Hiyo, Silver!

I’m not ashamed of doing things that aren’t “smart”–things like taking horse paste and inhaling nanoparticles of silver–when all the “smart” people are jumping off a cliff and calling that foolishness “herd immunity”. It’s herd something, anyway. 

This post is for entertainment purposes and is not to be construed as medical advice. Do not attempt this yourself. I’m just telling you what I did. Try whatever you like. But don’t blame or credit me with the results, please. You have been warned.

So, I think I had the Coof–the Rona, the WuFlu, the Illegal Cough–whatever you want to call it. What I did not have, was Covid-19, because that is an ugly, clunky name, and I do not get ugly, clunkily-named illnesses. I didn’t really feel up to leaving the house to get tested once I was sick, so I can’t say for sure what it was. Besides, you’re not supposed to go places when you’re sick. Somebody might catch something. I’ll probably get antibody testing pretty soon and see if I have them.

What I had at first was about 4 days of awful chest congestion, lots of dry coughing, but no drop in pulse-ox. I never lost my sense of smell, that I could tell, but I also wasn’t eating, so maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it. It felt low in the lungs, unlike asthma, though my albuterol inhaler did ease some of the distress. I was so tired I couldn’t move. I had a low fever and then muscle aches after the fever subsided. It might have just been the flu.

After the first few days, I gave in and took the horse paste, which I should have done the first day. I’ve always been reluctant to medicate. I could cut my hand off and spend several minutes bleeding out while considering whether I really wanted to intervene in nature’s handling of the matter. This works well for me 99% of the time. I have a strong immune system because I let it practice a lot. I’ll go out and lick doorknobs if it’s been too long since I’ve had an illness to spar with.

The day after taking Ivermectin I had most of my energy back, but breathing was still labored. To get an idea of how I should treat myself, I researched how it’s prescribed for other ailments, and how several (mostly successful) experiments specifically for the Cough had been run. I could have taken it daily with little danger of side effects, I figured, but again, I wanted to see if my body could do it on its own. Because of the way I spaced it out, taking notes on how I felt every day, I don’t think it was either placebo effect or coincidence that I improved so quickly after getting my hooves, but I guess it could have been.

Me and My Man

I hung out at that mostly-better level for a while, maybe 3 days. I felt like I was never going to improve further on my own, so I took another dose of the stuff and within a few hours was feeling pretty good. But my breathing was still labored. I wasn’t coughing anything up, even though it felt like I surely had stuff way down in there, and I was having to use my long-neglected asthma inhaler every six to eight hours. It worked to help me breathe, but it didn’t heal me.

I had been doing nebulized hydrogen peroxide (you can do a web search to find instructions if you’re interested), to no detriment as far as I could tell, but also to no avail. I’ve spent the last several weeks living basically normally. I’ve even been doing my workouts at about half my usual intensity, just hoping against hope that I’m not overdoing it. I can’t just sit here and wait until I’m perfectly well. I get bored.

So I was feeling good, almost 100%, but still using my inhaler almost daily. I did finally start coughing some stuff up a week ago, instead of just coughing, but it comes painfully.

Now, I am not going to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. I just don’t do that. It’s a fault of mine. I don’t want anybody to know I’m not invincible, for one thing. I take it as a personal failure when I get sick. Besides, I don’t want to take time out of my busy schedule for an appointment. I also don’t want to take antibiotics or steroids. I don’t want to do a covid test. I don’t want to pay for a consult.

“So what else can I try?”, I wondered. My immune system was clearly unable to finish this thing off on its own.

Last night I was thinking about the hydrogen peroxide treatment, and how that works. To oversimplify the explanation, basically it produces ROS in the tissues which then destroy any bacteria or viruses that they encounter. The H2O2/saline solution, applied several times, was not doing what it should, but I couldn’t think why. It really should work. Maybe it just isn’t powerful enough because I stubbornly let the bug settle in and get comfortable for too long instead of treating immediately.

So I started thinking, there is another substance that I know does the same thing. I’ve taken it internally plenty of times, though not by inhalation. What if I try direct application of colloidal silver? I went on a hunt for literature on nebulizing the stuff, because I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Well, what do you know? People do that! Granted, they’re all slightly crazy, but who isn’t these days? So after some research (on a barely explored topic, unfortunately), and a prayer that I’m not doing something completely stupid, I went ahead and diluted some colloidal silver with distilled water and spent ten minutes with my nebulizer this morning. Immediately, I coughed up a bunch of yellow gunk, and the quality of my breathing for the rest of the morning has been perfect, as if I’d never had even a cold. I am still occasionally coughing stuff up, but not painfully. The sputum tastes like silver, which you probably don’t care to know.

I’ll let you know tomorrow, after I do another treatment tonight, if I’ve made it through a full 36 hours without breathing difficulties. If I do, that will be the first time in about six weeks. Yes, that is how long I’ve let this thing go on. I know I’m an idiot for not doing more, sooner, but I really wanted to figure this out for myself.

Besides, I have a lot of faith in my immune system. This was a weird bug, whatever it was, and my body didn’t know what to do with it. If this peaceful, easy breathing lasts, especially through a good workout, I’ll call this a plausible treatment (for MYSELF) for respiratory infections.

I won’t call it a plausible treatment for you, Dear Reader. You should never take medical advice from a hillbilly mommy blogger, OK? You take your life into your own hands when you do that.

Want to discuss? Join me on either MeWe or Social Galactic.

