Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Opus 2012-48, Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis

What does it mean to have your thinking grow, to mature in your understanding.  We learn new things and come to a deeper and better understanding as we get older.  We have a wider foundation.  At least that is the way it is supposed to progress.

If you stayed awake in the philosophy class you took years ago, you remember that a guy named Hegel had the idea of thesis, antithesis and synthesis.  Someone has a proposal.  That is the thesis.  It runs into real life, the antithesis, and is modified by experience.  This leads to a new, modified idea, the synthesis.  It makes sense.  Most of us can relate to the concept.

This mantra has become the god of modern science.  All he did was take what is obvious to any farmer, carpenter or thinking person, put some fancy words on it and elevate it to a universal principle that is going to change our lives.  He had a good ad agency and publisher.

The place we err is in paying too much attention to his ideas, pro and con and then elevating his proposal as if it is a universal principle of the universe.  We need to learn to use good ideas.  We need to learn to not throw them out just because they were made famous by a pagan or heathen philosopher.  We also need to see that they are not universal truths worthy of our reverence. 

One weakness of this formula is that it can lead to rejecting eternal truth and insisting that all things are relative.  Just because some things do change doesn’t mean that everything can be improved.  The problem is not the idea itself but in the application.

Happy thinking, growing and clinging to the eternal.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Opus 2012-47, On the Street: Pray for the Troops

Today I pulled up behind the proud mother of a United States Marine.  You could tell by the bumper stickers and decals.  I wanted to jump out, run up to her and thank her for his service.  I also did not want to be arrested.

So instead I spent a little time in prayer for her son.  I offered the standard prayer for safety but I am aware that safety is not the environment that soldiers and marines are called to.  I added a prayer that I usually pray for those in uniform:  That God would keep them from doing anything in the heat of the moment that they will be ashamed of later.  People fighting to keep us safe cannot always be safe, but they can be proud of their service.

May God make it so in this young mans life.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 27, 2012

Opus 2012-46, Eyes in the Back of Your Head

A kid expressed how wonderful it would be to have eyes in the back of his head.  I wanted to tell him that would make him an insect.  I restrained myself.

In reality though, think about how eyes are placed and what it says about how you fit into the world.  Creatures that have eyes facing forward are predators.  Those with eyes that can see in all directions are prey. 

Take your choice and be careful what you wish for.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Opus 2012-45, Spiritual Gifts: Who Me?

At our men’s Bible study on Saturday I received a valuable insight.  We were studying the beginning of John 13.  Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet and teaching about servanthood.

I am not gifted in mercy, helps or service.  I really get tired of helping people who are always in need because of what looks to me to be poor planning, bad habits or just plain laziness.  That is not the insight.  A couple of the men present are loaded with the gifts of service and helps.  One of them said something to the effect that there were times when he really did not want to help some people because they did not deserve it. 

I was surprised and asked him if I had heard him correctly.  He said, “Yes, at times it is really hard to help people.”  That was a valuable insight to me.  If merciful people feel that way, I am not so weird.  Of course I need to realize that should not be an excuse for me to not help.  That is another lesson I need to learn. 

Just because I don’t have a gift does not mean I don’t have a responsibility.

It was a morning well spent.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Opus 2012-44, On the Street: Shameless

I had a quick glimpse of the side of a bus as it turned onto a side street.  I saw the big title of “Shameless” and had the impression of a bunch of big muscles, long hair and outdoors.  I assume it was advertising some TV program.  Since I don’t watch TV, I am just guessing.  My impression was that those three qualities sum up what the show was about. 

I work with middle school kids and educators.  While most are likable people, young and old, they seem to have no moral foundations.  The kids will let loose a string of words that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap and seem genuinely surprised when I call it cussing or foul language.  It is what they hear in their “music,” see on their screens and often hear in their homes.  The adults are not much better.

We are already a shameless culture. 

