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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Opus 2014-103: Plow and Crown: Greetings, Peasants

I have come to the conclusion that I would have been a peasant in ancient time.  If not a peasant I might have been a slave.

Early kings and nobles achieved their position on the strength of their arm, the speed of their reflexes and the sharpness of their swords.  If you won the fight you became the boss.  If you could hold your own you became a noble.  If you won a lot of fights you became a king.  It was common for royalty and the noble classes to be illiterate.  It was better to be good with a sword than a pen.  You had servants and slaves for that kind of thing.

Recently I went to a Project Appleseed event to learn about the skills of being a rifleman.  I found that I had a real hard time focusing on both the front sight and the target.  My eyes were never that good and now they are getting old.  If I focused on the sight, the target was a blur.  If I focused on the target, I could not see the sight.  This makes it difficult to hit what you shoot at.  Even worse, I have never been known for my coordination or athletic ability.  I think I was about ten years old before I learned to ride a bike.  When ice skating I managed to step on my own hand.  I have all the skills of a peasant.

Or a slave.  In Roman times many of the teachers were slaves.  They conquered the Greeks and made slaves of their philosophers and intellectuals.  It was not unknown for teachers to be crucified for not teaching the children well. 

How would Western society have developed different if glasses had been developed earlier?  Would literacy have been more common and the equality brought by wide spread education come sooner?  Would classes have been less set in concrete?

Simple things can make big differences.  If the Russian Princes had possessed machine guns then Genghis Khan would have been a sucker instead of a scourge.  If the Confederate States had purchased large numbers of Henry and Spencer repeating rifles before starting a war, Lincoln would have never lasted for re-election.

Be grateful that you live in a blip in history called the United States of America.  We have had liberty and prosperity for the masses at a level never seen in history.  In any other culture most would be walking behind a flatulent ox, plowing someone else’s field instead of worrying about how cow gas is ruining the environment. 

I hope that we are not coming to the end of that blip but it seems to me that the tide has turned.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Opus 2014-102: On the Street: A Better Mousetrap

Recently my friendly philanthropist was driving a loaner car.  He told me it was a problem of headlight mice.  When he said that I thought of the young man who was sent out by his friends on a quest for “headlight fluid” and the apocryphal “left-handed monkey wrench.”  He was serious. 

Evidently when the weather gets unpleasant mice will climb up in the warm engine compartment.  While there they will try to make a meal of exposed wires.  Evidently this is a common problem.  We should not let the EPA or PETA know because it could open an entirely new regulatory agency to protect the mice.

After a brief laugh I got serious.  His story has parallels in education and government.  How often have both been disabled because some pest has been seeking a place of comfort and destroyed whatever was in reach?  Think of all the brain dead regulations you must deal with every day.  For instance, if you have no accidents or moving violations, why are you required to renew your driver’s license every few years?  How can affirmative action be viewed as anything but another form of racial discrimination?  Why do schools mix kids who cannot read in with those who are gifted? 

I am sure you have your own list.

Blame it on the mice.

Build a better mouse trap.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Opus 2014-101: Sewer Rats and Spiritual Gifts

I am beginning to believe I have the spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues.  Why?  I am finding that it is necessary to understand my wife.

The spiritual gift of interpretation involves being able to interpret languages that you have never learned.  The context is usually understood to refer to someone speaking in an unknown language or ecstatic utterance. 
(1Co 14:27-8 KJV)  If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.  But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
I often act as interpreter for my wife because she can change subject several times in one “sentence.”  When I see people looking puzzled I try to clarify.  The comment that generated this was my wife complaining about our “sewer rats.”  She kept saying this and after a time I quit correcting her.  What she meant was “sewer flies.”  It is good to be needed.

What really scares me is that I might also be developing the need for people around me with the gift of interpretation.  We all use the wrong word on occasion.  As we get older it seems to happen more often.  Sometimes I notice.  Sometimes I don’t. 

I am not sure which is worse.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Opus 2014-100: Fun

Why is modern American education generally a failure?  Why are kids getting diplomas they can’t read and applying for jobs they are not qualified for?  One word:  Fun.  Learning must be fun.  It must be easy.  It must eliminate any chance of failure or frustration.