Update: After a couple of days of not wheezing, my wheeze did come back, but it never got as bad as before. I also started to feel really, really good (except for the breathing), able to fully keep up with my family’s needs for the first time in weeks. The rest of the family also came down with the same symptoms, but recovered very quickly. We tested negative for Covid-19. I think it was probably just a run-of-the-mill flu. Anyhow, I finally tapped out and called the PA I go to, whereupon she told me to just tough it out like I’ve been doing, it’s just taking me a while to recover. I do think the silver helped a lot, but it wasn’t quite a magic bullet as I’d hoped. Perhaps there was some infection set up, and the treatment did help, or perhaps it was coincidental that I started to feel so much better so quickly. Either way, I’m keeping this in mind as a possible treatment for future illnesses. It certainly didn’t hurt.

Special Nutrition in the Bible

Ezekiel bread, the Daniel diet, the Eden diet. How come nobody ever does a John the Baptist diet? I’d totally do that one!

If you squint just right while you’re reading it, the Bible seems to come closer to supporting a vegetarian approach to eating than a carnivorous one. After all, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given every green plant and every herb that grows to eat. I’ve already said a few things about that aspect of Bible nutrition in Carnivore Diet and the Christian Worldview. But there are a few other cases people have brought to me as examples of rejection of meat as good dietary practice.

I think it’s funny how often people take miracles and prophecies to be everyday occurrences, but perfectly natural, albeit difficult things like fasting for long periods of time, to be miracles. We’re so good at reading what we want to read, rather than what is there.

What about that Daniel diet, for instance?

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

On a surface read-through, this looks an awful lot like the Lord is saying: Look, grains and water are the best food for humans! I hope we’re a little better able to discern what was happening than that. Why did the Daniel and the other three Hebrew children refuse meat? Because they had dietary laws, for one thing, and for another, the king’s meat and drink had surely been sacrificed to idols. Daniel was not worried about his physical condition–which he and the eunuch both knew should take a hit from that kind of fasting–but his spiritual one. And, as in the fiery furnace and the lion’s den, God honored the Israelites’ fear of Him, and their willingness to take damage to their physical and social status to remain faithful to him. He brought His children through the ordeal in better shape than that with which they had begun.

Y’all, this was a miracle, not a dietary prescription.

And then, (this is my favorite part) see the last verse. What was the result of this newfound “nutritional information”? The eunuch could only interpret what he saw scientifically, through observation, having only his natural mind. That fool then took away the meat that the king’s strong and intelligent cohort had been eating, thus undoubtedly weakening their minds and bodies by giving them a sub-optimal diet.

That’s a pretty good joke, if you ask me.

Ezekiel the prophet famously lived for 390 days on a recipe God gave him:

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[b] of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[c] of water and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”

15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”

16 He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17 for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of[d] their sin.

I’d bet we have tens, if not hundreds, of versions of “Ezekiel bread” recipes to choose from today. Now, I have no doubt that these breads, especially the sprouted versions, are better for you than the fluffy white loaves I used to feed my family in loving ignorance. I don’t object their existence, or even their naming. It’s just a recipe. People like recipes, especially if they taste good.

But the idea that God prescribed these ingredients because they were complete nutrition without which the prophet wouldn’t have survived is, frankly, silly. It was barely more than a year. You can make it for a mere year on practically any kind of calories, and precious few of them. The human body can withstand a lot of this kind of stress, though not without repercussions. Ezekiel was not doing this for his health. Twenty shekels is about eight ounces, so assuming equal amounts of all the ingredients, Ezekiel was only getting about 220 calories a day like this! These were starvation rations, meted out day by day, hour by hour, to symbolize the famine that God was sending on Israel.

Meat is what everybody knew as abundance.

Not only so, but friends, you’re not really eating that bread God’s way unless you’re cooking it over cow’s dung. If you want to be truly healthy, get thee to the nearest field of cattle and start gathering your fuel, and be grateful that He relented and didn’t insist on the use of human excrement.

I’m not going to touch on Orthodox- and Catholic-type fasts that exclude meat for certain lengths of time, though I’ll surely get to that someday. These two ideas, plus Garden of Eden vegetarianism, are the main dietary ideas people have brought to me from a too-literal reading of the Bible, but I’m sure there are more. If you can think of any others, please let me know by email, or by joining me on MeWe or SG. I’d love to have the whole collection!

P.S. You know what’s funny? Somebody on social media reminded me that I didn’t address Christians who try to eat by Jewish dietary rules. I guess that’s so well-covered in the actual Bible that I don’t need to, but maybe I’ll say a little more about it in the future. Suffice it for now to say that I eat pork,  and I think if the animals are fed correctly, it’s good, healthy meat.

 

 

Sorry About That!

I’m sorry you guys are getting a password-protected post in your feeds. I didn’t realize an email would be sent out to everybody for password-protected posts. I meant that last one that went out to remain private for the time being. Please forgive me and stick around for (hopefully) a public version of the same post.

 

Keto Crustless Lemon Meringue Pie

You can double this recipe, or triple it, very easily, to make it into a pie large enough to share with others. For this, you would want a crust, which I haven’t included in this recipe. I’ll add a low-carb pie crust in a new post. Or you could just do a web search. There are lots of recipes out there.

keto lemon meringue

This 2-serving crustless pie ended up being consumed by me and six small people. I gave them about a third of it, a big bite each. This breakfast ended up being my only meal of the day, it was so filling. You could make this a dessert and serve four fat-adapted people instead of two, but for me it’s a treat and a meal. Do not attempt to feed this as a dessert to people who ate carbohydrates with their meal. They’ll probably die.

