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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Opus 2013-45: Headlines: Rape on the RTD

I imagine you have seen the articles reporting on women being raped, brutalized and murdered on buses in India.  I have not read the articles in their entirety but in what I have read, I have not seen any mention of religion.  This puzzles me, or it did until I realized it was our media reporting on it and this is a third rail they refuse to touch.

India is a country swamped in religious tension and violence.  In the far north you have the Sikhs.  In the northwest you have the Muslims.  In the middle you have the Hindus.  Mixed in you have a good number of Christians and Buddhists.  It is a regular thing to see angry mobs of Muslims and Hindus attacking people of other faiths, usually each other. 

It makes me wonder about these attacks on the buses.  Is religion a factor?  In America we are not tuned into this much.  In spite of all the outcry about racism and hate crimes Americans don’t get too worked up just because people are different.  We expect it and generally overlook it.  It is not a focus.  We might notice a Jew wearing different types of hats.  We might notice the dot on the forehead of some women, but we are generally out to lunch, and glad to be there.  About all we notice is the guys in turbans and most think they are Arabs when in reality they are usually Sikhs. 

That is not the way it is in other countries.  In most parts of the world you cannot go into another neighborhood without fear of being attacked.  Are these Muslims out attacking Hindu women as prostitutes or attacking Muslim women who are hanging with men.  Are these honor killings?  We may not want to admit it, but it makes a difference and with the growth of the number of Muslims and Hindus in our country it is something we need to be aware of.

 How many of us can tell the difference between a Persian and an Arab or a Turk and an Arab?  How many can tell the difference between an Armenian and an Azerbaijani.  Believe me, they know.

Should we?

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Opus 2013-44: Headline: Shocked at Decline in GDP?

This morning when I went on line I checked the headlines on the Drudge Report.  The banner talked about a shocking report that the Gross Domestic Product had declined.  It did not say “slowed in growth,” it said “decline.”  My first reaction was, “Well, duh!”  I wondered who in the world could be surprised at this in light of the current things happening in Washington, D.C.  So I jumped over and found out. 

Another “Duh!”  It was the MSM.  The link took me to an article at CNBC.   If you bother reading it you will see that although they admit it went down, they have all kinds of reasons to explain how it isn’t really a big deal.

It is a big deal and it will get bigger.

The government needs to stop spending on things that are not mandated in the Constitution.  Remember that old fashioned document?

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-43: Christian Cliches: Keys to the Kingdom

Most people have heard the expression “Keys to the Kingdom.”  Peter received them. 
(Matthew 16:19 KJV)  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Romans Catholics use this as evidence that Peter was the first pope and that the church has authority.  The secular world has made this a source of cartoons about Peter being gatekeeper to heaven with all kinds of punch lines between him and people wanting to enter the pearly gates.  That is our culture’s unbiblical image of getting into heaven. 

I think we miss the point of having the keys.  Think about what it means this Sunday.  The person who has the keys at church gets there early and leaves late.  The one who has the keys to every door is usually a servant, a janitor.  They are the ones who are expected to do all the work.

Think about it in the world today.  Most kings don’t have any keys.  I would guess that the President of the United States does not carry any keys.  They don’t need them because someone else opens the doors.  Someone else checks the locks.  Keys are a sign of being a servant, not of being in charge.

We have changed the image.  We give people keys to the city.  We have made keys a badge of rank instead of the tools of a servant.  We want to be kings instead of servants so we take a Biblical idea and change it to serve ourselves.

We should begin to give keys as signs of trust and responsibility.  They should come with a job description and a list of duties.  Do you deserve the keys to the kingdom?  Do you have keys to the church?  Do you remember the first time you had the keys to the car?

Following Jesus means being called to servanthood not positions of power.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Opus 2013-42: Finding a church, part 4 of 4

Are you happy with the church you attend?  You have two choices, really.

The first choice is to stay and try to make a difference.  Remember when Elijah was complaining to the Lord.  It looked like all had turned away.  He was ready to give up and throw in the mantle.  God told him,
  (1 Kings 19:18 KJV)  Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
It may be that your job is to keep your mantle on and be salt in your church.  I would say you need to be active salt.  You need to be vocal without being screechy.  You need to be strong without being arrogant.  You need to be prayed up and Spirit filled.  It is a legitimate choice.

The second choice is to go.  Lets assume that the church you attend has drifted into heresy and refuses to reform.  Suppose the pastor is rejecting the Bible.  Go.  But when you go, don’t look for a church to meet your needs.  That is the role of the Holy Spirit.  Look for a place where you can use your spiritual gifts to make a difference.  Find a place to serve.  Find a place that needs you.  Remember that we are called to be servants, not to be served.  Of course if you can master this attitude, you might not need to leave.

In either case the real focus should be on reviving yourself.  I think Groucho Marx make a quip one time about how he would never want to be part of a club that would accept him.  Another way I have heard it approached is that if you find the perfect church, don’t go there because then it won’t be perfect any more.

How do we revive the Church?  By allowing the Holy Spirit to revive us.  Then, go or stay we have the attitude and spiritual quality that makes us an asset, not a liability.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 28, 2013

Opus 2013-41: Finding a church, part 3 of 4

There are certain things people are looking for in a church that are unmentionable.  What do I mean by that?  There are choices we make based on prejudice, pride and arrogance.

Some people have racial hangups that make them avoid certain groups.  I am not talking about a preference for worship style or music.  I am talking about an inner feeling of superiority based on who your ancestors were and where in the world they came from.  Two thoughts.  First, this is not as common as it used to be.  I really don’t believe that racial hang-ups are as common as they used to be, at least not in the white population.  Does it still exist?  Sure.  I see it, but it is like sexual sin used to be.  People are aware of it and know it is wrong so they try to compensate.

Second, it cuts all ways.  This is not just a white problem.  It is a very real problem in Asian groups and even in different segments of the black community not wanting to associate with those who came to America by different routes.

Even more pernicious, and often confused with racism, is class.  By class I am not talking about the person who doesn’t want to sit next to the homeless drunk who wanders in to get warm and smells like a sewer.  I am talking about people who look down on you because you don’t drive the right kind of car, wear the right brand of clothes or have good taste in jewelry.  I know that in one church we were snubbed by many people because we drove an old station wagon.  They did not realize that it was a choice, not a necessity.  I always laugh at a fund raising dinner the church had.  They catered a very expensive menu with Chateaubriand and white table cloths.  We had some friends who lived well but didn’t have two nickels to rub together.  They were invited.  We were not even though we were much better off.  The difference was we did not look like it. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Opus 2013-40: Finding a church, part 2 of 4

Our children live in another state.  They have been seriously looking for a place to worship.  My son had an interesting observation.  The churches he has visited have one of several problems:  The Calvinism is so strong that it is distracting, the people are devout but really strange, it is more a social club than a house of worship or it is sadly compromised with the world.  These are all legitimate concerns, except the first if you are a Calvinist.

What are common complaints about churches?  We all hear them.

One big complaint is about the music.  It fascinates me how many people I have met who like a church in many ways but make sure that they arrive late to miss the music.  My daughter drives an hour to get to the church she has decided on.  She deliberately gets there late so that she is not forced to listen to the rock band, the-Lord-gave-me-this-song-last-night compositions and the my-way-of-singing-this-hymn-is-better-than-300 year-of-singing adaptations of Wesley, Watts, Newton and Crosby.  On the rare occasions that a hymn is sung in a traditional way the volume doubles.  It is obvious that the old stuff still sells but it is just as obviously ignored.

