Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Opus 2013-400: The End Is Always Near

If the world is going to end it had better hurry.

Remember last year and the hoopla over the end of the world?  There were two big end of the world prophecies that year.  One was a “protestant” Christian variety with bill boards everywhere giving a specific date.  Those of us who are Bible reading Christians would have patted them on the head and got on with life but the signs were too far off the ground.

And the pagans got into the act.  They were worrying about the Mayan or Aztec calender.  It was supposed to predict that the end of the world would coincide with our 2012.  The kids at school were really worried about this one.  It is kind of like Cinco de Mayo, a big deal here but nothing where it came from.  I tried to explain it was the end in the same way that we get a new calendar every year.  The only difference is that their calendar went for a few thousand years.

It is now a year later and we are still here.  I could quote Jesus on no one knowing the date.  Be ready and you won’t have to worry about it.

Of course the debacle of Obamacare and the intrusion of the NSA might end the world as we know it but it can’t be any worse than when the Mongol hoards came streaming out of the west.  Life went on, it was just that everyone became slaves in the process.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-399: Firsts: Appleseed Project

What kind of things do your children drag you into?

For some people it is probably soccer practice or a dance recital.  My kids are too old for that so they need to work harder.  This year during the Christmas break my son took me to a workshop of the Appleseed Project.  After two days of hustle I am willing to admit I may be getting too old for some things. 

The goal of the workshop is to teach the basic fundamentals of rifle marksmanship.  They let you use any type of rifle in some of the sessions.  The one we attended was limited to .22 rifles.  The targets are placed 25 yards down range and sized to simulate firing at 100 yards.  The day begins, as all training with firearms begin, with safety.  They repeatedly go over the importance of safety.  It is priority number one. 

The shooting begins with thirteen rounds fired at a target with five targets of differing sizes.  This gives a benchmark to measure the skills learned over the two days.  From there it is two days of loading and firing from different positions.  My son and I had a good time.  He showed his skill.  I demonstrated my lack. 

At my age moving from a prone position to a standing position is hard on the bone and muscles.  I am really stiff but it was a good experience.

Check it out on line if you are interested.  They will work with you on equipment.  One family was a mother and her two children.  I was the oldest but there was quite a mix. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-398: Headlines: Or Not, Since It Involves Global Warming, or Not

A headline caught my eye on Drudge, entitled, “'Global warming' scientists trapped in expanding Antarctic ice...”  It might give you a few laughs.  It will also confirm the continued and obvious bias of the media. 

It seems that an entrepreneur who makes money on the global warming scam was on a trip to gain more “scientific” data about global warming.  If you read the article you will see that it points out that his ship got stuck in the growing ice cap of the Antarctic.  You may miss the fact that it is summer there.  That is the funny part.

The frustrating part is that the purpose of the voyage is completely covered up by the media. 

Welcome to modern journalism.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 30, 2013

Opus 2013-397: The Continuing Debacle

The deliberate federal destruction of our health care system has not hit me hard yet, but I know the pain is coming.

The initial increase in cost is real but not crippling for me and mine.  Yet.  If you want a brief overview of the hidden costs that are already being passed on you can read this article I found linked from the Drudge Report entitled “New Obamacare Fees coming in 2014.” 

I cringe when I read about all the people losing their coverage.  I rage about people who were in the midst of treatment and were dropped because of Obamacare and the confusion it is creating.  I imagine the pain of dramatically increased costs that are being reported. 

And I know that it is coming to a health plan near me, soon.  Since I am a teacher the Progressives in government will hold off dragging me down because they consider the teachers’ unions to be their big supporters.  They, or we, are.  Most teachers are with the welfare classes who believe that someone else will pay the bill for the government largesse they receive.  I am not so naive, but then I don’t believe in global warming, that the government cares about me or that Obama is a Christian. 

What do we do?  We do the obvious:  Vote, write, speak out.  I am concerned that those may not be enough.  The damage has been done but there is more coming.

I am concerned about the insight that people get the government they deserve.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Opus 2013-396: Discernment Watch: Holiday, What Holiday?

We are still in that mysterious time period called the “Holiday Season.”  The radio has a never ending series of advertisers coming on and wishing people a wonderful “holiday season.”  The one that caught my attention was the Martinelli family, the bottlers of sparkling cider, wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a happy new year.  I am confused.  I ask, “If you separate New Years from the holiday season, what holiday could you possibly be celebrating?”  Hanukkah is past.  Ramadan was in July and August.  Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, was in November.  Groundhog day is in February. 

I finally went to Wikipedia and found quite a list.  It seems that there is much to celebrate if you are a pagan. 

