Friday, January 15, 2010

Value of Worship at Home

In some of my work on Baptist theology and practice I came across this quote from Gaines Dobbins’s, The churchbook: A treasury of materials and methods (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1951), a standard text in the 1950’s. His point applies just as well today.

“Children who have learned to worship at home will not find it difficult to worship in the church. Children from worship-less homes cannot be led easily to appreciate the meaning and the value of church worship. A mark of the decadence of our civilization is the decline of family worship. Its revival would be one of the most significant signs of spiritual recovery. The use of one of the popular aids to family devotions, with suggestions for daily Bible readings and prayer, would prove of inestimable value in the promotion of worship in the home, where the best of all training in worship may be received.” (157).

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Mountain Born

Mountain Born, Elizabeth Yates
(Troll Books, 1943), pb., 118 pp.
Ages 5+

This book won a Newbery Honor Award in 1944, and it is well deserving of such an honor. I had known nothing about the book, but was looking for a brief simple read for us and found it on our shelves. It is a story about the love of a boy for an animal, growing up, gaining wisdom and responsibility, and realizing the brevity of life. It is nicely done.

The book portrays simple agrarian life with a family raising sheep and crops. The main character, a 7 year old boy named Peter, takes in a weak lamb from their flock and raises it as a pet. Along the way he is encouraged in growing to manhood by his father and an older worker named Benj. In his interaction with the sheep Peter learns responsibility, respect for the land and animals, the necessity of defense, the passing of time, and the value of work. Many good lessons come up in the book, including Benj’s references to the Bible.

This is not fine literature, but is wonderful children’s literature in the tradition of Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. We warmly commend it.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Good New Year Word from Doug Phillips

Doug Phillips has a really good exhortation for families concerning reflecting on the past year. Here is his introduction:

“Life moves fast. If we don’t take the time to chronicle the providences of God, we forget them. If we don’t take the time to say thank you to those who have invested in our lives, we actually cultivate a spirit of ingratitude in our own hearts. If we don’t stop and make sure that we have a spirit of forgiveness toward others, we grow bitter, we lose the capacity to move victoriously into the future, and our prayers are hindered.

Here is a little practice that I was taught and would like to share with you. Each year, during the last week of December, I would encourage you to do the following things.”

He lists and discusses three things:

1. Outline and Chronicle the Many Providences of God

2. Say ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Have Invested in Your Life

3. Forgive Those Who Have Wronged You

Good, challenging, realistic ideas. Read the whole thing.

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