Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

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

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Opus 2014-75: The Malaysian Red Herring

Where is the airplane?

I don’t know.  In the course of history it is not a major issue.  It isn’t even the key concern of our world, or it should not be.  Let the agencies do their job.  There is a more important thing we keep forgetting in the rush for ratings and sound bites.

The purpose of terrorism is not to eliminate an airplane but to paralyze a culture.

If some emotionally stunted group of fanatical haters announce that they are going to blow up a plane somewhere in the world on December 1 and I am flying on December 1 I need to get on the airplane and go.  If I don’t, they win.  I don’t want them to win because they will run the world based on their current arbitrary hate.  All of their targets will eventually include me because I am a Christian and because I believe in liberty. 

911 was not primarily a tragedy of death and destruction.  It was a declaration of war.  It was not war against a country but against an idea.

Yes, it was devastating to the families of the murdered.  Yes, billions of dollars of damage was done.  Step back and get a perspective.  In the Civil War at the Battle of Anteitem, 30,000 casualties were chalked up.  It was only one battle in a long war.  We lose more people to drunk drivers, and now pot heads, than we lost in the twin towers.  We don’t have checkpoints at every freeway entrance because us it.  We don’t outlaw wine or close all the bars in the country.  We get on with life.

Don’t let the Muslim crazies win with terror.  If you are a Christian remember the words of Paul.
(Php 1:21-3 KJV)  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Death is not as scary as disobedience.

Not a Christian?  Then take words often attributed to Emilio Zapata.  One translation would be,
“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
Don’t give in to terror.  Don’t let the government take your freedom in the name of security.  That way the crazies win.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Opus 2014-74: Boom Goes the Earth

I think earthquakes are a hoot.

I must confess that I have never been hurt by one and never lost a loved one.  I have never had financial loss or seen ugliness.  I have seen panic and reactions that are a bit extreme.

Last night I got another ride.  I was sitting, minding my own business when there was a rumbling, a boom and the chair I was in started rocking.  The lights flickered off and back on.  I remember worrying about my drink spilling as the soda sloshed.  As the rocking diminished, I stood up and started toward a doorway.  The floor was still moving. 

Then all too soon it was over.  I looked outside.  The street lights still seemed to be working.  The world had not stopped.  We talked about it a few minutes and went back to what we were doing. 

You can have your blizzards, tornadoes, floods and tidal waves.  I will miss the earthquakes when I am finally able to get out of California.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 28, 2014

Opus 2014-73: Intelligence vs Wisdom

Are you impressed that the president is associated with Occidental, Columbia and Harvard?  Are you willing to fly in the face of all evidence and accept the label of “very intelligent” that the media have bestowed on him?  Then you need to think about this statement by Thomas Sowell:
“Intellect is not wisdom.”
He was not writing about Barak Obama.  He was writing about the elite class that feels they have the duty to bleed off our liberty and make decisions for us.  They are the intellectuals (aka liberals, Democrats, Rino’s, socialists, communists and Progressives) that want to move us to a nanny state.  Of course it will be for our own good.

Sowell is reminding us that just because someone is smart does not mean they have the breadth of experience and moral foundation to make good decisions.  If you are the parent of bright children you know this.  If you are the child of someone with great artistic gifts you may have seen it in action.  The problem is that we forget it in everyday activity.  Although wisdom usually comes with age, grey hair is no guarantee.

Let me give an example.  Recently the People’s Republik of Kalifornia has passed a law that is usually referred to as the Transgender Bathroom Law.  It is much bigger than that, but titles need to be catchy.  It says that students have the right to declare whether they are male or female and they cannot be denied access to facilities that suit their sexual orientation.  When I am screaming about this to the other teachers, they look at me like deer in the headlights and ask, “What child would want to declare themselves something they are not?”  It came up in my eight grade class and all the guys start cheering because they realize it means they can go into the girls locker room and get an eye full.  In this case thirteen year old boys have more wisdom than a legislature full of “adults” and a governor in his seventies. 

Intellectuals.  You can’t live with them and they won’t don’t think you can live without them. 

(Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite non-fiction writers.  I have more books by Sowell than any other living writer.  He has a new book out about intellectuals that I have been too cheap to buy so I went to the library and checked out one of his older works, Intellectuals and Society.  I quickly found that I wanted it for myself so I went to Amazon and found he had revised it.  I bought the Kindle version.  This post will reference pages in the printed version.  Some later post will switch to Kindle references.

