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.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Opus 2015-113: You Get What You Pay For

Why will many in the upcoming generation have nothing in life?  They have been taught that they have no responsibility.  They expect someone else to pay the bills and they get to chase the thrills.

So they waste and destroy.  For instance, when I get sick enough to do a lot of nose blowing I will bring a box of tissue, put it on the desk and share it with the class.  It doesn’t last long because selected students come up and grab three or four tissues just to wipe one nose or a handful to wipe a sweaty forehead.  They are not paying for it so what do they care.  I suggest that they could bring some but in the last 25 years I have seen about three boxes of tissues supplied by students.

One year I bought an electric pencil sharpener for the class to use.  After a few days it broke.  I was able to fix it but a few days later it broke again.  I took it back and got a replacement.  In a few days it broke the same way.  I fixed it and began to observe.  I soon realized that it broke after a certain boy used it.  I watched him push and jerk his pencil in a very precise way.  The sharpener was jammed.  Needless to say, I did not bother replacing it. 

Trash is to be thrown on the floor.  I have spent time getting them to clean up and what they would do is save up there little pieces of paper, put it inside the cover of their book and watch me as they left the room.  When I wasn’t looking they would dump the bits on the floor.

They demand clean, new books and proceed to write all kinds of filth and draw phallic symbols on every open spot. 

There are a few that resist but the numbers of parasites seems to grow every year.  In a few years they will be the ones who are expected to keep society going.  Some will change.  Most won’t.

Happy future.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Opus 2015-112: The Majority

The majority is not always right.  That is one of the reasons that the Founding Fathers of America set up a government with checks and balances that protected minority groups.  Sheep and cattle run in herds.  Fish have their schools.  Geese have their gaggles. 

As comforting as it is to be part of a group we are ultimately responsible for our decisions.  Because of human nature we often, if not usually, make the choices that are selfish, short sighted and downright wrong. 

That is why Jesus said,
(Matthew 7:13-14 NAS77)  Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
One of the discouraging things about the straight and narrow is that there will be plenty of room.  It will not be crowded, which means that it can be lonely.  It also means that those on that road must watch as the masses destroy themselves.

Are you looking for hope?  Are you happy about the way society is going?  Are you content being part of the problem or would you rather be part of the solution?

The narrow road waits.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Opus 2015-111: Headlines: Fracking Comes to Nepal

I am sure you have heard about the earthquake in Nepal.  The Guardian gives a summery.

We are looking at real tragedy.  It happens.  In scanning through the article it is clear that if the country had implemented modern building codes and the economy had allowed people to follow them the death toll would be much lower.  I was glad to read that international aid is being flown in.  This is where all these agencies that have been begging for our money can step up and give out.

Two observations.

First, there seems to be a lot of complaining that their government is not doing enough.  At the same time it says that traffic is getting congested again and the street vendors are back on the job.  Why is it that people expect the government to bail them out?  If my memory serves me correctly the president and the press core were partying in Washington D.C. while Baltimore is going up in flames.  Maybe they offered a toast to the “demonstrators” and wished them luck.

Second, I am assuming that this earthquake is a result of fracking.  You can see the connection being made by John Stewart’s insight into the Oklahoma earthquakes.  You know John Stewart.  You thought he was a comedian and left wing attack dog.  It turns out he is really a scientist.  It should not take him and the progressives who hate common people having the freedom of transportation long to tie this Asian tragedy to the greedy oil companies.

Pray for the people of Nepal.  Look for an agency to donate to that does not skim off most of the money for big executive salaries.

Be grateful you live in America.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-110: Ignorance to the Right of Me, Ignorance to the Left of Me...

It was an amazing example of why so many people are so ignorant.

We were sitting in church and came to the moment when we began to sing as a congregation.  The woman beside me looked totally confused.  Why?  Because we began singing on verse 4.

You might think that would justify some confusion but consider a few details.  First, the order of worship made a very clear statement, in print, that we would only sing verse 4.  Second, the pastor had just given a clear explanation of how and why we were only singing verse 4.

I assume the woman had at least average intelligence.  I assume her hearing was good.  In spite of that she did not have a clue.

