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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do you feel safer?

What is the world coming to? Now we read that in at least two British playgrounds, parents are not allowed. Parents cannot be inside the play area because they have not had background checks.
Children as young as five will instead be supervised by council 'play rangers' who have been cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau.
Councillors insist they are merely following Government regulations and cannot allow adults to walk around playgrounds 'unchecked'.
Read more at the dailymail.co.uk.

I thought this reader comment was particularly on the mark: "Once free societies will retreat incrementally, one trivial step after another, into a totalitarian hell." (Comment attributed to William, Pittsburgh, PA 28/10/2009)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Introducing...

I'm very excited to introduce you to my father's new poetry blog, JC Feedman's Poetry. Dad began writing poems as a young man. For years we've treasured these poems, framed them, and created booklets for family and friends, but this is the first time Dad's published them online in a blog format for all to read.

Although his blog is just now debuting, there are several decades of poems in his full collection. I'm eager to read them as he publishes them.

Dad is gifted by God to be able to write poetry in rhyming verse that expresses whatever he is thinking or feeling. Usually he doesn't need to fish around for a rhyme--it just rolls off his pen as he expresses his thoughts. (I'm in awe of this because whenever I attempt a poem that follows a meter and rhyming pattern it is a very forced and labored experience.)

I hope you'll click over and read a few poems, then bookmark his site and watch for new posts.

You may remember I've previously posted one of Dad's poems about a trip to one of Nairobi's slums. Also, you can read a Father's Day tribute to my dad here (2008) and here (2009).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Herge's Tintin


Yesterday I was at the library, alone, picking up books we needed for school. As I walked down the aisle I spotted the Tintin books. I realized Lane was ready. I thought Tintin might really grab him. It did. He's come a long way since last year at about this time.

The Adventures of Tintin are a series of comic strips by the Belgian Herge. Written in French over five decades (1929-1976), the journalist Tintin gets into all sorts of dashing adventures that involve world intrigue, Interpol, kidnappings, rescues, artifacts, and geographic locales that span the globe. The comic strip's art work keeps young boys (and girls) engaged and motivated to work out the big words and even foreign words that are sprinkled into the dialogues.

Eastern History

We are in the midst of three weeks studying ancient India, China, and the Americas.

Any study of ancient history will provide plenty of opportunity to learn about false religions, but with the exception of Hinduism and Buddhism, most false ancient religions no longer influence modern societies. I appreciate that Tapestry of Grace returns to Eastern history at least once every year and puts the development of these cultures into the context of world history (although Eastern history didn't intersect with Western history for many centuries). We last discussed Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in week 19 of Year 4 (last year) as we studied about the history of India and Pakistan. (Islam dates to 600 A.D., so we will not study it until next year.)

Sydney and Hope read Buddha Stories and were able to see that the stories were very similar to Aesop's Fables. Buddhism strives to obtain a level of goodness that requires self-denial and self-discipline. What's wrong with that? Tapestry of Grace teacher's notes assisted me in discussing this issue with the kids. (The teacher's notes in TOG are very valuable. I'm always peeking at the Rhetoric level discussion notes to prepare me even as I teach grammar students.) Would superior morality solve the world's problems? No. The sin problem is deeper than outward behavior and self-discipline cannot overcome our sin nature. We need redemption.

Here are the kids playing Parcheesi on the board we made during our week of studying ancient India. Parcheesi is not an ancient game, but a modern, Americanized version of the ancient Indian game Pachesi. Because of the complexity of Pachesi, we opted to make the simpler modern version.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

People Economics

From Twitter:
@JimPethokoukis Then again, I would permanently cut payroll taxes for workers with large families since they are producing more workers.
That's Jim Pethokoukis of CNBC.

While some resent us for adding to the CO2 levels by having five kids (how dare we breathe?), others thank us for adding to the future workforce (and tax base). Are people costs or resources?

I'd say our value transcends both ideas. We are image bearers of the Creator, but in need of redemption. We abound in the resources of creativity, intelligence, and beauty that come from His Image, but we can only be reconciled to Him at a great, great cost to His Son. At that price, we are precious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby Update

There is nothing like the sound of the thump-thump-thump of your baby's heartbeat to cheer you up after weeks and weeks of unrelenting nausea. Now eleven weeks pregnant, I'm hoping to feel better very soon! This first trimester has been very difficult, so much so that we wondered a bit if we were having twins again. It didn't seem likely from my size, however, but just to be sure my doctor did a quick scan to check.

