Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here We Go Again

Discussing Christmas preparations with a friend, I mentioned that I had made an afghan for my brother and his wife as a present this year.

She startled; she flinched; she was visibly taken aback. After she had recovered herself, she said, "I didn't know you could do things like that!"


What does that mean?

Hmmm, I guess maybe people don't see me as the Susie-Homemaker type? Or maybe it's broader than that and I appear deficient of all skills? What is up with the back-handed insults? (I'm liking the guy from the Renaissance Faire better all the time.)

At least I know I am SuperMom, and everyone else knows that too....Or at least I thought they did. Bad things happen in threes, they say. Stay tuned.

Links: The Afghan and How NOT to Win Friends

Technorati tags: , ,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Homeschooling Trials Continue

The situation for German homeschoolers has worsened as high court rulings have sided with State over parents. From a newletter sent to me by a friend:

We have sent out information periodically on Germany. The situation, unfortunately, is not getting any better, and they need your prayers and support.

Most recently, a decision was handed down by the European Court of Human Rights, in the Konrad case. This involved a homeschool family in Germany that Schulunterricht zu Hause, the homeschool legal defense organization, had handled. The decision came out in October and confirmed the ruling against the Konrads by the German courts.

Essentially, the Human Rights Court completely turned the European Union's Constitution's Article 14, the section on parent's rights to control the education of their children, completely upside down. The Court ignored the parent's rights to homeschool their children, and instead focused on the children's rights and their need to get a state education. Therefore, Germany is
free to continue to go forward with their draconian laws outlawing homeschooling.

The decision applies to all the countries in the whole European Union. However, it is unlikely that other nations will follow suit since homeschooling is legal in one form or another in the other European countries. Nevertheless, if a country ever has a change in government and seek to outlaw homeschooling, the Konrad decision would give them the right to do so.

Meanwhile, the German homeschoolers continue to be unmercifully persecuted. In our last report, we explained that there were approximately 40 families in court at one stage or the other. Families are fleeing regularly to other foreign countries in order to continue homeschooling while the father stays behind to work. Ronald Richert, the attorney who handled the Konrad case, said "judicially speaking, there is not a real chance of changing this in the near
future. We're talking about a thousand children that are being taught at home. The striking thing is, is that the state is after homeschoolers with all its power. What I find stunning about that, is that the state does not care much about the hundred thousand students who do not go to school at all, where the parents do not even care about their children."

A homeschool mom, Olga Block, was recently interviewed by CBN, and two days after the interview, she was sent to jail.

The Romenikes in Baden-Wurttemberg had police come by at 7:30 in the morning and forcibly take the crying children into a police car and drive them to school. They continued taking the children to school until the family moved from the area.

The Herrmanns, a homeschool family with twins, were forced to have their children 1attend public school even though one of the children was very sick. Their medical doctor even provided evidence why the child needed to be at home. Nonetheless, they are now faced with the threat of losing the custody of their children, so they have fled outside of Germany and are in the underground.

At this point, the best hope for German homeschoolers is to work to have one of the states change their laws to legalize homeschooling. This would create a haven in Germany for homeschoolers to come to and hopefully be exported to happening in the other states.

In the meantime, legal fees are still high, and some families are facing fines to the amount of 15,000 euros, which is equal to some of these families' whole year income.

If you want to support the German homeschoolers financially, you can give a tax-deductible donation to the Homeschool Foundation at . Simply designate the donation toward homeschooling in Germany.

From: Home School Legal Defense Association

I do know a homeschooler from Germany who fled to the U.S. to continue to educate her child. Some of the problems with the school system that she faced were hair raising. She and her husband are so committed to homeschooling that they are willing to endure the long separations while he continues to work in Germany and she and their child live here. They see each other on vacations. (Fortunately, he does get long vacations.)

In fact, I know many families that homeschool here in our area. They are fine families and exert tremendous efforts to educate and raise their children. Most such families are very close. When I think of such dedicated parents having to hide, being persecuted for their commitment, it makes me sick---especially in situations as in Germany in which the German government is seemingly unconcerned about the much larger group of children who are simply not in school and are not being trained by their parents. Something more is afoot than a concern over the education of these poor homeschool families.

Previous posts: here and here

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Driving on Christmas Eve Morn

I was driving my family to church this Christmas eve morning on a divided highway. As we traveled the decline, I looked over at the other side and saw that traffic was all but stopped. Instinctively and out of curiosity, I slowed down on our side too. What was going on? Were police stopping people for speeding? Was there an accident?