If you are over 50 you made your contribution to this lack of shame.  You have let your kids watch and listen to entertainment that has been on a moral decline for years.  It started with “I Love Lucy” and her constant lies and deceptions, supported by a laugh track.  Now we are accepting “friends with benefits” as a condition that doesn’t even raise eyebrows.  Adultery still gets a little criticism for some reason but fornication is now the default setting.

It may be too late.  In some ways it is.  We may be forced to go through the debauchery and chaos that we have seen in Sodom, the Roman Empire, Pre-Methodist England, Nazi Germany and modern West Hollywood.  Sometimes God can only get people to wake up using pain.

It may not be too late.  The Wesley revival kept England from bloody chaos.  Our country has gone through two Great Awakenings. 

Pray for a third.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Opus 2012-43, Green Pieces: Cooking the Frog, The Ultimate Bad Breath

Are you aware that the government, your government, has labeled carbon dioxide a toxin that needs to be controlled by government.  Remember it is for your own good.  You need to be protected.  Do you remember your high school biology?  Carbon dioxide, CO2, is the gas given off by breathing animals.  You are a breathing animal.  Every time you exhale you put out what the government is calling a toxic gas.  This is not because you have bad breath, it is because too much carbon dioxide can kill you. 

Don’t panic.  People also are confused about what makes up the atmosphere.  They are given the impression that most of what we breathe is oxygen and too much carbon dioxide is going to kill us.  Most people don’t realize that the most common gas they inhale is nitrogen, 78%.  Oxygen is next with 21%.  Carbon dioxide comes in far behind at 0.039%.  In case your math skills are lacking or you are reading too fast, that number is approximately four-one hundredths of one percent.  If we were writing it in fractions it would be 1/25%.  That is not much.

What they fail to point out is that green plants breathe carbon dioxide in and exhale oxygen.  More carbon dioxide makes for healthier plants.  More and healthier plants mean more oxygen is produced.  God made it to work together in a marvelous cycle.  It is self correcting and flexible.

We have had times when massive volcanoes have reached a critical point and exploded into the atmosphere.  We have in recorded history years where there was no summer because of this.  The problem was not because of the massive amounts of carbon dioxide but because of the ash and dust spewed into the air.  The amount of debris dwarfs what people and industry can do.  Things returned to normal in a few years. 

Remember that God designed this world we live in.  It has all kinds of corrections going on constantly.  We are not aware of most of them.  Have a little trust here, not in the government or their scientists but in your God.

Or you could breathe less.  Or you could hold your breathe.  Their answer will be to have a breathing tax.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Opus 2012-42, Is Slavery Illegal?

I am sure that most people believe that slavery is illegal.  While it may be true in practice, it is not correct.  Look at what the 13th Amendment says
Sect. 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Sect. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
If you take out the middle phrases, then slavery is illegal, but that is not what it says.  Technically slavery would still be legal if it is a result of crime.  Historically this covers two of the most common sources of slaves:  Convicted criminals and debtors.  Both groups received due process and entered slavery as punishment for their crimes.  We still put murderers and thieves into situations of involuntary servitude.  It is legal to draft people into the military.  As a teacher I am required by law to remain at school until dismissed in the case of a major disaster.  On the other hand we tend to forgive people who declare bankruptcy. 

In reality the Constitution already contained the phrase that could have dealt with the slavery problem.  It is found in Article 3, Section 3, paragraph 2.
2.  The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained.
The discussion is treason and how it will be punished.  Notice that little phrase “corruption of blood.”  In 1787 people knew what that meant.  All we can say is, “Icky!”  It makes us think of zombie movies.  In reality it meant that you cannot make the children pay for the crimes of the parent.  If this had been applied to slavery, the children of slaves would have been free.

So keep in mind that the courts could decide to bring back slavery.  They ignore the constitution on other issues.  For instance, the Second Amendment makes a clear statement: 
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
And yet we have waiting periods, Brady Bills, limits on how many cartridges a magazine can hold and so forth.  Why not decide that in the cases of loud-mouthed bloggers, slavery is perfectly acceptable.  Or how about arresting your pastor for saying that God does not approve of homosexuality?  Oh, wait, that is already on the books in some states. 

