Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Competing

Recently the kids competed in the Awana Games. Hope and Sydney's team took first on their circle, Lane's team took second.










Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bill Maher Swings and Misses

Homeschooling is often the target of ad hominem attacks from those who disapprove of parents teaching their children at home. This latest from Bill Maher, infamous for his foul mouth, is particularly laughable:
"Rick Santorum homeschools his children because he does not want them eating [from the Tree of Knowledge]. He wants them locked up in the Christian madrassa that is the family living room not out in public where they could be infected by the virus of reason."
Read more here.

Bill Maher may think that the beliefs of Christian homeschoolers are foolish, but one thing is certain: Christian homeschoolers are not insulated from opposing ideas.

Rick Santorum responded to this by saying,
"All of a sudden, if you're instilling faith and teaching them about God in your home, you're a madrassa, according to these folks, and as if reason doesn't take place in the home. Our -- our children will out-reason him -- my 12-year-old will out-reason Bill Maher when it comes to understanding, you know, what, you know, how logic works because he is completely illogical." (On Fox News' Hannity 3/12, quoted here.)
I'm confident that this was no idle remark. While I don't know how the Santorums homeschool, many homeschooling families teach logic to their 12-year-olds, and I would imagine that his son is studying formal logic right now. It takes work to learn to build arguments and refute opposing views. It is so much easier to simply smear and mock, which is Bill Maher's bread-and-butter.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Santorum Wins Kansas Caucuses

If Rick Santorum holds a campaign rally near you, GO see him!

We had a great experience meeting the Santorums last Friday, ahead of the Kansas Caucuses on Saturday. He tries to shake everyone's hand and post for pictures with all who ask. Mr. Edwards and I were very impressed with Senator Santorum, who spoke for roughly half-an-hour without notes or a teleprompter. He is very substantive and gives wide-ranging speeches that explain policy and principle.

Santorum doggedly stands for freedom. He understands that our nation was founded on the idea that our rights are inalienable and freedoms are not granted by government, but protected by government. For more about that, check out this piece by Dan Henniger of the WSJ. Here's Rick Santorum's website.


We made homemade signs for the rally, which Rick signed. He even signed, "To Lane    Rick Santorum" on the sign that Lane made. A few of our friends were also at the rally, and some of them are in these pictures.





Rick's wife Karen is a gracious and accomplished woman.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Incredible

Each Wednesday evening at our church, I'm privileged to share the good news of Jesus to Awana guests. Many of them have never been to a church and know nothing of Jesus, except what they may have heard here and there. Last night, as I folded the Evangecube* to the picture of Jesus, risen from the dead, I explained that, "Jesus didn't stay dead. After three days in the tomb He rose from the dead and came alive again."

One boy said, "It isn't true."

Later, as I talked with him more about the truth of Jesus' resurrection, I agreed with him that it is a shocking thing. But what good would it be to say that Jesus could forgive us and save us if He didn't have power over death?

But the guest in my Awana class represents the majority view of our culture. What is it like to be a kid growing up in a church environment, but surrounded by a world that denies the truths that your church and family teaches? I think church kids tend to put church ideas into a separate compartment in their mind from the other things they learn about life and the world around them.

When I wrote Lord, Have Mercy, I wanted to help families show their kids that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God and that this incredible truth--proved by Jesus through miracle after miracle--matters today. It changes everything. It cannot be kept in a compartment of "church ideas."

Throughout Lord, Have Mercy, kids are often asked, "Why does this matter to you today?"

Why does it matter that Jesus calmed the wind and waves? Churched kids often answer with things like, "When I'm scared, Jesus can calm me," or "When my life is hard, Jesus will be with me." These nice answers miss the incredibleness of what Jesus did.  Jesus Christ stood up in the boat and rebuked the wind and waves. The storm stopped. Jesus Christ, this man from Nazereth who said that He was sent from God, stood up and controlled the weather.
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36 NIV)
The Lord, Have Mercy devotion for Week Three, Thursday asks, "In light of this verse, why does it matter that Jesus holds power over the weather?"

