Monthly Archives: November 2011

Random Thoughts on the Subject of Christmas

I read an article about a YMCA that replaced its Santa with Frosty the Snowman. This was a decision by the local management, not some upper-level YMCA ruling. They said it was because they wanted to make their annual seasonal celebration more inclusive for everyone. I heard earlier from a friend that a YMCA in Pennsylvania was going to let them hold church services in their building, but then decided they shouldn’t. After all, that C in the name shouldn’t be misconstrued as implying that they support Christianity.

But back to the Santa thing. Please tell me when we got to the point that Santa Claus was a Christian symbol in America? I know there are historical roots in Roman Catholicism or Orthodox belief with Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas, but I always thought that Santa Claus as an American institution was pretty much non-religious. Frequently he has quasi-religious characteristics, such as keeping a watch and a list to see about that whole naughty and nice thing, rewarding the good (candy and toys) and punishing the bad (coal and switches), and the ability to travel the world and make his deliveries in a single night.

Some Christians hasten to point out that Jesus Christ most likely wasn’t born in December, that this time-of-year celebration has many pagan roots and elements and is hardly Christian anyway. Even those conservative Christians who are glad to celebrate Christmas have frequently spoken out against Santa as usurping the place of God. They object to Santa taking on some of God’s attributes and crowding out the birth of Christ entirely. Sometimes Christ is allowed to co-exist, but it has always seemed weird to see the nativity set alongside the sleigh and reindeer on so many lawns. The church I grew up in had Santa Claus visit the Sunday School children. That was weird, too.

The true meaning and purpose of Christmas has been leaking out of the American brain for years. I’m going to continue this ramble in a later note, but let me leave you with this thought. Are you just as guilty as secularists and the rest of the confused country of making this holiday, this “Holy Day,” incomprehensible to the world?

Every year there are politically correct government or management decisions to cut out nativity scenes, to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” to stick to non-religious Christmas music, to avoid any reference to the true reason we have this holiday at this time.

More and more, however, Christmas trees are no longer welcome, decorations on desks at work are banned, and anything that reminds us that Christmas is anything but a winter holiday with possible time off from work is taboo. It’s okay to display lots of commercialism starting sometime in October, to go nuts with the lights and lawn displays, to max out the credit cards buying stuff. It’s also okay to make fun of Christmas, to emphasize that it’s totally mythological. Santa and Jesus are equally fairy tales.

The TV show “Bones,” about a forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent who solve crimes, apparently loves to do Christmas shows. One had a murdered temp agency Santa who seemed to be the “real” Santa. He refused to work on Christmas Eve, designed toys, and wore real ermine on his suit.

Another one had Dr. Brennan (Bones) expounding on how she takes a trip out of the country at Christmas to avoid the whole ridiculous celebration. She is reluctant to even enable her incarcerated father and brother to celebrate Christmas together.  Brennan objects to lying to her brother’s adopted children and pretending he is not in prison, just visiting his father. Booth (the FBI agent who is a practicing Roman Catholic and very badly represents the faithful) states that to make all this happen they are going to have to practice deceptions, and that you have to tell lies at Christmas. It’s part of the deal, apparently.

Secular Humanism has been taking aim at Christmas for years. They’d like to wipe it out of existence. Kwanzaa seems to have been invented to further that purpose. Every year you see t-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming “Festivus for the rest of us.” (If I understand it right, Festivus is some sort of celebration invented on the TV show “Seinfeld” and adopted by secularists as if it were real). Winter Solstice is another great one to bring up. Pagans can celebrate their holiday, but not Christians.

Hannukah seems to have been squeezed almost into non-existence as well. When we delivered to Michaels craft stores in Jewish areas they complained that management never sent them any Hannukah supplies. Nothing even remotely connected with Christmas or the true God in the minds of Secularists can be permitted. Every year they push the envelope further. Sometimes people push back. Even Jews want the trees, they want Santa, but do they want the true God or Christ?

The movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” deals with a congressman who, in one scene, speaks to a constituent who wants to keep a creche (nativity scene) at a firehouse. There is opposition and the man wants Wilson to make the opposition stop. Wilson says to him, with the wisdom of Solomon, knowing his people and his towns so well, that he should move the creche to a nearby church lawn, and adds, “everybody lives.” Wilson is depicted in the movie as a hard-living, hard-drinking, womanizing reprobate, but a man who still takes his political and social responsibilities seriously. And he wants to keep Christ out of secular life, over on the church lawn where He belongs.

