Friday, February 29, 2008

NC Homeschool News Roundup 03-02-08


STATE -- Rising 6th graders or 12 year olds, including homeschoolers, are required to have booster shots of tetanus/diptheria/pertussis vaccine, starting August 1, 2008. (Greensboro News & Record, 2/29/08)

WATAUGA -- Appalachian State's high school science enrichment program targets homeschoolers and underprivileged kids (ASU News, 2/26/08)


SURRY -- Results from the girls semifinal round of the NC State Homeschool Basketball Tournament in Greensboro:

Surry 52 - Durham 33

Cabarras 42 - Lighthouse 39

(Mt. Airy News, 03/01/08)


HYDE -- Muzal Bryant of Ocracoke Island died last week at age 103. The Bryants, an African-American family, taught their children at home during the days of segregation.

The Bryants did not go to school with the white children on the island; they were taught at home. Otherwise, the family was well-accepted in the community, [caretaker Kenny] Ballance said.

"They worshiped together," he said. "But they didn't educate together."

(Hampton Roads VA, The Virginian-Pilot, 2/21/08)

ORANGE -- Ben Noblit, 16, of Alamance County, has been a Revolutionary War re-enactor since he was 11. He speaks up at Revolutionary War Living History Day in Hillsborough. (Chapel Hill News, 2/26/08)

Monday, February 25, 2008

NC Homeschool News Roundup 02-24-08


STATEWIDE - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Nielsen calls for tax credits for homeschoolers (WNCN-17 (NBC), Raleigh - 2/22/08)


HENDERSON - Lia Campbell of Hendersonville qualifies as a finalist for National Vocabulary Championship, to be held in Los Angeles next month. Lia was a competitor in last year's first ever event (PRNewswire, 2/21/08)


ARTS - Congressional Arts Competition (Raleigh News & Observer, 2/23/08)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Late Night Listening

I'm working late on a project and listening to WCPE-FM, the all-classical station out of Wake Forest (they have an excellent audio stream on their website, ). Right now they're playing Smetana's Festive Overture, which has been really good for this late in the evening - cheerful, without sounding too frenetic (the can-can from Orpheus in the Underworld was the first selection this evening, and it would be way overboard here at 2 a.m.)

Earlier this evening they played the "Troika" from Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kjie Suite, which I haven't heard before but liked right away. Good stuff all evening long.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And we worried about Mitt and Huck

When you see the fervor gathered all together, it really looks creepy.

At least Romney and Huckabee are followers of religious movements, not the center of one.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Luther, Romans, and South Smithfield

This morning I had the honor of preaching the opening sermon of our church's series on Romans. In 1515, the young Dr. Martin Luther started a year-long series of lectures at the University of Wittemberg, and in the process, discovered the critical truth he was seeking. He had already realized the futility of religious works for making himself acceptable in God's eyes; it was Paul's letter that showed him the true path to forgiveness:

I greatly longed to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, “the justice of God,” because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he meant.

Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that “the just shall live by his faith.” Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the “justice of God” had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate of heaven. …

Quoted in Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950), p. 65.

NC Homeschool News Roundup 02-17-08


NASH -- Homeschools on the topic list for Leadership N.C.'s education session
Rocky Mount Telegram, 2/14/08

POLK -- Hendersonville homeschooler kicked off Facebook - no category for "homeschoolers"
Washington Post "Off Beat" Blog, 2/11/08


FORSYTH -- Winston-Salem homeschooler achieves highest honor in Royal Rangers program
Winston-Salem Journal, 2/10/08

Monday, February 11, 2008

Endorsement Watch 02-11-08

Gary Bauer has announced for McCain.