Sowell, Thomas.  Intellectuals and Society.  New York:  Basic Books, 2009, p. 1.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Opus 2014-72: Toilet Seat Covers

Toilet seat covers are a comment on our modern culture.

Have you noticed that they automatically rip in all the wrong places and resist where they are designed to give way?  The paper in those little connectors seems to be stronger than the entire width of the pattern.  It gets very frustrating.

You would think that a civilization that could walk on the moon could design a toilet seat cover that works.

You say we aren’t walking on the moon any more?

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-71: Wide but Not Deep

Have you ever felt out of the mainstream?  At this point in my life I am used to it.  I can find someone who agrees with me on almost any topic but few who agree with me on many.  John Wesley saw this.
“The stream here spread wide but is not deep.   Many are drawn, but none converted, or even awakened.  Such is the general method of God’s providence:  Where all approve, few profit.”
Wesley is saying, “Get used to it.”  Most people are sheep.  They don’t think, they follow.  Often what seems to be individualism is just an oblivious animal who wandered away from the heard by accident.

The best way to find out the wrong way is a public poll.  The kids at school wanted to talk about the crisis in Ukraine.  They were all excited and had their own opinions.  They wanted to express their opinions.  I pulled down the map and asked anyone to show me where Ukraine was located.  No one could even come close.  If you don’t know where it is, how can you understand what is happening?

Most people don’t know enough to express an opinion.  If they have one is was discovered on twitter and the opinion runs out when the 140 characters is reached. 

Are you out of the mainstream?  Then unjoin the crowd. 

Wesley, John.  The Works of John Wesley, Volume III, Third Edition.  Kansas
          City:  Beacon Hill  Press of Kansas City, 1979, p. 485.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opus 2014-70: Simple Truth

Alistair Begg was talking about fools.  He said being a fool is not an intellectual issue but a moral issue.  I like the way he puts it.  I have always said being a fool is not acknowledging God.  Consider the words of Solomon.
(Pro 9:10 KJV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Real wisdom is rooted in a knowledge of God but this points out why our culture has such trouble with real wisdom.  They reject God because God demands moral behavior.  They are not stupid, just sinful.

What is wrong with our culture?  Why don’t our schools work?  Why is there so much hatred?  Why do people drive the way the do?

It isn’t lack of education or poverty.  It is not a lack of government leadership.  It isn’t the wrong political party in control.

It is sin.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opus 2014-69: I Am Safe to Fly

I am now officially not a terrorist. 

We flew to Texas over the spring break at my school.  As I was hurryng to get in line for my confrontation with the TSA I noticed a sign that said “Pre Screened” or something like that.  I had heard about this but had never bothered to file the papers to qualify.  When I was starting through the line I was waved to a different line.  This is the second time it has happened.  In the new line I did not need to take off my shoes or belt.  I left my computer in the case.  I walked through the old-fashioned metal detectors.  It was like turning the clock back 20 years. 

I thought it was because they felt I was too old and feeble to be a terrorist.  When I looked at my boarding pass later I saw two words I had not noticed before.  The magic words were “TSA Pre.”  Evidently some nanny state guru has decided that I am not a threat.

I am not sure whether I should feel vindicated or insulted.  I can be sure that I am better than you though. 

I think it is a temporary pull back by the oppressors.  The water has been getting hot too fast.  People have been waking up to creeping tyranny.  They will pull back a little, let things cool down and then ratchet it up again.

It is scary to think we have the government we deserve.  It is comforting to realize that I am not represented at any level by anyone I have voted for.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 24, 2014

Opus 2014-68: The Fullness of Time

In a sermon I listened to a few years ago Alistair Begg asked the question, “Why didn’t Jesus come now?”  He was commenting on how it would be easier to spread the gospel with all the modern communication technology. 

There is a problem with that question.  It assumes that we would have all the modern communication technology is Jesus had not come.  I don’t think so.

Much of what we have today is based on a culture that was produced by the followers of Christ, not Mohammad, etc.  The scientific method that is at the root of our technical advances depends on the Christian view of God.  It would not be possible in Islam as it developed.  It never developed in the pagan world.  It is based on a world created by an immutable God not on the superstitions of the non-Christian world. 

