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, December 30, 2015

Opus 2015-481: Why Is College So Expensive?

Have you wondered why it is so expensive to go to college?  Take a look at these numbers for private schools:

    Median compensation of chief executives, $436,429 a year
    Number of presidents who make over $1,000,000, 32
    Highest at Columbia University, $4,600,000

Private schools have a right to pay what they want but you might be interested in these numbers next time they hit you up for a donation.

How about public colleges?

    Median compensation of presidents, $428,000
    Highest at Penn State, $1,400,000

Doesn’t it warm your heart to know that your taxes are being used so well.  Think about it next time they want to pass a bond issue for education.

This comes from the Washington Times, National Weekly for December 14, 2015 on page 8.  The Times is quoting something called the Chronicle of Higher Education.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Opus 2015-480: How Can You Disagree with Me?

That is really one of the big questions for me.  I don’t mean about whether you like sausage or pepperoni on your pizza.  I understand that people actually have taste buds that work different.  I understand that you get used to some things.  I know about the comfort of the familiar.  I am more concerned about things like the basic difference between Democrats and Republicans.  I wonder how one person can be a Christian and another a Muslim. 

How can you disagree with me?

I don’t have an answer but today I am going to try to show a false concern when it comes to Christianity at least.  As Christians we are expected to share what we believe and hope that others will also believe.  One of the driving forces is a belief that people simply have not heard the truth.  How can they believe if they have not heard?

My point today is that the problem is not ignorance as much as rejection.  I am rereading a science fiction novel written by Poul Anderson.  I was surprised by some pretty clear statements made by him about what Christians believe.  We sometimes fall for the red herring in the question of how can God send people to Hell who have never heard of Jesus.  Actually they have.  They understand.  They reject.

The novel by Poul Anderson was from twenty years ago.  I remember that I enjoyed him in my youth and thought I would reach for the magic again.  As I was reading I came across the following dialogue.
    “‘On the other hand, the Roman Church in modern times has taken pains to investigate alleged miracles, establish their empirical authenticity.  As Saint Paul did in the beginning’
    “Donaldson waited.
    “‘First Corinthians,’ Dick said.  ‘By now I have the passage memorized.  He realized that the Resurrection is the central fact of Christianity.  If you can believe that a corpse rose from its tomb, walked and talked, ate and drank and lived for forty days, why, then you can swallow anything, ancient prophecy, virgin birth, wedding at Cana, instant cures of leprosy - those are mere detail.  The Resurrection is what matters.  “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”  Paul went to considerable trouble to find eyewitnesses; he names them and lists the reasons for trusting them.’”, p. 41
I would not have been surprised to find this in a story written by a Christian but based on my reading of Anderson I don’t believe he makes that claim.  In the story he proceeds to attack all religions.  He is an equal opportunity attacker.  I quit reading because the story was being lost in his enthusiasm in making an anti-religion rant.  But if you read what he wrote, it shows a clear understanding of basic Christianity.

He goes even further a few lines down,
    “Dick smiled. ‘I suppose.  You must know better than I how much science is taken on faith.  How many crucial experiments have you carried out yourself?’
    “‘Uh-huh.  Or how many theoretical developments have I tracked the math of, step by step?  Precious few.’”
So we have a popular, successful author who expresses clearly the basic foundation of Christianity and an awareness that science if also based on faith.  It does not make a believer out of him.

So, if you are a believer, relax.  Even when people know what we consider the truth it does not make them believe in Jesus.  They have other beliefs.

Keep in mind that some people like liver and onions.  Some people like anchovies on their pizza.  You don’t need to agree or understand, just acknowledge and be able to sit at the same table with courtesy.

Anderson, Poul.  Dialogue with Darkness.  New York:  Tom Doherty Associates, 1985.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Opus 2015-479: Plow and Crown: Dietary Sumptuary Laws

I don’t know if you are familiar with the concept of sumptuary laws.  In many cultures of the past there were laws about what clothing and colors you could wear.  Silks were for one class.  Wool was for another.  The purpose was to make it clear what class you belonged to and keep control of the lesser humans.  One example many are familiar with is Jews being required to wear a yellow star in the Nazi era. 

I was not aware that the need to control went further.  You come across things in strange places.  Montesquieu says,
“Whether it was from a republican spirit, or from. some other particular circumstance, sumptuary laws were made in Aragon, in the middle of the thirteenth century. James the First ordained that neither the king nor any of his subjects should have above two sorts of dishes at a meal, and that each dish should be dressed only one way, except it were game of their own killing.”  (Kindle Highlight Location, 1805-1808)
So it would seem that the need to control your fellow human beings also extended to food.  Does that sound like some of the things we hear coming from the White House?  Have you noticed the health laws about transfats, salt and sugar.  We are still being told what to eat and how to eat it by the Progressive elites that know what is best for us.

Bon Appetit

Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat.  The Spirit of Laws.  Lonang Institute,

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Opus 2015-478: Ode to Old: Stereotype or Generalization

Recently as I met for the final step of my evaluation with my principal, she made a statement about how I might not be open to learning new technology because I am getting close to the end of my time in teaching.  Those are not the exact words but it was a clear example of “ageism”.  I should have been offended, but it was just another opinion from a source I disagree with on almost everything.  No big deal.

But, like so many things, it got me thinking.  Take a general statement that old people don’t like new things.  It is both true and false.  It is both a stereotype and a generalization.  It is an as assumption that correlation makes causation.

Old people, like myself, tend to not fall in love with new things.  The big question is, “Why?”

Fear?  Sometimes. 

Lazy?  Sometimes.

Reduced ability?  Sometimes.

Wisdom and experience.  Usually. 

I don’t need to try every commercial offering that comes down the pike.  I have been around the block a few times.  I know generally what works and what doesn’t.  When I go to a restaurant that I frequent, I don’t need to experiment with new items.  I have already done that.  When I go to a new restaurant I might go with what experience tells me works or I might try something exotic but I will never get the liver and onions no matter how glowing the description.

Young people are in love with the new and different.  Think about the advent of texting and smart phones.  If someone came out with a device that would deliver them where they want to go they would be no danger to the rest of us.  On the highway they are developing cars that drive themselves.  If they came up with a helmet that had radar and a way of directing a teen ager they would buy it in a heart beat.  I have an easier solution:  Watch where you are going.

That is just the Old Fart in me.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 25, 2015

Opus 2015-477: Merry Christmas

Are you one of those people who say a “Bah Humbug!” to Christmas?  Let’s look at some of the reasons.

If you do not celebrate Christmas because you are not a Christian, I salute you for your consistency and honesty.  This would include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and assorted atheists and agnostics.  Since Christmas is the day that the Catholic church decided to celebrate Christ’s Mass in recognition of Jesus’ birth, it would be strange to rejoice in something that you don’t believe.  It would be like me declaring Mohammad’s birthday a national holiday.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas because it is a pagan holiday, you might want to examine other areas of your life for the same consistency.  Maybe you should avoid cooked food since fire was used by pagans to sacrifice their children.  That would make fire a pagan religious symbol.  Or perhaps you should avoid using calendars with pagan names for the days and months.  Perhaps you might want to avoid products with names in foreign languages since you don’t really know what they mean.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas because it has become too commercialized then maybe you should stay away from hospitals for the same reason.  I would also suggest that you not watch TV or go to any web site that has advertisements.  Stop reading newspapers and magazines.  Get rid of all those articles you wear and carry that have logos giving free advertising to a product.

We have a saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”  We have purged our home of all Santa Claus images.  We don’t go into other people’s homes and make a big issue of it.  We are very much aware of what Christmas is about.  And keep in mind that the whole point of the coming of Jesus was the incarnation.  There was a need of a savior.  There was a need of redemption.  There was a need of change.  Think about how Jesus turned Saul into Paul.  He took the nemesis of Christianity and turned him into its greatest advocate.  If God can do that to a member of the Sanhedrin, I think He can do it to a Christmas tree.

But if you disagree with me, I still love you.  Celebrating Christmas is not like the Lord’s Supper.  Jesus did not tell us to do it.  Paul did not put it in with the gifts of the Spirit.  It is not rooted in the calendar like the resurrection.  It is not a means of grace.  It is a celebration.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Opus 2015-476: Big Brother Takes Another Baby Step

Do you travel much?  I fly several times a year and I am growing to hate it more each time.  That is really the ultimate purpose of the TSA, to discourage mobility and isolate us.  It goes along with the subtle ways they are trying to get us out of our cars.

Now a new wrinkle is emerging.  They are starting to take away the option of avoiding the body scanners.  The camels nose is under the tent.  Total compliance is just around the corner.  You can check it out at a site called Slash Gear with a hat tip to Drudge.

