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Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Christian Homeschoolers - Protestant and Catholic - more the same than different.

A few weeks ago I attended the state Christian homeschooling convention that was held in my town for the first time EVER!! And what a treat not to have to drive two hours away for a change. I blogged a little about this experience already here.

In my experience, Catholics tend to feel a little out of place at this convention. This is definitely a group of Christians steeped in the Reformation! A brief perusal of many of the book vendors shows easy evidence that Luther and Calvin are heroes and "Rome" is always used in the pejorative. Couple that with all the dresses-only women in prayer caps and it's easy to feel a tad out of place.

Yet many, many times during the convention I felt that our theologies were overlapping in many areas. For example, the first keynote speaker I got a chance to hear, Mr. Tod Wilson. The synopsis of his talk was:
Homeschooling is hard, parenting is hard, and marriage -well, that's way hard. And that's OK and even normal. Trouble is we don't like hard. We want easy, fast, and cheap, and at the same time we want successful results. But the truth is that good things are hard and hard things are good, and they go hand in hand. Sadly, most people don't ever experience the good because they can't handle the hard. They put the hard thing off, hoping it will get easier, or they avoid it all together, and all they end up with is a pile of regrets. Here's the good news: you can handle the hard. In fact, if you're faced with two choices, pick HARD.'

And I kept thinking of these words from the book of Matthew during his talk, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Pope John Paul II even did a homily on it. I wonder if Mr. Wilson knew how close he was to the mind of the late Pope on this?

Another keynote speaker was Dr. Voddie Baucham.  Dr. Baucham was an truly inspiring speaker and a big supporter of family devotions and discipleship. He said that he was frequently asked how to "do" family devotions. He has even written a book about it. Dr. baucham says devotion should have a hymn or song of praise, readings from the psalms and prayers of worship, a reading from scripture and perhaps outside inspirational readings. I leaned over to Mr. Pete and whispered, "That sounds like the Liturgy of the Hours!!" indeed!!

Dr. Baucham also believes that children are indeed the primary educators of their children. He didn't say it that way. I forgot his exact phrasing but that too it wasn't too different from how Pope Paul said it back in 1965.

As I worked the booth a lot during the convention I didn't get to hear a lot of talks, but I did hear one on vaccinations and vaccination safety by Dr. Patrick Johnston.  I felt right at home listening to his pro-family based/ pro-life message.

As I passed Dr. Baucham's booth on the way out of the convention, I saw one of our Catholic friends buying one of his books on marriage and I smiled.  I wondered how many of his views were also going to be quite Catholic in their perspective.  I'll bet my Catholic friend will find it to be quite satisfying and not at odds with his own Catholic perspective on marriage. There really share a lot more with out Protestant homeschool friends than meets the eye.

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