Why We Need the Patriarchy

Nowadays, the patriarchy gets talked-down, stomped-down, and generally oppressed wherever you go.

But that’s not the picture we see in the Bible.

Me? I think I’m pro-patriarchy. But before you start screaming about The Handmaid’s Tale and grabbing your pitchforks, listen to what I mean by that and why I think it’s important.

And then, maybe we can take a look at God’s word and see what He says about whether Men should be in charge of the world!

First—A Look at the Problem

The patriarchy gets lots of hate now-a-days.

Dr. Albert Mohler interviewed Helen Smith for the podcast Thinking in Public, and their discussion really stuck with me because they were talking about all the ways the culture attacks men.

Why aren’t men going to college or getting married as much? Because the costs outweigh the benefits.When a couple gets divorced, odds are high the mother will get custody of the kids, and the husband will be stuck paying alimony and child support.

What about college? All through school, boys have been told to sit quietly, walk quietly, stop rough-housing, speak sensitively, empathize with others’ emotions… And all kinds of other things that girls do more naturally. Not only are classrooms geared more towards women’s learning styles, but guys have to worry about sexual assault charges (where the woman’s story will probably get more weight).

When they try to figure out what it means to be a Real Man by playing video games or sports, we complain about the video games and regulate the sports to make them “safer”.

No wonder guys wouldn’t want to go through that in college, too.

People will talk about getting women into management, into politics, into the halls of fame. But if you try to talk about the men already there…uh oh.

Fight or flight

Because Gordon Freeman is awesome (though not as awesome as the Master Chief).

Men are wired to be the protectors, the providers, the kings and priests. When they see a dangerous situation, they say, “Do I vanquish this? Or is discretion the better part of valor?”

They look around, and see Girl Power confronting them. But a gentleman can’t hit a girl, can he? So what’s he to do?

He retreats to the Man Cave, channels his manliness into pretending he’s Gordon Freeman, and the world grows a little poorer than it could be.

Men are wired to soak up punishment, and not gripe. They’re built (and trained) to “suck it up, buttercup” and keep on slogging. So no wonder they don’t fight back.

Or rather, the ones who do fight back do it wrongly.

Obvious disclaimer:

This is not to say that women are horrible people, or should be second-class citizens, or are doing a bad job in the world. This is to say that the substitute teacher is not the teacher, and the teacher is not the parent. The principal is not the parent, and the senator, president, and police officer are not the parent.

We Need Men To Protect

Pastor Voddie Baucaham calls husbands the “prophet, priest, protector, and provider” of their families. It didn’t originate with him, though, as Dennis Rainey of Family Life Today and George Whitfield (famous preacher of the Great Awakening) echo the same thought.

Probably because they’re all getting the idea from the Bible.

God doesn’t pull punches in His word: the world we live in is seriously messed up. We are lost and broken, like the cursed princess trapped in her tower, dreading the step of the monster as he approaches to eat her…

That’s why we need the Prince to ride up with his armor and sword, and shed His own blood to kill the monster and make us His bride!

What, did I lose you? Did you really think whoever wrote the first fairy-tale was being original?

Women are meant to be treasured.

Some will get their noses all bent because the princess is “passive” or “subjugated” or some buzzword like that. They fail to realize that Cinderella’s strength was her strength of character, not her ability to kick butt. She was the treasure to be rescued and treated with the reverence she deserved…and it was the prince’s role to do just that.

Just take a look at the Bible: God tells guys to “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Love like that is hard. It’s draining. It’s sacrificial.

You’ll notice God never orders women to pour their lives out in service to their husband and children (unless you count how all Christians are supposed to live in service to all others, especially fellow Christians). That’s because it comes easy to us giving gals. (What doesn‘t come easy is to submit, respect, keep our big mouths shut, and listen quietly to someone else. Probably why God took the trouble to tell us that.)

But God doesn’t leave the guys off the hook, and that’s because it’s super important for Men to use their strength to serve, guard, and protect — which is why God gave them that strength in the first place.

Men are meant to be mighty rescuers.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

Image from ArtStation.com

And let’s face it…men are stronger than women. People are trying to deny this now-a-days, but it’s a basic, verifiable, scientifically-bound fact: Men and women are different.

We’re different biologically, and one of the ways we see that is the physical strength of men. Check out this article from WORLD Magazine (May 2016) that lays out the physical degradation women’s bodies take in combat roles vs. men’s bodies. A lady’s bones, muscles, and joints weren’t engineered to take the punishment a guy’s were!

