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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Opus 2013-316: On the Street: No Help Wanted Sign Here

Saturday I went to a local place to get an alignment on my car.  I went to a local place because they are very helpful, even when you don’t want to buy anything.  The first thing I noticed was that there was little business.  The owner greeted me, took a quick look, asked a few questions and got the process started.  Because there was little business, we got to talking.

Eventually we got around to politics.  We were talking about government regulation and minimum wage.  He said something I wish that the politicians could hear and care about.  He said if it was not for government demands he could hire three more people.  When I was there on a Saturday he had three employees on the job.  He has to pay them even when business is slow.  I don’t know who else he has working.  Three more people could have jobs if not for extra taxes and the burden of paperwork. 

No wonder the economy is in the tank.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 27, 2013

Opus 2013-315: Cornerstone Considerations: The Bed Pan Initiative

The basic rights that the Declaration of Independence advocates are rights that have been around since the beginning of civilization:  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  John Locke had property instead of the pursuit, but you get the idea.

Modern Progressives (Liberals, socialists, communists, Democrats, Rhinos) are daily expanding on this list of “rights.”  Now it is considered that everyone has rights that would have amazed the Founding Fathers.  They range from a cell phone to health care.

Says who?  The vote buying elites, that is who.  And who is to pay for these rights?  Usually the people who are not enjoying them.

Rights are not freebies that someone else pays for.  Rights are the divine principle that says you have the opportunity to do and act in a certain way.  You have the right to live.  No one can do that for you.  You have the right to liberty.  You cannot use someone else’s money to buy that.  Only you can pursue happiness for yourself.  It cannot come in a bottle or check.

We need a serious national discussion on some of these issues.  A third rail topic is health care.  Does everyone deserve all medical procedures all the time?  It sounds good.  The question is really, “Are you willing to go to the hospital and spend your time changing bed pans for free in order to make sure that everyone gets the care they think they deserve?”  Until President Obama says, “Yes.” to that and shows up for his shift he has no moral authority to talk about full medical care for everyone.  Neither does anyone else.

We need a law to clarify this.  We could call it The Bedpan Initiative.  Need an MRI?  Change some bed pans.  Want a test to see if your DNA points toward diabetes?  Come in and mop some floors.  My guess is that the demands for care would decline.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Opus 2013-314: CCC: Coming to a School Near You

The newest thing in education is called the Common Core Curriculum (CCC).  It is being promoted by a large group of professional educators.  The ones promoting it the hardest are the same ones that brought you whole language reading, multi-culturalism, social promotion and anti bullying curriculums.  In other words, people who make big money off of education without ever needing to dirty their hands with actually teaching.

They have a new product.  It is called the Common Core Curriculum.  It has been in process for years.  It has a sophisticated Central Website.  You can Google the topic and find many sites that have information. 

At the initial meeting where this was presented it was declared this was not another federal program.  It was presented as the work of a consortium of states coming together to develop expectations that were consistent across the country.  The idea was a grass roots effort to advance education.  Like so much that comes from the educational gurus, this is just astro-turf.

This is smoke and mirrors.  This is massively federally funded attempt to gain control of education and is run by people who are experts at draining funds from the bloated federal budget.  I hope to comment on aspects of this as I come in contact with them as a common, classroom teacher.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Opus 2013-313: On the Street: Racers Unaware

I am sure you have had the experience.  You are on a divided, multilane highway trying to get around a car.  It is going slow enough that you caught it.  Once you get by you pull away.  The problem is passing.  There seems to be a built in sense of competition in people that when a car starts to pass them they drive a little faster.  I don’t know how many times I have overtaken someone when I was driving 55 MPH but I had to get up to 70 to get around them. 

I think we have that same kind of sensor built into our psyche that responds to other people even when we are not thinking about it.  Sometimes it comes out as competition.  Sometimes it comes out as conformity.  Sometimes it produces conflict. 

Like how we live our lives paced on people around us instead of the posted standards God has given us.  We seem to derive our sense of right and wrong from what our culture tells us.  We see this emerging in areas like marriage.  For all of history marriage has been defined generally as one man and one women.  Some cultures allowed multiple wives, but generally it was one on one.  Homosexuality has been tolerated or ignored but at no time has anyone gone far enough to call such relationships a marriage.  Such an idea was obviously silly, even to the pagans.  Until now.  And why?  Because we are told by the celebrities, scholars and talking heads that it is good and if we feel different we are out of step.  So most people slowly conform.

Cars come with speedometers.  The roads come with speed limits.  The same can be said about life.  Ignore the limits at your peril or the peril of your civilization.

God will not be mocked.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 23, 2013

Opus 2013-312: Ode to Old: Almost an Anniversary

I have an anniversary coming up sometime.  I will have been posting this blog since November 27, 2010.  I have an announcement.

Due to my advanced years and state of mental health I will no longer guarantee not to repeat myself. 

There.  It is out in the open.  I often get the feeling of writer’s deja vu.  Sometimes I can go back and check.  Often I don’t have a clue.  I am going to continue to write and try to be original but I am not sure I can guarantee it.  I admire you folks that can say, “I wrote this back in 1763 on February 3.  I thought I might repost it.”  I don’t have that kind of memory.

