Failure

give me freedom to fail
freedom to learn
the space to discover
on my own
to observe, reflect, decide, and act
come along side me
assist me, advise me
share your resources
your wisdom and knowledge
but then let me run
on my own
free to fall, free to succeed
give me freedom to fail
freedom to learn

(c) S.A. Detwiler May 24, 2014

Unable to Fly

Back in September of 2008, I posted a poem by Rumi. That poem has echoed in my mind ever since, and just a few days ago it was stuck in my mind, but in that moment Rumi’s poem sounded so hollow—too cheerful and too confident— to me. So I sat down and re-worked my own, pessimistic heart-cry, following the content and form of Rumi’s poem. Here’s Rumi’s poem first and then mine.

Thyself reckon dead, and then thou shalt fly
Free, free, from the prison of earth to the sky!
Spring may come, but on granite will grow no green thing;
It was barren in winter, ’tis barren in spring;
And granite man’s heart is, till grace intervene,
And, crushing it, clothe the long barren with green.
When the fresh breath of Jesus shall touch the heart’s core,
It will live, it will breathe, it will blossom once more.

-Jalal-ud-Din ar-Rumi
translated by E.H. Whinfield


My soul feels so dead, and unable to fly;
Chained, chained, to the prison of earth under sky!
Spring won’t come, and on granite won’t grow one green thing;
I was barren in winter, and will be barren in spring
Because granite my heart is, though I saw grace intervene,
I’m crushed, and still barren, not clothed yet in green.
I felt the fresh breath of Jesus… once… touch my heart’s core,
But will I live? Will I breathe? Will I blossom once more?

-S.A. Detwiler

(c) April 3, 2014

Questions in the Dark

What if we’ve heard the things you’ve said behind our backs?
What if your silence has spoken louder than your words?
What if your theology is all full of cracks
And your sympathy is villainy
And your binding mandates fly away like birds?
What then?
No nest, no thoughts, no words, no feelings.
Nothing.

(c) S.A. Detwiler March, 2014

Surat Al Fatihah

I really like this surah from the Quran –  سرة الفاتحة. Surah/surat is the special Arabic name for ‘chapters’ in the Quran and Al Fatihah is the first surah in the Quran.

Hearing this surah makes me think very fondly of the thirteen months that I lived in the Middle East…and of my many Muslim friends in the USA and in the Middle East.

When I reflect on the words of Surat Al Fatihah, I join my voice with this cry for mercy, direction, and protection. I lift up my soul in this prayer to our Creator and Lord.

Here’s an English interpretation of Surat Al Fatihah by Mufti Taqi Usmani :

Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds (1)
The All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful. (2)
The Master of the Day of Requital. (3)
You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help. (4)
Take us on the straight path (5)
The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, (6)
Not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray. (7)

Here it is in Arabic:

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (١
ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ (٢
 مَـٰلِكِ يَوۡمِ ٱلدِّينِ (٣
 إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ (٤
 ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ (٥
 صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ (٦
 غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ (٧

Christ: The Hope

In 2012 I wrote a poem that pulls together a bunch of biblical phrases and imagery and reflects some of the things I was thinking about during the year I spent overseas far away from my home in the USA.

Just a few months ago, a good friend of mine recorded my poem, edited it, and added a free beat track to it. I think she did some amazing work!

 

Here are the words from my poem:

Your life is in front of you,
Should God give you breath;
No time to be rushin’ to
A new kind of meth.
You can’t really think that you
Were born just to die;
There’s power and strength in you,
Potential, but why?

Pent up,

Second cup,

Out of Egypt,

But, look…

Life’s a big web of souls,
The children of Eve,
All playin’ painful roles;
We can’t really leave.
We’re drunk and we’re trippin’ up,
The drama’s still on;
There’s more wine still in the cup,
But wheat in the lawn.

Painful,

Trippin’ up,

Wine in the cup,

But…

You weren’t made to drink those dregs;
‘Cause in fact, you’re a king.
His anger is stored up in kegs,

unless you bow,

take his hand,

kiss His ring.

So if you’re a king, in fact,
To take care of earth,
Let’s see you die in the act

of healin’,

Givin’ birth:

new earth,

But remember…

The network of sufferin’
Isn’t just ‘cause of tares;
There’s vipers meanderin’
in you, causin’ scares.
But one of her sons, you know,
He crushed the snake’s head;
Those thirty silver shekels…low,
Ill-got, ill-spent…dead,

Three days,

Like he said,

Back to life…

What!?!

