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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Opus 2015-204: Headlines: Beware Explosive Helium

Drudge had a warning about helium leaks in LA.  Okay, I’ll bite.  My eyebrows really went up when I read the title of the article from the Daily Mail.

“Could LA's Big One be even bigger than we thought? Now explosive helium is leaking from massive earthquake fault under Los Angeles”
Although I was not a science major, I am credentialed to teach science in California schools.  When I went to school we were taught that helium was an inert gas and would not explode, unlike hydrogen.  Helium is what they put in balloons for your birthday.  Hydrogen was the cause of the destruction of the Hindenburg. 

After a title like that I was a bit reluctant to read the article.  It mentioned Helium 3.  I checked it out at Wikipedia and although it is radioactive and is speculated to be useful in future fusion reactors, I could find nothing that indicated it was explosive.

Is there something I am missing or do they require British journalists to attend American schools?

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-203: Headlines: Using the Courts

Good new is in the Washington Times headline, “Supreme Court strikes down Obama power-plant regulations” but if you read the article it is just another case of our socialist president and his cronies using the due process delays to get their way.

The court eventually said, “No” to the EPA, but the observers say it won’t make any difference.  The utilities have already complied.
“...the EPA seemed unfazed and said mercury and air toxics standards are, for all intents and purposes, still in effect despite the court’s ruling.”
Here is the way a coercive government works.  You pass a regulation and threaten dire legal consequences if the utilities don’t comply.  The utilities sue and ask the courts to stop implementation until the case is worked out.  The court refuses (probably liberal judges appointed by Democrats, elections matter).  The utility is forced to spend the money to make the changes and also spend the money to hire a legal team.  The government lawyers are paid with the tax money the utility pays.  By the time the obviously wrong regulations are overturned by a higher court, the money has been spent, the changes are too far along to change back and the cost is passed on to the consumers in their utility bills.

Why are utilities going up?  Why is gasoline still high?  Much of it is because of the obscene way in which the socialists in government work the system.  As Richard and Karen Carpenter used to sing, “It’s only just begun...”

It will continue until we become a third world country with a tiny ruling class living in luxury and the rest of us riding buses and standing in bread lines.  Or people can wake up and start to pay attention to how the people they elect are running the country.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-202: A New File

I think I know what transformed Chief Justice Roberts. 

Remember Filegate?  That was the scandal involving the 400 FBI files that president Clinton lost.  Much later they mysteriously showed up on a table in the White House.  Was Chief Justice Roberts’ FBI file in the 400 that the Clintons got hold of? 

Maybe we have a more sophisticated Filegate going on.  Has Obama used the FBI to get dirt so he can blackmail Roberts?  Surely it can’t just be a case of power corrupting.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 29, 2015

Opus 2015-201: Election 2016: The “Anyone But” Syndrom

I am getting tired of voting for Anyone but _______.

You can fill in the blank with a long list of Candidates for every office, president in particular.  I can think of two Democrats that I might have been able to vote for over the years and neither one ran for president.  On top of that I never lived in their venue.

As I look at the next presidential election I find myself again saying, “Anyone but Hillary.”

So, why not Hillary?  For most of you this is a waste of space but I will always remember the lady who admitted every evil twist of Bill’s character but voted for him twice.  She said, “I thought he would grow.”  No, it was because she fit three stereotypes:  Educator, female, black.

So for those who fit stereotypes, live in denial and/or don’t like to think, lets look at a partial list of what so many have visited.

1978 Cattle futures.  She did what no investor has ever done, turned $1,000 into $100,000 with no experience in the field.

1993 Hillarycare (aka Socialized medicine).  It did not originate with Barak Obama.  Hillary tried to push it when Bill was POTUS.  It went down in flames.  How is it working for you now?

1993 Vince Foster.  Was there an affair?  Was it suicide, as reported by the Clintonistas in the press, or suicide like the internet tabloids kept screaming?

1996 Filegate.  400 FBI files disappeared and months later were found on a table in the White House.  This is probably the basis for much of the Clinton’s later success.  It is called blackmail.

1998 The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.  A clear case of projection.  My computer defines that as “the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person”.

2001 Carpetbagger.  She was elected Senator from New York when she had never lived in the state.  Notice what the Constitution of the United States has to say about the qualifications for the Senate.
Article 1, Section 3.  No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.
Shall we look at a few dates?  She bought a house in New York in September of 1999 and was elected to the Senate in the Fall of 2000.  Her husband was in office until January of 2001.  I assume that although she bought the house she continued living in the White House.  Last time I looked that was not in New York.  I would guess that not only does that qualify as carpetbagger but was also illegal.

Even the New York magazine had this to say before she ran,
“Run for Senate from a state she's never lived in?” 
2012 Benghazi.  What did she know and when did she know it?  How many lies did she tell?  We are still trying to get to her e-mails.

If that isn’t enough detail for you here are some good sites for more information.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Opus 2015-200: Headlines: On Moderation, Innocence and Ignorance

The Telegraph has an article on a "Soldier of the Caliphate" who murdered the 27 unarmed tourists in Tunisia.  What is really scary to those of us in the sane world is that to all casual observers he seemed like a “moderate” Muslim.