Nothing of the sort. There was a ground hog in their fast lane trying to make his way across the divided road. People were stopped for him and reducing the traffic to one lane to let him cross. He was confused by all the cars around him and was progressing only slowly and cautiously.

My daughter, Vengerette: "What is it?"

me: "Aw! It's a ground hog. Oh, look! He's so cute!"

Vengerette: "What's he doing?"

me: "He's crossing the road."

Vengerette: "But why is he crossing the road?"

(And I couldn't resist. I just had to say it.)

me: "Why, to get to the other side, of course!"

Vengerette: (sighs, shakes head)

You'll be glad to hear that there were no ground hog remains on the road when we traveled home. He's alive and well to celebrate Christmas with his little family. The kids, bah-humbug beings that they are, told me that someone probably picked him up for Christmas dinner and then informed me that animals didn't celebrate Christmas. I reminded them of Narnia. The animals there did indeed celebrate Christmas. Besides, how did they know that nature didn't celebrate the birth of the Lord of creation in its own way? Even the hymn "Joy to the World" says, "Let heaven and nature sing!"

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

The greatest gift of all has already been given.

Merry Christmas to all. Remember the One whose birth we celebrate on CHRISTmas Day. And may Christ live in your hearts everyday of the year.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Saturday, December 23, 2006

UN Gets It Right

Long time readers will know that I'm not a huge fan of the UN, aside from some of their research. But every so often, the UN gets it right:

The newly approved United Nations "Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities"* which was adopted by the General Assembly Wednesday forbids nations which sign on to it from denying "food and fluids" to disabled persons.

Article 25 of the Convention, which deals with health, directs (in sub-section f) nations to "Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability."

Commenting on the development, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told that "To cause death by dehydration by denying food and fluids to a person based on their disability or cognitive ability, such as Terri Schiavo, is to kill them by euthanasia."

In March 2005 Schivo died of dehydration and starvation after being intentionally denied food and fluids for 13 days. Autopsy results revealed she could have lived at least another ten years if she had continued to receive food and fluids. Schadenberg said the section was "the most important" of the Convention "because if it is recognized it will act by protecting people with disabilities, who are not otherwise dying, from being killed by dehydration....To kill a person by dehydration is the ultimate affront to the equality and dignity of the human person who is so devalued that they are even denied the most basic necessity, food and fluid....These deaths are often motivated by eugenic and economic considerations and they are sold to the
general public based on a philosophy of end-of-life choice."**

Schiavo was not all that near death, as I understand it. It shouldn't have taken thirteen days for her to die if she were. She was murdered in a very cruel manner. Even prisoners on death row are executed more humanely. Pets are euthanized more humanely than Schiavo was. And all the while hunger and thirst racked her body, her killers said how peaceful she looked and surrounded her with teddy bears as though that would make it all better. Better for whom?

While everyone dies and all heroic measures may not always be in order, food and especially water are so basic that to deny them to the suffering puts one on par with the very civilized monsters of Nazi Germany death camps.

Yes. The UN did something right.

*See the full UN Convention report online.

**From on December 15, 2006: "New UN Convention Forbids Withdrawal of Food or Fluids from Disabled like Terri Schiavo" by John Henry

Friday, December 22, 2006

How NOT to Win Friends

So a woman is looking at pictures of my children and says:

"I've never seen pictures of your children before. Wow. They're very beautiful.
They must take after your husband. They look nothing like you."

Yep. Someone actually said that. And the funny part was that she had no clue what she had just done! None!

The advice from Witness that Whittaker Chamber's mother had given him to "never insult someone unless it is on purpose" came to mind. Clearly, she hasn't heard that principle before.

Anyway, it gave Mr. Venger and me something to laugh over, and life is too short not to laugh every chance we get.

Oh, and for the record, the usual comments to me flow more along the lines of "Wow, you're children are beautiful. They look just like you." The truth of the matter, however, is that they are, like most children, a real mixture of their father's features and mine so that whichever parent they are with they appear the spitting image of. And of course, their features change over time, favoring one and then the other.

Here's wishing you nothing but uplifting conversations throughout your day. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa Tales

My friend Carole from Mt. Pleasant Classical Academy sent me this story:

Santa Adventure With Grandma

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous, cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car."

Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten- dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's .... for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Murdered for Stem Cells?

Missing Ukrainian Infants Likely Killed for Stem Cells
from staff reports

BBC video documents ghastly find.

Investigators in the Ukraine are probing whether missing infants and preborns taken from mothers by maternity staff at a Kharkov hospital were killed so their organs could be extracted for stem-cell experimentation.

