Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Practical Applications from Pilgrim’s Progress

Friday, August 14th, 2015

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As my children and I listened to Pilgrim’s Progress on audio, we made some observations that apply to our modern Christian lives:

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #1

Christian felt a huge burden and was groaning under sorrow of soul. He knew that his city was headed for destruction, but instead of people listening to him, they dismissed what he said.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #2

You may sink into Despondency if you take your eyes off the Light.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #3

To get rid of the consciousness of sin, you can either go to God in repentance, or you can listen to human reasoning (called Worldly Wise), which will sear your conscience to make you feel better about your sin without dealing with it.

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Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #4

The giants in your life aren’t real. Trust that God’s Word is true, and you will overcome.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #5

Sloth and other pilgrims were asleep and didn’t realize their danger. They refused to get up and move forward in their Christian life. No amount of reasoning would cause them to pursue the right Way because they already decided that it was too hard.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #6

To fail one test in your life is to make more difficult the next test.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #7

How to overcome sin: as soon as you’re conscious of it, turn away from it immediately!

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #8

If you refuse to repent of a tiny sin, it will become bigger. The tiny sin is already big because you are choosing it instead of Christ. If you didn’t love your tiny sin more than Christ, you would have repented of it.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #9

Pilgrims do not have armor on their backs. If they do not stand their ground, they will be defeated.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #10

When fighting the Dragon, Christian became weaker and weaker because of his wounds. The Sword of the Spirit was helpful at the last minute when he thought he could fight no more, and he gave the Dragon a  mortal blow with Scripture. The Dragon fled.

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Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #11

A wicked voice came up behind Christian, whispering suggestions in his ear, which he thought proceeded from his own mind. This tormented poor Christian and worried him more than anything he had met with before.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #12

A Talkative man loves to answer doctrinal questions, but if his knowledge of Scripture is not accompanied by action, it is useless. He is unteachable because he knows more about Scripture than others, so all he wants to do is talk. He leads many to stumble as they only look at the Scriptures as information.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #13

If a man considers a sin profitable to himself and harmless to others, he will not give it up, even if he is offending God.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #14

Money-love made it seem godly to devote one’s life to making money because he would be a good steward to enjoy what God had given him. Christian pointed out that silver weighs you down and prevents you from running the race. Money-love would not listen but had many worldly excuses for pursuing money.

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Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #15

The Master sent people two by two so that they could be an encouragement to each other and keep each other from deception.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Observation #16

The longer they were in Doubt, the more their discouragement increased and deepened. As soon as the Light shone on their cell, the giant called Despair had to leave. Despair hates the Light.

Hopefully these practical applications of Pilgrim’s Progress will help you in your personal walk with the Lord. My children and I enjoyed studying this book, and we were relieved when Christian finally reached the Celestial City!

My Sons’ Goofy Comments About Shakespeare

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

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Here are some goofy comments about Shakespeare my sons made to me recently:

“Mom?! How come you’re going so slowly? I can’t stand it! How on earth am I supposed to follow the action in the story if you take so long explaining one scene?” cried out my 10-year-old son Stephen.

“Sweetheart,” I answered, “you’ve already heard the plot of the story, and you’ve seen the play. Now we are going to read the actual Sharespearean language. I want you to understand the poetry of it, to savor the language. We are going to settle in and study one or two scenes per day. It will take a month for us to study this play. By the end of the year, after studying many plays, you will be able to understand any Shakespeare play that you’ve never read before just by reading the real thing.”

My 12-year-old son Bryan stated another observation about Shakespeare. “Mom, how come there are so many words in each scene? It seems like the characters could have said their lines in a much more simple and understandable way. Even in the play we saw, the action didn’t move forward very fast.”

“That’s because the language is poetic. It’s beautiful language, and your future wife is going to thank me for teaching you how to understand poetic language.”

My son Nathaniel asked, “Is that how Dad got you to marry him?”

“No,” I said, and we all laughed.