So, see, in a way, this incident with the YMCA kicking out Santa means secularists are trying to attack Christianity when they attack Santa, and trees, and Christmas carols. I guess our culture is so warped now that we may have to consider Santa an ally, though I’m not necessarily ready to fight to keep him in Christmas celebrations.  I am ready to point out that this is another attack by Secular Humanism, and we should take it seriously.

I’d lots rather fight to keep the creches at the firehouses (the town I grew up in had one for many years), the wise men and the star up on the hill near Arizona State University in Arizona. I’d like to see stars or angels on treetops and along city streets (though the depiction of angels is a whole other subject). Now and then someone speculates that maybe the reason we give presents is because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus. I’d fight to keep that in too.

We read the Christmas story with whatever family we can gather at Christmas. The whole thing, from Zacharias to the return from Egypt, out of the Bible, not a Bible Story Book. I would definitely fight to keep that. That’s the most important thing to keep, honoring and recognizing the importance and authority of the Word of God. We should do it all year long, but maybe if you haven’t really studied the Word of God and accepted its authority in the past, this is a good time to start. To keep Christ in Christmas and in America we have to keep the Word on our lips, in our minds and in our Hearts.

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Intellectual Reasons for Belief

We, as Christians, as often asked by people who believe that they are intellectuals why we believe what we believe. I am not aware of any brief list which is not woefully inadequate. The following list could easily be expanded, but it is a good ready reference. (Please note that many of these points are dealt with in Antidisestablishmentarianism.)

I. Evidence from reason

A. The Design of the universe demands a Designer

B. Life begets life; no scientific evidence of any form of spontaneous generation

C. Thermodynamics

1. 1st law of thermodynamics: matter and energy are interchangable and can neither be created or

destroyed.

2. 2nd law of thermodynamics: (entropy) all energy transformations are in a downward direction.

The universe is gradually deteriorating from a position of greater complexity and order to an

eventual end of complete disorder with the simplest elements, probably only hydrogen, motionless

at a uniform temperature.

II. Evidence from ancient writings

A. The value of oral tradition: many cultures disdain writing (Thoth/Plato)

B. All of the oral traditions and writings which are mentioned here are pre-Christian

C. New Zealand: The Lore of the Whare-wananga; or the teachings of the Maori College

D. Egyptian: History of Creation

E. Mayan: Popol Vuh and The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel

F. Mexican: Origin de los Indias

G. Japanese: The Kojiki

H. Babylonian/Assyrian: Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation and Another

Version of the Creation of the World by Marduk

I. Greek: Hesiod Theogony, Plato Critias

J. Roman: Ovid Metamorphoses

K. Norse: The Poetic Edda, Voluspp

L. Hopi

M. Cherokee

N. Persian: Zoroastrianism Bundahis

III. Evidence from the Scriptures

A. The authority of God

1. God existed before the material universe and everything material was created by God. John 1:1-3,

Col 1:16, Heb 1:10

2. God upholds the material universe today Heb 1:2,3

3. The material universe is temporary. Heb 1:10,11 Matt 24:35 2 Peter 3:10, Rev 20:11, 21:1

B. The origins of the material universe

1. heavens and earth Gen 1:1

2. “the earth was formed out of water and by water” 2 Pet 3:5

3. “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit  of  God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Gen 1:2

IV. Evidence from the material world: What we can know from our senses.

The following scientific facts do not prove the Bible or the Biblical timeline to be true. While each of these scientific facts work within a Biblical framework or timeline, they tend to discredit the possibility of Uniformitarianism.

A. Genetics

1. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter

a. estimates of the rate of mutations were made based on uniformitarian assumptions and mitochondrial Eve was estimated to be 144, 000 years old.

b. a 500 year old sample was taken; the calculated results show mitochondrial Eve to be approximately 6,500 years old (Nature Genetics vol. 15, April 1997 pp. 363-367. )

2. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon DNA samples are both well within the range of modern homo sapiens.

3. Lucy and other proposed links between homo sapiens and animals have DNA samples well within the range of modern animals.

