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 29, 2011

Opus 2011-192, Green Pieces: Waste Paper

We don’t use 5,000 year old redwoods for making paper.  Most paper is made from trees that were grown for that purpose.  Good paper has a lot of clothe in it, not wood.  Get real.  What sane businessman would grind up wood that would sell for a fortune to turn into paper that sells for a pittance.  I recently bought a piece of clear cedar for a shelf.  Good quality was costing me about ten dollars a foot and it wasn’t even the expensive aromatic cedar..  Relax.  Do the math. 

Keep in mind that it is in the interests of the people who cut down trees to make sure that there are trees to cut down in the future.  That means that they plant more than they cut.  Think of it as a harvest with a long growing season.  Wood is a renewable resource.  The people who own the lumber companies have children and grandchildren.  They want to pass something on to their heirs.  They can’t do that if they destroy the trees and the areas they grow.  It just is not good business.  Even if you believe that all businessmen are greedy even you can see that they would not have much future if they did not nurture their source of money.

So relax.  If there is no recycling bin near by, ball that paper up and put it in the trash.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Opus 2011-191, Church Hoppers

Last week we had a “Stump the Pastor” service.  We were invited to bring any questions we might have and fire away.  This works well at this church because not only is the pastor a devout believer, but he is a real scholar.  He has a garage full of books.  He has read them all.  He remembers what he reads and processes it.  It is awesome.  And, yes, I have told him to his face.

One of the concerns that came up was the number of visitors that we have each year and how few of them stay.  They seem to enjoy the service, promise to return, walk out the door, and are never seen again.  We did not come to a simple answer that night.  He has his theories.  I have mine.  I thought I would share with you a theory of C.S. Lewis that I read this morning.
 “Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for that church which ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. 
    “...the search for a ‘suitable’ church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be pupil.”  (Lewis, C.S.  The Screwtape Letters.  Norwalk, Connecticut:  The Easton Press, 2002, p. 81.)
The idea is that one of the techniques of the devil is to keep people looking for the perfect church.  You are aware of all the litanies.  Music too fast, music too slow, use the wrong translation, no teen program.  I am sure you have your own.  I don’t know who said it first but we have been warned that if we find the perfect church don’t join because then it wouldn’t be perfect any more.  I believe Groucho Marx once said something like, “Any club that would have me as a member I wouldn’t want to be a part of.”

Are you looking for a good church?  Why not find one that has the basics and settle in to become a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 27, 2011

Opus 2011-190, Green Pieces: Trees Grow Back

One of the great lines I hear at school is about saving the trees.  The students are worried that all the work we do on paper is decimating the rain forests.  Not really.  They use the line about the trees but all they are concerned about is avoiding work.  Some people, though, are concerned.  You can relax for a couple of reasons.

Trees grow back.  Most people today live in big cities so they don’t realize this.  When you go through a forest and cut down the trees more light reaches the ground and new trees sprout up.  We have a place up in the mountains.  It is on an old homestead that was divided up into half acre plots and is still pretty primitive.  The back of our parcel butts up against the national forest.  The first time I visited the sight about 30 years ago it had recently been logged off.  Most of the big trees were gone although there were a few scattered here an there.  Even at that point there were hundreds of smaller trees already on their way up.  Today it is a forest again. 

Most of the horrible pictures you see of clear cuts that “destroy” the environment are taken right after the cutting, not ten years later.  If you ever get out of the metropolitan area and drive across the country you see trees coming up everywhere.  They will come up through cracks in the pavement.  They will grow between lanes of traffic.  They will turn over fences.  I have even seen trees growing up through the middle of abandoned houses.  So relax.  Get out of the mall and take a drive.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Opus 2011-189, Basic Beliefs: The Second Coming

I have heard several times that one difference between Jews and Christians is in our expectation of the Messiah.  Both believe in a Messiah but with a different understanding.  The Jews are still waiting for his arrival.  Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah and are waiting for Him to return.

