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, June 26, 2012

Opus 2012-132, Tax Dollars at Work: Protection from High Winds

Recently I was driving to work and saw evidence that my government cares about me.  As I was creeping through the rush hour traffic I noticed the traffic marque had in large print, “High winds through Mudville.”  The fact that trash was blowing horizontally across in front of my car and my car is rocking is not enough evidence.  I need the government to tell me the wind is blowing.  Personally, at a time when the People’s Republik of Kalifornia is going through a severe budget crunch, I think there might be better ways to spend our tax dollars than telling me the wind is blowing.  But who listens to me?

And should I believe them?  The sign at other times tells me how long it will take me to reach the down town area.  Rarely do I see any correlation between what it says and what I experience.  How can I believe them that the wind is blowing?

homo unius libri

Monday, June 25, 2012

Opus 2012-131, One of the Big Questions

I am listening to the Podcasts of William Lain Craig called Reasonable Faith.  He is a philosopher who spends part of his time debating on college campuses.  One of the themes he has deals with the big questions of life that are at the center of philosophy:  What is the purpose of life?  Where did we come from?  Where are we going?  What is the meaning of good?  He does not approach them from the scientific point of view but from the philosophical.

To the believer one of the big questions would be, “What does God expect of us?”  Sometimes this gets sidetracked into a sectarian disagreement over the relationship of works and grace.   While that discussion has a place it really begs the issue of “The Big Questions.”  Even people who believe at the extreme of predestination and eternal security talk about spiritual growth and the walk of faith.

So what does God expect of us on a daily basis?  The answer is, only what we are capable of doing.  Can we save ourselves?  No.  Everyone agrees on that.  Can we deserve salvation?  No.  Everyone agrees on that.  Are there things we can do to respond to the expectations of God?  Here you might differ from me but I believe the answer is, “Yes.” 

If I am right, that means it is our responsibility to do so.  If I am wrong them large passages of the Bible become just window dressing and empty verbiage.  God expects us to walk in holiness and uprightness, not because it is impossible but because through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do so.  We might disagree on what that means but I hope we can agree that it is expected.

Why do people who believe in predestination and irresistible grace evangelize?  To them it is no mystery.  The simple answer is, “Because God said so.”  At times that is the only answer I can give so I can’t criticize it.  To me it is not a mystery either, for the same reason.  Because we are told to.  It is called evangelism.  Why do we avoid sin?  Same answer.  Why do we study, witness, tithe, comfort, rebuke and so much more?  Same answer.

What does God expect of you?  The same He expects of me.  He expects the best that I can give.  Give it, wherever you are walking and whatever your theology.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Opus 2012-130, Discernment Watch: Vengeance and Justice, Part 4 of 4

Unlike vengeance, we are expected to take a hand in justice.  Justice involves personal choices and relationships.  Generally it does not involve violence or coercion.  Frequently justice is what we try to achieve for others, not ourselves.  Justice is others directed. 

Justice is associated with righteousness and uprightness.  It is associated with an already established standard and attempts to bring conditions into agreement with those standards.  It is working towards the right while vengeance is paying back for the wrong.  Justice looks to the future while vengeance looks to the past.  Justice is a character trait of believers.  It is a necessary ingredient in our walk with Christ.

Don’t expect to be loved if you are a true advocate of justice.
(Proverbs 29:27 KJV)  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
Jesus put it another way.
(Matthew 5:10-11 KJV)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Just as those who defy God’s justice are an abomination to us, we are an abomination to them.  Don’t expect to fit in.  Too many people in power are more interested in their own agenda to consider what God has to say.  You stand in their way.  You must be smacked down.  That is what is behind much of the hate crime legislation and aggressive advocacy of same-sex marriage.  It is not a pursuit of justice but an attempt to drive God from the public square.

Expect persecution if you are on God’s side.

Rejoice.  Why?  Because Jesus kept talking,
(Matthew 5:12 KJV)  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The prophets were not embraced with enthusiasm by the politically correct and powerful of their day.  The just walk in their company.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Opus 2012-129, Discernment Watch: Vengeance and Justice, Part 3 of 4

Wanting to be top dog is part of our sinful nature.  It infects people at all social and economic classes.  Consider this warning,
(Proverbs 28:3 NAS77)  A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.
Even people at the bottom look for people to boss around.  People at the top have more opportunity.  People at the bottom are forced to look harder.

