Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Birthday Pondering

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

Philippians 1:6
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

Philippians 3:12-14
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Mind-bending. Thirty-seven now applies to me in a personal way. Next time I go to the Y I’ll have to type 37, not 36, when the treadmill asks my age. When I was little, people in their late thirties (late thirties!) seemed old and knowledgeable. Hmm. Did the adults I knew then feel the same way I do now? Grown up, responsible, but on the inside there’s a twenty-something person who never seems to grow older, and who, if given to too much introspection, can be a little overwhelmed at the thought that my generation are the now responsible adults – that people my age and younger are running important businesses and making important decisions that affect the whole country or are operating on my child in a few weeks? Thinking about the fast passage of time and how the older we get, the faster time seems to go reminds me that our days here are but a vapor compared with eternity.

Today I look at my 37 years and my testimony is that God is so good. He is so faithful – even when I am not. I hope I never get over the gratitude and awe I have that He would save even me. In fact, I hope that gratitude and awe will increase as I grow in His grace. I am so thankful that He saved me young and that He has spared me so much and given me so much. I am thankful to have grown up in a home where my parents prayed for my salvation and taught me God’s Word, from the time I was a tiny baby. What a blessing. What a privilege. What a responsibility – to whom much is given, much is required. When I think of God’s grace and mercy toward me, I am almost undone at times. May I be found faithful. May I never outlive my gratitude and love for my Savior, Jesus the Lord.

When I look back over the 37 years God has allowed me to have on this earth, I would be less than honest if I did not say that there are things I regret, too, when I have to admit my passion for Christ has not been nearly as burning as I desire it to be. I have wasted time along the way. May I use that realization to lay aside every weight and seek His Kingdom and righteousness first and follow Him wholeheartedly and run the race well to the end with however long the Lord chooses to grant me to live. Oh, how I pray my heart will burn within me and I will be able to say that I have one desire, to see and know and love and serve the Lord. May that color everything I do.

It is a humbling thing to realize how much self-centeredness there still is in me. It is a humbling, frightening thing to realize how easily I take my eyes off the prize and look around me at the waves and storms and trappings of this world and selfish desires of my heart. Even my very best offerings are so often tinged with hints of pharisaical self-righteousness. Even when I want to do right, in honesty I cringe and have to admit that my motives are not always free of pride. It is humbling to realize afresh that all my righteous deeds are but filthy rags if not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When memorizing Psalm 103 earlier this year, verses 11-14 became especially precious to me.

Psalm 103: 11-14
“For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.”

It is so freeing and awesome to know that it is Christ in me where my hope lies. He is my righteousness. By His grace I can stand in the presence of God without shame because His blood has washed me whiter than snow, He took my shame to the cross and clothed me in His righteousness. Jesus is my Advocate before the Father, my great and glorious High Priest. In Him alone is my hope. May I faithfully work the works He has prepared beforehand for me to do, as His blood-bought, redeemed, freed from sin child. May I not waste the time I’m given to serve my King here on this side of eternity, until He comes or takes me home, whichever comes first. May I run the race as a marathon, faithful to the end. May I finish well. By His grace and for His glory alone.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rebekah Sweet Tea's Practical Mom's Dictionary, Installment #3 and Status Report

Whiny: The unintended general tone of every post I’ve tried to write this week. I haven’t felt whiny, but every time I tried to write the promised post explaining our weird family schedule for the next few months it was too long and too whiny.

Attempted summary: Suffice it to say, Drew is serving at the pleasure of the Army Reserve for the next few months. He’s spending most of the work week an hour away at his unit headquarters getting things ship shape and squared away, personnel wise. He would normally commute, but, gas prices shooting through the stratosphere as they are and the Army paying for his lodging means that staying over is a no-brainer.

Thankful: He is not in Iraq or Bosnia or Guatemala or anywhere else outside the country. Been there, done that, brought home several t-shirts (really, he did) and I’m just very glad he’s able to be home for this duty.

Challenging: Being single mom all week and then remembering to step back and let Drew be dad when he’s home. Sometimes it’s hard to shut my mouth and let him lead when I’ve gotten into my little routine and had all the responsibility for the kids all week long and really want to butt in and do things ‘my way’ when he is home and needs to discipline or teach them something. But they need Dad to be the dad, and I’m so incredibly grateful he is. And that’s all I’ll say about the unique challenges of being married to a Major in the Army Reserve. He faces unique challenges, too, and his civilian job is forced to be very patient when he’s called away, and I really respect how well he does both jobs and how much those he works with in both of his careers think of him. Every time I tried to write a post on the topic of those challenges it came out whiny, even though I wasn’t trying to whine, so I stopped trying and let the blog be quiet this week. I decided quiet was better than whiny.

Another thankful: My husband really loves his family, and it shows. He is the kind of man who honors the biblical command to love his wife, and he makes it very easy to honor my task to submit to his leadership. At least, any reluctance I have in that area is due to my own pride and failings, not due to his lack of kindness and love for me. I am grateful. And I’m grateful he loves his boys enough and understands their need for his influence in their lives so much and takes that responsibility so seriously that he is taking them for a special father and sons weekend, just the guys, tonight and tomorrow. Though his Army commitment is keeping him away from us more than we like these days, I’m so thankful for the way he wants to make the most of the time he does have.

Update: On M’s status. ENT says he needs his adenoids out and tubes put in his ears. M failed the big hearing test by the audiologist, but using bone conduction (which bypasses the fluid in the ears issue) his hearing is A-OK normal, so we know it’s the fluid in his ears and chronic sinus infections causing the problem. You know, the intellectual side of me knows that’s a routine, not terribly invasive procedure, and the doctor spent a lot of time reassuring me how routine it is, too, but anytime you hear the words, “General anesthesia,” and it’s your child they’re talking about, it doesn’t feel routine, no matter how many of these they do each week. I’m not really worried, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like the idea of him having to be put under, either. Thankfully it’s a short procedure and done on an outpatient basis, and, Lord willing, M will be hearing and feeling much better when we get the root problem addressed.

Writer’s block: What I’m currently suffering and the reason I can’t seem to get many posts written these days. The new schedule probably has something to do with it, I’m sure.