As you read through you find that his day-to-day activities were what would be expected of a middle class young man in an urban culture.  There are references to break dancing, rap music, gel in his hair.  A family member said,

“Yes, he went to mosque and prayed, but just like the other young men, he would then go to a cafe and play football with his friends. I last saw him on Thursday, he said 'hello', and then he left that night and went to his friend’s house. We didn't know where he was going, and there were no goodbye's. The entire family is shocked at the hidden reality of what he was capable of."

The non-Muslim world needs to read the Koran and actually listen to what “moderates” like this young man are saying.  He did not really hide who he was.

“However, had his parents, his uncle or indeed the police ever browsed the main page of what appears to be Rezgui's Facebook account, one particular posting might have given them a very clear inkling. "If jihad is a crime," he wrote, "the world shall know that I'm a criminal." On Friday, with his massacre of innocent civilians on the beach, he proved that to the world beyond all doubt.”

The reporter reveals that he does not understand the Islam of the Koran.  People keep talking about “innocent” victims of these atrocities.  Understand, in the eyes of the Koran, if you are not a Muslim, you are not innocent.  You are guilty simply because you do not believe.  To add to the bloodshed, that applies even if you belong to a different branch of Islam.

Buckle your seat belts.  The violence is just beginning.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-199: Headlines: A School that Works

This is inspiring.  I went to it from Urgent Agenda, June 21.  The site gave the source but did not link it.  It is found on a site called Here and Now.

A school of low income, minority students in Watts sends all 68 of its graduates to college.  This tells us it can be done.

Look at all the things that public school denies as being helpful:  All boys school, religious school, required dress code, students start about two years behind, and what public schools claim but don’t implement, high standards.

You might want to forward the article to every school board member that you know about.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-198: Pardon Me, Do You Have Change?

It may be time to change my morning routine. 

Change for change’s sake is not wise.
(Proverbs 24:21 KJV)  My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
But that is not the same as being aware that change can be necessary.

We tend to get in ruts and start taking things for granted.  This can happen in a marriage relationship, in how you run a business, in how you eat, in how you teach a class or any other area of life.  When you get in the rut you stop engaging and go on automatic.  This is not necessarily tragic but you begin to miss the benefits of active participation.  Have you ever suddenly become aware that you are smelling roses.  In your case it might be the coffee, but you get the idea.  You realize what it means to wake up.  The fragrance was there, you just weren’t listening.  And yes, I know a mixed metaphor when I smell one.

This is happening in my morning worship.  I am beginning to tune out the sermons of Alistair Begg more often.  I am not focusing on the words of Proverbs as I read.  I tend to get thinking of other things. 

It is time for a change.  I don’t know what form it will take.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Opus 2015-197: Ode to Old: You Know You Are Getting Old When... (Waitresses)

You know you are getting old when the waitress calls you “honey” even when your wife is with you.  Usually they are as old as you are.  If it happens to you don’t get excited, they are just being neighborly.  They are not flirting.  They say it to everyone over 50.

Right along side that is the way my mechanic will call me “young man”.  He can see well enough and when it comes to cars knows his stuff.  We both know I am not a young man but he feels he needs to make me feel good.  I roll with it.

I am not getting old.  I am old.  Not as old as I will be, but old.  In a pre-socialist economy I would be retired now but that horizon is still not in view.  I am grateful that I am in good health and still a bit frisky.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-196: Headlines: We Feel Their Pain

We are not the only ones having problems with immigration.  It seems that “migrants” are taking the opportunity provided by traffic jams to break into truck trailers and try to hitch a ride from France to England.  It isn’t because the bus fare is too high.  It is because they don’t qualify to be allowed into the country.  Check it out in The Independent.

Also notice the sanitizing of the criminals.  They are called “migrants” but if you look at the pictures and read the rest of the article it becomes clear that they are not Swiss bankers trying to get across the channel to make deposits but Muslims coming from Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan.

Coming to a city near you.  Oh, you say they are already here?  Racist.  Hater. 

homo unius libri

Friday, June 26, 2015

Opus 2015-195: Tax Dollars at Work: Retirement Fund Slight of Hand

I have not hear much lately about concern for funding of retirement for public employee union members.  Let me share with you how California is going to deal with it.  The information below is from the Winter 2014 CALSTRS Connection, a quarterly newsletter about the California teachers’ retirement system.

The headline on page 11 presents a typical Progressive “Tax the rich” scenario.  It reads in bold print,
“2014 Funding Plan Increases Employer Contribution Rate by 10.85 Percent”
Who could have a problem with that?  The greedy employers will pay the cost.  The small print says this will close the $74 billion gap over the next 32 years.  We are told that “Under the plan, employers will pay the biggest share.”  The mindless mass cheer and applaud.  Wasn’t that easy?

Not so fast.  First of all, where will the employers (school districts) get the money?  From the tax payers, of course.  That mean you, and you, and you if you live in California.  Tax increase anyone?  But the math gets even better.  Notice that the headline mentions a 10.85 percent increase.  To most people that means that if you are paying $100 now it will become $110.85.  Simple math, but not the way they teach it in public schools today.  In the small print it tells you that the old rate of 8.25% that employers paid would gradually increase to 19.1%.  The way most people think this is an increase of 131%.  Do you see the slight of hand.  Technically they are correct but they are making people feel a false comfort, deliberately.