If I repeat something it is probably because it needed to be said again because you weren’t listening the first time.  It could be it is just a matter of being important enough to repeat.  An even better possibility is that I forgot I already said it.

You will get old someday.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Opus 2013-311: Become a Drop Out

As I was servicing my blog this morning I came across an important reminder at The Next Chapter.  He reminds us of the need to drop out of organizations that do not agree with us on important issues.  His comments are about AARP.  You might take it to heart about your favorite charity, political group or service organization.  Don’t join by mistake and continue to renew blindly.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-310: Not an Option

When we were first married we had a lot of issues to work out.  We still do but we have developed a bit more wisdom in the process.  We have thirty eight years and counting.  In our early “adjustments” the topic of divorce reared its ugly head.  The answer that kept being thrown out was, “Divorce is not an option.”

Why not?  It is more accepted than any time since the Roman Empire.  Divorce is easy and “no fault.”  We had two reasons, really.  The first is that it is against the rules.  As a Christian I must go with the words of the Bible,
(Malachi 2:16 NAS77)  "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."
There was the loophole of divorce but even that was not the first choice of God.
(Matthew 19:8 KJV)  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
So to be honest, divorce is a tragedy at best (adultery) and blatant sin in most cases. 

The second reason is more important in the Christian life.  Divorce is not an option because it says I lack a faith in the providence of God.  It says I am wiser than God.  It says I do not trust Him for my future.  If I can’t trust Him for my future in this life, how can I trust Him for my eternity?

That thinking carries over into other areas of life.  Thus, depression is not an option.  Ultimately despair is not an option either.  We look at the way in which our culture is imploding and values are eroding.  We are tempted to feel helpless and give up.

Despair is not an option.  Faithful obedience and living as salt and life are what is expected of us.  So don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  Don’t feel like there is no hope.  God’s kingdom is often advanced best in times of hardship.  Trust and obey.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Opus 2013-309: Agape/Chesed: Tally Ho! Tally No!

I must constantly remind myself to resist the urge to make tally sheets.  Some people I see one time and what they do to me comes and goes.  Some people in my life rarely do anything that could be construed as an attack.  Some have occasional moments.  Then there are the people who seem to live to belittle and demean.  They are the kind of people that kick puppies for no reason them pick them up and love them.  At times I feel like one of those puppies.

How am I to respond.

I can tell you two ways I want to respond.  First, I want to lash back.  Sometimes my mouth gets going before the Holy Spirit reminds me of Whom I serve.  Often I just choke it down and brood on it.  The second thing I want to do is make a list.  I want to start a sheet of all the times that I have been unjustly stabbed.  Then, when the list is long enough or I have a sympathetic ear, I can document to everyone’s satisfaction how I have been wronged.

Unfortunately I am not allowed either option.  Let me share with you a verse from the Love Chapter:
(1 Corinthians 13:5 NAS77)  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
I am quoting the NASB here because the KJV misses the point.  The word “account” is a CPA term.  It has to do with keeping books and making sure that they are balanced.  Notice that we are not allowed that option when it comes to wrongs heaped upon us.

God forgives us.  We are to forgive others.  That means to stop keeping lists.  That means to not throw in people’s faces all the times they nailed you. 

It hurts but that is agape/chesed love.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 20, 2013

Opus 2013-308: Book Review: Pride and Prejudice Should Be Banned

I know that many of you read Pride and Prejudice years ago but I just got around to it.  Everyone in my family had read it.  They have watched several versions in movie form.  I finally ran out of new stuff and turned to the classics.

I was surprised.  Pride and Prejudice was quite readable.  The story was fairly standard.  Girl meets boy.  Girl loses boy.  Girl wins boy.  And they lived happily ever after.  Good show.

Since I enjoy history I was fascinated by the way in which it opened up the period of the gentry in England.  The class divisions are clearly portrayed.  To Americans this kind of division is so strange that most people probably don’t recognize it.  Maybe you did not notice but no one works.  Everyone has servants.  They change clothes frequently and spend more money in one day than a common family would spend all year.  During this time period John Wesley was living and traveling on 30 pounds a year.  The daughter in the book who ran away and was compelled to marry only had an income of 100 pounds a year and was considered very poor.  The heroine married someone who was worth 10,000 pounds a year.  To earn this money he traveled and changed clothes a lot. 

It also gave me interesting insights into the mind of women.  It was written by a woman for women.  When they looked at a man and discussed him there werer three considerations:  Wealth, social status and looks.  It helped if he was nice and clean but really, if he had money and status he was a winner.  As I read this and compared it to female conversations I have overheard I saw some real parallels.  I was too naive and idealistic to understand.  If I had read this when I was 20 I might never have gotten married.  For this reason I think the book should be banned for all males under the age of 40.

I am almost tempted to read another one of Jane Austin’s books to see if she has a formula like Louis L’Amour had in his westerns.

Almost but not quite.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Opus 2013-307: Revival or Decay?