If you don’t travel much you may not even think about it.  Airport security has had scanners for years that are designed to detect metal objects.  A few years ago they developed a more advanced design that gives a full body scan.  There have been a lot of headlines about nude pictures and such.  My concern has always been the radiation they put out to do the scan.  The government keeps telling us it is safe but they also tell us they are not listening to our phone calls or reading our e-mails.

So far I have been able to opt out of the radiation scanners.  It requires being frisked like a criminal and searched with no due process or probable cause, but who cares what the Constitution says?  Certainly not our government.  My concern is health, not nude pictures.  I figure if someone gets their thrills by looking at x-ray nudes that is their problem.  If I develop cancer because of their fetish, that is another story.

Now they can make the radiation machine mandatory.  It will start slowly, only suspicious characters will be required to be scanned but keep in mind that the income tax was only going to effect the rich. 

Coming to an airport near you.

Welcome to Amerika.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Opus 2015-475: Ignorance or Irrelevance?

I am constantly shocked at the ignorance of people.  I guess they are shocked by mine.

When I graduated I had read a couple of Shakespeare plays but nothing by Maya Anjelou.  One reason is that she was not writing then.  Another is that no one would have bothered with what she wrote.

I had read Ivanhoe but not The Hunger Games

I had read Lord of the Flies but not Harry Potter.

It isn’t just a matter of timing.  It is also a matter of cultural value.  I have no quarrel with Hunger Games or Harry Potter.  They could be passing fads.  Will they endure?  At this point of time there is no way of knowing.  The reason I doubt it is that they appeal to children who don’t like to read.

It is cultural ignorance that disturbs me.  Recently I ran into a substitute and had a chance to talk a bit with her.  She was an ex L.A. Times writer.  She was working as a substitute to pay the bills while she pursued here dream of making film documentaries.  All that was interesting.  What surprised me was when I referred to sticking your finger in the dike and she gave me a puzzled look.  Evidently she had never heard the story about the little Dutch boy putting his finger in the dike.  I had never before run into anyone before who had not heard the story.  It is not a big deal and my background is not her background but it is like meeting someone who thinks Europe is a country or skin color.

Then I read the blog of a High school student who complains about being forced to learn new words.

We are creating a culture in which comfortable ignorance is the norm.  It is the desired goal.  If you can keep people happy with their phone apps and social media then they will not make trouble in the future.  They won’t realize there is any need to make trouble.  When the government official says we are to ignore the man behind the curtain, we ignore the man behind the curtain.

Welcome to the Nanny State.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Opus 2015-474: Manifest Destiny and Your Future

Manifest Destiny gets a bad rap.  For those who were not paying attention in U.S. History, Manifest Destiny was a belief that God had destined the United States to spread over the entire North American continent.  In today’s Progressive America-hating environment that seems a bit arrogant.

Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if the United States had not continued to expand west?  If the Proclamation of 1763 had held up then the colonists would have never crossed the Appalachian Mountains.  What if the lines drawn after the War of 1812 had remained static?  What if we had never gone beyond the Mississippi?  There were very few Indians in the area.  They would not have been able to hold on to the area against any determined European power.  They had a hard time not being displaced by other Indian tribes.  Who would have filled the void?  What country or countries would have stepped in to dominate the rest of the continent? 
Remember that at one time the northwestern part of what has become the United States was claimed by Great Britain, France, Spain and Russia.  What kind of wars and destruction would have ensued if those countries had not been held in check by a local power?

Does the name Catherine the Great ring any bells?  Have you heard of Napoleon?  These were expansionist leaders in Europe.  One ruled just before 1800 the other just after.  What if their philosophies controlled the new world?

If Spain had dominated you would have had the entire western half of North America with a cultural tradition similar to that of Mexico and Central America.  Mexico has had a steady stream of revolutions and dictators.  Even now there are forces in the Zapata southwest and drug cartels that challenge the central government. 

If France had controlled the area you would have the French influence to deal with.  The poorest parts of Africa were once under French rule.  Southeast Asia felt their heel.  Can you picture a bunch of little warring entities all across the continent? 

Russia has been a country with a ruling elite, Royal or Communist up until the present.  They have not managed to fully settle the land they have. 

That leaves all of the different Indian tribes that were already in place.  Keep in mind that most of them were nomadic and most lived in a constant state of war.  There is very little chance that they would have moved beyond those qualities. 

Maybe the United States was destined to rule the continent.  Maybe, in spite of all the problems it is the best possible outcome.

It certainly seems better than any of the alternatives.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 21, 2015

Opus 2015-473: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 12 of ?, Lack of Justice

We eventually come to the one source of poverty that is so heralded today, injustice.  It does not come through well in the KJV,
(Proverbs 13:23 KJV)  Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
That could be interpreted to mean bad decisions by the farmer.  It is better in the NASB.
(Proverbs 13:23 NAS77)  Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, But it is swept away by injustice.
When you have a legal system that caters to those who can afford the long trials and expensive lawyers, common people get pushed out of the picture.  Think of a recent Supreme Court decision in Kelo v City of New London.  Cities were given the right to condemn any property they want if they think a change will generate more tax revenue for the city.  That is not a legal description, it is a common sense observation.  Think of the family in Colorado who bought an empty lot in the middle of a development and although it was surrounded by completed houses they were told it was wetlands and fined thousands of dollars a day for disturbing the soil on a lot they had legally bought for building a home.

In a free society people can do well if they are willing to work for it.  In Fascism, or crony capitalism as it is sometimes called, those without contacts in government or deep pockets are left in the dust of destitution. 

God condemns such actions.

So, yes, oppression is a source of poverty but keep in mind that most of the time it is being pushed by government collusion with big business or just by people in government who want to help you life right.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Opus 2015-472: Car Control

Gun control.  What is reasonable?  What is tyranny? 

All rational people can agree that mentally ill people and violent criminals should not have guns.  The immediate problems becomes who defines “mentally ill” and what crimes are considered violent.  Again the problem is not between rational people of good will.  The difference it between ordinary citizens and elites trying to keep themselves safe from the ordinary citizen.  Elites don’t worry about crime.  They live in exclusive neighborhoods, have security systems and often armed guards.  They worry about us.  We must be controlled. 

So lets compare guns to cars.  I know that isn’t totally fair because the Constitution does not say anything about cars, but give it a thought.
Cars are registered and the registration is simple.  Cars can be registered to individuals or corporations.  No one is denied the opportunity to buy a car because a car is considered dangerous.

Taxes are levied.  On cars it is in theory to be used for the services offered.  I know that is a fantasy, but that is the logic.  What possible logic could there be to pay an annual tax on a gun except the old saying, “The power to tax is the power to destroy”?

People are held responsible for the use of a car, at least in theory.  Drunk drivers seem to be able to kill people and get away with it.  We have not banned models of cars used in the killing or by bank robbers.  The car is a tool.  People are the tool users.  The biggest difference is that the real control is on the misuse, not the ownership.

Could parallels be used about guns?

After writing this I am more inclined to end registration of cars than push registration of guns.  After all, the environmentalists and progressives want to take away our cars too.  The first because they worship the earth; the second, to keep us from being mobile and free.

Maybe that would be a good plank for the next election.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Opus 2015-471: Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?

I was reading about how Muslim immigrants were asked if they were terrorists as an important part of their vetting.  This silly question is part of all big government mandates.

I have experienced a similar experience.  When I donate a pint of blood they ask me a series of questions about my sexual habits.  They ask things like, “Have you had sex, even once, with someone who is a carrier of HIV?”  The questions are a little bit different each time depending on the latest government regulation or administrative fear of government regulation. 

It is silly.  If I know enough to find the donation center and have given blood as many times as I have, I know that they don’t want blood with HIV.  I know what the risky behaviors are.  If I have come with my wife to donate blood and I have been having a homosexual affair on the side or visiting a hooker, am I going to tell the truth in front of her?

The difference is that they then test my blood to see if I was lying.  As Reagan said, “Trust, but verify”.  At least they tell me they test it.

How do we test the Muslim immigrants to see if they are lying?  That is extra hard because the Koran gives them permission to lie in such a situation.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 18, 2015

Opus 2015-470: Christmas Fear

Panera is living in fear.

I am sitting in the restaurant at breakfast time a few days before Christmas and the first song I hear is Roger Miller singing “King of the Road”.  I enjoy the song but it doesn’t do much for my Christmas spirit.  The songs cycled through.  Not even a secular, “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Jingle Bell Rock”.  The music is very sanitary.

They are probably afraid of a lawsuit.  They are worried that some demented ACLU supporter will take them to court for violating their need for a safe space.

