Eat Your Sausage & Make Love To Your Wife

“Luther’s faith was simple enough to trust that after a conscientious day’s labor, a Christian father could come home and eat his sausage, drink his beer, play his flute, sing with his children, and make love to his wife — all to the glory of God!”

William Lazareth, Luther on the Christian Home: An Application of the Social Ethics of the Reformation

hat tip This Guy.

Los Camachos Del Rugby

Gonzalo Camacho plays on the wing for Argentina’s national rugby side, the Pumas. He’s pictured here wearing the colors of Exeter Chiefs in England.

Camacho was on the pitch this past weekend for Argentina’s stunning tie with South Africa in the 4 Nations Rugby Championship (a tie South Africa were lucky to walk away with).

Here’s a cool little video about his rugby family. He’s the oldest of five brothers, all of them ruggers. None of them have reached his exalted heights yet, but the youngest has recently played for Argentina’s U18 side. Besides the five sons, the Camachos also have four daughters. Quite a family.

Why I Homeschool My Kids

It might surprise some who know me to learn this, but I’m not a sold-out homeschool type. As much as wifey and I are enjoying homeschooling our kids, our preference would be for them to be in school. But that would only be under certain more ideal conditions, which we are not yet operating under, so we continue happily homeschooling away.

I mention this to let you know that this is not some sort of homeschool-or-die apologia.

I have a homeschooling pedigree, having been educated at home myself from the seventh grade on. I am part of the first generation of homeschoolers large enough to be noticed when they went to college, got married, had kids, and started educating them. I was only the second homeschooler to be accepted into the University of Florida. At the time, very few schools had any policies or standards for accepting us. UF decided that Robert (the first homeschooler accepted) and I should take a bunch of subject-specific SAT IIs, a very stop-gap policy that I’m sure has been changed by now. Within a few years I knew several other students who had been homeschooled, many of whom I had known when I was still in high school (my dad was a professor at UF, so I went to high school in the university’s home town).

So I’m part of the first mainstreamed generation. I’m also part of the last generation whose parents wondered and stressed about legalities, when homeschooling was very marginalized. Sure, today social workers still occasionally and usually illegally get in someone’s face, or homeschoolers deal with overregulation there or intrusive policies here. But there were still few enough of us out there back then that when a school board or social worker got offended that homeschoolers even existed, those people might think they could persecute and harass us without anybody important caring. The whole thing felt much more…guerrilla.

We moved from back alley to back alley, always pursued by the robots.

I don’t know what books my mom was reading in 1991, but they must have been pretty weird, since the year we started homeschooling was the same year we stopped eating wheat and moved to Berkeley. Strange times.

Like a lot of parents then, my parents were reacting. It’s a very positive thing that more and more parents are choosing to homeschool proactively. Although opting out is still a very large part of the culture today, opting in to homeschooling instead of opting out of state school is becoming the paradigm. And that’s helpful; it is always better to be formulating philosophies and making practical decisions based on positive frameworks.

My parents were Christians, but they did not believe I need a “Christian education”. They reacted to a dismaying experience, and since they had recently been exposed to the idea, the possibility, of homeschooling, they decided to give it a try.

I had attended school in Brazil from kindergarten to sixth grade. Most of those years I went to private schools, which would have been the norm for people in my class, with one year (I suspect my father was having a hard time financially) in state school.  In 1989/90 we moved from Brazil to Edmonton, Alberta, a large city in western Canada. My parents were absolutely scandalized by the way the kids in our church treated their parents; it was common for Canadian parents to be held hostage by teenagers threatening to call social services, since their version of DSS would remove children at their own request with no questions asked. And they couldn’t believe the stories I told them of my first year in a North American junior high. I was as shocked as they, but even so, I liked the school. I learned to play football, joined chess club, and was on a basketball team for the first time in my life. I was very disoriented, but even then I could see that I had never been surrounded by as much depravity as I was in that seventh grade. Drugs, bullying, sex, suicides.

My parents reacted. When we moved the next year to Berkeley, California, they decided to homeschool us. They made the decision because they wanted to keep us away from bad stuff, from sin and sinful patterns. They knew we were vulnerable to be influenced, and they decided to put us in a safer place.

All of which was good and laudable. And those are reason enough for me not to let my kids into a state school, if the state schools I were around were like that. But here in the Bible belt they’re often not.

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I think that many of the homeschoolers who are homeschool-only-do-or-die are reacting. Yes, I’m generalizing. Don’t get your prairie petticoats in a twist, just keep reading.

Reactions can’t endure; they are at best short-term solutions. Positive otherness is what is needed when considering how most Americans view education and its problems.

Have you opted out of state school until it’s fixed? Until there’s less violence, or they permit the teaching of Creationism? Or have you opted out of state school because it’s wrong? Because there’s a better other?

Our decision to homeschool, even if homeschooling is not our top choice, is a proactive one. It’s a positive choice based on our resources and recourses.

Much of it is about legitimate authority. And on a deeper level, it’s about what it means to be human. Yes, it’s that fundamental, because raising and educating your child are the same thing. There’s no separating them. And when you raise a human, you’re making a human.

Education is teleological. It’s in the word, boys and girls. Educare. To lead out. To lead toward. To lead forth. If you’re educating a kid, you’re taking him somewhere, you’re making him something. If you’re the state you’re making him a citizen. A productive member of society. A worker. That is the state’s highest aspiration for your child. Surely that is not yours.

