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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Opus 2013-114: He Is Risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Christmas is the most popular Christian holiday with the world.  It may also be the most popular among believers, but it is not the most important.  That distinction is reserved for Easter, or Resurrection Day.

Christmas is an important commemoration.  It is vital not because of the gifts and traditions but because it celebrates the incarnation.   It reminds us that God became man, that God sent His son.  What is important about that is the reason the Son was sent.

That is what Easter is about.  Easter is about the resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus is the central truth of Christianity that is vital above all others.  Jesus rose from the dead.  It that important?  Here is what the apostle Paul said,
(1 Corinthians 15:17 KJV)  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
If the resurrection did not happen then the Christian faith is a joke.  In Paul’s words, it is vain.

The resurrection tells us that death has no real sting.  The grave has no victory.  Believers will be resurrected to life eternal.  There is some debate about what that will be like but you must accept it as our great hope.

I have lost both parents and a brother.  Someday my body will cease to function.  The separation is very real but so is the hope.

So Happy Resurrection Day!

My desire is that you would believe and thus know the hope that the day brings.  Not bunnies and chocolate eggs, as much fun as those are, but eternal life in glory.

Rejoice!  He is Risen!

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Opus 2013-113: Says Who?

In chapter 3 of the book of Genesis you have the discussion between the serpent and Eve.  This discussion led to Eve disobeying God and what is called, “The Fall.”  Alistair Begg was relating this and paraphrased what the Serpent asked Eve as, “Are you going to base your opinion on what God said?” 

This made me think again about a book I just read and reviewed called When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  In his chapter on Job, Kushner asks the same question of Job responding to God.  It would seem to be a silly question but it is at the root of our pagan culture.  We have this shrink wrapped, made in China, one size fits all view of God that is perpetuated by our culture and too many of our churches. 

It is a good question to ask ourselves.  “Are we going to base our opinions on what God said?”  Actually that is a question that should be asked every time someone gets up to preach.  We should ask ourselves the questions before we read the Bible.  If the answer is “no,” at least we are clear and realize that reading scripture is really a waste of time.

It is a question I have asked myself.  I have decided the answer is “Yes.”  I am going to go extreme and make it not just my opinions but also my attitudes, my priorities, my entirety. 

I am a long way from perfect in my application of this decision.  There, I said if for you.  I can live with that because I have decided to live with Him.  Sometimes it is a daily decision.  That is why I like the verse in Luke best, it includes the word “daily.”
(Luke 9:23 NAS77)  And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
You need to make your own decision.  Don’t put it off too long.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 29, 2013

Opus 2013-112: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: Irresistible Change

I was raised with the words of Jesus, “Turn the other cheek...” ingrained into my being.  My father could lose his cool but it took a lot to set him off.  I worked construction with him for years and I never heard him cuss, swear or take the name of the Lord in vain.  He set an example. 

As a result, I tend to put up with things longer than is logical.  I was literally bullied for a year and a half in elementary school before I learned that bullies are cowards and by pushing back I could set myself free.  I’m talking real, old fashioned bullying.  It involved physical violence and coercion, not just the little hurt feelings that are labeled bullying today.  I find myself feeling the pain of the Founding Fathers.
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.” 
We put up with a lot.  Let’s face it, if we have read the founding documents we know that we have every right to rebel based on their standards.  I will get to the specifics eventually, but the colonists put up with a lot.

In the same way, we put up with a lot.  In general that is a good thing.  I lot of people would die ugly deaths and suffering would be greatly multiplied if we were not a patient people.  That is one of the reasons that the tribal cultures are so far behind in development.  They tend to take any slight and turn it into a killing offense.  That response generates feuds and generational hatreds.  It is destructive.

So don’t expect people to change.  We are patient.  We believe in giving people a second chance.  And a second.  And a third.  Jesus said seven times seventy.  The ones who should be worried are the leaders who have exceeded even that measure, who continue to stomp on people, whittle away at our liberty and demand more special privileges for themselves.  There are many people who are not as patient as I have been.  Someday they will be pushed too far.  The straw will break the camels back.  There will be Hell to pay.

Let us hope that the necessary changes come before the fuse gets to the keg.  They didn’t come in 1776.  Pray for a different result in 2013.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Opus 2013-111: Good but Not Safe

Several seeds came together to make me consider the one of the Big Questions.  The most recent was Alistair Begg mentioning a book by C.S. Lewis.  He referred to a conversation in The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe between Lucy and Mr. Beaver.  This brings up a second seed.  Lucy asks if Aslan is safe and the answer is, “No, he is not safe, but he is good.”   That made me think of the book I recently reviewed, When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  In that book Kushner rejects the power of God because he wants to hold on to his version of what it means for God to be good.  To him the two don’t go together.

Here is the difference.  Lewis assumes that God is good no matter what the results, Kushner assumes that God must do things our way in order to be good.  It is a totally different approach to the view of man, God and the purpose of life.  Lewis has a view that is Biblical.  Kushner has a view that fits in very well with the post-modern philosophy of today. 