Will I change restaurants?  No.  It is probably the same down the street.  They are not the only ones living in fear.  It is just a sign of the times.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-469: Second Verses: Sin and Salvation

Okay, this is in the third verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
How silently, how silently The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming; But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
You can’t sing real Christmas carols without being reminded that you are a sinner in need of a savior.  It you are ready, so is He.  Of course if you don’t believe in sin this is just a Santa Claus moment for you:  You put up the pictures but don’t really believe.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Opus 2015-468: Immigrant Power

Foreigners buying up our businesses?  Immigrants undercutting our wages?  How Horrible?  No, how American.  The life blood of America has been individuals with dreams and drive coming and applying themselves.  They have been people willing to take risks and work hard.  These are qualities that have been replaced by entitlement mentality and a sense of victimhood. 

I remember years ago I had a job in graduate school.  I was cutting grass in a large development.  One time I jumped in a van and went down to the local convenience store with some guys I worked with.  In the store a man was vigorously stocking shelves.  Evidently he was the manager of the store.  One of my co-workers commented on how hard he worked.  It amazed him that the top dog was doing menial labor.  To him the guy should be sitting back and giving orders.  That is why he will be cutting grass the rest of his life. 

These new Americans have dreams and are putting them into motion.  Do they abide by all the rules and regulations?  Probably not, but neither do you.  Do they take advantage of every loop-hole and opportunity?  Yes.

Blessings on them.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Opus 2015-467: Second Verses: Hark!

Why does the pagan world hate Christmas?  Actually it isn’t total hatred, they are following what is called the Cafeteria Plan.  They pick and choose what they like. 

The secular Christmas includes family, festivities and food.  It rejects the core point of the whole thing:  The Incarnation.

One way that they are able to stifle the great truths of Christmas is by keeping Christmas Carols out of your way.  Christmas Carols, like any other good Christian music, teach doctrine.  Often that is missing in the first verse that everyone has memorized.  I am thinking of sharing some of the “second verses” of Christmas.

Today I was singing along with my personal collection of Christmas music and I found myself singing the second verse of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.  It goes like this.
Christ, by highest heav’n adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Long desired, behold Him come.
Offspring of the Virgin's womb..
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell.
Jesus, our Immanuel!
Notice the theological words used in a common hymn.  We have the Godhead mentioned.  Jesus is called “incarnate” and “Deity”.  And of course we are reminded that He is Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  Adding to the irritation of the church attender and Christian hater are the Lordship of Christ and the virgin birth.

Keep singing those songs.  Take some time to look at the “second verses” even if they are the third or fourth. 

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Opus 2015-466: Discernment Watch: Greedy Thoughts

Modern socialists like presidential candidate Bernie Sanders try to divide the people of America by a mantra aimed at the evil rich.  They harp on greed.  Greed is the problem.  Greed is a disease that can only be cured by taking away all the money of the rich.  It is supposed to be passed on to the poor; the money, not the greed.  What really happens is that the greedy socialists put it in their own pockets.  They know that the poor are not yet ready for that wealth and of course the rich don’t deserve it.  Only the elites, in their infinite wisdom, can handle it.  So they hold it in trust for those of us who are not ready.  How benevolent. 

America’s problem is not the greed of the “have’s” but the envy of the “have not’s”.

We have many of the first and uncounted masses of the second.

Many times what they “have” is really the willingness to work hard and take risks.  The combination of those two qualities often generate wealth.  Because they are successful they are labeled “greedy”.

Three of the Ten Commandments might apply here.  The first is,
(Exodus 20:3 KJV)  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
This is where God starts.  This is at the core of any problems we have.  This is the difference between Christians and culture.  The reality that socialists deny is that God-replacements are a problem for the poor as much as the rich.  Materialism is just more obvious in the rich because they can buy the big toys but it is just as common among the poor.

A second Commandment being ignored is,
(Exodus 20:15 KJV)  Thou shalt not steal.
Modern culture wants to only apply this to the rich.  They assume that if you are wealthy you took it from others.  They believe in zero-sum economics which says there are a set number of dollars and if you have more than someone else you stole them or cheated to get them.  Of course if that were the case then there would be no point in digging more gold out of the ground or growing more food.  The socialists ignore the fact that taking money from one group to give to another group is stealing, no matter which way the money is moving. 

The third is,
(Exodus 20:17 KJV)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
There is a difference between coveting and wanting to better yourself.  Coveting looks at your neighbor and says, “I want yours.”  Betterment says, “I am inspired by your success.  I am going to work to achieve a similar success.”  The socialists seek to rule society by getting the poor to covet the success of the rich without teaching them to work and save in order to achieve the same ends.  It denies people the reward for their hard work and extra effort that generates more hard work and effort.

Obviously some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth.  Obviously some who are at the top have cheated and used government contacts to get their.  What is not obvious is that most of these people have become socialists.  They plan on staying at the top by making it impossible for others to do what they have done.  Their method is government coercion. 

Next time you hear someone complaining about the greedy rich, follow the money.  See what it is that they have to gain by their sermon.  Is it political power?  It is someone else’s wealth?  Is it headlines and notoriety?  And ask yourself how many jobs you have gotten from poor people and how well they paid.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 14, 2015

Opus 2015-465: Control Issues

Gun control.  Why do we need it? 

Most people would agree that we need some laws.  Laws are formal agreements by members of society about what is acceptable and what is necessary.  They are like the rules in a game.  They make sure that everyone can participate with some equality of opportunity.  They make sure that the rules are not set by the people with the biggest muscles and the sharpest swords.  In Monopoly the person who is the Banker is not allowed to make up special rules for Bankers.

Most people would agree that we have too many laws.  At least I think most people would agree with that.  At least they have some area, special to them, that they feel the chains of regulation.  I know that government officials don’t feel that way about how they regulate us but they often exempt themselves from those regulations.

I think that laws should be designed to leave honest, well intentioned people alone.  Let them live their lives.  We need laws against murder.  We do not need a law demanding that you register your intentions not to kill people. 

Gun control is not about the children it is about the adults.  The children are just an excuse.

It is another expression of the Welfare mentality and the Nanny State.  We are children who cannot provide for ourselves.  We need Big Government to protect us and keep us safe.  We will only hurt ourselves if we are left to ourselves.  Think of all the extra costs and restrictions in areas like cars, food, recreation, health, etc. 

We have an election coming.  On the side of the Democrats we have people who want to keep us safe and placid.  On the Republican side we have some of the same and a few that actually believe in free citizens, responsible for their own lives.  Listen to what they say but also look at their records.

Elections matter.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Opus 2015-454: It’s Never Too Late

We had a tardy sweep this week.  It was about as successful as you would expect, considering the leadership philosophy.

First they interrupted the preceding class to announce the tardy sweep.  Then the security people walked around during the break yelling that there would be a tardy sweep.  Then, in the ultimate example of due process, an administrator walked through the halls with a bullhorn yelling there would be a tardy sweep.  I still had five people locked out of my room.

It gets better.  For ten minutes they stood outside my door pounding and acting like the big bad wolf demanding to be let in.  Only when I called the office did someone remember to come up stairs and collect them.

Of the five that were late the lowest number of tardies at that point was 26.  That is clearly stated in the computer and is available to the people who called the tardy sweep.  My question is, “What is the point of a tardy sweep?”  If they can print a report of tardies in seconds, why are they spending hours of people time having tardy sweeps?  Then they don’t seem to do anything about it.

I can only assume that since these people believe that the purpose of school is improving self esteem, they don’t really want to catch anyone.  The self esteem the leadership is really worried about is their own.

Welcome to the results of progressive control of education.  And remember that teachers voted around 85 percent for Barak Obama and a straight Progressive slate.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Opus 2015-453: Election 2016: We Lose the Good Ones

Recently I heard “Suspension of Intellect” yelled from the other room.  From the comments I gather that it was used by Ben Carson.  He is one of my top choices.  My fear is that he will join the list of drop outs and leave behind a too many Rinos.  He seems to be declining in the polls.  Whether that means anything or not, time will tell.

Every election I see it happen.  The Scott Walkers and Bobby Jindals drop out while the Chris Christies, Lindsey Grahams and Mike Huckabees hang in there.  I end up being forced to choose between a socialist fool or my last choice of a Republican.  Bob Dole and Mitt Romney were nice guys and certainly would have made better presidents that what we got.  Even John McCain would have been better.  The problem is that they did not really have a chance.  They were not conservative enough to win.

It is still early.  I could embrace a Ben Carson presidency.  I would prefer a Ted Cruz presidency.  I hope my only choices are not Trump or Hillary in November.