4. RNA

B. Dating methods

1. potassium/argon

2. uranium 235

3. Carbon 14: it becomes such a small amount that it is almost unnoticeable after about 60,000 years and disappears entirely after a little more than 100,000 years. All fossils which have been tested have C14.

4. all dating methods have an unknown point of origin

C. Ammonites

1. extinct marine creatures

2. wide dispersement

3. intact

4. on top of Mount Everest

D. Rock layers put in place while still moist

1. sharp bends, folds following matching contours

2. massive sections at unusual angles

E. Volcanism

1. modern lava flows have dates compatible with lava flows dated as ancient

2. physical appearance of recent eruptions shows multiple layers laid down

in minutes or seconds

F. Sea levels

1. salt content; no evidence of constant flow

2. massive recent rise in sea levels

3. Hudson river canyon

4. Niagara river canyon

G. Antarctica

1. evidence that Antarctica was once warm

2.  ancient maps with the land mass of Antarctica visible

H. Starlight

1. uniform background radiation

2. uniform red shift

I. Fossils

1. fossils not formed today: require unusual conditions to make fossils

2. massive fossil beds; billions of creatures, died in agony

3. creatures which do not exist today

4. very large creatures; very different climate

5. petrified wood

6. coal

J. Entombed creatures younger than fossils

1. different from fossils: different creatures and a different climate

2. usually frozen

3. ivory still usable

4. huge numbers

K. Lake Titicaca

1. salt content, marine life; highest lake in world (12,507 ft.)

2. tilted

3. city under water

4. existing city now far from water once a port

L. Massive stone structures

1. thousands of buildings and ruins of buildings

2. everywhere on earth

3. how they were made; either

a. poured in place like cement

b. floated into place

c. used a technology of which we are unaware

4. why they were made

a. to impress (who?)

b. protection from earthquakes

c. public works projects

d. unknown reasons

M. Insects in Amber

N. Diamonds can be manufactured

1. less than a year to make

2. are currently being manufactured in quantity

O. salt content of oceans

1. inconsistent flow rate: we do not know how much salt was

coming into the oceans as little as 3,000 years ago.

2. using ocean salt levels for dating is circular reasoning: assuming constant flow proves age; age is proved by salt levels

P. varves

Q. ice cap layers

1. assumption made that each layer represents one year

2. missing squadron

Conclusion: Many books are written to explain each subpoint. Few people, however, will stay around to listen. This list is a good starting point, however, for honest people who are legitimately seeking the truth.

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So What Do We Expect From A Presidential Candidate?

Certainly not perfection. A good Presidential Candidate must understand and have deep respect for the Constitution of the United States. Second, he must understand what that means and have the character to implement the principles it contains. Last, he must understand that the US Constitution is not a “suicide pact.” On rare occasions a Commander-In-Chief must make decisions which he believes are necessary for the survival of the United States but will call his loyalty to the Constitution into question. Lincoln, FDR and other Presidents faced these kinds of decisions.

Our position on taxation is: no income tax, no estate taxes, no corporate taxes, no deficits and no delays in implementation. The 16th Amendment was never ratified, so any type of direct taxation by the federal government is unconstitutional. (The Law That Never Was by William J. Benson) Only governments are eternal, so estate taxes will eventually transfer all property to the government. Corporate taxes are double taxes on individuals, while few large corporations ever pay the tax.

America has tried tax reduction in the past, but debt is our biggest enemy. Past tax reductions have not been coupled with spending reductions. Entire Departments, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, are clearly forbidden in the document written in English, the Constitution of the United States (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.) Other Departments, such as the Department of Energy, while not openly unconstitutional, are extremely unwise and need to be abolished. Once these spending reductions are brought into line with the greatly reduced federal revenues, the economy will once again grow and the increased tax revenues will pay for our existing debt. Spending must be flat as revenues increase to pay off debt.

The worst character fault is revealed in the men who promised these things, but failed to implement them once in office.

The concept of “separation of Church and State” has elevated Secular Humanism to the position of America’s establishment of religion. This established religion has used its enormous power to ruthlessly attack any who oppose it. We need to return to the religious neutrality of Washington and Lincoln.

The existing Republican Presidential candidates as of November, 2011, all have serious faults in one or more of these areas.