One of our science teachers took almost the entire eighth grade on a field trip recently.  They were gone all day and missed all their other classes.  The destination:  Knott’s Berry Farm.  Around the same time a math teacher took his scholars on a field trip.  The destination:  Disneyland.  They ask me if we will go on a field trip for history.  I laugh at them.  They say I am “No fun.”  I admit it.  They want to know why I won’t take them on a field trip.  My answer:  I care about their education.

Maybe someday they will understand.

Maybe not.

Fun is fine.  Hard work and persistence are necessary.  It isn’t fun to hoe the weeds in the garden.  It isn’t fun to get up when the alarm goes off.  It isn’t fun to walk or jog.  It isn’t fun to discipline your children.  It isn’t fun to pay your bills or balance your checkbook.

I hope they learn what is important before it is too late.  It isn’t going to happen in school.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Opus 2014-99: Earth Day

I am the victim of religious persecution.  It was subtle.  The persecutors don’t understand.  It still happened.

We were at a faculty meeting.  We were going over the calendar for the next two months.  I noticed that April 22 was designated as Earth Day.  I noticed that May 26 was labeled as Memorial Day.  I did not see anything marking Passover, Good Friday or Easter.  The calendar included weekends and had activities listed on Saturdays and Sundays.  I was going to suffer in silence but the principal said she was going to correct a few things and print it again.  That was my chance to make a request and not be obnoxious about it.

So I raised my hand. 

Here is my request as close as I can remember it.  “You are going to reprint this, right?  Since the Gaia worships get Earth day on the calendar how about us monotheists?  How about putting Good Friday and Easter on also?”  You would think I was a speeding car at night with my high beams on and she was a deer standing in the middle of the road.

She didn’t get it.  I tried to explain.  I could see that a few people knew what I was talking about but most of the college educated, credentialed, well paid government employees around me, aka teachers, filled their usual nitch in the food chain.  They didn’t have a clue.

They patted me on the head, smiled indulgently and went on with the business of the day.  I will concede it was not what you would call high level persecution.  Contempt is the beginning of desensitization, but it is a beginning.  It is a few levels below being fed to the lions or having my children taken away to be raised as Janissaries.  It is still a beginning.

Persecution has to start somewhere and we are already heading down the road.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 21, 2014

Opus 2014-98: Conditioning the Elephant

Recently the discussion was about how people seem to get into ruts and I brought up the way in which elephants are trained.  The person I was talking to had never heard it before.  I assume it is true.  If you know different, let me know.

Elephants need to be trained when they are small.  You put a heavy iron ring around a leg and attach it to a very well planted stake in the ground.  It is overkill.  There is no way the small animal can break the hold of the stake.  At first the elephant will try to get free.  It will do everything it can to get away.  Eventually it will understand that to struggle is useless and will settle down.  It has now been conditioned.  For the rest of its life it will never fight the stake again.  From that point on all it takes is a light ring and a small stake and the elephant will stay put.

Too often humans are like this.  We are conditioned when young.  An impression is made on our minds.  We never try to break out again.  Think of things like global warming that are easily refuted.  Think of logical things like the chemicals required to recycle paper.  Think of everyone being expected to go to college.  Think of religious traditions.  Think of political parties.

Conditioning works.  Break free. 

Freedom does not mean having no convictions but having convictions based on your own thinking, not what a guru told you.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Opus 2014-97: He Is Risen

(1Co 15:14-17 KJV)  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
homo unius libri

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Opus 2014-96: The Elephant in the Preparation Room

Many people are preparing for disaster but they overlook one of the biggest problems they may face.

We can expect all kinds of problems in life from a backed up toilet to TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it.)  The chances of each type of event happening are in inverse proportion to the disruption.  Thus it is more likely that you will have a plumbing problem than a rouge planet strikes the earth and destroys all life.  You will need to deal with the toilet but not the cosmos.

You should prepare for the most likely events first and work you way up to the one that might happen in the next ten billion years.  Thus you need the number of a good plumber but no star ship.