But justice is a two edged sword.  Read over this passage from Exodus and pay special attention to the last part:
(Exodus 23:1-3 NAS77)  "You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”
If you need more, here are a couple of verses that reinforce the idea:
(Leviticus 19:15 KJV)  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

(Deuteronomy 1:17 KJV)  Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
It seems pretty clear to me.  I know it doesn’t fit current political correctness.  I know it will make you unpopular.  Just because everyone is doing it does not make it right.  Just because someone is poor does not make them deserving special treatment.  Just because someone is rich does not mean they are to be condemned.  The statue of justice is blindfolded for a reason.

To be continued....

homo unius libri

Friday, June 22, 2012

Opus 2012-128, Discernment Watch: Vengeance and Justice, Part 2 of 4

Justice is also a Biblical concept.  Before you can understand the Biblical concept you need to flush your mind of artificial substitutes for Biblical justice.  What are those substitutes?  I am talking about terms like “social justice.”  Social justice is a man-made idea that is really the opposite of justice.  It is demanding special treatment for groups that have been judged as deserving more than others because they are a part of a group.  The judgement is usually made for political reasons to buy support and votes.

Biblical justice has the idea of equal treatment.  It is rooted in ideas such as honesty and truth.  It means that people are to be judged according to a standard that is the same for all.  Biblical justice is individual, not group.  It involves a judge looking at one situation and coming to a decision based on the facts of the case.  It is not a blanket indictment of a vague group designed to fit the next election and win votes.

We are used to hearing people talking about the sins of the rich and powerful.  It is true they are often called to account in the Bible.  The reason that the powerful need to be warned is not that they are any more evil than the poor, just that they have the means to ignore the controls that are normally in place to keep the poor and weak in line.  People who don’t have any money do not need to be warned about loaning money at interest.  They need to be warned against borrowing money, and they are.
(Proverbs 22:7 KJV)  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
“Servant” isn’t strong enough.  In modern terms you need to think of the position as being slavery.  It means that you take orders and have few choices.  It means you jump through hoops and toe lines.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Opus 2012-127, Discernment Watch: Vengeance and Justice, Part 1 of 4

One of the issues being debated today is capital punishment.  Does anything deserve the death penalty?  Is it right for anyone to take a human life, even the state after due process?  People of good will come down on both sides of the issue.

I think that part of the basis of disagreement is a misunderstanding of the difference between vengeance and justice.  Both are Biblical concepts but they are totally different.

The Christian view would be that vengeance is not an acceptable motivation for action.  One of the often quoted statements is,
(Romans 12:19 KJV)  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Paul is probably referring back to this passage in the Law.
(Deuteronomy 32:35 KJV)  To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Vengeance is an action that is reserved for God.  It is as simple as that.  Why?  You could write a book about it involving motive, worthiness, authority but the simple truth is that we are not allowed to seek vengeance.  We cannot be trusted to exert force in this way.

We as individuals are to follow a different path, one that was repeated by Jesus.
(Luke 10:27 KJV)  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
I say repeated.  Many do not seem to realize that Jesus was simply quoting a principle that had been laid down in the Law.
(Leviticus 19:18 KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
As individuals we are to give people the benefit of the doubt.  We are not to seek revenge or pay back.  We are to turn the other cheek. 

To be continued....

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Opus 2012-126.1, Travel Woes

Travel is so frustrating. We are in the hills of South Carolina. It has its advantages. Yesterday I played golf at a local course. It only had nine holes but you could play through twice and the blue tees were different enough that it was worth it. It was a good course. The cost to play 18 holes, cart included? $18.00. And they throw in a complementary bottle of chilled water. Find a deal like that in the big city.

But what about internet connections you say? We are at a time share trade. We have the unit closest to the office. The only wi-fi they have is in the lobby area. I am able to pick it up from my balcony. Or so I thought. This morning when I started writing I had five bars. I was able to check e-mails for my wife and myself. I checked to see if Blogger had posted my scheduled work. Life was good. A couple of hours later when I was ready to post, it did not exist. Go figure.

I promised my wife I would check the locations of some places when we go into town. Now I am at the mercy of the internet goblins. I may be forced to go back on my word. But all things considered, life is good.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-126, Plow and Crown: Antique Idea Called Personal Responsibility

In May I was listening to an Alister Begg sermon on the way to work.  At one point he made a comment in passing about how Americans want a king, then went on to say, “not a king-king but someone who will take care of everything.”  Then he got back to preaching about whatever the text was saying. 