Guilty: Of letting Boo watch TV (or Tee-Bee as she calls it when pitching a fit because I don’t usually let her watch nearly as much as she’d like) so I can have a rare uninterrupted moment to write this post.

Mistake: Not paying close enough attention to Boo while she ate her ravioli in her high chair while I typed this post. She has it in her hair, ya’ll. Lots of it in her hair. And she just threw her plate in the floor (at least we’re in the kitchen). I guess she’s done.

Behind: What I am in The Excellent Wife reading group. I haven’t even finished reading this week’s chapter. I may have to combine with next week's and try to catch up then.

Confused but Still Intrigued/Addicted and Just About Cannot Stand the Suspense: Anyone else watch LOST? Lots of answers, tons more questions, and so it goes....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Choosing to Love

Here it is Monday and I am just now getting a post written for the reading group discussing The Excellent Wife. I think, due to the new schedule my family is living for the next few months (I’ll explain in another post), that if I am going to continue and keep up with this reading group I am going to have to make an effort to get my weekly post written before Friday so I can get it posted on Fridays. Otherwise, I’ll just have to keep on coming late to the discussion like I have the past several posts.

Okay, last week was Chapter 9, Love: The Wife’s Choice. This chapter was very encouraging to me, though I won’t say it is easy, by any means. Leslie pointed out in her post that Mrs. Peace does not pull any punches, even saying things rather bluntly at times and not putting a whole lot of stock in feelings or opinion when she spells out what the Scripture says. This is good. This also can seem harsh. No coddling going on in this meaty discussion throughout the book. And I think this is why many of us, me included at times, may bristle. It’s hard to take an honest evaluation and see where my actions are not demonstrating a true submission to God’s Word. But if I want to grow in sanctification, I must make this evaluation, and make it honestly and often. But it is hard to hear at times. It is important to prayerfully consider how obedience to these biblical truths is to play out in my life and home and to prayerfully evaluate my attitudes to make sure I am submitting to my Lord and Savior and the role He has for me to live according to His Word.

Something else I have realized while reading this book is that most of the discussion is not new information to me, but how easy it is to forget or not focus on these things in the day to day. Like Leslie, I am appreciating the slow reading format of taking a chapter a week to ponder and digest, because I have a tendency to breeze through when I read and don’t always take the time to do the difficult personal evaluation that this format is encouraging, and no, Leslie, I’m not finding it frustrating or boring to take our time with it.

The main point in this rather long chapter is that true love is more a choice than a feeling. I particularly like how she pointed out that my husband is my closest neighbor, and choosing to love him, even at times I don't feel like it, is a vital component of fulfilling the second greatest commandment – to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and if I harbor unloving thoughts toward him I am creating quite a dilemma for myself in that I’m not loving my closest neighbor. I hadn’t ever really thought about it quite that way, but, she’s right, that is an excellent way to look at how I treat my husband. I know this. I know that I need to be training myself to think loving thoughts and to meet others’ needs, even when I don’t particularly feel very loving. Feelings can be swayed by so many things, and I don’t want to be ruled by them. But I have to confess that I am, in fact, ruled by my feelings far more than I wish were the case. Just today, in fact, I have struggled with a melancholy, blue funk and have had a very hard time acting with love toward my husband. I have failed somewhat in this task today. We had a rough night with interrupted sleep due to an antsy dog and just a restless night for me, and I woke up tired and cranky and depressed about something that, as I reread the chapter this afternoon I had to honestly admit had become something of an idol to me. Without going into detail about why I had this particular struggle yesterday and this morning, I was struggling with feeling kind of lonely and like I have such a hard time being able to find and make close friends here where we live (something I’ve mentioned before), and, to be honest, I was beginning to wallow a little in homesickness for a time in our life when we did have a really special group of friends and how much I miss that time and those friends. I reread Chapter 9 today in preparation for this post and I realized when I got to the paragraph I quote here that I am in danger of making an idol of having my emotional needs met by the approval of other people rather than finding my chief satisfaction and joy in serving God. Mrs. Peace says:

“Any time someone has a philosophy of life that is based on “my needs” (self), they are likely to fall into the trap of being unloving, selfish, vain, or proud. Consider the Apostle Paul or the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither one had their “needs” to be loved by everyone met, yet they continued to show love to God and to others. Their focus was on what God wanted them to do. That was their joy and hence their satisfaction. We, on the other hand, are naturally lovers of ourselves. If you are struggling with being unloving and having a wrong view of love, perhaps you are longing for the wrong kind of love. Hence, there is an idol in your heart.”

I read that and had to stop and think. When I focus too much on what I perceive other people are (or aren’t) thinking of me, I am being far too self-focused. I need to think more about how I can honor God and obey what I know, seeking to find my joy in Him, and also to be loving and friendly to others spending far less time wishing they would take notice of me and meet my emotional need for acceptance. And when I’m in that kind of funk, I tend to be less able to love my husband well, too, and it’s a vicious spiral, because I’m thinking way too much about me and how unhappy I feel and not nearly enough about him and how I can be the wife he needs me to be, all rooted in the idol of needing and seeking the approval of others and not finding my joy in Christ alone. I really do want my joy to come from loving Jesus and doing what God would have me do. And I appreciate the way Mrs. Peace pointed out the seeming paradox that, “Generally speaking, to have the happiness, joy, and fulfillment you desire, you must put yourself aside and place God and others first. In regards to earthly relationships, you must put your husband first. In regards to your relationship with God, set your heart on glorifying God whether you ever have your way or not.” I have that starred in my book.

Several times when I’ve posted during this discussion, I have felt nervous about being too honest on the blog about what I’m learning and thinking because so much of this is counter-cultural. But, I think I need to quit feeling like I need to apologize for what I’m putting out here, because these are areas where I believe God is dealing with me, and they are things I am wanting to apply to my own life. This blog is, as I’ve said before, really a kind of journal for me, where people are invited to sort of read over my shoulder. As I mentioned above, there are times I care too much about how other people think about me and I know the topics we’re discussing with this book step on a lot of toes, and I’ve worried about offending or irritating with these posts. I finally have decided to take what my husband says, “It’s your blog, Bek, write whatever you want and quit worrying about it so much,” and keep on discussing this book and how much I want to put what I’m learning into practice in my life and try to quit worrying about how anyone else will perceive what I'm saying. Yes, I do drive him crazy sometimes when I beg him to proof read some of these posts.

