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Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Opus 2016-322: Is There Hope?

I believe Donald Trump has declared himself to be a Christian.  Ultimately that is between him and God.  I don’t think he is trying to lie,  I also don’t think he has a clue to what the question is.  He is a business man, not a theologian and he attended a church that preached more positive thinking than the gospel.

We need to be cautious about depending on Donald Trump’s spiritual condition if we are hoping for the country to get back on track.  Donald Trump is not a prophet and Americans are not the chosen people.  Both will be used by God but make sure your hope is in the right place.  If Trump’s administration is actually able to pull us back from the abyss it will not be because of Trump.  It will be because there has been a faithful remnant.

Take the example of the discussion between Abraham and God about the destruction of Sodom.  Let me set the tone by a couple of verses.
(Genesis 18:23-24 KJV)  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
And God’s response,
(Genesis 18:26 KJV)  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
And as you know the bargaining continues all the way down to 10 righteous.  We are not Sodom, yet.  I am certainly not Abraham.  But God is still God.  Jesus called us salt.  I have to believe that as long as God’s people are being faithful salt, He will hold back His wrath.

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?  Your faithfulness may have more to do with our survival as a nation than what Donald Trump does.  God was able to deal with Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.  The trouble He had was with the children of Israel and their rebellion.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Opus 2016-321: On the Street: Patterns and Habits

I am getting better at remembering my phone. 

We get used to certain patterns.  I always pat my pocket to see if I have my keys, even when I am at home and just going out for a few moments.  My wife likes to lock doors and I don’t like to be on the wrong side of her security.  I can’t remember when I walked out the door without my keys or wallet.  The phone doesn’t have such a good record.

But I am getting better.  It is becoming a part of my hand or a weight in my pocket.  I am beginning to sense that something is missing.  I had that feeling the other day as I started down the steps to the car.  Something was out of balance.  I had my phone.  I had my wallet.  I had my coffee and lunch.  Then I realized what I was missing was my rolling case with my work in it.  Habits can be good things.

About the time I get used to something they will come up with a new shinny.  It is called progress but I would question that assumption.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-320: Headlines: California Wants to Secede

I can understand that feeling but I want them to wait until I am gone from the state.  Once I get out I will be ready for California to get out of the United States, but it presents some problems.  You will not find those problems at the Yes California website but you can take a quick look through their rose lenses if you want.

One reason it isn’t a good idea is that it will require a much longer wall to be built.  If you look at a map, the border between the United States and Mexico is only about 140 miles across the southern boundary of California.  If we had to build a wall on the eastern border it would be over 1,000 miles through some very mountainous territory and we would still need to go across the top. 

We would also lose some vital ports in San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco.  If California is allowed to leave I would suggest that those areas and a few miles around be retained as U.S. Territory with an easement through to reach them by land.  Think of how Guantanamo is American territory in Cuba.  Think of the way in which Berlin was located in Communist East Germany but trucks and trains were allowed access.  This would keep them from charging huge tariffs on goods brought in from Asia and keep us in the world of trade.

I am not sure it would work but we might also keep the first mile from the coast and the right to the oil in the water.  That would make California a land locked nation but still let the majority of socialists in those coastal counties to not be Americans.

Secession would cause problems in education.  We would all need to relearn the highest and lowest points in the continental U.S.  Since American students are so bad in geography this would not require much besides changing the Wikipedia sites. 

Probably the biggest reason it would not be a good idea is that it would not work.  California could not make it on its own.  It reminds me of the adolescent who wants to live his own life but doesn’t want to move out and get a job to do so. 

California leaving is like going into a fast food place, ordering a hamburger and expecting it to actually look like the one in the advertisement.  Pleasant thought but it ain’t gonna happen.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 2, 2016

Opus 2016-319: Cornerstone Considerations: Viva la Electoral College

As I had this on the back burner others were writing about it.  One of the best I found was at Gorges Grouse.  He approaches from a different direction and has a lot of easy to understand numbers.  I would recommend you check it out.

The cry to do away with the Electoral College is being heard again.  The losers want to go to a popular vote instead of the current system.  That still won’t solve their problem of losing.  Keep in mind that if we go to a popular vote we should also demand a majority.  A plurality won’t do it.  In most of the current elections that would mean a second election with just the top two vote getters.  As of the last count I could find Hillary only had 48% and Trump 47.1% of the popular vote.  That means 4.9% of the country is not included in those counts. 

How would that 4.9% vote?  If you look at third place it is usually the Libertarian Party.  How would those people vote?  Would they bother to vote if they could not go third party?  Libertarians tend to side with the Republicans on economic issues, the Democrats on moral issues and all over the map on other things.  There are no guarantees.

Would people bother voting a second time?  Would they change their minds?  Would the loser still complain and demand a two out of three election?

Then consider that the campaigning would also change.  Bribes and corruption in the big cities would get even more dramatic and destructive.  Even more dead people would vote.

Do away with the Electoral College?  Be careful what you wish for.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Opus 2016-318: Immortal Quotes: “A Different Drummer”, part 2 of 2, The Step

How have the church and Christians become social clubs and nice people?  It is an almost irresistible force and happens repeatedly through history. 

During my life I have seen the transformation of marriage.  I have witnessed the gradual acceptance of divorce.  I don’t mean the obvious cases of adultery and abuse.  I mean the large number of “incompatible” and “no contest” splits.  What used to be rare and frowned upon has become mainstream and cool.  It started as an attempt to be loving and compassionate and has gone a long way toward undermining a foundation of society.

We are also redefining marriage.  We are silencing our minority of people who still claim that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Today the force behind it is the homosexual community.  Tomorrow it will be the Mormons and Muslims.  In the process we are redefining what family means.  No longer is it bound by blood and marriage.

The sexual revolution has become the status quo.  We have begun to accept fornication and out of wedlock births.  When you accept the tenants of evolution it is amazing how easy it is to accept animal behavior as “natural”.  It is amazing how often people claim to be followers of Jesus and yet they are living in physical intimacy that God reserved for the marriage bed. 

Discipline has gone out the window in the name of self esteem and caring.  Corporal punishment can lead to court cases.  The death penalty is rejected.  Both of those are clearly endorsed by scripture.  What does it mean when people who claim the Bible teaches salvation by faith refuse to read the parts that teach the death penalty?  Protestants talk about cafeteria Catholics when the term applies equally well to the one doing the pointing. 

Wealth has blinded our eyes to balance and stewardship.  In Proverbs the excellent wife dresses her household well, feeds them well and runs a business.  Jesus wore a seamless cloak which was not cheap.  Quality clothing and good food are not condemned and yet somehow I find it hard to justify a closet full of shoes and a steak dinner that costs more than a week’s groceries.  At the same time we have large numbers of illegal aliens working in sweat shops at substandard wages.

I am sure if you are thoughtful you could add to the list.

We need to act like we are in the locker room at half-time and the coach is saying, “Listen up, you clowns.”  The drummer is beating.  We should get in step.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Opus 2016-317: Immortal Quotes: “A Different Drummer”, part 1 of 2, The Beat

One of the phrases that I find coming to mind frequently is “march to a different drummer”.  I find it applies to many choices I make and priorities I set.  I feel it should apply to believers and the church.  I decided I should look up the full quote and learn who I am quoting.  It comes from Thoreau.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  — Henry David Thoreau, Walden
For Christians that drummer is God and too often no one is listening.  This is expressed by the apostle Paul.
(Romans 12:2 KJV)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I have always enjoyed J.B. Phillips paraphrase of this.  He says,
“Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
One of the great tragedies of history is that Christians keep getting squeezed.  Often they seem to seek the squeezing.  We are like hot Jello poured into our culture instead of fire-hardened vessels from the Potter’s hands.  As such we become worthless.  Worthless to God and ignored by our world.

What are some areas where we allow ourselves to be molded to the standards of the world?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Opus 2016-316: Discernment Watch: CCC Matures

Common Core Curriculum (CCC) keeps getting mentioned.  Trump’s alleged pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, is being questioned by the conservatives because of supposed support for CCC.  Like most government programs, it will not go away.  “It isn’t a government program,” the left says.  Right.  If it looks like a duck....

Keep in mind that CCC is not really about curriculum in the sense of what will be covered.  It is about how it will be covered.  It is simply the latest evolution of what the Progressives (socialists, elitists, Democrats, left wing) have been pushing for decades.  It was being pushed when I came into education 30 years ago.  The names keep getting changed to protect the guilty but it continues to be pushed.

CCC is about group think.  It is about the Great Mediocrity.  It is about stifling anyone who might raise their head in individual excellence and actually move our culture ahead.  It pushed group work, cooperative learning, collaboration and anything that keeps the bright kids from achieving.

I had a recent revelation on this.  When I am gone I leave work for the substitute that I might not do if I was present.  I can’t count on the substitute doing much more than taking role and keeping the kids out of my desk.  So I leave prepared worksheets.  I often come back and find that students who do no work when I am there have completed the assignment.  At first I thought that maybe the sub had reached them in ways I couldn’t.  I discarded that almost immediately.  My latest theory matured recently based on my “honors” class.

This is a group of nice kids.  They are above average at our school which would make them about average when I was their age.  One of my problems is to get them to stop copying each other.  They are bright enough but they are also lazy.  They have been together for about 8 years and people keep telling them they are really smart.  They were also continually taught to work collaboratively.  They have been taught to copy.  When I am with them I keep stomping on that behavior and meet fierce resistance.  The sub just lets it go.  So when I was going over their work I noticed that people who had never completed an assignment for me had the entire page filled out. 

Will this group come up with the next generation of innovation that will revolutionize the world?  I seriously doubt it.  There are a few that might surprise me.  They will be good at working on committees and boards but we know how much work committees get done.

We are teachers.  We are molding the future.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

homo unius libri