The Third Great Awakening.  Is it coming?  Is it here?  This came to mind because in passing Alistair Begg said, “If there is a Third Great Awakening...”  My mind went in tangent mode.

If you didn’t pay attention or if it was not covered when you went to school, the First Great Awakening took place in the early 1700's in the American colonies.  It started in New England and is associated with names such as Jonathan Edwards.  It was a spiritual revival that spread through the churches and molded the culture.  What is called the Second Great Awakening took place around 100 years later with similar results.  I have heard different people talk about the need for revival in America.  I personally think it is the only hope for the country.  I have heard different people mention a Third Great Awakening.  I have heard some who feel it is going on now.  I do not see any evidence of that, but I don’t get out much.

Be careful what you pray for.  The First Great Awakening came one generation before the American Revolution.  The Second Great Awakening came one generation before the American Civil War.  If we have a third it might lead to that kind of upheaval.

Each revival brought to a head cultural stresses that were major issues of the times.  The first revival had to do with the idea of liberty from the mother country.  Were we capable of governing ourselves or had God placed special people, royalty and nobles, in a position to tell us what to do?  It was not resolved and lead to war.  The second revival had to do with the issue of slavery.  If God had created all men and we were all created equal as the Declaration of Independence said, how could slavery continue?  Eventually this lead to the most devastating war we have experienced.  Currently we have a number of stresses.  One has to do with abortion and whether a baby in the womb has any rights.  The other has to do with the definition of marriage and the propriety of homosexuality.  The government keeps pushing in to tell people what to believe.  How will it be resolved?  With violence?  I hope not.

At least once a religious revival changed a country without violence.  I speak of the Methodist revival brought about by the teaching of John Wesley.  Large numbers of people were brought into contact with God and had their lives changed.  This took place when Great Britain was on pins and needles over the same issues that caused the French Revolution.  It also lead to the end of the slave trade in the British Empire.  The Methodist revival kept a war from happening.

What does the future hold?  Revival or decay.  At present it looks like decay is winning but if enough of God’s people will turn to Him in repentance, there is hope.  Remember the important verse about this.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
The ball is in our court.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Opus 2013-306: Discernment Watch: Destructive Generosity

Why do social programs and government handouts weaken individuals and destroy initiative?

It used to be if you wanted something you would be forced to prioritize, economize, save, work harder, get more training or improve yourself.  Years ago I wanted a better guitar.  I had learned that when you have better tools you can do better work.  I did not have the money for the quality I felt I needed.  My credit was good enough I could have charged what I wanted and let my wife try to figure it out.  That is not how I operate.  Instead, I began setting aside small amounts and going without on luxuries.  Eventually I had enough set aside to pay cash.  It is called “saving up” or delayed gratification.  It is a vanishing skill.  Now you just look for a handout and complain if you don’t get it.

Millions of people working off the books don’t need to do any of this because the various charities fill the gaps and supply the wants.  Why go to college when the government will give you what you want?  Why work when you can party?

An example was my friendly neighborhood philanthropist talking about a young man trying to get ahead in life.  He just couldn’t seem to make enough so my friend was helping him out.  The details slowly came out.  He had two children and was not married to their mother.  He did not go go college and did not plan on going.  He refused to get trained for a better job.  He was doing what he wanted to do working as an aide in a private school.  He felt fulfilled and he was enabled by my friends contributions and all the free stuff he got from the government. 

In a past world he would have been forced to improve himself or starve.  Now he can pursue his dreams and expects others to subsidize him.

Society has always had some people like this.  It is now becoming pandemic.  Does the term “critical mass” mean anything to you?  It is the point in a nuclear reaction when there is enough radioactive material to begin the chain reaction setting loose the destruction of the nuclear explosion.  Our society is reaching a critical mass in parasites that are draining the life from the economy. 

My fear is that instead of treating the infection we will feed the gangrene.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-305: Ode to Old: I Remember When. Or Do I?

Why do old people tell so many stories from their youth?  Maybe because they can’t remember what happened yesterday.

Recently I had another reminder that my memory is going.  I left home and as I was driving toward the freeway I started thinking and doubting.  I had to return home because I could not remember if I shut the garage.  I had.  The same day I left school without my phone.  It is hard getting old. 

At least I remember that I forget.  At least I think I do.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Opus 2013-304: A Can’t Do Attitude, part 2 of 2

The “Can-do” attitude has dissolved on many issues we face.  On this radio program the issue was family structure.  The problem for me was attitude.  It is a problem of attitude that extends into culture as a whole.  Take for instance the need for more electricity.  You may have experienced brown-outs in your neighborhood.  In the past the utility companies would have seen the need coming and invested to meet the need.  They would have built more plants and found ways to generate more power for a growing population and their electronic devices.  It would have been viewed as progress.  More customers plus more electricity means a better life for everyone, more jobs and more profits all of which would mean we are moving ahead.

Now we have repetitive advertisements about adjusting thermostats and finding ways to use less energy.  We raise the rates on some to subsidize others.  We have tele-marketers calling to offer special government funded programs to make our systems more energy efficient.  We give up on progress and try to find ways to coast.  We live on our principle instead of investing in the future.  We claim we are running short of resources in spite of the fact that we have more known reserves of all raw materials.  The answer always seems to demand more government involvement.  Government involvement means government control.  Control means loss of liberty.

