• history,  religion

    Comparing the Bible with Mythology

    I’m reading Charles Penglase’s book Greek Mythology and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod. The heart of Penglase’ book is the idea that myth writers took motifs from other stories. He identifies rough motifs such as the goddess-and-her-consort stories where there is a journey to the underworld and a return and then he argues that those motifs show up even in unusual places. For example, pointing out how Apollo’s birth could be seen as fitting the goddess-and-consort-and-underworld myth. It has a wandering mother searching for (a place to bear) her child. It has the personified Island being scared it will be pushed down into the (underworld?)…

  • history,  homeschooling

    Reading Ancient Hittite Laws with my Kids

    I’ve been reading through an old book on the ancient Hittite laws. (Why? Why not?!) The first interesting detail in the book is the idea that they might not have had a word for the abstract concept of “law.” They had a word for “a law” or “the laws.” Some of the laws seem unremarkable but others have led to some interesting conversations with my kids. We talked about the following law and how it compares to modern compensation for injuries: “If anyone injures a person and temporarily incapacities him, he shall provide medical care for him. In his place he shall provide a person to work on his estate…

  • politics

    Independant Media and the Canadian Budget

    Today on Facebook I noticed a story about how the Trudeau government is creating “newspapers and websites deemed reliable.” That makes it sound like the government’s creating a serious official list of which papers are trustworthy or not. Except that isn’t what is really happening. The article in question was by the Post Millennial and it had little information but a link to an article by Blacklocks Reporter blog.  So I go to that and read that, and they’re talking about how the Federal Budget Bill C-97 has some funding for journalism. This is good. Local newspapers are losing out on advertisements as everyone advertises online and they lose out…

  • activism,  meaning of life,  religion

    Remembering we all have work to do

    I’ve been reading a book called Liberating Jonah: Forming an Ethics of Reconciliation. The book has a lot less about Jonah than I had hoped, but it has lots about reconciliation, which is good too. The starting argument of the book is that the miracle in the story of Jonah is not so much the storm or the fish but that Jonah was called to go to the Assyrians in the first place. Assyrians were the evil ones, the murdering empire bent on oppressing everyone. Yet the Bible says that God called on them to repent and would forgive even them. The bulk of the book is an argument for…

  • politics

    Coded language of the Yellow Vest Mission Statement

    I wrote the following specifically for a conversation in a Facebook group, but I suspect that conversation might be deleted and I thought I’d like to share these thoughts here: The Yellow Vest mission statement there and the conversation here has gotten me thinking about coded language. When do words have different extra meanings? I’m thinking about things like when someone talks about “the sanctity of marriage” in American media, they’re probably talking about promoting certain types of marriages and not others. They don’t have to come right out and say that. I’m trying to think of other examples of coded messaging. The Yellow Vests ends up using coded messages.…

  • meaning of life,  religion

    Reading Ancient Sumerian Poetry

    I’m reading little bits from four thousand year old poems about Inanna, a Sumerian goddess, as translated by Betty De Shong Meador. Here are a few small samples.   She shifts a god’s curse a blight reversed out of nothing shapes what has never been her sharp wit splits the door where cleverness resides and there reveals what lives inside   ….   to smooth the traveler’s road to clear a path for the weak are yours Inanna   to straighten the footpath to make firm the cleft place are yours Inanna   to destroy     to build to lift up    to put down are yours Inanna     ….  …

  • accepting criticism,  parenting

    Disciplining an Anxious Child

    I want to talk about anxious children. Or maybe highly gifted children with a deep sense of injustice. Or maybe highly gifted and anxious children. Children who flip out easily, and struggle to keep things together. Imagine a child, whom we’ll call Joe. Numerous times a day, Joe starts to respond to something. Maybe Joe’s picked up on a note of frustration in someone else’s voice and thinks the other is angry. Maybe Joe is struggling to do something and worried he won’t be able to. Maybe Joe has noticed something unfair in the world, but knows no one else will want to pause things and try to sort out…

  • history,  politics

    Reflections on reading a book about Richard the Lionheart

    Whenever I read a book, I try to spend a bit of time reflecting on it. I try to choose the most important details of it to retell to myself, so I remember them. I try to think of what I’ve learned from it. Today I’m reflecting on the book Richard I by John Gillingham. I’m thinking about the huge role political relationships and personal negotiations played at the time of Richard. When he went on the crusades, Richard the Lionheart left his different castles and estates in the hands of individuals who had to have the strength to defend them. If he chose the wrong people he would have…

  • homeschooling

    Making the switch to homeschooling – again

    You wouldn’t think that pulling a child out of school to homeschool would be hard for me. After all, I’ve done it before, multiple times. I was homeschooled for six years as a teenager. My oldest has only ever been to school for a month and my second oldest for only a year. My daughter came home in the middle of the year her grade-one year.  She returned to school in grade two of her own free will. In the summer before grade three she’d like to homeschool again, and we pushed her back into school because we had seen the fun she had the year before. She’s really not…

  • how do we know what we know is true,  politics

    Today’s Personal Epistemological Crisis

    Today I’m having my own little epistemological crisis. My inspiration for these thoughts are a New York Times article talking about a theory on the recent pipe bombs sent to Democrats.  The New York Times reported on this theory: The bombs, this theory went, were not actually part of a plot to harm Democrats, but were a “false flag” operation concocted by leftists in order to paint conservatives as violent radicals ahead of the elections next month. The inability of people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their own political party includes some violent radicals is amazing. It boggles my mind that others can believe that somehow this…