Saturday, June 28, 2008

Alarming Beliefs of Barack Obama

"The Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) at the national level, and various bills like it in state legislatures, was introduced in response to reports that some victims of botched abortion, who were born alive, were being left to die. Jill Stanek was a nurse who testified about this practice... The BAIPA guaranteed infants born under such circumstances the same right to treatment as other prematurely born children, whether or not the parents wanted the child to be treated.

"The bill passed the Senate unanimously, with even the most pro-abortion senators agreeing that once a child was born, the mother’s so-called ‘right to choose’ ended. In 2002, BAIPA was signed into law at the national level. However, in the Illinois senate, a state version of the law failed to pass repeatedly, thanks in large part to then-State Senator Barack Obama (1961). The Illinois BAIPA only passed after Obama left the State Senate.

"Stanek reports that when she testified before a committee of which Obama was a member:
‘Obama articulately worried that legislation protecting live aborted babies might infringe on women's rights or abortionists' rights. Obama's clinical discourse, his lack of mercy, shocked me. I was naive back then. Obama voted against the measure, twice. It ultimately failed. In 2003, as chairman of the next Senate committee to which BAIPA was sent, Obama stopped it from even getting a hearing...’

"At the national level, Obama has proved to be one of the most pro-abortion senators, going so far as to vote against a law that would require an abortionist performing an abortion on a minor transported across state lines to notify at least one parent. He opposed the US Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion...

"[Obama's] position on infanticide, devaluing certain human life as unworthy of life, has its roots in evolutionary utilitarian thought and defining personhood separately from humanity. But it should be no surprise—Obama is an ardent evolutionist, saying, 'Evolution is more grounded in my experience than angels'.

"Obama claims to be a Christian while embracing positions that are inherently antithetical to any Christian ethic. It is [worse than inexcusable] to be pro-infanticide while claiming to worship the God in whose image the babies are made."

~Creation on the Web (Read the full article here. Caution: may not be appropriate for young readers.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fantasy of Adolescence

This topic came up at our house yesterday, and it was a good discussion, once certain members of the family got done with making up nonsensical, alternate definitions for the word "adolescent." The most memorable of these was, "An archaic word for a duck with very large feet."

Anyway, this wasn't a new thought for us. In fact, many years ago, our father delighted in telling people that he was never going to have teenagers. He was referring to the negative connotations of the word. He was not at all convinced that there had to be a time in every child's life when he or she would go through rebellion and turmoil and become a general annoyance.

There certainly is a transition that takes place on the journey from childhood to adulthood, but the idea of a distinct and turbulent phase of life (adolescence) is a myth, and not at all Biblical.

Our culture expects teens to be sullen and disinterested in anyone but their peers, to rebel against authority, to be unable to communicate with their parents, to be confused about truth, to get into trouble, to be demanding, and on it goes.

Adults in turn have very low expectations, which just encourages the problem. It results in a tragic waste of the teens' abilities and energy. Parents must keep in mind that they are training future adults. As they gradually allow their children the privileges and advantages of adulthood, they must also give them the accompanying responsibility.

For their part, teens must never use their age as an excuse for sin.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Joys of Modern Office Supplies

When the morning's project is this:

I'm thankful for this:

Katie of the Non-Gluey Tongue.

Eloquence By John

Upon finding his life taking a turn characterized by sudden excitement, significant change, and a plunge into the somewhat unknown, John had this to say:

"The past few days have been like putting suspenders on during a game of badminton!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June Newsletter

In lieu of our usual family newsletter, we are sending Anna’s graduation speech this month. See Katie’s brief report on Anna's graduation, including a family picture and a short clip of the music, here.

“As I was thinking about what I would say today, I was contemplating what we are here to celebrate. We are not celebrating the completion of learning, since learning should be a life-long process, nor are we celebrating the attainment of independence from family and authority, because I believe that I never should be independent in that way. Instead, this is a milestone I have reached as I have attained certain goals. It is a chance to look back with gratitude for all that God has done in my life thus far, and to look forward with anticipation to what He will do in the future.

“As I look back over my first eighteen years, I am grateful for the bountiful blessings which God has seen fit to give me.