It doesn’t just apply to the military, either. Feminists will complain about the lack of women in management positions, higher learning, or scientific disciplines. But what about the low percentage of women in mining, carpentry, A/C repair, and factory work? There are women there, but in much lower numbers…because their bodies aren’t physically designed to operate in the same way, with the same endurance.

Live Strong says the same: yes, women can pump iron and an individual woman can be stronger than some individual men. But on average, status quo, a woman only has two-thirds of the muscle mass of a man.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

This is a computer game. Kick-butt female death knights are not real.

Live Science says the same thing:

The fastest woman in the world, Florence Griffith Joyner, ran the 100-meter dash in just 10.49 seconds in 1988, and that record remains unbroken. Yet her fastest time wouldn’t have even qualified her for the men’s 2016 Olympic competition, which requires competitors to finish the 100-meter sprint in 10.16 seconds or less.

To all my gaming peeps out there: her stats are lower than his. Feature of the rule-system.

How does this apply to patriarchy?

With great power comes great responsibility. Guys do hard things ’cause it’s what guys do.

There’s a reason we send our young men off to war. Because someone has to defend this thing we call “liberty”, and men are the ones built to sit-down-shut-up, to “Sir, yes, sir!”, to charge into the teeth of death and kick butt and get ‘er done.

If a 300-pound corporate A/C unit is about to tip off the edge of the roof, a guy grabs it and hauls it back. Sure, he might ache all over the next day, but he’s going to get ‘er done.

If a girl tries that, nine times out of ten she’s going over the edge with it…or ripping her arm off. Muscle density and ligament attachments. Not anything you’re going to “fix” with work-outs.

Yes, girls are important!

I myself am a girl, and was birthed from a verifiable girl. But there are plenty of people out there telling girls they’re important, so I don’t need to add my voice to the clamor.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

Take that, Degenerate Creature of Darkness!!

Guys are also important. Deathly important. Vitally important.

They’re important because sometimes you just gotta punch Evil right in the teeth, and guys are much better at it than gals.

We Need Men To Lead

I love love love the WORLD article that says, “Men, in general, drive a culture; women, in general, stabilize it.” (So, thanks Janie B. Cheaney; you’re the best!)

What does this mean? It means that while men go out and shape the world, invent things, create political systems, and write philosophies, women stand behind them, keep the garden going, and nod meaningfully while their husband talks about this amazing new idea he’s got.

I can see your hackles rising already. “What about Marie Curie, who discovered radium (with her husband)? What about all the amazing women in the world who –?”

We talked about this. There are lots of people praising all the women out there who have done amazing things, like rule Crusader-era Palestine (research Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem).

But think for a moment why we feel the need to hunt down and trumpet examples of publicly-accomplished women? (I was going to say “remarkable”, but you don’t have to invent something to be worthy.) We hold up people like Harriet Tubman and Agatha Christie because they succeeded in areas where we’re used to seeing men.

But what about all the stuff men have done?

Invent cars, and the assembly line? (both made mainstream by Henry Ford, who also pioneered paying workers more than double that of his competitors in order to keep the best men)

Invent iPhones? (Steve Jobs, who – with the help of Steve Wozniak – also built Apple)

Write literature? (two names: William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien)

Fight terrorism? (picture Winston Churchill leading the free world, facing down Adolf Hitler)

Protect women? (How about when Moses was running away from a murder charge in his homeland; he stopped at an oasis, and saw some shepherds “oppressing” some sisters so the girls couldn’t water their flocks; so Moses chased off the mean shepherds and drew water for the girls’ sheep. Ex. 2: 16-17)

Build a spaceship and fly into space?

Yeah. Men did all of that.

In the words of Mrs. Cheaney’s article, “women tend to be less careerist, more risk-averse, less violent, and more relational than men.” We need that. We need people who will skip work because the daughter has a tummy ache, who will strike a compromise between two opposing combatants, and who will think to put seat belts in cars so we can all drive around a little safer! (I really have no idea who thought of that.)

But we need guys who will say, “Let’s walk on the railing!” And when they fall off, they don’t need someone to run up and baby-talk them and give them a band-aid.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

If it were easy everyone would do it!!

Real men suck it up. Real men forge on. Yep – real men don’t cry in front of their friends; they climb back up on that rail.

