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, February 28, 2013

Opus 2013-80: Your Tax Dollars at Work: A Hill of Beans

This week there was a timid knock on my class-room door.  When I answered, a young lady handed me a large zip-lock bag.  I looked at it.  I looked at her.  I asked, “What is this?”  She did not know.  As I examined it the light dawned:  The fingers of a federal grant are again sneaking into my classroom. 

The bag was a large, heavy duty, resealable storage bag.  No cheap bag need apply.  This was the heavy duty variety.  As I looked closer I saw that inside the bag were more, smaller bags and a pouch of raw dry beans.  When we have received things like this before they were edible.  I was expected to pass them around, have the students eat them and do a survey of appreciation.  How do you do that with uncooked, unsoaked dry beans?

When all else fails, read the directions.  Evidently I am supposed to pass out the bags and beans, insert a paper towel (not provided), “moderately wet” the towel, tape the bag to the window and watch the miracle of life.  Later we are supposed to keep a record of the growth of the bean.  This is a wonderful experiment which the children already did in elementary school.  Your federal tax dollars are now trying to get them to do it in their history class

Think about this investment in education. 
        25 small bags and dry beans. 
        One large bag. 
        25 paper towels.
        Time to purchase the materials
        Time to count out the beans
        Time to count out the bags
        Time to assemble
        Time to type up a special label for my class
        Time to distribute all of the above
    Class time:
        Time to explain project
        Time to assemble and tape to windows
        Time to record and evaluate.

I have news for you:  It ain’t gonna happen, at least in my class.

I don’t need to duplicate what was done in 3rd grade.  I don’t need to ignore what I am supposed to be teaching.

And you wonder why the coming generation is so ignorant.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Opus 2013-79: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 7 of 7

I think that the last two chapter titles sum up the point, or lack of point of the book.

     Chapter 7, God Can’t Do Everything, but He Can Do Some Important Things

     Chapter 8, What Good Then, Is Religion?

Ultimately the answer to the last question is, “Not much.”  He gives the conclusion he has come to.
“Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us.  They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly.  But we can give them a meaning.  We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them.  The question we should be asking is not, ‘Why did this happen to me?  What did I do to deserve this?’  That is really an unanswerable, pointless question.  A better question would be ‘Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?’” page 136
Although I don’t disagree with his positive spin as an alternative to despair, I am curious about how he concludes that the entire meaning of life and the big questions comes down to us having a positive attitude and pulling ourselves up by the boot-straps.  Notice that the meaning is imposed by us and has no relation to the eternal.  God having a purpose is rejected.  This is a curious position for one who is employed full time as a Rabbi who is supposed to be a minister of God and teach about the things of God.

Contrast this Old Testament leader with the message of the New Testament.
(Romans 8:28 KJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(Philippians 1:6 KJV)  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

(1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
His position seems to me to be a total rejection of the God of the Bible.  It substitutes the belief that man is the pinnacle of evolution and stands on his own two feet.  It is up to you to amount to something.  God is just a side-show for the weak and foolish.

Okay.  I am weak and foolish.  I have read the book and I have read the Book.  I prefer the one that teaches about an eternal, all powerful, loving, holy, personal, God. 

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-78: Tears Trump Truth

I may be heartless.  I may lack sensitivity.  I am not blind and as a history teacher I remember what has gone before.  I have observed that when a parent cries, the meeting is hopeless.  We had a parent meeting last week.  We were trying to keep a student on track.  She was a nice person.  No one questioned that she was a pleasure to have around.  The problem was that she was failing several classes.  As we suggested checking her homework the mother started tearing up because she could not check her child's homework.  She claimed she did not understand.  I wasn’t sure if it was the English part or the math skills.  When the tears appeared rational discussion stopped.  Warm-hearted, caring people reached for boxes of tissue.  I tried to cover my frustration.  For all intents and purposes the meeting was over.

Later, it became clear that the girl was lying to her mother on a constant basis.  That should have been the point when the tears came out but it breezed by without a ripple.  It is no wonder these kids are so messed up.  What hope does this young lady have if her own mother doesn’t get upset when she is lied to.  Where can she turn when I am the only adult in the room that seems to see this as a problem.

Welcome to modern education and modern parenting.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Opus 2013-77: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 6 of 7

I find Kushner’s interpretations of certain passages quite original, at least from my experiences. 

One of the beliefs of Christians is in the Trinity.  We believe that God is one but has three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  My purpose here is not to elaborate and explain that doctrine.  It is just a starting point.

One of the interesting things to New Testament believers is the places where it seems we can find reference to God that support our understanding of the trinity.  He takes one of those and does a circus routine with it.

Look at the portion of the creation account. 
(Genesis 1:26 KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Notice that God says, “Let us make...”  One explanation of that is simply what is called the “Royal ‘We’.”  This was a device that kings used to refer to themselves as being above mortal men.  They would say “we” because they represented the state and were the state.  I could accept that.  Another understanding that Christians have is that it refers to the triune nature of God.  Kushner has a great interpretation.  I don’t know if it is his alone or he is quoting from a pool of knowledge.  Check this out.
“At the climax of the Creation process, God is represented as saying, ‘Let us make Man in our image.’  Why the plural?  Who is the ‘us,’ the ‘our’ of which God speaks?  My suggestion for understanding that sentence is to see it as connected to the sentence immediately before it, in which God creates animals....  Having created the animals and beasts, He says to them:  ‘Let us arrange for a new kind of creature to emerge, a human being, in our image, yours and Mine.  Let us fashion a creature who will be like you, an animal, in some ways - needing to eat, to sleep, to mate - and will be like Me in other ways, rising above the animal level.  You animals will contribute his physical dimension, and I will breathe a soul into him.’  And so, as the crown of Creation, human beings are created, part animal, part divine.”  p. 72
Thus God is inviting the animals that He just created to have some input in the nature of man.  This is off the deep end, but you must admit it is creative and entertaining. 

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-76: In Insight into Tolerance

I was again listening to Alistair Begg.  Try it, you might like it.  During the sermon he dropped in the following insight. 
“Tolerance justifies me doing what I want and not getting blamed for it.”
Why is tolerance such a popular virtue?  It is a kind of twist on the Golden Rule.  “Don’t criticize any behavior that you might not want criticized.”  Or, “I will overlook your depravity is you ignore my perversion.”   