Also found in Christianity are the ideas about the worth of the individual that led to the crumbling of belief in the divine right of kings and the God-given superiority of class.  Without the modern philosophies and sense of self worth stirred by Christ we would not have the modern advances.  Things would not have gotten much better.

So if Jesus had not come when He did we might still be riding horses and dying of simple infections.  Electricity would be worshiped instead of harnessed.  Children would be sacrificed instead of...oh, well, you can’t win them all.

There is still a lot of work to do.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Opus 2014-67: “Never Forget”

It is starting.  The mass media is starting to do a hard-sell on Obamacare.  They tell how wonderful it is.  Celebrities are singing its praises.  We are seeing increased advertisements on the issue.  TV ads.  Bill boards.  Posters.  People will be soon convinced it is wonderful.  After all the guy on TV said it was wonderful.  They will not see how poor the care is.  If channel 7 says it is wonderful it must be wonderful.

Obamacare has taken over my library.  As I tried to find a parking space I was impressed by how many people wanted to check out books.  People were idling their cars in the parking lot, waiting for a space.  They were strolling across the open spaces.  When I finally got to the doors I saw signs, banners and tables.  The event was not a celebration of culture but a sign up for welfare.  It was an Obamacare lovefest.  I almost could not use the library because they are all over the place.  Obamacare is busy destroying our culture.

People seem to have forgotten the Holocaust.  Communism?  What is Communism?  See a doctor?  What is that? 

Coming to a state near you.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Opus 2014-66: Headlines: 1939 Again

Can we survive the until the next presidential election?

Actually we need to survive beyond that, until the inauguration.

Neville Chamberlain.  Barak Obama.  So much in common.  So much disaster waiting to happen.  Again.  If you don’t know what I am referring to then go do a little research into the events leading up to World War II.  See the parallels between the actions of the National Socialist (Nazi), Hitler and the Russian Socialist, Putin.  See the similar naive qualities shared by
Chamberlain and Obama.  Examine the results.

The salvation of the British people in 1939 was that they had a parliamentary system.   When they finally realized what a fool Chamberlain was they produced a vote of no confidence, called elections and voted the sucker out.  I think the monarch even has the power to dismiss him.  They replaced him with Winston Churchill who understood the nature of the German beast.

We have no such luxury.  Our presidential system has its strengths but in a time like this with a Neville Chamberlain in the White House we can only follow that advice, “Sit down, shut up, hang on, enjoy the ride.”  Being a naive fool is not an impeachable offense.

The Russian bear is rattling his saber.  The American Teddy bear is rattling his sanctions.  Remember when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Iran was laughing at us.  The hostages saw no hope.  On the election of Ronald Reagan the hostages were set free.  Bullies and tyrants understand strength as well as they know weakness.

The danger today is more like 1939 than 1979.  Iran was hostile but weak.  Russia is hostile, armed and has a history of both aggression and paranoia. 

Pray that God withholds His hand of judgment.  Pray for revival.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Opus 2014-65: The Changing of the R’s

What is the purpose of public education?

I have heard a lot of discussion over the years.  Somewhere in my past I remember public education being criticized because it was designed in response to the industrial revolution.  It was  to provide adults who were conditioned for work in factories and conforming to an American idea of civic culture.  The emphasis was on the melting pot and E Pluribus Unum.  Thus you had children being taught by rote, sitting in rows and following the rules.  I guess you could call that the Three “R’s” of American Capitalism. 

At the time it seemed to work.  We became the powerhouse of industry and a model of stability.

Times have changed and the model has changed.  Now we expect kids to learn by feelings, sit in circles to share and ignore the rules.  They are being taught for a different kind of conformity.  This is the conformity of the group mind, the socialist or communist way of saying that all must conform to the expectations of the state.  We emphasize their ethnic differences while claiming that everyone is equal.

What is this producing?  We have a generation that is very in touch with their feelings.  Facts and truth are not important.  All that matters is how they feel.  They only feel right when they get their way.  The main emphasis of education today is getting the students to enjoy learning because it relates to how they feel about themselves.  National narcissism seems to be the goal. 

We have a generation that is being taught to strive for the mediocre.  Those who have the ability to excel are being taught that there main role in life is to do the work for those who are unwilling or unable.  We mix classes with people who are truly gifted and children who cannot read.  It is a travesty to watch children get frustrated because others are staring at the wall instead of getting out their books.