But there is a big problem that is even harder to plan around:  The coercive power of the government.  When TSHTF what is to keep the government from passing laws against hoarders and coming to get the food that we have set aside?  There have been numerous cases in history where the elites have passed laws against hoarding.  Although there are probably cases of extreme hoarding, most of the time it is aimed at people who have sacrificed to be prepared.   You.  You will be expected to share with those who partied through the night.  The elites already get excited if you have too many guns and too much ammunition.  When will they want you to register your cans of tuna?

Currently they want to redistribute cash.  What happens when they want to redistribute calories.  Already the federal government is passing regulations about school lunches that keep parents from sending meals prepared at home.  If you don’t believe it, Google it.

I don’t have an answer.  If a swat team busts into my house at 2:00 A.M. to take the contents of my larder I have to ask myself, “Is it worth it to die for a few bags of rice?” 

Liberty is precious.  The government is pernicious.  Freedom is fleeting, bondage is forever.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 18, 2014

Opus 2014-95: Acknowledge Evil, Avoid Judgement

The problem of evil continues to plague us. 

One of the common mistakes people make is to try to place blame for misfortune that has no obvious cause.  Take a case in point. 
(Joh 9:1-2 KJV)  And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
The disciples saw a man who had a terrible physical curse.  He had been blind from birth.  Since they probably had some work they were supposed to be doing and didn’t want to do it, they asked Jesus a question.  Some things never change.

Notice their assumption.  They assumed that the physical condition was a result of someone committing sin.  In one sense they were right.  Think Adam and Eve.  Death and disease are the result of sin.  It is also possible that his parents committed some sin which caused this.  For instance consider a baby born with HIV because his parents did not honor their marriage vows.  Sin was the cause.  Some babies are born blind because the mother has a sexually transmitted disease, herpes.  Again, this is the result of sinful sex.  The one thing we should know is that since he was blind from birth it could not have been his sin.

We need to be careful in assuming that people are totally responsible for their situations.  We really can’t know if someone has diabetes because of behavior or unavoidable genetics.  In my case the genes had the dispensation but the behavior gave access.  Is someone blind because of playing around with drugs or because they got poked in the eye.  Are people using EBT cards because they are lazy or because they really have not been able to find work?  It is easy to judge but we are called to back off on the judgement.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Opus 2014-94: Tax Dollars at Work: A Needy District

I work in a school district that has large numbers of student in the socioeconomic catagories that generate a large influx of federal dollars.  The leaders here would not have it any other way.  In spite of that they always cry “poor” and act like we are underfunded.  We have laid off all of the librarians in middle school, cut back on office staff, cut teacher salaries and don’t have enough custodians. 

If you pay attention, you would get a real sense of cognitive dissonance. 

In a recent e-mail from our district leader (fearless of course) there were some interesting numbers.  We are spending $27,000,000 on a new middle school for 600+ students in the northeast corner of our school district.  Currently most of the students who live in that area are sent to our school.  Our school is running around 600+.  In the past we have had attendance as high as 1,500.  Our principal is worried about having our middle school shut down because of falling enrollment.  Do you see a problem here?  Add to that the $1,000,000 spent to redecorate the quad in the middle of the campus and update the gymnasium and again you ask, “What?”

We were also informed that the district has purchased 4,000 Chromebooks for use in the current testing.  At the official Chromebook site you find them listed for $279.  Do the math.  My answer is over $1,000,000. 

I could go on.  Again I submit to you that the schools of our nation are not underfunded.  It is just a matter of tax money being wasted by a group of people who don’t understand the value of a dollar.  To adopt a story told about a rich man:  How much money does it take to make an educator happy?  Just a little bit more.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Opus 2014-93: CCC: Redefining Ignorance

At our recent faculty meeting we were informed that the say we teach math is going through another transformation under the Common Core Curriculum (CCC).

We were supposed to have a video sent out by the district but they could not find it.  Instead we had a confusing power-point presentation.  It seemed a bit vague but that is a key method of the elites as they dumb down our children.  The old, time tested, progression of Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II will not longer be followed.  Now the classes will be labeled Math I, Math II and so forth.  The different aspects of math will be mixed together and taught in a different progression.  A lot of the abstract concepts that young minds are not ready for will be presented in the earlier years of education.