“First and foremost, He has chosen me to be his child. In spite of my complete, utter unworthiness, He saw fit to choose me and save me, and now is continually molding me into the woman He wants me to be. I know that this work is far from complete, but I am confident in His promise to justify and glorify all those whom He has called and predestined “to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

“I am also grateful for all the opportunities for learning that I’ve had over the years. I’ve been able to learn and study in many different areas, and experience many different things. I have been able to share and discuss the things I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had with those around me, helping me to develop discernment, understanding, and the ability to think carefully. Through the various resources and teaching I have been exposed to, I have been able to become well-grounded in faith and doctrine early in my life. Although learning will continue all of my life, the foundation is already built.

“One of the most significant factors in my life has been the various people God has placed in my life. There are countless people who have influenced me in one way or another, including many of you in this room today. Whether it has been by your example, or by an encouraging word, or simply by your friendship, you have invested in and impacted me, and I thank you for that.

“The relationships I have with my family are certainly the most significant ones God has given me. My brothers and sisters have always been my best friends. I love living in a large family, and I’m certain that I would not have learned nearly as many lessons in patience, humility, and selflessness if I were an only child. I’m thankful for all your support, and I know I can always count on you all to be there for me, to help me grow mentally and spiritually, and to encourage me in all my endeavors.

“I would not be who I am today if it were not for my parents. As regards education, their decision to homeschool has had tremendous ramifications in my life. It has allowed me to develop close relationships with my family, to learn and grow in a real-life environment, and to gain practical experience alongside academic knowledge. It has also protected me from negative influences and harmful ideas that I surely would have suffered from otherwise. I am grateful for all the sacrifices and investments my parents have made in order to homeschool, and I am committed to homeschooling any children God may bless me with in the future.

“As important as knowledge and skills are, they are as nothing when compared to knowing Christ and His ways, being well-grounded in Scripture, and growing in Christ-likeness. My parents have faithfully discipled me and taught me what it means to follow Christ. They hold me accountable to be in His Word, and point out my failings, even when I am not very teachable. They have instilled in me the knowledge that we cannot let the culture or those around us dictate the course of our lives, but that God and His Word must be our only standard for living. They teach by example as much as by anything else, and I will always be grateful for the legacy of parents who have demonstrated what a Christ-honoring couple looks like.

“Knowing that my parents will always give me their guidance, encouragement, counsel, and support gives me great confidence as I look toward the future.

“Whenever someone is graduating from high school, everyone wants to know what he is planning to do next, what his goals in life are, or what he’s going to “do with his life.”

“Whatever course of action a person chooses, it ought to be in line with his overall life purpose. Every action, goal, or plan must be in pursuit of this one, all-encompassing reason for living. If someone doesn’t know what his ultimate goal in life is, he will be aimless and without direction, doing whatever he feels like at the moment, or what those around him tell him he should be doing.

“My great purpose in life is to bring God honor and glory in everything I do. While I often fall short in my attempts to glorify God, this is my highest aim and goal. It is for this that I was made, and I desire that all other pursuits be subservient to this magnificent calling. How does this actually play out in my life? It means that I must be committed to obeying God’s word and doing whatever He calls me to do. I cannot obey God’s word if I do not know what it says, so I desire to continually gain a deeper knowledge of Scripture throughout all of my life.

“Our world today places great emphasis on “being independent,” or “discovering your true self,” but nowhere do we find these goals encouraged or sanctioned in Scripture. In fact, these desires are usually the result of greed, pride, or selfishness, all of which are clearly sinful. God has designed us to function as part of a community, to be dependent on and accountable to one another. Since I believe that God has also designed the family to primarily meet these needs for community and accountability, and because I believe that I am to be under the authority of my parents, I am committed to living with my family until such a time as I marry, in which case I will leave this family and my parents’ authority for another family and my husband’s authority.

“My hope and desire is to someday be a wife and mother, but that is in God’s hands. In the meantime, living at home gives me an excellent opportunity to learn practical skills, and, even more importantly, to grow in character. This is far better preparation for marriage than anything else possibly could be. Even if I never marry, I can think of nothing more satisfying than to serve my family, to aid my family as we serve and minister together, to have the freedom to pursue the passions and interests God has given me, and to experience all the joy and accountability and diversity and togetherness of living with my family.

“I don’t feel a need to plan out my whole life. I have absolute confidence in the sovereignty of God, and I believe that He will guide and direct me. He will open the right doors at the right times. Even if I did try to plan everything out, my life wouldn’t go the way I planned. I am content to let life come as God gives it, and, while I do have goals and ideas and projects, I haven’t specifically mapped out the next five to ten years, nor do I plan to do so.