Another complaint is shallow preaching.  Sometimes this is warranted.  There are many pastors who either spend no time in preparation or steal someone else’s sermon.  Sometimes it is just a lack of communication skills.  I do know that this is often a smoke screen.  I believe that the Holy Spirit can speak to anyone who is listening.  I have had the experience of people coming up and complimenting me on a point I made or something I said.  The problem is that I know I did not make that point or say what they heard.  The Holy Spirit was speaking.  They were listening

Some people complain that everyone is too old, or too young.  Age can make a difference but it is usually a smoke screen.  A family with young children would receive more benefit from a congregation of senior citizens that they would from a sanctuary full of their peers.  The church is made up of people of all ages.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Opus 2013-39: Links: Frogs to Pigs

I have mentioned, probably more than once, the illustration of frogs being slowly heated in water and just lying there while they are cooked to death.  Gorges Grouse has an even better illustration involving catching wild pigs.  Check it out.

Wake up America.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-38: Finding a church, part 1 of 4

How do you pick a church?  Why do you attend where you attend?  Are you happy with your choice? 

Several years ago we thought we had found a church home.  We did not agree with everything that happened or the way it was done, but the preaching was solid and the people were trying to grow in the Lord.  We got involved, accepted responsibility, paid our tithe and tried to become a part of the local body. 

Alas.  We had been uncomfortable with the things being said when we took communion.  We couldn’t put our finger on it but the pastor seemed to be getting a little vague in what was happening.  The final straw was when he invited people who did not yet know Jesus to partake.  After a bit of dialogue with what he was doing we left the church.

The problem was not social or personality.  It was not a subtle difference in denominational understanding of the meaning of communion.  As I told the pastor in a letter, I have taken communion with people in many different denominations.  In fact I would never hesitate to take communion with people in any church except Lutheran and Catholic.  The reason I would not partake with them is because they would consider me unworthy, not because I reject them.

The problem was at the root of what communion was all about.  Communion, from the word itself, means commonality.  It means we are one.  It means we are all part of the body of Christ.  It means we share a common hope and eternity.  If I take communion with someone who rejects who Jesus is and what He did for us on the cross, I am willingly joining with the other side.  It is mainly symbolic but symbols lead to realities. 

We looked for a church for years.  We found one that was really solid but from a different tradition than we embraced.  I was almost ready to look into joining but they changed pastors and the new man was so blatant in his Calvinism that I knew I could not take it.  We moved on, not because it was not a good church, but because we would have been divisive.

I finally found a small church that I decided to be a part of.  It was in my tradition.  The pastor was solid.  The music was real music, not just drums and 7/11 songs.  (Those are the songs that have seven words that you sing eleven times.)  They needed the gifts that I had to share.  Is it the perfect church?  Not on your life.  The perfect church does not exist.  This one doesn’t even come close, but it is a place where I can be accountable, serve and grow.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, January 25, 2013

Opus 2013-37: Headlines: Thinking, the Burden of Liberty

If you run through the popular bloggers you have come across many references and attempts to analyze President Obama’s second inaugural speech.  I didn’t watch the inauguration so I was interested in how it went.  Then I got to thinking, “Maybe I ought to read it myself.” 

What a crazy idea, reading the original source.

So I Googled it.  I found that I had to Google a second time and add the words “text” to my search.  The first time I came up with an abundance of hits but they all seemed to be linked with words like “analyzed,” “understanding,” “the meaning of,” and “translated.”  I finally found the actual speech.

I find his second inaugural to be an excellent example of a political speech.  It has sections of uplifting prose and lofty thoughts.  It also has pure politics, extreme left wing in Obama’s case, but what would you expect if he is being true to himself.  I also found that the entire speech could be read in the time it took to read someone else’s commentary.

So why not read it yourself.  I would guess that if you watched and listened it would still be good for you to read it again.

At this point I am going to resist my own analysis.  I really think you should read it yourself.  One of the problems with liberty is that it requires an informed and involved electorate.  The hard part is putting in the effort to deserve the freedoms that we have.  We prefer sound bites and cute summaries that reinforce our opinions.

Such is not the stuff of a free society.

One of the reasons that freedom as we know it developed in the Protestant areas of Europe is that those cultures were nurtured by a religious view that demanded personal buy-in.  Early Protestants were persecuted and murdered for translating the Bible and teaching people to think.  Mindless Christianity exits, in a sense, but it is not the Christianity of the Bible.  Living the Spirit filled life of the genuine follower of Jesus requires that we engage our mind as well as our heart.  This is true no matter what intellectual level you are at.

It is the difference between legalism and holiness.  One has rules.  Follow them and you are good to go.  You can bend and break anything else as long as all the boxes are checked.  This is the level of Christianity, and politics, that many people want.  Holiness demands a dynamic relationship with a living God that takes the expectations of an eternal, holy God and applies them to the ever changing challenges of living.

You cannot put liberty in a prefab box.  This applies whether it is political liberty or spiritual liberty.  You must engage, not just parrot.

So, whether it is the president’s speech, the Constitution, the Bible or the writings of anyone important:  Turn on your brain and read it yourself.

I realize we cannot read everything.  I realize there are times we must trust the word of others.  I also know we are too lazy to do what we should be doing.  That is offered as a confession, not just a condemnation.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-36: Eden Diet

How was eating different in the Garden of Eden?  Did Adam and Eve need to worry about getting fat?  Were they concerned about high cholesterol?  Was blood pressure an issue?  What changes did sin bring to the food and to how our bodies respond?

Did you need to crack the shells on nuts?  Did the nutmeats need protection?  Was fruit seasonal or did the trees produce constantly?  Was there so much variety that you didn’t notice no apples were available?  Since death had not come to the world, did fruit rot?  Were vegetables part of the diet? 

Vegans would have liked it.  You can make a good case for no meat before Noah exited the ark.  What was it like having no steak or fish sticks?

Did Adam and Eve stay healthy because they had to walk to gather their food.  Maybe they kept in shape climbing trees to reach the big oranges. 

Before sin entered the world, our diets must have been different. 

I wonder what they will serve at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb?

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Opus 2013-35: More Flexibility?

Do you remember when President Obama didn’t realize that the microphone was on and confided to the Russian leader that he would have more flexibility after the election.  It is now after the election and if what we saw before the election was any measure, we are going to see some real bending of laws and traditions now.  Probably to the point of breaking the Constitution.

Being flexible usually has limitations.  Your arm is flexible, but only one way.  If you bend it the wrong way you shatter it and make it useless.  Bending also weaken material, even when it is designed to flex.  It sets up a tension.  Some things bend better and longer than others, but constant flexing will eventually break the bond and destroy the joint.  Even concrete will flex to a minute degree.  I have been in a concrete building during an earthquake and seen it happen.  Everything has its limit.

You have already heard all the talk about going around Congress on the Second Amendment.  The president has spoken.  The vice president has spoken.  A few in congress have actually done their job and raised the specter of impeachment.  At what point do we expect our representatives to stand up and say, “No farther”?  When do we reach the limit of liberty?  I think we are a long way past that point, but I concede that my voice is partisan. 

In this case the opposite of partisan is peasant.  I want to remind the president that I am a citizen, not a subject and he is elected, not divinely appointed.  He is to serve, not rule.

Might I suggest another milestone for Barak Obama?  Might I suggest that he also be the first president to be removed by impeachment.  That will guarantee him a place in the history books, even if they are written by socialists.  Sometimes four years is too long for liberty.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-34: Religion and Culture: Fatalism, part 2 of 2

Religious ideas effect a culture.  Fatalism produces stagnation.  It resigns people to their fate. That is one reason why the Muslim world is so weak economically and so lacking in what the West considers basic freedoms.  One of the criticisms you hear voiced is that the Muslim world still lives in the 7th century.

