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.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Opus 2023-158: Full Circle

I came across a speech by Peter Thiel in The New Criterion.  I recently read his book Zero to One with interest so I thought I would read the article.  I found his explanation of where the term “politically correct” originated very informative.

“The idea I always come back to, one that strikes me as very suggestive, is the etymology of the term “political correctness” itself.

“By the 1980s, political correctness was something conservatives used as an epithet to describe deranged dittoheads on the left. If you go back to the 1970s, it was actually used by very progressive people as a term of self-congratulation. But if you go back to the 1950s, and strip away all the connotations that accrued over time—if you were a “politically correct” person in 1950, it meant that you followed directions from Moscow as a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. The totalitarian impulse, with its extraordinary demands on the individual conscience, is baked into the very notion of political correctness. We should think about that. Striving for diversity, especially diversity of thought, can be good. But anyone who prizes liberty—conservatives, libertarians, classical liberals, and the rest—must never lose sight of the cosmic battle against atheist communism.”

It is sometimes amazing how terms keep evolving in our American English.  Part of that change is because of the philosophy of Deconstructionalism but a lot of it is just the nature of our culture.  It is why I don’t generally rely on the King James Version of the Bible.  When simple words like “conversation” in that translation really means life style it makes me wonder what else I am misunderstanding.  

I am used to modern slang constantly bringing new words into the daily excuse for conversation.  About the only word that has not changed is “cool”.  That will probably start to change now that I said that.

It would seem that politically correct has gone full circle.  We now have a group of Marxists in control who once again are punishing anyone for stepping out of the circle the party has drawn.  Either be correct or get cancelled.

Karl would have been proud.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Opus 2023-157: Long Live the King

We glibly toss off the statement that pure democracy does not work.  In reality we don’t know because pure democracy is like Utopia, it has never existed and probably never could exist.

When we say it does not work we are referring to the ancient attempts of Greece.  Keep in mind that those democracies were slave cultures with a heavy dose of class awareness thrown in.  Large percentages of the population were not considered citizens.  Add, or more accurately, subtract women from the mix and you end up with a small percentage having the franchise.  Yet they were proud to call themselves “democracies”.

Our original system was a federal republic, not a democracy.  It was designed knowing that people would try to use the vote to corrupt the system and gain power for themselves.  Many have tried and some have had some success but we have now come to a time when it seems that people wanting to do the right thing are a small minority.  Powerful people routinely ignore the rule of law when it is convenient and then throw the book at anyone who disagrees with them.  We see Trump supporters being given multiple year sentences for what amounts to first offense trespass at the worst.  At the same time violent anarchists who are literally burning down cities get released with a slap on the wrist, if that.  I think they might get released with an apology and a voucher for dinner.

I think I am becoming a monarchist.  History is full of kings and emperors.  Some did well.  Some did poorly.  There are no guarantees.  If the deep state folks keep pushing the odds are there will eventually be a violent reaction and I would say the probable result will be some kind of one man rule.

Maybe anarchy has its place.  We live in a day when modern firearms make it possible for almost anyone to defend themselves.  No longer do the biggest muscles win.  It would be a constant battle between people who want to be left alone and people who want to mess.  My guess is that we might run out of messers after a time.

Keep praying.  Keep voting.  Keep speaking up.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Opus 2023-156: Dark Thoughts: Heaven Scent, Sight and Sound

Heaven* generates a lot of squirrel tracks.

I was sitting there on the porch, drinking coffee and thinking about how God went to all the trouble of arranging things like taste.  Things like coffee have a whole profile of terms to describe how it is the ambrosia of life.  Read the label some time.  If you have little discernment like me it makes for good fiction.  At the same time I have to admit that different coffees are different.  My favorite is Moka Java.

From there I went to colors and sounds.  This is not idle speculation for me.  I am slightly color blind, have a constant ringing in my ears and my wife claims I am going deaf because I don’t hear everything she says.  The fact that I am at the other end of the house, in the shower with the exhaust fan on is not excuse.  I look forward to my first sunrise in the resurrection.  I can’t wait to be able to hear the rocks cry out, “Glory and honor!”

From there I ponder individual preferences like beauty and delicious.  I can’t believe that you don’t understand my grandchildren are the most beautiful children in the world.  I can’t understand why you don’t think broccoli is delicious.  When I shared that I grilled a steak to perfection in 30 minutes I don’t understand the horror on people’s faces.  Maybe in heaven.