It is getting late.  The conservatives should get together and decide who it should be instead of the continuing ego trips and dreams.  As much as I like Rick Santorum, it is getting to be time to narrow the focus

November is coming and I want a choice, not a lesser of two evils.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 11, 2015

Opus 2015-452: Tending to Gaia

My wife yelled at me from the other room.

Her message was that if I wanted to refute fears about climate change all I needed to do was refer to Psalm 104.  She also acknowledged that it would not have much influence on your garden style pagan.  It should however make a difference to people who claim to believe in Jesus.

I made a note and read through the chapter later.  I found the focal point for those who fear climate change to be verse 4.
(Psalms 104:5 KJV)  Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
This is a statement, not a question. 

This is a statement that God made the world.  He made it in such a way that man will not destroy it.  He made provision for anything we can throw at it.

Does that mean we are to deliberately be destructive?  Are we to use 5,000 year old redwoods for toothpicks?  Are we to use the Grand Canyon for a landfill?  The answers are obvious but let me throw in the responsibility we are given along with the gift.  Two verses,
(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(Genesis 2:15 KJV)  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
We are in charge as stewards and caretakers. 

So don’t be afraid, be responsible.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Opus 2015-451: Does Deodorant Make You Crazy?

How many of our current social problems are side effects? 

As a Christian I believe that the ultimate problem in society is sin.  For today lets go in a different direction.  Many people reject the idea that the problem is innate in human nature and look at the structures of society for the cause of problems.  Today we will pretend that we are on the same page.

How many everyday actions are poisoning our bodies and our minds but we don’t pay any attention?  The change may be so slow we don’t notice it.  It may effect everyone so we have nothing to compare it to.

How many people go through subtle changes in personality due to medications they are taking?  This is more common than we want to admit.  If you have lived with someone who has gone through major surgery you may have wondered about it.  Yes, it is true.  They are not the person they were before.  They have been anaesthetized and altered.  Their nervous system has been messed with.  It makes a difference.  How much of it is permanent and how much will return to normal?  Add to that over-the-counter meds and herbal supplements. 

Education can change behavior.  Sometimes it is for the good, sometimes the bad.  Broader horizons and greater understanding can make you hard to live with.  So can false information and one sided convictions. 

How about food additives?  I am not a zealous believer on this issue.  I think a lot of noise is made by people who have strong opinions and believe they are right even when the evidence is not there.  But on one level it makes sense.  When you add chemicals to food it changes the composition of the food.  It stands to reason that in certain people at certain times it can cause a change.

Perfumes, deodorants and lotions all contain some kinds of chemicals.  For that matter, soap changes the natural bacteria levels of the skin.  I have had reactions to hair spray.  It is too much to assume that this can effect your emotional balance or how you reason?  Think of all the gases I breathe each day in my middle school class.

Does the biannual time change cause depression or hyperactivity?  Does it cause murders or road rage?  It disrupts our daily routine, why not our biological functions?

Once you start looking you can find so many influences on our behavior that it becomes hopeless.

I think I will stay on the theory of original sin.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Opus 2015-450: Beware of statistics.

As I said, I am working through a book about the Rockefellers.  I find that I have a lot of scepticism about the conclusions and choices of information that the authors give because of the irresponsible way they use statistics. 

I came across the following statement about mining conditions in 1913.  It involved a company in which John D., Jr. owned a lot of stock.  The facts are probably accurate but the implications and conclusions made me wonder.
“The miners’ low wages (about $1.68 a day) were paid in scrip redeemable only at company stores charging extortionate prices.  The miners usually lived in small two-room shacks provide by the company at exorbitant rents, and from which they could be evicted on a three-day notice.” p. 108
Obviously we have an issue with the company store.  Tennessee Ernie Ford made the case for that in “Sixteen Tons”.  But for the rest you need to put your brain in gear and think, this is 1913, not last year.  Most people in the country lived in what we today would consider “two-room shacks” or the equivalent.  At that time they would not think they were being persecuted.  My wife thinks our 2,200 square foot house is too small to live in. 

I wondered how the wages of these miners compared to people around them.  I did some searching.  In trying to find out what would be a realistic wage in 1913 you run into a lot of variation.  One source said $3,000 but, after a little research, that was an ignorant writer using the standard deduction the first year of the income tax.  I finally decided to use the numbers for 1910 from some kind of embassy sight.  They seemed realistic and consistent with what I was finding for 1900.
The average for all industries was $574 a year.
The average for government workers was $699 a year
The average for school teachers was $492 a year.
Based on statements that a six day week was normal at that time, a person making $1.68 a day would have an annual income of $524.16. (1.68x6x52).  Although that is a bit less than the average for industry and well below a government worker (some things never change) it was well above what a school teacher could make.

Do school teachers risk their lives every day?  Maybe now, but I doubt it then.  Was it a lot of money?  No, but keep in mind they had no utilities and since the income tax was just beginning, they paid no taxes. 

If you want to use history to make a point at least don’t get sneaky and take advantage of a gullible and ignorant population.

Collier, Peter and Horowitz, David.  The Rockefellers, an American Dynasty
      New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976, p. 108.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Opus 2015-459: Should I Worry about Terrorism?

Yes.  And no.

First put things in perspective.  What was the worst terrorist attack for Americans in history?  The Twin Towers on 911 would need to be a the top of the list.  How many people were killed in that attack? We know of 2,753 plus the other attacks of the day.  Tragic and evil.  Should that make you stay home from your Christmas party?

How many were killed that year in automobile accidents?  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 42,116.  If you take the worst year in terrorist mayhem and do a little math you will find that even in that year you were 15 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than you were from crazy jihadists.  Picture what the ratio would have been in the year only 17 died in terror attacks.

Does that mean that I am afraid to drive?  The answer should be obvious, but for those who went to public school in the last 20 years I will make it clear.  No.

So, no.  I don’t need to “worry” about terrorists.  That doesn’t mean I don’t use common sense.

I do drive with caution.  I look both ways before a cross a street.  A keep checking my six when I am walking in a parking lot.  I try to be aware.  I am concerned about that drunk driver or the person texting.  I am aware that there are thugs and drugies out there.  I will still do my Christmas Shopping.

So, yes.  I “worry” about terrorists.  But it is the type of worry that makes me more alert, not the kind that cripples me.  It makes me watch my surroundings.  I lock my car and my house.  It might make me buy a gun.  It should make me think deeply before I vote.

The danger we face is not climate change it is cultural change.

Wake up, America before something tragic wakes you up.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 7, 2015

Opus 2015-458: A Word to America’s Enemies

Today we have Pearl Harbor Day marked on our calendars.   It is a reminder to loyal Americans and a warning to those who mean us harm.

It is a reminder to be alert.  We need to wake up and realize that there are countries and religions out there that want to conquer or destroy us.  They have fifth columns in the country that want to aid in any way they can.  This would include the resurgent Russian Empire and devout Muslims in many parts of the world.  This would include modern China.  It would include many of the talking heads sitting in the United Nations.  A good question to ask is, “If they are really out to get you, is it really paranoia?”

It is a reminder that the government is authorized to punish evil.  As a country based on Judeo-Christian values we are taught to limit our response personally and let the rule of law deal with the problem.  At the same time the Bible authorizes the government to punish evil.  There comes a point where Americans no longer are patient.  Japan learned the hard way.  Germany learned the hard way.  Both were brought to heel by an aroused America.

It is also a reminder that after the push for justice comes the time of healing.  We often forget this.  Pearl Harbor day should also be a reminder to forgive.

Today Japan and Germany stand as monuments of the American Way.  Historically, defeated nations were further humiliated, destroyed and even sold into slavery.  It often meant what we would label as genocide.  Picture how Europe ignored the pleas of Woodrow Wilson to restore Germany and ended up creating the response that led to World War II.  Consider how Japan treated the Chinese after they had taken over the country.  Instead we stepped back, took a deep breath and began to rebuild those who attacked us.  That is also a message of Pearl Harbor Day.

Maybe Americans that consider themselves wronged by history should remember that.  Some Americans want reparations for slavery.  Some Mexicans, I hesitate to call them Americans, want to change the national boundaries and give the southwest back to Mexico.  Some Americans have demanded, and received, payments for actions against Americans of Japanese decent during World War II.  The list of demands grows.  It is time to grow up and move on. 

Alexander Pope in “An Essay on Criticism” said, “To err is human, to forgive, Divine”.  Historically, how uniquely Christian.  Culturally, how uniquely American.  Or at least it should be.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Opus 2015-457: Ignorant, Stupid or Evil?

I ask this question a lot when dealing with liberals (aka Progressives, Democrats, Rinos, Socialists, Communists, elitists).  I strive to understand where they are coming from but it is hard to not conclude that there are only three possible foundations.  They are either ignorant, stupid or evil.