Tolerance in its original definition was a virtue.  To exist in civil society there are many quirks and foibles that we need to be willing to endure in good humor.  Tolerance can be the oil that keeps friction within operating temperature.  But it has been extended with the “Judge not” generation to include things that should not be tolerated.

Keep in mind that God may forgive sin but He does not tolerate it.  He also reserves the right to determine what is sin and what isn’t.

Sorry if that bursts your bubble.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 25, 2013

Opus 2013-75: Cheap Babysitting

Have you ever done the math on the cost of education compared to a good babysitter?  The public schools are really a good deal.

Lets assume that you have 30 students for each teacher.  Lets assume that the teacher has a salary and benefit package that is $100,000 a year.  If you don’t like my numbers, put in your own, I think it will still work.

Teachers have students for about six hours a day.  They teach five days a week.  Lets see what the math is on that.

    30    students
    x 6    hours a day
    180     billable babysitting hours a day.

Most teachers are responsible for students about 180 days a year.

         x 180
         32,400    billable hours a year

Now, divide the cost by the billable hours.


It comes out to about $3.09 an hour.  It has been a long time since I had to hire a baby sitter but even twenty years ago we were paying a lot more than that.

So education is really a bargain.  And you don’t have to drive the teacher home after school.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Opus 2013-74: Location, Location, Location

What are the foundations of your life?  What are the abiding principles that guide your decisions and set your priorities.  For Christians these foundations are found in Jesus and His teachings.  There are two places where Jesus talks about foundations and they have slightly different emphasis.  Both make it clear that we are to build our lives on keeping His words. 

Luke emphases blooming where you are planted.  The wise man digs down to rock.
(Luke 6:48 KJV)  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
In the next verse the foolish man does no preparation, just starts to build.
(Luke 6:49 KJV)  But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Matthew relates it differently.  He starts with the wise man.
(Matthew 7:24-5 KJV)  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Notice that there is no mention of digging.  In this teaching it is a matter of picking the right place to start with.  Compare it to the foolish man.
(Matthew 7:26-7 KJV)  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
I can picture Jesus giving this lesson to different people and emphasizing different aspects of the teaching.  For some who have no choice it is important to dig down deep, to bloom where they are planted.  This gives us hope when we are locked into less than perfect circumstance.

The other group were more flexible in their options.  It was important for them to find the right location.  Katrina took out houses regardless of their foundation.  Maybe we need to go where the rock is to build, not just dig where we want until we find rock.

Which teaching applies best to you today is between you and the Holy Spirit.  Do you need to dig deeper or should you find a better foundation for your life?

Take your pick, both lead to Jesus.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Opus 2013-73: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 5 of 7

In chapter 2 Kushner begins to work through the book of Job.  I thought we would now see some solid answers.  At this point I still thought he would be going to the Bible as a reliable source.  My first red flag came when he totally misrepresents what the Bible says.  Consider his take on the cause of the suffering of Job.
“God accepts Satan’s challenge.  Without in any way tell Job what is going on, God’ destroys Job’s house and cattle and kills his children.  he afflicts Job with boils all over his body so that his every movement becomes physical torture.”  page 33
Something did not seem right about his reference to what happened so I took a bold step and read the passage in question myself.  The problem is this is not what the Bible says.  You might construe this from the first step,
(Job 1:12 NAS77)  Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.

(Job 1:12 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

(Job 1:12 JPS)  And the LORD said unto Satan: 'Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand.' So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
I give you three translations, the last is by the Jewish Publication Society.  Since I am not familiar with Hebrew this is the best I can do, but they seem consistent.  The obvious difference comes in the next encounter between God and Satan.
(Job 2:6-7 NAS77)  So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."  Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

(Job 2:6-7 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.  So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

(Job 2:6-7 JPS)  And the LORD said unto Satan: 'Behold, he is in thy hand; only spare his life.'  So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot even unto his crown.
Here it is clear that Satan is doing the smiting, not God Himself.  This is totally at odds with what the author says.  You would think that someone who is trained as a Rabbi would be able to quote primary sources a little more accurately.

When I read this kind of distortion it tends to make me lose confidence in the rest of the thesis being presented.  If I cannot trust someone to be accurate and honest about something this clear and simple, how can I believe the rest of his discussion?

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-72: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: Destructive Government

The Founding Fathers were in agreement with the statement, “That government is best which governs least.”   The earliest we find these actual words are evidently 1837 but they certainly understood that governments were not necessarily beneficial. 

Note these words from the Declaration,
“that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends,”
They have just stated that the purpose of government is to guarantee the rights granted by God.  Now they acknowledge that government can not only fail to guarantee the rights but work to destroy them.

Does that sound familiar or are you not paying attention.

homo unius libri

Friday, February 22, 2013

Opus 2013-71: Don’t Ask Me

Every once in awhile someone asks me what I would do to solve a problem.  Often I don’t give them a meaningful answer.  Why?  It isn’t that there are not good answers or ideas.  It isn’t that I don’t have answers.  It is because I am not willing to waste my time on meaningless discussions.

You see, they really don’t want to know.  They want me to spend my energy and time being creative and generating creative solutions.  It will keep me quiet because while I am doing it I will be occupied and out of the way.  Then they will act like they are listening.  I will wait in anticipation until the day comes that I realize Lucy has pulled the football out of the way again.

When I deal with the leadership in education they already have an agenda.  They know what they want.  They know what the results are going to be.  They also know that most teachers are like the general public, if you make it look like you are asking for input they will be satisfied.  I remember one issue we talked about for several years.  We had repeated votes.  One time the faculty voted with a 78 percent majority.  We were at that point told the we needed to be unanimous.  A year later, in a moment of weakness, an administrator confessed that someone had donated a bunch of money on the condition that things be done a certain way, the opposite of what we wanted as teachers. Now two years later, with no discussion or vote, we are going to the position that the teachers wanted.  My guess is that the bribes either ran out or people were bribed to go the other way.

I could give repeated examples, but you probably won’t pay attention either.

