Monthly Archives: July 2012

Information, Please?

“Never Let Schooling Interfere With Your Education,” by Grant Allen and popularized by Mark Twain. “One year in Italy with their eyes open would be worth more than three at Oxford.”

“What a misfortune it is that we should thus be compelled to let our boys’ schooling interfere with their education!”

In the early days of the American Republic, the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville toured America and wrote of his observations. He marveled at the education of our children, believing an American education to be the best in the world. Women and children were well educated and could hold their own in any conversation on any topic.

Entrance exams into colleges such as Princeton or Harvard required reading and writing part of the exam in an ancient language (normally Latin, Greek or Hebrew) and a modern foreign language (usually French or German). That included proper grammar and using certain words correctly. One example of a geography question from the 1869 Harvard entrance exam: “Bound the basin of the Po, of the Mississippi, of the St. Lawrence.” One example of arithmetic from the same exam: “Find the cube root of 0.0093 to five places of decimals. Find the square root of 531.5 to three places of decimals.” A section followed this on Logarithms and Trigonometry.

After completing the Freshman year, another round of entrance exams were required to be admitted as a sophomore. The questions were somewhat more difficult. Write an essay comparing and contrasting the following “Leonidas, Pausanias, Lysander.”

While Alexis de Tocqueville was impressed with America’s classical education, he noticed a lack of training in modern thinking. At that time a public versus private education was determined by enrollment, not funding. A public education meant that it was open to everyone. A private education meant that the school was closed to everyone except members.

Even an exam from 1895 Salina, KS would be difficult, if not impossible, for the average college graduate of today. There is some question as to who was being tested; Eighth Grade? High School? Is it a teacher’s certification exam? To be fair, science and arts disciplines were not included in these examinations. No physics, chemistry, music, literature or physical education were required. Each of these disciplines takes time and that time is taken away from these other courses.

Yet today we have high school graduates unable to read their own diplomas. The shift in emphasis is not the reason for their inability to read. It is the lack of discipline, both personal and academic. The books Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What You Can Do About It and Why Johnny Still Can’t Read: A New Look At the Scandal of Our Schools by Rudolf Flesch examine both some of the problems and solutions.

We are perhaps the best informed and worst-educated generation the world has ever seen. Most American students have completely lost the ability to think through any issue. We have access through the Internet to any information we want. But what do we do with it? Problems that might take days, weeks, months or even years to solve are discarded in favor of easy quick solutions.

This mentality began with plays, then switch to movies. Even serial movies had some kind of an end. TV shows had either complete solutions in half an hour; at most an hour or soap opera formats where nothing was ever solved. The open-ended nothing is ever really solved format became the fast paced video game. Quick one-word or phrase solutions are available through Google searches, so we have no need to remember anything. Life has become unending self-gratification where nothing important matters. “Give it to me now” has been the motto of western culture for over 50 years. Did it begin with the Beatles? Elvis? Frank Sinatra?

Solomon reminded us that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Plato wrote of Socrates in his dialogue Phaedrus that writing in and of itself was a step in the wrong direction. Instead of the mental disciple required by oral traditions, humans grew lazy and relied on what was written down. They could read, so they no longer needed to remember or think. “This will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, … they will trust to the external written characters.”

Plutarch tells us that Lycurgus, the founder of the laws of Sparta, believed the same way. “None of his laws were put into writing by Lycurgus, indeed, one of the so-called “rhetras” forbids it.”

Our generation easily dismisses the charge that they do not think things through with a “yeah, right,” neither openly accepting or rejecting, just wanting to “get on with life.”

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs and tyrannize their teachers.” (attributed to Socrates [Plato]. The exact source is unknown.)

These children killed Socrates when they grew up and came to power. These children also started the Peloponnesian Wars, one of the most barbaric episodes in human history.


Filed under Bible Teaching, Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, History, Uncategorized

The Benny and the Bank Robber Historical Adventure Series has new members in the family!

Just out for one more plunge into summer reading, or homeschool literature with history, mystery and adventure, check out the third book in the Benny and the Bank Robber series. Ben Carlisle’s longtime dream has been to travel west with his family. When he is offered a newspaper job in Detroit, he is forced to question whether moving west is really God’s will for him. Can he leave behind his grandfather, the girl he thought he loved, and an opportunity few writers could even dream about? Can he risk the life of one of his best friends, or face an old enemy head-on? What price will he have to pay just to make his writing live?