What a joy it was to see our tiny little baby floating around in (her) sac, waving (her) arms and kicking (her) legs, (her) umbilical cord floating like a thread tethering (her) to the side of (her) little world. Just one precious baby, not twins. (If you don't know me in life, that might seem crazy, but for my family helping me through this trimester and remembering how sick I was with our twins--and how much less sick I felt with our singleton boys--it was worth checking.)

By the way, all of this, plus a 160 beats per minute heartbeat, has me convinced that we have a girl. Girl or boy, the pronoun "it" just doesn't seem right. Time will tell. We'll know for sure, hopefully, in a couple of months.

At Least They're Reading?

Here is a very good New Yorker article, "The Defiant Ones" about the sad state of recent children's picture books. How discerning are you about the message of the picture books you're reading to your kids? In short, new picture books portray the diminished authority of parents over their children. (It also helps explain why Olivia books rub me wrong.)

And here is Albert Mohler's response to the New Yorker piece, which helps put it in Biblical perspective.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Edwards Academy Magazine IV

Editor's Note: We use this space from time to time to publish the writings of our students. Please remember that these essays belong to their authors, Hope Edwards and Sydney Edwards, and should not be copied or used in any way without permission.

Rosh Hashanah
By Hope Edwards
October 9, 2009

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. In the Torah God told the Jews to celebrate “a day of blowing” on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, of the Jewish calendar. On the morning of Rosh Hashanah at the synagogue, Ba’al Tekiyah, the man who blows the shofar, trumpets the ram’s horn as the Rabbi calls out the notes. That day no one does any work, but the Jews present an offering to God. There are ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, which are known as the Days of Awe.

Jews still celebrate Rosh Hashanah today. Families go to the synagogue where the shofar is blown. The blowing of the shofar is a wake-up call for the Jews to repent. The Rabbi reads from the Torah the story of Abraham and Isaac. After they leave the synagogue, Jewish families go to a river or stream and throw into the water what is in their pockets, symbolically throwing away their sin. This ceremony is called Taslich. Afterward they return home and eat a honey cake to celebrate that they have been forgiven.

Rosh Hashanah, like all Jewish holidays points to Jesus. Through the story of Abraham and Isaac, Jesus’ coming is foreshadowed. God provided Jesus to take our place, just like when God sent the ram to save Isaac. The ram was a substitute sacrifice so that Isaac could be spared. God did not spare his son but sacrificed him so we could be saved. The blowing of the shofar also points to the return of Jesus, which will happen at the trumpet call of God (I Thessalonians 4:16). Rosh Hashanah is an important Jewish holiday celebrating the spiritual new year and reminding Christians that Christ will return again for His people.

Sukkoth
By Sydney Edwards
October 9, 2009

Sukkoth, also known as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles, is a feast that God told the Israelites to celebrate at harvest time. He commanded them that on the fifteenth day of the seventh month they should set aside eight days for remembrance and worship. God said that on the eighth day they were to hold a sacred assembly and present fire offerings to the Lord. He told them to build a tabernacle on the roof of their houses to remind them of when he tabernacled with them in the desert.

Jews even today celebrate Sukkoth. Jewish families build a Sukkoh, a kind of hut or shelter in their backyards. Jews also hang fruit from the ceiling. On the first evening they have dinner in the Sukkoh, but before they eat they ceremonially invite Abraham and Sarah to eat dinner with them. After eight days they celebrate Simhat Torah. Simhat is the day when the Rabbi opens the “ark of the covenant” and takes out the Torah scrolls. Then they march around the synagogue seven times holding the scrolls. Simhat Torah celebrates God’s word, the Torah.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Feast of Booths. One way that Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Booths is explained in John 7:37, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” On the Feast of Booths in Jesus’ day Jews prayed for rain and for a good harvest in the coming year. Jesus said that He is the living water that provides for all our needs forever. Sadly, most Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The feast also points to the day that Christ will once again tabernacle with those who believe in Him, in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Adams on Human Nature and Government

John Adams wrote in his journal in the early 1770s,
"Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people...There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all the others, by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors, in the human hive. No man has yet produced any revelation from heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men. Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike...

The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved...

Ambition is one of the more ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable...

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."

His wife Abigail wrote to him in 1775,
"I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in many or few is ever grasping. The great fish swallow up the small and he who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances."
(As quoted in John Adams by David McCullough, 2001, p. 69-70 and p. 101.)
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