Monday, May 24, 2010

Social Heath Care

This is the last essay I wrote for my classical writing course. It was very fun to research and write. I hope y'all enjoy reading it. Thanks for taking the time.


Over time, the United States Government has taken liberties to govern areas independent of their permitted jurisdiction. The Founding Fathers of America laid out the purpose of the government in the Constitution and nowhere does it includes laws which support gun control, allow the destruction of life, interfere with education, or control health care. The United States government has gone too far. Socialized government health care is slowly being introduced into our nation and is planning to further corrupt America by replacing the private sector doctors and health care with "free" health benefits, however, it would really cost people loads of money to pay for worse care than they previously received.

Social health care can take on the form of many disguises and can hardly be defined as one thing or another. What is commonly understood by the term "social heath care," however, is that the government owns nearly all forms of care such as doctors, surgeons, dentists, etc. and the people no longer have a choice of who they receive care from; it's chosen for them. That does not sound too bad though. Right? Wrong. So few people allow themselves to see the damage and harm this can do. First off, because the government commandeers all systems of medical help, they agree to pay for it all so it is potentially "free" for the citizens. That sounds good too, but the real truth, that people are not generally aware of, is that since the government would "pay," and they have to get the money somewhere, they obtain the money from the people, and how do they do that other than by raising taxes?

That's right, the government would raise taxes even higher than they are previously, which is ridiculously high because of other supposed social "improvements" we have adopted, so that there is enough money to pay the government employed health workers. In reality, citizens pay for all the health benefits after all, but worse than that, they also pay for that of other people as well. For example, if everyone pays the same amount of tax for health care, one person may be in continual good health and rarely need to visit the doctor at all, where as another person might constantly be in and out of the doctor's office for different injuries and medical issues. The healthy person then would normally only pay a little bit for their few appointments, but the other person would pay much more. With social health care, the healthy people, through taxes, will be forced to pay much more than they normally would. Some of the people who need lots of medical attention, and would be the beneficiaries of increased taxes, are the people who lead immoral lives, take drugs, have abortions and there are many people who would not support their money being used to benefit such life styles. Not all people, however, who have poor health or have medical issues fit into those three categories, but in some cases, the money paid through taxes will go to give "free" health care to those who have made foolish decisions in their lives.

As if that were not bad enough, the actual process of getting into the doctor is a hassle. Canada adapted universal health care in 1984, and 26 years later it is worse than ever. To get in to see a doctor can take any where from two to ten hours of waiting. At a hospital, a patient has to wait for a couple hours just to see a nurse, then wait anywhere up to another 8 hours, depending on how urgent the doctors feel the situation is. Eventually a real doctor will see the patient and address the issue. However, there is no guarantee that there will be a prompt solution, or even one at all. That makes sitting in a witting room for an hour sound fast! Because the employees get paid by the government and not from their clients, there is very little incentive to work hard or really care for the patients. Some doctors and nurses, who are honest say that the best way to receive beneficial help would be to go to a private doctor! So if that is the solution why does not every one go to the private doctor? Because there is a catch. A person can only get a private doctor if they have somewhere around nine hundred dollars to spare. And even if someone did have that much to spend on a private doctor, it takes anywhere from one to three years to get accepted as a patient. Because they are in such high demand, from people not wanting to use government provided health care, it is extremely difficult to even get a private physician. It is clear to see that universal health care is ineffective and futile. While the United States is trying to get rid of the independent doctors, Canada is doing just the opposite, trying to get more private care.

A common saying in the 18th century said, "the restraint of government is the true liberty and freedom of the people." Our nation has declined greatly since then and we can see the truth of it even more clearly now. The government has wormed its way in and stuck its hand where it does not belong. According to the Constitution, the government has three jobs; preserving national peace, maintaining national security, and the promotion of equal justice for everyone. How does raising already high taxes to instill a form of health care that is proven to fail, fall into either of those three categories? The truth is that our government has over stepped its rightful bounds and is intruding on the people's liberty. When looking back through history, there are many examples of times when the government should have left well enough alone, but they just couldn't. They seem to think that there should be equality for all people; old and young, poor and rich, privileged and impoverished, foreign and native. Whether through social security, health care, or education, all of which are paid by taxes, the government has tried to bridge the gap of social class which has resulted in worse situations than America was formerly comprised of.

Thomas Jefferson said, "when people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." The nation as a whole has stepped back, taken a vacation from responsibility, and apathetically watched the government head in a tyrannical direction, instead of putting on their boots and wading through the swamp of difficulty and duty in order to maintain freedom. America is training the next generation to abdicate their obligations and let the government do what they feel is best by setting an example of indifference, but that will only pull the nation into deeper trouble than that caused by socialized heath care.

