Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Don't Judge Me!" (Part 2)



Yesterday, I addressed the absurdity of the "don't judge me!" statements. A huge problem today is that the concept of not judging is fraught with equivocations. We, as Christians, are supposed to recognize truth from false, good from evil. That requires judgement. We're supposed to point out sin (lovingly, of course) in the hopes that it will save the person from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20) We should never judge someone as being unredeemable or not worth it, but judging - when correctly applied - is something we are called to do, not something to avoid. 

Providing a thoughtful commentary on an issue that is spotlighted in society is something we ought to do as Christians. I don't expect those who don't know Jesus to act like they do. I hope you don't either. But that doesn't mean we can't have a meaningful, thoughtful, loving conversation as Christians about a particular issue to show others in the church that certain behavior is not compatible with the Christian life. 


Jesus didn't condemn the woman caught in adultery. He told the Pharisees that if any of them were sinless to cast the first stone. They all walked away. Jesus could have stoned her. He had every right. But he didn't. Jesus didn't condemn, but he did judge. "Go and sin no more." That's a judgement. 


Jesus provides the example we are to emulate. 


We ought to judge. The passage in Matthew referenced yesterday is commanding Christians to take care of the sin in their own lives before telling a brother or sister what's wrong in their life. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" You hyprocrite! Jesus cries.


But he doesn't tell us not to judge them, just to take care of our sinfulness first. "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."


Speak the truth in love. Even if it's tough love, make sure it's in love. And make sure that you're willing to help your brother or sister remove the speck from their eye if you're going to call them out on it.


(original picture source)

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Don't Judge Me!" (Part 1)


"Judge not, lest you be judged" - Matthew 7:1

How many times have we seen this proudly proclaimed on social media?

Don't judge me for being transgender.

Don't judge others for being homosexual.

Don't judge me for getting a divorce.

Don't judge me for dressing immodestly.

Don't judge those who believe different from you.

You can't tell me I'm wrong.

You can't make any statement indicating disapproval.

Don't judge me bro.

Don't judge others.

Regardless of what you think about the particular issues mentioned above, there's a problem with every single one of the above statements.

They're all judgements.

All of them, inherently, proclaim "You are wrong if you judge me/others for this."

Saying that 'something is wrong' is a judgement.

It is impossible to hold to any position proclaiming "don't judge me" or "you shouldn't judge others" and be consistent, for you are always judging those who disagree with you. Just think about that next time you're tempted to post something in that vein (or see someone who does).


Tomorrow, I'll address Christians specifically in how we ought to handle the issue of judging others.

(original picture source)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Belles of Williamsburg {Book Review}



The Belles of Williamsburg: The Courtship Correspondence of Eliza Fisk Harwood and Tristim Lowther Skinner 1839-1849 provides a fascinating peek into life shortly before the Civil War. This correspondence is one of the few nearly complete collections of courtship letters from this era. That's pretty impressive!

 Eliza, of Williamsburg, Virgina, and Tristrim, of Edenton, North Carolina, meet when Tristrim enters William and Mary College and boards with Eliza’s family. Eliza is only twelve at the time. Eliza’s aunt had no children, and her parents had eleven, so Eliza went to live with her childless aunt to be raised by them – a practice not uncommon for the time. 

The early correspondence between Tristrim and Eliza is that of friends, though there are clearly undertones of encouragement from Eliza’s “Godma”. This early correspondence is easy and familiar. As Eliza enters society, the tones of the letters become more formal, largely adhering to the social customs of the day.

