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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Opus 2012-26, Monday Pulpit: Saints or Sinners?

One of the ignored doctrines of the church is the doctrine of sin.  What is taught often walks close to the precipice of historic Gnosticism.  The Bible teaches clearly that we are born in sin.  We are all guilty. 
(Romans 3:23 KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
All followers of Jesus must accept this truth.

Some go overboard.  They are so focused on sin that they ignore the fact that once we are washed in the blood of the Lamb we become saints.  Do a quick run through the letters of Paul.  He consistently greets the recipients of his letters as “saints,” not “sinners.” 

This came up at our men’s Bible study last week.  We were sharing and one of the young men who has had a rough walk kept talking about being a sinner and how that was not going to change.  He was not looking for excuses, just repeating what he had been taught by the man who was mentoring him. 

Are we saints or sinners?

Can we be both?

The Bible study is working through I Peter so I did a little searching in First and Second Peter.  I did a word search for the following words:  Sin, sins, sinner, sinners, saint, saints, righteous.  Maybe I missed a word.  Let me know.

It is important that we know our theology and doctrine.  They are important.  It is more important that we know our Bible.  Theologians are men, and women too, I assume.  Doctrine is a human summary.  The Bible is the Word of God.

When Peter talks about sin and sinners it is in the past tense, before we are saved.  He does not use the word saint in the KJV.  He does talk about us being righteous.

Think about it and adjust your vocabulary.  We WERE sinners.  We PROBABLY will sin.  But now we are saints.  I am not comfortable with that, but that is the Bible’s label, not mine.

Am I wrong?  (My wife is not allowed to respond to that question.)

homo unius libri

Monday, January 30, 2012

Opus 2012-25, Practical or Hypocritical?

As a serious Christian I note how often people like to call believers “hypocrite.” Usually I just ignore it but I got to thinking about some of the things I see that might reflect that. My thinking here was stirred by someone pointing out the hypocrisy of the Leatherman tool makers. Whoever was writing said that the Leatherman company does not support the second amendment and goes out of their way to assist the restricters of liberty. Then they pointed out that Leatherman now markets a tool for gun owners and it is a great product. Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

How do I demonstrate hypocrisy? As a teacher I am perfectly willing to accept any pay raises that come my way. At the same time I vote against tax increases and urge others to do so. That seems like hypocrisy.

I think we should do away with compulsory education. I am a public school teacher, lined up at the public trough, sucking down your tax dollars. That seems like hypocrisy.

We home schooled our children. I urge others to do the same. I earn my living in a public school. That seems like hypocrisy.

I think the country would be better off without all the health insurance mandates. When I go to the doctor I work the system the best I can. That seems like hypocrisy.

I could go on but you get the point. I seem to be a hypocrite. I can live with it. I can live with Leatherman’s hypocrisy, too. Business is business and maybe they will make enough money to change their politics. Nah, probably not.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Opus 2012-24, Plow and Crown: Danger, Little People Ahead

The crown-covetous elites don’t seem to realize that peasants have been finding ways around their limitations for centuries.  It has modern applications.  Take for instance the quest to limit the energy used in homes by cutting down on the wattage of lightbulbs.  You may have noticed that your 100 watt light bulbs were downgraded to 95 watts or something like that.  The theory was that you would use less energy and the 5 watts would not make any difference to you.  Wrong.  What I do is get two 57 watt bulbs and burn them both.  Thus I get the light I need to read or work without straining my eyes.  Thus I use more energy that I did before.  Thus your plan to save the Earth is set back.  But since it isn’t really about saving the earth, it is about control, the elites don’t really care.  They passed their bill.  They messed with you.  They  have built their self esteem and advanced the crown.

But, Your Lordship, remember that sooner or later you will be forced to come out into the world that us peasants inhabit.  Beware.  I am not planning on violence.  Remember that the colonists tried to negotiate with King George and Parliament for years and tried to withdraw without bloodshed.  No, I am talking about the things the little people can do.  For instance, don’t insult your waitress.  She will smile and take it.  She will put on a happy face.  In the kitchen she may spit in the soup she has been sent to reheat.  We, the common, learned long ago to not make the voice in the drive thru unhappy.

Think about it.

How many areas of life can the invisible little people, that you deign to notice, touch?  Historically servants are some of the best spies because the Lords and Ladies ignore them like they were not there. 

Little people, be creative.  Find ways to keep your spirits up until enough sheep get worried about the wolves to organize.  As I said, use two lightbulbs instead of one.  Flush the toilet three times.  Shop on the internet and at yard sales.  Barter. 

You get the idea. 

If we can’t vote the suckers out and can’t keep them from their power trips, we can at least rob them of any of the results they claim to want.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Opus 2012-23, Monday Pulpit: Persecution?

During prayer last Sunday the following was offered up, “Persecution against Christians is mild in our country.”  The context was the deadly force being used in the parts of the world with strong Muslim concentrations and how Christians are being brutalized and murdered on a daily basis.  We need to pray for our brethren around the world and agitate with our politicians at home.

But what struck me was the fact that this should be an indictment of the church, not a thankful observation.  Why is there so little deadly persecution?  Let me put it this way, dead lawns don’t need mowing.  There is very little for Satan to persecute.  When is the last time you raised your head above the crowd to take a stand based on the holiness of God?  I stand indicted, too.