Okay.  In principle I don’t have any trouble with finding a new and better way to teach math.  The issue for me is that educators don’t have a good track record on finding new and better ways to do anything.  Does “whole language” mean anything to you?  Remember the “new” math?  These were previous new insights.  The new ways of doing things have required dumbing down of text books and falling test scores for years.  Why do I have a hard time believing this will be better.

What it does is stir the pot so the non-initiated cannot compare new with old.  It develops new jargon and changes the meaning of old terms.  It takes words you thought you understood and makes them have different meaning.  It makes you compare apples with oranges.  We won’t know the results until we find ourselves in competition with other nations in designing the technology of the future.  Then it will be too late. 

I have always wondered why we need to constantly be rewriting math text books.  It seems to me that algebra is algebra.  I have found that even though I have not had a math class since high school I can still teach algebra and geometry if I start at the beginning of the book.  I know the subject but I don’t know the latest jargon.  Most of us find ourselves in the middle of the book wondering what is wrong with us.

If you can vote to end the changes going on in public education then do so.  If not, maybe you can afford private school or will invest the time in home school.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Opus 2014-92: Your Tax Dollars at Work: Thank You Taxpayers

Today is Tax Day.  I think my taxes are already filed.  I am one of the minority that pays taxes but unlike most of you who pay them, I am also supported by them.  I am a public school teacher.  I like to refer to it as being being lined up at the public trough, sucking down tax money.

I want to take a moment to thank you.

Thank you for going to work.  Thank you for paying your taxes.  If I have met you on the street I have probably already thanked you.  The life blood of this nation are the people who go to work in the private sector, produce a product or service and sell it.  Government employees do not generate wealth.  You are the sources of wealth for this nation.  You are an endangered species.  I am aware of it and I am grateful.

Because the masses are sheep we will probably always have public schools.  Someone has to teach in them.  When I made a career change it was one of the few avenues open that would allow me to support my family.  I never forget that I am living on the backs of my fellow citizens.

So again, until next year, thank you.

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-91: The Problem Is Not Immigration, part 2 of 2

Again, the problem is not immigration.  The problem is educators, judges and the media.

The problem is what we do with immigrants once they arrive.  We put them in schools that are run by administrators who hate what America represents.  They reject the idea of unbridled freedom and people who are free to make their own choices.  The entire concept of mandatory education and criminal proceedings for those who refuse is an example of this.  They want a socialist state where everyone has equal outcomes and they don’t care how many bright lives are dimmed to make us all the same watts.  They teach multiculturalism and are turning a melting pot with a few chunks of Brussel sprouts into a tribal cacophony of liver, rutabaga, turnips and lima beans.  They want a society that can only be controlled by the point of a gun and they want all the guns.

We have courts that define justice as the latest trend of the Progressive (Democrat, socialist, communist, tyrant, leftist) intellectuals.  Thus a homosexual judge can declare that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is against the Constitution.  Thus we have a supreme court that takes away our property rights at the whim of a city council.  We have a supreme court that says we can be required to buy health insurance.  We have unelected regulatory agencies limiting and contorting our lives with the collusion of the courts.  We have courts saying that illegal aliens can practice law and are to be awarded all the rewards of citizenship. 

We have people in the media who decide what to tell the public.  It is done for their own good of course.  It is strange that all of their decisions are in agreement with the Progressive agenda.

So the problem is not immigration.  People come here with a dream.  They come because they see more hope and opportunity in this country than in the one they left.  If we nurture that dream and let them loose they will become Americans, their children will become assimilated and their grandchildren will not speak their heritage language.  They will become a part of the idea of America instead of a part of the tribe that hates the guy who ties his turban different or takes his shoes off when he goes into the house.

Look at your coins.  They say e pluribus unum.  Out of many, one.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 14, 2014

Opus 2014-90: The Problem Is Not Immigration, part 1 of 2

The problem is not immigration.  The problem is educators, judges and the media.

I am in the breakfast room of a Hampton Inn.  Hampton Inn is the lowest level of accommodation that my wife will now settle for.  They are not the Ritz Carleton but they are a long way from Motel 6.  Poor people do not stop at Hampton Inn. 

