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Posts by TomSmedley

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  • Boy Wins Spelling Bee With 'Serrefine' (Another homeschooler victory)

    06/01/2007 8:19:33 AM PDT · 126 of 175
    TomSmedley to JenB
    Writing in English is like painting with a million shades. If it means kids take a while to learn proper spelling, fine, but giving up our rich heritage for ease of spelling just isn’t worth it.

    One of the most brilliant teachers I've ever sat under. Stanley S. Ward PhD, explained why English poetry is the best in the world. English, you see, is a shotgun wedding of two contrasting linguistic streams -- the germanic (Anglo Saxon -- that 20% of our vocabulary used 80% of the time) and romantic (French). You can dip from either pool, depending on the effect you wish to convey. And the antagonism/tension between these strands makes it very hard to write good poetry -- but the results, when you succeed, are indeed noteworthy.

  • Boy Wins Spelling Bee With 'Serrefine' (Another homeschooler victory)

    06/01/2007 5:58:23 AM PDT · 110 of 175
    TomSmedley to zeugma
    Well said. English is an exceptionally powerful language because we're not sticklers on where words come from, or their history, or some silly list of rules of how things "should" be done. If we find a word that better describes something than what we had available to us, we take it and make it our own.

    We've imported one word from Malay -- but it has two correct spellings, and is always combined with the English verb "to run."

    Foreigners often conclude that English is an easy language to learn, since we have NO rules of grammar! (actually, we have them, but they're in1visible. The hardest word for a non-native speaker to master is -- the.

    The Malay word, BTW is amok or amuck.
  • Boy Wins Spelling Bee With 'Serrefine' (Another homeschooler victory)

    06/01/2007 5:54:29 AM PDT · 108 of 175
    TomSmedley to burzum
    We have students memorizing hundreds of different ways to spell words that could be standardized instead of learning word meanings or other subjects. It is such a huge waste of energy.

    Yet a ready learner can master English with about 30 hours of intense phonics instruction. True, our spelling system has some bizarre outliers -- including one sound that hasn't been pronounced in 500-1000 years, but still must be included in words like light, thought, though, tough, enough ... and our most common vowel, the schwa, has no letter of its own!

    However, a simplified orthography would cut us off from our legacy, our patrimony. For some folks, this is a great idea. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, imposed a latinate alphabet upon his subjects over the course of six intense months -- and put 500 years' worth of Ottoman archives beyond the reach of all but specialists. Chairman Mao's "simplified Mao script" cut his people off from their literary heritage.

    (BTW -- I own a book designed for Turkish sojourners that lists common English phrases, their Turkish equivalents, and the English phonetically spelled out in the Turkish alphabet. It's entertaining to see how others hear us!)

  • Boy Wins Spelling Bee With 'Serrefine' (Another homeschooler victory)

    06/01/2007 5:45:08 AM PDT · 105 of 175
    TomSmedley to wintertime
    It is the institutionalized child who is artificially retarded in their educational and social development.

    True. The brighter kids in public school who resist the retardation are made to pay in other ways. Bullies serve the same function in public schools as rapists do in prisons -- cowed, humiliated, and beaten inmates are easier to manage, less likely to think for themselves, less likely to escape. See Ayn Rand's gruesome essay The Comparchicos of the Mind, in her Anti-Industrial Revolution.

  • Boy Wins Spelling Bee With 'Serrefine' (Another homeschooler victory)

    06/01/2007 12:29:22 AM PDT · 72 of 175
    TomSmedley to twinzmommy

    The most common vowel in the English language, the schwa, doesn’t even have its own letter of the alphabet! Latin was sparse on vowels, so when we adopted their alphabet, we forced each vowel letter to represent TWO sounds.

  • Favorite newspaper comic strips

    06/01/2007 12:23:17 AM PDT · 27 of 33
    TomSmedley to DancesWithCats
    Calvinist in your tag line for the religion or the cartoon?

    The religion, first and foremost.