They say that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  The world knows this so they have taken the soft and gentle approach America.  We have been bought off with prosperity and a trust in our material security.  We have been slowly eased out of the fast lane.

I hope we wake up before the wrath of God really descends on us.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Opus 2012-22, Spiritual Gifts: Geek

I know that your Bible does not list the spiritual gift of geek.  This is one of the places in which paraphrase could come in handy.  What it does list is the gift of “craftsmanship” (NASB) or “workmanship” (KJV).  This is found in the Old Testament.  It is one of the earliest spiritual gifts listed.  Consider the following:
(Exodus 35:31 KJV)  And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
We have the ingredients of the New Testament.  We have the Holy Spirit filling people with some things we have seen already, wisdom and knowledge.  If you look a little further down you see teaching added to the list.
(Exodus 35:34 KJV)  And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
So I think we are talking about spiritual gifts.  Here we add understanding and craftsmanship.

Think about how this would apply itself down through history.  You have the person with the green thumb helping the person with bad soil.  You have a skilled mason helping build a house.  You develop a labor saving device.  You help a single mother get her car running or fix her broken toilet.  To this I add the gift of geek.

Let’s face it, many of us are technologically challenge.  We can’t even get messages off our cell phones.  Texting might as well be in Greek, unless we live in Greece, then it might as well be in Turkish. 

And so we have the person who has the gift of designing, applying and using the tools that make our everyday existence better.  Today much of that is in technology.
(Exodus 35:35 KJV)  Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
This person could held the church reach out through the world through web design or management programs.  They can help the church in outreach.  They can be of assistance to the tech challenged in the congregation.  They can be a witness to those who live in the cyber world. 

We have materials that did not exist in the days of Moses.  We have machines and concepts that would have been beyond their wildest dreams.  In the midst of that we have people who still need to be edified and a church that needs to minister.

If geek is your gift, use it.  Blessings.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opus 2012-21, Pumice Proverbs: A Chance to Love

The saying, “I don’t remember praying for patience” made me go off on this tangent.

Thank you for 
the Chance to 

I Corinthians 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}

homo unius libri

Monday, January 23, 2012

Opus 2012-20, Should-a-Beens: Toilet Washing Ceremonies

I sometimes wonder how Jesus would have expressed Himself if He came in the 21st century.  Many of the truths He taught and demonstrated were set in a culture we don’t understand.  That does not take away from the truth, and I find the word pictures powerful even today, but I wonder what modern cliches, habits and rituals He would have used.

One that I wonder about is foot washing.  In case you are not familiar with this here are the key verses.
(John 13:4-5 KJV)  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
You find reference to this custom all the way back to the days of Joseph in Egypt.
(Genesis 43:24 KJV)  And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.
It was a widely practiced custom that showed courtesy and hospitality.  That is one side of this practice.

The other side was that it was the job of the lowest servant or slave in the house.  It was disgusting to wash feet that had been walking the roads of the ancient Middle East.  You knew you were the bottom of the pecking order if it was your job.

Jesus got up to wash the disciple’s feet.  He was trying to teach them about humility and servanthood.  It is a wonderful picture for the ancient world. 

The image is distorted in our day.  Washing someone’s feet does not have near the stigma it did in the old days.  Taking a basin of warm water, kneeling on a nice carpet and handling a foot that has had a pedicure and has been encased in clean stockings somehow does not convey the level of servanthood that Jesus was teaching.

I think we should substitute toilet scrubbing.  Admit it.  Scrubbing the toilet is probably the bottom level job in a modern home.  It can be gross.  I think that if Jesus had been teaching this today He would have gone under the sink, pulled out the cleanser, rags and pumice stick and got to work. 

If we would do that it would show true humility and servanthood.

I don’t expect it to happen soon.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Opus 2012-19, On the Street: Positive Livers

How many livers within my sight are working as designed? 

Have you ever stopped to think how much of life works as it is supposed to?  There are millions of cars, each with hundreds of moving parts, and only a few break down each day.  Awesome.

Okay.  My knees creak, my jaw clicks.  I need the bathroom more than I did in my youth.  I admit it, but think about how many cells and organs are happily going about business as usual.  Awesome.

The government is a lost cause.  The budget is out of control.  We face TEOTWAWKI.  At the same time the roads get enough repair to keep working.  The utilities are usually operating.  Millions of people in government cubicles do their work and many go the extra mile to help you out.  Awesome.

Keep complaining.  Keep agitating.  Vote the suckers out.  At the same time stop to realize how many blessings are still ours.  Remember, you could have laughed at Noah.  You could be living in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  You could have been a Russian peasant with Genghis Khan riding over the horizon.  You could have been on the Titanic.  You could have been on vacation in Hiroshima.  You could be a black conservative in America today.

You could be a child of the King.  You are?  Sounds like trumps to me.  Awesome.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Opus 2012-18, Plow and Crown: Internet Shackles

One of the liberty sapping inspirations of congress is their current attempts to regulate the internet.  There is one form of the bill in the House called SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act and one in the Senate called PIPA or Protect IP Act.  Both of them are examples of the Nanny State as the progressives of both parties try to protect us from ourselves and make sure that we make the right choices.  It is another form of that terrifying statement, “I’m from the government and I am here to help you.”