Friday, May 14, 2010

the education of children

Often looked down upon as a waste of a broad-minded and capable woman’s time, teaching her children is one of the most blessed careers a mother could fulfill. Imparting a lasting education does not begin on the first day of kindergarden or grade school. It begins in infancy. Whether or not parents realize it, when a babe is still unable to string words together or even use a sippy cup, his education has begun--for better or worse. Children are a big responsibility and one that needs to be taken seriously. The great philosopher Plato said: “No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nurture and education.” Being intentional about bringing children up in the admonition of the Lord requires a great deal of dedication and consistency, but the results are worth every minute of weariness--not to mention it is a command to all Believers. It is the little things in life that culminate over time and are the backbone to character. Thus intentional choices and training on the part of the parents are integral to the child.

Parents should construct a vision and know what end result they want to obtain in the big picture. This will help in the planning stage where the curriculums or methods of book education are chosen. Starting with hopes for the finale and slowly, methodically working backwards to construct a broad and flexible, organized schedule with which to follow as the years go by will lend a cadence and reason to scholastic decisions later on. Establishing a scope and sequence from the start will give the educator some structure as to where to direct the studies and when certain tasks should be accomplished to be able to achieve the fixed goals. Relying on these boundary points during the ensuing stages, the deviations, all too common in the normal homeschool regimen, will be severely diminished and the focus will stay more on track and in line with the chief end. Plato espouses many great ideas as education and the work it requires, on behalf of the teacher as well as the student, “nothing great is easy.”

As soon as the parents have a grasp on how to put their vision into practice, they can begin feeding it to their children in bit-sized pieces. The early years should be spent nurturing each precious God-given blessing with little emphasis on academic studies. Days fly by full of seeing the world through enthusiastic, untainted eyes and teaching children what it means to learn and discover, believe and trust, love and hate--tying heartstrings between mother and children. When relationships have been well established during the young years, the rest of life together in the home will be pleasant and enjoyable to all members of the family.

Pupils can absorb almost anything; they are a clean slate on which to work and engrave, leaving an indelible impression on the soul. One of the most important elements of an early childhood education is an exposure to literature that will instill foundational truths from the start.

“For a young person cannot judge what is allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.”

Entering the age of adolescence, students launch into their education and gain a personal interest in knowledge for the sake of understanding. Biblically-minded mentors are essential in this stage. They guide, challenge, and instruct--ultimately imparting their worldview, standards, values, and ethics in the child. Having once started using great books as teachers, it is hard to stop, especially as the material just gets better and better, inspiring further research and deeper conversations. Continually discussing literary and academic material, the scholarly young adults will advance their education, establishing rhetorical habits.

As the children grow and mature, the foundation laid down in the beginning will be tested. If it is weak or crumbling anything added to it will topple into a miserable heap of rebellion. However, if the mother truly has the heart of her child in her hands and the cornerstones of faith and love remain steadfastly in place, everything built on top will last a life time and will be a living testimony of God’s grace in the lives of all involved. Reaching adulthood though a path of intentionality is a process that over time results in a percipient and copious man, ready to face all challenges. Plato suggests the “end” has been reached when:

“[a student] knows when he should speak and when he should abstain from speaking, and when he should make use of pithy sayings, pathetic appeals, aggravated effects, and all the other figures of speech;--when I say, he knows the times and seasons of all these things, then and not till then he is perfect and consummate master of his art.”

Throughout their children’s education, parents are involved in cultivating character qualities, explaining ideas, sharing wisdom, imparting truths, befriending, and guiding in edification.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the value of feminine domesticity

In the modern world of people worried about being politically correct and socially acceptable, a woman living as best she can in light of Proverbs 31 is truly a diamond in the rough--quite a shock to the mediocratic populace. This is such an exceptional concept that a lady often has to endure a long bout of criticism and grueling, loaded questions when she mentions her future plans and goals. A woman who focuses her energies looking after the ways of her household should be commended; her “job” is one of the most important and noble responsibilities given to the daughters of Eve.