The eternal God of the Bible is not safe.  He is holy.  That has consequences.  We cannot play like we are Lucy (as in I Love Lucy) and He is Ricky.  Yes, He forgives.  Yes, He sent His Son to die for our sins.  Yes, He is compassionate and merciful.  He is also holy and He doesn’t play games.
(Hebrews 9:22 NAS77)  And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
God did not cut himself any slack.  Without the cleansing of the blood He won’t cut us any either.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Opus 2013-110: Headlines: Obama’s Third Term

Have you noticed all the ads you can click on to find out about Obama’s third term?  They are everywhere.  So far I have resisted the temptation to snoop.  I know that the Constitution bars him from a third run.  Of course it also requires you be born in this country and that seems to have been ignored.

So what is behind the “click here” icon?  My son, a geek who knows everything computer and internet doesn’t have a clue either.  We surmised that it might be a plot by one of the alphabet federal agencies to sniff out people who are concerned about Obama being re-elected.  Those in favor could be added to the donor list, those against loaded into black helicopters.  Either way it is a win/win for the elites.

I don’t open attachments in my e-mails unless I know specifically who sent them, why they were sent and what they contain.  Call me suspicious.  I don’t click on the million and one ads that clutter up my screen.  I am not interested in hot dates from Russia.  I don’t need to learn the ten foods that will cure cancer or make me lose weight.  I don’t want to invest in the risk free method to get rich.  I would like to know what the scheme is behind the “Obama Third Term” notices, but not enough to go there.

Does anyone with an adventurous spirit want to fill me in?

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-109: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: Slow Change

Have you ever been frustrated because it is so hard to change the Constitution?  I have.  When the Founding Fathers got around to writing the Constitution itself they knew that it would need to be changed but they also knew how fickle the general population could be.  Here we have the initial warning.
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes;...”
We have all seen elections be turned around the day before the polls open by a hit piece that attracts a lot of attention, gets people all excited, changes their vote and is a total lie.  In 1776 they did not have TV and the Internet but they still had gossip and deception.  Emotion should not be the source of change.

So don’t be too concerned that we can’t put through every amendment we think is needed.  If we could do it, others could too.  It is best to give time for a reality check.  Make sure the changes can’t be addressed locally.  There will usually be time to change it later.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Opus 2013-108: Real Love

What does it mean to love Jesus.  We talk about it and sing about it.  We think it expresses where we are at.

Unfortunately many of us love Jesus the way I loved Janet.  I saw her the first time in 7th grade.  She was a vision of loveliness.  She was my perfect woman.  I loved her for years, through junior high and high school.  She made my heart go pitter-pat.  Unfortunately, I never spoke a word to her, had a class with her or met her.  She did not know that I existed.  I worshiped her from afar.

Too many people love Jesus the same way.  They admire Him.  They think He is wonderful.  They think about Him but it is all from afar with no involvement.

The big difference is that Janet was unapproachable.  She ran in a different circle than I did.  If I had approached her she would have run away screaming or just laughed.  Jesus isn’t that way.  He is wanting us to reach out to Him.  He will turn no one away.

I went to the same schools.  I walked the same halls.  I ate in the same cafeteria.  I never met Janet.

Don’t live your life with nothing but admiration for Jesus.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 25, 2013

Opus 2013-107: On the Street: It’s (Gonna Be) Raining, It’s Snowing

What is a California City boy doing driving in the snow storms of the East coast?  Visiting my children, of course.  Children put us into all kinds of strange situations. 

When I got up this morning it was to look out on a winter wonderland.  The trees were covered with marshmallow fluff and big glumps of white stuff were swirling down.  Interesting.  The problem is I had to get out and drive in it.

It has been over 30 years since I had to do this.  I was in Boston for the Blizzard of ‘78.  They declared marshal law and shut down the roads.  We knew we were on the road to recovery when the first relief supplies began to make their way down the snow choked roads on four wheel drive vehicles.  What were the first supplies being brought in?  Cases of beer.

I remember how the California boy had to go pick up the locals to go to church board meetings.  I am not sure if it was the call of duty, arrogance or stupidity that had me out driving then.  I should have assumed the locals knew something I didn’t.  Since I had a rear engine VW with radials I never got stuck but it could have been a case of God looking out for fools.

Today I made it across town.  More snow is forecast and I will be out in it.  Wish me luck.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Opus 2013-106: On the Street: Travel and the Sequester

I just flew across country, changing planes one time.  As much as it disappointed me, I did not see any holdups bigger than usual because of the sequester.  When I travel I always refuse to get a free x-ray so I have the pat-down.  The only issue was the total violation of my Constitutional rights of due process and probably cause.  The actual procedure was done professionally and with courtesy.  I am sure that some of King George’s tax men were professional and courteous, too.

My wife always seems to have issues but it could be because she makes insulting remarks to people.  She has found that by taking her black cat with her it tends to speed things up because so many of the people working for TSA seem to be extremely superstitious. 

Happy travel.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-105: Evil Pleasure

I write myself notes and record ideas all the time.  I wrote this one in my church bulletin.  I don’t know if it is a straight quote, a paraphrase from the sermon or a tangent thought I had based on something that had no obvious relation. 
“Why does Satan fight so hard?  It is the nature of evil to drag as many down with them as possible.”
What motivates Satan?  It would seem clear that he cannot win.  I don’t think of him as being stupid.  Why keep going?