There are a lot of terms used:  Second coming, eschatology, end times, and rapture among a few.  There is so much disagreement that over time it will require many different posts.  For instance the rapture.  You have pre-trib, post-trib and mid-trib.  Does Jesus reclaim His church before, during or after the great tribulation.  The answer can split a church.  I am what I heard called a pan-trib person.  I believe it will all pan out in the end and it isn’t worth getting worried about.

Most Christian teaching about the end of the world is found in the Apocalyptic literature.  These include Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel.  It is a genre that has its own rules which seem to be subject to change depending on what you want to prove.  It is full of visions and strange events that would fit well in modern horror and fantasy novels.

Some teaching is found in the gospels but the most important passage is often ignored.
(Mark 13:32 KJV)  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
If people paid attention to this verse they would spend less time writing books, studying Revelation and looking like fools in the secular media.

Christians all believe that Jesus is coming back.  Beyond that we have as many variations as there are types of pizza.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Opus 2011-188, Styles of Worship

I am slowly working through Wesley’s Journals.  I usually only read a page or two at a time.  Much is just notes on where he preached and such but there are all kinds of windows into his thinking and his times.

One of the themes that seemed to be on his mind on July 7, 1784 was the conduct of people in worship.  Today I came across this:
“I recommended to the congregation here...the example of the people in Holland,... who never talk in a place of public worship, either before or after the service.” 
I have seen this brought up several times.  It would seem like the tendency to make worship a time of fellowship is not something new.  Wesley has a growing distaste for it.

I think he would remind us that worship is God directed not people directed.  We do not gather together to meet and fellowship but to lift up or voices in praise and listen to what the Holy Spirit might have to say to us.  It is hard to hear the “still small voice” when we are listening to the latest gossip or commiserating about the latest ache or pain.

I think I side with Wesley on this one.  I think the time when the congregation is told to greet each other sucks the life out of a service.  If we want to talk, lets go to coffee.  Even more radical, maybe you could invite me home for dinner.

I regularly thank God for the shoulders of giants on which we stand.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Opus 2011-187, Spiritual Gifts: Giving

(Romans 12:8 KJV)  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Giving is a spiritual gift.  This is a gift that officials in the church love to mention.  It comes up when special offerings are being taken.  One reason for this confusion is that the gift of giving is confused with the Christian responsibility of stewardship.  Leaders love it because it lets them lean on the rich people and excuse the poor.  People in the pews like this misunderstanding because they can use it as an excuse to ignore the offering plate.

The gift of giving includes the giving of money but it is not used in terms of the weekly collection of the offering.  It is used of sharing the gospel, of sharing your clothes and of sharing your resources with those in need.  A person with this gift is not moved by the building fund or the Thanksgiving offering for missions.  They are moved by the single mother who is looking at the beginning of school and has no money for clothes or school supplies.  I have a feeling this gift is more common that pastors think.

All Christians are expected to be stewards.  This involves the tithe, offerings, cleaning the church, listening to little old ladies (or men) ramble on and anything else that involves using our resources as God would expect.  Not all Christians have a special gift of giving.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 20, 2011

Opus 2011-186, On the Street: Advertizing for the Ignorant

I had a bus turn in front of me a few days ago and read the ad on the side.  I had to catch the bus and read it again because I could not believe what it said.  It was an advertizement for Metro trying to get people to ride the bus.  That wasn’t what got my attention.  What hit me what the idiotic statement they were using.  They were saying we should “Take control, pay as you go.” 

This about riding on mass transit.  I don’t know if you have ever had to take mass transit but one of the concepts that is totally alien to the experience is “take control.”  First you are forced to get on the bus at locations designated by a committee.  When you find the bus stop you must wait until it gets there before you can start your trip.  If you are thirty seconds late you must wait for the next bus.  You need exact change.  During rush hour, which is when most people want to travel, you must often stand the entire trip.  You are forced to listen to other people's music and smell whatever they had for dinner.  You must wait patiently while the bus takes a route you would never follow and if you are really “in control” you get to change buses.  When you want to get off it is a miracle if it is close to where you are going.  This is what they call “taking control.”

What a twist of reality.

