31 October 2008

A Typical Roman: Emperor

...Emperors were at the top of the food chain in Rome. They were obeyed and feared given the fact they possessed such a great amount of power. Still, being emperor came with its own set of aggravations and trials. They had a reputation to uphold, an empire to run, and of course, the the threat of assassination was ever present. An emperor could be good or bad, respected or disliked : and we have a wide selection of both to interview.

...For today's interest I have arranged the following interview with two of Romes most famous Emperors - no easy task let me assure you.)I had to go back in time twice because these emperors lived and died in separate stages)

People, let me introduce our guests today. Emperor Augustus and Emperor Nero.

Press(Me:) - "Emperors do you mind telling us your time frame ; when did you become Emperor, things like that?"

Augustus - " I became Emperor in the year 27 B.C and am ruling even now."

Nero - "My excellent self received authority in the year 54 A.D. just forty years after Augustus."

- " And what allot has happened in that forty year time! What do you think has been the biggest change since Augustus rule?"

Nero - "It is hard to say, but I believe Augustus was more modest as an Emperor - not wanting to offend the Senate and general rabble. I however am like a god to my subjects and they love me! I have grander schemes and - "

Augustus - "And you spend money more freely. Really Nero, its like you think Rome is made of gold! You and future Emperors like you will destroy all that I have sought to build."

Nero - "You don't know that! You act as though Rome belonged to you just because you started something new! I am creating more than an Empire, I am creating a world fit for the gods!"

Augustus - "Namely yourself. Is it not true that you command your subjects to practically worship you? Its insufferable, no true Roman could bear it!"

Press - "Emperors! You bring up some excellent points, which beg a question from me. Is it true Nero that you are executing Christians for refusing to you and other Roman 'gods' ?"

Augustus - "See! That's just the thing I'm talking about! Heavens above, great Jupiter, what are you getting us into O predecessor?"

Press - "Augustus, please. Let Nero speak."

- " Upon my word, I find it hard to answer these direct accusations from one who has been dead forty years! You have no idea how troublesome a place Rome has become great Caesar, it is not what it was in your time. The Christians embody just one of our pestilences, all dissenters must be brought to reason! I must have proper respect!"

Augustus - "I suppose killing them has brought you this, ahem, respect?"

- "Well, you don't understand , I,- "

Press - "Speaking of respect, what is it that you two do as Emperors that garners respect from Roman citizens?"

Augustus - "I have Romes best interest at heart. Every day I listen to the Senate, read reports, and grant pardons. It rests with me to protect our borders and promote our interests. I also appoint men to office as governors of provinces. Mine is a weighty task which I cannot take lightly."

Press - "Nero? How about you?"

Nero - "Hmm, well. I can see the advantages in Augustus' duties, and I do acquit myself often of those tasks. But he has left something important out. I arrange games for the masses! Give the people bread and a circus and they will love you! I arrange gladiatorial fights, races, plays -"

- "Murders?"

Nero - "Of course not! Didn't you hear me? Are you referring to the Christians again? I told you, they are disturbers of the peace!?

Press - " Would now be a good time for me to mention that I am a Christian?"

Nero - "Ye gods! can it be so?"

Augustus - " I guess your little efforts to stamp Christians out didn't work, eh big boy?"

Nero - "But I've been trying so hard - are you sure we are talking about the same thing?"

Press - "Absolutely positive. Which reminds me of another question which may solve a centuries old mystery. Did you set fire to Rome and frame the Christians?"

Augustus - "He did what! O my Jupiter! Rome, my beloved city - you set it on fire? Hermes, I'll hamstring you..."

Nero - "Preposterous! I can't believe what I'm hearing, all lies! Can it be that there is any doubt in modern historians minds as to who set fire to Rome?"

Augustus - " I don't know about them, but there sure is in my mind!"

Nero - "I didn't do it! It was those trouble making, ungrateful, stubborn Christ-followers. But since the damage is done, I may as well tell you Augustus that I am rebuilding Rome on a far grander, richer, scale than you did."

- "I bet you are, thou avaritius aper!"

- "O really, fur furem cognoscit, et lupum lupus!"

- "Well this interview has run out of time. Besides, our guests have relapsed into Latin. I guess we will not know the answer to history's question after all, I leave it up to you to decide if Nero speaks truth."

Press - "Thank you Emperors for your time, I know it is valuable."

- "Aye, some of us have work to do."

Nero - "Hey! I have to attend a banquet being held in my honor, oversee a gladiatorial fight, travel to my country villa - nerves you know ...."

Press - "Goodnight gentlemen."

29 October 2008

Historical Scrapbooking Part 2!!!

... If you have not read my previous post on this subject, go to the label Historical Scrapbooks on the side and be sure to check them out! I left off with the Patriarchs, so today we will start with Egypt.