Keto Lemon Meringue Pie

A crustless dessert made of lemon curd and meringue
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Cooling time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Keto
Keyword: keto, low carb
Servings: 2
Author: GAHCindy

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 2 tbsp erythritol/stevia blend sweetener adjust to personal preference
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 or 3 egg whites have at room temperature for best results
  • 1 tsp erythritol/stevia blend sweetener adjust to personal preference
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions

  • Combine in a saucepan the egg yolks, butter or ghee, 2 T sweetener, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  • Over medium heat, stir the mixture until it begins to thicken.
  • When the curd coats a spoon and begins to pull away from the bottom and sides of the pan with stirring, remove from heat.
  • Strain out lemon zest and lumps with a jelly strainer to leave a smooth curd.
  • Pour the curd into 2 individual ramekins or an 8-ounce baking dish.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until completely cooled.
  • Just before serving, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip two to three of the reserved egg whites with 1 teaspoon of sweetener and the cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Spoon or pipe beaten egg whites onto the top of the lemon curd.
  • Place under a low broiler until meringue is browned. Watch carefully, as this goes very quickly!
  • Serve immediately, or hide in the schoolroom and eat both servings yourself.

If you’re strictly carnivore (and I typically am, but I can get away with some lemon juice and sweetener, so why not?), you can make a savory version by leaving out the plant stuff and adding just salt, whatever seasonings you tolerate, and a tablespoon or so of chicken broth. It tastes like little more than eggs and butter, but the texture is a very different experience. I quite like it.

 

Carnivore Diet and the Christian Worldview

Has all that evolution talk got you in a tizzy? 

A discerning reader asked a question a while back, and it’s something that’s been on my to-blog list ever since. It’s a very important question, and one I’ve spent a bit of time thinking through.

Well I do wonder what you think about why the Lord created man in the garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29 ~ “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (and verse 30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.)” It wasn’t until after the flood that He told Noah and his family that they could eat meat. …I’m not against meat. I eat some beef, some turkey, and chicken, and salmon… I also eat vegetables and fruit. It just seems to me that in light of the verses quoted above, that we humans were created to eat vegetables originally. (And I don’t believe in evolution so I don’t think we’ve “evolved” to eat only one thing or the other. ;-)) Just tho’t I’d ask you what you think about those verses and what you think they mean in light of eating various foods.
In His grace, Mrs. O

Thank you so much, Mrs. O! I don’t know what I’d do without comments like this.

I pointed out that after we left the Garden of Eden, God gave us animals for use as clothing immediately, and it is implicit therein that humans began using them for meat soon after leaving the garden. Cain and Abel didn’t have their little scuffle because Abel was sacrificing something he barely needed. This was his best. That very likely means it was his food. God had clearly commanded animal sacrifice, and nothing else would suit Him.

It would seem very odd to me if they were raising and sacrificing animals and wearing them as clothing, but not eating the meat also. But maybe they did waste the meat and righteously consume only plants. I think you come away with a very different meaning–and an anti-Gospel one, at that–by reading the Cain and Abel story that way, but let’s roll with it. I can’t say for sure that they were eating meat, if I’m being very, very pedantic with only the explicit text, so let’s just say that the first generation of Man never had even a thought of eating meat, and the only killing of animals that they did was for sacrifice and possibly clothing.

All I can come up with is: So what?

That was then, this is now. Things changed after Eden, and then they changed again after the flood. There was, for one thing, a cleansing of the human race, wiping out the offspring of the Nephilim and the human race (about which, I won’t elaborate further, but oh, my, the things they don’t tell you in Bible school!). The earth itself also was laid waste, and the plants and animals that were preserved underwent that same culling. These genetic bottlenecks likely introduced even more corruption to our genome, and that of the plants and animals we ate, than was already there. This would (theoretically, but logically) have made us even less able to digest the plants than before.

Noah was told explicitly after the Flood to eat (clean) meat. The restriction on eating meat, if there was one, was lifted at that point regardless. Later on, in the New Covenant, the distinction between clean and unclean meats was also voided. We need to eat meat. I think all of this taken together establishes that a strictly carnivore diet is at least permissible to the Bible-believer. There may be some angle I’ve missed and that’s what the comment section is for, so let me have them, please.

But what about eating only meat? There’s something just flat-out worldly and unbelieving about that. Underneath the health objections, which don’t hold up very well in my experience and opinion, there’s just this visceral reaction to the idea that we evolved this way, and anything built on that foundation must be wrong, wrong, wrong. When I came across the carnivore way of thinking about food, I wanted to reject it out of hand, too. It’s all evolution all the time with these people!

We did not evolve this way. We devolved this way.

I listen to a lot of diet and lifestyle podcasts while I’m doing less mind-intensive things like weeding and running. I also read a lot of nutrition and metabolism-focused blogs. It is by-and-large a Godless conversation, sadly, and it can be very tiresome even to weirdos like me who are energized, rather than discouraged, by a good dose of cognitive dissonance.

I’m with you, Mrs. O. (At least, I think I am.) Since starting the carnivore way of eating, and for the first time in my grain-glutted life, my teeth are now in extremely good shape, but I’m grinding them down to pitiful nubs having to listen to evolution-this and ancestral-that all the time.

Most Christians aren’t going to even entertain the thought of the carnivore approach if the only supporting narrative–and friends, it is nothing but a narrative, a just-so story–is the modern creation myth of millions of years of evolution. For what it’s worth, the same evolutionary nonsense is also trotted out to justify vegetarian eating, i.e. our monkey brains were only able to grow so large because we learned to farm the extra calories required for such intelligence. They can and do stuff just anything into that evolutionary box.

I have something a lot less flexible, but thankfully perfect and infallible, to base my life choices on: the Word of God. Like Mrs. O., I believe that the Genesis account is literal: six days, two sexes, and only one No-No Tree. I’m one hundred percent in agreement that Adam and Eve were put in a garden and told to eat the plants, except for that one. I further believe that everything that God gave them to eat was good.