I recently stumbled across this article from Motherly, talking about all the things we do for our kids that we think will keep them safer, but really probably cause them more problems. Specifically “Avoiding Risky Play”.

I remember laying out behind our garage by the alley, after the streetlight had come on, playing in the snow (and probably eating it). I survived.

Boys are more likely to try crazy stuff. When they donk their heads, it’s called “natural consequences.” But donking their heads as kids teaches them what can and cannot be done, and when they turn into Men they say things like:

“I think I’ll write a computer operating system and start my own company in my garage.”

Or, “The king of England really has no right to tax us without representation. Methinks I’ll write up a new governmental system and see if my friends want to join me.”

Then they put their feet where their mouths are, apply a little hustle, and do it.

That’s the patriarchy. See it, live it, love it.

What does God say about it?

He tells Man to “have dominion over” all the animals, birds, swimming things, etc. (Gen. 1:28).

When our first parents disobeyed God for the first time, God asked the Man, “What’s going on?” (because the Man – Adam – is “the man”) (Gen. 3:9-12). Adam, instead of owning up and wearing the pants, clutched his fig-leaf loincloth and said, “Nah, it was the woman’s fault — totally!” #fail

Again and again in the Bible, men do what their wives want, because they’d rather abdicate and capitulate than show some spine, put their foot down, and deal with the whining and nit-picking.

That’s why God pairs Eph. 5:22 (“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”) with Eph. 5:25 (“Husbands, love your wives…”). It takes us both doing our part.

God takes a broken world and shows His goodness.

Maybe you’re fuming right now, because you’ve had some bad leaders. Maybe the men in your life haven’t done their job right.

No surprise there — they’re not God!

We are called to be like God, though. All of us. Together.

When we do what He calls us to do (you, me, individually – not worried about what someone else should be doing) then God can bless us in a special way. Sometimes He blesses us even when we’re fighting Him, but walking through life His way opens up a special kind of beauty.

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia WoodJust because his wife is headstrong, pugnacious, and take-charge doesn’t get a man off the hook for leading her – gently, lovingly, but firmly.

Just because her husband is abusive, stupid, or lazy isn’t an excuse for a woman to take over running the family. OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: If he’s actually harmful/toxic to you, get your pastor and law enforcement involved. But “he never does his dishes” is not an excuse for you to gratify yourself and abuse your own God-given role. (Yes, that’s a serious example our pastor gave — happy ending: the couple counseled their way through, and stayed together.)

It’s so easy to say, “But, God, things aren’t happening the way they should! I need to ____.”

What would happen if we tried things God’s way?

We Need Men To Be Dads

God reveals Himself as a three-person entity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And He does that for a reason.

As important as mothers are (again, that’s a dead horse I don’t need to beat) dads are crucial. And our own society is seeing the consequences of discounting, marginalizing, and rejecting their role.

When kids don’t have their dad in their lives, it creates a vacuum, and many of them fill that vacuum with harmful things. According to All Pro Dad, “[S]eventy-one percent (71%) of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes”, and “71% of pregnant teens have no dad present in their life” (per the Department of Health and Human Services).

Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia Wood

My dad continued the tradition he learned from his father.

The Heritage Foundation points to studies that have found fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of high school, and twice as likely to be obese (among other things).

How about this article about the number of juvenile murder suspects who don’t have fathers? To a suggestion that juvenile criminals need “intensive mentoring”, the author astutely asks, “[W]here will such men come from in cities where large numbers of males refuse to mentor or monitor their own children?”

True, a “stable” single-parent-home seems to be superior to a home with a rotating cast of live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. But even though a child who lost a parent to death is better off than a child who lost the parent to divorce, he or she is still at a disadvantage compared to the child in a biological mother-father home.

That’s because something’s still broken. Death, divorce, and out-of-wedlock families are not the original plan…therefore we instinctively crave something more, something better. However “well” those children turn out (even if they beat the odds and “succeed”), they’re missing out. It’s not fair.

God is the perfect father.

I could say, God is the only perfect father. He is a steady rock in a wave-tossed world. He corrects bad behavior to train His children to become better. When we cry, He comforts. And when He gives good gifts, He’s teaching us gratitude (as well as just giving presents, because who doesn’t like to give presents to their kid?).

When men act the way they’re supposed to, they’re imitating God. Whether he knows it or not – whether he believes in Him or not – when a man uses his authority to protect, nurture, and grow those in his charge…he’s being like God!