We have a generation that is being taught that there are no rules.  The philosophy is post-modernism that seems to believe that the inner man is benevolent and will do what is right if not restricted by rules.  What really happens is a level of chaos that forces the introduction of extreme restrictions and the imposition of a police state. 

Public education is on the cutting edge.  It will lead to death by a thousand cuts.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Opus 2014-64: Monday Pulpit: The Obama Drought

Our pastor has been looking at the drought in California and drawing parallels to the way in which God withdraws His blessing and allows calamity to descend on hedonistic, rebellious nations.  The list of possibilities is long:  Drought or flood, locusts, invasion, poverty.  California has them all and they are coming to the rest of the nation.

I wonder if there isn’t a figurative way in which Barak Obama represents a drought of God.  It has been said that people get the government they deserve.  Our nation is seeing a surge of immorality and narcissism that takes us back to the days of Rome.  The same people that are pushing abortion, homosexuality, crony capitalism, rampant welfare, race baiting, Gaia worship and government coercion elected this man.  It could be that the coming disasters are simply God’s way of saying, “Okay.  You asked for it.  You got it.”

Historically the antidote for these curses is revival.  I don’t think the pain has reached enough people yet.  I hope the threshold is reached before it is too late.

Obama won two majorities.  Enjoy your choice, America.  Enjoy our choice, world.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 17, 2014

Opus 2014-63: Headlines: A Greater Loss Than an Airplane

I have not been hanging onto every announcement made about the mysterious Malaysian airplane that is missing.  It isn’t that I don’t care.  It is a problem of belief and experience with the media.

Most of the time when I read a headline and take the time to follow up with the article it turns out that the headline was an attention grabber with no facts to back it up.  We have word for that:  speculation.  It is not news.  I am not sure we will ever get the straight story because governments are not in the business of telling us what they know and journalists are after ratings more than informed listeners.

This plays into the hands of the terrorists.  The point of terrorism is to change the behavior of the target culture.  It isn’t about taking down a specific airplane or blowing up one car.  It is about paralysis.  If they can get us to focus on the sensational and generate fear, they win.  If we stop traveling they win.  If we allow the government to put more limitations on our freedom, they win.  If they can ruin our commerce by these changes, they win.

So enjoy your news feed but go ahead and go out to dinner.  Take that trip.  Defy death by going shopping.  Don’t give them the victory.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 14, 2014

Opus 2014-62: Old and Young: Hey, Bro

“Hey, Bro.  Wass up?” 

I am often approached this way by students.  Obviously they don’t have much home training.  I try to explain I am not their “bro.”  I put my hands level and explain that “bro” means we are equal, on the same level.  I make it clear that the thought fills me with horror.  I then put one hand by my knee and say, “This is you.”  I put the other hand above my head and say, “This is me.  I am not your ‘bro’.”  We both laugh and get on with life but they get the point.  They don’t agree, but they get the point.

When I meet one of my siblings, they say the same thing.  From them it is a mark of affirmation and love.  Same words.  Same inflections.  One is an insult’ the other, an affirmation.

One of the destructive forces in our modern culture is a lack of respect for people and things that deserve respect and assumed respect for the undeserving.  Modern parents planted this foolishness.  Modern education waters this foolishness.  Modern entertainment fertilizes this foolishness.  We will all reap the harvest.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Opus 2014-61: Link: Ladies Only?

Christians and the world see things differently and act differently toward life.  On the Paratus Familia Blog I found that at the beginning of the post I was told not to read it since I was a man.  It was a post for women.  Naturally I had to start reading.

The text of the post starts off with these words:
“Ladies, modern society has us completely turned around.  We our taught to serve our children and shun our husbands.”
That got my attention.  I read a little further but the post was genuinely written for women so I didn’t finish it.  The point of view was refreshing and Biblical from what I did read.  It might appeal to you more. 

The thesis presented is an astute insight into our culture.  It is an important wake up call to the church.  We live in a schizophrenic culture which murders unborn children in the name of choice and makes excuses for all kinds of absurdities in society with the simple cry of “its for the children.”  This article might help your thinking from a prospective different than mine.

