Monthly Archives: April 2009
Welcome back to this week’s podcast and to part four of my interview with Kathie Kordenbrock from the Moore Academy. Kathy is the daughter of homeschooling pioneers and educational experts Raymond and Dorothy Moore and has also homeschooled her three boys through the high school years. This week Kathie and I discuss the various Moore books and how they can be valuable resources for homeschooling families. For more information on the Moore Formula and to purchase materials be sure to visit the Moore Academy website.
And be sure to leave a comment here or at one of the other podcast entries with Kathie Kordenbrock to have your name entered in a contest to win a limited edition water color print.
A few miles south of us, near the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, the Spoon River flows into the Illinois. At this time of year, spring rains and thawing ice and snow push the muddy waters up over their banks, forming small lakes across cornfields. It won’t be until summer, when the waters have receded, that the soft brown clay will bear the marks of the river’s ebb and flow and once again red-tailed hawks and Canadian geese will be seen nesting and playing with their young along the riverside. I love visiting this beautiful part of the state, especially when everything is coming to life.
In Anne Ortlund’s wonderful book called Children Are Wet Cement, the reader is taken along on a similar journey. As Anne shares stories from her childhood, we are shown a picture of what happens when parents allow their own lives to overflow into those of their children, leaving impressions and creating memories that produce a spiritually fertile environment.
Raised on military bases by a dad who was a U.S. Army general and a mom who was a homemaker, Anne describes a childhood where the children are treasured as precious gifts from the Lord and each are valued. It is from that heritage of wise parenting that Anne flourishes as she grows from being a child to being a wife and mom. In a collection of 52 two to three page chapters, Anne reflects on those simple moments with her parents that left their marks on her life, the impressions made in her wet cement.
I first read this book when it was published in 1978 and it had a profound impact on the way I parented my own children. At the time, I had a toddler and a preschooler and was expecting my third child, which was a story very similar to Anne’s. On the pages of her life I saw myself, evaluating my own growing up years, struggling to gain the proper perspective, appreciating his author as the only “older woman” I had in my life at the time.
Having grown up in a Christian home and especially influenced by my grandmother whose spiritual fingers are still reaching out into the lives of her family, I understood the power of giving my children a vision of being successful Christians from their earliest days and Anne confirmed all those things I knew. But she also introduced me to new ideas and concepts that I only realized I had so completely assimilated 30 years later when I reread her book and reflected on how we raised our children. Listen to what she says:
“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.”
Children Are Wet Cement is a book about one anothering, it is about cherishing childhood each and every day, of imprinting your children with eternal things. It will both encourage and challenge you and it might even convict you, all the elements of a great read!
Joe at three years of age, one of my favorite pictures. Thankfully he has grown out of his mug shot stage!
This week we celebrated another family birthday, a big one since Joe has now turned 18! How can it be?
Since I had a history of being overdue with our babies, it was no surprise that the doctor would schedule a time to be induced. The night before our appointment, I kept telling Clay that I thought labor was beginning but he just wouldn’t believe me. Why would he? I had cried “wolf” 5 times before! But in the early hours of the morning, I made him get out of bed and take me to the hospital where Joe was born before dawn! I was so happy to finally have a middle-of-the-night-rush-to-the-hospital experience, complete with a doctor whose hair was a mess and a nervous dad hoping he wouldn’t have to deliver his son along route 116!
The nurses couldn’t weigh him on the scale in the delivery room and instead had to take him to the nursery to find out that he weighed 10 pounds 14 ounces. They were amazed and Joe and I were the talk of the neonatal unit that week, but to me he was still my tiny baby! We named him Joseph after my favorite man in the Bible.
Joe has been such a blessing to our family, the proverbial youngest child, the one who is always willing to help and encourage no matter what. He is an artist, a musician, and the best nephew and niece entertainer anyone could want. He also loves the Lord and that blesses me more than anything else about my precious son. Happy birthday, Joe! May the Lord continue to grow you in the faith and bless you in the days and years to come!
Cal Thomas, veteran of the culture wars, has written a piece this week that deserves reading, as do, really, all of his articles. This one talks about the newest challenge to superficial beauty: Susan Boyle, British singing sensation. This is the most delightful youtube clip I have seen in ages.
And in another fashion note, if you are still under the impression that denim is the devil’s fabric, you will love this cranky article by George Will. Fred Astaire, emblem of the new manly man? I will have to think about that one!