The God of the universe
Absorbed our bad crimes;
So don’t be just keepin’ the purse,
Or sinnin’ between chimes,
You’ve got power, potential
Not jus’ from money or fame;
If you’re feelin’ rational,
That’s strength all the same.

Rational,

Passionate,

Not in a vacuum,

‘Cause in fact…

In the web of humanity”
You’re a sister, a mom;
No time for some vanity;
You hear that big bomb?
You’re orphans and refugees,
Kids without bread;
Don’t count the fatalities;
Your brother is dead.

Locked-in,

Time-bein’,

Work to do,

But we’re not alone…

“Drink of it, all of you;”
The bread breaks in hand;
You can’t fight that big army,

sure,

that’s true,

impossible,

‘cause

There’s giants in the land.

But the man of God’s choosin’,
The son of virgin-birth,
Death-defyin’, life-givin’,
He’s the hope for planet earth.

Resurrection,

Restoration,

Celebration,

Christ: the hope.

Image

[This is a photo I took of a ceiling mural from the Chora Church in Istanbul, Turkey.]

Like Searching for My Shadow

Image

I see you there beside me,

Walking in step with me, watching me—

But there is no voice, no sense of nearness.

I reach out my hand for yours,

Wishing to bring you near me, close—

But there is no warmth, no sense of touch.

I bend my face near yours,

Looking for eyes that know me, know more—

But there is no depth, no sense of feeling.

I lose sight of you at night,

Hoping you’ll become real and stay—

And I grieve my loss, the sense of loneliness.

I find you again quite soon,

Swaying and dancing in the lamplight—

But there is no music, no sense of pleasure.

You can find me when you’re ready,

Sweating and working out there—

Come! Become! Let’s be real…forever!

(c) S.A. Detwiler, Sept. 2012

Panic. Tears.

istanbul island ant track

Panic. Tears. The front door bursts open. “I let go of my balloon, and it’s flying away!” I dash outside, an adult trying to help his six-year-old brother. “There! It’s up there!” The balloon is caught in the tree, slowly moving through the branches; it is near the top of the tree now. “Climb the tree and get it!” I don’t move. There is no way I can climb the tree fast enough. The balloon bobs out of the tree and starts to float away. My little brother is wailing now, throwing himself on the ground, beside himself with grief. I try to rationalize with him: “that’s what helium balloons do when you let go of them.”

Panic. Tears. Run and get someone to help. “I let go of my balloon, and it’s flying away!” Run back and show him where it is. “There! It’s up there!” The balloon is still caught in the tree, but it is even further away now, slowly moving through the branches. “Climb the tree and get it!” My big brother has got to be big enough and fast enough to stop this horrible nightmare. But he doesn’t care. “No! It’s out of the tree! It’s floating away! Stop it! Help! No…no…no!” My big brother is talking to me now. Babbling nonsense about “that’s what helium balloons do when you let go of them.”

Panic. Tears. I suddenly remember the first time I lost a helium balloon. I feel it again. A sudden pang. I still know that feeling of helplessness…of loss. I shut up and watch the balloon float away. I try to grieve with my little brother. I’ve watched people float away like that too. It’s just a balloon, but who’s reaction is more reasonable? Why do we suffer like this?

Panic. Tears. Who can I run to for help?

Corbett & Fikkert on Poverty Alleviation

“Reconciliation of relationships is the guiding compass for our [Christian] poverty alleviation efforts…. The goal is not to make the materially poor all over the world into middle-to-upper-class North Americans, a group characterized by high rates of divorce, sexual addiction, substance abuse, and mental illness. … The goal is to restore people to a full expression of humanness, to being what God created us all to be, people who glorify God….”
-Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself

For a helpful review of this book, click here.

He’s So Young

I don’t exactly know where this short story came from—the thoughts kind of just fell together. I don’t know the interpretation either. It isn’t an allegory—the characters and symbols don’t correlate one-for-one with anyone and anything in particular. But it is perhaps an analogy, maybe even an analogy on my life right now. Mainly I just wanted to play with words. And I have met a lot of people in the past year, so I have regularly seen someone and had to stop and think long and hard on why they look so familiar.