Michele Bachmann did not know that her entire New Hampshire campaign staff quit on the same day. They contacted her national organization, which failed to pass the information on to her. Who actually runs her campaign? Her proposed fiscal policies look good, but as a congresswoman, why has she never presented any of these proposals as bills?

Rick Santorum has good ideas but little support. Without three or four times as much support, his campaign will be one of the first to collapse.

Herman Cain has proposed a new tax (sales) that he claims is revenue neutral. He has no plan for massive cuts in spending. His handling of the sexual harassment charges against him seems weak and flawed. Though he cannot be expected to know everything, we must know who will supply the information he so desperately needs. Who will his advisors be?

Rick Perry pushed for a bill to give illegals in-state tuition at state schools. He attempted to require Gardasil vaccinations for all Junior High girls. This is big government at its worst. He seems to take multiple sides on important issues. He has offered no explanation for his public speaking problems, which would probably make him unelectable in the general election.

Mitt Romney seems to be the most liberal of the Republican candidates. He pushed for and signed into law a state form of Obama’s healthcare which is bankrupting the state of Massachusetts. He has no plan to reduce the size of government. His only positive feature seems to be his ability to create jobs while raising taxes.

Newt Gingrich’s long tenure in Washington has enabled him to become an extremely well paid lobbyist. Many of his clients are organizations which need to be abolished. He is easily the most articulate of the Republican hopefuls and knows the most about foreign policy.

Ron Paul has the most fanatical support for his libertarian principles of any candidate. Without his lukewarm support, George W. Bush would never have been elected. He is the only candidate to seriously propose massive reductions to the federal government. He proposes the most serious tax reductions of any candidate. He also seems to misunderstand how dangerous a world we live in with his proposed military cuts. He co-sponsored a bill with Barney Frank to legalize marijuana.

It seems that once again we are left with a series of choices that boil down to the “least bad.”

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What Is “Seasonally Adjusted?”

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(This is the source of the image above. They have some fantastic things!)

Most of us hear the phrase “seasonally adjusted” with a vague idea that we know what those words mean. Since they have different meanings in different contexts, it can be very confusing. While a complete definition of “seasonally adjusted” can be an entire course in a MBA program, a general understanding will make living in America a little easier.

Sometime around the first of January every year most American businesses take inventory. In factories, ordering and shipping new products slows to a crawl. Schools face snow days, use supplies on hand and reduce or stop ordering supplies. Retail establishments try to reduce inventory without ordering new products. Farm work is at the lowest point of the year. Temporary holiday workers are laid off. Nationally, this is the highest unemployment time of the year. Trucking and rail lines ship the lowest volume of the year. This is the busiest season for accountants and for the purchase of winter supplies such as salt, heating oil and snow removal equipment. Many of America’s most productive workers take extended vacations in January and February. Holiday spending reduces ability to buy at the beginning of the next year. In places where travel is difficult, most entertainment and eating establishments have their lowest sales of the year.

As income tax refunds begin to arrive in late February and weather begins to improve in the Southern states, businesses begin to improve. New hires are added and the overall economy begins to improve. Depleted winter stocks are resupplied. If the improvement is good enough, when a new graduating class in May looks for jobs, there will be enough jobs. If there is not enough improvement in the spring then the new graduates will produce a drag on the economy with a boost in unemployment. Late April/early May is usually a small drop from March/early April as businesses attempt to guess what summer will be like.

May/June usually sees the first harvest of early crops, requiring more workers. Those who can, go on vacation, allowing temporary summer workers to go off the unemployment roles. The newly employed usually spend freely, hurting themselves but helping the overall economy. As bills come due, late June sees a slight slowdown economically. August sees back to school spending increase, students drop off unemployment roles as they go back to school and overall demand for goods remains steady.

September is very difficult to predict for seasonal adjustments. Bad weather across the country turns otherwise good indicators into a slightly bad economy. If the economy is very good, like it was in the 90s (Bush 1 and Clinton) early Christmas spending and good harvests can make a huge economic bubble. In a bad economy (Obama), September can be a mini downturn. The major crops are just beginning to be harvested, Christmas spending has not started yet and people are not ordering durable goods.