And then something happened that changed our very DNA, and that of the entire living world. I don’t know what Eden was like, whether there was any entropy, how long it was meant to last, whether eating was a mere pleasure rather than a physiological necessity. So many questions arise when you start wondering how the metaphysical and the physical met in that place.

But once we’re out of that Garden, meat makes plenty of sense.

I can’t say for sure what happened over the millennia on a physiological level, but my guess is that, because Earth became corrupt, and the entire creation began to groan, much of the nutrition that was available to us through plants became less and less accessible throughout the generations. Our genetic makeup didn’t permit perfect processing of the foods anymore, and the foods themselves developed hardier defenses.:

17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Think of lectins as thorns, and you’ll see why grains might not be the best thing for us.

As for the bizarre-sounding fact that many carnivores have discovered they have to eat only meat, I observe that we are at the end of many millennia of devolution, and we are less and less able to process these foods as our DNA inexorably declines in quality. Except in times of plenty such as we’ve enjoyed for my entire life in this country, needing “the herb of the field” is a hard fact of life, and in many ways a detrimental one, or it wouldn’t be part of the Curse, as it clearly is in the quoted text.

As I said before, I might myself have to eat something besides meat in order to get enough calories to survive someday. I don’t look forward to that, because my health would suffer, but hard times do come. As a nation, we are long overdue for some collective judgment, which I expect will rain on the just and the unjust. Plate me up some lentils, in that case. My soul will survive that just fine. In the meantime, I’m storing up as much health and strength as I can by eating what works best for my body.

Praise Him for providing meat!

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and would dearly love to see them in better health, so that the Lord’s work can be done with vigor, and his Word elucidated by clear, unclouded minds. Through use of the evolutionary narrative, Satan is convincing many of his enemies to become weak, both physically and mentally, by turning them off on a gut level to the notion that animal nutrition is superior to plant nutrition before they really get a chance to think about it.

Hopefully you can see by now that a carnivore diet, at the very least, does not fail to fit in with the Gospel narrative, aka the Truth. It certainly provides a better explanation for why we need to eat meat than “Monkeys with tiny brains dropped out of trees and started eating brains, so their brains got bigger.” (I know, evolution-worshippers, that this is a gross over-simplification of your beloved stories. But if you believe in evolution, I’d far rather talk to you about your soul than your food.)

Life requires death, on both a physical and a metaphysical level. Animal sacrifice is done away with, but animal eating is not…yet. The Good News here is that all things are being restored. Until that day, we receive with thanks the sustenance that God provides.

What think you? Anybody here looking at that pb&j sandwich a little bit less lovingly now?

Lie: A Child is a Choice

This post is a chapter from my ebook, ConDeceived. I want to republish it sometime, but I’d need to rework a great deal of it. Guess who has time for that? Not me! But it was a useful little work. I might dust it off. If you want a copy, let me know and I’ll share it with you directly.

Lie: A Child is A Choice

“How many kids do you want?”

This is often the first question a newly married couple will find themselves answering. In fact, it is often the first question they ask each other before even agreeing to tie the knot. It is, after all, the height of irresponsibility to go into our marriages without a clear idea of how many years will be taken up in diaper-changing and face-washing. These things must be planned for, lest we end up in the poorhouse! It’s right there in the Bible in the twentieth chapter of…oh, wait. No, it isn’t.

The idea that that having children is a big decision and one not to be undertaken lightly is so common in our times that it has become cliché. Thanks to the language of the contraceptive culture, no responsible couple ever just gets pregnant. No, we talk about getting pregnant, then we think about getting pregnant for a little while longer, then we research getting pregnant, and then, if we don’t let our anything scare us out of it, we decide to get pregnant. After the birth, we research the best ways to stop this traumatic thing from happening to us again until the next time we decide we want to do this.

All of this sounds perfectly reasonable to non-Christians, as it should. They walk alone, and it is understandable that they feel a need to control their futures in this way. The once-born think they’ll only live once, after all, and after that, oblivion. They don’t want to mess up their one shot at perfect happiness with the wrong number of kids!
Unfortunately, this has also come to sound perfectly reasonable to a large majority of Christians.

One of my favorite quotes–at least, it used to be, before I gave it ten seconds of sustained thought–is this:

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” –Elizabeth Stone

I have a daughter. She has my dirty-blonde hair, my mouth (in both looks and loudness), and my insatiable appetite for red foods. The only fight we’ve ever had was over the last spoonful of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. She is also my husband’s daughter, and resembles his side of the family in a hundred different ways. She is a blessing to us, from the tip of her pretty head to the toes inside those ballet flats she’s always wearing.

But she is not primarily our child. She exists, physically, because my genes and my husband’s had a happy meeting and intertwined to become a unique set of DNA. However, she does not exist because we willed it. She exists because God willed it, from the foundations of the world. If you think that one can ever really choose to have a child, ask someone who suffers from infertility how much of a choice she has had in the matter.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. -–Colossians 1:16

God exists outside of time, eternal, so this verse isn’t just referring to the beginning work of Creation. This verse means that Christ created everything that ever will exist, too. From the moment He spoke the words “Let there be light” to the Last Trumpet, He created it all, including the children that we humans like to pretend we choose to make.

My daughter does not exist for my pleasure. I enjoy her. We play dolls and talk about things that boys would never understand. She and I are great friends (unless there is cranberry sauce on the line). Barring some tragedy, I expect her to be a blessed part of my life until I die. Of course I enjoy her! I can’t even summon the image of her little face to mind without getting a thrill of joy all the way down to my toes.