—– —– —–

The young man stopped halfway across the little bridge. He stopped and looked around him. His eyes lit up, and the look of wonder and joy on his face was like that of a man stepping directly out of winter into full summer. His eyes darted around as he looked at the leaves on the trees, the insects in the grass, and the little green moss patterns on the sides of the bridge. The man turned and leaned against the railing, resting his elbows on this sturdy structure. The man’s chin was in his hands now, and the look of recognition had vanished from his eyes. Below him flowed a muddy little stream with bright green clumps of grass on its banks. Just a stone’s throw away, another bridge crossed the little stream. That bridge was not a footpath; it bore a railroad track. The man looked out on this scene, but he did not really see anything. Confusion was written all across his face. He was lost in thought.

An hour later, or maybe it was only a few minutes later, the young man was still standing there on the bridge. His chin was not in his hands anymore, but he was still leaning on the railing, still looking out toward the other bridge, still gazing inward. Suddenly, away in the distance, the whistle and roar of a train could be heard. The man was unaffected. The train came into sight and then began to lumber across the other bridge. Both bridges quivered. The man’s eyes drifted up from the stream, and settled on the windows of the cars as they wandered by. It was a passenger train. The cars were mostly full. It was a hot day, and many of the windows were open. The man’s eyes had drifted up to the train, but he really was not watching the cars pass by. He did not follow them with his eyes. He did not notice any of the details.

Many of the passengers on the train saw the young man on the bridge. The younger children laughed and pointed at the odd figure. Some of the men on the train looked away quickly—his furrowed brow and faraway gaze scared them, for it told them what was written on their own faces. Some of the men, however, followed him with their eyes, trying to get a better look at the young man; they knew his confusion, and shared it, but they wanted to break past his listless gaze and hear his story. Some of the women that saw him quickly looked away and attended to something else. A few of the women brushed away tears that had instantly sprung to their eyes. They also felt what he felt. “He’s so young…” whispered one white-haired lady to her daughter-in-law.

Suddenly the life flashed back into the young man’s eyes. They were fixed on the train now, dragging his head with them. He was following the movement of one of the cars. A face had suddenly caught the young man’s attention. It was a clean face with well-defined features. Her head was thrust slightly outside of the window. The white scarf on her head pulled and tried to flap in the wind that the train was creating. Her eyes were opened, but she did not seem to notice anything that was passing by. Her brow was gently furrowed, her mind evidently wrapped in deep thought. The man jerked himself up straighter and followed her face with his eyes. He stepped back and tipped his head to the side, trying to look between the trees beyond the path, trying to catch another glimpse of that face as it passed out of sight behind the trees. He knew that face from somewhere. Her features were so familiar. His mind raced as he tried to recall the names and faces of all of his female cousins on his mother’s side and then on his father’s side. He did not know all of them, and he had not seen most of them since he was a child—but her skin was too light for her to be related to him. He tried to think back upon all of his recent trips to the city and his interaction with vendors in the markets. Who was she?

The young man’s eyes drifted back to the muddy streamlet as the train rumbled into the distance. The man’s forehead was even more furrowed now. His eyes were open, but he saw nothing. He tried to remember her face. He tried to remember her name. He tried to remember if and how he recognized her. He stood on the bridge confused. As he stood there, a little white butterfly fluttered by in front of him. He looked at it and threw a hand out, as if to catch it. The little creature fluttered on, and the young man settled back into his musings.

McCheyne’s Counsel to A Young Man

“Do not forget the inner man, the heart. The cavalry officer knows that his life depends upon his saber, so he keeps it clean. Every stain he wipes off with the greatest care. You are God’s chosen instrument. According to your purity, so shall be your success. It is not great talent; it is not great ideas that God uses; it is great likeness to Jesus Christ. A holy man is an awesome weapon in the hand of God.”
-Robert Murry McCheyne

The Hound of Heaven

Here are the first few stanzas of a great poem by Francis Thompson (1859-1907). I read this poem a few years ago, and the beauty and truth that Thompson portrays has hounded me ever since. Do you also relate with this poet?

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

You can read the rest of Thompson’s poem by clicking here. By today’s standards, it is a long poem; but trust me, this poem is well-worth your time.

The Plow

My heart is a field, a fallow plot of old ground.
The Word is a plow, with a keen, double blade.
With thunder and lightning and a terrible sound,
While torrents of rain and soft dews have played,
The Lord of the this field has labored and toiled.
The plow is now tearing through soil half-thawed
—Too long this old land has lay barren and moiled
In weeds overgrown, in a thorn-spangled sod—
O, tear through this soil, all-victorious plow!
The trumpet has sounded, the year has now come,
Let Jubilee freedom, at the Husbandman’s clout,
Bring this field into submission, to yield a grand sum:
A hundredfold, sixtyfold, thirtyfold harvest!
O sow your seed, when my soul-soil is readied;
You, O God, above all are the greatest!
(I give thanks that your hand is by gentleness steadied.)

