Articles, Book Reviews, Children’s picture books, Recent Articles, RP App
Virginia Lee Burton: Queen of nostalgia
A mom reading Katy and the Big Snow to her daughters might remember her own parents reading the same book to her. Since they first came out in the 1940s, Virginia Lee Burton's books have been enjoyed by three generations. These are classics!
But there's more to the nostalgia, because even when they were brand new, they likely had a timeless feel because, rather than being about Burton's present, they were a look back, celebrating a not-so-distant past that seemed calmer, simpler, better.
The idyllic yesteryear that Burton presents is just a bit before her own childhood, in the transition period between the late 19th and early 20th century. It's a curious time to pick as the wistful pinnacle of civilization. It's an age in which mechanization is already in place, so why is Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel worth celebrating, but the diesel shovels that followed are somehow threatening? But that is the pinnacle she picks, not only in Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, but Maybelle the Cable Car, and then again in The Little House.
While these stories are all quiet laments at the technological advances that were revolutionizing the Western way life, they are also a hubbub of activity, with all sorts of machines at work, and so much to see on every page. This busyness is then contrasted by the happy, calm conclusion to each story.
While it's fun to take a peek at the past from someone who really appreciates the age she's depicting, parents might remind their children of what the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes 7:10: "Say not 'Why were the former days better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask this." To romanticize the past can sometimes be to overlook the many blessings God is showering on us right now.
Her four most popular are available separately and also in a compendium together. They are wonderful!
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
1939 / 48 pages
Mike Mulligan and his beautiful red steam shovel, Mary Anne, do a lot of digging in this story: cutting canals, lowering hills, straightening curves. But as technology advances, and new electric, diesel, and gasoline shovels come along, no one wants to hire a steam shovel. But instead of sending Mary Anne to the junkyard, Mike takes her to a small town looking to dig the cellar for their new town hall. He tells them that Mary Anne can do the job in a day, or they won't have to pay him. The real fun here is not in finding out whether she gets the job done in time, but in the sweet way the story ends, with Mary Anne and Mike finding new jobs to keep them both busy.
The Little House
1942 / 44 pages
The story starts with a solid little house in the country that can just see the lights of the city on the horizon at night. But as the decades pass, the city approaches and then engulfs the little house, making her sad. But when the first owner's great-great-granddaughter comes across, she decides to move the solid little house to a new spot, out in the country once more.
Katy and the Big Snow
1943 / 40 pages
A big red crawler tractor named Katy can push dirt in the summer, but when winter comes, she's the only one strong enough to push through all the snow. When a "big snow" hits, and all the plow trucks get stuck, and the snow piles up to three feet, five feet, and even more, then it's time for Katy to save the day. She clears roads for ambulances, fire trucks, the police, the mailman, the phone and electric company, and then even clears the runway for a plane that otherwise would have crashed. Katy saved the day!
MayBelle the Cable Car
1952 / 52 pages
Maybelle is a cable car who spends her days going up and down San Fransisco's steepest roads, and she's been doing so for decades. But now the city wants to do away with all the cable cars and replace them with big new buses. Will Maybelle be out of a job? No, because a campaign by citizens to keep the money-losing cable cars wins the day. Yay? What this presumes is that, so long as the majority says so, it's okay to use tax dollars for non-necessities of all sorts, including wistful ones. Parents might have to talk their children through this one, to ensure little ones don't walk away with that lesson.
Take it or leave it
Fun to read once or twice, these don't need to make the cut for personal or school library shelves.
Calico, the Wonder Horse
1941 / 67 pages
A peaceful Western county is disrupted by a gang of bad guys. The wonder horse Calico disguises herself with a black mud bath so that Stewy Stinker, leader of the gang, will mistake her for his horse. When he does, she gives him a wild ride to jail. He escapes and makes plans to hold up the stagecoach only to discover that it is full of presents for the town's children for Christmas Eve. Stinky starts crying because "I didn't know I was that mean… holding up Santa on Christmas Eve. I'm never going to be bad anymore." So the bad guys all decide to be good. This is a fun exciting story, but this people-are-only-bad-because-they-are-misunderstood turn at the end obscures that there is real evil in the world, fully determined to be wicked, and they must be fought and not coddled.
1937 / 48 pages
A hard-working train engine, Choo Choo takes a bratty turn and decides she wants to go out on her own, so she runs away. After a misadventure, causing all sorts of mishaps as she flies through crossings and even leaps over an open train drawbridge, Choo Choo eventually runs out of steam and is left all on her own at the end of an abandoned line. Fortunately, her conductor, engineer, and fireman go after her, find her, and bring her home, much to Choo Choo's relief – she's learned her lesson and pledges never to run away again.
The second book below made this category on, admittedly, a bit of nitpick, but the first earned its spot, being nothing but propoganda.
Life Story - At 80 pages, this is Burton's biggest book by far, and all of it a godless evolutionary account of how life on earth originated. We move through millions of years of history until, in the concluding pages set in Burton's time, there is on display, her wistful longing for a simple, country life.
The Emperor's New Clothes - Burton illustrated this Hans Christian Anderson classic. As much as I like the story, what I'm looking for in an illustrated version for children is for the Emperor's nakedness to be strategically and artfully obscured. Burton almost pulls it off, but on the last page we have a naked butt, and yes, it is a cartoonish naked butt. However, she's already shown in previous pages that this nudity is unneeded. For this tittering age group, one naked butt is one too many.
If one could overdose on Virigina Lee Burton that might lead a child to romanticize the past, and maybe even take an anti-progress, almost Luddite turn. But Burton didn't write all that much, so this isn't much of a concern.
