Classic Repost: Harry Potter meets Homeschooling

Leave it to a Harry Potter movie to point out some glaring weaknesses I have observed in the conservative Christian Homeschooling movement! This post originally appeared in theMangoTimes in December of 2010, but it deserves a 2013 Back to School Repost.

Click the picture of Dolores or follow the link below to the original article! 

Harry Potter, Homeschooling and a Pink Professor!
Missing the gospel in our homeschooling.

Enjoy it...again! 

Quietly making noise,

Good News vs. Good Advice

"All other religions give advice, and they drive everything you’re doing on fear."
Tim Keller

The Resurgence recently had a great post called "Good News vs. Good Advice." The blog post is an excerpt from a complete talk by Tim Keller called "Gospel Centered Ministry" given at a Gospel Coalition event.

I am reposting and linking because the Resurgence blog post is good. I am reposting and linking because Keller's original talk is good. In truth, I'm reposting and linking because I needed to hear it again. That's the funny thing about "gospel amnesia," I'm never really cured of that pesky illness.

This post and Keller's original words at the GC event caused a bunch of thoughts to begin swirling around my brain. I know it is a common theme around here, but a good one to keep in front of us regularly. I've started my own list below. Feel free to join me.

Good advice is offering up fancy theology.
Good news is telling others the simple story about Jesus.

Good advice will teach security in traditions, vestments and liturgy.
Good news will teach security in Christ alone.

Good advice takes people to a perfect church.
Good news takes people to an empty cross.

Good advice leads others to memorize a catechism or confession.
Good news leads people to memorize three words: "It is finished"

Good advice says "this is how we do it right."
Good news says "This is what Jesus did. It's done!"

Good advice nails a list of "do's and don'ts" to the wall.
Good news points people to three bloody nails.   

Good advice talks about dressing your best for church.
Good news talks about being dressed in the garments of Jesus.

Good advice gives a pair of gold-plated/diamond-studded handcuffs.
Good news gives a pardon.

Good advice says, Jesus plus something.
Good news says, Jesus plus nothing.

That will get the ball rolling, feel free to leave your own in the comments below. 

Quietly making noise,

Letters to the Editor: "Purpose or Burden"

This post is in response to a previous post/podcast on gospel amnesia. One of the readers left a comment with the following question:

I feel pressured to be "productive for God." For me this means being "good," homeschooling, having lots of godly kids, being a witness in the community, being in tune with the Holy Spirit's additional directions, etc. I feel like I need a full resume for God--not so that he will love me but so that I will be useful to Him.

My grandparents were missionaries to India, grandfather headed up seminaries, wrote books, etc., and were extremely productive for the Kingdom. That seems good, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed at what I "should" accomplish.

Is that Godly purpose or is it an ungodly burden? Any thoughts?

Every once in a while, a question will surface in the comments on this blog. This one was particularly good and touched on a gospel theme that I've been thinking through for the past month or so. These are only my thoughts. A discussion would be better, because then it would be two-sided and we could bounce these thoughts back and forth, so bare with me as I respond in a totally one-sided discussion.
Answering the question posed, my initial response to this reader is that they are creating an ungodly burden because of the phrases "productive for God" and "so that I will be useful to Him." Again, it just sounds to me like created burdens. However, I can also understand wanting to be used by God as a servant and that this question is not asking about working FOR our salvation.  This question falls into the category of wanting to know the will of God.  Similar to: "Am I living out the will of God? or even "Am I adequately working OUT my salvation?"
I try to read everything posted on and this question reminds me of a blog post I read a short time ago by one of the regular blog contributors:
"So, by all means work! But the hard work is not what you think it is–your personal improvement and moral progress. The hard work is washing your hands of you and resting in Christ’s finished work for you–which will inevitably produce personal improvement and moral progress. Progress in obedience happens when our hearts realize that God’s love for us does not depend on our progress in obedience. (Martin) Luther’s got a point: “It is not imitation that makes sons; it is sonship that makes imitators.” 
 The real question, then, is: What are you going to do now that you don’t have to do anything? What will your life look like lived under the banner which reads “It is finished?” What you’ll discover is that once the gospel frees you from having to do anything for Jesus, you’ll want to do everything for Jesus so that “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do” you’ll do it all to the glory of God."
I think this quote captures the spirit of how the original question was asked.  We are not discussing works-based salvation, but the work or productiveness we desire in our sanctification. Regardless, I still think the Gospel responds clearly to this question, because in the Gospel we find rest, we find security, we find value, we find acceptance and we find our identity in Jesus Christ and His finished work.
Furthermore, I think that was what we were trying to communicate in our original message on Gospel Amnesia. Personally, as we tried to live out our sanctification, we got tied up in what we had to do and forgot what had been done for us.  In a very real sense, we needed a reminder of our identiy. Look at how the author Elyse Fitzpatrick describes our identity: "beloved children of God—adopted by the Father, espoused to the Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit." It is not a message of work, achievement or productiveness, but a reminder that "we already have an A" and now we need to just live like it!
Quietly making noise,

"You Already Have an A!"

Over the years, I have spoken often about the gospel and I am always excited when I hear someone communicate the good news in a new way. Same gospel, different delivery. In line with that, I have been really enjoying The Resurgence for quite a while and love their focus on recovering the gospel and recommunicating that the gospel is not just a message of salvation for the unbeliever, but a continual message of freedom for the believer.

Several weeks ago, The Resurgence posted an audio and video recording of Tullian Tchividjian from the "Our Fathers and Our Future" conference called "Evangelical, Missional, and Christ-Centered. The entire message is worth the hour it will take for you to look or listen to it.  Seriously, it is rich with reminders of where we as Christians find our life. Here's a clip from the very end of Tchividjian's talk that recommunicates what the gospel message says. 



Quietly making noise,