Some people can’t find their pen when it is in their hand.  So when students tell me I didn’t tell them about a quiz or we never covered the material on the quiz they are in good company.

Ignorance is neglecting to stock the shelves.  Stupid is having no shelves to stock.  Take your pick.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 27, 2015

Opus 2015-109: Smart TV vs Smart Person

I could sense I was in trouble as soon as I turned the TV on.

It was a new TV that my wife had just purchased.  Since she was never able to program a VCR and still can’t figure out how to cut and paste, it falls to me to open the box, pull out the pieces and make it work.  I didn’t mind changing diapers.  I hate dealing with other people’s technology.

I got the parts together and plugged it in.  I pressed the TV button on the remote and, wait for it, keep waiting.  Still waiting.  Eventually I was greeted by the words “Smart TV”.  I knew I was in trouble.  I went back to the instructions and all it told me to do was follow the directions on the screen.  Thanks a lot.

I long for the days when you could take something out of the box, plug it in and turn it on.  There was no confusion of who was owner and what was object.  Now it is a process of jumping through hoops and making choices with consequences you can only guess at.

I started off trying to set it up with its smartness engaged.  That involved getting out my computer and seeking through file after file looking for IP addresses and other nonsense that my geek son thrives on but are pointless to me.  Then I had to try to remember the password he had created.  After many tries and much frustration I had contact.  It saw my wi-fi network and we were good to go.  Then they brought out the legalese.  I got about a fourth of the way through.  I understood that the government could demand information.  I wasn’t good with it, but I understood.  I understood that they wanted me to take responsibility for anything that went wrong.  I also understood that they wanted me to give them information and trust them with it.  I backed out, went back to the first screen, realized I could set it up just as a TV and went that route. 

It still took a lot of time trying to get all the channels to work and such but it is functioning as close to a normal TV as is possible.  Unfortunately my wife likes to push buttons on the remote control without putting on her glasses.   This means I am constantly being called in to figure out what she pushed and how to fix it.

Someone once said “any fool can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer”.  That goes double for “smart” TV.

Give me a book.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Opus 2015-108: Firsts: Why Is the Toaster Upside Down?

I went a few days before I even noticed and a few more days before I began to wonder.  Why is the toaster sitting on the counter unplugged and upside down?  Eventually I asked.

Did you know that toasters have a special trap door on the bottom for emptying out crumbs?  What a marvel of technology.  I guess there is the possibility that a toaster may last long enough that the bread crumbs will pile up high enough to start a fire and ruin your life.  Who would have guessed it?  If I had guessed it I would have thought that the obvious solution would be to turn it over and shake it so that the excess material would fall out.

Not so.  There is a special opening in the bottom for this important task.  The problem is that my wife, who was aware of this innovation, went too far in her enthusiasm.  She removed the swinging plate completely.  She probably wanted to scrub it and make sure it was clean.  Then she could not get it back on. 

So it sat there on the counter.  Eventually she shared this “fail” in her life and implied that as the man of the house it was my job to heal the toaster.  Since I was not in a spiritual mood I did not lay my hands on it and cry, “Be healed!”  She would not have thought it was funny anyway.

Being a man I started by examining the pieces and trying to see the logic of how it worked.  I then proceeded to put it back together.  Time elapsed, about two minutes, plus the several days it sat there in an embarrassing position.

I am thinking of opening a toaster repair shop but it might be a little early in my career for that.  Meanwhile, my man-card is still active.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 24, 2015

Opus 2015-107: Ode to Old: Sunshine

I usually don’t notice my face.

I don’t know if it is a defense mechanism or if I really don’t care what I look like.  I generally look at myself in the morning enough to do the basics.  After that I forget about my looks.  I am what I am.  I figure I would rather be the ugliest person in the room than the most handsome.  I don’t need to look at myself.

So the other day I was startled as I stopped to wash my hands and the sun was shining through the window.  It lit up my countenance with all of its glory.  I was a bit startled.  I wondered who the old man was in the picture.  Then I realized it was a mirror and it was I.

