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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Opus 2011-224, Links: Catchy Quotes

I came across a great little bit on Clapps Chapel United Methodist Men,


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

homo unius libri

Opus 2011-223, Links: Dog Days

One of the benefits of reading some blogs is that they give the Holy Spirit a chance to speak.  I read and enjoy and in the midst of the reading my mind takes off on a tangent.  Georges Grouse did that for me in his post called “Dog Days.”  You might want to read it if you have not done so, but he made me think of getting rid of wasps and hornets.  I was forced to take that action recently.  Bees I consider friends or at least believers in peaceful co-existence.  Wasps and hornets are the terrorists of the insect world.

I believe in reading directions.  This is doubly true when dealing with vicious insects.  The can I held in my hand said you get them when they are sleeping.  I knew that but I wanted to be reminded.  So I followed the directions.  It must have worked because I lived to tell about it.  I have memories of those cartoons with clouds of angry creatures following Elmer Fudd.

Satan seems to have read the can.  He knows that the best way to get to God’s people is to get them to go to sleep or at least be dormant.  He does everything he can to get us that way.  We often help.  When we are on mental recess he works to water down what little awareness we have left.  He tells us that sin is cultural conditioning, not God defined.  He tells us that words are not important.  He tells us that a loving God would not act the way the Bible says He will act.

This works in politics too.  We get agitated but the ruling classes know that if they can wait it out our attention will turn to the weather or sports very soon. 

Be alert.  Be aware.  Read the Book and think about what it says.  Compare what it says to every event that faces you.  The drive home isn’t over until you pull into the driveway.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Opus 2011-222, Christian Cliches: Why Me, Lord,? Part IV

Notice that earlier I said we have often brought calamity upon ourselves, not always, not even most of the time.  It is really easy for us to be arrogant towards those experiencing calamity.  We are happy to judge in cases like that.  There is an assumption built into the hearts of men that success and failure are tied to our personal worth and character.  Remember when Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.  The listeners were amazed.  Rich people were supposed to get the first ticket.  Remember when Jesus was asked why the man was born blind and the implication was sin in the lives of him or his parents.
(John 9:2 KJV)  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
I just realized it was the disciples asking this, not the Pharisees.  That is too close to home for the way we often think.  Have you ever had someone make the case for this in regard to autism or birth defects?  Jesus was having none of it.  His answer blows away that arrogance.
(John 9:3 KJV)  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
I have some friends that lost a baby.  It died just before it was due.  They were devastated but they continued to trust and obey.  Another couple watched them as they went through the tragedy and today that second couple is walking with the Lord because of the way in which my friends dealt with their tragedy.

Look at this well known verse.
(Romans 8:28 KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This does not say that we rejoice in tragedy.  It does not say we should seek failure.  It does not say all things are good.  What it promises is that God can take any ugliness that touches us and sanctify it so that good results.

Consider this reminder:
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 KJV)  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
The tribulation that God helps us through prepares us to be spiritual medicine for others going through deep water.

I could go on.  We are not taken out of the world.  We live in a fallen creation with all of the kinks and cracks that effect it.  We will be the butt end of life’s jokes.  But we get to deliver the punch line.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
I don’t want calamity in my life.  I hope to avoid tragedy.  I don’t like pain and suffering.  But I have the promise of a God who will see me through.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, July 29, 2011

Opus 2011-221, Elitism, Anyone?

I am a teacher.  I home schooled my children. We started the process before I became a teacher.  During the process we lived in constant fear that some social worker, knowing what was best for us, would break into our home and take our children.  It happens.  The world is full of well meaning elitists who believe that they know what is best for you.  We used to call them Liberals.  Now they call themselves Progressives.  As time goes on we have realized that there are elitists even in the ranks of the Conservatives.  They are everywhere.  They know no political limitations.  They know what is best for us.

Thomas Sowell addresses these elites who have what he calls the “unconstrained vision.” 
“ the unconstrained vision, the best conduct of social activities depend on the special knowledge of the few being used to guide the actions of the many....Along with it has often gone a vision of intellectuals as disinterested advisers.”  Sowell, p. 41
There are some people who are simply superior in intellect and ability.  At least they think so.  They believe they have the duty to impose their superior ideas on others.  It is always for their own good, of course.

G.K. Chesterton touches on this also. 
“It need hardly be said that this is the real explanation of the thing which has puzzled so many dilettante critics, the problem of the extreme ordinariness of the behaviour (sic) of so many great geniuses in history.  Their behaviour (sic) was so ordinary that it was not recorded; hence it was so ordinary that it seemed mysterious.  Hence people say that Bacon wrote Shakespeare.  The modern artistic temperament cannot understand how a man who could write such lyrics as Shakespeare wrote, could be as keen as Shakespeare was on business transactions in a little town in Warwickshire.” Chesterton, p. 76. 
The reason this jumped out at me is the Shakespeare reference.  In case you are not into Shakespeare there is a roaring debate going on about who wrote his plays.  Those of us with a simple mind assume the question is on the same level as, “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?”  But the intellectuals among us, those who need to publish or perish, are trying to find the answer to this.  Most of their suggestions are people of a higher class than Shakespeare.  He was a commoner and these people don’t believe that common people are capable of excellence.

These same people break the book of Isaiah into at least three authors.  They pick and chose among the teachings of Jesus.  They tear apart the letters of Paul.  They consider themselves above the average man and I guess the average apostle.

Beware of elitists.  Beware of anyone who wants to do your thinking for you.  Understand that the consequence of such an attitude is thinking.  That requires reading, asking questions and actually putting your mind in gear.  Even when it comes to Bible teachers.  Listen to the pastor with your Bible open.  Ask yourself, “Is that really what it means or just what he wants it to mean?”  Don’t be afraid of hard questions.  I am sure that God has the answers even if the guru doesn’t.

Chesterton, G.K. Heretics.  Gutenberg Project.
Sowell, Thomas, A Conflict of Visions, New York:  Basic Books, 2007.

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Opus 2011-220, Spiritual Temperament

One of the authors I am trying to expose myself to is G.K. Chesterton.  Currently I am working through his book Heretics.  Since it is a download from the Gutenberg Project, I will give page numbers that are on my word processor.

