William Gouge, On Domestical Duties

Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate
John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist
Breastfeeding and the Bible


January 19, 2006  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Yet: O Glorious Yet

This day,
In sadness borne,
We must confess:
The Spirit of the Age
Has crushed
The infant in the cradle.

And yet:
O glorious yet,
One day, in gladness shown,
We must profess:
The infant from the manger
Has crushed
The Spirit of the Age.

Tristan Gylberd (1954-)

From George Grant and King's Meadow


December 25, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Christmas Thoughts. . .

I just read what Barbara Curtis shared about part of her life, and feel compelled to link to it here.

In fact, I met one just a few years ago when I was asked to speak at another ladies’ luncheon where as I greeted the women working in the kitchen I noticed a familiar face I couldn’t quite place.

“Remember me?” she said, smiling. I had to confess I didn’t know where I knew her from.

“Kimberly,” she said. “We worked for the phone company in Corte Madera in 1979.”

“Kimberly, I didn’t know you were a Christian!” I said. And then there was an embarrassed moment of silence, as we both realized that’s probably the last thing a Christian would want to hear. I mean, what if when we stand before our Creator there is a cloud of witnesses who became believers in spite of our neglect? I can almost hear them intoning the chorus: “I didn’t know you were a Christian.”

At this time of year, we are remembering the Incarnation, God becoming man, communicating His love and holyness in a way we can understand.

May the Lord use us in an incarnational way in the lives of those around us us.


December 23, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Jesse Tree Bible Study. . . You're Invited

Gentle Christian Mothers will be hosting an Advent Bible study, based on the Jesse Tree. The Bible study begins the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th. It will be hosted in the Drawing Closer/Bible Study forum, which is accessible to all registered GCM members. (New mamas are invited to join!)

As Hannah Jo, one of the Bible study leaders explains, "A Jesse Tree displays the family tree of Jesus. All the pivitol events in the Old Testament are drawn together to trace God's faithfulness throughout the generations and the working out of His plan for the salvation of mankind through the coming messiah."

The GCM Jesse Tree Bible study will follow these symbols and scriptures.

Many families are building the Jesse Tree into part of their family Christmas tradition. Here are some daily family devotions based on the Jesse Tree.

Our family has a felt Jesse Tree made by a dear friend over a decade ago for her family. Her children are grown now, and she's shared it with us. It's one of my boys favorite parts of the holiday, building anticipation to the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child.

Curious about what a Jesse Tree looks like?
Jesse Tree 1
Jesse Tree 2
Jesse Tree 3
Jesse Tree 4
Jesse Tree 5

"Children love helping to make the ornaments," says Hannah Jo, "and the Jesse Tree can be a teaching tool to help pass on the faith to yet another generation. We're looking forward to enjoying this tradition together with you!"


November 27, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Seeing Harry Potter

We went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last weekend. The boys and I wore wizard hats to the theatre.


praises the Goblet of Fire for being a real movie--not just a visual translation of a book. I, on the other hand, loved the first HP movie because it was such an enchanting translation of The Philosopher's Stone--it was what I saw in my imagaination and more.

Harry Potter as we've all seen, brings up strong feelings and views among Christians. And while there are many lovely, thoughtful people who disapprove of Harry Potter, well, I simply disagree with the bulk of the Christian critcisms of HP.

Fruitful Sora has an essay about why their very conservative, very small-o orthodox family reads the Harry Potter books. (Sidenote: Just because she has a favorable review of the books, I don't assume she likes the movies as well. . .)

And check out Travis Prinzi's blog Sword of Gryffindor. In his own words, he was once a "Harry Hater" and now writes frequntly about Harry Potter from a Christian perspective.


November 25, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Children in The Pew: The Practicalities

Over at the Heart to Hearth blog, there are several recent posts with principled and pragmatic ideas about worshiping together with our children during church services. Read the full posts, and be encouraged!

Jesus said, "Suffer little children
, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 9:17 NASB). Little children are loved dearly by God, and it's good to bring them to Him and to worship Him, but we should keep in mind that it's our job as parents to come alongside and guide them and teach them and help them learn in ways that will help nurture their trust and love in God our Father, our Abba Daddy.


Our expectation when we attend worship service is that we are worshipping as a family. I expect to be actively parenting in the pew. I expect to miss some of the sermon at time. I expect my children to whisper questions to me or my toddler to need to nurse. I expect that this is a process, a journey that will take time. I expect that my parenting cannot stop in the pew. When I have that expectation, I can joyfully minister to my family in the most intimate environment of all….worship!