I very much like all the practical discussion in this chapter about how doing the right thing may very well mean going against our feelings at times, and the warning and acknowledgement that all people are naturally selfish. This is an important thing to realize and to begin praying for the will and grace to trust God to sanctify me and help me to die to myself and to have my joy be in seeking to glorify God.

I also really appreciated the very practical discussion of how to deal with and put off bitterness. I find this helpful not just in marriage but in all relationships. The chart showing examples of how to put 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 into our thinking and how to incorporate scripture based responses to wrong thinking was very helpful, too. I want to follow Mrs. Peace’s suggestion and memorize that passage of scripture and begin practicing training myself to recognize wrong thinking and replacing it with right thinking.

All in all, I found this chapter to be encouraging and challenging, and, as this morning demonstrated, a lesson I really needed to be reminded to apply.

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Hard to Listen If You're Not Hearing

I took M to the doctor this morning, and they are saying the “a” word – asthma. I was really hoping he’d be pronounced ‘all better’ this morning, but though he wasn’t wheezing, he isn’t better yet, either. We think it’s allergy related because he’s got fluid on his ears and failed a hearing test because of it. He just doesn’t seem to be able to drain those ears and sinuses like he should, and we’re off to see an ENT next week to see what’s next, and then probably an allergist. Poor guy.

And on the way home, I all of a sudden had a sinking in my heart and teared up and had to apologize to M when it occurred to me how much I’ve been getting on to him lately for not responding when I speak to him and how he jumps when I get frustrated and have to call him again. I’ve been giving him all these lectures about how he needs to listen better, and I realized today with that failed hearing test and looking back over all those confused reactions I’ve been getting from him the past few weeks that it probably isn’t that he’s been willfully ignoring me when I talk to him when his back is turned but that he really hasn’t been hearing me. I feel so guilty for the way I’ve handled that, assuming he was being willfully disobedient when he really wasn’t. Now I know.

This parenting job is hard. There’s a balance between putting into practice the ‘believes no evil’ (1 Corinthians 13) part of real love on one hand (I kind of had the intuition the other day that M wasn’t hearing me well enough and did back off on the lecturing, knowing I’d be asking the doctor today) and discerning when there is a willful disobedience which needs to be disciplined. In other words, you’ve got to get in there and know your kids and do the hard work of finding out what’s going on with them – addressing the heart issues, not just the outward behaviors. If I really want these kids to grow up knowing what Godly character is, then I can’t be lazy about parenting, I’ve got to have a goal in mind and be pointing them constantly in that direction and teaching them God's Word. It isn’t easy. And I pray God will lead me and guide me to be a wise mom and that His grace will cover my many failings.

You know, there's a spiritual analogy I can't help but draw this morning. It's pretty hard to obey God's Word if I'm not hearing it often and clearly. It's so important to read and know God's Word and to expose myself to good preaching by men who understand the importance of understanding the Word so that I can apply it well to my life - all areas of my life, but I'm especially thinking of how I parent the kids today. I can't pass on to my children what I don't know myself. As a mom, I've got to know what God has said in His Word and be living it out in front of the children, because they will 'hear' how I live even louder than they hear what I say. So I very much want to be living out what I am teaching them and praying that they will learn in their own lives. I pray that my hearing of God's Word will be often and clear and that I will listen and apply it, and I pray I'll be the kind of mother that He has called me to be and have the discernment to know how to recognize and properly address the heart issues so I can faithfully point them to Jesus.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Conundrum

Why is it that whenever I open the door to go outside or come in from outside, there are always two or more flies right there by the door ready to fly right into the house, but those same flies never go anywhere near the door again once they are inside so that there are always flies coming in, but never flies flying out? Same goes for the car, too. They never get near the window I so helpfully open for them to fly back out, but rather they buzz around the dashboard incessantly. And why is it so hard to get rid of them once they've come inside? No matter how many I kill, there is always another one buzzing around, even though I was sure the last one I squashed was truly the last one. I am sure flies have their purpose, but I do wish they could fulfill it outside my kitchen.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Has it Really Been So Long?

I saw this at Lisa's. One of the math questions completely stumped me and apparently a few others that I thought I had correct did, too. I guess I did pay attention in high school, but it's amazing how quickly I'm losing some of this stuff.... then again, high school was a long time ago now - longer than I really like to think. Gasp, nineteen years. How is that possible? Thanks a lot quiz people, I wasn't thinking about that and now I just realized how long it's been. Nineteen years since high school seems unreal!

You paid attention during 86% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
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Prince Caspian - Six Thumbs Up

I got to take my two favorite little boys to see Prince Caspian this afternoon. Excellent movie and a really nice time with my boys. I'm thankful for my sweet husband spending time with Boo so I could do this with the boys. We so much enjoyed reading the Chronicles of Narnia together, that I really wanted to be able to see it with them this weekend.

As to the movie - no spoilers here! Some of the characterizations and events are different from the book, but overall I liked it very much. I love how these movies bring to life the feeling of the books and even with the changes, I think the movie is faithful to the overall themes of the original story. One hero in particular is a bit more flawed than his counterpart in the original, but it actually makes him more believable, though I really like his character in the book, too.

All in all, we had a fun afternoon, and I want to see the movie again to catch what I missed this time around. (I was with the question asking king, after all. One son asks lots of questions, the other sits silently and takes it all in and asks at the end. Both enjoyed their popcorn.)

Setting the Tone

I’m late again for the discussion of The Excellent Wife with Leslie’s reading group. This week we read Chapter 8, "Home: The Wife’s Domain." This chapter was in two parts, the first discussing being a worker at home and the second discussing setting the tone and creating a Godly atmosphere in the home. There is a lot of good information to be discussed in this chapter. I have tended in these blog posts to go through the entire chapter and discuss the specific points, resulting in quite long posts. I’m opting not to do that today, though I see the post has actually ended up being longer than intended anyway. Boo has a stomach virus complete with vomiting and diarrhea since Thursday afternoon, and I’ve been feeling queasy since yesterday – I’m not sure if I’m catching a spot of what she has or if it’s just my seriously suggestible weak stomach sympathizing with her distress, but every attempt I’ve made to sit and think out a solid post on this chapter has just not materialized into a good post, though there is lots of good material here, so rather than specifically summarizing the chapter, I'm just going to share the direction my thinking went as I've thought about this chapter. Looking back over this post now, I see it's sort of rambling and probably not a very great post, either. Sorry about that. I don't know if I'll leave this post up, but I'm throwing it out there for now, anyway.

