Thursday, June 23, 2011

COG7, The Bible Advocate, and Messianic Judaism

   In the past issue of the Bible Advocate (Doing Dad Right, May-June 2011 issue), a magazine published by the COG7 (Church of God 7th Day), an article on Messianic Judaism was published. After reading it thoroughly, I was asked by an ex-member of the said church, who is presently Torah observant, to give somewhat of an answer  to the arguments concerning accusations to the Messianic Faith. The author of the article Israel Steinmetz wrote several points as to why the church disagrees with the Messianic Faith; and how the church should approach people with this belief within their church. (Please follow the above link to read the full article entitled Messianic Judaism in the Doing Dad Right issue, pages 20-23)

    From the beginning, my desire  was to clear up any confusion and mistaken assumptions regarding the Messianic Faith. As I clearly stated in my response, that I e-mailed to the Bible Advocate, I made no claim as to being a spokesperson for this faith; but am instead someone who has known it long enough to see the errors argued in the said article. My motive has not been to persuade a church into a certain way of belief, instead my hope was to make a clear explanation as to why such arguments were untruthful and at the same time hurtful to any future Christian-Messianic relations.

    In a future post, I hope to present the false assertions presented in the BA (Bible Advocate) Article. Also, I hope to take each of the points presented in the article, and explain why they are mostly based on assumptions and misinformation. I want to give the main reasons for disagreeing and stating they are in fact based on false assumptions, written in my response to the BA.

    Finally, I would  like to write one last post on the subject. Two nights ago, I received a letter from the editor letting me know they had received and read my response. The editor also mentioned, that I would soon be able to read the new issue within the next couple of weeks, wherein the discussion would continue. As a result of knowing about this follow up on the subject, I would like to write one more post with a follow up and conclusion of my own.

    My determination on writing to the BA, was not only to clear up the confusion being spread out there; but one other thing in mind prompted my response. The COG7, as a church with a large membership and the BA with many readers throughout The States, should be more careful, when writing about believer's of a different faith; and should first make sure, that they have all the facts right. In my opinion, such false statements about the Messianic Faith, will do nothing more than be a source of disdain and contempt for Messianics in general. It is with a hope of a better understanding on the subject, that I'm writing these posts for my blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Dreaded Struggle with Reading

   Homeschooling may be more of a challenge on some days than others. With the difference in learning styles among other factors, finding a teaching method that works for both student and teacher can be difficult at times. Despite any difficulties and challenges that may arise from the task before us, we can be sure that we can certainly succeed with the help of perseverance and dedication. Naturally every child can have different strengths and weaknesses which will need to be identified. There may be a child that is especially quick at learning new things and with a gifted memory, while another may seem to struggle and present an uncooperative attitude.
    I believe that with the several homeschooled children I've worked with, I've had my share of challenges. As a matter of fact, I once found myself in a situation where all hope seemed to be lost. My child was uncooperative and miserable on a daily basis. I'm not sure how I got through those days, all I remember is they seemed to go on forever. At the same time I was also teaching the opposite type of student, which only made things appear to be worse than they really were with my struggling learner. Time did pass by though, and struggle as we were, we continued on our homeschooling endeavor. The days were long and difficult, as at the time I was also raising toddlers and pregnant for the most. My child was in tears each and every day, and basically any time we were working on any kind of formal reading, writing, or arithmetic exercises. While I can't give much details on how we overcame our challenges, I would like to give a word of hope to any struggling parent trying to homeschool with similar challenges. One thing that I will tell you is DON'T DESPAIR! There is always hope and without a doubt, light at the end of the tunnel! Success is all the sweeter when it's something you've worked hard and longed for all along. This time of struggles were a learning time for both my child and me. It definitely was a lesson in patience for me; I can tell you that much. 

   We continued studying and though it may seem illogical, I never tried to water down our lessons or making them any simpler; if anything, we constantly reached for higher goals. Naturally, there had to be much encouragement along the way. I had to not only convince my child of the certainty of success, but I had to believe it myself first. We read and eventually the tears stopped. We mastered the basic math concepts with even greater ease. Little by little we moved forward making progress as the days and months went by. Today this once struggling student is unrecognizable. Not only did reading become bearable but it's become somewhat of a hobby as reading is done voluntarily and even for pleasure. I can honestly say this is my ideal kind of student. My child did not only learn what we aimed for, but embraced learning as a goal and a way of life. This days, when I need help on proofreading any kind of writing guess whom I turn to. Even when I need to refresh my memory concerning any math concept I'm covering with my other children, my once struggling learner is there to the rescue.

   I've got to admit, that I'm far from being the best teacher. I don't have all the answers and I'm still learning and trying to improve my teaching skills. Every chance I get, I want to learn from good teachers and their methods. At the moment I'm happy to say, I'm in the middle of reading Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire after having just finished There are No Shortcuts which are both a great inspiration to me. There is no special method that I follow, just a desire to be there for my children and watch them succeed. I may do a lousy job at times, while have great days on others, but my focus is not on the immediate results. My goal is to do the job I've been called to as helpmeet, mother, and teacher; hopefully to the best of my ability. If you find yourself struggling or desiring to give up, remember there is hope, and sometimes the first kids to be labeled are the very ones to prove to excel among the rest. I would encourage you to read about Einstein's childhood.   Even when every child is not necessarily a genius, we can know that they are teachable and that we can reach our goals.  So don't give up and most of all don't lose sight of why you began homeschooling in the first place. Remember that success is waiting right around the corner.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just David - A Beautiful Story

For a second time now, I began reading a book titled Just David with my kids. I first got this book a while back as a gift when I purchased some things from Timberdoodle. I had never heard of this book before this, but decided to read it, since I had it. I read it together with my kids when my oldest son David was about 13-years-old. It's been about five or so years since and now I am reading it with my younger children. Once we started reading, I realized what a beautiful story it is; from that moment, it became one of my favorite books from our library.

The story of Just David is a story of innocence and beauty. It is a moving story about a delightfully sweet boy, whom after being lovingly brought up and surrounded with all things good and pure, and sheltered from all else, finds himself suddenly plunged into a world he has never known. It is through the various circumstances, that David finds himself in and his peculiar and unexpected way of dealing with them, that makes for quite interesting reading. The author draws, one, through a journey along with David to find his place in this world and a search for an unknown family. He touches many lives along the way, mainly teaching other characters from the story, along with its readers, valuable lessons. I highly recommend this book for reading along with the family, or alone if you like a good book. It brought many smiles, laughs, and even a few tears to our family. I hope you enjoy it, and comment on it if you do. Happy reading!