Of the three spheres of human authority, a Christian might argue about whether education fall under the purview of the church or of the family. All parents ought to be aware of what they’re doing and where they’re placing authority when they choose how to educate their kids. The family would attempt to lead a child to be a faithful son. The church would want to make citizens of heaven, of the City of God. But the City of Man makes Citizens of Man.

I have counseled against being reactionary instead of positive and constructive. But the state of educational philosophy and application is so debased that any path we take will be limited in the good it can do. Building a wall when you’re holding a spear in one hand and a trowel in the other will slow down work significantly.

I believe in community life. And I won’t punch you if you say “it takes a village”. I’ll only punch you if you say “it takes a village” and you mean “it takes the State”. I’m not giving up any of my joyous responsibility over my children, but just as I share my life with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I can share my children. We are a family. Which is why we would prefer to have our kids in a good Christian school, preferably one run by our church.

Alas, we haven’t the funds. Meanwhile, homeschooling is great. God has given us all the tools, starting with the little humans themselves, to make Big Humans. To make Men With Chests. He asked us to do the job. And by his grace, we will.

The question we must always have before us is: what are we doing? Whatever your choices in education might be, the answer should be, “Making children of God”.

Buxom & Bonny In Bed & At Board

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

We ate, we drank, we slept, we loved. If you can keep it that simple, thanks be to God.

The quote makes me think of my wonderful wife and our wonderful marriage. Of course, it sums up what we do so well, but it’s also reminiscent of my wife’s own motto for marriage. I also like that the quote includes the word “cheaply”, which is a key part of our marital glue.

My wife’s motto in marriage also puts it neatly. “Sex, eat, sleep.”

When I first got married a pastor who was mentoring me (a Baptist who made the mistake of introducing me to Calvin) gave me his most important piece of advice. “Keep the pantry full. No matter how hard things get, make sure you keep the pantry full.” And there is immense wisdom in this. When Christians run in to trouble in their marriages they often want a hyper-spiritual meta-solution, instead of humbling themselves and taking care of practical things, like eating well, and drinking well, and sleeping well and warm together.

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According to John Thrupp in The Anglo-Saxon Home: A History of the Domestic Institutions and Customs of England From the Fifth to the Eleventh Centuries, wives promised to be “bonny and buxom at bed and at board”.

Everything one needs to be bonny and buxom.

I’m going to talk about how awesome that is for husbands. If you don’t like that you can go read my moralizing for husbands while you suck on a lemon.

The bride’s vow, closely related to today’s traditional vows, is “I take thee John to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health, to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board till death do us part, and thereto I plight thee my troth.”

A “troth”, by the way, is pledged loyalty and faithfulness, as in “betrothal”.

The groom’s vow was briefer, less beautiful, and less alliterative. “I take thee Alice to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, at bed and at board, for fairer for fouler, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, till death us do part.” It’s interesting to note as an aside here that the groom’s vow contains a promise to stay with her even if she gets old and wrinkly and ugly.

Just saying the words of the wife’s vow is a pleasure. They’re so bouncy! Try it, out loud: “Bonny and buxom in bed and at board.” Or maybe “Sassy and sweet in sack and at seat.” Sweet and bouncy…and bouncy goes so well with “buxom.” We all know what we think first when we hear the word “buxom”.

I’ll bet you don’t think “obedient and tractable”. Yep. That’s the first definition at Merriam-Webster, although it’s plainly labeled as obsolete. The word is from Middle English buxsum, from Old English būhsum; akin to Old English būgan to bend, or bow.

1. obsolete a: obedient, tractable b: offering little resistance : flexible <wing silently the buxom air — John Milton>
2. archaic: full of gaiety
3. vigorously or healthily plump; specifically: full-bosomed

Yes, every man reading this had already thought “full-bosomed”, but that’s the last thing mentioned by dictionary nerds, who are men we should all strive to be more like.

Every young man wants a wife who is flexible.

The oath the bride is giving is one of Christian submission to her husband. The most awesome thing about that is that we’re talking about cheerful obedience. You could even put a hyphen in there and turn that into one word. So we’re talking about cheerful-obedience, a much bally-hooed but seldom seen Christian quality. Buxom meant obedient and flexible, but it must have even then been a word charged with good cheer, since it followed “bonny” so closely, and since it evolved to mean “gaiety” and “bouncing big breasts”.

So Christian wives are called to cheerful obedience in bed and at the table. There are a lot of distractions, and lots of other work, but that’s the core of practical marriage. Thank God for this every day, o you husbands. And pray that you be made worthy.

Dialogue Toward Having a Baby, Illustrated By Children’s Books

The discussion began when I said, “There’s a wocket in my pocket.”

So Kimberly shouted throughout the house, “Bedtime for little bears!”

That being taken care of, I said, “Come on over, baby, and hop on pop!”

But she wanted to know, “Where’s walrus?”

So I told her, “Watch me grow, Kitten.”

She responded, “That is a very hungry caterpillar.”

That’s when I showed her the “Sweethearts of Rhythm”.

Kimberly announced she would recite aloud from “Falling Up”.

I said, “And that’s the wonderful way babies are made.”

To which she replied, “We’re having a home birth.”

And that was pretty much all the talking we did.

Marriage & Sexuality Debates: Giving Up The High Ground

Battles and kerfuffles erupt all the time between Christians and pagans, and between Christians and Christians. When that happens, why do those who use terms in a historically confirmed and orthodox way keep giving away that advantage and repackaging themselves? Certainly holding to an old or traditional idea doesn’t make you right. But if you do hold such a position, why would you give away in debate the advantage of getting to set the terms of the fight?

In this video I discuss how that has happened in some discussions on sexuality and marriage.