He is discussing a famous author of his day and makes this comment on page 75:
“The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs.”
I have been around a lot of people who are wannabe’s.  They want to be musicians.  They want to be writers.  They want to be basketball legends.  Often what they succeed in being is pains in the neck.  Chesterton goes on and says,
“Artists of a large and wholesome vitality get rid of their art easily, as they breathe easily, or perspire easily.  But in artists of less force, the thing becomes a pressure, and produces a definite pain, which is called the artistic temperament.”
They tend to be moody, mercurial and unreliable.  I remember when I was supplying the music in our church for the five year old's.  I am not someone who needs snotty nosed little kids hanging all over me but I can be civil for a period of time.  I took my guitar and we had a great time singing and jumping.  To this day the mention of “Father Abraham” makes me shudder.  One time the children’s pastor came to me and said that some people from the music department wanted to come and help.  It was fine by me.  They came in the next Sunday.  These people were gifted.  I felt very comfortable taking a back seat.  I honestly had hopes it would work, but I know people with artistic temperament.

So I brought my guitar the next Sunday.  You see, I know that people with the artistic temperament have a tendency to not show up when there is little applause.  They are great at singing solo’s but tend to be AWOL when toilets need to be scrubbed and doing music for children is closer to cleaning toilets.  The appreciation of five year old's isn’t a real high.  Sure enough.  None of the artists showed up.  We went on as usual.  I am sure that they were able to talk about how they were involved in the children’s program for weeks.

Chesterton continued,
“There can be no stronger manifestation of the man who is a really great artist than the fact that he can dismiss the subject of art; that he can, upon due occasion, wish art at the bottom of the sea.”
Then my mind made a jump, as it is wont to do.  I started thinking about how often we as believers develop what I might call a “spiritual temperament.”  We sometimes have a tendency to look at ourselves as spiritual and it becomes the tail that wags the dog.  We become people that like to lecture others on right and wrong.  We become holier than thou.  We have a tendency to become authorities in public.  I know people that I dread to talk with.  If you say it is a nice day they are soon giving a lecture on how we will one day be in the City that needs no sun.  If I mention going to get a cup of coffee they wax eloquent on the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  They love to find you in corners where everyone else in the room is glad to leave you as the libation to the gods.

I think we need to be like true artists.  We can live it and we know how to talk about it, but we just need to be normal people with a holy seasoning.  We need to be salt, not habaneros.  Yes, we need to talk about Jesus but it needs to be a natural outflow of our personality, not a forced caricature.

Be a blessing.

Chesterton, G.K. Heretics.  Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Opus 2011-219, Christian Cliches: Why Me, Lord? Part III

Recently I was in a conversation about a man who turned from God to psychology to find his answers.  It did not seem to be working for him.  Why?  I observed that psychology is based on being a victim and salvation is based on being a sinner.  The answer to sin will take care of victims, but the answer of victimhood will not take care of  sin.

It is true that some people are victims.  Genuine victims are caused by sin in the life of an oppressor.  Other people are in difficulty because of their own actions.  Look at current events.  Some people are losing their homes.  In some cases it was because of factors beyond their control.  Those people are genuine victims.  We won’t debate those right now.  In many more cases than we want to admit, the reason for their loss is their own greed.  I am not talking about the corporate greed that the socialists like to attack, I am talking about the greed that is in the hearts of all sinners and is one of the seven deadly sins.  When people on limited incomes buy houses that they could never logically afford because they are counting on inflation, it is greed.  It is sin.  When it doesn’t work out they are not victims they are simply claiming the dividend on their investment.

The Bible makes it clear that many of the calamities of life are caused by our actions.  We have looked at the verses in I Kings.  What other places in the Bible does it make clear our responsibility?  Let’s do a few word searches and see where they lead us.

Hatred for Israel is an attitude that brings God’s curse.
(Deuteronomy 7:15 KJV)  And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
Disobedience is enough of a reason for calamity to strike.
(Deuteronomy 28:58-61 KJV)  If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.  Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.  Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Sickness and desolation can come because of sin.  We need to be careful here.  While all sickness is a result of the original sin that tainted all of creation it is not necessarily the result of personal sin.  But the opposite is also true.  Some sickness is directly a result of sin.  We see this directly stated.  Here are two.
(Exodus 23:25 KJV)  And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

(Micah 6:13 KJV)  Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.
We also see sickness and sin linked with healing and forgiveness.
(James 5:15 KJV)  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Then we have the case of your spiritual condition before taking communion.
(1 Corinthians 11:29-30 KJV)  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Poverty can be caused because of sloth.  Proverbs deals with this repeatedly.  Let me give you one example.
(Proverbs 13:4 KJV)  The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
We need to exercise care again.  Poverty can be caused by oppression or other factors outside a persons control.  I do not dispute that, but one reason for going hungry is being lazy.  One reason for being the first one fired is sloth.

I don’t think it is counterproductive to examine our lives when things go wrong.  Often God is trying to speak to us in areas we have refused to listen.  Let’s face it, sometimes we only listen when it is forced upon us.  At least that would be a testimony in my life.  If you are better, then I might suggest you get ready for some disaster.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Opus 2011-218, Book Review: Star Marines

Douglas, Ian.  Star Marines.  New York:  Harper Collins, 2007.

This is a long post.  To shorten it you can skip the quotes and just take my word for it.  Or skip on to something that does not require “TL-DR.”

I like space opera and a book I just finished fits into that category.  The space opera part of the book was good:  Fast paced, lots of action, variety in characters.  That pretty much sums up my review of the good parts of the book.

It is the “bad” parts that I want to write about.  It seems that more and more of the sci-fi I read is concerned about making a political or philosophical statement rather than telling a good story.  Sometimes they are such poor writers that I quit reading.  Sometimes, like Ian Douglas, they tell a good enough story for me to finish the book, but I need to skim a lot to get past their preaching.  Douglas has a number of issues that are eating at him and he keeps coming back to them.

He has fallen for the hoax of global warming.  I wish writers would stop jumping on the latest band wagon of pseudo-science or pop-psychology.  It really makes them look dated.  On page 111 he makes this statement:
“For the past three centuries, all the world’s established coastal cities had been battling the effects of global warming-including rising sea levels.  Some, like Charleston had followed the ancient example of Holland and built extensive sea walls, creating safe havens and new land behind them that were for the most part below sea level.  Others, like the Manhattan Magaplex, continued building up as the sea waters flooded in, controlling the effects of storm surges and high tide through the use of concentric rings of tidal barriers...”  (Emphasis in Original)
He totally disregards the actual statements of the scientists who forecast a fraction of an inch rise of water even if you believe it all.  These statements are peppered through the book.

