Woe is me.
Or at least woe used to be me. In the midst of my attitude of thanksgiving I was reminded that I have not always been this way. It is embarrassing to say that as I look back over the blessings of my life I see large patches of ignoring those blessings. What I have to say is in the spirit of memoir rather than judgement.
I have had times of wallowing in my woe. I think that a psychologist would say I was struggling with depression and he would be half right. I was depressed but I was wallowing rather than struggling. For me there was a certain self-satisfaction in feeling sorry for myself. Do you remember when you went through the stage of losing your baby teeth? One of the things I remember was that sensation when a tooth would be ready to come out. It would be loose but not loose enough. I found that if I wiggled it with my tongue there was a sensation that I would classify as “pain” but it was a pleasant pain. So I would wiggle it again. Eventually my mother would catch on and find a way to encourage it exiting from my mouth. The one tooth she did not find out about came out so late that the replacement grew out crooked.
My depression was like that. It hurt. I enjoyed it. I was able to blame everyone else while feeling self-righteous. Fortunately I managed to get out of it. How? With the worship of praise and thanksgiving. It is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are focused on the glory of God. It is hard to miss your blessings when He expands your vision.
I still toy with the fun of wallowing but not for long. Each morning when I say, “Good morning, Lord” I find Him waiting for me. If I have been wallowing I can see Him shaking His head. Then He reminds me of my grandchildren or the people who worked to bring my morning coffee or, well, the list goes on. Enjoying my blessings is much better than tales of woe.
So I rejoice in a world that had someone decide that a recliner was great for sitting and multiple translations of the Bible were windows to the joy of eternity.
I hope you can join me.
homo unius libri
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, February 5, 2023
Woe is me.
Friday, February 3, 2023
I have a tendency to pick apart just about anything I hear or read. I can’t help myself. I have read more than average and I listen a lot when people talk. Much I forget. Some I retain. What seems to always cause the problem is the gestalt encyclopedia buried deep in my psyche. When something does not add up it starts turning pages and my baloney meter starts to quiver.
Let me give you a non-threatening example. My wife has been reading a commentary on the Old Testament written by Dennis Prager. She shared with me that Prager, who is quite a scholar, said that according to Jewish tradition the milk and honey mentioned often in the Bible was not what Americans thought it was. He said the milk was goats milk and the honey was really a very sweet substance obtained from the date palms of the area. That is what she said as near as I can remember. Don’t hold Prager to task for her version. I had no problem with the goats milk. I read Proverbs regularly and goats milk fits in just fine. My issue was with the date honey. I had to check my Bible but it seemed to me that Sampson found a bee hive with honey in the carcase of a lion he had killed.
(Jdg 14:8 KJV) And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.A quick search shows that the references to “mild and honey” in the Old Testament are all the same Hebrew word. No big deal. We are not talking earthshaking, just giving you an example.
I get criticized for that.
I think it is a good thing. Too often the big lie is introduced by a credibility that is established by the little lies. I get irritated by lemon drops labeled as a “fat free” food. The statement is true but the impression of being healthy is deceptive. They are primarily sugar, which I have no quarrel with but is not noted as being good for you. When you take the lies of the media and Marxism and the way they are repeated you get the idea. Who has not heard the line that “real socialism” has never been tried.
I remember the days of my youth and the constant challenge to keep my junker car running. Let’s have a show of hands. How many can remember setting the points? A little bit of fudge can go a long way toward walking home. Nuance and nit picking is the difference between a high performance engine and an assembly of metal parts.
So indulge me. While you are at it try to keep your facts straight. I would hate to have a bone to pick with you.
homo unius libri
Thursday, February 2, 2023
There are certain concepts that we can express and even work with but never really understand. I am not sure what they are called in science but in theology are often called mysteries. Some of the concepts are common to both.
For instance take the scientific theory the Big Bang. The moment, if you can use such a term before time began, before the explosion was made up of nothing. There is a lot of sloppy thinking about this “nothing”. It does not mean the vacuum of space. Even in the expanse between stars there are atoms and molecules floating around. The “empty” areas are full of energies and waves that are not well understood but exist. It is not the nothing that the scientists are talking about. They mean truly nothing.
In the same way theologians talk about God creating the heavens and the earth out of nothing. It has a Latin phrase, creato ex nihilo. God is outside this material universe and called it into being with His word. Just as we have a hard time understanding the time before the Big Bang we can’t grasp what was before “in the beginning.”
I don’t know if it is considered a math or science concept but infinity is another idea that we cannot grasp in our mind. There is no final number. You can always add one, or even another infinity. Yet it is useful in formulas and theories.