If she existed for my pleasure, then whenever she failed to please me in some way, I would have the right to exact whatever harsh punishment I like. Or to end her life. After all, she would be violating the purpose of her own existence by displeasing me.
But she exists for God’s pleasure, not mine.

My daughter does not exist for my purposes. While there are many joys and material improvements that flow from the blessing of having children, she does not exist for the sake of my own purposes. There are many benefits to having a tightly-knit, loving family, but if those benefits are dampened by the effects of the Curse (illness, death, financial difficulties, stress, etc.), that still wouldn’t give me the right to reject her. She is not here simply—or even primarily–for my sake.

Does she at least exist by my will, then? Since technology gives us the option of not having children, hasn’t it finally become a big decision that we make, as the Elizabeth Stone quote says? Because we have this power, shouldn’t we use it to make the best possible world we can for ourselves and whatever children we decide to have?

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
–Revelation 4:11

In this verse, the twenty-four elders are singing to God about his command of the whole universe. All things are created by His will, even when we think we’re doing it ourselves.

The language of choice has convinced us that that we, ourselves, hold the keys to our own future. The cultural attitude that springs up from this “choice” mentality is one of ownership of our children, as if they were merely expensive pets, rather than eternal souls whose existence is for purposes that we can’t even fathom. We’ve wrested the power of Creation from the One who rightfully controls these things. But we don’t really control as much as we think we do. Only God is worthy to hold the power of creation in His hands.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. –Proverbs 16:9

So now we have kind of a conundrum on our hands, don’t we? If God is really in control of all of this, then why do we have this ability to resist participating in that creation? If God willed this child into existence, then didn’t he also not will those lives we’ve decided not to risk forming, for whatever our personal reasons are? And the answer is, I think, yes.

And there is no good news in that answer. He has willed this generation to have that choice, and He has willed us to take it.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate
–Psalm 127:3-5

The father of many “shall not be put to shame.” In contrast, when God’s judgment falls on a people, He takes away their sons and daughters.

25 “As for you, son of man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul’s desire, and also their sons and daughters…

–Ezekiel 24:25

Our unfettered control over the creation of our children is a judgment, not a happy technological boon that God has granted us. He has handed us over to our selfishness, and we are already beginning to reap the bitter fruit of that childlessness in this generation, as the demographic time bomb ticks down to zero. The next generation, the one that was supposed to carry on where we leave off, hasn’t shown up for work.

We’ve taken our Godly heritage, which is clearly explained to us in the Bible, in the very language of Creation (It is good.) and smashed it against sharp rocks, breaking it into bite-sized pieces for our own personal enjoyment, instead of taking it in its full wonder and meeting its challenges with joy and thanksgiving. We are paying for this now, as a nation, and we will pay for this in the future.

Please note that I don’t speak of any individual’s heart, as I don’t know anybody’s heart–often even my own. This is, at this late date, a collective failure of understanding. I’m speaking of a massive confusion that many well-meaning Christians of our generation have stumbled into due to a lack of confident and fearless preaching on the subject. However, collective guilt is built on individual guilt, and we must own our faults when we see them in our own hearts.

Christians don’t really, as a culture, believe any of these verses about God’s hand in creation (or procreation) anymore. We don’t seem to believe that God is in control of much of anything anymore, if He ever was. If we did, we’d beg Him to let us participate in the procreation of His own favored work: Mankind.

He has “crowned him with glory and honor”, and here we, Christians, are behaving as though people are a scourge. He has given us the blessed responsibility of nurturing these relationships, and we are treating them as if they are a burden, even to the point of preventing their very conception.

Our lifestyles may impose burdens. Our broken hearts and bodies create burdens. The brokenness of our children even imposes burdens. But our children themselves are never burdens. They are gifts. We should receive them as such.

Summertime. Stock-taking Time.

The Hillbilly Homeschool for Jesus finds itself at the end of another “school year”.

It’s not the end, really, just a transition to the summer portion of the school year, with a little less math and a lot more sunshine. Also, I don’t have to document attendance for a while. I may have time to blog! The coming year will be my firstborn’s last year of secondary education.  We’re about to launch one, y’all! And it makes me all kinds of nervous.

Is this arrow straight and properly fletched? Did we aim well? Will it hit its target? 

And what was its target? I’ve been doing this day in and day out for so long I can scarcely remember the beginning. I went looking through the archives of GAH 1.0 to try and recover what exactly I was thinking when I started this homeschooling thing. One thing that won’t surprise old-time readers of my blog is that I am not nearly as cocksure of everything as I was when I started out. I have a lot more wisdom now, but also a much better awareness of my limitations.

Did my reasons for homeschooling change? Nope. Thank God, we started out with a firm purpose. If anything, our motivations have become more fervent than ever. We’re at the end of one child’s upbringing, but there are seven more behind that one, and some have barely learned to hold a pencil yet. I have twelve more years of this to do. I’d better be sure of why I’m doing it.

I had all the usual educational and God-honoring reasons for homeschooling, but I also had the lifestyle reason:

All the pointless bustling about from place to place kept me from ever really knowing my family. And it kept them from knowing me. Most importantly, it kept me from knowing God. Church was just another place we had to hurry to get to. My parents were just the people who made me go there. God was just something you do when you aren’t doing something else.
I don’t want to live that way, and I really, really don’t want my kids to live that way. So that’s why we homeschool, in a nutshell: so we can take our time and get it right.