It was not always so.  I can’t find my source but one of the books I read spoke of a split in early Islam over this issue.  One side took into consideration Greek and Roman scholarship and felt like that approach was the way to interpret the Koran and the teachings of Mohammed.  At first they had the upper hand but another voice arose.  That voice was totally parochial.  There was to be only one source for truth.  No other thinking need apply. 

This explains what is called the “Golden Age of Islam” and why the gold slowly turned to lead.  There was a time when Muslim scholars were open and questing for knowledge.  They were trying to put things together in the way that the Romans and Greeks had taught. 

Consider this.
“It is common knowledge that medieval Arab societies were far ahead of those in Europe in terms of science, philosophy, and medicine, and that Europeans derived much of their scholarship from the Arab world; yet in the early centuries, this cultural achievement was usually Christian and Jewish rather than Muslim.  It was Christians – Nestorian, Jacobite, Orthodox, and others – who preserved and translated the cultural inheritance of the ancient world – the science, philosophy, and medicine – and who transmitted it to centers like Baghdad and Damascus.  Much of what we call Arab scholarship was in reality Syriac, Persian, and Coptic and is not necessarily Muslim.  Syriac-speaking Christian scholars brought the works of Aristotle to the Muslim world...”  (Jenkins, Philip.  The Lost History of Christianity, New York:  Harper One, 2008, p. 18)
During the Golden Age, Islam was doing what other growing cultures have done, building on the foundations of others. 

One of the Reasons that Western cultures became so strong is that they were open to ideas from many sources.  These ideas stimulate thinking, innovation and experimentation.  This brings change and sometimes that change is for the better.  One of the strengths of America is that we have always been a diverse population.  Modern tunnel vision sees culture through the eyes of skin color and does not recognize the real diversity that is in our foundation.  They see the black slaves and the white slave owners.  The people of the Founding Fathers generation saw a vigorous mixture of Scots, highland and lowland, Irish, Welsh, German (from a multitude of different Germanic cultures), French, Danish...the list goes on.  They considered themselves different races.  They found a way to work together in spite of their differences. 

They rejected fatalism.  How you view the nature of God makes a difference in the world you encourage.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Opus 2013-33: Religion and Culture: Fatalism, part 1 of 2

Another common thread in religion is fatalism.  Another title for this is determinism.  This is a belief that everything is preordained and we have nothing to say about what is happening.  To use a phrase I fancy, “I’m just a helpless pawn in the hands of fate.”

There is a branch of psychology that jumps on this bandwagon.  You studied it in Psych 101.  It is associated with B.F. Skinner and called behaviorism.  While not technically a religion, it still tries to explain the meaning, or lack of meaning, in life.  In behaviorism you do not make free, intelligent choices.  You are just doing what comes as a result of heredity and environment.  If we could know all the inputs into your life we could perfectly predict what you would do and what the results would be.  It goes well with the concepts of evolution.  It reduces human beings to cogs in a vast machine.

Within Christianity the Calvinists have an approach to this under the words, “foreknowledge” and “predestination.”  The focal point is that at the creation of the world God chose who would find salvation and who would be condemned for eternity.  It was all laid down by His decree.  To me this is Theological Behaviorism.  Obviously that is a loaded title created by a non-Calvinist.

Predestination is also a factor for Muslims.  It is rooted, like Christianity, in a belief that God is all powerful and all knowing.  Like the Christians, Islam believes that God is free to grant salvation to whomever He chooses.  Different branches of Christianity dispute how He makes that choice but is Islam it is totally arbitrary from the human point of view.  Christians on the whole work in some kind of freedom of choice, but Islam stands firm.  It teaches that every action, even if seen as a choice, is caused and directed by God.  One of the frequent quotes you hear from Muslims is Inshallah or “as God wills.”

In its application the habitual utterance of Inshallah by Muslims is a culture stopper.  It is a good application of Marx’s “opiate of the people” comment.  It means that you always accept what happens because it is the will of God.  It is one of the reasons why some people think that democracy will never have a place in Islam because democracy demands the input from millions of human beings.  Democracy speaks of freedom of choice.  Fatalism means accepting your lot, no matter what it is.

Calvinists as a whole have never given in to total application of this idea.  That is probably because the Catholic Church has continued to hover on their horizon and that the Reformation also produced the Arminians who disagree on this issue.  The Calvinists have never been a united voice for Christianity.

As far as I can see, Islam does stand united on this point.  It has effected their culture.  It has locked them into the past and stifled innovation.  It creates a mindset that God will change things when he is ready and humans are supposed to accept whatever the situation is.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Opus 2013-32: Headlines: Sheriffs Pledge to Ignore the Law

Going over the headlines on Drudge, I noticed two that involved sheriffs saying that they would not enforce any laws about taking away people’s guns.  I didn’t go to the articles but I can almost guarantee that I don’t live in either jurisdiction. 

But this brings up a bigger problem:  The breakdown of law and order. 

What does it say when people who are pledged to uphold the law announce that they will selectively ignore the law?  I think the law, or Presidential Imperial Decree, is wrong.  But if we selectively ignore it are we not doing the same thing that the President is doing?  Are we not also working against the rule of law and equality before the law?  We are lowering ourselves to his level.  That means he wins because he has the courts, the coercive power and the time to pound us into sand.

We should be working to stop the tyranny.  Does the word “impeachment” ring a bell?  Sure, we would never get it through the Senate at this point.  Of course, there might come a miracle and the Democratic Senators might remember that they are Americans.  I can dream, can’t I?

There are probably many other things that could be done.  Hearings, law suits, PR campaigns and civil disobedience come to mind. 

I am not sure that just saying “No” will bring the kind of society that we really want.  Lets try to work in the law instead of breaking the law.  Of course, the key word here is “work.”  The Republicans we elected don’t seem to want to do that. 

I repeat, vote the suckers out.  If we can’t vote them out, put the fear of the Lord in them.  If they think Obama is the Lord, then put the fear of the Constitution in them.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-31: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Tyranny

There is a word that rang loud, clear and frequent from the Founding Fathers:  Tyranny.  I jump forward a bit to consider this statement in the Declaration of Independence:
“The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
Keep in mind that compared to the peasant classes of the world the colonists in this part of the British Empire had incredible freedom to live their lives, even compared to the average commoner in Britain.  What is this talk of Tyranny?

First, lets look at the dictionary.  Since I am at my computer I will Google it.  According to Merriam-Webster, tyranny is
“1:  oppressive power
“2a : a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler;
    b : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant
“3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force
“4: an oppressive, harsh, or unjust act”
Notice this does not say you are deprived of the basics of life.  It does not say you are locked up or marched down the street at gun-point.  It uses modifiers such as “oppressive,” “absolute power,” “single ruler,” “imposed,” “force,” “harsh,” and “unjust.”  In 1776 this was directed at the King George III of England.

Today we could say the same things about King Barak I of Kenya.  Notice the words from the Declaration, “ repeated Injuries and Usurpations.”  Can you think of any area in your life that the president has stuck his nose recently?  Have you heard the threats he is making about going around congress and undermining the Second Amendment by Executive Order?

It is time for a D of I reprise.

Read and think.  Read and weep.  Read and take action.  At this point that means speaking out, writing, and voting.  The shooting can wait until we have Lexington and Concord revisited.  But by that time it will be too late.  We still have city, county, state and congressional elections coming up.  It may be early to repeat it, but vote the suckers out.  Also words like “impeachment” should become a part of our vocabulary both of elected officials and appointed tyrants. 

homo unius libri

Monday, January 21, 2013

Opus 2013-30: It Isn’t That Simple

Alistair Begg told a story that I am sure has been repeated in various forms for years.  I don’t know if it is a true story or a should-have-been story.  A young man is reported to have turned to a missionary who had been telling the story of the Good Samaritan and said that if only he and his friends had heard this story and seen people living this way they would have not turned to Marxism.  You have all heard this genre of testimony, if only...