Instead we can just enjoy her timeless books for the lovely look back that they are. We can dig up our own old copy, and point out all the action going on, the favorite bits that we recall from so many years ago "when your grandpappy used to read this to me." Burton at her best offers up stories that will endure at least long enough for you to read them to your grandchildren too.
News, RP App
Saturday Selections - July 30, 2022
State or parents: whose child is it? (2 min) The case made for home school here is one Christians – even those of us with our own Christian schools...
Parenting, Recent Articles, RP App
Chores are good for our kids, and the earlier the better
Something parents have long suspected but few children have believed has been verified by research: chores are good for kids. The research that backs this up isn’t new. According to a Wall Street Journal article by Jennifer Breheny Wallace, these findings came in 2002 when Dr. Marty Rossmann of the University of Minnesota analyzed data to discover that: "young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started them as teens." Yet, as Wallace notes, a survey of US adults in 2014 found that while 82% grew up doing regular chores, “only 28% said that they require their own children to do them.” Why? It seems like parents are making piano lessons, and homework, and dance recitals and hockey practices the priority, and letting their children slide when it comes to pulling their weight at home. We think these others things are important, but they don’t compare to the joy of having a helpful daughter or son who becomes a responsible young lady or man. One other reason we tend to put off training our children to do chores is because the payoff for parents is very long term. A three-year-old who helps empty the dishwasher is going to cause much more work than she saves (especially when she drops a dish every now and again). But then we need to remember that the point of getting them to do the dishwasher is not to help us, but to help them become good helpers....
Documentary, Movie Reviews, Recent Articles, RP App
Documentary / Nature 80 min / 1996 Rating: 9/10 Have you ever wondered what it’s like for bugs when it rains, getting hit by water droplets bigger than their bodies? If so, then this is the film for you. Winner of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival technical grand prize for its cinematic brilliance, this documentary delves into the world hidden beneath our feet. The bugs are the stars, so there is practically no narration – perhaps a hundred words over the whole film. We see trains of caterpillars strung out, nose to butt by the dozens, a spider capturing air bubbles to drag down to his underwater lair, the emergence of winged ants as they jostle down the tunnel towards the opening en masse, and a millipede in exquisite detail as it walks over undulating tiny, tiny hills. Parents who watch this with their children may have to do a bit of explaining about the birds and the bees (well, just the bees in this case) as a few scenes touch on sex. But as there is no narration parents who want to evade the topic for a bit can tell their kids that, “those two snails are just kissing.” ...
News, Recent Articles, RP App
Saturday Selections - July 23, 2022
Wikipedia's bias (8 min) One of Wikipedia's founders now describes it as propaganda for the leftwing. The passive husband A passive husband can come off as likable enough, because he isn't actively working at anything bad. He may even be quite the hard worker outside the home. He's just checking out when he gets home A sentence to bring down abortion (10-min read) We are amazed by stories of individuals who risked their lives to do what is right. But more remarkable still is that a whole village made the same decision to, en masse, to save Jews? What motivated them? How can they inspire us? Free markets bring shalom The least economically free countries have an infant mortality rates almost seven times that of the most free. While Christians know that material prosperity isn't an end in itself, we also know longer life, and happy babies are blessings worth sharing, and we can do so by encouraging economic freedom. New York Times proposing better rules for sex? As a recent NYT article highlighted, some in the world "are realizing how sex without restrictions leads to personal and social chaos. ....Our job is to take it one step deeper, and to point with our words and our lives to a better way." The amazing flying frog...and its evolutionary critics (2 min) In the video clip below, a BBC naturalist highlights just how amazing the Wallace Flying Frog is... but then he criticizes it as badly designed for only being able to glide, and not fly. This type of fault-finding is common among evolutionists, and it blinds them to the amazing reality right in front of them. As the linked creationist article above highlights – and this evolutionist also concedes – this little frog is brilliantly equipped for the treetop environment it inhabits. The criticism that it can't fly is petty, akin to faulting the Mona Lisa for not showing us some teeth. ...
Internet, Recent Articles, RP App
The smartphone stack
You're out with some friends having a nice dinner. But one has been talking on his phone for the last ten minutes, and a second is managing to fork food into her mouth while still using both hands to type text messages. And the fourth member of your party is preoccupied with tracking down some YouTube video he just has to show everyone. So you're out with your friends for dinner but it seems an awful lot like eating alone. We've all experienced something similar... and put our friends through something similar. So how can we return a little decorum to our dinners-out? One suggestion making the rounds is something called "The Phone Stack." After everyone orders their meals all smartphones are placed in the center of the table, one on top of another, face down. Though the course of the meal it's simply a given that one of these, or all, are going to buzz, bing, or sing, but here's the kicker: no one is allowed to grab their phone until dinner and dessert is done. If someone feels they just have to pick up their phone, that's okay, but then they also have to pick up the check for the night! Can there be exceptions made? Maybe someone is a doctor on call, or a volunteer member of the local fire department, and just needs to check their messages. Yup, allowances for that kind of thing can be made. But for the rest of the group this is a fun way of ensuring we all connect with one another, rather than with our devices. And for those dining-in nights, a variation can be done involving who is going to do the dishes!...
Apologetics 101, Recent Articles, RP App
The don't and do's of answering fools
In Proverbs 26:4-5 God says we shouldn’t argue with fools…except when we should. Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself wi...
News, Recent Articles, RP App
Saturday Selections – July 9, 2022
Great moments in unintended consequences (4 min) When governments don't have even a basic understanding of economics, many unintended consequences ca...
Human Rights, Recent Articles, RP App
A Christian perspective on freedom of speech
This was first published in the June 2010 issue To say American author and columnist Ann Coulter is “outspoken” is rather like saying Solomon was...
