The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the month “October, 2009”

He’s Got It All Figured Out……And A Wife Is Just Not Necessary

While we were riding in the car tonight Samuel declared that he does not to get married when he grows up. When asked why he did not want to get married he replied, “My legs would get tired from all that standing.”(Say whhhaaat????) Mark asked him to elaborate. He said that the last wedding we went to “they had to stand up for like two whole hours!” Hmmm…. so he does not want to get married because he would have to stand up during the ceremony.

Mark asked, “Who would cook for you?” To which Samuel responded, “I will cook for myself.”

Then Mark asked who would give him back scratches. “I can use a flyswatter.”

To which Mark said, “Who would rub your shoulders after a long day at work?” Without missing a beat he said, “I’ll get a monkey and teach it to rub my shoulders. A space monkey from NASA.” (where does he come up with this stuff???)

Mark said, “What about when you are sick? Who will take care of you?” Samuel said he can call 911.

“Don’t you want to ever have a little boy of your own?” his daddy asked. “I can get a mannequin,” came the reply.

Nice to know has all his bases covered. After this conversation we sang this:

We made it to the line “That old massa was a gasser” Nathaniel said, “He was a gasser like you,” and pointed at Benjamin. At which point we all busted out laughing.  It was a fun ride home.

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The Awesome Sermon I Had To Miss

I work in Children’s Church on Sunday mornings. Overall, it is something I love. There are times where the kids are a handful, but it really makes me happy when they remember something from several weeks prior, or you can really see the lights come on when they learn something. The downside to being in Children’s Church is that I am not in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings hearing the sermon. Most of the time it does not bother me too badly, since I don’t know in advance what the sermon is on. However, Mark preached this past week, so I knew what the sermon was, and that it was going to be very good. I hated to have to miss it. I thought about asking someone else to cover Children’s Church, but I knew I could get the sermon outside of Sunday morning, whereas others could not. I am posting a few things from his sermon, because I think they are really good and would like to share them with the rest of the world that didn’t get to hear it.

He preached from Hebrews 12:1-2. He also read Hebrews 11. After reading the scripture he addressed the congregation.

Where are the young people like Abel, who desire to please God? Where are the men like Enoch, who walk with God instead of the world? Where are the believers like Noah, who will take a stand for God even if it means they will stand alone? Where are the senior adults like Abraham, who leave a life of comfort at the age of 75 to follow God’s instructions, not knowing where God will take them? Where are the believers like Abraham, who are looking for a city built by God instead of what the world has to offer? Where are the women like Sarah who finally begin to trust God to fulfill His promises? Where are the parents like Abraham, who offer up their children to the Lord, knowing that He knows what’s best for them? Where are the fathers like Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph who live and die trusting in God and teaching their children to do the same? Where are the believers like Moses, who choose to suffer persecution with God’s people instead of enjoying the passing pleasures of sin and who consider the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of the world? Where are the women like Rahab, who is more concerned with serving God and caring for His people instead of living a life focused on herself like all the other women around her?

Where are believers like the apostles in Acts 5, who after being flogged for sharing the Gospel, rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer shame for Christ and kept right on teaching and preaching Christ? Where are the Christians like the believers in Acts 8, who after being put in prison and run off from their homes, kept preaching the Word wherever they went? Where are the believers like the apostles, who were willing to suffer persecution and death for the sake of Christ?

Where are the believers like Paul?  He was able to say, “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

Where are the believers like William Tyndale? He was sentenced to death for translating the New Testament into English. He was strangled to the point of death and then burned at a stake. As he was burning he cried out, “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes!”

Where are the believers like Martin Luther? He was on trial for preaching salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. During his trial he was asked if he would recant the books he had written and the positions he had taken. Luther responded, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”

Where are the believers like Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer? They were on trial for preaching the clear teachings of the Word of God. As they were being tied to the stake before they were burned to death, Latimer said, “Be of good cheer, Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as I trust will never be put out.”