There is a reason for candle lit dinners.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Opus 2015-106: You Can’t Forget What You Never Knew

On the radio I heard that April 23 is a day marked to remember the Armenian Holocaust or Genocide.  On the internet they say April 24.  It really doesn’t matter which day as long as we spend some time considering the tragedy and the lessons we can learn from history.

You may be one of those who was raised in the politically correct world of public schools and get most of your information from the Progressive Mass Media and know nothing about this.  If you are bothering to read at this site I doubt that is true, but you never know.

One hundred years ago, in the middle of World War I, the government of Turkey set out to massacre the Armenian people that were under its control.  Between one million and one and a half million people were tortured, raped and mutilated as they were killed.  If you want a feel for what it was like just do a little search on current events in the Middle East and narrow your search down to the atrocities of ISIS.  Same methods.  Same results.  Same religion.

The Progressive Mass Media and public education would like to have you think that it is just an aberration in history for this kind of thing to happen.  These are the same people who think that America was the only location of slavery and the Constitution was a document written to provide security for land owning white males.  The only fact they want today’s children to know about George Washington was that he owned slaves.

Muslims killing people who disagree with them is the historical norm, not the exception.

To be fair, they don’t just kill Christians as they did in the Armenian atrocities.  They also like to kill Jews.  In India they like to kill Hindu believers and in Kashmir they like to kill Sikhs.  To be really fair, they like to kill other Muslims who disagree with them.  If Islam every got united they could probably take over a divided world.

We have been blessed by the Sunni expression of the religion of peace targeting the Shia, Sufis, Druze, and a multitude of other branches of the religion of peace.  To be different often means to die.  That, of course, is the ultimate peace.  This priority of mayhem keeps them preoccupied and moves us down the list.

So remember, the Armenian Holocaust, 9/11, Coptic Christians on a beach, school girls in West Africa, shoppers in East Africa, soldiers at Fort Hood, runners in Boston...  The list goes on.

Your future and the future of your children may depend on your knowledge of history.

Never Forget applies to more than the Jewish Holocaust. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Opus 2015-105: Two Ignored Problems in Education

Students are liars.  Teachers are enablers.

We live in a culture that embraces and supports liars.  Whether it is the foolishness of Al Gore about global warming, the declaration of Bill Clinton about the meaning of “is”, or the blatant audacity of the current president repeatedly saying “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”, the children of today are surrounded by leaders who believe that any lie is good as long as it benefits them.  Kids today will lie about anything, even if they know they won’t get away with it.  This is not cynicism, this is realism.

Enabling this behavior are the teachers.  They are true believers.  They have been educated with the humanist belief that the nature of human beings is good and only corrupted by society.  It doesn’t matter what a child does, the adults in charge of their education make excuses for them.  You will find all kinds of articles about the problems of education.  I have written, am writing and will continue to write about it.  Rarely will you find anything pointing at the children being part of the problem. 

Educators are on the level of a Muslim mother that straps a suicide vest on her child and sends her off to blow up some dirty, stinking Jews.  They believe that they are on the side of the angels.  The problem is most teachers don’t believe in angels.

So if you don’t have a seat belt to buckle, go out and get one.  It is going to be a rough ride when this generation gets in control of society. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Opus 2015-104: Firsts: Weary Water

I never knew that water had to rest.

On the box of my new French press it gave tips for making the ultimate cup of coffee.  This one had a new contribution.  At least it was new to me.  You may have done this. 

I was told after the water boiled I was to let it “rest” for a one or two minutes before pouring it over the ground coffee.

Okay.  Can do.  I would not want tired water in my coffee.  It usually works out that I have some time to spare anyway.

How will I know if I achieve the perfect cup of coffee?

homo unius libri

Monday, April 20, 2015

Opus 2015-103: Striving for Perfection

Is the quest for perfection building or destroying our culture and our lives?

I think most of us would assume that we are looking for the ultimate ________ in many areas of our life.  It might be something as simple as a pizza.  It might be as complex as pollution free power.  When we plant a garden, we want it done right.  When we raise children we want them to come out better than anyone else’s. 

The striving for excellence is the prod of progress.  If we are satisfied with the way the chili tastes then we never try new spices or techniques.  We would stagnate.  Thus, the quest is good.  When we don’t achieve perfection we continue to strive.  In a sense we know that even if we reach our goal we will just set a new one.