One of the problems that “science” is having with evolution is that it doesn’t work.  They see this and they see evidence of what is called Intelligent Design.  To them Intelligent Design means there is a god so they reject it.  The patterns are still there.  They work out the problem by assuming that humans are the product of genetic modification by aliens.  Check out page 12:
“His mind flicked to the Ancients, the inevitable name for the mysterious and godlike civilization that had tried to terraform Mars half a million years ago - and failed.  They’d left traces of their presence on the Red Planet - including evidence that they’d tinkered with the DNA of certain bright and promising primates on the Blue Planet, next in toward the Sun.”
He rejects God designing humanity but since it is obvious that it could not have happened by chance he invents some aliens to do the job.  This is a common theme in science fiction.  It is still faith, but rejects religious faith.

Which brings us to his attitude toward religion.  He hates it.  Again he keeps coming back to this theme.   Check out pages 55 and 56:
“The excavation, two centuries earlier, of vast undersea ruins off the coasts of Sri Lanka and in the shallow gulf of Khambhat had proven - to him, at least, if not his father - that the hero tales, myths, and legends of most world religions rested in the colonization efforts of several extraterrestrial spacefaring species arriving on Earth eight to ten thousand years ago.
    “It was now known definitely that the Ahannu had established colonies at several points on the Aarth, that those colonies had been annihilated by the Hunters of the Dawn, and that the Oannan/N’mah had at least visited the planet after the Hunter attack, helping scattered and disorganized tribes of primitive humans to reacquire the rudiments of civilization.  There was no need to assume the intervention of deities when it was clear that star-traveling aliens had interacted with humans in the remote past.”  (Emphasis in Original)
And then we have another way of explaining Noah’s ark on page 146.  It was the result of an attack by aliens. 
“According to N’mah records, their explorers had discovered human survivors of the flood, wretched beings on the point of reverting to complete savagery when the starships arrived, bringing the gifts of civilization, and, in the process, planting the seeds that would one day become the legends of Oannes and the Nommo, of God’s covenant with Man, of Prometheus’s gift of fire.
    “Under N’mah guidance, civilization had emerged once more on the fertile plains between the Tigris and the Euphrates, cities had appeared, and humanity had been reborn.  The N’mah quite literally were the saviors of Humankind.”
So the savior is not Jesus, it is the N’mah.

He is not willing to stop with the question of intelligent life.  He needs to go on to attack the foundations of modern religions.  He takes on the Roman Catholic church and the current controversy of male leadership on page 109.
“In the Vatican, in Saint Peter’s Square, similar doctrinal disputes resulted in a clash between followers of the Papess and of the counter-Pope,...”
Do you get it?  A Papess?  Saint Peter is turning over in his grave.  Or he would if he thought such nonsense had any endurance.  Then we have an attack on the concept of family on page 257:
“Yeah.  Fetterman lost his whole family when Florida went underwater.  His wife, two husbands, two kids, birth parents.”
These ideas show up more than once.

Then he gets going on post modern philosophy and ties the idea that each person has his own truth into eastern mysticism and science. 
“Military psychologists now accepted as fact the heightening of extrasensory abilities, and even worked at strengthening them through mental disciplines such as Weiji-do.”
And then he uses the term “consensual reality” on page 314.  He had laid the groundwork before this and uses the concept to have the marines manipulate matter and find a new insight into the way the universe works.  Pretty heavy stuff hiding in the middle of an adventure story.

I will give Douglas credit for writing a good story.  I would like to color code books like this though.  Black type would be for the actual story.  Red could be for philosophical discussions that could be skipped with no loss of plot line.  Green could be for environmental nonsense.  Gray could be for questionable science.  Passionate pink could be for steamy sex scenes.  It would save me a lot of time because I skip a lot of that stuff anyway.  In this case, there would still be a good story, which is why I am reading the book.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 25, 2011

Opus 2011-217, Headlines: The Heat Is Back

You may have noticed that it is hot outside.  I don’t watch network news but I am guessing that they are talking about global warming again.  I am reminded of a joke I heard Dick Cheney tell in a speech.  I can’t find it with Google so let me give a poor paraphrase.

Cheney talked about all the symptoms they attribute to global warming and said he had become a believer.  In fact he was expecting to see dramatic changes very soon.  He then said, “We used to call it summer.”

Don’t get excited about the heat.  It happens every year.  Remember when you were a kid and didn’t have air conditioning.  This is nothing new.

Remember, winter is coming.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Opus 2011-216, Christian Cliches: Why Me, Lord? Part II

Why do we suffer calamity?  This is a question that echoes in everyone’s heart at times.  “Why me, Lord?”  Because “Judge not” has replaced “For God so loved the world...” as our favorite verse we usually ignore the plain and simple truth that we have often brought it upon ourselves.  Again I quote from the passage that starting my thinking:
(1 Kings 8:32 KJV)  Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
Notice the phrase in the middle of the verse:  “to bring his way upon his head.”  At the end of the verse the righteous are rewarded.  This verse is underlining a simple truth:  We often get what we deserve. 

Please don’t go off on a doctrinal dissertation about all being sinners and none being righteous.  That is not the point.  Just accept a simple truth.  How we live makes a difference in how we live.  I remember listening to someone from Korea talking about the effects of salvation on his life.  One of the points he made was that it raised his living standard dramatically because once he was saved he stopped drinking, gambling and all manner of wild living.  This put money in his pocket to care for his family and himself.  A simple cause and effect relationship.

We can carry this line of thought too far and I will touch on that in a later post, but we ignore this simple truth:  God rewards those who live righteous lives.  Sometimes it is simple cause and effect.  Being sober keeps you from being arrested for drunk driving.  Sometimes it is the direct intervention of God.  The Bible is full of promises but when I read them I see the conditional clauses, the if/then statements.  Here is just one example:
(1 Kings 3:14 KJV)  And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
I can’t categorically say that there are no promises with without conditions but if you look I believe you will usually find them.

Having lived in sin so long, most of us are good at ignoring the conditions.  We still think we can manipulate God and get Him to play our games.  We say, “But you said you would bless me.  You promised.”   To which God says, “This is why I prefer e-mails to telephone calls.  Go back and read the message again.  Think about what I actually said, not what you wanted to hear.”