“Homemaking—being a full-time wife and mother—is not a destructive drought of usefulness but an overflowing oasis of opportunity; it is not a dreary cell to contain one’s talents and skills but a brilliant catalyst to channel creativity and energies into meaningful work; it is not a rope for binding one’s productivity in the marketplace, but reins for guiding one’s posterity in the home; it is not oppressive restraint of intellectual prowess for the community, but a release of wise instruction to your own household; it is not the bitter assignment of inferiority to your person, but the bright assurance of the ingenuity of God’s plan for the complementarity of the sexes, especially as worked out in God’s plan for marriage; it is neither limitation of gifts available nor stinginess in distributing the benefits of those gifts, but rather the multiplication of a mother’s legacy to the generations to come and the generous bestowal of all God meant a mother to give to those He entrusted to her care. (Dorothy Paterson)”

Aspirations to be a keeper-at-home can be quickly dashed when a young lady tells someone that what she wants to be when she grows up is a wife and mommy instead of a prestigious career woman in the workplace. Eyebrows raise, a smirk might flicker, and a barrage of questions follow. “What about your education? You’re smart and have such potential, why waste it at home? What will you do all day if you don’t have a job?” Because of the contrary opinions that she is bound to come in contact with, a future homemaker would be wise to formulate answers to these dubious arguments. A lady used to be considered accomplished if she was well versed in all the arts. Mr. Darcey says that a girl must have a working knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and modern languages, and she must learn to improve her mind through useful studies and extensive reading and she also should apply proper deportment in all situations. It takes a great woman intentional in her pursuits and broad of mind to fulfill these expectations. Though Austen’s fictional hero lived centuries ago and his list of qualifications are a bit out-dated, the modern, liberally educated woman is better prepared to fulfill her biblical calling if she has spent time preparing herself.

There are many profitable ways for a woman to occupy her time at home. Some ladies have families and that, obviously, would take up the majority of her time; mentoring, cleaning, training, baking, repairing, nurturing, teaching, sewing, guiding, befriending. Others are older and empty-nesters or have not been blest with children of their own. Their role in a Christian community would involve the Titus 2 model of helping with duties and imparting wisdom to younger or overwhelmed wives. A girl who is not married has the opulent freedom to delve into any area of study that interests her and learn all there is to know. As G.K. Chesterton says, a lady choosing to stay home opens up vast numbers of educational pursuits--the world is her oyster.

“Woman must be a cook, but not a competitive cook; a school mistress, but not a competitive schoolmistress; a house-decorator but not a competitive house-decorator; a dressmaker, but not a competitive dressmaker. She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad.”

In the pursuit of knowledge a woman need not become an authority on all points in a given subject or live under the shadow of constant comparison. Rather than extensively studying one topic, she has the opportunity to customize and explore different fields of her education, learning what would specifically be profitable to her.

Being home-centered has more to do with the heart of a lady, than the fact that she works in, and sometimes from, the home instead of an office job or that she logs a certain number of hours in a house each week, applies her quota of band-aids, and washes all the dishes in the sink. A woman who has a vision to be a keeper at home, a devoted mother, and a self-less wife desires to work to the best of her ability where she is needed. If the house is not tidy and laundry unfolded, but she has the heart strings of her children tied to her own and her husband is content, she has found the essence of her biblical role. Proverbs and 1 Timothy exhorts women to serve, submit, and encourage their husbands as well as care for their families. “A godly woman is one who sees her life as a mission of service. What others view as a burden, she views as a blessing and opportunity. (Christine Russell)” Ordinary tasks may seem to be repetitious or even tiresome, but when seen in the light of eternity, it is the unremarkable chores that shape the lives of others--thus making routine responsibilities extra-ordinary.

“Thank God, O women, for the quietude of your home, and that you are the queen in it. Men come at eventide to the home, but all day long you are there, beautifying it, sanctifying it, adorning it, blessing it. Better be there than wearing a queen’s coronet. Better be there than carrying the purse of a princess. It may be a very humble home. There may be no carpet no the floor. There may be no pictures on the wall. There may be no silks in the wardrobe, but, by your faith in God, and you cheerful demeanor, you may garniture that place with more splendor than the upholsterer’s hand ever kindled. (T. Delwitt Talmage)”

Anyone could stay home, but wrapped up in the middle of the issue is the fact that a woman desires her focus to be centered on her family and running it smoothly. Called to be a help-meet to their God-given husbands, women have a huge duty to fulfill. Often the mundane, everyday chores are looked at as menial, but in truth, a homemaker works harder than almost all other career-minded individuals; there will always be cuts, burns, and bruises to kiss and doctor; dishes never stop stacking up; dust and dirt persistently pile up no matter how often the house is cleaned; souls are ever in need of guidance and cheering. Finding joy in the daily trials that face a stay-at-home mom is the simplest, yet most difficult, role a Biblically-focused woman can do; learning to treasure domesticity in all its forms.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

why read the classics? is it worth it?