...Egypt was one of my favorite sections to do, there are just so many ways to be creative with displaying the Egyptian civilization! I had fun drawing and coloring pictures of Egyptians and hieroglyphs to paste around the pages. At the bottom of the first page is a small pyramid shaped (of course!) book which tells the Egyptian myth of creation.

...Here and there I have copied bible verses about Egypt directly onto the page. The map has a tab, embellished with an Egyptian looking fan display, which holds the clear overlay sheet down. You can see on most of my pages time line figures from the "Homeschool in the Woods" website.

...I have found that a black fine tipped Sharpie pen, works best for writing on the overlay sheets.

... Since we studied Egypt for three weeks I had a lot of material to display. So I ended up needing six pages in the Egyptian section! Above are the next two. Aside from charts, drawings and timeline figures, I put a small open out book about the Egyptian afterlife and a piece of papyrus. You can see the book opened below.

...On the last two pages, here I needed to put a large mailing envelope to hold papers which would not fit on the pages. Cutting the top off made it an easy slide in, slide out, and I decorated the front with more stuff!

... On the last page I have yet another book, held shut by a little decorative sticker.(I like using the thick stationary type stickers for sealing envelopes) And on front of the book I pasted a little piece of Egyptian artwork I did. Also more National Geographic cuttings add interest.

...Below is the Egyptian artwork, I had a lot of fun making this. It is made from strips of antique, papyrus looking paper soaked in a flour/water paste and then pieced back together. After it dried the edges still had a nice ragged look to them. Then I carefully drew a small scene of Egyptian life by looking at one of their actual tomb paintings. When I was satisfied with the drawing I painted it with Acrylics using a tiny paintbrush and yes, even tooth picks! The hieroglyphs at the top were done with a black felt tipped Sharpie pen. At the time I was crazy about Egyptian hieroglyphs and knew how to write small messages. So the writing does actually say something, I just don't remember exactly what now. I think it was something about attending a feast?

...Anyways, next is Moses and the Children of Israel. For this section I also took six pages.

...Here is the big picture of the front two pages. I always print up a title and paste it on the upper left hand corner of the first page.

...Below is a detail of some "extras" I put in. Normally I would not advise trying to put anything too bulky on a scrapbook page. But I really wanted to show some examples of the riches the Israelites carried away with them on exciting Egypt. So I put in some scraps of "fine" fabric and a plastic jewel. :) Above it is the passage about Israel plundering the Egyptians.

Here is the second section for Moses. I pasted in a pen and ink drawing of Moses on the mountain.

Here is a close up on the details...

There is one more two page spread for Moses and the Exodus, see below. Next update will be India!

A Typical Roman : Merchant

...Roman merchants rarely came from the upper class, though indeed many of them were wealthy enough to form their own aristocratic branch. The higher patrician families considered manual labor and careers in trade to be demeaning. For the most part merchants were from the middle class.
...Becoming a merchant was a matter of money and trade. There were many stalls lining the streets of Rome's cities and with some money and luck a reasonable shop could be set up. Some merchants were more successful than others, people always want necessities - and in times of affluence, luxuries. Lets focus on a typical Roman merchant with a family of five.
... His days are probably full, although he does have several slaves to help in the shop; they keep count of sales, clean the shop, and collect dues. For now this merchant oversees his own affairs, but soon he hopes to acquire an educated slave, preferably Greek, who could take over most of his responsibilities. He is a dealer in fine pottery and dishware, with growing business since Augustus came to power.
...Like other merchants of his rank and citizenship he frequents the bath house for leisure and occasionally attends parties with or without his wife. He has four children, three daughters and a son. This is very 'lucky' because mortality rates for children are high. After his son was born his wife lost two babies, so now they have decided not to have any more children because death of women in childbirth is also very high.
...Once in a while he is called to vote as a juror, an exciting task. Court cases were popular amusements in Rome and the upper balconies filled fast with spectators.
...Life is good and will probably get better with time. One day the merchant hopes to pass on his business to his son. Right now the boy attends a local one room school with other merchants sons, there they are taught to read, write, memorize poetry and literature, and do basic mathematics including Geometry.
...The merchants daughters were taught all they needed to know from their mother and the household domestic slaves. It was very important for girls to learn how to weave, manage a household, and be a good wife before they were twelve years old. Why twelve? Most girls married between the ages of twelve and fourteen. Already the merchant had selected a husband for his eldest, who is thirteen, they will be married towards the end of Jun - a particularly lucky time of year for Roman marriages. The man is ten years the girls senior, but this was common as men wanted younger wives and were not ready to take a wife until they were older. The merchants daughter has not yet met her bridegroom, but considers herself fortunate because he is reported to be kind and handsome with a good establishment.
...Yes, life is good for this merchant. And right now he and his family have nothing more pressing than looking forward to the Roman festival "Floralia" which was coming in a few weeks.

