Friday, February 29, 2008

My son discovers digital music...

A few weeks ago, I made a big mistake: I let my boy use my iPod. Now every time we go someplace, he wants to listen to it. I think he's pretty cute. I'm sure you will agree.

You might be wondering what he's listening to. Well, the Mighty Mrs. J wouldn't let him hear her Black Sabbath/Eminem collection. So I had to pick something else.

Right now his favorite listen is two albums (this one and this one) by Chris Tomlin. (That's what he's listening to in the picture.) He loves the music (so do I). And there is something very cool about hearing your little boy in the YMCA locker room, singing at the top of his lungs. Especially when the words he's singing are:
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory

He could be singing lyrics much worse than that...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The spirit of Margaret Sanger lives on!

Margaret Sanger was a thoroughly evil human. She was a champion of negative eugenics, the belief that less "fit" races, like blacks, hispanics and Asians, should have their breeding limited through mandatory birth control, abortion and forced sterilization. She started a pro-birth control organization that was the predecessor of Planned Parenthood.

Although much of the radical feminist movement considers her a hero, the truth is she was evil, and her evil influence continues on through Planned Parenthood. I just found this audio of someone prank calling Planned Parenthood offices, and saying horribly racist things to see how the PP people would react.

Watch it, but let me warn you: you're likely to get really angry, and a little sick. Also, the subject isn't really kid-friendly, so be warned...

By the way, if you're wondering, PP is funded by your tax dollars. I'm sure you are as happy about that as I am.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Larry Norman, RIP...

Christian music lost a legend a couple of days ago when Larry Norman died. A lot of folks call him the Father of Christian rock, but he was more than that. He was a great example of a guy who followed his Lord, even when it wasn't easy. Christian music mostly forgot about him, because he was a little more explicit in his faith than most Christian artists of the day.

Here's a video of him doing a fun version of one of his songs:

Bye, Larry. We'll meet again...

Henry Nouwen quote...

"It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance."

From Bread for the Journey

The return of, well, me...

Well, the cry of the people can no longer be ignored. I have returned from my self-imposed sabbatical to once again grace you with my blogging wonderfulnessiosity. I'm sorry for the delay. There's a lot going on on the Family Frontier. (Good stuff, mostly.)

I'll try to catch everyone up on our doings. But it'll take some time. Right now, I have a 2 year-old that wants to jump off a table. And she wants me to catch her!

Imagine this face flying through the air at you...

Welcome to my world!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Getting my theology from C.S. Lewis and John Lydon...

Toddler Houdini was a little sick today, so she and I stayed home while the Mighty Mrs. J took the other 2 kids to worship with our peeps. While they were gone TH and I lounged about, watching TV. We especially enjoyed the "History of Rock and Roll" episode on VH1 Classic. The episode we watched was about the punk era (mid-70's to early 80's). (Actually, she watched Little Bear in the living room, while I watched VH1 Classic in the bedroom.)

Mostly I just enjoyed the music and the stories. The part that got me thinking about spiritual things was a film clip that showed the very end of the last concert by John Lydon's group (I won't mention the name of the group, because it's not appropriate for a family blog. Google John Lydon if you don't know his stage name or his first group.)

After the end of their last song, Lydon yells to the crowd, "Ya ever feel like you've been cheated?" Most people thought he was saying that they had cheated the audience. But Lydon said that what he meant was that he and the group had been cheated; that they got into music expecting one thing, but found out the reality was very different, and disappointing. So disappointing they disbanded after being together only 3 years.

The spiritual application? I wonder how many of us are cheating ourselves out the blessings God wants for us. How many of us pursue things that aren't really important in an eternal sense? How many of us harbor doubts about God, thinking He's less great, less good, less loving than He actually is? How many of us see our faith as a duty to be performed, rather than a relationship to be cherished? How many of us build walls between us and other people, keeping them at a distance? All those things, and a hundred more, cheat us out of experiencing the life that God wants for us.

It reminds me of something said during a sermon entitled, "The Weight of Glory."
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
I hope none of us will look back at our lives to discover we were "half-hearted creatures."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Good folks doing good work...