But we need to remember that the people reading these signs were probably not taught to think.  Since they want to be in control they take a bus.  I guess I would rather be manipulated by my own personal automobile.

Will a  bus fit in the drive through?

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Opus 2011-185, Basic Beliefs: Saved by Grace

(Ephesians 2:8 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

There are certain basic beliefs that everyone will agree on but when you press the issue you find that the understanding and applications are different.  One of the central ideas of Christianity is that we are saved by the grace of God, not by our own efforts.  In other words, salvation is a gift.  Salvation is not something that we can earn.

On one side of this is the tremendous price that sin demands.  The only acceptable payment for sin is death. 
(Hebrews 9:22 NASB)  And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
This presents a problem.  We have all sinned.  The only way to cleans the sin it by paying with our lives.  Sin is that important.  But if we die to pay the price, we die in our sins because our death is still not enough to pay the price.

This is where Jesus becomes our hope.  He is the perfect lamb of God.  He is our sacrifice.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Only the perfect lamb was worthy to pay for our sins.

Because of this we talk about our forgiveness in terms of grace, a free gift bestowed by God.  So far we are all in agreement.

The question that divides us is how God decides to bestow that grace.  Who will be saved?  How will God make the choice?

At one extreme we have the Pelagian position.  This was a heresy that taught man could earn his salvation.  He was solely responsible and could work hard enough to deserve a place in heaven.  This has been rejected by all Christians.

At the other extreme we have the Five Point Calvinists.  The five points are summarized in the acronym TULIP.  The middle three letters concern us here.  “U” stands for “unconditional election.”  This means that being saved is totally unrelated to how you live or whether you continue in sin.  God does not use standards we can measure.  The “L” stands for “limited atonement.”  This means that Jesus did not die for everyone, just the ones who are chosen by God.  The “I” stands for “irresistible grace.”  This means that God chose you at the moment of creation and you really have nothing to say about it.  He made the decision for you. 

The third position, and the best since I agree with it, is that we are saved by grace and part of that grace is the action of the Holy Spirit making it possible for us to respond freely to the call of God.  This is the Arminian position.  We either respond “yes” or “no,” but the choice is ours.  We are not saved by our efforts but the grace of God is extended to those of us who choose to believe.  Thus, as the verse above says, we are saved by grace, through faith.

It is interesting that each step calls the ones below them anathema.  All of us disown the Pelagians.  Calvinists disown the Arminians.  As an Arminian I expect heaven to be full of Calvinists but they will be surprised that I made it. 

Isn’t love wonderful? 

homo unius libri

Friday, June 17, 2011

Opus 2011-184, Christian Cliches: My Brother’s Keeper

People use certain phrases to escape responsibility and accountability.  One of those phrases is “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Most people use it expecting an answer of “No.”  The actual answer is “Yes.”

In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, we have the story told about how Cain killed his brother Abel.  He did it in a fit of jealous rage.  It was totally unjustified.  Then God got into the picture.
(Genesis 4:9 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
Cain knew what had happened to Abel.  God knew what had happened to Abel.  The scenario here is to get Cain to face up to his sin. 

As in so many places in the Bible, we don’t know how the story would have played out with a different response.  What would have happened it Cain had said, “Lord, I have sinned.  I killed my brother Abel.  I am undeserving and can only ask for your mercy.”  Would grace have been extended?  Would the course of history have been changed?  Think of other places where repentance could have changed things.  What would have happened if Judas had repented?  What about Simon the magician? 

What about you?

So often we go through life in denial.  We are victims.  It is the other guys fault.  One phrase I found myself using tongue in cheek yesterday was, “I am a helpless pawn in the hands of fate.”  I respond that way too often.  I think that way even if I don’t say it.  How would my life be different if I would instead say, “I am a helpless sinner in the hands of Almighty God.”

What about you?

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Opus 2011-183, Monday Pulpit: Know Nothings

As usual I was listening to Alistair Begg this morning.  He quoted someone and I want to quote him.  “You know enough to be afraid to know any more.”  He did not say where he got it.