I think it is the nature of evil to want to destroy.  They cannot create.  They cannot be a blessing.  All they can do is take the clean and make it dirty.  That is why people find the cleanest surface possible to write graffiti on.  It is why trashy men visit churches looking for wives.  I think it is why some politicians stay in office.

Evil exits.  It gets its joy from dragging others down.

The only cure I can suggest is that each of us who claim to be on the side of righteousness do all that we can to keep them from having that joy.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Opus 2013-104: Should-a-Beens: Utopia

Back in January I was reading a post on Powerline.  In the post they were quoting someone who was quoting someone.  You know how it goes.  The links were there if it interests you.  The theme was the tendency of new technology to put people out of work.  Today we might point out how computers put typewriter assemblers in the unemployment line.  In the past this has been painful in the short term but in the long run generated new jobs in other areas.  Often those new jobs paid better. 

Their concern was that pattern not seem to be happening today.  More sophisticated computers, more intricate mechanical designs and the big jump in skills needed for better jobs are putting millions out of work permanently.  How do you take the thousands of high school drop outs who could learn their job on an automobile assembly line in a few minutes and install them in small software trouble-shooting teams that requires years of college? 

The answer is simple.  You can’t.

This got me to thinking about one of the themes in Science Fiction.  It is presented in many forms, some providing quality of life and others producing nothing but drab.   Think about a society where things are totally automated so there are few real jobs.  Imagine an economy that is so well developed that everyone can receive the basics, and more, even if they never work.  In this society only the truly gifted and motivated have jobs that bring any sense of reward. 

It sounds dull and, in my view of human nature, impossible.  But I wonder.  Could this be where we will be forced to go in society?  Is it possible to go this direction and still have a free society?  Would boredom bring the culture to its knees?  Would it be better for there to be civilization destroying wars that do away with the plenty but bring back the challenge?

Stay tuned.  I don’t think I have that many years left but you may live to find out.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 22, 2013

Opus 2013-103: Headlines: Budget Politics

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite authors and speakers.  I think I have more books written by him and any other living author.  Long may he continue to write.  I came across a commentary piece by him in the Washington Times, National Weekly, March 11, 2013 on page 28.  I found it is also available on Townhall.

He begins with a simple scenario:  You are in a government agency that has two tasks.  First, you erect statues of Benedict Arnold.  Second, you provide “life-saving medications to children.”  If you had to cut your budget, what would you do?

The answer is that you would cut the medication to children in spite of it being more damaging.  The reason is that these cuts would be easier to restore.  He then goes on to apply this to what is happening in government today.  It gives some good insights into how real greed effects politics as usual. 

This man’s insight should be required reading.  I don’t have the power to enforce that, but if you have time you might want to check out the entire article.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Opus 2013-102: Key Scriptures: Youth Is Not a Disease

There is a verse that the young people of the church always like to quote.
(1 Timothy 4:12 KJV)  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
They like it because of the first part and totally overlook the finish.  I teach middle school.  At church I am involved with the high school and college ages.  I like these kids.  I enjoy being a small part of their lives.  I have hopes for them.

At the same time they have a long way to go because they don’t seem to get the second part of this quotation.  Their asset is not that they are young.  It is because they are holy.  Paul is writing to Timothy.  Timothy had his issues but is clear that Paul thought he could be a good example.

Do you notice the difference in cultures?  Ancient culture valued wisdom and believed that wisdom was rooted in experience.  You don’t have much experience when you are young so you can’t have much wisdom.  This is the age old understanding that brought up the idea that “children are to be seen and not heard.”

Our culture values youth.  Why?  It isn’t because of their wisdom although educators try to act like children are a fount of it.  The pagan culture around us admires youth because it is afraid of death.  It is the same phenomenon that has old men dying their hair, doing comb overs, unbuttoning their shirts and wearing big medallions.  It is why we spend so much money on medical procedures that bankrupt our children. 

There are some areas in which progress is great.  I hope I never need to go back to a typewriter.  I am a big supporter of anesthesia in dental work.  Air Conditioning is a winner in my book.  There are other areas where so-called progress is just regression caused by people who don’t know their history.

Respect is earned, not deserved.  Righteousness is required.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Opus 2013-101: Headlines: False Prophets

I am always angered and amused by people who try to put on the lambskin of being spokesmen for the Republican party and simply repeat the mantra that has been advocated by the Progressives of the mass media for years.

This spokesman is named Joseph Curl and writes a column in the Commentary section of The Washington Times, National Weekly called “Political Theater.”  In the February 25 edition, page 27, he used the title “Coming in 2016:  A third way for the GOP.”  Since I have read his columns before and smelled the whiff of moderate before I halfway expected what I read. 

He started off well in his statement about the Republican party.  He said, “ thing is clear:  They can’t keep doing what they’ve been doing.”  He had a platform to say something strong and original.  Instead he repeated the same thing I have heard from Karl Rove and the Rockefeller wing of the party for years.