“My plans are not glamorous by our culture’s standards; many people would scoff and say I don’t have any ambition or that I will never realize my full potential. My answer is that to be a godly woman is, alone, an ambition which merits lifelong pursuit. The role of a wife and mother may not seem very important to some, but it is crucial for healthy families, which in turn are crucial to healthy churches, communities, and nations. And, anyone committed to following God’s plan for his life cannot fail to realize his true potential. I am eager to see what He has in store for me.

“Thank you all for coming today, and for your support and encouragement.”

Papa and His Arrows

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anna's Bend in the Road

Yesterday, we had the joy of celebrating Anna's graduation from her high school studies. We were honored by the attendance of many friends, and it was a special time of praying for Anna and praising the Lord for what he has done in her life.

Our mother read a touching letter she had written, and our father shared some thoughts from Deuteronomy 8:11-20. He reminded us all, and Anna in particular, that it is only by God's grace that we accomplish anything. It is God alone who blesses us with anything good we have and is faithful to bring us through times of trial and testing. He also pointed out Anna's excellence in academic and practical skills, while mentioning that her driving still needs some work!

Anna's final requirement for graduating was giving a speech, and she did a superb job, expressing thanks to God and to the people in her life, and giving an overview of the desires and vision God has given her for her future. We'll be publishing her speech on the blog, so I won't go into all the details now.

We wrapped up the time with some bluegrass music, which was great fun. We sometimes go too long without playing together, so it's good for us to have an occasion like this to prepare for.


After graduating as both "valedictorian, and at the bottom of her class" (quote from our father), Anna is now free to "go do something else with her time"! (quote from Pastor Voddie)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Back From Another Conference

I really don't go on that many business trips, but these events seem to be coming in bunches! This one took me to Austin.

Thanks....but I don't drink wine!!

Sunbeams in the city.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Christmas Music Revisited

Here are the results of the Christmas-Music-in-the-Summertime survey:

20% "Absolutely not! That's weird!"
40% "No, I save it for December so it's special."
40% "Sometimes, but don't tell anyone." (although some of those really don't care if anyone knows)

Our family goes through the hymnal singing songs when we have family devotions, and it just so happens that we have just now come to the Advent and Christmas songs. What kind of timing is that?! I must confess that I did put up a fuss, but it was completely ineffective.

At least it's hymns about Christ's coming and not Jingle Bells or something.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Global Warming Quote

I know, I know...too many quotes on this blog lately, but here's another one that was too good to pass up.

"If tomorrow the theory of man-made global warming were proved to be a false alarm, one might reasonably expect a collective sigh of relief from everyone. But instead there would be cries of anguish from vested interests. About the only thing that might cause global warming hysteria to end will be a prolonged period of cooling... or at least, very little warming. We have now had at least six years without warming, and no one really knows what the future will bring. And if warming does indeed end, I predict that there will be no announcement from the scientific community that they were wrong. There will simply be silence."

-Roy Spencer, University of Alabama climate scientist

The Value of Being Able to Teach Yourself

Benjamin Franklin:
  • Almanac publisher
  • Foreign ambassador
  • One of the most famous Americans in the world
  • Inventor
  • Postmaster General
  • Newspaper owner/publisher
  • Statesman who almost singlehandedly held together the Continental Congress
  • Signer of four vital early American documents
  • Contributor to the Declaration of Independence
  • Speaker of four languages
  • Writer who is still frequently quoted
  • President of Pennsylvania
  • Founder of a police force, a hospital, a fire-fighting force, a scientific society, and a university
  • World traveler
  • Scientist
  • Musician
All this with only two years of school!

So: read a lot, think big, and be sure your definition of education is not too narrow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Judging by the Outward Appearance

I ran across this statistic the other day: "In the world of online dating, a five-foot-eight-inch man has to make $146,000 more a year than a six-foot-tall man to get the same number of dates."

Aside from the problems with online dating, I have two observations: 1)Many women are looking for mere dates rather than potential spouses, and 2)their important criteria are wealth and appearance.

These are just symptoms of many larger problems, but I think it's safe to say that built on such shaky foundations, it's no wonder so many American families are in disarray.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't Let the Sword of Truth Grow Dull

This article, published by Creation Ministries International, makes some excellent points about the importance of churches declaring the truth. Here are a few quotes:

"Many aren’t sure what the church is supposed to represent any more."