    I've heard it said somewhere (the Turkish language has a syllable you can insert into verbs to render them second-hand! the "narrative" tense, translated as "they say," or "I've heard" -- something you don't know from first-hand knowledge) that Watterton's favorite two philosophers are John Hobbes and John Calvin. His work definitely shows an awareness of human depravity!

  • Favorite newspaper comic strips

    05/31/2007 7:44:36 PM PDT · 21 of 33
    TomSmedley to DancesWithCats
    Calvin & Hobbes!!! How could I have forgotten that one!

    I use the final Sunday episode of C&H as wallpaper on company computers when on contract. "Leave 'em laughing when you go." Grand new adventure about to happen!

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/31/2007 9:40:54 AM PDT · 432 of 435
    TomSmedley to Campion; Uncle Chip
    So can your "Catholic friends".

    Excellent point, and I am glad to number believing Catholics among my friends.

    The contrast I am attempting to make is between the generic, normal, standard, orthodox Christian experience of being in the Lord's presence any time, anywhere, and the dispensational hope of someday getting to stand for days under the sweltering Mediterranean sun in order to exchange a few brief words with One who is confined, geographically and chronologically, to an imaginary future Jerusalem.

  • More Bands Ditching Record Labels

    05/31/2007 4:18:40 AM PDT · 5 of 25
    TomSmedley to meowmeow
    I've been thinking the same thing about publishing as well. was founded by one of the co-founders of Red Had Linux, and offers an intriguing self-publishing print-on-demand solution. You can even sell your downloadable books from their site.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/29/2007 11:56:10 AM PDT · 427 of 435
    TomSmedley to Uncle Chip
    The church is the new Jerusalem, the true, faithful, and loyal Spouse of the great Bridegroom.[1] The Epic of Gilgamesh speaks of the day "when kingship was let down from heaven." In that we are born from above (see John 3:3), we are members of this heavenly city, where Jesus reigns. We set the standards that God-fearers, God-seekers, and God-lovers in every nation yearn for.

    In this new Jerusalem, every citizen has instant access to The King. There's no standing in line for days under a sweltering mid-eastern sun, awaiting a brief audience of a second or two in the Holy Presence. Our Catholic friends consider it the high point of their lives if they can have an audience with their pope for just a few minutes. We can talk to our Great High Priest at any hour of the day or night, for as long as we want to!

    And your vision of an earthly city with a long line of sweating audience seekers, and a handful of folks getting rich off the porta-potty concession is better than my vision .... how?

    [1] There was a bizarre heresy floating around Pentecostal circles a half-century ago that imagined the Bride as a separate entity from the whole church. Of course, they numbered themselves among "the manifest sons of God," and left us second-rate saints out in the cold! But that's old news ...

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/29/2007 5:10:41 AM PDT · 425 of 435
    TomSmedley to Uncle Chip
    It says that heaven is God's [the Father's] throne and Jerusalem is the city of the great King.

    Bingo ----

    "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."[Jeremiah 3:18]

    We are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, the true, faithful, and loyal Jerusalem, the Jerusalem that recognizes God's anointed King, the Lord Jesus Christ. The false Jerusalem, the one that denies Jesus, is in bondage with all of her children.

  • Need help with homeschooling

    05/29/2007 1:06:47 AM PDT · 72 of 89
    TomSmedley to taxcontrol
    There are learning disabilities issues that are borderline... Asbergers (sp?) being the most relevant.

    A lot of lights went on for me when I discovered "Asperger's syndrome." School can be hell for the brilliant, inept kid, the one who will not, indeed can not, "fit in." Bullies serve the same purpose in schools as rapists do in prisons -- enforcing the norms, punishing the misfits, inculcating a sense of impotent rage. As a mid-50s grownup, I can make light of the syndrome -- "The world is really an interesting place when you see it through my eyes!"

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/25/2007 5:00:20 AM PDT · 331 of 435
    TomSmedley to PetroniusMaximus
      “I grieve for the dispensationalists, who are trying to struggle through life with a Lord who their theology has reduced, in this present age, to a mere guru.”
    Tom, please explain this statement.