The story may be true but that doesn’t mean that it is true in itself.  The person making the statement might even believe it to be true, but it goes deeper than that.  It is not something that simple which causes people to turn to Marxism.  Marxism is very appealing.  It allows people to be the god of their life instead of the God of the Universe.  A lot of these excuses why people do not become Christians are bogus.

People remain pagans or Xians because they do not want to submit.  God does not compromise.  He offers a salvation that we cannot buy or earn.  All He asks is everything.  You may not understand that at the beginning.  Fine.  The Holy Spirit will bring it to mind repeatedly.  You will be given choices again and again.  You may live in rebellion or you may submit.  

Marxism offers a tremendous rush of power.  It puts you in the driver’s seat.  That is a seduction that Christianity cannot offer.  That is a payoff that no nice story or good example can overcome.

So enjoy the claims designed to tug at your heart strings.  Accept the guilt if you want.  Make a donation if it makes you feel better.  Don’t believe them though.  The purpose is to instill guilt and we have enough reason for that already. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Opus 2013-29: RTL Sunday

Did you know that “abortion stops a beating heart”?  It does.  By the time a woman knows she is pregnant the child is a recognizable human being, tiny but recognizable.  It is not a blob of tissue.  If you don’t believe it check out some of the sonogram images.

Today has been designated Right to Life Sunday.  It is the day we remember the decision handed down 1973 by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade.  Millions of children are not with us today because of that decision.  Millions of women are suffering emotional trauma because of that decision.  It ranks up with the Dred Scott Decision and Plessy v Ferguson.  It is another case that proves the court is not always right.

Some people designate it “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.”  I do not like that title.  It commemorates a multiplied tragedy.  Abortion is an evil on our world.  I don’t want to take anything away from that but I don’t like the word “sanctity” being used here. 

Life is not sacred in the sense that it is to be maintained at all cost.  It is precious.  It is guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence.  But it is a part of the package.  If life was sacred then all of the soldiers, firemen and police officers that have given their lives in service to others would be just a joke.  They would have thrown away something precious for nothing.

When a soldier dies protecting his country he gives his life for the greater good.  When a citizen sacrifices their life to save a child from a careening car, he has done a noble thing. 

On the other side, although I believe abortion is wrong I have not problem with capital punishment.  Certain crimes deserve the death penalty.  It is not to be administered lightly or without safe-guards but a serial killer does not deserve to live on the tax payers’ dime for decades.  I do not believe it is inconsistent to be against abortion and for the death penalty.  One takes an innocent life for personal convenience.  The other rids society of evil. 

Millions of innocent children killed.  Unmeasurable talent destroyed.  A blot on the soul of the nation.

Now you know how I feel about it.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Opus 2013-28: Tax Dollars at Work: It’s for the Children

We had a staff development day at school yesterday.  From 8:00 to 3:00 we listened to canned nonsense about where education is going in the 21st century.  At the beginning of the day the principal was sharing some of the news from our district.  She seemed very upset over the news that next year we would not be getting a 1.8 million dollar federal grant to pay for our Nutrition Network program.   The thing they were upset about is that we would no longer have special cooks and nutritionists that were preparing special meals for our students.  The only contact I had was the month I got a bag of radishes to have the students taste.  They were then supposed to vote if they liked it or not and I was to record the tally on a special poster I had been given.  For this they received a million dollars of your tax money from the federal government.

Hidden in the grant they had been paying for our school nurses.  That was only $700,000 of the total so someone was getting a lot of radishes.  The threat now is that we will have no school nurses next year.  The office staff will be responsible to deal with sick children. 

This is a good example of how pubic education uses the system to suck up your tax dollars.  When I went to school in this city, we had school nurses.  They were paid for out of regular district funds.  There were no federal funds available in those days.  Somewhere along the road a grant writer discovered that they could get federal money to pay for the nurses.  The money that had been allocated for health care was then redirected to the favorite causes of the administrators.  Then when the federal money is gone it is a crisis.  We don’t go back, stop the special program and put the money where it belonged.  We cry for an increase in taxes.  We demand that the government take care of the children.

And the dance goes on.

Take this and multiply it by thousands of programs and you can begin to realize how much of your tax money is being used for things that you would have never approved if it came directly out of your pocket.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 18, 2013

Opus 2013-27: Discernment Watch: Be Careful Who Calls You

Recently one of the little old ladies at church came up and asked me if I knew who had called her from Rome.  I suggested the Pope, and she laughed and said, “No, Bennie Hinn.”  She assured me that  he did not call for money, just to tell her that she was really blessed and it was going to be a great year.  She seemed to take it seriously.  She actually seemed to have the idea that he had singled her out for a personal call.  Since I wanted to be kind I did not ask many questions like, “Was this a live call or a recorded message?” 

This is a lady who had taught pharmacology at the college level.  She was educated, well known in her day and successful.  She really believes in this nonsense.

People are so gullible.  

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-26: The Tap Root of Learning

I am always listening.  In education they have a mantra about children being able to learn something every day.  That is true as far as it goes.  Many of the children they are talking about keep learning the same thing over and over again, but they do learn it every day.  I listen and like to think I learn.

One reason I learn by listening is that I am always sifting, filtering and compiling.  I enjoy hearing new bits of scientific data.  Sometimes brings an application.  Recently I wrote about 3D Printing.  I listened to a podcast about Why Einstein was chosen as Man of the Century.  I take the offerings and again, sift, filter, compile.  Since I am not a scientist I do not apply it to a body of scientific knowledge but to my Renaissance man view of the universe.  I often have a different grasp of new this new knowledge because that view is based in scripture. 

Some times I feel this places the puzzle pieces of life very well, better than the scientists view.  Why?  First, my view is more eclectic.  Scientists tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to reality.  They tend to be specialists and too many of them think that their specialty is the dog when it is only the tail.  Too often they think that because they have a Ph.D. in chemistry they can be an expert on overpopulation.  A person can be brilliant in their chosen field and largely ignorant about the world.  Does the term idiot savant sound familiar?

Second, I recognize the existence of mystery.  In my world view there are areas of mystery that I don’t claim to know or understand.  God is infinite by definition.  As a human being I recognize that there is such a concept of infinity but I cannot understand it.  Neither can the experts.  I listened to a scientist and a philosopher talk about it for an hour and they were no closer to explaining it than at the beginning of their discussion.  For the scientist everything is supposed to be under their ability to understand and control.  Maybe not real scientists, but how many of those are there?

Third, I have a confidence it all fits.  I believe in a personal, involved God.  He created.  He upholds.  He intervenes.  That gives me a confidence when I question and when I don’t understand.  It allows me to take the big picture and use my imagination. 

The question is “What is your tap root?”  What does your main supply line sink into?  What is your foundation?

It makes a difference.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Opus 2013-25: Koran Klarifications: Dhimmitude, Better Than Death?, part 3 of 3

Again I give you the Surah we are considering.
“Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”  Surah 9:29, Immunity
There are three levels of status in modern Islam for non-Muslims.
“Three categories of dhimmi are identified in Islam:  Hudna, Musta’min, and Zimmi.
    “Hudna (‘truce’) are those who sign a peace treaty with Muslims after being defeated in war....
    “Musta’min (‘protected ones’) are those who come to an Islamic nation as messengers, merchants, visitors, or students wanting to learn about Islam.  They are obliged to pay jizya (tribute, a ‘protection tax’)...
    “Zimmis (literally ‘those in custody’) are non-Muslims who live in Muslim countries and agree to pay the jizya in exchange for protection and safety....”  (Youssef, Michael, Blindsided, No City:  Kobri, 2012, p. 88.)
Nowhere is there an assumption of equal status.  Notice the first category is listed as a “truce” not a “treaty.”  The war is not over until you are converted or dead.

