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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Opus 2014-29: Headlines: The Cure for Education

We always want the quick fix.

On Monday my wife had the TV on as I was getting dressed.  There was a story being presented about a law suit being pressed against the L.A. Unified School District involving teacher tenure and seniority policies.  I just caught the general sense of it but I could tell that it was just another political smoke and mirror show.  These people want to look like they are doing something while they ignore the real problem.

Although the teachers have a share in the failure of education, blaming the teachers is like blaming the auto workers of the 70's for the loss of market share to the Japanese.  You can’t make high quality machinery with pot metal parts.  The workers on the line did not design the product or choose the materials that went into them.  It is like blaming the soldiers under McClellan at the beginning of the Civil War for making no progress.  It is like blaming an unmilked cow when the udder runs dry.  There is an old saying, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” 

The problem is not really the teachers.  The problem is not really the text books.  The problem is not lack of funds.  The problem is in voters who continue to elect the same types of people to school boards, legislatures and chief executives.  The problem is you people that continue to vote the same way and expect different results.  The problem is you people who think there is some magic elixir to substitute for hard work and discipline. 

Education needs radical reform.  In California we need to start by throwing out the Education Code and doing away with compulsory education.  Nation wide we need to  impeach activist judges, return federal funds and turn the responsibility for educating children over to local parents.  A basic philosophical change is needed.  We need to put the responsibility to learn on the children.  If they don’t want to accept that duty, fine, let them go play on their smart phones.  Get them out of the class and into menial jobs if they insist on eating.  There will be plenty who want to get ahead in life.  Someday they will wake up and be hungry enough to put in the effort to get ahead.

I have no problem with providing public schools.  Education should be available, but not required.  I am not sure it should be as “free” as it is.  We tend to want other people to pay for what we get. 

I am a public school teacher.  I am lined up at the public trough, sucking down your tax money.  It is no more hypocritical that being a teetotaler and eating in restaurants that serve booze.  At the same time I have never voted for a tax that increases funds for education.  We home schooled our children.  I am a squeaky wheel at faculty meetings.  They get tired of hearing that the emperor has no clothes.

To paraphrase Marie Antoinette, “Then let them go naked.”

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-28: On the Street: Shiny, and Small

I want one.

As I drove down the street a little Obama car, I think they call them “smart cars,” appeared in front of me.  When I got over laughing I realized it was kind of cute.  Maybe there is a place for these little tidbits. Give it a place at the table.  I don’t like it being forced on us.  I don’t like it being subsidized by the government, but I like the choice.  I might get one some day because they are cute and look like they are fun, however, I don’t think they should be allowed on the freeways.  They don’t look like they would be safe and stable enough to play with the big boys and should probably be confined to the city limits.  Maybe a meter that would shut them off if they cross a city limit or country line.  They do look like fun.  Maybe you could keep one in the trunk instead of a spare tire.

I am just not sure which closet to keep it in.  If I brought one home would my wife let me keep it?

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Opus 2014-27: Inspired or Recited?

Christians believe that the Bible is different from any other book.  It is “inspired.”  That means “God breathed.”  There are many questions about what than means in practice.  A few would hold for mechanical dictation.  The gamete runs from there all the way to godly men expressing what they felt.  However you understand it, if you are a follower of Christ the Bible is the source of truth.

Muslim believe that the Koran is different from any other book.  They believe it was dictated to Mohammad.  The title itself means “recitations.”  There is no doubt about the method.  The angel Gabriel appeared to Mohammad and spoke the words.  Mohammad returned home and repeated the words.  His followers wrote them down.  Muslims believe that the Koran is the source of truth.

The two books are different.  Muslims believe that the Bible has been corrupted over the years by Jews and Christians and the Koran was God setting the record straight.  Christian believe that the Koran is based on heretical understanding of the Bible.  Mohammad seems to only be familiar with the gnostic versions that had been rejected by the church.  The two are different enough that they cannot both be right. 

I have read both.  I would suggest that you read both.  See which one you think teaches truth.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Opus 2014-26: From the 21st Row

I had another thought on that last post.  I have seen some people who act without fear because they have faith, others because of ignorance.  The actions may be the same.  The motivations may not.

Most of us have flown in airplanes.  We have experienced choppy weather.  The pilot comes on and tells us to return to our seats and buckle in.  We go through a little turbulence and it seems like the pilot forgot we were buckled in.  When you get desperate you might get up and head for the bathroom.  People understand.