Some of you may not understand what the problem could be.  You like the idea of the government protecting you from those mean and greedy capitalists who are doing everything they can to live high on the hog by charging you too much for your internet service.  You worry about your children having access to pornography and you don’t want hackers stealing your passwords.

Those are legitimate concerns but you need to understand, that is not the real purpose of these bills.  The ultimate goal is to find a way to regulate your access to ideas the progressives don’t like and tax what you do have access to.

This is the kind of control that begins with benevolent and benign noises and slowly strangles you.  Let me give you an example I live with daily.  I teach middle school.  We have internet connections and reasonably fast access to the internet.  If all I want to do is the basic vanilla activities like taking attendance and entering grades, I have all the access I need.  Beyond that it gets tricky.  The school district is worried about children accessing sites that might damage them.  You are probably thinking porn sights but that is only the camel’s nose.  It also limits their access to anything that the flunky who filled out the form decides they should not see. 

What is the problem with that, you say?  Part of the curriculum in seventh grade is the Reformation.  You cannot talk about the Reformation without talking about John Calvin and Martin Luther.  I have the kids do research papers and these are two of the available topics.  When I go to check their sources I am blocked by our district filter.  I am denied access.  Why?  These are sites with religious content.  I am denied access to the required curriculum because someone sitting in an office on his fifth cup of coffee has issues with religion and thinks it could damage the child’s psyche. 

I also have trouble accessing sites that have political content.  How do you teach history without having political content.  It gets better.  In one sense it is hit and miss.  It is impossible to keep up with all the locations of information.  So they limit what they can think of.  It is not scientific but I have noticed the sites from the right politically tend to be blocked more than sites from the left.  Coincidence?  No, perception of evil and your right to know.

I also run blogs to supply parents with information about the class.  I cannot access them or update them from school because anything on blogger is blocked by the filter. 

A second major issue is taxes.  State and Federal tax collectors are going crazy about the internet.  Maybe you have not noticed.  Let's say you buy some shoes from Zappos.  Not only do you get a great price, pay no postage and have easy returns, but you don't pay any sales tax.  In California that comes to about 10%.  How would you like to save 10% on everything you buy?  It would almost make up for the recent cut in my salary, increase in health insurance costs and increase in the income tax withholding.  Almost, not quite.

Yes, the government wants to control your internet.  The word today is that they have backed off.  To paraphrase General MacArthur, "They shall return."

Elections are coming.  They matter.  Vote the suckers out.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 20, 2012

Opus 2012-17, Green Pieces: They Are after Your Coffee, Too

My thinking was stimulated on this topic when I discarded half a cup of tepid coffee before class started.  Not only was it unappetizing, but I feel if I don’t let the kids drink in class, then I should not drink in class either.  So I threw it away.

How many gallons of coffee are wasted every day by this casual disregard for one of the worlds endangered resources?

Why do I say endangered?  Read your coffee cans.  Check the internet.  I was surprised at how much I found listed.  Google “coffee” and “environment.”  You will find talk of sustainable coffee growth and such.  In fact the carbon tax people are way ahead of you on this one.
“Paying coffee farmers for carbon storage may be in the near future.  A partnership between Rainforest Alliance, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, and an agro-industry corporation recently developed methodology for carbon monitoring in farms.”
You can read the whole article HERE.

I would imagine that soon we will be seeing a special tax on coffee to pay for the environmentalists dreams of controlling even this part of your life.  Notice in the quote above that the World Bank is involved in this process.  Yes, that is the same World Bank that is hitting us Americans up for more subsidies to continue funding their liberal, progressive, anti-American, anti-liberty agenda.

One site that I read was urging us to only use environmentally friendly coffee such as that from Rainforest Alliance Certified(TM) sustainable coffee farms.  If this were just some blogs urging us to be more conscientious, I could go with that.  I don’t mind being reminded of my responsibility.  I am all for farmers using methods which are environmentally friendly.  Evidently those methods are the traditional way of growing coffee and produce better flavor.  The free market should work there.  I don’t even mind being told that I should be paying $10.00 a pound at coffee roasters instead of $4.00 a pound in the supermarket.  I really don’t mind paying for quality.  But let me make that decision, don’t use a carbon tax to subsidize your agenda. 

Today my coffee, tomorrow my internet, the next day my Bible.

What will they think of next?  I assure you, they already have and I am afraid to ask.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Opus 2012-16, Hackers Standing in Line

For about ten years I have been attending DEFCON as a father/son event.  It certainly gives us a lot to talk about.  It gives me a chance to help him keep his foundations and helps me get a better feel for what is going on in our culture.

If you are not familiar with it, DEFCON is an annual conference for people in the computer security field.  Just call them hackers.  These are the people who break into computers and make things happen.  They are also the people who help you keep people from breaking into your computer and making things happen.  If they ever get really angry at the system they could bring the country to its knees in a very short period of time.

I noticed something a few years ago.  These rebels, these self-styled revolutionaries and individualists are capable of being sheep just like the rest of us.  The year I first noticed this was the first year they had an unexpectedly large attendance.  They did not have near enough room in for the people who wanted to hear the speakers.  So they had them line up.  Single file.  In the hot sun of a Las Vegas summer.  I took one look at the lines and went back to my room to relax with a good book. 