The worker at home is a touchy subject these days, and something that our culture really does not understand. It is difficult as a young woman these days not to be influenced by the pressure to think she is something less of a person if she does not go the career route or to wonder if I've wasted my college education by virtue of the fact that I never had the drive or ambition to have a career outside the home. I spent a lot of time with a subtle guilt that somehow there was something wrong with me because I really had no desire to enter the rat race but want and enjoy staying home and taking care of the home and the kids. I don't suffer from that so much anymore, but that pressure is real and the culture does tend to send the message that a wife who stays home to take care of the home is less than a person or somehow lazy. I do know that before the children came along, I would rattle around in the apartment because there are only so many times you can clean an already clean apartment, and I did work in an office part time to stay busy and add to our income. Once children came, however, I firmly believe it was right for me to stay home (oh, and I never feel like I'm rattling around because there isn't enough to do anymore - that just doesn't happen these days *grin*).

One thing I really wish we had done differently, however, was to have purposely planned better for having children. Another way I bought into the subtle thinking of our culture was that I thought we needed 'our' time first before we had kids and that we could just decide when and how many children we'd have and it would be easy. I really regret that now and what it means for how I didn't really view children as the blessing I should have at that time. I knew I wanted to have children eventually, but I still needed to change my thinking, and that's something I've repented of since. I did not know then that it would take us over a year to finally get pregnant when we decided it was time, nor did I know we would have three miscarriages and several Army deployments for Drew meaning we were separated for long times. I also wish we had disciplined ourselves to live on only my husband's income and saved mine. Because we didn't, we ended up piling up debt once J was born and I did stay home. Thankfully the Lord changed our thinking and now, nine years later after making needed changes in our thinking and spending habits, we are very close to finally being debt free.

While reading this chapter, I struggled a little with trying to figure out why I was bristling a little at first, when I ultimately agree with and submit to the overarching principle being taught. I think the reason I was a little uncomfortable is because I know that it is easy and tempting to turn a discussion of the principles into a legalistic set of rules that we develop as to how to follow this necessary and important teaching and impose our convictions on peripheral issues onto everyone else. I agree with the worker at home discussion, but I think we need to be careful to guard against a legalistic attitude or a prideful attitude there, too. At least, I do. We need to know and understand the overarching principles taught in Scripture, but avoid trying to tell everyone exactly how that will look in their individual homes. As long as we are submitting to the principles being taught, the specific working out of that obedience may look a little different in my home than it does in yours, though we are still being obedient workers at home and submissive wives. Where I see problems sometimes is when a family holds a very strong conviction that is right for their family on a certain way to work out their obedience to the overarching principle and then proceed to project that conviction on everyone else, when the Lord may not be leading every family to follow that particular conviction in that particular way in their home. (For example, a friend was discussing in an e-mail with me the other day that how we school our children seems to be becoming a new legalistic standard for holy living, and we need to be careful to let people trust the Lord for how their family will handle this issue. I don’t intend, at this time, to get into more discussion on that particular issue, but it is an example to illustrate what I mean.) I very much want to submit to the Bible’s teaching on being a godly wife and faithful parent, and for each of us this must be a matter of diligent prayer and consecration to the Lord as husband and wife dedicate their homes to Him and seek how He would have them live out obedience to His Word and the roles and principles He has instituted.

Where I got hit hardest this week, however, was in the second part of the chapter, the discussion of cultivating a Godly atmosphere in the home. This is something I want very much to do, but I know that I have a lot of growing to do still, and I pray about this often. This week the Lord really used our reading of TEW to open my eyes, and, though it hurts, I’m thankful for the discipline because I do need to work on this area a lot.

Drew is now working active duty Army Reserve for the next few months. Thankfully he does not have to go to Iraq this time, but it does mean that he is gone several days and nights each week as he works in Savannah at his unit headquarters. Well, Thursday night he was not home, and after an afternoon of cleaning baby poo and vomit, I needed a bath. I got Boo and the boys to bed and had already said good night and everything, so I thought I was free to get in the tub for a bubble bath with a book to read. I had just started in on The Excellent Wife when I heard one of the boys outside the door to my bathroom. He said, “Mom, do I need to go to sleep right now?” (Note the irony – I was trying to read a book about how to set a Godly atmosphere in the home while I proceeded to do the opposite).

I answered him, somewhat snottily, “Well, it’s now nine o’clock and I’ve already said good night and sent you to bed, so yes, you need to go to sleep now.”

Upon which he said, “Okay,” and went on back to his room.

I suddenly realized that I spend so much time getting on to the boys for their snotty attitudes and tones of voices and here I had answered him sarcastically and snottily, just like I tell them not to. It wasn’t so much the words I said, but the way I said them that wasn’t right. I should have just answered straight, but I didn’t. I was tired and ready to finally have a moment to myself and I gave in to the temptation to use a biting tone rather than just answer the question. And I do this all the time. It just comes naturally to me to take the sarcastic route rather than to just answer a question nicely. The realization that I am often sarcastic and snotty when I really just need to give a kind answer came crashing down on me and I had to repent. First I prayed, got dried off and dressed, and then I went to M’s room and apologized to him. I told him that I had just done what I am always telling them not to do with my unkind tone of voice.

And then I prayed again, realizing that this is a pattern in my life that needs to be addressed and changed. If I am to cultivate a Godly atmosphere in my home, I need to monitor my tone of voice and the way I treat my family. I am far too quick to answer with sarcasm when I need to be loving or understanding or kind. And it isn’t just to the children that I’m snotty, either. And I am far too easily frustrated. Ouch. I need to do a much better job of modeling respectful speech in front of my children. When they are snotty and sarcastic, they are parroting me. Even worse, when I’m snotty to my husband in front of them, I am not helping them learn to respect their dad. In light of the fact that the wife sets the tone of the home, that is extremely humbling, and makes my stomach hurt and my heart ache to think about how often I have set the wrong tone in our home. I do not want the tone of my home to be sarcastic, snotty or chaotic (another area where this chapter was used to discipline me, I have to admit).

