Sunday, March 25, 2007


Came home from church today to find this fellow catchin' some ZZZ's right beside our front door. Not a good place for the kids to find him.

I began to nudge him gently with a stick to encourage him to find another place to rest.

This appeared to rile him a bit.

With some more encouragement, he crawled up to the top of the window...

...and then copped this whole, "This good enough for ya!?" attitude.

But it wasn't.

After some slightly less gentle prodding, he flew away. Very neat to watch.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


This week my amazingly creative wife threw together a double birthday bash for the kids and their friends. Brayden is presently in the grips of a renewed planet obsession, and Corina is really into Pooh. The party was planned accordingly.

Hundred Acre Crib

Solar System Race Track (complete with asteroid belt)

Planetary Grub (Yes, we know Pluto has been disqualified)

Food for the Pooh-Crew

Orbiting Planeteers (Samantha wanted to be the Sun.
Surprisingly enough, Brayden insisted on being Mercury)

Pooh-Crew Rockin' Out the Rosie

Whole Gang Chowin' Down

Quite a time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Thousand Words

Yeah, this pretty much sums up my life right now.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perhaps I'm Completely Missing Something

Screenit has given the new movie 300 an "extreme" rating for sex and nudity. Its stated reasons for doing so are too embarrassing for me to even summarize in this post. If you're even considering going to see the movie, I would recommend checking out the review. If you're not thinking of seeing it, I would recommend not even reading the review.

Would anyone mind sharing his thoughts as to how a Christian man can justify going to see such a movie? You can post anonymously if you wish.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sweet Surprise

Last week, I broke a branch off of one of our silver maples in order to hang up a finch feeder. A couple of hours later, the broken branch was dripping like a leaky faucet. I tasted the sap and was surprised to find it very sweet. Just for kicks, I placed a small metal bowl under the drip and was again surprised to find it half full in just under two hours. After a little online reading, I learned that even though the best sap is found in sugars and blacks, silver maples can produce a decent syrup as well--I had always considered the trees overgrown weeds. Very excited with my new discovery, I brought the sap in and boiled it in a skillet-- over-boiled it, as it turned out, and instead of syrup, ended up with a wonderfully tasty hard candy. The next morning I set out another bowl, and this time was able to boil my three cup harvest into just enough syrup for one glorious pancake.

I'm hooked. Yesterday I ordered my first set of taps from Yankee Grocery . I don't know if they'll arrive before the flow starches up, but at least I'll have them for next year.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Translating Poetry into Prose

Another exercise we do in rhetoric is to translate a piece of poetry into prose. This helps students develop a better sense of the differences between the two forms, gives them practice at creating prose apart from having also to generate the ideas, and allows them to develop better insight into the poetic piece itself. Recently, I had the seniors write a prose rendition of Ben Jonson’s poem, “On My First Son,” a marvelously moving piece in its own right. Here is the original:

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
And if no other misery, yet age!
Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.

And here is a conglomeration of what struck me as the best student adaptations of each line:

Goodbye, my son, my Benjamin, and all my joy. I always dreamed of what you would be, what you would accomplish, and in this I sinned. God lent you to me for seven years, and now I must return to him what is His. Today he requires payment of your life, and it must be given back to Him. Oh, if only I could lose all fatherly instincts and feelings. Why am I sorrowing for you when I should be jealous of your state? You were so fortunate to have escaped the world young and without experiencing its miseries. Rest in peace and quiet, my son, and know that you are and will forever remain my greatest and most prized piece of poetry. For your sake, I promise that I will never again love anything too much.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The 100 Acre Fireswamp

One of the exercises I like to do with rhetoric students is to have them imitate sentence patterns. For this exercise, we take sentences or group of sentences and break them into their various clauses and phrases, then we write a new sentence that uses the same structures and order to express entirely different ideas.

Many times, we take these models from the grand speeches we're analyzing, other times (as will soon be evident) we adopt prose that, if somewhat more lighthearted, is at least very well known. In fact, the following adaptation (by one of my lovely seniors) is based on a passage so familiar, I think I shan't post the original.

Piglet, friendship is the most important thing in the 100 Acre Wood-- except for eating honey: ooey, gooey, and golden, where the honey is fresh and the bees are angry, it's amazing, so good-- but that's not what was talking about; I was talking about having friends, and as we all know, to have friends is to be happy.

The original?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

To Witnesses: To Make Much Of Christ

I have, in my discussions with TJ, come to have a better grasp of the bottom line: Jehovah's Witnesses say that Jesus Christ is unworthy of worship because they believe he is of merely limited worth. I cannot refrain from addressing this.

First, I want encourage Witnesses to just relax a little bit. It seems to me that they have set themselves on a quest for which there is really very little cause. They don't need to keep wearing themselves out going door to door and spreading the good news of Christ’s inferiority, reminding Christians that they ought not to worship Christ or telling them that they ought to restrain themselves from esteeming him so excessively. If they would just take a look around they would note that Christ is not really in all that much danger of even being discussed in most churches, let alone of being esteemed too highly. Yet these crusaders insist on pressing forward with this noble task.

How have the Witnesses come upon such pious revelation, anyway? How have they discovered that Christ is of merely limited value? It is, they say, because Christ is not the Father; he is begotten of the Father. And how can one who is begotten of the Father, and who is not the Father himself, be worthy of infinite love, honor, and devotion? But of course, this is foolishness. Far from being any indication of Christ’s limited worth, the fact that Christ is begotten of the Father is proof that his worth could not possibly be limited. And why is that? Because in begetting the Son, it pleases the Father that all the fullness of his divinity should dwell in him (Col 1:19; 2:9). That is, all the fullness— not some of his fullness, not all of a portion, all of his fullness.

Really, then, the Witnesses’ error is rooted in their inadequate esteem for the Father's divinity. Is the Father’s worth in any way limited? Of course not. How then can that infinite worth be limited just because he has caused it to dwell in his Son whom he has begotten? It cannot. In effect, then, to limit the worth of the Son is to limit the worth of the limitless Father who is pleased to have his limitless fullness dwell in his Son, and that without any limit whatsoever. This, of course, is why we are told to honor the Son, even as we honor the Father and why we are told that if we do not honor the Son we do not honor the Father (John 5:22-23).

But the Witnesses, perhaps, are wiser than God, and more concerned for his glory than he is himself. But God is not jealous of any worth we should recognize in Christ. Why should he be? It is his own worth. It is his own fullness dwelling in Christ. It his own divinity which he has fully begotten in him. The more men love and honor Christ, the more glory the Father receives. It is unreasonable, then, to think that the Father would want Christ's praise to be limited or his esteem to be restrained.

Ponder, furthermore, the arrogance involved in believing that one even has the capacity to overvalue Christ. How can we love him too much whose love for his people exceeds our ability to understand it (Eph 3:19)? How can we give too much to him by whom, through whom, and unto whom all things were created and in whom all things consist (Col 1:16-17)? And how can we give ourselves too fully to him who wholly gave himself up for us (Gal 2:20)? We are not able to honor Christ according to a fraction of his worth. To persuade men to hold back any portion of their love, esteem, and devotion from Christ is more than just academically mistaken. It is blasphemously immoral. I sincerely pray that God would have mercy on the souls of those laboring so hard to lead men so far astray.