This has repeated itself many times over the years that followed.  The rabid rebels stood quietly in line while I refused.  I had enough standing in line in the army.  I get enough of being a sheep when I get caught going to work and there are no choices.  I am getting old.  I don’t have enough time left to stand in line to hear a speaker who may, or may not, be worth it.  In short, I have a life.

I think it is funny that the rebels stand in line, like sheep, while the establishment refuses, like a goat.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Opus 2012-15, Tax Dollars at Work: Ramp It Down

I live in an urban area.  I am old enough to remember the days when curbs and gutters were considered a mark of progress.  At one point you could tell where the city ended and the county began because they stopped like magic.

Then the federal government got into the act and decided that we needed to make curbs and gutters handicap friendly.  There is a certain type of logic in that.  A person in a wheel chair cannot safely cross a street if there are curbs at both ends.  Somewhere in here the insanity represented by federal control stepped in.  I have seen corners where there were driveways on both sides of the corner, easily and safely accessible to wheelchairs, yet they sent out crews and equipment to tear of the curb and put in a ramp. 

Now we are going a step further.  I noticed the city workers were tearing out a ramp one day.  They had set the concrete forms to put in another ramp.  What gives?  It seems that the budget hawks in Washington have decided that the ramps need cute little yellow pads with bumps.  I am not sure if it is to warn of a street ahead with the bumps, for traction or perhaps the yellow is to warn the speeders to slow down.  I was not aware that we had enough money to waste like this or that people in wheelchairs were so stupid that they could not tell a street was right in front of them.

Then on the way to church I noticed something else.  The first thing I noticed was that there were still a lot of ramps without the yellow pad.  The next thing I noticed was that there were still a lot of corners with no ramps.  Get ready for a tax increase.  We need more ramps and more pads.  I also noticed that many corners have ramps right by driveways but other intersections with no driveways for at least a block have no ramps.  In that case I can see the need for ramps but the government does not know how to do things part way.

It is time to ramp it down, increase taxes and make the world safe for skateboarders.

Elections are coming.  Vote the incumbents out.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Opus 2012-14, Simple Pleasures

I was sitting in church and we were asked to stand.  I watched one guy who has twenty years on me as he struggled upright.  He made it.  At one point I was a doubter, but he persisted. 

Have you ever stopped to be thankful for all the things that are going right in your body.  It hit me the other day at work:  I had just gone down stairs and back up without touching the rail.  To you that may be a “So what?” moment, but for some of us that is an awesome accomplishment.

So think about the people around you and the daily moment by moment struggles they have.  Can you feed yourself?  Are you still able to work?  Can you enjoy a wide variety of foods?  Are you able to hear the birds? 

Sure we have our problems.  So does everyone else.  I plan to rejoice in the blessings I have and pray for those who struggle with things I have a hard time understanding.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 16, 2012

Opus 2012-13, Tax Dollars at Work: The Cost of Saving Energy

This week I returned to school from the Christmas/New Year break.  It is amazing how easy it is to get back into the swing of things.  I had one big surprise though.  I came into my room, tried to boot up my computer and nothing happened.  I tried the other computer with the same results.  I started looking and found that every electrical plug in my room had been pulled.  Our district energy police had struck.

We have a man on our district who is employed full time to help us save money on utilities.  The goal is to save $1,000,000.  He is paid a full time salary, has an office and works with a consulting firm to give him advice.  I shudder to think how much that is going to cost.

We have a fairly large school district.  At one point we had over 1,000 teachers but with declining enrollment I don’t know the numbers now.  How long did it take this man to drive around to every school on the district, go into every room, search diligently and unplug everything that was connected to the grid?  Remember that I had to get down on my hands and knees to reattach things.  He had unplugged things that had the chords buried behind boxes, tables and file cabinets.  He had been very thorough. 

In addition we have the Yellow Signs.  This was done in another expedition.  It was probably found in a previous chapter of the Energy Police Manual for Harassments of Once-Free Citizens.  He had gone to every room and taped a little yellow sign below the light switches.  It reminded people to turn off the lights when they left the room and repeated the admonition to turn off all appliances and unplug them if left for extended time.

Add to all this the fees spent on The Consultant.  Yes, Americans, it takes an expert to tell us how to save money on energy.  Our district has contracted with an organization to act as our Expert Helpers in this noble attempt to save the planet and money.   We have already had one of these noble, self sacrificing individuals attend one of our faculty meetings.  He did nothing but stand, smile and wave but I am sure we also covered hotel expenses, meals and a rental car.  What a way to save money.  And you can bet your best pair of sox that this is all being paid for with grants from the Federal Government.

When my wife goes shopping I have a question when she returns, “How much money did you save me this time?”  I never ask how much she spent, just how much I saved.  It is much easier to feel good about my bank balance that way.

I hope this makes you feel better.  That is a lie.  I hope this increases your anger.  Vote differently.  It is time to vote the suckers out.  But walk to the polls please, we need to save energy.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Opus 2012-12, Monday Pulpit: Sand or Rock?

Wednesday night the pastor was sharing the parable about the two builders.  One built on the rock and one on the sand.  You are familiar with the events that unfolded.  Both start with hearing the word.  Both acted.  One acted by diligent effort.  One took the casual approach.  One survived disaster.  One was destroyed.

