Newsletter #21
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Hare-Raising Adventures
21st Publication, May 23 Ė July 5

Well, it is a very hot and humid fourth of July. It has been such for the past week, and unfortunately, I had to suffer under the additional burden of a cold during the former part of it. I feel like a marathon runner waiting around, switching back and forth between boredom and anxiousness, for tomorrow, I begin my three week intensive camping spree.

I leave Friday afternoon to go to French Creek State Park, where French Creek Bible Conference (Usually referred to as FCBC or French Creek) is held during the summer. Friday to Sunday is Counselorís weekend, where counselors for all the various weeks will be, and some seminars on counseling are given. It is a very laid back environment, for not only is there a very small crowd, but everyone is supposed to be responsible, so much freedom is given. Between the several seminars, counselors can mingle, read, play ping-pong, etc.

I leave early from Counselorís Weekend to return home, for WorldView Academy: a somewhat more academically and intellectually inclined camp. It is at DeSales University, so I suppose we shall be roomed in air-conditioned dorms, which is a far cry from the rustic wooden (sometimes slightly dilapidated) cabins and long treks to the mess hall of French Creek. If there ever were a good time to get a heat wave during July, this would be it. Gabe West, the poor soul Dad hired to work in his attic office sweatshop (And I do mean sweatshop Ė there is no air conditioning), will be there as well, and we are requesting to room together. Andrew MacDonald, Paulís brother, is also going to go.

WorldView Academy ends that Friday (the 12th), so I have an all too short weekend to recover, before I tackle the larger task ó French Creek.

The next Monday is the commencement of the ninth and tenth grade week of camping, and a very large number of people I know will be going. Paul; Sharon and Anna Barshinger; Coconut (Kiersten, a drama student with Paul and the Barshingers), Gabeís sister, Hannah; possibly more, and old French Creek acquaintances. It goes for a full week, and should be great fun, though Iím sure very tiring. After the week is over, Mom and Dad will be driving down with Stephen for the 5-6 grade camp, for which Iím counseling. There is only a four hour or so gap between the 9-10 and 5-6 camps. So then, Iíll have another week of camp, this time counseling, which is very much more tiring than camping. I shall return home, in a hearse or a Ford Escort, on Friday, the 26th. Three weeks to the day, and just in time for Kierstenís birthday party.

August will be pretty relaxed, and so I can use that month to catch up on my school which, Iím sad to confess (though not ashamed, for I think nothing reprehensible is to be found in my actions), will probably be a continual presence in my summer months.

However, now that the future is covered, it is time to cast back into the past. . .

After my last E-mail, I was invited to watch a ballet performance of Peter and the Wolf, which the Barshingers were in, in addition to Hannah (Gabeís sister). The Barshingers, interestingly enough, were type-cast. Paul, Gabe, and I were in concurrence in this matter. Anna was the duck, and Sharon was the wolf. However, this was a modern twist on the classic piece in that it was no longer Peter and the Wolf, but Peter and the Woof. One reliable source whose name is being withheld for safety reasons leaked that woofs are a close relations to mumps. The full implications of this is not yet clear, but I fear the worst. The event was full of interesting side events. Here are a few: Paul and I played mercy, and in one attempt to save himself from my mighty grip of iron, he had to twist around under my arm, which got him many jibes about his ballet skills. Paul got further in touch with his feminine side by exclaiming loudly "Awww!" when all the little birds came onto stage near the end. The result, however, intentional it might or might not have been, was that it kept the rest of the audience from continuing to say "Awww". At the intermission, Gabe and I were commenting on the misuse of the lights, and he demanded, "Somebody needs to be poked!" So I poked him. Since this was in the dark (hence our discussion), he didnít see it, and was quite startled. So, all in all, the ballet performance was given a high rating by me. The dancers did well, as far as I could tell.

We went to see Critic Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Groans. While accusations of bad acting flew about my head like radar-jammed bats, I couldnít see anything particularly bad about it. Of course, I donít fancy myself a movie critic either. On the way back from our viewing, Dan commented that the ambassador, Padme, changed her hair-style in every scene, and Mom commented that her apparel was quite immodest (especially for a politician, of all people). I noted that the movie was pockmarked with wild, feral stares the Anakin sullenly and frequently gave. I think it was supposed to be representative of his love for Padme. I was disappointed in them both, though in Padme more, since she at least seems to have some degree of intelligence, and yet refused to use it. I think Anakin was a lost cause from the beginning (though maybe if Obi Wan had spanked him, taken his lightsaber away, and sent him to his room, things would have turned out better). But, despite the romance scenes, the movie was good, if you watch it with little expectations.