So for the pagans of the world, Happy Holidays.  That is still a religious greeting.  For those who follow Jesus, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 27, 2013

Opus 2013-395: Discernment Watch: New Is Not Always Better

It seems that apps and pads are part of the dumbing down processes.

The first article I saw referenced on Drudge yesterday had to do with the danger that electronic devices provide to children.  You can read it yourself if you have young children or are thinking of a gift to someone who has young children.  It discusses the pros and cons of toddlers being introduced to touch screen technology.  It discusses the dangers as well as the promises.

The concern that kept coming up was that the touch screens put them out of contact with real people.  It focused on how the devices limited the interaction with adults, which is an important part of education.  Historically, a major part of a child’s education came from the conversations they joined or listened to with adults.  The concept of being locked in a room with 30 other kids the same age, kept physically inactive and fed one subject at a time is the product of modern assembly line education, not our traditional culture.  This concern kept coming up in the article. 

One of the real problems with the new technology is that same problem that TV presented:  It becomes a baby sitter that allows parents to opt out of raising their children.

Read the article.  You might want to ask yourself, “Do I want my children to turn out like George Washington who had almost no formal education or the current heart throb of young teens who was raised on TV and cell phones?”

Shop accordingly.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Opus 2013-394: Benevolent Shiny

 Be thankful for the crass commercialism of the Christmas season.

My car was in the shop so I was driving my wife’s machine.  This confined me to listening to the radio instead of pod casts.  An advertisement caught my attention.  The item up for bid was a new TV with colors four times as clear or some such nonsense.  Since I am a bit color blind and can’t see very well at my age it doesn’t make any difference to me.  Their goal was to get people to rush out and buy the latest technology.  New.  Shiny.  It seems so sordid but I am not sure I have a problem with that.  Here is my reasoning.  The sooner everyone runs out and wastes their money on high priced technology the sooner it will come down in price and be in my price range. 

I don’t need it.  I won’t buy it until it gets cheap.  Even then I will wait for my old one to wear out.  But the day will come when I am ready so go for it.  Meanwhile you have my permission to buy, buy, buy.  Sell, sell, sell.  The more you spend the sooner it will get into my range.  By then I might be ready.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Opus 2013-393: Is It a Nominative or Genitive Christmas?

What did the angels really say to the shepherds?

The controversy was brought about at the Christmas Eve service last night.  The translation on the screen had a modern text of Luke 2:14.  It came up again as we read through the Christmas story at home.  Most people are familiar with the King James.
(Luke 2:14 KJV)  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Modern translations say it in a different way.
(Luke 2:14 NAS77)  "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
To the casual reader this is no big deal.  Actually it shows a difference of theological understanding about salvation and how God interacts with each of us.

The difference goes back to the Greek.  The KJV uses what is called the Textus Receptus or Majority Text.  This Greek text has the largest number of manuscripts, thus “majority.”  Most modern translations use the group of texts that are thought to be older but not as common.  The words are the same in Greek but the tenses are different.  The Majority Text has the nominative case and the other the genitive case. 

What difference does it make?  Does the peace of God extend toward all mankind or does He reserve it for those that please Him?  If you are one who lives in obedience it applies both ways.  If you are one who likes to thumb your nose at God or wants to put off getting your act together it is important to believe that God extends His peace to everyone regardless of our behavior.

This came up in one of Alistair Begg’s sermons.  He was talking about Jesus calling Matthew, “Follow me.”  Begg was making the point that Matthew was a tax collector and thus outside the fold.  He was one of a hated class that was known for their selfishness and greed.  Begg, a Calvinist, was making the point that God can chose whoever He wants, which of course is true even to non-Calvinists.

But what were the conditions that made him pick Matthew.  Tax collectors were notorious, true.  Was Matthew just another greedy Roman foil or did Jesus sense an openness in Matthew that wasn’t in the others?  I doubt if He picked him because he was a stinker.  Personally I think that Matthew may have been one of those rare honest tax collectors.

Are there people that Jesus called that said “No.”  We don’t have a list of them but there were people who seemed to be ready to follow but pulled back.  Think of the ones who wanted to go bury their parents and such. 

If God has preordained each of us in our response then it doesn’t make much difference which translation you use.  If you are expected to respond then it follows that the peace of God is extended to those who please Him.

Merry Christmas. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-392: Monday Pulpit: Fate or Lord?

Sunday the pastor was talking about a Christmas presentation he had attended that was based on a choir singing Christmas music.  It was a secular group so they were pleased at the number of genuine carols that were sung.  They were surprised at the attention to detail.   He mentioned one song that Frank Sinatra made famous, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” which has the words, “If the fates allow.”  He said that the original was, “If the Lord allows,” and those were the words they sang in the program.  