Related Links:
Children in Congregational Worship
Children in Church
Family Worship


November 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Prayers for the Persecuted

Today, November 13th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

My prayer this day is that my brothers and sisters who are imprisoned, beaten, harrassed, and otherwise targeted for their faith in Jesus Christ will be comforted by the Lord and understand in a way I never can, these words from the Lord to those enduring persecution.

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-14


November 13, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From the iMonk

A must read. With Regrets, All My Love.


November 09, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pearls Po-Russki


Michael and Debi Pearl are not new on the Christian home-centered, homeschooling scene. I first read one of their books almost 15 years ago. Yet, their popularity (notoriety?) seems to have grown in recent years.

The blogosphere has been a-buzz since Debi Pearl's recent release, Created to Be His Helpmeet. Initially a great many women gushed about Mrs. Pearl's folksy common sense approach.

In time, however, Christian women began to look more closely at Mrs. Pearl's teachings and theology. If you haven't yet read them, check out these reviews by three homeschooling, conservative Christian women.


Just this week, Catez has added some thoughts and insights related to the Pearls and their theology. Also, check out this similar thread on the Pearls and Semi-Pelagianism.

These doctrine-related concerns about the Pearls are not new. I know several people in real life and online who have voiced their reservations. And even Douglas Wilson wrote several years ago in a review of "To Train Up a Child":

"The innate sinfulness of the child is denied, which leads the Pearls to sharply distinguish training from discipline. Training is what the innocent infants and toddlers get, and is identical to what puppies get when they don't go on the newspapers. Discipline supposedly comes later when sin enters the picture. While this is not a book of theology, a Finney-like Pelagianism runs near the surface. And while there are some similarities between animal training and child-discipline, the distinctions between the two are not adequately maintained in this book. The result of this confusion is not only heretical, but also offensive to any parents who value the dignity of their children."

The Pearls' theology is questionable, at best. Which is why I was so alarmed when I friend brought me a copy of "To Train Up a Child" in Russian. She was given it by her church in Kyiv, and she knew I was involved with planning a Family Conference. She was trying to provide a helpful "Christian" resource available in Kyiv (knowing the challenge it is to find such things.)

It saddens me that American Christians have funded the translation and printing of a book that is so harmful to the growing Ukrainian church. Exporting American sub-cultural imperialism is the least of my concerns. What about failing to convey the amazing grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What about advocating disfunctional family relationships in a culture that is often struggling to find healthy family models? What about advocating an activity that is illegal in Ukraine as a key part child training?

I hold no personal animosity towards the Pearls. I oppose their teaching because we have very different foundations theologically. I oppose their teachings because it leaves little room for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of the parents and children, husbands and wives. I oppose their teachings because they cause more harm to families they claim to want to help.

For further reading:
Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us
Parenting Decisions: Discipline
On the Pearls and Parenting
CTBHHM: A True Story
TTUAC: A True Story
Avoiding Millstones


October 01, 2005  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Workers for the Field

I got an exciting e-mail from a friend this week. I started grinning and crying and praying all at once. I've kept out identifying info, because I don't know how public my friend likes to be online. But still, I wanted to share and ask for prayer.

Just wanted to send out a brief note to tell you my good news... Today I was approved by Mission to the World to serve a one year term, with the possibility of an extension, in Santiago Chile! I will be heading out Feb/Mar 2007--after I graduate. My job description will be working as tutor/teacher for 2 missionary families who have a total of 5 school-aged children. My goal is to serve as an encouragement and support to the missionaries there, with the possibility of getting involved either with the Spanish-speaking church plant or the English-speaking International church plant.

. . .

I am still currently in Atlanta going through Interview and Orientation with MTW, but I will try to write more about my plans and ideas as they unfold. The Lord has been incredibly gracious in leading me to this place and I am excited to see him provide for this new time in my life!

More on missions:
Mission to the World
Amazing Missions Resources
Westminster Standards on Missions


July 03, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Another Reason to Love Presbyterians. . .

They're blogging the General Assembly.


June 15, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



PCA GA -- Wired

PCA General Assembly to be Web Cast

The 2005 PCA General Assembly begins next Tuesday, June 14; it will be broadcast "live" on the Internet. Gavel-to-gavel coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) on June 14 with the opening worship service led by retiring moderator Dr. Ligon Duncan, and continue through adjournment on Friday, June 17. The worship services on Wednesday (Dr. Sinclair Ferguson preaching) and Thursday (Dr. John Piper preaching) evenings will also be broadcast live.

Using our custom media player you'll be able to follow along with all proceedings, voting, and listen to the audio or watch various committee reports and worship services with live streaming video. Also featured this year will be the GA Blog and podcasting of several of the day's events for those who enjoy listening on their favorite MP3 player. Visit the site now to see last year's content and bookmark it for the event, live content will begin June 13, 2005, at

Gotta love Presbyterians.

