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When Laura Ingalls Wilder was a girl, she couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear her hair ‘up’. It would show she was a grown woman. This was something she aspired to. <sigh> I’ve noticed for a long time now that women (and men) in our times have reverse aspirations…they dress, style their hair and behave as young as possible. I don’t know if the ‘un-aspiration’ egg of youth toward adulthood came before the ‘reverse-aspiration’ chicken of adults to young, hip and cool, but we’re clearly in a bit of a pickle these days.

This article from Covenant Eyes argues that the older generation have now been completely left behind and due to the ‘advance’ of technology and digital communication, we live in a world where, adults are disappearing, and children hold the power. Parents today strain for glimpses inside the mysterious world of their teenager’s digital life. For the first time in history, teens are able to lock parents out of more than their rooms. It appears adults are getting younger, just not in the way they hoped for.”

It’s worth a look, read and a think. It made my stomach ache a little. It would have made my stomach ache a lot but for the knowledge that God is sovereign.

A comment on the two arguments for and against limiting a child’s freedom with the internet: if we seek to raise children who are counter-cultural (I would suggest that Christian parents should want their children raised counter to our culture; particularly in their ‘thinking’) then we need to think about how that may be achieved.

<deep breath>

for a very long time I’ve been sitting on a blog post about education. and I’m sitting on it still. only I just watched this youtube video (below) and now I have to post it. one of the reasons I haven’t posted the education post is the time it would take. until uni finishes for the year, I have to focus on that and all the other good things I have to do, involving all the people I love. another reason is that most people can’t comprehend what I mean when I say I don’t like modern schooling. they think I have some old fashioned view or something. or that I think they should talk about creation. or something else. but I actually hate modern schooling. the system sucks. the methodology. and often, the best thing that christians can come up with as an alternative is the factory model, in a ‘nicer’ environment. <sigh>

can I add, that I think school is a VERY good place for christian adults to be, if they are called there.

anyway. for what it’s worth, here is what someone else has said, MUCH of which I agree with.

John 14:2 (this is the view from my earthly room)

1 Th 1:1  Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…

2 Th 1:1  Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…

Identical verses (written perhaps only weeks apart) stating the position of the Thessalonian Christians. Yes, of course, they are in Thessalonica; that’s why it says ‘to the church of the Thessalonians’ but it also says that they are ‘in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’. Paul wasn’t just using up ink!

I can tell by looking out the window that I am in Armidale but I need faith eyes to see my position ‘in Christ’. Sometimes I struggle to remind myself of that which I cannot see…with my natural eyes. Yet, sometimes I ‘see’ what I can’t explain; the insignificance of possessions, striving, control, money, ambition, reputation, things. I cannot put it into words, though my heart pounds louder as that view gains strength.

What do we strive for daily? Isn’t it to put good food on the table, be well dressed, have a lovely secure home and a happy family, to abound in the material things we enjoy, to leave an inheritance?

Charles Spurgeon used these words in response to this (and I’m thankful for him for the words):

The Christian is well fed—he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed—he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed—he dwells in God; he is well married—his soul is knit in bonds of marriage to Christ; he is well provided for—for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed—for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous—well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

May our spiritual sight gain strength. Amen.

I like this girl’s blog. I like the way she writes. I like the way she thinks.

I happen to like the girl too. She happens to be my niece. Check out her archives.

baby-in-hand

The movie The Island is an interesting watch. I didn’t think it was as ground breaking as some movies of the same genre from earlier in the ’00s or even ’90s but I enjoyed it. I thought it raised some valid ethical questions about cloning and where it was heading. But I had no idea that the concept was NOT new, and was already being used in the USA and UK several years before the movie was made. See for yourself and then, let’s ask some questions about the ethics of it all.

Just found this blog. It might interest you if you’d like to read a feminist’s view of feminism history. Or possibly if you have read The Feminist Mistake. It is one person’s research (for a TAFE women’s studies program). This was the first post I read. As Isaiah 5:20 says evil can be spoken of as good and this scripture seems to apply to much of this content. But I am encouraged to think a bit harder if I’m to avoid simply wiping her view aside (or accepting it on face value).

I found the summary of a view of education interesting. I am amazed that women are *still* asserting that the education system discriminates against and disadvantages girls (as opposed to boys…my personal opinion is that the education system does no one any favours when compared to a living education)

I say that I am amazed because having studied education during the early 80s and then again in the early 90s I could see the changes which had been introduced in policy in favour of girls’ education. It seemed to me then that quite the reverse had happened. This is reinforced by research for example: “The War Against Boys – How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men” (pub 2000)

For what it’s worth…

This morning after Elizabeth had recounted a bizzare dream she’d had in ‘the land between’ while she was waking up, she and Mick were telling me (while the coffee brewed) of a couple of the guys at church who’d recently had their eyebrows done (!)

It wasn’t the time for a too serious conversation but I had to comment on the article I’d just opened on the gender blog that very minute; The Feminization of the American Male (after all, there are only American males).