Are you listening?  Not to me, but to the voice of God.  Are you reading the entire promise, conditions and all.  Many times when I have gone back and read the verse in question, and the context I find that my memory was at fault, not the promise.  Remember that just as we are promised we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure, we will also not be given conditions that we cannot fulfill.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Opus 2011-215, I Could Be Totally Wrong

Marriage has some real trials.  Let me share a recent exchange.  We were disagreeing on how we remembered a moment from our past.  I said,“I could be totally wrong on that...”   She responded, “You are.”  Typical exchange.

This time I laughed.  All she did was agree with me.  Isn’t that what I want?  Other times I have had different reactions.  Two different emotions usually emotions emerge in me at these moments.  First, anger.  I struggle to not get mad.  I am getting better at that as time goes on.

Second, to not be “humble.”  For years I have assumed that if someone disagreed with me, I must be wrong.  I would get introspective and analytical.  I would find all kinds of errors in my thinking.  I am coming to realize that I am not the only one who has errors in their thinking.  I am realizing that true humility is not a matter of putting yourself down but being willing to see truth.

Sometimes the truth is that I am wrong.  I really have no trouble with that.  Sometimes I am right.  That is startling.  I am trying to live with it.

She is trying to live with me.  Pray for her.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 22, 2011

Opus 2011-214, Christian Cliches: Why Me, Lord?, Part I

I was recently working through I Kings because the church we were visiting for a few weeks was featuring a sermon series based in that book.  When I do this I read, record my thoughts and responses and create my own personal commentary on the book.  Over the years I have built up quite a few files.  I love word processors.  I hope I am never so poor that I can’t afford a working computer.

I was reading in Chapter 8 of I Kings and I realized I was reading a list of reasons for calamity.  At first I thought it started in verse 33,
(1 Kings 8:33 KJV)  When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
As I followed the reasoning down to verse 40, I found quite a list of problems that individuals and nations face in our world.  Verse 33 dealt with defeat in war.  Verse 35 mentioned drought.  Verse 37 had quite a list:
(1 Kings 8:37 KJV)  If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
I looked at the list again and realized in actually began in verse 31 where it talks about sinning against your neighbor.

We see a pattern:  Sin, calamity, repentance, restoration.

I remember studying Israel in Sunday School.  One of the patterns we saw was exactly this.  God would move in a mighty way.  The people would rejoice.  Life would be good.  They would become complacent and turn their backs on God.  Tragedy would occur.  They would repent.  God would move in a mighty way....  The pattern was so clear I always wondered why they could not see it.

The pattern is there in our modern world too.  Wars, famine, neighbor turning on neighbor.  We read about it or hear about it every day.  What is the cause?  Why can’t we see it?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Opus 2011-213, A Taste of Zombie

Recently I watched my first zombie movie.  It was called “Dawn of the Dead.”  It was quite an experience.  I don’t say that as a recommendation.  It is like saying having liver for dinner is an experience.  There are some things in life that one taste is enough to last a lifetime.  It is probably one of those times when a truly wise person would learn from the experiences of others.  On the positive side there was some good acting, character development and definitely conflict.

On the negative side, I kept wondering, “Why?”  What was the point of this nonsense?  How many ways can you portray creatures with eyes hanging out and blood splattering.  And the total lack of logic.  At one point they had a guy safely locked in his gun store.  He had all the guns and ammo he could want and was a crack shot.  It was shown that he could pick off zombies in the crowd below with no response from the rest.  Why didn’t they just have him take them out one at a time from a safe distance?  Why all the drama?  You are supposed to be smarter than a zombie.  I guess it is the movie going, twitter generation we are talking about.

I think one of the reasons I don’t like this kind of thing is because of my Christian faith.  The idea of Zombies finds no possible place in my view of the universe.  That is my problem with fantasy as a genre and an increasing amount of science fiction.  I can accept demons and angels because they at least have a logic and purpose even if you don’t accept the logic.  But creatures that come back to life and walk around with no purpose except to kill and eat humans is beyond me.  What happens when all the humans are killed and eaten.  It seems like a dead end niche in the scheme of evolution.  But then I don’t think evolution makes sense either.

In reading a review of the movie they mentioned the original version being done tongue-in-cheek.  I can see that except the cheek had a big hole in it.  (Excuse me, a little zombie humor there.)  I was amazed at two points.  First, they remake these things?  Amazing.  And they think Christians always splitting and starting new denominations are weird.  Second, they write reviews of these things?  Even more amazing.  It is an amazing world we live in.

I was worried that the images would stick in my mind and give me bad dreams.  Instead I dreamed about directing a giant teen choir and having a standing ovation performance.  Evidently my sub-conscience realized that the zombie thing was a bit too silly to get upset about.

Recently I watched my first zombie movie.  If I have my way, it will be my last.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Opus 2011-212, On the Street: Breast Milk Baby

While traveling I am faced with the reality of being locked in a room with someone else (my wife) fulfilling their TV fix for the day.  Today one of those morning shows was interrupting my high and lofty meditations.  The topic was a toy.  It was a doll that somehow was designed to let little girls pretend that they were nursing a baby. 

Normally I would nod my head and say, “How cute.”  What was amusing and scary was the response of the media people.  They were using such words as “disgusting” and claiming that the children were not ready for such a thing.  They were really going ballistic. 

What was frustrating was that these same people have no problem with sending their children off to day care and putting them in the clutches of the public school but they are offended when little girls are encouraged to pretend they are mommies.  They have no problem with little girls dressing like tramps and wearing make-up but acting like a breast is something besides a sex object is beyond the pale. 

The real problem is that most of these people have a vested interest in justifying putting women to work.  The female celebrities don’t want to feel the guilt of dumping their children or the emptiness of not having any.  The men don’t want to have it pointed out that they don’t want the responsibility of heading a family.

I might be a bit prejudiced.  My wife used to sit in church and nurse our children.  It can be done with total modesty and often people near by did not know what was going on.  It was a simple part of life.  Or should I say it is the way God designed us to be. 

Maybe that is the real problem.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Opus 2011-211, Monday Pulpit: Can God? God Can!

Sunday we were visiting a church that had a guest speaker named Carl Hart.  He was preaching on Psalm 78 and focusing on
(Psalms 78:19 KJV)  Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
The context showed that this was after God had delivered Israel from bondage, led them across the Red Sea, supplied manna and quail.  After all this they asked, “Can God...”  His point was that they were asking what they should know.  Instead of asking we should be asserting that God can.

