Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Miscellany

Economics item of the week: an interesting visual about the banking crisis.
Health care item of the week: a thoughtful post by J. M. Reynolds.
Life issues item of the week: a careful look at some theological ramifications from Tim Challies.
Moral philosophy item of the week: some provocative thoughts from Doug Wilson, via JT, on doing the right thing badly, or doing the wrong thing well.
And while we're discussing various issues of morality, let's be praying for the persecuted church.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sabbath Sentiments

"But, the old weather-beaten Christian, who has learnt by sorrowful experience how weak he is in himself, and what powerful subtle enemies he has to grapple with, acquires a tenderness in dealing with bruises and broken bones, which greatly conduces to his acceptance and usefulness."
~John Newton, Letter to Captain Scott

(Thanks to JC)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Actively practicing trust in God...

Video week continues with the following illustration from Josh Harris.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


OK_ since I seem to have a video theme rolling this week, I just watched this piece (Thanks JT). It is both funny and heart-breaking...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

William Wilberforce

Yesterday was the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of my heroes, William Wilberforce. You can watch an interesting, short video about him here if you don't know what an amazing person he was. And the film about him, Amazing Grace, was also very well done. Who can argue with Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce, and Albert Finney as John Newton, after all?

Happy birthday, William!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Miscellany

Shall we begin the week with a couple of interesting reflections on practical theology? Here, Phil Johnson offers his thoughts on the evangelical movement: thought provoking as always. And here is an interesting reflection on evangelism itself. (Thanks to TC)

On the education front, note this interesting article on how universities are making (or failing to make) the grade with regards to transferring education to their customers. This time, they are being evaluated by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Don't miss their website here, and check out your favorite university. (Thanks to SD)

And speaking of the education (or lack thereof) of the masses, how about this not-surprising article about the "MySpace" generation, and their lack of interpersonal communication skills?

And in a slightly, if tangentially, related note, how about the poor guy who was sentenced for yawning? (No, I'm not making it up.) Wonder where that judge went to college...and no wonder we have the highest incarceration rate in the free world...

Lastly, check out the video below. It's always a better week with a little john Clease... (Thanks to TB)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sabbath Sentiments

God of the Ages
Margaret Clarkson, 1981
1. God of the ages, history’s Maker, planning our pathway, holding us fast,
shaping in mercy all that concerns us: Father, we praise you, Lord of the past.

2. God of this morning, gladly your children worship before you, trustingly bow:
teach us to know you always among us, quietly sovereign — Lord of our now.

3. God of tomorrow, strong Overcomer, princes of darkness own your command.
What then can harm us? We are your people, now and forever kept by your hand.

4. Lord of past ages, Lord of this morning, Lord of the future, help us, we pray:
teach us to trust you, love and obey you, crown you each moment Lord of today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


As my dear friend LJ has said, "Despite name-calling in the news, there are rational reasons for opposing health care reform as the US president has crafted it." One of the issues that gives me pause is the idea that public funding (my money and yours) may soon go to "reproductive health", aka abortion. I find it hard to consider paying for outright murder of innocents. I find the culture of death we live in becoming darker and darker on issues of life. The most horrifying thing I've seen referenced recently is the harvesting of fetal organs (if you don't find this reference frightening enough, click on the link to the original article it references.) So, now that adult stem cells are showing more promise than embrionic ones, we must still find some reason to justify killing babies.

Al Mohler has had a couple of excellent articles recently on the topic of abortion. They can be found here and here.

May God have mercy on us, Gentle Reader, for participating in this slaughter.

Friday, August 21, 2009


“When a man’s heart is cold and unconcerned about religion – when his hands are never employed in doing God’s work – when his feet are not familiar with God’s ways – when his tongue is seldom or never used in prayer and praise – when his eyes are blind to the beauty of the kingdom of heaven – when his mind is full of the world, and has no room for spiritual things – when these marks are to be found in a man, the word of the Bible is the right word to use about him, and that word is, ‘Dead.’”

~ J.C. Ryle
Old Paths, p. 124

(Thanks to JCR Quotes)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The mind bent to truth...

"...Education, as always, began as character. Parents should wish to avoid the rearing of children who are "bold without shame, rash without skill, [and] full of words without wit," because children with these traits become adults with the same tendencies--plus the cleverness and guile to make the world suffer their deficiencies and vices. Virtue, like knowledge, may be "hard and irksome in the beginning, but in the end easy and pleasant." For "where will inclineth to goodness, the mind is bent to truth."
~The ideas of Roger Ascam as quoted by T. L. Simmons, Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On nature and other things...

For interesting thoughts on the nature of things, check out the Quiddity blog here in the aftermath of the Circe Conference this summer. I always wish I could be there to listen to great thoughts and ponder the things we never find time to ponder in the hustle and bustle of normal life.

And in a slightly related vein, the importance of finding and following the bent of a child and allowing the non-academic dignity in working with their hands is explicated here. Interesting thoughts.

And while I'm sharing unpopular notions about the nature of things, how about this thought-provoking article on marrying early in life...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sabbath Sentiments

Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen Lemmel (1922)
1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
* Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
2. Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Half the harm...

"Half of the harm that is done in the world
Is due to people who want to feel important.
They don't mean to do harm - but the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
To think well of themselves."
- T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

Friday, August 14, 2009

Health care concerns

Like many, I am very concerned about the health care discussions. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has ever spent time in a DMV office, or tried to read through the tax regulations, must be out of their minds to think the government can do a good job at health care management when they can't do anything else well. I am not alone in that assessment. Several friends have written about this recently, and I thought I'd share their words. Our young friend, Jon, has written some interesting thoughts from his current abode in South Korea. My friend Jenny posted an interesting video on her blog. Today JT (who is only my one-sided virtual friend...I read his blog, but he doesn't know me) posted some interesting quotes as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Civilizing and cultivating...