Where are the believers like John Bunyan? They told John Bunyan to quit preaching, but he said ‑ I cannot quit preaching because God has called me to preach.  And they said ‑ If you preach we’ll put you in prison.  And so he said to himself ‑ If I go to prison who cares for my family? But how can I close my mouth when God has called me to preach? And so he committed his family to the care of God and was obedient to the call of God and preached, and they put him in prison.  And since then he’s blessed millions of families because it was there that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. Listen to what he said:  “The parting with my wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling of the flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I have besides.  O the thought of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces…But yet, recalling myself, thought I, I must venture all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you; O I saw in this condition, I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it.”

Where are the believers like Henry Martyn? He went to India and spent the rest of his life there.  Already in India he had done more than his share of missionary service when he announced that he was going to go to Persia because God had laid it upon his heart to translate the New Testament and the Psalms into the Persian language. By then he was an old man. They told him that if he stayed in India he would die because of the heat.  And then they told him that Persia was hotter than India.  But he went anyway. He studied the Persian language, then translated the entire New Testament and the Psalms in nine months.  And then he was told that he couldn’t print it or circulate it until he received the Shah’s permission.  So he traveled 800 miles to Tehran, and he was denied permission to see the Shah.  He turned around and made a 400 mile trip to find the British ambassador.  The ambassador gave him the proper kinds of papers and so forth and sent him back to the Shah.  And so he traveled another 400 miles…that makes l600 miles.  He rode this at night on the back of a mule, and rested during the daytime…protected only by a strip of canvas from the sweltering desert heat. He finally arrived and was received by the Shah who gave him permission for the Scriptures to be printed and circulated in Persia. Ten days later he died.  But shortly before he had written in his diary this statement:  “I sat and thought with sweet comfort and peace of my God.  In solitude my Companion, my Friend, and Comforter.” He didn’t live a life of ease, but it was a life worth remembering.

John Knox, on his knees for lost souls in the little country of Scotland pleaded with God and said, “Give me Scotland or I die.” Hudson Taylor as a young man looked across the thousands of miles to the unreached multitudes of China and cried out to God, “I feel that I cannot go on living unless I do something for the lost in China.” Henry Martyn after landing in India said, “Here I am in the midst of heathen, midnight and savage oppression, now my dear Lord let me burn out for Thee.”

Why does American Christianity look so different than Christianity in the New Testament and in Church History? Christianity from the New Testament and Church History is splattered with blood, sweat, and tears. American Christianity sounds more like this:

Luke 9:23 says, “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and watch television. That’s what Christians do now.

Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and play on the computer. That’s what Christians do now.

Luke 10:2 says, “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and play video games. That’s what Christians do now.

1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and complain about how long the sermon was. That’s what Christians do now.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and talk on the phone and text message. That’s what Christians do now.

2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and take a nap. That’s what Christians do now.

1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and act and talk just like the world. That’s what Christians do now.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and try to think of something to do so I won’t be bored. That’s what Christians do now.

James 1:22 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and do nothing. That’s what Christians do now.


What Makes a Book Great?

I’m talking about children’s books. Last night Samuel wanted me to read Moog-Moog, Space Barber to him. I think that book is near the bottom of my list of favorite books. The story is alright, the pictures, so-so. It just doesn’t move me, ya know? There are other books, however, that I could (well, DO actually) read over and over to the kids. Sometimes I think I enjoy them as much more than the boys. Take the obvious choice: Where the Wild Things Are. (Coming to a theater near you TOMORROW) I had that book as a kid. I loved it. I credit that book for me never being scared of monsters. The monsters in it weren’t scary. They were fun. Even when they tell Max “We’ll eat you up….” it is followed by “we love you so”.  When Max gets home, his dinner is waiting and it is still warm. His mom loves him even though he has been bad. (kind of like Benjamin lately)

Or think about the book Goodnight MoonIt is such a simple story, with simple pictures. A little bunny tells everything in his room goodnight. My kids have gone though stages of doing that. It makes bedtime go.by.soooo.sllloooowwwwlllly. However, if we said “goodnight” to all our things at the same time the bunny says it to his stuff, it goes by much more quickly. (okay, so maybe not much, but some)

Nathaniel wanted to hear The Tub People every single night in kindergarten. They had a special reading month where we were supposed to read a certain number of books per night to our kids. I was reading more than was required, or fibbing and just putting random book titles because I did not want his teacher to wonder if we only had one book. It is a sweet one, too.

This week in school we learning about India. There are not a whole lot of fun books about India. Not that I know of, anyway. Imagine my surprise when the Tapestry of Grace assigned reading happens to be one of our long time family favorites: Little Babaji. Little Babaji is the story of a little Indian boy whose parents buy him some fancy new duds and he goes for a walk in the jungle. By and by he meets up with some hungry tigers that threaten to eat him. He cleverly trades an article of clothing for the promise not to be eaten, telling the tiger that he is the grandest tiger in the jungle. You may have heard this story before, only set in Africa, and the boy being named Sambo. That’s how I first heard it. My grandmother used to tell me that story. It was written by Helen Bannermann in 1899. She was originally from Scotland, but lived 30 years in India where her husband served as a medical officer. The stories she wrote celbrated Indian or Tamil children. The children in her stories are all very bright, like little Sambo outwitting the tigers and being rewarded with pancakes. Her stories were not racist. Not in their original forms. However, as time went on, they were published by one company, then another. The more times it was published, the less like the original the story became. By the time it got here (to the US) the story was set in Africa and the people looked like plantation slaves. Sambo actually became a racial slur. The book was eventually pulled off the shelves.You can probably find it on e-bay. You can find it in a few libraries.  In 1996 Fred Marcellino published a new, updated Sambo where he had changed the names to something more politically correct. Usually I am not a fan of the PC police, but I do think there is no sense in intentionally insulting people. I also think that a beloved children’s story should not be forgotten. This is a book that is sooooo much fun to read. I love to do little voices in it. Babaji has an Indian accent. The tigers all have deep, growly voices. Mamaji and Papaji both ahve very excited voices. Samuel did his worksheet and drew a picture of little Babaji eating his big stack of pancakes. scan0001 To celebrate, can you guess what we are having for supper? (in Mamaji’s voice) Pancakes!!

Beautiful Hymn

We have been using The Center For Church Music online to study about hymns.  Funny thing, until just a few years ago I thought I did not like hymns. That is because most of the churches I have gone to over the years use the Baptist Hymnal and some of them have seemed to pick out the shallowest most uninspiring songs from the whole book.  Certain times of the year we would sing The Star Bangled Banner. Over the past few years several Christian artists (sorry Berean Wife!) have recorded old hymns.  I LOVE them! Rock of Ages, Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing, Be Thou My Vision, there are so many great ones. (My fave is Before the Throne of God Above by Selah!) Each week the Center for Church Music has a hymn featured. So far each week that we have studied a hymn it has been great. Nathaniel is amazed that Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts was written so long ago. (1150, over 800 years ago!!) Samuel’s favorite so far has been O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. (we also love that one by Selah) Benjamin likes watching videos of the songs we are studying being performed by Enfield at the Resolved Conference that Mark went to last summer. The hymn we are studying this week is one I have never heard of before. It is so beautiful!! This song is like a prayer that has been set to music. I hope that you find these words as inspiring as I do. If you click on the link to the Center for Church Music you can listen to a choir singing it.  Hope you enjoy!!

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,Live in me from day to day, By His love and power controlling All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly In my heart from hour to hour, So that all may see I triumph Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father Rule my life in everything, That I may be calm to comfort Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me As the waters fill the sea; Him exalting, self abasing, This is victory.

May I run the race before me, Strong and brave to face the foe, Looking only unto Jesus As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me, As I seek the lost to win, And may they forget the channel, Seeing only Him.

PS. Huge thanks to Annemarie for sharing the link to Center for Church Music!!! I am discovering so many songs I never knew I liked!!!!

Are You Wielding Your Own Sword, Or Borrowing From Someone Else?

I have been reading Desiring God by John Piper. Can I just say that Piper is awesome??? I first read When I Don’t Desire God and loved it. It made me want more of his writing. (I know I can read lots of his stuff on his website. Call me old-fashioned, but I really like books, the kind with pages.) So, imagine my surprise when I found a store in Guntersville that had Desiring God for ONLY $5.00!!!!!! I was little girl giddy!!!