And don’t forget the other books in the series:

Benny and the Bank Robber


Benny and the Bank Robber: Ten-year-old Benny found the drunken cart driver who caused his father’s death, but he’s got bigger mysteries to solve. A long, sharp knife, a bag of disguises and a savage black stallion don’t reassure Benny about his traveling companion to frontier Missouri. Still, Benny can’t shake the Scripture’s promise that God “will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

Benny and the Bank Robber 2: Doctor Dad

Benny and the Bank Robber 2: Doctor Dad: What could be easier than getting Benny’s mother remarried? Delay after delay of every one of Benny’s plans shows him he may have to wait for God to “Make all things new.” Identical twins Rose and Violet Mitchell make Benny’s head spin. A mysterious secret society at his boarding school might have deadly plans for Benny. Has Benny’s Doctor Dad prepared him for times as hard as these, even for the temptation of the privilege and comfort his grandfather’s wealth can give him?

The first book has student and teacher editions study guides. Homeschoolers be sure to check them out!

Benny Study Questions Student Edition

Benny Study Questions Teacher Edition




Filed under Excerpts from our Fiction Books, History, Uncategorized

What does it cost to be a Spiritual Warrior? — Guest Post by Pastor George McVey

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Pastor George told us he was inspired to write this blog by ours, “Molon Laba, Come and Take Them. ” When he shared it with us Michael said it was better than the one he wrote, so we wanted to share it with our readers.

An online and writing acquaintance of mine has a blog that I follow regularly and today she had a political post that sparked something spiritual in me. So instead of answering a question today, I want to spend some time talking about the cost of Spiritual Warfare. If you need a question to be answered I guess it would be this- If I get involved in the Spiritual Battle to bring revival to America again, what will it cost me?

My friend posted that during the ancient battle for Thermopylae the Persian king Xerxes called for the Spartan King Leonidas and his army to surrender their weapons. Leonidas replied, “Molon Laba” which means “Come and take them.” During the Battle for the Alamo in Texas history Santa Anna called for the surrender of the fort the response of Colonel Travis and company was similar to the Spartan’s: “Come and take it.” My friend mentions that in both cases the result was a complete loss of life. I was reading that post when I felt God whisper into my heart that to each of those groups the cost was worth it.

God is looking for people to stand in the gap for America and fight in the Spiritual Realm for a new spiritual revival in our great nation. But God never wants his people to enter the fight without considering the cost. Look at Jesus’ own words on this subject, they are found in Luke 14:25-33 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.  So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”(NKJV)

Jesus makes it plain here that we need to consider the cost of following him and furthering his mission. That is of course what disciples do. He even tells us what it will cost us–all that we have. In my role of Evangelist and End Time Revivalist I hear lots of people proclaim that they want a move of God in their community, church, state, and nation. Yet, when the enemy attacks, they run away in fear or talk about how it cost too much or is too hard to handle.

Yes it is hard to stand against an overwhelming attack, but that didn’t stop the 300 Spartan warriors or the brave freedom fighters at the Alamo. In both of these physical cases they stood till the last man lost his life. It may have seemed like they lost the war but the truth is both loses became the rallying point for greater victory. We might not know the Texan call of “Come and take it”, but we have all heard the phrase issued by Sam Huston, “Remember the Alamo,” which became the Rally Cry that brought Santa Anna defeat and Texas freedom.

Maybe you will chose to stand up and be part of the spiritual army fighting for an awakening of spiritual righteousness in America, and maybe it will cost you everything. But if your payment leads to what you want to see isn’t it worth that cost? I don’t know about those of you reading this, but for me the answer is this: I would give everything up to and including my life to see America become “One nation under God” again. That’s right; to see America return to being known as a “Christian Nation” I am willing to lay down my life. I like the Spartans of old scream in the face of the evil one. “Satan you want me to surrender my weapons and my country to you? Well all I have to say is COME AND TAKE ‘EM”


Here’s the link to Pastor George’s blog.

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Molon Laba “Come and Take Them.”


These are the words of the Spartan King Leonidas to the Persian King Xerxes at the battle of Thermopylae. The Spartans were asked to surrender their weapons. “Come and Take It,” the slogan of the Texas revolt, was based on this challenge.

When we use these phrases, we must remember that both the attackers, Xerxes and Santa Ana, both came and took them, killing all who uttered these words at Thermopylae and the Alamo. Since words mean things, we must be careful what we say. Are we prepared to give up our lives to preserve liberty and freedom for our wives and our children?

Does this sound extreme? It is July 2012. America has lost the Presidency. Though anything can happen, there is better than a 99% chance that our next President will either be a re-elected Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. From these two really awful choices, Christians have the responsibility to vote for the man who will provide the greatest possible freedom to preach and teach the Word of God. Barack Obama has attacked Christianity as much as he can. But the need to be re-elected has moderated these attacks. I would not be surprised to see anyone opposing him in his 2nd term thrown into prison. Mitt Romney governed MA as a liberal. Mitt Romney will also be restrained by the need to run for re-election.