And God blesses the things that honor Him.

Dads matter. Patriarchy matters.

Our boys need their dads teaching them how to, “Sir, yes, sir!” to police officers, so they won’t get shot. They need to be taught “No, you don’t touch a girl that way unless she’s your wife!” so that they don’t get shot.

A little girl needs a dad to show her how Real Men act toward women, and to know that if anybody messes with her, Daddy will go make that person extinct.

There are bad men out there; absolutely. But strapping on a 9mm only does so much to protect you. We also need good men, Real Men, to lock up the bad guys when they deserve it…or even punch them in the face if they need that. We need Real Men to say, “Gentlemen don’t act that way, and I’m in charge, so we’re going to do it the gentlemanly way.”

We need Real Men who don’t compromise, who will look terrorists in the face and say, “Not in my town.”

Who will look their boss in the face and say, “Embezzling is wrong, and I can’t look the other way for you.”

Who have the spiritual, emotional, and physical clout to punch Evil in the face when it needs it.

Learning to walk with crutches after a leg amputation is a victory, but it’s also a defeat. You’re only doing it because something is missing…something important that you’ll never get back.

A society that refuses to let its men lead is missing its shoulders…and legs…and head.

We need the patriarchy.

What would happen if we really, honestly tried doing things God’s way? Are you brave enough to find out?

Image of Gordon Freeman is from vsbattles.wikia.com.

Image of Jim Raynor with a revolver is from games.softpedia.com.

The boy-with-water-gun picture is from Pixabay.


Why We Need the Patriarchy — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic novella Soldier (where the guys are totes patriarchal) plus occasional updates about her latest reading and writing adventures!

“The Book of Were-Wolves” by Sabine Baring-Gould

It’s easy to “poo-poo” were-wolves as superstitious just-so stories, invented by our ignorant ancestors.

Baring-Gould, while not convince human beings physically transform into wolf bodies, nevertheless has taken a scholarly, detailed, and anecdote-filled look at this phenomenon. Along with his scientific, 18th-century respect for facts, he brings the Christian insight into human nature to his subject (he’s more famous for writing Onward Christian Soldiers).

The resulting book is fascinating, profound, and sometimes disturbing…both by what it says about were-wolves, and by what it says about ourselves. Continue reading

Choice Validation vs. Objective Morality in Gaming

The “Right Choice” Wins

Choice Validation vs. Objective Morality in Gaming — Kimia Wood — moral choice

Photo by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

Moral choice is rooted in worldview, and video games are uniquely suited for exploring worldview.

In movies and books, you can watch characters make choices and explore the consequences through their eyes…but in video games, you’re invited to become the character, make choices, and experience the consequences in a different – and powerful – way.

But are we allowed to make the “wrong” choice? And if so, what worldview does this reveal? Continue reading

“Ten Thousand Thorns” by Suzannah Rowntree

"Ten Thousand Thorns" by Suzannah Rowntree Some books just “sing”.

Others…don’t work for some people.

What if Sleeping Beauty was a martial artist?

For a hundred years, Princess Morning Light has meditated in a hidden temple surrounded by ten thousand thorns. Could her long-lost sword skill be the key to stopping the Vastly Martial Emperor?

Rebel leader Clouded Sky doesn’t believe in the old legends of Ten Thousand Thorns Temple. But as bounty hunters and imperial guards close in, the martial princess may be Clouded Sky’s last hope.

Who can he trust – and who is planning to betray him?

If you liked the martial arts and fierce female characters of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you’ll love this action-packed retelling of Sleeping Beauty!

Continue reading

The “Blackwell” Bundle

In an attempt to recapture the gaming experience of Gemini Rue, I hunted through its developer’s catalogue. The Blackwell series caught my eye, and I took advantage of a sale to snag the bundle (because who buys anything at full price?!).

TL;DR for the series? It’s not as amazing as most of the other puzzle games I’ve played, but it was definitely worth some #SiblingTime.

The premise: Rosangela Blackwell’s life turns upside-down when she discovers she’s a medium and inherits a spirit guide from her aunt. Her guide – the saucy ghost Joey – teaches her of her mission in life: helping spirits come to terms with their death and “move on”.