This is a blog I think I picked up from Gorges’ Grouse and bookmarked.  I don’t have as much time as I would like.  At work I am blocked from sites like this.  Sometimes I cannot access my word processor.  Today I was glad a few moments came together.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Opus 2014-60: Old and Young: Understanding

In Sunday School we were looking at a verse that was translated “yoked” in the KJV and “bound together” in the NASB.  I asked how many would have problems with the term “yoked.”  At first I got looks of wisdom and understanding.  Then one brave soul offered up that he would not understand it if he had not been around the church as long as he had.  In the entire class only one understood the reference.  The rest thought it had something to do with an egg.

I am constantly amazed at the limits to people’s vocabulary.  One of the reasons that older people cannot communicate with the younger generation has to do with vocabulary.  We are dealing with a massive subset of the population that is immersed in rap music and texting.  Both worlds make up words, adapt spelling and change definitions on need.  This is no way to understand the past or communicate in the present.

Don’t assume that others understand.

I learned something too.  It was pointed out that the spelling of the two words was different.  I didn’t believe it until someone found a dictionary.  An ox is hitched to a yoke.  And egg has a yolk.  See, everyone can learn something every day. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Opus 2014-59: The Church of Obama

When Barak Obama was elected there was speculation on whether he was a Christian or not.  I believe he claimed to be at some point.  He went to a building weekly that had the word “church” in its name. 

Six years later there might be some that still think he is a Christian but there are even more that think he is a closet Muslim.  I don’t think he is either.  If narcissism was a religion I would probably make him the pope.  I don’t think there is enough evidence to push opinion in any other way.

I could ask the same question about many on the conservative side.  Think of George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter.  All have made claims and statements that would say they think of themselves as Christians.  Fortunately it is not for me to make the final judgment and I don’t have enough involvement with any of them to need to make a call.

How do you tell?  There is a line I have heard, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you.” 

Unless you are on the committee that decides to take someone into membership of your local church this is a question that we should be directing towards ourselves not toward others.  If you look at the favorite Bible verse today you see the same point being made.  You are all familiar with it,
(Mat 7:1 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
You may have ignored the context.  The following verses don’t say you should never judge, just that you should judge yourself more severely.  It comes together in verse 5.
(Mat 7:5 KJV)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
So don’t get stressed out about the faith of Barak Obama.  Look to your own house.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Opus 2014-58: Moonbeam Health Insurance

The health insurance tension continues.  We got a letter from Blue Shield yesterday telling us that our coverage would end on April 1.  At that date we are switching in some way but will still be covered by Blue Shield.  Because there is some difference in the way the coverage is set up it will be like we are being cancelled and reapplying.  They tell us we should get our new cards about ten days before the change over.  It should be no problem, right?  How many others have thought the same thing?

This is the point at which people seem to be losing their insurance.  For some reason they are denied coverage over the new plan.  Is our union moving us onto Obamacare without making it clear?  Are we now in one of his exchanges even though we don’t want to be?  Will we become another of the horror stories that we keep hearing about?

We will see.  There is no way to know.  I will be waiting to see if the other shoe drops or we end up barefoot.  Will we also be ground down by our benevolent government’s need to control?

I live in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia with Governor Moonbeam.  It sounds like the kool aide is now being drunk by much of the country. 

Maybe we should call Obama President Moonbeam.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 7, 2014

Opus 2014-57: On the Street: Deep Sea Divers

What does this mean and why is it repeated so many times?
“I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be a deep sea diver
I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be a deep sea diver
I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be a deep sea diver
I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be a deep sea diver”

Sound tracks have different types of music.  Some you hear and enjoy.  Some provides white noise and you ignore.  Some gets under your skin and causes a mental rash.  These words are all I can understand of a song that comes up regularly on the elevator music where I have breakfast.  Actually, if it were elevator music I could take the stairs.  In the restaurant I am forced to grit my teeth until he gets to be a deep sea diver.  I guess I could go somewhere else but most places I have been the music is even worse.

Popular music has always had its low points.  It seems that today we have a growing number of people that are tone deaf and undiscerning.  Compare a bit of rap full of references to violent sexual acts, angry males and demeaned women and  “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”  Neither will last through the ages like the 1812 Overture but there is a real difference in world view and musical quality. 