Our churches are full of people like this.  They attend regularly but never listen.  They claim to believe the truths of the Bible but they never read it.  Why?  I think this points out the answer.  Many do not really want to know the expectations of Jesus.  If they know what He expects then they will be forced to respond and they don’t want to.  They think that being ignorant will shelter them from the consequences. 

Our families are full of people like this.  I deal regularly with parents who profess profound love for their children.  They claim to care.  One week before the end of the school year they show up wondering what the child can do to pass the class.  Where were they when the previous seven progress reports were mailed home?  The kid kept saying there was no homework.  The parents don’t ask any more questions.  They don’t want to know more because that would mean they would be forced to take action.

Our politics are full of people like this.  I think of our last election.  We had a promise of hope and change.  All it would have taken is a little investigation beyond the carefully crafted media image to see what that meant.  We had promises of much higher energy costs.  It was ignored.  We had a man who had written two autobiographies about a life of doing nothing.  People did not look any farther because they wanted the temporary comfort of empty promises rather than making a hard decision. 

There is an old proverb, or at least I was told it was an old proverb.  It may have been made up the week before I heard it, but I think it has truth in it.
“Ignorance is not innocence, it is sin.”
I heard this before the invention of the internet.  It is double true today with the ability to Google just about anything and have an answer in seconds.

You have decisions to make today and every day.  Decisions about your eternal destiny, your family and your country.  Make a commitment to plug in your brain and seek out the truth you know is available. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Opus 2011-182, Prescription for Us Old Folks

If you are past middle age or approaching it you might benefit from listening to a sermon by Alistair Begg.  You can probably find it on the TRUTH FOR LIFE website.  My podcast downloads were dated January 12 and 13, 2011.  The Title is “Curriculum for Seniors, Part A and B.”

He reminds senior saints that they have a great responsibility as spiritual leaders.  He reminds the church that mature, seasoned men and women are an overlooked and ignored asset.  If you have an I-pod or such, try to find time to listen to this.

And for you young, wet-behind-the-ears puppies, I do have an I-pod.  It is the best thing invented since the hearing aid.  Every senior ought to have one.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 13, 2011

Opus 2011-181, Monday Pulpit: Post Pentecost

Sunday was Pentecost Sunday.  That is the day that the church remembers the coming of the Holy Spirit to fill the disciples waiting in the upper room.  It was the transforming moment that brought the true church into existence. 

That was Sunday.  What about today?  Part of what our pastor has been teaching is that the filling of the Holy Spirit is not only a beginning but a continuation.  Yesterday my wife asked me what “progressive sanctification” was.  She was reading a book that mentioned a whole bunch of people from a theological tradition that is more into irresistible grace than resistible sanctification.  I told her it was the process of maturing that all Christians agree exists. 

Progressive sanctification is the growth process that takes place after the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Without the Holy Spirit, it isn’t going to happen.  Two things the pastor shared that I thought were important to remember.  You can’t understand the Bible if you don’t have the Spirit and the Holy Spirit can’t help you remember what you never knew.  To that I would add, you will not hear if you are not listening.

Pentecost Sunday is over for this year.  The process of Pentecost continues.  Listen, read, obey.  Let’s each transform our little corner of the world.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Opus 2011-180, Green Piece: Your Brother, the Whale

Christians are concerned about the earth and the animals on it but our concern is different from the Sierra Club, PETA, Green Peace and the others.  We have the concerns of stewards, not siblings.  The whales are not our brothers, they are, well, whales.
(Genesis 1:26 KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
When God was in the process of creation He only made one created being “in His image.”  That was Adam.  In order for me to feel the whale is my brother I must reject that I am created in the image of God; different family tree.  We are to “have dominion” over the animals.  The other translation you find at this point is “rule over.”  That seems pretty clear but it is only clear if you accept the Bible as the word of God and God as the creator of the universe.