I am afraid that things will need to get much worse before they get better.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-70: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 4 of 7

This started as a book review but I am going to go into more detail because I see a lot of important distortions going on in a book that has been quoted frequently on both sides of the divide between Christians and Xians.

He makes a very bold statement early in the book. 
“There is only one question which really matters:  why do bad things happen to good people?  All other theological conversation is intellectually diverting; somewhat like doing the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper and feeling very satisfied when you have made the words fit; but ultimately without the capacity to reach people where they really care.” page 6
So his question, spurred by his personal suffering negates all of the minor questions like, “What is the meaning of life?” and “What happens after I die?”  This doesn’t even make allowance for the big questions from the Hebrew portion of scripture, like,
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Or New Testament question like,
(Luke 10:25 KJV)  And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
It would seem to me that these are not just”intellectually diverting” “theological conversation.”  It would seem to me that they are the reasons people are drawn to religion.

But then, I am not a famous author.

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Opus 2013-69: Post Office: Some Things Never Change

We have been hearing rumblings for quite some time that the post office is going to do away with Saturday delivery.  I will miss it but it will not rock my world.  I am more concerned about the trend than the current practice.  Less service for higher prices is not a good indication of the future.  The bigger issue we keep hearing about are the deficits run up by the Post Office, year after year while the competition is making profits.  I thought a little historical context might be interesting. 

One of my reading projects is to read through the writing of Abraham Lincoln which are available for download from Project Gutenberg.  I am currently in volume 6.  I came across this little tidbit in “Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.”  If you don’t like long quotes, just read the last sentence to get the point.
“It gives me pleasure to report a decided improvement in the financial condition of the Post-Office Department as compared with several preceding years. The receipts for the fiscal year 1861 amounted to $8,349,296.40, which embraced the revenue from all the States of the Union for three quarters of that year. Notwithstanding the cessation of revenue from the so-called seceded States during the last fiscal year, the increase of the correspondence of the loyal States has been sufficient to produce a revenue during the same year of $8,299,820.90, being only $50,000 less than was derived from all the States of the Union during the previous year. The expenditures show a still more favorable result. The amount expended in 1861 was $13,606,759.11. For the last year the amount has been reduced to $11,125,364.13, showing a decrease of about $2,481,000 in the expenditures as compared with the preceding year, and about $3,750,000 as compared with the fiscal year 1860. The deficiency in the department for the previous year was $4,551,966.98.”
I am too lazy to do the research but this would indicate that the Post Office has a long history of running a deficit.  Four Million Dollars in 1862 was a lot of money.  It is still a lot of money for me but if you use an Inflation Calculator you find that the current value would be around $103, 431,000.  That is still not what is being projected but you get the point.  I would guess that the Post Office has never paid for itself.

I am not sure I have a problem with that.  While I support allowing private companies to compete, I think there is a place for a government subsidized postal system.  I can see how this could be important for national security.  And of course the final point would be that it is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, that “The Congress shall have power ...To establish post offices and post roads;...”

That doesn’t automatically mean it should be subsidized, but it does mean that the Founding Fathers felt the mail was within the sphere of the government.

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 6: 1862-1863.  Project Gutenberg.   Loc. 2238-45.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Opus 2013-68: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 3 of 7

In my last post on this topic I gave a quote from the book.  Let me lift out a couple of issues with what Kushner said.  First, he seems to think that the great thinkers of the ages use big words only to confuse and trick. 
“It does not try to use big words or clever ways to rephrasing questions in an effort to convince us that our problems are not really problems, but the we only think they are.” p. 1
In one sentence he writes off all the contributions of the great thinkers of the past.  All the Rabbis, philosophers and theologians who have tried to deal with the big question of pain are just being sophists.  This seems a bit arrogant, but maybe in his pain he is over stating his case.

His second basic assumption about the world is a bigger problem.  He states that he believes in the “goodness of the world.”  With this simple statement he separates himself from the Biblical Judaism that he purports to espouse.  With this statement I assume that he represents the Reform branch of Judaism.  In Christian terms this would make him a United Methodist, United Presbyterian or Unitarian. 

As you read through the book you notice that he rejects the idea of sin and the fallen nature of man.  I am not an expert in Jewish theology but sin and the fall are certainly in Genesis.  Also consider this from the Jewish Publication Society Bible.
(Psalms 51:5 JPS)  (51:7) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
And yet he rejects this with a pat on the head to those so provincial that they believe it.
“Perhaps, depending on the religious tradition in which you were raised, you were told that all human beings, Adam’s and Eve’s descendants, were doomed to die as sinners because of that original disobedience.” p. 74
This is one of those Continental Divides between what the Bible teaches and our pagan culture rejects.  The world is not now, nor will it ever be in this age, good.  It is under the curse of sin.  If you reject that you might as well reject the rest of the package, which Kushner has done even if he does not realize it.  I may come back to this.

Third, he is rethinking all he has been taught about God and His ways.  Thinking is good.  Thinking about God and His ways is good.  Rethinking is a constant process.  The problem is that Kushner insists on rejecting all sources outside his own world view and his worldview has rejected the teachings that God gave in the Bible.  You can’t have it both ways.  Either you accept the God revealed in the Bible or you are simply another member of the Belief of the Month Club.

The problem I am seeing as I read is that he sets himself above not only the wisdom of ages but seems to be moving toward remaking God into the author’s own image.

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-67: Cornerstone Considerations: Redress of Grievances

Yesterday when I checked Drudge I didn’t see anything about the California cop killer.  I assume the hysteria is dying down but it does raise a lot of important questions. 

Media filters:  I have seen repeated references by people who read the entire “manifesto” and reported that the man was a left wing, gun control advocate and Obama supporter but none of this was coming out in the news.  Way to go, MSM.  You never disappoint us or let us down with your consistency.

Gun control:  If only the police are to have guns, what happens when a policeman goes rogue?  This would seem to run contrary to the demand for more gun control, but that is not the way it will be spun.

Redress of grievances:  Consider the First Amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
We are all familiar with that.  We hear about most of them on a regular basis.  What about the issue of “redress of grievances”?  What do you do when you can get no one to listen to you?  What do you do when you have a government that is so invested in maintaining its own power that they ignore the will of the people?