(c) Bill Fridl

Spurgeon on “…let us cleanse ourselves…”

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).”

photo courtesy of Heather

photo courtesy of JoyInTheLittleThings blog


“It is easy to find out others’ faults and to bring the whole force of our mind to bear against them. It is delightful to expose vice and lampoon the follies of the age, adding a dash of wit to enliven it, or to preach virtue, with a little of the sugar of scandal to sweeten a painful tale. It highly gratifies some people when they can find a fault with some highly respected person. That is their forte, the strength of their genius, pulling to pieces what they could not put together and attempting to raise themselves by lowering others. But notice, the apostle says,”Let us cleanse ourselves.” It is all very well to drag the church of God up to the alter like some bleeding victim, and there to stab her with the sharpest knife of our criticism and to say that she is not this and she is not that. One might rather ask, “How far do I help to make her what she is? If she is degenerate, how far is that degeneracy consequent upon my having fallen from the high standing that I should have occupied?” We shall all have contributed out quota to the reform of the church when we are ourselves reformed. There can be no better way of promoting general holiness than by increasing in personal holiness.”
-C. H. Spurgeon, A Passion for Holiness in a Believer’s Life(compiled and edited by Robert Hall)

A Tidbit from my Sister

Here is a great quote from my sister’s blog. I don’t think it ever crossed her mind that anyone would quote her, and that’s exactly why it’s so great.

I suppose accepting and doing the “little things in life” with joy and gladness is what the Christian life is all about.

I am away at college right now, and I havent posted anything since I came down here to Dallas in January. But I have had a good excuse for my silence; I’ve been studying like mad and enjoying it emensely! If you don’t know, I am at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) working on an undergraduate certificate in applied linguistics. This school is amazing. It is small, intense, incredibly pratical, academically rigerous, and humbly submitted to God’s glory. The faculty and staff here are very personable and god-fearing and the students here are really encouraging and fun. Well, that’s enough of an update-attached-to-a-quote.

Big Sis Enters Blogosphere

We are pleased to announce that our sister, Heather, has began blogging. Her website is called Joy in the Little Things. Here’s what Josiah and I have to say about our sister.

Stephen:

My sister Heather is like an ivy plant— beautiful, tender, resilient. She is the oldest child in our family, so she has been there since I was born. As I have grown up (for certain) and matured (hopefully), Heather has played an integral role in my life.

Heather is a dear friend. I don’t know how many long-into-the-night talks— deep talks, broad talks, jumping-from-subject-to-subject talks— we’ve had over the past few years. We’ve shared life, we’ve shared our hearts— our perplexities, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our opinions, our one faith and shared vision.

Heather is an example. She is an example of meekness, of godliness, of a heart devoted to God. She has lived out this example, and she has reached out into my life. I still have notes, letters, and birthday cards that she given me… I probably have notes from my early teens to the present. These notes are deeply impressed with encouragement. Many a time, Heather has brought portions of the Scriptures to my attention, and she has done so with a gentleness and a humility that has burned deep into my soul.

Heather is a caring person. She helped care for me when I was young. And even now while I am yet living at home, she still looks out for me. She helps with our family’s laundry, she helps cook several times a week, she helps cleans the house (especially the overlooked things). She does so much, she is so much— much more than all of this.

Not that Heather doesn’t have struggles and weaknesses. This is what I so admire about Heather: she is very real, not a superwoman. But rather than trying to hide every weakness and sin, time and again I’ve seen Heather work to be transparent about her struggles. I can see God’s grace flowing in and over and through her life. I have seen that God’s grace has been sufficient for Heather, and this has encouraged me to continue to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to hold on to my faith in Christ.

Heather is like an ivy plant— beautiful, tender, resilient—and the tendrils of her love have reached deep into my heart.

Josiah:

I can attest to each of the same virtues and experiences that Stephen so poetically wrote about our sister Heather.

One godly character quality that I must say about Heather is her overflowing generosity. Heather’s generosity is demonstrated by her daily self-sacrifice to others. Heather has sacrificed her own desires to help her family members on numerous occasions, not only in the home but also in business ventures that continue on to this day. I couldn’t ask for a more devoted secretary.

