Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Huguenots or the French Reformed Church

You think times are bad? You think Christians are increasingly persecuted? You certainly are right. But read “The Huguenots or the Reformed French Church” by William Henry Foote (1794-1869) to put things in perspective and to realize what persecutions have preceded our times, what the issues where, and who the persecutors were. The time-frame that this book covers begins in 1494 with the birth of Francis I of France, who became a great persecutor of the reformed church, and ends with the death of Louis XVI in 1793 who was led to the guillotine during the French Revolution. Thus the story goes from persecuting to being persecuted and covers about 300 years. The “glory” of the French monarchy can only be described in terms of debauchery and materialism with the blessings, support, and protection of the Pope in Rome, his cardinals, and bishops in France who handsomely pocketed their share of the loot. The Huguenots made up the church of the Reformation in France. But they were also a political party calling for reforms in church and in politics. Their leaders were men like Admiral Coligny, Du Plessis Mornay and others. In the story you meet prominent historical reformers like John Calvin, who himself fled his homeland France during the reign of Francis I, Theodore Beza, William Farel, and Lefevre, who was one of the earliest reformers in France. There opponents were such luminaries as Catherine D’Medici, Cardinals like Loraine, Richlieu, and Mazarin, as well as the French kings and queens. While “Du Plessis Mornay and Coligny founded their statesmanship on truth and justice, between man and man, man and his king, man and his God”, the French kings would boast in their own perceived divinity and promote themselves by declaring “I am the State”. But great reformed women also take the stage. Without the patronage of bold women like the sister of Francis I, Marguerite Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d'Albret, Renee of Ferrara and others, the cause of the reformation would likely not have seen the light of day in France. Yet, the Huguenots suffered great setbacks in the Bartholomew’s massacre and the treacherous taking of Saumur. The Edict of Nantes made life tolerable for a time but the revocation about 90 years later under Louis XIV dealt a terrible deathblow to the reformation in France. The Huguenots fled France, if they could make it, and went to many European countries where they were welcomed and prospered. Thousands made their way, empty-handed, to the New Land and became settlers in the various colonies of North America, in particular Virginia, and the Carolinas. Their influence made a deep and lasting impression on this country. Reprint by Sprinkle Publications, 2002, Hardcover, Retail $45, OUR PRICE $36 --Hanno

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Escape from the Auto De Fe at Valladolid

Most of us are more familiar with the events of the reformation in Germany and England than in France or Spain. Do you remember a Reformation Day fair that your local church put on? It probably featured the nailing of the 95 Theses by Luther in his monkish robe to the church door in Wittenberg. You may also remember that Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, had ordered Luther to appear before the Diet in Worms to answer for his “heretical” views. Now Charles V was actually a Spaniard and not a German. Spain had been in league with the Pope in Rome for a long time and persecuted any and all who gave the Lutheran “heresies” an ear. That is the backdrop of the historical novel “My Escape from the Auto De Fe at Valladolid”. The Auto De Fe is an arm or the Spanish Inquisition from which there was no deliverance and no escape. That is about where this incredible story begins. The names of the hero and the immediate antagonists may be fictional but the account itself, the times and the places are not. Liberty, freedom of religion, and the rights of conscience have been won by the reformers and countless “heretics” who paid the standard price for these inalienable rights: persecution, torture, and death. Jesus said “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.” (Mat. 16:25) My family and I couldn’t put the book down. It will forever be an unforgettable reading experience for all of us. Paperback, 138 pages, $11.95 available at the Homeschool Hangout Bookstore --Hanno

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough

David McCullough covers the quest for a greater education or career of many well-known and some lesser-known Americans in Paris. Some returned for good, others made the voyage numerous times, a few stayed, but all were changed forever. The challenges they faced were not just personal in nature but were the severe trials of a metropolitan center in Europe with wars, revolutions, and diseases on one side of the balance and world fairs, inventions, and monumental accomplishments in science, medicine and the arts on the other side. A fascinating read, from the first to the last page.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Courageous (Movie)