A few months ago, Family News in Focus reported that women in the Ukraine were being paid about $200 at a time to have abortions in order to provide stem cells for beauty treatments.

Now more grisly findings are being reported. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said it has video of 30 infants and fetuses being exhumed from a cemetery used by a maternity hospital in the Ukraine. Some of the bodies are missing organs.

Dr. Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America, said one theory is that the children were killed to obtain bone marrow for embryonic stem-cell research.

"One of the things that we have been concerned about for years is the fact that, by pushing embryonic stem-cell research, we're looking at a situation that is bound to use human beings as fodder for the experiments," she told Family News in Focus.

That "fodder" will be substantial. Hundreds of millions of eggs and stem-cells will be needed, and bioethicist Wesley Smith is convinced the demand will lead to fetal farming.

"In order to get the millions and millions of eggs that would be required, poor women in Bangladesh, in Congo, in other destitute nations would be seen by biotechnologists as so many egg farms ripe for the harvest," Smith said.

Harvesting eggs -- and stem-cells -- is dangerous business, sometimes resulting in sterility, infection and even death.

"The entire concept of the human being as a product is coming into vogue," he said, "and it should be a great concern to everyone."

Smith said we may already be entering into a new form of slavery, where the poorest of humans and the disabled are seen merely as animals to be exploited or crops to be harvested.

The video footage has been turned over to the Council of Europe for investigation. Many fear this could be the start of a new, gruesome chapter in the stem-cell debate.

From 12/18/2006

Obviously, more investigation is needed, but dead-babies-missing-organs doesn't look good. Ends don't justify means. Preying upon the most innocent and the poor to potentially improve the quality of life of the affluent is a brave new world we don't need.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

India's Looming Social Crisis

I wasn't kidding when I said there was a global war on baby girls. I've lifted this article in its entirety from

India's Hindu Priests Under Fire for Exacerbating Sex-Selection Abortions
by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 15, 2006

New Delhi, India
( -- India's Hindu priests are under fire from authorities who are trying to address the abundance of sex-selection abortions and infanticides there. The criticism comes just days after a new report by UNICEF indicating 7,000 fewer female babies are born every day because parents can determine the sex of their unborn baby and kill her before birth.

A representative of the India government said the priests could be seen as helping to skew the male-female ratio by giving blessings that promote a preference for sons.

In a nation where cultural preferences favor boys already, a typical blessing of "May you be the mother of a hundred sons" could easily be seen by women as opposing the birth of girl babies. Renuka Chowdhury, minister for women and child development, told AFP that "the problem is very serious and is part of the deep mindset in India."

"They have to stop giving blessings about sons," Chowdhury said. "They should bless couples with healthy children."

The new UNICEF report shows that, in 80 percent of India's districts, a higher percentage of boys are born now than a decade ago.

The report cites the increased availability of cheap ultrasound technology as playing a role despite attempts by the India government to crack down on its use.

UNICEF says the resulting gender imbalance from sex selection abortions is particularly prevalent in the wealthier regions of the nation where access to the ultrasound technology easier.

UNICEF based the findings on Indian census data and they follow a report earlier this year from the British medical journal Lancet, which estimated that 10 million baby girls have probably been aborted in the last 20 years.

The new report shows a severe gender imbalance with 799 girls born in 2001 for every thousand boys in the wealthier northern state of Punjab, down from 875 in 1991. The neighboring state of Haryana saw the ratio drop from 879 to 823.

The results show that a 1994 law prohibiting the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of a baby for non-medical reasons is not working, even though the Indian government has announced several recent arrests in a renew effort to enforce the law.

The sex imbalance from 1991 was already disturbing. I remember reports from that far back that the use of ultrasound to detect baby girls and abort them was already in practice. One thousand boys to every eight hundred seventy-five girls is not a natural balance at all, and now it's worse. Sadly, this imbalance will not result in a stronger position for women but will more likely result in greater oppression as men "steal" scarce women for themselves from their own nation or from others or girls are married off younger and younger as there aren't enough women of marriageble age available. Those are the usual, historical results of such a sex imbalance--not empowerment.

Yep. Keep calling for the "right" of women to abort their babies around the world. Such "empowerment" by the "women's movement" is literally hurting only ourselves.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Looming Tower

Recently I read “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” by Lawrence Wright, a fascinating look at the history and the rise of terrorism, beginning with the life and works of Sayyid Qutb who came to the U.S. in 1948. Wright also follows the lives of Zawahiri, a key leader in al-Qaeda, bin Laden, and other terrorists, and demonstrates how their lives were intertwined. Various leaders of governments in the Middle East are highlighted, as well as involved Americans such as John O’Neill.