The Mighty Mrs. J and I are blessed. We have a great marriage (at least I think so), with great kids, and a nice house. We don't have a ton of money, but we don't hurt for anything either. And it's becoming more important to us that we help people in this world who have real needs. There's a lot of reasons this is more important to us. One, it is the right thing to do. Second, we want our kids to realize how blessed they are, especially compared to other people.

I say all that to tell you about one of the groups that we've been supporting for a while, the Foothills Pregnancy Resource Center. They work with pregnant women here in southern California. They provide counsel and guidance for these women, trying to get them to choose life for their babies. They are growing, reaching out, trying to provide more services to the communities they serve.

Here's a link to their web site. Click over and see for yourself what they do. And, I'm not one to tell you how to spend your money. But while you're at their site, why not give them a donation? Saving kids is a pretty terrific way to spend your money...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another quote to discuss amongst yourselves...

"Christian religionists have defined salvation as resolution of destiny, instead of a relationship... The purpose of salvation is to redeem you back to the Father. Your eternal destiny is a by-product of that."

--Wayne Jacobsen, in a discussion of why all the details about Hell are so important to believers.

It's an interesting thought. And maybe he's right--maybe the discussion of Heaven and Hell causes us to focus on the "what" of salvation, rather than the "Who."

Great idea, but lousy answers...

I ran across this NY Times blog today. Apparently, England is looking for a new national motto. The blogger thought it would be fun to see what readers could come up with for a US motto. The caveat? It has to be 6 words.

It's a fun idea. The depressing part is that some of the mottoes readers have come up with. As I write this, there are 929 comments. A big chunk of commenters suggested mottoes that depict the US as evil, narcissistic bullies, where rich white men ruin the earth for everybody else.

How sad. No question, we've got our problems. But this country also does a lot of good in this world. And, I wonder how long we can continue as a nation when there's a big chunk of us that believe the country is evil. If we really are evil, then what's the answer? Maybe we need to be more like Kenya. Or Cuba.

My motto? Maybe this: "Earth's best hope, always must advance." Or, "Blessed by God to bless others."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gipper!

It's ironic that today would have been the 97th birthday of Ronald Wilson Reagan. He was by far the best president of my lifetime. Almost every day of this miserable presidential campaign I wish he was still around. Here's his "A Time for Choosing" speech before the 1964 presidential election. It's a long clip, but one of the gems starts at about 2:30, and goes for just over a minute. Enjoy!

I hate to make you watch this next clip, but I was struck by the contrast between what Reagan believed about the role of government, and the beliefs of one of today's candidates. Don't watch all of this. It's too painful. But go forward to about 4:05.

We've come a long way. But not in the right direction...

Why this is NOT Black Wednesday...

Well, Super Tuesday is over, and for those of us who are conservative politically, it looks pretty bleak. It seems the party I belong to has left me to become a miniature version of the Democratic party. So my choice in November is to vote for a pretty liberal Republican, or a really liberal Democrat. Not much of a choice.

I am somewhat disappointed. But is this going to ruin my Wednesday? Hardly. I can think of a lot of reasons that I have to be happy. Here's a few:
  1. I have a wife who is smart, funny, and hotter than 10 supermodels. And, she loves me a lot.
  2. I have 3 kids who make me laugh (and cry) all the time. And, they love me, too.
  3. God loves me, even when I vote for a loser presidential candidate.
  4. We have enough, more than enough, to provide for our needs. And a lot of our wants, too.
  5. God's going to take care of us, no matter how bad the president is.
  6. We survived one Clinton presidency, we'll get through another one.
  7. We even survived Jimmy Carter. Plus, afterward, we got Ronaldus Magnus.
That's 7, off the top of my head. Plus, when you read something like this, you realize just how blessed we are.

So, let's count our blessings instead of our defeats! I think our job in the political process is simple: we need to be engaged and involved, but never consumed. Ultimately, we trust that God uses even deeply flawed people to accomplish His purposes...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Garrison Keillor on angels and education...

I don't always agree with Garrison Keillor when it comes to politics. But a column he published a few days ago is on the money. Read it here.

He's absolutely right about the fact that public education is failing the children it is supposed to be educating. It's time that the Left in this country takes responsibility for the damage it has done to the country by wrecking our educational system.

But I don't expect that to happen anytime soon...