For some people perfection is destructive.  I see this at school all the time.  I have some students who seem to be mediocre.  They never get much done.  Often they turn in no work.  If you observe them they seem to be working.  What is the problem?  They are perfectionists.  If they make a little mistake, they start over again.  It doesn’t matter if they are on the first word or the last line.  A mistake is not acceptable.  Even eraser marks are not allowed.  They start over. 

It is a personality type.  I must confess that it is not me.  I have many areas of life where “it’s good enough for government work”, as my father used to joke, is the standard.  Other areas I go for the gold, but I have learned that it is often out of reach.  Today.

There is always tomorrow. 

Some of us need to lighten up.  Some of us need to buckle down.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Opus 2015-102: Peace in Our Times?

Powerline has an interesting list of current murders and mayhem by Muslims.  In case your local newspaper and Progressive Media outlet have not covered these or put them in footnotes in section C, take a quick look.  There is something for everyone:  Rape, beheadings, shootings, bombs and plots.  It is almost like a Clancy thriller.  The problem is it represents the world we live in but is being ignored by our leaders.

It concludes with a line I can heartily endorse,

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about all the peace I can stand.”

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-101: What Is Wrong With the World?

You may have noticed how often people observe that things are not going well in the world.  Violence, pollution, crime, poverty, disease.  The list goes on.  How do you explain it?  Alistair Begg has an interesting progression he uses to explain the Christian world view:  The good, the bad, the new and the perfect. 

Begg explains that it all got started with the Good.  God created the universe and it was perfect.  Six times in the first chapter of Genesis we find “it was good.”  Of course that was before humans were created.  After that He said “it was very good.”  (Genesis 1:31)

Then we have Adam and Eve rebelling against God and sin became a part of creation.  Bad.  This effected not only all descendants of the pair but the plants and animals also.  This would be considered the problem with the world.  It is called sin.  It is defined many ways but it has to do with things no longer being as God designed them.

Then we come to the new.  This is the solution to the problem of sin.  Sin was something that no human action or effort was powerful enough to deal with.  Sin brought death.  Christians believe that Jesus, God become man, gave His life to pay for the debt of sin.  This was a sacrifice that was pure enough to pay the price.

The perfect is still in the future.  The universe as we know it will come to an end and be remade.  Those who have had their sin dealt with will be resurrected into new bodies in a new world and spend an eternity in the presence of God.

The Christian view is different than the secular view.  We believe in a personal God who is involved and in control.  We believe that things are flawed now but there is a solution.  We have an assurance about this life and what comes after.

Obviously thousands of books have been written about this but we have short attention spans.  This will need to suffice for today.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Opus 2015-100: Election 2016: Winning Planks, DOE

We all want the government to cut back but do the cutting on someone else’s perks.

We need to find some places to cut the federal budget that few people will feel.  In reality there are many such places but lets start with one that will also benefit everyone.  Let’s close down the Department of Education. 

If you trace the increased budget of the DOE, I would guess that as the spending goes up the quality of education in the country goes down.  Teaching is not something that can be improved with a big federal paycheck.  That statement is multiplied in power when you think about the strings that always come along with the check.  And you have the federal governments tendency toward unfunded mandates or “get it started with subsidies and then remove the subsidies.”

Let education go back to the backs of the parents.  If they don’t care the chances are the kids don’t care either.  You can’t make concrete without cement.  You can’t educate children who refuse to learn.

The way to go about it is also important.  Don’t just fire everyone, transfer them.  Shut down all government hiring until all of these people are placed.  Take the guy who writes regulations for special education classes and put him in an airport with the TSA.  Take the gal who tries to outline curriculum and make her a prison guard.  If they chose to quit, so be it.

I think this could be a winner.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 17, 2015

Opus 2015-99: Masks

Which is the real person and which is the mask?

Are either one genuine?

What masks do I wear?

I just attended what you might call a “farewell dinner”.  It was a very pleasant time with a lot of praise and pats on the back.  Everyone left feeling wonderful. 