    Thanks for asking. Amazing how popular theological errors can be cured by even a single year of NT Greek study. Prepositions are very important in the Greek language, used to convey a variety of shades of meaning. Or, when translated by an inappropriate English word, capable of doing great harm. Consider ek, such a small word to exert such leverage in dethroning the King of the universe! When Jesus said that His Kingdom was not "ek tou kosmou toutou" He was speaking of His Kingdom's source, not its location. His Kingdom is not derived from an earthly combination of powers, and owes nothing to anything (or anyone) on this planet. However, Psalm 110 is the OT chapter most frequently quoted or cited in the NT, and it speaks of a reigning King who is overcoming His enemies one by one. See I Cor. 15:25-35, for example. Our God reigns now, and being in on what He is up to is the most glorious use for our brief lives.

    Dispensational eschatology, by contrast, evicts God's Kingdom from the present and the local, relocating it to two inaccessible places -- the hidden inner soul, and the distant future.

    One of the great delights I experienced in moving from the frantic freak show / horror show of pop eschatology into the sober, significant, and deeply joyous Reformed perspective was -- a new appreciation for corporate realities. Since we are Trinitarian, we recognize that the plural is as significant as the personal. God's Kingdom is revealed, and forwarded, through plural entities such as churches, families, and nations. Wherever godly fathers, elders, and magistrates govern their families, churches, and communities in His fear and by His Word, blessings are released.

    Hey, I don't mind having a "personal" Savior. Explain to me, though, how such an artificially restricted role differs from that of guru.

    It's a lot more fun to sit down at the King's table, get debriefed on how things are faring in my corner of the Kingdom, get fresh assignments, and the resources needed to pursue them. To eat His food, and don His uniform. To know that this world is better for ever day that I am in it, representing and serving the King. And that my labor is not in vain in the Lord, but contributing towards the day, directly connected with my efforts, when His glory will cover the earth as the waters fill the seas.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/24/2007 7:44:01 AM PDT · 282 of 435
    TomSmedley to Uncle Chip; DreamsofPolycarp; PetroniusMaximus
    But, Tom, the return of Jesus to this earth to reign from his throne in Jerusalem is part of the everlasting Gospel. To deny such is to deny an integral part of the Gospel itself.

    But we ARE the new Jerusalem, the one from above, (compare to John 3:3 -- anothen can be translated "from above" as well as "again") the Jerusalem that is free, loyal to Jesus, the one where the King reigns now. Having the King in residence now is indeed the good news. Rejoicing in our Lord's present presence and power and program does not in any way eliminate the joyous hope of the final resurrection. We joy, though, in having something valuable and rewarding to do now. We rejoice in the expectation of seeing the victory purchased at Calvary, and launched at the empty tomb, manifesting itself in our lives and in our day.

    • I grieve for the Jews who are trying to struggle through life without a savior, and
    • I grieve for the dispensationalists, who are trying to struggle through life with a Lord who their theology has reduced, in this present age, to a mere guru.
    There is theory, and then there is practice. Thank God that the Holy Spirit does not abandon us to our logical conclusions.

    This is so true, and so gracious! How kind our God is to enlist us in His service, "warts and all."

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/23/2007 7:13:26 PM PDT · 274 of 435
    TomSmedley to PetroniusMaximus
    Great men of God search the scriptures seeking to understand God’s prophetic plan.

    As my dad pulled a mobile home out of its berth, the hired man was appointed to watch. He watched as a power line slowly went across the roof, snagged the chimney, and pulled it off. Afterwards he told dad, "Hey, I figured that was going to happen!"

    The problem with dispisensationalism is that it breeds a generation of passive spectators, convinced that they can't do a damn thing about that which is ordained to happen. I mean, if God Himself has ordained the failure of the gospel within history, who am I to resist God by proclaiming the power and hope of the gospel?