We just had a trained policeman who went “postal.”  Some have posted about how he was raging against the mistreatment he received while on the police force.  Some are labeling him as a “folk hero.”  At church last night we were discussing what made people radical and who we thought was radical.  The goal of the discussion was to show how Jesus was radical in what he taught.  At one point the high school students at one table yelled out the name of the man we are discussing.  In their minds he was a folk hero already. 


Why do we feel so powerless to do anything about the wrongs we see and experience?  How many of us have wanted to go “postal” in our imagination.  Admit it.  Haven’t you ever wanted to ram the guy who cut in front of you in rush hour?  Haven’t you ever wanted to pick up the trash someone just dropped and stuff it in their mouth?  This are petty, self-centered issues.  What happens when the injustice is systemic, perpetual and coercive?

Sometimes the only answer to tyrants is violence.  Most of us will continue to try to get along, to follow the rules.  Most of us most of the time.  But what about the day when all your options are gone?  What do you do with a local police chief who is so corrupt that your children are not safe in your home?  What do you do with a judge who passes down sentences based on how much graft he pocketed?  What do you do with an abusive husband that leaves you black and blue and literally broken?  What do you do with a father who is molesting you?

The important part of the answer to these questions is to get busy doing what you can while violence is not seen as the only answer.  As citizens we can start by voting carefully for our city councils and school boards.  We can think of running ourselves.  We can get involved in helping people get elected who are willing to limit the reach of government.  If they don’t live up to their promises, vote the suckers out.

If you are in a position of power or authority, you might want to see what you can do to improve the situation before the masses feel that violence is the only answer.

There is still time, but the clock is clicking.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 18, 2013

Opus 2013-66: Discernment Watch: The Ignoring of History

One of the reasons that education is being dumbed down is that the ruling elites know that an educated population is harder to control.  That is why you find math and science stressed but not history.  Math and science are useful in the labs and factories but don’t necessarily develop a philosophy of life that demands independence and liberty.  The Soviet Union was very advanced in the sciences and competed well with us when it was a priority.  The laws of physics don’t change just because politics do.  On the other hand they were famous for rewriting history.

In all my years of teaching I have seen emphasis put on every subject except history.  There is a reason for that.  A people who know their history are more aware of the lies of the elites.  That is not a desirable goal.  How many times have you been in a meeting and had the leaders admonish you to quit being negative by bringing up what did not work in the past?  They don’t want you to remember.  It might mean they would need to try something that would really work.

What is the result of raising taxes?  What are the real life effects of socialism?  What political party was the champion of the anti-slavery movement and which was a big supporter of the KKK?  What happens when you raise the minimum wage?  The questions could go on but no one is asking them because we are now progressive and open minded.  We are also falling apart.

So study your history.  Read about what worked in the past and what has never worked.

And then vote, speak up and take a stand.  Your future depends on it.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-65: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 2 of 7

Kushner starts off by explaining the tragedy that brought him to write the book.  It is important to understand where he is coming from.  Most of us will never experience anything like this.

The shock that precipitated this soul searching was his first born child being diagnosed with a condition called progeria.  It causes a child to age quickly and they rarely live past fourteen years.  This is a genuine tragedy and is not to be taken lightly or easily dismissed.  It is clear that this would bring to mind questions about God and what he allows. 

It is his pain that drives the book.

He is a rabbi with what seems to be a large congregation.  When things went wrong he was just getting started but he already had people coming to him asking for answers.  His son’s condition made it very hard for him to give pat cliches.  He began to search and think but did not begin writing the book until after his son died at fourteen years of age.

First he tells you the level of writing to expect.
“This is not an abstract book about God and theology.  It does not try to use big words or clever ways to rephrasing questions in an effort to convince us that our problems are not really problems, but the we only think they are.  This is a personal book, written by someone who believes in God and in the goodness of the world, someone who has spent most of his life trying to help other people believe, and was compelled by a personal tragedy to rethink everything he had been taught about God and God’s ways.” page 1
When I first read this I thought, “That is good.  He wants to simplify some great thoughts and help people.”  As I continued reading I began to realize that he was coming from some very dangerous, and hope strangling, positions.  If you do not embrace Christianity, this series of posts may be more nonsense to you than usual.  If you are part of liberal Christianity, you will wonder what my problem is.  Feel free to come back when I find another soap box.

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Opus 2013-64: Book Review: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, part 1 of 7

I am by nature very cheap.  Or if you are offended by hate speech, I am very careful in how I expend my resources.  As a result there are many popular books that I don’t read unless I catch them in the library or until they reach the thrift stores.  Since the thrift stores are raising their prices I often am forced to wait until the library has a 50¢ sale or a give-away shelf.  This book I have been hearing about for years.  I finally broke down and bought it at 50¢.  How can you go wrong at 50¢, right?

I began reading with an open mind.  I have heard the book referred to many times over the years and my general feeling was positive reviews.  Warning flags began to come out of their lockers as I looked at the people praising the book on the back cover:  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Norman Cousins, Harvey Cox, Norman Vincent Peale and Art Linkletter.  These are all well known people.  Some I know to be well educated.  Some are recognized as authorities in their fields.  At the same time, all are people who range from the borders of heresy to rampant paganism. 

Kubler-Ross is known for the “five stages of grief” that we all studied in our psychology classes. 
Norman Cousins was, according to Wikipedia, “a tireless advocate of liberal causes, such as nuclear disarmament and world peace,...”

Harvey Cox was a liberal theologian who made his mark in the 60's with his book The Secular City.  Peale is famous for his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.  Linkletter was a TV personality that was famous for TV programs, among them, “House Party,” “People Are Funny,” and  “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  I remember watching them.  A wonderful man but not someone I would consider an authority on moral or philosophical issues.

I am sure these are good people.  They would probably make good neighbors.  They might be wonderful to work with in the PTA.  However, they are not names that I, a Bible believing Christian, would consider recommendations to buy the book.  But lets give the author a chance.

To be continued...