So why am I not satisfied with that?

I think it is a thirst in my heart for honesty.  I experience so many moments in my life that I run into cognitive dissonance.  People stand up in public and make statements that are designed to make the listeners feel good but are radically different from what I have heard them say in private.  I am not talking about being diplomatic or tactful.  I understand that I can’t, or should not, tell you what I think of your dress. 

I am talking about going out of your way to make statements that conflict with what you say in private.  The topic could be avoided.  It could be ignored.  Instead, statements are made that are not consistent.

We are all familiar with the statement, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  We need to hear more of, “If you can’t say something true, change the subject.”

I see it at school, praising student “talent”.  I see it at church, promising to pray for people.  I see it in politics, talking about “serving the American people”.  I would probably see it in myself if I was not locked into my head.

Lord, protect me from masks, particularly on my face.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Opus 2015-98: On the Street: Tax Day

It was incredible.  The highway was empty.  I thought the rapture had happened and I missed it.

Then it occurred to me that this was April 15.  Taxes were due.  People were probably home frantically trying to get all their records together.

Or maybe they were out at the local bar.  Maybe they were following the Biblical mandate.
(Proverbs 31:6-7 KJV)  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Just think of how much wiser the government is in using the money they took from you.

Be glad you don’t live in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Opus 2015-97: On the Street: One of Those Days

Do you ever have those days when you need a word from the Lord?

Mine come with frequency.  It happens, usually in the evening when I can simply say I am tired.  The solution can be a good night’s sleep.  Today, as I wrote, was one of those days.  I was totally deflated.  I was not depressed, just void of joy.

The problem was, it was morning. 

So I left off the radio and did not connect the I-pod.  This was not a day for a sermon.  It was a day to worship as I drove.  It is hard to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when you have a lot of distractions.

Certain songs came to mind.

   "My Desire, to be like Jesus..."

   "My Life Is in You, Lord..."

Certain scripture came to mind.
(Micah 6:8 NAS77)  He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
(Romans 5:8 NAS77)  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We had a good conversation on the way to work.  I can honestly say that the traffic did not bother me.  I figured that every clown that cut in front of me just gave me more time to worship.

So I am ready to go again.  I am not feeling old and tired.  I am feeling experienced and prepared.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Opus 2015-96: Election 2016: Winning Planks, Copyright laws

Copyrights and patents can build or destroy a civilization.

Our founding fathers were aware of that.  They included provision for both in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
“To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;”
I already wrote about this topic at Opus 2012-316 and Opus 2012-317 so I won’t go through it again.

We are in the process of stifling creative process by nit-picking about this issue.  We make it impossible to take an old idea and develop it by hysterical extensions of the “limited times” in the Constitution.  One site from Stanford University says that copyright protection now goes a minimum of 70 years past the life of the author.  In some cases it can be up to 120 years.

We need to turn back the clock.  We need to continue to protect what people really create but for a reasonable time, not until someone in China or India comes up with the next good idea because they ignore our extremism.

If explained properly this could be a winner.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 13, 2015

Opus 2015-95: The Drought Is Not a Lack of Water

Drought is cool.  It sells.  It may also clarify our undoing as Americans.

I am not worried about the drought itself.  I live in Southern California.  It is a desert.  North of us is the central valley that used to be nothing but scrub oaks and swamp but has been turned into the vegetable garden of the nation, or it was.  Now they have turned off the water.

Drought in California is nothing new.  As Jane of Virginia explains,
“I am the descendant of a Merced Falls, California ranching family.  Through books and what has been related to me as family history, serious drought has been a prominent feature in the lives of California ranchers and farmers as long as history has been recorded there.”
Weather changes.  The Dust Bowl of the early 20th century becomes the flood plain of the 21st.  That is not my concern.  What I worry about is the change in attitude that is being introduced by the Progressives (aka liberals, Democrats, Rinos, Socialists, environmentalists).  Early in the 20th century leaders saw a growing population and a stagnant source of water, just like today.  Being Americans and having a “can-do” attitude, they did something about it.  They built dams and canals.  They stored water and moved water.