I keep finding that I am uncomfortable when I read this book sometimes, even when it’s talking about things I thought I agreed with. I think sometimes the reason I’m bristling and my inner self is trying to brush off some things as “legalistic” is really because I need to repent of not setting a proper tone in our home. I don’t want to be the “Momma ain’t happy” kind of wife and mother. I don’t want my family to feel they’re walking on eggshells with me. I want our home to be a safe haven. And that means I need to have a heart that is tender and quiet before God. That means I need to be willing to seek their needs before my wants and learn to curb my sharp tongue. By His grace alone can this become the tone of our home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sometimes No Comment is Best

You know, the internet is a pretty nifty invention. At no other time in history have we been able to send and receive information so quickly. E-mail makes staying in touch with people so easy – don’t even need a stamp! Without the internet, I wouldn’t be writing on this blog right now. I had an e-mail from a blog friend recently who mentioned how neat our little blogging community is. And it is! Blogging really makes the world a smaller place in a sense. I’ve ‘met’ many people through blogging who I really wish I could live next door to and sit on the front porch with a cup of tea and chat. And just think, for those of us who belong to Christ, we will get to meet for real one day, even if we never do this side of Heaven. That’s a very cool thought. But it is nice to have the medium of blogs to connect with each other in the interim.

However, there is a real downside to the internet and e-mail and blogging. For one thing, for every site that has good information, there are tons that are inaccurate or even downright dangerous. You can't trust everything you read. For another thing, I’m very thankful I have a good filter on my e-mail. It is unbelievable the creepy, nasty, disgusting things that come EVERY DAY that my filter catches before they hit the inbox. UGH. And tons of irritating and annoying and stupid and heretical things that make it through, too. So, though e-mail is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, it has a huge downside, too. Anyone else hate, hate, hate inane forwards that are usually superstitious and usually full of wrong information? Sitemeter tells me I still get lots of hits about this one, so once a stupid e-mail is on the chain mail route, it never dies, apparently.

Now to the reason for this little rant of a post. Having done absolutely zero research, I’m making a big assumption here, but I think one of the fallouts of the popularity of blogging is that we are seeing a lot of newspapers’ online versions add the comment feature to their stories to kind of capitalize on the blogging phenomenon. I don’t guess I really know that this is why online newspapers are doing this, but it makes sense. I think this is not a good thing. I read the newspaper to get the facts, distorted though they may be by the reporters’ biases, but, I don’t really want to hear what every dingledork brain with a computer and a modem has to say about the news stories. I say this because, with the recent news that the pastor at my old church was killed in a plane crash, friends sent me links to the local paper and the articles concerning the accident. As I read, and wept for his family and my friends and fellow Christians there, I saw that people were leaving comments under the article. I was stunned at some of the breathtakingly vicious comments that were being written. There was some of the ugliest, most hateful stuff on there it broke my heart. There’s just no need for that. I know that a lot of people do not like Christians and have animosity towards us, but really it was awful what some were saying. I really think it is just not helpful to have comments for every news story. Some things just don’t need to be said. Yeah, I know, free speech, blah, blah, blah. Start your own blog and ooze away, but why put nastiness out there for all to see when a real family of real people is grieving and hurting? The people who do not have enough to do who spend all their time commenting like that (you see it all over the blogosphere, too) seem to somehow forget that we are real people behind these keyboards and screen names. They also seem to forget that the people in the news story are real people who are in need of much compassion today.

So, what I’m saying is, one of the things that is a super drawback to the internet is, on one hand a false intimacy – you feel like you know the people you’re interacting with on blogs and in comment threads, but unless you’ve really met them face to face, you don’t. Then, on the other hand, there is the impersonal nature of typing out a comment under a screen name and addressing a screen name that leads people to say things I am pretty sure they would never say in person to a ‘real’ person. I hate reading those comment exchanges, so I’m not doing it anymore.

And another thing that I find disturbing is that a lot of times we Christians get involved in those news comment threads and what we’re really doing is casting pearls before swine. I know we are to be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us, and I know that people who are not believers will not understand where we are coming from unless their eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit, so I’m not saying we should never comment. Don’t hear me saying that. But a lot of times Christians get involved in stupid arguments with people who are obviously not interested in the truth and are just trying to tweak them. Those kinds of comments really should just be ignored. Not to mention the self-identified Christians who pipe up with colossally bad theology, which only adds fuel to the fires already blazing. It is sad to see how threads go sometimes when people keep on feeding the trolls. They aren’t convincing anyone, just giving ammunition for mockery, and it’s sickening to read.

Okay, I’m climbing off the soapbox now and I'm going to pick up the boys from school and go walk on the treadmill at the YMCA to burn off steam while oldest son participates in his swimming practice.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weep With Those Who Mourn

With tears I ask you to please pray for the members of our former church in Brandon, FL, Bell Shoals Baptist Church, and the family of Pastor Forrest Pollock. He and his teenage son were taken home to be with the Lord in a plane crash on Monday. The church's statement is here.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Heart Issue

I’m behind on joining in the reading group discussing The Excellent Wife last week, but I’ve got a really long post to make up for it, since I just do not seem to be able to write short posts. Last week we finished Chapter 7, Christ: The Wife’s Heart. This was a hard chapter, but it was one of the best yet, I think. The issue of idols in the heart and learning to worship Christ wholeheartedly is one every believer needs to be aware of, not just wives, but I know this book is specifically dealing with being a godly wife.

There was so much packed into this chapter that I really wish I could just quote the whole thing, but I’m not going to do that. I very much like the focus that we are dealing with the wife’s day to day devotion to Christ and being aware that we are to daily consecrate our hearts to Him. Mrs. Peace quotes Lou Priolo, saying, “An idol can be anything. It may even be a good thing. But if we want it so badly that we sin if we don’t get it or sin to attain it, then we are worshipping an idol rather than Christ.” This is a very good, very thought-provoking definition of what an idol is. I especially appreciate the emphasis that the desire may even be a good desire in itself, but its how we react to it and set our affections that makes it an idol or not. I remember having a conversation with someone once who is very squeamish about the idea of suffering in life. We talked about how anything that can cause us to lose faith in God if we either lose it or never get to have it is an idol, because we want it more than we love God. That’s hard, isn’t it? But we really need to think about these things.