Lets look again at the media coverage of the recent Muslim terrorist attack in San Bernardino. 

A question that I had not seen answered was, “What kind of rifles were used?”  I wasn’t buying the “assault rifle” mantra of the MSM.  They think a bolt action 22 with a “tactical” black stock is an assault rifle.  It could be ignorance.  That is a factor but if you don’t know, ask, don’t assume.

So I Googled the question this morning.

Let me share the spectrum.

First, from CBS News.  This report was two days old so we might make some allowance for the incomplete information.  They shared that the rifles were purchased and transferred legally.  Factual as far as it went.  In addition, one bit of nonsense that the “reporter” shared was,
“She also said the rifles involved were .223-caliber - powerful enough to pierce the standard protective vest worn by police officers, and some types of ammo can even plow through walls.”
In theory the reporter as quoting an ATF spokeswoman so we don’t know if the ATF or the reporter was uninformed.  Probably both.  It doesn’t take much research to recognize baloney when you smell it.

In response to data provided by the FBI we find,
“Bottom Line: In every test, with the exception of soft body armor, which none of the SMG fired rounds defeated, the .223 penetrated less on average than any of the pistol bullets.”
The dreaded .223 is less dangerous to the police than a pistol.  So why say it is so strong?  Political motive because you are a gun control nut maybe?

The next example comes from a conservative source, PJ Media, and is dated one day old.  This article points out that although the weapons were purchased legally they had been modified in several ways that were illegal.  They were modified in defiance of California law to allow quick change of magazines, large capacity magazines and automatic fire.  The problem was not gun laws but criminal, jihadist minds that ignore the law. 

Then we have another report from the MSM ABC.  The time stamp on this was 21 hours meaning that it was more current than the PJMedia post.  It’s title starts “Everything We Know about the Weapons Used...”  It gives us almost no information about the weapons. 

So we are being condition by the MSM to fear and feel we need more gun laws.  In reality you need to know that California has all the laws in place that the anti gun administration is trying to pass.  They were ignored.  Any new laws will continue to be ignored.

As long as the general, law abiding population is kept from bearing arms, the criminals will continue to strike and up the ante.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Opus 2015-456: Discernment Watch: Enough with the Assault Weapon Jargon

In regard to the recent terrorist attack by Muslims in San Bernardino I keep hearing the words “assault weapons”.  At the same time I noticed that the police chief was very careful to try to qualify it with phrases like “assault type weapons”.

On the radio I was listening to the Armstrong and Getty Show and I heard that the rifles had been purchased legally.  This does not compute.  The process for buying fully automatic weapons makes it almost impossible.  It is not a matter of filling out a few forms and waiting ten days.

“Assault weapons” is a term created by gun control advocates to describe any rifle that they think will scare people.  They have pictures of Bonnie and Clyde hosing people with Thompson sub machine guns.  They had Dillinger taking on he feds.  In real life, it doesn’t work that way.  Even in combat I hear that they are removing the automatic function.  No one can hit anything on automatic.  It is only useful in combat to make the enemy keep their heads down. 

One of the most popular long guns in America is the Ruger 10/22.  It is a semi-automatic that shoots 22 caliber ammunition.  Semi automatic means you can only fire one round at a time but the gun cycles itself to load the next round.  This is a rifle, which is technically a carbine or short rifle, that is a child’s first gun and is a lot of fun shooting at pine cones in the woods.  This child’s first gun can be turned into an official assault weapon by adding cosmetic features like a stock with a handle protruding downward.

They say “assault weapon”.  Have the media actually identified what was used?  Maybe.  I am not keeping up on the latest gossip about the terrorists in their latest gun free zone.  Have they explained that they are the same weapons that millions use to hunt with?  I doubt it.

People of good will and average intelligence need to stop using the term “assault weapon” and call people on it who do.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 4, 2015

Opus 2015-455: The Blessing of Robber Barons

I have begun reading a book about the Rockefeller family.  I don’t know if I will finish, but it is easy to read.

I have noticed how the authors have accepted all the modern socialist mantras about the greed and corruption of the rich.  They focus only on how much money the industrialists made.  They have yet to point out how their efforts provided millions of good jobs and at the same time lowered the cost of living for millions of working people while improving the quality of that life.  All they can see if the wealth accumulated.

I have noticed the parallels between the actions of John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates.  Both were fiercely competitive.  Both drove competitors out of business and took over a large part of the market.  Both provided a product that moved society forward and put better living within the grasp of the masses.  Both were vilified for their success and methods.  Both turned to philanthropy to redeem themselves. 

We owe a lot to men like them.  The elites of the academic world have succeeded in labeling them as “robber barons”.  Historically the true robber barons were local lords who controlled a section of river and would rob people passing by either with armed force or tolls backed by armed force.  They gave nothing in return.  All they did was take.  The result was a decrease in mobility and increased poverty for everyone else. 

In contrast to that the modern “robber barons” have increased the choices and options available to the masses.  They have lowered the cost of items that were once luxuries and put them within the reach of the common man.  An obvious example is the way in which Henry Ford lowered the cost of automobiles so that every working man could afford one.  Thus a working class father had more options of employment.  He now could work twenty miles away instead of within walking distance.  He could live in a pleasant neighborhood instead of next to the factory in crowded apartments.  Ford brought freedom to the downtrodden.  And he got rich in the process.

It is interesting that the socialists of today want to reverse the march of progress and put us back on shoe leather and busses.

Collier, Peter and Horowitz, David.  The Rockefellers, an American Dynasty
     New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Opus 2015-454: December Stress

I am going through a time of great stress.  The details are not important.  It is keeping me knotted up inside.

How do I deal with stress?  Too often I become fixated and spiral downhill.  That should be impossible at this time of year.  It is time to focus on the incredible truths at the foundation of Christmas.  We are celebrating the incarnation, God became man.  The Perfect Lamb of God moved into the world to provide the sacrifice for our sins. 

So I need to take that seriously.  Verses come to mind.  I am sure you know them.  One of everyone’s favorites is,
(Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
That does not work unless you apply it.  Trust is faith.  Trusting is living by faith. 

Am I willing to apply this?  How can I claim to be saved by faith if I do not have the faith to walk daily and trust?

I was looking for the verse in Psalms that contains the words “Be still and know that I am God.”  In my search I came across another verse that had the key phrase
(Mark 4:39 KJV)  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
My seas are choppy.  I am trusting God to not only calm the waves, but calm the heart.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Opus 2015-453: Travel Woes

I have been traveling.  Every time I fly I start wishing that my life was structured in such a way that I could drive everywhere I wanted to go.  I am not afraid of airplanes but I am finding the experience more frustrating every time I must visit an airport.

Getting there is a major issue.  I can get a ride on a van for $21 but this year it required leaving at 2:10 A.M. for a 6:00 flight.  That is sometimes necessary because one time I barely made my flight.  This time I was at the airport by 3:30.  That makes for a long day.

Then you have the TSA.  The lines are insulting.  The process is an assault on my Constitutional liberties.  The TSA people I have dealt with have always been courteous but that does not take away from the fact that there is no probable cause for searching my person.

Then you have the pushy people taking on suitcases that should be checked and cramming them in the overhead thus depriving later passengers space to put their carry-on items.  You also have a growing number of people claiming handicap status with no visible handicap.

The traffic scene is another example of self-esteem gone viral.  The airports I went through were well designed for the amount of traffic but there is no allowance for the sinful nature.  People are totally selfish.  They will pull up and park for long periods of time.  The flow is designed for the traveler to pick up their luggage and call their people.  Then you proceed to the curb and wait for them to swing through to pick you up.  There is plenty of room for that.  There is not room for narcissistic people to line the curbs hoping the person they are picking up will eventually get their luggage and come out.  I have seen people double parked and just sitting while the people who are actually trying to pick up visible travelers can’t get near the curb.

If you are one of those people who have all your family within driving distance, count your blessings.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Opus 2015-452: Religion and Culture: Class Warfare, part 2 of 2

Class exists and has always existed.  Some people have money and culture, others don’t.  Some rise to the top, others remain at a position of impotence.  The European system assumed those qualities were passed by blood.  The American psyche realizes they exist but believes the individual should be judged by their performance, not their parents.

One of the oldest classes was that of slave.  The rejection of slavery was planted by Christianity in Europe.  It took centuries to gain momentum.  It took the Reformation with its distribution of Bibles in the local language for people to understand.  It is hard to repeatedly read about how all are the same in Christ Jesus and continue to believe that some people are better just because of their birth.  When Europe was expanding into the new world slavery became a big issue.  By then it was largely gone from Europe but the kings needed slaves to work their plantations and mines out in the colonies.  The church, Roman Catholic at the time, put out all kinds of declarations condemning the practice.  The kings ignored them. 

