Archive for May, 2011

Man of the Family picks up where Little Britches leaves off. Ralph’s father has died (Ralph is just 11 years old), and Ralph is now the man of the family.

More than just a touching story, MotF continues to unfold the impact a father has on his family, even after his death.

Excellent book, well-written. Many good life lessons recounted. You will be amazed at the responsibilities Ralph and his siblings shoulder in the early 1900’s. They are not exactly sitting around playing video games.


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Last Christmas my brother gave me The Day of Battle, Rick Atkinson’s second book in his “Liberation Trilogy” history of the western theater in WW2. After reading about 1/3 of it, I bought the first volume, An Army At Dawn to read as soon as I finished TDOB.

Excellent reads. Thoroughly researched and extremely well written. AAAD earned a Pulitzer a couple years ago and it is well-deserved. If you enjoy reading military history, these should go on your t0-read list.

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A while back I reviewed Dr. Meeker’s book, Boys Should Be Boys, which I found to be encouraging, though not especially well-edited. I looked for several month in used bookstores for her book about girls, and finally broke down to add it to an Amazon purchase.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know is another helpful book from the good pediatrician.

My concerns about the book track pretty much the same as her other book. The 10 secrets is more a marketing ploy than a path through the book. I don’t think these chapter titles “Teach Her Humility,” “Be the Man You Want Her to Marry,” and “Teach Her Who God Is” are exactly gnostic gems only for the initiates. But then again, we do have a lot of fools in our society.

This book is also rather clunky at times. Her editor didn’t do her many favors in cleaning up after the first few drafts. Among other issues the story illustrations sometimes seem to be inserted more for variety than examples.

But SFSD is another encouraging and motivating book for this dad, and it is worth any father reading. Dads of just sons ought to read it to an idea of the challenges, hopes, and joys of raising girls. Dads of daughters ought to read it because…well, you do have a daughter.

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In Ruth 1 Naomi tries to convince Ruth and Orpah to return to Moab by telling them,  “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.”

Our mental picture of Naomi has been shaped by her comment and pictures such as this:

Take a close look at it. See how western Ruth is depicted. See all the wrinkles and the haggard expression on Naomi’s face?

Every children’s story Bible has pictures of Ruth and Naomi that show an older lady and a very attractive and much younger woman.

I believe our understanding of this passage is shaped more by these pictures than actual historical and biblical information.

Was Naomi really too old to marry again and bear children? Instinctively you think, “Yes, of course, she was.” But consider the historical pattern. Women (girls) would typically marry at age 13 or 14, and they wanted to have kidlets asap. So it would be common for women/girls to have a child or two by the time they were in their mid-to-late teens. Boys/men often married when they were in their late teens.

When you calculate all this out, Naomi could have been as young as her early 30’s! Most likely no older than early 40’s. Hardly the gramma-picture we usually have in our minds, eh?

You say, “that’s impossible.” But consider this picture:

This lady, Rifca Stanescu, is 25. The boy to her left is 2…and he is her grandson.

Here are some caveats to consider: #1. Life was much more difficult in ancient times. Between the sheer physical nature of living and the lack of health and nutritional understanding, it is possible that Naomi was post-menopausal even at a relatively young age.

#2. Even if Naomi were capable of bearing children, she would not be high on most men’s list of eligible women, so it would have been unlikely that she would remarry.

However, history is replete with examples of women bearing children into their late 30’s and beyond. And Naomi does not claim that she cannot have children. She does, in fact, hint pretty strongly that if she had a husband it could be possible.

So is Naomi giving an accurate description of her condition, or is her perception skewed by bitterness?

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yeah, me too.

George Grant listed 11 reasons why he is still teaching after 20 years, and these echo why I can’t wait to get back into the classroom.

After 20 Years, Why I’m Still Teaching

1. I get to love what I love in front of my students.
2. I inevitably learn more–even more than those I’m teaching.
3. I have a great excuse to buy more books.
4. And then, I have a great excuse to read more books.
5. I am forced to make real-life connections rather than simply pontificate in the theoretical.
6. I am provoked to think about the future and scrutinize the present through the lens of the past.
7. I am able to reacquaint myself with the best of our great legacy of art, music, and ideas.
8. I get the satisfaction of seeing the “lights come on.”
9. I am constantly prodded to hone my communications skills.
10. I get to bear testimony to the grace and mercy of God, in space, in time, and in me.
11. I am privileged to catch early glimpses of the future leaders of our culture in action.

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Certain hymns and spiritual songs strike an immediate and lasting chord deep within, uniting heart, soul, emotions, and mind as they blend profound doctrine and rich piety. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and Before the Throne of God I Stand are two that draw that response. And now there is another.

Pastor Chris Anderson recently wrote a marvelous hymn, Draw Near Through Christ. This hymn reminds me of Complete in Him, Dr. Michael Barrett’s book on soteriology.

You can listen to it here: Draw-Near-Through-Christ.mp3.

And here is a brief devotional explaining the song, stanza by stanza: tbc110403b.mp3

Draw Near Through Christ

In Eden’s bliss we walked with God
Unhindered by the curse.
Yet we rebelled and were expelled—
Estranged; alone; perverse.
Two mighty cherubs barred the path
To Eden’s holy place;
No more could men, now stained by sin,
Behold our Maker’s face.

Beneath the Law we sought the Lord
Through sacrifice and priest.
One time each year one man, in fear,
Sought God with blood of beast.
Still mighty cherubs blocked the way
So sinners could not pass—
In curtain sewn, on golden throne,
They stopped the rebel fast.

Then Christ appeared to clear the way
To God for sinful man;
Fulfilled the Law without a flaw—
Our Temple, Priest, and Lamb.
Astounded cherubs stepped aside;
Each hid his flaming sword.
With nail and thorn the Veil was torn;
Draw near through Christ the Lord!

In Jesus’ name we boldly come
Before the throne of grace.
With empty hand, in Christ we stand
To seek Almighty’s face
Till saints and cherubs join in awe
Around the Savior’s throne.
With one great voice we will rejoice:
“All praise to Christ alone!”

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girls v. boys

I am learning the joys and complexities of having both girl-children and a boy-child. I came into this parenting thing relatively naive, and I have been disabused of various misconceptions. Such as the impression that boys were the ‘strong-silent’ types.

Yeah, right. Not with Gman!

Some stereotypes have been confirmed though. such as this snippet from the morning:

Gman: “Dad! Look. A bug.” Actually it was said more like, “DAD!!!!! LOOKABUG!!!!” Pause. “I KILL IT!!!! I GET MY SWORD!!!” all this said with great glee and volume.

Aubrey: “Oh no, Dad!” (Great pathos) “A beetle. Oh, poor beetle. Let me take him outside.”


Life is one continuing education unit after another. Alas, no credits received.

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