The slight of hand doesn’t stop there.  For those who thought the employer would pay it all, there is a little surprise higher on the page under “Member contributions”.  In that paragraph that is easy to miss as you celebrate socking it to the greedy school districts (aka tax payers) it says that the member will be increasing their payout by 2.25 percentage points.  They don’t give the starting numbers but I am estimating that is an increase of about 25%.

And to complete the package in one sentence it says the state contribution will be increased from 5.541 to 8.828%.  I will let you do the math.  And remember that the money the employers are paying is coming from the state.  And remember that the money the state has comes from the tax payers.

So the solution is there for you to see in California. 

The biggest losers will again be the tax payers.  As a public school teacher, I thank you.  As a citizen, I beg you to wake up.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-194: Headlines: Elementary School Criminals

It seems like children are becoming criminals in the eyes of the Obama administration according to the Free Beacon via Drudge.  Why?  They are bringing salt to school.  Imagine.  First graders can now have a record because they wanted salt on their government mandated broccoli. 

The big issue here is the need for Progressives (aka Democrat, socialist, communist, Rino, educators, elitists) to control every aspect of our behavior.  For our own good they want us to eat things which they themselves don’t eat.  It is the Progressive way and not just in regard to food.  We need to ride bikes and buses while they travel in personal jets.  They want you to face murderous home invaders with a dull butter knife while they have personal body guards, often paid for with your tax money.  They want to control every facet of your life.

It is called Tyranny.  And it requires a broken, beaten-down, submissive, and now salt free, population.  Start them young folks.

Next thing you know they will try to take your sugar away from you.  Oh, that’s right.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-193: What Flavor Kook Aid Does the Supreme Court Like?

Chief Justice Roberts has drunk the kool-aid.  He was appointed because he was believed to be a strict constructionist.  That means that he believed that the Constitution meant what it said and the Founding Fathers meant what they wrote.  Evidently he was either a stealth liberal or he has been listening to Pope Francis.

In trying to understand how he could come to the conclusion he did I came across this at a CBS affiliate.  He said,
“In this instance, the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”
In other words, we know what it says and we know what those words mean but since it doesn’t fit the result we want, we are going to change the meaning of the words.  It is like a child declaring that ice cream is now a vegetable.

Justice Scalia at least owns a dictionary.  His response to this nonsense was,
“Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’ It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words ‘established by the State.’ And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words ‘by the State’ other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.”
Roberts exhibits post modern thinking at its best.  This philosophy makes everything relative.  It has a concept called “deconstruction” which teaches that words have no meaning apart from their context.  While that is true in such simple words as “can” it is not so clear in such things as “wheat”. 

We seem to have taken the next step from Nancy saying, “You need to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”  Now that makes sense.  It doesn’t matter what it says.  The elitists on the Supreme Court will tell us what it means, even if it doesn’t.

I guess that also explains why it isn’t important that high school graduates can’t read their diplomas. 

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Opus 2015-192: Waiting

When I woke up this morning my wife jarred me with the news that not only had socialism taken a big step forward on the Supreme Court but that Chief Justice Roberts reinforced the message that he is not to be trusted.  Obamacare wins.  America loses.

I went to the two British newspapers I check and neither had a headline yet.  That either means that they have not had time to do any digging or they are so accustomed to socialized medicine that they don’t see it as a story.

For today, because I refuse to use the words I would like to use, I will wait for more information.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-191: Headlines: Surprise, Lies

The title on the Telegraph website grabbed my attention:  “Why did the polls get it wrong at the general election? Because they lied”.  I always love it when I see something I totally agree with.

The author is examining why the polls are so wrong so often.  His context is the recent victory by the Conservatives in Great Britain.  He first examines the pollsters excuses and gives them some credibility.  Then he gets down to the root of the problem:  They lie.

The article explains a phenomenon called “herding”.  By it the author means that the different polling companies converge on a certain point so that none of them will be glaringly wrong and held to account for being wrong.  They conform to avoid losing influence.  This comes just before the election.  Okay, I can see that but what he also points out is the place they converge is often wrong and I believe it is usually “wrong” to the advantage of the more liberal candidate.

This brings another meaning to “herding”, one that I think is even more accurate.  It is an attempt by the pollsters to “herd” the population to the conclusion they want to see.  People want to be on the winning side.  If you can convince them that the liberal is going to win you can get a certain number of sheep to vote that way when they get to the polls.  If you can convince people the cause is lost you can get them to not vote at all as happened when the media called Florida for Al Gore.

He gives the example in Iowa of the race between Joni Ernst, Republican, and Bruce Braley, Democrat.  The polls ended up ranging from 1 point in favor of the Democrat to 4 points in favor of the Republican.  The final vote was 8.5 in favor of the Republican.  I remember seeing the same thing when Ronald Reagan was running for president.  Right up to the day of the election the press and polls kept telling us that Reagan was behind and could not lose.  He produced a strong win. 