This war is to be fought against everyone who has received the “Scriptures.”  I don’t know if you have noticed or not but the Koran is available in every book store and library in the country.  I have no trouble with that.  I personally don’t see how any well meaning, intelligent, civilized person would be swayed by the Koran.  That sounds harsh, but I have read it, have you?  But it also gives them the right to wage war against anyone who does not immediately accept what they have to say.

We can continue to be like Nevil Chamberlain, meet with evil and claim to have made a peace.  If we do, our children will be able to witness videos of us waving a meaningless paper and claiming to have achieved “peace in our time.”  They may also be able to watch video of us being beheaded.  As they say, “Coming to a theater near you.”  In this case it is a war theater.  It will give new meaning to what will happen if “they gave a war and nobody came.”  I have news for you, the person who gives the party is always there even if no one else shows up.  And they get all the cake and goodies.

It is coming.  It is here.  It will not go away.  It can be contained but only through honest awareness.  We need to step up and be counted.

All Koran quotes are from the translation by Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A. provided by the Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Opus 2013-24: Koran Klarifications: Dhimmitude, Better Than Death?, part 2 of 3

I remind you of the Surah we are responding to,
“Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”  Surah 9:29, Immunity
It has always been possible for non-Muslims to live in Muslim countries but it has never been safe or easy.  If we allow Sharia law to creep into our system we are doing away with the products of the Civil War and the entire Civil Rights Movement.  Gone is equality before the law.  Now you have special privileges because of your religion.  It should be also noted that throughout history slaves have generally been granted a few rights.

It often starts gently.  Consider the following,
“...matters would change over time, as Muslim self-identity grew and tolerant attitudes weakened.  In 690, the regime imposed the poll tax on Syria’s non-Muslims,....  In 722 caliph Yazid II prohibited the display of religious images, destroying the public displays of many churches.” (Jenkins, Philip.  The Lost History of Christianity, New York:  Harper One, 2008, p. 106.)
In find it interesting how he says “over time.”  Mohammad died in 632 so it seems like it only took 60 years to start taking away freedom.  The year 722 is also shortly after Islam had conquered Spain and was moving into France.  They no longer needed to worry about what the Christians thought.  They were in control from Spain to Iran.

What kind of limitations have been common for dhimma under Muslim rule?  Death is a total limitation, of course.  Almost as bad is abducting your children, forcing them to convert to Islam and making them the shock troops of the Ottoman Empire, the Janizaries.  At the other extreme are the everyday harassments that make life miserable and keep reminding you that you are not a real citizen.  This included rules about things such as clothing:  no expensive fabrics, styles limited, colors forbidden or required.  Freedom of movement was curtailed:  No horses, saddles or iron stirrups, must walk single file.  Justice was denied, Christians and Jews could not testify against Muslims (Jenkins, pp. 218-9)

Is this what you want for your children?

To be continued...

All Koran quotes are from the translation by Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A. provided by the Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Opus 2013-23: Koran Klarifications: Dhimmitude, Better Than Death?, part 1 of 3

I think it may be time to reminder ourselves about one of the great realities of Islam.  It is called Dhimmitude, or second class citizenship.  We need to understand this so that we see how the Sharia Law of Islam is totally incompatible with American values.

The basic foundation for this status of non-Muslims is found in the Koran.  The Surah I find frequently quoted is:
“Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”  Surah 9:29, Immunity
In this and surrounding verses we see the three choices open to people when Islam gains control.  I give the choices in the words of a Muslim from the past,
“In the fourteenth century, the pioneering sociologist Ibn Khaldun explained the options for Christians:  ‘ it is [for them to choose between] conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death.’”  (Spencer, Robert.  The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam.  Washington, D.C.:  Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005, p. 54.)
You will not see this in the PC press and certainly won’t hear about it from our elite government leaders.  It is real.  It is historic.  It is contemporary.

To be continued....

All Koran quotes are from the translation by Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A. provided by the Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 14, 2013

Opus 2013-22: Discernment Watch: The Frozen Frog

In reading the comments of “the guru” on Gorges Grouse I was reminded of the process of slowly heating a frog until the boiling water cooks him.  The reference was to the way in which the elites in government slowly take away our freedom until we are cooked.  A good reminder, go read it if you are not familiar with the illustration.  Heed it.

It reminded me that I learned the opposite is also true.  I was listening to a pod-cast from Reasons to Believe called “I Didn’t Know That!”  On this pod-cast they discuss science and faith.  One I listened to recently had the host, a physicist, a biologist and a philosopher in the discussion.  It is a great way to expand your faith in the God of the Bible.

They were discussing natural forms of anti-freeze that occur all around us.  It seems that the process that keeps our car radiators from turning to ice is found in many life forms from the bacteria level to giant trees.  I had never thought about it that way. 

In relation to frogs they were discussing how amphibians hibernate through the winter.  They have some kind of protein that allows the tissue to actually freeze without rupturing and killing the animal.  So it seems that in addition to boiling a frog, you can freeze it to keep it out of action.

The elites don’t want to ruin your day, they want to ruin your life.  They get their jollies by restricting your liberty.  Why else would they really care if your dishwashing liquid had enough phosphorus to get your dishes clean?  Why else would they care about the million and one things they regulate? 

So wake up America.  We may be boiled.  We may be frozen.  Either way we become nothing but frogs legs on the plate of an elitest.  I don’t want to have a legacy, “He tasted just like chicken.”

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Opus 2013-21: Healthy Insights: Weight Loss Aid

My recent illness has given me a new insight into something that might help us all loose weight and keep it off.  For me it has been painful swallowing and difficulty in swallowing.  It is amazing how you think twice about eating when pain overcomes the pleasure principle.  And it is all natural.

I am currently working on a diet of 2,500 calories a day.  If I count right it works well for my height and bone structure.  If I can walk regularly it is even better.  I find that for the last four days when swallowing was painful, I had no trouble staying well below my limit.  I came close one day but the others were a piece of cake, if you will excuse the metaphor (or is it a simile?).

This could take two forms of approach.  A pill that induces a sore larynx when you approach a benchmark would work.  If the pain lasted long enough a person might develop some new habits and a more healthy diet.

Another way would be to install some kind of sensor that counted calories and monitored weight.  When your weight went above your limit, the pain was turned on and turned off when you got control again.

Some people claim that the devil made them do it.  Why not claim that the pain made you not do it.  Pain is a great teacher because it is up close, personal and hard to ignore.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-20: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: Purpose of Government

One of the questions I ask my students as we work through the founding documents is, “What is the purpose of government?”  It doesn’t matter how many times I go over it or read it.  Most of them totally ignore this.  The purpose of government is to keep our God-given rights safe.
"to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,"

That seems pretty clear but it isn’t on the radar of the current generation. 

To them government is to supply health care, lunch, schools, police, ___________. 

Is it any wonder that we are seeing our liberty eroded? 

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Opus 2013-19: Headlines: Smaller Paychecks, More for the Government

I made a quick stop at Drudge to check the headlines.  I was greeted by “Millions noticing paychecks lighter today, due to payroll tax hike,” with a link to Fox News.  I thought we were promised that our taxes would not go up unless we were the uber-rich.  As usual the President lied and maybe people didn’t die but their freedom and flexibility are more anemic today.