Mrs. Peace’s example of the fisherman and his desire to go fishing was good. Substitute any desire there, especially good desires, and it is interesting and disturbing to realize how easily things and ideas can replace pure devotion to Christ.

“Believers have a God-given capacity to have a pure devotion to and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, but they frequently struggle with other “gods”/lusts/cravings competing for these affections. These “desires” are not necessarily bad.”…….

If that person who loves fishing is denied an anticipated fishing trip, “A person whose heart is set on fishing may become angry, frustrated, feel self-pitying, anxious, manipulative, or bitter. Fishing is not sinful, but what a person thinks about it may be.”

Think about your life at the moment. Substitute whatever is going on that has you feeling angry, frustrated, self-pitying, anxious, manipulative, or bitter. There is a good chance that that ‘whatever’ may be a good desire which has taken too high a place in your affections and has become an idol. Those aren’t easy things to think about. I’ve been examining my own heart this week, I’ll tell you. I was humbled looking at her list of things that could become idols – things we set our hearts on – and how many of them are danger areas for me if I am not careful. I had to circle several. And I thought of others that weren’t on the list.

To me, a key that I am getting things out of perspective and beginning to set my affections on something other than Christ are summed up in this statement: “When they do not turn out as you may desire, frustration and perhaps anxiety begin to build even to the point of desperation.” When frustration and anxiety build, I need to use those negative emotions as a real warning to examine what it is that I’ve set my heart’s desire on and get into the Word and pray and ask God to help me realign my desires with His will, because, “(w)hen something is so important to us that we sin to get it or we sin when it doesn’t go well, it can be an idol in our heart.”

The entire section on God-honoring desires was very meaningful to me as I read last week. She is right that such a heart is a grace gift from God. Mrs. Peace quotes Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I have heard that scripture so misused – treating God as if He is obligated to give us just whatever we think we want (like a genie as was mentioned under the false saviors/refuges discussion). She carefully explained that this verse means that God will put the desires in our heart that He wants to be there as we seek to delight in Him. We need to ask God for that kind of passion, to honor and glorify Him, and diligently seek Him in His written Word. I very much like how she pointed out also, that we need to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness, to deliberately think grateful thoughts to God – even when we don’t feel like it. Amen! It really isn’t about me and my feelings, we need to be learning to look at things from an eternal perspective and quit the navel gazing and “woe-is-meism” that we are so prone to do. Boy did this get into my business this week.

The point being made is that what we spend the most time focusing our thoughts on and planning for and longing for is what we have our heart set on. Some of the desires may not be wrong in and of themselves, but they are not where our deepest longing should be placed. I noticed a striking difference in the list of possible wrong desires – if they become idolatrous – and that was that they were all “me” focused, how I feel, what I want, how special I want to feel, etc. I notice, too, that just having the desire isn't necessarily always wrong, but allowing a good desire to become too important to me is what is wrong. The right desires were God focused. I’d like to list those things Mrs. Peace highlighted as right things to set our heart toward because I know that if I will spend more time cultivating those kinds of thoughts and desires, the other things won’t be so difficult to deal with:

"1. That I may know God’s Word and obey it.
2. That I may delight in Him.
3. That I may seek Him with all my heart.
4. That I may be pleasing to Him regardless of my circumstances
(this one really hit me hard).
5. That I may cultivate an attitude of joy and gratitude in what God is doing in my life no matter what my husband does or does not do
(and I add here and no matter if things in life are not going exactly as I would want).
6. That I may have joy in God deciding how my life and circumstances can glorify Him the most, that He can use me for His glory. "

Really this boils down to our understanding of God. Is He sovereign? Is He Lord? Am I submitting to Him? Am I willing to serve and love Him even if things don’t seem to go the way I want? Am I willing to surrender my wants to Him and let Him have the rule of my life? These are difficult questions to answer, but as I thought about them this week, I kept coming back to my recent study of Matthew. Jesus took my sin and bled and died and rose again so that I could be made right with God. In light of that awesome truth, I bow my knees and cry, “Holy! Merciful Savior!” I want to learn to view my circumstances through that lens all my days and learn to desire Him more than anything else. In other words, I’m asking God to give me desires that will honor Him and to give me the strength and eyes to see the idols that I am prone to hold in my heart and to learn to recognize when something is taking His rightful place on the throne of my heart.

In closing, Mrs. Peace gave us several very useful ways to set our minds on the things above. The last one was extremely meaningful and difficult for me. “Be alert to sinful anger (you’ll feel frustrated) and/or anxiety as an indicator that your motive is likely not righteous. As soon as you are aware that you are sinning, confess it to God. Take the time and effort to think a God-honoring thought in place of the idolatrous thought.”

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ve probably seen that I have talked about times when I struggle with my temper and frustration. I see that this is an indicator that somehow my thinking or motives are not righteous in those situations, and I want to be more aware of this and more diligent to stop and recognize this, in the heat of the moment and learn to think God-honoring thoughts. It was pointed out that it is not our circumstances that make us sin, but our idolatrous heart. May I have ears to hear and eyes to see, that I will not give in to the temptation to blame my circumstances for my sin but to recognize it as sin and repent. I do so want to be found faithful. And because Jesus is ever interceding for me as one of His, I can trust Him to continue to grow me and lead me in sanctification. For His glory.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Peek-A-Boo, Look Who's Two!

Boo turned two today. Where is the time going? How is she two already?

She had a big day! Went to church. Cute pink dress! After lunch at our house with Gram and Grandad and Uncle Matt, she took a nap. Then some friends came over this afternoon and we had cake. She has had a fun day. Here's some pictures.

Smiling with Daddy

With Mommy and Daddy (Monk took the picture)

What are you people singing about?

Yummy cake

That's my brother. Isn't he funny?

Love my new playhouse. Thank you, Grandma and Grandad P.!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Some Thoughts At the End of My Study of Matthew

Yesterday was our last CBS meeting until we start up again in September with Genesis. (Small aside – I am so excited about studying Genesis next year!) We had share day, and I eventually shared, but like usual I was a babbling person and didn’t say all I really meant to and babbled more than I would have liked (I don’t like talking in front of people, and should have prepared my thoughts better, I think), but it was a good day, nonetheless. I needed this Bible study group, and I really wish I had known it was there four years ago, but I know it now. With finding CBS and with moving to our new church, I finally do not feel like this place I'm living in is such a wilderness. I finally feel like I'm home.