On one flight recently I saw a different scenario.  We were coming in for the landing and we were told to put everything away for landing.  You know the drill:  Seats forward, trays up, bags under the seat.  Half way through the descent an old lady got up and started down the aisle to the bathroom.  She was chased back to her seat by the attendants.  She was not moving because she had faith, but because she was ignorant.  Possibly just not listening.  Sometimes moving boldly is not a matter of faith, but a matter of ignorance.

Listen to the stewardesses of life.  Read the Owner’s Manual.  Think about what you have been told.  Walk in intelligent, informed faith.

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-25: From the 20th Row

A couple of years ago Alistair Begg was talking about trusting the airline pilots to fly the plane.  He gave a humorous story of how he always tried to fly the plane from the 20th row.

I thought of how experienced flyers tend to be relaxed and newbies panic every time they hear a rattle or squeak.  Spiritual maturity follows that pattern.  Experience helps us live by faith because we have been through trials before.  We have had our times of anxiety and experience should have taught us that life will go on.  This is one of the benefits of having a mixed congregation that shares about their lives.  Sometimes we can learn from the experiences of others.  If you don’t believe that ask yourself why people watch cooking shows.

Life experience should teach us how to cope.  Unfortunately, some people never learn to relax.  Some people never learn to trust God or other people.  When I used to get into worry mode I would sometimes stop and ask myself how many meals I had missed over the years.  It has been close.  I was down to one can of soup once, but God came through.

So learn to know the difference between times of trust and times when concern is called for.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Opus 2014-24: Do We Really Want to Fix It?

A couple of years ago I was listening to Alastair Begg talking about grieving the Holy Spirit.  I don’t remember his sermon topic.  As often happens my mind took a seed and started to grow in a different direction.

What is the opposite of grieve?  Bless?  That would make sense.  If one action can cause grief then there must be another that can move us toward rejoicing.  Bless is a good word for that.  It would be good if we would live in such a way as to bless the Holy Spirit instead of grieve Him.

This took me to thinking about how we often look at things as if they are opposites when they are not.  We like safe categories.  We like black and white.  We like either/or.  Unfortunately most of life isn’t that simple.  Most of the time we have to make choices based on what is possible instead of what is perfect.  Other times we want to rule out one concept because to look at the big picture requires mental effort and hard choices.

We see this in politics.  Take the current dismantling of our health care.  Most people would admit that things could be done better.  We would disagree on what.  I would say that the government has no place being involved in health care.  At the same time I realize that there is a small group of people who are in real need and have nowhere to turn.  In the past those people have been taken care of by churches, the local community and the county hospitals.  I know this because that was where my family found itself when I was a child.  There may be times when the government needs to force issues such as changing jobs or cancellations of policies because a person starts to need help.  That doesn’t mean we need socialism to rule.

Or take Social Security.  At the current time I am eligible for Social Security.  At least I think I am.  They keep changing the numbers.  It cannot continue the way it is.  Something is going to have to give.  If the special groups making a fortune over manipulating the system would get out of the way there might be a fix.  You could start by stopping the payments to the many people who never really paid in and the types of needs that were not part of the original plan.  We don’t need to either throw it out or let it keep going as is.

Then we have theology.  For instance, grace and works.  They are not opposites, they are fellow travelers.  One does not rule the other out.  Too often different groups emphasize one and exclude the other.  Calvinists tend to emphasize grace and downplay all the verses demanding obedience.  Arminians make the mistake of falling into legalism.  In reality grace and works are both required.

We could probably work out solutions of many of our societies problems if we would enter honest, open, courteous discussions that were truly trying to find what will work.  Maybe we should be looking for leaders who have principles but understand the need for healthy compromise.  Most gun owners understand the need to keep the mentally ill from having guns.  Most pro-life people understand that there are rare cases when a woman will die if the baby comes to term.  I don’t know of any Christians who want to go out and beat up homosexuals. 

There are solutions.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Opus 2014-23: Touch the Third Rail

What are the third rails of polite conversation?  Religion, politics and money.

Why are these topics so sensitive?  It isn’t because people don’t have opinions.

Sometimes it is because people are so passionate you can’t discuss the topic without anger.  If you have just lost your health insurance and need surgery, you are not going to be able to calmly discuss Obamacare.  If it is the anniversary of the Armenian Holocaust you are not going to be open to a polite disagreement on Islam being a religion of peace. 

