Monday, March 31, 2008

The Infallibility of Christian Music

Lately, I have been bothered while listening to Christian radio. To me, some songs sound flippant as they reference Jesus or God - not necessarily the lyrics on their own, but the way that they're sung. I have been over and over this in my head, trying to come to conclusions about whether music in itself can be "sinful" or "wrong", and also trying to be careful not to judge the Christian artists who are singing these songs. I don't know their hearts, I don't know whether they are entering into the spirit of worship or not, and I don't want to make that judgement. However, I also think that Christian music, as long as the lyrics aren't heretical, has been given license to become anything under the sun in the name of God-given creativity. Can we, as sinful beings, really be infallible in this area? Is it possible that there is no "wrong" music? Am I imagining this flippancy - and even sometimes what sounds like a provocative/sensual sound imitating current pop trends - or is this one of those areas that is left up to our own personal convictions? I tend to like things cut-and-dried - this is wrong, this is right. But maybe this issue cannot be one or the other. Any opinions?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What to read?

I'm looking for some new reading material. It's been awhile since I've encountered a really great book, not a "that was a nice story", but a "that was really powerful". Are there any authors or titles that you would recommend? Fiction or non-fiction.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A run-in with the BOSS

Desperate to go somewhere and do something fun out of the ordinary, I took the boys to Eden Prairie Center to play around in their little playplace for young kids. We've visited occasionally since Sam was just learning to walk and I had to follow him around everywhere to make sure he didn't get trampled. Now, I can't keep up with Sam or Caleb as they leap over the tops of the equipment. I'm constantly reminding them to watch out for the littler ones (like Noah, who they kindly "helped" down the slide a few times). Well, today, they had a run-in with a mouthy little boy. I remember seeing them talk at a distance, but the boys didn't tell me what it was about until we were on our way home.
"Mom, there was a really mean kid there!" Sam says. "He said words like, 'I own this place! I'm serious!' and he said 'I'm the boss around here."
Their first bully!
So Caleb (3) says to me, "Mama, I told him 'I don't believe in you! I believe in GOD!"
Oh boy. This from my sweet Caleb. I can hear the teachers now....
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Preschool or Home?

We have chosen to pass up preschool for our 2 children old enough to go. This is an option for us because I am a stay-at-home mom. I do preschool work with them at home as they become old enough (this varies with temperament of the child). There are several reasons for this, the primary one being, I want to spend every minute that I can enjoying my children. Okay, maybe a better and more truthful way to state that would be that I realize that I need to be enjoying my children. Sometimes I have to force myself to slow down, let things go, and laugh at some things instead of being so quick to punish.

I do not agree with the argument that children at at this age need socialization and therefore should go to preschool. What better place is there for a young child than being saturated in home life, allowing for close relationships to develop between siblings and parents as well. Generally, by the time a child reaches preschool age, a parent is really starting to see a genuine personality emerge - and only to send them off to preschool at this point is missing the opportunity to shape and guide at a very critical point. Besides, in our society, we typically do not have a problem with children being home too much - it's the total opposite. They will learn to socialize quickly enough in Kindergarten. In the case of an only child, there are always play groups that could happen and other circumstances that will naturally expose children to what it's like to play with others.

It is such a joy to teach these little bits of beginning knowledge, and I am encouraged to sing more, play more, and be creative in the midst of my everyday parenting duties, and I can saturate them in the Word of God without having to worry about what is being put into such young minds, even at a Christian preschool.

We also save money.

And hey, we're all qualified, right? A B C D....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Noah Coloring

Noah loves to color! We can tell which ones
are his favorite colors by the ones stuck to his teeth later.
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Our family on Easter

Silly with Daddy

Getting ready to leave for church

Noah James

The view out our patio window on Good Friday
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A Wise Choice

Today at breakfast, Sam, my 5-year-old, was talking to his 3-year-old brother Caleb about what they were going to do that day. Caleb suggested playing pirates - they've done little else for the past 2 months, ever since being introduced to Peter Pan. However, today, Sam responded with "I don't want to be a pirate. I want to be a follower of Jesus!"
More juice, Sam? How about a donut?

Jellybean Day

We've decided to do away with candy at Easter. We had already not been into the Easter bunny scene, that not having anything to do with the resurrection and wanting every opportunity to reinforce the resurrection with our kids. But this year it became apparent that even a little bit of candy becomes the focus for them and takes their minds off of Jesus. So our 5-year-old came up with "Mom, let's not have candy next year. It doesn't have anything to do with Jesus dying on the cross." Well, okay! Encouraged by my preschooler, I decided that from here on out, we will not be doing any candy on Easter. However, that doesn't mean that jellybeans, peeps, and other fun candy generally associated with Easter time is inherently evil. So we're having a once-a-year Jellybean Day - tentatively planned to come on April 1st. We'll hide the eggs with the candy if the kids want that, or we've also just talked about hiding jellybeans in fun, random places to be found throughout the day. And there you have it - Resurrection Sunday stands out as a celebration of Jesus, and the kids can still have the fun of the candy - on a different day.
Yes, I know that Christians have tried to make even jellybeans proclaim the gospel by coming up with the Jellybean Prayer where every color is symbolic of something pertaining to the passion. To me, this is creative, but still justification - believe me, my 5 and 3-year-old came home from church with some jellybeans and a little bookmark with the Jellybean Prayer and the jellybeans got consumed while the bookmark still sits in a pile somewhere, forgotten amidst candy.

Ideas to CELEBRATE the RESURRECTION with your kids:
1) We do the Resurrection Eggs - each egg has a small item reminding kids of a part of the Easter story. There are 12 eggs, and as we go through Passion Week, we typically open 2 each night after dinner, discuss, and then put the items back in the eggs. One egg is saved for Resurrection Day - and that egg is empty. Later in the day, we hide these eggs around the house, the kids find them, take out the items and put them in order of occurrence, we talk about it once again, and then the eggs are packed away again.
2) Play Easter music all day long!! I realized a few years back how there (to my knowledge and after extensive searching) are no "Easter" cd's, so I made my own that is a compilation of songs off of various cd's. Even then, out of 350+ cd's that I searched through, I found maybe 14 songs directly relating to the resurrection.
3) Have your kids draw pictures depicting scenes from Passion Week, and decorate with them - get rid of the bunnies!
4) Celebrate with other believers at church (this should have been number 1 I guess).
5) At the special meal of the day, invite each person to put into their own words something they feel thankful for about Jesus.
6) Teach your kids the Easter greeting "He is risen!!" This is more appropriate than the trite "Happy Easter!" that believers are reducing the resurrection to more and more. Nothing says bunny like "Happy Easter!" Nothing says Jesus like "He is risen!"

**more to come - we're still working on this ourselves, but we want to incorporate more and more God-glorifying activities each year. Let me know if you have any ideas.