Remember that they just want to make the world safe for everyone and they are here to help you.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Opus 2012-41, Immortal Quotes: Music Soothes the Savage Beast

As I was reflecting on Proverbs 25:20 at my daily worship blog, Perpetual Proverbs, a quote came to mind,
“Music soothes the savage beast.” 
I did a little research and found I had it wrong.  The actual quote goes like this:
"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."
It is from a play by William Congreve, written in 1697.  The idea of course, is that music can calm us down.  Congreve waxes poetic and talks about rocks getting soft.  I don’t know if I would go that far, but you know how poets are.  Considering that a soprano singing the right note with enough power can cause crystal to shatter it may be that the poets have been doing scientific experiments at their day jobs. 

If you want the entire stanza from the play you can read it here.

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Opus 2012-40, Links: A Seed Planted

Awhile back I came across some thinking at Georges Grouse.  I wrote it down so I could come back to it, but I forgot to mark the actual post.
“Remember, too, that ‘science’ once insisted that the earth was the center of the solar system and that ‘bleeding’ patients made them healthier. Most of the people reading this are old enough to remember ‘science’ reversing itself on several issues in the past few decades. Let’s face it; science is nothing more than a system of educated guesses.”
Saying science is “nothing more than a system of educated guesses” is not an insult.  It is a statement of fact.  It is called the scientific method, based on stating an hypothesis, doing research, coming to a conclusion and stating anther hypothesis.  In case you don’t know, “hypothesis” is a big word meaning “educated guess.”

Real science is always in transition.  Georges mentioned a few areas of constant change.  All science is constant change.  Compare almost any field of science to where it was one hundred years ago and you will see one of two things:  It is totally changed or it did not exist.

Now compare that to the Christian faith.  How many total reversals have we had in the faith in the past 2000 years?  Not many if you rule out the people whose whole purpose is to sow dissension and confusion.  This past year I read Pilgrims Progress for the first time.  I had some trouble with the archaic English but none with the thoughts expressed.  I have read a book written by William Wilberforce, the short title is A Practical View of Christianity.  It reads like something written by a modern believer.  I am reading the Works of John Wesley.  It is fresh and alive.  I am currently working through Augustine’s Confessions.  It is an old translation and that gives me trouble, but I find what he has to say about his spiritual journey to be the same path I follow. 

So which do you think is more reliable for a life foundation, every changing science or the eternal truth of the Bible? 

I made my decision and I am sticking with it.

Thanks Georges for the seed but I won’t blame you for the plant that grew out of it.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Opus 2012-39, Enquiring Minds

Do you take notes?  How many times have you half-way remembered something but you have no way of getting the entire thought?  It is one reason why I am always writing things down.  I may never see the paper again but the process of writing it down helps me to remember it. 

For the car I have a small recorder to record my thoughts.  I may never get back to them but it helps me remember.  Often when I do get back to them I realize that they were worth forgetting, but occasionally I am really glad I grabbed the moment.

It is a valuable habit to take notes on a sermon.  I never write what I am told.  You know how the preacher will say, “This is important, write it in the margin of your Bible.”  No way.  Just because he thinks it is important doesn’t mean I am going to write it down.  I like to listen to a different voice.  It’s not so much writing down what the preacher says as writing down what the Holy Spirit says as you are listening. 

Understand the dynamic.  Often what the preacher says is not what you hear.  You know how this works in conversations.  It is the source of much confusion.  Allow the Holy Spirit to turn this into an asset.  When your mind starts to wander, enjoy the moment.  It could be the Holy Spirit bringing something to mind that you have been ignoring and this is the time for you to follow it.  Obviously if all you are doing is thinking about asking out the girl in the row in front of you it is probably not from God.  This is true specially if your wife is sitting next to you.  But if you begin to think about something that happened from a comment someone made, follow it.  If a Bible verse comes to mind turn to it. 