I will never forget the generosity of my sister when she gave a little boy the last of her saved M&M’s when he had already gulped his own treat down many days before. I was that little boy and I (and many others) continue to experience the sweetness of Heather’s generosity on a daily basis.

Here’s a link to Heather’s blog: Joy in the Little Things

You will also find that we have added her blog to our Blogroll on the right.

To the Highways and Hedges: Part Two

—A Continuation of my Previous Story with Contributions from Matthew 22:11-14

Reclining at the table, Becher looked about him, and couldn’t keep back a silly grin; there was so much splendor and joy in this house. Guests filled the large banquet hall, all wearing their finest wedding garments. Becher had no idea where the poor and crippled and blind and lame people were, the people that the messenger had told him had been invited. The one who had opened the door to them had returned to the head of the table. He was indeed the master, for he was the king. Becher was soon told that this was the wedding feast of the king’s son. As Becher looked about, he noticed that some attendants had now entered the hall, bringing more food. They were working their way around, serving the new guests.
Becher leaned back and greeted the man next to him, “Peace, brother!”
The man smiled, but looked a bit nervous. “That’s a fine robe you have on,” the man said.
“Yes,” Becher replied. “And you’ll never believe how I came by it.” Becher’s face was only sincere now. His eyes filled with awe; it was as if he was looking past or through the man next to him. “My family and I live to the east of the city,” began Becher. “When the messenger came, the sun had just slipped behind the hills, so we set out while the first stars were beginning to shine in the east.” Becher paused and followed the other man’s gaze up the table. The servants were a little nearer now, and the smell from the good food made Becher’s belly growl with hunger. “We were about halfway to the city gates,” Becher resumed, “when we passed through an evening shower. It was odd, because I hadn’t expected rain. The rain was warm, but the wind tugged at our cloaks and shawls. Away in the distance I thought I heard some thunder. Then the rain passed, and the new moon broke out of the clouds just above the mountains. And I looked down at my clothes, to see what the rain had done to me, but instead of my old rags, I saw this wonderful garment I now wear. These are wedding clothes, I said to myself.”

Sitting with the women, Becher’s wife leaned over to the woman she had just been talking to. “I don’t know what my husband is talking about,” she said with a perplexed look on her face. Both women looked over at Becher, who was busy telling his tale to the man next to him. “He keeps saying that we passed through a gentle shower on the way to this feast,” Becher’s wife continued. “A gentle shower! It was a thunderstorm. The thunder was so loud that I thought the very rocks were going to split in two! And the lightning came all around us, and the rain came in such torrents and the wind was so strong that it felt like my clothes had been ripped off and my skin was being pulled off my bones. It wasn’t just a little rain shower that we traveled through! But just like him,” her voice softened and a faraway look entered her eyes, “when the rain passed, I found that I was dressed in this marvelous wedding garment I am wearing.” She looked down at her dress and rubbed a fold of the fabric between her fingers.
“What about you?” she said, looking up at the woman next to her. “How did you come to this wedding feast?”
The other woman delicately wiped her fingers on a cloth, and straightened the little cluster of jewels that dangled on her brow. At the door, jewels had been given to all of the guests. The light glimmered and danced all around the room. Thoughtfully the woman finished chewing a morsel of fine food. She had already been at the table when Becher and his wife had arrived.
“The messenger,” the other woman said, “came to our door, and my father answered, for my husband went to sleep with his fathers two years ago, leaving me childless. My husband had no brothers,” she added almost as an afterthought. “My father was greatly interested in the messenger’s invitation, but seeing that we are very poor, he readily confessed that we had not the proper clothes for such a feast. ‘Worry not,’ the messenger said and then proceeded on his way. And then, you’ll never believe it, but as my father turned and shut the door, the tub that we use for bathing fell over in the back room where we keep it. Wary and half afraid, I peeked into the back room, and I saw that the tub now stood upright, filled with steaming water. Seeing it as a sign, my father quickly bathed, and he came back wearing a beautiful robe. That’s him up near the head of the table, the one with the long, white beard. My father was now eager to go to the feast, but my mother was very reluctant. My brother, God help him, scoffed at my father openly, and bustled out of the house to go… oh, but that’s beside the point! My mother stood firm, saying, “I have no need of a bath, and we are not beggars that we must rely on the charity of others, even if it is the king himself!” Caught in this mayhem, I went back and stepped into the tub. It was full— a thing we never do— and very warm. Oh, that water felt good! I scrubbed and soaked and it felt like it must have been hours, but father says I took only a few minutes. When I got out, a fine robe was laying there for me also. It wasn’t there when I got in the tub, for I remember wondering what I would wear once I got out. Still my mother would not come, so we left without her. Poor mother!” The woman paused for a moment, and then said, “Before we left our home, our maid came creeping out of that back room. She had also found wedding garments waiting for her when she stepped out of the tub, so my father couldn’t help but let her come with us.” A smile flashed across the woman’s face. “She is also sitting further up the table. There, she is picking up a fig right now!”

