I have been tagged by Mrs. M at A Mother's Musings to list eight random facts about myself or habits I have, then in turn tag eight others at the end of my post and leave them a comment on their blog to let them know. 1. I was born in a car (a yellow Datsun) downtown Vancouver, BC where my father got lost on the way to the hospital. It was not all his fault though, apparently my mother did not realize she was in "real" labour until the last moment. 2. I was in french immersion from Kindergarden until grade two. I could speak fluently then but can't now. Sadly our high-school french program is grammar based and I ended up dropping out in grade 11. Although I understood most of what the teacher was asking of us and had good verbal skills, I could not "get" the grammatical rules of writing it and was failing. 3. For grade 10 Social Studies I wrote a 32 page paper on the history of Ireland. That paper was handed in several more times for some of my grade 11 and 12 courses. It was a labour of love and I was passionate about all things Irish for several years. 4. In grade 12 I was on the debate team. I still love debating but most people take a good argument personally these days so I tend to not argue just for the "fun" of it anymore. Maybe that is what comes with maturity too? The nice thing about being apart of a formal debating team is that you are forced to argue both sides of a topic and thus really think through why you think what you do. 5. I was co-editor for our school newspaper in grade 12. That was some of the most fun I'd had that year in school. 6. Growing up my nickname was Ms. Grumpet. 7. I wanted to wear red for my wedding - that is IF I decided to ever get married. I ended up getting married at the young age of 20 and I wore white and had a very traditional wedding. My bridesmaids didn't wear red either, they wore a light blue. 8. I met my husband in a restaurant where I was the hostess and he was a customer. That was 11 years ago now and to this day I still can't always tell if he knows the person he is talking to or not. He is very friendly and often strikes up conversations with strangers. I tend to be more introverted so we are a good match for each other.
I have found it fun to read the lists of others and now, after a few days of thinking about them, here is my list:
Looking at the list of blogs I read, most of them have already been tagged so I'll just link to a couple of them and their lists.
A Mother's Musings; Lux Venit; Rebecca Writes; Lifesong. Enjoy!
1. I was born in a car (a yellow Datsun) downtown Vancouver, BC where my father got lost on the way to the hospital. It was not all his fault though, apparently my mother did not realize she was in "real" labour until the last moment.
2. I was in french immersion from Kindergarden until grade two. I could speak fluently then but can't now. Sadly our high-school french program is grammar based and I ended up dropping out in grade 11. Although I understood most of what the teacher was asking of us and had good verbal skills, I could not "get" the grammatical rules of writing it and was failing.
3. For grade 10 Social Studies I wrote a 32 page paper on the history of Ireland. That paper was handed in several more times for some of my grade 11 and 12 courses. It was a labour of love and I was passionate about all things Irish for several years.
4. In grade 12 I was on the debate team. I still love debating but most people take a good argument personally these days so I tend to not argue just for the "fun" of it anymore. Maybe that is what comes with maturity too? The nice thing about being apart of a formal debating team is that you are forced to argue both sides of a topic and thus really think through why you think what you do.
5. I was co-editor for our school newspaper in grade 12. That was some of the most fun I'd had that year in school.
6. Growing up my nickname was Ms. Grumpet.
7. I wanted to wear red for my wedding - that is IF I decided to ever get married. I ended up getting married at the young age of 20 and I wore white and had a very traditional wedding. My bridesmaids didn't wear red either, they wore a light blue.
8. I met my husband in a restaurant where I was the hostess and he was a customer. That was 11 years ago now and to this day I still can't always tell if he knows the person he is talking to or not. He is very friendly and often strikes up conversations with strangers. I tend to be more introverted so we are a good match for each other.
Nancy Wilson recently posted some thoughts on loving other women, especially our sisters in Christ. She points out that the feminist movement is really a woman-hating movement and that we can be some of the worst misogynists in the world. Sadly this is true.
No other movement has been more oppressive of true femininity and wrought such sad results for women and children; as women have demanded their independence from men, men have abandoned their roles to protect and provide for their families. Women are sexualized and enslaved to the beauty and "health" industry loosing dignity and respect. More children than in any other time in history have been abandoned by their fathers and millions of babies are aborted each year.