Kushner, Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York:  Schocken Books, 1981.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Opus 2013-63: The Kink in the Philosophy of Education

Why is education going down hill?  In my last post I talked about the one thing I would do to improve education.  Even as I wrote I realized that my suggestion would never be followed.  The reason is that the basic philosophy of our educational system has changed.  It is part of the change that has been going on in our culture.  It is a good discussion of which came first, the change in education or the change in culture.

It goes back to the view of the nature of man:  Original sin verses innate goodness.  Up until around the 1960's the prevailing view in most people was that of the Judeo-Christian world view.  Man was a sinful creature.  He was fallen and in need of redemption.  Without the intercession of God things would be hopeless.  The impetus behind the quest for literacy and education for the masses was Christianity.  We are people of the Book.  If you can’t read it you are cut off from God’s way of communicating.  The earliest Sunday Schools in the 18th century were literally that, schools on Sunday for working children who only had that day off.

The current, post-modern, New Age, secular view is that the nature of man is basically good and the problem is the culture that surrounds him.  This is nothing new, it was one of the differences between the American Revolution and the French Revolution and the results thereof.  It was one of the differences between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  If Thomas Jefferson had been the first president our country would have dissolved long ago.  Because his philosophy is now dominant, the crumbling is well on its way to completion.

Education believes that children are really good and the problem is such things as self-esteem, poverty, racism and old fashioned teachers.  I sat in a meeting yesterday where a young lady was called in to meet with the teachers and her parents.  We were not there because she was doing well.  The counselor went to great lengths to explain to her that we were not there to make her feel bad or because she had done anything wrong.  We were there to help her be successful.

Right and Wrong. 

We were there to help her be successful.  We were there trying to help her because she was lying to her parents and doing no work.  In one breath the parents told us she lied to them all the time.  In the next breath they said all she did at home was text her friends.  In the next breath they said they had taken everything from her and it did no good.  In the next breath they said she was even texting her friends in church and would not give them the phone. 

Sorry.  She was being bad.  She was being rebellious and no adult in her life is serious about solving the problem.  She has bigger problems than self esteem.  But her parents, the school and the culture refuse to see that.

Which side are you on?  How is that working for you in your daily life?

homo unius libri

Friday, February 15, 2013

Opus 2013-62: The Big Answer in Education

I have had students, philanthropists, teachers, and parents ask me a question:  What is the one thing I would do to improve education?  My answer usually surprises them.

The one thing I would do to improve education is do away with the compulsory part.  I would remove the coercive power of government that forces kids to do something that requires buy-in.  Let me quote an old bit of wisdom,
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
You can force a child to come to school but you can’t make him learn and contrary to what I keep hearing at faculty meetings and in-service training, you can’t consistently trick him into learning.  Maybe I am confused.  Maybe the world I live in is full of aliens in disguise.  Maybe I have lost it.  In my world when you tell someone they “must” do something the natural reaction is to dig your heels in and resist. 

Under current law a child must attend school.  If a child is not attending then the parents become liable.  This can lead to jail time in extreme cases.  Since the parents must send them, the schools must accept them.  Funding is based on having the students on campus.  It used to be that schools would get money even if the student had an excused absence but this led to so many abuses by the schools that they are now paid only if a student is physically on campus and in class.  This leads to all kinds of crazy schemes to get the money.  It sets up a cycle of destruction.

When a student causes chaos and should be sent home the school looks at the loss of revenue and finds ways to keep him on campus.  They pay an adult to babysit, tell the teacher who kicked him out to provide work and act like education is happening.  They increase the paperwork and multiply forms and do nothing to really solve the problem.  The student knows that nothing serious is going to happen and so there is no change in behavior.  After all, where else can you go for the day and act like a fool with no consequences?

The next day, or usually the next period, they continue the disruption.  I had a student last week that had been kicked out of two of his classes by the time he got to me.  He only has four classes a day.  The first class he was kicked out of is across the hall from me and I saw him standing in the hall causing problems half the period.  He should have been banned from the campus immediately.

Education should still be provided.  I have no problem with that.  The difference would be that the student would be forced to earn the privilege of attending.  If he could not cooperate, he could go home.  Since most of them, even the trouble makers, really want to be with their friends it would generate an entirely different way of behaving.  There would be consequences.  There would also be education because the most serious roadblocks would be somewhere else.

Think about it.

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Opus 2013-61: Truth or Tradition?

Every time I buy a new version of my word processing software I am forced to go in and tweak it to work the way I want.  One thing I am always forced to change is the automatic way in which it changes my two spaces to one.  What am I talking about?

When I learned to type I was taught to put two spaces after a period.  This set off the beginning of the next line and made it easier to read.  I still do this by habit but the current default is to put one space.  I imagine the reason is to save space on your hard-drive.  One space multiplied a thousand times can make a difference.  I still like the old way.  I think it made sense then and I think it makes sense now. 

This only becomes an issue if I insist that it is the right way to do it and others must do it my way.  It becomes and issue if I make it a matter of right or wrong.  It causes problems because I am taking a tradition and trying to anoint it as truth.

It is easy to get confused.  We get used to doing things a certain way and think it has always been done that way and because of that it is right.  Wrong.  Tradition has value but it is the value of habit not the value of eternal essence.  Habits help us get through routines without a lot of thought.  Tradition helps us get through the day because we don’t need to always rewrite the standards and expectations but it is simply a cultural device.  It is subjective.

Truth is objective.  It exists outside our frame of reference.  It does not change because we want it to change or because we do not like it the way it is. 

For truth we need to go to eternal sources like the Bible or time-tested sources such as the Constitution.  For tradition all we need to do is watch how our children show that the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Stand up for truth.  Bend a little on tradition.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Opus 2013-60: Religion and Culture: Poverty and Suffering

Last time I wrote on the topic of Religion and Culture I touched on the ideas of the Greens that put Gaia above grandchildren.  I pointed out one source in Eastern religion and how it effects culture.

What other characteristics do you find in areas that have embraced Buddhist ideas?  Have you noticed that poverty is much more common and extreme in countries that have a world view based on Eastern religions.  Buddhism is based on the idea that life is nothing but misery and the goal it to escape.  The repeated cycles of reincarnation move you up or down the spiritual chain based on how well you dealt with the suffering in the previous life.  The final goal is Nirvana.  Some call this the Buddhist Heaven.  No, it has nothing in common with the Christian idea of Heaven.  Christians believe that heaven will be a time of awareness with the limitations of earth set aside.  It is a time of eternal joy lived in the presence of a personal God who is Holy and loves us enough to become incarnate and suffer for our sins.  The key is awareness.