It was encouraging to be reminded that we should look at all the times God has moved in our lives and be assured that He can deal with whatever we face.

Preach it brother.  Live it brethren.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 18, 2011

Opus 2011-210, Spiritual Gifts: Leadership

(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.

The KJV says that some will “ruleth.”  In the NASB it is “leads” (4291b).  We Americans are much more comfortable with the concept of leadership than having rulers but keep in mind that the Bible tends to approach things from the point of view of monarchy, not democracy.

Historically the ruling classes have always claimed God’s approval.  They believed they were in charge because God said so.  The ancient Chinese had the Mandate of Heaven.  If there was a revolution, the gods were on the side of the victor.  You could tell how the gods voted by who won.  In ancient Japan the emperor was divine.  You could not depose him.  So they locked him up, bowed to him and did things in his name.  Europe had what they called the Divine Right of Kings.  They were not God, but they were His representative on earth.  This lead to some conflict with the Pope in Rome who considered himself to be the Vicar of Christ.

We have a variation of that.  We believe that God works His will.  God is able to work through believers and unbelievers.  He is able to work through the obedient and the disobedient.  He is sovereign.  At one end you have Him working through Pharaoh.  At the other end you have the sick woman who reached out to touch the hem of Jesus garment.  One of the ways He works is through gifting leaders.

So Biblically and historically the idea of strong leaders has been taught.  Some people are given a spiritual gift to lead, or rule.  It is not always the type A personality.  It may not always be the pastor of the church or the president of the company.  It is the person who is followed. 

Don’t be afraid of strong leadership.  Look at the heart and the spirit of the leader.  Know your Bible so you know if they are within the covenant of God’s methodology.  We don’t need to vote on everything.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Opus 2011-209, Stopping to Smell the Roses

I am having a creation moment.  I am on vacation, staying in someone else’s home.  Since I am getting older I get up earlier.  I find that morning is a good time for worship and study. 

Today I am on the sun porch.  It is about 72 degrees.  The birds are singing.  The air is stirring.  The trees are greening.  It is a time to pause and marvel at what God has created.

Have you looked out the window lately.  You may only see the stucco of your neighbor’s house.  If so, you have my sympathy.  In that case go take a walk until you see a flower and stop to contemplate all the complexity of a simple plant.  A dandelion will do.  That is just one little corner of the universe.  God understands it all.

I find that reminder to be uplifting.  It puts my little issues in perspective.


homo unius libri

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Opus 2011-208, Discernment Watch: Where Did All the Indians Go? Part IV

Innovations and inventions tend to increase population.  In China when they developed a new form of rice the farmers were able to grow more food with the same amount of work.  Although the increase in supply lowered the price, you had more to sell so you were better off.  Because you were better off you had more children and they lived to grow up.  Because food is more plentiful, other people eat better and their children live to grow up.  Population increases.  If you have a warrior/slave culture then nothing happens to increase production and population.  Take this line of reasoning and apply it to the yoke and horse collar and hundreds of other inventions that emerged and were shared around the world.  China had its classes and its slaves but it was not a warrior culture.  You had the mandarins and the scholars who really ran things.  The Mongols, a warrior/slave culture, were able to conquer China but within a few generations were overcome by the culture of the Chinese. 

North American had none of this.  It was based on warrior/slave cultures.  You see an extension of this if you look south to the Mexican cultures of the Olmec, Aztec and Maya.  No one questions that they were advanced cultures.  They discovered the zero, developed an accurate calendar and built huge buildings.  They even increased in population, but they were far behind the Europeans in technical skills.  Why?  Because they were a warrior/slave culture.

These advanced cultures never invented simple farming implements.  They did not have shovels or hoes, let alone a plow.  Why?  Because all the work was done by a peasant class who were little better than slaves.  They had plenty of land for their population so when they wore out the soil they would just burn some more jungle and move to a new area.

We know they had the wheel.  It appears on children’s toys.  Yet they never invented a wheelbarrow or pulley.  Why?  Because the only ones who would benefit were the working classes.  That might give them leisure to plot rebellion.  It worked against the interests of the ruling classes.  There might have been innovations but they were stomped on at once.

Are all cultures equal?  Modern education teaches that silly thought.  I had that conversation with a principal once.  She definitely thought of me as a troglodyte.  In multi-culturalism and diversity thinking all cultures are the same.  If that is the case, how did a bunch of farmers drive the noble savage from his hunting grounds?  Since I believe that all men are created equal under God, I have to believe that it is superior culture.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 15, 2011

Opus 2011-207, Does Microsoft Deliberately Sabotage?

There has always been a lot of hostility toward Microsoft.  Some of it is because of their predatory business practices.  We have all heard stories about how they put competitors out of business.  Some of it is jealousy.  We tend to be judgmental on people who are richer or better looking than we are.

I had an experience with their products that makes me doubt that they are squeaky clean.  Years ago I bought a Microsoft mouse.  It came with a setup disk of awesome bells and whistles.  It all comes in the operating system now.  I installed the disk and was happy with all the toys it gave me.  All went well.  I was happy.  Then, for a reason I can’t remember, I tried to use one of my old mice.  It would not work.  I found its disk and tried to reinstall it.  Nothing doing.  It was soon obvious that it would be impossible to use any mouse on that computer except for the one made by Microsoft.  I was mad enough to go back and redo my hard drive to remove the offending demon.  In my mind it was a deliberate block by Microsoft.  Since then I have had Microsoft products but never install their software.

I now have Windows 7.  I have found that my favorite Bible Study software won’t work.  I can fix the problem but only by paying a lot of money to get their premium edition.  This does not effect all my old software, just some. 

I have avoided Microsoft Word.  I use Word Perfect and Quattro Pro.  It works well for me.  When I bought my newest laptop I bought the latest edition of Word Perfect but my operating system is Windows 7.  Now I am often forced to start the program two or three times before it will respond.   Sometimes it will freeze up after I have used it for awhile.  This started with the new operating system.  I have a feeling that this is not by accident.

There is nothing I can prove.  I refuse to switch to Word.  Maybe even newer software will take care of the problem.  Until then, I will just live with it.  Sometimes life is like that.

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Opus 2011-206, Christian Cliches: Salt of the Earth

You have heard the phrase, “He is the salt of the earth.”  It is used as praise.  It means that someone is really good to have around.  That person is an asset, not a liability.