The culture of America is in decline.  We are throwing away the heritage of opportunity for the artificial sweeteners of having someone else bail us out.  We are kept from seeking solutions by government action and social engineering.  We have submitted to the seduction of the socialists.  The elitists of the progressive left know that if we believe in ourselves and move ahead finding solutions we will not need their wise guidance.  They have a vested interest in bringing us down as long as they retain their status and perks.  If we can’t break out of this we will all become serfs living at the pleasure of the Lord of the Manor.  We will decline into third world status.  The real problem there is that there will then be no first or second world left.

Years ago there was a song that said, “Freedom isn’t free.  You’ve got to pay the price.  You’ve got to sacrifice for our liberty.”  Instead we are living on credit. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-303: A Can’t Do Attitude, part 1 of 2

I was driving with the radio on because I wanted a traffic report.  It was a Sunday afternoon talk show, all women, talking about a topic of interest to women.  The topic was blended families and being step parents.  It isn’t that men are not effected, just that we would not spend a lot of time listening to it being discussed.  It seemed that each of the women had experience with remarriage involving children.  There were no value judgements about the growing phenomenon.  I didn’t have a big problem with that.  Kicking people when they are down is not courteous and certainly won’t help.  What got me was that they did not even seem to be aware that this situation was on the increase or feel it presented a problem.  They did not seem to endorse society would be better with less divorce and more intact families.  They had no vision for what could, or should, be.  They just accepted it as the way it was and debated the best way to deal with it.

This reflects the way the American psyche has changed.  It used to be when something was wrong we would admit it.  We believed we could fix it.  We would then try to make it right.  We had a “can do” attitude about all challenges.   Now we just shrug, say that’s the way it is and adjust our expectations downward to fit the circumstances.  Now we look for a government program to support it.  We have lost the belief that we can change the world and make it a better place.

Historically “blended families” have been common.  Women would frequently die in childbirth.  Men often died from work related accidents, attacks by animals and surprises of nature.  When this happened people girded up their loins and got on with life.  Remarriage was common but not because of divorce which was rejected by society.  Family took in orphans.  It worked.  The one option that they did not pursue was government programs and subsidies.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Monday, September 16, 2013

Opus 2013-302: Headlines: Christians Persecuted in Egypt, Duh!, part 2 of 2

Continuing on the article in the Washington Times.  What was also frustrating is how it ignores one of the key factors about Christian churches in Islamic countries.  Here is the reality.
“Since the military removed Mr. Morsi seven weeks ago, his supporters have burned at least 44 churches and ransacked more than 20 other Christian institutions throughout Egypt.”
Later in the article you find a bit of white-wash,
“Gen. el-Sissi told state TV that he ordered the armed forces to repair all damaged churches in ‘recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers.’”
Sounds good but taking the generals at face value is like accepting what Al Gore has to say about global warming.  The statement just does not match the reality of history and the demands of Sharia law.  You see, it is a one way street.  The parts skipped in the following quote are not to manipulate the truth.  The parts represented by the ‘...” are simply other ways in which Islam attacks Christians and Jews but don’t relate to churches.
“All this is still part of the Sharia today.  ‘The subject people, ...are forbidden...recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals or feasts days; and are forbidden to build new churches.’  If they violate these terms, the law further stipulates that they can be killed or sold into slavery at the discretion of the Muslim leader.” Spencer, page 51
Historically, when Islam is strong and devout, Christians are not allowed to build or repair churches.  They are not allowed to ring bells or make any sounds that might leave the building and distract Muslims.  The generals claim they are going to repair the churches.  There may be a few showcases for the Western media but in reality only one or two of the 44 churches will ever be used again. 

I am disappointed that this was overlooked.  Even the Washington Times, which does a better job than others, seems to fall under the sway of political correctness and “don’t offend the Muslims, they might come to kill you.”

It kind of reminds you of the treatment of the federal government.

Spencer, Robert.  The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam.  Washington, D.C.:  Regnery
Publishing, Inc., 2005.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Opus 2013-301: Headlines: Christians Persecuted in Egypt, Duh!, part 1 of 2

One of the ignored events common in the world is the Muslim persecution of Christians.  It is going on from Indonesia to Harlem.  It has great variety whether it be out and out murder to kidnapping children to sell into slavery.  It is usually ignored by the press.  I was glad to see an article in The Washington Time, National Weekly, August 26, 2013, pages 6-7 entitled “Egyptian Christians face unprecedented reprisals.” (sic)  The link will take you to the article on line with a slightly longer title.  I was disappointed that the article took the politically correct approach that this was “reprisals.”  Not so. 