His basic premise is that the country rejects the conservative stands voiced by Senator Ted Cruz, whom he labels as the “new party darling,” and Senator Rand Paul whom he links to his father and says is “wandering further afield.”  He lifts up as winners John McCain, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.  He sees Rubio in a positive light because he reads him as backing away from strong stands on moral issues.

He summarizes it this way,
“So, a new wave of Republicans is coming, a wave that looks past the pro-life, traditional planks of the Grand of Party.”
How is this a “new wave” or as he labels it in his title, “third way”?  This is samo/samo that produced Bob Dole and John McCain.  We call this Democrat lite.  If that is the platform, how are they different from the other guy?  This is the kind of woosiedom that destroyed the Whig party.  I don’t know how writers like this get a spot in one of the few relatively conservative newspapers available.  Don’t the publishers read this stuff?

Every time the Republicans have run a “moderate” candidate, they have lost.  Maybe someday they will see that principles have a place, even in politics. 

I see the same pattern in education.  It has historical roots and was labeled “The Big Lie.”  Say it loud enough, long enough, confidently enough and eventually people will believe you.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Opus 2013-100: The Music of Youth

I keep trying to figure out the music of the youngest generation.  I have never been attracted to hard rock in any of its forms, rap in any of its non-forms or the “bands” that the kids like.  How can they stand the noise and chaos?

I concede that we are all different and have different tastes.  I understand that some people like pickled pig’s feet, sushi and manudo.  I like broccoli and spinach. 

But how can anyone stand “music” that is little besides a jolting base and a giant sub-woofer?

I have been noticing something.  The kids who like this music also have a hard time carrying a tune themselves.  Have you tried to listen to a boy sing who is going through puberty?  It is painful.  They have a hard time talking without their voices changing.  Singing is more of a challenge.  So they like the music where they can screw up their face and scream out words that sound they they are in pain.  They are. 

So that is my current theory.  The music of youth is based on a total lack of ability on their part and being surrounded by adults who are fixated on their own adolescence.  These older people have drunk the kool-aid of the supremacy of youth culture.  They believe that children are wise and were told not to trust anyone over thirty.  Since they are now over thirty, they figure the kids must know better than them.

I don’t have to like it.  I can hope they grow out of it and I can understand.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 18, 2013

Opus 2013-99: Headlines: Is Reading at Risk?

I am a public school teacher.  As such there is coercive force put on us to be a part of the union.  One of the “benefits” of such membership is receiving the propaganda magazines they publish to continue the brainwashing started at the colleges and universities.  When I receive them I glance through them to see if there just might be something worth reading.  Hope springs eternal and is usually disappointed.

I did find a caption under one picture that caught my attention.  It was in California Educator, March, 2013, page 10, in an article called “Is Reading at Risk?”  They are doing a review of a book called Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. 

I didn’t bother reading the article.  It is the typical educational mantra as shown by the subtitles in the text.  First was “Blame NCLB and mandated testing” (sic).  Although they didn’t mention his name, George Bush is to blame, right?  Then of course there was the title, “No money for librarians/books”  (sic).  We all know that more money will solve the problem, right?  (The “sic,” for those of you educated in public school, signifies that they don’t follow the established rules for capitalization in their titles.)  Typical left wing boilerplate. 

Here is the quote that caught my attention:
“Kelly Gallagher wrote ‘Readicide’ after he brought up the topic of Al-Qaida for discussion in class and an honors student asked him to spell Al’s last name.”
I laughed, in pain but still laughing.  It is so typical.  I shared this with my classes and could only see one student who got it.  I have seen the same response in faculty meetings when I refer to “Big Brother.”

Ignorance is rampant.  Smug satisfaction is epidemic. 

Into the trash with that issue.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Opus 2013-98: Cornerstone Considerations: D of I, Truths: Government Recycling

I already looked at the statement that “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,...”

But the Founding Fathers didn’t stop there.  If you go down a few more sentences you see this:
“it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”
Notice it is not just a “right.”  It is a “duty.”  This is why this document has been banned occasionally from public reading.  This is inflammatory.  This is revolutionary.  This is the kind of phrase that has the Department of Homeland Security labeling anyone who disagrees with the Progressives (Democrats, Liberals, Left, Socialists, Elitests, etc.) as potential terrorists.  It is dangerous to their survival.  It is why the second amendment is so dangerous to them. 

As Americans we believe in the rule of law, unlike the Progressives who believe in the Rule of the Elite Fiat.  Because of that we prefer to “throw off” such government by the ballot box.  It has worked in the past.  Reagan took office without gunshots.  Jimmy Carter turned things the other way with a coup de taut.  The rednecks did not rise up with their “god and guns” when Obama was sworn in.  Historically, we have hunkered down, got out the vote and turned things around.

The Progressives are making the rule of law harder with each judicial appointment.  When you have judges saying the ID cannot be required to vote it makes honest elections very difficult.  When you have the politicians buying votes with EBT cards and Medicare supplements it is almost impossible for the people who work and plan to be heard. 