More common is an awareness that your position is wanting, thus you would rather not have a discussion that would require openness and honesty on your part.  Sometimes this is what causes the anger.  This shows itself in denial.  Liberals don’t want to admit they are liberals.  They now call themselves Progressives.  They call liberal Republicans “moderates.”  Most Calvinists avoid the term and embrace “Reformed” while ignoring the fact that every new group considers themselves a reformation movement. 

One way to avoid an honest discussion is to throw out derogatory shibboleths.  Thus when someone doesn’t get their way they call you a racist if they are black or a “hater” if they are not.  If they are a liberal you are labeled as “ignorant.”  If they are self centered they label you “insensitive.”  If the guilt and shame are too strong they just refuse to engage.

I have noticed that people with strong rational beliefs are quite willing to discuss things.  I love a good discussion with someone who admits they are a Calvinist.  We can have a great time throwing out scripture and quoting giants of the faith.  If it is done correctly we stay courteous and part friends, even if we don’t agree. 

So check it out.  See who knows what they are talking about and who just wants to get to the next text message about Justin. 

homo unius libri

Friday, January 24, 2014

Opus 2014-22: Headlines: Coercion Is Alive and Well

The attempt to stifle dissent is alive and well.

I could not sleep so I rose early, made some coffee and began my morning.  Since I had more time than usual I checked the Drudge report and found that Dinesh D’Souza is being arrested for a campaign donation violation back in 2012.  You can find the entire article at the Hollywood Reporter website.

Are people usually arrested for this kind of thing?  Is there any correlation with the fact that D’Souza produced a documentary about Barak Obama called “2016:  Obama’s America” and that its point of view might be considered less than favorable?  Is this coercion and harassment by the government?  Keep in mind that this is the same government that sent the IRS after conservatives and the NSA against everyone.

This administration is out of control.

Impeachment anyone?

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Opus 2014-21: New Terms: Theological Appendix

When listening to Alistair Begg the other day he used the term “Theological Appendix.”  What?  Did I miss that in seminary.  He was talking about the incarnation and how some people think this is a theological Appendix.  His point was that doctors tell us we can live without our appendix.  It can be removed with no danger to our overall health.  In the same way some denominations and pastors teach we can be Christian without believing in the incarnation.

The point he was making is that certain thing are essential to calling yourself a Christian.  One of those points is that the second Person of the Triune God became human.
(Joh 1:14 KJV)  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
At the same time He retained His divinity.
(Col 1:19 KJV)  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
There are many areas of the scripture that lend themselves to interpretation.  This is not one of them. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Opus 2014-20: Flosser Thoughts: Shaving Glasses

I knew I needed a shave but I didn’t know how bad it was.

Have you ever seen the stereotype of an old man, shuffling down the street, hair sticking out everywhere:  Head, ears and nose.  If he shaved it seem that he missed a lot of spots.  I had an insight into that this morning in front of the mirror.  He probably can’t see well enough to know what he looks like.

I have a pair of old reading glasses.  I have been using them for the computer but they are beginning to lose the range.  I asked myself where they might be more useful and came up with the bathroom mirror.  It is a little further away than the computer screen and I noticed the other day that I was leaning way forward and using the reading part of my bifocals to shave.  It was getting awkward.  I tried the old glasses and everything came into focus.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

I saw hairs and wrinkles that I had lost contact with.  Instead of needing a shave I could suddenly see that I NEEDED a shave. 

If you are in that demographic, give it a try.  Usually there is no one around to laugh at you.  If you could see better they might not laugh at you so much on the street.  If you can still see, file it away or pass it on.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Opus 2014-19: CCC: Read Free Reading

If you go to the website for the Common Core Curriculum (CCC) you find a lot of paragraphs to read.  You might give it a try.  You probably will not read for long.  The long quotations I have given in other posts may seem boring and pointless.  That is an accurate observation.  It is part of the strategy of elites whether they be politicians, lawyers or educators.  You see the same thing on computer when you install new software.  They act like your are going to read all those long legal articles before you accept and sign your life away.  You probably should but you probably don’t.  If you make a statement simple and honest you will be a failure because you will be rejected.  If you cloud it in jargon and legalese, you put them to sleep before your slip the knife in.

If people understood what educators really mean they would reject what they advocate.  Nonsense is a quality that has saturated the souls of educators.  They are well meaning people who believe in the wisdom of the state, the goodness in human nature and unicorns.