A Typical Roman : Slave (Greek)

(This is the first post of a four part series on Roman life. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand in someone else's shoes? How about a Roman citizen, a thirteen year old bride, an emperor? Just in case you've ever wondered, read the below and following updates! :)

...In Rome slaves were considered property. They had no rights and were not considered to be citizens. But they did have the opportunity for a good life if they happened to be in the right position at the right time. A galley slave could have little hope of living, let alone comfort; a mining slave was beaten and maltreated until death was welcome. But for many slaves life could be good, even privileged. What would your life have been like if you were a Greek slave?

...Greek slaves were valued above the average lot because the Romans admired the Greek civilization. Greeks were usually well educated, talented, smart, and trustworthy. As a result Greek slaves were snapped up off the market and placed in wealthy household positions. The upper class bought Greeks to be their physicians, tutors, household managers and even farm holders! A slave in a wealthy family could even became influential and respected.

...Sometimes owners gave their slaves wages; after a while the slave could buy his freedom, or choose to invest in his own business or small farm. Freed slaves formed a good portion of the wealthier middle class, running successful businesses and owning their own slaves. Most household slaves, especially Greeks, were not treated as inferior. They were respected and well cared for. Parents trusted them with their childrens education and safety. It is hard to imagine a society where slavery was accepted and normal, where slaves were even viewed as respectable and honorable in many cases. Yet in many Roman circles it was so, and Greek slaves were usually very respected, vauable, members of society.

17 October 2008

The Heart Of America

...Where do you stand this political season? Where do any Christians stand in politics? How about for the last ten years, twenty?
...If you are like many Christians planning to vote with the Constitution Party, I ask you to prayerfully read this paper. I am not attacking you or your opinion or convictions, nor am I trying to bring further division to the people of God. But I am condemning America for her pride and her wretched drifting from the lap of God. And I am condemning the church for abandoning true religion, the work which God gave to her. Both of these units are made up of people like you and me, Christians and American citizens who have lost our way; we are more concerned with the Law than with the Spirit, with works than with faith. Let me explain.

...Many believe that it would be wrong to vote for Sarah Palin because she is a woman. (After all, the New Testament is full of passages admonishing women to be submissive to their husbands and keepers of the home.) Allot of this has been coming from conservative home school families who have been carefully raising their daughters to be homemakers. Families like my own. Personally I am not so conservative as some, although the world has accused me of being legalistic; I believe being a wife and mother is a high and noble calling, one which most women are called too. It is the normal way the Lord works, a sure way of raising up holy offspring for the next generation which is what the Lord seeks. But these are not "normal" times.

...What we have witnessed in America is a spiritual decline; our families are crumbling through divorce and rebellion; our churches are often dead and dying; and our government has become a seat for pride and hypocrisy, surely a stronghold for Satan. Despite valiant efforts on the part of many, especially the "reformed conservative home school" movement, our country is worse than ever. What is wrong?

...Now I do not pretend to have all the answers, and far be it from me to point at others with a plank in my own eye! I can only share with you the burden on my heart, you must take it to Scripture and see if it rings true. Please pray and search Gods Word on this matter - and let the Holy Spirit help you draw conclusions before replying.

...The reason we have not had a great spiritual awakening in America for so many years is because we Christians have not been faithfully doing Gods Work. Instead we have focused on ourselves; on how to become "holier" by what we wear, what our profession is, how many children we have, how we keep the Sabbath, whether or not we home school, whether or not we have a "classical" education, whether we read plenty of "out of print books", whether we have memorized the Westminster Catechism, whether we have our children baptised as infants or not; the list goes on and on. I am not saying that these things are wrong, on the contrary, most of the above are helpful and probably godly things to do as families. Yet we cannot let these things become the heart of Christianity, any more than we can let "political correctness" and socialism become the heart of America. Our heart is Jesus, our center is the cross, our hope is in Christ alone. Not modesty, not stay at home mothers, not having large families, not homeschooling, and not what denomination we attend.

...This is the difference we must see, the difference between walking in the Spirit and walking by the letter of the Law. Works could not save Israel and they certainly will not save us. Faith in Jesus, doing the work of God, true religion, this is what America needs. we have strayed from our roots and God has allowed us to come this far. I believe this election season is a judgement from God, and like the Israelites in Jeremiahs time, we need to accept what He is doing. In fact if we as Christians would stop to see the parallels between ourselves and wayward Israel the results would be stunning. Lets look at the story of Deborah.