(Via ByFaithOnline e-mail update.)


June 08, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When in AZ

Cool, a new church plant to visit the next time we're in Arizona with family. . .

Kenneth Roth, from pastor of DeRidder PC in DeRidder, LA, to organizing pastor of Grace Church in Sierra Vista, AZ.


April 27, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Martin Luther's Munchkins

Shanna, an LCMS, WELS pastor's wife and friend of mine, recently shared this inspiring portrait the Luther family:

Luther and Katherine had six children: Hans (June 7, 1526); Elizabeth (December 10, 1527); Magdalene (May 4, 1529); Martin (November 9, 1531); Paul (January 29, 1533; and Margaret (December 17, 1534). Elizabeth died as an infant in August 1528. Magdalene died in her early teens in 1542.

The deaths of his children ripped his heart to shreds. "I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." is from the time after Magdalene's death.

Their home was noted for its liveliness and its happiness.

In addition to their own children, Luther and Katherine had numerous other people living in their home with them. Katherine’s aunt, Lena, lived with them for many years. They helped raise eight orphaned nieces and nephews and provided lodging for various tutors, exiled clergymen, escaped nuns, government officials and visitors, university colleagues and many students. Many meals were eaten with as many as twenty-five at the table! All visitors were expected to take part in family customs, devotions, and prayer.

It was an eclectic home...full and to anyone.

For recreation the Luthers enjoyed a bowling lane of sorts in their garden, board games such as chess, and music. They had a pet dog. They grew much of their own food in a small garden at the Black Cloister and then later as a farm outside Wittenberg.

Luther commented once to Justus Jonas children were the "best gifts of God," and lamented that so many parents seemed to overlook and ignore them.

Luther prepared his Small Catechism with parents and children in mind. He used it diligently within his own home. He also wrote hymns for his children to share with them the wonders of the gospel. The well-known Christmas hymn, From Heaven Above to Earth I Come, was written by Luther for his children. While away to from Wittenberg at the time of the Diet of Augsburg, Luther wrote his son a charming letter describing heaven as a pleasant garden filled with delightful activities for faithful boys and girls.


February 27, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Valentine's Day in the Cross Cultural Context

1 Corinthians 13 – A Guide to Culture

If I speak with the tongue of a national, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I wear the national dress and understand the culture and all forms of etiquette, and if I copy all mannerisms so that I could pass for a national but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor, and if I spend my energy without reserve, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love endures long hours of language study and is kind to those who mock his accent; love does not envy those who stayed home; love does not exalt his home culture. Love is not proud of his national superiority.

Love does not boast about “the way we do it back home,” does not seek his own ways, is not easily provoked into telling about the beauty of his home country, does not think evil about this culture;

Love bears all criticism about his home culture, believes all good things about this new culture, confidently anticipates being at home in this place, endures all inconveniences.

Love never fails: but where there is cultural anthropology, it will fail; where there is contextualization it will lead to syncretism; where there is linguistics, it will change.

For we know only part of the culture and we minister to only part.

But when Christ is reproduced in this culture, our inadequacies will be insignificant.

When I was in America I spoke like an America, I understood as an American, I thought as an American; but when I left America I put away American things.

Now we adapt to this culture awkwardly; but He will live in it intimately; now I speak with a strange accent, but He will speak to the heart.

And now these three remain: cultural adaptation, language study, and love.

But the greatest of these is LOVE.

- Author Unknown

(Via Little Miss Reformed)


February 14, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Curious Goldie Goes to Church*

"When my friends and I first converted to Christianity in the late 80’s – early 90’s in Russia, we were all about joking and laughter. We grew up on C.S. Lewis. So, when I came here, I had some expectations about the Evangelical community as a society where intellect and sense of humor were high priority. Instead, to my horror, I saw this… unfunny crowd! Is that the way you’re supposed to be if you’re Evangelical? If you asked me a month ago, I would have said yes. Now, after briefly reading IM, JollyBlogger and a few other Christian blogs, I’ll say – no, not really. --Curious Goldie

I've known Goldie online for awhile--she's is an intelligent, interesting woman (and great translator!)--and has just started blogging.

In a recent post, she touches on the disenchantment she found in the Evangelical subculture in the US. Interestingly, the online Christian community and blogs in particular have given her new hope.

Be sure to check Curious Goldie's Suburban Adventures regularly. I can guarantee it'll be thought provoking.

*I just couldn't resist a H.A. Rey allusion, even if the title doesn't quite fit the post.


January 31, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Dynamic Blogging Duo

New husband and wife blogging duo, Steve and Jenn, have some great posts up this week.

