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.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Opus 2022-159: Boring into Eternity

I sometimes think of heaven as sounding boring.

Not that I am interested in the specter of hell.

The idea of sitting around singing “Hosanna” does not sound too exciting.  Perhaps it is time to make a short note that our final destination will not be heaven but we will spend eternity on the new Earth with a centerpiece of the New Jerusalem.  It will be the focal point of our resurrection.  I don’t see evidence that we will be floating around on clouds in robes, playing harps.  That is part of the “boring” I spoke of.  In spite of that I will use the term “heaven” to describe where we will really be.  It is more convenient.

It is a matter of maturity and perspective.  Right now we are not ready for eternity.  I imagine that will be part of the incorruption that we will experience in our new bodies.  Our minds will put together reality in an exciting new way but there will always be a sense of rightness to give us comfort.

I can remember sitting for long periods of time looking across a tree carpeted valley in the High Sierras.  I don’t remember getting bored.  I remember noticing new stimulants constantly.  The new focus could be a smell, color, a sound or even just a thought.  It would be infinite renewal.  That is a preview of heaven.  If you are more into beaches or sunset then make the appropriate substitutions.

Or try to picture what your first bite of ice cream was like.  I would hope you can’t remember in reality but use your imagination.  Try to picture the delight that overwhelmed you.  You wanted more.  Heave will be different because there will be no satiation.  Although it is hard to believe, it is possible to get bored with ice cream.  Heaven will be so beyond our conscious ability to embrace that it will be constantly a new bite.  

I am also sure that I don’t have any idea of how glorious it will be.  I can live with that, for now.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Opus 2022-158: Family Times

We know that the Democrats are pro-family because they tell us they are.  Also they keep doing things to make it financially impossible for the children to move out on their own.  With home prices inflating there is every reason to believe that they will still be with you when you die so they won’t need to move again.  Think of it as New Age family time.

One of the advantages is that you don’t take the dog to a kennel.  Your millennial offspring can take care of them when you want to get out of town.  Of course, that assumes your children are responsible enough to feed the dog.  You might want to have one of your older neighbors stop by just to check.

There is always the chance that having your womb rats around will give you someone who can help you with your technology.  After they are done you might want to look into changing your passwords.  

If they don’t get out much there will always be someone home in case you lock yourself out.  As we get older that seems to happen more often. You will also have people moving around so the burglars will hit the neighbors instead of you.  To increase the odds of the kids move around make sure that the food is upstairs in the kitchen.

So celebrate family while you have a chance.  It is possible that there will never be any grandchildren to babysit.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 23, 2022

Opus 2022-157: Critical Mass: When?

What does it take to begin the violence?

For a small minority only the belief that no one is looking.  I have not met many people like this but they exist.  I had a friend with a very short fuse.  There were times when a questionable look could set him off.  I think he grew out of it, sort of.  These people are on both sides of the aisle but get nasty for different reasons.  Those on the right simply have a short fuse and know they are wrong.  Those on the left plan the violence and justify it for political reasons.  

For most people it is the point where they realize that there is no other way to deal with the elites that have control.  There is a quote I have heard in different ways that is attributed to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  

“You only have power over people as long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power—he's free again.”
I don’t think the elites believe this.  They look at history and see the Jews rounded up and put in boxcars.  They forget the little dispute in Warsaw.  They look at the peasants of the Ukraine and today the Uhghurs in China.  They think that Joe Sixpack can be put in the same category.  They may be right.  They intend to keep pushing until they find out.

Like any explosion there is some kind of critical mass necessary.  The term comes from nuclear reactions but the idea can be applied to almost anything that destroys.  If you have ever been trying to renew a campfire and see the sudden emergence of the flame from glowing coals you have seen it reach critical mass in temperature.  I guess you could even say that pop corn releases its energy when that point is reached.  

What will it take in our society?  Who can tell.  Will our country survive?  History does not give a lot of hope but we should remember that our first revolution also defied the odds.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-156: Monday Pulpit: Refocus on Prayer

The quote is from Sunday’s sermon.  I don’t remember if it was original with the pastor himself or a quote from someone else.