Angel of Grief, 1894 by William Wetmore Story, Protestant Cemetery, Rome
A much loved and longed for baby is taken during a 5th month of pregnancy. Why? A bright, winsome, and talented young man with a very promising future, in the twinkling of an eye, is taken from this world in a tragic car accident. Why? A young woman who follows hard after the Lord, who so desperately wants to rebuild a relationship with parents who so terribly and horribly abused her, has been deemed worthless by them. Why? The young mom battles depression every single day and loses her husband and children in the process. Why? In commenting on my request for prayer for the family who lost their son in the accident yesterday, one Facebook friend wrote “It is so hard to see how God is glorified in that situation.”
This week I have been preparing to speak at a women’s luncheon and the scripture passage that the committee chose for the day was from Luke 12:48: “to whom much is given, much will be required.” It has taken me weeks to wrap my arms around that verse, to chew on it and to grasp what the Lord would have me share, to be able to move beyond the worship of a God who has so graciously provided so very much, so I could come up with something worth saying!
I began making a list of all the things the Lord has given to me, an infinite list to be certain. There are the gifts of common grace, those things that the Lord provides for all of us. And there is the gift of salvation, the most glorious gift of all. But tucked inside all these other gifts and sometimes the gift we least want but the gift we most need, is the gift of suffering. Here are some of the things I have learned about suffering in the past few weeks:
Suffering is a gift because it reminds us of what Jesus endured and Scripture promises us that if we are to be like Him, we must suffer with him. In fact, 1 Peter 4:13 tells us that we are to rejoice when we experience suffering because God’s glory is revealed through it.
Suffering also bears witness to the sovereignty of God. Through our suffering we have a glimpse of God’s divine plan for our lives. We can come to the place of rest in Him because we know He has no plan B for us, only a plan A that He is working out of His good pleasure for His own glory and He has graciously allowed us to be a part of that plan!
Suffering reminds that God alone is our refuge, a very present help in time of need and that we are to cry out to Him. Psalm 73:25-26 describes how we are to respond: “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart fail: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”
Suffering shows us how weak and needy we truly are and how able and apt God truly is. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Suffering also provides us with the opportunity to minister to others. In the classic story Pilgrim’s Progress, the main character, Christian, came upon a murky, slimy bog and he couldn’t see see the bottom of that pit or anything that was in it. Inadvertently, Christian stumbled off the path and into the pit that was named the Slough of Despond. He wallowed around, trying to get out of the mess but he carried a burden on his back and the weight of it caused him to begin to sink, further and further down. He could not see any way out when suddenly he heard a voice. It was a man named Help who called out to him, saying “just go to the steps, go to the steps and climb out.” But Christian was not able to get out until Help showed him where those steps were.
Each of us has had done some time in the Slough of Despond. We have each had our own burdens that have kept us from rising above the miry pit. How many of us have needed the encouragement or the kind word from the friend who had already been in the pit and who knew where the steps were located? How often have we needed someone to show us how to get rid of those burdens that only push us down, lower and lower into despair? Those of us who are able to help someone out of the pit, learned the location of those steps through our own suffering.
Finally, suffering is a gift because it produces the true joy of the Lord in our lives. The other day I read this wonderful quote from a young woman who had been severely and horribly abused by her parents while she grew up. “At last I know what it is to have joy–not the pop-Christian-culture concept of “joy in my heart” but a deep, resonating element of serenity that has been shaped by sorrow and refined by the hand of God, a peace that passes all understanding and is a direct gift from my Lord.”
Today, I pray that those who are experiencing suffering will be encouraged by the Word of God and that those who have been there will be used to help others by His grace and for His glory alone.
I would like to ask anyone who is reading here today to pray for the Brownell family in Corvalis, Oregon. Their son Landon was killed in a car accident last night near Sacramento, CA. They are a homeschooling family and Landon was in his first year with the Oak Brook College of Law. Please pray for my son, Clayton, and the other guys who worked with Landon in the office, that the Lord would comfort all of these dear family members and friends at this time.
I love how much there is to learn from other bloggers and I have been blessed and enriched by so many over the years, not to mention provided with great ideas for Toastmaster speeches AND delicious recipes for my family! Today I am sharing some of the current posts that I found helpful.
Amy has a great article on ways to entertain a family that are inexpensive and even free. The best part is that she has provided links for all her creative ideas. Thanks, Amy!
Since I was a child, I have loved listening to missionaries tell their stories and we have read dozens of mission biographies over the years. Civilla has some terrific insights and suggestions for becoming more missions aware. Check them out!
Taunya is continuing her thought-provoking series on the patriocentric movement with part two on raising daughters. This article is particularly good because she addresses some areas of concern that I haven’t yet seen discussed and the comments are also worth checking out. Be sure to go back and read through the other articles on this topic if you haven’t yet seen them.
I recently decided to add book reviews to this blog and my current read is Milton Gaither’s book, Homeschooling ~ An American History. Gaither’s blog is a treasury of interesting information for anyone who loves social science research, as I do, and when that research is on homeschooling, oh boy, I love it! Gaither shares lots of interesting facts and this blog is only going to be more fun to read as time goes on!