In the past month or so Iíve developed a strong interest in personalities, temperament, character, and the rest, as expounded on by David Kiersey. He hits the nail on the head time after time in explaining the characteristics and personalities of the various types. It has been quite fascinating. In light of this, I came across a daily digest for my personality type. Intrigued, I subscribed. My goals were vague at best, but I know I wanted to discern both the variation in personality within a single one of the sixteen types, and whether personality affects ideology. It turned out that the variation is as much as expected, but that personality most certainly does not affect ideology. Now that Iíve thought about the topic more, however, I must revise that to say that personality influences, but does not dominate, your ideology. For instance, I found out that most of the members of the list were liberal, big-government, people. Interestingly enough, there was a smattering of anarchists in the group as well. However, both groups agreed that evolution was correct ó and before I knew it, I found myself in the middle of a debate about religion.

The NT personality (which I am, along with those on the list) is horrendously difficult to argue with, due to its tenacious adherence to logic and ability to pick out logical flaws. And so, I was trying to fight fire with fire. I finally began to think that many of my worthy opponents werenít all that interested in what I was saying ó once I began to repeat myself, and realized I had 87 E-mails in my in-box on the topic, I decided my time had come. So, I bade farewell, and left the list.

One reason that the religion debates didnít really work was that Christianity (and any other faith-based religion, for that matter) is not, at the core, logical. You canít convert someone with logic alone, sadly. This is probably why the NTs came up with (most scientists are NTs) the theory of evolution, which at least has the facade of logic, so they can, in essence, have their cake and eat it too ó be logical, and still have a belief.

Every once and a while Mom decides we must have an educational field trip, so one fateful morn we and the MacDonaldís packed up and drove out to the site of Daniel Booneís birth and first 14 or so years. We were given the usual run around the place, and then we were given neat wooden rifles, and we practiced drills. Surprisingly enough, Paul and I and the younger people actually liked the tour guides, and the drills werenít as horrible as we have come to expect from such activities. Afterwards, Paul and I wanted to go to his house for the rest of the day, and Paul persuaded his mom by informing her that we wanted to work on building our relationship. This got many laughs.

I was reading a very good book on personalities, but one day I couldnít find it. I knew where to look, however. I snuck into Dadís office while he was out, and found my book lying on top of his desk, but I also noticed two other things. One was the Koran, carefully hidden under two or three other books, and the other was some video game cartridges. I conferred with Gabe, and we agreed that it appears that Dad leads a secret life as a closet Muslim and video game addict! Knowing my duty, however painful it might be, I knew I had to reveal this to my faithful subscribers. So, here it is. I wash my hands of the matter.

Peter eventually came back from his trip to Florida, and we then all went to his graduation. I was sure they would have skipped him or something, but astoundingly enough, he did graduate with the others. Afterwards we went to the basement and gorged ourselves on the good food.

Momís cousin, Mr. Potter, and his family decided to stop by on their way back up to Canada (they had been visiting my uncleís family). I wonder if their stop was motivated mainly by a desire to see us or a desire not to have to pay for bed and breakfast. I suppose it shall be one of the lesser mysteries of the universe. It seems that an inordinate number of people claim to be related to me in some obscure way (while those with whom I am more directly related try to hide that fact). This makes their visits to our house rather odd, since I almost always have never met these strangers before. It is somewhat akin to old friends of my parents, who tell me they last saw me when I was some age under ten, and do I remember them? I then have to confess that I have no recollection of ever meeting them.

There is a bill being proposed that would completely change the Pennsylvania law regarding home schooling. I first heard of it through my evaluator, who sends out a newsletter with various news in home schooling. He was a strong opponent of it, and claimed that if the bill passed, the diploma program he runs (in which I participate) would be invalidated. His letter was, unfortunately, somewhat emotional, and so my belief in him was shaken. I heard the opposite side (equally emotionally) from the daughter of one of the main forces behind the bill (whom I know through the internet), and was told that it wouldnít affect the program. So here I had two contradictory statements. I decided that I would not bother with it too much, and whatever happened, so be it. But, my mother had other ideas, and took me with her to Harrisburg to watch the informational meeting for the bill held before the state legislators. It turns out that the bill, as it stands now, would not eliminate the diploma program, but make its position weaker. Other problems, however, appeared. One, the bill would allow high school drop outs to receive a parent issued diploma that would have the same weight as any other home school diploma. Two, with no accountability for the home schooling families, things will inevitably slide Ė it would only be a matter of how and to what degree. After all, man is sinful. For some, Iím sure it would be a slide that doesnít make a difference, but for others, it could be a loss of entire subjects. Three, the bill could have any number of appended passages saying who knows what once it gets on the floor ó once the boulder is pushed, who knows what damage it might do. Finally, both Mom, Mrs. MacDonald, and I agreed that the current rules are really not at all draconian, and why not let sleeping dogs lie? In any event, the information meeting was very interesting. In my spirit of indecision at the time, I wore white instead of blue (bill opponents) or red (bill supporters). However, I feel I am definitely inclined to the blue now, though I donít think a disaster will occur if the bill does pass. We shall see how it turns out.