My mind wanders when people speak.  I am open to this being the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  It helps me apply what I am hearing.

One of the thoughts that came to my mind was the observations I have made of a creek in the high Sierras.  It too has places where there are rock surfaces and places where the sand builds up.  We seem to be encouraged to build on the rock, not the sand but as I thought about the rush of water in the spring melt that seemed counter productive.

Sand piles up where the water slows down.  It gets deepest where the current is the least violent.  Where you have rock you have hard driving floods that sweep all before it.  It would seem to me that the safest place to build would be where the sand is deepest because there would be the least chance of violence and opposition. 

Have you ever heard, “You can run, but you cannot hide.”

The point is foundations, not oppression.  Oppression will come.  Persecution will happen.  Temptations will rear their ugly heads.  You may try to live in the calm waters but the floods will come.  Survival doesn’t depend on staying out of the conflict but in having the right foundations.

We are coming to the end of a time of peace and complacency in the United States for believers.  Followers of Jesus are being attacked and killed in Nigeria and Egypt.  They have been hounded out of Iraq.  They are discriminated against in most of the world.  They have been forced onto the rock.  We Americans have been living on the sand.  In Europe few serious believers remain.  I hope that in the coming flood there are enough of us left to be a faithful remnant. 

Maybe that is the value of missionaries coming home to report.  It isn’t to tell us what a wonderful job they are doing spreading the word but to remind us that there are parts of the world that are living on the cutting edge of the conflict between righteousness and evil.  The Church is alive, even if our part is asleep. 

homo unius libri

Friday, January 13, 2012

Opus 2012-11, Plow and Crown: The Opiate of the People Strikes Again

I am angry.  Another one of my students has fallen victim to the drug culture.  I am not sure of the name of the drug but I know it is not heroin, cocaine or marijuana.  It is not an illegal drug although I think it is an immoral drug.  It is one of those drugs that is handed out by weary adults to children they don’t want to deal with anymore, the ones that are supposed to deal with a modern discovery called ADD.  There is more than one, the best known is Ritalin. 

In case you live in a cave or took the drug yourself, ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder.  A variation of it is ADHD which means Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  The difference is the the second group tend to be discipline problems where the first group have only learned to be selectively forgetful.  In our modern culture, where the government and experts are here to help you, we are supposed to have totally worry free lives.  Since man is the peak of evolution and sin does not exist there is a cure for everything.  Just ask the Experts.  One of the things that can be cured is ADD or as it used to be called, LBS, Little Boy Syndrome.  It used to be cured by maturity, example and consistent discipline which taught the little boy that there were consequences for forgetting to take out the trash.  Civilization survived.  Today we have little maturity, poor examples and “discipline” is a dirty word. 

Another thing we are taught the experts can cure is ADHD, or as it used to be called, LODS, Lack of Discipline Syndrome.  It used to be cured by the “tune of the hickory stick.”  Civilization survived.

How does this have anything to do with the Plow and Crown?  Since the beginning of time the elites have controlled by masses by the use of drugs.  In more primitive cultures the drug of choice was alcohol.  You find this in the book of Proverbs.
(Proverbs 31:6-7 KJV)  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
We know that Marx talked about religion being the opiate of the people.  He must have know the concept of the crown trying to keep people off the streets and behind the plows.  It can be done in many ways, all of which are regulated by the elites.  We have the obvious use of drugs and alcohol.  We have TV and electronic entertainments.  We have public school.  All of these reduce the level of intelligence and limit options.  All are controlled by the people who want to limit your liberty.

Instead of dealing with children in school, we drug them.  We have professional educators, progressive politicians and harried health care providers.  They all feel like the easiest way out is to slip a few chemicals into the bodies of our young people.  What are the long term consequences?  No one really knows but the early results are not promising.

Today it is questionable if civilization will survive.

My heart goes out to the young student that is the catalyst in my anger.  He was never a problem, just lazy and knowing how to work the system.  He knew the least he had to do to get by and that is all he did.  I have noticed no sudden sense of responsibility in him.  He still doesn’t bring his book to class.  He was never a discipline problem and that has not changed.  But his mother can now blame a “condition” and his doctor has the mother off his back. 

My heart cries out but there is nothing I can do.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Opus 2012-10, On the Street: The Canvas of Sunrise

This morning I was heading west on the freeway.  When I exited and changed direction I saw the advertising that God had purchased for the eastern sky.  The sun was not up yet but only a fool would deny that it would soon make its appearance.

As I was admiring the canvas of morning I thought to the issues of random selection and intelligent design.  I think I might suggest the term “Creative Design” instead.  I wasn’t really concerned about the debate between evolution and creation, that is settled in my mind.  I was more reminded of the argument within the family concerning predestination and free will.

The beauty of the sunrise is the product of evolution or predestination to some people.  As I was looking at it I was struck by how it was an example of the ever expressed creativity of God.  I don’t see God sitting around before the creation of the world, picking shapes and colors and retiring to admire His work.  If you will excuse the stretch, I think God gets up every morning and finds new patterns in old colors to express His nature to the world.  God is infinite.  He is creative.  He shows us every day.