Steve reminisces fondly about Larry Norman and not-so-fondly about Bill Gothard:

Nineteen years old and driving around listening to "How Great Thou Art" a cappella 24/7. . . . I had "made a commitment" not to listen to CHRISTIAN ROCK!!. Yes Christian Rock...songs about Jesus that have beats and tempos not approved of by Sir Gothard. Aaaahhhhh, my friends thought I had lost it. Like a lemming to the sea I was!

Jenn addresses good hermeneutics and gives an example in her post the Latest Spiritual Gobblydeegook? She also talks about psychology and faith in Indoctrination 101:

Though there is some psychological stuff that is counter to our faith, there is some learning to be gained from the psychological community just about the general nature of people and how we respond in different scenarios. I believe this falls under the area of “general revelation” from God just as much as what I learned about biology and chemistry in college also falls under “general revelation” in understanding the beauty and intricacy of God’s physical creation.


January 31, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Adopted and Accepted

"When we realize that our adoption is permanent, we have the courage to celebrate our identity by looking and acting like our Father. We recognize and love our brothers and sisters because they look and act like Him, too. But even when they fail to have a family resemblance, we love them because our Father loves us when we fail to resemble Him. . .

But God does not just give us a list of house rules [referring back to the "one another" verses] He gives us grace to follow the rules. His Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that enables us to act like our Father. And our Elder Brother intercedes for us before the Father's throne." --Susan Hunt, Heirs of the Covenant


January 29, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



X-ATI Students "Move On"

Responding to well-meaning and oft-repeated advice from ATI-supporters, dozens of ex-ATI students recently resolved to "get over it" and "move on" with their lives.

"It really doesn't matter than your spirits were crushed attempting to conform to a man-made system of spirituality," said one Gothard supporter, "or that your perspective of God suffered nearly-irreversible damage. What's important is that you break free from the chains of bitterness in your lives. I have an excellent diagram about that."

Read the rest of the tongue-in-cheek post at X-ATI Guy.

It seems, sadly, that a lot of our Christian journeys started at the Strait Gate, we found ourselves on a cultic path that imitated the Way. We find ourselves bruised by the shackles of legalism and false teaching.

Even after we are once again on the narrow path that we walk by grace through faith to the Celestial City, it's easy to question ourselves, our faith, our discernment.

It's not simply a matter of "moving on. . ."

Update: Related blogging this week can be found at Batesline, BloggyBlog,
KITW here, here and here, Discount Geek and Reasons Why.


January 27, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Brainerd and Catechisms

Jan. 18.

Prosecuted my catechetical method of discoursing. There appeared a great solemnity, and some considerable affection in the assembly. - This method of instructing I find very profitable. When I first entered upon it, I was exercised with fears, lest my discourses would unavoidably be so doctrinal, that they would tend only to enlighten the head, but not to affect the heart. But the event proves quite otherwise; for these exercises have hitherto been remarkably blessed in the latter as well as the former respects. -- David Brainerd's Journal

I've found that for me, doctrinal studies move my heart so much and not simply my brain. I remember reading the theology section in a textbook when I was 17 and feeling like I was rejoicing with the angels in heaven as I sat with my legs over the arm of my Dad's oversized recliner.

OKCalvin encouraged me several months ago to be sure that the boys were learning their catechism. We're using this Catechism for Young Children. The kids are definitely in the "Poll Parrot" stage, and like rhythmic recitation of the questions and answers.

At the beginning of the New Year, I started memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism via the plan found in TableTalk. (Yep, that's another plug--you really should subscribe.) I especially like this online version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism with the Bible proof texts listed in frames. Not this time around, but eventually I want to memorize those verses associated with each question.

And while I'm not sure whether Brainerd had simply a question/answer method of teaching or the Westminster Shorter in mind when he wrote in his journal, I've been as remarkably blessed, as he said.


January 18, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Kids vs. Marriage

"A deeper problem I have with the advocacy of date nights is the underlying message behind them. Invariably the message that is clearly stated . . . or subtly alluded to is that children are a hindrance to the marriage, and parents must be regularly separated from the children to maintain a healthy marriage. . . . I think setting them up as adversaries to the marriage is unhealthy. The Bible states that children are a blessing. But far too often I think that in Christian society we don’t really see them that way. We see them as "in the way" far to often. . . "

While I personally enjoy date nights with Hubby, I think Jenn is right on in her essay Children vs. the Marriage?

I have heard teachers and writers too often encourage antagonistic relationships within families--parents vs. children, husband vs. wife. (Gary Ezzo springs to mind.) While I don't believe these teachers or parents are desirous of that outcome, their ideas set people up for interacting in controlling, conflict-ridden ways within families.

