Homeschooling is an ever evolving journey, not an ever revolving journey.

There are some areas that might fall into the latter description such as, ROTE learning of music theory, chemistry, Latin, Koine Greek and mathematics. For example: formulas, elements, phrases, alphabet, and rapid recall multiplication, addition, subtraction and division.

I wouldn’t be so quick to place Bible memory verses into a revolving journey category simply because they apply to both a revolving and an evolving journey; more so the evolving than revolving, because as we grow and face new life experiences the Bible speaks for itself to us in different ways.

The Bible confronts us. Although God remains the same and His Word remains unchanged, when we are met by this Word, we do not remain as we once were.

Maturity in the faith isn’t being able to rattle off a bunch of scripture verses. Nor is it based on my church attendance record, Instagram followers, vanity metrics, “friends” or high hitting blog stats. Maturity in the faith is recognising how scripture verses rattle us in our sin, out of our sin; out of complacency, apathy, negative stubborn patterns of behaviour and selfishness.

An evolving journey is about character development, whereas a revolving one implies that we’re stuck, immovable. Like Sisyphus forever pushing the boulder.

An evolving journey is still forged by routine. The difference is that in an evolving journey new routines break old ones. This is one of the reasons we observe Lent.

Lent provides an opportunity to reconsider routine; to act against unhealthy habits. It’s a small part of a global commitment from Christians to observe, review and let go of the certain things in our lives that slowly consume us, the more we consume it. Within that comes the humility to recognise that no matter how successful or privileged we may be; we are all still sinners in need of a Saviour.

Participation in Lent doesn’t have to be complicated, overly planned or structured. It just requires commitment. I won’t say simple commitment, for the reason that I know even the smallest of fasts can sometimes be the hardest.

Author, activist, Pastor and urban theologian, Eric Mason wrote:

‘In rabbinic culture, disciples walked behind those whom they followed as teacher. They would literally follow their master around imitating him […] Following Jesus always means abandoning something else that preoccupied our lives prior to grace passing us by and being preoccupied by Him. To follow Jesus is the follow the grace of God. The Christian life is filled with things that will seek to deter us from following Jesus. There must be a point in our lives where we decide we are committing our lives fully to the master.’
(Mason, 2014)[i]

It may not seem Holy, and it may seem too simplistic, but this year my wife and I committed to ditch our after dinner snacks. We like to celebrate our only alone time together throughout the week and this is one way we express that.

Our kids made their own decision. They were asked to come up with their own joint fast. After much discussion, they presented us with their agreed upon proposal. The consensus among them was to fast from streaming movies, including YouTube kids, Netflix etc[ii].

This is what being part of the Church; or as Karl Barth would state it, the Commonwealth of Christ, means to us. Being part of the Church is an evolving journey that sometimes, though not always, involves the revolving door of routine. Lent comes in many different colours, applications and ethnicities. What unites all those in their diversity is Jesus Christ, the absence of Pride.

For Lent to be what Lent is, humility must win. It is a time for a more active participation in the life of God; a time where minds, deeds, hearts and attitudes are directed towards focusing more intensely and intentionally, on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Homeschooling isn’t always filled with routine. It involves random group activities or popcorn and movie marathons like watching Ben Hur. Like lent, stopping to look and listen for lessons as they present themselves requires humility.

As I’ve pointed out few times here in the past, pride is not compatible with love, self-denial and grace go hand-in-hand.

It requires stopping, breathing in grace and exhaling the dust accumulated over the past year. We are set free by God to do so, if only we would ‘submit to God, and resist the devil’ (James 4:7)  and ‘put on (not put out) the armour of light’ (Romans 13:12). Like Bible memory verses the evolving journey involves new routine that breaks unhealthy routines that have long ago over-stayed their welcome.

We are broken by the Word of God, pulled out of mindless routines, soul sucking environments and away from merciless task masters. Called to remember that by, in and through Him; His faith, His journey, His-story, we are made new and called out to live as one who is adopted by a Father who reached for us, so that we may be free, and therefore permitted, to reach out for Him.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5, ESV)


[i]  Mason, E. 2014 Beat God To The Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life,  B & H Publishing

[ii] Lent is 40 days and doesn’t include Sundays due to it being a traditional day of celebration.

Some songs come together. Others morph into new things with new beginnings. I tried a few different paths with this tune and ended up siding with simplicity. After my last few songs this year, I’ve worked hard to improve the mixing aspect and keep to the basics where possible. Using the same equipment and software, I’m aiming to the best with what I’ve got.

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

At the beginning of this term, I sat down and assigned a few songs for my youngest daughter to learn on the guitar. One of those songs was a tune we do in the mornings called Open the Eyes of My Heart.

It took her a few weeks to pull together the chords, and her skill level was where I expected it to be. My daughter did okay for a beginner, but then she blew me away with something completely unexpected.

With gusto, she started singing. I decided to record the “proud dad” moment and accompanied her. Here is that moment: (Bare in mind that this is the first time I’d actually heard her sing. Also, my daughter hasn’t had any formal vocal training and the song is recorded using a smartphone).