Paul Weyrich, who formerly endorsed Romney, has come on board for Huckabee.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

NC Homeschool News Roundup - Feb 10


BUNCOMBE -- Black Mountain Home School Math Club going to state Mathcounts competition in March
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 2/5/08)

CLEVELAND -- Public school program billed as dropout prevention wants homeschoolers, too
(Shelby Star, 2/7/08)

FORSYTH -- Virtual public schools equated with homeschooling (which they aren't)
(Winston-Salem Journal, 2/7/08)

HENDERSON -- Homeschool science fair leads school news in Hendersonville
(Hendersonville Times-News, 2/4/08)

NEW HANOVER -- Charter school failure "forced her to home-school her son"
(Wilmington Star-News, 1/31/08)


GUILFORD -- Rising popularity of homeschooling in northwest Guilford County
(The Northwest (Guilford Co.) Observer, 2/8/08)

HENDERSON -- Nonagenarian was homeschooled during World War I era
(Hendersonville Times-News, 1/31/08)

IREDELL -- Homeschooled 8th grader wins pageant ad sales award
(Mooresville Tribune, 2/4/08)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wonders Never Cease

Actual event in the family kitchen today. An "unbreakable" Corell serving bowl slipped out of the bottom rack of the dishwasher, fell six inches, and broke into a cascade of shards.

Not an hour later, a light bulb rolled off the top of the microwave, fell four feet to a slate tile floor, then bounced another eight feet to the wall. The light bulb didn't break.

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Hi, y'all, thanks for reading. Feel free to post your comments; if they make an interesting point, I'll post them.

Be advised, though, that if you sign as "Anonymous", I'll call you "Ann" to keep it congenial. I just mention it so you'll know.

Friday, February 08, 2008

When Ceremony Replaces Religion

James W. Allen, an attorney and Reformed Baptist elder in Georgia, gave a tremendous answer in a discussion of why some of our brethren leave our historic practices for other traditions, notably Presbyterianism. Jim sees a larger problem than denominational ties underlying it all. I'm quoting him in total, with his permission. Emphasis is added, and my own. -- Hal

I think, in regard to defections to paedobaptism or even to Catholicism and Orthodoxy, that we cannot discount man's inherent love of ceremony. Whatever else may be said for Baptists, it is clear that we (in general) are just not good at ceremonial things. Our weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc., are "plain Jane" affairs and simplicity (if not rusticity) has always been a hallmark of our churches. Watching Baptists do something as simple as take up an offering can make you long for the sophistication of a kindergarten"hokey pokey" dance.

People love ceremonies as part of religion. Ceremonies bring the appearance of the holy into our sphere of reference and make us "feel" like something important is happening. In all the different movements toward idolatry, I think you see this manifested.

We see it manifested even in Baptists as churches embrace "child dedications" and "building dedications" and "prayer marches" and "days of prayer" and advent ceremonies and calendars. We see it in Christmas cantatas and "Living Trees" and altar calls. Put simply, people love ceremonies.

Why? Well, I think we have the answer in Romans 1 and in the story of the Israelites. Men struggle with the reality of God and much prefer to view God in a watered-down way, mediated through a ceremony or image. A man naked before his God is a lonely man, but a man in the midst of ceremony is not alone and need not face the truth of God fully. Far easier to honor the Spirit as a dove than as God, for example, and much easier to see Jesus as a statute than as the King of All.

In Romans 1, we see that man abandoned the truth of God for images, ideas, and (as we know) for ceremonies of idolatry. I think that tendency remains.

In the Israelites, we saw how God came to speak to them "man to man" and they rejected him. They make that absurd comment that "we have seen that a man may speak to God and not die, but we don't want him to speak to us anymore because why should we die?" They could not bear the true presence ofGod.

Much happier, for them, a God behind the veil. Much more comfortable to consider a God dwelling in the temple than a God present in their lives.

Ceremonies are a constant temptation for believers because they allow us to set aside hard realities for comfortable images. Infant baptism is one such comfortable image, setting aside the hard truth of God (salvation is by grace through faith to the elect) for the image of "my child as a part ofChrist's body." People weep at these ceremonies and, as we have seen in other paedobaptist cultures, build entire social events around them. All this is so much more emotionally satisfying than teaching our children and facing the truth.

In everyone I have known who has moved in the ceremonial direction (from Baptist to Presby, from Protestant to Catholic or Orthodox), there is always a marked love of the ceremonies. They talk about the gratifying nature of"true worship" in these things. They talk about how much "easier it is to worship" in those forms, as if ease of worship (comfort in a ceremony) was the goal of our service to God.

