Thursday, February 28, 2013

Luther, "The Noblest & Most Precious Work on Earth"

“The best thing in married life, for the sake of which everything ought to be suffered and done is the fact that God gives children and commands us to bring them up to serve Him. To do this is the noblest and most precious work on earth, because nothing may be done which pleases God more than the saving of souls. If the need were to arise, all of us should be ready to die in order to bring a soul to God. So you see how rich in good works the estate of marriage is. God lays souls into the lap of married people, souls begotten from their own body, on which they may practice all Christian works. For when they teach their children the Gospel, parents are certainly their apostles, bishops, and ministers.”[1]

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Lost World

The LostWorld, Arthur Conan Doyle
(Hodder & Stoughton, 1912; many reprints)
Ages 10 & up

My older boys (ages 16, 15, 13) read this for school recently, and we had some great conversations about it. They really enjoyed the book and my 10 year old loved sitting in on the conversations (I didn’t realize how much he was listening in until one day he was in tears when mom called him away for another task and he pleaded to be able to sit in on the older boys’ discussion).

Readers will probably recognize Doyle as the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, though we read that Doyle himself preferred Challenger, the main character of this story and some others, to Holmes. I have now read two non-Sherlock books of Doyle’s and really enjoyed them both (the other is The Refugees).

This story centers on the discovery of prehistoric animals in a remote area of South America. Professor Challenger journeyed to this area and got just a glimpse. Upon his return to England he was mocked for his claims, so eventually an expedition sets out to verify these claims and much adventure results. The adventure, suspense and humor made this a very entertaining story. Doyle obviously knew how to tell a good story. My boys said they enjoyed it immensely.

The story also provides opportunities for a number of good conversations. The book assumes the truthfulness of evolution and the expedition discovers a “missing link,” ape-humanoid tribe. This provided us with good conversations on whether the stories portrayal actually fits the evolutionary schema and even what suffices for good evidence (the Veritas Press Omnibus IV curriculum was quite helpful here).

The characters were also vivid and ripe for discussion. Professor Challenger is so arrogant as to be laughable in many places. Professor Summerlee is more humble but both men are assured of the reign of scientific explanation, relying on reason alone. Lord John Roxton is the prototypical man of action- industrious, courageous and honorable. Though intelligent, he is not as aware of or interested in the academic subtleties. He is, however, just the man you’d want on a dangerous adventure. He was the favorite character of my boys. Lastly, the narrator, Edward Malone is a journalist who is the novice in both science and adventure. He undertakes the journey in an effort to win the affection of young woman, and along the way demonstrates good common sense and bravery.

There are several fine print editions, as well as this free Kindle edition which I used and liked. We commend the book to you heartily. 

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Children Are Pledge Entrusted to Parents

This comment from John Calvin is a good reminder for parents. This truth should shape our parenting guiding us to give serious attention to the training, teaching and discipling of our children.
“He who has children must think it is a pledge that God has committed to his charge; as if a man should commit his goods to his friend when he departs out of his house and gives him his key, or gives him his purse to keep.  Therefore fathers and mothers must keep their children as things committed to them by God upon this condition, that they have to render an account for them.  …
Besides this, fathers and mothers, and masters must consider that that which God has committed to their charge must be referred to God.  And therefore their children must be so taught, that they may be always God’s.  For as for the earthly fathers, they must not think that their children belong only to them, that God does not have constant and sovereign possession of them…”
(From sermon on 1 Timothy 6:20-21. I am preparing a forthcoming new edition of these sermons)