Quite interesting to witness are the disagreements between and the botched foreign policies of Middle Eastern countries. I’ve long been amazed by the short-sightedness of some of our own foreign policy toward “friendly” governments or of policies born of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy, e.g. backing Saddam Hussein and Iraq against Iran only to have Hussein become an international nightmare afterwards. Therefore, it was maliciously amusing to find Middle Eastern countries involved in the same sort of follies. At least, as I discovered, we aren’t the only ones guilty of incompetence and suffering from the repercussions of real politik.

While “The Looming Tower” doesn’t read like a novel, it certainly doesn’t feel like a stodgy old history tome either. This book infuses its readers with a deeper understanding of the personalities and issues that dominate world politics today. Pick it up if you get a chance or put it on your Christmas list for last minute shoppers.

There were, unfortunately, a couple parts in particular which really bothered me because they’re just so twisted. I just can’t figure out who the worse villains are. In chapter 12, entitled “The Boy Spies,” we learn that in 1995 Egyptian President Mubarak survived an assassination attempt by Islamic radicals in Ethiopia. They had been helped by Sudanese intelligence.

What followed blew me away. Mubarak’s security forces went on a campaign to root out and destroy the radical Islamist movement. They burned houses, were behind the disappearance of suspects, dragged mothers of suspects into the street, stripped them, and told children that next time their mother would be raped if their brother wasn't there when they returned.

It got uglier.

To deal with Zawahiri, Egyptian intelligence agents devised a fiendish plan. They lured a thirteen-year-old boy named Ahmed into an apartment with the promise of juice and videos. Ahmed was the son of Mohamed Sharraf, a well-known Egyptian fundamentalist and senior member of al-Jihad. The boy was drugged and sodomized; when he awakened, he was confronted with photographs of the homosexual activity and threatened with the prospect of having them shown to his father. For the child, the consequences of such a disclosure were overwhelming. “It could even be that the father would kill him,” a source close to Zawahiri admitted.

Egyptian intelligence forced him to recruit another child, Mus’ab, whose father, Abu al-Faraj was also in al-Jihad and served as the treasurer for al-Qaeda. Mus’ab endured the same humiliating initiation of drugs and sexual abuse and was forced to turn against his family. The agents taught the boys how to plant microphones in their own homes and photograph documents. A number of arrests followed because of the information produced by the boy spies.
In the end, the boys were discovered and shot by Zawahiri’s goons. They had a fair trial under Sharia, according to Zahahiri.

Now, tell me who is more evil--the Egyptian government that would sodomize boys to get them to betray their families or the families themselves who would kill their sons for having been sodomized? Do we have any reason to doubt that the boys would indeed have been murdered for the misfortune of being victimized? After all, the UN made it clear that women were the victims of honor killings after being raped. Why not boys too? Clearly the boys never doubted that their fathers would kill them. How can a government act so perversely? How can relatives murder their own? The whole thing just made me ill.

Also shocking was the revelation that warring factions in Afghanistan were gang raping little boys. Afghanistan has been suffering and suffering badly for many, many years.

Thankfully, the whole book is not like that. Very little is, actually. It just clarified to me that we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Our enemies are not people with whom we can come to some sort of compromise over tea. Heck, even friendly governments can be frightfully wicked. But to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Meme

Christmas Meme

1. Eggnog, Cider or Hot Chocolate?

Hot Chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?


3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Depends on the year. We've done both. But I really don't want to do all purple lights again. We tried that once and they really weren't purple but more like fuschia. Uh, no.

4. Which of Santa's reindeer -- Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donder, Blitzen, Cupid and Comet. -- are you? And why?

Rudolph. I never got to play any reindeer games when I was little either. I guess I was always a little different.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Never, preferably.

Honestly, it varies a lot from year to year, but never before December.

6. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

Turkey and stuffing and sweet potato/cranberry casserole. (Those are actually three separate things and not one gross dish, by the way.)

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child?

Seeing my two cats, hanging in the tree like tree ornaments, when I peered through the window.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Walking home from school with two friends who had just heard that day.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Sometimes. It depends on how many gifts there are.

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him?

No kind. I don't share with Santa much.

11. Snow! Love it or hate it?

Do I get a paid day off work?

12. Can you ice skate?

Are we talking Dorothy Hamel or just around the rink without falling? 'Cause I'd say the latter.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

a kitty, maybe....or was it my first Bible?