While there are a lot of “please write more often” and “I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner because of X” in this compilation, everyday happenings are also chronicled. 
  • Eliza’s family takes boarders, one of those that is mentioned several times is John Tyler, both before, during, and after his presidency. 
  • In one letter, Tristrim goes on several sentences about farming woes, and then apologies for boring Eliza – she responds by showing that she actually knows a bit about farming (more than she supposes the average woman knows). 
  • Tristrim refers to his work in the North Carolina House of Commons and laments tactics of the Locos (a fraction of the Democratic party) that delays session ending since the Whig majority is slim. Some things haven’t changed in over one hundred years – including sessions running long and tiresome, and way past when everyone wants to go home! 
  • Society events are also chronicled, who is getting married, the success of the ball, the longing for music, the poetry parodied by students after drinking whiskey punch. 
  • Postscripts from “Godma” and “Cousin Dick” (Eliza’s uncle by marriage) are frequent in earlier letters, giving yet another perspective on society at the time. 

What probably amuses me the most about these letters is that Tristrim obviously meant for them to be private between him and Eliza, mentioning that fact more than once and offering to return her letters if she felt better about that. I wonder how they would feel to know those letters had been so cared for that they are now available for the perusal of thousands of eager eyes! 

The layout by editor Mary Maillard is very helpful. At the beginning of the compilation, she provides a brief sketch outlining the correspondence and highlighting the keynotes. This provides a framework for readers to allow the letters to fill in. 

Reading these letters was an easy task. The thing that surprised me the most was that this book of actual correspondence validated authors like Jane Austen for me (whom I already loved dearly). This correspondence takes place after Austen’s death and in America, not England, but the similarities are astounding. In fact, Eliza even notes a British novel that she feels greatly explains her and Tristrim’s relationship, Grantley Manor by Lady Fullerton. 

The couple identifies so strongly with these characters they sometimes refer to each other by the character’s names. [For those interested - Grantley Manor is in the public domain, and available for download, or the 3 volumes from 1847 are available for purchase!] Maillard does include some photocopies of key passages from the novel to help explain Tristrim and Eliza’s relationship, but these photocopies are impossible to read on the Kindle, as are the family trees she provides at the start of the compilation. 

Unfortunately, this book is only available in Kindle form – and the price is a little steep for that, in my opinion, but would be reasonable to slightly high for a nice bound copy. 

Half of the book (and I’m not exaggerating) is footnotes, primary sources, secondary sources, listing of family by names, listing the letter’s chronology, etc, in short – a haven for digging further into the time and life covered by these letters. It also means the reading material is significantly less than the little bar under the Kindle book indicates.

Anyone interested in the antebellum South would do themselves a favor to read this compilation. Anyone who loves authors like Austen would enjoy these real life letters. Like I said, the price tag is steep, but suggest the book to your library if you don’t want to cough up the money and borrow it from them – then even more people can have access to this historically significant collection.

5 of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Monday, June 15, 2015

10 Books that have Stuck with Me


Here is a list of top books that I love and recommend to others. Naturally, the Bible is top of the list, but for purposes of variety, I'll note it here, but not put it in the official list.

The list is in no particular order, other than how they came to mind. My commentary on each book is in italics.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The classic, heartfelt tale of four sisters growing into adulthood during the Civil War. This is a story that never grows old.

2. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
What if Adam and Eve never ate of the forbidden fruit? What if two fallen creatures were respectively trying to save and forfeit the untainted world?
In a beautiful, imaginative retelling of an Adam and Eve like story, Lewis paints pictures and give life to theological concepts in startling ways.



3. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
Ever wonder about all those philosophers? What would life look like if they were right about the world? Here's your chance to find out - as Sophie learns about philosophy, each perspective is applied to the life she lives. The ending is bizarre and wonderfully ironic. I refer to this book as my "handbook of philosophy." Never again say reading about philosophy is boring. 


4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
History, magic, good vs. evil, ordinary people, hidden royalty, unimaginable power, courage, friendship - The Lord of the Rings' depth and continuity will continue to amaze long after the last page of the last appendix has been read. Filled with wonderful lines, memorable scenes, and down to earth characters, this is one classic work you'll want to revisit time and again.



5. The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead
Lawhead seamlessly integrates numerous legends regarding Arthur and his men into this 5 book series. Those who have studied the legends to even a small extent will surely appreciate the genius of what he accomplished. Being able to weave these stand-alone , disconnected fragments into a memorable whole is truly outstanding...but you don't have to be an Arthur buff to appreciate these solid stories.