Wouldn't it be great if the Church encouraged adults to embrace attitudes ones of "We're all on the same team! We're in the same Body of Christ!" within their families?


January 18, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Bible Guide To Sex and Marriage

Top 10 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife
This is satire.

Christian Sex-Ed, Repressed Authoritarian Style
This isn't.


January 14, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Disaster Relief

From byFaith Online Magazine e-mail:

Mission to the World is spearheading relief efforts for victims of the recent Tsunami in Asia. MTW is in the process raising funds to help those in need. It is also planning to send response teams through its Disaster Response Ministry (DRM). The DRM is a mercy ministry of the Medical Missions Department of MTW, created with the specific purpose of deploying trained and equipped teams to areas of disaster and need in different parts of the world. To read the MTW appeal letter, to donate funds and/or to volunteer to be a part of a response team go to

Honestly, I'm not going to be blogging about the tsunami. It's just too much for me right now. It's too big, too horrible, too overwhelming. I'm limiting what I read about it, what I pictures I view, and how much I think about it.

And while I know many, many people are suffering, I am very thankful that the people we personally know who live and minister in that part of the world are safe.

Update: More about the MTW Minutemen at Wittenberg Gate.


December 30, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Advent – The First Sunday

I was excited to find an evergreen wreath and taper candles in the traditional advent colors a few weeks ago. Last year, we our advent wreath was a bit ad hoc with votives on a glass tray. This is the first year we will be incorporating lighting the advent candles and reading the Advent Scripture into our Advent rhythm. For the past 5 years, we’ve been observing Advent with singing hymns, praying, and going through the Scriptures with a Jesse Tree that Auntie L gave us.

The purple candle for the first week of Advent represents prophecy. These are the Bible passages we’ll be reading this week.

Sun. Is. 40:1-5
Mon. Is. 52:7-10
Tue. Is. 40:9-11
Wed. Gen. 3:8-15
Thu. Gen. 15:1-6
Fri. Deut. 18:15-19
Sat. Ps. 89:1-4

And the first Advent hymn the boys requested was:

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.

Trinity Hymnal #149


November 28, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Prayer for Ukraine

Before this evening's Yushchenko speech, preachers came to the camp and prayed for the activists.

This is a song we regularly sing in church, "A Prayer for Ukraine". Please continue in your prayers for Ukraine and her people, and a peaceful and just resolution.

Молитва за Україну

Моя молитва нехай лине
До Тебе, наче фіміам.
І серце лине без зупину
В чудовий Твій небесний храм.

Боже, я молю за Україну,
Боже, молю тебе за людей,
Ти їх прости,
Ти їх спаси,
І милість Твою нам яви.
Боже, я знаю,
Що Ти будеш з нами
В храмі Твоєму під небесами
Радість і мир Ти дарував,
Життя для людей віддав,
В Книгу Життя нас записав!

В Своєму Слові Живому,
Ти для людей ведіння дав,
Щоб люди всі молились Богу,
Що на Хресті за нас вмирав.

And thanks to Maureen, here it is in English.

A Prayer for Ukraine

My prayer does not go unheard,
To you, our incense rises.
And my heart is heard without difficulty
In strange lands, in Your heavenly temple.

God, I pray for Ukraine,
God, I pray to you for its people.
May You forgive them,
May You save them,
And may Your favor on us rest.
God, I know
That You will be with us.
In Your temples under heaven
Joy and peace You're giving,
Life to the people You're showing,
Us in the Book of Life You've written!

In Your Living Glory,
You to the people have given power,
So that the people all pray to God
Who in Christ was reconciled to us.


November 24, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



To Do Justice

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6:8


November 24, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Lasting Pain

If you have not yet accepted the reality of the lasting pain of abortion, allow me to provide some reading material.

For the head: Induced Abortion and Traumatic Stress: A Prelimenary Comparison of Russian and American Women (in .pdf)

For the heart: Of Wounds and Dreams


November 19, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Will You Be Joining ATIA?

And the following is part of X-ATI Guy's decided nyet.

"The emphasis on performance--on outward behavior and appearance--does not produce holiness. Rather, it produces those who are very good at looking the part, pretending they are in line with all the standards rather than risk going against the tide. Not that all ATI students are fakes; that is not the point. But the system produces more than its share of young people who go along with things outwardly without having an inner commitment to the standards and convictions that are taught. And sadly, many students resist the outward "standards" as being phony, and in the process reject Christ.

. . .