I was deeply impressed with the movie "Courageous", a Kendrick Brothers Production, the makers of FIREPROOF. A great cast of actors and a beautiful score of music present a very timely theme courageously. Men are stepping up to be courageous not only in the workplace but also in the home. The challenges that you are being confronted with in the movie are exactly the moments when we men tend to fail. Be it at the time when we loose our job, or when our daughters want us to be spontaneous and public in our affections. Or it can be, that when we need courage to talk to our sons, or stand up for Jesus in the workplace, when, more often than not, courage fails us and we prove to be cowards. These moments can have eternal consequences and be of a very weighty matter. Most of the time we know what is the right thing to do, but we lack the courage to do it. One of the keys to courageously choosing the right path, must be to be prepared and informed. Watching football games and spending more hours at work will not prepare us to meet the challenges. Rather, spending time with our family, allowing ourselves to be held accountable, and knowing God's ways from His word are essential steps to acting courageously when it counts most. Go get the movie and listen carefully! You may meet the man, that you see daily in the mirror. --Hanno
PS: My children loved the movie, too. It is rated PG13, though, and I tend to agree with it. Movie and Book are available at the Homeschool Hangout Bookstore

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Homepreschool and Beyond

Homepreschool and Beyond
A Comprehensive Guide to Early Home Education
By Susan Lemons
Liberty Books
Paperback, 294 pages

With schools pressured to push little ones to perform, our homes can offer the opposite – a loving shelter from the storm – and that is precisely what Susan teaches us in her valuable book “Homepreschool and Beyond”. She is not out to sell you products but to show you how to best incorporate meaningful material. There are ideas galore on how to serve a “tasty meal” of reading, writing, and arithmetic laced with living books, physical development, history, music, and more. This is a treasure chest waiting to be explored by any parent willing to learn. She shows you how to reach reasonable academic goals with a healthy balance between books, skill-building, and play. A thirty page Appendix delivers a rich smorgasbord of resources, thought-provoking questions to discuss with your spouse, helps to build a spiritual foundation for education in the home, and valuable links from the worldwide web. We recommend the book highly to get you off to a great start.
Happy Homepreschooling! –Peggy Berg

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

The First American by H.W. Brands was a very rewarding study and enjoyable book to read. I shared so much of the book with my family that they feel like they have read the book. That happens to me often when I am really involved in my study and read delightful character descriptions, make connections that I had not seen before, or finally understand where some popular sayings come from like some of Ben Franklin's sayings which are from his famous Poor Richard's Almanac. Ben Franklin is often said to be one of the least "religious" founding fathers. Even Atheists like to claim him as their own. However, I observed in the reading of this account that Ben Franklin, the older he got, the more he held Christian beliefs. In many respects he was quite orthodox in his understanding of Christianity. But he was unsure about the deity of Jesus Christ, something he admittedly had never studied in more detail. Living in a predominantly Christian culture, he adopted biblical truths as his own. Here is an excerpt from the book that was to the point: "Here is my creed. I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do [Stiles shared Franklin's tolerance] in whatever sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as it probably has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed, especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure. I shall only add, respecting myself, that having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without she smallest conceit of meriting such goodness." (pg. 707)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

David McCullough writes engaging history. All his books that I have read so far have some epic, overarching theme to them. “John Adams” is the colossal of independence, “Truman” is a controversial figure because of the atomic bomb incident but looms really as a giant among the American presidents, “The Johnstown Flood” recounts the most devastating catastrophe of the South Fork Dam break in Pennsylvania on May 31, 1889, and the resulting flood that cost over 2,000 lives. The Great Bridge tells of the building, or shall we say miracle, of the Brooklyn Bridge and, of course, “1776” tells of the most pivotal year in American history and how, if it wouldn’t have been for the faith and courage of Washington, all would have been lost.

All of McCullough’s books are worth your time. They are available in hardcover, paperback, or on audio CDs. Each one of his stories goes way beyond what the title indicates. “John Adams”, for example, tells almost as much of Thomas Jefferson as it does of John Adams. I highly recommend David McCullough’s books.