Only when the European malcontents got to North America did they manage to break away from the controls of the kings and nobility.  It effected their view of class and was deeply troubled by slavery.  Keep in mind that by the time the Constitution was written slavery had been pretty much banned north of the Ohio river and the Mason Dixon Line.  People forget that.  While half our country was rejecting slavery it was still accepted in most of the world as normal.

American liberals, who are again calling themselves Progressives, are trying to adopt the European attitude toward class structure.  They believe in their hearts that they are wiser and better suited to make our decisions for us and limit our choices.  They truly believe that if the average citizen is given personal freedom they will make harmful choices.  They, being superior, know what is best for us.  This thinking was rejected by the Protestant Christians who formed this country.  It is being reinstated by the elites who want a nanny state.

They want to do for the rest of the country what they have managed to do for the black underclass.  They want everyone to be dependent on government.  With the “help” the government gives come the strings that are simply a gentle form of chains. 

It makes a difference what you believe about God, human nature and salvation.  It is no coincidence that the decline in personal freedom goes along with a decrease in Bible centered churches.

Will we become like Europe?  Do you care as long as you have Monday Night Football and the latest smart phone?

homo unius libri

Monday, November 30, 2015

Opus 2015-451: Religion and Culture: Class Warfare, part 1 of 2

Look at the concepts of freedom that we Americans have.  At the core of any discussion is the phrase from the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  One of the strange things about Americans is we have this built in default setting that all people put their pants on one leg at a time.

This was a strange way of thinking in the 18th century.  It was the result of a struggle in England between two forms of church government.  One was hierarchical and the other was democratic.  One saw Bishops and Kings as appointed by God to keep us in line.  The other believed that the ground was level at the foot of the cross and we are all sinners, saved by grace.  One believed that those without the anointing should know their place and mind their manners.  The other believed that each person was responsible to God for their actions.  It was the second that fueled the Great Awakening in America and led to the idea that “all men are created equal.”

This strangeness is still demonstrated when we compare America to Europe.  Most European countries have a history of class consciousness.  All have had nobility and most, royalty.  Americans think it is kind of cool.  What Americans do not understand about this is the way it is built into the genes of Europeans.  They have a built in belief that some people are better than others based on blood lines.  It is not only the Divine Right of Kings but the Divine Right of the Elite.  One class becomes officers.  The other classes become enlisted men.  One class runs the country.  The other classes do what they are told.  One class wears silk, the other is confined to wool.  We talk about a glass ceiling, in Europe they had a class, or blood, ceiling.  This has been foreign to American thinking.  This is one of the reasons that so many of us were angry when President Obama repeatedly bowed to foreign kings.  Americans do not bow to blue blood.

Move beyond Europe to the pagan and Muslim cultures of the world.  Whatever their other differences, you see a rejection of the concept of equality before the law.  Certain people are expected to get special treatment.  Rigid class lines are common.  Upward mobility is not even on the table.  The only places where this bends at bit is where the American influence has been strong. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Opus 2015-450: Computer Myths in Education: Myth 3

Myth 3.  Computers are preparing students for the future. 

Maybe so, but it is the future of being ignorant consumers, not creative producers.  Large numbers of students want to major in computers in college.  The reason is that they think they will be able to play computer games all day.  They don’t want to learn all the math and logic that is behind the programming.  They all want to be on the team that tests the new games.  It is a very limited field that can be filled by sixth graders.

When you have a machine that corrects your spelling and grammar, that decides what areas to search on the internet, that gives away your private information through programing back doors, that allows the government to spy on you without you knowing, you are certainly preparing students for a future but not one I want to see.

One of the mantras that I keep hearing in regard to Common Core Curriculum is that we are preparing students with 21st century skills for jobs that don’t exist yet.  It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that the only way to prepare students for new skills is to make them competent in old skills. 

Prepare students for the future by teaching them the basics, the ones that were around before computers.

homo unius libri

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Opus 2015-449: Computer Myths in Education: Myth 2

Myth 2.  Computers are fun.

Games are fun.  Fun is fun.  Computers can do those very well but that does not mean they can teach.  If computers were as much fun as claimed then you would not need to buy a steady string of new games to play on them.  Ultimately the fun runs out and the work begins.  When we had our first fling with computer education we had a program that was supposed to teach reading skills.  It has some fun graphics and animated cartoon characters.  For the first day the kids were focused and alert.  The problem began the second day.  No computer guru came in over night and loaded new graphics and characters.  By the second day the students had already learned what the responses would be and were tuning out. 

Over a period of time I was able to watch my students’ reading scores decline.  As the old saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  The students are not going to be tricked into learning more than once.  Then the game for them is to keep from learning.  They usually win.

Big cardboard boxes are fun too, but no serious person has proposed that we equip class rooms with them, at least to teach English and math skills.  Actually that might be better than computers.  They would at least encourage thinking “outside the box.”  Sorry.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, November 27, 2015

Opus 2015-448: Computer Myths in Education: Myth 1

One major reason why students are not getting an education is the advent of computers.  Computers and education are shackled by some myths.  Let me suggest a few.

Myth 1.  Computers are smart. 

Computers are not smart.  They are programed by people who try to guess at all the possible outcomes and get the computer to search for them.  A good example of this is the spell check.  Have you ever had the experience of trying to find the correct spelling for a word and the computer acts like it doesn’t exist?  I frequently am forced to turn to my old dictionary to find the right spelling for a word.  The problem is that the programers did not put it into the data base.  For a specific example, type in the initials NT and OT in your word processor.  On all my computers NT is recognized because it matches up with a Microsoft product.  OT is not because it is a religious concept.  Then you have the differences of opinion between my computer spell check and my blog spell check.  Computers have three advantages.  They are fast.  They do not forget.  They do not get tired. 

They are also stupid.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-247: New Term: Blessgiving Day

We have Thanksgiving Day.  Should be also have a Blessgiving Day?

There is a difference.  Thanks focuses on our feelings of gratitude.  It is usually something that is a response to good done to us or for us.  It is a good thing and there isn’t enough of it.

Blessing in the Bible is a word that comes from the Greek for good words.  We get our English word eulogy from it.  That is where someone will say a bunch of good things about the deceased.  When we bless God we do not wish good things on Him, we say good things about Him.  Praise might be a synonym.

So Thanksgiving could be a day when believers are grateful for what God has done.  Blessgiving could be a day where we praise Him for what He is.

It would be hard to get it on next years calendar at this point.

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Opus 2015-246: Thanksgiving Blessings

How many First World Problems do you have?

Our air conditioning has gone out.  It happened in the fall and by the time it can be fixed we will have the money to fix it. 

Then the heater stopped working.  We got it fixed for about $75. 

Thanksgiving blessings.

Skin cancer has reared its ugly head.  We found it early in each case and we still have insurance that lets us keep our doctors if we want them.

Thanksgiving blessings.

I have not had a significant raise in ten years but my head is still above water and I am still employed. 

Thanksgiving blessings.

Take the time to look around the world and look around your world.  If you live in America you are blessed.  I trust you can be thankful today.

Thanksgiving Blessings.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Opus 2015-245: What are you?

Have you ever been asked that question?  It has come up exactly like that in my classes many times.  I always act like I don’t know what they mean.  I will respond with something like, “What am I?  What do you mean, ‘What am I?’”  The question is what race am I.  The answer is rather obvious but I always answer, “I belong to the human race.”

Middle school students are never satisfied with that answer, but then there is little they are satisfied with.  I wish society as a whole would be satisfied to hear it.

If you have been outside of your own home recently you have probably seen someone play the race card.  If you pay attention to Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Eric Holder and Barak Obama you have seen race hustling taken to new levels.  Everything they see and do is filtered through the desire to divide the country and give them more power.

That has to start with us.  So figure out what you are.

I am, in order of importance,
A disciple of Jesus Christ
A member of the human race
A husband and father
An American
A Conservative
I am sure I could add many more categories and divide these into nuances but I think that is good enough for today.  At the same time think about all the classifications that are not on the list.

What are you?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Opus 2015-244: Shake on It

We were visiting a church while out of town.  On the whole it was better than average but it was still clinging to the ridiculous custom of forgetting we were there to worship God.  By that I mean we stopped worship to shake hands with all the people around us.  I often wonder how many people who have not had time to talk to each other all week are now acting like they care.  Sorry, just one of my many hangups.