The damage was done.  My mind began to wander as I wondered.  His statement seemed a good summation of why the plow is losing to the crown.  Too many citizens, and a mass of non-citizens, want someone to do it all for us.  We refuse to acknowledge that liberty and freedom demand responsibility and accountability and hard work.  We are caught in this welfare mind set that is destroying all levels of our culture.  From the FDA to licensing of barbers we seem to be saying, “Take care of us gurus.  Keep us safe from our own mistakes.”

Insurance was once a hedge against the unexpected.  You bought term life insurance when your children were young in case you died suddenly.  You were not expecting to die.  You did not draw from the fund unless you had a tragedy.  Car insurance runs the same way.  Well and good.  So why do we expect health insurance to cover every little rash and fever?  Someone pointed out that we don’t put in claims on our auto insurance when we have our oil changed or get a car wash.  Many people don’t turn in a claim for small fender benders because they know it will raise their insurance.  Why do we expect insurance to cover our basic trip to the doctor?  Why do we not see the connection between claims and cost?

We need to understand that the more we want someone else to care for us the more they will control us.  Where money flows, control grows.  When someone else pays for the radio they eventually get to chose the station. 

If you like being treated like a child and being controlled, well and good.  Go for it.  If you want liberty and independence, carry your own water.  You can’t have both.  The Control Freaks of the Elites want you on their client list.  The Crown always wants to tell the Plow where and when to plant and reap.

Stand up on your own two feet and vote the suckers out.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Opus 2012-125, We Have Met the Enemy

Most people will agree that times are hard.  What we might disagree on are the areas of greatest concern.  What we definitely disagree on is how to fix the problems.  The Progressives (aka Liberals, socialists, left wingers, or Democrats) believe that America is in decline and that decline is a good thing because they believe we have been a cancer on the earth.  Many would agree that the danger of society falling apart is upon us.  We see violence and unemployment.  We hear the Chinese sabers rattling.  We are concerned about Iranian nuclear ambitions.  The One World Government is being advanced by the Treaty of the Seas and one about the Rights of the Child.  Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are buying into international treaties that want to disarm American citizens.

The storm clouds are all around us.  Abraham Lincoln gives us a word for the day.
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer:  If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
His point is a good one.  We do not need to fear any foreign power.  We do not need to come unglued by the problems of the rest of the world.  Our way of life is strong and resilient.  But that is true only as long as we are a “nation of freemen.” 

The question is, “Are we still a nation of freemen?”  When you hear about half of all Americans getting some check from the Federal Government you wonder.  When you see the growing entitlement programs and welfare expectations you begin to doubt.  The danger is here and it is among us.  I believe it was the cartoon Pogo that came up with the phrase, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”

The wisdom of history is available if we will listen.

Lincoln, Abraham.  “Opposition to Mob-Rule, Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1837.”  The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 1: 1832-1843.  Amazon Free Edition.  Kindle Loc. 1482-84.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 18, 2012

Opus 2012-124, Green Pieces: Advance to Water Works

You are, or you should be, aware that the environmentalists have pushed through regulations that limit the amount of water your shower head can put out.  It has been in place for years so you may have forgotten what the old showers were like.  Recently in a motel I experienced a clever way around this:  Dual shower heads. 

It did not look like it was home made.  You might be able to Google it and buy it on Amazon, although it is probably illegal in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  A tube ran horizontally across and had a shower head at each end, side by side like dual headlights.  It put out twice the amount of the limiters and thus began to approach an old fashioned shower.  A little creativity found a way around the regulations of the  Control Freaks of the Elites.

They don’t seem to get it.  They cut down the amount of water per flush, so we flush three times.  They give us lower watt bulbs, so we turn on two lamps.  They put in thermostats that say it is cool enough so we target heat lamps on the thermostat.  They limit the water flow so we put on two heads.  The creativity of the masses will always trump the pseudo-cleverness of the Control Freaks of the Elites.

Where will this lead?  The place it always leads the Regulators.  It will lead to a need for more laws.  I would suggest that all homeowners be required to fit regulators 12 inches up the pipe that leads to the shower.  Perhaps toilets could have timers that only allow them to be flushed once every half hour.  The possibilities are endless. 

There will always be ways around, but why should we be forced to use our creativity to find ways to dodge our wannabe masters when we could be building better mousetraps instead and increasing the wealth of the nation?  I guess that would make everyone happy and people might see a way out of the welfare trap.  And they might vote different. 

We can’t have that.