14. What's the most important thing about Christmas to you?

My kids.

15. What is your favorite Christmas dessert?

Pie. Pumpkin, apple, it's all good.

16. Favorite Christmas tradition?

Watching a new family video at the end of the long day and relaxing, finally.

17. What tops your tree?


18. Which do you prefer--GIVING OR RECEIVING?

Giving is fun.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?

Religious -

O Holy Night


Hark! the Herald Angels Sing


O Come, Let Us Adore Him


Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
The Twelve Days after Christmas

20. Candy Canes?


For others responses try, Hube, Jeff the Baptist, or Paul.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christian vs Christ-follower

Picked up from Reformed Chicks Blabbing, this video and the others in the series trigger mixed emotions. Not much of a bumper sticker sort of Christian, I giggled over “Christian’s” collection which he kept in his coat.

The other videos poke fun at the need of some Christians to wear Christian paraphenalia such as WWJD bracelets. Yet the need of people to self-identify in our culture is hardly confined to a certain segment of Christians. People routinely align themselves with favorite sports teams via sweatshirts, t-shirts, jackets, and hats. Others pay for the privilege of advertising their favorite designers such as Abercrombie and Fitch. I'm not sure why Christians who wear bracelets or t-shirts are any funnier than the rest of the population, even though I personally have never been much for clothing with words and the like.

One clip pokes fun of the Sunday best idea, a throw-back to an earlier time, still in vogue at some churches. Long ago, people were lucky to have two sets of clothes. One was everyday wear and the other was for Sunday and special occasions. Sunday was a special day when one was freed from work and had an opportunity to worship and to see his neighbors and friends. Frequently, church and the fellowship afterwards was an all day affair. A few decades ago, not many would have gone to the grocery store or a movie without suit, if male, or dress, heels, and pearls, if female, let alone show up to church in jeans. Times have changed. I never did get the whole dressing up on Sunday thing. But then again, I don't get why I need to get dressed up for work either. But that's me.

What bothered me most about the video above was the slight mockery of "Christian" who apparently reads a lot. It also makes a point of cracking on the King James. I gave up on the King James version long ago, although I must say it was quite fortunate for me to be familiar with the language when Shakespeare was passed out in school. However, being a bibliophile, I wondered how “Christ-follower” could follow Christ if he never picked up a Bible to see what exactly the Master and His prophets had written for him to follow.

In this clip we see two extremes portrayed. On the one hand, there are Christians who seem to stray from the simplicity of Christ and from the beauty of the central message of the gospel in favor of a sort of head knowledge—knowing about Christ rather than knowing Him. On the other hand, we see a proto-type of a Christian who apparently reads and studies nothing. One has to wonder if such souls know exactly what it is that they believe. How can one denigrate the written word when God chose to communicate to us largely through that medium?

Intense study and abiding confident faith need not be juxtaposed. I recall that many years ago a brilliant theologian and scholar was asked what was the most significant and deepest truth he had learned over his many years of study. Without hesitating, he replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Clearly, this was a man who hadn’t lost the childlike wonder in the piles of books and research.

Let’s not forget that the Bereans were praised for their noble character because they were willing to study the Scriptures to verify the truth of Paul’s message. (Acts 17) Let’s not forget that although the Ephesians were corrected because they had fallen away from their fervent first love of the Savior, they were first commended for their service and doctrinal maturity which allowed them to spot a false apostle a mile away. Let’s not forget that Paul’s second epistle to Timothy encourages believers to study and to be able to handle the Word skillfully.

I think this spoof shows two extreme caricatures—all mind or all heart. But then we are creatures given to extremes. How do we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves? How do we become more deeply grounded in truth, no longer filling our souls with the mere milk of the Word but with the meat of it also without losing the wonder of young faith as we grow into "adulthood"?

The video-taped skit failed to answer those questions and made those who would study look nerdy and silly and legalistic. Kind of reminds me of the current attitude in many of our public schools. Maybe in that respect the clip is revealing something rather different than its intent--a conformity to the world and our surrounding culture rather than a freedom from it. Just sayin'.

The other videos can be found here, here and here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Global War on Baby Girls

Scholar Warns U.N. Delegates about Sex-Selection Abortions
A top scholar and former American diplomat this week warned delegates to the U.N. that prenatal sex-selection abortions are on the rise.

Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, said a global war is being conducted against baby girls, many of whom are aborted because the parents prefer a son.