I see a lot of newer homeschoolers (and man, there are a lot of new homeschoolers now) making the mistake of trying to make homeschooling something they do anywhere but home. Lessons here, sports there, competitions everywhere. I’m not saying they’ll get a poor education this way, especially if they’re of the more extroverted kind. In fact, they may get a superior “education”. But there are non-academic needs that can go unfulfilled when we allow ourselves be driven by sports schedules and co-op obligations. But if I have any regrets at all–and I’m not sure I do–they are related to our lack of collaboration with other homeschoolers. The community is important.

If other families are motivated by the outside stuff, then they should do it with all gusto, and I don’t want anyone to take me to be saying otherwise. But I fear that in the mainstreaming of homeschooling, the “home” part is falling by the wayside. For many, the co-op way might be more fun. The sports may be an integral part of what your children need. Having eyes on your family by other, likeminded people, will certainly be more reassuring than doing it on your own. Do these things!

But don’t neglect the quiet of the home, parents. The fact that my children are able to feel safe, peaceful, unhurried, productive, and purposeful in our home, rather than only rushing around outside of it, looking to the outside world for approval and direction, will make them far more capable as adults of ordering their lives without too much regard for worldly expectations.

Too much time spent away from home, even when the whole family is together, will make your house a lifeless place you only go when there’s nothing important to do.

Don’t spend so much time running around that your children have no time to think, no time to wander aimlessly, no time to ask you those small, easy-to-skip-over questions, the answers to which build up to a whole world view. It is, after all, their hearts that you’re after. It takes time to nurture hearts, and that time needs to be quiet and private if you want them to grow well.

Another purpose that we had in homeschooling was, of course, to train our children in discerning the times and choosing the Godly path.

In, Naive, Unworldly Homeschoolers, I scoffed at the idea that my children wouldn’t know how to deal with the world:

The basis of the “real world” complaint seems to be that if a child doesn’t go to a public school, he won’t learn how to be pure in the face of the sin of others. Exposure to bullies, peer pressure, drugs, anti-Christian authority figures and curriculum, and any number of other spiritually unhealthy things that children must face every day in public schools are, in this argument, held up as necessary way stations on the road to maturity.  And I admit, that line of reasoning sounds really compelling at first. After all, practice makes perfect! It’s right there in the Bible where it says…um…no.

 

I can’t find anything that points to the soundness of having your children exposed to wrongdoing from early on so that they can resist worldliness. While there is nothing there about the benefits of exposing children to “diverse” worldviews, there is much about the perils of casting stumbling blocks before the weak and malleable souls of children.

I still believe this, whole-heartedly. I’m watching my friends’ children, both homeschooled and public schooled, begin to grapple with the world as it has been presented to them. My heart aches when I compare one set of young adults to the other.

They all, whether public- or home-schooled, peer anxiously into the doorway of the adult world that they’re expected to enter and have no idea where they fit into it. They’re all going off to college and work, vulnerable and clueless, eager, the perfect mark for those who would take advantage of their naiveté. They all experience the same hopes and fears.

But I’ve noticed that only one set is able to smile at me with a whole-hearted smile. There’s a shadow behind the smiles of the other set. 

One set has a clear idea of what will give them peace in life. The other set is burdened with knowledge of things that shouldn’t even be talked about by decent people. The homeschooled set isn’t ignorant of sin, or of the zeitgeist. I talk about what we see out there with my kids often, and they view it all through a Biblical lens. They know, at age-appropriate levels, about abortion, sexual sins, drugs, and anything else you care to throw at them. They have a very good understanding of the world, and they know who their Enemy is.

They’ll make mistakes when interacting with the world, absolutely, but I have no fear that they’ll come to view dysfunction as a perfectly unobjectionable “lifestyle”. If they turn from Christ to follow the world, it will not be because they were raised in ignorance of these things, but because they are actively rejecting the Truth. (Oh, pray for the children!)

One set of kids has been assaulted daily with the message that they should not only not reject sinful urges, but that they should embrace it as a vital part of their very identity. While their Christian parents have sincerely done as much as they could on nights and weekends to teach them correctly, their fragile souls have been torn in two by the Enemy, who has had every useful hour of every day to indoctrinate them in his twisted ways for the last 12 years. It has taken a toll, and I grieve for their loss of innocence.

I’m not speaking only of the massive push for sexual sin to be embraced. Gay pride is certainly the most brazen manifestation of Satanic pressure those kids are feeling, but it started much more subtly, long ago, with the idea that parents are just biological units meant to keep a child materially alive while the government (and the church, frankly) is in the best position to teach children everything they need to know. We have been taught for generations to “honor thy authorities”, instead of thy father and mother. When I was in school, there were some aspects of our lives that we just knew (because the schools deliberately planted this seed in our hearts) that mom and dad couldn’t be trusted to understand. It has only gotten worse in the last 20 years.

As much as I am talking about the sexual license and confusion, I’m even more talking about the “milder” sins of disobedience to and contempt for parents, alienation from family as a lesser social group. Without that cultural violation of the fifth commandment, none of these more demonic manifestations could have been allowed to grow.

Now these young adults enter a very dangerous world, and only one set of them realizes that their parents are their best allies. The other set enters it thinking that they are alone.

In another post, Homeschooled Kid Grows Up, I wrote this:

(G)ood parents don’t raise their children in fear of how those children will judge them in the future, but in the loving hope that they’re making the right decisions

And, I will admit that this is the one that keeps me up at night.

What if my children don’t appreciate what I’ve done here? I do not raise my children with an eye toward pleasing Man, even when that Man is my grown-up son. As I told my friend the other day, there are holes in my parenting, and in their formal education, that you could drive a truck through. I know that what I’ve done isn’t enough. It can never be enough. I hate to break this to you, if you’ve even had the stamina to keep reading a post this long, but you aren’t going to be able to do enough for your children, either.