Book Reviews, RP App, Teen fiction
The Revolt: a novel in Wycliffe's England
by Douglas Bond 269 pages / 2016 I was never a fan of Church history in school, but I've come to realize that this was really the textbook's fault. It was a series of dry and weary titles, with lots of dates and facts, but no story to them. So I owe a debt of thanks to Douglas Bond for reviving my interest in what is really a most important topic, and he has done so by telling great stories. Sometimes, as he has in this novel, that story-telling involves weaving in fiction among the facts, so I can just imagine someone saying, "But then you're not really learning Church history, are you? Not if lots of it is made up!" Ah yes, but I know more Church history than I once did, and it was painless! And what's more, Bond's fictionalized biographies – he's tackled Calvin, Knox, C.S. Lewis, and now Wycliffe – left me wanting to know more about these men. So after read a Bond book I've followed it up with reading non-fiction books about, or by, all of them. My old Church history textbook never inspired me to do that! In The Revolt, Bond takes on an early Reformer, John Wycliffe, who lived and died more than 100 years before Martin Luther nailed up his 95 theses. Like Luther, Wycliffe was a man very much on his own – he had followers, but not really colleagues. He was the trailblazer who decided that, contrary to what the Pope and Church have pronounced, the common people needed to hear the Bible in their own tongue. One thing he had going for himself is that he lived in a time when there were two popes at the same time, which made it easier to question the need for submission to the pope. Wycliffe doesn't actually show up until page 62, so this is more a book about the England of his time than about him. The story begins with a young scholar on the battlefields of France, where the English army is surrounded by a much larger French force. The scholar has been assigned the task of recording the events, so while everyone else has a bow, or a battle axe, or something with some sort of sharp steel end, he is armed only with his quill. It's a great beginning, and from then on we follow along with this scholar who serves as the story's narrator. Through him we meet peasants, other scholars, and finally Wycliffe himself. The Revolt is a novel most any adult would find an easy and enjoyable read. I'm not sure, though, that this would be a good book for a teenager who is only a casual reader. It is a very good story, but it's not the non-stop "thrill ride" that so many Young Adult books try to be these days. To put it another way, this is far from a heavy read, but it's also not a light read either. However, for anyone with any interest in Church history, this is an ideal way to learn more. I sure hope Douglas Bond keeps on coming up with these great fictionalized "biographies"! ...
Parenting, Recent Articles, RP App, Soup and Buns
“Mom, where’s my toothbrush?” 9 packing tips for before and during the trip
The well-circulated belief that "moms are supposed to know where everything is at every given moment" was humorously illustrated for me two years ago when we attended our son’s out of state wedding. Another son, who was a groomsman, was lodging for two nights beforehand at a separate location from us and yet he still called me on the morning of the wedding to ask if I knew the whereabouts of his dress pants! On a trip, a few organizational plans can keep Mom from going crazy from hearing constant requests for favorite t-shirts, swim suits or Sunday shoes. It’s also a good way for the rest of the family to learn responsibility. The following ideas will make the “suitcase living” a little easier. 1. Pack a “motel bag”: If there is a stopover on the way to your destination, pack a “motel bag” to significantly reduce the amount that gets carried in and out. Include a change of clothes and pajamas for each person, and toiletries. 2. Plan your vehicle-packing strategy: Take your empty suitcases out to the vehicle a day or two beforehand and determine the best way to fit them all inside. Some families find that plastic bins or pillow cases or trash bags fit better than suitcases. Remember to make the “motel bag” the easiest to reach. A rooftop luggage pod or trailer might ease the crowding of the “stuff” also. 3. Give your husband his own suitcase: He will be out of his usual element too, and having his own space will make it easier for him to find his razor without having to dig through the baby’s onesies or your extra shoes. The goal is for no one to have to ask Mom questions. (You won’t ever reach it, but you’ll get closer.) 4. Number your suitcases: Use masking tape or adhesive labels to number them, for easier recognition and accountability. Even a four-year-old will be able to remember who uses which one. When Mom needs something out of a suitcase, she can easily direct someone to #5 instead of “the small blue one…no, no, the small blue one.” 5. Give everyone 3 and up a list of what to pack and let them pack it… but be sure to inspect: Determine the general list: five shirts, two hoodies, 2 pairs of jeans, 6 pairs of underwear, etc. Our 12 year old daughter Julie gladly made a pictorial list for her 3-year-old sister; Amy was thrilled to be able to pack her own suitcase and confidently mark off each item as she found it. Make photocopies of the lists to save for next time. Of course, you must inspect, because there’s always one who still completely forgets his underwear or his toothbrush. But their work saves you a lot of steps, teaches them how to do it, and puts all their pre-trip excitement to good use! Actually it’s a good time to buy new toothbrushes for everyone; that way you can pack them up and not have to wait until morning to finish packing all the suitcases – they can use their old one before they leave in the morning. 6. Write it down, don’t try to remember it all: While packing, if you are missing an item or two or three from someone’s case, write it down and tape it to the suitcase so that you don’t have to try to keep all those details inside your brain. And when you go to bed, put a pad of paper and a pen on the floor or nightstand next to you so that when you think of something that wasn’t packed you can write it down instead of jumping up to go and retrieve it “before you forget.” 7. Use ziplock bags for daily sets of clothing: When the kids are young, place a shirt, shorts, socks, and underwear in a gallon size ziplock bag and write “Amy – Monday” on it, etc. This is especially helpful for Sunday clothes which might be kept in a separate suitcase. Dad can just hand out the packets and everyone can dress. 8. All packed: Once a suitcase is declared “All packed,” close it up and stand it in line in a designated place, and make a rule that no one except you is allowed to open it again. They are numbered, so everyone will know when they are all there. I always like to pack them all into the car the night before, and let the children place their bookbags in the first seat they will sit in. We lay out the clothes for the next day. Some families who are leaving in the middle of the night just have everyone sleep in their travel clothes. In the morning, we just use our old toothbrushes and share a comb or two, pack up the food and water and hit the road. 9. Packing to head home: To pack for driving home, you may need your “motel bag” as before. You should also appoint a suitcase or two to be only for “dirty clothes” and combine the clean clothes into other suitcases, taking note of the numbers on them. Now #1 and #2 can be left in the laundry room, #4 taken to the girls’ room, and so forth. This article first appeared in the February 2010 issue....