As those in the church who have embraced more traditional roles it is easy to stand back and shake our heads and wag our fingers at the sad results of the feminist movement, completely failing to see our own hateful practices. Mrs. Wilson brings our own practice of misogyny down to a level that is all too familiar:
But this woman-hating attitude can exist even among Christian sisters, where criticism, envy, and distrust can destroy the possibility of close fellowship. Though there may be a surface congeniality, a deep love of the sisters is frequently nonexistent. Where there should be kindness and love, there is instead “debates, envying, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults” (2 Cor. 12:20). Women tend to be far more critical of the other women than they are of men."
Sadly I have been guilty of this and I have been the victim of this kind of criticism all within church walls. I have seen this kind of critical atmosphere develop because of one person's envy or insecurities. What resulted was a failure to achieve true fellowship, to demonstrate love for one another and to serve and care for each other. We failed to embrace the opportunities to love our sisters in Christ and help each other grow.
Worse was that we failed to see our Saviour and worship Him in the very place we came to do that because we were too busy pointing fingers at those who failed to live up to our self-imposed standards. Instead of taking our sins and failures to the foot of the cross, we shamefully tried to cover and minimize them by enlarging the sins of others. We were guilty of thinking too highly of ourselves and too little of Christ.
But just as all it can take for a woman-hating atmosphere to develop is one person, all it needs is the initiative of one woman to turn it into a sister-loving atmosphere. This may mean a time of suffering and facing the challenge to forgive seven times seventy but the blessings that can come will far outweigh the sufferings in the end. Whether we join the group in hatred or oppose them in love, we will suffer. But it is far batter to suffer for righteousness' sake than reap the consequences of sin.
Nancy Wilson's post digs deeper into what she believes is a root cause of our hateful behaviour toward one another: competition. She wisely points out how a competitive spirit can look in singleness, marriage and methodology. It is something we need to be on guard against if we are to cultivate love for our sisters in Christ.
You Are 43% Feminist
You aren't a total traditionalist when it comes to gender roles. But you're no feminist either.
You generally think that women should be treated as equals, but you're not convinced the world should be gender neutral.
I took this little quiz to see my feminist rating. The summary isn't too far off - but 43%? That's nearly half feminist! Not surprising though, Canadian culture and public education has been distinctly feminist for many years now. I was raised to be a feminist without knowing it.
In her book The Feminist Mistake Mary Kassian sums up the apparent discrepancy between how we think, like feminists and what we claim to be, not feminist:
"Feminists are becoming difficult to identify, not because they do not exist, but because their philosophy is almost unidentifiable as feminist, for it is virtually indistinguishable from the mainstream...Feminism as a popular movement seems in decline only because it has been so wildly effective."
She goes on to quote Danielle Crittenden, who interviewed young women across eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States seeking to find out why they seemed to reject feminism:
"The women I interviewed had neither adopted nor rejected feminism. Rather, it had seeped into their minds like intravenous saline in the arm of an unconscious patient. They were feminists without even knowing it."
Josh at Unbound linked to an article yesterday on a woman confessing that being a stay-at-home mom bores her to tears. He then asked mom readers how they felt. This is what I said:
"I read the article by Kirwin-Taylor when it first came out several months ago and was at first appalled. But that is the self-righteous side of me that wants to puff myself up. The truth is some tasks are boring. Folding laundry is boring - but so was the bookkeeping I did before I had kids. I admit I don’t read the same book over and over again to my kids despite repeated requests because well, it gets boring. So I would not condemn a woman who feels that way - I have a log in my own eye that needs plucking out first.What brings joy and fullfillment is knowing my work is unto the Lord and not men (children, husband, SELF). Looking at my children and their fresh wonder at creation, that all things are new to them, that they are image bearers of God - this is not boring. But this is true for all of life, unless we view it through the lens of the Gospel most of what we do would be pointless, meaningless, unfulfilling and yes, even boring. It all depends on what I’m focusing on - self or God."
It is so important that we are constantly stepping back and reminding ourselves of where our true purpose is found and what the true source of meaning and fulfillment is. Otherwise it is easy to get lost in day to day tasks and feel stuck in a rut, and ultimately bored with life.