“Don’t believe in prayer but the God we are praying to.”
That thought has come back to me several times already.  One of the questions I have in life is, why pray?  If God knows all and is all powerful then what possible purpose could prayer have?  I still pray but I am not known for blind obedience.

Perhaps this quote gives a clue to what prayer should be.  I have never followed the shopping list method of prayer.  Rarely do I ask for anything for myself.  Part of that is because of an awareness of how blessed I am and part is a rejection of the idea that God is a vending machine.  I actually look at prayer as more of a time of conversation with a lot of listening involved.  With that in mind the quote resonates.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Opus 2022-155: It’s Only Just Begun

When do the cutbacks get serous?

Being a fairly typical human being with my senses locked into my body, I ask this question starting with my awareness.  When will things start to get so tight that I get serious about changing my habits?  I use an artificial butter spray on my popcorn, which I buy in six pound bags.  A bottle has gone from slightly over $3 to slightly under $5.  That does not break my bank.  If I drop my bank from 1/4 inch it doesn’t break either but every 1/4 inch makes the breakage more likely.

The prices we are paying are going up, up, up.  I am sure you have noticed.  If you haven’t it is because your wife does all the shopping and you don’t listen to her complain.  I have the feeling this is just the beginning.  I would say I am not alone.

We can make small adjustments.  Since I am cheap by nature I have been making those adjustments all my life.  I price shop.  I check unit prices.  I check out store brands.  I scrape the last spoonful out of the container.  I buy bulk when I can.  I watch the sales.  For non-food items I shop at thrift stores.  A lot of the things that some are beginning to do are already second nature to me.  I find myself more aware of my gas consumption and try to plan my trips more carefully to use less gas.  

When are we going to be forced to make major changes?  Perhaps you are already there.  I buy less meat.  I don’t consciously avoid it but there may be meatless days or multiple days.  For some it may mean lots of pasta and rice.  You may go back to the old time way of blowing your nose.  It was called a handkerchief.  It can be reused and recycled.  I don’t know about reducing.  Think of the throw away items you have become accustomed to dumping.  Will you be turning off the air conditioning or taking cold showers.  It was before my time but there was a time when the entire family would take a bath in one tub of water.  I hate to admit it but I can remember when as a kid, Saturday night was the time we took our bath.

Life is going to get interesting.  Perhaps you are already there.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Opus 2022-154: Suffering Friendship

I have a theory:  Friendships are built by suffering together.

You could substitute a synonym of some kind for “suffering” but it would have to imply that you went through some kind of difficulty.  Trials show us character.  People see us when we let the masks slip and the comments slip out.  They get to know us as we are and that either draws them closer or drives them away.  It works both ways.

Common experiences give us a bond.  We have memories to share and jokes that others don’t get.  Obviously this can also go for pleasant experiences.  When a child or grandchild comes on the scene it can be a cement that makes life glorious.  It does not always work that way but the potential is real.  When I see friends with their offspring the glow is not just because the kids are so cute.  It is amplified by memories of the times that didn’t seem to wonderful at the time.  My granddaughter has already forgotten the midnight barf festival she put us through.  She may not remember but the bonding of warmth and support are deep in the crevasses of her soul.  When I look at my son it isn’t just the moments of pride that bring a smile to my face but the games we played changing diapers.  

Some people don’t understand that your own kids poop doesn’t stink as much as other kids.

It does not need to be dramatic, just real.

Enjoy the next stumble in your life.  It may begin a wonderful friendship.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Opus 2022-153: A Question for the Ages

Does God have free will?

There is a debate on whether humans have free will or whether everything is preconditioned.  In psychology you have the behaviorists.  In theology you have the Five Point Calvinists.  It is a good question.

How does that apply to God, assuming you believe in God.  Can God really do anything He wants or is He locked in.  When you think that the God of the Bible exists outside time and does not move through it like we do, you wonder how much choice He has.  He sees the entire span of existence.  He knows what was, was is and what will be.  Can He change anything or is He trapped in the unfolding?

This would be a consideration in the discussion of miracles as well as salvation.  

Sorry.  My mind goes off on strange tangents at times.  I feel like God pats me on the head and says, “There, there, you will be fine after a nice nap.”

homo unius libri