Having said that I have noticed that I am in a small minority when it comes to speaking English.  I am hearing Arabic, Asian languages and of course Spanish.  These people are well dressed, well mannered and definitely not poor.  I would guess that most were born in other countries.  That is fine.  America was built on people coming from other countries.  America is not an ethnic group but an idea.  It is a philosophy, not a phenotype. 

So let me repeat.  The problem is not immigration.  The problem is educators, judges and the media.

Notice I did not say education, justice and TV.  Although we have plenty of educators we have little educating going on.  Most of it is brainwashing, babysitting and entertainment.  Although we have plenty of judges we have little justice being handed down.  Most of what judges do is advancing a political agenda to bring about the utopian nanny state.  Although we have lots of TV programing there is little worth watching.

The problem is not immigration. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Opus 2014-89: Hypocrisy in the Church, part 2 of 2

People stay away from church because they don’t like it.  It is like eating vegetables.  Most people will acknowledge that vegetables are good for you.  Their children are forced to partake.  They still leave them on their plate.  People don’t want what is good for them, they want what tastes good.  In a perfect world you will have both but that requires time and application. 

They don’t always reject vegetables because they hate them.  Often they have never tried them.   They know they don’t like but it is by default setting, not experience.  Some have never had veggies prepared well.  Broccoli is often a whipping boy.  Many people have never tried it.  If you get it in a trendy restaurant it is barely cooked and has no salt.  One taste of politically correct broccoli is enough to last a lifetime. 

You can take broccoli and smother it with cheese.  Everyone likes it that way but it sort of defeats the purpose of eating broccoli.  I personally like broccoli but I recognize there is nothing anyone can do to make broccoli something some people would want to have if their minds are made up. 

For me the ultimate evil is liver.  My mind is made up.  I am not open to experiments.  At least in my case it is based on experience.  Some people are so resistant that there is no way they will like something.  Liver does that to me.  I admit it.  I try other things.  It took me three attempts at menudo to concede it was not for me. 

Some people are that way about church.  They have multiple reasons for avoiding it.  They are so resistant to God that the Holy Spirit cannot get them to respond.  They want to be the gods of their own lives.  This was the selling point in the Garden of Eden.
(Gen 3:5 KJV)  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The problem is not always the church.  The problem is sin.  Sometimes that is in the church as well.

Quit trying to water down the gospel because most people don’t want to hear anyway.  If they want a social club they can go to the megachurch down the street.  It has everything they want and little of what they need.  If you refuse to be the church then everyone loses.  You are a nothing but a hypocrite. 

Let the church be the church and the spa be the spa.

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-88: Hypocrisy in the Church, part 1 of 2

The church is full of hypocrites because we keep trying to be what we are not.

I mean that in a different way than you might take it.  The world would not recognize hypocrisy in the church if it was wearing a neon sign.  To often the church ignores it too.  Christians belong to a faith that claims the only way to eternal salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.  There are disagreements on what that looks like and how it is done but believers agree it must be through Jesus.  If they don’t agree with that, they are not Christians any more than the latest boy band is an enduring cultural icon.

The hypocrisy I am referring to comes from people who focus on making the church pleasant and seeker friendly at the expense of truth.  The world loves these people.  They are of the opinion that the masses stay away because the church is not friendly enough.  If we just smiled more, served fresh ground gourmet coffee, had more comfortable seats and dressed different, then attendance would skyrocket.  These are nice thoughts, but wrong.

So why do people really stay away from the church?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Opus 2014-87: On the Street: Family Dynamics

Or not.

I am sitting in the breakfast area of a Hampton Inn.  My wife loves the amenities.  They do a great, full breakfast.  My kids are grown and gone.  My wife is enjoying cable TV in the room.  I am drinking coffee, eating bacon, writing and posting.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw two small round faces intent on something behind me.  I did not need to turn around to see that the TV was on.  We see this every day. 

It is a national disease.  It is one of the reasons the kids in our country are losing their cutting edge.

The problem was not watching TV.  Let me add three things.  The father was sitting with them staring at the same screen.  The volume was totally down.  They were watching a cartoon called Spongebob Squarepants. 