Yesterday I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle called "Women as Homebuilders". He draws from various passages in Proverbs and emphasized the HUGE impact our calling to the home can have if we build with wisdom. Our call is not a small role and is vital not only to the life of our families but to the health and growth of the church. This is perhaps one of the best defenses of a woman's role homemaking or "homebuilding" I have heard in a long time.
While it was a more thoughtful examination of my worldview that caused me to take my role as a mother more seriously and opened the door to considering how we were going to educate our children, it was seeing the quality of education that could be had at home that swung the door wide open.
Shortly after Recovering Biblical MH & WH arrived on my doorstep, a homeschooling friend showed me her curriculum for her daughter which included the Veritas Press History Cards. I wanted that kind of education myself. I wanted to learn history that followed a chronological time line, was Biblically rooted, and used beautiful art. I realized that by venturing to educate my children at home, I could receive the education I had never received myself. I saw that a homeschool education could be different, it could be of substantial quality and it could be interesting.
I was given The Tree of Life resource catalogue and after looking through it, I was sold on the idea of homeschooling. The Tree of Life was distinctly reformed and classical. At that time they had printed a summary of the Trivium; this was my first exposure to the classical model and "living books".
We had a vision of our children being the salt and the light, and I saw that by giving our children a rigorous education using a classical model, they would be equipped to be salty salt and bright lights. We needn't shelter them from worldly philosophies, but we could examine them at the Rhetoric stage and learn to better defend our faith and discern truth from error.
This was all it took to convince me. I was enticed by my own passion for books and desire to learn. When I looked inside the door at homeschooling I was amazed and dazzled by what I saw. But the decision to homeschool was not made. As the head of our family, my husband needed to make the final decision and he was not convinced. At the time I decided I wanted to homeschool, our oldest child was three. In our province we don't have to register our child in a school of some sort until the year they turn six. It took my husband those three years to become convinced that homeschooling was our best option. I did not want to push him into reluctantly allowing me to try homeschooling because I knew it would be a difficult task and I would need his full support. I also didn't want to usurp his authority and force him to submit to my will. This began a journey of examining the public system and all the pros and cons to sending our kids to the local school. It was a season of petitioning the Lord to direct my husband to make the right choice for our family and to help me hold my desires to homeschool loosely so that I could joyfully submit to my husband's leading whatever his final decision.
I had never heard of homeschooling until after I graduated from high school and my initial impression of it was not good. To be honest, I thought it was for those who wanted to raise their children in a little Christian bubble, the quality of education would be dismal at worst, and at best would simply mirror what the public school system provided. Homeschooling was not an option I was even willing to entertain, it seemed silly. Then I was introduced to the concept of a Christian worldview and my life was changed.
Christianity was not just one part of my life, my spiritual walk, it was a lens through which I needed to view all of my life. Grammar, Math, Sciences, History and Art were not unassociated but all connected by our Theology. This was big stuff and caused me to examine some of the more practical aspects of my life; the first area most directly impacted was how I viewed motherhood.
To be a stay at home mom was a choice I made, what my husband expected of me but not a role I joyfully embraced. I was restless at home and secretly envious of women who maintained employment outside the home. I wanted to glorify God with my life but I was uncertain what the Lord was calling me to. By God's grace, He led me to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem; both authors I knew were trustworthy sources.
When the book arrived, I devoured most of it within a week! Dorothy Patterson's chapter titled "Where's Mom? The High Calling of Wife and Mother" profoundly impacted me. My role as a mother WAS God's call on my life and something He took pleasure in my doing. To make my role as homemaker and mother a priority was not a choice I could make but was my divine assignment and calling. With this changed view, I began to experience joy and purpose and confidence in my day to day duties as a mother.
That was four years ago and the beginning of bringing all my thoughts about motherhood and parenting captive to the authority of Christ. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood didn't address education but it set me on a course of learning what God was calling us to do with these children He had given and I suspected it would look very different from the Jones' next door. The door that I had locked in my mind to homeschooling was unlocked and began to open a crack.
