Final Instructions

Our puppies are leaving for new homes.

The older unnamed child asked when we were going to baptise them.  The unnamed woman had to explain that even though we think of them as members of the family, animals don’t get baptised.

The younger unnamed child is still intent on sending them on their way properly catechised. Teaching it the etiquette of veneration, she was sitting on the sofa with one of them over the weekend crossing it and telling it, “The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, bow”and pushing it’s nose down slightly. The puppy didn’t seem to mind, though if you ask me, it was really just going through the motions.

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Larry Norman, RIP

Thanks to my friend Greg for letting me know that the Father Christian Rock passed from here to eternity in the wee hours of Sunday morning. He emailed me the link to a story on the Christianity Today website.

I was never a big fan of Larry. Nothing personal. As a performer, he didn’t appeal to me, particularly when I first discovered contemporary Christian music in the late ’70s. I liked other people doing some of his songs. In the very early days of performing – and while still a dispensational pre-millenialist (and that’s going back a long ways)  – like ever other Christian teen I used to play “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”. Watching some of his performances on YouTube, I think I would enjoy him more now.

Nonetheless, I don’t underestimate the impact he had on a lot of artists to whom I made much more of an immediate connection, as well as his importance as a groundbreaking artist. Even a two-bit songwriter like me owes him a debt of gratitute.

Thanks, Larry.

I keep looking at this mirror
At the age around my eyes
Time is such an earnest laborer
Precision is its neighbor
Lay my body in the ground
But let my spirit touch the sky

– “I Hope I’ll See You In Heaven”

Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of Larry, in a place of light, in place of green pasture, in a place of revival, whence all pain, sorrow and sighing have fled away.

Textbook Agenda

I’m not suggesting that textbooks in this country are biased and driven by a political agenda, but I’m looking for another satisfactory explanation for the following definitions in a textbook I’ve been given to teach history.

Socialism: movement to make the country fully democratic, with equal rights for everyone

Left-wing: believing that society should be made more equal

Right-wing: believing that the country should be strong and that ordinary people should have little or no power

Why, how could I think that somebody (like author Andrew Boxer) has a “Left-wing good/Right-wing bad” or “Socialism good/Capitalism bad” message they are trying to get across to 14- to 16-year-olds? Of course he never comes out directly and says it. He doesn’t need to, really.

Doctors Tried to Kill a Healthy Baby

I can understand how people can be opposed to abortion and the death penalty. What I can’t understand is how people could opposed capital punishment, yet have no problem with abortion.

Death penalty opponents often (as in just about every time I see or hear one) say, “With an imperfect justice system, there is no doubt that an innocent person will be executed.” How many of them take the same view when it comes to abortions performed on the grounds of the serious illness or handicap of the foetus?

In the England, Wales and Scotland, a child in the womb diagnosed with a serious handicap can be aborted up to the time of natural delivery. Doctors wanted to abort Brandon Kramer. He was diagnosed with rhomboencephalosynapsis. He would be born blind and deaf and only survive for a few hours. That diagnosis was after they said he had Downs Syndrome.

His parents are glad they withstood the pressure from doctors. His father put it succinctly “I feel incredibly guilty thinking that I could have killed him – and then I find myself wondering how many other babies are killed who would have turned out to be completely healthy.”

Read the whole story in the Mail on Sunday.

Hitler’s Educational Legacy

In 1938, Adolph Hitler made it a crime in Germany to educate children at home.

Not only has the law never been taken off the books, it is vigorously enforced. The Germans may be all apologetic about many things that happened under the Third Reich, but as the family of Melissa Busekros know, they are still happy to use stormtrooper tactics when it comes to this. The minds of young Germans belong to the State.

Today’s Observer is reporting that homeschooling families in Germany are fleeing to the UK. And if you read the article, there will be no question in your mind why. One family who fled to Britain had already had their bank account frozen and emptied and their car confiscated. It’s good to know that even though Britian is moving toward totalitarianism, it is still a place of more freedom than Germany.

Games

I saw the boardgame Stratego at Woolworths the other day and it brought back a few memories. And I do mean few.

I used to love board games. Growing up, I had at least half the length of the shelf that ran the length of my bedroom closest stacked with them. That would have been at least two games wide and several high. But the thing about games is that you need someone with whom to play them. I never had a lot of friends growing up. I had a chemistry set. And the board games.