I was totally unaware of this political correctness in a song I have listened to and sung for years.  It would seem that the war against Christmas has roots that go a long way back.  If you remember your Greek mythology, the fates were three old crones that determined the course of history.  You messed with them at your peril.  That is paganism.  Christianity relies on Almighty God for its confidence in the future.  We believe in blessings, not luck.

So have a blessed, Merry Christmas, even if the fates don’t want to allow it.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Opus 2013-391: A Peasant and His Palate

I am going to have to accept the fact that I do not have a discerning palate. 

This comes to mind because recently I was forced to go to instant coffee if I wanted coffee.  My coffee maker was acting like a smart phone and trying to tell me to do things that may have been moral but were impossible.  How can it claim to have no water in the reservoir when it was half full?  It was kind of like Social Security in reverse. 

So I dug out my emergency supplies and boiled some water.

My observation was that the instant coffee was not as bad as some of the cheap brewed coffee I have had over the years.  It was different.  It was distinct.  It was drinkable.  If that observation makes me a Philistine in your eyes, so be it.

I wonder how much of the criticism is based on elite arrogance rather than true taste.  Remember, millions like sushi.  Many swear by menudo and caviar.  Some people eat their steak rare.

If that is discerning, then I will forever remain a peasant.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 23, 2013

Opus 2013-390: Standardized Testing Is Not the Problem

Standardized testing is too important to be left in the hands of educators.

The term is thrown around as if the people speaking know what they are talking about.  Standardized Testing is a tool that has been developed carefully and normed over a large population.  That means that the questions of the test are tested themselves to see if they are written correctly, clearly articulated and produce the desired result.  They should show what is desired to be tested.  This takes time and money. 

A standardized test cannot be thrown together by a bunch of people who have a political agenda.  Well, it can, and it is, but then it is not really a standardized test.  It is a social engineering tool.

A standardized test must then be administered correctly.  It must be given with a uniform time scale and the same preparation opportunities.  It is best at measuring real knowledge if there is no special preparation.  The current excuses for standardized tests are sometimes administered by substitutes and in widely varying surroundings.  In California we not only dedicated much of our teaching time to reviewing for the tests, we have a rating system on the State Content Standards that told us what would be the most likely questions asked.  With these “preparations” a better score did not mean better teaching or learning but good guessing on the things emphasized in review.

A standardized test must be interpreted correctly.  On my district we have been given tests that were prepared by people who used different textbooks and vocabulary than we had in class.  They asked questions that were not included in what we were covering.  We were then told to take the results the next year and use them to modify our teaching on a different group of students.  You don’t give someone apples to make a cherry pie and then tell them to use the result to make plum pudding. 

Most people who evaluate the results don’t know the difference between percent and percentile.  They don’t know the norm base or how to compare things.  For instance, if the entire country went down by 50% in their scores but your school only went down 25% you would look like you were the shining light of the educational system.  This kind of measurement simply compares you to the rest of the mob, not to a standard scale.  It is useful if understood and pointless in ignorant hands.

When used properly and interpreted correctly standardized tests can be useful tools.  Since neither is usually the case I find them a source of distraction and a waste of time.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Opus 2013-389: CCC: Testing Credibility

If kids score poorly on a test, throw away the test.

That seems to be the attitude in education today.  Part of the switch to Common Core Curriculum (CCC )is to not only rewrite the tests given but to change the format entirely.  After a year of listening to propaganda about the CCC, I still have no idea what they mean by the new tests.  There are words that keep coming up about them, technology, cooperative, project based, inquiry and such.  These are all buzzwords in education that mean whatever the educators want them to mean. 

Turn back the clock.  When I was in high school we took something called the Ohio State Test.  We lived in California and we took the Ohio State Test.  It was a test that was normed nation wide and was widely respected.  I could not find any reference to in when I Googled it.  Maybe they have changed the name.

We were not warned ahead of time.  There was no extended time of review and test preparation.  We just showed up and took the tests.  At the time I was basically a “B” student.  I was too smart to get C’s and too lazy to get A’s.  My wife and kids came across my test scores recently.  They were shocked that my average score was the 97th percentile.  For those of you who are not into statistics, that does not mean I got 97% of the questions right.  It means that I scored better than 97% of the people who took the test. 

Yes, I was smarter than the average bear.  That is not my point.  My observation is that I scored very high on genuine standardized tests but only had a “B” average.  Today we have schools full of kids with “A+” averages that score low on dumbed down tests.

