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Magazine, Past Issue

Nov/Dec 2019 issue

WHAT’S INSIDE: Why dystopian fiction is worth reading / That morning I listened to Kanye West / 8 free films for your study group / Santa Claus at Nicea / A multi-level warning about multi-level marketing / Tearing down tyranny one joke at a time / Why haven't we heard from ET? / The pros and cons of online dating / What is conversion therapy and why does it matter? / Whose am I? / The boy that drove the plow / and much more...

Click the cover to view or right-click to download the PDF

CD Review, Parenting

CD REVIEWS: Bach and Beethoven for kids (and adults)

C.S. Lewis once made mention of a man who did not like children. Now some of our dislikes are simply a matter of taste – whether your favorite ice cream is chocolate or vanilla says nothing about your character – but this man recognized that his disregard for little ones was wrong. There is a beauty in little children, a wonder about what God has done in making these tiny new people that everyone really should appreciate. If a man doesn't, it is because of something missing in the man. Lewis was making the point that there is such a thing as good and bad taste – all is not mere opinion. When it comes to classical music I'm like this man. I've never appreciated it, but I recognize this as a deficiency in myself. I should like it. After all, this is music that has stood that test of time. We play Beethoven and Bach's music centuries after it was first written; does anyone think the same will be done for Lady Gaga, Beyonce, or Justin Timberlake? Even those of us who don't like Bach know that in a real tangible way he is better than Beyonce. Since having kids I've hoped that my daughters' musical tastes will be better developed than their dad's. So I was very happy to come across these two CDs: Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Bach Comes to Call. Each is a dramatized account of the composer's life, sprinkled throughout with a liberal dose of their music. In Bach Comes to Call (47 min) Bach appears in modern times, under unexplained circumstances, to a girl who is having a hard time getting her piano homework done. The composer encourages young Elizabeth by telling her the story of his own childhood and musical triumphs. In Beethoven Lives Upstairs (46 min) we are introduced to a little boy who has the misfortune to live below Beethoven's apartment. Beethoven, it turns out, is demanding, short-tempered, and makes the strangest sounds as he paces in his room. The boy airs his complaints to an understanding uncle who teaches the young boy to empathize with this great composer, who hears wonderful music in his head, but who can no longer hear it with his ears. How very frustrating that must be! A couple cautions to note. First, there is a moment in Beethoven Lives Upstairs that might lead to a little tittering. The boy complains that Beethoven was laughed at by little children who, while peering through his window, saw he was composing while wearing no clothes at all! Not a big thing, but it might have been nice to leave that detail out. Second, my wife and I have listened to other CDs and DVDs in this "Classical Kids" series and have yet to find any others we would want to recommend, so don't assume they will all be good. These two, however, are excellent, and a great way to foster a love of classical music in kids, and maybe even their dads.

News

Saturday Selections - March 28, 2020

John MacArthur on the coronavirus crisis (17 minutes) While the coronavirus quarantine led to the canceling of the Ligonier conference, it freed up some time for one of the featured speakers to address how Christians can respond to this crisis and use it as an opportunity to witness to how the Gospel is good news to us, as well as to any who respond to Christ in faith. Tips for talking to your kids about sex I once heard a pastor share what he called "The Law of First Explanations" – that one reason parents have to be the first to talk about sex with their kids (and be the first to talk with them about any other important topics) is because our kids will sift all subsequent information they get on that topic through the filter of the first explanation they get. Parents will often notice the impact of this law when they come in second (or third, or fourth...) because now, whatever we have to say, is going to be tested against the filter of "But my teacher said..." or "But my friends all think..." But it works in our favor too, when we act early. Or, as the article author puts it, "Better a year too early than five minutes too late.” In addition to the article above, a helpful book series – one you can read along with your daughter or son, with different books for different ages – is the "Learning about sex for the Christian family" series put about by Concordia Publishing House. Getting creative... When government restrictions made it impossible to gather inside our church buildings, one congregation came up with a creative way of still meeting together at their usual time. This past Sunday, the Christ Community Church in Blaine, WA met outside, singing and listening to the sermon from inside their cars, assembled in their parking lot. Teaching our kids how to manage their devices Tim Challies titled this article "When Parents Feel Like We Are Mostly Failing Most of the Time" because, when it comes to helping out kids figure out how to use their phones, tablets, and computers to best effect, we know we aren't doing it right. There's plenty of reasons for it, not the least of which is as trailblazers in this area (this is not something our parents could teach us how to teach our kids) we are bound to get it wrong. But that also means there is plenty of ways to improve. So, for the love of our kids, let's be the parents and take that leadership role. And Challies has some wonderful help to offer. How the coronavirus has revealed what's core to Roman Catholicism An Italian pastor explains how the Catholic Church's response to the coronavirus is revealing what's core (and consequently what's deficient) in their doctrine. In related news, the Pope has said that, due to the crisis, Catholics can confess their sins directly to God...at least until they can reach a priest once again. Choice42 with another tool for the pro-life toolbox (1 minute) There is a truth about the unborn that needs to be shared – that they are every bit as valuable as you and I because, just like you and I, they are made in the very Image of God (Gen 1:26-27, 9:6). And there are also lies that need to be knocked down – many, many lies. And as she shows here once again, Laura Klassen, and her crew down at Choice42, are among the very best at knocking down those lies.

