Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mail from North Dakota

Today's is just a quick update--I don't quite have the ambition (or desire) to get you up to speed on everything that has happened since our last real update in February. However, I will attempt to inform you about our current circumstances.

I had applied for an internship in March (a four month affair with the Vision Forum in Texas), and only ascertained last Tuesday (April 13) that I will indeed be staying in Michigan. I was therefore unable to concretely form any plans at home for the next few months; however, the days have been filling quickly.

This Morning (Sunday, April 18), I directed the congregational singing at church. This was my third (and last for the present) Sunday of leading the music. Coincidentally, my first was Easter morning! I was directing the choir, which was accompanying most of the music, and it worked out for me to do the rest, also. Next Sunday, I will be playing the piano while our regular pianist visits a friend out of state. Mom and I also played a duet for the offertory today.

Matthew has been to Alpena again, and his hard study has paid off: he passed both a computer and a math class with scores of 92/100. He only has two more classes to test out of, but those are CLEP examinations and can be taken locally. Also, God has provided a family that he can stay with during his tenure at the school.

On the home front, Matthew has bought some sheep (Finn/Corriedale cross), and they are lambing over at the W. farm. Shortly, four of the ewes (he has seven: four older ewes and three yearlings.) will be coming to stay on his rented acre of pasture across the road.

This is #1, "Abagail" (so christened by an ecstatic great-grand shepherd [Mom]). She had quadruplets (only three are in this picture), and is raising all of them. She was the second to lamb.

This picture is of #3 "Sarah", one of Abby's lambs:

This is #295, "Elizabeth". She only had twins, but was the first to lamb.

Next up is #8 (unchristened as of yet): She was the third and most recent to lamb, and had twins.

This is the great-grand shepherd with the shepherd, holding #3, Sarah:
Matthew, "Sarah" and Mom

These are the other girls:
Clockwise, from left: #79, #159 MI "Deborah", #84 & #281, "Lumpy"

Lumpy (so named because of a lump on her side) may or may not lamb this year. #79 & #84 are the yearlings.

These are the neighbors (I don't have a picture of the neighbors in the building, which are hogs):
This is the view south from a grain bin near the barn (Matthew's sheep are in the south-most three pens in the barn that juts into this shot):

And now, to the cover story of this post:

I reciently won a contest celebrating Andrew Bornemann's first year of blogging. Friday, the prize arrived in the mail:
A wooden milk can, apparently hand made.

Two shiny new state quarters, one North Dakota 2006 D and a 2004 Michigan D.

The milk can has a removable lid.

And Andrew's initials burned on the bottom.

It will take a place in my desk drawer next to my stress removal tool of choice, a lump of dimethyl siloxane.

I had hoped to offer you a picture of Matthew's new tractor, as well as that of the new and improved (read: more than twice as long with a wood stove and better plastic) greenhouse, the freshly plowed garden at the farm (the rented property across the road), and possibly some of our flowers, but I am unable to find the pictures already taken, and am running out of time before the evening meeting.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." - Isaiah 26:3

In Christ, Fidem Servate,

Jonathan Potter


Unknown said...

Hi Jonathan,
You give me a little too much credit; although I did burn my initals on the cream can, I didn't make it... I really don't know weather it was hand made or not, as I got it in a whole box of craft supplies from my Grandma... I think she probably painted it though, as she used to paint a lot.
Got to get to chores,
Andrew B.

Jessica said...


You are welcome to delete this comment, but I am responding (in part) to your response on the blog I share with some folks, the Homeschooled Review. I just recently posted an apology on the page for accidentally linking my Formspring questions with THAT blog instead of my other casual life-blog, under the same account. I deleted the Formspring questions, along with your comment. However, I did read your comment, so I do want to assure you that it wasn't made in vain.

Thank you for contributing to my thought processes, and I will keep what you said in mind. It adds a different sort of dimension to my belief system, though as you probably know I do not completely agree with what you said. I think you debate well, though, so don't discredit yourself. I am not much of a debater myself; but if you would like to continue a conversation, you are welcome to e-mail me - Basically, to explain my point I have to say that the typical evangelical view of Christianity does not make sense to me. I've grown up hearing it from various sources, but when I apply it to real life, it's like trying to crochet with knitting needles. But when I replace the word "sin" with the word "pain," that is when Christianity makes concrete sense in the real world. God isn't about condemnation; he is about salvation. From the very beginning, he created man with a free will - which is how, I'm sorry, man f***ed up the world. Still, God lets us have free choice. The law is there as guidance, and it *does* have natural consequences, which God wants to keep us from, because he loves us and the screwed up world as it is is not how he created the world. Anyway, I could go on. Do feel free to delete this/e-mail me if you want to keep up this conversation. I am interested about your thoughts.


Jonathan said...

@ Andrew: I have three opinions that it "appears" hand made, so I'm going to leave it at that. Good to know it's hand painted, at least!

@Jessica: I wondered if there was something going on with that automatic posting. Those things are tricky sometimes. :-)

I'm guessing that the real issue here is not fornication or sex outside of marriage, but whether God means ALL of what He says. I would hazard that you've heard the arguments for the Holiness of God and sufficiency of scripture before. And, practically speaking, there's not a huge chance--taking into consideration the limited rapport I have with you--that I'll be able to change your mind. But, I can at least try to make you think.

You're right that pain and sin come hand in hand. But, pain is a consequence of sin (Rom. 6:23).

God is Just, and He does condemn sin. (Deut. 5:9, Num. 14:18, 1 Thess. 4:6)

Sin is what's wrong in the world (not the consequences of sin). You're right that God still desires perfection.

Here's an excellent quote from John Piper:
"The body in which you dwell is not yours to do with simply as you please. God bought your body from the curse of sin by the payment of his own Son, and now your body should serve one all-encompassing purpose: "Glorify, God in your body." As Paul said in Romans 6:12-14,
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions. Do not yield yourselves to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as people who have been brought from death to life, and your bodily parts to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

Let me give a quick overview of my views on the subject:
The Bible is the all-sufficient, inspired Word of God, and tells us about God and ourselves.(2 Tim. 3:16)
People have inherited a natural tendency to sin from Adam, and cannot (of our own strength) withstand it. (Rom. 5:12)
God is Holy, and demands that we be holy. Since we can't do it, He provided a means for our redemption, Jesus. (Jh. 3:16)
God created people to bring Glory to himself, even through our free will and fall. (Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11)
We are spitting in the face of God and His redemption when we shrug off sin and how it affects our relationship with God. (Rom 5)

Here's a good article on Legalism and the Holiness of God if you're interested in further study:

Just for the record, while I consider myself an Evangelical, I do have quite a few reformed leanings, hence the Piper quote and NCFIC link.

I thought it was interesting that you reserved sex for a "deeply committed relationship". God reserves it for a deeply committed relationship with a contract. Really, if two people aren't willing to bind themselves in writing, how committed are they? Anything less concrete is just an allusion of commitment. God provided a solid framework as a litmus test of commitment--marriage.

God, the Omniscient Creator, knows how sex works, because He designed it (perfectly, I might add). He also knows how you work (and exactly how your life will play out and the choices you will make). God, in His perfect foreknowledge, warned us about the dangers of this gift and it's proper use and fulfillment in His written revelation, the Bible. When He says, "You shall not commit adultery" He's not kidding! That's in there because it does have very real ramifications in this world and in His eternal kingdom.

I think Joshua Harris's book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" might shed some light on the issue for you. Also check out the excellent resources at the Rebelution: .

I hope this has caused some thought, and hasn't been too offensive. :-)

In Christ,

Jonathan Potter