"If we are trying to evangelize to the lost but don’t really believe what we are supposed to believe, then how can we expect others to believe it?"

"Muslims expect Christians to believe that Jesus is the only way to God."

"Let’s avoid that politically correct notion that somehow telling someone the truth is wrong. Surely the one thing everyone wants to know is the truth!"

Click here to read the whole article.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book Problem Solved

For those of you who were worried about this crisis, which has gotten worse not better, you will be happy to know that today brought about a solution, at least a temporary one. A quick jaunt around the house and garage revealed a just-the-right-size board and two same-sized boxes.

The boxes soon proved to be inadequately sturdy for the weight of the board and the books... another expedition to the garage brought forth two sticks, also just the right size.

Special thanks go to my siblings for providing almost-helpful assistance with the brainstorming, to my parents and John for having such handy odds and ends about, and to Seth for taking pictures. Oh, and Becca has graciously offered to draw wood grain on the boxes...for a small fee. (No, I am not kidding. I'm surrounded by entrepreneurs.)

The Blessings of Sheephood

"...I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey... And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I , the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.

I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord GOD. and you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD."

~Ezekial 34:22-31

What a blessing to be part of the flock of our divine Shepherd, and to experience His loving care and provision!

A Thought

There should be no taxation for those who can't vote, and there should be no voting rights for those who pay no taxes. The reasoning behind this is that no one should have to pay for a government that he has no say in, and those who do not support the government should not be able to voice their opinions as to what it does. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Christmas Music Survey

The Three Steps of light-hearted Pedersen family disagreements:
  1. Engage in a jovial, yet heated discussion abounding with passionate opinions and everyone talking at once.
  2. Agree to disagree.
  3. Make a blog survey out of it.

Dose of Wisdom

"Blessed is the servant who esteems himself no more highly when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, foolish, and to be despised; since what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more."

-Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not Sure I Like This Verse

1 Corinthians 16: 8-9 "But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."

It seems that the presence of adversaries would not be compatible with "a wide door for effective work." It's easy to think that a good opportunity means there will be smooth sailing and no problems. In God's kingdom, though, trouble and pain don't necessarily indicate a closed door.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Addicted to Entertainment

We went to the science museum last weekend and walked through an exhibit of geodes and fossils while we were there. The displays were interesting, but what I really noticed was the atmosphere.

Loud music?
Purple lights?
Disco balls?

In a museum??

Wait a minute! What happened to museums being quiet, subdued places with signs to read? This was supposed to be an educational time, and I felt as if I’d arrived at a roller-skating rink or something! Apparently museums are drifting away from education and replacing it with flashy technology and entertainment.

Yes, that must be it. Educational enrichment is no longer enough of a reason to get people in the door. Museums must also be entertaining. People no longer know how to deal with too much quiet. We are in a nearly constant state of sensory overload, and it takes a lot to impress us. We get bored immediately, and are always looking for something bigger, better, and flashier than what we’ve already seen. Most of us have forgotten how to enjoy simple pleasures, and we tend to think of learning as some sort of punishment.

No, education doesn't need to be dry and dull, but do we really need to be entertained ALL the time?

The Pedersens Watch a Foucault Pendulum

If you haven't heard of this, go here and fill the gap in your education.

The Pedersens Go to a 3-D IMAX Film

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Bit of Tender Loving Care

This sunflower fell over and had to be rescued several times while it was growing. Now look at it!

Hmmmm, I think people are a little like this sometimes. You know, we find ourselves fallen in a pathetic heap, and someone comes along, stands us back up, makes sure we're secure, gives us a little nourishment, and then waits expectantly for us to do something beautiful.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Trying to Take a Picture of the Birthday Boy

Too sad.

Too happy.

Oh, nevermind.

From the Archives

(I wrote this last year when our family had an opportunity to share at Houston's American Chinese Fellowship about the blessings of large families.)

For me, one of the blessings of being in a large family is that we always have a variety of ages in our home. The younger children are able to learn from the example of the older ones. They always have someone to take care of them, and they learn to interact with all ages. In a similar way, the older children also get practice interacting with various ages. I love having young children around, because it helps me not get too caught up in the adult world. They have a different perspective on life, which is refreshing. I am also constantly reminded to be careful about what I do and say because the younger kids are always watching me. We all keep each other accountable.