Welcome to modern education.  It is a world of dumbing down and social promotion.  It is a world where they talk of rigor and refuse to fail.  It is a world of raising the bar but lowering the bar holders.

I question whether it is the students or the adults that are dumber today.

I am sure that CCC will fix all this, aren’t you?

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Opus 2013-388: Heresy or Revival?

I don’t know if it is heresy or not but I invite you to join me in personal communion.

I am developing a morning ritual.  On work days I am in such a rut that the people at Panara sometimes have my order ready and on the counter before I get through the door.  I always get a section of baguette and a small coffee.  I can count the calories and it satisfies me through the first part of the morning.  I then spend some time in Bible study and I am ready to go to work.

I have a hard time with just praying over meals.  It becomes so mechanical.  It doesn’t always reflect my real sense of gratitude to God.  One day when I picked up my chunk of bread and began to break it apart I saw the hands of the elders breaking the bread for communion.  I said to myself, “If this is an action from the last supper, why not make it a part of the Daily Breakfast?” 

I have begun to begin each morning by tearing off a small section of bread and reminding myself of the words of Jesus.
(Luke 22:19 KJV)  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Breaking the bread brings to mind why I am thankful and what I am most thankful for.  I also pause over the cup.

This may also become an empty ritual that becomes mechanical.  When that happens I will find a fresh way to remind myself of the daily grace I need and receive.

Catholics could do it in the Protestant sense of a memorial without taking away from the sacrament of the Eucharist.  Protestants could take it with the Catholic thought that God would use it to extend some grace for the day without surrendering the belief that it is symbolic.

If it doesn’t make you a heretic, feel free to join me.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 20, 2013

Opus 2013-387: Headlines: If It Looks Like a Pogrom and Hacks Like a Pogrom...

I am off today for a visit to a doctor.  Nothing serious.  It gives me time to read the headlines and respond a bit.

On Drudge the big headline involves the Duck Dynasty “controversy.”  I put the word in quotes because it is really not shock over vulgarity but a pogrom over faith.  When a man who is used to speaking clearly is asked a specific question, don’t be shocked when he actually answers straight.  Phil Robertson used correct language to describe body parts and correct theology to evaluate the question of could and should.  For this A&E tries to spank his hands.

I rejoice to see the families response today.  The Drudge Report links to an article in something called “The Hollywood Reporter.” 

I confess, this is the only way they could get me to read anything in this publication.  According to them the family is pulling together and acting like Christians rather than be intimidated by the thugs in the media.  The article included the words I wanted to hear,
“The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision.  We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.”
Good for them.

I shortly stopped reading after that because most of the article was a repetition of all the vitriolic attacks of the anti-Christian voices of the country.

Pray for this family.  Pray that they would be faithful.  Pray that they would maintain a position that will encourage the rest of us to live our faith instead of cowering in the shadows of paganism.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-386: Guilt Free

I feel some guilt but I am fighting it.

I have not posted much lately.  It happens.  I hear people explaining it all the time.  Get over it.  This is supposed to be fun, not drudgery.  We write because we are compelled to do so from something in us.  We write even when no one is reading.  That is the opportunity presented by the net.  When I start looking at all the things I want to say and have not gotten to I struggle with guilt, but I get over it.  I am sure you have a life.  So do I.  Life has strike outs as well as home runs.  Enjoy it and when you get a chance, share a bit of it.  Or not. 

Guilt free posting, an idea whose time has come.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Opus 2013-385: On the Street: What Are They Celebrating?

How long can our culture war on Christmas and still celebrate it?

As I walked into Panera, a bakery/restaurant chain, I noticed the latest poster by the door.  It was very colorful and eye catching and said, “Jolly and joyful.”  That was all.  Why?  About what?  It demonstrated the current schizophrenia of our culture on Christmas.  People have this idea that we should celebrate but don’t want to admit the reason for the season.  What does a company that has bread and coffee as main offerings have to be joyful about?  Is it because I came back?  That doesn’t seem to be worth a poster campaign.

At our school we will be having a “winter program.”  We have a “holiday tree.”  What holiday?  We will be leaving for two weeks for a “winter break.”  Why two weeks?  Does the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” come to mind?  If it was a winter break it should be for three months because that is how long winter is.  It should celebrate with the sacrifice of virgins on an altar.  That would be closer to the pagan tradition than “stockings hung by the chimney with care.” 

It is Christmas.  That means it is the day that the Roman Catholic church chose to celebrate the daily worship mass with the emphasis on the birth of Jesus, the incarnation.  It was part of a year long teaching curriculum that includes Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day and Pentecost.  Our culture used to celebrate the birthday of our King. 