  • Mars a giant step, but 'doable' Apollo 11 commander recalls moon mission, space race with Soviets

    05/23/2007 7:00:49 AM PDT · 27 of 41
    TomSmedley to r9etb
    The more rational and sustainable approach would be to ignore Mars altogether, and focus on building space infrastructure closer to home. Once that's in place, Mars will be a natural and relatively easy goal.

    An O'Neill colony, built with lunar material, could drift towards Mars at a leisurely pace.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/23/2007 1:59:01 AM PDT · 236 of 435
    TomSmedley to WileyPink
    And BTW, is there anyone here who believes that a person's view of the end times determines their salvation. If not, why am I hearing so much contention in some of these post.

    To the extent that we reflect God's image, we are goal-seeking creatures. Our perception of the ends towards which we strive shapes all that we do, and what we're living for. Rather high stakes!

      Do you know, what you're hoping for
      When you look behind you there's no open door,
      Do you know?
    If you believe that God has already decided to give the other team an uncontested turn at bat, that He has decreed the global triumph of evil, these expectations concerning "the big picture" unavoidably shape your expectations regarding the smaller picture of your own life. Like one famous writer, a serial polygamist working on marriage number 4 at last count, you could find yourself driven to snatch all that you can while you can before the deluge.[1] If "time is short," than it's a waste of time to undertake any endeavor that requires decades to fulfill -- a career as a novelist, scholarly recognition, or an enduring marriage. What the military calls the "short termer" mentality normally generates apathy and mediocrity, just barely doing enough to get by on.

    If, OTOH, you assume that God's gracious and gradual processes of sanctification are at work in our lives and our histories to bring about the day when His glory covers the earth as the waters do the sea, you'll live with longer-range projects in view. Why not start a dynasty of fervent believers, who will still be shaping history a century after I'm gone? Why not pursue a doctorate at age 50+, and plan to amortize the increased credibility over the next three decades?

    Pentecostals dream of instant sanctification. Reformed believers assume it takes years for the individual soul, decades for the marriage, centuries for the nations, and milennia for the church to approach God's design for them.

    [1] Apres moi, le deluge said Louis XIV as he ran up fiscal and societal debts his grandkids would be unable to pay.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/23/2007 1:30:15 AM PDT · 235 of 435
    TomSmedley to r9etb
      Hm. By this reading, Mr. Adams seems to discount the idea of the Second Coming, which has not yet happened, and which Scripture says is to be accompanied by some pretty nasty events.

      Any article purporting to be about "the New Testament as it's meant to be read," (i.e., no rapture); and which at the same time basically ignores the Scriptural promises concerning the Second Coming ... well, that is a pretty dismal excuse for Biblical exigeses.

    Apples and oranges. Standard, normal, garden-variety, orthodox (small and large O) Christianity has always looked forward to "the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, Amen." The vast majority of us anticipate the bodily return of our Lord at the end of history, coinciding with the resurrection/translation of all the living and dead saints.

    The novelty, the "new kid on the block," is the notion of a "rapture" broken out from the main event, and taking place 3.5 or 7 or n years before the final resurrection. Mike Adams confesses the Biblical, historical, and creedal Christian faith in this regard.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/22/2007 11:35:59 AM PDT · 208 of 435
    TomSmedley to bruinbirdman

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve always respected Mike Adams as a man of uncommon good sense. Discovering that his sanity extends to eschatology is gratifying.

  • How to Read the New Testament

    05/22/2007 11:25:43 AM PDT · 207 of 435
    TomSmedley to Colonel Kangaroo
      It helps to realize that the Bible is not written TO us but it's written FOR us. The book of Revelation was written to 1st century people for 1st century problems. If it does not concern those 1st Century Christians, then it is not in the book. All this rapture/end times nonsense that people read into the book of Revelation today would have no application to those 1st Century addressees of the book.

      That does not mean that the book does not have necessary spiritual benefit for us today. But the book is a 1st Century letter written to 1st Century people about 1st Century problems.

    Yep. People who use God's Word as a crystal ball or ouija board miss the point thereof.
    • Lovers and winners shape the future.
    • Losers and whiners try to predict it.