Saved is Saved

If you were saved from drowning, would you say afterward “It would have been better if you used nicer equipment”?Or if you were pulled from a car wreck, would you say, “It would have been better if you had a PhD”?

Saved is saved.

It’s the same when it comes to spiritual salvation. When Christ saves you, you’re saved – there’s no “extra special” or “better” to it. People want to make salvation “better” by adding translations, special days, calendars, special people groups, degrees, commendations, and ministries. There’s nothing better than salvation, and nothing beyond.

It’s Christ, and Christ alone. There’s no way to extend it, expand it, or enhance it. No understanding of the Old Testament, no inclusion in a group, no special observance, no particular training will make one a better Christian than another. It’s knowing the Christ that makes the Christian.

At Christmas time, celebrating Christ is not made better by presents, trees, and cinnamon wreaths. Those things make our surroundings more comfortable and can promote nicer emotions (depends on why you bought things – to please God? or to please man?). But Christ is pleased only if we’re saved, and we should only be pleased by His work on the cross.

Family time, carols, gift-giving – we should enjoy them all. But is that the basis of my Christmas? If I wouldn’t be joyful and fulfilled just to breathe a prayer of thanks to God the Father for the gift of God the Son, then the carol bells will ring hollow, my tree will not bear fruit, and my songs will only be clamor.

In Defense of Parental Rights, ParentalRights.org

pra

Currently, in the US, the overarching role of parents is a high view – parents are the primary directors of their children’s welfare and education. A steadily encroaching principle in government is steering away from the US Constitution and the accompanying principles and looking at the laws and principles of other nations.

America is a country founded on principles of liberty – each person is responsible and accountable for his own actions, beliefs, and words. We are, among many other liberties, free to experiment with different products and businesses, free to explore various educational pursuits, free to speak out. While these freedoms have never entailed license to be reckless, they are nonetheless American principles.

There are certainly a great many hot-button issues pertaining to the parent/child/government relationships, among them: education (e.g., what amount of involvement do adults have in the process and what curriculum to use), healthcare (e.g., should a child with cancer undergo holistic treatment, or be forced to undergo chemotherapy?), quality of life (e.g., should a child be completely free from pain?), and discipline by parents (e.g., what amount of spanking constitutes abuse?).  But the primary view has been that parents are both responsible for the training and care of their children, and accountable for the outcomes.

We have always to remember that a child is not a project or entity, but a person. He has a soul and a personality; she has natural inclinations and the same needs as any other person, adult or not. But children are also not yet adults – not wise nor capable of taking care of themselves, and in need of guidance to get on and stay on the right road. What’s at stake are A. who is to remain responsible for their guidance, and B. what that right road is.

What would cause the government to take action so as to take away this fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, and take the stance that the government has the right to parent the children? Is it because so many parents are irresponsible and are harming their children? Is it because children don’t have authorities in their lives? No, it’s because the government would like to be the primary ruling authority in your child’s life.

There are issues in American law that need to be addressed, and there are certainly aspects of family life that need to be addressed, such as what do about children in poorly-run households, and how to deal with parents who abuse their children. But these can be addressed by current US laws, institutions, and principles.

An example of a parenting peril posed by our government is exemplified in the case of Troxel v. Granville (2000). The Supreme Court can pass judgment using the “strict scrutiny” standard of judicial review – certain rights are fundamental rights and are not subject to settlements or dictates of courts and state governments. In the Troxel case, the SC took a lower view of parental rights, leaving the full scope of the extent parental rights to the prerogative of state courts and governments, not as a right exclusive to parents. This ruling has left open the possibility that legislators can transfer parental authority from parents to themselves.

We need the PRA in order to retain the rights and duties of parents in America to be at liberty to raise their children according to their own beliefs.

For more and detailed information of the need for the PRA, visit:  http://www.parentalrights.org/

Cursive, The Decline of Man, and Responsibility

Cursive

Recently I heard a conversation that went like this:

“A friend of mine, a public school teacher, told me that they’re no longer teaching cursive in school.”

“How will they read old documents?”

“I know! And how will they sign their name? If they can’t sign their name, how will they identify themselves? Here’s how: it’s going to be an embedded chip. We’re just waiting on the Lord’s return!”

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Acorns and Peace

AcornOak

Verlyn Verbrugge (Chapter 7 Genitive and Dative,Basic of Biblical Greek, William D Mounce) writes:

Peace on earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14, KJV).  You have probably all received Christmas cards containing this part of the angels’ song to the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem.  But most modern translations read differently: “on earth peace to men on whom his [God’s] favor rests” (NIV); “and on earth peace among those whom he [God] favors” (NRSV). The difference between the KJV and the others is the difference between the nominative and the genitive.

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30 Days of Homeschool: Day 29 – Sports

(part of 30 posts about free resources for homeschooling)

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: Any kind of schooling has it challenges, and home education – with all of its advantages – is no different. One of the challenges of homeschooling is giving our children a wider view of what’s going on in our culture, in this case with sports.