Why are so many polls wrong?  The headline of this article gets it right, they lie.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Opus 2015-190: Headlines: Raunchy Reporting

Another police shooting.  Will we have riots, demonstrations and presidential involvement?  Probably not.  From the picture the “victim” looks white.

That is one issue but another is the way in which this is reported in the press.  The headline in The Independent reads, “Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man in the head who 'waved at them for help with a towel'”. 

That gets your attention, and if you are looking for a reason to hate the police, gets your blood up.  Most people read the title and maybe the first paragraph.  The first paragraph expands on the idea of waving the towel.  So this casual reader misses a more accurate description of what happened. 
“‘The officers stopped to investigate and see what was needed,’ LAPD spokesman John Jenal told NBC Los Angeles. ‘This person then extended their arm, which was wrapped in a towel.’”
Which is it?  Is he waving a towel for help or pointing a towel wrapped hand at the police?  Evidently someone had their cell phone out and taping so it might work out based on evidence.

Another question:  If someone had time to get their cell phone ready to tape the police response, why did that person not go to help?

Hopefully the justice system will be able to work it out without the Attorney General, Jessie Jackson and Barak Obama weighing in.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-189: Links: A Catholic view of the Pope

Those of us who are conservative and not Roman Catholics are watching Pope Francis with a leery eye.  One of the problems with organizations that have powerful solo leaders is that you get a lot of variety in the job.  Down through history the Popes have run the gamut from genuine saints to criminals.  This one is somewhere in the goof-ball range.  He reminds me of our president in that he is a loose cannon easily manipulated by the elites on the left.

I enjoy it when a self-identified Catholic agrees with me.  You would not expect religious commentary on a gun blog like Gun Free Zone, but I think this one is quotable.
“I guess we Catholics are stuck with a Pope that is more intent on being 21st Century hip than actually tending to the spiritual needs of the flock. Instead of the Rock in which Church is built, we go[t] a pontoon to a Party House Boat.”
I could not have said it better but I will try later.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Opus 2015-188: An Experiment in the Worship Wars

If you don’t attend church you may not be aware of the worship wars.  The Traditionalists are battling the Contemporaries. 

The traditional service uses hymns, pianos and organs and might have a choir.  They assume that hymnals will not only teach you the words but might also bring unity in worship expression.  They understand harmony to be more than singing falsetto.  Except for those with Pentecostal  roots, traditionalist can sing with their eyes open.  The preacher stands behind a pulpit and often uses a stationary microphone.  He will use a literal translation like the KJV or NASB.  They like to meet in a sanctuary.

The Contemporaries like songs hot off the press, drums and guitars and have a “worship team”.  If the song has been around long enough to be bound in a book, it is too old.  Projectors and screens with beautiful background scenes are standard.  The speaker of the day is personally wired and roams all over the place.  There is not pulpit in view.  A pulpit might scare the children.  He will used many translations every week, usually paraphrases like the NLT or NIV.  If you wear anything with a collar you would be warmly greeted but there would be concern that you might carry a disease or be a serial killer.  The dress of the day is usually what you would wear to a picnic in the mountains. 

The church my wife and I have settled into has an interesting approach.  They have two different services most of the year.  That is standard practice in many churches.  But in the summer they combine services.  They rotate back and forth between the fellowship hall and the Sanctuary.  Each service is different.  The pastor is the same. 

It is an interesting experience.  I enjoy both services.  Since they are combined, both weeks I have gone have been very crowded.  I don’t know if that will continue through the summer.  One advantage of this approach is that it exposes people to a different style than they thought they liked.  Who knows, it might help them to grow.

Happy worship wars.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-187: Headlines: Nukes Around the Corner

I completely missed this.  It comes from Urgent Agenda, June 21 quoting The Times of Israel.  It seems that our one-time ally, Saudi Arabia, has signed a deal with the Russians to build “up to 16 nuclear reactors under Moscow’s supervision...”

I do remember reading that the Muslim nations of the Middle East that had looked to us as a friend have been looking again as Obama works to sell them out to Iran.  The oil kingdoms have been putting out feelers to develop their own nuclear capacity, since the idea of a nuclear Iran is like writing a suicide note on the wall.  They had talked to the Obama administration, that was what the recent “summit” was all about, and they got nothing but vague promises that we would take care of them.  Not being stupid, they are turning to Putin for their future needs. 

I am afraid that the possibility of nuclear weapons in the hands of crazy people is coming on us like a run away locomotive. 

Thank you, President Obama.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 22, 2015

Opus 2015-186: Discernment Watch: Yoga and Diabetes

Recently I learned that Yoga is good for battling Diabetes.  It must be true.  I heard it in a doctor’s office.

To be fair, it wasn’t the doctor but one of the ladies in the office that expressed this opinion.  We were having a discussion of weight loss and diabetes.  In light of that I thought, the head line on Drudge, which took me to The Independent, was interesting because it claimed that the Muslims in India were claiming that the International Day of Yoga was a plot by the Hindus to advance their religion.

