from the prairie - commentary from the life of one woman in the midwest
"All around them shadows were moving over the waving grasses, while the sun rose. Meadow larks were springing straight up from the billows of grass into the high, clear sky, singing as they went. Small pearly clouds drifted in the intense blueness overhead. In all the weed-tops tiny birds were swinging and singing in tiny voices." Laura Ingalls Wilder
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
television and abortion
I came across this blog entry that addresses the lack of understanding television writers have regarding Christians and abortion. Michele has some good insights into this.....
"Recently there was an episode on ER that dealt with abortion. Abby is pregnant with Kovac's baby and decided to get an abortion. At the same time a teenager comes into the ER pregnant and it turns out that she is raped. She is not only a teenager but a professing Christian......"
Read the rest of the essay here:
Monday, January 16, 2006
sunday pot roast revisited
Yesterday I experimented with my favorite pot roast recipe and it turned out to be so delicious that I thought I might share it.
Sunday Pot Roast Revisited
(serves 8 if you have teenaged boys, more if not!)
1 4-5 rolled rump roast
12 medium sized white or Yukon Gold potatoes in chunks
2 pounds baby carrots
2 TBS. minced garlic
1 TBS. parsley flakes
1 cup olive oil
1-2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cans Campbell Golden Mushroom Soup, undiluted
2 packets Lipton onion soup mix
In large electric roaster or oven roasting pan, pour in olive oil. Add garlic. Place roast in center,surround with carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Spread with Golden Mushroom Soup and sprinkle with soup mix and parsley. Cover and roast for 3-4 hours, at 325 degrees, depending on how well-done you prefer the meat.
Slice and serve, using pan juices that have formed a thick gravy.
Easy and delicious!
Saturday, January 14, 2006
more interesting thoughts on ecclesiocentricity
Someone suggested I read these interesting thoughts on the concept of "ecclesiocentricity" after my initial posting so I did and am posting the links here for consideration. While I certainly do not endorse everything at these particular sites, there is much with which I agree in the articles and thought they might be helpful to others.
the church according to John Dewey
what do ecclesiocentrists say?
officers and liturgists of the synagogue
the evils of medievalism
Friday, January 13, 2006
"monstrous" woman of the week ~ King Lemuel's Mom
After a Christmas hiatus, welcome to the 10th in a series of biographical sketches that I publish on Fridays. The title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their agenda for women as “monstrous.”
These entries will briefly tell about women I believe have done many things to further the cause of Christ in America, and some even around the world, and have maintained a godly femininity while doing so. They will be women whose choices in life have also disqualified them from being given the godly woman status in some of today’s hyper-patriarchal circles, though the hypocrisy certainly has escaped some of these list keepers! Hence, the title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their stifling agenda for women as “monstrous.”
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy! Oh, and feel free to emulate.
This week's "monstrous" woman is King Lemuel's Mom, otherwise known as the one who wrote the instructions for life to her son in Proverbs 31. Scholars and historians know next to nothing about King Lemuel. They know even less about his mother who penned this wonderful passage to her son. Many older scholars believe that Lemuel was actually King Solomon, an interesting thought to ponder since that would make the mother in question Bathsheba.
In conservative circles, Proverbs 31 is the key passage that explains the ideal role for today's Christian woman. For me, it is both inspirational and overwhelming. And it is well-worth reading, studying, and memorizing. It is, I believe, a passage that is meant to describe the various tasks in a woman's life, not simultaneously in one season, but rather, in various seasons of life. After all, even Wonder Woman couldn't do everything listed in this passage all at once and still be a healthy, sane woman.
King Lemuel's Mom recognized the importance of a woman's role throughout her life and the various changes that each season brings, ultimately bringing honor to a husband who was older, experienced, and a leader in his community. She saw the opportunities for ministry and commerce that would come at various stages of life and told her son to look for a woman who was a hard worker and one who wouldn't shun her duties in the early years of marriage or until she too, would become an older woman. This is what she hoped for in a daughter-in law and she made her desires known to her son, which is what any good mom would do!
Whoever this Godly woman was, King Lemuel's Mom began the admonishment of her son by telling him of three perils that could trip him up, that could cause him to be ineffective as a king. She first warned him to steer clear of women who could cause him to fail in his duties. Secondly, she admonished him to not drink wine or strong drink, knowing that it could pervert his judgement. Note, her warning was clear. She didn't tell him to drink moderately, she told him to abstain. Finally, she was aware of the great temptations that leaders might have in lording it over those under their watchcare. She warned her son of and instructed him to remember his responsibility to the poor and needy.
Lemuel's Mom then goes on to list all that she believes are important in searching for a wife, giving us the familar icon known as the "Proverb's 31 Woman."
