Archive for September, 2009

A BURDEN OF LOVE

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

During World War II Zvi Michalowski, a Lithuanian Jew, was captured by the Nazi invaders and condemned to die, along with all the Jews from his village. Typically, the Nazi executioners lined up all the Jews in front of a ditch outside Zvi’s small town and then they were shot.
Zvi, though, had fallen into the pit a fraction of a second before the volley of shots which killed those standing with him, including his father. Later, Zvi crawled from the pit and escaped.

Nearby were several Christian homes–homes that Zvi knew were religious homes that might help him. Naked and covered with blood he knocked on the first door. The door opened. A peasant stood in front of him. “Please help me,” Zvi pleaded. The woman lifted the lamp closer to his face and responded, “Go back to the grave where you belong, Jew!”

And she slammed the door.

Zvi knocked on several doors and received a similar response.

Finally, Zvi, desperate for shelter and help, came to one final door and knocked. When the door opened, Zvi, lifting his arms to his side, cried, “I am your Lord, Jesus Christ. I came down from the cross. Look at me–the blood, the pain, the suffering of the innocent. Let me in.”

The poor woman did and Zvi survived the War.

The theologian writer Fred Buehner writes in his book Now and Then, “When you find something in a human face that calls out to you, not just for help but in some sense for yourself, how far do you go in answering that call, how far can you go, seeing that you have your own life to get on with . . .” You go as far as necessary. You go as far as you can. You go as far as Christ went. . .

Home schoolers, how much do you love America? Are you willing to die for them? Are you willing to put your children in a place of risk for this nation?

Perhaps we are called to this place for such a time as this . . .

Listen: the safest place for our children to be is in the center of God’s will. Do you believe that?

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

“Who knows, you may have been placed in this place for such a time as this?”–Esther 4:14

In our Scripture reading today the Jewish nation is facing imminent extinction. They stand at the brink of annihilation, genocide. They are the victims of the vitriolic and uncontrolled hatred of one man, Haman, and the whimsical irresponsibility of the foolish king, Ahasuerus.

Today America is facing a crisis. While we no doubt, in spite of Sept. 11, 2001, have political and military hegemony, we have lost the high ground. That is for sure! And our world as we know it is ending. The once sacred cultural icons of this nation no longer satisfy the needs of our people. And God is lifting up a Godly movement of 3-4 million spirit filled leaders . . . What is He trying to say, brothers and sisters?

In the past God used Revivals to bring renewal. I think that in the future He will use movements like the home school movement to bring renewal and revival.

Therefore, we have a responsibility to be Esther to this nation.

The reader wonders, “Where is the calvary? Who will save the good guys this time? Who will part the Red Sea? Where is Moses?”

But there is no Moses, there is no apparent savior. There is only weak Esther. Esther, the queen of Babylon who, hiding her Jewishness, manages to become the most powerful woman in Babylon. But, the most powerful woman in the world is less powerful than the poorest, weakest man, for this is a patrifocal society. It is ruled by men, not women.

But someone must save the nation. Someone must take a stand or every Hebrew man, woman, and child will die. And they will die soon.
Someone must take a stand or the nation will perish.
Esther’s cousin Mordecai comes to warn Esther than she must give up her anonymity and take a stand or they will all perish. All Esther wants to do is slip back into the safety of her role. Who can blame her? But for the sake of the nation, Esther will risk everything to do what is necessary. Though her knees must be shaking, she determines to stare death in the face and stand up for her people. Which is what she does. Unless summoned by her husband, Esther faces certain death by approaching him,for one never approaches an Oriental monarch unsummoned. Especially if one is a lowly woman–even a wife.

Why should she help her relatives and countrymen? What had they done for her lately? No doubt they had scorned her for her fraternization with the enemy. Esther would have known much condemnation and rejection. I doubt that she had any love loss with the Jews. Why should she put herself and her children in jeopardy for people who had no doubt rejected and derided her?

Home schoolers why should we care about the rest of America? What have they done for us lately – except harass and persecute us. ; Why should we rest anything – much less everything – for this nation?

Classical Education Guidelines

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I. Teaching is important in classical education. The teacher is the guide, the coach, the facilitator, the mentor, and the specialist.