Liberty is at risk.  If we don’t want to see rebellion leading to the blood of martyrs we had better get serious about securing the voting boxes, paying attention and such simple things as reigning in “entitlements” and “grants” from the party that controls the treasury. 

Change is coming.  The question is what kind of change and how it is achieved.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Opus 2013-97: On the Street: Are You a Messy or a Messer?

As I went to refill my coffee yesterday morning I noticed another customer wiping down the counter.  I made some kind of joke about having secret wishes about being a maid or some such thing.  I accused him of being a neatnik.  He said he just didn’t like seeing a mess.  I told him I would not have even noticed it.  I am afraid I am a messy.

What kind of personality do you have?  Some people can’t stand anything out of place.  A piece of lint or a gum wrapper can cause high blood pressure.  I know teachers who go around the room constantly picking up little pieces of trash.  They don’t even think about it.  Their rooms are immaculate.  They make me look bad.

I am a messy.  I really don’t see a lot of the stuff that bother neatniks.  I have been known to step over small piles of debris and not even notice.  It almost needs to trip me to get my attention.  If I concentrate real hard I can notice and police and area but when I do that I forget to button my shirt or something worse. 

It isn’t that I trash a place.  I don’t.  I know what trash cans and shelves are for.  I am a messy, not a messer.  There is a real difference.  I will not mess up your world, I just don’t notice the mess in mine. 

Now when it comes to the mess of politics, that is a different matter.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 15, 2013

Opus 2013-96: Tax Dollars at Work: It’s for the Children

Today when I arrived at school there was a sign posted on the door that said something to the effect of “This door is locked and cannot be used because of a bee problem in this area.  Use the door around the corner.”  Not the exact words, but close enough to give you the idea. 

I almost started around for the other door but asked myself, “Can I believe anything I see at this school?”  The answer was obvious, so I tried the door and sure enough, it was unlocked.  I entered, as usual, and when I saw one of the security people, I mentioned that the sign was still up.  She said it was still in effect.  The bees were still there.  We were not supposed to use that door. 

We have been barred from that door now for three days.  Take a moment and think about this.  We have children at this school who have an allergy to bee stings.  In some cases it can be a deadly allergy.  We know this.  We are responsible for their safety.  As I came in there were children sitting on the benches outside the door.  Why does it take three days, and counting, to get someone out to deal with a bee problem?  Isn’t it all for the children?

I can see a couple of possible reasons for the delay.  One might be that the district is so bad at paying its vendors that no one is willing to come.  That is one reason I don’t volunteer for any of the extra work they offer around here.  People who must make a living are not willing to drop work that pays to come to deal with people who bog you down with forms and authorizations. 

A second reason might be that the union agreements require this to be dealt with by district personnel who are specially tasked with extermination.  I have seen where a painter will come out to deal with a work order and won’t do something right next to it because it isn’t on the form.  That requires a separate work order.  For them to come requires forms, authorizations and signatures.  And don’t forget the coffee breaks. 

What if a student is stung?  If I get stung, I shake it off and get on with life.  I probably would not even think of suing the school for negligence.  I have no allergy, but for some of these kids it is a matter of life and death. 

If it is for the children, where are the exterminators?

Your tax dollars are working hard.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-95: Relax

I was again listening to a sermon by Alistair Begg.  I don’t know what his theme was but as he spoke he said that the church grew in the first four centuries without any mass evangelism and no buildings.  Even though it was not a new thought to me it started my mind working.

We are so locked into our modern materialism and technology.  We think we need a nice building to attract people to Jesus.  We think if we can just make use of the newest social media to spread the gospel the world will respond.  We either get frantic or give up depending on our mood and personality.

Why do we panic at the thought of losing our building?  It is going to happen.  Accept it.  The day is coming when churches will lose their tax exempt status and non-profit tax write-offs.  That will be one strike.  Keep in mind that saying that "the power to tax is the power to destroy."  Destroying the church is one goal of modern society. 

Islam is on the attack.  I would not be surprised to see physical attacks on Christian places of worship like we don’t hear about in Egypt.  Just because you don’t hear about it does not mean it is not happening.  Murder and rape are common expectations of Christians in Muslim countries around the world.  When it comes here it could be a second strike.

The third strike?  Ultimately we will be shut down if we are preaching the word of God because it will not be tolerated by the tolerant.  We will be labeled as terrorists and haters.  What do I mean “will be?”  That is an is no matter what the meaning of “is” is.  The umpire is calling us out while the pitch is still on its way.

Relax.  It is nothing new.  We are not playing baseball, we are in a spiritual battle.  In the first three centuries the church was forced to hide in basements and sneak around.  It thrived.  Two thousand years later the Roman Empire is a vague memory but the church is still around.

So relax if you want the church to grow.  It will come.  The ones who need to get up tight are the ones who want to destroy the church.  They might make the mistake of making it hard to be a Christian and have to deal with serious believers for a change.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Opus 2013-94: If Everything Cost a Dollar

Yesterday in class, one of my students made the statement, “I wish everything cost a dollar.”  I am used to this kind of comment, after all they were raised in public school.  Their parents voted for Obama.  They believe in unicorns.