This is nothing new to me.  I have long known that Yoga was a practice steeped in Hindu thought.  I shared it with the lady in the doctor’s office.  She, of course, did not believe me.  Now I find myself in the embarrassing position of agreeing with some Muslim leaders. 
“Kamal Farooqui, a member of the Muslim Personal Law Board, told BBC Urdu that by promoting yoga, the government is trying to push a Hindu agenda.”
I understand that millions of people participate in Yoga as nothing more than a type of exercise.  I also know that it is rooted in a philosophy from eastern religion in which meditation is an emptying of the mind.  Christian meditation is different.  It is a filling of the mind with a teaching or principle from the Bible.  Same word, different foundation, opposite goals.

So think twice before you get into Yoga.  Look a little deeper.  Do the same thing when you hear the Muslims demanding accommodations like places to wash their feet and Sharia.  Of course, if you are a cafeteria Christian or garden type pagan, it doesn’t make any difference.

Whatever its spiritual roots, I still don’t think Yoga will cure diabetes.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Opus 2015-185: Headlines: An Indicator of Things to Come

Drudge had the title, “DOCTOR SHORTAGE WORSENS IN UK...” which linked to The Independent in England.  It seems that life in the world of socialized medicine is not going well.

It says that doctors are happy to work under the Health Service.  If that is the case, why are so many of them fleeing the country after they get their training?  One of the solutions being proposed is making it difficult for doctors to leave the country.  There have been other articles in the recent past about how the waiting periods for surgery are getting longer in Great Britain all the time.  There are some serious problems.

It is probably an oversimplification but I believe that one of the results of socialized medicine is an eventual shortage of health care.  When the government tries to give everything to everyone without the means to pay for it, someone pays.

In this case it is the person needing care.

Coming to a country near you if it hasn’t already arrived.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-184: Cameron, Rah!

A kindred spirit speaks up. 
“Like Angela Merkel, Cameron has also suggested that multiculturalism as a political stance has failed, which it has.  Multiculturalism, at its base, isn't really about understanding and respecting other cultures.  It's about trashing Western cultures and turning a blind eye to the horrors of some others.”
You don’t hear the word used much any more, but the philosophy is still very much alive in Progressive (aka socialist, communist, Democrat, Rino, Academia, public education) circles.  I have criticized it in the past but this is a great statement about an idea with a purpose of destroying the American concept of E Pluribus Unum.

This quote comes from the June 20 comments at Urgent Agenda.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-183: Healthy Insights: Clean and Dry

I just had a piece of flesh taken for a biopsy.  It was all done with local pain killers and three stitches.  Nothing to worry about as far as I know, just being careful.

What surprised me was the follow-up care.  I had visions of antiseptic sprays and sterile bandages.  Infection can be a big problem.  No such drama.  Keep it dry, wash it once a day and cover it to keep the dirt out.  Is that all?  It is hard to generate sympathy with “keep it clean and dry”.  It seems that the natural body defenses are adequate to deal with most of the attacks.  Coagulants in the blood and natural skin oils are enough to keep the bad bugs out.

I am rereading a book called None of These Diseases.  A medical doctor takes a look at many of the scourges of society.  The updated version that I am reading now even deals with HIV.  He does not claim that righteous people will never get sick.  The point he makes is that if people would follow the patterns of behavior laid out in the Bible, much of the illness that claims lives and ruins families could be avoided.

He points out that simple Old Testament ceremonial laws about washing and separation of people who have touched dead things would have saved millions of lives, long before we understood germ theory.  He goes into great detail on the benefits of circumcision.  I had never heard of “fatal penile cancer” before.  He said that of 1,103 cases not one had occurred in a Jewish man.p77  He quotes similar statistics regarding cervical cancer in Jewish women.  The most startling point he makes is that in Africa where HIV is of epidemic proportions,
“Uncircumcised men were up to eight times more likely to become infected with AIDS.”, p. 75
He cites several journals that list the research. 

You can be like the doctors that originally denied that they needed to wash their hands as they made rounds in the hospital.  The doctor who advocated washing and demonstrated that it dramatically reduced deaths was hounded out of the profession.  You can deny facts and live in the world of fantasy or think again about the standards that God has set down.

Until then, keep it clean and keep it dry.

homo unius libri

McMillen, S.I. and Stern, David E.  None of These Diseases.  Grand Rapids:  Fleming H. Revell,
    Third Edition, 2000.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Opus 2015-182: Headlines: Focus on the Real Issue

The Washington Times has an editorial by Deborah Simmons about the church shooting.  In the opinion piece she wonders if this case will get bogged down in race or second amendment issues.  I hope not.  This is not a black/white issue.  This is not a gun issue.  It is not a drug issue.  I hope it does not become a sanity issue.  This is a case of cold blooded murder and should go to trial as such.  Leave the theater for New York.  Act like mature Southerners, give him a fair trial with a jury of his peers and if the verdict is guilty, “off with his head”. 

It might keep it from happening again, at least in one state.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-181: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

My wife informed me that her sources tell her the banks are going to shut down.  I don’t remember the timeline but it seemed like it would be this weekend.  If that is the case, it is too late to do anything about it.

It was probably too late anyway.

What is stirring this concern is the crisis in Greece.  I am sure you have heard about it in some way.  What we are seeing in Greece is simply a harbinger of a world wide trend.  Everyone in the world wants to live better than they can afford.  We want to have things that cost more than we can pay and we want them now.  And we expect someone else to pay for it.