II. There is authority in classical education. While dilemmas will arise that require circumspection and academic acumen, there is a right answer.

III. In the Rhetoric stage of classical education, there is a presumption that the student has a basic knowledge of the humanities and knowledge. Furthermore, there is a presumption that the student can read and write critically in an age-appropriate manner.

IV. The curriculum is cognitive-developmentally based, inquiry prejudiced, and student-centered. If the program is a Christian based, classical education event, then the curriculum is clearly, unapologetically, chauvinistically Christo-centric.

V. Because of the benefits of Rhetoric in the cognition process, the student writes substantial essays often. Essay and forensic exercises are the primary form of evaluation.

VI. Class size is normally small to facilitate didactic instruction, coaching, and Socratic interchange.

VII. The library available to a classical education program must reflect the variety and breath of a classical education.

BOKONONISM

Friday, September 25th, 2009

In Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., creates a new religion, Bokononism. The bible of Bokononism is the “Books of Bokonon”, written by Bokonon — a British Episcopalian black from the Carribean island of Tobago whose real name was Lionel Boyd Johnson– as a way to distract the people of San Lorenzo from their unhappy lives. What is important to Bokononists? Not God; just one thing: man. Bokononism is a strange, Post-modern subjective faith that combines nihilistic, and cynical observations about life and God’s will. The supreme act of worship is an intimate act consisting of prolonged physical contact between the naked soles of the feet of two persons, supposed to result in peace and joy between the two communicants.

Hummmm . . .

I see a lot of Bokononists these days. Post-Modern, Post-Christian Bokononist American leadership are asking us to suspend belief. Pastor Clinton C. Gardner, in his book Beyond Belief: Discovering Christianity’s New Paradigm, “raised on Christian fundamentalism, he felt liberated by the grand picture of evolution and the empirical science of the Enlightenment.” Ok Pastor Clinton! Imagine, in 2009 there are people who believe that God really loved us enough that He sent His only Begotten Son to die for our sins! How uncool! And, get this, some of those remnant fundamentalist Christians—who have not yet bowwed down and worshiped at the altar of Bokononism—actually believee that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life. How old fashioned can you get!

Pastor Gardner quotes Edward O. Wilson’s Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Wilson’s grand conclusion is that “all tangible phenomena, from the birth of stars to the workings of social institutions, are based on material processes that are ultimately reducible, however long and tortuous the sequences, to the laws of physics.” He envisions the unification of the natural sciences with the social sciences and humanities. As he puts it, “The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences,” and “the material world exposed by the natural sciences is the most important frontier of the social sciences and humanities. The consilience argument can be distilled as follows: the two frontiers are the same.

Can you imagine how much fun it must be to sit through a sermon with Brother Clinton? Wow—Consilience—niceice word. What biblical text would he use? Existentialism and nascent naturalism can be pretty cold bedfellows.

Seriously, though, these peckerwoods are arguing quite eloquently that 1. My fundamentalism is not only irrelevant, it is uncool and rude (what a low blow!). 2. My belief that that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God is, well, old fashioned. 3. Finally, my belief in a 24 hour creation is likewise dumb.

What can I say? I believe all these things and more. The God I serve is amazing, far more amazing than the God of Brothers Clinton and Edward. And I don’t want to play footsy with anyone! Po te weet.

MOJO ECONOMICS

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I read an interesting article entitled “Making up a Sport Helps Folks Regain Their Mojo” ( Wall Street Journal September 23, 2009, p. 2). Erick Heiberg wasn’t a fan of traditional sports, so three years ago Heiberg invented his own game. The result is Mojo Kickball, a fast-paced game with elements of dodgeball and touch football. Actually, though, no one knows the rules. But it hardly matters—participants are allowed to make up their rules as the game progresses.

This is the same sort of game the administration wants us to play. Disillusioned with pay as you go (i.e., fiscal responsibility), it decided to create a new game—Spend and Ignore the Future Game. The rules are simple: there are no rules. Participants are allowed to make up their rules as the game progresses.

Oh, yea, one rule does exist though: participants must not be rude to one another. Mojonauts (Heiberg’s name) are asked to be civil in their chaos. After all, Mojonauts are reminded, it is only a game.\

Likewise, pro-choice fire breathing radicals are enjoined by the administration to be civil to their fellow Americans. After all, it is only a woman’s choice, right?