Not my usual genre at all…but half of “paranormal detective” is detective, right? Continue reading

How to Stay Single and Lonely

Are you single, Christian, and lonely? Plenty of people are single…and a fair number are Christian. But to be all that and lonely, too – well, that’s something hang on to!

Are you SCL? Own it! Life will try to tear that affiliation from you, and you’ve got to fight back. Here are some ways how:

DON’T Spend Time With Your Family

How to Stay Single and Lonely — Kimia WoodDo you have any siblings? AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS. Sure, they might bug you, but that’s just another way of paying attention to someone – and the core of Loneliness is having no one pay attention to you. Your brothers and sisters will try to un-lonely you…shun them!

Also, ignore your parents. Do not cook meals for them. Do not help them with yard work or home repair. And definitely DO NOT have long, in-depth conversations with them about your life, their lives, God, or events in the world.

Even talking about your favorite things can be a danger-ground. Stick to two subjects: the weather (especially if it’s gloomy), and your miserable lack of success in finding a spouse.

Possible loophole: if you’re now older than your parents were when they got married, talk about that. A lot. Continue reading

“Chronicles of Amber” by Roger Zelazny

 The “Chronicles of Amber” have long been my dad’s example of what inspired him to write. He told us that Zelazny’s writing was so bad, he figured, “If he can get published, so can I.” And, at the same time, the story Zelazny was telling was so gripping he had no choice but continue.

Now, I’ve had an opportunity to form my own opinion. I agree about the story part…but the writing wasn’t that bad. If Zelazny had gotten an editor who could actually read, we’d have nothing to complain about.

But let’s talk about the story.

Who Is “I”?

Our first-person protagonist starts the story in a private medical institution, with no memory. As he makes his escape and tracks down his past, we’re eased into a fantasy world unlike any other.

Corwin is a good traveling companion. While he has to grow in several areas, he’s got enough deprecating humor, goodwill, and smarts to make us root for him.

Book 1 is Nine Princes in Amber…and that’s not even counting their sisters. So there’s a big cast of characters to get a handle on. However, many of them are scattered, letting us meet them a little at a time.

Trust Him Like a Brother…That Is To Say, Not At All

You like learning about the Romanovs? Fancy meeting a broad, sprawling family of princes, with their own cliches, personalities, and alliances…a family constantly trying to kill one another across an infinite spectrum of worlds, but who nevertheless are eager for the latest gossip about all their varied relations.

They’re as immoral as any other royal family. Casual sex intrudes on the story a couple times…but Zelazny does a decent job showing us the serious consequences such flippancy can have.

Brothers can go from trading comments to crossing swords at a moment’s notice…and at their next meeting, they might have returned to civility.

Ready to wrap your head around the tangled strands of alliances, plots, and deceits? The mystery might lead deeper than you think…

The World is Amber

In fact, Amber is the reality. Corwin and all his brothers are princes of Amber, while an infinite number of Shadows stream away from Amber, casting “realities” from the similar to the bizarre across creation.

And beyond all the Shadow worlds? Chaos. And the creatures of Chaos aren’t all too pleased to have Amber and its Shadows cutting in on their game.

But to say more might say too much.

It’s a Wild Hell-Ride

My dad has long told us about how the idea of Amber and Shadows captured his imagination. The description can be very evocative, indeed, as Corwin and the others travel between shadings from one distinct landscape to the next.

And as for the mystery they unravel? The deep plot that threatens to shatter Amber itself – that overshadows their struggle for the vacant throne? It is indeed a fascinating onion to unpeel. The royal machinations and reversals are gripping. And the final book, The Courts of Chaos, is nearly psychedelic as Corwin rides through bleak, philosophical landscapes, racing the surging storm of Chaos.

It’ll make sense once you read the book. (Well, most of it will, anyway.)

Caveats?

Is this story “mother-in-law safe“? Mostly. There’s a smattering of profanities, some violence, and (as I said) a few mild hook-ups.

It should be no surprise that long-living, powerful royalty who can do pretty much what they want aren’t super moral. Part of the satisfaction of the story, though, is to see them shift, discover new goals, change their focus outward, and transform.

Who is the ultimate king of Amber? I’m not telling…but it made me cheer.

The other thing to note is that the series is one continuous story arc. I’ve ranted before about cliff-hangers, so for the sake of intellectual integrity, be aware that each individual book (while containing a mini-arc) is much more about its place within the whole, than it is about the plot contained within each volume.

I’ve been pushing my brother to read it, but he still hasn’t.