6. The Law by Frederic Bastiat
A simple, thought-provoking explanation of what the law ought to be. Highly readable. (I recommend the first half of the book, the second half is cumbersome and less interesting.)




7. This Was San Francisco by Oscar Lewis
This is a seminal work combining first hand accounts of San Francisco from the time it was just an outpost to that infamous earthquake. Lewis did a marvelous job bringing us the representative and important pieces on this city, while providing the needed commentary to make the transition from each piece smooth.




8. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Louis Wilken
Easy to read, interesting, and informative about our forefathers of the faith. Originally read for Church History class, and was surprised when it ended up on my personal re-read shelf!


9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
My personal favorite from Austen. Yes, it tops Pride & Prejudice. That's pretty high praise. 





10. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington 
A book everyone should read. If people had heeded his advice and learned from his story, America's story of race relations would have looked quite different.





What books have stuck with you?


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Monday, June 8, 2015

Bacon Sauteed Zucchini




I had a balanced meal all planned, my meat, my rice, my green. Then I had the brilliant idea - let's sautee the green in bacon grease. Cause, you know, that's the healthy thing to do! But oh, so tasty. I remembered to take the above picture right before the last ones were gobbled down ... we started with that pan packed.

I used

  • 4 zucchini, quartered vertically and halved horizontally
  • A Tbsp or so of bacon grease
  • liberal salt
  • few shakes of oregano
  • the largest skillet I own
I started out by doing a quick sautee on medium-high heat to coat all the pieces in the bacon grease. Then I shook the salt and oregano, cover the skillet, and turned it to medium-low. The zucchini pieces are thick so this is basically steaming the zucchini with it's own water. And natural bacon flavor. After the zucchini was tender, I uncovered them and turned it back up to medium-high to let that excess water evaporate.

And you're done! Easy, real food ... even if the health factor is debateable ;-) The taste, however, is anything but.

So good.



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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings


Don't forget today is LAUNCH DAY!

This is what Crystal has to say about the course:
I'm thrilled to get to introduce you to the Make Over Your Mornings Course - a 14-day online course that includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects. 
This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process. 
If you've ever wished that you could figure out how to get more done, have more organization in your life, and find time to spend on things you love, the Make Over Your Mornings Course is for you. 
It's not about following a one-size-fits-all system (because every woman and family is different!), but about creating a morning that is in line with your life, your strengths, your family's needs, and your unique situation.

I am really looking forward to jumping into this, and plan to share how it effects my life in the future.

This course costs $17, lower than others recommended she put the price, but Crystal wanted to make sure it was affordable!


So what do you think? Are you ready to Make Over Your Mornings?



Full disclosure: the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I do get a profit from your purchase. If I did not believe in this product I would not promote it.  I appreciate your support in ordering your course through my referral link. Thank you!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings Course from Money Saving Mom!


I am so excited about this course from Crystal Paine (aka Money Saving Mom)! Mornings are the hardest time for me as a mom ... once I get up, and get everyone going, the rest of the day falls into pattern, but the mornings? Sometimes we do fine, and sometimes I want to crawl back in bed and hide. So when I saw this course was going to be offered I jumped on board.

This is what Crystal has to say about the course:
I'm thrilled to get to introduce you to the Make Over Your Mornings Course - a 14-day online course that includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects. 
This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process. 
If you've ever wished that you could figure out how to get more done, have more organization in your life, and find time to spend on things you love, the Make Over Your Mornings Course is for you. 
It's not about following a one-size-fits-all system (because every woman and family is different!), but about creating a morning that is in line with your life, your strengths, your family's needs, and your unique situation.


This course cost $17, as Crystal wanted to make sure it was affordable.

So what do you think? Are you ready to Make Over Your Mornings?



Full disclosure: the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I do get a profit from your purchase. If I did not believe in this product I would not promote it. I appreciate your support in ordering your course through my referral link. Thank you!