Saturday, December 30, 2006


Ok, everyone. All of you people out there with whom I have had conversations about the situation in Iraq. All of you folks who asked me what I thought was going to happen in Iraq. All my friends with whom I sounded so certain, so positive. All together now in a sing-songy voice, “You were wrong. You were wrong.”

Yes, I was wrong. I said it over and over again. They would never kill Saddam. The trial would go on and on and on. We would be long gone from Iraq before they finally finished all the appeals. Baathists and Sunnis would rescue Saddam and he would return to power. He would prove that everything America did was a waste of time, money, and human life.

Yes, I was wrong. About two and a half hours ago they hanged Saddam. I haven’t seen the films or pictures yet. There is still just a little bit of the conspiracy theorist in me that makes we wonder if it was really Saddam they hanged. After all, remember all the look-alikes he had?

What happens now? Good question. I’m so busy backpedaling that I haven’t really had a chance to think about it. My guess is that a message has been sent that the Iraqi courts aren’t going to mess around. The leaders of the insurgents might just decide to lay low for awhile. The Iraqi government might actually have a chance to get organized and gain some semblance of control. Certainly the withdrawal of American troops is a big step nearer this morning. In no way do I think that the problems are over but there seems to be a ray of hope that the majority in Iraq might just exert enough effort to stabilize things.

It would be awesome to see peace in Iraq. It would be awesome to see many people come to faith in Christ. After all, he shall be called Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.

Yes. I was wrong.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Friday, December 22, 2006


Just want to keep you all appraised of the progress of our baby finch. By the way, he has undergone a name change. Anne of the House has decided he is a Charlie. As you can see, he is growing very well. He has moved into his own cage now. This makes the third cage that is sitting across from me in my study! You can see the "mother cage" behind Charlie and the "juvenile cage" to its right. Charlie's cage is to the right of that one! The view out of my windows isn't what I expected it to be!

You may have read about the desire of Anne of the House for more children. Well, this week her prayers were answered! Caleb came home from Lake State on Wednesday night. He brought a friend with him, Justin, who lives in Oregon. Justin was scheduled to fly out of Grand Rapids this morning and we agreed he could sleep over until Caleb took him to the airport. Oh, did I mention that he was supposed to change planes in....wait for's coming....oh, you already guessed? Denver!

"So Justin, when are you going to be able to get home to your family?"

"They cancelled my flight."

"Until when"

"Christmas Day. 4:00."

Anne of the House was absolutely thrilled! Another kid for Christmas! Another miracle Christmas child! Welcome to the Wooden House, Justin!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


There have been questions raised in the comment section of Peter’s Ashtray about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. They are excellent questions, Yakimaniac, and I hope I can answer them to your general satisfaction.

First, Luke does not state that Bethlehem was the birthplace of either Joseph or Mary. He does say Joseph went to Bethlehem “the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.” The reason for the journey in the first place was the census taken by Caesar Augustus. The reason for the census? Taxation. The Romans practiced what is referred to as “tax farming.” They contracted taxation to individuals/companies who then hired tax collectors. This “census” was very similar to William I’s Domesday Book. Basically, Caesar wanted to know what he owned so he could set the tax requirements for the tax collectors.

The census was being done on a tribe and clan basis. The Jews had to return to their tribal territory and then to the village/town of their clan seat. Joseph went to Judea (Latin for Judah) because he was of the tribe of Judah and then to Bethlehem, the city of David, because he was of the clan of David. It is not stated where Joseph or Mary were born. Their families may have been living in Galilee for generations!

The translation “inn” is somewhat unfortunate because it conjures up a picture of a lovely, snow-covered, English or New England B & B or tavern. The more appropriate word would be “caravansary.” I.e. A stopping off place for caravans, frequently built around oases. By Roman times, the towns surrounding major trade cities all had caravansaries. Maybe a better picture would be a modern truck stop. They were generally rather large, walled areas surrounding a common source of water. Originally, travelers would camp around the inner wall and string up blankets or something for a little privacy. As time passed, the better caravansaries actually had small rooms lining the inner walls. These were tough places. Caravan drivers were the wagoneers or teamsters of their time. There was usually a lot of drinking and prostitution connected with the caravansary.

Did Joseph or Mary have relatives in Bethlehem? Perhaps. We don’t know. Even if they did, they would have had limited space. Consider, all the members of the tribe of Judah were returning to Judea and all the members of the line of David were coming to Bethlehem. It is not a stretch to think that all of the guestrooms available in the town were already taken by family members or renters. The natural place to go then would be to the caravansary.

What about the livestock? My reading tells me that caravan animals were usually kept inside the caravansary to protect from bandits or robbers. There would have been a feeding area for animals outside the walls of the caravansary, often built alongside the wall. No, animals would not usually be stabled there. It would be a place where caravans would feed their animals if they were not staying the night. Kind of a drive-thru for caravan animals. If all of the places on the inside of the caravansary were filled by travelers then the next best place for Joseph and Mary would have been the feeding shed attached to the outside of the walls.

It doesn’t really seem that finances were an issue for Joseph and Mary. They apparently could afford to rent a place in the caravansary but there just wasn’t enough room. Also, the Magi finally found the Holy Family living in a house (Matthew 2:10). Either Joseph had some money or else he began working after his arrival in Bethlehem. The general practice of hospitality among those people would require family to do their best to help. We don’t know that they didn’t. They just aren’t mentioned.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to comment and ask more questions if I haven’t quite covered the topic. Merry Christmas to all!