This post at The Purple Cellar really hit home. It is about identity and how easy it is to let our roles and surroundings define us. With days filled with mothering and homemaking and living out what I believe to be God's call on my life, it is easy to define myself by these activities rather than who I am in Christ. Regarding our domestic domain (the home) Lydia points out that "if we seek to reflect ourselves here, we will fret if the doorbell rings when we haven't had a chance to clean up the after-school clutter". This begins to cut a little too close to home. If my home environment, its cleanliness and aesthetic appeal does not define me, why do I fret about it's disheveled state when last minute guests arrive? Something I need to ponder more closely.
For the past few weekends my husband has been busy building a tree fort for the kids. I couldn't resist posting a picture here because I am so grateful to have this man for my husband. He could have spent his spare time dirt biking and doing what he likes to do, but instead he built this amazing tree house complete with a lower deck for our daughter who was too scared to climb to the top.
The posts are the remenant of pine beetle infested trees that had to come down. Sadly our region is full of these dead trees. It's a good visual reminder of the eternal state of so many people we pass our days among.
With all the debate over Tim Challies' posts on homeschooling, I couldn't resist posting a comment myself asking the same question which inspired my previous post. As hot topics tend to go, commenters begin dialoguing amongst themselves and someone posted a comment on my comment. It made me realize just how easily we can assume others will know what we are talking about because the words we use seem plain enough to oneself. I thought I'd post the comments here, because my response to the comment I received gets at some of my own views of education from a Christian perspective; what I mean by a "theology of education".
This was my original comment:
"What is education? In all the discussion, it seems to be assumed that we are all working from that same premise regarding education but until we define what we are talking about, we are never going to be unified in our differing choices in how we educate our children. We need to take a giant step back from the debate over the pros and cons of the various forms of education and first develop a good theology of education..."
The response I received:
"Theology of education"? If you are referring specifically to "Christian education," i.e. teaching the church's theology, I can understand a plea for a "theology of education." But a THEOLOGY of general education is frankly ludicrous (please excuse the strong adjective). The Bible was not given to us to teach math, science, or grammar. When we attempt to establish a "Christian" view of education, or a "theology" of education, assuming we are attempting to establish such a theory from Bible, we abuse and misuse the Bible, making it speak to things to which God never meant it to speak. God has given us this thing called Common Grace to help us--AND UNBELIEVERS--in the realm of common things to come up with good framework for general education. My two cents.
This was my clarification of what I was originally trying to convey:
Thanks for raising your question. What I mean by a theology of education is not what does the bible say about math or grammar because it doesn't say much. What I mean by theology is what undergirds our purpose and reason for learning or educating. For instance, literacy rates among the puritans were at the 100% level. They were motivated to learn to read and in turn teach their children because God speaks to us through His word. Those words are life to us. It is not good enough to hear second hand what God is speaking to us otherwise we risk loosing what Luther and Calvin and other reformers fought for. Proverbs tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." It is vital that in all they do my children have a proper understanding of who God is, the creator, and who they are, creatures. Knowledge begins with God.Psalms tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God - knowledge ought to reveal more of God's glory. So knowledge ends with God. Mathematics points to the absolute nature of God, His perfection. Grammar gives us the tools to articulate clearly our position, to communicate. God is a communicative God, who communicates primarily through His Word. Science is an amazing revelation of God, if viewed through the lens of a creator intimately at work in all of creation from the smallest cell to the largest galaxy. Art declares that our God is a creative God, a God of beauty. History tells the story of our redeemer at work and His power and justice and faithfulness and love.I could go on, I hope this brings a little clarity to what I mean by a theology of education (imparting knowledge). Methods of teaching and learning vary, as we all are varied individuals in our personalities and giftings. But as Christians seeking to bring all areas of our lives into subjection to the word of God, we need to get at what drives us to learn and know and teach. For what purpose do I need to know anything? To make money? No, that is not our chief end as Christians. I need to know and learn and teach so that I may glorify God and enjoy Him forever and so that the next generation might know (Psalm 78) and tell their children about the wonders of God.
Only a true education can span the width of The Alpha and Omega, by His grace I hope to convey just a glimpse of what I can dimly see myself to my children.