Nirvana is a place of unawareness.  Since life is misery the ultimate goal it to not be aware of it any more.  Thus Nirvana is a state in which the individual soul is absorbed into the universe and ceased to be aware of its existence.  If you are a star war fan you will remember when Obe Wan is telling Luke he will not be able to come to him much longer.  It is not stated, but he is going to Nirvana. 

The closest Christians have to this is the Catholic concept of Limbo.

Since life is nothing but misery, why worry about the poor and diseased?  After all it is just their karma at work.  They are where they are because of how they lived their last life.  Let them suffer, it is good for them.

What we believe makes a difference.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Opus 2013-59: Monday Pulpit: A Follow-up

I was listening to Alistair Begg again.  It is a habit I can’t break.  The main reason is I am not trying.  As long as the Holy Spirit speaks to me through his preaching I will keep listening.

I don’t remember the context but he was talking about how busy and noisy people are in their daily lives.  He commented that they always seem to need to be with people, having fun, making noise and a host of other activities.  I think you know what I mean.  Begg’s read on this was that most people are afraid of silence.  They are afraid that if they stop they might feel lonely and lacking in purpose.

I found that interesting in light of what I just posted, which I wrote before I listened to this sermon. 

Why are people so loud in the sanctuary?  Why is it so important to greet people that they have not bothered to contact since the last time they walked through these doors?  How can they be so glad to see them when they don’t care enough to call them on a Tuesday?

And the volume.  Why so loud?  I can hear them clear across the sanctuary.  Granted, it is a small building, but if I can hear them with my old ears the person next to them must be blown away.

My thought is that one reason they are so busy and noisy is that they don’t want to take the risk of the Holy Spirit saying something to them they don’t want to hear.  Think about it.  We have all jokingly stuck our fingers in our ears and said, “I can’t hear you.”  When we have gathered for the supposed purpose of worshiping almighty God, it ceases to be a joke.

Why do people feel they worship better in nature?  One reason is there are no other worshipers to drown out the voice of God.  Of course another reason is that the voice they hear is not rooted in the Word so it might not be the voice of God, but that is a matter of discernment.

So give it a try next time you are in church.  Worship don’t whoop it up.  Have a listening heart not a loud “Hello!”  Give the Holy Spirit a chance.  He might surprise you.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-58: Monday Pulpit: Did You Worship?

I can worship anywhere, even in church.

I say this based on a weekly experience I have.  Every week we have what amounts to a fifteen minute concert of worship music.  I make it a point to get there early and prepare myself for worship.  If it is a hymn I look it up and study the words as the pianist plays.  If it is more contemporary, I will go over the words that I know.  If it is a song I don’t know I will listen and sometimes make up phrases of praise that fit.  I often end up closing my eyes and tuning the world out.  Sometimes I am surprised when the actual service starts.

It can be a wonderful time.

What makes it a challenge is all the people who feel like they need to talk over the music to greet their friends and all the people they care so much about that they haven’t talked to them since last week at this time.  It would be easy for me to stare around and give reproving looks.  I could even ask them to pipe down, but it wouldn’t work.  Instead I focus on the music and put aside my attitude attacks. 

It works.  The Holy Spirit meets me.  I am ready to go when the formal service begins.

Join me next Sunday, wherever you are.  Worship whatever the style of music.  What has been called “the still small voice” of the Holy Spirit can meet you and honor your listening heart.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 11, 2013

Opus 2013-57: Headlines: Pope Benedict XVI, One of the Good Ones

You may have already heard that Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement.  I wish him well and will be praying that the Roman Catholic church will find a worthy replacement.

I am not a Roman Catholic.  I have serious differences with the church of Rome, but then I have serious differences with the Baptist church down the street.  As a Bible believing Protestant I have always viewed the Roman Catholic church as a denomination of brothers in Christ that I disagreed with but expected to see represented in Heaven.  I know, that is big of me.  I offer that in humility, not judgement.  As that type of Protestant I have always felt that Benedict was one of the “good ones.”

I teach history.  I have taught the time period identified with the Reformation.  One of the points that I have always tried to get across to the kids is that the popes of that period are not representative of the Papacy.  In that era you had politicians and frauds becoming Pope to use the church for their own personal aggrandizement.  I think even the Catholic church would agree.  I try to point out that in spite of that most popes have been men of good will, trying to be faithful to the call of God as they see it.  I don’t agree with them on their theology, but that doesn’t mean they were not forces of good.

Protestants agree with the Catholic church on many basics:  The divinity of Christ, the trinity, the physical death and resurrection of Christ, and believe it or not, Catholics accept Ephesians 2:8,
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
At least the serious Catholics I know agree with the statement. 

We disagree on the authority of the Pope, the place of Mary, the nature of communion, and many other issues.

Let us pray that the next Pope is one of the “good ones.” 

We live in interesting times.  Let us hope that is not a curse.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-56: Healthy Insights: Baby Steps

What kind of indicators do you have for how your health is going?  One of mine is a simple little test of stairs.  I teach in an old fashioned, two story school building.  It has those twelve foot ceilings and stairways that match.  I figure if I can make it to the top of the stairs carrying my lunch and mini-suitcase and am not breathing hard, I am doing well.  If I go too long without my daily walk, I can tell the difference.  Which brings me to a health pointer that I am sure you have all heard and managed to ignore.

Move more.  Simple, right?  You have heard it before, right?  THEN WHY AREN’T YOU DOING IT?  Sorry, had to say that to someone else besides myself.  We live in a culture of escalators, automobiles and electric tooth brushes.  As wonderful as they are, they drag our health down.  We need to move more. 

I find myself looking for extra little movements that don’t wipe me out.  Join me.  Do the little things to start.  Park in the second space, not the first.  Eventually you may park well out into the lot and benefit from the walk.  I usually am glad to make an extra trip to the office because it means another trip up the stairs.  And keep looking for opportunities to expend little bits of energy.