It is a Biblical phrase.  It was spoken by Jesus talking about His followers.
(Matthew 5:13 KJV)  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
This would not have been spoken today.  Today we are taught that salt is the bad guy.  It gives us high blood pressure and ruins our health.  So we are told.  But what is that you say?  It doesn’t raise everyone’s blood pressure?  Salt is necessary for life?  Really?

Maybe Jesus wasn’t so far off base.  Salt is necessary for life.  If you don’t get enough you will die.  What He was saying is that if the world does not get enough godly people, it will die.

Historically salt had two main functions.  The first was as a preservative.  The ancient world did not have refrigeration or canning.  They could dry some foods.  Others were preserved by salting.  With enough salt the food would not rot.  The application is that if there are enough of God’s people in a society it will be preserved.  Remember the discussion between God and Lot.  If Lot could have found just a few righteous people in Sodom the city would have been spared.  Jesus is saying the same to His followers.

The second use was flavoring.  In spite of what the health food people tell us, popcorn tastes better with salt.  Sure you can get used to it, but why?  Salt makes things taste better.  As a kid I used to put salt on watermelon.  Who thought that up?  I have had people tell me a little salt on my ground coffee will make the brew better.  God’s people are to bring a savor to the world that it would not have.

So get salty.  Help preserve your world.  Help flavor your world.  And remember that too many righteous people in a town can really get people’s blood pressure up.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Opus 2011-205, Ecumenical Issues: Rome and the Book

I came across an interesting post at KEYBOARD THEOLOGIANS.  The discussion was about authority and when to kneel.  That was not what I found most interesting.  What got my attention was a quote they had from the Catholic Catechism,
"For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body"
This says that the Roman Catholic Church venerates the Bible as much as they venerate the host.  I have long known that the Roman Catholic Church believes that the bread is actually changed into the body of Christ and the wine is changed into His blood.  I was a chaplain’s assistant in the army and we were taught to show extra care and respect for any of the consecrated host that we might need to deal with.  Any extra bread was to be stored in a special tabernacle inside a gold lined container.  The cup was to be washed in a sink that drained onto the ground, not into the sewer.  When I cover the Reformation at school I tell the non-Catholics to never partake of communion in a Catholic church because that would be considered blasphemy. 

I had never heard they had that kind of respect for the written word.  That flies in the face of all the historical attempts to keep the word out of the hands of the common believer.  Perspective and motive can be gamechangers.  Maybe the reason for withholding Bibles was respect for the word and fear that it would be misused.  I don’t need to agree to understand.

We have always heard about how the Roman Catholic church placed the church and tradition in authority over scripture.  If you think about it, how is that any different from Calvin and Luther.  They just wanted to substitute themselves for the pope.  We want to substitute the local church.  We talk about individual conscience and such but most Protestants take the teaching of the pastor as the authority.  Even local churches have a statement of agreed faith.  The only exception is when those in authority say something they don’t like, but that is another issue.

When it comes down to it the Roman Catholic church has a lot of the same issues that we Protestants have.  They work things out differently but are also concerned with faith and practice.  The majority of people who attend and claim the label don’t pay that much attention to what they believe. 

We sound like the same knuckleheads that Paul was writing to in his letters.  Welcome to the church.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Opus 2011-204, Monday Pulpit: The Voice of MSM

While out of town we have visited the same church two weeks in a row. The Pastor is not afraid to be specific about the world we live in. He started off about the deceit that has gone into the farce of global warming. He reviewed the revelation of the e-mails from the English university that showed how much of the data was invented by the “scientists” who were doing the research. What surprised him was that there has been so little fall-out from this scandal. Cap and trade is still being pushed. The EPA still does its damage to our economy. It is as if the documents had never been shown to the public. He used it to illustrate how people believe what they want to believe, not what the facts show.

He used it to lead into a sermon based on I Kings 22. King Ahab of Israel wanted to go to war. He brought out his 400 tame prophets and they told him it was a good idea. His ally, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, asked if there weren’t any prophets of the Lord available. Ahab’s reply was so familiar.
(1 Kings 22:8 KJV) And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

There was one prophet of God. Ahab deliberately avoided him because he spoke the truth. He was not a “yes” man.

That is why the general public and the people in power ignore the truth. They don’t want to hear it. That applies when it involves global warming. It applies regarding the economy. It is true in education. It is the same story in regard to sexual perversions.

At heart it is a spiritual problem. God is constantly trying to talk to people but they don’t want to listen. People know right from wrong but they want to pretend to be ignorant.

It was a good time to examine my own heart and motives. It was a good Sunday.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 11, 2011

Opus 2011-203, Discernment Watch: Where Did All the Indians Go? Part III

Then there is the work ethic of warriors.  Real men hunt and fight.  They also sit around swapping stories about how they hunt and fight.  Everything else was done by the women.  The hunter would kill the deer and might carry it back to camp.  After that the women butchered it, cooked what they could and preserved what they could.  The plains Indians would move their camp to be close to the kill so they didn’t need to carry the dead buffalo to the women.  The women tanned the hide and found uses for the bones and other body parts.  They made the clothes and the homes.  They did what farming was to be done. 

Most of us would consider this either slavery or something close.  One of the tendencies of slave cultures is that there is little innovation and development.  If you are a warrior you are on top.  Why would you come up with anything that would rock the boat.  If someone comes up with a new innovation that would save the women a lot of work, they would have more spare time to think about how they spent their lives.  This was not conducive to new ideas.  We often think of new inventions as “labor saving devices.”  If you don’t do the labor, why would you care if labor was saved.  If your merit was based on killing enemies and deer, what does it matter to you how hard it is to tan the hide.  That is women’s work, right?

Where did all the people go?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Opus 2011-202, Sabbath Observations: Sunday in the Store

I was reading one of my favorite humor sites Not Always Right and had to wince in pain.  The site is not exactly pro-Christian but neither is the world.  I can deal with that.  Sometimes they see our hypocrisy very clearly.  The offering they gave is called "Casting the First Stone."  It points out that if we were serious about observing a day of rest and expecting people to come to church, maybe we should stop shopping on Sunday.  I have said this often about going out to eat on Sunday. 

I have run into this with people who say they are required to work on Sunday.  I can understand it if you are a policeman or a pharmacist.  Many jobs though would not require you to work on Sunday if the church goer's would simply stop shopping on Sunday.