I told him he would not like it.  He asked me why.  I told him that if everything cost a dollar there would be no more Mercedes Benz, no more nice clothes and none of the food that he liked to eat.  What surprised me about the conversation is that he thought a minute, nodded his head and observed that no one would make any of that stuff if they could only sell it for a dollar.

I was in shock.  He actually got it.  Will it take hold and mold his future thinking?  Don’t bet the bank on it but keep plugging and trying to make people think.

All we can do is try because we know the day is coming when only the things that can be bought for a dollar will be available.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Opus 2013-93: Content vs Process

One of the battles I have observed in education for at least the past 25 years is over the question of which is more important, content or process.  On one side you have people who believe that you must teach children information.  On the other is a group that believe knowing how to think is more important.  Rational people realize that both are important and responsible teachers work on both.

While I recognize that both are important, I think that the primary need is to teach information, especially at the lower levels.  I can sum up my argument in the computer concept of GIGO.  (garbage in, garbage out)  This is important, not only because you need information to think with purpose, but it also goes along with the known development of the thinking skills in children.  At the younger ages they only think in concrete terms.  Somewhere, before they become adults, they will learn to think more abstractly and creatively.  At least that is the hope.  I don’t see much evidence of it in the teachers I work with.

Without a foundation of knowledge, you can’t make wise decisions.  This is shown in the way so many people think that all the government needs to do is print more money, everyone can have everything available in health care without paying for it, that if you regulate guns the bad guys will be helpless, and in California as they keep raising taxes and expect increased tax revenue.

This week, while reviewing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, I asked the students how many states were represented in the Senate in 1819.  The answer was in the book.  One of my somewhat responsible students said the answer was eleven.  No one had trouble with that.  Think about it.  Do you see why that is an obviously wrong answer?  Let me ask you another question, “How many original colonies were there?”  Now do you see the problem?

If you don’t have a foundation of knowledge, all the thinking in the world won’t help.  Of course it doesn’t do any good to have facts if you don’t use them.

For 25 years the elites of education have been pushing to get us to stop teaching facts.  Every year they have a new presentation that ignores that they tried the same thing last year.  One by one the older teachers who learned to read and write and process are retiring.  I think the elites are winning the battle.  Watch for the new mantra in education, Common Core Curriculum.  It is the newest attempt to dumb down the population so they can be manipulated and controlled.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Opus 2013-92: Immortal Quotes: Sacrificing Liberty, Revisited, Part 3 of 3

Currently educators on a national level are seeking to organize the curriculum of the nation so that every state and local district has the same standards and expectations.  Once this is done it will be “easy” to know how we are doing.  Have we covered the material expected?  What do the test scores show?  Easy right?  Not if you are serious about an informed and involved electorate. 

Who is it that decides what to include?  What do you leave out.  When I started teaching United States History I included a unit on the pre-Columbian cultures of North America.  I even had the students write term papers on the tribes that lived here.  No more.  Someone in the State Office of Education decided that when they wrote the content standards there would be no mention of this time in American history.  I regret the loss but I still have more to cover than I have time for. 

What happens when someone decides to leave out the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights.  Don’t think it won’t happen.  They are already trying to blow through the Revolution and only allow a few weeks for the Constitution. 

I am currently trying to do some review for the state tests coming up.  I had the students define monotheism and polytheism and then asked them to identify the three monotheistic religions in the world today.  In most of the classes I got blank stares.  Only one student out of six classes came up with Islam without prompts.  When I asked who Israel was fighting I invariably got the answer “Hitler.”

When we take the easy way and let others do our thinking we give up a knowledge of what freedom is all about.  Simple solutions that require no thought or discernment must limit liberty.

If we are intellectually lazy we are surrendering our liberty, not just our security.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 11, 2013

Opus 2013-91: Immortal Quotes: Sacrificing Liberty, Revisited, Part 2 of 3

I think of how educators want to apply technology.  They want to give students computers and get them using the internet.  Is this to hone their skills and raise their level of achievement?  Educators say it is but in reality they are trying to make it easy for students to learn.  They think that if they can go on line, suddenly understanding the concept of checks and balances will become a part of their life.  They think that if you have cool graphics they will learn to work with quadratic equations.  They think that action on the screen will get them to understand the rows and columns of the periodic table.

It doesn’t work.  Sloth will never replace sleuth.  The lazy students get more lazy and learn less.  Unfortunately the motivated students also begin to take short cuts and ask themselves what is the point of hard work. 

Try to understand.  It doesn’t do you any good to have a calculator if you don’t know enough to recognize a wrong answer.  Let me give you an example from my life.  If I have not done it for a while I can never remember how to figure percentages.  I know it involves dividing, multiplying and decimal points but the order of things has left me.  I experiment with a few combinations using identical numbers and when I get an answer that makes sense I am back on board.  What percent is 1/8 of 100?  If I do it one way I get 800 percent.  If I do it another way I get 12.5.  I have seen students get 800, write it down and go on with life because they are too lazy to think it through.