Documentary, Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Abortion, RP App, Watch for free
180: from pro-choice to pro-life in minutes
Documentary 2011, 33 minutes Rating: 7/10 The trailer for 180 showed people being interviewed on the street declaring their support for “a woman’s right to choose.” But then each of these interactions was fast-forwarded – anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes - to the conclusion of the interview where each of these same people then declare they have changed their mind and are now pro-life. Wow! So what prompted this sudden and dramatic switch? In the 33-minute documentary interviewer Ray Comfort makes use of an illuminating comparison to the Holocaust and follows it up this clarifying question: “It’s okay to kill a baby in the womb when… ?” What Comfort is doing is confronting people with the incoherence of their own views. Though our culture is becoming more and more calloused to evil, most still don’t believe it is okay to kill human beings...and yet they make an exception in the case of abortion. When Comfort asks them to explain what circumstances make it permissible to kill a baby, each of his interviewees is brought short. They don't want to say we can kill a human being simply because they might grow up poor. Or because they are unwanted. Or because they are inconvenient. Their conscience convicts them with the knowledge that these are not good reasons to murder someone. By asking his pointed question Comfort makes them realize that they have never really thought through the issue of abortion before. It is worth noting that Comfort's approach will not work with any who have hardened their conscience, and who, fully knowing it to be a baby, have no objections to murdering it anyway. But for the ignorant or confused, what Comfort presents is incredibly clarifying. The documentary does have some graphic content – specifically pictures of Holocaust victims, and aborted children – so it is not appropriate viewing for the very young. For the rest of us, this is a fantastic film that can inspire us to clarify the abortion issue for the many millions who are pro-choice only because they are confused. To date, it's been viewed by over 5 million. You can watch it below, or by visiting 180movie.com. In 2019 Comfort and his team released a sequel, 7 Reasons in which they address 7 of the more common justifications for abortion. You can also watch it for free, right here. EDIT: YouTube just added an age-restriction to the video, so it's not displayable below, but can be viewed by clicking on the link below "Watch on YouTube" or by clicking here. ...
Pro-life - Abortion, RP App
Pro-life memes and cartoons to share
Through the years Reformed Perspective has created a number of pro-life comics and memes, and this is where we are going to collect them, so that they are easier to find, to grab, and to share. Right click on the picture to copy it. Or, to put it more pointedly, murder is not a solution... This is an answer to the complaint that, if not for abortion, so many more children would be in foster care, or would be poor, or would be unloved. But if killing people is the best way to address those ills, then, why aren't we extending the principle and murdering the already-born kids who are also in those situations? Because we know murder is not a solution, and we know that's not what compassion looks like. My body, my choice? There are any number of answers to the most popular of all pro-abortion slogans, "My body, my choice," most noting that there isn't simply one body involved. But it is important to note, it isn't that the unborn have a head, heart, or legs that make them valuable, as, early on, they didn't have those things. Rather, what makes us valuable (and what is also the only basis for equality) is not what we have or what we can do, but in Whose Image we are made (Genesis 1:27). No one knows when life begins? This comic was inspired by a hunting incident involving former Vice President Dick Cheney, and an interview with Barack Obama back when he was still Senator Obama. In a 2008 interview, the man who would become the next president of the United States said that he didn’t know when life began – it was above his pay grade – and that regardless he still supported abortion. But back in 2006 Vice President Dick Cheney had already illustrated why, when we have doubts, it is immoral to kill. The Vice President made his pro-life case while out on a hunting trip with a man by the name of Harry Whittington. Admittedly, Cheney wasn’t trying to score pro-life points – he was trying to shoot birds. But what was a bad day for the birds, and for his fellow hunter, turned out to be an unforgettable defense of the unborn. Things took a pro-life turn soon after the two hunters separated –Whittington was searching for a bird they had previously downed. As Whittington returned to the group, a bird popped out of the bushes behind Cheney, and Cheney, without checking first where Whittington was, fired off a shot. That shot may or may not have hit the bird, but certainly impacted Whittington, spraying his chest and face with birdshot. Fortunately, the 78-year-old Whittington survived his wounds. Cheney went on to become the butt of many, many jokes, including one from President Obama, who said that Cheney’s memoirs were going to be titled, How To Shoot Friends and Interrogate People. Everyone, including President Obama, understood that what Cheney had done was foolish. A cardinal rule in hunting is that you can’t fire your gun unless you’re sure people aren’t in your line of fire. Pleading ignorance is no excuse – you have to know no human life is being endangered or you can’t fire. It’s that simple. Obama mocked Cheney for proceeding with deadly intent, not knowing whether or not he was endangering human life. But Obama’s justification for abortion is just as foolish. His plea that when life begins is above his pay grade means that he doesn’t know one way or the other whether what’s in the womb is human life. But as Vice President Cheney reminded us that if we’re unsure, we can’t kill. Same thought as above, is expressed another way down below. Supposing we didn't even know when life began, that would only be another reason to ban abortion. Because if we aren't sure whether or not what we're killing is human, then we shouldn't kill it! ...
News, RP App
RP's Summer Photo Contest: Enjoying God!