I can hardly wait for the pendulum to swing back.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Opus 2014-56: Headlines: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Maybe you didn’t pay attention in world history.  Maybe your teacher did not teach it.  History is repeating itself.  Actually it is just continuing on.  The Muslims are simply     going public with their harassment and hatred for Christians.  It is nothing new.  It has been standard fare since the Koran was a twinkle in the eye of Mohammad. 

The Drudge Report had a double headline.

“Under threat, Syria's Christians sign accord with Islamists...

Pay tax, convert to Islam or risk death... “
It links to an Israeli newspaper called Haaretz.  Because it is Israeli you might be tempted to write it off as propaganda but how could it be any worse than the American media?

The main point of the article that I want you to be aware of is the public admission of a tradition that has been around since the institution of Islam.  It was a part of the Muslim conquest that the popular media likes to ignore.

 “For the first time in many generations, a dhimma (protection agreement) was signed between the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – an Islamist branch of Al-Qaida – and leaders of Raqqa’s several thousand Christians. Members of ISIS gave the latter three options: accepting the agreement, converting to Islam, or risking death.”
Dhimma is permanent, second class citizenship.  When Islam conquered an area the defeated Christians were given three choices.  You see them listed in the quote above.  They are straight out of the Koran.  You can pay an extra tax.  You can convert.  You can die.  If you choose the tax option you live in oppression and intimidation.  You become like the Jews of the Nazi period.  Your choice of clothes are regulated.  Your choice of homes is limited.  Your public behavior is monitored.  It is a life of coercion designed to force your children into Islam.

Here it is being offered to the Christians in Iraq.  I don’t know if you have been paying attention but the Muslims of Iraq have been happily eradicating the Christians.  If the Muslims get strong enough in the United States it will be offered to us here.  Coercive restrictions, conversion, death.  Take your pick.  And as you make your choice, remember this is a religion of peace.

The link was on Drudge Wednesday.  Thursday it was gone.  Maybe the site was told they were not being tolerant.  The good news is that the links about L.A. traffic being bad, caffeine dependence linked to emotional problems and the dangers of yelling at your kids were still available.  Since I am driving in L.A. traffic today while tanked up on coffee to teach middle school those are more significant for my day.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Opus 2014-55: Rationalization

In a sermon Alistair Begg commented about how we ask for wisdom but, if we get wisdom that doesn’t agree with what we want to hear, we ignore it.  How true.  We are really good at finding reasons not to do what we know is right.  I think the term I learned in college was “rationalization.”

We make a lot of choices.  We make exceptions for ourselves and demand high standards from others.  How often have you seen an obnoxious person complaining about the service they receive?  How would the morning drive be if everyone drove like you?  How crowded would the restaurant be if everyone stayed as long as you?

This is not acceptable for followers of Jesus.  You have seen the signs that say, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”  Too many church attenders seem to be saying, “We reserve the right to refuse service to Jesus.”

It doesn’t work that way.  That is why we are told to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile.  That is why we are commanded to be concerned about the other guy more than ourselves.

That is wisdom.  You may not like it but don’t take it up with me.  Talk to the guy who gets the red letters in your Bible.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Opus 2014-54: Headlines: Fiction in Life

Are you following the growing chaos in Europe.  The Soviet Union, excuse me, Russia, is rattling its sabers and getting ready to pull part of its empire back into the fold.  This is a great time for Putin to reach out and touch someone since we have such a weak president and a hopeless secretary of state.

What is interesting is that everything that is happening is described in a new novel by the late Tom Clancy.  We see the staged violence.  We see the Russians getting ready.  We see a repeat of what happened in Georgia.

If you want to know what could be happening in 2014 read Command Authority which was published in 2013.

And be afraid.  Be very afraid.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 3, 2014

Opus 2014-53: Ode to Old: Just a Walkin’ in the Rain

When I was young and stupid I used to walk in the rain on purpose.

In Southern California we don’t get the kind of rain that much of the country takes for granted.  When we had a real storm come through I used to go out walking.  I would put on my big rubber boots, drape my poncho, don my pith helmet and go stomping through the gutters and puddles of my neighborhood.  I don’t remember worrying about lightening or cars.  I just had a good time.



Saturday I had a moment of old and stupid.  We have been having a big storm.  I needed to take my daily constitutional and it looked like the clouds had cleared off for a time.  I set out thinking I had plenty of time.  As I reached the most distant part of my walk a few drops began to fall.  The tempo increased gradually until it was a real gully washer.  I thought about stopping under a tree but I am old enough to worry about lightening.  The gutters were soon full but I didn’t have my rubber boots and I am now aware of cars. 