When you apply this lack of perspicacity to politics and economics you have the rise of tyranny.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Opus 2013-90: Immortal Quotes: Sacrificing Liberty, Revisited, Part 1 of 3

We have heard the quote about not being able to have liberty and security at the same time.  I have heard it quoted in many varieties and attributed to many sages.  You know the one I mean.  I wrote about it once before.  Based on a little googling it seems the full form of the quote is a little more complex.
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
I have a variation on that: 

It is not possible for the common people to have ease and liberty at the same time. 
I think this might strike home a little more because most people are not worried about the war on terror as much as they are about how easy it is to get on line.  Most people are not worried about the government spying because they don’t think it will effect them.  People are physically and intellectually lazy.  Or am I the only one?

When I bought my first computer I had to make a decision about software.  In reading the documentation I came across the statement that the easier a program is to learn, the less flexibility you have.  When I thought about it, that made sense.  I bought that program.  You might remember it if you are old enough.  I was called Word Star.  Yes it was hard to learn but it gave me an incredible amount of flexibility. 

If you understand and accept that basic premise then take it a little further.  (If you don’t go get your remote control and watch cartoons.)  Now, extend that principle to other areas of our lives.  Since I am a conservative in the liberal sea of education I apply it to my world.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, March 8, 2013

Opus 2013-89: Headlines: A New Meaning for the Term “Death Tax”

I was on Drudge and noticed a headline that declared a California lawmaker wants a tax on the internet to help pay for the postal system.  I didn’t bother reading the article.  I don’t need to.  This is socialism at its best.  In order to limit freedom we tax something which has been able to deliver a product at no cost in order to subsidize a service that can’t make itself work. 

This is the mark of the Perfect Progressive (Super Socialist, Dedicated Democrat, Committed Communist).  You strangle someone who is successful in order to pay for your pet project.  In the process you kill the goose and hope that no one notices that your eggs are now brass.

Will they never learn?  Dumb question.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-88: Balance and the Difficult Questions

Jesus made a statement that sounds optimistic.
(Matthew 9:37-8 KJV)  Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Jesus made a statement that sounds pessimistic. 

(Matthew 7:14 KJV)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
On one side you have the vision that it is a good time to share the good news.  On the other side you have the announcement that it will be rejected by most people.  Which is it that we should focus on?

Another example of this tension is found when you compare the parable of the soils and the figure of speech that calls us “fishers of men.”  One limits the results; the other looks at the potential.

Both extremes must be taken into consideration.  This is part of the balance that is necessary to follow a living God dealing with living people in a real world.  Many people will reject the Bible for what they call “inconsistency” or “mistakes.”  That is because they want simple answers for complex questions and often don’t want the responsibility of thinking for themselves.  If the Bible gave simple answers they would reject them too because they are simple.

Simple answers don’t usually meet the requirements of life because life isn’t simple.  Sometimes they will, because the answers are clear, but we don’t want to accept them.

I am a believer partly because the Bible finds that balance.  It gives the basics simply enough to reach the simple.  It deals with the complexities in a way that will challenge anyone willing to put their thinking cap on.

I guess I can have it both ways.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Opus 2013-87: On the Street: The Millionaire Across the Table

I had an interesting discussion with my friendly neighborhood philanthropist this week.  It seems that he made a mistake in his investments and made too much money.  Now he was going to have a high tax bill.  Since he voted for Obama and thinks that the rich need to pay more I told him he should be glad that he can participate in the redistribution of wealth.  He got a sour look on his face.  It seems it’s a little different when it is your money and you are the rich in question.

He had a solution though.  It is called a tax loophole.  He went through his investments and looked for the losers he had accumulated and was hanging on to hoping they would go up.  Since that doesn’t seem to be happening he is proceeding to sell them at a loss.  He will keep doing this until the taxes he owed are down to zero.

I have no problem with this in general principle nor in specific instance.  I think profits should belong to the person who took the risk, not the government.  In his case, all the profits he makes will be donated to one charity or another without the government taking its cut, so it is a win-win.

What amazes me is that the politicians keep thinking they are so smart that they can set up a system that keeps people smarter than them from accumulating wealth.  They could, but it would destroy the politicians too.  Every time they set up a system, smarter people find a way around it.  It is us simple folk in the middle that lose. 

I just hope that I never become one of the charities that he donates to.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Opus 2013-86: On the Street: The Big Question

Recently I learned what “Starters” are, it is a brand name and my impression was that they specialize in a certain type of jacket.  A young man, who is flunking all of his classes and who has a lack of self control that does not bode well for his future, was totally focused on his jacket.  It was the center of his world.  He had one, I didn’t.  He was better than me and of all creatures I was the most pitied. 

What are the important questions of life?  Is it a matter of designer clothes?  Is it a certain job title?  Recently I did a series on a book that said the most important question of life was “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Recently I was listening to Alistair Begg.  He was waxing strong on the concept of having a personal relationship with God.  He said clearly that is the most important question. 

I have a lot of questions I ask.  One of them is “Why me?”  Of course the answer is “Why not me?”  Which question is most important?  I would tend to agree with Begg.  Am I right with God?  That is most important because it molds all the other questions.