Recently our principal walked into my class with a man I had never seen before.  He was introduced as the new head of Human Resources.  Okay.  Why is the principal interrupting my class with the guy in charge of hiring people?  Are they considering me for Superintendent of Schools?  We made idle chat about what the students were doing and what “strategies” I was using.  I make up my own worksheets to try to develop reading comprehension.  In case you don’t know it, just because a kid can read the words doesn’t mean they can tell you what it says.  I try to force them to engage the text with their brain on.

Now it gets ridiculous.  The head of Human Resources then preceded to give me instruction on the latest strategies, proven by studies, in teaching children to read.  His “new” strategy was the same strategy that the educators have been pushing since I started teaching 25 years ago.  They keep changing the words and coming up with new jargon but it is the same concept.  Get them into groups and let them teach each other.  His idea was that if I would get them in groups they could discuss the meanings of words and come to an in-depth understanding.

I told him that I was a dinosaur and believed that the only way you can learn to read is by reading.  It is like trying to become a weight lifter.  It isn’t enough to sit in a circle and admire the weights.  You can’t have a group lift them together.  It doesn’t matter what the consensus is on the shape of the dumbbell.  Sooner or later you need to pick up the weight and start pumping iron.  Abs of steel are not the product of group work.

He was not impressed.  It was to simple and direct.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 20, 2014

Opus 2014-18: Rest or Push

What does it mean to walk by faith?
(2Co 5:7 KJV)  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
 How do we put that together with the challenge to grow?
(Php 2:12 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Both were written by the Apostle Paul.  Both are important.  There is a time to rest and a time to push.

My problem is knowing when I am to push and when I am to rest.  There are times when we are to march forward boldly and assert ourselves, other times we are to settle back and wait.

Is it just a matter of opportunity and ability?  Am I supposed to work in the areas that offer success and withdraw if I can only fail?  I know some people with strong dominant personalities who are always pushing in where angels fear to tread.  I have a hard time believing that they are always right to push ahead.

On the other hand I tend to lack confidence.  My tendency is to draw back and wait.  Am I just being a coward?  Should I push forward more and risk failure?  Is that living by faith or is faith a matter of quietly enduring?

Until I have a better answer I will keep quoting the prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
homo unius libri

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Opus 2014-17: A Flosser Thought

What does your mind do while you brush and floss?

I had a random Flosser Thought: How can I save money by reusing the flossers.  Would they make it through the dish washer?  Would they melt?  Would they fall down and get caught in the gears?  Would they emit toxic gasses?

We used to have a word for people who thought this way.  We used to call them cheap, Scottish or Jewish.  Now we call them recyclers.  We used to mock them but now they are politically correct.  Maybe we need a government program to set up recycling centers for flossers.  I am sure that putting them in the trash endangers some living creature.  We could have a redemption charge like we do on aluminum cans.  This would help unemployment.  This would be an elitists dream.  They want to get into your church, now they can get into your mouth.

The three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) are nothing new.  They were a way of life in frontier America.  Nothing was wasted.  Careful stewardship or resources was necessary to survive, to keep from starving.  Much of the undeveloped world lives that way today.  The current flock of Gaia worshipers would love to have us go back and live at that level.  They want no plastic but refuse to acknowledge that paper and wood require the death of trees.  They are trying to outlaw cheap plastic grocery bags and refuse to admit that the reusable kind are loaded with dirt and disease. They want everything organic but hide the reality that much of the world would starve to death and large populations would be reduced to peasant labor if we went organic. 

The current plethora of disposable items drives me crazy.  We used cloth diapers.  I still use cloth handkerchiefs.  We buy old oak furniture instead of modern press board.  But disposable items tend to generate a higher quality of life and a stronger economy.  They provide more jobs and make conveniences that were only available to the rich within the reach of common people.  We could go back, but do we really want to?

Think about it when you vote for someone who wants to save the earth by limiting your life.  Maybe I need to quit flossing. 

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Opus 2014-16: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 6 of 6

Slavery was a part of our history.  That is a fact.  In isolation, used as a club, it becomes a source of guilt and a rational for all kinds of sick thinking.  We do not blame Italians for the millions who died from the Black Death in the Middle Ages.  It might have been Italian merchants who introduced the plague.  So what?  You can’t expect Italy to pay reparations for something that their ancestors may have done.  It is a little silly to try to hold people alive today responsible for what was common behavior up until the 19th century. 