Remove Christ from Christmas and you have no special reason to be joyful and jolly is still just a character trait.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Opus 2013-384: CCC: A Federal Trojan Horse

When you are right, you are right.  When others agree, they are right.

I was catching up on back issues of The Washington Times, National Weekly and came across an article about the Common Core Curriculum (CCC) entitled, “Common Core protests show no signs of slowing.”  I have the hard copy, November 25, 2013 on page 14.  It can be found on line but not without at least a guest registration.

In the article it quotes Dennis Van Roekel of the National Education Association speaking as if this Common Core idea were some grass roots effort by governors, business and educators to improve the quality of teaching across the country.  I remember this being stressed when CCC was beginning to be pushed on the teachers at our school.  It was flatly stated that this was not a federal program.  It was really a wasted declaration since most of the teachers in this nation are firmly in the Obama/Progressive camp anyway and would have not problem with a federal take-over of education.  It was offered to shut up people like myself.

It is a typical Progressive lie.

The article starts off by calling it “the Obama administration-backed Common Core education reforms.”  That could be just an editorial comment but it is backed up with the information that $4.35 billion was offered to the states to bribe them on board.  Keep in mind that where Federal money flows, Federal control follows.  Later in the article it says,
“Although adoption of Common Core was voluntary, states that rejected the standards were considered effectively ineligible for federal stimulus funds tied to President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.”
Sounds like federal coercion to me.

At present the battle to make schools into a tool of the socialist state is almost over.  The Progressives (socialists, communists, liberals, Democrats, elitests) are ready to declare total victory. 

After they finish with the state clone factories they will come after private schools and home schoolers. 

As someone once said, “People get the government they deserve.”

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Opus 2013-383: Born Again to Adoption

Most people are familiar with the Biblical term “born again.”  It is mocked and dragged through the mud.  I even remember seeing a used car commercial calling their cars “born again.”  It is genuinely Biblical.
(John 3:3 KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
We should not get too hung up on the exact wording.  The actual literal translation would be “born from above.”  The idea of again comes from the understanding of Nicodemus, the man talking with Jesus.  He clearly understood the meaning to be a second birth.
(John 3:4 KJV)  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
There is another term that conveys the beauty of this new birth.  It is found in the concept of adoption.  If you think of Jesus words to mean “born from above” instead of “born again” then the idea of adoption fits very well and adds a richness to the change that takes place.

To understand this we need to think in Roman terms of adoption, not current vogue.  The modern concept of adoption focused on people who are infertile going through the process of looking for a child to make our own.  They are looking for a baby.  The Roman concept was the adoption of adults. 

For the Roman it was not a matter of being childless.  It was a matter of having worthy children.  If you did not have children who measured up you could go out and pick someone who would make a good son and adopt him.  You picked someone who was worthy and the other person agreed to the relationship. Your natural born children became second place.  During the time Rome was a growing and strong empire this is the way the emperors chose their successor.  When they went back to their first born, the empire began to decline.

One of the common teachings among Christians is that God is seeking us and we are to respond.  This fits in very well with their understanding of becoming a child of God by adoption.

Since you might think being “born again” is corny, let’s make the question, “Have you been adopted?”

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Opus 2013-382: New Terms: LIV and LIB

/Does the “LI” stand for “largely ignorant” or “low information”?

Does it make any difference.

You may have noticed the appearance of a new acronym, LIV.  It stands for “low information voter.”  It is an attempt to play nice.  It is an effort to take a group of people that would normally be called ignorant and make it sound like just a minor issue.  It is not a minor issue.  It is a matter of lazy.  That is major.

There is a difference between stupid and ignorant.  Stupid is something you can’t do much about.  It is a material limitation.  Ignorant is something you can do about.  Being stupid does not keep you from being successful in life or from making a contribution.  Being ignorant can be deadly to you and to those whose lives you mess up because you are not paying attention.

In the church we have LIB’s.  I am submitting that this stands for “low information believers.”  We have a growing mass of people who call themselves Christian who don’t have a clue to what it means to be a follower of Christ. 

I am not talking about people who disagree with me on theology.  Attentive, focused people can disagree on interpretations and emphasis.  I feel they are wrong.  They know I am wrong.  We both know why we are right.  I am talking about those who accept the latest fad or blatant heresy from the pulpit or the pages of a book.  I am talking about pew sitters who live lives in conformity to Abercrombie and Fitch rather than the Sermon on the Mount.  I am talking about people who can’t tell the difference between a quote from Benjamin Franklin and the words of Jesus.

This is the sin of sloth in action.  In this day and age of internet sources and multiple translations there is no reason to be ignorant of what God has said, no reason except sloth.  In politics it can make us uncomfortable and costs us a lot of money.  Sloth can cost us our freedom and limit our choices.  In theology the results are eternal. 