According to Eberstadt, the natural birth rate for boys and girls is 105 to 100. meaning that five more males will come into the world than females. With increased sex-selection abortion, the scholar said the gap has widened to 115 to 100.
This is a duh kind of warning. How can the U.N. not already know this? For years now women in China, forced to maintain their birthrate at one child per woman, have felt pressured to give up baby girls for adoption or worse. Women in parts of India have been using ultrasound to detect if their baby is male and female, and then aborting if the baby is a girl. What women here militantly defend as a woman's right becomes the instrument of women's destruction in other lands where females are not valued as highly as males and women feel enormous pressure to have baby boys.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Afghan

Here it is---the first completed afghan of the several on my 1001 Project (which I have yet to register at their site). When I began to mull over my 101 things list, I thought there was no way I could complete the afghan this year. But I figured I might as well pick it back up after my hiatus and finish it for next year. Next thing I knew, I was making real progress and realized that it would be tight, but I could do it! And I did.

Sorry the lighting is so bad and that digital cameras aren't great with repeating patterns, or so I hear. Obviously, it's not completely unfurled. It's about as tall as I but much wider.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Chinese Women Supporter Jailed

A local Chinese court has upheld the bogus sentence of a leading opponent of forced abortions who was charged with destroying property and disrupting traffic in a protest he never attended. Chen Guangcheng's attorneys protested what they called a politically motivated court ruling.....

Chen and his family came under intense persecution following his interviews with Time and the Washington Post about a brutal family planning campaign conducted in the eastern city of Linyi.

There, local officials forced as many as 10,000 women to undergo abortions or sterilizations and jailed or harassed family members who refused to turn in women targeted in the campaign.

Chen, who taught himself law though he has been blind since childhood, was organizing a class-action lawsuit against the government at the time his persecution began.

From: China Court Upholds Forced Abortion Opponent's Bogus Sentence by Steven Ertelt of

Forced abortions have been performed in China for many years. Concerned about a large population, the government had forbidden the more numerous ethnic groups in China to have more than one child. This led to the monitoring of women's monthly cycles in some areas and brutal forced abortions perpetrated on young women who whether on purpose or by accident became pregnant after already giving birth to a child.

Another outcome was the institutionalization of baby girls by their parents in orphanages where they may or may not thrive so women could try for a boy in a nation in which males are traditionally prized more highly than females and are needed in more rural regions for physical work and to care for parents in old age.

I have had discussions with self-identified liberals about this very issue and was stunned to discover that they could not condemn forced abortions as evil or immoral. Where were the cries for human rights on behalf of Chinese women? Population control and multi-culturalism trumped women's rights in their minds. These were not uneducated people either. Even when I tried to describe it in graphic terms just to get the point across, thinking they weren't grasping the ramification of such a policy---"So, you're saying that you really have no problem with a local government monitoring a woman's monthly cycle, and upon discovering that she's pregnant, coming into her home, forcibly taking her somewhere, strapping her down, shoving medical instruments into her body and forcibly and painfully evacuating a baby from her uterus without her consent?"--- and the answer was "No. No problem."

Well, alrighty then. (Shudder)

Apparently, attempts to challenge the authority of the government to brutalize women (and unborn babies) result in persecution too.

I don't know if the higher court can overturn this lower courts ruling yet again, but God bless Chen Guangcheng for his fearless fight for the rights and protection of women in his country.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Silly String Goes Serious

Cool. Silly String has laid aside its silliness and grown up to take on a more responsible and serious role. Troops apparently are using it to detect trip wires around bombs.

Anyone want to organize a collection to send overseas?

Hat tip: Jeff the Baptist

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Support H.R. 6099

From Citizen Link:
The 109th Congress is almost over and pro-life advocates are urging Congress to bring the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, H.R. 6099, to the floor while a vote is still possible.

Authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the bill has 93 co-sponsors. It would require abortion providers to tell women who are aborting 20 weeks or more after fertilization about the severe pain their preborn children will feel during the procedure. It would also require that the woman be allowed to decide whether her preborn could receive anesthesia, if it is more than 20-weeks-old.

Several studies have shown that preborn babies as early as 20 weeks after fertilization experience severe pain during the abortion procedure.

Federal laws regulating animal welfare require that animals destined for slaughter experience a pain-free death, but that law does not protect preborn children from the remarkable pain they undergo in an abortion.

Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a researcher at the University of Arkansas Medical Center and a leading expert on fetal pain, said he has no doubt that babies have the capacity to feel intense pain by the second trimester. In the third trimester of pregnancy, he said, the internal systems for feeling pain are completely developed. "This is based on multiple lines of evidence," Anand said. "Not just the lack of descending inhibitory fibers, but also the number of receptors in the skin, the level of expression of various chemicals, neurotransmitters, receptors, and things like that."