Tell Your Sister. Dad Was Right.

Even if you’re not usually a fantasy person…or if the slew of generic “quest” fantasy has you jaded…pick it up. Tired of “chosen one heir-apparent” tropes? Pick it up.

Tired of vague medieval-era worlds? Discover worlds that are different from ours for a reason…and characters who are smart enough to work with those differences!

Was the writing a little clunky at times? At times…but like I said: if the editor had actually done his job, he would have caught the few places a word was missing, would have corrected a spelling or two, and the book would be that much more a cut above the rest.

How you phrase something is style. (Says the girl who frequently confuses her beta readers with “poetic” turns of phrase.)

Anyway…Why don’t you read it and find out for yourself?


The first book, Nine Princes in Amber, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and the Book Depository (as an audiobook).

You can also find all five books in one volume on Amazon (hardcover), or as a ten-book paperback from Barnes & Noble or the Book Depository (Note: I have only read the first series: Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, The Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon, and The Courts of Chaos).

Cover image is from this five-book collection, via the Book Depository.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-copy of the post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier, plus regular updates on Kimia Wood’s latest reading and writing adventures!

“Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott

"Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott — Kimia Wood Published in 1819, if you’re looking for some honest-to-goodness, played-straight, exhaustively researched yet swashbuckling-fun story of medieval chivalry and derring-do, you could do worse than Ivanhoe.

Set in the 12th century – during that period of time made famous by every rendition of Robin Hood, when the head-strong and vivacious King Richard was out of the country, and the unpopular Prince John ruled in his stead – Ivanhoe explores racism, classism, male-female tensions, concepts of chivalry, and religion, all mixed with enough action and entertaining turns of phrase to keep the pace going.

Setting the Stage

The first chapter or two drag along, as Scott describes our initial characters – their dress, situation, the landscape – in exhaustive detail. This is necessary to give us a flavor of the strange place and time we have entered.

Scott’s original readers would not have seen dozens of “medieval” movies and plays, and so might be unfamiliar with the particular dress and customs of the 12th century. Even our modern reader will probably have a romanticized or blurry impression of exactly what was involved in  12th century life, and what was important to the people then.

Quick example: short cloaks (that only covered the back) were a Norman thing…unpractical, foppish, ineffective at keeping out the damp, and representative of the conqueror’s ruling class. Long, full cloaks were a Saxon thing…simpler, warmer, but more “red-neck”.

Parrying with Words

With the preliminaries out of the way, the characters can start talking. You might think that sounds boring, too…but it isn’t really.

It’s through their conversations that the layers of class resentment, anti-Semitism, religious feeling (or lack thereof), and feelings of patriotism are expressed and explored.

Sir Scott also has a way of phrasing things that adds energy to the prose. Not punchy, exactly…in fact, his sentences tend to use more words rather than fewer. But they’re the kind of words you can eat up, because of the way they express their thoughts and dance with the issues they portray.

And that’s the best way I can think to express it.

So…Many…Characters

Scott loads us with quite an entourage to escort us through this story. The first half or two-thirds of the story keeps repeating events, going back over the time-line to establish where a different group of characters were and what they were doing.

One of the characters is the Jew, Isaac of York. Sir Scott explains and explores how the stereotypical Jewish occupation of banker developed from this people’s separation from other cultures.

Norman and Saxon alike disdained to associate with them – and had no qualms about wringing as much treasure as they could by any means necessary. Yet the Gentiles just as obviously borrowed money at staggering interest rates from the Jews (Scott claims in order to fund their socially pretentious lifestyles).

Isaac, for his part, is a melodramatic, obsequious, and paranoid individual. The constant danger of pillaging – coupled with his own love of his vast wealth – has made him a cautious, cringing man…but who is still willing to face torture and death.

As his daughter says, money is both their strength and their weakness.

The Religion of Man

The 12th century established church does not have its best foot forward in Scott’s work. There’s the Abbot (who should be celibate, poor, and sober) who dresses in furs and jewels, plays with a maid when he can, and parties with the best of his congregants…and the Knight Templar (a Crusader monk swore to piety and defense of Jerusalem) who actually worships himself, scorns the self-righteousness of his superior, and tries to take advantage of a defenseless Jewish girl.

Even the head of the Templar order is portrayed as self-important, self-righteous, stick-up-his-butt, superstitious prig – who thinks that condemning a Jewish girl as a witch is more reasonable than disciplining his own Knight for abducting her for ignoble purposes.