Related product: Romeo and Juliet Unit Study

Shakespeare in the Park

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Shakespeare-in-the-park

Last weekend we took our kids to see Shakespeare in the Park. This is an ideal way to introduce Shakespeare to children, because it is a casual environment that doesn’t require complete silence. Besides, kids can wiggle around on a blanket on the grass, changing positions, so even if your child has lots of energy, the child does not have to sit still. Shakespeare in the Park is usually free, so if you need to leave, you are not wasting any money.

On the way to the park, I told my children the plot of the story “Twelfth Night,” which was being performed that night. Twins are shipwrecked, and the girl thinks her twin brother has died. So she goes to work for the local duke. She dresses up as a boy in order to work for the duke, but she ends up falling in love with the duke. Meanwhile, the duke is in love with Olivia, who is in love with the duke’s page (who happens to be the girl dressed up as a boy). Suddenly the twin brother shows up and is mistaken for the sister who is dressed up as a boy. In the end, everyone is paired off and gets married. Yes, I told my kids that in Shakespeare’s comedies, there is always at least one love story, and couples always get married at the end. This is opposed to the tragedies, where lots of people are dead at the end. Yep. Comedy or tragedy. Married or dead. My kids laughed.

My kids seemed to follow their first Shakespeare play just fine. I told them they might not understand all the language, and just to pay attention to the plot. Also, I said that the language was similar to the King James version of the Bible. My 12-year-old son had no problem understanding the language, my two middle boys understood most of it, and my 7-year-old daughter said she couldn’t understand the words, but she enjoyed seeing the play. What a great kick-off to a full year of teaching Shakespeare to my children!

Related product: Romeo and Juliet Unit Study

Linked to Introducing Your Children to Shakespeare

Why Study Greek Mythology?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

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Learning Greek mythology is part of having a well-rounded education. Many great works of literature (including Shakespeare) refer back to Greek mythology, and there is no way to properly understand what the greatest authors of all time were saying without knowing about this topic. When literature refers to another famous work of literature, this is called an allusion, and allusions abound in great literature, not only in books and plays, but in poetry as well. This is because the great authors assumed that people who were reading their literature were educated. The basic building blocks of literature that the great books refer to the most are the Bible and Greek mythology.

I used to tell my public school students that even if they didn’t believe in God, they needed to know about the famous classic stories in the Bible, like the story of David and Goliath or Adam and Eve. I told them they would never be truly educated without knowing the Bible because the greatest thinkers of all time knew it, even if they were refuting it. I am not insinuating that the truth in the Bible is in any way comparable to the absurdity of Greek myths. After having read hundreds of classics, however, I can confidently say that these two sources are necessary to read in order to understand all the rest.

Now I will state the opposite side, the side that says we should not study Greek mythology because it’s the study of demons. Do not dismiss these people or consider them stupid. I have researched Scripture, and in actual fact, Paul referred to the Greek gods as demons (Acts 14:12-15; I Corinthians 10:20). Because it’s in Scripture, and the Word of God is inerrant, I have no doubt that what Paul was saying was true, at least as far as the temples were concerned. Temples were built for the worship of demons, who happened to have the same names as are mentioned in these Greek mythology stories.

Notwithstanding, Paul had studied Greek mythology thoroughly, and he was therefore able to lead the people of Athens to Christ because he was an informed person, not an ignorant person. (The Greek gods are referred to in Scripture by name in the book of Acts, so your understanding of Scripture also hinges on your ability to understand the culture in which Scripture was written.)

Even your understanding of everyday idioms such as “You’ve just opened Pandora’s box,” or “That’s my Achilles’ heel” is completely unintelligible if you forbid the reading of Greek mythology just because Paul called them demons. After all, the true study of demons is completely different than the almost comedic blunders of the Greek gods and goddesses who often have more problems than mere mortals. Flying sandals, ogres with one eye, and a green-faced woman with snake hair that turns you to stone are more like fairy tales than an invitation to study the dark side.

What it comes down to is this: if you do not study Greek mythology, you are crippling your understanding of life as well as literature. You will not understand newspaper allusions and will appear ignorant to unsaved people, who will shut their ears to you because you don’t know even the basics of what everybody knows. Be educated. Gain wisdom. Teach your children true discernment, because they will encounter much worse stuff when they leave home. They need to be prepared.

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