 


I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…’

(Ephesians 1:16-18, ESV)

Song credit: Paul Baloche,  Integrity Music, 1997.

.

.

How many white pages remain blank?

Ink, less applied,

.  an empty space.

Quiet and inkless.

Wisdom left aside.

Abandoned as worthless?

This divorce between mind and matter.

No longer weaving together;

.    leaving what was woven

.     to yesterday’s empty praise.

Worthiness splattered over the blue and white walls of false applause.

Oppressed by the easy choice of scroll, repeat and ignore.

Condolences distributed for dignity,

.     shattered, then gathered up, then strapped to the service

.     of insincerity.

Pinned, posted, paraded;

.     contributions constantly measured against sterilized pixels.

Beauty soaked and shivering;

.     beauty left drifting;

.         beauty become hostage;

.            lost, gagged and beaten.

It’s pain become high-priced entertainment footage.

Beauty longing for its pain to be known,

When from ashes, beauty rises with new strength to carry its own

Deep within, the Word moves and lifts the injured,

now flightless,

beyond its cage,

Beauty freed, breathes life onto the page.

No longer vacant, this paper wraps itself around wounded words

Under God, clear vision.

In Jesus Christ, one commission.

Through His Spirit, the death of oblivion.


(RL2017)

‘…I will not leave you as orphans’ 

(John 14:18)

Here is a ‘note to self’ recently rediscovered. I wrote this back in 2011. Long before I’d even considered blogging as a means to connect, share, process, and improve on conclusions and thoughts I’d come to through my undergraduate days.

I’ll never know the privilege of having pride in my father; having a father’s loving advice, or an extended family, on my side, that through mutual reciprocity, enriches my own.

What was broken, is broken and the residue of the struggle to move beyond that remains. This has hindered me having confidence in myself, others, even in having hope for a future.

But through it, I have come to know and acknowledge that God, who in Jesus Christ, redeems even the chiefest of sinners, is greater than all this. Greater than words spoken in order to shame and therefore control.

Evident through Word & impossible changes becoming possible, I’ve seen God choose to step in and move me beyond it; to not let my past define my future.

Don’t let the world, friends, enemies or the past define you. God lives & speaks the same different word every time.

As the Apostle to the Gentile;the foreigner; the alien says, God in His freedom sets us up for freedom and empowers us to cry out ‘Abba Father’ (Romans 8 & 12); recognizing that God delivers on His promise to be the Father of the fatherless.

As the infamous African-American theologian, James Cone once said, ‘we are more than what has been defined for us by broken homes, sin and fatherlessness’ (Cone, p.11) [i]

Posting items and words like this on the internet can be treacherous. I recall Jesus’ wisdom when he talks about “giving to the dogs what is sacred and casting pearls before swine” (Mathew 7:6). Even with the context explained, it’s possibly to misuse my words here. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times in the past, social media, when it comes to community, isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. It’s an ongoing conversation, that can bolster community, but it can never truly replace community; and in it’s current form, will only ever remain so.

[For more of my thoughts on this check out: Fake News Sells: Unfriending Ersatz Community ]

I say these things with confidence because community is best displayed by Christianity, or at least it should be. This is because Christianity is incarnational – where Word meets flesh; where Word meets both deed and attitude. It’s something, or rather, someone, who comes to us; not just pointing to the way, but making a way. God sets this standard and empowers it in Jesus Christ.

I was reminded of this the other day when I read these words from African-American, civil rights campaigner, John M. Perkins’ in his new book, ‘Dream With Me‘:

“I believe the human dimension of God;s work is very important. It’s not that He couldn’t accomplish anything He wanted to do without us, He chooses to [work] with human vessels.We are not the main force at work, yet we are involved. We are present. God uses us in one another’s lives.’ (Perkins, p.96)[ii]

Perkins follows this up with,

‘At a recent conference some of the young people I had met tried to convince me that they didn’t really need a preacher. They’re frustrated with traditional church leadership, [then they appealed to] the priesthood of all believers, which is all well and good. That they prefer a virtual church over a traditional one. I told them, “That’s going to be weak, because it’s going to miss the incarnation [the embodiment of Christ; Word made flesh]. It will not have a human touch (Hebrews 10:24-25).The active presence of other believers contributes to God’s work within us. Again, it’s that God needs us to complete what He is doing – but He allows that human dimension to be a part of His redemptive work.’ (Perkins, p.97)[iii]

Perkins is right. If we don’t speak for fear of the swine or throwing what is sacred to the dogs, then our silence may be motivated by fear, not wisdom.

I’m all for responsible vulnerability; the need to refine what we’re going to say, and then saying that with precision, so as to both guard our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). However, we also put on the ‘Armor of Light (Jesus Christ), casting off the works of darkness’ (Romans 13:12); ‘building up and encouraging one another, through endurance and the scriptures, so that we might have hope’ (Romans 15:2).

Posts like these display vulnerability, which is why some, such as Brene Brown, might consider it also an act of extraordinary courage.

Whether or not these are unwise or an act of extraordinary courage, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the raw truth contained it, and the Good News I wish to proclaim through it.