Christianity is freeing because of the grace Christ has bestowed on us. ATI, however, is made up of a list of rules, commitments, standards and behavioral guidelines. The emphasis on outward appearance, on listening to good music, and on exhibiting character distracts young people from the true essence of Christianity: a relationship with Christ."


November 18, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Abortion Myths

After Abortion blog is doing a series on Shredding The Myths about Abortion’s "Benefits" to Women. For example:

Myth #3:

"Emotional Problems After Abortion?
Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are extremely rare and less common than they are after childbirth. Such problems are more likely if…a woman is depressed or already has emotional problems."

Read the research and personal stories Emily provides to counter this common abortion-supporting myth.


October 26, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



7 Principles from Absalom

Excellent post from X-ATI Guy--I just had to quote it completely.

7 Principles on How to Capture the Heart of A Young Woman

1. Remove Blemishes that Distract from your Appearance

2 Sam 14:25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.

You may not be blessed with Absalom's killer looks, but at least you can practice good hygiene and remove all blemishes that distract from your appearance.

2. Practice the Discipline of Rising Early

2 Samuel 15:2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate

God reserves special blessings for those who rise early, and every potential suitor should learn this principle. This discipline releases creative energy that can be harnessed for wooing a young woman.

3. Ask Precise Personal Questions

2 Samuel 15:2b and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou?

Carefully-formed questions are the best way to get to know a young lady and these questions can be written and rehearsed as you rise early. Your questions reveal to a young lady that you are thinking carefully about the information you want from her. She will perceive your wisdom and her spirit will be blessed by your questions.

4. Identify Opportunities to Praise Her

2 Samuel 15:3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. When men came to King David, Absalom inquired of each man's matters. After hearing from each person, Absalom praised them and called their matters "good and right."

In your conversations with a young lady you should always be agreeable and look for opportunities to praise her good character. Agree with her opinions and express your admiration for her frequently.

5. Foster Discontent with Her Authorities

An additional lesson can be found in verse 3. Absalom pointed out that The Authority (King David) did not care enough to appoint anyone to hear the people's matters. Look for opportunities to foster a young woman's dissatisfaction with her authorities. Your astute observations will show her that her authorities do not have her best interest at heart.

6. Demonstrate your Willingness to Serve

2 Samuel 15:4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!

Indicate to the young lady that if you were her authority you would take up her cause. Point out your strong sense of justice.

7. Effectively Utilize Physical Contact

2 Samuel 15:5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. Once you have gained a young woman's attention through your questions and have undermined her confidence in her authorities, put forth your hand, take hold of her, and kiss her.

It is important to remember that these Principles are laid out in precise steps of action and should be followed in order. Step #7 is a very powerful tool but Scripture places it at the end so that a young lady is motivated first by your appearance and conversation. Only after you have appealed to her spirit and soul should you attempt to appeal to her physical.

If you follow these principles, you will find good success just as Absalom did:

2 Samuel 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Yes, Virginia, this is satire reminiscent of Bill G.


August 26, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Independence Day!

Kyivites are celebrating Ukraine’s independence today. We skipped most of the festivities downtown, but have had a wonderful day with the boys. Ukraine, in its current political construct, is only 13 years old. Thirteen. I have dear friends with children older than that.

And while Ukraine is still in a bit of a rocky adolescence finding her own self-identity, she’s survived the first toddler steps of independence and the growing pains of separating from the Soviet Union.

The economic outlook seems bright. I look around my neighborhood and see new high-rises under construction, retail stores opening, and consumer goods not even imaginable when we first arrived now easy to find. Hubby, who has done real economic research (as opposed to my “glance around the neighborhood” analysis) is impressed with the economic growth and stability of the past few years.

Spiritually, we can see the hand of God moving. When the Iron Curtain came down, we all heard of the amazing responsiveness people had to the Gospel. That sort of enthusiasm is no longer here. Instead, attitudes toward religion are jaded, cults and cultic churches have scared people off, and new age philosophies are growing. And while Eastern Orthodoxy seems to be recovering from the trauma of communist oppression, it often seems intent on instituting some of its own.

But God is calling his lost sheep in Ukraine to Himself. Each week we gather in corporate worship with people from our neighborhood. We know several solid seminaries, where pastors and Believers are emerging with a sound foundation in the Bible and a vision of Ukraine and the surrounding countries. We see young Believers maturing rapidly eager to study and grow. And I’m not just talking about our church, but we’re also seeing churches having an impact on the wider community and country

And so we rejoice at what God is doing. He has brought independence to a nation, and He is bringing His people into dependence upon Himself.


August 24, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Lincoln, Liberty, and Ukraine

Monday night we went to the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus patriotic concert. It was great--especially the Kyiv Brass ensemble.