This has been the standard policy of devout Islam since the Islamic world conquest began in 630.  There is a difference between “reprisal” and “intimidation.”  The same thing has been happening in Iraq and is going on in Syria.  The same thing has been going on, unreported for centuries.  Philip Jenkins said it this way about the Ottoman Empire,
“The modern concept of genocide as a uniquely horrible act demanding international sanctions has its root in the thoroughly successful movements to eradicate Middle Eastern Christians.” Jenkins, page 140
He then goes on to give some data you may not have heard before.
“Even in 1900 Muslims made up just half the empires overall population: Christians comprised 46 percent; Jews, 3 percent.”  Jenkins, page 149
In case you are lacking in geography and history, the Ottoman Empire was modern Turkey with its borders extended east through Armenia and South into Israel.

And more specifically,
“Constantinople, which had over four hundred thousand Christians in 1920, today has perhaps 4,000.  The city’s final Greek remnants largely vanished during a sweeping race riot in 1955.” Jenkins, page 163
Read those numbers again, friends.  During the time we are looking at we had the Armenian holocaust by the Turks.  Islam has not been nice to Christians.

Jenkins, Philip.  The Lost History of Christianity, New York:  Harper One, 2008.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Opus 2013-300: Immortal Quotes: Thinking Outside the Box

We often talk about “thinking outside the box.”  It is a cute idea that we repeat without thinking about it.  It is another post-modern sillyism that we throw around without thinking about what we are saying.  Cultural gurus have been recommending thinking outside the box for years.  It isn’t working. 

Maybe we need to start thinking inside the box.  There are many options inside the box we are not considering.  To be honest, the box is the limit of where we can go.  We can be as creative as we want outside the box.  We are not hindered by reality, the laws of physics or morality.  It is called fantasy.  We can come up with clever captions that are heart warming but meaningless.   If I think outside the box I can mold all kinds of foolish options that will destroy my life financially, morally and physically. 

I don’t think we are even considering all the options inside the box.  We need to carefully consider what the resources are and what our options are and make a creative suggestion based on reality.  You can only make more or spend less if your budget doesn’t balance.  Take that literally or figuratively.

Or maybe we just need to start thinking, period.  I am not sure that most of us are too creative, logical or even intelligent.  The number of people who have come up with truly original ideas is very small.  Who thought up the bow and arrow?  How about the zipper?  How would anyone figure out that mixing charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur together could make an explosive?  After the original thinking is done everyone else just expands on the idea.  That is easy.

So let’s quit trying to do the impossible until we have used up the options that are possible.

It is worth a try.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 13, 2013

Opus 2013-299: Immortal Quotes: Another Reaganism

I mentioned earlier a podcast from the Young America’s Foundation featuring Tom Tancredo.  He shared another quote, this one was attributed to Ronald Reagan.  It went like this:
“Liberals are not ignorant, they just know a lot of things that aren’t so.”
It sounds like Reagan.  It sounds like humor.  It sounds like the truth.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-298: An E. J. Dionne Insight

A few years ago I was listening to a pod-cast that had a RHINO interviewing the openly liberal E. J. Dionne who was saying that people tend to quote the Constitution as if it were holy scripture.  That struck a chord in me.  I wrote it down and come back to it today.  There are certain similarities.  Have you noticed the opposite tendency that expresses the same issue.  People who can’t understand what the Constitution says seem to be the same people who can’t understand what the Bible says.

Those of us who accept the Bible as the word of God and the source of truth understand the concept of there actually being unchanging standards on which things can be based.  We understand that times change and cultures require adaptation but we also understand that the basic truths don’t change.  We believe that about the Bible because we believe it is God’s word.  We accept the Constitution as being a standard that must not be messed with, not because it is inspired like the Bible, but because we believe it contains truth the way it is and supports the idea of unchanging truth.

So, yes, E.J.  Although I do not believe the Constitution is holy scripture I do believe that it is much closer than the latest opinion of a judge, politician or journalist that believes the truth is what advances their personal agenda. 

Congratulations on the insight even if you thought it was an insult.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Opus 2013-297: Cornerstone Considerations: Citizens Have Rights

Are you a citizen or a subject?  This is a question I hear in discussions of Second Amendment rights.  What is the difference? 

Most people in the world are subjects.  Although to us the concept of royalty is out of date, they all live in subjection to a king of queen.  That king may now be a prime minister, party chairman, ayatollah or labor leader, but they still demand submission to their authority because they are ordained by some superior power.  They may be benevolent or tyrannical but they are still worthy of your obedience because they are better than you.  They may listen to you but that is just because they are inclined to be pleasant.  Your opinions are of no value.  You are a subject.

Citizens on the other hand are individuals with rights because they have value.  The political leader is no different except that they have been given a temporary position to act and do what they can to implement the desires of the people who put them in that position.  The authority is in the citizen not the ruler.

This is the basis of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States.  The concept of citizen is given a strong foundation in the first two Amendments.  How many of you can list the five rights in the First Amendment?  It is scary how many don’t have any idea.  Briefly they are, in order, religion, speech, press, assembly, redress of grievances.  The Second Amendment is reserved for the right to bear arms.  These are rights reserved for people with political power, in our case citizens, and often denied to subjects.

Here is the complete text of the First Amendment.
“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.”
Our current political leaders, usually but not always of both parties, feel that they are a privileged class.  They feel that their vision is better than those under them.  They feel that the end justifies the means because they have a better idea and we need their wisdom to guide us.  They want us to get out of the way, sit down, shut up and pay the bills.  That means they must convince us we are subjects, not citizens.