Whether this summer has you exploring new places, or staying in your own community, we can all experience joy in the Lord. The first ques...
Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews, Internet, RP App
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place
Marriage, Recent Articles, RP App
The surprising secrets of highly happy marriages
What research and the Bible say about the best marriages **** Marriage is meant to mirror Christ and the church. One can scarcely imagine a higher c...
Documentary, Movie Reviews, RP App, Sexuality
What is a Woman?
Documentary 2022 / 95 minutes Rating: 9 /10 What is a woman? That’s the question that confounded US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson earlier this year, and it’s the same one that Matt Walsh tried to get someone – anyone – to answer in his new documentary. Whether it was a college professor, a surgeon, a counselor, or even the thousands of attendees at the National March for Women – they’d rather walk away than give wrestle with this doozy of a stumper. But what the smartest folk in the West couldn’t answer, African tribesmen could. And Walsh’s wife. And your toddler. And that, right there, is the reason our young people need to see this documentary: to see the wisdom of the world exposed for the arrogance that it really is. When our kids head off to college or go straight to the workforce, smart people they meet might say bizarre things, whether it’s “men can have babies too” or “no one know when life begins.” It’d only be natural, if they have any humility in them, to start to wonder, Am I the only sane one…or is everyone else right? What an encouragement it’ll be then, to see Matt Walsh stand up against the nonsense, and do so completely unflustered. Walsh's deadpan delivery turns many a moment from simply illuminating to downright hilarious. How can you not laugh when Walsh poses his "What is woman?" question to a lady identifying as a gay man (i.e., a woman attracted to men, who is pretending to be a man attracted to men). She was scoffing at him right from the start for even having the gumption to ask such a question of her... since she said she was a he. Confused woman (CW): "You should be asking women what it means to be a woman..." Walsh: "I'm asking all kinds of people. Can't anyone have an opinion about it?" CW: "Only people who are a woman. Gay men don't know nothing about what it means to be a woman." Walsh: "...So you're saying if you're not a woman you shouldn't have an opinion?" CW: "How does a guy get a right to say what a woman is? Women only know what women are!" Walsh: "Are you a cat?" CW: "No." Walsh: "Can you tell me what a cat is?" Faced with either pretending she didn't know what a cat was, or backing down on her notion that one can only identify something if you are that something, she chose C and hoofed it out of there. This is how Walsh dismantled the opposition, with pointed questions, and it's a tactic worth noting. When your opponents are spouting nonsense, the very best thing you can do is ask them to explain themselves. This is also an apologetic tactic with a long pedigree: by one count Jesus, though He was the very source of wisdom Himself, still asked more than 300 questions in the Gospels. He wasn't asking because He was looking for information; His questions were designed to uncover others' ignorance. Cautions While He liked asking questions, Jesus did also offer answers. The one glaring flaw to this film is that Matt Walsh doesn't, or at least, he doesn't give viewers the answers they most need. Fortunately, what Matt won't explain, God does. In the Bible's first chapter we hear that God assigns gender, and no one else (Gen. 1:27). Further on we read that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10a). That, there, explains these dumb geniuses – they've rejected God's Truth, so all they have left to offer is foolishness. Why doesn't Walsh offer God's Truth? As he has explained elsewhere, Walsh doesn't believe it's effective to offer biblical answers to people who don't hold to the Bible. However, Walsh does keep pitching logic and reason even though the Left doesn't hold to those either. So why does he bother then? In Romans 10:14, we see that the Apostle Paul knew how to use pointed questions too. He asks: How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? The world is caught up in some crazy lies, but how can they ever turn to God's Truth if we aren't willing to share it with them? This isn't about screaming Scripture at people. What it would involve is acknowledging God – Walsh could have improved his film immensely by adding as little as a line or two to the effect of "Our sex is assigned by God, and when you deny that fundamental reality, then you descend into all these sorts of insanity." It's not enough to expose the lie; the world needs to be pointed to the Truth! Other cautions are of a more minor sort. There's some language, with a horde of women at the National Women's March chanting "Asshole, asshole" at Walsh. There's also an interviewee on a street corner in San Francisco who is wearing only a strategically placed sock. After the initial distant wide-angled shot, the rest of the interview is mercifully shown closer and higher up. There's also a page of sex-ed material shown from a distance that includes a cartoonish image of two naked guys on top of each other (this is part of a curriculum meant for kids 10 and up). Finally, the overall topic matter is often... perverse. While the evil being done is generally discussed with restraint, it's still too much for our younger children to hear. This is only for adults and older teens. Conclusion Walsh balances out the perverse with some comedic moments. These are laugh out loud, whether it's Walsh at the National Women's March futilely canvassing the crowd of thousands for anyone who might be able to tell him what a woman is, or his interaction with African tribesmen who want to be polite, but don't know what's wrong with the clueless American who doesn't even know what a woman is. By the end of the film, Walsh has only gotten a handful of answers to his title question, but one of the best comes from Jordan Peterson. What is a woman? "Why don't you marry one and find out?" It's a fantastic acknowledgment of the wonder that is the male/female divide. God made us different, then has the two become one, and tells us it is a great mystery (Eph 5:32). Sure, we have different chromosomes and genitalia but what a woman is, is so must more than just that. That there is mystery means marriage is an opportunity for investigation, discovery, and more wonder. But that there is mystery doesn't mean there's any confusion about whether a man can become a woman, or vice versa. Why watch? So our young people can understand just how much of what we're up against is simply intimidation and scorn. There is nothing substantive to transgenderism, and the other side can only win the debate by avoiding it at all costs. Young people heading off to university need to know that though your professors might be brilliant, that's no guarantee that they are wise. What is a Woman? is only available to "Insiders" at The Daily Wire (DailyWire.com). I became an Insider, chose the monthly billing option, paid my $14, watched the film, and now I'll cancel before I get billed again for next month. I figured $14 isn't too bad (it's the price of an in-theater film and very few of those rate a 9 out of 10). You'll probably want to watch it again with friends, which makes that $14 all the more palatable. You can watch the trailer below, and check out some of the Christian responses to the film here: Apologia Radio (with Jeff Durbin) hits the highs but also notes the low (85-min listen) Martin Iles offers a concise answer to the question (9 min listen) Samuel Sey of "Slow to Write" gives it two thumbs up (10-min read) Babylon Bee has responded with their own documentary, What is a Man? (2022, 99 min) Discussion questions What is the transgender position? What are their best arguments for it? How does Walsh attack their position? What’s a takeaway – a tactic – we can borrow from his approach? A common defense of transgenderism is the statement, said by a parent whose child wants to “transition”: I’d rather have a living son than a dead daughter. What are the assumptions and problems with that statement? US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson couldn’t define what a woman was, explaining that “I’m not a biologist.” Walsh does better but offers what’s basically a biological answer. Is that sufficient? Why/why not? What are Walsh’s objections to transgenderism? Can you think of any ways the other side might counter his objections? What does God have to say about male and female, transgenderism, and gender identity? Why didn’t Matt Walsh ever mention God? Leading question: If the world doesn’t recognize logic and reason, should we stop presenting logical arguments too? How can we best help a world that is so very confused on this issue? ...