(I have some great photos to go with this post but for some reason Blogger isn't uploading them at this time. Sorry!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I would like to add my congratulations to The Smoking Christian for his obvious success in blogworld. He is now his own dot com which lifts him higher and higher above his adoring masses. I would also like to note that I figured out how to fix the link on Shilohman all by myself. That is a frightening thought. Perhaps I'm spending far too much time in the blogosphere?

Just a brief report on Harry the Finch. We've figured out that Harry was probably being pitched out of the nest by his three siblings. In the last couple of days all three of his siblings have voluntarily ventured out of the nest and they are far more developed than Harry. We guess Harry was the runt and never got as much food as his siblings. However, much to their fratricidal frustration, Harry is doing great and his mom is way bigger than their mom! When we take the lid off Harry's box he flies right to Anne of the House now. I was holding him this afternoon when she walked into the room and he dumped me like a bag of rotten potatoes and flew right to her! I'd say he's coming right along. More authorized pictures to come!

Oh, and by the way, John the Air Force son finally called this evening. He was allowed to tell us he would be calling again on Sunday and then he had to read off his mailing address. He was able to slip in that he was doing fine.

Thursday, December 07, 2006



There was a great deal of discussion about whether or not we would have children together. I mean A LOT of discussion. The final decision was for the Big V which does not stand for Victory. But that was only the beginning…

The lovely wife, aka Anne of the House, may have agreed fully with the decision but that did not mean her mothering instinct was gone. It happened everywhere! Grocery stores, church, on the street, in malls. Whenever she saw a fresh baby she went all goo-goo. Our younger friends loved it because they could come over to our house with their new baby and not have to worry about the infant for hours on end. I have so many pictures with her holding someone’s baby. And then would come the question, “Now wouldn’t you like to have one of these?” I would smile…

And say nothing! I’m not as stupid as I look!

Well, the problem has been temporarily solved. It all has to do with my flock of finches.

As you know, Anne of the House gave me a dozen finches for my birthday in September. They have been introduced to you in previous postings. The little flitters have really been at it. Two pair have produced two young each. They are approximately the same age. I have been watching them closely for the last couple of weeks to see if they are actually eating on their own. Just yesterday I decided it was time for them to be transferred to their own cage. (If you leave them in with the adults too long they apparently get on their nerves and the adults will attack them. You know, just like human kids!) So I transferred the four teenagers and they are doing just great.

Back to our story. Apartment #6 hatched a large clutch a couple of weeks ago. I finally figured out there were four hatchlings in there. Several days ago I found one of the little fellas lying on the bottom of the cage. He was what they call a nestling, the stage after hatchling. I called Anne of the House and she very maternally picked the guy up and put him back into the nest. Then two days ago I found another guy out of the nest. I wasn’t sure if he was so sick that his parents were kicking him out or if the apartment was so small that he kept falling out. But this time I put him back myself.

Yesterday, after transferring the teenagers (fledglings/juveniles) I found yet another nestling on the bottom of the cage. Whatever the reason for his exit from the nest, I figured he wasn’t going to make it at home. He needed foster parents. I asked Anne of the House what she thought and we were off to the pet store. We bought bird baby formula, syringes, a thermometer, a heating pad, and everything we thought we would need to raise this bird. It was taking too long! We had been gone over two hours! The kid had to eat! We hurried around like ER docs trying to save a life!

When we got home the whole family kicked into overdrive. Bring me a bowl! Microwave this formula! Where is the syringe? The little guy looked like he was almost gone! I was getting the defib paddles ready. Boy, are they small! Clear! Wait a minute…back to reality…Anne of the House filled the syringe, picked up the tiny bird and held it to its beak. The thing opened his beak and took off on the formula like crazy. He ate a bunch of the gunk and looked as good as new. No, better than new! He was standing up and looking around like he owned the place.

The emergency was over. The lovely wife had her baby. She sat there all night waiting for the next feeding time. She was up at 3:30 to feed him again. He’s doing just great and I don’t see why he won’t be able to join the other teenagers in a week or two.

What did I just say? He’s been named! Harry the Finch. Anne of the House is imprinting herself on Harry and Harry thinks she’s his mom! This bird will never join the flock again! He’ll have a favored place in her pocket and at her table. As for me? At least she has a baby to take care of!

Please find the only authorized photo of Harry the Finch below!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Welcome to December! December 1 is a remarkable day. There have been a number of historic events take place on the first day of December. One of them played a very important role in my life. On December 1, 1969 the draft lottery was restored. I know that little piece of American history caused a great deal of stress to a lot of young men my age!

But there are two other important events in history that took place on December 1. The Civil Rights movement won an important battle when a heroic African-American woman by the name of Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Also in African-American history, Michael Jackson released Thriller on December 1, 1982. Could two famous African-Americans be more different?

Rosa Parks was proud to be a black woman; Michael Jackson turned white.

Rosa Parks sat in the front of a bus; Michael Jackson just bought a fleet of buses and limos.

Rosa Parks was used to being treated like an animal; Michael Jackson bought a zoo full of animals.

Rosa’s name was Parks; Michael turned his estate into an amusement park.

Rosa Parks proudly lived out her long life in America; Michael Jackson fled the country.

Rosa Parks was a lady; Michael Jackson made a fortune grabbing his crotch.

Rosa Parks’ name will live on in history; people are already asking whatever happened to Michael Jackson.

Rosa Parks babysat young boys; Michael Jackson had sleepovers for young boys.

Thanks for stopping by.