I would appreciate your thoughts--good or "bad." thanks for taking the time to read!

Argumentative Essay

“A well furnished mind is like a beautifully appointed home: it has room for many things, and must be kept with constant vigilance. (Valine)”

Broadening the mind and thrilling the imagination, reading is one of the most profitable past-times of indulgence. Classic poets and world-renown authors, Homer and Xenophon, wrote epics dealing with arduous circumstances, complex relationships, god-ordained trials, and the detailed history of their respective greek people--Xenophon even included himself in his memoir--in order to educate future progeny; the Bible (over 35 known authors) is full of wisdom, insight, and stories of both righteous and ungodly men and the consequences of their actions; Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ tomes are first-hand accounts and still considered to be the best references for their time. People the world over--particularly Christians--should take advantage of such rich literature and read these classics, familiarizing themselves with the ancient and peculiar sagas. Hidden in the pages are timeless tales of mettle and adventure waiting for the reader to simply crack the covers and discover portions of the fascinating ancient history of the Greek people. These two books are not alone in the queue of novels and history narratives that are worth reading; contrarily there are hundreds of classics that beg to be read.

So, what are classic books? And why should Christians read that type literature? Classics are books that have withstood the test of time and are considered by a wide audience to be worth reading and will in some way, benefit the reader. In todays’ culture the value of moral-rich stories have been replaced with cheap, one-hit-wonder fads that will fade away in a handful of years. Besides simply reading a book, the classics can be studied to further knowledge; intriguing plots can be discovered, good ethics and morals can be picked up and applied to real life, the mind can be introduced to new concepts. Because all that is good and beautiful originated from God, it is quite proper for Christians to plunder the works of the pagans to retrieve the truth from their writings. Hidden amongst the dust of culture and pagan world views are nuggets of gold waiting to be picked up, washed off and displayed for the world to see shinning in the in the light of the Son. What we read should become part of us in some way. What we believe is the filter through which everything we read passes, and only the purest nutrients can be absorbed It is important, especially for young readers, that the literature one is exposed to should rightly portray good as good and bad as bad. The august Plato writes,

“For a young person cannot judge what is allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.”

Because people are so impressionable, the kinds of books that are digested should be distinguished from those that are read solely to gain copiousness with the world around them. Rare is the book that is all good and should be totally absorbed. Much of what is written needs a healthy dose of discretion and disciplined volition. In the past, education beginning in the early elementary years included a broad exposure to the classic authors; classics used to be the foundation from which learning grew. At the end of a person’s typical schooling, one would be well versed in most any topic and could easily converse with others, even if they had nothing in common except for the reading of literature.

Moderns have raised many questions concerning whether a christian should read the books written by ancient, non-christian authors. While there may be some truth and wisdom in intentionally not educating with the secular books, due to the irreligious nature of the content, the imbalance is too great considering the extraordinary material contained in the classics. Avoiding the classics all together deprives the student of a plethora of useful knowledge. After all, everything good, beautiful, and truthful comes from God--whether it comes from the mouth of a God-fearing individual or one that lives in denial of the only truth that matters--and the nuggets of wisdom and cultural insights gained from classical studies far out weigh any negative effects it might otherwise have on a reader, assuming good judgement is applied and, when needed, instruction from a Christian teacher is sought, “for learning requires a mentor--an Athena, a Virgil, a Beatrice--to lead and teach, guide and instruct...showing their charges how to learn, stepping back when the pupil begins to see and to understand on his own. (L. Cowan)”

Coming face-to-face with greatness is often one of the hardest but most important things a person will ever academically encounter. Learning how to walk, for example is extremely difficult, but once a person learns it, nothing could be easier or more automatic. It is the same with reading great literature. Time-consuming and arduous, picking up and reading a 250+ page book can be daunting and at times hard to understand. These books tend to use difficult syntax and the inferred semantics are nowadays translated differently which add to the laboriousness of reading them. This can only improve the mind; like exercise, it is hard at first, but after constant repetition it becomes easier and more enjoyable. However, one must push past this initial fear of thinking to be able to appreciate it for all its worth. Of course steps must be taken to acquire a mind that is able to comprehend labyrinthine masterpieces, but taking the first step towards genius is paramount. For it is well-known that a person who does not know history is foredoomed to walk in its footsteps, like it or not.