A wandering mind can be a wonderful thing.  Or is this better, a wondering mind is a wandering thing?  Take your pick.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 13, 2012

Opus 2012-38, Honest Truth, Please

A long while back I made a note of something Alister Begg said in one of his sermons.  I don’t know that it is original to him.  I found it interesting and something to think about.  He was talking about some statement in the Bible that people liked to quote to beat others over the head and get judgmental about.  I don’t remember which one it was.  There are plenty to chose from.  In trying to find a way to explain the meaning he said,
“This is not a categorical promise, this is a proverbial statement.”
He said that certain things in the Bible are “descriptive, not prescriptive.”  I like that.  I recently came across an example. 
(Proverbs 12:21 KJV)  There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
If you have read your Bible you know that there are cases of evil coming upon the just.  Think of the stoning of Stephen, the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus, and the words of Jesus promising that we will suffer persecution.  So we can’t use this as a universal law such as “Thou shall not commit adultery.”  It is more an observation of the principles by which God runs His universe.

It also goes along with the tendency of the Bible to make if/then statements.  The legalists among us like to ignore the conditional nature of many promises and predictions.  A good example was presented in our church service recently.  One of our pastors had attended a conference on healing and was sharing some of the things she had learned.  She is a wonderful, loving lady who is strong on mercy, helps and service but is often weak in discernment and knowledge.   She quoted this verse.
(Exodus 15:26 KJV)  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Her point was that God is our healer.  Who can argue with that?  Not me.  But I did find myself rejecting her next statement which was that sickness is not a result of sin in our lives.  She claimed that sickness is always just a chance for God to be glorified.  She quoted the words of Jesus,
(John 9:2-3 KJV)  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Sounds good.  But let’s go back and look at her original verse.  Notice that little word “if” near the beginning of the verse.  Than notice the conditions laid down with little verbs like “harken,” “do,” and “keep.”  The promise of protection is based on obedience.  This is a classic if/then statement.  She ignored what was obvious in her haste to proof-text her point.  Sickness is not always caused by our sins, but it can be.  We ignore that to our potential eternal detriment.  Don't make absolutes out of conditionals. 

Please people, be honest when you are trying to teach truth.  Don’t just listen to some guru and pass on the disinformation.  That is a modern word for lie or deception. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-37, Discernment Watch: Bias Is at Both Ends

I was reading through the weekend edition of the Washington Times.  I was struck and depressed by how many of the articles pointed out the total lack of integrity among the rich and famous who are running our country.  The way in which they all seem to line their pockets at the tax payers’ expense is depressing.

I also noticed that many times the stealing and embezzlement was not limited to the present administration.  This seems to be an ongoing hobby of these people.  It is so easy for me to look at our President and the criminals he associates with and forget that corruption crosses party lines with impunity. 

I will still express my opinions and seek for truth but this reminds me that I have my biases also.  I often wonder how many times I am totally controlled by preconceived notions that have not been fumigated by the light of day. 

Until we work it out,
And always when in doubt,
Don’t just sit and pout.
Vote the suckers out!

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Opus 2012-36, New Terms: Orthodox

I was accused last week of being Mr. Orthodoxy.  It was intended as a not-so-subtle dig into how I had questioned the quoting of scripture out of context to proof text a point that was, to me, questionable.  There are times when the insults of others should be considered compliments.  This was one.

Orthodox is not really a new term but it is one that is shunned because it is so old school.  The current crop of feel-good, pop-psychology Christians think that the opposite of orthodox is contemporary, with it, cool.  In reality, the opposite of orthodox is heresy.

Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus is God.  The emergent church (post-modernists, new-agers) teach that Jesus was a godly man.  Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus, as the Perfect Lamb, died on a cross so our sins can be forgiven.  Contemporary thought says He was a great teacher and good example.  Orthodoxy teaches that those who die in their sins will go to Hell.  Modern thinking is that a loving God would not do something like that.