There is a chorus I love that reflects this.  I did not realize until this morning that it was either borrowed from the ESV translation or the ESV borrowed it from the songwriters.
(Lamentations 3:22 ESV)  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
And of course there is that next verse or line,
(Lamentations 3:23 ESV)  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I hope that the creativity of God touches you today.  Blessings.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Opus 2012-9, Discernment Watch: The Pagans Among Us

I was listening to a podcast from Ricochet.  The Celebrity voices were discussing the death of Christopher Hitchens and of course all of them had been great friends of his and, although they disagreed with most of his positions, had the warmest regard for him.  These love-fests make me want to gag but since I am usually driving when I hear them I must control myself.  I often wonder just how these people have so many “good friends” when I have hardly enough time to get to work and back and spend time with my family.  But that is a topic for another day.

I can live with all this warm, fuzzy nonsense.  It is part of life.  It is part of common courtesy.  What really got to me was the way in which our post-modern paganism jumped in to trump the teachings of the Bible.

In their praise for what a wonderful, insightful, honest, etc, person Hitchens was they drifted into the topic of eternal destiny.  You know, the afterlife.  Hitchens was an unabashed atheist.  He made it a habit to mock God and the people of God.  He has a lot of company and he was very consistent and open about it.  What got me was the devout Catholic and the two cultural Christians on the program threw out everything they had ever been taught about salvation and eternity and also ignored everything Hitchens ever said about the same.

One of them, I think the Catholic, said that when Hitchens showed up before the pearly gates that Saint Peter would give him a special pass because of his warmth and sincerity.  This warmth and sincerity ignore his hatred for God and the things of God and his deliberate misquoting of sources to make his point.  I actually heard him quoting some Christian authority to prove a point.  The problem was that the program host also had on a scholar who knew what had actually been said.  When confronted with his deceit, Hitchens just changed the subject and plowed ahead. 

I don’t listen to the Ricochet Podcast for spiritual advice, so I am not devastated.  I am used to this kind of hypocrisy by people who should know better.  I would simply urge those of us in the trenches, who do not have celebrity status, to remain true to the teachings of the Bible.  Don’t jump on your high-horse, point your finger and yell, “You’re going to burn in Hell!”  That was generally not the approach of Jesus or the Apostles.   But don’t retreat from the truth because you want to feel comfortable and blend in with the culture.  Remember the words of Peter,
(1 Peter 3:15 KJV)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
It is too late to change the destiny of Christopher Hitchens.  He will stand before God.  As much as he was on the side of the enemy, I would still be glad to hear someone share how he had a deathbed conversion.  That would give me some hope.  But for the love of all those around us who listen to what we say in our daily conversation, don’t make it look like there is a special “pass” given out to those we like just because we like them.

That is cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden in the Constitution.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 9, 2012

Opus 2012-8, Spiritual Gifts: Pastor

(Ephesians 4:11 KJV)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Years ago when I first taught on spiritual gifts there were tests available designed to suggest what your spiritual gifts might be.  They are still available.  I was pastoring at the time and could set my own schedule of teaching so I took the time to have people take the test.  Everyone took it for themselves and then we began to take it for each other.  An interesting and surprising trend emerged.  The most common gift in our little congregation seemed to be the gift of pastor.

At first this seemed to be some kind of mistake, but the more I looked at it, the more I could see it being true.  We tend to think of the pastor in terms of leadership, administration, knowledge and so forth.  In reality the word means shepherd.  The pastor is one who helps, nurtures and protects those weaker than themselves.  A pastor in the Biblical sense is one who cares for and about the people around him. 

This made sense when I looked at this little church.  They were people who were concerned and helpful.  If one had a problem, others would reach out.  They took care of each other.  It is possible for this to become ingrown, but the up side is that the gift of pastoring is much more common that most people think.  It is not a profession, it is a gift.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Opus 2012-7, Food Poisoning and Free Will

I have been following a discussion of free will vs foreknowledge by SLW over at Thundersounds.  If you are interested in those issues and haven’t run across his tomes you might stop over and see what he has to say.  A recent experience of mine brought some questions to my mind so I thought I would weigh in on the subject.

It all started with something I ate.  I had an attack of food poisoning.  It has happened before.  I know that I am not going to die.  I know how to deal with it:  Tough it out.  This too shall pass.  Eventually the body will purge itself of the poison and life will return to normal.  This time I had an attack of the Stupids and came close to catastrophe. 

I have not compared notes with others but when I have food poisoning there is a point where all I can do is hunker down by the toilet and wait.  I drift in and out of consciousness and just want to die but my core being knows what is going on and I endure.  Eventually I get rid of the poison and the recovery is almost miraculous.  That is the way it usually happens but this time I thought I would be clever.  During a semi-lucid moment I decided I would go spend the waiting period in my Lazy-boy chair in the living room.  On the way I grabbed a book and popped a soda.  I was going to deal with this in a civilized manner.  If I had done neither I might have made it to the chair but half way there my mind started to go zombie. 

At that point I should have settled down to the floor until the disorientation passed but Stupid stepped up and said, “Follow me.”  Stupid followed.  Instead of stopping I sped up.  As my awareness faded, I went faster.  I remember running into a chair.  I sped up.  Somewhere in there I went horizontal because my head ended up colliding with a table by my destination chair.  I remember the sound and the pain.  The next thing I was aware of was laying on the floor in agony.  The good news was the soda was still in my hand, right side up. 