We cannot afford LIV’s or LIB’s. 

Check your own house to see if it is in order.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Opus 2013-381: The Welfare Prince and the Minimum Wage

How much are you worth?

In my eighth grade history class questions were asked about the minimum wage.  It was stimulated by the media attention to the fast food industry and all of the people there agitating for a minimum of $15.00 an hour.  California is on the band wagon but what do you expect from a Socialist state?

I shared that the documentation is clear.  Every time you raise the minimum wage, jobs are eliminated.  I pointed out that the fast food industry is already toying with the idea of automation.  If they are forced to pay unskilled burger flippers $15.00 and hour then they will get rid of the burger flippers and change counters and go automated.  The technology is already available.  All that is lacking is the incentive.  Jobs for young people will become more scarce.

So far, so good.  It was a teachable moment.

I illustrated my point with a corner convenience market that I know about.  It is a small, one-person operation.  It is near a school.  The owner of the market might be willing to pay some kid $5.00 an hour for a couple of hours a day to come in and move boxes, sweep floors and such.  I pointed out that a junior high student could work two hours a day after school and come off with $50.00 a week. 

So far, so good.

I had not bargained for the Welfare Prince in the front row.  It only took him a few second so say it would not work for him.  He needs at least $100 a week.  After another moment’s thought he said even that would not be enough.  And of course he thought he was too good to do that kind of work anyway.  This is in eighth grade.

He was serious.  He really thinks that he is worth it and needs it. 

And you wonder why the Democrats keep winning elections.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opus 2013-380: CCC: Someone Else Gives a Warning

I don’t know if you have done any reading at The American Thinker website.  It has a lot of interesting essays, mainly political but on other topics at times.  I came across one that was looking at the Common Core Standards (CCC).

This post, called “Throwing Gasoline on a Fire” gives a fuller analysis than I have done so far.  I may repeat what it says over time but this is a good look from another source. 

Check it out if you are concerned about education.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-379: Why Did That Car Miss You?

Have you had any squeakers lately?

In one of his sermons Alistair Begg shared how people keep asking him to stop thanking God for sparing them another day in his prayers.  They seem to be getting tired of being reminded about the providence of God.  From there my mind when into tangent mode.

In my mind I asked, “Why does God spare us and give us so many blessings.”  We have just come through the official Thanksgiving season.  I don’t know about you but I am in a perpetual Thanksgiving season.  I am very much aware of the blessings that God pours out on me and mine.

What is the purpose of God’s blessings?  We tend to get our focus wrong.  We tend to think that God is blessing us so that our lives will be full of joy and peace.  Many of us are just doing our own thing and God is just a vitamin pill or crutch which makes life go smoother.  We tend to think of God as being there for our benefit and forget who is the Creator and who are the created.

Why does God allow the Holy Spirit to convict us, save us by grace through faith, intervene daily in our lives and have angels protect us?  It isn’t so you can coach your daughter’s soccer team.  That may be part of His plan for you but it is because that soccer team is part of His greater outline for the universe, as hard as that is for some of us to believe. 

As we move through Advent and approach Christmas use the time to remind yourself of why that Baby had to be born.  Take a few moments and read through some of the Christmas Carols.  Notice how much they talk about a sinful and fallen world.  Notice the emphasis on why Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.

Accept that God gives you blessings and respond with love and a greater commitment to allow Him to use you for His glory. 

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Opus 2013-378: 12/7 and 911, Lessons

It almost slipped by me.  This is the “Day that shall live in infamy.”  But it doesn’t seem to be living in our memories.

For those who didn’t pay attention, this is Pearl Harbor Day.  On December 7, 1941 a swarm of Japanese planes appeared over Honolulu and proceeded to pound the warships of the United States into hazards to shipping.  The issue was not that we were attacked.  The issue was that we were not at war.  At that precise moment Japanese diplomats were meeting with the American government to discuss relations and peace. 

It should have not come as a surprise.  People who are into conspiracy believe that Roosevelt knew the attack was coming and did nothing.  Some say he was deliberately prodding the Japanese hoping to bring about such a response so he could have an excuse to go to war.  I have not tried to dig into either but in hindsight I think it was necessary that we get involved and the American people were asleep about their place in the world.  I can understand Japan’s anger over being held down by the imperialists of Europe.  I can understand German anger over the way they were treated after World War I.  The problem is that each allowed itself to be subverted by leaders who were evil in methods and goals. 

Are the Japanese evil as a people?  No.  Are the German people any worse than the rest of the world?  No.  But in both cases they became accomplices in extreme actions of murder, torture and destruction. 