When I picked up a coffee at Maccas later on, I noticed that the boy serving me had very dark roots under his bleached hair and his eyebrows were some days overdue for a wax! I really got to thinking about the image idol of our modern age. Read some of the advice to men from the above mentioned article: [When preparing for a special occasion] visit your hairdresser, go for a massage, and have a facial scrub [which] will all add to your confidence. And the question…Can you imagine our great grandfathers talking [about] the slow pampering of a bath, moisturizer, eye cream, manicure kit, pedicure kit, body moisturizer, and body scrub?

Admittedly, most of this is new. Not the vanity, self absorption and pride but certainly the pampering, plucking, dying and primping! The article comments: If men are focused on such trivial things as dry skin and pampering themselves with long baths, it will be all the more difficult to expect them to lead, provide, and protect. Read the complete article on the gender blog here.

Most boys I grew up with would have identified those tips as the realm of the feminine, without a blink of the eye. But then I got thinking about the whole gym culture with its body building, workouts and weight training. Just because this is a manly pursuit, doesn’t make it more ‘right’ does it? Men are built to be buff. They used to build muscles by splitting wood, carting heavy objects and doing real man things. But if the focus of servant-like leadership has become hazy and ‘it’s all about me’ then the gym is as much an image idol as plucked eyebrows and manicured nails, just as much a distraction from ‘who and what am I supposed to be?’

I really don’t think we can lay down rules about how to look and dress, what shampoo to use or whether to wax the T-bar. But I do think that as Christians we should ask seriously; what shapes my image…the magazines on the i-bars at Coles, the neutering of gender issues in our culture or my understanding of myself as a child of God?

And guys…here’s my tip; Jesus was the son of his Father.

To what degree does our justifying ourselves have to do with unbelief in the One who has justified us? Much, is my guess.

The Desiring God blog spoke yesterday about how “our proud hearts (can) send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin.” Surely this is because we don’t truly believe that the sin no longer needs to be dealt with; it’s done.

We know Whom Job was looking for when he cried: If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot. (Job 9: 33-35)

We *have* been justified.

This blog post was inspired by a post on the equipbooks blog. The topic was ‘Why reading is important’ (for Christians). One of the results of reading this was to cause me to ask (again!) *why?*.

-Why have we allowed literacy to decline so quickly over just several generations (or less)?

-Why do most people deny that this has happened?

– Why are Christians seemingly so unconcerned with current education practices?

-Why isn’t reading books promoted more by our Christian leaders?

There are very convincing arguments for Christian people to read, to read well and widely, and to think ‘out of the box’. One way of gaining objectivity (which allows one to see past the errors of modern thought) is to read ‘old books’ as CS Lewis* suggests. And for a very good reason:

Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. He goes on: We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?”—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books.

Combine this ‘natural’ blindness with idea that we are living in an age of sub-literacy, (especially in comparison with what became the norm for hundreds of years after the reformation: most strove to be literate so they might read the scriptures for themselves) and we may wonder how we can reverse the decline. Consider the following quotes from Os Guiness**

Many common people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had a knowledge of Shakespeare and the Bible that people today would view as the preserve of the literary scholar or theologian. By 1772, Jacob Duché could write, “The poorest laborer…thinks himself entitled to deliver his sentiment on matters of religion or politics with as much freedom as the gentleman or scholar…Such is the prevailing taste for books of every kind, that almost every mean is a reader.”

George Steiner describes the result of modern mass education as ”semi-literacy.” The ability to read is widespread, but the inability to read any but the shallowest texts is equally widespread. He cites recent estimates that put the literacy of more than half the population of the United States at the level of twelve-year-olds. Steiner concludes: “Such semi- or sub-literacy is not being eradicated by mass-schooling: it is being made politically and psychologically acceptable.”

There are most certainly responses we can make (read aloud to our children, seriously consider alternatives to modern mass education practices, get involved in groups which challenge us to think, plus read, read, read and read. Do you have any other suggestions?) but all of these are limited in their effects; culture has an incredibly strong pull.

So I ask: Is prayer the answer? I’m inclined to think that we possibly haven’t seen this issue as sufficiently serious. Maybe we don’t feel that strongly about the threat to our minds or the minds of our children to see the danger. It can sound all a little exaggerated or fanciful, can’t it?

I can barely scrape the surface of the issues here; for one thing time for writing is so limited. It really warrants a long afternoon walk/talk. Maybe this can get us thinking….

* First and Second Things, Essays on Theology and Ethics.

**Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It

Francis Schaeffer has contributed a lot to our (family’s) thinking as Christians. We were pointed to a dualism that can exist dividing our *sacred* life from our *secular* life. He challenged us to think christianly on everyday, human topics; food, education, lifestyle, money/wealth/debt, contraception and ecology. Others too.

Mind you, he didn’t give all the answers but rather encouraged us that there are answers and that the *questions* are very important.

Schaeffer was ahead of his time but since he “went home” in the early 80s, he could hardly envisage the technology of today. So, is technology an issue we should think about? Should there be a christian response? I enjoyed reading what one person says here on the subject.

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