God designed and arranged it all, seemingly for our enjoyment.  I don’t think it was for our cat.  She drinks out of the toilet and licks her paws, not to mention other parts of her body.  I don’t think she really gets the glory of creation.

What if God also enjoys them and created them for that reason, then created us in His image.  Remember how Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man?  Maybe it is the other way around with our perception of our world.

How will these things be more glorious in eternity?  Will it be that the colors will be transformed and augmented or will it just be that our glorified bodies can see them better?

Either way works for me.

*Heaven - I know that “heaven” is technically not the right word for eternal life but it is the word most people use.  In this case I will bend to common practice.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 2, 2023

Opus 2023-155: On the Street: Do You Belong?

I sometimes wonder if I have missed something.  I had stopped to do some shopping in a mini-mall and I noticed that in front of each parking space was the statement, “Customers Only”.  I looked around and saw nothing within shouting distance that was not a business served by the parking lot.  What was I missing?

Maybe there is an epidemic of people parking in mini-malls and waking the 20 miles to the airport.  Maybe a local hotel had a shuttle service for guests.  Maybe the mall manager read on page 72 that all slots should be labelled.

Maybe it is just another example of human genius.  As the commedian said, “Half of the population is below normal.”

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Opus 2023-154: I Couldn’t Help Myself

Free will.

To my thinking, one of the abilities given to human beings when they were created in the image of God was free will.  It is one of the abilities that separates us from the animals.  Remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog.  When asked why he doomed them both the scorpion answered, “It is in my nature.”  A human can resist what is in his nature.  We don’t like to admit it, but it is true.

God is love and He wants humans to love Him.  That is impossible, or shall we say meaningless, if there is no free will.  Is it possible to love if it is impossible not to love?  Does your dog really love you?  Have you noticed that he loves everyone?  If he is the right breed he does not have a choice.

Is free will real if none of the choices are hard?  I could walk through a jewelry store all day and not even think of buying anything.  I can “do” most malls in 15 minutes.  I am not tempted by a sushi bar but don’t put a bag of chips and a bowl of guacamole in the same room with me.  I could resist, or so I tell myself.  I might even ignore the promised joy, but I would not count on it.  It is a matter of how I respond though, not something forced on me.

Is “vanilla vs chocolate” really an example of free will?

Most of the problems we have in the world are a result of the sins committed because we have free will.  Could God have created a world where sin did not exist and sin was impossible?  I would say yes and it would have been as satisfying as four college seniors playing Candy Land.  There is a price to pay for freedom.

May you make wise choices.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Opus 2023-153: Compulsion

Are you OCD?  How do you know?

I just had a “eureka” moment which pointed toward “no”.

I try to keep two rolls of toilet paper on the toilet tank.  I don’t like to run out and today I mounted the second roll.  I know, TMI.  I remembered to get two more and put them in place as backup and in doing so I noticed something.  One roll was right side up and the other was upside down.  The key ingredient to this story is that I felt no inclination to make them both right side up.  If I were OCD I would have felt a compulsion.

More tips for other issues in life may come, or may not.  I feel under no compulsion.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 29, 2023

Opus 2023-152: New Term: Gastrogressions

How about a restaurant built on the premise of avoiding gastronomical microagressions?  We would refuse to serve anything that caused anyone a sense of threat, tension or gas.

Let’s start with me.  I hate liver and onions.  It used to be that the simple smell of cooking liver would make me gag and want to vomit.  The first thing we would need to ban is liver.  Sticking with my family, my wife has issues that keep her from enjoying spicy food.  I cannot make chili at home because I might spill some cyan or chili powder and she would pay for it.  That rules out any food with exotic spices.

Nut allergies, shell fish allergies, soy allergies:  The list is endless.  If you have any questions about that then read the ingredient labels on just about anything you buy pre-packed.  From what I see on the warnings, about the only thing we are not allergic to are the chemical additives.  That may be because the chemical companies has big enough lobbying budgets to stay off the radar.  It might be that this new restaurant I am proposing could only offer additive soup and filler casseroles.  

A common sense solution would be to be careful and chose your table wisely.  I have not run into any misguided souls eating liver and onions in a restaurant in forty years.  When I was a young pastor I used to go to the dinner get togethers of the seniors and it seemed like the special was always liver and onions and they loved liver and onions.  I joked about it, tried to sit up wind and enjoyed the fellowship.  

The weakness in this is common sense.  People seem to be allergic to that also.

homo unius libri