I note that this is an observation of a pagan, not my being judgmental.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Opus 2011-201, Assume the Teacher Knows Something

Today I was at a home improvement store looking for anchors to fasten a hat rack to a hollow core door.  My wife has taught me to ask if I don’t know what I need, so, being the obedient husband, I asked the highly trained employee in the hardware department.  I got a look that made me think I was at school and told the students to answer in complete sentences.  I walked him over to the area I assumed the item would be found and explained again what I needed.  He tried to give me several things that would not work so I made an excuse, came back and looked myself.  As I was looking I had an inspiration:  Why not ask in the department that sells hollow core doors.  Surely someone else has asked this question before. 

The other area had two employees.  The closest I got to an answer was, “No one has ever asked that before.”  Then I remembered something that I keep telling students at school.  They will tell me that the answer is not on the page.  I tell them to read it again.  They say they already read it four times.  I say read it five.  This goes on until they get so bored they actually look for the answer.  Low and behold, there it is!  I tell them to assume that the answer is on the page.  That attitude makes it easier to find.

Armed with this moment of “practice what you preach” I headed back to the hardware department and guess what I found?  Anchors for hollow core doors.  I could not find the employee of the hardware department so I could not educate him in what is on the shelf.  He must have seen me coming and hid.  So I headed back to the door department.  The employees there were in chairs staring at computers and looking busy.  They could not escape without standing up.  I shared my discovery with them, just in case some one else should ask the same question.

The point is attitude.  If you assume something is where logic and experience tells you it should be there is a good chance you will find it there.  Remember that next time your wife tells you to get the “thing” from the “other room,” and that it is “right where it has always been.”  It might be.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 8, 2011

Opus 2011-200, Healthy Insights: Faith and Science

I am beginning my journey in living with diabetes.  I make that statement to set the stage, not to look for sympathy.  Like any new thing in my life, I have been reading.  I research.  I did it before I bought my first computer.  I do it before I buy a gun.  I do it before I vote.  It is a good habit to get into.

I have read or browsed through a dozen books dealing with diabetes.  The first couple were a new world and interesting in all chapters.  The more I read the more repetition I came across.  That is natural and skipping sections is a part of mature reading.  I also noticed that there were some very different opinions, diagnosis, prognosis and treatments.  What I am focusing on today is that all of those differences are based on the same sets of facts.  What I found interesting was the similarity between schools of diabetes treatment and schools of theology.

Let me give you an example.  In talking with my doctor when I was in denial I used the term “pre-diabetic.”  He reamed me out.  He said there is no such thing as “pre-diabetic.”  You either are or you are not.  I read some books that agreed with that.  I also read other books that used the term and said that many people who are pre-diabetic will never move on to full diabetes.  Then the specialist I am dealing with now said I had been doing so well that I had moved back to being pre-diabetic.  Which is it? 

Many opinions in matters of health and matters of eternity are based on faith.  You look at the same data and come to different conclusions.  Sometimes that is because you refuse to look at the data or deliberate ignorance.  Sometimes it is a matter of how you put the data together, or honest differences.  Whether you are talking about global warming, the King James Bible, salt and blood pressure or the best gun for home defense you are dealing with faith. 

Faith is the glue that holds the facts together.  Faith is the path that directs how we think.  Everyone has a faith.  The difference is the target of the faith and the strength of belief.  Yes, even math is based on faith.  At its core are certain assumptions.  Everything builds on that.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ because my faith is in Him.  My faith is in Him because that is the most logical way to deal with the plethora of competing facts around me.  I think of it as a seeing and thinking faith, not a blind faith.

Isn’t it interesting what having diabetes can bring to mind?

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Opus 2011-199, Immortal Quotes: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

This is a quote that I have heard attributed to many different people.  A Google search seems to point toward John Bradford in the 16th century but it is a maybe, not a definite.

Either way, it is an important and humbling quote.  It reminds us that we are not creatures in control of our destiny.  An accident, another person, a moment of weakness, you name it, it can ruin your day and your life.  This reminds us that even with the best of planning, God is ultimately in control.

The idea of the grace of God reminds us of how we are often protected when we are not even aware of it.  God gives us second chances and blessings we do not deserve.  When we see someone suffering from cancer, losing a child, in a major car accident or any other tragedy we are to be moved with compassion not judgement.  It could just as easily have been us.  You aren’t an alcoholic?  You could have been.  You don’t have the diabetes gene?  It isn’t because of your brilliance.  You can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?  That isn’t your fault either.

Jesus reminded us that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us.  We are to be motivated by the love and grace of God, not by our personal sense of worth.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Opus 2011-198, Are You Smart?

You have to love how naive seventh graders are.  They hear hoary old jokes and think they are new.  Last week they played the old one, “Are you smart?  Spell it.”  That’s the way they say it.  Of course what they mean is, “Spell ‘it’.”  It really breaks their hearts when I reply “I-T.”

Why do people keep falling for the same old political jokes?  Why do people keep falling for the same old lines about things like global warming?  Or is it global cooling this year?  Since the president admitted in a recorded interview that raising capital gains taxes would bring in less revenue, how is it fair?  How does creating a massive new entitlement program for health save money and balance the budget?  How does selling houses to people who can’t afford them make sound banks?  How many times is Lucy going to pull the football out from in front of your foot?

Unfortunately the world is full of Charlie Browns. 

People also keep falling for the old spiritual jokes.  We still want to be gods.  We want to deny the existence of sin and blame all our social and personal woes on training and education.  Has no one noticed how totally self centered a child is from birth to accountability?  Has no one noticed that the selfishness does not go away but is simply disguised after accountability? 

Charlie Brown would have made a great Rich Young Ruler.  Maybe his name was Charles.

Are you smart?  Spell “hope.”  The answer is J-E-S-U-S.  Or you can keep trusting Lucy.  Maybe this time it will be different.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Opus 2011-197, Door Prizes

Recently as I was driving I noticed a truck with advertising on the door.  That brought back memories from my childhood.  I remembered trying to get my dad to put his name on the doors of our dump truck.  I thought it would be cool.  My dad took a bigger view. 

He believed it attracted people looking for insurance money.  There are people out there who are looking for deep pockets to sue.  He figured if you looked rich, others might act on it.