Black American and their manipulating, liberal, white masters need to get over slavery and move on.  Instead of looking at all of the opportunities this country has we continue to look for blame and victims.  This attitude has been infused into the very soul of American blacks.  It is keeping them from standing up, stepping forward and becoming a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem.  Their refusal to grow up and leave the plantation is pulling this country apart.

Slavery was common.  I would venture a guess that all of us have both slaves and owners somewhere in our family tree.  It is time to get out of the tree and start walking like children of God instead of clients of the welfare state.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 17, 2014

Opus 2014-15: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 5 of 6

Someone once said something to the effect, “If God does not punish America for its moral decadence then He will need to apologize to Sodom and Ghemmora.”

George Mason felt like this would apply to America in his day over the issue of slavery.
“They [the slave owners] bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not [sic] be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities….”
The scale was tipped on slavery by the American Civil War.  It could easily be considered the hand of God punishing the nation.  The Christians in the North certainly thought that way.  Consider the first verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible, swift sword.
His truth is marching on.
The Civil War was a brutal affair.  Americans suffered more casualties in that war than they have in all other wars combined.  They did that with a population much smaller than we have today.  Families lost an entire generation of sons.  The anger is still alive today.

I think it is time to take the next step and move on. 

To be continued....

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Opus 2014-14: The Obama $25.00 Bill

One of my Obama loving students was excited about the new Barak Obama $25.00 bill she had seen.  It looked just like the new $100 bills with the broad stripe down the front.  I tried to point out that people had printed $3.00 bills with Bill Clinton’s picture on it.  It is available from sights that sell phoney money as novelty items.  She did not get the point.  She seemed to think that a phoney bill was a compliment.

Ignorant people have a very limited understanding of some types of humor.

It turns the joke is on me.  The idea does not belong to Obama mockers alone.  Some guy running for congress is making it an issue, or wanting it issued.  The big problem is that there seems to be a law saying that living people cannot be on money.  But since when has the law stopped Progressives.

I think the $25 instead of $3.00 accounts for inflation.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Opus 2014-13: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 4 of 6

Slavery has a destructive effect on the owners of slaves.  Mason continues,
“They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant.”
There is something about having absolute control over another human being that brings out the worst in some people.  Slaves were treated in ways that free labor would never tolerate.

One reason that slavery died out in Christian Europe and was the teaching of the Bible.  Nowhere is slavery condemned in Christianity or any other major world religion but the conditions put on it were such that you could not maintain the relationship.  We see this in the letter of Paul to Philemon.  Paul had come across an escaped slave name Onesimus who had become a Christian.  He and Paul worked together in Rome but then Paul realized that he needed to return to his master, who was also a Christian.  When Paul sends him back he includes the letter we have.  In it he says to Philemon,
(Phm 1:15-18 NAS77)  For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while, that you should have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.  If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;
He was sent back as a slave but was to be treated as a brother.  This kind of attitude makes it pretty hard to maintain slaves.

Slavery allows the sinful nature of all human beings free reign.  It gives us the idea we are superior and have the right to inflict pain on others.  It gives us the idea that others exist for our pleasure and exploitation. 

This is an attitude that Americans have rejected just as we led the way in rejecting slavery.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Opus 2014-12: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 3 of 6

One legacy of slavery is the attitude toward hard work.  Mason observed,
“Slavery discourages arts & manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves.”
This is true in a number of ways.  In the antebellum South most skilled labor was done by slaves.  Blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, you name it, slaves were trained to do the work.  The stereotype of the ignorant field hand was not universal.  If they had a “good” master they were allowed to keep a small part of the proceeds.  This is how many slaves bought their freedom.  That was good for them but it made it impossible for free skilled labor to move to the area and compete.  Thus the economy of the South was locked into the large plantation life style. 

Even more damaging was the attitude that slavery encouraged in the workers.  It became the mark of a slave to sweat for your living.  Perspiration meant you were of an inferior class.  This has been observed in other cultures.  It is not unique to America.  We see similar attitudes in the gentry of England.  This social class was not allowed to do any kind of work that was considered demeaning.  Thus the gentry could be a lawyer but not a shop keeper.  They could be a soldier but not a manufacturer.  They could be a total loser but still shown respect.