Yes, I am orthodox.  I can handle that label.  Do you have any more I insults I need to consider?

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Opus 2012-35, Discernment Watch: Modern Heroes

I am in the process of working my way through a series of crime mysteries by J.D. Robb.  On the whole I am enjoying what I have read so far.  I have learned to skip over the detailed sex scenes and some other sections where they get into deep feelings and emotions but on the whole it has likeable characters and lively plots.

The main character is a female cop who refuses to give up.  She is an appealing person because she is portrayed as hard working, having integrity, taking the high moral ground, etc.  She was a victim of sexual abuse from her father and has a lot of baggage from that but she has refused to quit and shows great courage.  She would seem to be a noble role model.  She is a modern heroine.

The problem develops when you compare her to the absolute morality of the Bible.  Without keeping any notes you would notice:  She lies frequently, cheats, steals, has murdered, has no problem with fornication, drinks to excess, does not do drugs but that is because she wants to be in control, etc.  In the first stories she does everything by the book.  She will not compromise on any procedure and is a lion for what we would call constitutional rights.  As the characters mature and unfold she begins to compromise until it become a regular habit to ignore the need for search warrants and due process.  All of it is done for the best of reasons, of course.  And you just know you can trust her to only go after the truly guilty.

How do you portray a person like this as a moral icon?  You do it by compartmentalizing your morality, by accepting something as right or wrong based on the values of the community or society instead of God’s absolute standards.  If this were an isolated example it would be bad enough but this heroine represents the protagonist in almost every work of fiction being read today. 

The danger is that it is making us callus to real right and wrong.  We get used to a sleazy standard and it eventually begins to slip into how we live.  Stay awake.  Keep comparing your standards to the eternal standards of God.  When possible avoid the pollution.

homo unius libri

Friday, February 10, 2012

Opus 2012-34, New Terms: Evidence Based

I have become immune to the claim that something is “research based.”  When someone has a new, hair-brained scheme they want to push they claim that research has shown it to be effective.  Those of us who have been around the track a few times know that anything can be proved by research and that the results are often predetermined by the way the research is structured.  In typical fashion educators are rising to the occasion. 

When you can’t pull the wool over people’s eyes any more you switch to cotton.  If people begin to understand that your words are meaningless, get new words.  Develop some new jargon.

At our last faculty meeting I noticed a new term.  It may have been used before but I wasn’t listening.  The principle admitted that research based doesn’t mean much but the new program was “evidence based.”

Excuse me?  What is “evidence based?”  Just what it says.  The success of a program is based on evidence.  Tell me more.  As I listened I began to realize that this is even shakier than “research based.”  The evidence is all anecdotal.  So now our research is simply going around collecting stories that back up your point and ignoring everything else.  You don’t need to do all that expensive research and you get the same results.  Nifty.  This is where post-modern thinking is taking us.  If there are no rights and wrongs, if morality is cultural and not absolute, then the truth is what you want it to be.  Faking your research is no longer faking your research.  It is now creative and builds self esteem.

The scientific method would still be king if it were ever used.  The problem is that it is ignored in the quest for grants and political points.

A word to the wise, if it sounds like it doesn’t make sense, it probably doesn’t make sense.  Trust you logic and ability to think.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Opus 2012-33, New Terms: Literalistically

I was listening to Alistair Begg, as usual on my way to work.  He was talking about people who claim to take the Bible literally and demand that everything must be totally concrete.  He pointed out the problem with this approach.  The Bible talks about the eyes of the Lord observing and he said their literal understanding would mean a pair of giant, cosmic eyeballs looking around.  He then made the distinction between taking the Bible literally and taking it literalistically.  This is a new term to me. 

He defined a proper literal understanding means you accept the Bible to mean what it intends to mean.  This would allow for figures of speech, metaphors and symbolism.  Makes sense to me.