It is important to note that it has only been relatively recent that there has been a surge of protest against referring to classic books to gain knowledge, saying that the ideas presented in the texts are full of pagan ideals and ideology. With this contemporary notion, the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. Bumptious assumptions cannot but hurt the reader as a bias is created right or wrongly without knowing the material beforehand. Common threads of love and anger, pain and happiness, fear and courage, faith and hate, are woven through all great books. They constantly deal with the trials that mankind faces in trying to live well. No one is able to lead a perfect life, but in reading about the trials, achievements, shortcomings, and perseverance of long-dead saints of the ancient world will expose the reader to well written, deep-thinking books and yield a wealth of knowledge with which one can enter the Great Conversation, but the reader will also learn about himself and the culture he lives in, “when you read a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before. (Clifton Fadman)”

America’s founding fathers all received an education based solely on the great books of the past and were some of the most intelligent, prudent, and judicious this nation has yet seen. This is not the only instance in history where a copious knowledge of celebrated literature has been beneficial. In fact, many times in the Paul’s letters to the early Christian churches, he paraphrases directly from archaic sources (Epimenides, Aratus, Aeschylus, and Menander). He also alludes heavily to Plato’s Apology and other classic works. Quoting from these people shows how well educated Paul was and how helpful it was to him to have something in common to draw on when talking to people that did not come from the same background nor automatically held the same values. We should take the example of these God-fearing men; read the classics with a grain of salt and enjoy the benefit to the start of a well rounded education--enjoy plundering the godless for all they are worth.

What's Our Vocation?

The last four weeks in our writing course we've been working on a paper, taking it through different stages. This is my final copy. Hope you enjoy.

P.S. I'd love constructive criticism and comments. =)

In today's culture, even amongst Christian young ladies, there is a shocking lack of intentionality in daily life between high school and marriage. This raises the question, what should occupy a lady's time post graduation? In the intervening time between high school graduation and marriage, a young lady to begin preparing for the next season of life; learning new skills, being competent in household responsibilities, furthering her education, and continually striving to become more like Christ. Whether a young lady is headed to college, "waiting" until God calls her to marriage, or perhaps never marries, all of these endeavors are useful and well worth gaining. "If she desire a good, worthy husband she had better use no art, but simply be her own natural self. Let her cultivate the powers of her mind, engage in good and useful work, both within and without the home, study to acquire practical knowledge of domestic affairs, and trust that, if it is most expedient, for her, God, the best Maker, of marriages, will send a husband of her choice."

Learning skills such as sewing, cooking, hospitality, budgeting, and decorating are an excellent use of time. The list is endless, a young lady could never run out of useful, practical skills to add to her résumé. Such dexterity would be of great benefit to a young lady and her family, both before and after marriage. Young women often see the teen and early years before matrimony as years that can be devoted to pleasure and leisure. This, however, is a false view of their purpose. Every stage of life should be spent with the next season in view, not to the extent that we ignore today's duty, but having a vision of what our calling is. Women are best suited and ready for marriage if they have spent time and thought preparing for what may lie ahead. As Mr. Knightley says in Jane Austen's Emma, "men of sense, whatever you may chose to say, do not want silly wives."

Becoming competent in household responsibilities is an accomplishment in and of itself. Being capable, not only of individual skills, but also knowing how to piece them together and run a home, is entirely different. Balancing your time between laundry, cleaning, preparing meals, and the numerous other daily tasks involved in keeping a home running smoothly, is no easy chore. If a young lady has experience or even expertise in this area, how much easier will it be for her to transition from her father's home into that of her husband. She will find it easier to incorporate other endeavors that come her way such as teaching and training children, and ministering to friends, neighbors, and church family.

Furthering one's education is not black and white. Reading great literature, searching out new things, staying up-to-date on current events, having discussions and debates with others, listening to great speakers, and going to college are a few of the numerous ways to broaden the mind. Though the focus of a woman's attention centers around the home, a sharp mind and well rounded education is vital in the home life. Certainly there is no wife who does not enjoy discussing current events, books, politics, life, etc. with her husband and children; how much more intelligently will she be able to do so if she has cultivated herself to that end. Some would argue that not all women marry, but instead pursue a career, and that maybe true of some, and indeed, if that be the case, a copious knowledge is highly valued and beneficial in any field.