Vote the suckers out while you still can.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Opus 2012-123, Father’s Day Speaks of Legacy

I have been thinking about my father.  Certain places and events trigger the memory.  He died at Easter so that brings it back.  He helped us put in sidewalks around our house so sometimes just walking outside reminds me. 

Do I miss him?  Yeah, he is not around and there is an empty spot but he was not my buddy so there is not that kind of emptiness.  We were not given to long conversations, sharing our feelings and advice.  His input was more example and strength than a lot of words.

The part that did make a difference is still here:  example, legacy.  That is more important than any feelings and companionship.  You might say that legacy never goes out of style.

I think my father’s character is one reason I don’t have any trouble with the fatherhood of God.  I have not problem understanding what a healthy fear is and how it helps a person to walk the straight road.  I know what it is to depend on someone and trust that they would take care of me.  I know what it is to not want to let someone down because I did not want to shame them.

I never remember my father playing catch with me but I remember him getting up in the middle of the night to come help me get my broken down car home.  I don’t remember him telling me he loved me but I do remember that I never had any concern about where my next meal would come from.

I have a legacy.  I pray to God that I would be the kind of father who would also leave a legacy for my children.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Opus 2012-122, Book Review: Another Unfinished Symphony

I love libraries.  It isn’t just a matter of reading books without buying them.  I don’t mind paying for books of value.  Libraries protect me from wasting my resources on books of no value to me.  It means that I can check out a book, begin reading it and if I don’t like it, return it at no cost.  Of additional value is the ability to check out books on-line and have them downloaded to my Kindle.  In this post the bibliographical notations will have Kindle locations rather than pages.

I recently checked out of book electronically that I am glad I did not pay for.  It sounded good.  The title was, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations.  The title sounded balanced.  It seemed like it would give me an honest view of the historical tie between civilization and climate.  I have read enough to know that the weather effects things powerfully, just like politics.  I began reading with great anticipation.

The book started off with some solid information.
“THE MEDIEVAL WARM Period was named half a century ago by a British meteorologist, Hubert Lamb.  He wrote of an era from about A.D. 800 to 1200 that he pieced together from a jigsaw of climatological and historical clues: four or five centuries of relatively amiable climate that brought good harvests to Europe and permitted the Norse to land in Greenland and North America. The Medieval Warm Period gave way to six centuries of highly unsettled climate and cooler conditions: the Little Ice Age.”  (Emphasis in original) Kindle location, 75-79
I knew about this but having it in print like this told me that the author was not going to give a snow job and ignore common knowledge.  We have had climate change and global warming before.  It is in the record.

As I kept reading the author began to slowly and subtly adjust the set of his sails.  I came across this.
“Europeans built cathedrals and the Norse sailed to North America during the Medieval Warm Period, but the picture of the warm centuries that’s emerging from the new research depicts a climatic villain as much as a hero. There was indeed warming, in most places reflected in milder winters and longer summers, but the temperature differences never amounted to more than a few degrees. Nor was everywhere necessarily warmer. In the eastern Pacific, the same centuries were cool and dry. These were times of sudden, unpredictable climatic swings, and, above all, of drought. Extended medieval dry cycles helped topple Chaco Canyon and Angkor Wat, contributed to the partial collapse of Maya civilization, and starved tens of thousands of northern Chinese farmers.”  Kindle location 88-94.
This still seemed balanced.  I had no problem with this.  Let the evidence fall where the tree grows.

Then I came to the following quotation:
“The prolonged debate over anthropogenic global warming is over, for the scientific evidence documenting our contributions to a much warmer world of the future is now beyond the stage of controversy.” Kindle location 175-76
At this point I began to realize that we were listening to an Al Gore clone.  In fairness to the author, he was writing in 2008 before some of the revelations of scholarly lack of ethics began to come out, but to parrot the line that “the debate is over” shows a lack of understanding of the scientific method and ignorance of the scope of the data.  At this point I was beginning to wonder if I would finish the book.  If I wanted a propaganda piece for the Sierra Club I could read the Times, LA or NY.

What made me stop reading was a chart that the author included to show the extremes of temperature change.  I can’t cut and paste a chart the way I can a quote.  Let me try to explain the problem.  Charts and graphs can be skewed by the scale you use for your points of reference.  On the chart in question the author had a scale on the bottom representing a century for a very short length.  The dates went from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 2000.  On the side he had the temperature change in tenth’s of a degree with a very large distance between marks.  From top to bottom the chart covered 1.6 degrees Celsius.  What this did was make it look like a tenth of a degree difference over one hundred years was a major issue.  So you had these enormous peaks and troughs on the chart that gave the impression of these massive changes in average temperature when they were really quite minor.  The two extremes were about 1.2 degrees and were separated by a time period of 450 years.  The chart was constructed to make mild changes look extreme.