We can all only make an honest effort, taking into account our limitations. God has to fill in the gaps.

I don’t really know how to end this thing. I just wanted to reminisce a little bit and consider what the next twelve years of homeschooling will look like for our family, and whether I want to change anything based on what I’m observing in my (gulp) young adult offspring. As we graduate this one, we’ll be beginning phonics with our youngest. We have a lot of years left to see how these things turn out, and I hope the younger set can benefit from whatever we’ve learned with the older ones. I begin this last year of education for this child with only one panicky thought:

What did I screw up, and is one year enough time to fix it?

Homeschooled Kid Grows Up, Disagrees With Parents

This is a repost from Get Along Home, written October 24, 2011

Obviously, the brainwashing wasn’t effective

A while back, Arby, at The Homeschool Apologist, addressed an article by a homeschooled anti-homeschooler. It’s a good post, and defends homeschooling pretty well, but I think that he concedes too much in even addressing whether or not the now-grown Libby Anne’s parents were correct in their method of raising her. Frankly, the issue is less about whether her “quiverfull”  parents were damaging their children by homeschooling than it is about whether or not they even have a right to believe as they do.

Though Libby Anne’s parents don’t actually identify with the “quiverfull” movement, she gives them the moniker in order to streamline the stereotyping process. She then proceeds to explain, with an apparently straight face, that even though they raised her quite well, they shouldn’t have been allowed to do so because the rest of the “normal” people do it differently. But whether they should have raised their children according to such rigidly “traditional” roles, is neither here nor there, in my opinion. We can have that conversation some other time.

The real question isn’t, Should people with weird lifestyles be allowed to homeschool?, but the more basic Do parents have a right to get it wrong? And I think the answer is yes. I’ve gotten all kinds of flack for saying that in the past, but it’s true. Parents have a right to screw up without interference. If they don’t, then we’d better all hand our kids over to the “experts” right now—the ones who teach your sixth graders these kinds of things–because not one of us is going to raise our children to adulthood without making some bad calls in good faith. Might as well make sure they’re all screwed up in the same, state-sanctioned ways, I guess! I know several adults whose parents did horrible things to them—divorce, exposure to pornography and violence on television, emotional neglect—but they were culturally “normal”, so no one questioned their right to do these things.

But when a family has the nerve to set out on a culturally unusual path and one of their children ends up disagreeing with them, even though that child was never abandoned or abused—was in fact loved and educated and treated quite well—well, that is a bridge too far!

Libby Anne admits that her childhood was happy, just not “normal”. Her main problem seems to be that she was taught to do menial chores like housework and taking care of siblings (you know, stuff that feminism tells us is beneath any sentient human being). She went to college, apparently with her parents’ blessing and financial support, but complains that her parents didn’t really want her to be educated because she was a woman suited only for being inside the home! They gave her responsibility instead of treating her like an overgrown child like the “normal” teenagers! They had the nerve to think that dating is a dysfunctional way to find a mate and hope for better things for their daughter!

Libby Anne’s parents committed the astounding crime of actually believing the things they said they believed. So much so that they taught it to their own children. I know! String ‘em up!

It sounds to me like Libby Anne’s parents did a smashing job. She’s a well-educated, articulate young woman who expresses herself quite adequately. The worst thing she can find to say about her parents is that they weren’t hypocrites. In keeping with their Biblical beliefs, they raised their children against the grain of the culture—never an easy thing to do. Her real problem isn’t with homeschooling, but that she wishes her parents had intentionally raised her to disagree with them. What kind of parent does that?

Perhaps someday Libby Anne will have a child of her own and know that good parents don’t raise their children in fear of how those children will judge them in the future, but in the loving hope that they’re making the right decisions. (Apparently I misread. She does have a child, and still doesn’t see what’s wrong with her attitude toward her own parents.) Libby Anne’s entire argument seems to be that her parents really believed all that Jesus stuff, and they shouldn’t have been allowed to teach their children what they believed without interference from the state.  I wonder how Libby Anne would feel if she lived in an actual Christian nation where the schools reflected Christian beliefs? She might possibly wish to take advantage of the right to homeschool her children so she could teach them differently, then, mightn’t she?

Reading the article, I kept wondering how I’d feel if it were my child turning against me in such a public way. What if one (or more) of my children grows up to not only disagree with my decision to homeschool him, but to actively oppose the rights of parents to oversee the education of their own children in this way? Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening? Unfortunately, I don’t think there is.

I can’t raise my children according what someone else believes, and neither could Libby Anne’s parents. She faults them for homeschooling her because she wishes that she’d been raised by people who agree with her adult self. But how could any loving parent send his child to be taught things that he believes are wrong, out of nothing more than fear of that child judging him later on?

Congratulations, Libby Anne. You finally fit in with the rest of the secular culture you’ve longed to join. You no longer even understand the most basic human liberty—freedom of religion.

Naïve, Unworldly Homeschoolers

This is a repost from Get Along Home, written December 19, 2012

In any discussion with critics of home education, the objection will eventually crop up that “homeschoolers won’t know how to deal with the real world when they’re grown.”

It seems safe to assume that those who raise this objection aren’t worried that homeschooled children won’t be able to figure out how to buy groceries, drive a car, or effectively conduct personal business, given the fact that they are raised by people who do these things right in front of them every day.

Instead, the questioner seems most of the time to be referring to the cultural and moral differences between Christian homes and the non-Christian public schools. The objection could be accurately restated as “Homeschoolers will see so little of the brazen sinfulness of mainstream American culture that they will be shocked into helpless paralysis at the sight of {insert popular but blatantly sinful and unbiblical behavior or attitude here}. As if Good were such a weak little thing that the first whiff it gets of Evil will cause it to clutch its girly skirts and faint!