Our entire lives should be devoted to seeking God's will for our lives and learning to serve and please Him with every ounce of our being whether married or single. Young unmarried girls generally find it easier to find time to spend in God's Word, not having the responsibilities of running a home on their own, and if they train themselves to be in the habit of having a daily quiet time, it is more natural to continue the habit when they are married. In every aspect of our lives we are faced with a choice to honor God or to dishonor Him, whether in pursuing academics, helping with chores, interacting with others, or anything else that consumes our time. We are responsible to act in a Christlike manner, but how are we to do that in tough situations if we have not trained ourselves to do so at home?

A majority of Christian young ladies have lost the vision for what they should be doing after high school graduation, assuming it is not promptly followed by marriage. For some, college awaits, while for others, they plan to stay home, but as to what should occupy their time, they are lost. It is time this bridge were crossed and time for the older women to instruct, teach, and help younger women to prepare for things they cannot themselves envision, as Paul instructs them to do in Titus. Having never tread the waters of married life, many girls prepare for a wedding more than a marriage, and picture married life being nearly as perfect and romantic as fairy tales would have us to believe. There is a reason fairy tales stop right after the wedding; married life is so different from what single girls think it to be. The silk and cake are replaced by aprons and dish towels; and the real life begins. How much easier it would be for the young ladies of our culture to transition from their role of daughter into that of wife if she had spent time learning and preparing for her life long calling.

* In My Father's House. Tamara and Naomi Valine. Lily Press. 2004.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the Venerable Bede

Known for his illustrious manuscript, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, St. Bede's history is one of the most referred to primary source of English History (there are 4 hand-written copies of the book in existence today). Few details are known of this man's life. He was born in Ireland in 673 and at 7-years-old he went to live at a monastery. There he learned the of the christian life and morals, dedicating his life to the will of God. Besides writing, he had many interests: cooking, studying cycles and patterns in nature, history, music, translating books from olde english into irish, carpentry, and grammar. He was ordained at the age of 30 and lived the rest of his live in submission to the order of monks in Jarrow, England under Abbott Ceolfrith. In 735, he lay dying but was only concerned with praising God and offering thanks to his Creator--ending his life by singing the Gloria Patri.

If you ever find yourself in Jarrow, England, there is a fascinating-sounding museum: Bede's World

Thursday, March 11, 2010


writing a conclusion-
DOs (not everything that follows will automatically work for every situation or audience--use your own judgement)
  • wrap up your thoughts and bring your paper to a strong conclusion
  • be persuasive and convincing
  • stay within the perimeters that you have already set
  • speak with authority
  • commend yourself and censure the opposing position (within reason)
  • magnify or minimize the importance of facts previously presented
  • excite your hearer's/reader's emotions
  • review what you have already said
  • end positively, leaving the reader in a good mood
  • it should be the best part of your writing--do not disappoint
  • give your audience something that he can take away and remember, enriching his life
  • appeal to ethos and/or inspire action

  • introduce new information in the conclusion
  • chase rabbits =)
  • restate your thesis verbatim
  • use "highfalutin, mumbo-jumbo" (i.e. flowery syntax)
  • leave your reader/hearer with unanswered questions

6 ideas of how to conclude:
  1. use a quotation or appeal to trusted authority
  2. call to action
  3. restate what you were talking about
  4. use an illustration
  5. chronologically unite everything discussed
  6. summarize and predict

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Often overlooked in writing, the topic sentence is a foundational ingredient that no paper should lack. Failing to properly introduce a subject in writing is like forgetting the butter in a cake recipe. Normally this ingredient goes unnoticed mixed with sugar and flour and vanilla, but when it is missing, the cake will simply not taste right. To achieve a smooth, moist, and cohesive texture, butter must be added and blended well. Likewise a topic sentence must introduce the gist of a concept and then flow easily into the material at hand. Generally, it is found at the beginning of a paragraph and tells the reader what the following sentences will be about. In some cases--usually in the middle or end of a paper--a transitional sentence needs to preface the topic sentence to help the audience segue to the next issue. The subsequent sentences should support the proposed topic by explaining the position taken or giving background, logical arguments, and examples which will lead the reader to come to the same conclusion as the writer. Again using the analogy of a cake, the body of a paragraph is similar to the other ingredients which are necessary to complete the dessert. Once mixed, the batter must be baked, definitively binding the elements together. So, finally, the concluding sentence should wrap up the concepts discussed and touch again on the same point as the opening sentence, bringing the paragraph back to the place it started and informing the reader through the process.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Purely Radiant

Purity is a positive virtue for any person, man or woman, to possess. Chastity does not only pertain to physical abstinence and outward appearance, but also to steadfastness of the heart. Young people are commanded in scripture to keep their hearts, minds, and bodies pure and honorable for their future spouse. Keeping one's heart and body pure for one person is a hard commitment to make and keep, but it is essential to the Christian walk. A person with a heart and mind focused on serving God and devoting their single years to His service, is more likely to lead a life of purity, than a adolescent with no purpose or vision for their life.