Today we have the European style Progressives instead of American style leaders.  Their answer is to cut back.  Take shorter showers.  Don’t water your lawn.  Don’t wash your car.  If the general population won’t do it willingly, force them.  It is for their own good, of course.

I am not going to bother linking all the Progressive solutions.  There are too many stories.  The Democrats want smart meters that measure the length of your shower.  The Progressives want to reward your neighbors for turning you in for wasting water.  The governor wants huge fines imposed on anyone who disobeys. 

The general public wants leadership.

Welcome to the Progressive future.  The Progressives want to take us back to being a third world power.  They want you to think that progress is impossible.  They want us to become the unwashed millions.

Elections matter.  We have been electing people who think government control is the answer.  Since government can’t control the weather, they will control you. 

As the saying goes, “I am not sure that the Republicans are the answer but I know the Democrats are the problem.”

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Opus 2015-94: The Popcorn Scare

I was traveling and trying to get my money’s worth.  The checked luggage was already at max but I had some popcorn I needed to get home.  In California it is hard to find anything but the standard yellow and white popcorn that comes in plastic bags or Orville’s original.  I was bringing home Black Jewell, Crimson Jewel, Baby Blue, and Autumn Blaze.  It was a good harvest this year.

I get it all in my carry on and am moving along well.  I am expecting trouble from our TSA warriors though.  As I watched my bag disappear though the mouth of the conveyor belt I paced it down until it got to the scanner.  The belt stopped.  Back-up was called.  At that point I had to move but when I got through the pat-down (I never go through the ray gun) I saw that my bag had been pulled over for further inspection.  It was no big deal.  I am glad to know that the TSA caught my popcorn.  Really.  On the scanner it could look like any number of explosive options.  The fact that they found it and checked it says they were awake.

Now as for my constitutional rights against unwarranted search and seizure, I’ll get back to you.

Meanwhile, rest easy.  The power of popping corn is not going to hurt you.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Opus 2015-93: Shredding

I get tired of emptying the shredder.  I never shred anything but I don’t live alone.  I had a wake up call today.

I have always questioned the fanatic need to sherd.  I just came across a solid reason for shredding at The Preparedness Pro:  Don’t give them your name and address on a form.  They can use it to establish an account, or as she put it,

“An identity thief can simply establish identity with a piece of mail that has ‘their’ name and address on it.”
It is easy to do.  Once established, it may be harmless or it may lead to severe consequences.  I don’t want to be the one to find out which it is.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 10, 2015

Opus 2015-92: Our Nostrils

I wrote recently about God’s nostrils.  My mind keeps working

I thought about how Christians have an odor.
(2 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV)  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
The KJV is a bit confusing here by translating different Greek words with the same English word.

In verse 15 the word for “savour” is a compound word meaning literally “good stink”.  In verse 16 it is a simple “smell”.  There is a difference.  I hope you can see that.  To God and other believers we are a good stink.  To others we are a smell of death.  No wonder they want to get us out of the public square.

I got to thinking about it with a change of direction.  We are to savor God, not just smell Him.  To me you savor something when you take the time to focus on it.  A few weeks ago in the first brush of spring a bush by our front door was really putting out the perfume.  I walked by it and smelled it several times.  Then one trip I noticed it and stopped to breath in slowing and savor the experience.  I focused.  I felt the contrast.  I enjoyed.

We can do that with the presence of God.  It can happen in a worship service.  It can happen when we are alone.  Sometimes God is so forward that we can’t avoid Him.  Usually He requires us to focus and be receptive. 

So use your nostrils.  Smell the glories of nature.  Savor the glory of God.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Opus 2015-91: On the Street: Sweet Java Meditation

Why does it take so long for some people to get their coffee?

I saw it again.  Some guy had filled his cup and was going through the ritual of preparation.  It was like I was watching one of the pagan mystery religions.  He would sip it, stare off into infinity and reach for a packet of sugar.  Just any packet would not do.  His hand would hover.  His spiritual radar would seek.  He had to pick the one that had the proper aura.  Finally, he reverently selected one.  After opening it, pouring it in and stirring it, he would again sample it and meditate on the taste.  Then he would go through the ritual again.  Meanwhile he was blocking the coffee urns from all of us who drink it black.