Solid believers need to vote for Mitt Romney because he offers a chance of providing slightly more freedom. We also need to support him because if we get a better candidate in the future to run in the general election, we will need the votes of liberal Republicans at that time. If we fail to support the party nominee now, why should they support the party nominee then?

The immediate goal of those who wish to invest time and money into providing for liberty and freedom for our wives and children are the senate races. 33 of the 100 seats are being contested this year. Nine of those seats have the current senator retiring. Five have Republicans running for re-election. People who normally vote as a liberal hold all of the remaining 19 seats. While the work is enormous, so are the possibilities for great victory. Whoever is the president ratifies treaties and confirms judges, and not just on the Supreme Court. Wikipedia has a complete list of every election in each state with each candidate.

Once again, if you are going to invest any time or money in any election, invest it in the best possible senate candidate, even if neither senator from your state is running for re-election.

I am constantly asked, “Why do we have such horrible presidential candidates?” The short answer is that liberals have captured the election process. Though there are many facets to this problem, two simple solutions would cure the vast majority of our election ills.

First, we are drowning in voter fraud. While voter fraud happens everywhere, it is by far worse in large cities; Miami, Chicago and LA cannot even consider an honest candidate. My solution to voter fraud is a Constitutional amendment to pay a $10,000 bounty per vote to anyone who proves voter fraud and has the vote removed. Congress will have the authority to raise the bounty, but it will never go below $10,000. This money will be collected as a fine against the state allowing the illegal voting. Congress can define an “honest mistake” exception from the fine. The market will take care of the most outlandish abuses.

Second, the primary process is skewed towards the most liberal candidate from each of the major parties. Simply pass a federal law requiring all presidential primary elections to be held within a single six-week timeframe. Any delegates or candidates elected outside of this timeframe would not be able to vote at the party convention. While congress normally should not interfere directly in party machinery, neither party abided by their own rules for the 2012 primary elections.

Yes, there are more problems, but these begin to fix the most serious problems.


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Who’s Your Political Example?

A friend recently said, and I have heard this many times, that we as Christians should not be involved in politics. We should concentrate on giving out the Gospel. A speaker I was told about warned against paying attention to Glenn Beck and implying that he is obsessed with politics and patriotism. It is good advice to remember that we are Christians first and Americans second. Still, it is important to remember that we are free to be Christians in good measure because of our rights as citizens, which are being sucked away by Secular Humanism.

Here’s an example from Scripture. Jesus Christ knew that there were people in his day who wanted to be free of Rome. They were called Zealots. They objected to Rome’s control and Rome’s soldiers tramping around making demands of them. Under Roman law, a soldier could take a Jew’s coat. He couldn’t take the only thing he had to protect him from weather, so it was a matter of taking an extra garment. That’s why Jesus said, if he wants your coat, give him your cloak too. If a soldier says carry this load a mile, again, a legal request under Roman law, you should carry the load two miles. If a soldier struck someone on the cheek, it was because Roman law permitted it because the person had committed some offense. The Roman soldiers were there to protect people, to serve them, and they were entitled to these reciprocal arrangements under the law, whether the people liked them or not.

Now, these laws were, of course, abused by corrupt soldiers. Jesus wasn’t talking about that. His message was the same as the Old Testament prophets when the Israelites were defeated and became subjects of a foreign power. God told the prophets to tell the people not to resist, not to rebel, once they were conquered. This was God’s will, His discipline for their idolatry and disobedience. This is what was happening again under Roman rule. So when Jesus says turn the other cheek, he doesn’t mean put up with people trouncing your rights. He doesn’t mean let them sack your house, take your daughter as a trophy, etc. Conquered people had rights under Roman law. Jesus was saying follow the law, submit to Rome, don’t start a rebellion.

The other side of the coin was the Apostle Paul. Paul was being persecuted, not by Rome, but by his fellow Jews. Wherever he went they started a riot. They accused him and his followers of treason to get them in trouble. Paul was scooped up by Roman soldiers and taken in for questioning on so many occasions after one of these riots he just brings up a few as examples. Now, being questioned because Romans think you started a riot and are a rebel meant being whipped severely. That’s what examination by scourging means. They were about to do that to Paul, when he mildly asked, “Is it lawful to scourge a citizen, uncondemned?”

The leader of the soldiers wasn’t just given pause by that question. He stopped dead. No, it was not lawful to scourge an uncondemned citizen. And this soldier had been forced to purchase his citizenship. Paul pointed out that he was born a Roman Citizen. The soldier was terrified. Paul could have had serious legal recourse if the scourging had been carried out. The Jews weren’t content to just get Paul arrested and possibly scourged and imprisoned. They were trying to kill him. A group of men bound themselves to an oath to fast until they had killed Paul. Paul found out about this plot and appealed to the soldiers to protect him. They did. He was escorted out of harm’s way with an armed guard of mounted soldiers, a fast ride to another jurisdiction. That was his right as a citizen, even though he was a prisoner.