 


Sources:

[i] Cone, J. 1975 God Of the Oppressed, Orbis Books (1997 ed.) p.11

[ii] Perkins, J.M. 2017 Dream With Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win, Baker Publishing Group

[iii] Ibid, 2017

.

God paints with nature.

Though He isn’t a picture,
He’s involved in it.

Though behind this art,
He chooses to remain hidden;

choosing when and where to make Himself known
to His creation.

Revelation incarnate.
Spoken and unspoken.

Word made flesh,
via covenant, grasp and gracious breath

The knowledge of God begins with acknowledgement,
by way of The Presupposition;
the rock of Truth,
by which all truth is measured with precision.

Still this knowledge is limited.
God exists in freedom
and by this has chosen to voice His own self-limitation.

For the God of hope,
of Christ, joy, love, justice and peace
knows the deceptive heart of His once innocent,
now sin-ravaged beast.

Thus our struggle for an adequate human explanation.

For if we had gained His comprehensive capacity
It would intoxicate all of our faculties;
senses driven mad with lust for divine equality,
like a Nazi, I.S.,
or Bolshevik socialist.
God to become another power utility
conquered, killed; dissected in a laboratory.

We know because God speaks,
this is where He has chosen to meet.

This:

The wonder of God’s intention for creation;
God dies for our salvation – resurrection is vindication.
His master plan,
the centerpiece of His revelation
His beaten, torn and crucified Son,
the apocalypse of the anointed One.

Though darkness; Nothingness seeks to devour
to this Conqueror it has had to submit all it’s power.

This, the cross and the end of the abyss.

The final curtain call, where it will no longer exist.

So it is, with horror and jubilation,
creation groans in anticipation.
For rising through darkness is the proclamation

“On the third day God forged
our emancipation!”

Now reason states
that where He speaks, He exists;
therefore, then,
where He has spoken,
we ought to respond with both ears open.

So in faith, we join this decorated Victor
and the never ending chorus
of His decorous vista.


(RL2017)

‘Those who have never been told of Him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.’ 

– (Isaiah 52:5; Romans 15:21)

‘Accidental Courtesy’ is a recent release documentary featuring African-American musician, speaker and activist, Daryl Davis.

Davis explores the possibility of change through dialogue and relationship. In the documentary we see and hear about how he actively sought out members of the Klu-Klux-Klan in order to ask them one on one, why, because of the colour of his skin, he was hated so much. Especially since they didn’t know him nor had they ever met him. Throughout the process, documented over a series of years, Davis presents the outcome.

Here is the promised part two of our reviews of, and responses to, this phenomenal story. Part one can be located here.

Accidental Courtesy

In his documentary called ‘Accidental Courtesy’ Daryl Davis, who is an African American, talks about racism. He knows what it’s like to be oppressed and set apart by others. He has befriended members of the Ku Klux Klan and even though they have different opinions, they respect each other. The KKK is an American post-Civil War secret society who wants white people to have “supreme authority”; its members claim to be Christians, and are known for burning crosses on the front of black people’s houses

Merriam-Webster defines Racism as the ideological belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and the racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. This is something that should not be encouraged. Racism bullies others because of their skin colour. This is similar to the bullying of kids at school. Racism, like a bully, picks on people who are different. It makes them feel powerful and strong.

When members of the KKK met and talked with Daryl Davis, their views of African Americans changed significantly. For example, some of the members have resigned from the KKK and have given him the cloaks and hoods they wore. Daryl has a few dozen of these. He also has badges and accessories. Daryl didn’t intend to help change their hearts and minds, but he’s criticized for interacting with them.

Some African Americans don’t like Daryl Davis for doing this. He met with representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement and they refused to shake his hand or to listen to what he had to say. They stated their opinion to him but chose not to listen to what he had to say.

Daryl Davis also is a musician and lecturer. He plays the keyboard and piano very well. He also goes to colleges and talks about how two people with different views have a conversation. According to him, two people might be yelling, screaming and banging their fists on the table, but “as long as they’re talking, they’re not fighting.”(-Daryl Davis) If both people can discuss their views and opinions with each other then there is a kind of respect between them; Daryl and the people he met from the KKK did this well.

In conclusion, I think that Daryl Davis’ documentary is good. It shows how racism works and how it can be countered. His being open to talk with members of the Ku Klux Klan was a decision he made. I believe that God used Daryl Davis like a messenger to help those members from the KKK to realise that harassing African Americans wasn’t God’s way. I learnt what racism looks like and it isn’t something to be proud of. People should respect each other even if they look different. Everyone should be treated equally and be shown respect. From different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, God made all humans, no matter what race or colour, unique. We shouldn’t resent that, we should accept and embrace it.

Whether a person’s skin is black or white, it doesn’t matter because we’re all created in God’s image. To say otherwise is to create God in our image.

(A.Lampard, Yr 9 23rd March 2017)


Sources:

‘Racism’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

Davis, D. 2016 Accidental Courtesy

Disclaimer: We received no payment of any kind for our response to, or our review of this material.