Until recently, America has never been a nation of subjects.  We have always been a group of people that believe that “all men (and women) are created equal.”  The elites of government, education and media are trying to make us forget that.  The youngest generation has nothing to forget because they were never taught. 

Elections have consequences, even at the school board level.  Next time you get a chance remember the antidote to revolution and violence is to vote the suckers out.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Opus 2013-296: On the Street: Watchkeepers

As I drove to work I noticed a new billboard for a local talk radio station, KFI.  The blurb was “Holding them accountable.”  It sounded very good.  I would love to believe that KFI is watching and holding people accountable.  The problem becomes, who is watching and what are they holding them accountable for? 

In theory the newspapers and news programs of the nation have a responsibility to report the news and work to make the powerful people accountable for their actions.  It is a one way street.  The mantra is “It’s Bush’s fault.”  Recently James Carvil blamed the problems in Syria of George Bush.  I realize he is not a reporter but I am sure that if you look hard enough you can find the sentiment echoed in the media.  The question is who holds KFI accountable.  As someone said, “Who watches the watchers?”

It is up to us.  It is time for you to turn off the TV or at least change channels.  It is time to cancel a subscription, if you still have one, and write a note to the publisher explaining why.  It is time to subscribe to some type of publication that is doing the job of watchman.  Maybe that means a donation to one of the websites that takes its mission seriously.

Do I trust KFI?  Not really, but I don’t listen to them enough to know what they are saying.  Maybe I should, but life is too short.  I still have books to read and several thousand pod-casts to listen to.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 9, 2013

Opus 2013-295: Immortal Quotes: Big Brother Marries the Wicked Step Mother.

I was listening to a podcast from the Young America’s Foundation.  The speaker was Tom Tancredo.  He gave a quote that he said was the secret of the Democratic party.  I always like to get the source so I Googled it and came up with the following:
“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
It is attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

I think that sums up much of what we see going on from tax credits to free lunches.  If Americans do not grow up then we are doomed to economic collapse and totalitarian government. 

This means that we all need to stop asking for special benefits whether it be mortgage interest deductions or medicare.  We need to grow up and stand on our own feet or we will be perpetual step children of a wicked, ugly step mother and Big Brother.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Opus 2013-294: On the Street: The Right Perspective

I was waiting at a red light watching a cop trying to make a right turn, which is legal after a full stop.  His problem was a pedestrian crossing the street in front of him.  I noticed that the young man in question seemed to be moving very slow.  He was tall and appeared healthy, yet walked with incredible deliberation.  When he finally got across and the policeman went on his way I watched the kid.  When the cop was gone he kept strolling and broke out in a big smile.  If I had been in the place of the cop I would have been doing a slow burn, or a fast one, but since I was an observer I enjoyed the moment.  The cop was frustrated.  The kid was fulfilled.  I enjoyed the drama.

Perspective is important.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Opus 2013-293: Time Thieves

Think about all the people and experiences that steal the time of our lives.  They take your limited time on earth and give nothing in return.  Often they put you in the hole.

Robbery is an obvious example.  In some historical cultures a thief was executed.  We think that is too harsh but that is because we are so wealthy that we don’t value the work it takes to stay alive any more.  When people steal they are taking from your life the time it took to earn the cost of the goods or replace them.  If it took a woman two weeks work to shear a sheep, prepare the wool, turn it into thread, weave the cloth and hand sew the garment, then when someone steals it they have taken two weeks of that person’s life.  This is a serious loss.

In traffic think about the stupid, narcissistic, lazy drivers causing accidents.  They weave in and out.  They tailgate.  They cut in.  They destroy your car and possibly take your life.  At best they steal thousands of hours of people’s lives; at worst, they commit murder.

Then you have the police officers who do very little to get traffic moving again.  I passed the scene of an accident this week that had the traffic backed up at least 8 miles.  When I finally came to the place of the accident the lane was blocked only by a police car and orange cones.  One police officer was slowly pushing a broom across the lane.  Three more were leaning against the wall talking.  Cops who don’t get the job done and the traffic moving are stealing a part of my life, not to mention the thousands of other people in cars around me.

It is bad enough when we rob ourselves.  It is evil when other people rob us.

Of course, as a Christian I have an eternity ahead.  Maybe that is why God says I must be patient and forgive.  When you compare eternity with a few lost years it puts things in a different perspective. 

It still frosts me.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 6, 2013

Opus 2013-292: On the Street: Lice Hunt

Please.  If you need to scratch your belly or look for lice in your crotch do it in the privacy of your bathroom, not in line at the coffee shop.  As I walked to refill my coffee cup this morning a guy was standing at the counter scratching himself on parts of his body that I would rather not see.

When the government does a cover up it damages society.  When you do one it makes life better for everyone.  Please keep it covered up.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-291: Who Knows You?

I was again listening to Alistair Begg.  He mentioned the mat that Jesus was sleeping on in the storm.  Then he mentioned that the disciples asked if He was worried about whether they would perish.  Begg followed his thought, my mind took a tangent. 