The list is long.  It includes things like prime health care, free to all.  At the other end are the people buying steak with their food stamps.  In between are all the things we put on our credit cards and pay off with minimum payments. 

My wife and I go out to dinner.  We split, get the specials, skip the beverage and find a way to keep the price down.  It still costs more than I want to spend, but we can afford it.  We look around at families with three children ordering exotic dishes and the adults paying for mixed drinks.  We wonder how they can afford it.  They can’t but they do it anyway.

Greece doesn’t want to practice austerity.  They are used to being the child and expecting someone else to bail them out.  They will have tantrums in the street and get violent.  I can almost see them all putting on those bumper stickers that say, “I want, I want, I want...” 

The problem is, we are all Greece.  We often hear in history class how much we owe to Greece in terms of philosophy and architecture.  Who knew that we would also pattern our economic lives after them.

Eventually the house of cards will come crashing down.  It has happened before.  It will happen again.  The scary thing about this type of crash is that it allows tyrants to take charge and liberty goes out the window.

Stay tuned. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-180: On the Light Side

There are certain trade offs in life.  I believe that humans are different than the animals.  That is because, as a Christian, I believe that men are women are created in the image of God. 
(Genesis 1:27 KJV)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
What does that mean?  A lot of controversy is involved.  One of the interesting things about being created in the image of God is that we are not the best at everything.  Almost any animal that lives is better than we are at something.  We cannot walk across the ceiling like a fly.  We cannot live under water like a fish.  We cannot fly like a bird.

What generated my thinking here was something I read on a blog dealing with preparation for a power outage and the need for light.  The author of Stealth Survival said,
“One of our most severe shortcomings is our inability to see in the darkness. Our night vision is extremely poor and pales in comparison to other creatures present in our world.”
I knew that cats could see in the dark but what the author was saying seemed to imply that seeing in the dark is better in a large number of animals.  On the scale of life we have a very limited ability to see at night.

So we compensate by other means.  No animal has come up with fire or flashlights.  Those are the ways that humans respond to our lack of night vision.  We apply the image of God by being creative.  In so doing we not only drive back the darkness but produce a devise that can scare away the creatures of the shadows.  Fires will keep animals away.  A bright light will scare them.

Be grateful that the image of God makes you adaptable and superior.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 19, 2015

Opus 2015-179: Should-a-Beens: The Snake and the Frog

First, lets admit that recent church shooting was a case of violent, ugly murder.  It was not a hate crime, it was murder, pure and simple.  The fact that hate was involved is like saying that car keys cause DUI.  If they have arrested the right man, and I have no reason to believe they have not, he should face the death penalty even if the professionals claim he was insane.  Of course he was insane.  If he is treated and pronounced “cured” he will go out and do it again.

Now lets look at the hard part:  Where do we go from here and how do we keep this from happening again.  The fools in society are going to call for more gun control.  Wake up and smell the roses friends.  It is already illegal to walk into a church and murder nine people.  Keep in mind that the Columbine murderers used guns as a back up when their bombs didn’t work.  Killers will find a way to kill.

How do we protect ourselves from the garbage around us?  The recent shooting reinforces the two things we have seen before.  First, my guess is that this church was a “gun free zone”.  They might have even had a sign up pronouncing that solemn decision.  The truth also needs to be declared that if any one of the people in that church had been carrying a firearm this would have worked out entirely different.  Guns in the hands of the saints can stop the gun totting sinners.

Second, and this is the hardest to wrap our arms around, why do large groups of people sit and let someone shoot at them?  I have not read how many were in the prayer meeting.  I know he shot nine people.  All it would have taken to stop this fool would be for the eight still untouched when he shot the first victim, to stop being victims and attack the man with the gun.  He is going to shoot you anyway.  Jump him.  Beat him to death with hymnals and Bibles. 

Most people who are horrified at my suggestion have never fired a hand gun.  They don’t realize how often the shooter misses.  Only in the movies do crazy 21 year olds whip out a piece and pick off nine people one after another.  This morning I read he reloaded several times in his shooting spree.  What did these people do while he was reloading?

In high school I took biology in summer school to get it out of the way.  The teacher had a snake in the room that needed to eat.  I rode my bike across town to a place that had lots of frogs, collected a bunch and brought them back for dinner, the snakes, not mine.  It was fascinating to watch the process of consumption.  The snake stared at the frog.  The frog froze.  The snake slowly approached and casually put its mouth around the frog.  The frog sat there and let itself be swallowed whole. 

The only reason the frog died was because it wouldn’t move.  Are killers snakes?  With apologies to the snakes, yes.  Are we frogs?  I would hope not.  God forbid that this should ever happen to any of us but if it does, remember those frogs.  Remember the lesson airline passengers learned on 9/11.  Don’t let the bad guys win.  If you are going to die at least take a few with you.

I know it is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, backseat driver and livingroom warrior.  If I am ever faced with this horror I hope I rise to the occasion.  I hope if you are there you will back my play.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-178: Headlines: A Blow Against Race-baiting?

Don’t get your hopes up.  The government is not going color blind.  It is just switching words.

The healine on Drudge makes you think that the Census Bureau is getting out of the race business but the article at Politico tells a slightly different story.