Put it together.  A father is traveling with his two little girls.  They are at breakfast in a strange town.  All they can do is stare at a TV screen that they cannot hear.  Whatever happened to parent/child communication?  Did it ever exist in this family?  Will this father be saying, “Where did I go wrong?” in a few years.

I could tell him now.

Talk to your kids.  Turn off the TV.  Do it while there is time.

homo unius libri

Opus 2014-86: Healthy Insights: Ruts and Rails

I am in a rut and I can live with it.

I pulled in the parking lot, got out of the car and slowly walked into Panera.  It was another glorious morning.  I savored those steps from door to door.  When I walked inside I noticed that my order was already on the counter.  I made a joke about being in a rut.  I get the same thing every day.  It works for me.

The problem with ruts is when they throw you off course or don’t go where you want them to go.  There is no problem with being in a rut if it saves you time.  There is nothing wrong with ruts if they are worn be repeated right actions.

My breakfast rut doesn’t mean I am refusing variety.  I have tried many of the items on the menu.  I like them all.  On a given day I might bust out and have one again.  On a daily basis they do not meet my needs.  I need to control my diabetes.  A bagel and cream cheese would triple my calorie intake for the morning.  After experimentation and calculation I have established my rut.  That is my rut and I’m sticking to it.

Think about it as a railroad track.  It is expensive to establish.  It only goes one place.  But it is carefully laid out and engineered.  You can get where you want to get without spending all your energy trying to avoid pot holes.  Enjoy your breakfast sandwich with designer bread, egg, cheese, bacon, avocado and mayo.  I will enjoy my low blood sugar.

My rut is something I can live with.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 11, 2014

Opus 2014-85: Panini and Artichokes

As I walked into the bakery to get my morning coffee and bread I noticed an advertisement for the lunch crowd.  Panera was proud to announce that we could now purchase “Roasted turkey and artichoke panini.”  Excuse me?  While out of town and staying in a motel my wife was watching a cooking show on cable.  I think the title was “Chopped.”  The contestants would open a hamper and have thirty minutes to create a dish.  One set of ingredients included granola bars, cherry tomatoes, Asian five spice and a block of brown sugar that one of the “all star” chefs had no idea about.  I may have confused the ingredients of a couple of segments.  It doesn’t matter.  It is wonderful to live in a society that has so much leisure that we are using our creativity to mix turkey and artichoke for lunch and watching chefs create specialties from nonsense.  Admit it, some creativity is rather silly. 

Some intelligence is really creative, others are just a variation on someone else’s.  For instance, the first paper clip was really creative.  Changing the shape, having different colors and offering different sizes are simply variations on a theme.

We need both types of creativity.  One type jumps culture ahead.  One type takes the jump and adds lots of little steps.  Both can be beneficial.  Don’t confuse the two.  The genius of the Founding Fathers was that they made allowance for both in patent and copyright protections. 

Beware of condemning real creativity.  I had heard it before but I read again recently about the doctor that originally noticed that washing hands between patients lowered the death rate.  He was mocked and harassed.  Small minds could not grasp the jump.

I am grateful to live in a culture that allows people to mix turkey and artichokes.  Who knows.  Maybe it tastes good.  I will leave it for the people who like sushi to find out.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Opus 2014-84: CCC: Standardized Testing

A couple of weeks ago I was required to go to a meeting after school involving the new Common Core Curriculum (CCC).  In the course of the conversation I heard the mantra again, “We are building the airplane while we fly it.”  Another statement that came up that is fairly common among teachers was, “I hate standardized testing.”  Most teachers I am around would echo that statement.

Why do teachers hate standardized testing?  I am sure there are some very noble statements about academic freedom and real learning.  There is a deeper reason that is never admitted. Teachers hate standardized testing because standardized testing gives results that can be measured.  For all of the weaknesses, they do give results that can be compared.  It gives a measure that can evaluate what you are doing.  Education hates the concept.  They want to hide behind their constantly changing jargon and paradigms.  Clear numbers are too easy for the public to understand.