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30 Days of Homeschool – Day 27: Anatomy

(free resources for homeschooling)

A body – we all have one. And throughout recorded human history all bodies have worked the same. So why is it such a mystery and embarrassment to talk and teach about the body? There are only 2 types – male and female, each having common aspects, and each also with distinct parts. If parents would stop being so other-worldly and dreamy about the body, and open up to their children, then that would remove an obstacle to teaching about reality.

Teach your children about anatomy – what are the valves in the heart? Where’s the liver? What does a kidney do? What do these things look like? We’re so used to watering down teaching that our children may only see, for a long time, the cutesy heart design, or the cleaned-up version of the lung where it shows the shape with the drawn-in branches that show the bronchioles and alveoli.

There are certainly theological, ethical, philosophical and moral aspects and applications (what’s THAT used for? When does life begin and end? Etc.) that need to be considered when teaching , but this post doesn’t cover those. We need to teach that our bodies are normal, that things are ordered in particular ways, and that everyone’s body has pretty much the same layout.

Happy Homeschooling!

Inner Body – http://www.innerbody.com/

Learners TV – http://www.learnerstv.com/Free-Biology-Video-lectures-ltv803-Page1.htm

Carnegie Mellon University – http://oli.cmu.edu/courses/free-open/anatomy-physiology/

CMU’s Open Learning Initiative is free, but without a sign-in, you can’t save your work. Sign-up is free. It has great illustrations and quick quizzes.

Make a Model of the Human Body – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4C2jZR8fKo&feature=youtu.be

This 1:18 (that’s 1 minute 18 seconds, not 1 hour 18 minutes) video shows how to use craft paper, markers, scissors, crayons, tape, and paper models of organs, etc. Just simply a neat idea.

BioDigital – https://www.biodigital.com/education

This site lets you view the body in 3D and create custom views.

Build-A-body – http://www.spongelab.com/game_pages/bab.cfm

This site allows you to build male and female bodies system by system. Nothing vulgar or rude here – it focuses on the interior of the body. Fun!

Who’s Bible Is It Anyway?

One of my favorite movies is the Bok of Eli (another favorite is Fight Club, but that’s literally and figuratively another story). It’s a graphic and gritty portrayal of good and bad vying for control of the Bible. The Good Guys want to preserve the last copy of Scripture and have it copied for all to read. The Bad Guys want to have the Bible for themselves so that they can misuse it for their own purposes. Whoever holds the power to interpret Scripture is in control- the GGs would put it in the hands of the people, the BGs would keep it to usurp authority.

Note Yahweh’s declaration in Genesis 2:18, 22: ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helpmeet… And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

Notice cd (chief deity – lower case d, so as not to confuse him with someone who has real power) Kennedy’s opinion on same-sex “marriage” – “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” (sniff, sniff) Sounds biblical so far. But this is, of course, not about biblical love and marriage – it’s about SSM. It’ s not about Adam and Eve, it’s about Adam and Steve (more specifically about John and Jim, but that’s not as poetic), which the Justices really found buried in the Constitution. It’s the kind of twisted interpretation that comes from “let the professionals handle this.” (Which stems from the belief that the average citizen is too stupid to interpret the Constitution and the Bible on their own, and people often believe that themselves.)

People wonder why Christians are up-in-arms about this SSM thing. It’s not about politics at all. The issue at hand is not the value of life, or that one side wants people to be lonely, or about hatred – the issue is “Who interprets Scripture?” The majority in SCOTUS see their role as being the gods who can determine what marriage is, and they see themselves as those who are in the position to provide spiritual direction to those seeking their favor. The plain meaning of Scripture is husband and wife; the plain meaning of the Constitution is, well, ummm…it’s not in there.

Kennedy’s opinion uses traditional and theological language. Reread the quote above and you’ll see that you’ll find his statement in any Christian, or any other religious, marriage book. What’s he doing? He’s usurping Scripture for his own purposes and to gain control.

Christendom is largely at fault – yes, the same people who blame SCOTUS for working against them. For too many years now the Church has upheld professional ministers and missionaries as the highest calling, when they’re not. The highest calling is being a Christian – period. A minister, a missionary, a businessman, a student, a factory worker, a judge – all are equal in standing if they’re in Christ. Christians need to continue training Christians to go into the political arena. It’s resurging, but it was left out for a long time and there’s a lot of building to do.

In time, we can have the likes of John Jay, who was the first Chief Justice of the US and (gasp!) a Christian. Not just some “I attend government church service when I can” Christian, but the president of the American Bible Society. He wrote, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” When we have a justice like John who believed that peace was through the spread of the gospel, instead of twisted devotional literature masquerading as legal opinion, things will be better.