At this point he moved from being uninformed to deliberately deceiving.  I did not need to read any further.  I know where he was going and what his conclusions would be.  I could be wrong but experience and the ability to think tell me that life is too short to waste it finishing the book.  If you want to read another Chicken Little, the-sky-is-falling, call to regulation, then this book should be on your short list.  If you pay any attention to the actual evidence, your time would be better spent watching a soap opera.

Fagan, Brian. The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations.  New York:  Bloomsbury Press, 2008.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 15, 2012

Opus 2012-121, The Cycle of Politics

It is almost like Abraham Lincoln was a prophet.  Or is it just that some things never change.  Here he is laying into the Democratic party.  Keep in mind that he is not a Republican yet because the party has not come together to fight against slavery.
“I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their effort; and, knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.”
If this does not describe the process of destroying the country that is going on today, I don’t know what does. 

Two points.

First, the country survived.  When this was written the Mexican American War was still in the future.  The Civil War was still 27 years away.  Things are going to get worse.  Then they are going to get worse again.  We have Bleeding Kansas to look forward to.  The nation survived.  Let us hope and pray that we can survive even Barak Obama.

Second, who are these people that claim that the country is more divided now than any time in the past?  Have they read any history at all?  Division and difference of opinion are the bed-rock of a free society.  Agreement and conformity are the picture of a totalitarian state.  People are not inclined to agree on everything but we can be taught to respect the rights of others.

So things may look bad but the lesson of history, and Abraham Lincoln, is that we can survive.

Lincoln, Abraham.  “Speech on National Bank in the Hall of the House of Representatives, Springfield, Illinois, December 20, 1839.”  The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 1: 1832-1843.  Amazon Free Edition.  Kindle Loc. 2063-68.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Opus 2012-120, The Rights of Citizenship

There are times when I feel like American citizenship is meaningless.  This thought is in the context of court decisions that have declared that even illegal aliens are to have the same protections granted by the Constitution that natural born citizens enjoy.  Somehow that doesn’t feel right.

Historically it is an aberration.  Most cultures in history have given their own people an advantage.  The Romans for one had special privileges that were granted to citizens.  One example is found in the book of Acts.
(Acts 22:24-29 NAS77)  the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.  And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?  And when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman."  And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes."  And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."  Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.
Paul was scheduled to be scourged, brutally whipped, but when they found out he was a Roman he was released.  They were even afraid because they had tied him up.  You did not treat citizens that way.

Is that the way a society should be structured?  Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this.
(Leviticus 19:33-34 KJV)  And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.  But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
It would seem that the Bible tells us to treat foreigners the same as natural born citizens.  I guess in this case the courts have agreed with the Bible.  Don’t let them know, it would ruin their day.

I guess I will need to rethink my feelings on this issue also.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Opus 2012-119, Healthy Insights: Weight Loss Secrets

Alister Begg strikes again.  He was talking about Jesus and the woman at the well.  When the disciples returned from seeking food, John records this conversation.
(John 4:31-34 KJV)  In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.  Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
At this point my mind began to wander again.  Since I have admitted to myself that I am diabetic I have been working on my weight.  Since there is not enough exercise in the world to make up for what I wanted to eat, the only avenue left was to eat less.  That is easy to say and hard to do.

One of the phenomenon I have noticed is that when I am occupied with something that really pulls me in I have less of a tendency to eat.  It tells me that much of my eating is recreational or boredom eating.  I remember thirty years ago in my first experience with the war games.  They were board games then, printed on huge maps with hundreds of counters.  I remember that once I got so carried away that I played all night.  What was really shocking was that I did it without eating. 

If I get involved in something now I don’t think about eating. 

What I am suggesting for a weight loss technique is to develop some interests that sidetrack you from food.  It is not a panacea but every little thing can help.  This would obviously be different for each of us.  It would probably be different from day to day.  It might not even work for you.

Blessings as you deal with the issue in your life.  Pray that I would not fall off the wagon.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Opus 2012-118, On the Road Again

I am traveling again.  Over the next two weeks I will be in the resort areas of South Carolina and Pennsylvania.  I know that these areas have running water and paved roads.  I know they are civilized.  The issue is that I don’t know if the places I am staying will have simple internet connections.  I am too cheap to pay extra and I don’t know if local businesses will offer free Wi-Fi.

