odds and ends

     NOTE:  Since we shall be moving this week from Affton, MO, near St. Louis, to Salem, IL, about 2 hours east, I will be offline for a good portion of the time, so here are some odds and ends that I have collected.

     Blasphemy on TV–Nothing New: On July 22, 2008, Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association sent the following e-mail. New PBS program says Bible isn’t true, stories made up: Your tax dollars helped fund "The Bible’s Buried Secrets. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS), probably the most liberal network in America, will present a program this fall that says the Old Testament is a bunch of made-up stories that never happened. "The Bible’s Buried Secrets" says the Bible is not true. It is scheduled to air on November 18. Producer Paula Apsell said: "…It’s (The Bible’s Buried Secrets) designed for intelligent people who are willing to change their mind. …it will give intelligent people who want to read the Bible in a modern way a chance. If we insist on reading the Bible literally, in 25 years, nobody will read it any longer." Among highlights of "The Bible’s Buried Secrets":

• The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.

• Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn’t exist.

• There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.

• Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.

• The Israelites were actually Canaanites.

• The Israelites believed that God had a wife.

I have often said that PBS should not receive tax dollars. "The Bible’s Buried Secrets" is simply one more reason Congress should stop supporting PBS with our tax dollars. Congress gives PBS hundreds of millions of tax dollars to help support the network. [Note: It is obvious even from the producer’s own statement that the purpose of this so-called "documentary" is not to present facts but to change people’s minds about the Bible. The truth is that most of the "highlights" listed are same, old, tired objections that Bible critics have offered through the years with no basis in real fact but simply the imaginations and speculations of unbelievers. They have been dealt with time and time again in the past and have been shown to be without any foundation. AFA is asking people to sign a petition urging Congress to stop using tax dollars to fund PBS and make PBS operate like every other non-commercial network, raising its own money from its viewers instead of using tax money. If you would be interested in that, you can go to www.AFA.net . It is true that PBS has many wonderful shows for children, and each person has to make his own choices, but should Christians support something that seems so diametrically opposed to faith in Christ? WSW.]

     Change Is Not Necessarily Better: Democrat Presidential candidate Barak Obama says that what we need more than anything else in this country is "Change" and that he is the candidate of "Change." My friend Jeff Asher, a gospel preacher in Carthage, TX, sent me the following item. Years ago, there was an old tale in the Marine Corps about a lieutenant who inspected his Marines and told the ‘Gunny’ that they smelled bad. The lieutenant suggested that they change their underwear. The Gunny responded, "Aye, aye, sir, I’ll see to it immediately!" He went into the tent and said, "The lieutenant thinks you guys smell bad, and wants you to change your underwear. Smith, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Witkowskie, Brown, you change with Schultz. Get to it!" The moral: A candidate may promise change in Washington but don’t count on things smelling any better. (Besides, can this nation afford the kind of "Change" that Obama has in mind?)

     Homeschooling in the Country: Country Magazine and its companion Country Extra have always presented a very positive picture of homeschooling, possibly because in many places homeschooling is very popular in rural areas. In the Aug./Sept., 2008, issue of Country Magazine, Roger and Carolyn Beers and family of Bozeman, MT, wrote, "Our grandma, Marion Beers, gives us Country magazine as a Christian gift every year. We always enjoy it! We homeschool and use some of the articles and pictures in our lessons. Last year, you provided us with a fun family drive, too. In the Aug./Sept, 2007, issue, there was an article about Pass Creek School near Bozeman, Montana (‘Readin’, Writin’ and a Touch of Arthritis,’ page 16). We live in Bozeman, so we took a drive and found the school. We had fun playing on the playground and saw some pretty country we hadn’t seen before. Thank you, Grandma, for the gift, and thank you, Country, for the fun!"

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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

      Hip! Hip! Hooray! The Summer, 2008, issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine ( www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com ) has arrrived! Like every other issue, it is absolutely jam packed with interesting and useful information. Some of the items that caught my eye at first glance through is Senior Editor Deborah Wuehler’s editorials about her oldest son Jonathan’s graduation from homeschool, along with Jonathan’s graduation speech, "How Homeschooling Has Benefitted My Life;" an interview with nationally known homeschool conference speaker and special needs father Norm Wakefield; articles on adoption (both of our sons are adopted); David Llewellyn’s discussion of the recent homeschool ruling in California; an "International Homeschool" article on homeschooling in Canada; our friend Kim Wolf’s article on "How Firm a Foundation" for lesson planning; articles on special needs; articles on intelligent design, Darwinism, and theistic evolution; Amelia Harper’s "Teaching Your Child to Love Reading;"articles about the Charlotte Mason style; Ruth Beechick on history; Dr. Stephen Guffanti on ‘Homeschooling: A Natural Fit for the Kinesthetic Child" (Dr. Guffanti spoke at this past year’s Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo and is scheduled to return in 2009); along with a host of beneficial material, including product reviews. You have to see it to believe it! For the past five or so years, I have served as volunteer Missouri State Coordinator for TOS. Now that we have moved to Illinois, I don’t know exactly what, if any, will be my future relationship with the magazine, but it has certainly been a blast working with all the good folks at TOS over the last few years.