Is this the first time he has ever tasted coffee?  The coffee is the same every day.  The amount of sugar in the packet is uniform.  How many times do you need to do this to know how many packets it takes to reach your sweetness quotient? 

And my wife wonders why I am happy to eat at home.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Opus 2015-90: Gestalt Intelligence

It isn’t that kids are getting dumber, they are just academically lazy.

It is the big picture they are not getting, possibly because there are key gaps.  Part of education used to involve the monotony of memorizing basic facts and formulas.  It was assumed that you needed a foundation of details and skills in order to finish building the edifice of education.  Without the foundation the soaring heights crumble and crash.

For instance, you cannot multiply if you cannot add.  You cannot divide if you cannot subtract.  The calculator is not a guaranteed solution.  If you have not done either often enough to know the “feel” of the answer, a calculator will not be your savior.  For instance, say you are trying to figure out if you can afford a car loan.  You need to figure some percentages and use your calculator to get an answer.  If you don’t have a rough idea of where the numbers should be and divide by the wrong number you might think you have enough money when you really don’t. 

Or take a purchase I made the other day.  There were two sizes.  The smaller one, which I bought was labeled $20.00.  The larger one was more.  When I went to pay the girl told me $26.00.  My first reaction was, “That is a lot of sales tax.”  If I did not have a feel for the proper amount I might have paid and been ripped off.  She had charged me for the larger unit.  Since I had a feel for percentages, I was able to straighten her out. 

That kind of “feel” only comes from experience.  Instead of getting the experience the students work in groups and the one who had parental instruction tells the rest of the group the answer.  They never learn to figure it out for themselves.

There is a big picture that the young don’t get.  Of course many of the older generation didn’t get it either.

Learning to think is work.  You can’t do it playing games.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Opus 2015-89: Monday Pulpit: Insee or Outsee

I heard a new idea Sunday in church.  You may have heard it before. 

The pastor was preaching on the resurrection, which is a good topic any day but a no-brainer on Easter.  I had never stopped to think about why the stone was rolled away from the entrance.
“The stone was not rolled away so He could get out but so we could get in.”
The preaching point was to motivate us to allow God to remove obstacles from our life so that we could live in victory.  A good point.

What was obvious, but I had not thought about was that Jesus did not need to roll the stone away from the front of the tomb to escape.  He was God.  Later He appeared in a locked room to the disciples.  The stone was removed to give us access and show that the tomb was empty.

Good job, pastor.  You made me think.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opus 2015-88: Rain in the Republik

Are you paying attention to the weather?

Are you paying attention to the weather man?

Since weather seems to be a safe topic, we talk about it a lot.  That makes us observant of the weather.  I have had different levels of weather awareness.

I remember when I was young and foolish.  I rode a motorcycle cross-country from Boston to somewhere in Illinois.  That was bad enough ,but at the time a big storm was rolling through and I rode the bike instead of taking the car.  I didn’t have a choice about going but I did have a choice of vehicles.  I spent almost as much time watching the sky as I did watching the road.  I was very much aware of the weather but had no input from the weatherman.  I thought I was having a good time.

If you were traveling east of the Rocky Mountains a few weeks ago you would have been very much aware of the weather.  I read of one airplane that sat waiting for nine hours because of ice.  If you were traveling at that time you would have been glued to the TV and giving the weatherman all your attention.  You would not bother looking outside because that was not what would effect you.

In Southern California I tend to ignore both the weather and the weatherman.  The weatherman is more like a game show host than a scientific report.  The dire predictions of flooding and high winds are usually confined to one square block far from me.  It makes for entertaining TV but applies about as much as an attack by the Klingons.  If it is raining when I go out the door I might grab a hat to keep my glasses dry. 

I think I prefer living where I can ignore the weather but I have to balance that with living in a state that has the moniker of The People’s Republik.  I like the weather but am looking forward to retiring so I can move where they have tornados and blizzards.

Save a spot for me.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Opus 2015-87: Easter, Smeaster

No, I don’t feel that way but if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you might.

You might also not know why the day is important to Christians.