I have run into this in modern black Americans.  At our school one of the disciplines instituted for bad behavior was picking up trash.  Some boys refused and got in even more trouble.  I was shocked when an otherwise rational teacher told me that she would support her sons if they refused to pick up trash.  I ask the reasoning.  She said, “Because it is slave labor.”  In her mind free people did not do menial work.

Slavery destroys productivity and the work ethic.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Monday, January 13, 2014

Opus 2014-11: What Do Saddam Hussein and Bing Crosby Have in Common?

Saddam Hussein is already being forgotten.  Move over Bing Crosby, Wilbur Wilberforce and Benedict Arnold.

It was a normal day at school.  I was trying to discuss issues and relate history to what is happening around us.  I was trying to get the students to think.  That is when they get really rebellious.

I have introduced a session of class time that I am calling “Hot Topics.”  The idea is to get them to reach into what is going on around them and start a discussion.  We have touched on what used to be called “global warming,” California’s new Transgender bathroom law, legalizing drugs, due process, search warrants and other topics.  Yesterday one of the students asked about the withdrawal from Afghanistan and in the conversation I mentioned the name of Saddam Hussein.  I got a bunch of blank stares.  Finally one student asked, “Who is Saddam Hussein?”

Keep in mind that the one who asked is a very bright child who is well behaved and has a wonderful personality.  She is the kind you would not mind having as your own.  She is a delight to be around.  And at 13 she had no clue who Saddam Hussein “is”.  No one else in this “gifted” class had any idea either.

You wonder why they like Barak Obama?  You wonder why the same fools keep getting elected to congress?  You wonder why they accept global warming?  You wonder why.....?

I cant’ blame this totally on the schools.  This is the kind of information that should be filled in at home, by parents and family.  This is data that should be clearly presented by the media.  This is a symptom of our culture.

Of course, I anticipate the day when people will ask, “Who is Barak Obama?”

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Opus 2014-10: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 2 of 6

The battle against slavery had its early beginnings in England and was a war being waged during our Revolution.  We find that the battle in England had long coat-tails.  Notice the first part of the quote given in my last post.
“This infernal trafic [sic] originated in the avarice of British Merchants. The British Govt. constantly checked the attempts of Virginia to put a stop to it.
A name you may not be familiar with is William Wilberforce.  He was a member of the British Parliament and spent 30 years fighting to stamp slavery out of the British Empire.  That battle was just beginning in 1787 when Mason was writing these words.  So England had deliberately stopped Virginia, a colony that accepted slavery, from taking steps to stop the trade.  Even up to the eve of the American Civil War there were movements to do away with slavery.

Remember that at this time slavery was legal and accepted around the world.  Being against it made you the odd duck.  The United States had a lot of odd ducks.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Opus 2014-9: Founders: The Legacy of Slavery, part 1 of 6

Slavery has always been with us.

Slavery is making a comeback.

Slavery has never been just an American issue.

The Founding Fathers struggled with the concept of slavery.  Even people who owned slaves realized that the institution was a problem and deeply immoral.  We often are taught that it was totally ignored, but that is not true.  The Constitutional Convention almost came apart because of the passion against it.  By the time the Constitution was ratified the northern part of the country had already either made it illegal or began the process of eliminating it.

One of the insightful Founders was George Mason.  He represented the paradox.  He hated slavery with a passion, yet he owned slaves.  It is easy to judge and hard to get into the minds of people living in a world where slavery was accepted and normal.

I find one quote of Mason rather prophetic.  This is from a Website at Gunston Hall.

“This infernal trafic [sic] originated in the avarice of British Merchants. The British Govt. constantly checked the attempts of Virginia to put a stop to it. The present question concerns not the importing States alone but the whole Union…. Slavery discourages arts & manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They prevent the immigration of Whites, who really enrich & strengthen a Country. They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not [sic] be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities….[It is] essential in every point of view that the Genl. Govt. should have power to prevent the increase of slavery.”

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, January 10, 2014

Opus 2014-8: A Silver Lining for Obamacare?

One of the blogs I check occasionally is called Big Lizard.  I check occasionally because he can go weeks without posting.  He tends to be a libertarian which means he could be a part of the Tea Party but is a Rhino on the moral issues.  Recently on his January 5 post called “Broken Clock”  he posted some ideas on health care.  I had heard them before but he presented them effectively.  If my interpretation is new to you, read the whole post.