Internet, RP App
20 Scriptures to guide our online speech
May God give us the humility to recognize how our online speech may be out of step with his calling on our lives ***** Scripture has a lot to say about how we wield our speech, and those passages are all the more important now that technological advances have greatly multiplied our ways and means of speech. So no, there is no proverb specifically about how to tweet, and we aren’t usually dictating our Facebook posts with our voice, but what we post on these social media platforms does fall under the umbrella of Scripture’s guidance on speech as much as words we literally utter with our mouths. Below are 20 passages of Scripture to guide our online speech. Let’s consider them as we engage with other image-bearers online: Is it true? The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. - Proverbs 12:22 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. - Psalm 34:13 Do you need to say it? Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. - Ephesians 4:29 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. - Proverbs 13:3 Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. - Proverbs 10:19 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. - Matthew 12:36 Is it helpful? Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. - Colossians 4:5-6 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. - Proverbs 16:24 Is it quarrelsome? Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. - 1 Peter 3:9 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. - Proverbs 20:3 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. - James 1:19 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape. - Proverbs 11:9 The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. - Proverbs 18:6 Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. - Proverbs 10:6 What does it say about your heart? A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. - Luke 6:45 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. - Ecclesiastes 10:12 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. - Proverbs 15:4 Does it praise God? Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. - James 3:10 My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. - Psalm 71:8 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. - Psalm 19:14 Conclusion May God bless you today. And may he graciously give us the humility to hold our digital tongues unless we intend to build up others or point others to his goodness. A version of this article appeared in Chris Martin’s "Terms of Service" newsletter, which looks at the social internet from a Christian perspective – you can sign up for it at www.TermsOfService.social. Get his new book of the same name at many online retailers. His article is reprinted here with permission....
Internet, Parenting, RP App
Parents, you are your child's best protection from online horrors
“You cannot raise your children as your parents raised you, because your parents raised you for a world that no longer exists.” – Author unknown ••••• I was born in 1988, and my generation straddled a lot of things. As kids we listened to cassette tapes and videos were on VHS – a video camera was roughly the size of an over-the-shoulder Hollywood contraption. The pace of technological change was so swift everything seemed to go defunct in just a few years, from the Walkman to the Discman to the iPod in a blink, while Blockbuster went big and bust in just a few years, with corner stores and gas stations investing in videos and then DVDs just in time to see their investments become obsolete as the digital world swallowed everything. And at the backs of many of the scuzzier corner stores were little rooms usually covered by ratty curtains where furtive people would duck to pick their pornos, from big-bellied greasy truckers who didn’t care who saw them to sneakier folks with a worried eye out for parents, spouses or neighbors. An aura of shame and moral grossness hung about the whole thing, and those heading back there seemed to know it. But besides that, everything seemed largely contained, and it was. Our parents could let us head outdoors without worrying too much. Some kids got their hands on porn magazines and hid them; many got caught; but the digital deluge had not yet begun, and it was easier to assume that children could roam free without risking their innocence. Then, in 2006, came the iPhone. Everything changed. Instant access to the pits of hell Suddenly, pornography became next to impossible to contain. A generation of Christian kids grew up looking at porn on devices that their parents had not had as children, and had not considered a source of risk. Parents didn’t know their kids’ phones or iPads or most any other device could connect to some shop’s free Wi-Fi, allowing them to scour the Internet’s filthy caverns. Curiosity, temptation, mistake – it didn’t (and doesn’t) take much to get hooked, and pornography swept the culture and the churches like a tsunami. In 2016, on the sites owned by a single porn company, the number of hours of pornography watched, once tallied up, amounted 524,641 years – or roughly twelve porn videos for every man, woman, and child on planet earth. I’ve been speaking on pornography in Reformed communities and elsewhere for over ten years, and I can confirm – and I’m sure you’ll agree – that the consequences have been catastrophic. Our children now grow up entirely surrounded by devices that act as portals to the demonic. I could tell scores of stories about children from Reformed homes who got addicted to porn simply by clicking a pop-up that flashed across the screen while playing an innocent game. This isn't how we grew up The digitization of our society has resulted in a world actively hostile to the innocence of children, and there is no simple solution – no book, filter, conference, or course that will protect them. As Dawn Hawkins of the National Center on Combatting Sexual Exploitation has said, we can no longer trust that our children will not see pornography – even with our best efforts. We must prepare their minds for when, inevitably in this culture, they do see it. That means that only cultivating powerful personal relationships with our kids will do. The uncomfortable truth is that parenting in the digital age is different than parenting in previous generations. The fundamentals remain the same, as do our vows at baptism. But never in recorded human history have children had such widespread access to the most depraved sexual fantasies the human imagination can produce – never. I often hear people dismiss or downplay the dangers of the digital age by noting that there is nothing new under the sun. This is true insofar as sexual sin has been existed since the Fall. But it is not true that any previous