I already lost $100 in my paycheck in January because of initial healthcare increases.  I expect more.  Now I am looking at another hit.  In the examples given the people making about half of what I make were getting hit around $40 dollars a month.  That means I can expect twice as much next paycheck.  And what do I get for this?  I get to stand behind people using their EBT card to buy their fast food, watch people use their EBT cards to buy foods I passed up as too expensive, and navigate past the people at the ATM withdrawing cash on their EBT cards.  I get to watch these same people working for cash and avoiding paying into the system.  For this I am supposed to get up at 5:00 A.M. and cheerfully pay my “fair share?”

At least I can say that nobody I voted for on any level made it into office.  I live in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  I keep my head down and hope I make it to retirement and can leave the state before they start locking up anyone who dares to vote Republican.  Actually I don’t.  I open my mouth too often to keep below the radar.  When they come, they will come for me.

Of course, based on the candidates the Republican Party keeps running for president and the action of the House, I am more understanding of those who say there is not much difference between the parties.  The only thing is, that small difference is all we have to work with on the political side.

I still think the only hope for the country is a Third Great Awakening and a revival of righteousness among our people.  That will bring a confession of sin, a conviction of selfishness and a sense of responsibility that we don’t see much of any more.

The good news is we are all part of the rich, except of course the 47% who don’t pay anything.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-18: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: “Rights Among”

One of the principles of the Founding Fathers that is being ignored is the idea of limited government.  We have the tenth amendment that makes it clear that the federal government is not to be the reservoir of power.  It is to be limited.  The Declaration of Independence gives us an indicator of that. 
“they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...”
Notice that the three specific rights are a beginning not an end.  They are “among” the rights.  They are not all.

There are other rights that the Creator has given us.  The government is not supposed to be finding ways to limit our liberty and choices, but to stay out of the way as we find our way.  At times the courts seem to understand this when they find new, unimagined “rights” such as the right to an abortion.  I think the unborn child has a right to life, which is mention here but at least the court is trying for limiting government.  I then realize they are really on the other side when they endorse Obamacare or take away our property with Kelo v. City of New London. 

At times it seems like every branch of government is trying to instigate another Continental Congress.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 11, 2013

Opus 2013-17: Headlines: Good Journalism

Two events have made it possible for me to actually read a newspaper.  First, my wife is out of town so I actually see the paper.  Second, I have been home sick with a throat problem that does not keep my mind from working, assuming it worked to start with, of course.  The only newspaper that I am currently willing to consider seriously is the Washington Times.  Since we are on the west coast the only thing available is the national weekly edition.

They have their share of weak shallow writers.  Their stories often don’t have the same point of view as the titles.  Currently they are getting into cute word plays in the titles such as “Dead Souls Are Lethal.”  But I came across some real journalism. 

I read an article on Chuck Hagel that was more than just accusations.  It was titled “Hagel’s foreign policy record is strike against him,”  by Rowan Scarborough. (Washington Times National Weekly, January 7, 2013, page 3)  It had a year by year, blow by blow revelation of Hagel’s decisions and how he has changed his position over the years.

Scarborough shares the words of Senator Hagel who in 2007 followed up President Bush announcing the surge with this statement, “I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”

This is then balanced by the observation “Yet today, even war critics acknowledge that the surge of U.S. troops, far from a historic blunder, turned the tide of battle.”

It goes back to 2008 when “Mr Hegel had declared his allegiance to the foreign policy believes of now-Vice President Biden, who at one time called for Iraq to be split into three parts and opposed Mr. Bush’s 2007 troop surge in Iraq.”  When I read that I said to myself, “I knew that.”  But I would not have remembered.  Good journalism connects the dots of time. 

It is a good read.  Check out the link above.  Better yet subscribe to the Times.  I don’t get paid to say that.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-16: First: Mother, Please, I’d Rather Do It Myself

I ended up in the Emergency Room at 2:15 A. M. Thursday morning.  That in itself isn’t worth a post but I thought in light of statements about health care in America my experience could as least be an example.  My title comes from the fact that this was the first time I did this in the middle of the night with no backup.  My wife is out of town and I would never call a friend at 2:00 A.M.

When I arrived I could see inside and there were few people waiting.  “Good timing,” I told myself.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  I checked in and proceeded to wait.  As 4:15 rolled past and little movement was going on I asked some people who were there before me what time they had arrived.  They said around midnight.  This did not look good. 

I later found out that the entire emergency room was full, all 22 beds.  It was mostly with people who had flu symptoms.  If I had flu symptoms I would not be in an emergency ward.  I would have time to call my doctor or go to a urgent care center so my guess is that most of those filling the beds were people with no insurance who use the ER as their GP.  I could be wrong but experience tells me I am not.  I know that I seemed to be the only person in the waiting room without tattoos. 

I also keep hearing about how the poor can’t get care.  Really?  No one asked me about how I would pay when I was screened.  No one asked me if I had insurance when I was assigned a room (after 3 hours).  No one mentioned money when a nurse came in and asked me questions again.  Finally a lady came in and checked my ID, put on a name bracelet and asked for my insurance card.  I don’t think I would have been asked to leave if I didn’t have one. 

The doctor was young but competent.  You know how some young professionals can be either dull or arrogant.  He was one who gave the right impression, asked the right questions and checked the right body parts.  When we were wrapping up he said he could arrange a CT scan if I wanted it.

It was not until they gave me my final paperwork that I was told there was a fifty dollar co-pay.  What would they have done if I didn’t have any money, take back the diagnosis?  At that point I could have just walked out.

Five hours later I was on my way home.  It took a long time but I honestly don’t think I would have received any better or worse care if I had no insurance. 

It is not a proof that health care is available for all, but it is what I see and experienced.

This week.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-15: Key Scriptures, Matthew 5:39

(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

There are certain teachings that are clear and yet complex.  This is one of them.  It is referred to, for obvious reasons, as turning the other cheek.  It is a basic principle of the Christian life.  It is routinely ignored.  People who are total pacifists point to this as the reason.  That is a long discussion, subject of books and college courses.

My concern today is manipulation of truth.  Beware of your motivation.  We don’t turn the other cheek because it “works.”  It doesn’t.  Sometimes we turn the other cheek hoping that it will make the other person feel guilty for their callus behavior.  They don’t.  Sometimes we turn the other cheek so that people will feel we are noble and humble.  They won’t.

If often causes more rage than an angry response.  It often generates more aggressive responses than it would simply standing up for your rights.  You see, the pagan and Xian world hates the things of God.  They are willing to destroy society simply to see the good fail.  They rejoice in evil.

We are to have an attitude of forgiveness, grace and patience because it is the right thing to do, at least it is if you follow the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Certain actions may “work.”  Glorious.  But that is not our motivation.

We are to be salt and light.  Part of that is turning the other cheek.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Opus 2013-14: Firsts: Bluetooth

When I purchased a new radio for my new-used car I bought more than I needed.  It is like getting a new software program for your new computer.  It has a lot of bells and whistles that you see no point in.  Such was the case with the Bluetooth capability of this new technological marvel.  I said I would never use it.

I did not count on my son spending time in my car when he was home for Christmas.  The smart phone that he and his sister bought me was also Bluetooth compatible.  Well, some oil and water refuses not to be mixed.  Before I knew it we were deep into punching buttons and listening in hope.  We eventually figured it out.  Even if I don’t care about Bluetooth it was a good father/son bonding experience.

If I cared about talking on the phone it would be really cool.  You can be driving down the road, listening to a pod cast from your I-Pod and suddenly the radio tells you about a call coming in.  You press the dial and it answers.  A microphone above the steering wheel picks up your voice and the caller comes through the stereo speakers. 