The Federal Nose Counters are not going to ask about race anymore because they finally realized that Latino can be anything from a blond Basque of Northern Spain to a very dark man from Puerto Rico.  They run into people like Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill that claim to be American Indian.  So instead they are dropping the word “race”, getting out their thesaurus, and coming in the back door.

Will they still keep racial statistics?  Of course.  Will they still use it to disrupt our republic.  Count on it.  But at least you will not need to tell them you are a hyphenated American.

If only they would have a box for Human Race I would be glad to check it.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Opus 2015-177: Headlines: A Solution to the Migrant Problem

A headline on Drudge took me to an article on Yahoo.  It seems that the Pope is concerned about migrants and wants the nations of the world to accept them.  Since I know that Pope Francis would not want to be accused of hypocrisy, my suggestion is that he practice what he preaches.  I suggest that the Vatican open its doors to migrants.  The Vatican is recognized as an independent country.  Many people don’t know that.  I am guessing that there are many parts of the huge edifice that have empty rooms.  I would ask him to invite all those who are heavy laden to move in and put down roots.  He could then find ways to feed them and entertain them.  It might keep him busy enough to stop making statements about global warming.

It would also relieve pressure from on countries and might give him some opportunities for evangelism among the group.  It sounds like a win/win to me.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opus 2015-176: Headlines: A Glimmer of Hope

Again I track from the Drudge Report, this time to National Review.

Many of us who consider ourselves traditional conservatives have been upset at the way in which the Republican leadership in the House and Senate seem to be getting in bed with the president.  Maybe they need to come out of the closet politically, but that is another topic.  What gives me a slight glimmer of hope is the group of Republicans that seem to be standing up for what they were elected to do.

I don’t know how much clout they have and because I live in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia my vote has little influence, but I am encouraged that at least someone is standing up to the Rinos and Progressives that are leading this country to socialism.

I want to thank the states that still have enough Americans in them to elect these people.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-175: New Terms: TANSTAAFA

You are all familiar with TANSTAAFL (There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch) which I think originated with Robert Heinlein.  Notice that my acronym ends with an “A” not a “L”.  This stands for No Such Thing As a Free App. 

What brings this to mind is an Archie comic that a student left laying around.  On the back it says “Free Archie App”.  Not really.  You may not pay with your credit card but you will pay with your personal information.  When you sign up for an app it asks you for permission to access information on the phone you are using.  This could open up all kinds of areas you don’t want opened.  It could reveal things that you would be outraged about if the NSA were mining your device.  And you give it away free.  And then they will sell it and the world knows all about you.

So, go ahead.  Sign up for that App.  Sometimes they don’t ask for all the access when you sign up.  You might even check it out the first time but have you noticed how often they want you to update?  Sooner or later they sneak it in when they think you are not looking.  Either way, the price is too high for me to pay.

You can keep your free App, Archie.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-174: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 10 of ?, Refusing to Learn

How many times do you have hit your head before you learn to duck?

When I started wearing bi-focals I had a slow learning curve.  I repeatedly rammed my head on a low hanging garage door until I had a permanent lump that had to be removed surgically.  Really.  I know what it is to be a slow learner.

Some things cannot be removed surgically.  Some lessons we refuse to learn can keep us poor and “oppressed”.
(Proverbs 13:18 KJV)  Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
People mired in poverty tend to keep doing the same things.  They do not learn from experience and failure.  How many babies does a woman with no husband need to have before she realizes where they come from?  How many days does a student need to sit doing nothing before admitting that failure is coming down the tracks?  How many times do you need to raise the minimum wage before you see that it means fewer jobs?

There are many causes of poverty.  Refusing to observe and learn will keep traps strong and healthy.

To be continued...eventually.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Opus 2015-173: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 9 of ?, Planning ahead

Sometimes the key words are not used but the idea is easily seen in the story.  Most people are aware of Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant.  Here we see a similar idea in Proverbs.  Lack of planning.
(Proverbs 6:6 KJV)  Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
A lot of people have this tremendous sympathy for the grasshopper who played away the summer months.  While the ants were working he was partying.  Now the cold is coming and he comes with his hand out.

We see this in our American culture.  People live high and save nothing.  They run up their credit card bills and file bankruptcy.  They carry no insurance and go to the emergency room.  They eat until they are extremely overweight and want someone to pay for their diabetes medicine.  They do no homework and expect to pass their classes.

I hear certain bits of “wisdom” in our day and age.  All my life I have heard that you can’t make it on one salary.  We have done it.  The problem isn’t that you cannot live on one salary.  The problem is you can’t live like you want to on one salary.  I have heard that you can’t survive on Social Security.  My mother did it.  Of course she was an ant while younger.  My parents had their house paid off when it came time to retire.  Did they have all the luxuries?  No, but they had everything they needed.

So work hard and plan ahead.  Does it guarantee anything?  No, but the chances of having food in the winter are a lot higher than if you expect someone else to work and provide for you.