Becher watched intently while the attendant served him piles of wonderful things he had never seen or dreamt of eating. All of a sudden, the servant stopped, and glanced over his shoulder. The music paused, and then started up again a little softer. Becher looked up, and he saw that the king had begun to walk through the hall, greeting his beaming, grateful, and amazed guests. The servant waited to finish serving him, but Becher nibbled at the food already set before him. At last the master came to greet Becher. A profound sense that he had known him for ages swept over Becher. The master threw his arms around Becher, but all he could do was whisper, “Thank you!”
The king turned to greet the man beside Becher, and Becher saw that the king’s face suddenly clouded over. Sparks of fire seemed to leap from his eyes. “Friend,” the king said to him, “how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” Becher had not noticed before then, but it was true, the man next to him had no wedding garment. He wore a dirty shirt, stained and many times mended. Dread flooded the other man’s face, and he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

A High School Graduation

The Graduate

The Graduate


Tomorrow our brother, Calvin, will be graduating from high school. He has worked hard, and the day has finally come.

When our mom and dad got married in 1981, they said that they would never send their children to public school. A few years later, they heard of this radical new idea called home schooling. Far from being radical and novel, however, the movement was actually a reinvention of the fact and reality that throughout the pages of history, parents have been the primary educational agents in the lives of their children.

While I could continue to elaborate on my family’s homeschooling journey, I want to focus on one colossal benefit that homeschooling has wrought in our family life. Because we have been educated at home, our formal schooling has become interwoven with every other aspect of our lives. Thus, schoolwork, housework, free time, play time, our interests, others’ interests, young people, old people— all of these (and more)— have been wrapped into the warp and woof of our lives. This is true, in a way, for every person, but it has been strengthened in our homeschooling experience. Whereas others might easily compartmentalize school, home, work, play, homework— these have become blurred and intermingled for my family.

Most of all, our lives of been knit together. In our formative years, each of us children have not been plopped in different classes divided by age groups, and we have not spent hours every day away from home and parental involvement. Rather, we have spent the vast majority of our formative years with one another, under the nurture and instruction of our parents. Therefore, as I go forth from my parents’ home, I have found this to be a great blessing. I have learned to be a life-time learner. I have learned to integrate diverse people, ideas, and pursuits into a cohesive pattern, letting these people and things sharpen and shape my personality and mission.

Flexibility is another great benefit of homeschooling. Therefore, my brother is graduating in October. Since early on, my parents found it easiest to school year-round, dispersing school-breaks throughout the year rather than having a long summer holiday. Thus, Calvin’s senior year ended at the end of this summer, and tomorrow worked out as a feasible day to hold a public ceremony and celebration.

Sail into the Sunset

Sail into the Sunset

May God bless you, my brother, as you chart your course into new waters! May our Lord Jesus be with you through every stormy gale, may his almighty hand ever rest on the tiller of your soul, and may he guide you at last to your desired haven!

Sail into the Sunset copyright Jonathan Wislon, courtesy of TrekEarth.com

Mrs. Charles on Church History

“If church history be anything different from secular history, it should be the result of Christian truth speaking through the lives of Christian men; the story of the struggle between selfishness and divine love, of the Life which has pierced through and outlived the corruption and decay of States; the echo of the accents of truth and love penetrating, like musical tone, through the market din and battle tumult of the world.”
-Elizabeth Rundle Charles, author of From Dark to Dawn

Dragon’s Domain

What is a group of dragons called?

I posed this riddle a month ago. In truth, the question itself is a bit misleading, “Do dragons even group together?” The answer plays upon that suggestion, for the answer is…

a wilderness of dragons.

I first found this phrase in a book by Tolkien, and I believe that it is actually a quote from Beowulf. As far as I can gather from my research, ‘a wilderness of dragons’ is an infrequent idiom, but it has been used by various authors.