Purity is not displayed by flirting, dressing immodestly, or dating numerous people. Flirting not only entails giddy behavior around other people, but also trying to sit next to the cutest person, always having to touch someone, laughing at witty comments, or talking about subjects of a more personal nature. Clothing that is worn too tightly, shirts that are too low, and skirts that are too short, are all stumbling blocks to others, especially young men. Casual dating does not allow people to get to know each others true character. It is a surface relationship, a facade.

Waiting to give one's heart away till marriage, holds a certain beauty with it that can not be out done. The beauty that shines from a pure bride who has never given herself away and has saved her first kiss for that wonderful guy on their special day, is so astounding and breath taking. Their pure love is radiant. All aspects of life are like the buds of flowers, growing and forming, waiting for the right moment to bloom. When two young lives are tied together with the vows of marriage, they blossom together forming a dazzling bouquet. Continually watered by Christ's overflowing river of grace and love, the healthy blossoms of commitment never wither.

In Psalms, David cries out to God saying, "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirt within me." (Psalm 51:10) David, a man after God's own heart, struggled with purity and lust, but even he knew that it was sinfully wrong and asked God to renew his heart. This plea can be offered up to God from any struggling heart in a time of need and renewal. God does not give us commands, only to sit back and watch us struggle through them alone. He cares that we keep our hearts pure and that we wait to release our affection to only one person. He holds our every concern in His hands. He is listening and waiting for our cries for help, ready to assist us in our pursuit of righteousness.

A person of chastity ought to be highly praised for their strength of character and restraint. It is no easy task to keep one's self pure in heart, appearance, and character. It takes courage to face a world of opposing views. We must stand fast and not waiver.


I must say that as I stumbled through this essay trying to determine my audience and where I was coming from, Caity gave me several tips and helped me quite a bit with this essay. You can tell from her post below, she is a gifted writer. That, among her many other talents, is something I would be blessed to be able to imitate in even the smallest way.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 we really need it? or can we live via the computer?

The art of friendship is a long-lost quality that the modern culture has completely underemphasized. It used to be highly valued; a staple of adult etiquette. People cared about those around them and paused to take the time to show it. A simple cup of tea and a cookie shared with a kindred spirit meant more then any virtual comment or email ever could. Over the years the importance of talking face to face, sharing a meal, or even hand writing a letter has “gone of out style” with the culture.

In an age where facebook and twitter epitomizes the nations’ friendship status, the selfish population is left to themselves--just what they want. That is the way it should be, right? No. Who can really enjoy spending day in and day out without being touched by anyone who truly cares? No friendly neighbor dropping in. No envelope addressed in well-known cursive. No cheery phone call. No sincere friendship. Everything is computerized and impersonal. Yes, social networking, “e-groups,” blog posts, and instant messaging allow people to exchange words in cyberspace, but that can hardly be considered camaraderie.

Communication has become so easy that people no longer have to sacrifice more than a quick minute to say “hey.” Flipping through countless ego-photos, sending any number of a electronic hugs and smiles, posting “likes,” or carrying on brief but surface conversations cannot equate a portion of time deliberately taken out of a daily schedule and devoted to spending the afternoon in the home of a friend. Talking to a friend is relaxing and stimulating. Like a steaming cup of coffee and a cozy blanket and a good book on a chilly afternoon, a friend will always be there to comfort and encourage, ready to conquer the problems of the world, smile through the tears, talk sense when needed, or simply make another mocha.

Being a friend is hard and takes a substantial amount of energy to keep up biblical gregariousness. But God’s disciples are called numerous times in Scripture to surmount this difficult task. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Christians need to be available to support and sympathize with fellow believers; in short, extend the hand of amicable friendship. Throughout the Bible, God says to love one’s neighbor, do good to him, and have a brotherly affection for him. Friendship is not an option, but rather an obligation as a son or daughter of God the Father.

Genuine bonhomie takes time. It must be a conscious endeavor to be sympathetic to the hurting, loyal to the unloveable, merciful to the quirky, compassionate to the suffering, faithful to the fickle, sensitive to the weak, considerate to the offended. One has to live sacrificially--especially when it is inconvenient--in order to maintain healthy affable conviviality between brothers and sisters in Christ. Giving up personal plans and desires is one of the hardest but most important acts of kindness someone can demonstrate to a friend. A person trying to live this in this mindset is well on the way to being the type of person that everyone desires to befriend.