After a while I was able to crawl to my chair and drag myself up into a sitting position.  A few hours later I was aware I had sliced my head open.  A few hours after that I was able to get to my bed and begin to sleep it off. 

Now we get to the theology.  Did God preordain this act of stupidity or was it because I insisted on making bad decisions?  In the midst of my foolishness, where were my guardian angels?  If God loves me why didn’t He have me fall into my chair instead of the table.  Why did I get blood all over my wife’s rug?

I see God’s hand all over this and I thank my guardian angels.  Since I believe God gives us free will I see Him doing the best He could in the midst of my stupidity.  I am sure He hopes I will learn so we don’t have to go through this again.  The slice in my head is about an inch above my eye and a few inches to the side of the weak part of the skull.  I think my angel did a good job of guiding this missile.  Sure I have a nice cut but I still have an eye.  A bit the other way and I may have never lived to tell about it.

Am I making much of nothing?  Maybe.  I chose to see the hand of God is all of life.  That is why I call this blog a Medley of Worship.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Opus 2012-6, Green Pieces: Cooking the Frog, The Corny Joke

Next time you fill your car with gas, look at the pump.  Many of the pumps I have used have a little sign that says your fuel may be 10% ethanol.  I am sure that is part of the reason it is more expensive.  It may also be part of the reason your car is leaking.  This is another one of the Greens victories in trying to save the earth, since you won’t do it yourself.

The federal government has given generous subsidies to make sure that someone is willing to turn corn into ethanol to be used in gasoline engines.  It has been the usual series of bribes, kickbacks and corruption that seems to go with all of the environmentally friendly projects.  First they put big tariffs on ethanol that comes from other countries and is made from sugar cane.  Never mind that it is better suited for gasoline engines, is cheaper, and does not remove food from the pantries of the world.  Ignore that it could be grown in third world countries by poor farmers who would be benefited by it.  The subsidies the government will be paying will be going to the friends of your patriotic congressman.  Their gratitude will help him get reelected. 

The real joke is that you will be paying for it, not only at the pump with higher prices but by higher taxes.  What is there not for a progressive politician to like?

Then there is the Law of Unintended Consequences.  Since it is more profitable to raise corn for fuel, less is available for food.  For the large corporate farms it is a win-win.  They get subsidies for the corn they raise for ethanol and the corn they sell for food also brings in higher prices.  For the people of the world that don’t have the surplus income to absorb this, the increase in food costs reduces their standard of living.  It could possibly lead to hunger and death in extreme cases.

You don’t care?  Let’s bring it home then.  Ethanol is more corrosive to your engine than gasoline.  It eats away at the seals that keep your engine from leaking.  Have you seen the little label on some cars that says “flex fuel”?  That means that they have been given different gaskets so that they won’t be damaged by the solvents in ethanol.  I bet your car doesn’t have that little sign on it, does it? 

I have heard that congress is not planning on renewing the subsidies.  Good.  But it may be too late to help the people who have been going hungry.

Elections are coming folks.  Vote differently.  It might be time to vote everyone out.  When in doubt vote against the incumbent. (Or to quote SLW, "When in doubt, vote them out.")

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Opus 2012-5, Green Pieces: Cooking the Frog, Making Light of Poison

Some of you have finally begun to wake up to the loss of your economical, efficient, and safe incandescent light bulbs.  You know, the round ones that gave the warm, sunlight-hewed illumination.  When you went to look for them all you could find were those weird corkscrew shaped things that were much more expensive.  This is your federal government at work.

This is bipartisanship at its best.  Both Republicans and Democrats drank the kool-aide of the environmentalists and made one of the greatest inventions of history illegal to make and sell in the United States.  I would not be opposed to assuming that the transfer of money was involved either.

The claim is that they are less expensive to operate, last longer and are friendlier to the environment.  I have not done the investigating but from what I read all three are lies.  They are not even close to being as efficient as touted.  They do not last as long as promised.  They are full of mercury, a known poison.  Don’t you remember all the warnings about mercury in seafood and how it was going to kill you?  Now the environmentalist lobby has browbeaten the federal government into mandating that poison into your home.  And how long will it be before they require a fee to dispose of them?

As I was searching for something totally unrelated to this on the website of an airline I came across a paragraph that had this in it:
“Bishop Arts Theater Center after renovations has become the cultural hub of Dallas city. Rock and Jazz performances along with arts education programs draw art lovers from all quarters. Today the building stands tall as a symbol of concern towards environment and related issues. Spray paints, fluorescent bulbs and other known toxic substances, for example have been banned entry into the building, replacing these by more nature friendly things such as recycle bins.”   (emphasis added)
That which has been banned from the Bishop Arts Theater Center because it is a toxic substance is being mandated for your home by your caring government.

So who gains from all this?  Only the Progressives (aka Liberals, socialists) who have a need to feel like they are in control of your life.  They know what is best for you.  They are from the government and they are here to help you.

Elections are coming folks.  Vote differently.  It might be time to vote everyone out.  When in doubt vote against the incumbent.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-4, Primary Sources

As I have been watching the antics of our elected and appointed officials I found that I repeatedly felt they were violating the principles of America.  It occurred to me that I had not read our founding documents in a long time.  I decided that I would make it a yearly ritual to carefully read through the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.  I have already finished the Declaration and found much in it that is worthy of comment.