The dinner table is a great place for our family to connect with each other. We all come together and share about our day. The younger family members might tell about losing a tooth or learning a new card trick. The older ones might share about a problem at work or something they’ve been reading. There is a lot of variety in the experiences that we all have. Sharing about them allows us to learn from each other, give each other advice, and encourage each other. We often have lively discussions, and it’s great to have the perspectives of all different ages.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Speech Synopses

Several young people from our church have been working on speeches this school year, and we had the opportunity to hear the results of their work last night. It was encouraging to see that they are not only thinking about matters of history, culture, theology, family, and more, but they are also learning to clearly communicate and defend what they believe about those matters.

Amanda, age 16, spoke on trusting God. She discussed various things that people tend to trust in-- stuff, insurance, government, etc.-- and explained how these things will all fail us. God, as the sovereign, omnipotent creator, is fully worthy of our trust, so we must follow Him, casting aside any fear of man.

Robbie, 17, spoke on how the Bible is not just authoritative on religious matters, but also historical matters. He cited examples of times when further research has shown that so-called historical errors in the Bible were true after all. We must accept that the Bible is the inspired Word of God regardless of research, but learning how to refute claims of historical inaccuracy in the Bible can be a powerful evangelistic tool. If we can help someone see that the Bible can be trusted historically, he is more likely to recognize its authority in religious matters.

Monica, 23, spoke on repentance. She pointed out that even if you say you're sorry, cry and get emotional, or even make resolutions against sin, you're not necessarily experiencing true repentance. She then shared six characteristics of true repentance: sight of sin, sorrow for sin, confession of sin, shame for sin, hatred of sin, and turning from sin.

Brianne, 16, spoke on courtship. She covered three reasons why courtship is wiser than dating: it allows one to get to know a potential mate in real life situations; it involves parents, who are wiser, more mature, and have their child's best interest in view; and it provides accountability for the couple, protecting their physical and emotional purity. She also addressed the objections of courtship being too "old-fashioned," parents being too controlling, and couples not having adequate time to really get to know each other.

Anna, 17, (not me) spoke on what sort of higher education a visionary daughter, who wants to fulfill the Biblical role of a godly woman, ought to pursue. She discussed academic learning (within the context of the home), practical skills, and growing in one's walk with the Lord. She made the point that our goal should be the life-long development of character, not a paper diploma.

Cameron, 14, spoke on the "Wild Theory of Evolution." His main focus was on the fossil record. He covered specific examples of when scientists thought they had "proved" evolution, but the evidence really didn't support their claims.

Jenna, 14, spoke on why she has rejected careerism and instead chosen to embrace home keeping. She shared a couple of quotes from radical feminists, indicating that their goal was to keep women out of the home as much as possible, in order to destroy the family. She then went on to explain the significance of the home for the purpose of industry, evangelism, education, hospitality, and more. She discussed the importance of a woman as the helper of her husband, supporting and expanding his vision, making it possible for him to accomplish far more than he could do alone, and as the mother of her children, raising them up to be godly men and women. The role of a home keeper is a powerful privilege and responsibility.

Emily, 14, spoke on the sanctity of marriage. She pointed out how our culture's acceptance of divorce is leading us down a slippery slope. Now homosexual marriage is gaining acceptance, and, in other countries, even bestiality is becoming accepted.

Jordan, 16, spoke on how college is not the best choice for a woman committed to fulfilling her role in the home and to not going out into the work force. She discussed the importance of a woman's Biblical role, and pointed out the danger of nurturing an independent mindset.

Josh, 19, spoke on the current crisis in the church, with 70-88% of Christian young people leaving the faith. He discussed how this crisis has been brought on in part by the public school system being the primary educator of today's Christian youth, and in part by the church being the primary discipler of Christian youth, rather than parents taking their God-given responsibility to be both the educators and disciplers of their children. He issued a stirring challenge for parents to return to these crucial duties, on which depend the faithfulness of generations to come.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A New Dishwasher

There it is, in all its sleek, shiny newness.
Of course, the old one must come out first.
All ready.
In it goes!
Pulling off the plastic. (We decided we'd rather not keep the blue.)
Putting it right to use!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Proverb on Isolation

In light of the article Katie recently linked to, I particularly noticed this Proverb when I came across it recently:

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
~Proverbs 18:1

So, someone who is choosing to live in isolation is selfish and is ignoring sound judgment.

As a side note, I think that someone can be living by himself but be very well connected and accountable, and therefore not be isolated. Conversely, someone may happen to dwell under the same roof as other people, but be living a completely independent life.