Christians talk about eternity and the attributes of God such as omnipresent. This comes home to me when I think about what it will be like existing forever. Add the that the idea that it will be just as glorious after a million years as it was the first. That is far beyond my imagination but I can work with it.
How about the square root of minus one? I know I have mentioned it before. The square root of a number is a number you multiply by itself to get the first. For example, the square root of 4 is 2. 2 times 2 equals 4, except in 1984. The square root of 9 is 3. Another rule of mathematics is that when you multiply a negative number by a positive number you get a negative number, thus 1 x -1=-1. When you multiply a negative times a negative you get a positive, -1x-1=1. A little thinking will tell you that you can’t get a square root of -1 and yet it is used in math formulas. I have not figured out how this would apply to theology unless it has something to do with the incarnation or the trinity.
Keep in mind that the answer, “I don’t know” is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. If you don’t know what you don’t know you will have a hard time learning new things.
Let us keep thinking.
homo unius libri
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Actually the headline said that they found no classified documents in President Biden’s beach house. Are you surprised? Are you shocked? Keep in mind the search was done by the FBI which serves under an appointee of President Biden. Yes, the same FBI that can’t find the list of people who went to Epstein’s island and didn’t know where the lap top was.
It is a sad day when you have absolutely no trust in the government agency responsible for the law or the media that reports on it.
Welcome to 21st Century America.
homo unius libri
“Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” That used to be a common sentiment. Today I would find myself saying, “Don’t trust anyone under thirty.” This of course speaks to the different ways that generations view things. One of the books I read recently was Bowling Alone. It had a lot of interesting information and a lot of boring nonsense. One of the points the book made was that there has been a lot of parallel changes in many areas of our culture from voting to church attendance. On the subject of voting it says,
“Very little of the net decline in voting is attributable to individual change, and virtually all of it is generational.” p. 34There is a lot of discrimination that goes on across generations. Some of it is warranted, some is not. In many career paths older workers have a hard time getting a job that pays well even if they have the abilities and experience.
I have reached the golden years of retirement. If the government does not totally ruin our society and I don’t do something incredibly stupid, I will have enough to live on. My health is good. My family is awesome. I am enjoying the time I have. But I sometimes wonder if I should be doing more. This hit me when I saw the following verse,
(Gen 12:4 KJV) So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.Abram was 75 when he started out on his adventure of obedience and faith. I can’t picture that. I am ready to rest on my laurels, Abram was starting the nation of Israel.
Maybe I should set my goals a bit higher. Maybe not.
Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
homo unius libri
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
I noticed that I was having a hard time praying. It was not depression. It was a lack of focus. My mind would wander. I would stare at the walls. I could not think of anything to write about. I finally realized it was happening and it was because I was sick, physically, not mentally.
It is amazing how our bodies and minds are connected. We will do better if we put them together. I really did need more naps and foggy mind time.
Christian theologians debate the ways in which the mind and body work together. Actually they have a third and fourth element, depending on what verse you are quoting. I go with four based on,
(Mar 12:30 KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.The debate is not so much on how many but on whether they are a unity or separate. I go with unity. I don’t think you can really separate them even though they have different roles. I think that is consistent with the resurrection we will have into some type of physical body.
So I am recovering a bit. I look forward to the day when death and the grave get put in their places and we emerge with our incorruptible bodies.
See you there.
homo unius libri
Monday, January 30, 2023
One of the data points I have seen repeated recently is that there has been a decline in life expectancy in the United States. If my memory serves me, it is most pronounced in white men. Since there are many factors involved in how long you live, it is not a statistic that worries me too much. It could simply be a case of the hippie generation reaching the age when their early experiments with drugs and alcohol can no longer be denied. It could be a genetic factor related to recent surges in immigration. It could be a fluke.
Like many statistical announcements we need to keep in mind that the average over a large population has no real relevance to you as an individual. If I live in a community of alcoholics and hear that the incidence of liver disease is skyrocketing I don’t worry for myself if I don’t drink. I might put more into trying to influence my friends but the numbers are meaningless because of my life choices.
So how long should we expect to live? One of the expressions that has been around for a long time is three-score and ten, or seventy years. I don’t know if it is in other cultures but it is found in the Bible. I have already achieved three-score and ten. That seems to be the basic promise given for life span. As one old gentleman said, “I am now living on borrowed time.”
The next is four-score. It is found in the same verse as the 70.
(Psa 90:10 KJV) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.I am not sure what is involved in this strength but I am already half way between 70 and 80. If I make it to that we will go for 120.
(Gen 6:3 KJV) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.This last one was given during the time when people had been living hundreds of years. I am not trying to announce promises or establish a doctrine of age but it is interesting.
My hope is that I will go the same way my dad went, in the middle of the night with no signs of stress. And I am ready. Any time, Lord.
homo unius libri