The Anniversary Gift

     Stephen, a loving husband, was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary, and his wife was really ticked off at him. She told him, "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in that driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in under 60 seconds, and it had better be there!" The next morning Steven got up really early before work. When his wife woke up a couple of hours later, she looked out the window. And sure enough, there was a small, gift-wrapped box sitting in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe, ran out to the driveway, and took the box into the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale. Stephen is not yet well enough to have visitors. (from Bob Hines.)

Good reading

      The July/Aug., 2008, issue of Home School Enrichment ( www.HomeSchoolEnrichment.com ) has a wealth of interesting and useful information, including these articles which struck my eye: "Beating the Summer Boredom Bug" by Cindy Puhek; "How I Taught My Child to Read for Less Than $1" by Cathy Steere; "Kids in Business" by Joanne Calderwood; "Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled" (interview with homeschooled authors Rachel Starr Thomson and Carolyn Currey) by Jonathan Lewis; "Open Your Dictionary" by Deana Blackburn (when I was young, and even now, I have always enjoyed sitting down and just reading through the dictionary!); "Hypocrite Proofing the Home" by Jenefer Igarashi; "For Everything a Season: Getting the most out of summer as a homeschool mom" by Carmen Rockett; "Moving Soon?" by Cindi Veenstra; "11 Tips for New Homeschoolers" by Melanie Clark; and "College Testing: What You Need to Know" by Kim Lundberg. The July, 2008, issue of Home School Helper ( www.bjupress.com ), a free homeschooling newsletter from Bob Jones University Press, has articles on "From Homeschool to College: A Time of Adjustment" by BJU faculty member Ashley Joiner, "Redeeming Science" by BJUP science textbook author Brad Batdorf, and "In-Service: How My School Year Started" by Agusta Lind reprinted from Education Week (a scary article that helps to confirm the decision to homeschool!). The Summer, 2008, issue of The Classical Teacher ( www.MemoriaPress.com ) has articles entitled "The civilization that had to teach itself with its own books" and "Can Music Save Your Mortal Soul?" by editor Martin Cothran, "History is Not Chronological" by publisher Cheryl Lowe, "A Tale of Two Kings: The difference between God and the gods," by Anthony Esolen of Providence College, and "New American Cursive" by Iris Hatfield (Memoria Press encourages learning cursive in first grade), along with information about Memoria Press curriculum.

Follow up on something reported previously

     From HSLDA Advisory Contact Ian Slatter — The Obama campaign has acknowledged that Home School Legal Defense Association has rights to the "Generation Joshua" trademark and agreed not to reach out to young people of faith using a confusingly similar name. "We’re pleased the Obama campaign has acknowledged our trademark rights," said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris. Excerpt from the Obama letter to HSLDA — "Please know that the Campaign respects the intellectual property of others and wants to avoid any unnecessary confusion. As you may already know, the Campaign is no longer planning on using the ‘Joshua Generation Project’ name or any other confusingly similar name in the future. We appreciate you informing us of HSLDA’s marks." Generation Joshua was launched in spring 2004 to train young people of faith to enter the civic and political arena. Thousands of teens have benefited from the program, which includes civics courses and community action. The 2005 Generation Joshua Summer Camp was featured on ABC’s World News Tonight. The Generation Joshua program has a bold vision — "I want some of these young people to be the senators and congressmen and governors and state legislators, and maybe even president of the United States someday," said Farris. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 25-year-old, 83,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent national association advocating the legal right of parents to homeschool their children.