...In the days of Deborah Israel had been sold into slavery, they were harshly oppressed. Here in America we may not yet find ourselves physically oppressed, but we are spiritually. America has become a slaughterhouse for the unborn, an arena for unfaithfulness and abomination, and we are fast moving towards a new era of depravity as our pride soars unbound. China and the Middle East poise on the horizon, much as Sisera and the King of the Canaanites did for the Israelites. American Christians have brought this on themselves by handing over the cares of the church to the state, bu abandoning true religion as spoken of in James, and by becoming silent about the Gospel under the pressure of "religious tolerance". We are all guilty, I am guilty.

...Why is it we are so divided as Christians in the political arena? Why have we not been able to get a third party Constitutional candidate in office? Some might say its because other Christians are afraid to vote their conscience, or because of unfairness in the White House/Press/ Republican, or, Democrat party..... I say lets look at the issue from a bigger perspective, Gods in fact.

...Ultimately God is the One who has allowed our politics to get where they are, He is the One who has not blessed Christians efforts in the last couple decades. The question we need to be asking Him and ourselves is Why?

...Maybe it is because we have not been faithful to our posts. Maybe it is because we have been teaching our children to honor God with their lips and appearance, but not with their hearts and deeds. I've heard many Christians say that it is wrong for Christians to work outside of Gods prescribed way of "doing" things in order to bring about His will. I say Amen to this!But lets be honest, have we been working Gods way to bring in the harvest in America? Have we been true to the great commission in our every day lives? Is the only time we talk about Christ when we are at church or around other Christians?When was the last time you shared the Gospel with an unbeliever? When was the last time you were even around an unbeliever?

...I can only blush when I think about my own actions. But by Gods grace I intend to turn this around, to share Christ at every grocery store on every street corner, and by more than what I "wear" - by the words I say to those I meet.I've been letting my clothes, family size, hairdo, even shoes! do the witnessing for me. Brothers and Sisters that's not enough. Many of you may feel as I do, lets pray for great revival and go out and do the Lords work by preaching Christ to every soul we meet. Lets recognise the judgement of God on America, our country, right now.

...So why am I voting for Mcain and Sarah Palin? Isn't voting for a woman going against Gods way of doing things? Would He bless that?

...Firstly, as far as what God blesses and doesn't bless, He certainly has chose not to bless the constitution party nominee for a long time. Why? I believe it is part of the judgement on America and we Christians. Secondly, in times of judgement before, God has appointed woman leaders. This is evident by Deborah and is perhaps why her story is included in Gods Word. I do believe this was a mark of shame for Israel, and it would be a mark of shame for America. But it was Gods will at that time and He used it to save His people. The way I see it we have shame on one hand and terrible judgement on the other. Not deliverance by a third door, this is not a lack of faith, but a discernment of the times we live in. We need to suck up our pride and recognise that the fight for our country has just begun. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, appointing a godly woman instead of a godly man to office would be one of them. I think it is a merciful wake up call for Christian Americans. Our Calvinism, doctrines, and reforms won't save us. Only the pure Gospel of Christ.

...Lest anyone should think that I think Palin is a 'savior' or the answer to all our problems let me quickly what I think about her. She is a godly woman who has a solid stance against abortion, she believes in less government and lower taxes. I believe she is a reformist and possibly the start of the change we need. The fact that she is a woman is a issue for me, it goes against my conviction concerning women., However I believe God is doing something right now in my heart, in America, in our government, and I would rather accept His judgement of a godly woman in office that vote against His mercy. It is a mercy that we have anyone godly running for office with the chance of winning the election. I'm not going to complain when God allows a godly woman to run for office.

...In my opinion it comes down to this, do we want Deborah or the Cannanite King?

...Next year, Lord Willing, more Christian men will become involved in politics. More women will go to their unbelieving neighbors and share the gospel, not how to dress, not how to home school, not who to vote for. We are not persecuted for witnessing, yet. Lets take advantage of that as the blessing it is and get to the heart of the matter. When a soul is awakened to the Lord then other things will follow. Lets teach our children not to look down on the neighborhood kids in the street, but instead to lovingly reach out as ambassadors for Christ. Together let us reach the voting masses with the heart of the matter, Christ.

...But first we need to change. We have to experience the love for God before we can talk about it with others. Our hearts need to be on fire for God, He has to live in us. He doesn't want lip service when you sing the hymns, He wants your love, your joy, your devotion. In short your "feeling" of love and joy in Him. Don't say you love Him if you don't. Love is felt, don't shy away from the word emotions because its a taboo word in the Presbyterian church. God wants everything from you and chances are if you say you love Him without "feeling" it then you are a hypocrite.

...Don't live by the law as the Pharisees did. Walk in the fullness of the times with Christ. Share Him with the unsaved, with the unwed mother, with the gang members, the atheistic co-workers, the freaky cashier girl, the grubby neighborhood kids. They are the Heart of America. Your heart is Christs.
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."

Rend your heart
and not your garments.

Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God."

Joel 2: 12-14