When we have theses moments I am always struck by how many people don’t have a clue to shaking hands.  Why do they grab just my fingers and give them a squeeze?  Is it a position of power that shows they are in charge?  Is it a position of weakness because they are afraid I will hurt them?  I find it strange.

But then I find a lot of things strange and am found strange by a lot of things.

homo unius libri

Monday, November 23, 2015

Opus 2015-243: Sword Time

Should Christians get upset if the French government takes strong measures to deal with the acts of terrorism it has suffered?  I think there is a lot of confusion both in Christian ranks and those who have benefitted from the culture that was built on Christian values.  I have written about turning the other cheek.  One truth that must be realized is that the reason individuals can turn the other cheek is because the government is established by God to deal with the big issues.  Consider,
(Romans 13:3-4 KJV)  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
The government has a responsibility to not turn the other cheek.  If you read the different parts of the Bible that deal with breaking the law and sin you find that there are strict punishments that are to be interpreted with common sense and mercy.  Thus, adultery was to be punished by stoning but Jesus said two things.  First,
(John 8:7 KJV)  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
That was for the hypocrites that were out for blood, not justice. 

In the same spirit of hypocrisy, those who want to excuse their own sin fail to continue quoting what Jesus was saying.  He didn’t just say, “Be cool”.  His final words to the woman, after the hypocrites had slithered away was,
(John 8:11 KJV)  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
He commanded a change in behavior.

In the case of cultural evil and socially destructive behavior the government is to step in and do its job, not just write in the sand.  That means that the French have a responsibility to use the sword against the murderers who are seeking them out.  The same applies to the American government and any other government that is charged with protecting its people.  Military force is ordained by God.  The police are part of his plan. 

Obviously enforcing the law by punishing evil can be abused but it cannot be ignored, at least if you want to survive.  You cannot continue to chop away at the values and principles that built a prosperous and free society and expect the prosperity and liberty to continue to exist. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Opus 2015-242: Why?

I assume that across this country atheists and agnostics will celebrate Thanksgiving?  Why?

Thanks requires an object.    Do you thank a stop light for changing color?  You don’t thank a stone for not tripping you.  That would be as silly as cussing it out when you stub your toe.  But then, I guess we do that, don’t we?  That may be why people call it Turkey Day.  At least they can thank the turkey. 

People who believe in God have a reason to be thankful.  Better, we have a person to thank.  We should do it more often and with greater sincerity.  This day is to remind us.

I hope you have something to celebrate.

homo unius libri

Friday, November 20, 2015

Opus 2015-241: A Russian Army in America?

You pick up tidbits of history in the strangest places. 

I have been reading a biography of Catherine the Great of Russia.  At school I am covering the American Revolution and we talked about the crossing of the Delaware and the capture of the German Hessian troops.  At that time I came across this in a history of Russia.
“In the summer of 1775, King George III of England requested the loan - the rental, actually - of Russian troops to fight in America against his rebellious colonial subjects....
    “Soon, the British government was more specific.  What was wanted was a Russian force of twenty thousand infantry and one thousand Cossack cavalry, for which Britain was prepare to meet all expenses....” page 434
We all know about the Hessians.  Different sources put the numbers differently.  I saw from 12,000 to 30,000.  It may be that it was 12,000 at a time.  I had never heard about how close we were to having a Russian army on our shores.

Would it have changed the outcome?

Massie, Robert K.  Catherine the Great.  New York:  Random House, 2011.

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Opus 2015-440: Basic Beliefs: The Other Cheek, part 4 of 4

The full witness of scripture and the example of Jesus help us understand what it means to turn the other cheek.  Third is the amount of selfishness I am surrounded by. 

Sin is real.  The sinful nature is real.  People are not ruled by an inner desire for peace and prosperity.  They are controlled by a desire for self-gratification.  It is amazing how many people look on peace makers as raw meat.  When you turn the other cheek they see it as a mark of weakness instead obedience to a Jesus Principle.  From that point on you become their favorite victim. 

I am not a fan of the big push against bullying in our schools.  It is not based on Christian values.  It is simply part of the Nanny State trying to smooth the waters and silence the opposition to the Homosexual agenda.  The LBGTQ political machine is at the root of much of it.  At the same time, bullies exist.  They tend to have one thing in common:  They are cowards looking for wounded prey.  I tend to think of them as the jackals or hyenas of our human world.  They avoid strength and genuine confrontation.  Their specialty is to feed on the weak and helpless.  They love to run into people who turn the other cheek.  It is like having an “Everything Free Day” at Nordstrom.  Get a cart and load up.

I think that the principle is more in the little things than in personal defense.  It is an attitude that goes along with the standard of putting others first.  This is expressed many ways in the scripture.  One of my favorites it,
(Philippians 2:3 KJV)  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
I don’t know about you but I have been around people who love to nit pick and demean.  They seem to be looking for chinks in your armor so that they can pull you down.  Our temptation is to respond to them on the same level.  If they say we can’t sing we want to point out they can’t dance, so to speak.  This is the daily living level where the principle is to be applied.  This is where the love of Christ controls us.  This is where we turn the other cheek.

We want to get angry.  We want to defend ourselves.  We want to win.  That is natural.  That can also be sin.

The testimony of the entire scripture is that there are times to step up and confront evil.  Think of Moses and Pharaoh.  Think of David and Goliath.  Think of Peter and the Jewish leaders.  For that matter think of Paul confronting Peter in Galatians.  The principle still applies.  When we confront evil it is not to dominate or to win for ourselves.  It is to be a tool of God.  It is to serve and protect others.  It is to be done in humility and love.

Sometimes truth is not easy.  Actually, often truth is not easy.  But it is still truth.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Opus 2015-439: Basic Beliefs: The Other Cheek, part 3 of 4

The first material to be considered in understanding the teaching on turning the other cheek was the rest of scripture.  No verse stands in isolation as a game changer.  The second point is the example of Jesus.

Jesus had numerous conflicts with different Jewish leaders.  We hear about the Pharisees, but they were not alone in opposition to Jesus.  Did He lower His eyes and humbly submit to their verbal attacks?  Not on your life.  He poured water on their puny flames.  He poked holes in their thin arguments.  He tore down their legalistic walls.  He did not turn the other cheek or go the extra mile.

Picture how heated it must have gotten. 
(John 8:59 KJV)  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
This is not exactly what we would call turning the other cheek yet we must believe that Jesus practiced what He preached.  Of course when it came time to go to the cross, He turned the other cheek and went quietly along.

Yet even in the process of moving toward the crucifixion He did not play dumb and humble.  When Pilate tried to talk to Him, He talked right back.  Read through John 18 for some strong dialogue. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Opus 2015-438: Basic Beliefs: The Other Cheek, part 2 of 4

You need to consider all of scripture before you make a point of doctrine or draw a line in the sand.  Everyone is familiar with the words of Jesus when he sent out the twelve to preach.
(Luke 9:3 KJV)  And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
And He repeated it in the next chapter when He sent out seventy.
(Luke 10:4 KJV)  Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
Most people who broadcast those verses will not mention what Jesus said at the end of His ministry, just before the crucifixion. 
(Luke 22:35-36 KJV)  And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
The situation changed.  The instructions changed.  The basic principles were the same.  They still had two cheeks but now they also had a sword.  Interesting.  Complicated.  I don’t think the swords were just for opening letters.  And keep in mind that in the spirit of modern liberals the Romans had assault-sword bans that prohibited the possession of swords by non-Romans.  If you are going to ban swords based on chapters 9 and 10 then you will also need to ban cash, shoes food and an extra coat.

Then consider the often repeated call to reprove and rebuke.  In fact, one of the spiritual gifts, exhortation, involves those as well and encouraging.  How can you correct someone if all you do is turn the other cheek?

I don’t ask these questions as someone who is constantly getting into fights to defend my honor but as someone who is constantly biting my tongue and walking away.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Opus 2015-437: Discernment Watch: Just Wondering

I am wondering if all of the places in Paris that the Muslim terrorists massacred, or tried to massacre, people were “Gun Free Zones.”

Remember that when they tried the same tactic in Texas, terrorists jumping out of cars firing AK-47's, an off duty cop with a hand gun stopped the nonsense. 

Viva la difference.  Keep in mind that terrorists are religious bullies and thus generally in a class of coward that only goes for a sure thing.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-436: Koran Klarifications: Why Paris Is Business As Usual

What a difference one vowel make.

You have certain characteristics at the core of certain religions.  Some are only of casual interest to outsiders, such as requiring a man to wear a turban as Sikhs do or the observation that Buddhist monks wear orange.  Others are defining.  One of the defining differences between Christians and Muslims is found in the one letter difference between prescribe and proscribe.  When I was editing the previous post, the word “proscribed” jumped out at me.  I touched on it in a previous post, but it bears revisiting.