The basis of the “real world” complaint seems to be that if a child doesn’t go to a public school, he won’t learn how to be pure in the face of the sin of others. Exposure to bullies, peer pressure, drugs, anti-Christian authority figures and curriculum, and any number of other spiritually unhealthy things that children must face every day in public schools are, in this argument, held up as necessary way stations on the road to maturity.  And I admit, that line of reasoning sounds really compelling at first. After all, practice makes perfect! It’s right there in the Bible where it says…um…no.

I can’t find anything that points to the soundness of having your children exposed to wrongdoing from early on so that they can resist worldliness. While there is nothing there about the benefits of exposing children to “diverse” worldviews, there is much about the perils of casting stumbling blocks before the weak and malleable souls of children.

In fact, it is wise for a child to have time learn how to deal with in-his-heart sin before we force him to come to terms with the in-his-face kind.

“Train up a child in the way he should go.” “Bad company corrupts good morals.” “Yada, yada, yawn.” says the American Christian parent. “My kid is different.

They somehow believe that children can learn to fight the good fight by being forced into the fray before being sufficiently trained in spiritual warfare–most of the time before the child has even come to a place of true repentance! Given the spiritual condition of this so-called Christian nation after many decades of that kind of thinking, I’d say we’ve got pretty good evidence that this approach hasn’t worked very well.

If this need to be exposed to wickedness and destructive behavior from an early age is really such a good reason for sending children to public schools, then could somebody please explain to me the purpose of all these anti-bullying, anti-drug, and anti-violence programs? Because if those programs were to work (which they won’t), Christian children in public schools would suddenly be in grave danger of becoming just as naïve as their homeschooling counterparts! Wouldn’t that be awful?

Stop trying to shelter your kids, public schoolers! They need this!

We all know quite well it that would be a good thing if every child were unbullied, unaware of even the existence of drugs, and able to trust that the people who are in authority over them are looking out for their best interests instead of, oh, trying to sleep with them, for instance. So why, if homeschooling parents are able to provide such a healthy environment for their children, is that a bad thing?

Homeschooling, contrary to this “real world” line of argument, is not done in order to keep children from finding out about sin. We can’t do that, because no one is innocent—not the children we’re raising, nor their parents. All have sinned, and keeping my children from public schools has not kept them from the “real world” of sin. Learning how to turn away from the World is a lesson that must be learned no matter the physical location of the child. It is not the existence of sin that must be taught on a daily basis, but what to do with sin in our own hearts.

I am constantly amazed (though I probably shouldn’t be by now) by the number of people who think that raising children in an environment that rejects the very idea of sin is the same thing as teaching them to confront evil. It’s not. It is teaching them to look on sin passively by removing even the language by which a child might articulate an objection to it. What immersion in secular schools does is train children first to tolerate sinful behavior, then to applaud it, and finally to join it.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”–1 Corinthians 15:33

Cultural norms are inculcated primarily through education, not (contrary to mainstream–dare I call it naïve?–Christian belief) through occasional dinner-table conversations and AWANA. Those things may be influential in varying degrees for different children, but it is what is learned during the useful hours of the day–the work hours–that becomes a child’s baseline for thinking about the world. For public schools, the baseline is one of amoral “preferences” and outcome-based decision making (i.e.: Say no to drugs because they’ll make you ugly and poor. Don’t have sex…unless you can make sure you’re “protected” from the physical consequences of it.) For Christians the baseline is (or should be) God’s word.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
–Proverbs 22:6

Every Christian parent’s job is to make sure that when our children meet the “real world”, they’ll know how to please God in their interactions with it. Which method of child-rearing seems more likely to accomplish that goal?

Public schooled children and home educated children are all going to be tempted to commit sexual sin. Homeschooling won’t change that. But which child is more likely to view sexual sin as normal and tolerable, even admirable, rather than unacceptable, yet forgivable?

Both sets of children are going to have to learn to turn away from behaviors like excessive drinking and drug abuse, or self-harm and violent anger. But which child will believe that these things are wrong primarily because they hamper material or social success? Which child is more likely to internalize the truth that these behaviors are wrong because they are, at their core, sinful abuses of God’s most treasured creation: the one who hears it only in his “spare time”, or the one who gets it daily with his writing lesson?

Both sets of children will have to learn to choose the right kinds of friends. Which is more likely to do so: the child who has learned to “make no friendship with an angry man” and then has been guided in that by a parent’s heart in choosing his friends, or the child who has been told that everyone of his own age (and this is now even further segregated out by academic ability) is his “peer”?

A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. –Proverbs 12:26

Which child is more likely to turn away—whether in disgust or confusion makes no difference, so long as he turns away—from the invitation of these “peers” to join them in immorality: the child who has as his default attitude an anything goes, “tolerant” worldview, or the child who has as his baseline a Christ-centered and constructive family-based culture?

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother–Proverbs 1:8

It seems to me that homeschooled children are more than equipped to “deal with” sin, if by “deal with” you mean “repent of it”. That is something they are certainly never going to find out about in public school. If spiritual strength is the goal, then public schooling doesn’t seem to have very much going for it. However, if your argument is that homeschooled kids might grow up to find themselves embarrassed not to know the meaning of certain slang or where to buy a bag of some illicit substance, then I say that’s the kind of naiveté that we could all use a little bit more of.

Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world; and if lost in a young man, is seldom recover’d. Sheepishness and ignorance of the world, the faults imputed to a private education, are neither the necessary consequences of being bred at home, nor if they were, are they incurable evils. Vice is the more stubborn, as well as the more dangerous evil of the two;… –John Locke