When I started walking I was only going a quarter of a mile.  I could make it but I could feel the toxins building up in my legs.  My legs would hurt.  In time that was reduced and then went away. 

It really isn’t hard.  Take a few more steps.  Climb a few more stairs.  Start small and move forward.

Over time it can make a difference.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Opus 2013-55: Healthy Insights: PPO Is One Way to Spell “Liberty”

Our teachers’ union gave us some bad news/good news this week.  The bad news is that my out of pocket cost of health care is doubling.  It will go from $144 a month for my wife and I to $288 a month.  The good news is, of course, I still have health insurance and $288 is a lot less than some of you are paying.  Since you may be in a worse position than I am your heart may refuse to bleed for me.  Understood.

The part that angers me is not the cost.  I expect to pay for what I get.  I want a PPO and not an HMO.  I want to pick my doctors.  I understand that it costs more.  What angers me is the hypocrisy of the unions and the whole insurance concept.  The concept of the union is that we are in this together, kind of the Three Musketeer's motto, “All for one and one for all.”  Instead the unions are dividing us up and charging drastically different fees depending on your choice of carrier and the size of your family.  If we are supposed to be spreading the burden, it should be the same for everyone.  Those days are gone.

It is now divide and conquer.  The unions have joined the elites who want to make our decisions for us.  They want to force everyone into HMO’s so that they can manage our care and make our decisions for us.  They want to brainwash us for socialism and socialist health care.  They want to pave the way for a plan like the one the Obama and the Democrat knee-jerkers have pushed down our throats. 

The battle continues.  The costs are going to sky rocket even more.  My wife was listening to two ladies getting prescriptions back east and their cost had gone from $15.00 to $80.00 on Medicare.  The change was implemented for them January 1.  She tried to tell them is was linked to Obama and they would have nothing of it.  I expect that one day soon they will remove the option of PPO from my table and force me into an HMO.  At the same time they will continue to require that I buy the union’s choice of carrier. 

Socialism is alive, well and spreading.

Has anyone seen where I left my Liberty?

homo unius libri

Friday, February 8, 2013

Opus 2013-54: Plastic Bags, You Heard it Here First

I was reading a post on Powerline recently.

I was impressed to find out that the influential of the world are finally catching up with me.  They had a post linking to an article by Ramesh Ponnuru which was linked even further to some scientific research and L.A. Times articles.

It is always amazing to me when scientists spend big bucks doing research to prove what common sense will tell you.  I don’t have a Ph.D. but here is what I said about the ban on plastic bags.
The major down side of this is sanitation.  When I get a plastic or paper bag from the store, I can assume that it is a first time use.  I can assume that it is clean and sanitary.  It is one less worry.  When people bring their own bags, who knows where it has been.  This is just another way to spread disease. 
Notice the date, January 3, 2012

Did I get a link?  Did I get any credit?  It is amazing what can get done if no one is concerned about getting credit.  I would guess if I wanted to look, someone else said it even before I did.

This is really a serious issue.  The environmentalists want to kill us all.

Ban the Ban.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-53: Why Pray?

I was squeezing in a few tunes between stops and my I-Pod started playing a Randy Travis gospel rendition of  “Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want.”  This theme was repeated again and again.  It was a foot stomping, hand clapping, finger popping, EEE-Haw song that I really enjoy listening to if I don’t listen to the words. 

If I pay attention to what is being said it becomes an example of pagan prayer.

Some people feel that prayer is just a cosmic using someone else’s credit card.  They think that the whole purpose of prayer is to “tell Him what you want.” 

I beg to differ. 

Prayer is communication with God.  It is sharing my heart and mind with the Creator.  It is a dialogue.  It involves me listening as well as talking.  I spend a lot of time in prayer but very little of it is listing all the requests that I have.  Sure I share my concerns.  I pray for people out of work and people struggling with physical issues.  I pray for the kids I teach and the teachers I rub elbows with.  But that is not the major focus of my prayer.

Think of how you would respond if that is how people talked to you.  Maybe they do and you don’t need to think about it. 

Share your heart.  Listen to His.  Leave your list on the refrigerator.

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Opus 2013-52: Immortal Quotes: Or Maybe Not

“Some people’s survival is better than another person’s cutting edge.”

What a great quote.  Who said it?  I did.  When I part with a friendly neighborhood philanthropist that I see at my coffee stop in the morning I usually tell him, “Go forth and do good.”  Today he responded, “I am just going to try to survive.”  That is when I came up with this brilliant insight.

Like it?  I did, but I am a bit involved. 

I guess the opposite is also true:  “Some people’s cutting edge is another person’s survival.”  That fits me best, but I like the first one better.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Opus 2013-51: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: The Consent of the Governed

One of the revolutionary concepts advocated by the Founding Fathers is that people have a right to the kind of government they want and it is that buy-in that makes government legitimate.
“That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,...”
Elections and representative government are the ways in which we have addressed this. 

Our modern government is drifting away from this with the growing number of regulatory agencies that are appointed and not elected.  The current administration is making this an art form but they are not alone in going around the rule of law to get what they want.  Most of the limitations on our everyday freedoms come from regulations written by bureaucrats who never need to run for reelection and who seem to have almost unlimited power to coerce and intimidate.  Think of the IRS.  Think of TSA.  Think of the DMV. 

Some people say that people get the kind of government they deserve.  I think it is more appropriate to say that people get the kind of government they are willing to put up with.  The problem is that we seem to be willing to put up with more and more government and demand less and less liberty.

It is the next section of the Declaration that gets scary, at least to governments.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Opus 2013-50: Loyal or Gullible?

How loyal is the loyal opposition? 

One of the themes that keeps being mouthed in politics is that we may disagree but we are all Americans.  When a Democratic senator smears American marines as murderers with no evidence but the word of the enemy the first words out of everyone’s mouth seems to be, “We don’t doubt his patriotism...”  I do.  It seems that many people in power are so elitist that they are quite willing to destroy the country for their own personal aggrandizement. 

It is time for the Loyal Opposition to realize that the best way to be genuinely loyal is to be adamantly opposition.  While it is true that half a loaf is better than none, it does not follow that half a lie is better than none.  While I may be willing to die to defend your right to disagree with me, I should not be willing to die to defend evil.