Some researchers believe that fetuses have the ability to feel real pain beginning as early as the first trimester, as by seven weeks certain anatomical structures have been established. Most, however, accept that the unborn have the ability to register pain by the second or third trimester, which is the default position of this bill.

Several years ago in England, Dr. Vivette Glover triggered controversy when she announced to the BBC that "while it is unlikely the fetus can feel anything before 13 weeks, 'after 26 weeks it is quite probable. But between 17 and 26 [weeks] it is increasingly possible that it starts to feel something and that abortions done in that period ought to use anaesthesia'".

Dr. Glover is, in fact, pro-abortion, yet she honestly followed the research to her conclusion that after 17 weeks of gestation, anesthesia should be used on the unborn before aborting them because of the high probability of pain. She separated the politics from the known facts.

Sadly, in the U.S. many pro-abortion advocates have been unwilling to support a law requiring abortion providers to be straight with a woman seeking abortion---that it might cause pain to the unborn child and that anesthesia could be made available for the fetus, if she desired it. Perhaps they fear that admitting the research and allowing for anesthesia would weaken there overall position. Yet that is not necessarily so, as civilized societies have laws governing even the treatment of animals to lessen their pain when going through certain procedures that could cause it.

Surely, this is a bill that those on opposing sides of the aisle should be able to jointly support. Basic decency and mercy needn't be politicized. Please contact your representative in the House and ask him or her to support H.R. 6099, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.

Additional links: The Emerging Reality of Fetal Pain in Late Abortion
More information on H.R. 6099 from the House of Representatives

Sunday, December 03, 2006

1001 Project

I've seen the 101 in 1001 around for quite a while now. I finally decided to join the 1001 project. Here goes:

The List

  1. create list of 101 things to be accomplished in 1001 days
  2. create a new 101 list
Health and Fitness

  1. take vitamins daily
  2. try kickboxing
  3. reinstate weightlifting and walking
  4. floss daily
  5. add yoga or stretches to exercise regimen
  6. add soy and flax to daily diet
  7. stop chewing on inside of mouth
  8. do monthly self-breast exams
  9. maintain cholesterol levels below 200
  10. eat 5 a day for 2 months

Things to Do, Places to Go, People to See

  1. attend a lecture/ take a class
  2. start a compost pile
  3. participate in karaoke/ sing publicly
  4. get jewelry fixed
  5. visit Vermont in the autumn to see the leaves
  6. learn to shoot a rifle or handgun
  7. visit national archives in DC
  8. pay off credit card
  9. finish afghan for family room
  10. finish afghan for special relative for Christmas
  11. make afghan for relative
  12. make afghan for relative
  13. make afghan for relative
  14. visit new historic place (new to me, that is)
  15. visit a winery
  16. go kayaking
  17. go white water rafting
  18. visit my brother at his home
  19. explore career options at work
  20. go horseback riding
  21. teach a class
  22. visit a wildlife preserve
  23. go paintballing
  24. build or purchase a bluebird box
  25. build or purchase a butterfly house
  26. start and maintain a bird journal
  27. learn to sew and make something useful
  28. send Christmas cards to the troops
  29. plant an herb garden
  30. participate in a run/walk
  31. have a massage
  32. update Christmas card list and computerize
  33. create and maintain nightly master list for self and kids
  34. rewrite will
  35. participate in a murder mystery dinner
  36. learn to pilot a boat including docking
  37. volunteer at Habitat for Humanity
  38. go on a short term missions trip
  39. choose a place to volunteer and do it
  40. go to a play or musical
  41. have picture taken with Santa


  1. master SAS self-defense techniques
  2. teach children SAS self-defense techniques
  3. take a safe driving course
  4. take self-defense class or seminar
  5. take CPR class
  6. take first aid class
  7. learn to change a tire
  8. learn emergency procedures for disasters


  1. memorize 100 Bible verses
  2. read Bible and pray daily
  3. read through Bible
  4. study Ephesians in depth
  5. take a Precept course


  1. add technorati tags to blog
  2. post at least 225 new blog entries
  3. improve html knowledge/skills (read a book)
  4. back up and organize all files on computer
  5. back up blog
  6. learn to use videocam including uploading to computer and saving on DVD