Mojo is catching on. About 500 people have joined Mr. Heiberg’s email list. It used to be that only his fellow comedic minions joined in, but not now. 500 people, fellow Mojonauts, have joined his e-mail list.

Likewise, many of us rude Americans—the radical coonservative types—try to ignore the game emerging in this country.< Surely, most Americans would see how insane most of these policies are.

But not so. The Administration can claim one victory after another as the absurd game is catching on.

But that does not mean it is not a stupid game. It is. Heiberg admits as much—but oh well—arenren’t people having fun?

The deceased American absurdist/ atheist Kurt Vonnegut, jr., who I imagine has had a little realism wake up call wherever he is now, wrote once in his best seller (and one of my personal favorites) Cat’s Cradle, that we Americans had better be careful. Vonnegut describes a yellow bird lowered by last century miners into a mining shaft. This was a common practice that miners used to tell if there were dangerous gases in the air (e.g., natural gas or methane). If the bird lived, he would sing “po te weet” and everything was all right. The miners listened intently to the bird, always hoping to hear “po te weet.” The mine was all right and clear of impurities as long as the “po te weet, po te weet, po te weet!”

Well, my friends and family, God is not amused with Mojo morality. The bird is being lowered into the mine. There is only silence. God have mercy on our American souls.

Mission Statement

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

It is my belief that every Christian family should write a mission statement. Here is my mission statement:

The Stobaugh Family Mission Statement

We are called to live radical Christian lives as if we belong to God and not to ourselves (Gals. 2:20). Therefore we will seek the Lord with all our heart–knowing He will be found. We will have a heart for the Lost. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation; indeed, our family is an image of this reconciliation (Romans 8; 2 Cor. 5). We will be His ambassadors. He has given us a family to raise and people to influence for Him. We want to be world changers. The job(s) to which God has called us to do is requiring all we have and it is worthy of our best and total efforts.

Our Family: We will raise up our four children to be world changers. We want them to accept this mission statement and we want them to discern the times.
Our Jobs: Pastoring, Writing, Lecturing, Teaching–All are related to the abovementioned mission statement.

In summary, henceforth the Stobaughs shall make decisions based on this mission statement–not on circumstances. Every new job or activity must further this mission statement or be rejected.

Here are the guide questions:

What is(are) a general statement(s) that summarizes our family’s goals? What is our family Scripture(s)?

What are more specific goals?

Give a summary statement.

How To Create A New Society

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Quite literally this generation will have to create a new world. How to create a new society? These are the new Pilgrims, the new Puritans. They need the tools to create a new world because the old world as we know it will not last much longer. Risk takers–Esther 4 (find the reference). Daniel 3: 16-18–Whether we burn or not, we will never bow down to you, oh King!!!! John Winthrop, the first Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, called his generation and ours to be “a city on a hill.” Memorize this famous passage. My challenge to this generation is to be salt and light to the world! Isa. 39: 1-8 tells one of the saddest stories in the Bible. King Hezekiah, on again and off again king of Judah, has invited his enemies into his camp. The King of Babylon’s emissaries have come to negotiate with Judah. They really do not want to conquer Judah–Egypt is the real enemy–until they see how rich the nation of Judah is. Hezekiah opens up the kingdom and shows everything! An OT version of putting pearls before swine! The prophet Isaiah comes and warns Hezekiah about the grave mistake he has made. Hezekiah reasons, “Oh, well, there will at least be peace and security in my days.”

In Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim Jim is instructing a young person steering a ship how to handle a storm. “Steer neither to the right or to the left of it,” Lord Jim says, “Steer right into it.” Christian homeschoolers, we need to steer right into the storm. We can be and will be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus!

Conclusion: How can we live in a culture so full of hopelessness?

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Yet, even as I write this speech it is evident that change is in the air. Os Guinness warns us that at some point Americans will become fed up with the excesses and dysfunctional aspects of our culture. He says that as American mainline culture fails to sustain Americans in their hedonistic pursuit of self interest, they will want something more. William Bennett is right to warn us that there is a “death of outrage” in our country but he might add that there is a numbness spreading across the land that offers much opportunity for Christians in general and for homeschoolers in particular.