Christians are proscribed from taking vengeance.  It is forbidden.
(Romans 12:19 KJV)  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
For Muslims, however, it is prescribed.  It is required.
“O believers! retaliation for bloodshedding is prescribed to you: the free man for the free, and the slave for the slave, and the woman for the woman: but he to whom his brother shall make any remission,68 is to be dealt with equitably; and to him should he pay a fine with liberality.” Sura 2, “The Cow” (verse 178)
Christianity expects the government to deal with evil.  Islam expects every believer to seek vengeance.  And evil in Islam includes anyone who believes different from you.  So when we have hundreds massacred by Muslims yelling “Allah is great” in Arabic and calling the murders repayment in part for attacking Syria, there is nothing out of line with that.  It is at the core of what so many foolishly call a “religion of peace”.

Expect more of the same.

All Koran quotes are from the translation by Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A. provided by the Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-435: Basic Beliefs: The Other Cheek, part 1 of 4

One of the Biblical teachings I have struggled with all my life is turning the other cheek.
(Matthew 5:39 KJV)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
It is seems clear and is followed by other verses that expand on the principle.  I can see how this kind of attitude is what makes Christians different from the world.  We are supposed to have an attitude of forgiveness and non-retaliation.  The first is required; the second, proscribed.  This makes it possible for people of many opinions to live together in peace.  When I was rear-ended on the freeway the other day I did not jump out cussing and start swinging.  It might be the way many people react, but it is not the Christian way.

I get it.  I apply it every day but three things complicate the application for me. 

First, there are other verses which need to be considered.  When you read and apply the Bible there are very few verses that stand in isolation.  Each verse is to be considered as a part of the whole.  Rarely do verses stand alone.  Other verses tend to move “turning the other cheek” towards a principle rather than a law. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Opus 2015-434: Ode to Old: At Any Age

I was in my car heading out of the parking lot.  A man started waving at me.  When he pointed at the top of my car, I got the message.  I had left coffee cup sitting on the roof.  I know that has never happened to you.  I put it in the column marked “getting old” and moved on.

As I drove I journeyed down memory lane.  One that stood out blind sided me in my 20's.  I got a call one night from someone who asked me if I had lost a Bible.  Evidently I had put it on top of the car as I was loading and forgot about it. 

That was in my 20's.  Either I have always been old or forgetting things is part of the human condition. 

homo unius libri

Friday, November 13, 2015

Opus 2015-433: Chairman Mao Wants You

I was flipping through the stats on my blog and noticed something interesting.  At this point I have about 90,000 pageviews.  That is not what got my attention.  What I found interesting is that one post had 20,000.  Spambots are awesome, and persistent.  If I could find out what attracts them to that post I could become the internet king overnight.

That in itself was not what I really found interesting.  What got my attention was that when I clicked on “all time” three countries stood out as sources.  China, Russia and Brazil with China being the darkest of the three.  When I click on “month” China disappears but Russia and Brazil remain with Russia darkest. 

When you hear about how China and Russia are working hard on cyber attacks you might like to understand that you are also a target of those attacks.  It isn’t just the government they are after.  They want access to everyone and that means you.

You might redo that war time poster that says, “Uncle Sam wants you” and replace it with one saying “Chairman Mao wants you.”

Keep your firewall up.

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Opus 2015-432: Religion and Culture: Sacred Cows

I don’t know if you have ever heard the expression, “That is a sacred cow”.  The meaning is similar to the expression “third rail”.  Danger:  Don’t touch.

“Sacred Cow” is a term from the Hindu religion.  Reincarnation gives the Hindus of India a different view of the place of animals.  For some reason they believe that certain types of cows are not to be interfered with.  If they are in your garden, eating the food you have raised to feed your children, you are not even allowed chase them away.  It is one of the reasons why there has been so much poverty and hunger in India over the years.

We see a current example of this on Yahoo News, which was linked from Drudge.

Mobs of vigilantes are stopping trucks in the middle of the night to make sure that they are not hauling cows.  The drivers have reason to fear for their lives.  A member of the Cow Protection Squad is quoted as saying, "My heart beats only for my dear cow mother."  Most of the deaths mentioned seem to be Muslims killed by Hindus. 

I am still waiting for the reports of Baptists killing Episcopalians because they baptize infants.

It is a different world but one that could come to your neighborhood in the future.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-431: Goal A, part 2 of 2

When I finally admitted to myself that I had diabetes, I got serious about dealing with it.  I lost a significant amount of weight.  Many of you have been there.  I always say losing weight is easy.  Now I am trying to keep it off.  That is the hard part.  Most of us with weight problems have lost thousands of pounds over our lifetime.  Then we gain it all back, and more.

The problem I continued to have was that I fixated on the weight loss and forgot the real goal:  Being healthy.  Since I have diabetes that might be expressed better as being healthier.  That requires keeping the weight off.  That requires control of my eating.  Self control, no gimmick or pre-packaged commercial program supplies that key element.

There is a difference between a goal and a side effect.  If we focus on the side effect we will never reach our Goal A.  If I focus on weight loss I can feel good half the time and in the other half return to the same bloated condition.  If I focus on how my clothes fit I can always fool myself with different cuts and styles.  When I first started dealing with my diabetes I was told to count carbohydrates.  I counted and had victory... over my carbohydrates.  It did nothing for my diabetes because it did nothing about my weight.  Being the clever sort, I realized that I could pig out on cheese and bacon and still be following the rules.  They don’t have carbs but they do have calories.

In education we see the same thing.  We have the wrong goals.  We talk rigor and high standards.  We practice self esteem and feelings.  This is probably why the group with the highest math scores are the ones with the lowest self esteem scores.

Spiritually it boils down to,
(Matthew 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Spend some time asking yourself what Goal A is for you.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Opus 2015-430: Discernment Watch: Redefining Privilege

Can it be true?  Is the central figure in the Mizzou protest against white privilege really from a family of millionaires? 

I saw the link on Instapundit.  It was hard to accept without investigations.  One of the things I am trying to teach my students about research on the internet is to follow a story to its source so you can evaluate how reliable it is.  For instance, consider the Ben Carson “scandal” about West Point.  Once I saw it came from Politico I knew I could ignore it. 

So I clicked on the link.

That lead me to the Gateway Pundit.  I would accept that as reliable but because they are conservative I would not use them as a source for doubters.  Like a good reporter on the internet, they gave a link to their source.

That led me to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.  Being MSM, I would not consider them unbiased.  I don’t read the paper enough to know but I would assume they maintain a left leaning editorial policy.  It doesn’t matter, they are MSM.  If you would not accept Instapundit or Gateway Pundit because they lean right, you should accept the Post-Dispatch because it leans left.  The quotes are accurate.  According the the Post-Dispatch, Jonathan Butler’s father’s “ 2014 compensation was $8.4 million, according to regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

This is the poster child to protest white privilege.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-429: Goal A, part 1 of 2

It seems almost impossible for people to set clear goals and achieve them. 

Years ago my wife and I went to seminar on time management and I read several books on the subject.  One of the key principles that they emphasized was understanding what your end goal was and why you wanted to reach it.  It is harder than it sounds.  Everyone who teaches on planning has some words that are interchangeable but represent concepts you need to understand.  The words can be goals, objects, targets, benchmarks.  Every guru defines them different.

For simplicity lets call them all goals but have levels.  At the top it Goal A.  This is your Ultimate Goal.  Below it you would have level B goals, B1, B2, B3, etc.  Below each of those you would have level C so that you could have goal C1a, C1b and C1c under B1.  Under B2 you would have C2a, C2b and C2c.  If you have the right kind of personality you can make beautiful charts and graphs that will take all you time and keep you from achieving Goal A.  You are officially OCD.

People come up with some great ideas.  Everyone likes them.  Enthusiasm builds until someone asks, “What does this have to do with reaching Goal A?”  I think I mentioned this before, but I had a district official come into my class and ask what my students were doing.  In the explanation I mentioned reading comprehension.  He lit up with joy.  He knew that term.  He did not have a clue to what it meant but he remembered hearing it somewhere.  He proceeded to tell me that the students should be sitting in groups reading to each other instead of each one working alone out of the book.  They should be interacting and feeling good about what they were doing.  I concede that would be more fun but my question was “How would that teach them reading comprehension?”  We had different Goal A’s.  Mine was reading comprehension.  His was self-esteem.  His was to feel good.  Mine was to have something to feel good about.

It is important to know what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.  Basics in planning are overlooked.  As a result things go from bad to worse.  We get distracted by side effects and forget what we were doing in the first place.

To be continued...

homo unius libri