I will try to post ahead.  Sometimes that works, sometimes not.  This is Blogger, you know.  I will not be able to respond to comments if I am out of range.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 11, 2012

Opus 2012-117, A Previously Unknown Quotation from Abraham Lincoln

I have begun to read the Writings of Abraham Lincoln.  They were free in the Kindle Store of Amazon.  I downloaded all seven volumes.  I am almost finished with the first volume.  As I was reading, Lincoln was criticizing the actions of the Democratic Party.  This what in 1839, long before the Republicans came on the scene but even then he was speaking as a prophet.  Here are the words of Abraham Lincoln.
“The party now attempt to throw Barry off, and to avoid the responsibility of his sins.”
Now this is totally out of context.  The Barry spoken of was not the president.  In spite of that it seemed to fit our present situation so I thought I would share it with you.

Lincoln, Abraham.  “Speech on National Bank in the Hall of the House of Representatives, Springfield, Illinois, December 20, 1839.”  The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 1: 1832-1843.  Amazon Free Edition.  Kindle Loc. 2033.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-116, TSA Is Still on the Job

I am on the road again.  Actually I am in the airports again.  That means contact with our version of the RCMP:  The TSA.  I have never consented to go through the new radiation scanners.  That means I get regular pat-downs.  So far it has been more an attack on my rights as a citizen than an affront to my personhood.  They tend to be polite and professional.  I would guess that tyranny is often polite and professional at first.  But it is still tyranny.

What is really strange is that there is no pattern to when I get the simple scan or the pat down.  I guess that is there version of random so that terrorists won’t know what to expect.  Maybe if the police were allowed to search random houses that would be okay, too.

I am just grateful that the terrorists are not as clever or as committed as they want you to think.

Happy traveling.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Opus 2012-115, Filthy Rags Are Better Than None

In Christian circles there are two references that keep coming up when we talk about living moral lives and what God expects.  The first is from the Old Testament,
(Isaiah 64:6 KJV)  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
The second is Paul in the New Testament, quoting the Old Testament.
(Romans 3:10 KJV)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
These are glorious proof texts that are used to emphasize that we are dirty, rotten, no-good sinners and can do nothing right.  The implication is that since we all deserve hell, God is free to send us all there.  I can live with that.  The extension is what I have a problem with.  Some people extend this to say that only the elect, after the cross, have any hope because we are covered with the righteousness of Christ.  This would rule out any of the Old Testament saints and anyone in your circle of friends that felt they had trusted in Christ and were not one of the chosen.

The Bible refers to many people as if they were righteous.  In reality, none of the people picked would have thought of themselves as righteous.  They would have been doing a lot of repenting and mea culpa, browbeating and sackcloth and ashes.  They would be totally unaware that they were behaving as God would have them behave.

Remember John 3:16?  It does not say,
“For God so loved some of the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever He had already chosen and forced to believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
For those who have forgotten it goes like this:
(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Someone once said, “God don’t make no junk.”  I tend to think He doesn’t make filthy rags either.

Have a righteous day.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 8, 2012

Opus 2012-114, Plow and Crown: Voter Nominated Offices

This year, in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia, we voted under a new system which was installed under the “Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act.”  It represents a big step backward in the concept of liberty and elections.  It was passed by the large majority of Democrats in California with the purpose of disenfranchising all who were not Democrats.  It does away with most primaries that were originally implemented to pick the candidate of a political party.  I quote,
“Previously known as partisan offices, voter-nominated offices are state legislative offices, U.S. congressional offices, and state constitutional offices.”
What this did in our current election was to reduce the chances of a Republican being elected to the United States Senate.  On the ballot were about 20 names.  Most of them were different Republicans.  There were so many Republicans that the chances of coming in second after the Democrat incumbent were decreased.  I would not doubt that if you could look into the hearts of the people on the ballot a large number of the Republicans were really Democrats in drag, running to water down the chances of opposition.

Manipulation of the voting system is a mark of tyranny.  Part of the goal of the elites is to remove any influence they do not control and make it harder for people to know what their choices are.  In the general election you will not know if the person on the ballot is a Republican or Democrat.
“A candidate for nomination to a nonpartisan office may NOT designate his or her party preference, or lack of party preference, on the ballot.”  (Emphasis in original)
This in effect is what the Communists of the Soviet Union and the Soviet block did when they had single party elections.  You can vote for our man or you can vote for our other man.  Long live the Republik.