I kept walking.  Soon my hat was soaked through and water was beginning to run down my face.  I could feel it running down my back.  I was not prepared to walk in the rain.

Actually I enjoyed it.  I knew that I had a warm house, a hot shower and dry clothes ahead.  It was not really cold.  I was able to enjoy the moment and thank God that at my age I am still frisky enough to keep on truckin’. 

Today I am no worse for the extra shower and had a chance to be reminded of how good life can be. 

I am glad I was old and stupid for a moment.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Opus 2014-52: Mercy Strikes a Blow

Nobody knows the original source of “Know thyself.”  It is still good advice.

One of my weak points is a lack of the spiritual gift of mercy.  I know it.  Sometimes I joke about it.  I know my Bible and myself well enough to recognize it as a weakness.  That doesn’t mean that I have any need to become an emotional basket case.  It does mean that I need to be aware of my lack and compensate for it.

One way is to encourage others in the body of Christ who have the gift.  Let them be what God has made them.  That is the easy part.

The hard part is fighting my tendency to always assume that people need correction rather than encouragement. 

The Holy Spirit cut through my crust this week.  I was getting out of my car at Panera for my morning time of worship and preparation.  A truck pulled up next to me and two young guys got out.  They were obviously going to be working hard that day.  As I followed them I noticed a woman begging at the door.  One of the men walked on by but the other stopped, listened to her a moment, pulled out his wallet, handed her a five, said a kind word and went on in.  She went in and got something to eat.  I noticed that she stopped several times to thank the young man who had helped her. 

That picture has been in my mind all week.  What would I have done?  I generally don’t give out money.  I probably would have invited her in and bought her breakfast.  If I had been in a hurry I would have been polite but not giving.  I have no problem with that.  Maybe I should.  What God was speaking to me about was the attitude I would have toward the person begging.  I would be judgmental no matter how polite I was. 

A couple of quotes come to mind.  It would be good for me to remember, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”  That is doubly true in this day when the economy is so bad, health care is crumbling and so many are out of work.  I am truly blessed and I should be more willing to share that blessing. 

The second that I came across today in my study are the words of Jesus.  You can read the entire teaching in Matthew 25 if you want but the verse that hit me the hardest was the negative statement?
(Mat 25:45 KJV)  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
How often has it been what I did not do that causes me to be disobedient?  I have a million excuses and some logical arguments.  I am not sure that Jesus will be impressed.

Today I need to begin to put this in motion.  I need to be more merciful without giving up wisdom and discernment.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Opus 2014-51: Discernment Watch: Registration Leads to Confiscation

I wondered why our school district was so concerned about the old computers in our rooms.

Last year we had three different people paid to go through our entire school making a list of all the serial numbers on all the computers.  I assume this was done through the entire school district.  While they were doing this we got repeated reminders that the school had a room full of old computers and if we wanted one in our room we could have them for asking.  I asked, received and used.  I also remember coming on campus and seeing a team loading pallets with old hardware, wrapping it in plastic and hauling it off to the recyclers. 

I made use of the old computers.  I have one that runs my LED projector.  I use it every day.  It is a part of what I do.  I have another attached to the TV on the wall which makes it possible to use the TV to show what would be on a small computer screen.  I use it regularly.  My newest computer is in the back of the room and because of District Policy, it is useless to me except to take role, cheek district e-mail, and record grades.  It is a pretty role book.

Now they are coming to take my computers. 

We got a notice in the bulletin that over the spring break (known as Easter vacation to you dinosaurs) the district would be sending people in to remove all old computers and if our desk computer was of a certain age, replace it.  There was no discussion.  They did not make allowance for computers we might be using.  We were not asked if we wanted them gone.  They are going.  This is a decision made by someone who sits in an office and has nothing to do with teaching in the classroom.  I would not be surprised if the old equipment is sold and pays for a benefit for the person sitting in that office.

This is your government at work.  First they come around and see what you have.  They make a list of serial numbers.  They cross check their work.  Then they confiscate.

Do you have any questions on why I don’t want the government registering my fire arms?  Of course that assumes I might have some firearms. 

Coming to a school, and home, near you.

homo unius libri