More spiritual poverty and infamy from the lifestyles of the rich and famous

     I never have paid attention to the goings on in the world of movie and television stars and still do not pay attention to them, but the following item was in the news headlines section of my Juno start page, so I just had to check it out to make sure. On Sun., Jul. 13, 2008, the Associated Press reported in an article headlined "Angelina Jolie Gives Birth to Twins." It began, "The Brangelina twins are here: Angelina Jolie has given birth to a girl and a boy," and said, "The obstetrician who delivered the twins, Dr. Michel Sussmann, told The Associated Press that the actress, the babies and Jolie’s partner, actor Brad Pitt, ‘are doing marvelously well.’" Notice, that Brad Pitt is "Jolie’s partner," not husband. In fact, the article continued, "Jolie and Pitt already have four children: Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3, and Shiloh, 2." This couple has never been married, at least to each other, yet they are considered a "family." More of the same old same old out of Hollywood nowadays. These are the people who are entertaining many of our children. What are our children learning from such well publicized behavior? Are we teaching them to respect God’s plan for marriage and the family? No, we cannot withdraw from society nor should we hide our heads in the sand, but is it any wonder that, with our popular culture in such a state of obvious decline, so many people are taking their children out of public schools, where this kind of lifestyle is often glorified, and educating them at home to protect them during their most vulnerable years from such moral filth?

The radical homosexual rights agenda

     McDonald’s and the radical homosexual rights agenda: Recently, I had a blog about a message from the American Family Association saying that McDonald’s had publicly announced that the supposedly family-friendly restaurant chain would openly join those who are supporting homosexual rights. AFA has asked McDonald’s to be neutral in the homosexual culture war. Here is the answer that it received, as reported on July 10, 2008, in a message headlined, "McDonald’s: those opposing SSM motivated by hate." It said, "Throwing out any pretense of being neutral in the culture war, McDonald’s has taken up the rhetoric of gay activists, suggesting those who oppose same-sex marriage (SSM) are motivated by hate. AFA has asked for a boycott of McDonald’s restaurants because of the company’s promotion of the gay agenda. AFA asked McDonald’s to remain neutral in the culture war. McDonald’s refused. In response to the boycott, McDonald’s spokesman Bill Whitman suggested to the Washington Post that those who oppose SSM are motivated by hate, saying ‘…hatred has no place in our culture.’ McDonald’s has decided to adopt the ‘hate’ theme used by gay activist groups for years. Whitman went on to say, ‘We stand by and support our people to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment.’ Mr. Whitman has intentionally avoided addressing the reason for the boycott. This boycott is not about hiring gays or how gay employees are treated. It is about McDonald’s choosing to put the full weight of their corporation behind promoting their agenda. McDonald’s donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in exchange for membership and a seat on the group’s board of directors. The NGLCC lobbies Congress in support of same-sex marriage. McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner said the company will promote issues they approve. ‘Being a socially responsible organization is a fundamental part of who we are. We have an obligation to use our size and resources to make a difference in the world…and we do.”’

     And here is the radical homosexual rights agenda: Scott Esk recently reported the following information from a Miramax news article dated Thur., July 10, 2008, entitled Bible Publishers Sued for Anti-Gay References, by Rick Pedraza. "A Michigan man is seeking $70 million from two Christian publishers for emotional distress and mental instability he received during the past 20 years from versions of the Bible that refer to homosexuality as a sin. Bradley LaShawn Fowler, a gay man, claims his constitutional rights were infringed upon by Zondervan Publishing Co. And Thomas Nelson Publishing, both of which, he claims, deliberately caused homosexuals to suffer by misinterpretation of the Bible. Fowler, 39, is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson. According to a USA Today report, Fowler’s two separate suits against the publishers claim the intent of the Bible revisions that refer to homosexuals as sinners reflect an individual opinion or a group’s conclusion. Fowler says the deliberate changes made to first Corinthians, chapter six, verse nine caused him ‘or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence … Including murder.’ Fowler, who is representing himself in both lawsuits, claims the publishers are misinterpreting the Bible by specifically using the word homosexuals, which made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of demoralization, chaos and bewilderment. ‘These are opinions based on the publishers and they are being embedded in the religious structure as a way of life,’ he tells a local NBC TV station affiliate in Grand Rapids. Fowler admits that every Bible printed is a translation that can be interpreted in many ways, but he says specifically using the word ‘homosexual’ is not a translation but a change. Fowler says Zondervan Bibles published in the 80s used the word homosexuals among a list of those who are ‘wicked’ or unrighteous and won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven. Zondervan, for its part, issued a statement to the Grand Rapids press stating it does not translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations it publishes ‘We rely on the scholarly judgment of the highly respected and credible translation committees behind each translation and never alter the text of the translations we are licensed to publish,’ the statement reads. ‘We only publish credible translations produced by credible Biblical scholars.’ U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr., who will hear Fowler’s case against Thomas Nelson, says the court has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of [Fowler’s] claims." The suit is stupid. The judge’s comments are scary! The link to confirm the news report is: http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/man_sues_bible_publishers/2008/07/10/111626.html?s=al&promo_code=3D65BF-1 .