I would venture to say that such a device will be coming to a primary near you in the near future.

This is not the end of the world, just a step in the wrong direction.

We hear a lot of talk about how the founding Fathers did not intend for this country to go in the direction of political parties.  Historically we need to understand that our party system was developed after the Constitution.  True, but it was not a new idea.  England, our role model, had parties, the Whigs and Tories, so it would come naturally to the Americans.  But it was not codified so it is possible that the open primary is more in tune with the original intent.  But political parties did develop and we have been stable with this system for 200 years.

The secret ballot that we are so accustomed to is also relatively recent in history.  In the old days everyone knew how you voted.  It made coercion much easier, that is why we have gone to the secret ballot.

The problem is changing the rules in the middle of the game and demanding the power to change them again if you start losing.  We need to wake up to the elite forces that are trying to strip away our ability to live in a Republic of self governing people.

All quotes from California Presidential Primary Election, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, p. 4.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Opus 2012-113, Discernment Watch: Voter ID

I have two contrasting appointments in my calendar.  One is past the other is future.  It is interesting what is required for each.

This summer I am going to see a doctor for an eye examination.  This is for two reasons.  First, I am diabetic and need to have my retinas checked on a regular basis.  Second, it is getting harder to focus when I read so I think I need a new prescription.  I have been going to this doctor for years.  He knows me.  My bills have always been paid.  This should be routine but when my wife made the appointment I was told that three things would be required.  The third was only an irritation.  Now I had to bring my own sun-glasses.  In the past they would give us these cheap plastic things that fit behind my glasses.  I guess they can’t afford that any more. 

That is the mundane.  What got my attention was that they demanded that I bring ID and my insurance card.  I am the same person who has been in their office many times.  I have the same insurance but I am required to produce ID before they will see me.

This brings me to my second appointment, on Tuesday, June 5, to be exact.  I was scheduled to vote.  In order to exercise this most important activity I was not required to show any ID or proof of insurance (citizenship).  The person checking the role could not even find my last name on my sample ballot.  None of the people behind the table seemed to have done this before.  I was the first one in line and I was not allowed to examine the ballot box to see if it was empty. 

What a contrast.  I need ID and proof of qualification in order to have my eyes examined.  I can vote for the leadership of my society with no checks at all.  I will concede that I live in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  It may be different where you live but the Democratic Party seems to go ballistic when people are expected to produce ID to vote.  If they were consistent they would also be demonstrating against my optometrist. 

I needed my eyes examined.  We need our heads examined.

Vote the suckers out while you still can, if you still can.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Opus 2012-112, Win/Win/Win

Recently, as I was getting into my car outside a bakery where I had eaten my two slices of bread and drank my coffee, a fellow hit me up in the parking lot for food.  I don’t give money out but I am willing to help with hunger.  Often they will turn down the offer of food because that is not what they really want.  This guy did not bat an eye when I offered to buy him something.  So I took him in and bought him a power sandwich and a large coffee. 

I had no problem with what I did.  He was hungry, I am blessed.  I did not really have time, but I took it anyway.  I got to thinking, after the fact.  Why was I buying a sandwich for this guy when I was not willing to spend that much money on myself?  This was a question of stewardship, not his need for food.  I got to thinking about the things I keep in the car for snacking.  I realized I could have fed him with food that was just as nutritious without walking away from my car.

This stimulated another thought.  Many of us plan for emergencies by having food on the shelf.  We are ready if things go down for a few days or weeks.  It is part of who we are.  One of the issues we face is rotating.  Food and other supplies often come with expiration dates.  Whether it is real or just applied because the federal government says to, it is there.  It occurred to me that we can kill two birds with one stone.  I can take the things getting old on the shelf, still edible but getting close to expiration, keep them in the car and give them out to people in need.  This could apply to all kinds of things from canned tuna to water.  I could supply their needs, not their wants.  It would use items needing to be rotated.  It would save money.  This is not just a win/win, but a win/win/win.

Would it work or it just one of those stray thoughts that keep popping up?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Opus 2012-111, Tax Dollars at Work: It Starts with Us

We are voting today.  We start the process of selecting state and federal representatives.  In California we also are voting on Superior Court judges.  On my ballot there are also two attempts to increase taxes, one state wide and the other in our school district.

The state of California continues to live in a fantasy world.  They refuse to cut spending and see the only answer is to raise taxes.  They refuse to notice the sound of individuals and businesses leaving the state and shrinking the tax base. 