Jesus taught that we must believe in Him to be saved from God's wrath for sin. This is a big deal. But He also showed that He was no ordinary man. He showed that He had supernatural power over our natural world. We can put faith in Him with confidence.

If you are using Lord, Have Mercy to guide family devotions, I hope that you are able to challenge your children to realize the incredibleness and the reality of Jesus Christ.

*Click on the picture of Toby in the right sidebar to watch a video of Toby telling about Jesus using the Evangecube, when he was three years old.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Not Home Yet

We saw Building 429 sing "Where I Belong" at Winterjam recently and now this song is a family favorite with the kids.



This song reminds me of what biographer Carl Sandburg had to say about Nancy Hanks Lincoln. The mother of Abraham Lincoln is mostly unknown to historians. She died when Lincoln was just a nine-year-old boy. She lived a hard life, as did nearly all American frontier women. Sandburg said this about Nancy Hanks Lincoln:


She read their Bible. One who knew her well said she was "a ready reader." She was a believer and knew--so much of what she believed was yonder--always yonder. Every day came cooking, keeping the fire going, scrubbing, washing, patching, with little time to think or sing of the glory she believed in--always yonder. (Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, p. 6.)
Is a focus on the hope of glory just escapism? It is hard to swallow that when Paul said, "To live is Christ, to die gain." I wonder if one blessing of affliction and hardship is that we are better able to yearn for glory yonder.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heavy and Light

There are a lot of things on my mind this week, both heavy and light.
He told them, "Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one's life is not in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)

And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor...but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy... (I Corinthians 13:3,4)
Those verses cured me of my iPhone envy and God put my priorities in order.

Like many of you, I've been watching with interest the national conversation about birth control and abortion. Many Americans do not believe preserving pre-born life is a moral obligation. If, however, you conclude that a pre-born infant has the same moral status as a breathing infant, I would imagine that you would conclude that abortion is immoral. These "experts," however, say that we might as well allow babies to be killed.

News pieces like this reinforce in my mind the consequences to our culture of tossing out theism. Without theism, life becomes meaningless. In spite of attempts to preserve meaning in life without theism, it just cannot be done. If life is meaningless, selfishness reigns.


Life is incredibly hard and often disappointing. Without the hope of Jesus Christ, I would feel like giving in, and my life is so far without significant trial. I'm reminded that without a foundation of theism, meaning in life (and death) is lost. The Universe Next Door by James Sire, a book I read last summer, helped me understand how we arrived at this point.

I read I Corinthians 15 this morning and Johnny Cash's song "I Corinthians 15:55" came to my mind. When I imagine myself crossing the river to the Celestial City, I always imagine myself old and worn, ready to cross over, in Cash's words, to my Redeemer beckoning me.


But Jesus said, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’ “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Am I ready to cross over tonight, if beckoned for? With this thought lingering, I read of Andrew Breitbart's sudden death last night.

***
Oh Death, where is thy sting?
Oh Grave, where is they victory?
Oh Life, you are a shining path.
And hope springs eternal, just over the rise,
When I see my redeemer beckoning me.
***

Those are heavy thoughts. Now, on the lighter side...

We're learning about Thomas Edison! Toby and I are reading the "Childhood of Famous Americans" biography of Thomas Edison. I love this series of easy-to-read biographies. We also found that there are lots of amazing film clips of Edison from the 1920s available to watch on YouTube.

I'm adapting Rikki Tikki Tavi into a script for our Tapestry of Grace co-op to perform at our end-of-the-year school celebration. Our family loves the story of Rikki Tikki Tavi, and this will tie in perfectly with our focus on the British Empire, 19th century India, and Rudyard Kipling in the last quarter of school. We're capping off the third quarter with a Celebration Night this Friday. The kids will perform a readings of Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" and Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" and will sing Home on the Range. We'll finish off the evening by dancing the Reel.
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