Monday, February 1, 2010

writing classically

To effectively write persuasively, a person needs to have an organized plan to follow, otherwise words can tend to ramble on, have no purpose, and fail to articulately convey the essayist's thoughts. Argumentative compositions are especially in need of detailed structure. The Ancients--masters in the art of winning and compelling dissertations--wrote almost all their books, speeches, and discourses according a few basic rules. Classical scholars often study these guidelines and proceed to apply them skillfully to their expositions. These criterion are practical and useful (outside of the classroom too!). So what are these age-old erudite gauges, you ask?

First: awareness of how the audience is going to be persuaded. There are three different arguments that could or should be made. Logos, is using an appeal to reason. This is the most popular and convincing of the three. It is used to show the sense and logical conclusion of the proposed solution. Ethos exposes the appropriateness and plays of the audience's ethic beliefs. The last appeal is that of Pathos. This plea seeks to sway the audience's judgement based solely on what feels right. Because of its uncomplicated and passionate nature, it is often used to such great extent that it has become easy to abuse this emotion adjure. A quality argument will contain a bit of ethos in the beginning--usually in the rousing introduction of a paper.

Second: the basic structure of a paper is imperative. To start off, the introduction paragraph should capture your readers attention and encourage them to keep reading. It should introduce the audience to the topic at hand, and give a bit of background. This is also the place to state the thesis of your point of view. In the next paragraph you should lay a bit more groundwork, slanting it to match your position--you can't skew the facts, just omit the ones that aren't helpful. In the following paragraphs you should explain any terms or ideas that your readers may not be familiar with or already define them as you do and argue logically, systematically starting general ideas and working towards the more specific details. Conclude with a strong emotional appeal to clinch your argument.

Third: the tone used determines how the audience will view the writing. If the paper is rushed and written quickly, in a reckless fashion, the reader will likely not be interested in more than the first couple sentences simply because of the poor construction. Contrarily, if the vocabulary and general style is so difficult and convoluted that it cannot be understood, the reader will not read it either. Also if the stance taken is not well defined or described and the reader is left in the dark the paper will be of no use because now one will read it. A well written essay takes time to compose. For the most part, the more you put into the writing of a piece, the more the readers will get out of it.

So that is a summary of what I have been learning in my writing course this year. What do you all think? Any tips you would add?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

an annotated bibliography

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince and Other Writings. Trans. Wayne A. Rebhorn. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2003.

Originally written to Lorenzo dé Medici to attain favor, The Prince is the chef-d’oeuvre of Machiavelli’s career. Encouraging the emergence of totalitarian rulers, Machiavelli compiled realpolitik paradigms to write an instructive discourse on how an ideal prince should intolerantly reign, exercising authoritative leadership. He suggests that a ruler, vying for power, should not let ethic morality hinder him from achieving his design. Modern scholars still read and debate the issues discussed in the pages of this philosophical work; it has been one of the most controversial political treatise since it was written in 1513.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Discourses. Trans. Leslie J. Walker S.J. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1970.

Written in 1531, this book takes on a whole new set of ideals. The Discourses on Livy are an insightful collection of articulate musings. Depicting a society of peace and prosperity, Machiavelli states that a government should have its root firmly embedded in an ethical groundwork. The result would be a civic people who showed deference to the proper authorities. Consequently the people are urged to respect the state more than themselves and to give of oneself in order to assist others. It is radical but pragmatic with a hint of the ideal thrown in--almost those of a republic--to consider.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Art of War. Trans. Christopher Lynch. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Known as one of the worlds most informative books on war strategy and tactics, The Art of War, was revolutionary in its own time period. Considered a classic, it is one of the main texts used to teach the thought of western warfare, as well as the fundamentals behind the scene. Many of the most famous commanders, Napoleon Bonaparte and Fredrick the Great to name a couple, read and were influenced by Machiavelli’s ideas. It is a great read after reading both The Prince and The Discourses--it further explores Machiavelli’s thought in writing his other two books.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The History of Florence: the affairs of Italy from the earliest years to the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Trans. Henry G. Bohn. London: Tilden Library, 1895.

Cardinal Guilio de’ Medici commissioned the writing of this book. Machiavelli took extensive pains to detail the land and surrounding towns, the family heritage of the prominent people in Florence. It is an in depth study and meant for readers who are ready for a challenge and an astute academic survey to understand the circumstances and details of the ancient Tuscan saga.