Locally the school district wants to get more money.  They claim it will not raise taxes.  No.  What it does is keep a tax going that would have died out.  It increases the amount of money I will be paying out in the future.  Lets see, it quacks.  It waddles.  It eats bugs.  Yep, it sounds like a tax increase to me.

The state does not need more money, it needs more discipline.  Schools do not need more money, they need more discipline.  I say that as a teacher.  I watch the waste and fraud.  At our school we received a $3,000,000.00 federal grant (that is tax money for those of you from Oz).  We shared it with five other schools.  What was it for?  To implement an anti-bullying curriculum and pay some social workers to come on campus two days a week to counsel students who were habitually tardy.  At the same time we claim to have no money for books, are cutting back on custodians and shortening the school year because we don’t have any money.

I don’t know what is on your ballot but if it involves more money for those of us lined up at the public trough, vote “no.”

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Opus 2012-110, The Perfect Ruler

No, not Obama, I am talking about a measuring stick.

In education we have what used to be called “In service training.”  I am not sure what the current jargon is, I try not to pay attention to the latest mantra.  I have been doing this long enough that they are being recycled on a regular basis.  They did not work the first time.  I see no reason to think they will work this time because no new thinking has been applied, just loyal lip service to the Elites of Education.

One of the problems is that we tend to focus on the superstars as our examples.  We have this idea that if Michael Jordan does it a certain way we should all do it that way.  It doesn’t work that way.  Few areas of life does one size fit all.  In most endeavors the techniques of the best don’t work for us that are not the best.

Let me give an example.  About five years ago someone talked me onto a golf course.  I found that the game I had been mocking for years was actually enjoyable.  In my course to learn how to play I read books by the big names in golf.  I read golf magazines.  I got frustrated.  I could watch Tiger Woods play and need to be reminded that my mouth was hanging open.  I enjoyed what he would write in the latest issue.  I didn’t have a clue to what he was talking about when he gave a tip on follow through.  You see, I am not that tall.  I am not long and lean.  I have not worked out rigorously.  I did not have a father who taught me the game and instilled the basics into my psyche.  Above all, I am not, nor ever will I be, coordinated.  I can walk.  I can chew gum.  Don’t ask me to do them at the same time.

So the Tips of Tiger lead to nothing but frustration.  The Knowledge of Nicklaus leaves me saying, “What?”  They really can’t teach me a thing.  But Mike did.  Mike was one of the teaching pro’s at a local golf course.  I took a few lessons.  He watched me.  He said, “Do this.”  I did that.  My ball went straighter and farther.  He never said, “This is the way that Lee Travino did it.”  He said, “This is what you need to do.”

Some people are the Michael Jordan's of Education.  They have this unique gift of teaching that they have developed and honed over the years.  What they do may work, but then again, it may not.  I am guessing for most of us it won’t.  It doesn’t matter how long I practice, I will never have the hang time of Michael Jordan.  It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I will never have the natural touch of the truly gifted teacher.

Does that mean I quit?  No.  It means I accept my limitations, keep experimenting, work hard and accept that fact that I will always be second string.  It reminds me that UCLA basketball coach John Wooden started his winning streak with a bunch of short unknowns.  He went undefeated because people who would have been second string on any other team were willing to listen and work hard.

So be the best second stringer the world has ever seen.  How many yards would O.J. Simpson have gained if he didn’t have a lot of guys you never heard of taking out the majority of the other team?

homo unius libri

Friday, June 1, 2012

Opus 2012-109, A Good Word for the Calvinists

If you are not into theology you might want to skip this post and have another cup of coffee.

Currently, part of my morning worship involves reading some sermons of Jonathan Edwards.  He quoted a verse that had been under my radar.  It is a good verse for those Calvinists who are into the U, L and I of TULIP.  It drips with the undeserved, limited and irresistible.
(Acts 13:48 KJV)  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
If my total exposure to the Bible rested on this verse I would sign up at my local Baptist church.  Or maybe I wouldn’t.  It all depends on whether I was scheduled for it or not.  Of course, if I was not scheduled for it, I won’t be interested.  If I am interested, it is not because I am really interested but because I have been programed to be interested.  My head spins with the circle I am locked into.

Anyway.  As an Arminian, I am aware of selected verses that support the main points of Calvinism.  As an Arminian, I am also aware of the multitude of verses that make it an incomplete understanding of grace and sovereignty. 

I consider this a disagreement in the family.  Please don’t throw me out with the bathwater, I might be elect and you just don’t know it.

homo unius libri