generation has been so thoroughly poisoned and so many lives destroyed, with the average age a child is first exposed to hardcore porn dropping year over year (it now sits around age 8 or 9). It is true that porn has always existed, but the things kids are exposed to now are nothing like the crass etchings on the walls of Pompeii, and it is a false comfort to suggest that they are. Children today have access to things their parents couldn’t purchase and their grandparents couldn’t imagine. Our children do. Not so long ago, parents could send their kids outdoors to play without worrying about what devices the neighborhood kids might have and what they might show their friends at the park (I’ve heard plenty of stories of kids getting exposed to porn the first time this way). Although the culture has long since stopped inculcating Christian values – when my mom went to public school, they still opened the day with the Lord’s Prayer – it was not yet hostile, and it was not yet permeated with pornography the way it is now. With comparatively little effort, the innocence of children could be protected. Today’s mainstream entertainment is packed with blasphemy and filth. Children’s entertainment features LGBT content as a matter of course. Within the span of a single lifetime, TV shows have gone from Leave it to Beaver to having a post-sex change transgender beaver on Blue’s Clues with chest scars from her double-mastectomy – and this is a show for children. The world our parents raised us in is dead and gone. It is important to recognize this. Let me put it as bluntly as I can. The forces of evil have broken loose, and they are no longer contained to video rental stores, or corner store magazine racks, or even computer screens. It is in your house, on all of your devices, including the one you carry everywhere in your pocket. The Devil is up close and personal now, so close you can feel his breath. He wants to destroy our marriages, our families, and our communities – and his digital dragnets are doing a horrifyingly magnificent job. Who will be there for your child? There is no easy fix to this problem. Parents in the digital age must face the fact that the only way to protect our children is for us to spend an enormous amount of time with them. Not just quality time – quantity time. Parents must ensure that their influence counterbalances the many influences that will be fighting for their children’s time. The gravitational pull of parent-child relationship must be stronger than the gravitational pull of Pornhub, secular entertainment, and the temptations clamoring for their attention. In the digital age – also sometimes referred to as the information age – we have a choice: the Internet-driven culture will shape our children, or we will. As prevention fails, parents' presence is crucial Over the past ten years speaking on pornography and related cultural issues in Reformed communities, I have seen porn use among the young go from a problem to the norm. The same is true for sexting. The views of many of our children on LGBT issues are also shifting radically as they are exposed to LGBT social media and YouTube influencers with millions of young fans. As the Internet opens up countless new worlds for the young, old certainties that were once taken for granted are up for grabs, and our children will be exposed to every imaginable poison. It will not be enough to merely attempt prevention (and if we do, it is likely to fail.) We will have to commit ourselves to being present in a way that few other generations needed to. This will mean prioritizing family interests over business interests. It may mean making less money in order to spend more time with the kids. It will certainly mean carving out large amounts of time when you are simply available to talk to your kids about all of these issues, and to begin these conversations. Be assured, the culture is starting these conversations with missionary zeal, and they are winning converts. In response, we will need to equip ourselves to talk to our children about all of these issues – and form relationships with them that will give us the space to have these conversations. In many, if not most cases, it will be a difficult task. We will shape our children, or the culture will. Jonathon Van Maren blogs at TheBridgehead.ca....
Parenting, RP App
8 tips for traveling with the family
My favorite travel anecdote came from Reader’s Digest years ago. An older woman felt overwhelmed while packing to go to Florida with her husband. She said, “George, I can either pack to go, or I can go but I can’t do both.” Since then, many times my husband has heard me shout out, “George?........” and known what I meant. Family travel can be a big challenge. The worst family trip I ever took involved three non-walking, whining one-year olds, a three-year old who accidentally barfed and pee-d on the other driver, a broken heater and three flat tires. After 600 miles, I really dreaded the trip back home. But from experience comes wisdom and innovation, so as the years rolled by, we discovered ways to make the long traveling hours easier to handle. God has given us creative minds that spark with wonderful innovations, after which we wonder, “now why didn’t I think of that sooner?” Then, just as I am doing now, we share them with others who might benefit. There are so many ways to help your family prepare for a long trip, that the instances of unpleasantness can be greatly diminished, and the firm hand only needed on occasion. Even traveling with one-year olds can be somewhat improved, though they will never understand why they have to sit still all the time. So here are 8 ideas that will help during the travel time. 1. Beforehand, talk through the trip with your kids A day or two before you go, talk about what the ride will be like: “We’re going to be in the car alllll day. Breakfast, lunchtime, nap time, and dinner time, and we’re even going to watch the sun go down!” Talk about how they might feel and what they will encounter, and joke about what they might be tempted to do. Emphasize the importance of getting along when in close quarters. Talk about safety hazards like screaming children, or not heeding the call to “Silence!” when driving directions are being discussed or you’re facing the border guard. Talk about watching for traffic and not getting lost at rest stops. Knowledge enables children to know what to expect and it gives you information to refer back to when necessary. Pray together beforehand and on the road, thanking God, and asking Him for safety, wisdom and strength. 