Beginning in October, crops have to be harvested and businesses begin preparing for Christmas. Even in poor economies, October/November usually sees an increase. Temporary seasonal workers are hired. Winter supplies are stocked. The only real question is how long does this bubble last? In good economies, this increase in demand can last into January with the last few weeks resulting in great rates for shippers, truckers, trains, airfreight, etc. Some companies are so dependent on this surge in sales for a few weeks that this is the only time of the year they are actually profitable.

In poor economies, people do minimal Christmas buying and the annual slowdown actually starts before Christmas.

These fluctuations vary from business to business. For instance, the entire medical profession is virtually immune to these seasonal variations. Others, such as swimming pool manufacturers, see most of their business at a different time of the year, in this case spring/summer.

The important point is that seasonal adjustments are critical to understanding what is really going on, not just accepting the latest political spin. If unemployment numbers are going up or down, does that indicate a serious problem or is that just “seasonal?”

This is a small attempt to help the average American to have a better understanding of the information around him. This will hopefully help you make more informed decisions.

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Statement of Belief in Education

Note that we have a general statement of belief for our blog, but we also include this one with specific reference to our education principles. We post this as we complete our series, in preparation for the last few entries beginning tomorrow, in which we will review a number of popular homeschool curricula.

When we use the word believe, we mean belief in the historic, judicial sense of having seen and evaluated evidence and reached a decision based on the facts presented, like a jury at a trial giving a verdict on a case before them.

We believe in the absolute authority of the Scriptures, Old and New Testaments. This is based on an historical, grammatical interpretation. Things mean what the writer of the time period intended them to mean, and that a plain, straightforward meaning is almost always the correct meaning. Scriptures must also be compared with Scriptures, passages looked at in context and subjects as part of a whole teaching throughout the Bible.

The Bible sometimes uses literary devices, different kinds in various places. As one example, In Judges 9, Jotham’s story of the trees seeking a king is not a literal event, though brambles and other trees are literal, real-world objects. It is a parable, and there are other parables. The sword coming out of Jesus Christ’s mouth in Revelation is literal in the sense that it is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which is a metaphor, another literary device used in many places in the Bible.

We also believe in the Priesthood of every believer, meaning that every believer can pray to God and read His word and that Christ is the only mediator we need. Salvation is by grace through faith alone.

Works are a testimony of salvation, not a way to obtain Salvation. The Church is made up only of professing believers. The Church was created at Pentecost. It is not a continuation of Israel. We believe in the Premillennial position, that is, that the Church age ends at the Rapture. The time we live in now is called the age of grace, although God has always saved by grace.

The Bible is a Book of Science. It is true, accurate, and reliable. It teaches man’s sinfulness and helplessness without Christ’s salvation and God’s power. Secular Humanism is a Religion of Mythology.

As the Established Religion in America it is taught in Public Schools to teach students that they have no sin, that they are perfectible by their own efforts, and that there is no God to Whom they are responsible.

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Guest Blogging on My Dream Team of Literary Characters

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Inspired by “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie, I want to create my own graphic novel with favorite literary characters, including a grown-up Oliver Twist, Steampunk Inventor, solving mysteries and fighting evil.

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Principles of Teaching P.E.


Any form of organized sports will require outlays of time and money. Many communities have youth sports leagues but may require lots of time including fundraising obligations. Sports considered individualized (as opposed to group sports) are sometimes more flexible in scheduling, with lower outlays for time, money and equipment, and less chance of causing offense based on belief. Bowling, golf, tennis, swimming, archery, track and field, weightlifting, and aerobics may be some options to consider.

Most states require some form of Physical Education. Even if homeschoolers choose not to participate in organized or individual sports, the requirement must be satisfied. Generally something in the way of health is also required. Do not neglect this requirement or you may endanger your whole homeschool program. This is one way in which homeschooling groups can be helpful, by providing other students with whom to do activities, opportunities for documentation of socialization by photos, and chances to share equipment not otherwise available. or simply document church activities like hikes, bowling, or picnics that include volleyball, swimming, or other activities that are done as a group.

Community centers may have sports equipment, fields or courts students can use. If none of these options are available, parents may want to get a video exercise program or ideas on plans to follow online or at the library. Bike riding, the amount of walking done on a paper route, pickup basketball with friends, and many informal activities can count as P.E.

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