Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Colonial Vacation

My family & I left for vacation today so I may not post much the next week or so (though I have a few books waiting to be commented on). In keeping with the books we’ve been reading on the colonial era of American history we are going to visit Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. We also plan to see the Navy yard at Norfolk. We have just started reading a historical novel set in Williamsburg- Independence, by Peter Reese Doyle, part of the Drums of War series. So far it is really good. We hope to finish it while on this trip, and I’ll plan to review it shortly thereafter.


Friday, May 18, 2007

M'Kethe Saga Continues in America

Guns of Thunder, Douglas Bond
Faith & Freedom Series
(P&R Publishing, 2007), pb., 260 pp.
Age 10 & up

This is the first volume in Bond’s new series which continues to follow the M’Kethe family, who were introduced in the Crown & Covenant Series. The previous series closed with Duncan and Angus leading their family to America. This story opens with the family settled in Connecticut just before the French & Indian War. Malcom, Duncan’s son, is now a grandfather, helping to raise his grandson, Ian, who is the main character. Ian’s father has died, so Father Malcolm, as he is called, lives with his family. Ian’s cousin and best friend, Roland, is also a key character.

The story follows the family through the rising tensions with the French into the War itself. Also, they must deal with the rise of rationalism and its skepticism about the Bible. Along the way they even have an opportunity to hear Jonathan Edwards preach. Ian wrestles with his doubts and fears, and must face his prejudice and fear towards Indians, particularly Watookoog, a mysterious acting Indian who knew his father.

This story is not quite as compelling as the previous three. It starts a bit slower and the early discussion of Rationalism and Calvinism was slower going for my boys (ages 10, 9, 7 & 5). However, it did provide a good opportunity for me to discuss with them how people began to doubt the supernatural. The chapter relating the family’s listening to Edwards preach “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was particularly good. I really appreciated the opportunity to read that to my boys. That chapter alone makes this book worth reading (though there is much else good about the book). Eventually Ian is drawn into battle and the adventure level increases.

Bond once again presents a strong father figure (grandfather this time), leading his family and applying the Bible naturally to all of life. This one key reason for reading these books.

We eagerly await the next volume, and commend this one.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Potomac Captive

Potomac Captive: The Adventures of Henry Fleete, by Jan Fleet Umhau
(Dietz Press, 1998), pb., 160 pp.

This book tells the story of the historical character Henry Fleete in early 17th century Virginia. Mrs. Umhau, a direct descendant of Fleete, has taken what historical facts are known and from them woven a believable account of his life.

Fleete by accident ends up on a ship headed to Virginia from England as a teenager, begins getting established, is taken captive by Indians, narrowly escapes death, eventually becomes accepted in the Indian community, and returns to colonial life as a leading trader in the area respected by Indians and Europeans alike. The story was adventurous which kept my boys interested. It was not a great book like others we have read, but it was a fun read and a good introduction to life in 17th century Virginia.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Bible Material for Children

My notes from the breakout session by this title are now available here. This is actually my ‘notes’ edition, with a bit more information (some probably only clear to me!) than the actual handout from the session. The bulk of the document is a list of good books, some with description. Each book listed has been discussed somewhere on this blog as well. The document also contains some passages which speak to the importance of teaching the Scriptures to our children.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

John Angell James on Parental Duty

The conference went well last week and it was pleasure to meet the people who came to my session on Bible material for children. I will post my complete handout on my Union page soon (it is too long to post in it’s entirety here). In the meantime I will post portions from it in a series of posts.
Here is a great quote from John Angell James on the responsibility of parents to teach their children the Scriptures. It comes from his book, The Christian Father's Present to His Children.

“It is a situation of tremendous responsibility to be a parent … With every babe that God entrusts to your care, he in effect sends the solemn injunction- ‘Take this child, and bring it up for me;’ and at the final audit, will inquire in what manner you have obeyed the command. It will not then be sufficient to plead the strength of your affection, nor the ceaseless efforts to which it gave rise; for if these efforts were not directed at the right end … you will receive the rebuke of Him that sitteth upon the throne.”

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