There is much debate and discussion at Challies Dot Com over his post about the perils of homeschooling and the division he perceives is caused by many homeschoolers within the church. To say the least, I am very disappointed in what he said and in much of his reasoning. While he takes a defensive stance on why he has his children in the public school system, in his critique of homeschooling he seems to be lacking in his understanding of what homeschooling actually is. Most of his views on homeschooling seem to be derived from anecdotal sources and a subjective view of education.
Perhaps that is the problem. The discussion has failed to lay a proper foundation of what education is from an objective, biblical perspective. So lets back up a bit. Before we can even begin to debate over the pros and cons of how we educate our children we need to ask ourselves the question: what is education?
Rather than try to answer this myself, though in subsequent posts I hope to share a little of what has shaped and informed our decision to homeschool, Voddie Baucham has answered this question in an excerpt from his forthcoming book Family Driven Faith. He describes education as a key to discipleship and begins by describing where education must have its foundation laid upon and what the end purpose of education must be. Once we agree on what education is biblically, we can begin to discuss how to practically bring that education to fruition in our children's lives and find true unity amidst the diverse forms our educational choices take.
As usual Albert Mohler says what I am trying to say so much better! He has blogged today on the Books and Culture interview with Phillip Longman, author of The Empty Cradle. While the interview is well-worth reading itself, Mohler highlights some of the main points that need our consideration. Mohler reminds us that our worldview matters, but it is the one being passed on to the next generation that will shape our future.
A couple days ago I posted some statistics regarding fertility in Canada. Approximately 50% of our nation's children belong to only 20% of women of child-bearing age. May that 20% be increasingly represented by Christians.
things we have heard and known
He established a testimony in Jacob
so that a future generation—
Then they would not be like their fathers,
Books & Culture have posted an interview with Phillip Longman author of "The Empty Cradle". It is a very interesting discussion on the socio-economic impact that our declining birthrates and failure to reproduce ourselves will have on western civilization. Interestingly, as I posted earlier, he points out the direct link between religious fundamentalism and higher birth rates. We are reminded that only those who are faithful in having children stand a chance of "passing on their values to their progeny [and] will, by default, inherit society". Again, my question is: Whose children will they be?
If we were to have a group of 10 women in a room, this is how they would look: Three would not have any children, two would have one child, three would have two children, one would have three and one would have four or more. The majority of the children would belong to a minority of the women. Or of the 15 children between them, half of them belong to two of the women. Twenty percent of the group has the power of influence over 50% of the children. These children are our future. Who are those two women having babies?
In Canada the birthrate is among the lowest in the world. Right now it sits around 1.5 children per woman (compared to 2.04 per woman in the US) meaning that Canada is well below replacement levels. Over two-thirds of the increase to our population comes from immigration, with nearly 60% coming from Asian and Middle-eastern countries.
Nearly 17% of children born are to visible minorities, with only Arabic or West Asians having more than 2.1 children per family and thus replacing themselves (2.1 children is the replacement level). According to the report from Statistics Canada I am drawing all my information from, religion rather that ethnic descent is the greatest influence on and predictor of a woman’s fertility.
Based on religion, only Muslims are averaging more that 2.1 children per family. Those claiming Judeo-Christian convictions reflect the majority of the population with an average of 1.5 to 1.8 children per family. Yet nearly 50% of Muslim women who gave birth to a baby in 2001 already had 2 or more children at home.
The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world. Based on the fact that Muslims are increasing at larger rates than any other groups in our population, it is reasonable to say that if there is any one group that will yield increasing influence over the future of our country it is Muslims. As Christians, we reflect the rest of the population when it comes to raising children. In our country we have very little influence over politics, education and economics. Yet one of the easiest ways to see a turn in the tides of influence would be to reclaim our mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to raise children in the admonition and nurture of the Lord, all to the glory of God.
This is what drives my desires for more children. Not a particular love for children, though I love mine dearly, not because I have a greater than average capacity to handle lots of children, but because I know where my influence lies. It is in the home, among my children. I am ambitious and zealous to see God glorified in our churches and to see Christians holding the power of influence in our country. If the best and most effective way I can wield my influence and pass on my convictions and values is with my children, then bring them on.