We are to be good stewards.  In all areas of our lives we are to live as managers, not owners.  Stewardship is a key Christian concept.  It infers personal responsibility and duty mixed with freedom and love.  Most people think of tithing when they hear stewardship but it also refers to the way we treat our animals and the care we give for our environment.
(Proverbs 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
If you think of the whales as your brothers, you have my sympathy.  It has been said that you can’t pick your relatives but you can pick your friends.  If I am ever in a Starbucks and run into a whale I will introduce myself but I won’t ever expect to see one at a family reunion.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Opus 2011-179, Healthy Insights: Average or Immediate

In my current phase of diabetes control I am wrestling with two numbers:  Calories and carbohydrates.  You may get bored with “organ recitals” in all their glory, but bear with me.

These two numbers are my focus right now but each number has a different significance.  Calories are concerned with weight control.  This has a long term effect on diabetes but is not significant moment by moment.  An average is good enough.  If I keep under my goal for the day, or even a good average for the week, then all is well.  The body requires a certain amount to operate each moment and either stores or withdraws as needed.  If you take in more, you gain weight; less, you lose.

Carbohydrates on the other hand are an ongoing, immediate issue.  They turn into glucose and your body uses them for energy.  For normal people the body regulates this like it does calories, it stores and withdraws.  For diabetics this goes haywire.  Your body needs a steady source and cannot deal with feast or famine.  Too low means weakness and one set of immediate issues.  Too much means long term damage being done to your body. 

Each need is addressed differently.

In our daily, non-diabetic lives we have the same types of issues.  Some things in life can work as averages.  Generally speaking, if your income at the end of the month is in balance you are okay.  You might use credit cards or have a monthly billing.  It is your ability to match resources and needs that are important.

Some areas are more moment by moment.  Our relationships with other people fit into this category.  You really can’t ignore your children for 29 days and then take them to Disneyland.  I guess you can, but the long term damage will not be pleasant.  You can’t ignore your wife all year and then buy her a diamond on your anniversary and figure you have balanced it out.  People try.  It does not work.

Spiritually we have the same issues.  In many areas God cuts us some slack.  If you miss church on a Sunday, it will not send you to hell.  If you decide to shack up with your secretary for a one night stand, it could ruin your life and your eternity.

Think about it.  Act on it.  Life, and eternity, will be better for it.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Opus 2011-178, Fellowship and Worship

I was reading in Wesley’s Journals and came across this bit of correction he offered:
“We went to Lowestoft, where the people have stood firm from the beginning.  Observing in the evening that forty or fifty people were talking together, as soon as the service was over, (a miserable custom that prevails in most places of public worship, throughout England and Ireland,) I strongly warned the congregation against it; as I had done those at Norwich and Yarmouth.  They received it in love; and the next evening, all went silently away.  But this warning must be given again and again in every place, or it will not be not effectual.”  Wesley, John.  The Works of John Wesley, Volume IV, Third Edition.  Kansas City:  Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1979, p. 263.
I thought this was interesting because it goes totally opposite of the current received wisdom.  Why was Wesley so straight laced?  At another place he had this to say about a school he ran,
“...either the school should cease, or the Rule of it be punctually observed:  Particularly that the children should never play; and that a master should b always present with them.”  ibid, p. 259
Children were not to be allowed to play.  Did this mean at all times or only in formal school?

Many of us want revival.  We want to be salt and light.  Instead of looking to the lesson taught by people whom God used to bring revival in the past we look to modern gurus who have a lot of money to be made selling books and DVD’s.  We listen to experts who have careers to build and egos to bloat.  We embrace styles of worship that mimic rock concerts because they appeal to a generation that has a history of casual drug use, fornication and alcohol abuse.  We laugh at people like Wesley who changed the course of history in England.

This is progress?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Opus 2011-177, Spiritual Gifts: Teaching

(Romans 12:7 KJV)  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching

The gift of teaching is something that we think we understand.  We have all had teachers who seemed to have a real touch, either through being a student or observing them.

I tend to think that this gift is sometimes focused.  When I am teaching the Bible or theology I sometimes feel like I have the gift.  When I am teaching in the public school I sometimes wonder what I am doing there.  I think it is possible to have a gift of teaching in one and not the other.