I don’t hate standardized testing, I just ignore the results.  Why?  Because if not administered and interpreted correctly the results are meaningless.  In education the first is questionable and the second never happens.  The educational establishment only uses the numbers to manipulate the public for more funds.  They don’t change much of anything.  They simple use the results to prove that they should do what they wanted to do all along.  It is kind of like global warming.  If it gets hot it is because of global warming.  If it gets cold it is still blamed on global warming. 

Thus Common Core Curriculum, the ultimate smoke screen of socialism.  Would you fly on an airplane that is being built while you fly it?  Then why put your kids in a school that follows that principle?

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Opus 2014-83: Mumbo-Jumbo Anyone?

What is the nature of superstition?

I am having my private morning communion with whole grain baguette and coffee.

Some people would rebel because I am not using unleavened bread and wine.  For them the power of the moment is wrapped up in the physical attributes of the elements.  In other words, the grace that comes through the Eucharist is void if you use the wrong kind of bread.  That is superstition. 

The superstitious of the world, be they pagan or Christian, assume that certain material objects, rituals, shapes or positioning are the avenue to power.  Spirituality is about finding ways to manipulate power and put it to our use.  Traditions can become superstitious gimmicks.  Such Biblical concepts as prayer and fasting can become agents of superstition.  All it takes is believing that the ritual or artifact is the avenue to power.

Christianity puts the power in the person of God and the presence of His Holy Spirit.  Grace is bestowed because God chooses to give it, not because we eat a piece of bread or because it has been blessed by a priest who offered it over a consecrated altar.  God is a person, not a force.  He is to be sought and obeyed not manipulated.

It depends on the living God not our access to secret knowledge.  The Bible is an open book that is available to all because the Holy Spirit works to bring understanding.  It is not full of hidden meanings and secret codes that are only revealed to those who are initiated. 

Don’t fall for superstitious mumbo-jumbo.  Don’t allow the deceiver to draw you away from the living God.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Opus 2014-82: Old and Young: Balancing the Equation

The young people in my life are forcing me to grow and learn new things.  For a vocation I teach middle school.  For an avocation I teach the young people’s class at my church.  I have found it necessary to listen to their music enough to enjoy some of it.  I have been forced to use Facebook enough to wonder why they bother.  I have needed to learn slang terms. 

Most old people think it is their job to teach younger people, and it is.  But this is how the body of Christ is supposed to work across generations.  It should work both ways.  Neither can be discounted.  Old people and young people bring different things values to the equation.  On one side you have knowledge, wisdom and experience.  On the other you have curiosity, energy and risk.  One side is set in its ways.  The other side needs more foundation in its ways.  One needs a little stirring, the other a break pedal.

I hope you have contact with other ages whichever side of the divide you are on.  Add the the adventure.  I tell the kids at school they will know it is time for me to retire when they have to call 911.  Make them carry you out on a gurney.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 7, 2014

Opus 2014-81: Protestant Question on Purgatory

Purgatory doesn’t make sense.  Why? 

I am not a Roman Catholic so take this with a grain of salt.  My understanding is that the Roman Catholic church teaches that the vast majority of believers do not go directly to heaven but instead go to a place commonly called purgatory.  This is because they are not pure enough to go to heaven.  In purgatory they suffer for a period of time and this suffering purges them of the pollution that is still a part of their being.

If that is the case then it seems logical to me that while in purgatory they would continue sinning.  Thus the penalty would continue to grow and they would never be released.  It seems like the opposite of a win/win to me.

Where is my logic wrong?

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Opus 2014-80: Headlines: Hoodwinking the Public

The recent shooting at Fort Hood brings up a lot of questions. 

If you had visited the Drudge Report, one of the links took you to a post that asked questions about the common thread of drug use by the people doing mass shootings.  That link took you to an article on  The point of that article was that most mass murderers are either being treated with psychiatric drugs or had been taking them.  You can check out the article which was written last September or you can Google “drugs used by mass shooters” and get a long list of articles on the subject.

It seems that these legally used prescription drugs are part of the problem.  Of course the news outlets don’t go there.  They would rather yell about gun control and right wing whacks.  The article linked above brings that out but then falls into the mantra of blaming the drug companies instead of questioning the ehtics of the media.