Two problems which are not really problems because of the third problem.  First, you need to have the phone with you and have the Bluetooth turned on.  Second, you actually need to let people know what your phone number is.  The third problem is that I don’t like to talk on the phone.

Eventually my wife will find out about this and start using it.  It will be handy for her because she can call me and I will answer.  It will be handy for me because I won’t need to pull over to the side of the road to listen.

The future awaits.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Opus 2013-13: New Terms: Chastity, part 5 of 5, Defining Marriage

This same group of young people that are not marrying are not concerned about same sex marriage.  They don’t see it as a problem, after all, if two people love each other, why stand on stuffy tradition or old fashioned inhibitions?  Sound familiar?  Is there a correlation?

If you remove the lifetime commitment from marriage and ignore the responsibility of parenthood then marriage can easily just become a temporary business arrangement.  When you remove the understanding of the place of sex you muddy the waters on things related to sex such as marriage and children.

The Bible does not have a passage that says, “Marriage shall be defined as the lifetime joining of one man and one woman.”   It also does not have a passage that says, “If water gets cold enough, it will turn into ice.”  Some things were so plain and simple that nobody ever figured they would need to be stated.

So what is the Biblical morality on this issue?

First, homosexuality is rejected and condemned in the Bible.  There is really no question about this.  The statements are clear.
(Romans 1:26-27 KJV)  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
The only way you can get around that is with scissors, smoke and mirrors.

What is God’s ideal in marriage?  Three times, in regard to leadership in the church, Paul says they are to be the husband of “one wife” (I Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6).  Adultery and fornication are repeatedly denounced. 

It is true that there are Biblical examples of multiple wives and concubines.  These tend to be the exceptions, not the standard.  The cases I am aware of are political leaders, such as Solomon, or patriarchs such as Abraham.  There is no approval of the casual or temporary liaisons that are so common today. 

Marriage and family are the foundation of society.  If we abandon them we abandon civilization and stability.  We invite the Wrath of God to be administered to us as individuals and as a country.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Opus 2013-12: Headlines: Hell Has Frozen Over

If you are old enough to remember the Cold War and the Communist threat, you are old enough to remember PravdaPravda was the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party masquerading as a newspaper.  It was kink of like the New York Times and the Democrats.  I was in for a bit of a surprise the other day.  I was checking out the headlines on Drudge.  What caught my eye was the word “Pravda” and an article about global warming.  It looked provocative so I checked it out.  The title was “Global warming, the tool of the West.”   It was too good to pass up. 

I was shocked.  It seemed like the newspaper was at last living up to its title.  I don’t speak Russian but I have been told that Pravda means “truth.”  The article started off like this:
“For years, the Elites of the West have cranked up the myth of Man Made Global Warming as a means first and foremost to control the lives and behaviors of their populations.”
You can read it yourself if you want.  It was spot on.  I understand that a certain place is now beginning to freeze over.

They also had an article about the right to bear arms.  It could have been written by the NRA.

What is happening here?

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-11: New Terms: Chastity, part 4 of 5, The Quayle Prophecy

One of the lies that has been sold to young people is that they don’t need to be married to have the benefit of children.  Those of us old enough remember the flap started by Dan Quayle in his statements about “Murphy Brown.”  He was right.  Later it was admitted he was right, but at the time and in all the memories he was mocked for being narrow minded, bigoted and of course, stupid.

What was his sin?  He said that children did better with two parents.  Gasp!  How naive.  The problem is that his statement was true.

Charles Murray has done a lot of research.  It shows the truth of Quayle’s position.
“No matter what the outcome being examined – ...or any...measure of how well or poorly children do in life – the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married. Divorced parents produce the next-best outcomes. Whether the parents remarry or remain single while the children are growing up makes little difference. Never-married women produce the worst outcomes. All of these statements apply after controlling for the family’s socioeconomic status.”
What does that mean?  Single parenting produces the worst results.  Can a child come out of it?  Of course, but the odds are against a successful life.  Why go looking for trouble?

Marriage is not an option for raising children.

Murray, Charles.  Coming Apart.  New York:  Crown Forum, 2012. Kindle Reference, Loc. 2658-72

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Monday, January 7, 2013

Opus 2013-10: New Terms: Chastity, part 3 of 5, Destroying Foundations

The Bible has established a standard of sexual conduct that is very clear.  It is called Chastity.

Our culture is doing everything it can to destroy this standard.  When is the last time you saw, read or heard anything that presented this standard as even close to positive?  It is God’s standard and is rejected by our culture.

This perversion of God’s plan is penetrating and degrading our society.  The younger generation is not marrying.  Sex is becoming a recreation or a “need” rather than a part of marriage and a beginning of family.  It has become a disposable thrill instead of a lifetime bonding.  We saw it first in the black demographic when welfare began to drive the men out of the homes.  This is simple statistics.  It can’t be argued with or denied.  You can yell “racist” and shut people up, but the destruction does not disappear with the playing of the race card.

In 1960 When Lyndon Johnson began his war of poverty, 80% of black children were born into families with married parents.  Now 80% are born outside of marriage.  This is already laying down a path of despair and poverty that no government program will cure.   We are beginning to see this trend in develop also in Latino and white statistics. 

The lack of chastity is dissolving the glue of our society.  It is moving us toward chaos and poverty.  The elites don’t care because they believe they will be in the drivers seats with their private guards and high fences.  They want masses to control and broken culture gives them the masses. 

Our younger generation has been seduced and brainwashed.  They have come to believe that this is normal and good.  It paints a dim picture of the future.  It effects all of our cultural stability.

To be continued....

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Opus 2013-9: New Terms: Chastity, part 2 of 5, Compromise, Chastity and Church

Chastity is God’s standard for our sexual side.  It is not a ban but a boundary.  It does not say “No, never!”  It says, “Here, yes!  Enjoy and rejoice!”  It says that in spite of what you may have heard.  There is no middle ground.

Increasingly, that standard is being disregarded.  That is to be expected in the world outside the church.  The pagan and secular world has always ignored God’s standards when not mocking them.   The disaster we are seeing is that it is being abandoned and ignored even inside the church.  The Bible gives clear blue-prints of our sexual relationships.  The design of God is a front line issue in the conflict between God and Satan, between the true church and the contemporary culture.  It is the difference between Christians and Xians.  The lines are clear but they are being ignored.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Opus 2013-8: New Terms: Chastity, part 1 of 5, Sex Is for Marriage

The Bible teaches something that used to be called chastity.  It is often confused with celibacy but they are not the same.  Celibacy is the total absence of sexual activity.  It is what the Roman Catholic church expects of its clergy and people in religious orders.  In the Bible it is only presented as the condition before marriage.  Chastity is bigger than Celibacy.

Chastity means that sex is reserved for the covenant of marriage and it to be abstained from in any other situation.  Within marriage sex is presented as the ultimate knowing, the supreme intimacy.  It is clearly a grand and glorious thing.  Check out the Song of Solomon.  Read I Corinthians 7.  Go through Proverbs 5:15-19.  Within marriage it is clear that a robust and satisfying sex life is to be expected.  Outside of marriage the expectation is just as clear:  It is always sin.