In a nutshell, he says that the debacle of Obamacare could save health care in this country.  The act itself and recent actions by congress, are going to destroy the old system and push us toward socialized medicine.  That is the bad news.  The silver lining is that this may allow an entire new system of personal responsibility to emerge.  He sees a system of subscription developing where groups of doctors will open a member’s only service.  They would set a fee and establish what would be covered to be treated at no extra charge.  Members would then also buy a catastrophic coverage plan at low cost for major issues. 

A point he makes is that only in health care is daily maintenance considered a part of the insurance.  This does not happen in any other type of insurance.  Under this plan daily needs such as physicals and flu would be paid by the patient as you would pay for new tires and oil changes on your car.  Major issues would be covered by insurance.

See what he has to say if that sounds interesting.  The only addition I would make is that the Progressive elite would try to pass a law making it impossible to pay your own way outside the government system.  They did that in Canada and it led to open rebellion.

There are answers to the phoney health care crisis.  This is one good contribution.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Opus 2014-7: New Terms: PD

On Monday I was required to attend what is called Professional Development by the education crowd.  This year they had a new name for it, PD.  They may have used it before but I wasn’t listening.  It is new to me.  It is new to you.  If you hear someone talking about PD think of a group of public employees sitting around drinking coffee, collaborating, eating bagels because donuts are so old school, sharing out, writing on newsprint stuck to the wall, taking a lunch break and planning the future of your children.  All of this is done with tax dollars that you paid to the federal government.

There is an expression that I am hearing repeatedly.  I heard it at a meeting several months ago and thought it was the confused rambling of a school district administrator.  It seems to be the going concept for Common Core Curriculum (CCC).  Only educators would come up with a saying as silly as “we are building the airplane as we learn to fly it.”  I don’t know about you but I would not fly on an airline that had that as a slogan.

The future of your children in in the hands of these people.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opus 2014-6: Rejoining the Working Classes

I had to go back to work yesterday. 

Don’t feel sorry for me, or for any other teacher.

Next time a teacher complains about being underpaid, just give them three words:  Christmas, Easter, Summer.  From my reading, most Americans don’t even take the two weeks vacation that is traditional.  Teachers get that just at Christmas, or, as they say in the trade, Winter break.

I am quite willing to take more money.  I can always use it.  I don’t feel like I am getting rich.  At the same time I don’t feel like I am living on starvation wages either. 

We need to get a handle on the economy.  The government is spending too much.  We teachers are lined up at the government trough just like all those regulators in the IRS.  Hold our feet to the fire.  Don’t make exceptions for education.  We have shown that when you throw throw money at us we just develop a thirst for more.  We spent the whole day in meetings to deal with the new Common Core Curriculum (CCC) I have written about.  They raved about the lady who planned the meeting and her staff of five.  It was shared that this was all being paid for with money from the federal government, money earmarked for this new thing from the elitists.  I made the point several times during the day that with the money they spent on this training they could have restored the librarians to all the middle schools on the district.

But no one was listening.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Opus 2014-5 Should-a-Beens: Highway Revival Day

Wouldn’t it be nice if people who called themselves Christians would act like it?

How about a Highway Revival Day.  Why not have congress pass a resolution for a special day in which all people who claim to follow Jesus drive with patience and kindness.  Think about what that would involve.  No rushing to cut people off.  No passing on the right.  No tailgating to keep anyone from getting in front of me.  No glares.  No texting.  It goes without saying that there would be no one finger salutes.

Certain things would be allowed.  You can sing as you drive.  You can smile at other drivers as long as it is sincere.  None of those carnivore-looking-at-a-rabbit smiles allowed.  You could even pray for the people driving like pagans. 

How would that change our day and our culture?  Dramatically.  Maybe we could call for a series of days in which Christians apply their faith to one point of their lives:  Driving, Sunday shopping, entertainment, tipping in restaurants, etc.

Of course this would move us to the top of the potential terrorist list that the government seems to be compiling.  Relax.  If you are serious about your faith, you are already there.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Opus 2014-4: Kinks to the Right of Me, Kinks to the Left of Me

Back in December I had the car radio on for some reason.  I caught a story about a 22 year old who has been arrested for having sex with his neighbor’s dog.  I would have just let that roll over my consciousness but there was a twist, or what I consider a twist.  Maybe it was a kink.  The charge being brought against the young man was cruelty to animals. 

You read that right. 

There was not a hint of outrage about sodomy or morality.  The outrage was over cruelty to animals.  It may have been cruel, but is that the big issue?  Perhaps it was a consenting relationship.  Was the dog a minor in doggy years? 