Being the mother of sons and being the wife of one wonderful husband, I recognize both the privilege of striving to be a Godly wife and mother and the awesome responsibility it brings, both in word and in deed. What an honor it is that God chose, through his Holy Spirit, to impart these truths to all of us through the writings of King Lemuel as handed down to him by his mother. And what a God we serve who chose to use this wonderful mother as his teacher, as our teacher.
Let's rejoice together as we read Provers 31:
"The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyetha it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarletb. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Thursday, January 12, 2006
update on spiritual abuse charges against r.c.jr.
The following is an update (the previous information can be found here) as of January 10, 2006 written by Peter Kershaw, a former member of St. Peter Church and one of those who has filed charges against the St. Peter session. You can read his comments here. Please note that Mr. Kershaw states that he would never have moved his family to Bristol had he known what he knows now. I hope the public knowledge of these events will serve to caution people against choosing a church that is surrounded with so much controversy, a church where, as one commentator stated is like the "Hotel California," where you can check in but you can never check out.
As I understand it, R. C. believes that there are three possible ways to leave a church...you can transfer to another church with the approval of a session, you can die, or you can be excommunicated. I am unclear as to whether or not that is also the position of his presbytery. At any rate, I would like to offer a 4th way to leave a church. Walk out the door. When you have done everything possible, in good conscience, to follow the mandates of a church BCO and have made appeal after appeal to leadership to no avail, what other choice is there? For your own spiritual health and that of those under your protection,don't even walk. Run!
Here are Peter Kershaw's comments:
I've had a number of people ask me to provide additional details regarding our departure from St. Peter Presbyterian Church. Suffice it to say we had some differences of opinion with the St. Peter church Session over what qualifies as pastoral conduct, and how far a pastors' jurisdiction extends over other men's families, including my own.
At this juncture I prefer to not go into details and will only offer comments regarding what is already widely known through various internet sources (any resourceful person can find the particulars for themselves on the internet, especially on the blogs, so please don't ask me to provide you with links).
What is already known by many is that at least one of the reasons we transferred out of St. Peter Presbyterian Church is because of the manner in which the Session "disciplined" the John Austin family. If the Austins could be censured, shunned and threatened with excommunication, even though there was no biblical basis to do so, and even though the RPCGA BCO could never authorize such "discipline," I knew that it was only a matter of time before I too would come under the St. Peter Session's "discipline." For the well-being of my family we had no choice but to get out, and get out as fast as possible.
I'm pleased to say that we were immediately welcomed into another Reformed Presbyterian church in the area, and that the pastor has been very pastoral toward me and my family. Other former St. Peter members are also members there. That church isn't likely to be a permanent home for us, as we're in the process of finalizing plans for relocating elsewhere. However, even though it's just temporary, we're grateful to our new pastor and our new friends, for their Christian compassion, and for acting like real Reformed Presbyterians. Their kindness has helped us immeasurably in getting through this difficult time.
The ecclesiastical tyrannies perpetrated against the Austin family are just the tip of the iceburg behind why we had to leave St. Peter Presbyterian Church. Though not widely known, that pattern of abuse has actually been taking place for a number of years. Several other former St. Peter members have recently written the Presbytery giving detailed reports of personal experiences with the St. Peter Session. Their accounts closely parallel the abuses suffered by the Austins. In at least two separate written testimonials the magnitude of the St. Peter Session's ecclesiastical tyranny is even far more problematic than it was in the Austin case.
Perhaps at some point I will be able to provide considerably greater detail. However, because I have filed a number of grievances against the members of the St. Peter Session to the Westminster Presbytery of the RPCGA, it would be problematic to make detailed public disclosures over those matters, at least until such time as Presbytery renders a verdict (at present the Presbytery is investigating the charges and will soon set a date for trial). Whatever I do say at that time I trust can be gracious. Moreover, I trust that the verdict of Westminster Presbytery will speak for itself in conclusiveness and render any comments of my own redundant.
However, at this juncture there isn't much I can or should add, other than what follows, and what follows deals with the issue of the sometimes rather heated discussion now taking place on the internet regarding RC Sproul Jr and the Session of Saint Peter Presbyterian Church. The St. Peter Session would much prefer things be kept private, which is quite understandable. Others believe that the nature of the offenses committed by the St. Peter Session warrants public exposure, discussion and debate. What follows are some factors to consider in reaching your own determination in the matter.
RC Sproul Jr is a controversial man. That never troubled me because I too am known as being a bit controversial. However, I believe that it's possible to be controversial and yet not make a habit of offending people. I believe that it's possible to be controversial without taking pride or delight in infuriating your audience.
RC Sproul Jr acknowledges that he has offended many, and has even made a number of enemies over the years. From time to time some of RC Sproul Jr.'s adversaries vent publicly against him. That would be nothing new. However his treatment of the Austin family has provided considerable new incentive for bloggers and grist for the blog mill.
Now it would seem that there's even just that much greater degree of venting currently taking place against RC Sproul Jr, and much of it is over his ordering the shunning of the John Austin family by St. Peter Presbyterian Church.