Guinness encourages Christians with the fact that Americans in the near future will be looking to places of stability and strength for direction. Besides, almost by default, those people whose lives are in reasonable good shape, who have some reason to live beyond the next paycheck will have almost an inexorably appeal. Like Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid we will all someday after the storm thrown on somebody’s beach.

How do we as parents and now as new graduates create a foundation for personal success? There are four key issues that must be settled in your mind: identity: Who am I?, responsibility: What will I do with my life?, priority: what is really most important to me? , and commitment: How much am I willing to commit? Using Hebrews 11:23-27 let’s look at these four issues.

First, as you begin a new phase of your life make sure you know who you are and who your God is. “By faith, Moses, when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’s.” (V. 24). He refuses and then chooses.

Second, Moses accepts responsibility for his life. “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” (Vs. 25). You will be persecuted because you will join the stream of faith that believes Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Thirdly, You will need to decide fairly soon what is important and valuable in your life or others will do it for you. You need a cause worth dying for (as well as living for). And I don’t mean late library books. Does your mom really take off on library books? “He [Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (V. 26).

Finally, you must never take your eyes off the goal. “By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” How long can you wait? How long can you persevere? The story of Jeremiah buying the field at Anatoth.

Schism Of The Soul

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Sir Arnold Toynbee says . . . In the nineteen forties Toynbee studied civilizations and came to the following conclusions: Based on his study of twenty-one civilizations Toynbee found that societies in disintegration suffer a kind of “schism of the soul.” They are seldom simply overrun by some other civilization. Rather, they commit a sort of cultural suicide. Disintegrating societies have several characteristics. They fall into a sense of abandon People begin to yield to their impulses–especially in the sexual area. They also succumb to truancy that is escapism seeking to avoid their problems by retreating into their own worlds of distraction and entertainment. There is a sense of drift as they realize that they have no control over their lives. Consciousness is adrift, unable to anchor itself to any universal ground of justice, truth on which the ideals of modernity have been founded in the past. Contrast the biblical figure Joseph who knew who he was and where he was going. God was in control [45:Eight]. Most people in the last election thought Clinton was immoral but did not think it mattered. There is no moral outrage William Bennett cries.

Confusion About Responsibility.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

One of the greatest problems in this generation is confusion about individual responsibility. Perhaps the problem began with Freud who told us that feelings of guilt were a sign not of vice, but of virtue. That our problems stemmed from our mothers, not from our sin. Perhaps our problem began with Goethe whose Faust escapes the consequences of his sin by sincerity and good naturedness, poor Gretchen aside. Look at the evolution of the American understanding of hero:

a. Traditional John Wayne . . . A moral, golden rule, hero. He was never immoral. He always did the right thing.

b. Modern Clint Eastwood . . . Eastwood is tough. “Make my day” world. Doing something invites any appropriate response–as defined by offended person.

c. PostChristian Tom Cruise . . . Cruse is selfish but moral. Commits adultery and lies for the sake of good things in The Firm. But there is a hint of morality.

The Christian homeschooler must be responsible before God. Every thing must be do to His glory.

Confusion about responsibility is only one confusion. Confusion about what toleration is also everywhere. S.D. Gaede, When Tolerance is No Virtue, says . . . In our culture, there is considerable confusion about how we ought to live with our differences and a cacophony of contradictory justifications for one approach as opposed to another. All appeal to the need of tolerance, but there is nothing like common argument on what that means. The question our culture raises by nature and development is what is truth and what can we believe? Our culture doesn’t know the answers. In fact, we have lost confidence in truth and have come to the conclusion that truth is unattainable. Thus, tolerance moves to the forefront. C. K. Chesterton wrote: Toleration is the virtue of the man without convictions. The Christian Response: A. We need to understand the culture in which we live–one in which relativism is growing which leads to injustice. B. We must know what is right and do it. C. We must seek justice–we cannot turn a blind eye to the injustices related to multi-culturalism. D. We must affirm truth and not tolerate relativism. E. The church must be who it is–it must express its convictions about truth and justice and practice and express tolerance (i.e., love) to the multi-cultural body of Christ.