They never got an answer.  Jesus did respond.  He did wake up and calm the storm.  But He never answered the question they asked.

There is a lesson for us in that.  It is very possible, in fact probable, that God will not answer all of our questions.  That doesn’t mean there are no answers. 

It could be that there are lessons that can be learned better without the answers.  Sometimes in life it is more important knowing what the questions are than knowing the answers.  Sometimes the unknown causes us to think more and reach into our creativity.  God knows us better than we know ourselves. 

Maybe we would not be able to understand.  We all have different abilities and levels of understanding so what might be an answer for some would just be nonsense to others.  Sometimes there are situations that are more subtle than we can handle.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.

Some might not want to hear the answers.  I am not sure that God wastes the effort in answering questions that are asked from hardened hearts.  When a child first asks, “Why?”  I am glad to answer.  When my answer generates another, “Why?”  I begin to look for attitude.  There comes a point where I don’t bother.  At school I put up a poster with three numbers with a short message.  “No” is number 1.  “When pigs fly” is number 2.  “Right after Danny” is number 3.  (Danny never goes).  Number four is “BISS” which stands for “Because I said so.”  At times that is the best, and only, answer.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.

We might not be able to handle the answers.  Who really wants to know the moment of their death?  Maybe the job interview will end in rejection but you had a lesson that needed learning.  There are many things that we might want to know and be able to understand but we could not deal with them in real life.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.

We might be accountable for the information.  Once you know the right thing to do, you are responsible.  We might not yet have the strength to respond properly.  It is better to not know.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.

So keep asking.  Keep reading.  Keep studying.  Keep growing.  Also understand that if you eat some food before it is ripe you will get sick.  If you eat some food without the proper preparation you will be poisoned.  If you mix the wrong chemicals it can lead to disaster. 

Ask in faith.  Walk in faith.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Opus 2013-290: Hacker Deja Vu

It was like deja vu all over again.  I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal called “FBI Taps Hacker Tactics to Spy on Suspects” and realized it was the same topic as a DEFCON talk I had just attended.  In fact, the article quoted the man giving the presentation.  The idea was that the FBI is using some of the same methods that they condemn so much in their role as crime fighter.  On the surface that simply means that they are keeping up with the times.  The hacker community would salute them.  Hackers have day jobs.  They work on security for business and government.  They make an important contribution to your security even though you don’t realize it.

The concern is, in light of recent revelations about the government, that the tools might be used without the proper due process.  This reinforces what I was writing about in a previous post.  The article states:
“...the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.'s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.”
One of the themes in the article and the presentation dealt with the government developing and buying tools which will install what are called “back doors” in your computer and other devices.  As software companies produce better encryption and security it gets harder for the government, and others, to gain access.  A “back door” is a built in access point that the owner of the equipment does not know about.  Thus you think you are safe but you aren’t.  It is like giving the local burglar a key to your house or always leaving a window open.

So we have an agency of the federal government actively seeking ways to invade your personal space.  They claim that they only use these things when they have followed due process:  Probable cause, oath and affirmation, warrant.  Of course that was what we were hearing before the recent whistle blowers showed it not to be true. 

What is the answer?  Obviously I don’t know enough to have one but I know that the more consumed we are for national security the less we worry about personal liberty.  Try to put some things in context in the battle against terrorism.  Compare the number of deaths in Boston from non-natural causes in a day to the deaths in the recent bombing.  Obviously if you or someone you know is killed that is a major issue for you but the odds of it happening are so slim it disappears.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Opus 2013-289: On the Streets: All God’s Children God Shoes

As I came out of the bakery where I start my day, walked across the parking lot, climbed into my car and began to get ready to drive to work I could not miss the guy in the middle of the traffic lane.  At first I thought he was homeless or drunk but when he continued to stand there bent over double I looked again.  He was adjusting his shoes and arranging his sweat pants so that they draped in the most stylish way.  Understand.  He was in the traffic lane of a busy parking lot during the breakfast rush and he is bent over with all of his attention on getting his pants tucked in properly in his bright orange shoes.  When a car almost ran him down he still took time to adjust the hang of his pants before going on his way. 

I sometimes wonder if evolution is true.  Will this guy join the long list of dead ends to evolution.  He lived, this time. 

It is no wonder that some people have nice shoes but no future.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-288: Book Review: Dan Brown Wannabe, Part 3 of 3

Sandwiched in between a major plot decision of honor and romance the author introduces the attacks on Christianity.  Through the entire book they have been wanting to recover this new scripture so they could sell it to the church and get rich.  Imagine how valuable a new scripture would have been.  When the manuscript is unearthed they only had time to read a few pages before the Muslim’s took the book from them.  Because of those few pages they conclude that the “gospel” would not have been of any real value.  Here is part of the dialogue.
    “Vallon stared at him.  ‘You told me that it’s one of the most important books ever written.’
    “‘Important for the wrong reason.  If someone did buy it, they would do so only to suppress it.  Destroy it.’
    “‘Suppress the testament of one of the apostles?  Destroy a piece of the Bible?’
    “‘The Bible is the word of God, but the Church decides what words it wants to world to hear.’” page 649
You see the mixture of pseudo-respect for the Bible and contempt for the church.  Ask yourself, who would be best positioned to decide what the Bible says, people who have dedicated their lives to truth or authors who want to jump on the Di Vinci Code Express?