30 Days of Homeschool: Day 26 – Public Speaking and Storytelling

(30 posts about free resources for homeschooling)

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: Those who can speak in public and tell stories just simply get along better. I’m not talking about being a professional. I’m talking about the ability to be around other people and engage and lead in conversation. Digital storytelling is good if you have good to great ideas, but don’t know how to get them across with your facial and hand expressions. While we’re not all naturals at talking to and engaging other people, it’s a skill that everyone should learn to some extent. It becomes more important as we are often further removed from daily interaction with people. Society has moved more to emails, IMs, texting, social media, and staring at a computer all day, then going home to watch TV on the computer, and then playing games on the computer. Phone calls are rarer, so we’re getting away from knowing how our tone of voice affects people. Humans are still central to our existence, and we have to fight the tides that want us to isolate ourselves. What we say, what our body does, what our face shows, our tone of voice – they ALL affect people. It’s not to manipulate, but rather to inform, uplift, encourage, teach  — to engage other souls.

I’ve put the two topics of together because they go hand-in-hand – if you can do one, you really can do the other.

Storytelling Arts of Indiana – http://www.storytellingarts.org/
I was a storyteller at a children’s hospital for a year, and it was through this organization. It was free to join, but the “payment” was memorizing stories and telling them (no books allowed for us!) to the children. You may have something similar in your area. This is more for adults, but they offer all kinds of events for kids to hear stories told.

TED talks on Storytellinghttps://www.ted.com/topics/storytelling
Good points about the larger picture of storytelling. In addition, just watch any videos that you want. All the speakers practice, practice, practice, because speaking at TED is one of the highest achievements in many arenas. You get to see real people who have condensed their points into, on average, an 18-minute speech. They’re not all polished and professional, but are great examples of the heart and soul it takes to communicate. You don’t have to be them; watch them to know better how to be you.

Digital Storytellinghttp://elearningindustry.com/free-digital-storytelling-tools-for-teachers-and-students
This page has 21 links, most of them free. While it’s great to teach your kids to talk to other people, there’s a place for each of us, student and parents alike, to know how to get our point across through digital media.

Kamishibaihttp://www.kamishibai.com/index.html
This ancient art is the art of having a picture on the front of a large card that faces the audience, with the words of the story on the back that the storyteller reads. I’ve done something similar at home, and it 1. Takes the edge off of having to memorize, 2. Removes the distraction from the students of having to read the words, and 3. Helps them focus on their imaginations by just seeing the artwork.

Microsoft’s Educator Networkhttps://www.educatornetwork.com/Resources/Tools/Details/1ff33a3e-150e-4b52-8839-b8ab266c9fe1
This is a simple page about Windows Live Movie Maker and using it for digital storytelling. Sure, there are better options out there, but it’s free, and if you have a newer Windows computer it’s built-in to your OS.

Odds Bodkinhttp://www.oddsbodkin.net/Home.html
One of my favorite storytellers! The site doesn’t have a lot of free things, but there’s enough free stuff here to make your visit worthwhile. While his skill can leave one thinking, “I could NEVER do that!,” there are still great examples of how engaging and compelling storytelling can be.

Jim Weisshttp://www.greathall.com/storytelling.html
Jim is great at voices, and demonstrates very well how engaging a story told with just voices can be performed.

Writtenthttp://writtent.com/blog/25-killer-resources-learn-storytelling/
This page has links about brand storytelling and content strategy. I include this for those teachers and students who are more interested in telling stories in the corporate world.

Toastmasters (public speaking tips) – https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Public-Speaking-Tips
You may be in a position where you have more short speeches and introductions to give than actual stories to tell. This page has 11 tips for better speaking. And this page – https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Video-Library – shows videos of tips.

Teaching/speaking at home, co-op, or church, or camp, etc.
These are, of course, the best free places to try out what you’ve learned. One’s attitude and preparation are keys to pre-speech preparation, but the best preparation for speaking later is speaking now. Actually speaking in front of people is the best way to figure out what your style is.

Board games
While these aren’t necessarily free (you can certainly make your own for free), one of the things they teach is how to read people and influence them. When you’re competing while facing others, you get to see reactions and learn over time about that person. It’s not judgmental, but truly revealing. And over time, as you communicate with them, you get to know them better, they get to know you, and they can provide feedback on your habits and expressions.

Happy Homeschooling!

30 Days of Homeschool: Day 25 – Music Education

(30 posts about free resources for homeschooling)

“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” Martin Luther

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Ludwig van Beethoven

So you want your child to know more about music, and even play an instrument, but you’re stuck because you don’t have the wherewithal to get a tuba, or join a community band, or you don’t want to be on all of those band trips, etc. I hope the resources below will help. There’s nothing here to give you a free instrument, but there are resources that can help in your practice and study of them.

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30 Days of Homeschool: Day 23 – Freebies

I saw this yesterday and just had to pass it along. Many people are on a budget, so this applies to all. But it’s even more pertinent for many homeschoolers. We have both the normal monetary restraints PLUS the taxes that we pay for the education of others (50% of our local taxes go to public education). So any time that there’s a way to save money, you should be aware of it so that you can take advantage of the opportunity.

Enjoy!

Best Freebies: 69 Awesome Things You Can Get for Free

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/spendingandborrowing/best-freebies-69-awesome-things-you-can-get-for-free/ss-BBkh3uI

These aren’t necessarily free, but here are ways to save money:
30 Things You Can Share to Save Money

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/spendingandborrowing/30-things-you-can-share-to-save-money/ss-BBkGuwx#image=1