Much of the same can be said about September 11, 2001 and its results.  Conspiracy theories abound.  Anger is understandable.  A few led and continue to lead the masses into atrocities.  The American people were asleep. 

We have gone back to sleep.  The war of terror by evil people continues.  At present the leadership in that war is held by Muslims of Arab extraction.  They are not alone.  We need to wake up.  We need to do the homework to separate the evil from the submissive.  We need to separate the sheep from the goats.  We need to remove those who allow evil to run their lives.

Will we wake up?  I don’t see it happening.  It sometimes takes great pain to drive people to actions.  I pray that you and yours are not at the wrong place and the wrong time when the wake up call is issued.  I pray we wake up as a nation in time to survive.

Ignoring evil does not make it go away.

homo unius libri

Opus 2013-377: Batman, Stainless Steel, Righteousness

As I continue to work through the book of Proverbs I come across illustrations about purifying metals and smelting and removing impurities.  The clear teaching is that we are called to live moral and upright lives.  It also seems clear to me that such a life is possible.

The Calvinist, or as they prefer to be called, Reformed, branch of the Christian family likes to harp on no one being righteous.  They love to quote Isaiah
(Isaiah 64:6 KJV)  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
They ignore other passages in Isaiah such as,
(Isaiah 3:10 KJV)  Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
They ignore how we are constantly called on to be righteous and we are called righteous.  This creates a cognitive dissonance in me.  When I do a simple word search on “righteous” and “righteousness” in the Bible I find clear teaching that it is not only possible, it is required.

Think of the process of producing stainless steel.  It starts as red or orange dirt or rock.  The valuable iron is separated from the dirt and dross.  Then the refining really begins.  When you refine iron into steel and make it into stainless steel it becomes an alloy that really resists rust.  That is our condition when we have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  Stainless steel is mainly the element iron, but it has added elements to transform it and change its response to water.  In the same way our inner core has been transformed.  We now have a natural resistance to rust, or in spiritual terms, sin.  Does that mean that stainless steel will not rust?  No.  It can still happen if you abuse it enough but it means that it will resist rust.  Does that mean that the righteous cannot sin?  Same answer.

Don’t settle for less than resistant to corruption.  Don’t worry if you are not perfect in all ways.  God works with real, live people in real, live situations.  He has the patience and love to melt, mold or wait depending on what is needed.

This might be a good place to remind you about the verses of the Christmas carols that are often skipped.  Here is the third verse of “Joy to the World.”
No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
As Robin might say to Batman, “Holy Righteousness!”

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Opus 2013-376: CCC: A Goal That Is Not a Goal

The Common Core Curriculum (CCC) continues to work its way into the nation’s schools.  Just as Barak Obama was very clear in his goals if you were listening, the CCC also says things that go over our heads.

The website makes this impressive, yet deceptive, statement:
“Building on the excellent foundation of standards states have laid, the Common Core State Standards are the first step in providing our young people with a high-quality education. It should be clear to every student, parent, and teacher what the standards of success are in every school.”
This does not represent reality or intent.  For years California has had the “excellent foundation of standards” that this speaks about.  I am most familiar with the history standards.  Since I am a human being, I would make minor changes to include and exclude, but on the whole the content standards I have been given to cover are a job well done.  They needed no changes except tweaking for personal preference. 

Notice I said “needed.”  In our faculty meeting this week we were told that we would not be testing on those standards any more and that at the end of the year they would be gone.  In other words, the “excellent foundation” is being thrown away.  It is being replaced by, drum roll please,...nothing.  That’s right, nothing. 

If you take the time to go to the site you will find that they only have English Language Arts and Mathematics standards.  When asked, we have been told that science and history will be somehow folded into the other standards.  This is the bold step forward we are facing.

It does not sound like progress to me, but then I am not a Progressive. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Opus 2013-375: Ode to Old: “It’s Too Late, Baby!”

I am running out of time.

What got me going on this was a comment by my son as we were driving to church.  We touched on some plan or dream that he had expressed somewhere in the past and his response was, “I’ve got to get around to that.” 

It occurred to me that I don’t have much time left to get around to a lot of things.  When you get to a certain age you begin to look at the lead time in order to reach a goal.  There is a learning curve for everything and the time needed to develop the skills and contacts needed for success.  When you get to retirement age it is a little late to decide you are going to do something that takes twenty years to develop expertise. 

I have reached the age that I must admit that if I haven’t got around to it yet, I probably won’t.

That means to develop new goals.  Keep working on the strengths I have.  Plan with optimism but not foolishness. 