Like all gifts there is a responsibility that extends beyond the gift.  You may be called upon to teach even though you don’t feel it is your gift.  You can still do a good job.  Remember that for every Michael Jordan (that dates me) you need four other people to make a team.

Pray that God would reveal your gifts and bring forth those who are prepared for the tasks before us.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 6, 2011

Opus 2011-176, Spritual Gifts: Nagging

My wife has the spiritual gift of nagging.  The Bible doesn’t call it that, but that is the way most of us feel about it.  It is hidden in the translation.
(Romans 12:8 KJV)  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
You don’t see the gift of nagging?  It is hidden in the word “exhorteth.”  Nagging is part of the gift of exhortation.  The Greek word is parakaleo.  It is the root word for the Helper, or Holy Spirit that Jesus promised.  Let me try to explain why I call it nagging.

Parakaleo is a compound word which literally means called to be with.  The best understanding I can come up with is that of a lawyer or advocate.  It means someone who is called along side to be of assistance.  This doesn’t really help because people tend to see what they want to see and translate accordingly.

One way of translated is embraced by the multitudes.  This translation emphasizes what would be called the positive aspects of the word.  In these cases it is translated comfort, help, encourage, invite.  We usually welcome this kind of an advocate.  It is all positive.  It is also part of the meaning.  We need comfort and encouragement when we are on the right track and getting beaten down.

The other way of translated is acknowledged, if not welcomed, by disciples.  This is where the nagging comes into play.  You see, there is some kind of help we don’t welcome.  It is the help that points out we are wrong, lazy, misguided.  We don’t want to hear it.  These cases are translated, appeal, beg, beseech, entreat, preach, urge.  We usually interpret those as nagging.

The word has both meanings and the gift of exhortation includes both.  There are times when a word of encouragement is what we need.  There are times when we need to be hit up side the head.  The person with the gift of exhortation knows which to use.  This only makes them popular half the time, as you can imagine.  I think this is why the word “exhort” works.  No one knows what it really means.

Do you have a nag in your life?  Maybe it is the gift of exhortation and the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Opus 2011-175, Headlines: Limousines under Obama

I am not a fan of our current president.  I consider him to be the biggest disaster to our freedoms since FDR.  He would probably consider that a compliment.

However, why don’t we concentrate on real issues instead of nit-picking.  A case in point that I first picked up from the Drudge Report and later did a search for, is the report on the increase in the number of limousines in the federal government since Obama took over.  You can read a short version at Fox News.

If you read it carefully or other sites that carry the story you find that none of the numbers are secure and the build up may have started under George Bush. 

Let’s get real about something.  It is expensive to provide security for a president and government officials that may be the targets of crazies.  I do not begrudge them their armor plating.  No one is trying to shoot at me on a daily basis.  I am not even sure I care about their expensive state dinners.  Such is the price of doing business.  They are part of the rich elite.  They are heading the most powerful (?) country in the world.  They need to act like it.

Now if you want to talk about the erosion of our freedom with nutrition laws, light bulb laws, carbon dioxide laws...

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Opus 2011-174, Pentecost Is Coming

Many of us do not belong to liturgical churches.  We know about Christmas and Easter but beyond that we consider ourselves Bible people, not ritual people.  We are poorer because of that.  The original purpose of the liturgy was to make sure that all of the truths of the Bible were covered in a regular an orderly basis.  If you look at the church year you will find things like the Trinity taught.  When is the last time you had a specific teaching on this central Christian truth?

Pentecost Sunday is coming.  I believe that this year it is June 12.  It comes fifty days after Easter.  It celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in the upper room.  He was a promise the Jesus told them to wait for.
(Luke 24:49 KJV)  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
/Often this day passes without notice.

The original Pentecost is in the past.  In one sense it was a one day event that happened shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven.  In that sense it is over.  It is often called the birthday of the church because when the Holy Spirit came, He came in a way He had never come before.  We have reference to specific individuals receiving the Spirit in the Old Testament but Pentecost tells us that things have changed.  The Holy Spirit is now promised to all believers, not just a select few.