What are the most important questions in your life?  If you don’t ask the right questions the chances are you won’t get the right answers.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Opus 2013-85: On the Street: Surrounded by Ruts

We are such creatures of habit.  We get used to things and are unhappy when they change.  I was at my morning bread and coffee stop.  I ordered my usual.  I took my cup and went to get my coffee and life became unsettled.  Someone had decided to change the placement of the coffee urns.  No longer was the light roast on the left and the decaf next.  Now the decaf was on the left.  Why do people need to change things that don’t need changing?

Change means I need to think a little, at least until I get in a new rut.  I don’t have enough energy to think about things like which coffee urn do I want to use. 

How many ruts are you in?  I certainly have my share.  Some I establish because I am getting old and need routines to make sure I don’t forget something.  Those are important but why do I always follow the same route to the freeway?  Why do I arrange the mustard in the refrigerator in just a certain way?  Why do I face my shirts to the right?

I have enough problems without people changing the order of the coffee urns. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-84: New Terms: Bipartisanship

The Washington Times, National Weekly has a feature called “Inside the Ring” written by Bill Gertz.  In the February 11 edition, page 21 he is discussing the growing aggression of the Chinese navy and the challenge that presents. 

That is not what got my attention.

What stood out to me was a good definition of bipartisanship as defined by the current Democratic leadership.  He is quoting a Captain James Fanell
“China is challenging other nations’ rights...under the rubric of ‘what’s mine is mine, and we’ll negotiate what’s yours.’”
This is exactly the way the Progressives (Democrats, socialists, liberals, left, moderates) have been negotiating for years.  We keep moving toward the left and then they want to share what we have remaining.

You can find definitions in the most interesting places.  I wonder if it is any coincidence that the Communist Chinese and the current administration have the same philosophy of political compromise?

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Opus 2013-83: Green Pieces: The Vast Myanmar Jungle

The Washington Time, National Weekly has a regular feature called “Inside China.”  I was reading about how the Chinese are getting involved in the politics of one of their neighbors, Myanmar.  (February 11, page 19)  It seems they have volunteered to act as referee in cease-fire discussions between the government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Army.  It seems they have been offering refuge for refugees from the conflict and are worried about the violence spilling over.

But their concern is more than that.  They want to keep on everyone’s good side because they are building an oil pipeline through that country.  What caught my eye was the statement that the pipeline went through “the vast Myanmar Jungle.” 

Okay, where is the rage of the green movement?  Why are we not seeing Greenpeace sending out demonstrators to throw their bodies in front of the earth-moving machinery?  Has their been an environmental impact statement?  Are we not concerned about the entire globe, after all we are a village.

Or could it be that the Green’s have an agenda more to weaken the United States and what is left of our free enterprise than to protect the environment?

Could it be?

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Opus 2013-82: Slip of the Tongue

I keep a recorder in my car so I can preserve thoughts that pop into my head.  Some germinate, others wilt.  Recently I was recording an idea and I had a slip of the tongue.  I meant to say that scripture is a “mine” but it came out “mine field.”  It occurred to me that both were true.

The Bible is a place to seek answers.  You won’t find the answers to the crossword puzzle or a math test.  You will find the answers to the big questions of life.

It can also be a mind field because the answers you find can rise up and ruin your day of self-righteous endeavors.  The Bible may remind you that you have a duty to forgive instead of seek justice.  It may spur you to seek justice for others while ignoring it for yourself.

You never know The final direction.  That is because the Holy Spirit is in charge.  He is our teacher.  He holds the hickory stick as well as the candy jar.

Read and enjoy.  Read and learn.  Read and grow.  The mine and the mind field will both produce results. 

homo unius libri

Friday, March 1, 2013

Opus 2013-81: New Terms: Social Promotion

One reason I don’t think we will have enough doctors in the future is because the students I see coming up would not be able to tell which end of a hypodermic needle to put in the patient and which end to push with their thumb.

Today we had an assembly for the students who will be moving out of eighth grade at the end of the year.  They were given a post card to carry home to their parents.  Each child received a postcard in one of three colors.  Yellow meant you were on track for promotion.  Green meant you could promote if you made up classes.  Blue meant you would not promote.  Each card had the child’s name and ID on it.

I had one young man show me his yellow card, with his name on it and a clear statement that he was on track for promotion.  This stood out to me because I know he was a total knucklehead and goof-ball.  So I checked his record for this year.  First semester he receive an “F” in two core subjects and a “D minus” in the other two core subjects.  The first progress reports this semester had three fails and one almost fail.  He is on track for promotion.

This is called “social promotion.”  Maybe it isn’t a new term but it is one we need to be reminded of.  It is rampant in public schools.  It is why people graduate not able to read and write.  It is why you need an exit examine in college.  It is why people vote for candidates that promise nothing but hope and change.  It why people think that the government can keep printing money and granting entitlements and no one will ever be accountable.  It is an example of why education becomes a joke instead of an opportunity.

Don’t believe all the jargon about rigor and high standards.  Your child may have teachers that have high standards.  They exist.  There are probably some schools trying to do a good job.  The odds against your child having either are high.

homo unius libri