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Before we even get into it, I want to highlight a few things that are important:

A Super-Cute Newborn

I know that life situations can be very hard, sexual problems can be intensely difficult, unplanned/unwanted pregnancies will often change lives drastically, and that many people seeking abortions are hurting in big ways; they need help. I have committed my life to the service of Jesus Christ and, therefore, to the service of other people. I am quite interested in helping people, but not all “help” helps. Because I follow Jesus and try to live according to his Word, the Bible, I firmly maintain that abortion IS murder and should be illegal, punished just like any other murder. The modern/current discussions surrounding abortion are, like a freshly brewed mug of coffee, almost always too hot to hold for very long. I am not interested in the heat, but I am interested in reasoned, substantive and honest discussion. Mostly, I’m interested in ministering to and helping people in a moral, Christ-honoring (and therefore helpful) way.

Okay, let’s get into it. Any casual observer of pro-abortion polemics would think that rape and incest are two major factors leading to a goodly number abortions. In fact, if we add those two reasons to the big mama, the life/health of the mother, we have the three-legged foundation of a “reasonable” approach to keeping abortion “safe and legal.” Continue Reading »

The Brothers KThe Brothers K by David James Duncan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was given this book by a non-Christian neighbor. I traded him reads. I gave him Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and he gave me this.

I have to give Mr. Duncan a hand on an energetic, well-written book. From a literary standpoint, it was a pleasure to read. It had me laughing out loud enough to irritate my wife. The characters came across as, for the most part, honest and believable. Sometimes I thought that the brothers’ star qualities seemed a little over the top, but it still read well.

The title obviously alludes to Dostoevsky’s famous book, a book that I’ve read but once, but that I loved. This tale of divergent brothers takes places within a home where the mother is a committed Adventist and the father is a committed baseball player. These varied influences bear exceedingly varied fruit in the lives of the children (four sons and younger twin girls). They all go off in different directions and mostly reap the whirlwind (similar, in this respect, to Dostoevsky’s book). Continue Reading »

Augustine and Calvin

This post is mostly a personal recollection about how I came to know “the doctrines of grace” or “Calvinism.” There have been a couple of instances recently that have prompted me to think about how it was that I became a Calvinist. Before I delve into some personal reflection, however, I should like to tidy up things on a terminological level. What’s meant by the terms “Calvinism,” “the doctrines of grace,” “sovereign grace,” and the like?

Typically, people use all of those words/phrases to point to John Calvin’s emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation. Calvin, however, was no innovator. The set of teachings that bears his name has very little to do with him specifically. Continue Reading »

Pondering deep Christian thoughts, to be sure…

Maile and I currently have four kids. Calvin is coming up on 8, Anuhea 6, Anselm 4, and Ambrose 2. Needless to say, I’m interested in education. Being a Christian, I’m interested in Christian education. Being a Christian, I’m also interested in excellence. Put it together and I’m interested in excellent Christian education. So far, so good.

We’ve been homeschooling, of course, from the beginning. However, when it came down to moving beyond simple reading and arithmetic, we found it challenging to make sure that things were getting covered. By contrast, one thing a good school has going for it is that all areas of importance have been brought together and the scope and sequence of each have been planned out. It was the whole making-sure-everything’s-covered-and-covered-well thing that seemed to Maile and me to be a bit of a bugger.

There are various ways for homeschool parents to address this issue. The way we have found has been glorious. Classical Conversations is group that is engineered to empower and help homeschool parents by forming local communities committed to classical and Christian education. Calvin and Sissy took advantage of their stellar Foundations program this past academic year. Next year, we’ll add Anselm into the mix. That ought to be interesting: yeah, he’s pretty loud.

‘Round these parts, in Columbia County, Oregon, we have a wonderful little (and growing!), committed community. Please take a look at it. It you’re interested in talking about this wonderful aid to your homeschool labors (even if you’re just curious), please contact me. The CC website is quite informative, so be sure to check it out.

CC’s been a great blessing to us this year. We’d like to see it grow, thrive and become a greater blessing to more families. Come join us.

Dig in!!

One doesn’t have to read very far in the Gospels to run across the central theme of the Kingdom of God. Not only is the Kingdom front and center, but it is also directly linked with the message and preaching of the Gospel itself. Mark documents the inception of Jesus’ ministry with these provocative words: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel'” (Mk 1:14-5). Recognizing that this post is a little on the long side, I want to discuss three aspects of “coming” or presence of the Kingdom: 1) the distant, consummate Kingdom, 2) the then-present Kingdom, and 3) the then-immediately-anticipated Kingdom.  Clear as mud? Good. Let’s make some mud pie. First, and by far the most popular, would be the distant, consummate Kingdom. One aspect of the Kingdom was that it was a distant reality, distant from the Apostles, from their time. (Turns out that this aspect is the same for us today, just not quite so far off.) This distant aspect of the Kingdom is, I think, prayed for by Jesus: “Thy Kingdom come.”  It is also revealed in the two-age structure of NT eschatology:

Continue Reading »

Discerning God’s Call

Tim in SeminaryI graduated from college in 2000. At that time, I was deeply interested in knowing God better and, thus, getting to know the Bible much more deeply. In order to fulfill those interests, I hoped to go to seminary. I was not necessarily interested in pursuing ministry as a vocation (nor was I opposed to it), but I just wanted to know God better.

In lieu of seminary, I went to work for a couple of years of working in the trucking industry, after which I landed at Western Reformed Seminary in Tacoma, WA. Over the course of three years at that wonderful seminary, I grew immeasurably; it was a great time of spiritual growth for me. When I graduated, however, I was still was not sure that God was calling me into ministry. I ended up taking another job in the freight industry and worked for five more years.

During these five years I was not looking for full-time ministry. In fact, I was actively looking other directions. Even so, I was happily willing to help out in my local church in any way the elders wanted. Continue Reading »

Your PhD Companion: A Handy Mix of Practical Tips, Sound Advice and Helpful Commentary to See You Through Your PhDYour PhD Companion: A Handy Mix of Practical Tips, Sound Advice and Helpful Commentary to See You Through Your PhD by Stephen Marshall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I was thinking seriously about doctoral work (a half-dozen years ago), I purchased this book and another called How to get a PhD by Phillips and Pugh. The latter was far superior to this book; thus, I don’t recommend buying it.

It’s organized chronologically, as if it’s taking the reader through the emotional/intellectual/experiential ups and downs of the PhD student. This organization works well and reads easily. The authors adopted a chatty and informal tone that doesn’t sit so well. Further, their observations, with only a handful of exceptions, seemed not far beyond the realm of common sense. They’ve included a number of historical anecdotes which are interesting, but not particularly helpful.

If you’re looking for a solid introduction to and guide through PhD studies that is serious and packed with useful information, I’d avoid this volume.

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