Peter left for Germany three weeks ago, and shall be returning tomorrow, on the 5th. I shall probably have some information regarding his trip in the next letter, but he has not told us anything at all thus far, so I have very little to recount.

The Barshingers, the MacDonalds, the Wests, Kiersten, and a number of other homeschooling families are involved in a drama group run by the Barshingers. They had a summer workshop for two weeks, and on the last night had a recital. I, of course, went not only to heckle, but as the sole reporter for Hare-raising Adventures, I knew it would be newsworthy material for my honorable readers. It was quite enjoyable, though not as newsworthy as I might have hoped. Gabe was Gollum in a scene taken from The Hobbit, in which Bilbo, a Hobbit, is lost in a cavern, and Gollum, an odd creature, finds him and they tell each other riddles, with Bilboís life bet against Gollumís leading him out. Gabe was quite impressive with a green-painted face and feet, and green gloves with long black nails glued onto them. Paul and Kiersten had a scene in which Paul had many wonderful lines, two of which were "Give me to drink and to fight and to feast!" and "Marriage, like death, comes to us all." Of course, he executed them perfectly.

Anna Barshinger, the director, mentioned to me that she thought of me out in the audience during the performance. I wonder what she meant by that, exactly. Perhaps Iím getting a reputation as a news breaking exposť reporter, who promises to speak the truth in humor. Or maybe it was just an irrational fear of hers.

Dad went to Alabama for a week, since the PCAís General Assembly was at that time, and he thought it wise to attend. One of the decisions made was that our denomination now does not approve of women being in combat, and thinks it immoral for them to be drafted in a time of war. That is the gist of its stance, anyway. This was a great thing for our pastor, Iím sure, since heís been working on this issue for many years.

I mentioned in my last E-mail about various possible job occupations ó So far, all fell through except for two. I decided to volunteer at the library working with the computers again, and Mom and I ushered at the Shakespeare Festival productions a number of times. We got to see Hamlet one and a half times, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (coincidentally, we bumped into the Wests Ė what are the chances of that?). They both were good ó Hamletís costuming was a little odd, but it seems there is a trend now for actors to wear modern clothing. Complete Works had some crude humor, but was otherwise funny.

Dad started up a summer Bible study for any and all college students hanging about, since there seemed to be a bunch of them around. All went well, and last week, we had a high of eleven or twelve people, not even including members of my family. The subject being studied is the book of Isaiah, with some emphasis on hunting out Messianic prophesies.

Dad suggested that I start up a high school level Bible study, and so I actually took him up on the matter. Since he is already doing a number of other Bible studies, we decided that he was not the best choice for a leader. I approached another person, but he said that his work situation was not one to encourage extra obligations, so I thought I was stuck, but thankfully Leslie, the vice-president of RUF, said she would do it. I was very grateful, and so far things have worked out well. Weíre studying 1 John, and while we arenít bringing in the record numbers of the college level one, we do have a small but dedicated group, culled from the Barshinger, MacDonald, and West households. Hopefully others will join up as well.

Iíve long wished for a digital camera, not only for its natural attraction and usefulness, but for when camping, to replace the cheap Kodakô disposable cameras. And I could use it to supply pictures for my newsletter. I could capture in ones and zeros many, if not most, of my exploits of which I write. I donít think this would be feasible for the E-mail version, but I could post them on my web site.

And so, this latent desire fermented in the cellars of my mind. Finally, I decided to act, and after many harrowing adventures for which I do not have the time to recount here, due to my imminent departure for Counselorís Weekend, I purchased one by auction. Possibly as soon as the next newsletter you may be able to see pictures.

And on that pleasant but hurried note, I take my leave.

Ė~Snowshoe Hare~Ė
Ė~Christopher Green~Ė

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*