Gender roles, Humor

#chairchallenge highlights male/female divide

We live in a curious age in which the self-evident isn’t. So if you have a friend muddled about whether men and women are different, here’s some help. It’s the #chairchallenge already making its way around the Internet, and while women can do it, men can’t. What’s involved? One easy-to-lift chair, one wall, plus at least one male and one female participant, both ideally wearing shoes. Stand facing the wall, toes touching it, and then move back two footsteps (not paces – just the length of your own feet). You should now be standing two full foot lengths away from the wall. Place a chair under you touching the wall (or have someone else do it). Bend forward over the chair at a roughly 90-degree angle and lean the top of your head against the wall. Grab the chair by its seat and raise it to your chest. Then, stand up! That’s all there is to it! We tested this out at our house, and I found while I could almost, sort of, kind of do it in my socks, there was no way once I had shoes on, as that brought me just a smidgeon further away from the wall. Meanwhile, my wife did it with ease. So why the consistent results? A number of possible explanations have been offered: Men generally have larger feet, putting them further from the wall. Women generally have a lower relative center meaning more of their weight is over their feet making it easier to move off the wall. Women are generally more flexible than men, making it easier for them to shift the center of mass. Whatever the reason, a sharp male/female divide is evident and that makes this not only a funny experiment to try, but also an important one. God says we are created male and female (Genesis 2:17) and for different roles (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our rebellious world dares insist the opposite: infinite genders, no notable differences between them. Now we’ve got an experiment that makes the self-evident obvious again.

AA
Religion - Roman Catholic
Tagged: C.S. Lewis, featured, Roman Catholic

C.S. Lewis on the Pope: infallible, fool, or fraud

According to a 2009 Pew Research poll, more than 1 in 5 mainline American Protestants believes in reincarnation. As Christians we know that Christ paid for our sins and that, because we have been made righteous, after death we will go to Heaven. But those who believe in reincarnation think that after death we return to Earth, again and again. The two understandings stand in stark contrast to one another. And yet twenty-four percent of mainline American Protestants hold to both.

And they’re not the only confused ones. On the topic of infant vs. adult baptism, I’ve been confronted by Christians who figure there is some sort of middle ground. They argue that a Baptist who thinks that infant baptism is wrong, and a Presbyterian who thinks it is proper, can both be right.

This modern ability – to sincerely hold to two contradictory beliefs – makes it difficult to discuss anything. Before we can argue that one belief is better than another, it’s necessary to explain that a choice has to be made, that the two ideas we are contrasting can’t both be right.

Lord, liar or lunatic

We work closely with Roman Catholics in the pro-life movement. We all want the very best for the unborn, so there is an ever-present temptation to minimize our differences. We’re sincere, they’re sincere, so isn’t that enough?

While we can and should certainly work with Roman Catholics to save the unborn, we must be clear, for their sakes, about the gulf that divides us. We do our Catholic friends no favors in minimizing our differences. So how can we best show them how significant those differences are?

C.S. Lewis has the answer.

In Lewis’s time, and today as well, there are many who will accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but who at the same time insist he was only a man. In Mere Christianity Lewis quite rightly points out that these are two contradictory thoughts:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Infallible or a stumbling block

Many Catholics take a “cafeteria approach” to what the Pope says, picking out the pieces they agree with and passing by the parts they don’t like. For example, prominent pro-abortion politicians such as the former American Secretary of State John Kerry, and current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, think they can be both Catholic and pro-abortion. In 2003 another Roman Catholic Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, responded to a papal plea against gay marriage, by declaring he would ignore it. Chrétien’s spokeswoman went so far as to say: “As prime minister of Canada, he has the moral responsibility to protect the equality of Canadians.”

Many Protestants too, feel they can take a middle of the road approach in regards to the Pope. While they deny that his official teachings are infallible, and ignore papal directives to pray to Mary and the saints, and don’t believe in the Purgatory he preaches, they still revere him as a great Christian leader.

But if we take our lead from Lewis we see that the Pope doesn’t leave us with that option. He is either what he claims to be – the Church’s infallible guide – or he is a fool or, something worse. There isn’t any room for a middle ground.

If he is Christ’s representative here on earth and his official teachings on moral issues are infallible, then a statement such as Prime Minister Chrétien’s spokeswoman made, that it was his “moral responsibility” to ignore the Pope’s directive, doesn’t make any sense. If the Pope is what he claims, then God appointed him to explain to everyone else just what morality is – papal proclamations would define morality. And if the Pope is what he claims all Christians must follow all of his official teachings.

Alternately if the Pope’s claims are false, then he has misled hundreds of millions. His followers flock to shrines and bow to images not because the Bible tells them to do it but because he tells them to. They ask dead saints for their help because he has taught them to do so. They reverence Mary because he has elevated her. If the Pope is not infallible, then he is a fool or a fraud. If the Pope is not what he claims to be, then Christians within the Roman Catholic Church are believers despite following the Pope, not because they followed him.

This is the only option the Pope has left open to us – to either accept him completely, or reject him utterly as a fool or something worse. Anything else is “patronizing nonsense.”

Photo credit: neneo / Shutterstock.com


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