RC Sproul Jr has offended many people over the years through his squiblog and articles in Every Thought Captive. He's even publicly slandered a number of people through his Open Letters. Two persons have recently filed grievance letters to Presbytery over RC Sproul Jr.'s public slanders against them in Every Thought Captive. Since the folks that RC Sproul Jr. publicly slanders aren't his supporters anyway, and since no one to date has sued him for libel, he's probably come to believe that he's had little cause for concern for exercising such unpastoral conduct.
However, it would seem that RC Sproul Jr. has some disaffected right within his own church. Former St. Peter Presbyterian Church member Rick Saenz posted "the Austin letters" on his Cumberland Books web site, but he posted no links to that specific page. The only people who were informed of that page were St. Peter members, and it was, therefore, from one of those St. Peter members that the source of a "leak" originated.
Now that "the Austin letters" have been leaked to the public there has been a great deal of internet chatter about it. Every day people send me emails with links to new blog discussions. Some of it may be healthy, but a great deal of it probably is not. While I can appreciate people's frustrations, for my part I would much prefer first having Westminster Presbytery adjudge the matter. After that has happened then let the court of public opinion be called into session.
On the other hand, I can see a valid basis for the concerns that some people have about feeling obligated to shine some light on the St. Peter situation. Some of the concerns being aired appear to be from one or more current St. Peter members, likely posting under aliases. There are yet others who say they have visited St. Peter Presbyterian Church, and have witnessed first-hand things that have troubled them, are also posting their comments and concerns.
Several St. Peter members have argued that it is inappropriate for anyone to be publicly discussing the problems of their church, whether it be discussion by their own members, or former members, and particularly outsiders. Perhaps so.
Certainly, it could be argued that the St. Peter Session needs to be given first opportunity to correct its transgressions. I quite agree, which is precisely why only one of the three letters that I prepared, detailing a litany of very serious allegations against the St. Peter Session, was made available to St. Peter members -- specifically "the Austin letter." The other two letters chronicle even far more serious allegations. However, since they are transgressions that are unknown to any current members (several former members are quite aware and, in fact, left St. Peter over those very issues), I deemed it appropriate to give the St. Peter Session the first opportunity to resolve them. However, for the sake of accountability, I did cc all three letters to the Presbytery. I did so prior to being released from membership at St. Peter.
The principle to be employed, as it applies to Elders, is a biblical one: Private sins should be confronted and dealt with privately, and if the sin is genuinely repented of, the matter must remain private. Public sins should be confronted and dealt with on the same scale as the knowledge and effect of the sin has spread.
In my estimation, the St. Peter Session handled very poorly its "repentance" to the Austins. Furthermore, the shunning does not seem to have in any way abated. The alleged "repentance" on the part of the Session has had little or no practical effect. One can only suppose that if repentance were being biblically modeled there would be some evidence of it. As such, it should be no surprise to anyone that the shunning of the Austins has become the subject of so much public debate. That indeed is most regrettable, not only for St. Peter Presbyterian Church, but also for the Austins.
This morning I was directed to a blog where a lady made the following argument regarding whether or not it was appropriate to be publicly discussing R.C. Sproul, Jr. and the problems at St. Peter Presbyterian Church:
"What if you knew someone who was accused of sexual abuse toward a child? Would you have the same wait and see attitude? Would you still support that person, even in the face of testimony in a church court, until you had heard from the accused? Or would you act to protect and then wait for an explanation? You see, people get all would up about sexual abuse, as well they should, but they don’t take seriously spiritual abuse, which as far, far graver consequences."
I find such a comment alarming, even a bit over the top, but it does make the point. Had the Austins known R.C. Sproul, Jr.'s propensity for "spiritual abuse" (as the above blog commenter terms it), I doubt they would have ever moved to Bristol. Likewise, the Kershaws would have never moved here. There's no question but that we would have appreciated someone giving us fair warning. Moreover, the St. Peter Session has a moral and a legal obligation to provide full disclosure to prospective members.
Should others be warned who are contemplating a move here, even prior to Westminster Presbytery rendering a judgment against the St. Peter Session? There are valid arguments both pro and con.
For my part I eagerly await the Presbytery's verdict. But how well I know the challenge of being patient while Presbytery sorts it all out.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
and now a blog just for fun
This blog by Marc from Minnetonka is based on the premise that a picture is worth a thousand words, as if the nun doesn't prove that to be true. We were nearly sick laughing at the Christian vinyl section!
a fun blog for baseball fans, at least Cardinals fans
My son, Clayton, has just given his baseball blog a face lift and just in time for spring training.
Check out The Cardinal Curmudgeon.
Clayton is an attorney, by the way, and not a baseball writer so I think you will enjoy his interesting take on his favorite team as well as comments about managing his own softball team. A fun read if you like baseball.