Paul was on trial yet again before Festus, who didn’t seem to grasp the problem. He knew Paul wasn’t guilty of treason and intended to release him, after conferring with Agrippa, but Paul knew he would be killed as soon as he walked out the door. So he appealed to Caesar, meaning he had to be transported under guard to Rome. This, again, was invoking his legal rights under Roman law, even as a prisoner. And he got what he asked for.

All of this makes Roman law in the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul a step up from what we have now. This is America. We are citizens, born or naturalized, and as such we have rights under the Constitution and are supposed to have laws to protect those rights. So we have a perfect right to protest when our rights are trampled on. This is not a soldier asking us to carry a load for him a mile or two. This is a police officer saying we have no right to use a gun on a home invader. He’s wrong, we do have that right. We are supposed to keep and bear arms. Yet gun control laws are pervasive, and even in states where homeowners still have the right to keep a gun in the house they are almost certain to be arrested if they shoot a housebreaker and can’t prove he was trying to kill them. Gun control is just one example, but it’s what I like to call a big, dumb, obvious one.

People being arrested for canvassing in a public park is another one. Some Christians went to a park where a homosexual group was having a rally/fair/in-your-face event, and the Christians variously handed out literature, talked to people, or lay down on the ground with arms outstretched, in protest, apparently, of the blatant display of immorality that normally goes on at such events. The homosexuals called police and claimed harassment, intimidation, and threatening behavior, none of which occurred. People were arrested without cause, without evidence of wrongdoing, when they claimed they had a right to do what they were doing in a public place. They were just hauled away to prevent the event’s doings from being disturbed.

Once again, this is a big, dumb, obvious one. The Constitution doesn’t say your right to peaceably assemble is conditional upon whether someone lies about you and says they’re scared of you. Peaceable assembly can’t just be usurped by local law enforcement.

Glenn Beck knows a lot about the Constitution. He may not always be right in what he says or how he acts, but he knows American freedoms guaranteed at the founding are being taken away. He wants to stop that, and we should want it too. But let’s take Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul as our example, not entertainers who might know some stuff and mean well. They are not our life-guides. The Scriptures, as always, have the ultimate answers. “Therefore be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Don’t start a rebellion, but know your rights, and stand up for them.


Filed under Bible Teaching, Current Issues, Politics, Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, History

Review of Remnant in the Stars by Cindy Koepp

Remnant in the Stars


How far will a father go to rescue his daughter, and how much power does he really have to bring that about? How hard will a soldier push herself to do her duty when doing it has already cost her health, friendship and maybe her future? What will it take to bring together two races desperately in need of each other? Most members don’t even try to hide their disdain and disgust for each other. You have no idea how richly complex the answers to these questions are and how much you need to find them out by reading this book.

Sora is taking his place among my all-time favorite characters. He’s a typical father, keeping his children’s colorful drawings close to his heart. He’s everybody’s wise and patient friend, even those who tell him to “butt out.” But even the Pilgrim in Bunyan’s timeless allegory might not have tried to carry as big a burden of guilt as Sora does. His patience and open-heartedness create an unexpected opportunity for the expression of the author’s Christian faith.

Some people might object to the inclusion of multiple intelligent races but Koepp makes it work for me. It’s easy to take a somewhat allegorical view of certain beings. It’s clear that the message of the book is to give God the glory for good decisions, victories and even happy reunions.

The Numodynes are more than a little puzzling. But they are an important picture of how good and evil can look a lot alike. Even when you make the effort to figure out which is which, they can still both have a powerful effect on you and your plans. It’s good thing God is there to help with the understanding and the response.


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Wisdom Bursts — a Review of “From Redemption to Maturity” by Joana James

Joana James is fast-becoming one of my favorite authors. I have read two of her fiction works and look forward to a third coming out soon. But then she had to go and write a devotional. I don’t normally read devotionals because I’m already so spiritual I don’t need them. Seriously, there are many devotionals that, with the best of intentions, cover ground familiar to me and don’t challenge me. I look for tough teaching because that’s what I need.

I found it. Joana, in her introduction, explains that people are short on time and attention span. Whether that’s a “in these modern times” thing or a “people through the ages” thing, she’s right. So she calls her short devotionals “bursts of wisdom.”

So many precious, tough “bursts” I could pick out of this little book, about experience, trust, faith, patience. You’ll get some insight into “killing your promise.” (Doing what?) You’ll learn a lesson about childlike, “staple faith.” Then there’s the admonition not to “suffer pain in vain,” not to end up a worthless rock …

Study these wisdom bursts. It won’t take a lot of time. And hang on. She says she going to write more of them. I can’t wait.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging