Friday, July 13, 2018

RPC - Western Civ - Common Misconceptions About the Crusades

Greetings, my friends! Welcome back to my old blog--Saint George Academy! Or simply welcome, if you are new.

Yes, I'm back. But, as it should be, I will be posting a school writing assignment. This one is for the Ron Paul Curriculum, and the Western Civilization class in particular. I'm going to be posting another of these, hopefully tomorrow.

I won't generally put a little introduction like this in front of all my school writing assignments. I just decided to do it for this one, my first post back on Saint George Academy with Grace. I hope you enjoy, or better yet, learn from this little historical work of mine!


            The Crusades, taking place in the late 1090s to early 1290s, were the efforts of Western Christians, working with Eastern Christians, to win back the Holy Land, and especially Jerusalem. This much is fairly common knowledge. But beyond this, there are a lot of misconceptions about the Crusades. In this writing assignment, I will play the historian. And historians have an obligation to tell the truth about what they teach.
I will bring up several misconceptions about the Crusades, and address why they are incorrect.

#1 – The Crusades were simply unprovoked aggression on the part of the Crusaders.

A simple look at history proves otherwise. The Muslims (the Crusaders’ opposition) had taken over two-thirds of the Christian world by the time of the Crusades. Asia Minor—including the important cities of Antioch, Ephesus, and Nicaea—the Middle East, North Africa, and most of Spain had been conquered by the Muslim armies. They had made attempts to conquer France, but were driven back by Charles Martel (an ancestor of my family!).
            There was particularly a lot of conflict between the Muslims and Byzantium, also known as Turkey. Things only got worse for them as the Seljuk Turks entered the scene, and became rulers of Islam. At that point, even the uneasy peace that had existed was gone. Christian pilgrimages became very dangerous. Eventually, the Byzantine emperor had to send pleas for help back West, as the Muslims threatened Constantinople (currently Istanbul). Rather than unprovoked aggression, it was an act of self-defense.

#2 – The Crusaders were fixated on wealth.

            This is a very silly idea. The Crusades were immensely expensive, and were actually a source of financial ruin for many. People had to sell off or mortgage their lands to raise the money needed. According to recent research, many crusaders were already wealthy landowners, and the Crusades were only going to eat away at that fortune.
            A popular theory along these lines is the “Second Sons” theory. Fathers would leave all their lands to their firstborn son as inheritance. The younger sons, who didn’t get any lands, went off on crusades in order to gain lands. However, there is no evidence for this theory. As a matter of fact, it was the “first sons”, the sons that inherited lands, who answered the calls to crusade.

#3 – The Crusaders wanted to convert the Muslims by force in the Crusades.

            This idea is probably just the product of anti-Christian bias. Muslims living in Crusader states were never forced to give up their religion. In fact, Muslims always outnumbered Catholics in the Crusader State of Jerusalem. The truth of the matter is, almost everybody who went on the Crusades really did go for the reasons they gave—to do penance for their sins and to help their Christian brethren.

#4 – There was even a “Children’s Crusade”.

This is not true. There was no army of children, no crusade started by little kids. There was just a variety of uprisings and processions. One such uprising centred around a young man from Cologne named Nicholas, around 1212. Since the rich and powerful had apparently failed to take back Jerusalem, he started a mass movement, his own crusade with the peasants of the Western world. He got a lot of people behind him. Unfortunately, his movement came to an end when they came to the sea. He believed it would open before him, showing the way to the Holy Land. It didn’t. After that, most of the people went home, though some went to Rome.

#5 – The Crusades led to festering resentment among Muslims, which in turn led to 20th- and 21st- century terrorism.

To be honest, if you asked a Muslim in the 17th century about the Crusades, he would have no clue what you were talking about. The Crusades were minor episode—blips—and hardly worth mentioning, from the Muslim perspective. The first Muslim mention of the Crusades in a scholarly work was in 1899, eight hundred years after the First Crusade. Trust me, the Crusades weren’t even on their radar. Not until we modern Westerners started making a big deal about them, anyway.

So there you have it. The Crusades were started and fought for the exact reasons that they said: to aid their Christian brethren in the East, and to retake the Holy Land. And, as they said in their Crusade's battle cry--and ours--"Deus Vult! God wills it!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Time Traveller's Daughter--An Announcement

Yes, I know. I missed yet another Mid-Week Music post. But I have an announcement to make, and the following will hopefully count as a funny picture.

Brian Regan, a famous comedian, once said something in one of his bits. (Amazing, I know.) We at our house repeat it at every possible opportunity. I found it rather fitting for the situation I am announcing. Thus, here it is.

Yes. Something's changed!

That something, in this case, is this blog. I must inform you that from this point on, Saint George Academy with Grace will be just that. This blog will become my school blog, while I continue writing all my other posts (including Mid-Week Music) on a new blog.

Don't worry, though: all the posts I've done here already will still be here. I haven't yet decided if I will put copies of these posts on that blog, or if I will just be starting with brand new posts. If I do end up starting with new posts, I will refer back to this blog.

So, here is the link to my blog. I may edit it to go to my first post instead of just the homepage. As it is, there's a test post by my mom up. And my new blog is called...

Time Traveller's Daughter!

Isn't that a neat title? I'm definitely excited!

So, I suppose this will be the last post on this blog for a while. For all continuing posts from me (except school ones), click on that link above. Hopefully, I'll see you there, not too far in the future! Goodbye...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mid-Week Music #26 - Portrait II

First, let me say, Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Second, let me say, I'm sorry I couldn't post something this past week. I knew what I wanted the post to be about, but I couldn't find a song about the subject. I'll probably do a post about it soon.

We did a lot of different things today--fun games and crafts, a special meal, an Adventures in Odyssey episode all about Saint Valentine. And a movie, finally settled to be IQ. IQ is a sort of romantic comedy: the famed Albert Einstein and friends, matchmaking for Einstein's niece and a nice young garage mechanic. It's a very funny movie! Has one or two twitterpated ideas about love and marriage, but a hilarious film nonetheless. I'll have to do a review of it sometime and tell you all about it.

If you know your Kansas lore, you know that the band released a song back in 1977 called "Portrait (He Knew)". That song was the original of this song. And yes, it was about Albert Einstein. I was reminded of it after watching IQ. That's my first reason. My second reason, I will explain, after you listen to the song.


He had a different idea
You might have heard His Name
He gave us all a new vision
Not looking for fortune or fame

His works were a wonder to speak of
His thought's on another plane
The words that He said were a mystery
No one was sure He was sane

But He knew
Knew more than me or you
No one could see His view
O-oh, where was He going to-oo?

And He knew
You could tell by the picture He drew
It was totally something new
O-oh, where was He going to-o-oo?

He said that He was the Answer
The only One ne-ear or far
He was trying to show us a new way
He was bright as a star

But nobody understood Him
They said He was not the Way
They were lost in the deepest enigma
That few have unraveled today

But He knew
Knew what He had to do
Those that believed Him were few
O-oh, what would He have us do?

And He died
So that Justice was satisfied
When He left us, the people cried
"Oh, where was He going to?"


He had a different idea
The Master knew the plan
He could see into the future
A true visionary Man

The truth was all that He told us
He died, but He lives again
He will return to be with us
But who will be ready then?

'Cause He knew
All about me and you
All of His words were true
O-oh, where was He going to-oo?

Yes, He knew
You could tell by the picture He drew
It was totally something new
O-oh, help us to follow You!


Well, you've listened to the song. I'll bet you noticed that it wasn't about Albert Einstein. That's where my second reason comes in.

And it is a bit more complicated than my first reason. You see, throughout the movie, there are several questions posed. Some few are conclusively answered. One of those is "Is the universe governed by random chance, or is there a grand design?" The question seems to have a special connection to the relationship of Ed (the mechanic) and Catherine (the niece): does it come together by accident or design?

In the movie, this question is answered conclusively, on the small scale anyway. And... it is all by design. Einstein and his old scientist friends orchestrate almost the entire thing from start to finish, with Einstein as the conductor. I love it when a plan comes together.

But why? Why did Einstein mastermind this whole thing? Why make the plan come together? Was he just bored, and decided to meddle in his niece's affairs? No. Anyone who's seen the movie knows that clearly. He did it because he loved his niece. He knew that the rat man--I-I mean James, wasn't the right man for her, and wanted her to have the best she could have.

Returning now to the question, is the universe governed in the same way? Is it all simply random chance, or is there more to it? I actually touched on this matter in the previous post, and the answer is yes. It's the same answer we get in the movie. God has a grand design for the world--for the universe--and it comes together more and more, perfectly, each day.

And why? Why does He have such a plan? Because He loves us. He loved us all enough to give us life--think about that! Every time you look at a sunset, or a cat, or a person, every time you see a flower, or an apple, or a clod of earth, you're looking at a direct act of God's love. Fitting to be talking about such things on St. Valentine's Day, huh?

But it isn't all happy. Because things started to go wrong. Satan rejected that love, and showed us all how to do the same. He hates the grand design of grace God has for us, and tries constantly to thwart it, to end our part in the plan early. And he has indeed led us astray. Now, we're hopelessly lost in the darkness.

However, God's plan would not be thwarted so easily. He knew this was coming, and He still had His plan. One part of it was set in motion, even as He sent the Man and Woman from the Garden for their sin. It wouldn't come together completely for thousands of years, but come it did. Or I should say, He did. For, you see, God came down Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, because He loved us. Jesus did works that were a wonder to speak of, and told words of truth always--because He loved us. Jesus suffered and died so that Justice was satisfied, so that our sin would be taken away--because He loved us. And Jesus rose again triumphant from the dead, and leads us now to eternal joy and life.

Because He loves us.

So, as you listen to "Portrait II", and go about the rest of your day, think about these things. We may not know the whole plan, but the Master knows the plan. And we know that He loves us, on this St. Valentine's Day and all other days. Let's follow Him, to where He's going to.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mid-Week Music #25 - Milo Murphy's Law Theme Song

Well now, before I get to the song of this week's MWM, there's another song I must mention--the Very Sorry Song. Yes, I missed this past week's MWM. I'm very sorry. It's complicated--part of the reason was that I could not think of a song. I could have done just a random song, but all the random songs I know are connected to this week's song.

The point is, I did have help picking this week's Music, from my younger sister, Kaitlyn, whose birthday is today! I told her she could choose the song for her birthday, and this was her first and only choice. She didn't have a second thought, just said it: "I wanna do the one where Doofenshmirtz and that guy with the white beard sing Milo!" That would be the second video, you see.

If you've read my blog since October at least, you're probably familiar with the show Milo Murphy's Law. I did a Halloween post all about it. It's a wonderful show, and I tell all about it in that post. In short, Milo Murphy is followed by a cyclone of calamity wherever he goes, and it causes many, many adventures for both him and his friends. There's also a lot of time travel involved. And a crossover, coming this April.

Oddly enough, though, just the other day I was finishing up rereading The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Gandalf's words to Bilbo at the end return to my mind as I'm writing this post.

"You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only a little fellow in a wide world after all!"

Somehow, that seems to fit perfectly here. Milo has indeed had a great many adventures and escapes. And he does seem a very fine person, and I am very fond of him and all his friends. But the idea that all of this is no more than random chance, bad or good luck, seems a mighty big stretch. In the words of a fellow blogger, "If Murphy's Law is that anything that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong, Milo Murphy's Law is that EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY be important WILL be important. The tiniest details could end up being vital to saving the world."

We know, of course, that every single detail has been planned, because it is a story. Even in the context of the story, I don't doubt that Clara's right--everything that could possibly be important will be important, eventually, and Milo's 'luck', good or bad, is all to a purpose. And that's rather how it is in real life too. It's a story, just as much as Milo Murphy's Law. And nothing is without a purpose.

So Kaitlyn, here's hoping that your birthday's exceptional, and every day; that your life, no matter what sort of 'luck' you have, is never boring even for a minute. Here's your song, the Milo Murphy's Law theme song. Happy Birthday!

That's the normal theme song. And goodness gracious, that background is packed with details. Now, I also have a second version, which has two special guest singers. It's not really as good, but it is definitely funny. Here are Cavendish and Dakota--er, I mean, Major Monogram and Heinz Doofenshmirtz.


Look at that sun, look at that sky
Look at my sweatervest, I look so fly
Look at that mailbox, look at that tree
It's about as beautiful as it can be

Today is gonna be exceptional
Never boring, even for a minute
It's my world and we're all living in it

(We're all living in it)
Never boring, even for a minute
It's my world and we're all living in it



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mid-Week Music #24 - Winter Wonderland

I don't know where you are right now, as you're reading this. But where I am right now, it's snowing, and snowing hard. It has been since before it was light outside. And we don't always get a lot of snow down here in the South--it's been many years since I've seen a white Christmas--so when it snows like this, it's very special.

And so a special song is called for. I could have used 'Snow' from White Christmas, but that one specifically mentions Christmas, and it's not Christmastime anymore. So, I decided to use this one. No, it's not a Christmas song, just a wintertime song, despite the fact that they always play it during the Advent season and never any other time.

This is the best version I could find that wasn't specifically Christmassy. Which is a pretty good version! I'm sure there are snowball fights and snowy quests in the days ahead. Though... we already built a snowman, last year, the first time it snowed this season. Ah, well. Maybe we'll build another one.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I hope you enjoy this Winter Wonderland!

(Wonderland... winter wonderland... wonderland...)

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, oh, we're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He's singing a song as we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

Well, in the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say 'are you married?', we'll say 'no, man
'But you can do the job when you're in town'

Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid all the plans that we made
Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman
Until the other kiddies knock him down

When it snows, ain't it thrilling?
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland

(Wonderland... wonderland...)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Wanted: Angry Drill Sergeant

No, I did not fall off of the face of the planet, get sucked through a wormhole, or accidentally time travel. I simply got sick. Okay, the cold has just been in the past couple of days, but before that, it was Chronic Procrastinitis. Been going on for a while now, honestly. And it needs to end.

In short, I need a drill sergeant who will yell at me to get my work done on time (and, sometimes, at all). Do any of you know of one I could borrow? Brother Drill Sergeant Combs Sir is otherwise occupied. He's the best at it. I could settle for Principal Strickland if no one angrier is available. Leave any recommendations in the comments below!

I'm very sorry, all of you. It's almost two weeks into the New Year and I've done nothing. There's no excuse for laziness. Things will be back to normal in a very short time. I apologize. Mid-Week Music will be back this very Wednesday, no question.

As per usual, I will give you a picture with my in-between post.

A reflection of some of my watching habits during illness. A very cool combination of them. And why not?

Again, please let me know if you can find a good drill sergeant, and I apologize for my laziness.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The End of 2017

Time travel is confusing, even at the normal rate of sixty seconds per minute.

Think about it: in no less than one hour, it will be 2018. How did time go so fast? In a year, we'll still be thinking the same thing, because time will still be moving, and that's always confusing. So, before this year ends and a new one begins, I will post this little review of the past year. Not review as in a movie review, of course. Just looking back on a lot of things.

Firstly, Donald Trump became President of the United States of America. I know there are some people reading this blog not from America, so this may not be as big a deal to some of those people. But it has been a big win for us. The Wall isn't up yet, but a lot of other great things have been done. Just go on and click the Not Tired Of Winning link on the side for a list.

(That's just a funny parody that the kids love listening to every night. Gives you an idea of things, for those who don't like clicking links.)

Now, on to personal matters. I started this blog! This is the 35th post I've done since June 30, which was when I started. (Also, let me apologize for not putting up a Mid-Week Music this past week. I mistook Wednesday for Tuesday, and we were all still sort of busy.) I have had so much fun writing these posts, and I am definitely looking forward to writing more in the coming year.

Things have also been happening in Newsom Hall. For example, I have a new baby brother named Ransom! He's the sweetest thing, and he loves the Christmas lights. (Yes, we've still got the Christmas Tree up, and there it'll stay until after Twelfth Night.) I get to hold him a lot now, even though I've still not gotten to see him smile as much as I'd like. But hey, I have a baby brother!

A lot of things happened this year. One of the scariest things was that I turned seventeen. (Enter overdramatic gasp.) We had an amazing vacation, discovered a lot of new bands and musical artists, read books, and basically did lots of things. We watched a couple of movies in the theatre this year, the best one being The Man Who Invented Christmas. There will likely be a review sometime in the coming year, because we definitely intend to see it in the theatre again with the whole family. Please go watch that film if you haven't.

I had wanted to finish my first novel this year, but I'm still in Chapter 8. Tsk. However, I have fully written and edited a novella for a writing contest (by Rooglewood Press), and--by the time this post has gone out--entered it as well. It's called Princess of the Seventh Star, and some of you may remember a post a while back with the first scene. That project took up most of my writing time, but I think it was worth it. I may not have done all the things I'd planned, but I have done things.

Speaking of which, a website I read called recently put up a writing exercise. It was to make a list of all the good things that happened to you, all the things you succeeded in, every win. Since I read that website more often than not, I made one. It's a bit too extensive for a single blog post, but that might be because I included smaller things. Ah well, I suppose it's mainly a list for oneself. Read the post, if you will.

There's the past year for you: hectic, filled to bursting, and wonderful. As for the present, we're enjoying one of our Christmas presents--gingerbread houses, or something else made of gingerbread--as we prepare for midnight. And the future? Well, I plan to finish my first novel, and begin work on the second. I'll likely be working on some radio scripts--both in way of recording and of writing. I hope to see one of my works published. But that's out of my hands now, I suppose. So we'll see. I'm also going to be putting up many more posts on this here blog. I may even get a driver's license.

You know, this is rather an odd time, New Year's Eve. Everyone reminisces about the past year, marvel at how quickly the present time has arrived, and make plans for the coming year. It's almost as if the past and the future meet and shake hands in the few moments before the year ends.

Whatever the past may have brought, whatever the future may hold, let us never forget He who is the Lord of all time--the One who is eternity. It is He whose birth we have all been celebrating in the past week, commemorating the day when eternity stepped into time in the person of Jesus Christ.

Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be
He is Alpha and Omega
He the Source, the ending He
Of the things that are
That have been
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore

Happy New Year, everyone!