Monday, September 22, 2003


I don't wear "homeschooling" on my sleeve. But when asked about it I enjoy explaining the reasons why we do. The most common reaction from Christian men is that their wife doesn't have the patience to do it. I fear that the
problem is more serious than this.

Many Christian mothers don't seem to have the patience to be with the children period. I understand the important need for a break, husbands should ensure that their wives aren't driven to desperation, but I am beginning to doubt whether women want their children around them more than a couple hours each day. Frequent reliance on school, mother's day out, children's church, etc to provide an escape says something important about our view of motherhood and children.

We're now part of a truly-reformed church; well, at least the pastor is TR and he is making sweeping changes. This is driving me to sort out my reformed beliefs and practices from my "pseudo-reformed" ones.

As I do this and spend time with the TR-folks, I find one characteristic that I don't want to adopt. It seems there's a tendency to show disproportionate amounts of disgust. You're likely to get as strong of a reaction at the mention of contemporary worship music, like "Majesty", as you are if you bring up Spong's denial of the deity of Christ.

I think it's important to realize that no two people will ever have the exact same set of convictions at the exact same time. We can disagree with everybody about something. Sometimes we disagree over major issues and
that's as it should be. But we need to be gracious over littler differences. We need to decide what things are worthy of public disgust, and what things we should just keep to ourselves.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Staying the Course (Part 1)

Defining your view of "the Good Life" reveals your values.

The typical American Christians' definition of the Good Life can be seen in how they live. Their life consists of a steadily-increasing combination of: two-incomes, one or two conveniently-timed children, school-year freedom for mom, a nicely-appointed home, sleek cars for him and her, a beach-house someday, fashionable-wardrobe, and attendance at the closest "mainstream" church with a focus on The Purpose Driven Life.

Valuing God and the advance of His kingdom more than my personal peace and affluence is not only counter-cultural, it's counter-me. I need like-minded others to help stay the course. Young children limit our personal freedom. Home-schooling tests our patience and perseverance. Our home doesn't resemble "Southern-Living". Duct tape is a critical part on my car. My clothes double as handi-wipes for little hands and mouths. Sadly, our church is 45 minutes away.

I feel the pressure to give-up on our notion of the Good Life and settle for the immediate enjoyment shared by most Christians here. But I won't. Instead I will focus on the long-term. I will think of multiple generations of ever-increasing Baileys living to advance the kingdom of God, finding their enjoyment in our God and each other. I will not trade this Good Life for the world's half-hearted flings.

Friday, September 12, 2003


There are lots of things I naturally respond to negatively without really knowing why. Two stand out this week.

In my workplace a flyer advertising "Golf for Jesus" has been posted by a local Baptist church. For $45 and a day on the links you can support missions. I quickly eschew this as improper means to reach a good end. The fact that it takes the incentive of a round of golf for us to support the spread of the gospel shows how self-centered the modern evangelical is. But last night reading the website of one of my ministry darlings I see they're
sponsoring a sea cruise, which is undoubtedly a means to raise money for the ministry. I don't feel so bad about that because I like this group, but what's the difference between their cruise-ship and the Baptists' countryclub?

Second, I read of the decision to keep a chain of Christian bookstores open on Sundays. I think ha! this is not out of necessity or mercy so my indignation is justified. But then I remember that I like to eat out after church on Sundays, and these restuarants aren't open as acts of mercy or necessity, but I don't feel wrong supporting their decision.

Like others, I'm too quick to condemn others and too quick to justify myself. I still think golfing for Jesus and Sunday business hours are inconsistent with Christian convictions, but before lashing out, I better know why and live by it myself.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Shepherdess of the Family

On their way to the pound to meet with the "puppy-matcher", Kristin and the children picked up a newspaper. They were delighted to find just the type of puppy we have been looking for, a border collie.

Our new and yet-to-be-named pup is fresh from the farm where her parents were expert, lifelong sheep-herders. Just the thing for young children? We hope so!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Explaining Just-War

Today during an Air Command and Staff College Seminar I was surprised to learn that the vocal members of our group deny the possibility of a just war. We weren't talking about our current endeavor in Iraq, but just the possibility of a war ever being just.

Here's how I explained that possibility. A war is just if it is fought as a act of love for an oppressed neighbor. Christ commanded us to love our neighbor, and when asked to define neighbor, He gave us the Good Samaritan. This parable tells us a neighbor isn't limited to just friends, allies, or those that you can benefit from.

So it's not immoral for a nation to protect an oppressed people through sanctions, international pressure or even armed conflict. Coming to the aid of others when your nation has nothing to gain by the intervention is not being the world's "police-force", it's being a good neighbor.

It would actually be immoral (by the good Samaritan ethic) for a nation that has the means to relieve a suffering neighbor to instead stand idly by and do nothing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Generalist vs. Specialist

At times I view the college years of my life with regret. You'd think holding a degree in Electrical Engineering means you possess some ability relating to electrical work. Ha! Ha! There wasn't room to trifle with courses of such practical purpose. I've worried ever since about my lack of a skill or trade.

But recently I'm wondering if some good didn't come of that education after all. I learned in college to be a generalist by balancing the different responsibilities of those years, never getting bogged down in any one area, so to always be ready for the next demand.

I still occasionally wonder if "generalist" is just an employer's euphemism for "Useful Idiot". But the work pays the bills, or to put it more biblically, provides for my family.

I'd like to be a specialist someday; but I first have to find the one thing I'd enjoy specializing in. Looking back, I'm glad the earlier temptations and disappointments of piloting and pastoring never got off the ground. But perhaps someday soon I'll find the right life's work to pour myself into.