He called the extreme version literalistic.  It is a good distinction.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Opus 2012-32, The Touch of Sin

(Genesis 1:3-4 KJV)  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

God made it.  It was good.  We see this pattern through the creation account.  What happened?  Sin.  Capital “S.”  Singular.  Condition not actions.

Sin corrupts all that it touches.  The condition produces the actions which corrupt, rot, tarnish and rust.

You have heard people comment that if it is fun, it is wrong.  The attitude seems to be that all of the fun, exciting and enjoyable things of life are sinful.  Not really.  In their original form they were created by God and they were good.  It is the self-centered attitudes and manipulation of people that make the things God created into tools of sin.

The act of marriage, sex, is transformed into pornography, prostitution, rape.  God created and blessed marriage with the idea that two people could know an awesome oneness.  It was such a powerful picture that the relationship between Christ and His church is described as a marriage relationship.

What happened?  Sin.  Instead of being a giving relationship under the covenant of God, sex became a means of self-gratification, exploitation and manipulation.

The glorious, satisfying savor of food is transformed into gluttony, heart disease, obesity.  God ordained that everything, except the tree of knowledge, was to be eaten and enjoyed.  Later, after the flood, meat was added to the diet.  Feasting was a part of the ritual of Israel.  Jesus was accused of being a glutton.  What went wrong?  Sin.  We now indulge on “comfort foods.”  We eat when we are lonely, when we are angry, when we are sad, when we are bored.  The word is not satisfaction but satiation. 

Stimulating conversations are turned into gossip, slander, pugnaciousness.

Think about it.  Almost anything that is considered a problem was once a blessing.  Everything that sin touches is degraded.

The good news is that God can turn it around.  Remember this familiar 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.
Why not start to change the world by loving God and being called according to His purpose?

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Opus 2012-31, Total Fail

My last post shared a victory.  This one, reflecting the same day, shows a total fail. 

In my U.S. History class we are examining the struggles the country went through over slavery.  In the discussion I point out that the bigger picture is states rights and go through the issues that have already been dealt with:  Slavery, women’s suffrage, Voting age and such.  Then I look at the struggles that are still going on:  Abortion, education, welfare, gun control, prayer in schools, term limits, etc.  As often happens the issue of homosexual marriage came up.

A short time back the citizens of California passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  That is all it said.  It was thrown out by a federal judge who happened to also be an active homosexual.  It continues to be debated in the courts.  My question to them is, “Who has to right to tell us how we live.”

Within moments they were screaming that I hated gays, that I wanted to murder gays, that I had killed Harvey Milk and so forth.  This is one of the classes that is always yelling “racist.”  It is a small group, about 15 students but there are only two in the class that are serious about passing and getting an education.  For the rest school is like a low tech video arcade and they want a lot of action.

I failed when they asked me why I did not approve of homosexual marriage.  They call it “gay” marriage but I reject that term.  There is nothing lighthearted and carefree about homosexuality.  What I should have clearly stated, since they asked, is that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and my standards of right and wrong are expressed in the Bible.  The Bible has two things to say about this.  First, I am not allowed to hate people just because I disagree with them.  I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself.  Second, the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is not acceptable.  I could have, and should have, made that simple statement.  I failed.

One reason I failed was because they were having such a good time yelling and carrying on that they did not want to listen.  The other was I did not think fast enough.  I am sure it will come up again.  I hope I am better prepared next time.

We need to express the love of God and the righteousness of God.  It can be done.

I am so glad that God is patient.

homo unius libri

Friday, February 3, 2012

Opus 2012-30, On the Street: Spiritual Growth

How do we measure spiritual growth?  It isn’t like a bank account that we can look at and see an exact number.  It is more like our blood pressure.  It goes up and down but it has a trend.  I had an experience this week that I found encouraging.

My car blew up on the way to work.  Again.  I was towed, got in my wife’s car and managed to walk into my classroom 30 seconds before the bell rang.  How is this encouraging?  At the time it did not occur to me but looking back I realized I handled the crisis much better than normal. 