Boo is going to be sad it is over for the summer, too. Every time we are in that part of town where our meeting was held, I start hearing her in the backseat saying, “Katie, Katie,” because her teacher was Ms. Katie, and Boo gets quite upset if we do not turn into the parking lot there because it isn’t Thursday and we aren’t there for CBS. I am so glad she likes it there, and that she is learning, too.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m taking away from our study of Matthew, and I can’t nail it down to one specific thing. I have noticed that with so much discussion about being Kingdom citizens throughout the weeks, I have begun examining my motives and why I do things more often. This hasn’t been a conscious change, but I have noticed that I’m becoming more aware of this, and it is something I want to continue. I want to be a true disciple of Christ, usable and fruitful, not merely an outwardly clean vessel that tries to hide inner dirt. I want to be a surrendered follower of Christ, not just following lists of do’s and don’t’s but serving Him with honest devotion. He is so very worthy of whole-hearted devotion.

Thinking again about the temple veil that was torn top to bottom was very meaningful, too. It is absolutely amazing to think that when Jesus cried with a loud voice, a victory cry, “It is finished,” that the holy of holies in heaven was opened to those who would place their full trust in Him. His victory there on the cross is our gain. He paid in full the debt I owe and has reconciled me to God through His blood. My sin is forgiven and I am freed to worship and love and obey Him. What a difference this makes in how I pray. At least, it should if I will keep in mind what a great sacrifice was made so that I could approach Him with confidence because Jesus has made that way and is ever interceding on my behalf. What an incredible, amazing God we serve! He loved us when we were still sinners far from Him with no thought for His glory. His compassion and mercy and grace are overwhelming.

And when we discussed the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, it was pointed out that when Jesus said He will be with us always, even to the end of the age, that ‘always’ literally means, “all the days.” You know, what struck me differently this time, and the thing I sort of babbled my way through yesterday is that when we’ve studied this passage, so often we stress the “Go” part, and we should! But somehow I haven’t thought enough about the, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” part. I said yesterday that I have felt such guilt because I tend to be a very shy person, almost like a hermit at times, and I have a hard time talking to anyone about anything until I warm up to them, so I’ve struggled with knowing we have this awesome call to share the gospel and knowing I want to do this because people need to know the truth, but I’ve felt like such a failure because I’m not one of those outgoing people who never knows a stranger and can somehow start up a conversation with just anyone and turn every conversation to the gospel. In the teaching on this, we learned that the word go is literally, “as you are going.” That has been bubbling around in my mind ever since.

Here’s what I’m taking with me, we are to be living in this world as Kingdom citizens, learning what it means to live out the beatitudes and the teachings of Christ and His apostles as we read His word. We need to hide His word in our hearts and pray for His Spirit to grant us understanding so that we will faithfully apply that word to our life – or as my pastor often says, “Obey what you know.” I like that. When I learn it, I need to learn to obey it, not just file it away in my mental “Correct Doctrine” folder, but really think about it and chew on it and repent when my pattern of thinking doesn’t line up with it, because right thinking will produce right behavior – something else my pastor often says. And, as I go through life, I need to be living such a life that I will have opportunity to give a reason for the hope that is within me. I was very reminded this time of the command Jesus has given us to be alert, be ready for His coming, and to watch and pray lest we enter temptation. I need to love my neighbors as myself, be willing to not be that hermit and get to know people so they will see the light of Christ and I’ll have opportunity to witness to His amazing grace. In other words, I want to be living with an eternal perspective, not a temporal one. I may not ever be one of those people who is gifted at walking up to people cold and starting in on a serious conversation. But I can be faithful in my day to day life to impact those people He places near me and willing to take the time and effort to warm up to people and be available and open to opportunities to talk about Jesus. And I can be faithful because Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth and He is with me all the days. I don’t have to do it in my own strength. I don’t have to rely only on my faulty personality. I can pray that He will unlock my shy and shrinking violet tongue and open and widen my self-centered vision and broaden my view away from me and my small, comfortable circle of people who are already my friends to see the needs around me. I can pray that He would grant me the desire and eyes and heart to see and love people as He would have me do.

He is with us, all the days, even to the very end of the age. How I want to be found faithful to the end of my days. How I want to grow in the knowledge and application of His word. How I want to be investing in eternity with my children, my husband and people I meet along the way. How I want to love Jesus with all I am, and to obey Him well in the life He has given me and in the way He leads me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tragic Words

I’ve been reading the book of Judges recently. There are some very bizarre stories in Judges. It is amazing to think that these things did not happen long after Joshua died. It did not take long for the people to forget God and begin doing what was right in their own eyes. Those tragically sad words, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” are repeated throughout Judges and they are the final words of the book, summarizing it effectively. They are tragic commentary indeed, because what was right in the people’s eyes was apostasy, idol worship, their own way. Interesting that it never seemed to be right in their own eyes to seek the Lord, but always to seek their own way. There is none righteous, no, not one. And what tragic results their own way reaped, over and over again.

What a warning!

Lord, my heart is deceitful, who can know it? Your ways are higher than mine. Teach me to set my heart and affection on You alone and replace my fallen desires with Your holy ones. Help me to desire and seek Your glory. I don’t want to do what is right in my own eyes, but to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Sometimes what seems right in my own eyes can be so deafening, teach me to shut out the sinful flesh and feast on Your word and hide it in my heart that I may not sin against You. I need to know Your word so that my mind is filled with the truth, for it is the truth that sets me free to worship You. You are the way, the truth and the life, Jesus. Only through You can anyone come to the Father. You have reconciled me and cleansed me, Jesus, let me live like I believe it! Jesus, may it truly be my prayer that I seek one thing, and one thing only – to know You in the beauty of your holiness and to seek Your glory. I do not want the commentary on my life to say that I did what was right in my own eyes. Help me to fight the temptation to think my way is best or to grow weary in fighting the temptation to just go with the flow, and help me to be diligent to know Your way and live like a Kingdom citizen, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus shed for me and freed to live for the glory of Christ.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Wife's Role

Today over at Leslie’s place we’re discussing chapter 6 of The Excellent Wife, which talks about the wife’s role. I had a very hard time with this chapter. I’m just being honest. In fact, I went to my husband and my dad to ask them about the part that bothered me on this one. Also, true confession, I usually try to write my post first and then read Leslie’s and other people’s posts on the chapter. This time, I cheated and looked at what Leslie had to say first. Seems she was a little frustrated with this chapter, also, and you can read why on her blog.