This book has been eye-opening, inspiring, uplifting and toe-stomping, all at the same time. Just when I think it has gotten as good as it can possibly get, it gets better. The whole premise of the book is being a Christian Hedonist. I don’t really like the term hedonist. The image that comes to mind in my head of a hedonist is not a Christian. The way he explains it though is that our ultimate joy should come from God. God should be what we desire. (Hence the name Desiring God) Piper even says you don’t have to like the term to be one. Touche.

He has chapters on several different aspects of the Christian Hedonist lifestyle. One such chapter is titled Scripture: Kindling for Christian Hedonism. Piper writes:

Satan’s number-one objective is to destroy our joy of faith. We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6: 17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us (John 15: 7), we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes. But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be! “I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2: 14).

Wow. Those were toe-stomping words to me. I am so guilty of saying, “Maaaaaaarrrrrrk!! Where’s the verse about_____________? Or “Where’s a verse that goes along with _____________? Mark has actually asked me if I thought he has the whole Bible memorized. (maybe he does not have it all memorized, but he does have a lot!)

We have somewhat of a strange relationship. I remember doctor’s appointments, phone numbers, useless trivia, things of that nature. He remembers all the important stuff. He can remember sermons from when we were teenagers. So he’ll come to me and ask for the doctor’s phone number, I’ll ask him what verse should go along with my children’s message. It kind of works. I say kind of, because sometimes I need a certain verse and he’s not around. Or it is not prudent to ask. Like if we are in public and someone makes me mad or hurts my feelings and I want to retaliate with something meaner than what they said but I know there is a verse about not taking vengeance for ourselves (Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:9 {Mark is not here,btw, I found it by myself!!}) Or, this is even more important than just remembering something for a lesson or to keep me from sinning: Sometimes people come to me needing help or advice. If I do not have God’s word abiding in me, I can’t help them. If I do not know what God says on a subject, I am very liable to tell someone the wrong thing. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19 (once again, I read this on my own tonight, no help) I do not want to be guilty of giving bad advice. I do not want to to lead someone into sin because I was not studied.

I have been reading more of the Bible. Sometimes it is tough to find quiet time. Do not disturb signs don’t seem to work around here. Whether  I have to stay up late, or get up early, or even both, it is worth it. This morning everything seemed to go awry. The boys were whiney, they did not want to do their schoolwork. It was one of those days where nothing went right. I had promised Mark that some challah and Annemarie cookies would be waiting for when him he got up. My intention was to get a certain amount of school done, mix the challah, have lunch, then bake the cookies and wake up Mark. HA! The challah dough was an icky, sticky mess. The lunch got got eaten at 2:00. Mark got up around 2:00. So I went to make the cookies. I got out two sticks of butter, softened them in the microwave and went about getting the other ingredients out.  Oops, I had used all the brown sugar for the Dutch Baby I made for breakfast. (not that it was enough to make the cookies anyway)   At this point, not even half of the school day had been done, no cookies and I was not sure how the bread was going to be. Oh, and I had forgotten to get the chicken out of the freezer until maybe 11:00, so it was still frozen hard as a brick. I was ready to just cry. Mark said he would stop by to get some brown sugar on the way home in morning and why don’t we just order pizza. Then he starts talking about how he really likes his new Bible reading plan that he has started. I said I liked it, too…only I didn’t actually read this morning. Hm…. it hit me then. My day goes much more smoothly when I begin with the Word. What happened today? I didn’t get up late. I didn’t spend hours in the kitchen making some elaborate breakfast. But nothing went according to plans. I need to make sure that God has first place in my life. I need to be a Christian Hedonist. I don’t have to like the term or even use it, I just need to treasure God above all else and let everything else just fall into place. Otherwise, my life spins out of control in mass chaos.  Here’s a funny video that Mark says describes me:

Hebrew-Style Blessings

This year in school as we are studying the ancient world, we are focusing very much on the Hebrew people.  We have really been studying the Old Testament in depth. One thing that the ancient Jewish fathers did was to bless their children. Next week are having a Passover Seder (yes, I am aware that it is falling nowhere near Passover) and I have asked Mark to write blessings for our boys. I was wondering if he’d actually be into it or if he’d think I am off my rocker about a mile and half. {Last Friday night he was greeted as he walked through the door with “Shabbat Shalom!” We made Challah, had candles on the table, which was set with our best china {except Samuel and Benjamin had plastic plates}. Our meal: Pork chops and sides. Not very kosher. The pork chops had been frozen, if I didn’t cook them they would have been wasted. The whole baking Challah and everything else was spur of the moment.} He was for it. To clue you in on some of the “whys” for the particular blessings he wrote I feel the need to explain the meaning of each of their names. Nathaniel- Gift from God; Jacob- Sneaky, Grabber; Benjamin- Favored, Son of My Right Hand; Isaac- Laughter; Samuel- Heard by God; Joseph- God Will Add/ Increase.