These documents are not Scripture.  They are not universal and inspired the way the Bible is.  They are the products of a group of truly gifted men but are not God breathed.  At the same time I believe that they are a step above other documents of their type.  It seems to me that people who want to rewrite the Bible and ignore what it really says are also people who want to rewrite the Constitution and ignore the Declaration.  Coincidence? 

For those who are not Americans I don’t know what to recommend.  Of course I would recommend reading our Declaration of Independence and Constitution because they are historically important, but they are not your laws.  I would not know what would be the equivalent in your land.  One of the geniuses of our Constitution is its brevity.  I leave your focus up to you.  Maybe you have some recommendations.

Whether you are an American or not, I invite you to join me. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Opus 2012-3, Green Pieces: Cooking the Frog, Plastic Bags

The Lovers of the Planet have been busy.  Since they know you hate the planet or are too stupid to understand the important issues, they are going to the courts, legislatures and unelected regulators to make sure that you comply.  You have heard of the way to cook a frog is to put one in cold water and gradually turn up the heat.  By the time it knows it is in trouble, it is too late.  I am going to look at how the Greens are cooking the frog. 

Here is my catalyst observation.  I assume it will be followed by others.

Be thankful you are being Saved from the Plastic Bag Scourge.  The Greens are after you plastic bags.  I think they have succeeded in LA County.  I remember reading somewhere that on January 1, plastic bags would be banned in unincorporated parts of LA County.  They could not get it through in the entire state.  Yet.  They could not force in onto the cities.  Yet.  But if you own a grocery store in one of the areas of the county that are not within a city, you now have the added cost of paying for paper bags. 

You may have noticed that the stores have been pushing you to buy your own bags to carry your groceries in.  It is a win, win, win for them.  They make money on selling the bags.  They get free advertising as you carry the bag and use it for other things.  They don’t need to pay for the plastic you used to use. 

The major down side of this is sanitation.  When I get a plastic or paper bag from the store, I can assume that it is a first time use.  I can assume that it is clean and sanitary.  It is one less worry.  When people bring their own bags, who knows where it has been.  This is just another way to spread disease. 

Minor issues are convenience and cost.  I now have one more thing to remember.  If I don’t remember I need to buy another bag.  It will also force me to buy bags to use at home.  Rarely do I throw out those bags.  They are reused.

Is this really a step forward?  I doubt it.  But there are people sitting in their self-righteous, energy efficient offices feeling very good about themselves because they have taken away a little more of your liberty and shown just how powerful they are.

Elections are coming folks.  Vote differently.  It might be time to vote everyone out.  When in doubt vote against the incumbent. 

homo unius libri

Monday, January 2, 2012

Opus 2012-2, Mission Impossible

Do you remember the original TV series called “Mission Impossible?”  I remember how it would always begin.  A package would be picked up with pictures and a tape.  The part that was always the same was, “This mission, should you choose to accept it....” 

My wife is always telling me she has a job for me.  I often want to chant the line from Mission Impossible but since I have an instinct for survival, I restrain myself. 

I wonder how often God tells us to do something and we assume that this little comment is part of the package.  I believe in free will.  I believe God gives us the ability to make decisions.  I believe that every step of the way He makes it clear what He expects but there is always that caveat:  Should you choose to accept it.

So we find that many choices we have are really not options.  We are called to integrity, uprightness, obedience.  We are called to walk the Highway of Holiness.  That is our Mission.

There was never any question on the TV program that they would accept the mission.  If they had started refusing, it would have made for a short series.  May your series be long and productive.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Opus 2012-1, Discernment Watch: Why No Complaints?

As you all know many writers have many concerns about the celebration of Christmas on December 25, or January 6 if you are Orthodox.  The date is arbitrary, no question about that.  It coincides with the winter solstice and the Roman Saturnalia, among other events.  It is shrouded in pagan symbolism, such as Christmas trees. 

Now my question:  Why don’t we have the same complaints about New Year’s Day?  I am sure that the roots are just as arbitrary.  It is just as rooted in paganism as Christmas.  It is a time of excess and commercialism.  Why not the same groundswell of dissent?  Maybe it is out there and I just missed it.

I can think of two possible reasons, both a reflection of the spiritual battle we are in.

First, it is not a religious holiday, at least for Christians.  It may be spiritual for pagans.  For believers it is purely cultural.  Since we do not pretend it is Christian we do not pontificate against it.  Since we do not spend a lot of time attacking the pagans we don’t make it a big point.  We look at it as a road-marker to stop and contemplate.  It is a pause to think.

Second, it is not a religious holiday.  I know that is the same but for a different reason.  Christmas, however you want to attack it, was established by the church to celebrate a moment in history where God broke in and began the march to the cross.  It may have been influenced by pagan symbols and corrupted by greedy children lusting for toys, but the purpose is to celebrate the incarnation.  For that reason the pagans, heathen and atheists of the world have an inbred hostility to it.  They must do all they can to either destroy it or dilute it.  Since New Year’s Day has none of those associations they are happy to let it meander without malice.

Enjoy the day.  You can still say “Happy New Year” without being attacked.  If you want to make it stealth, then you could sneak in the “B” word and make it “Blessed New Year” or start of with the standard and say “Blessings” instead of “good luck.” 

Have a Blessed New Year serving the Blessed One.

homo unius libri