He also didn’t really need it.  In spite of the fact he did not do that kind of advertising he always had work.  He had developed a reputation for quality.  He kept busy by word of mouth, repeat customers and referrals.  When the economy took a dip, and there was little work available, he was the one who got the call.  There were a few days when we were not sure where we would work next week but something always turned up.

People who did the advertising were often out of work because in the final analysis they did not produce the kind of fruit that brought people back for more.  Over time people know this.

The point here is, what kind of fruit does your life produce?  Over time people get to know what your values are and what kind of product you produce.  Times are hard right now.  Sometimes the old principle of “last hired, first fired” is how it works.  But sometimes it is the one who has been cutting corners, taking the long breaks and figuring no one would notice that gets the pink slip.

As Jesus said,
(Matthew 7:16 NASB)  "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
What kind of fruit does your life produce?

homo unius libri

Monday, July 4, 2011

Opus 2011-196, Discernment Watch: Where Did All the Indians Go? Part II

Let’s make a few assumptions.  Both North American tribes and European tribes are made up of people.  People are people.  You have short and tall.  Some are smart, some dumb.  All the varieties of humanity apply to both.  Sure there might be some small differences but not enough to be significant.  What happened to all the people who should have been in North America?

You can’t blame it on disease.  Remember that they theoretically had no immunity to European disease so they must not have had to deal with the same bugs.  If they had different ones, why didn’t they send plagues to Europe.  Yes, I know about syphilis.  It did not wipe out Europe. 

It certainly can’t be wars and famine.  Europe is one long litany of war and famine.

Where did all the people go?

I have a theory based on culture.  Culture is not innate.  Culture is implanted.  Culture is more powerful than heredity.  Most cultures of North America were a type of warrior culture.  Not all but the vast majority.  You were not considered a real man until you had been to war and shown you had the proper skills.  This by it’s very nature would automatically start by cutting your population in half.  That is a minimum.  If each surviving male killed at least one other male, half would survive.  Since the men did the hunting there was a limit on how many wives and children they could support.  And in a warrior culture it would not stop at just one.  Status and rank would depend on how great a warrior you were.  One reason there were not more people is that they worked hard at killing each other off.

Are you seeing where the people had gone?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Opus 2011-195, Green Pieces: Environmentally Friendly Indians?

The Indians were no more concerned about the environment than you are.  That is one of the lies of the centuries.  Indians used a burn and slash farming method.  They would burn off the trees in an area or girdle them if it wasn’t safe to burn.  They would farm the land until it was worn out and then move on.  Again and again.  I don’t know if it is true but one book I read claimed that the great prairies of America were created by the Indians so that the buffalo would have more range.  They destroyed the trees so grass would grow.  True?  My doubts are not based on their willingness, but on their long range planning and cooperation skills.

How about fishing?  One method of fishing was to put a poison in the stream that would paralyze the fish.  When they couldn’t swim, they could not breathe.  They would die and float to the surface to be harvested.  Not very environmentally friendly but certainly efficient.

So relax.  God made the world to be used and managed.  We might be able to do a better job of it but the answer is not to worship the creation.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Opus 2011-194, Worm Theology

Are you old enough to remember the pre-politically correct verse of “At the Cross”?  One of its lines said,
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
You younguns, if you ever sang a hymn, might know the words slightly different.
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
We are witnessing an attack of the Self Esteem Police in this hymn.  The old version is mocked as “Worm Theology” and is being eradicated.  We are people, not worms.  Calling ourselves worms is belittling and demeaning.  God wants us to feel good about ourselves.

“Worm Theology” is Biblical and should be acceptable.  We only reject it because of our modern philosophy.

Today our culture has rejected “worm” for “sinner.”  The church has gone along with the change.  Already the attack is starting on “sinner.”  The whole concept of sin is rejected in the heretical part of the emergent church.  If we back off from one Biblical standard, rest assured that the forces of apostasy will push on to the next high point.

Another example I have come across is the song, “So Send I You.”  Here are the original words of the first verse that I grew up on:
So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing–
So send I you to toil for Me alone.
The words you will find now are a little bit different.  Again I give you the first verse:
So send I you-by grace made strong to triumph
O'er hosts of hell, o'er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear, and in that name to conquer-
So send I you, my victory to win.
You can find both sets of lyrics on line.  The point of view is totally different.  The first is the original.  In this case the second was also written and revised by the original author. 

We also need to be aware of the Gender Police.  Sunday I lead the singing using my guitar.  My daughter said that the words I sang were different from what the hymnal had in one place.  I thought I had them straight out of the hymnal, but such was not to be.  In the second verse of “O How He Loves You and Me” the old words I had were “His love for mankind to show.”  Guess what the problem is.  Right.  Mankind is not politically correct today so they had changed it to “sinners.”  Theologically correct but not the way it was originally written.

Obviously some change is good.  Some is required, but too much of the change we see is in response to philosophies that are not based on Bible truth.  They are based on old pagan lies.  I came across an interesting verse in my study of Proverbs.
(Proverbs 24:21 NASB)  My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change,
The problem is not “change” but being “given to change.”  Don’t believe the label that says “new and improved.”  Some things cannot be improved on.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 1, 2011

Opus 2011-193, Discernment Watch: Where Did All the Indians Go? Part I

When the Europeans began to move into North America they found a land that was sparsely populated.  Some people claim that European diseases killed of the locals.  We know that happened when Cortez was fighting the Aztecs.  We know there were times that it effected tribes in what is now the United States.  That does not explain why there were so few Indians to kill off.  Where did they go? 

Think about it.

The scholars believe that the first men came to North America across a land or ice bridge connecting Siberia with Alaska.  Let’s accept that as a working hypothesis.  Go with me on this. They came across, what, 30,000 years ago?  My seventh grade text book says from 15,000 to 40,000 years ago.  Pick a number.  Within a historically short period of time they spread all the way down to the tip of South America. 

We tend to think in isolated bits and pieces.  What was the condition of Europe at the same time?  My guess is that there were also no men in Europe.  The movement from Asia and Africa came much later.  So we start with two continents empty of men.  Jump forward to 1492.  Europe has masses of people.  Europe has large cities.  Europe has Universities and factories.  Europe is expanding in the world.  Keep in mind that we are talking about the same range in time.  Europe with population pressure.  North America almost empty.  Europe with steel, gunpowder and ships that can cross an ocean.  North America with flints, bows and canoes. 

Where Did All the Indians Go?

To be continued...

homo unius libri