Welcome back to this week’s podcast and to part three of my interview with Kathie Kordenbrock from the Moore Academy. Kathy is the daughter of homeschooling pioneers and educational experts Raymond and Dorothy Moore and has also homeschooled her three boys through the high school years. This week Kathie and I discuss how the academic subjects can be studied outside of textbooks and how they can and should be integrated with work and service.
A long time ago, I was given a great piece of advice. If you pay $25.00 to attend a conference and you come home with even one $25.00 piece of information, then the conference was worth attending. Bibliophile that I am, I maintain the same policy when it comes to purchasing books and I think I got my money’s worth when I bought my copy of Quiverfull ~ Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce.
Readers of this blog know that I see the patriocentric movement much like the reckless and activated toddler in the movie Honey I Blew Up the Kid who grew bigger and more unwieldy as he came into contact with various high tension lines. Those who are giving credence to these teachers and are providing a platform from which to speak are akin to those electrified wires, adding to the power while creating a creature that is taking on a life of its own. That is why I was anxious to read Ms. Joyce’s book and to, perhaps, find some new insights into the whys of the patriocentric movement that has declared itself in charge of Christian homeschooling.
But rather than giving me a more clear picture of this fringe but influential segment of the homeschooling culture, the reason I found this book to be so valuable was more for the opportunity it gave me to understand how a secular feminist assimilates the teachings and lifestyles within the patriarchy movement and, more importantly, how an outsider perceives the nonessential lifestyles that are being passed off as essentials of the faith within the homeschooling culture.
Covering most of the significant leaders within this faction, Ms. Joyce, for the most part, accurately portrays the key differences between the crunchy crude charm of Mike and Debi Pearl, the more “noblesse” and less “oblige” of Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips, and the myriad of other players who have wandered in and out of these circles for the past 30 years. I found little to disagree with in her perspective as she mapped out the teachings and leanings of each one. Oddly, Voddie Baucham, mentioned only in passing, and Kevin Swanson, two of the more notable and current mouthpieces for the movement, weren’t given the time of day in her book and Helen Andelin, the matriarch of fascinating childish womanhood, was curiously absent.
Interviewing both the movers and shakers, as well as the followers who have been moved and shaken, made for interesting reading, not to mention a smorgasbord of patriocentric madness. Her story, for example, of attending the Jamestown Celebration last summer and watching as the crowd jumped to their feet at the singing of Dixie, shows the neo-confederate leanings that are no insignificant part of this group. The account of Geoff Botkin praying over the ovaries of his newborn daughter along with the many testimonies of exhausted mothers who were told their salvation depended upon their childbearing, gives us a hint of the near-fertility worship these groups incite. The creepiness of Andrea Yate’s pastor, Michael Woroniecki, alone, made me want to sleep with my light on.
The lack of footnotes was probably the most troubling part of the entire book for me. Given how easily patriocentrists can spin and dissemble their own teachings to make themselves agreeable to a broad audience, footnotes and quotes ought to have been a number one priority and their absence was distressing. Skeptics and seekers reading the book will need them, in order to place these teachings in context and die hard sycophants will demand it. Note to Kathryn: please, please, please publish a corresponding booklet with your resources and remember this is there is a second edition.
I also had a difficult time getting my arms around the title of the book. “Patriarchy” is such a nebulous term, as is “quiverfull,” leaving the door open for incorrect conclusions to be drawn. There are many people, such as myself, who embrace a husband’s headship in the home and his leadership of the family as well as the Biblical truth that children are a blessing from the Lord and who welcome any children the Lord would give them, but who do not agree with the militant fecundity mindset nor seek to defile the marriage bed by declaring the use of all birth control to be sin.
Ms. Joyce, and I believe it is because she is not from within this movement, is not a believer, and is not committed to the Bible as the Word of God, does not understand the subtleties in the language or the continuum along which these teachings lie. As such, she does not possess the discernment to sort truth from error, leaving her at a disadvantage. Or perhaps, in the spirit of feminist spin, she felt the need to disdain male leadership as abusive and women, who love having lots of children, as having done so under duress, either by a man or the church. I am still trying to decide who she intends her audience to be and to what end she wrote her book.
I would also hope that those who are responsible for giving energy to the leaders within this movement through homeschooling conventions and other venues will consider what Kathryn Joyce is saying and be more circumspect in providing a forum to patriocentrists. Given the current political climate and the increasing scrutiny I believe homeschooling families will come under in the future, I would recommend that homeschoolers read this book. Then, perhaps, as in the case of the blown up kid, it will be a mother who brings sanity and control to what may become an out of control situation.