• books,  communication,  culture,  God,  meaning of life,  the ethical life

    A book about the Harry Potter books, and the many questions they invoke.

    My current light-reading is the book Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menance behind the Magick by Richard Abanes. In some ways it is a very weird book for me to read because I do not share the author’s conservative Christian religious beliefs. Why then should I concern myself with the criticisms he has of Harry Potter based on those religious beliefs? I am drawn to the book for the chance to see a little window into the ideas of others. How does his understanding of the Bible effect his understanding of Harry Potter? How does his understanding of Harry Potter help me understand my own views of the world? Much of the book ends…

  • books,  communication,  meaning of life,  religion

    Challenges of Communication

    Many Moons is a children’s story by James Thurber. Princess Lenora is sick and only being granted her wish will cure her. What does she wish for? The moon! Advisor after advisor described how much they have already accomplished for the king and why they can’t get the moon for him. Only the jester has the answer; noting that each advisor describes a different moon he suggests that they ask Princess Lenora what she thinks the moon is. Her moon is neither rock nor green cheese. It is golden, about the size of her fingernail, fairly easy for them to procure for her but will she mind that the other moon…

  • meaning of life,  religion,  the ethical life

    "Is everything okay mom?"

    “Is everything okay mom?” my sensitive little guy asks me after doing something he knows is wrong. He sounds really upset, so I say yes, everything is okay. We can clean up the mess. This continues over and over for a few days till I stop and say, no, it isn’t okay. Yes, we can clean up the mess, but I don’t want to have to keep doing that. The messes and problems my children cause are really not all that serious, yet they bring to light a difficult skill and that is the need to be able to maintain a sense of things being alright while acknowledging that something isn’t…

  • meaning of life,  the ethical life

    sad stories and questions arising from them

    One situation I’ve been reading about online is the story of Veronica Rose, an American child just two years old. On New Years Veronica was handed over from her adoptive parents to her biological father. The details of the story are unclear. Veronica’s biological mother accuses the father of refusing to financially support her unless she marry him and so she said she had to give the child up for adoption because she couldn’t afford to raise Veronica herself. Veronica’s biological father says the biological mother cut off all contact and refused to answer his calls or communicate, so how was he supposed to offer support? The adoptive parents say…

  • God,  meaning of life,  religion

    A response to: "Do you think there is life after birth? Do you believe in mom?"

    There is a picture going around the Internet of a pair of unborn twins with the caption “Hey Brother, do you think there’s life after birth? Do you believe in Mom? – Nah, I don’t believe these things. I’m an atheist. I mean, have you ever seen Mom?” I think the picture and caption is mildly irritating but a fascinating thought experiment. On the irritating side, it implies that anyone who doesn’t believe in God is stupid by comparing God to something we know exists. What it misses is the question of “what is the mom the baby says he doesn’t believe in?” Would anyone think that the baby is…

  • history,  homeschooling,  meaning of life,  music

    Sharing Beethoven with my children

    I find homeschooling easiest at the times when I am enthusiastically learning new things myself. So with that in mind, I picked up a copy of Harvey Sach’s The Ninth, about Beethoven’s symphony, and today while the kids are out with their dad, I was reading it and trying to envision how I can share it with the children. I have only read the first chapter so far but I am already thinking of how I could devise a game with the children, pretending that one of us is Beethoven. We have watched the movie Beethoven Lives Upstairs so they have some vague knowledge of who Beethoven is. In play,…

  • education,  history,  meaning of life

    situated within history

    Today I am thinking about the places that inspire me. I am thinking about Arcadia Village, and about Victoria Settlement. I am thinking about the ornamental and vegetable garden at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal, and how I was drawn to it despite it being one of the plainer uglier parts of the garden because I found it inspiration to think of people historically cultivating a much wider collection of the plants than most gardeners today, and with more of a dependency upon those plants. I am thinking of libraries filled with books, a recording of thoughts past, a source of knowledge. I’m thinking about why these places inspire me. I’m thinking…