I have an eternity ahead but I have the feeling that the choices I will have then will dwarf my imagination on my best day. 

Something to regret.  Even more to anticipate.

Happy Eternity.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Opus 2013-274: Discernment Watch: Tradition Is Not Necessarily Fact

I am tired of hearing people tell me where the tradition of Santa Claus comes from.

This is not a “Bah!  Humbug!” moment.  I love the Advent season and Christmas.  I started playing the music after pie on Thanksgiving.  I already feel the joy.  My problem is the extreme lengths people go to trying to justify their traditions as if they are sacred doctrine.

Sunday I attended church with my son.  They were having a service that they called “The Hanging of the Greens.”  It was the churches answer to variety shows.  It was broken up into segments focusing on each of the traditional decorations of Christmas:  Wreaths, trees, poinsettias, nativity, etc.  Each segment had a reading that gave the background for the item.  Then they had some kind of musical presentation.  Interesting.  Not necessarily true.

I have been around long enough to hear multiplied versions of all the different traditions.  They are usually presented as the results of research and are the true reason we do ________.    I want people to accept these as entertainment and inspiration, not as the last word in truth.  No one really knows where the Santa Claus story comes from.  No one really knows who lit the first Christmas tree. 

On the other hand there are the facts.  In the fulness of time, God became man.  He was born of the virgin Mary and named Jesus.  He came to go to the cross and die for our sins.  He came to be resurrected and give us the assurance of eternal life.  He will come again.  Those are not cute theories or pleasant inspirational stories.  Those are truth.

Learn the difference and enjoy all of the season.  Remember it is not a sin to eat a veggie burger and be satisfied as long as you don’t claim it is the same as the real thing.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 2, 2013

Opus 2013-373: Monday Pulpit: Creation vs Evolution

We are out of town and visiting a church we like.  It isn’t big but it is solid.  The pastor is working through the book of Exodus and was looking at the plagues.  He commented on how the magicians of Pharaoh started off matching the miracles of God but after a few successes realized they were out of there league.  They retired from the competition but that did not slow Pharaoh down. 

In passing he talked about how modern science has been trying to claim that life came forth from the primeval ooze spontaneously.  Although they cannot duplicate it in the lab, they believe it.  Although they cannot prove it, they believe it.  In the lack of all evidence ,they believe it.  They believe in the miracle of life as an accident.  Then the pastor used a phrase that caught my attention.  He said they believe in miracles without the Miracle Giver.

Think about it.  Science concedes that there is not enough time for evolution to have taken place, yet they still believe.  They cannot duplicate the process, yet they believe.  Ultimately they come back to faith in some basics.  Their faith is rooted in denying a creator. 

Christians believe that life came into being.  They can’t explain it in a laboratory either but they still can explain how it happened.  They propose that there was a Creator.  They have faith in the existence of something that cannot be proven in a lab. 

Both ultimately rely on faith.  Which one is more rational?
(Isaiah 1:18 KJV)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
I submit that the problem non-believers have is not the lack of reason but an unwillingness to admit the second part of the verse.  They refuse to admit that they are sinners and need a savior.

Is the problem pride or probability?

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Opus 2013-372: On Preachers and Judges

What do preachers and judges have in common?

Alistair Begg got my juices going with some comments on preachers.  He observed that many pulpits today are filled with preachers who are up there to tell people what they want to tell rather than what God has to say.  It is very easy to fall into that trap.  When I was preaching weekly it was very easy to start off with something that was on my mind, some pet peeve, and look for verses that backed what I wanted to say.  I am glad to report that usually the Holy Spirit was on the job and got me back to the word as my source, but the temptation and tendency was always there. 

Another pressures is to say what you think people want to hear.  That was never my problem  but I know how often it happens.  The pressure to pipe down or speak in a “seeker friendly” way is real.  I still laugh about the guy who said that the pastor’s sermons made him feel like a sinner.  He was complaining when he should have been complementing. 

Both of these tendencies are paralleled by our judges today.  We have activist judges who want to ignore the words and meaning of the Constitution and substitute their own opinions and preferences.  They really don’t care what 2000 years of law and wisdom has said.  They know better.  We are seeing this in regard to marriage and the right to bear arms. 

In other cases we see where people who were thought to be solid in their opinions and values stab us in the back with strange decisions like chief justice Roberts has done.  They seem to want people to like them rather than respect the law. 

In both cases the people compromising have a low view of the documents.  The errant preachers ignore the Bible.  The ego-centric judges seem to forget that there is a Constitution.  In both cases our culture and society receive body blows that are doing untold damage.

Pray for revival.  Vote for change.  Speak up for survival.

homo unius libri