While Lincoln rates among my 5 least favorite presidents, I was very moved by their performance of Aaron Copeland's "Lincoln Portrait."

What was so emotional was hearing the US Ambassador to Ukraine, the Hon. John Herbst, narrarate it in Ukrainian. Ukraine is still struggling, as it has been free of the Soviet Union for such a short time. I wish all of Ukraine could have heard the exhortation:

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise high with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country. . . .

. . .we here highly reslove that these dead shall not have died in vain; and that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . .

May it be so.


July 07, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Church and Racism

The letter seeks to provide a definition of racism, a theological perspective on racism, pastoral responses to racism and discussion of pastoral issues relating to racism. Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races. From a biblical perspective, it is the position of the General Assembly that racism, as it is defined in the letter, is sin, and that repentance must follow both individually and corporately.

I recommend reading and reflecting upon the complete PCA Pastoral Letter on Racism.


June 19, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Just what I was thinking. . .

"During announcements at the beginning of the service, I called attention to the list on the back of the bulletin of the missionaries our church supports. Notice how many times you see Ukraine in the list. Twenty years ago, the idea of Christian missionaries openly preaching the gospel and planting churches in any part of the USSR would have been unthinkable. But, in His providence, God raised up a leader who called evil by its real name and worked to defeat it. And because of that, hundreds of millions of people are free to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ. God willing that will happen again, and the door will open for a billion more souls. We ought to give thanks to God for bringing this to pass."

Batesline eloquently remarks on how God has amazingly worked. Earlier today, Hubby and I were sitting in amazement that we live in a Former Soviet country--something that was unheard of when we were kids.


June 07, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Peggy Noonan Remembers

I've been looking for this since hearing of President Reagan's passing. Peggy Noonan's Thanks From a Grateful Country, in honor of Ronald Reagan.

"He was dying for years and the day came and somehow it came as a blow. Not a loss but a blow. How could this be?

John Rabe echoed the same sentiments on Hubby's blog.

And it's true.

And I'm near tears again with memories,

"It's not hard to imagine him now in a place where his powers have been returned to him and he's himself again--sweet-hearted, tough, funny, optimistic and very brave. You imagine him snapping one of those little salutes as he turns to say goodbye. Today I imagine saluting right back."

June 07, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



What a deal!

11 CDs for $20! Plus free shipping.

Featuring, my all time fave band.


June 07, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Grace, More Grace

"If they repent, they should be met with forgiveness like any other sinner, and programs like Rachel's Vineyard to bring about emotional healing are great, but I don't think that they have a right to demand that they should be treated as if nothing had ever happened. I fear that I may sound like the elder brother of the Prodigal Son or the laborers who worked all day and got the same pay as those who worked one hour, but I think that it is an insult to women who did the right thing to act as if the differnce between them and women who did not should be completely wiped away."

To which I (Emily) responded:

Could you clarify how exactly you would want to treat me differently?

Would I be allowed to receive and extend the sign of peace? Would I be allowed to sing in the choir?

Do you want those of us who have had an abortion to wear a special garment so that newcomers and visitors don't accidentally treat us the same?

Should we be required to participate in an annual stone-throwing ceremony in the parking lot? Would real stones be used or would they be symbolic stones made out of paper mache? Would our remaining children be allowed to watch the ceremony?

Or is it your recommendation that I be allowed to participate in the life of the church, but would be shunned from your social circle?

Is the only time that we'd sit down to a meal together be the annual Pro-Life banquet when I get invited to speak about the horror of abortion from a personal perspective?

Or would you recommend that we be treated just the same on the surface, but every so often--perhaps in line at the grocery store, perhaps on the sidelines as we watch our kids compete in the swim meet, perhaps as I prepare myself to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist--you or one of your friends would lean over and whisper into my ear, "I haven't forgotten what you did."

(via AfterAbortion May 8, 2004)


May 14, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From Hubby

Reflections on 5 Years in the PCA


May 13, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Practical Mission Resources

One of the most valuable resources online for missionaries is Brigada.Org.

For example, in today's e-letter:

PRACTICAL TRAINING TO HELP THE POOR TO HELP THEMSELVES -- Time is running out! The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, in partnership with Food for the Hungry International and World Relief, is offering training in Bangkok, Thailand on May 24 - June 2, 2004 and at Lookout Mountain, GA USA from August 2 - 11, 2004. This training focuses on innovative, best practice microenterprise development and microfinance strategies and methodologies that can be used in holistic, Christ-centered programs. For information on these events or our email based distance learning visit or email

EQUIPPING WOMEN IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES -- A special meeting will take place in the US on August 4-8 to encourage and equip women who have a minimum of two years experience working with Muslims. The $300 conference fee includes housing and meals and must be received by July 1. Twelve worldview workshops and 24 general workshops will provide tools for ministry including survey strategies, effective approaches in eliciting a faith response, communicating the gospel in understandable ways, strategic intercession, etc. Please contact for additional information, and furnish a secure e-mail address to which we can respond.