At one point the article says,
“You can’t trust the media to tell you the real story”
I agree with that but they try to explain it away this way,
“The media is mostly just using this shooting as another way to sell more advertising while pushing a particular political agenda...”
Political agenda, yes.  Just a way to sell advertising, no.  This is not a matter of newspapers trying to make money it is a matter of anti-gun zealots trying to disarm a nation.  Even on the internet writers fall into the mantra of greedy capitalists and downplay power-hungry elites.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 4, 2014

Opus 2014-79: On the Street: Red Light Day

Getting to work in a metropolitan area is always a challenge.

I used to just go to the freeway and take what came.  Now I have a smart phone and every morning I check Google Maps.  It has a “traffic” button that lets me know how congested the freeways are.  If I see any red I take the streets.  As it works out I only take the freeway about once a week because even at 6:00 A.M. they are socked in.

Tuesday on the streets it was a Red Light Day.  Some days it is like the signals are set just for me.  The traffic is moderate and the people know what they are doing.  Not Tuesday.  The traffic elves were always one intersection ahead of me.  It seemed like they wanted me to stop at every cross street that had a traffic light.  Then they had set the timing so that there were extended waits at each stop. 

It was a long morning.  I got through two Alistair Begg sermons plus a bit of music to fill in the final few moments. 

Retirement really sounds good.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Opus 2014-78: Little Lights of Hope

The good news is that there is occasionally evidence of hope.

We were in Sunday School and on a tangent.  When I teach I love to get on tangents.  Somehow the question was asked about the basic rights in the First Amendment.  Immediately two of the young people began to recite them.  My mouth fell open.

So take a deep breath.  All has not been made right.  Ignorance still abounds.  But there are a few little sparks of light in the twilight of our culture.

Pray that there would be more.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Opus 2014-77: Prayer Lesson

The disciples had a request of Jesus.
(Luk 11:1 KJV)  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
The disciples wanted to be taught.  Jesus gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer.  A longer, more familiar version is found in Matthew 6:9-13.

What is interesting is not what Jesus demonstrates but what he leaves out.  Think about the last pastoral prayer you heard and ask yourself how it compares to the sample Jesus gave.

What are the main concerns of the last prayer you heard?  I would venture to guess that you heard a lot about the sick in the congregation.  You probably heard a lot about the needs and wants of people in the congregation.  You may have heard concerns that were expressed in terms of a political position.

An example that came to mind was praying for the homeless.  Should we pray for the homeless? Yes, but pray for their real needs.  They don’t just need a place to live.  More important is help overcoming the priorities and actions that keep them helpless.  Their real needs are not for a roof tonight but better choices tomorrow. 

The church is better at helping people than social workers.  In addition to the divine aspect we expect people to make choices and change.  If we are following the teaching of Jesus we realize we cannot do it for them.  We also have a more realistic long term motivation.  If social workers as a group became successful they would soon find themselves out of a job.  Churches that are successful find themselves strengthened. 

The same emphasis comes into play whether the need is from illness, financial crisis or salvation.  If someone always makes the wrong decisions they will have disaster in this life and damnation in the next.

Pray with purpose and focus.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Opus 2014-76: Canned Spam

I have noticed certain spam flags. 

First, most of the spam I have bothered to read tries to appeal to my ego.  It starts off by telling me what a wonderful post this was.  It reminds me of something I do in class.  I use flattery as humor to illustrate what a conclusion should be like in their research reports.  I tell the kids this is where they thank the teacher for the chance to write and that the research has opened their eyes to the world around them.  Their lives will forever be better because I made them write this paper.  You get the drift.  Spammers do this seriously.  It can go any direction from that but it tries to get us to believe that we are wonderful.  Not that we aren’t, but really, I am a model of how to make excellent posts?

Second, English skills or shall we say lack of.  I feel like I am reading something written by one of my public school children.  As artificial intelligence improves this will get better but for now it has a long way to go.  I am reminded that the trend in standardized testing in schools is to have the computer do the grading. 

Third, vagueness.  If you read what they say there is no actual reference to anything you said.  Everything is generic praise not a response to you.

Fourth, they always invite you to their website.  That is where they are able to send back to you all kinds of infectious goodies that can ruin your life on line.

So, delete, delete, delete.  You are not really that good and they do not really care.

homo unius libri