Actually, chastity is not a new term.  It is an old term that has been abandoned.  If you are a follower of Jesus that is not acceptable.  There are certain standards that the Bible lays down.  They are non-negotiable.  While it is true that we are not under law, but under grace, there is no place in the scripture that it even implies that you are free to violate the Ten Commandments.  Righteousness is still the standard.  Chastity is part of that standard.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, January 4, 2013

Opus 2013-7: Links: A World without Guns

Every once in awhile I get to read some of the blogs I have bookmarked.  In the process I sometimes come across these great quotes.  I want to share one with you.  It is from View from the Porch,
“I like to point out to these people that we already had a world without guns; it was called the Middle Ages.” 
Love it.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-6: Rituals Stimulate Remembering

A good while back I was listening to Alistair Begg talking about baptism.  He mentioned how many people had already been baptized so they might not be interested.  This got be to thinking about weddings.  When we attend a wedding we are there to honor those being married ,but there is more to it than that. 

Some are looking forward in their own lives.  They hope or assume that they also will be getting married someday and exchanging vows.  For some it is mystery.  For some it is anticipation.  For some it is romantic. 

Some are looking backward.  Part of the spiritual impact of married couples attending a wedding is to identify with the couple on the platform and renew our vows, at least in our hearts.  We took the step years ago.  We swore similar oaths years before and being in such a service can bring the covenant back to life. 

Many events we participate in have the value of pointing us back to decisions we have made, remind us of our commitments and strengthen previous bonds.  How we allow ourselves to be drawn in and allow our hearts to reach out will determine whether these rituals are empty or of great value.

Look to the year ahead.  You may attend weddings.  You may watch babies baptized or dedicated.  Bar mitzvahs.  Confirmations.  Swearing in ceremonies.  Graduations.  You may be involved in milestones of other people’s lives.  They want to share them with you.  Allow them to remind you of the red letter days in your life. 

May this be a happier and more productive year for you.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Opus 2013-5: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: The Right Basics

The members of the Continental Congress were addressing what they felt were the tyrannical actions of the British government.  We are all familiar with the three basic freedoms.  Most people recognize the phrasing even if they don’t know where they come from.
“...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...”
These are reflections of the three ways that government can seek to take control of frisky citizens. 
The government can kill us.  They are the exclusive arbitrators of the sword.  If a government official puts us to death it is an execution.  If I do it, it is murder.  The government needs serious limits on its power and opportunity to kill.  This will be addressed in the Constitution.  Such things as due process, quick and speedy trial of our peers, right to face accusers, bills of attainder, etc. are designed to limit the capital power of the government.

The government can lock us up.  In many countries they can lock you up for any and every reason.  They can throw away the key.  They don’t even need to tell you why.  This idea of liberty has a long history in the writ of habeas corpus.  We are to have the maximum liberty, subject to the maximum liberty for those around us.

The government can regulate us to death.  They can make everything illegal.  They can tell us what to eat.  They can tell us what doctor to see.  They can tell us we must buckle up.  They can control the flow of our toilets and the temperature of our showers.  Did I say they can?  I should have said they do.  It seems that the Nanny State has forgotten about this one.

As you can see, the government has a lot of learning to do.  We better start teaching them before it is too late.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Opus 2013-4: Links: Response to “Denominations”, part 2 of 2

What are other examples of the difference between theology and Bible teaching?

On Pentecost the disciples, who were believers and were timid and hiding, suddenly had an experience with the Holy Spirit and were out preaching.  That is not doctrine but a Biblical teaching.  In Acts 15 where it says God cleansed their hearts by faith is a Biblical teaching.  Putting them together is a theological statement.  We need to know and understand the difference.  We believe in the Bible.  We try to organize it with our theology.

The difference in emphasis and organization in this theology is where we get our denominations.  I personally have a lot of room for different understandings as long as we don’t try to de-Christianize those we disagree with. 

I see a parallel between our understanding of political parties and denominations.  Intellectually, I believe that it is possible to be a Democrat and be a patriotic American.  I would say the same for most other political parties.  Emotionally I don’t see it, but I accept that people don’t need to agree with me on tax rates or the size of the military to be good Americans.

I do not apply that to members of the Communist party or devout Muslims who are out to destroy what we have here.

So, I think denominations are good things.  They serve an important role.  They make a place for all of us to fit in.  I would be glad to worship with you, take communion with you and sit beside you at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  Just don’t expect me to like your music or your New Living Translation.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-3: Links: Response to “Denominations”, part 1 of 2

Recently at Gorges’ Grouse there was a post on Denominations.  It is worth reading if you have not done so yet.  I might nit pick but on the whole he has good points.  My basic thoughts here are taken from a note I wrote myself a couple of years ago.  As I was reviewing old ideas his post got me thinking this would be a good addition to the discussion.

In the study of theology you have different objectives.  One the one hand you have “systematic” theology.  Another emphasis would be “Biblical” theology.  This would seem to be redundant but it is a necessary difference.  There are certain teachings that are a required part of orthodox Christianity that you will not find in the concordance.  One is the teaching of the Trinity.  The world is not in the Bible but you do find both the statement that there is one God along with the divinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  That would be "systematic."

There is also a difference between theology and straight Biblical teaching.  For instance, how do you deal with the teaching about the filling with the Holy Spirit?  In my background, the Church of the Nazarene, we have a doctrine to explain it.  We call it “entire sanctification.”  This is theology saying there is a work of grace by the Holy Spirit subsequent to regeneration by which we are filled with the Spirit and sanctified entirely.  That is a theological statement.  Most denominations would disagree with the way the Nazarenes state it.

How does this work out in teaching the Bible.  The Bible says we are to be sanctified wholly.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV)  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
No believer would claim it does not say this.  We simply disagree on what it means.

One is theology, one straight Bible teaching. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Opus 2013-2: Holiday Milestones

Happy New Year.  Are you getting tired of that?  Already?

New Year is an arbitrary date.  That is more true that most realize.  We just went through the Mayan Apocalypse hype.  Don’t blame the Mayans.  They were cool.  It was all the entrepreneurs who wanted to make money that got the buzz going.  In 1605 the calendar year in England began on March 25.  Other cultures have their days.

The usefulness of New Years is as a reminder.  We all have gone through the New Year’s resolution phase.  It never seems to work but it is useful.  It causes us to pause and think about where we have been and where we are going.  I think that is one of the major values in the different red letter days we celebrate.  Think about it.

Some holidays are designed to get us thinking.  Memorial Day and Veterans Day are for looking back.  Thanksgiving is for looking up.  Birthdays are for looking in. 

So don’t waste the day.  Enjoy all the family and cultural activities.  Celebrate.  But take some time to get away and think.  Look back at both the good and the bad.  Feel regret and satisfaction.  Look forward.  Set goals and hope.  Spend some time in prayer asking not just for blessing but for guidance and wisdom.

The New Year waits.  In 365 days you will be looking back on today.  Make it a good review.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-1: What Price Dignity

Two years ago I still had hopes of getting my son interested in playing golf.  It was not to be.  My daughter though is now showing some interest.

Golf can teach you humility.  The boy and I were out one day and took the digital camera along.  We decided we would take some short motion pictures of our golf swings.  We have visions of the smooth strokes of the professionals.  We might need to tweak a little, and we were open to correction.  We quickly came down to earth.

The difference between what I thought I looked like and what I really looked like was staggering.  On camera I could see how awkward and uncoordinated I was.  I had no back swing and no follow through.  My illusions were shattered. 

Some people might march out and sign up for lessons.  Some might by new clubs or new outfits.  We coped by never taking the camera along again.  We will forget what it showed and get back to imagining how good we are.

How do we look at ourselves as children of God?  How we live our lives of obedience?  It would not be a pretty picture is we had spiritual cameras that showed it all. 

In golf we can take lessons.  In our spiritual walk we can also grow.  Both take practice and a willingness to listen to people who know better.  Both mean that we can’t just hide the camera.  To quote a Christmas carol,

God is not dead,
Nor does He sleep.

Happy New Year.  Make it a better one.

homo unius libri