2. Study your directions/maps ahead of time Nothing brings up anger or harsh words between mom and dad like arguing over directions. Plan ahead – this is valuable even in an age of GPS, to think through where you want to stop, and what breaks you might want to take (are there any sights to see, or maybe a nice park to take a break in, a nice restaurant to stop for dinner?). And if there are mistakes, be forgiving and “go with the flow.” It is helpful to have maps of the area in case you end up in the middle of nowhere with NO signal! Maps are also helpful to get a real "feel" for how places are connected which you cannot see well on a tiny screen. And they are great for enhancing the kids' geographical knowledge, which you cannot quite do on a tiny screen. Remember that children hate listening to their parents argue; if it’s necessary to “clear the air,” perhaps it can be done away from the children. 3. Make everything as special and comfortable as possible. Choose books, toys, food and games that are unique so that the novelty will enthuse them. Our family visited a used bookstore a few weeks before each trip. Each child chose about six 50 cent books and then, to their chagrin, I packed them all away until it was time to leave! A three-year-old will enjoy a Magna Doodle, and can manage an audiobook with headphones. Played over your car stereo, audiobooks from the library are a wonderful way for the whole family, even the driver, to pass the time. Each child can have a zippered bookbag with a coloring book and colored pencils (or markers if you trust your kids!). Add two small toys with no little pieces (one for each hand,) and a favorite stuffed friend. Some like electronic games, or maybe your car has a DVD player: be sure to choose games and films that are new to them, that keep their attention. If they aren't on screens normally, this can be a special treat. Find some word or singing games to teach them. Be sure to play the silly ones that they suggest and enjoy. We once sang “Hey, ho, nobody home” for 20 minutes straight just to see if we could do it. Bring small pillows for everyone, and make sure whoever is always cold has a hoodie or blanket to put over her. Carry a roll of paper towel and some plastic bags for “whatever.” 4. A parent sitting in the back can be helpful I turned around so often while seated in the front seat that I began to wonder whether I should wear my shoulder harness across my front or my back side. Having Mom or Dad sit in a middle or back seat can actually alleviate a lot of problems, especially with the little ones who need the physical assurance of extra kisses or holding someone’s hand. Playing games also becomes easier and more fun for the kids because Mom or Dad is involved. It’s also easier to pass around the food to everyone and collect up all of the trash. You might rotate seats at every stop, because whoever gets a turn in the front seat will feel very special. 5. Have rules and plans Yes, it’s hard to sit in a car all day, but that doesn’t excuse bad behavior. We still have to love one another, and put others first. The loss of privilege that comes from arguing or disobeying might include not being allowed to speak for a set amount of time. Take charge of a simple, flexible daily plan. “Let’s sing for awhile.” “Now we’re going to listen to Prince Caspian for about an hour.” “We’re stopping at a rest stop in five minutes – everyone put away your toys and books now and get your shoes on.” “After lunch it’s naptime or quiet reading.” Don’t forget to read God’s Word after each meal and pray. You have plenty of time for discussion or related Bible games: why not make use of it? After two summers of driving eight or so teenagers from Philadelphia to Ontario for a "Campfire! Summer Bible Camp" I learned that everyone got rowdy late at night after the last rest stop because there were less than two hours left on the trip. The third summer I made a rule: "No talking at all after the last rest stop – you may sleep, read with the ceiling light, or listen to a walkman.” I also outlawed 32 oz. Cokes for the entire trip after some people began needing more frequent relief. 6. Eat in the vehicle as you drive When you stop, you need to stretch and run and hug and throw a frisbee, and look at the flowers and license plates around you, not sit and eat. Eating is fun, and doing it while riding passes the time very nicely. I learned the hard way that it’s also not a good idea to eat at the rest stop and then let the kids run and roll down hills right afterwards. Enter the need for paper towels. No wonder my “mean old mother” never let us do that. For meals, you might bake or have Mom go into a grocery store bakery to buy fresh muffins for a special breakfast. For lunch and dinner, pack favorite sandwiches and baggies of chips or fruit or cookies – a different kind for each meal. Freezing them the night before eliminates the need for a big cooler. On the other hand, the lid from a hard plastic cooler makes a great lap table for spreading fresh peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to hand around. Think about it: instead of using up more of your valuable pre-trip time making sandwiches, you could use your “nothing else to do anyway” hours stacking meat and cheese and tomato slices on buns. 7. Eight reasons to drink only water (except if the driver needs caffeine) Water rules over juice, kool-aid, tea, and soda, and they’ll drink it if they’re thirsty. They get plenty of taste variety from their meals. Water is cheaper, healthier, not sticky, stain-free, non-caffeinated, and non-sweetened. It doesn’t speed through your system as fast as other drinks, and it can be used to wash faces, hands and seats. Each person’s bottle can be refilled at the next rest stop or from a bigger container near the parent’s seat. 8. The fantastic trip comes to an end My children finally convinced me that if we arrive home late at night, it is best to go to bed and empty the car the next day when everyone is rested and happier. The suitcases will wait patiently. The end of the trip is already a letdown for the children, so, while they do need to help with the gargantuan task of putting everything away, it’s also good to consider their fatigue level and emotions. Have a nice breakfast, divide up the tasks, and tackle the pile. But maybe you arrive home during the daylight hours, or maybe the car has to be emptied for Dad to go to work the next morning. It still might be best to give everyone a short break to “be happy to see their home,” perhaps coupled with a snack and a hug and a “de-briefing” session. Later, you might put together a family newsletter with each one writing (or dictating) what happened at the cave, at Grandpa’s, or in the ocean. This helps save the memories for years to come, and it’s a nice gift for any relatives and friends you visited along the way. Traveling together can form close bonds with shared memories. When parents plan ahead, the possibility for frustration is lessened and a good example is set....