Schools like those found at Mantua, Ferrara, Vicenza, and Cremona taught the skills that later made the civilized man and woman possible. They sowed the seeds and, more importantly, watered the plants and kept the garden weeded. Although many of the commoners attending Casa Giocosa went on to Padua or Bologna to study Law or Medicine, Vittorino did not set out to prepare them for their professions. He set out to civilize and cultivate them. Anything less or other would not have squared with Humanist tenets.
~T. L. Simmons, Climbing Parnassus, p.100

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking sorrow in the face...

“What the Lord expects from us at such seasons is not to abandon ourselves to unreasoning sorrow, but trustingly to look sorrow in the face, to scan its features, to search for the help and hope, which, as surely as God is our Father, must be there. In such trials there can be no comfort for us so long as we stand outside weeping.

If only we will take the courage to fix our gaze deliberately upon the stern countenance of grief, and enter unafraid into the darkest recesses of our trouble, we shall find the terror gone, because the Lord has been there before us, and, coming out again, has left the place transfigured, making of it by the grace of his resurrection a house of life, the very gate of heaven.”
~Gerhardus Vos

(Thanks to JW)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Seeking truth...

...Christianity naturally leads to classical education because Christianity teaches respect for the mind as part of the image of God in man, for the world as God's intelligent, designed creation, and respect for human words because words, for the Christian, are not merely humanly invented labels for the commerce of writing and speaking. Rather, words dimly reflect their ultimate divine origin. "In the beginning was the Word." In turn, classical education seeks all truth for its own sake, is open to all truth, is a truth-seeking missile; and according to Christ, all who seek, fine. Non-Christians are not seekers, or, if they are, they are not non-Christians for long.
~Peter Kreeft, "What Is Classical Education," Spring 2009 issue of The Classical Teacher from Memoria Press

Friday, August 07, 2009

The pain of learning

Whoever passes by what is over his head condemns his head to its present low altitude; for nothing can elevate a mind except what is over its head; and that elevation is not accomplished by capillary attraction, but only by the hard work of climbing up ropes, with sore hands and aching muscles.

~Mortimer Adler, “Invitation to the Pain of Learning”

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A few literary (and not so literary) thoughts

One of the joys of camping is lounging around in a beautiful place with a good book. The dh at left is lounging in our little camper, with a view of 14,000-foot peaks, reading a Dorothy Sayers novel. I, taking the picture, was on one of the beds in the little camper, reading The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith. What could be better?

According to NPR, here is a list of its reader's 100 best beach books ever. I am currently finishing up #55, and have read approximately 19 of the others. How about you, Gentle Readers? (Thanks to RG for the idea...)

I have posted articles here before that bemoan the loss of reading in our world. Now, here's one that bemoans the loss of youth culture in cyberspace. interesting that the growing number of adults on social networking sites is driving out the young. That was actually one of my stated goals in joining facebook years ago: to teach my children and their friends and my students that there was no "free" territory on this whole earth, either irl or in cyberspace, where you could say things without consequences. I guess I succeeded! Old foggeys arise!

And in a related note, many are mourning the demise of good penmanship. Apparently, it is another by-gone virtue slain by the computer. And another death: children's books published before 1985. More stupid consequences of legislation in our litigation-happy, overly-preoccupied-by-safety world.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Getting perspective

Need a little perspective today? Here are a couple of suggestions>

Read about Randy Alcorn's experience 20 years ago. (Thanks to TC)

Or maybe this reflection on what we need as Christians for the long haul.

Or better yet, how about these reflections on boredom from someone with cancer who is being forced to count his days?

They give me a little perspective this morning, anyway. Hope they encourage you, Gentle Reader!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A little Dante, anyone?

This month's free give-away at ChristianAudio is all three books of Dante's Divine Comedy. I must admit to never reading this in its entiurety, and I think Dante and I could be very amicable walking pals.

And to get you in the mood, Gentle Reader, check out this site of sand art centered around a Dante theme!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Miscellany

Helpful site of the week: Haven't tried it yet, but it looks helpful for bible memory: Verse Card Maker
Life issues articles of the week: interesting that fetuses have memory (see here): yet another proof that however little they are, fetuses are human babies.
Cultural item of the week: Robert George of Princeton with an interesting take on gay marriage, democracy and the courts.
Health Care items of the week: How about this list from Fortune Magazine, or the video here?
And in the just-for-fun category: I roared with laughter at this friend's faux-advertising campaign. Maybe she just caught me at an odd time, but I think she's pretty funny!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sabbath Sentiments

Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson, 1880

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.


Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?


Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.


O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Resurrecting the dead...

One of the functions of the teacher is to raise the dead, to make their authors present. How? Not by doing anything to the authors, but to the readers: by getting students to read the great authors as their authors intended them to be read, namely actively, questioningly, in dialogue with the author, who will speak to them from beyond the grave or from a distance if, and only if, the reader asks the right questions, the logical questions. The reader may thus get the alarming sense that he is being haunted by the ghost of the writer. A great book, properly read, becomes not just a dead object but a living subject, a person, or the ghost of a person.
~Peter Kreeft, "What Is Classical Education", Spring 2009 issue of The Classical Teacher, Memoria Press