Easter is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  (Actually we celebrate it every Sunday.  This is just the emphasis.  It is like loving your wife and Valentines Day.)  We believe that He was executed by the Romans at the request of the Jews.  We call that day Good Friday.  Then He came back to life, conquering death.  It is required to believe this if you are a Christian.  It is not required to be a nice person, a good neighbor or a loving parent.  It is required to call yourself a Christian.
(1 Corinthians 15:14 NAS77)  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
Why is that so important?  Because Jesus rose from the dead we believe that we shall also be resurrected.  Christians do not fear death.

That makes for a glorious day.  I hope you can share it with me.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Opus 2015-86: Easter Prep

If you are familiar with the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus you know about how Peter denied Jesus three times.  Jesus told him it would happen.  Peter arrogantly refused to listen and pledged his eternal loyalty.
(John 13:37-8 KJV)  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
We see this unfolding as Peter the Rock becomes Pete the Powder.  One of the three denials is the focus of this post. 
(John 18:17 KJV)  Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
This is presented to show how jittery Peter was.  I have often wondered why this moment would scare him.  This was only a girl talking to him.  Who cared what a woman said?  She was only the door keeper which meant she was a slave.  It was probably so noisy that no one could hear her anyway.  My guess is that she pantomimed him cutting off the ear of the soldier in a very graphic way.  It was enough to make him stand out in the crowd and freak him out.  People who could not hear could certainly see.

Our actions when we are caught off guard are often different than when we have a chance to plan.  The results are often also different.  People know when it is a silly mistake.  If they are honest, and that is a big “if”, they will laugh at and with you and get on with life.  If they think your faux pas was deliberate, the response is different.

God responds the same way.  Peter denied Jesus three times.  He went on to become the Rock and possibly the most influential apostle.  Judas betrayed Jesus also.  He planned it ahead of time.  It was done with cold calculation.  He never repented.  He is spending eternity in a different environment than Peter.

Two things here.  If you make a silly mistake, repent and get on with life.  God is ready and willing to forgive.
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Secondly, make sure you repent.  God does not play games.  As we move toward celebrating the resurrection of Jesus it might be a good time to look at your life and consider.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 3, 2015

Opus 2015-85: Old and Young: Expectations

I don’t think I will ever get used to the low standards of my students.

I have a picture in my mind.  It involves a young lady who would appear to have everything going for her.  She is attractive and has a nice personality, when she wants to show it.  She is capable of doing the work and doing it well, when she wants to.  She asked what her grade was.  When I told her a low “C” she radiated happiness.  This story could be repeated with slight variations, such as joy at a “D-”.

I was too lazy to get “A’s” and too smart to get “F’s”.  I found a “C” to be embarrassing.  I don’t understand the satisfaction with squeaking by.

Welcome to 21st century America.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Opus 2015-84: Election 2016: Winning Planks, DST

People are beginning to announce they are running for President.  It is time to start talking about what should be our position on the issues.  Many key points are nuanced and controversial.  They will need to be addressed but I think there are a lot of changes, or refusals to change, we can propose that should be no brainers. 

The first I would like to propose is doing away with daylight savings time.  It is irritating and confusing.  It serves no useful purpose in our day and age. 

Taking a stand on something this simple and clear would begin to signal that we live in the real world and struggle with the same government interference as everyone else.

Start the retreat of the Nanny State with a real winner.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Opus 2015-83: Headlines: Adult Pre-School

This has to be the ultimate educational statement.

I saw the headline on Drudge and had to check it out.  I was hoping that it would be a serious effort by dropouts to get a start on their GED.  Alas, no such luck.

It seems that an ambitious entrepreneur has decided to offer day care for adults.  This is not the kind you might be thinking of.  This is not a place where you can take people my age so someone will watch them and they won’t wander off with the shirt buttoned crooked or their hair uncombed.  This is a place for gainfully employed adults to go and act like children. 

My fear is that this will become a requirement in educating teachers.  It reminds me when I took a class on teaching children to read and the Ph.D. that taught the class took two sessions to read us Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Maybe it is already a part of teacher education.

Oh, well.  More power to them, but don’t reserve a spot for me.

homo unius libri