BLESSINGS FOR MY BOYS

Nathaniel Jacob, may you treasure above all things the ultimate gift you have been given by God, which is Jesus Christ. May you become a man in whom there is no deceit and who is pure in heart. May you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as your knowledge of Christ grows, may your love and passion for Christ increase so drastically that you will not only be a hearer of His word, but a doer of His Word. May you be completely surrendered and submitted to Christ and His Word in all areas of your life.

Benjamin Isaac, may you find your supreme and ultimate joy in Christ, who is seated at the right hand of His Father. May your joy and laughter not come from the evil things of the world, but from the passion and love that comes from knowing Christ. May your faith in Christ be so strong that you fear no person or thing except for God. May you seek to please Christ no matter what others around you say or do. May you constantly be amazed at God, His Word, His works, and His glory.  May you become a man who seeks to give God the most glory you can in everything you do.

Samuel Joseph, may you love Christ above all things and may your life be built on obedience to Christ and His Word. May God continually increase you faith, love, and devotion to Christ. May you always be a man of prayer whose prayers are always heard by God. May you always hide God’s Word in your heart so that you may not sin against Him. May you always stand for Christ, even if you are the only one. May you never back down from boldly and fearlessly proclaiming God’s Word. May you become a man after God’s own heart whose consuming passion is to please Christ in everything you do.

Numbers 6:24-26- The LORD bless you, and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.

We really went back and forth for a long time about whether to name Samuel Samuel Joseph or Samuel David.  I was tickled to see that he put “may you be a man after God’s own heart”.

I LOVE Tapestry of Grace!!! We have learned do much and really paid so much attention to the details of things in the Old Testament. I think I have learned more than the boys.

The Lesson God Reminded me of in the Charter Office

While in town yesterday, my family stopped by the cable/internet/phone company to pay the bill because, well, we kind of enjoy those services and it would make our lives more difficult if those services were suddenly interrupted. It would appear that  everyone in Marshall county must have decided that their bill had to be paid YESTERDAY. The line was was backed up all the way to the door. UGH. So I take my place in line. A man came in after me. He said “Did you make this line?” Uh, no. It was here when I got here. So anyway, this man very loudly complains about the company and how he waited SEVEN hours to get his cable hooked up when he moved to Boaz from Albertville. He also said several times how he was thinking about dumping this company and getting a satellite. During all of this ranting and raving, he said a few things that weren’t very nice. As I FINALLY got to the payment counter I heard him say to someone “Hey, don’t you go to my church?” WOW. That really hit me. Here he was saying some bad stuff one minute, then talking about church the next. The lady said she wasn’t sure if they went to he same church or not so she asked which one. He said Lifepoint. He proceeded to tell her what a wonderful church it is and they always a good time  have a meal every Sunday night and where it is located.  What a bad witness he was for his church. First of all, he was not exactly the best witness of a Christian to begin with. As believers we are called to represent Christ in our lives.

1 Peter 2:9~But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Our job/duty/responsibility wherever we are is to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us” . We aren’t doing a good job of that if we are complaining and stirring up strife. We aren’t doing what we have been called to do if we are yelling at our kids. We are doing anyone a service if we are berating and belittling our husbands.

Another thing that struck me is that he was such a poor witness to his church. No mention of teaching. No mention of great ministries. Just that they have a good time and have a meal every Sunday night. Maybe that church does not have good strong teaching. Maybe all they have to offer is a good time and a meal. If so that is not the kind of church I would ever want to be associated with.

This was a wake-up call to me. I never know when people might be looking at my life. How I treat my family. How I treat the server at the restaurant. How I react to the moron on the street.  If you are a believer, your words are a very powerful witness to the world. Think about this :

James 3:10~From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

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