When the idiot light came on I did not lose my cool.  When I got out and looked under the hood I did not start mumbling.  As I stood in the cold morning waiting for the tow truck I did not bemoan my fate and ask, “Why me?”  I got out my Kindle and read from the Confessions of Augstine.


But when I looked back I realized that I behaved with much more maturity that I normally show.  The Holy Spirit was helping me to show active faith.  It was a great thing to realize.

Maybe there is hope for me.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-29, Angels to the Right of Me...

Angels have come up in our teaching and discussions at church recently.  To be honest, I don’t think about angels much.  Maybe I should.  I remember a book that I think was called This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti?  Someone gave me a copy.  It sat on my shelf for a couple of years before I got serious about reading it.  I don’t like the genre on the whole but I am glad I read the book.  It gave me some possible insights into spiritual warfare and the place of prayer.  Angels played a big part in the conflict of the plot.

Angels are part of the reason that we believe in blessings and grace not luck and chance.  We  Christians often forget this and tend to fall into the chance trap.  In reality, God is in charge and the angels are there keeping an eye on things.  We need to walk in joy in that assurance.

When I fell a few weeks ago I was groggy and in pain.  I had a glorious bloody scab on my head.  I had a big blood stain on the carpet.  As my brain began to clear I began to see how just a few inches either way could have spelled major injury in my life.  I could have been blinded, killed or crippled.  Maybe I could have a T-shirt made up that paraphrases one you have seen.  It has the words “all I got was this crummy T-shirt.”  Mine would say, “I had a glorious moment of life threatening stupidity and all I got was this stupid scar.” 

I am convinced as I reconstruct what happened that my guardian angel (angels?) decided that since I insisted on acting stupid all they could do was minimize the damage.  I think they turned me into a guided missile and caused me to hit in the one way that would allow me to walk away from my mistake.  I continue to thank them for their protection and God for His grace in action.

Have you thanked your angels today?

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Opus 2012-28, Plow and Crown: It’s the Power, Stupid

They are taking away our lightbulbs.  They are installing water free urinals.  They are forcing us to install low volume flush toilets in our homes.  They are putting limiters on our heating and air conditioning. 

Why?  What do they gain?  I really don’t believe that every member of congress and George Bush are being bribed by the florescent light bulb industry.  I really don’t believe they think they are saving the earth by cutting down the amount of water in the flush of a toilet.  I think it is simply the power game.  They do it because they can and there is a tremendous rush in being able to force people to do it your way.

Have you ever been guilty of this yourself?  If you are a parent, a teacher, a supervisor, a cop, a big brother or a myriad of other people, you have.  There are times when we put people through their paces because we can.  If we are that way think about those who really feel they are better than you and have spent their lives getting to positions of power.

Do you think that Michelle Obama really cares if your child is overweight?  Do you think that Michael Moore really believes that life in Cuba is better than in the United States?  Do you think the President of Mexico really thinks we are mistreating his citizens?  Would you believe I have some bonds I would like to sell you?  The answer, pay attention class, is "No."

Beware of elites doing what is best for you.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Opus 2012-27, Christian Cliches: Casting Your Pearls

“Don’t cast your pearls before swine” is good advice but does not go with our modern multi-cultural crowd.  Before you get too upset about such an insult as inferring that people are pigs, understand that these are the words of Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild.  It turns out He is not as meek and mild as many people claim.

This is part of the Sermon on the Mount which begins in Matthew 5 with what are called the Beatitudes.  What is also ignored is that it comes right after the section that people love to quote.  You first find,
(Matthew 7:1 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Our world loves this verse.  They don’t love what comes a few verses later:
(Matthew 7:6 KJV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
It would seem that Jesus is telling us we need to make decisions that are close to judging.  We are given the responsibility to decide who the pigs are.

Don’t feel like you need to let everyone know everything.  Don’t feel that you need to let little children wash your good china.  Don’t entrust your precious children to the public schools. 

Pigs make good bacon but they make terrible judges at the cake competition at the county fair.

homo unius libri