What a world.  My guess is that he was not a Republican.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 3, 2014

Opus 2014-3: Not a Paid Advertisement

Google gives interesting insights into our culture.

In my other blog, Perpetual Proverbs, I was preparing a post and an old saying came to mind.  “What goes around, comes around.”  I Googled it to get an insight into what it really meant.  Instead of a link to explain the term I was swamped by repeated references to a song by Justin Timberlake.

So we have a culture that defines terms in relation to celebrities, not by actual history.  We live in a world that has lost it’s connection to the past and has no clue to why and how things work.  It is all what the latest heart throb is fixated on.

The most interesting insight I gained by looking down the listing was the word “Karma.”  I had never thought about it but Karma is a good understanding of the saying I was looking up.

I see the same phenomenon when I Google my blog, “Medley of Worship.”  Some guy named Darwin Hobbs dominates the screen.  I am not sure if he recorded an album or a single by that name.  I managed to be number 5 on the list but everything else belonged to him.  I had this title in my mind for a few years before I set up the domain.  If I had waited a little longer it would belong to him.

Find out the values of our culture.  See who is setting the standards.  Google.  (This is not a paid advertisement.)

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Opus 2014-2: Monday Pulpit: Flip Wilson Theology

My mind tends to wander in church.  Often a seed is planted in the sermon or it might come from a totally unknown source.

I ask you, which is worse, “the devil made me do it,” or “God made me do it”?

Most older people are familiar with the Flip Wilson comedy routine and his line, “The devil made me do it.”  Most people understood the root of the humor was in the fact that we all look for excuses in our behavior and the devil is a convenient fall guy.

I would submit that some people use God as the fall guy. 

Some I would categorize as hypocrites or false prophet types.  These are the people that go out and set up kingdoms in the name of God that are really covers for their own dreams of grandeur or frustration.  They use God as a club to force people into submission or brainwash them to conformity.  We all know that and can avoid it with a little thought.

A more dangerous trap is those who live good lives and “follow the rules” but they only do it because they have an unhealthy fear of God and obey grudgingly.  God can coerce and I am sure does at times but being forced to do something is not the heart of being a follower of Christ.  It is not about being forced to be good. 

When we place our trust in Christ what happens is that He defeats the power of sin and rebellion in our hearts and minds.  That makes it possible to do the things God wants to because we want to, not because we are being forced. 

How about an example.  When I am tempted to gossip about someone I can resist through biting my tongue and clamping my jaw.  I can focus on the reality that God is listening and will judge me for what I say.  Or I can allow the love of Christ to control me and make it possible for me to actually want to make things better for the person I could have gossiped about instead of getting satisfaction from doing harm.  Both tendencies are there at the beginning.  The grace of God makes it possible for me to follow my higher inclinations.

Turn your life over to Jesus.  Let God change you.  Take the high road because you like the view, not because you are afraid you will get your shoes wet.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Opus 2014-1: AD, AH or ABHO?

What year is it?

The first few months of the year I have a tendency to forget to write the proper date.  This January I will keep writing 2013 by reflex.  This got be thinking about how the anti-Christian influences in or culture are trying to detatch everything from Christianity.  One way they are doing this is by saying it is 2014 CE instead of A.D. 2014.  They replace the Latin “Anno Domini” which means “Year of the Lord” with “common era.”  The Lord, of course, is Jesus thus this must be changed.

I don’t think that will be good enough for the Progressives.  It is still a date based on the birth of Jesus even if there are disagreements on which year Jesus was really born.  It will soon be time to find a different reference point.

You may have seen some of the alternatives used in other cultures.  To a religious Jew this is the year 5774.  Their date is based on a calculation of lives back to creation.  They arrive at this date by adding 3760 to our traditional year.  Muslims start from the year 622, the Hagira.  This was the year that Mohammad was driven out of Mecca and fled to Medina.  Thus this would be 1392 AH (after Hagira).  I doubt if the current Israel haters in our elite cliches will go with 5774 but I could see some proposing the Muslim dating.

Ancient Rome dated from the establishment of the city of Rome and the beginning of an emperor’s reign.  We have already seen this indicated as a choice by our president.  Remember his words,

“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”

So maybe soon we will be getting calendars marked with the date that BHO became president.  That, after all, was the date that things began to really change.

For good or for bad is the question.

Happy New Year?

homo unius libri