That means that Pentecost is ongoing.  It is not an event of the past.  It is not just a day in the church calendar.  It happens every time a new believer receives the Holy Spirit.  In a sense it happens every time a believer seeks revival.  It is the mark of a living church instead of a fossil. 

Look forward to Pentecost Sunday.  Look to it as a reminder.  Look to it as a spur to renewal.  If you do not know the Holy Spirit, seek Him and ask for His filling.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 3, 2011

Opus 2011-173, Headlines: Dan Quayle Syndrome Strikes Again

President Obama had a recent Dan Quayle moment.  He was in England and visiting Westminster Cathedral.  Evidently they have a guest book for people to sign.  I am guessing it is just for the rich and famous, not for common folks like us.  That is fine.  No one would care if I visited, certainly history would not need a record of it.  Our president wrote a nice little note and both he and his wife signed it.  So far so good.  Then he put the date.  He wrote the year as 2008.  Maybe you have not noticed, but it is now 2011.

I am sure you all remember the time that Dan Quayle supposedly misspelled potato.  It became the main headline of the age as he was hounded by the media.  It is still referred to on a regular basis.  I don’t read the Democratic Talking Point Newspapers, so I can’t be sure, but I don’t think President Obama’s mistake received much press.  I don’t watch TV at all, but I don’t think this has been a lead story.  Suddenly a leading politician has a moment of stupid and it is ignored.  It is a Dan Quayle moment.

It was a Dan Quayle moment because the current President is a Democrat and once again the press did not make a big deal about it.  It made nothing of his comment about visiting the 57 states.  It regularly ignores the bumbling moments that come with great regularity.  If George Bush would have done such a human thing we would be reminded again and again that the Chimp doesn’t pay much attention to the real world of us common folks. 

The Declaration of Independence may declare that all men were created equal but we need to remember that President Obama is not a mere man, he is a messiah that is going to stop the oceans from rising.

As George Orwell wrote, “All men are created equal.  It is just that some are more equal than others.”

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Opus 2011-172, Immortal Quotes: That’s the $64,000 question.

You don’t hear it much any more but occasionally someone will answer your question with the statement, “That’s the $64,000 question.”  I must admit the origin is not from my memory but it was explained to me.

One of the early game shows on TV was "The $64,000 Question."  It was like many of the shows we watch like "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" and "Win Ben Stein’s Money."  It asked questions and when you got to the top it was worth $64,000.  That is not pocket change but to act like that amount would change your life dates it a bit.

Eventually it died out, but the idea is still morphing into new ways for the masses to spend their time.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Opus 2011-171, Einstein vs Lewis

I came across an interesting disagreement between the writings of C.S. Lewis and Albert Einstein.  It has to do with the nature of truth.  Lewis seems to think that great truths are not simple.  Einstein believes that natural truth should be simple.

Lewis was dealing with people who say that spiritual truths are too complicated.  Take the trinity for instance.  Lewis commented,
“It is not good asking for a simple religion.  After all, real things are not simple.  They look simple, but they are not.”  (Lewis, C.S.  Mere Christianity.  Norwalk, Connecticut:  The Easton Press, 2002, p. 40)
Lewis feels that life is complex and we are barking up the wrong tree to try to demand it be made simple. 

Einstein, on the other hand, seemed to feel that the truths of nature should fit together simply and should really be able to be understood.  I can’t find the quote but I think that summarizes his idea.

What is interesting to me is that Lewis, who claims that great truth is not simple, is easy to understand whereas Einstein who claimed nature is simple was totally confusing.  If you have read Lewis you understand my point there.  Most of us have not read Einstein.  A man who spent a lot of time with him on a ship crossing the Atlantic and listened very carefully, Chaim Weizman is quoted as saying,
“During the crossing, Einstein explained his theory to me every day, and by the time we arrived I was fully convinced that he really understands it.” (Isaacson, Walter.  Einstein.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2007, p. 292.)
Which one is right?

homo unius libri