I went swimsuit shopping with Twelve year old Daughter tonight–not my favorite exercise. The Annual Search for Modest Swimwear. Actually, I think it’s getting better–kind of, sort of. Most of the swimsuits are still cut way too high on the legs and way too low on top, but we actually walked into Old Navy and came out with a swimsuit that started out indecent and got better. For some of the suits, ON had some shorts and “sun shirts” to go over the swimsuit so that after paying for the swimsuit underneath that looked like underwear (especially the bottom part) and the shorts and the shirt . . . Well, you get the idea. Modesty isn’t cheap. I guess I’m paying for all that extra material. I think the swimsuit designer’s idea was actually to protect the girls from the sun, not to protect their purity. Whatever works.

Added note: I linked to the swimsuit we bought, but interestingly enough, the ON website doesn’t show the matching shorts and “sun shirts.” Only sold in stores??

Church of the week

I’m very interested right now in churches and “how we do church” and how different churches are carrying out God’s commission to them. I suppose this is because we’re thinking about, praying about, changing churches after having been members of the same Southern Baptist church for almost eighteen years. We’re not angry with anyone in our church, nor does our church have any serious doctrinal problems as far as I know. So why are we thinking about leaving? We have several reasons, and I’m not sure any of them are good enough. At any rate, I’m starting a new feature on the blog called “Church of the Week.” I’m going to look around, on the internet and out in the “real world,” and see if I can find some evangelical churches that are doing things that are both innovative and true to historic Christian theology and practice. I’m not looking for gimmicks; I am looking for a church that is not following the herd but rather following God’s call. My theory is that radically following what God is saying to a given church will produce a church that looks different in some ways from other churches but also similar to many churches that have existed throughout Christian history. Any nominations for “church of the week” are welcome to go in the comments section. The church you nominate doesn’t have to be in Houston, but if not it should have a website so that I can (sort of) visit. Or you’ll have to give me a detailed description.
My first “church of the week” is the one we are thinking about moving to: Trinity Evangelical Free Church, Friendswood, Texas (near Houston). I find several things intriguing about this church:
Read more: Church of the week

Petrarch’s Real Secretum

Eldest Daughter, I got this from Dave Barry. It looks as if Petrarch really did have a “secretum.” And he just couldn’t get his head on straight? See ED’s post on Petrarch.
Best quote from a spokesman on the disappearance of Petratch’s skull:
“Think of all the craniums in the world – where would we look?
Our only hope now is to make an appeal in the hope that someone who is the descendant of the thief might return it anonymously.”


What’s up with blogspot? About half the time for the past week or so when I go to a blog on blogspot, I get one or two paragraphs of text and then a lot of gobbledygook. I don’t have this with any other blog hosts–just blogspot.

William Shakespeare

Well, Brandywine Books and probably about a dozen others got to it before I did, but anyway today is approximately the 440th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. How’s this for an appropriate quote?

“Do thy worst old Time; despite thy wrong, my love shall in my verse ever live young.” Sonnet 19

Actually, my favorite Shakespeare quotations come from the plays.
Hamlet: Denmark’s a prison.
Rosencrantz: Then is the world one.
Hamlet: A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons. Denmark being one of the worst.

Merchant of Venice:
Antonio: In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
That I have much ado to know myself.

As You Like It:
Rosalind: Your experience makes you sad: I would rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad, and to travel for it, too.
Rosalind (again, my personal favorite): Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

I could go on, but I’d rather have comments. What’s your favorite Shakespeare quotation?

Map or directions?

If you are going to an unfamiliar place and could only have one of the two which would you rather have–a map or written directions? Eldest Daughter and I agree that directions are much more helpful. Of course, we’re both directionally- challenged in the first place. We agree that with a map you have to keep turning it around and around whenever you turn.

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, 1826-1887

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik was a Victorian novelist and poet. I read her most famous novel, John Halifax, Gentleman, a long time ago, and to tell the truth, I don’t remember much about it. I do have a vague impression of a scene where two friends, young men, are out talking on a hillside, and one of them (maybe John) makes some momentous decision. I found this comment on the author on a website dedicated to the literary heritage of West Midlands:

Dinah was respected for her very generous and compassionate nature and this strength of character can be seen in the rather moralistic tone of much of her poetry, fiction and essays. She felt that true nobility was not dependent upon material wealth and this theme is well developed in John Halifax, Gentleman. The resulting style can seem rather too sentimental and dull for modern tastes.

Ah, yes, we moderns have outgrown the sentimentality and dull generosity and compassion of those Victorians. And strength of character has definitely gone out of style. As for being moralistic, heaven forbid that any novel nowadays have anything to say about morality one way or the other, except maybe to ridicule it. I’m beginning to wonder if the twentieth century craze for moral ambiguity and a tolerance for any and everything isn’t just that–a craze, a passing fad. Perhaps it’s time to write books that are a little bit sentimental, not too preachy, but having something worthwhile and character-buidling to say. Wouldn’t the author who could write a book that was entertaining, deeply thoughtful, and also “moralistic in tone” be a true artist in the best sense of the word? Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Dickens–all my favorite authors were able to be sentimental, moralistic, entertaining and profound. I don’t remember if Dinah Mulock had that ability or not, but it sounds as if she at least tried.

Reading out loud

The current read aloud books in this homeschool are Cheaper by the Dozen and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We watched the movie of Cheaper by the Dozen the other day, and all of us agreed that we wished that someday someone would make a movie that was actually based on the book of the same name. I’m enjoying reading about Dad Gilbreth’s educational techniques which involved a lot of painting things on walls and some “external motivation,” i.e. rewards for outstanding performance. We don’t paint Morse code on the walls and ceiling, but we do have a map of the world on the living room wall (wallpaper). I can’t say my children are expert geographers, but I think they have absorbed something just by having the map readily available.

Can anything good come out of Waco?

I just read this NYT article about new trends in Praise and Worship music and somethng called The Passion Experience. If you go by this report, Jerusalem on the Brazos is sending out waves that reach all the way to New York and beyond. More power to them. I recently read something else that mentioned Louie Giglio and The Passion Experience, and it sounds like a good deal.