Around the House

  1. organize/declutter bedroom
  2. paint bedroom
  3. decorate bedroom
  4. paint guest room
  5. paint Vengerette's room
  6. paint Venger Jr's room
  7. paint my bath
  8. paint kids' bath
  9. sort through books and donate those no longer wanted to charity or library
  10. organize critical papers in fire box
  11. create master list of all accounts and emergency numbers
  12. clean out file cabinet
  13. organize pictures
  14. organize emergency supplies for family
  15. declutter basement
  16. organize recipes

Intellectual Growth/Development

  1. read 30 books
  2. read 4 books on the Middle East, Islam, or modern day terrorism
  3. read a book on Church history
  4. read a book on web design
  5. read a book on survival techniques
  6. read Understanding the Times
  7. read a book or take a class on medicinal herbs
  8. complete level 1 of Rosetta Stone Spanish
  9. complete level 2 of Rosetta Stone Spanish
  10. learn 100 new English words
  11. study and improve sign language skills (at least 150 new signs)
  12. read or listen to 4 classics

A Girl Can Dream

  1. visit Israel

The list is doable, yet challenging. I've tried to keep the list realistic. Some things are easier than others, certainly, but it's important to allow for some success. For anything that lacks a obvious finish, a two month period to allow for the establishment of habit will be considered a successful attempt.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pakistan--A Little Good News

Every so often there is a little bit of good news in the world. Take this headline for example: Pakistan Makes Changes to Rape Law.

On Friday, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf signed the Protection of Women bill, a controversial new rape statute which will make it easier for women to seek, and hopefully, attain justice in Pakistan.

Previously, Pakistan had the Hudood Ordinance in place which demanded four Muslim male witnesses to the actual act of penetration in order to prosecute. Theoretically a Muslim male could rape a woman in front of her entire family and if they were anything but Muslim and there were fewer than four males, the rapist couldn’t be tried. Now judges can choose to try the perpetrator in criminal court where the four male Muslim witnesses would not be the standard.

Pakistan will also drop the death penalty for sex outside of marriage, apparently used almost exclusively against women and possibly utilized when a woman accused a man of raping her since she had just admitted that she had intercourse with him. Now sex outside of marriage will only cost her five years in prison or a fine.

How much of a change this law will actually make in Pakistan remains to be seen. It is, however, a tiny step forward. There needs to be a corresponding change in the hearts and minds of men in the land. So far, there has been protesting by Muslims around the country who see the change as an attack on their society, an attempt to make them more Western.

"I call on all people to prevent Musharraf and his team from wrecking Muslim society," said opposition leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed who heads a coalition of Islamic groups.

International pressure on Pakistan to rewrite its rape laws intensified after the 2002 tribally promoted and enforced rape of a young woman to punish her brother for an alleged affair.

Hat tip to Reformed Chicks Blabbing.

Previous posts: Pakistan and Hudood Ordinances

Friday, December 01, 2006

Google's Literacy Project

Shamelessly lifted from my friend over at Mt. Pleasant Classical Academy (which was sent to her by another friend):

Search-engine giant Google Inc. has unveiled a web site dedicated to literacy, pulling together its books, video, mapping, and blogging services to help teachers and educational organizations share reading resources. Google launched the site last month at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest gathering of publishing executives, in conjunction with the United Nations and a literacy campaign organized by fair officials. "Google's business was born out of a desire to help people find information," said Nikesh Arora, vice president of Google's European operations. "We hope this site will serve as a bridge to even greater communication and access to important information about literacy problems--and solutions." More than 1 billion people around the world over the age of 15 are considered illiterate, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. As part of the project, Google has asked literacy groups around the world to upload video segments explaining and demonstrating their successful teaching programs. The service also uses Google's mapping technology to help literacy organizations find each other, and it offers links to reading resources.
There really are many functionally illiterate adults even here in the U.S. Fifteen million of them do hold down jobs in our country, but how many aren't employable? They slip through the cracks of the public education system somehow and are left unprepared for life in the modern world.

Check out The Literacy Project. It is, however, a bit disconcerting that there is no little red exclamation point over Delaware indicating a literacy organization here. I took the liberty of contacting a Delaware library and was reassured that there is indeed an adult literacy program hosted by the Delaware libraries. I knew we used to have one so I was worried when I thought perhaps they had discontinued that program. If you are a Delawarean and are interested in volunteering to teach someone how to read, contact the Literacy Volunteers at 302-658-5624 to find out more. If you are not from Delaware, you can try the map first, or contact your local library to see how you can get started.

Just think, after you teach someone to read, you can take them over to a computer right there in the public library, get them connected to the 'net, and show them how to get to my site!