Here’s my feeble attempt to blog about chapter 6. I agree with the basic, underlying premise that a wife is to submit to her husband in a biblical Christian marriage and that he is to be the head of the home and she is his helper suitable. I do understand, accept and want to model that in my marriage. Where I had trouble with this chapter was Peace’s discussion of the wife glorifying the husband as he glorifies God and the diagram that went with that discussion. I had to read ahead to the next chapter where she discusses Christ being the wife’s heart and the discussion of idols in the heart to reassure myself of where this was heading, so I think I get what is being said, and that it isn’t what I first thought.

Where I’m having a problem is the use of the word “glorify.” To me, that word has a very narrow and specific meaning, and it is to worship, bring honor and glory to. God will not share His glory with another. I am primarily accountable to Christ, as my Lord, King and Savior in how well I live out the role He has for me in my marriage to Drew. I think the husband and wife both should have as their motive to be to glorify Christ. I am not saying that Mrs. Peace is arguing for something different, but I have a hard time thinking that the arrow of glory goes toward my husband while not pointing to Christ, as the diagram showed. I think the arrow of glory should point to Christ for both husband and wife, and then it should be carefully explained what each person’s role is in giving Him glory within the context of marriage. Now, how we go about glorifying Christ is what we need to discuss. The husband is to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loves the Church. The wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord. In learning to live out that model, we both glorify Christ. We have different roles in fulfilling that ultimate goal, glorifying Christ, but that is to be both of our motivations. I think, bottom line, that this is actually what Mrs. Peace is saying in this discussion, especially after peeking ahead and skimming the next chapter, but, like Leslie, I would have liked a fuller explanation of what she meant here.

My dad made the interesting observation that the only command Paul seems to deduce from that passage in 1 Corinthians 11:7 is that men are to have their heads uncovered and women to have them covered when they pray and that men are to have short hair and women to have long hair. That, obviously wasn’t the point of the discussion in this chapter, and, as a little aside to stir up thought, I’ve never really heard a good discussion of this topic (head coverings) and why we don’t do it today, except to say that it was probably a cultural thing, and that may very well be. Not to get off on a rabbit trail, but I have wondered about it before. Spiritually speaking, my husband is my covering, as a wife, and it could fall under the category of women not exercising authority over men in the Church.

I have been doing some thinking about how well I practice this submission to my husband’s leadership and how well I understand what it might mean to obey him. That’s a hard thing. I like how Leslie pointed out that when we think this is hard we need to remember that as Christians, we are called to sacrificial lives. I really do want what is best for my husband, that, in essence, is what real love is – not thinking primarily about my own comfort and selfishness, but actively seeking his best. I realized today that I don’t do this very well. For example, we have a pile of clothes in the floor in our room that need to go to the dry cleaners. One outfit for me and when Drew saw my outfit there last week, he asked me if that was waiting to go to the cleaners. I told him it was and that I just hadn’t gotten there with it yet. He asked if I’d take some of his shirts and pants when I go. I said I would. It’s been a week and I still haven’t taken those clothes. Granted, I truly forgot to take them, I wasn’t willfully making him wait, but, still, the effect is that I still haven’t taken care of a very reasonable thing he asked me so nicely to do. When I walked past that pile this morning and remembered, again, that I really needed to get them to the cleaners, the thought struck me that, though Drew has not said another word about his clothes, it really isn’t right that I’ve let them sit so long. It is lazy and selfish of me not to just take them the next time I go out. So, they are now in the front seat of the car and I’ll drop them off when I go out this afternoon.

To sum up, I think a lot of this whole submission thing really could be covered by being courteous and taking to heart 1 Corinthians 13 and applying true biblical, selfless love and looking for specific ways to help my husband and looking beyond just what I want all the time and thinking purposely how to help him and how to minister to him. I think I do understand what Mrs. Peace is teaching, but I would have liked a better explanation in this chapter, I think. So, that’s where I am today as I continue to work out in my own understanding what it means to be a biblical, Christ-centered wife.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Must See

Drew and I went to see this movie this afternoon:

I highly recommend this movie. My husband passed me a tissue when I began crying during part of it. We are planning to buy the video once it's available and will be showing it to our kids when they are just a little older. I think everyone needs to see this.
Because the boys are so interested in science, Drew and I had already been looking at some things we could use at home to bulk up their science education from a worldview perspective that does not bow to the Darwinist propaganda that has a stronghold on everything from most museums to secular education and to help them to develop a biblical worldview and to have the tools to think through some of the issues that will come up as they go through school. We are even more convinced we need to be proactive on this now, though we were already convinced before. In fact, we've found a science curriculum we're going to use with them at home this summer and throughout the school year that I'm very excited about. I'll try to blog more about it once we find out more about it.
In the meantime, if you get the chance, I really highly recommend seeing this movie.
Updated 5/2/08: I wanted to add this thought: The interesting thing about most of the people Ben Stein talked to in the movie was that most of them were not pushing for the scientific establishment to accept Intelligent Design, they were just asking for the freedom to explore the questions. After all, every kid who does a science fair project learns about the scientific method and asking questions then exploring the evidence. That's all these people were asking for was the freedom to ask certain questions and research them. What was exposed in the movie was the lockstep kind of mentality that if one even questions Natural Selection and the Darwinist model or even mentions Intelligent Design they've committed what one person in the movie called a "scientific sin." It's the suppression of freedom to explore other options that is so concerning. Seems to me if Darwinism were such a solid theory people would welcome the questioning - if something is true it should stand up under scrutiny, right? One man in the movie nailed the issue when he said that it is a battle of worldviews. That's exactly what it is. And it's important that people be aware of it. It was very interesting to see how the end results of Darwinist thinking were developed in the movie and where that worldview can lead.