All of which goes to show that “these people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Is. 29:13). I could draw a snarky parallel to the 1950s, when people had their external lives together, but their hearts were like “the inside of men’s tombs”…but maybe not right now.

Ideas Have Consequences

And it’s important to study ideas. It’s helpful when that study is entertaining.

There’s much more to chivalry than can be portrayed in a 90-minute movie. Or even in a 387-page book.

If you’re ready to confront some of these ideas…if you think of the “Middle Ages” as a uniform time block, and want to change that…if the generic, medieval-ish fantasy worlds have left you dry, and you just want to see some honest-to-goodness jousting matches for a change…try Ivanhoe.

I recommend an edition that has footnotes, so you can get even more background of some of the weird words. Some of the spelling might be wonky, too, so have fun with that 😊!


Ivanhoe is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble (hard copy or ebook), Kobo (lots of audiobook versions also), Librivox (audiobook—public domain in the USA), and the Book Depository (free worldwide shipping).

Cover image is from Amazon, and features the edition I read.

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Best Video Games for Kids

I grew up on video games from my earliest childhood. Many of these I watched my dad play — in fact, we have a photo of my brother, not yet old enough to walk, sitting on Dad’s lap watching Warcraft III.

But I myself played my share of video games. You may scoff, but some of my fondest memories, the most enduring stories, breathtaking characters, and immersive experiences have come from games.

If you have kids, you want them to be encouraged, educated, and edified by the media they consume. This includes watching the books they read and the friends they play with.

Dare you let video games play a role in their development? If so, let me share with you the best and brightest games from my youth…the ones that taught me most, or touched me the deepest.

DISCLAIMER: CHECK YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE GAME’S SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS BEFORE BUYING ANY GAMES. After all, I’m not exactly a spring chicken…

Teaching Games

Admit it. We parents are duplicitous, and want to sneak little nuggets of knowledge into the things our kids think are just fun.

Sure, there are lots of games like this, some more recent or successful than others. But from my own vast childhood experience, these are my top picks:

Alphabet Express

Best Games for Kids — Kimia Wood

Image credit: mobygames.com

Do you know your alphabet? This game has a colorful scene for each letter, filled with colorful characters and hidden “H”, “L”, “Q”, or the like.

This “game” is simple, but entertaining. Clean and cheery, it’s also perfect for little kids.

The Blaster Games

Blatant educational content has a name. In my childhood, it was Science Blaster Jr., Math Blaster Jr., Reading Blaster, and Math Blaster (Ages 6-9).

There are many more in the series, as I learned from the walkthroughs on YouTube. (A walkthrough for a kids’ educational game? That’s like taking a Dr. Seuss book, designed to get kids to read, and making it into a movie! Ya dig?)

Best Games for Kids — Kimia Wood

Image credit: EliSoftware.org

Meet Spot, G.C., and Blasternaut – my first self images. Spot is also my first game crush; he’s the cute little blue robot. I even have a notebook featuring a pictogram story about them.

These bright characters introduced basic science facts, easy math, and reading puzzles to us youngsters on their spaceship full of mini-games. Not so arduously academic as my exposure to Reader Rabbit, and not so story-driven as the Humongous games, the Blaster games hit a sweet spot of fun and function.

Be careful playing the Big Kid game, though: Math Blaster Ages 6-9. It features Gellator – the Brain-Drainer…an evil yellow ooze-being who kidnaps Spot and terrified my five-year-old self. To the point that I would never play the actual story-line, only test mode.

Ah, kid fears. Continue reading

“Purple Fish” by Mark O. Wilson

 TL;DR: If you need another kick in your Jesus-sharing pants, or if you’d like to read some examples of evangelism from the “more Pentecostal” side of the church-spectrum, it’s worth a look.

As the third book on evangelism I’ve read this year, Purple Fish seemed to depend more on pithy quotes from other writers than the previous books. The outline for the book was also less clear than what I’d read previously.

Fisherman’s Guide to Sharing the TRUTH

The title comes from the idea of hunting for purple shell-fish — the ingredient used in the ancient world for purple dye, an expensive commodity for emperors and senators.

Pastor Wilson urges us to view lost people as “purple fish” — just like Jesus came all the way to earth to hunt after his treasured children, we should go “fishing for men” with the same passion. Continue reading