MISSIONPREP "PLANTS" SEMINAR - TORONTO 2004 June 13-25, 2004 Principles of Language Acquisition: Natural Techniques and Skills Location: Tyndale University College & Seminary, 25 Ballyconnor Court, Willowdale, Ontario *Insider skills for Language & cultural Learning *Phonetics Foundations *Language readiness For more information contact or read

TEACHERS WANTED! -- Whitman Academy is seeking qualified teachers for the 2005-2006 school year. This school is located in Amman, Jordan, servicing international students. Please write to Andrew for more information at

FREE TENTMAKING SEMINAR IN MOBILE ALABAMA -- Global Opportunities is offering a FREE half-day seminar (9 am to 1 pm) Saturday, May 22, at North Bay Christian Church in Mobile, Alabama. The church is located at 1275 E I65 Service Rd S, Mobile, AL 36606-3103 or see their website for directions at This Seminar will help you understand how you can reach the world as a non-traditional missionary, using your vocation to reach the nations! For further information on this FREE seminar and to register go to: For additional information, please contact Charles at:

Brigada also covers tech help for challenging countries, pre- and post- field briefing, tips for shipping goods overseas, support raising, idea sharing, and much more.

I recommend all missions committees and missions minded people subscribe to their e-letter. It's a great example of the body of Christ working together with different gifts to further the Gospel!


May 11, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



New PCA Resource! has morphed into a new web journal, ByFaith Online. Visually, it's appealing and readable. Content-wise, I have great hopes for it.

(Via Barlow Farms)


May 08, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Morality or Spirituality?

"Christianity is not a matter of external behavior; it's a matter of a changed heart. No amount of good behavior can accomplish that. It is a work which only God can accomplish in those who put their faith in Him.

Let's not make the mistake of confusing morality with spirituality. No matter how upright or moral a man may seem, he is lost if he hasn't put his complete trust in Christ as his Savior. " -Sozo

From the new Reasons Why blog.


April 30, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Grace Proclaimed

Please pray for Aaron and Leroy as they travel to SLC for the 174th Annual LDS Convention to proclaim grace and the gospel. I've known Aaron for a couple of years now, and his heart is burdened for those caught within the lies of Mormonism and don't comprehend God's amazing grace. Please pray they will be bold and winsome, humble and compassionate--and that God's sheep among the LDS will hear the Gospel and believe.

Update: Aaron is home--read about his weekend in SLC. Oh, and his photo made it into the Utah Statesman.


April 03, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Women's Retreat Ideas?

Cheri from Canada recently asked:

I note you were away at a Women's Retreat. Would you mind telling me what the retreat consisted of and how it was. We are having our second retreat in April 2004 and insight to retreats (good and bad) are so useful.

Since I've been to very few women's retreats and conferences, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share their ideas and tips for Cheri?


March 02, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Memories of Church

Earliest Memory. I have two: wailing and clinging to my mother at nursery school (which was located in our Congregational church) and sitting on my maternal grandmother's lap, reading cloth Bible books. -- the 100th Sheep

Oh, what a poignant illustration of why we need to think through family worship and how to include our children in corporate worship.


January 23, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Superfluparents in the Church

While this troublesome trend is apparent in the culture at large, it is even more disturbing when it makes headway in the Church. Superfluparents is how Joanne diagnoses the problem she sees in many churches, including her own.

The condition is characterized by a gradual decline in parental authority, a deterioration of the family unit as socialization vehicle, the slow give away of each aspect of the child's life to someone/someplace else. Advanced stages of the disease are shown by children who care more about peers than parents, parents whose "dealing with children" muscles have atrophied due to lack of use. . .

God has called us to worship corporately, as families. He has made our children part of His Covenant. Why does it seem the Church so often rushes to exclude them from worship, in the guise of "ministering" to these little ones?

Beal Heights PCA's Infants and Children and the Word of God offers a positive approach that helps families worship together, meets the needs and noises of little ones, and provides for guests.

And for the practical side of corporate worship with very small children, Jeri has some great ideas.

Update: Marsupial Mom adds to this discussion.


January 21, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (2)  |  Permalink



First Corinthians 12?

Which Part Of The Body Are You?

Congratulations! You are the belly button. You easily become the center of attention while you are young but as you mature you fade into the background.

Now that you know your place in the body: go and serve!


January 17, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




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