So I didn’t get to play Stratego very often. As I moved into my teenage years, I had a few friends from church who were older than me, but we never played Stratego. We played guitars. I got pretty good at it and eventually the Stratego game must have been thrown out. (This must have happened after I moved away to college, as I never threw away anything.) It had probably lost pieces appropriated by my little brother for no known reason, but he always seemed to have bits and bobs of my stuff in his room.

If anyone ever played Stratego with me it was probably my cousin Kyle. He was (and still is, by last count) five years older than me. However, most of the time we played Monopoly. Not out of the box, because Kyle designed his own Monopoly boards. My uncle was a building sub-contractor and Kyle had access to big off-cuts of Formica. He would cut these in rectangles of what must have been about 2 feet by 3 feet. The perimeter of the board would be partitioned into the various properties using masking tape. Names would be created for them and deeds created from the names. The prices of the properties reflected the currency being used, which was always the large denomination money from the Game of Life, rather than the lower value Monopoly cash. I ended up with one of Kyle’s boards as a hand-me-down. I had it for ages.

When I got into college, I had the chance to play another one of the games that during my childhood spent most of the time in the top of my closet. During a brief window of time, my housemates and I played Risk. It is probably the greatest of all male bonding games. Often we would play at the home of another man in the church. His son was just a baby – now that son is serving with the Army in Iraq.

I still look back on this time of my life as one of the happiest. These days it is those college friendships that spend too much time on the shelf. I stay in contact with some – one or two occasionally read this blog – others haven’t been dusted off in ages. Some are undoubtedly missing enough pieces that the only thing left is to look at the box.

It’s when I think of college – that emergence into adulthood – that nostalgia hits the hardest. That’s when I have to go look in the mirror at the lines around my eyes and the reflection of the light off the top of my head to remind me that I’m not 20 anymore. I could also look down at my pot belly or look in on the sleeping faces of my own children upstairs – there’s plenty to remind me if I’m not absorbed in my own thoughts.

When I see the kids I teach just about to make that jump to college and university, I feel both jealous and sad.  They have the opportunity for so many great times ahead. Most of them may not remember much, because their social life is entirely fuelled by alcohol. Lots of alcohol. They don’t know to be jealous of the values with which I was raised and which were reinforced at my college. I am so glad that I never spent one college night drunk and obnoxious. None of the games we played were drinking games.

My children enjoy playing games. I hope they have more friends to play with than I did early on. I hope my son will find someone with whom to play Stratego, Monopoly, and Risk. I’ll try not to be too jealous.

All Change

I think Barak Obama has the best chance of being elected President of the United States.

I’d actually rather see Hillary Clinton elected. If you know me, you know that is not an easy thing to say. I’d rather see almost anyone elected rather than Hillary. But at least with Hillary you know what you are getting. All you have with Obama is the most liberal voting record in the Senate combined with the endless chant of “Change! Change! Change!”

Obama has not been around on the national scene long enough to have built up a lot of negative feeling. Clinton would be defeatable in November because so may people have an attitude of “anyone but Hillary”. Once in office, Obama will push for an agenda that most Americans will not like. It will be too late.

Obama will work with a Democratic Congress, in the first such tandem between Capitol Hill and the White House since the first half of Bill Clinton’s first term. That’s when we got the FACE Act, the Brady Law, don’t ask dont’ tell, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer. We also got the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. That created 50 new federal offenses, banned semi-automatic “assault” rifles, and eliminated higher education opportunities for prisoners.

The big differences between 1993 and 2009 are that Obama is much more liberal than Bill Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is both more legislatively aggressive and more liberal than was Tom Foley. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Steven is 87. Scalia, Kennedy, and Ginsburg are in their 70’s.

Then there is foreign policy. Obama will be much happier for the UN to decide that. He’s going to pull the troops out of Iraq. That sounds good, but unfortunately the US invasion created a bit of a mess and a subsequent direct withdrawal will result in a complete breakdown of civil order. Any Christians who are left in Iraq had better get out, because it will just be a matter of which Islamist extremists can kill the most people. Also expect something close to full-scale war between Iraq and Turkey.

So yes, all in all, you can expect change, change, change from an Obama presidency and you can expect an Obama presidency in January.