Evil exists.  It is not always the same as just being wrong but it exists.  Just because someone believes they are right does not make them righteous.  Just because the Democrats who filibustered the Civil Rights Bills of the past genuinely believed that the black race was inferior does not mean they should be exonerated.

It is time for those who claim to be conservatives stand up for what is best for the country and, by extension, the world.  It is time to make hard choices and vote for what is right even if we know that the media will lie and distort what is happening.

At the same time those of us who vote and hope need to support those willing to take the hard road and roast those who compromise because they have forgotten why they were elected.

We are loyal to the Constitution.  We must oppose the elites of socialism.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 4, 2013

Opus 2013-49: Religion and Culture: Environmentalism

One of the points of controversy in our culture has to do with the environment.  Of course, we are all in favor.  Last I heard everyone liked to breathe, drink and eat.  So the disagreements are in how we regard the environment and how we relate to it.

Christians are to be stewards or managers.  The world belongs to God and we are to care for it, but in a very practical way.
(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The earth is here to serve us.

The extreme environmentalists of our day turn this on its head.  They worship the earth.  Gaia, the earth goddess, is their deity.  Most would protest such a characterization but, as the old saying goes, “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...”

Some people divide religions into two groups, those who worship the sky gods and those who worship the earth gods.  Western civilization has tended toward the sky gods.  Pagan religions tend toward the earth gods.  When researching something else I came across an indication that the green movement has roots in eastern religions, which tend to be earth religions.  This is from Wikipedia.
“In 1885, Ledi Sayadaw, a prominent Buddhist monk wrote the Nwa-myitta-sa (????????????), a poetic prose letter that argued that Burmese Buddhists should not kill cattle and eat beef, since Burmese farmers depended on them as beasts of burden to maintain their livelihoods, that the marketing of beef for human consumption threatened the extinction of buffalo and cattle and that the practice and was ecologically unsound.  He subsequently led successful beef boycotts during the colonial era, despite the presence of beef eating among locals and influenced a generation of Burmese nationalists in adopting this stance.”
Notice that over 100 years ago a Buddhist monk was claiming that eating meat was “ecologically unsound.” 

These kind of ideas influence the quality of life.  In America the people trying to apply these principles want to take away individual transportation (cars), personal preferences for comfort (A/C and heating controls), personal preference for hygiene (shower nozzles and toilets) and the list goes on.  Every concern they have limits the freedom of everyone else because they want everyone to worship Gaia as they do and are willing to use the coercive power of the government to force us into compliance.

What you believe makes a difference.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Opus 2013-48: Key Scriptures: II Corinthians 4:7-10

The Bible is full of promises.  Some people only see the good ones but there is a balance that shows God is aware of what life is like.  I find great comfort in the balance of this passage, which came to my mind as I was reading in Proverbs, of all places.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10 KJV)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
I have experienced the disruptions listed here:  troubled, perplexed, persecuted, cast down.  I have also lived through the miracles of the promises that not only level the scale, but bring my arm high into a world of joy and blessing.

For instance, I can be perplexed.  I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t know all the formulas.  But I can remember when I was learning the basics of Algebra.  Just because I didn’t get it the first time I did not call the teacher a deluded fool living in happy land.  I never took Calculus.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t accept that it exists and has a use.  My God is bigger than I am.  I expect to continue reasoning, learning and asking but if I could really understand all, He would not be much of a God, would He?

I can’t even understand my wife and I can prove to even you she exists.

So love the promises and keep on truckin’.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Opus 2013-47: Does It Register with You Yet?

Last weekend I went to the library and realized I had left my wallet at home.  The immediate crisis was that I could not check anything out.  The bigger picture meant I had also left my driver’s license at home.  I was breaking the law.  If I had been stopped for any reason I would have at least been cited for the antisocial behavior.

This got me thinking about registration.  In order to use the library I must register, prove my identity and show that I am a responsible person.  I can’t use the library because I did not have my license.  There have been times when I have been denied the privilege of checking out books because I had an outstanding fine.  I don’t have any problem with that. 

I was driving illegally because I didn’t have my license.  When I was 15 ½ I got my learner’s permit and at 16 I applied for my driver’s license.  I have renewed it for years and carry it with me at all times.  I don’t have any problem with that.

I am forced to register my car and renew that on a regular basis.  If I do not pay the tax I am denied the use of the roads that my other taxes have paid for.  I have a bit of a problem with that but I am not willing to make a big issue of it.

Right now we are concerned about gun registration and licences.  We have registration and licences as a part of our lives in many other areas.  Why do we have an issue with guns and not with cars?

First, means of transportation are not mentioned in the Constitution.  It is a gray area.  The right to bear arms is specifically listed.  It is black and white.

Second, yes, they register our cars.  Have you noticed, the elites want to take away our cars.  Follow the green dots.  Follow the restrictions on drilling for oil.  Follow the millions spent on mass transit of many types.  They have not finished the job yet, but what started as registration is now targeted as elimination.  In the People’s Republik of Kalifornia they have spot checks for pollution control violations.  The Highway Patrol blocks a street and stops every car that comes along.  No due process.  No probable cause.  Just harassment. 

It will be even more so for guns. 

Are there legitimate concerns?  Yes.  We don’t want crazy people to have guns.  We don’t want violent criminals to have guns.  We don’t want toddlers to have guns.  All of those have already been dealt with if they would just enforce the laws that are already in place. 

We don’t need more restrictions, we need less government.

homo unius libri

Friday, February 1, 2013

Opus 2013-46: The 23 Cent Difference

I pay two different amounts for my coffee and bread in the morning.  Some days it costs me $2.50 and some days it costs me $2.73.  The order is the same, it just depends on whether they ring it up as “dine in” or “to go.” 

It is only a 23 cent difference.  That would seem to be no big deal but it is a 23 cent difference on $2.50.  A man I know who is into finance says that the hardest idea to get across to people is that financial success is a matter of percentages, not just dollars. 

Taxes are everywhere.  They are oppressive.  They suck the vitality out of the economy and our personal standard of living.  And our dear Governor Moonbeam wants to raise taxes again.

Keep voting the suckers out.

homo unius libri