The pull toward a ceremonial faith is a strong one and, at least among those I have known, a significant factor in their move. Seldom do they move because they have been theologically convinced. They move because it is more comfortable for them. But, of course, I deal mostly with non-clergy.

When we weep more over the beauty of a ceremony than over our sins, and when we love the experience of worship more than the object of our worship, we have left the path of true religion.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

So Long, Mitt

I was watching National Review's blog, The Corner, as the story broke this afternoon during lunch. So now we're down to McCain, Huckabee, and Paul -- which I certainly never expected. Jon Sanders had the first poetic tribute posted, actually before the announcement -- rats! --

Slightly more conservative
But it's McCain's time

But I had mine up soon after it was official:

Poor Hugh Hewitt had claimed it was crucial
That we give Mitt our full faith fiducial;
But Huck's current day saints
Said of Romney “He ain’t” --
So if not Mitt nor Fred leads, then who sh’ll?

After a few more minutes' thought, I posted a follow-up:

Reagan’s three-legged stool will be stable
If the nominee's tactics are able
To knit GOP hearts --
But as Romney departs,
I’m afraid the right wing’s off the table

Readers know I have never been enthusiastic about Romney, even though National Review swung their support behind him -- and defended it constantly -- several weeks ago. But really, where are the conservatives going to go now?

Arthur Branch, please call your office ...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Endorsement Watch 02-06-08

The long awaited statement from Focus On The Family's Dr. James Dobson came yesterday, in two stages. The rocket's red glare was his anti-endorsement of John McCain, as Dobson announced on Laura Ingraham's show:

"I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.

"I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience," Dobson said.

However, he told Dennis Prager later in the day, that he would support Mitt Romney:
"My theology is very, very different, obviously, and I would not find myself in agreement with the ways he sees Scripture, and, of course, their own interpretation and extension of Scripture. I'm not in any way minimizing that; it's a very important issue.

"I think we're facing such a point of crisis in our country, that we're going to have to have the strongest leadership we can. And I think I could deal with that in the polling booth."

Not exactly a formal endorsement statement, but pretty close. Story on Citizen Link here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Maybe there won't always be an England

The London Daily Mail reports a survey of 3000 Britons found that 25% believe Winston Churchill is a fictional character, but 60% said Sherlock Holmes was real.

Somehow, I don't think Churchill would be surprised.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

NC Homeschooling News Roundup


WAKE -- Support for homeschooling is one of gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith's positions (WRAL-TV, Raleigh, 1/15/08)

MECKLENBURG -- Homeschooling family of 12 loses new home to fire
(Charlotte Observer, 1/21/08)

MECKLENBURG -- Charlotte homeschooler wins $10,000 in Bubble Wrap competition
(Press release, 1/28/08)

ALAMANCE -- Homeschooling family of 10 coping after devastating house fire
(Burlington Times-News, 1/29/08)


GASTON -- Gastonia homeschooler training for the Iditarod dogsled race
(Southwest Virginia Today, Wytheville, VA, 1/22/08)
(Gaston Gazette, 1/28/08)

SURRY -- Greensboro 87 - Surry Home Educators 77
(Mt. Airy News, 1/16/08)


CABARRUS -- Homeschooling mom leads prayer group for local schools
(Charlotte Observer, 1/17/08)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

"A Father's Hope and Warning"

Pastor Tom Ascol of the Founders Conference wrote that he keeps the following quote on the wall of his study:

A Father's Hope and Warning

Lord, I find the genealogy of my Savior strangely checkered with four remarkable changes in four immediate generations.

(1) Rehoboam begat Abijah; that is, a bad father begat a bad son.

(2) Abijah begat Asa; that is, a bad father begat a good son.

(3) Asa begat Jehoshaphat; that is, a good father a good son.

(4) Jehoshaphat begat Joram; that is, a good father a bad son.

I see, Lord, from hence that my father's piety cannot be entailed; that is bad news for me. But I see also that actual impiety is not always hereditary; that is good news for my son.

-- Thomas Fuller, Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell