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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.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Opus 2024-132: Coffee

I came to coffee in the same way that many people might have arrived; as a gradual addiction.  It started off in college as a way to stay awake when I had ignored studying and needed to pull an all nighter before a big test.  When I was drafted into the army and ended up sitting in an office and bored to tears, coffee was available.  So I would drink it.

I started with cream and sugar, because who can stand the taste of coffee without it?  It smells great, it doesn’t taste great, at least, until you develop a resistance to it.  Then when we went out to eat, and we’re sitting talking for long periods of time, they did not refill Cokes, so I went to coffee.

Eventually, I started liking it.  Eventually, I started purchasing whole bean coffee and grinding it in the store.  Then I got a blade grinder for home.  As I got more involved, I bought a burr grinder.  Then I started experimenting with different blends and sources of coffee.  In time I came to really enjoy it.

What brought me to this is the nuances that I am picking up in the coffee I’m drinking this morning.  I find that even if I brew my coffee exactly the same way every morning, it still tastes different.  I noticed that as the morning goes on the flavors that I am picking up change.  It is an interesting progression.  I guess it is part of the reason people drink it just in case you are one of those people who are still pure.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-131: Mystery

I have a friend who likes to emphasize Paul talking about mysteries.  When he talks about Paul and the mysteries, he is talking about a specific doctrinal position focusing on the revelation that Paul received from Jesus.  He is talking about Paul revealing something totally new.  And he has his reasons for proposing that.  Most of those reasons have to do with fitting into his system of theology.  That, of course, is my opinion offered without charge.

I would suggest that when the word mystery is used in the Bible, it does not refer to some secret knowledge.  I would suggest that mystery in the Bible refers to things that we can proclaim and share, but not to even begin to totally understand.  Paul uses the term in regard to the resurrection.  I need to look at some of the other uses of the word mystery, but it does not mean secret knowledge.  In modern terms I would think of the trinity and incarnation.

When my friend quotes what the secret knowledge means, everything he comes up with I can find reference to in the Old Testament except for a clear statement that the cross finished something.  When Paul says in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, I can find reference to that multiple times in the Old Testament as God declares that He is the God of all people and that all nations will come to him.  When it comes to grace and faith, I can find lots of references in the Old Testament about how we are saved by God‘s power and by our belief in him.  And so forth.

So I submit that mystery is not some secret that God was hiding from us, but a glory that we will spend eternity delving into.  I don’t know if it applies or if it’s just spiritualizing, but take how God refused to show his face to Moses, because Moses could not handle seeing God’s face.  That will not be true in eternity. And the same thing may apply about many of the realities that God has hinted that and has laid the foundation for.

Eternity is going to be ________________ (fill in unknown English word that is a million times more awesome than awesome).

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Opus 2024-130: Core Focus

When we would go out of the house my father would often say to us remember you are a Jaberwoky (Name changed to protect the innocent).  We knew exactly what he meant.  He had worked hard to make the name a reflection of upright living and dependability.  He did not want us to be stupid and tarnish it.  It worked.

What is it that you would fill that blank with if someone were to say you to you “Remember you are a ________”?  Are you proud of your family?  Maybe you would put in “the parent of _____” or “the husband of _______”.  There should be something about your life that draws you to live better and be an example.

We should think of ourselves, of course, as Christians.  And that should be what guides our behavior and our choices.

Instead, we have so many different priorities that set the agenda for our day.  Obviously, there are times when our work tells us what we are to do next.  Our families make demands on us.  But that is not the question.  My father was not asking me to answer.  He was telling me to remember what my core was.  It would do us well to remember that.

Of course the first step in achieving that is spending some time in introspection deciding what our core is.

Start contemplating your navel.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Opus 2024-129: Property Is Liberty

I am thinking about the communist manifesto and it’s emphasis on property.  It does not want you to have any.  The communists have that in common with autocrats,  monarchies,  kings and any other powerful political force.  All of these have made a monopoly of owning property.  We have a record of Pharaoh bring that about.

(Gen 47:20 KJV)  And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.
And much of the world in order to own property you need to be either royalty, nobility, or the church.

While this is the norm for pagan culture it is antithetical for Biblical societies.  In the Bible, we have a lot of evidence that personal property was real and good.  In proverbs 31 the wife buys a field and plants a vineyard.  We have the king who had a property owner executed so he could buy his property.  Abraham bought land to bury his wife.  And so forth.  

When Israel came to the promised land, it was divided up by clans and later on by family.  We know this because they were not supposed to move boundaries.  They were not supposed to take the land from widows and orphans.  And there was a provision for returning land to his original family in the Jubilee.
(Lev 25:23 KJV)  The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
I don’t know that this law was followed but it was the way God intended it to be.

One of the salient motives for people coming to America was the knowledge that there was land to be had.  The government did not make it impossible to own your own farm or home.  In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson did not have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, he had “life, liberty and property”.  At the end of the Civil War the Homestead Act was passed that made it possible to claim 160 acres of land if you improved it and lived there five years.  

Property was recognized as a part of liberty.

That is why out communist overlords are determined to do away with private property.  Notice how many laws make it hard to buy your own home.  Notice the economic policies that want to force us into 15 minute cities.  Think zoning laws, environmental impact statments, wetlands regulations, building permits and the list goes on.  What we see going on in Texas now and across the country as states and the federal government grab more land is a similar movement.  In a state like Nevada the government owns almost everything.  Every year they gobble up more land to preserve for future generations, or at least their future generations.  Us peasants will only have access to the great outdoors if it is allowed.

When you hear of anything that limits your right to buy and own land or anything else that would be considered property an alarm should go off in your head.  Big Brother wants you in a tenement, without a car and dependent on your government handouts.  As the memes keep reminding us, “You will own nothing and be happy.”

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Opus 2024-128: I Swear

Have you noticed how people like to take the name of God in vain?  Have you noticed how they like to take the name of Jesus as a cuss word?  I’m going to suggest that those of us who believe Jesus is God start using the name Karl Marx as a cuss word.  You see, these people may not know the Karl Marx is their God, but then they don’t know Jesus is God either.  So I’m suggesting that when somebody is really stupid or says something really stupid that you say, “Karl Marx, that was really stupid”.

I don’t know if it’ll help anything but it might be an interesting reaction from them.  It could lead to some interesting conversations.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-127: Pardon My Skepticism

I am finding the suggestions by You Tube to be of declining value.  I fell for some click bait today.  It advertised something like “10 Things Churches Do That Are Not in the Bible”.  I didn’t think the discussion would change a lot in my life but I was curious about what the guy had to say.

I was not disappointed in my skepticism.  

He started off with “denominations”.  They are not in the Bible.  I guess that would be true since things were just starting up.  Of course you could also make a case for the first church split was when the believers in Jesus were kicked out of the synagogues or maybe the time when the Hellenistic Jews and the locals were arguing over how they served lunch.  Wouldn’t the proclaimed difference between the ministry of Peter and Paul be considered different denominations today?

Things like “confession” were simply digs at the Catholics.  Declaring that immersion was the only Biblical form of baptism is a position I agree with but ignores the case that other believers make for pouring and sprinkling.  Such a case does exist.

What really got me to wondering where he was coming from was when he said the Bible did not talk about “worship services”.  It is possible that he was technically correct.  Of course, the Bible does not use the term “trinity” either.  I wonder what he thought the people in Acts were doing when they gathered together on a daily basis.  Where does he think Paul has been that made him write the 14th chapter of I Corinthians with its list of approved activities and telling women not to speak?

I thought it was of interest that he did not mention the Bible has nothing to say about podcasts telling us about what the Bible does not say, but my mind tends to run that way.

Time to go read a book.  You do remember books, don’t you?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Opus 2024-126: Secrets

I am fascinated with the concept of the oral Torah.  I just became aware of this recently, although evidence of it has been in front of me for a long time.

First, a bit of background.  Christians believe in the Bible as the word of God.  I always assumed that Jews looked at what we called the Old Testament as the Bible and believed that it was inspired by God similar to Gentile believers.  I believed they accepted the end of Malachi as the end of God’s revealed word.  That might’ve been true at some point but it was not true at the time of Jesus.  Somewhere in between they became infatuated with this idea of the oral law.  I have not seen any evidence for this in the Old Testament.  Maybe I have just not looked hard enough.

We see reference to this when Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees, and accusing them of following the traditions of men, rather than the commands of God.  Paul refers to the traditions of his elders.  As I read non-Biblcal sources, I come across this idea of the oral law, which I had not noticed before.  Different sources I have seen say that it was looked at as being more authoritative than the written law.

With that in mind, I turn to the Jewish rabbi Philo.  He lived, I believe, about 200 years before Christ during the intertestamental period.  He was known to be a gnostic.  He allowed this to influence his theology, writings and the direction of his teaching.  I don’t think he’s stood alone.  I think he was just the salient voice of a movement.  It is also during this time that I believe the oral tradition emerged.  One of the sources I read, talked about how Jews of Jesus’ time looked upon the oral tradition as their secret knowledge which was not available to the Christians.  I see the Christians had adopted the Jewish Old Testament as their scriptures and were using them.  To protect themselves, the Jews were quite willing to consider the oral tradition as superior to the written tradition and kept it hidden from the rest of the world.  Thus it became a secret knowledge.

Notice the parallel here between Gnosticism with a secret knowledge and what was happening in Judaism.  I will submit that the Jews of Jesus day had already lost touch with the God of the Bible, and were very much into the wisdom of man.  The sad part is that they still seemed locked into that source of authority.

I will take my authority in the open access form, thank you.

homo unius libri