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Archive for May, 2012

A number of years ago, William Bennett wrote The Book of Virtues in which he used parables, fables, and historical stories to highlight certain important character qualities. We recently ran across videos produced for PBS, 0f all places, that used animation to teach these lessons to children. Our kidlets have been  tremendously enjoying these videos, and I’ll bet yours will too.

We like them on two levels. First, each video pinpoints a specific virtue, ie. responsibility, courage, integrity, and explains both the harm of neglecting it, as well as the benefit from cultivating it. Second, the videos retell many of the classic stories that children ought to know. So far our children have become acquainted or reacquainted with stories such as Alfred the Great, Icarus, William Tell, and the boy who cried wolf.  We do like being able to refer to the stories as we talk with our kids.

NOTE: We fully understand the limitations of these videos and lessons. They only teach moralism; they do not teach Christ. We do not intend these videos to substitute for the gospel, nor do we expect our children to become godly by these means. What they do, they do well. Where they are weak, Christ is strong.

NOTE #2: If you watch the Youtube videos, be careful about the commercials that are embedded. It was rather infuriating for the kids to be watching the episode dealing with “Faith,” only to have a credit card commercial come up which included a half-naked woman jumping out of a helicopter into a lake. Thanks, Visa BlackCard, that was helpful. Not sure how that is supposed to motivate me to use your product, but let’s just say it backfired.

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For the football fan, Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” on SI.com is must-read material each week. About this time each year, he includes memorable snippets of commencement addresses, and yesterday’s clip captured my attention.

This is from Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood screenwriter and producer and Syracuse grad. He spoke at the Syracuse graduations Sunday. What I liked from his speech:

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to cocaine addiction. You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work, right up until the moment that they decimate your life. Try cocaine, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to cocaine, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.

How perfectly do these words picture the power and work of sin. Go through his comments and strip out “cocaine” and “drugs” and substitute “sin” and “evil.”

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to sin addiction. You know how I got addicted to evil? I tried it. The problem with sin is that it works, right up until the moment that it decimates your life. Try sin, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to evil, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.”

  • “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 ESV)
  • “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)
  • “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Romans 7:11 ESV)
Is there any hope? Is it in sheer will power? 7 steps? some other addiction program? Our only hope is in the person and work of Christ.
  • “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  (Romans 7:24-25 ESV)
  • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:1-3 ESV)

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