He then proceeds with a revelation. 
    “‘That’s not the only way in which it differs from the Biblical accounts.  Thomas calls Jesus “the Son of Man” rather than the “Son of God.”  That’s an important distinction, one that challenges the belief that Jesus was truly divine.’” page 650
That sounds powerful but it is a total lie that shows he was using talking points instead of doing simple research.  The Gospel of Matthew uses “son of man” 30 times, Mark 14, Luke 26 and John11.  It is Jesus’ way of describing Himself.  Some cover up.  It is a very common phrase used in the OT and I have heard real scholars explain how it was used to reflect the usage by Daniel and is a sign of prophecy backing up the claims of divinity.

I could go on but if you are still with me, I have made my point.  If you like a good adventure, read up to page 644 then skip ahead to 654 and finish the book.  You won’t miss anything but heresy and hating.  If you enjoy put downs of Christianity make sure you only quote him to people who know as little about the Bible as you do.

Lyndon, Robert.  Hawk Quest.  New York:  Redhook, 2013.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Opus 2013-287: Book Review: Dan Brown Wannabe, Part 2 of 3

Lyndon writes a good story.  He is also inconsistent when he tries to preach his sermon.  He brings us the legend of Prester John at the same time he begins to introduce the Gospel of Thomas.  He does not name either of them until the end.  I guessed he was referring to Prester John when he first started describing the claims and I already knew what the Gospel of Thomas was.  Instead of simply making them historical artifacts and enlightening us, he needed to get in his digs against the church and the Bible.  The inconsistency is that he makes it clear that Prester John is a myth but acts like the Gospel of Thomas is genuine.  Historically they are both figments of someone’s creative art. 

Prester John was supposed to rule over a magnificent Christian kingdom.  He was wealthy, wise and powerful beyond belief.  His location kept moving.  In this book he is in Asia.  Other documents have him deep in Africa.  Prester John is like Atlantis:  There has never been any genuine evidence that he existed outside the minds of the ancient writers.

The Gospel of Thomas is one of a well known group of gnostic writings that emerged hundreds of years after Jesus.  They were attempts to debunk Christianity by presenting false claims and attributing them to disciples.  They have a lot in common with contemporary writings like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.  They mixed a little bit of truth with a lot of creative speculation. 

This book makes it appear that at the time of Crusades the Gospel of Thomas was discovered but hidden by the Muslims to be brought out later.  In reality, the only Bible that Mohammed knew was the Gospel of Thomas.  He quotes it in the Koran.  That was in the year 630.  The heretical Christian sects that lived in the desert of Egypt taught him, verbally since he could not read, all that he knew about Christianity.  If you have read the Koran you know that most of what he “knew” was false.  The point here is that if this false gospel was well know in the year 600 it is doubtful that the Muslims stole it 400 years later.

To be continued...

Lyndon, Robert.  Hawk Quest.  New York:  Redhook, 2013.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 2, 2013

Opus 2013-286: Book Review: Dan Brown Wannabe, Part 1 of 3

When I visit the library I start at the new book shelves.  It is getting harder all the time to find anything in the regular stacks.  55 years of visiting libraries puts a dent in what is of interest.  I have decided to focus on new books or classics that I have avoided over the years.  Thus I read through the writing of Abraham Lincoln, the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant and The Travels of Marco Polo this summer.  I am currently working through Pride and Prejudice  and the Journals of Lewis and Clark

On my last trip I came across a book called Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon.  The cover made it sound good and the first 644 pages are an engaging adventure set in the pre-Crusade world of Europe and the Middle East.  It is only in the last 14 pages that the cheap-shot attacks on Christianity are slipped in like poison.  Once you have grown to admire the characters and gone through their trials, sorrows and joys the author makes them mouth some of the dull heresies that are repeatedly treated as new and fresh truth.

If you like realistic, well written and researched stories with sword fights, conflict, romance and heart break, Lyndon gives it to you.  This is a good story.  If you like people acting like the Gospel of Thomas was rejected by a church conspiracy and characters denying the truth of the Bible and the Divinity of Christ, this is also for you.  None of this second theme shows up until the final pages but it seems to be the real reason Lyndon wrote the book.

You can learn a lot from good historical fiction.  Lyndon does a good job of getting into the intricacies of feudal culture.  He portrays the conflict between the Saxons and their new Norman overlords.  He gives insight into the legal structures and relations between different nations and cultures.  He does this without being cumbersome with detail.  The learning fits in well with the enjoyment of the story.

The characters are well balanced.  There are a few who seem total losers and some who are truly noble.  Most grow and develop through their experiences.  They do not all survive for a happy ending which keeps you wondering how it will all end up.  Except for a few pages of politically correct, anti-Christian bile this is a good read.

That is the good part.

To be continued...

Lyndon, Robert.  Hawk Quest.  New York:  Redhook, 2013.

homo unius libri