To be continued...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Opus 2015-172: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 8 of ?, Leisure

I know I already wrote about pleasure and sloth.  Perhaps leisure is a combination of the two.  Consider,
(Proverbs 28:19 NAS77)  He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.
The emphasis here is on spending a lot of time on things that are empty of value.  Computer games come to mind.  Watching football comes to mind.  Even reading, which is getting close to home, could be a problem.  Certainly blogging fits the bill.

Notice the contrast in the verse.  The farmer works and produces.  The other guy would probably consider himself busy also but all he reaps is poverty.  It is possible in our modern age that this refers to a nation wide upsurge in poverty.  Think of how an industrial enterprise like a steel mill takes raw materials and turns them into a product that is useful and generates a corresponding profit providing jobs for many.  Compare that with currency manipulators and day traders that gamble on the whims of the market.  If they sell in time they get a lot of money but they add no product that increases the wealth of the culture.  In a sense their pursuits are empty.  Unlike manufacturing and real business, they add no value and their gain is someone else’s loss.

So fight poverty, get a real job.

To be continued...

Opus 2015-171: Ryan Channels Pelosi

Remember how we scoffed when Nancy Pelosi said that we needed to pass Obamacare so we could find out what was in it?  Remember all the comments like signing a check so you can find out how much it was for?  Paul Ryan seems to have crossed to the dark side because he is saying the same things about the fast track trade deal that the president was pushing. 

Ryan had his reasons but they don’t come close to the one overwhelming truth that we have seen over and over again:  You cannot trust this president and giving him power without restraint is a sure path to disaster.  Now I have reached the conclusion that I can’t trust Paul Ryan’s judgement either.  I am sure, like the president, he is a good husband and father.  Beyond that, danger ahead.

Do we need an agreement with Asia?  Probably.  Am I in favor of free trade?  Yes.  But to give a president who is a Progressive (aka socialist, communist, elitist, Rino), who wants to restrain all free enterprise, the power to do what he wants is called asinine.  It sounds like it was a proposal thrown out by the California Teachers’ Association.

I find myself in a very embarrassing position but I will man up and say it.  “Thank you Democrats.”  I don’t trust their motives but I agree with their actions.

Go back to the drawing board and come up with something that is not full of trade offs that are top secret.  Americans should not need a security clearance to be able to read laws passed by congress or treaties approved by the senate.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Opus 2015-170: Green Piece: Solar Power Bait and Switch

I looked through an interesting article at a web site called Low-Tech Magazine.    How it can be “low-tech” and discussing solar power is beyond me, but I digress.  It was about the sustainability of PV Solar power.  I believe the day will come when solar power will join the adult leagues and actually be practical and cost effective.  I don’t think the day has arrived, but that isn’t what I want to lift out of this article.

If I read it correctly, and that is a big “if”, it seems that although the cost is coming down, the effect on what the environmental lobby likes to call “greenhouse gases” is making things worse.  What that means is that if you figure in the “pollution” emitted in the production of the solar panels and include it in the equation, PV solar panels contribute more greenhouse gases than the alternatives.  This is true whether the power generated is cheaper or more expensive.

If this is true, it means that solar panels are more damaging to the environment than traditional methods of generating electricity.  It also means that if the cost of solar power continues to come down it could end up “damaging” the environment more that other sources. 

Hopefully progress will continue.  I like the idea of being able to live off the grid and provide my own power.  We are not there yet.  If we can ever get past the coercive politics and massive government grants that the “unbiased” scientists are fighting for, we might get there quicker.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-169: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 7 of ?, Alcohol and Food

A major source of poverty comes from the misuse of alcohol as a beverage.  I don’t drink but I am also aware that a glass of wine at dinner is not necessarily a sin and should not ruin your life.  I also tend to feel if I never drink the first one, I will never have one too many.  The problem is that there are so many pressures to have just one more that alcohol becomes a major problem.

The Bible reflects this in many places.  Here is just one.
(Proverbs 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Why would this be true?  First, alcohol is expensive.  It amazes me to sit down in a nice restaurant and see a little display on the table advertising a selection of whiskey.  Some of them cost over twenty dollars, for one small glass.  Ouch.  Double ouch.  Second, the drunk shows up late for work and in no condition to produce.  He calls in sick a lot.  Ultimately he gets fired and poverty is at the door.

As you can see the second thing listed here is gluttony.  If you are obese you should not be criticizing the drunk.  He isn’t in the right but neither are you.  Think of all the physical illness that is linked to being overweight. 

They are not immediate but they are inevitable.

To be continued...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Opus 2015-168: Headlines: Crossing the Color Line

What a world we live in.  The Drudge Report has a link to KXLY, which I assume is a Spokane media outlet.  It seems a woman who heads up a local chapter of the NAACP is accused of being white.  Somehow this is a scandal to our race-baiting media.  

I read through the article quickly because it seemed so silly.  It seems that the real problem isn’t that she is white but that she claimed to be black on a form she filled out to get the job.  This would fit in with people who claim to be native Americans because they were born in this country.

So let me see, the application had a place to state your race.  She lied because it was the only way to get the position.  Obviously being black was required to get the job.  Sounds like racism to me, but then we all know that racism only goes one way.  Isn’t white a color?  What does the “C” in NAACP stand for?  Does NAACP now stand for National African American Color Police?

Let the wannabe alone.  Spend your time looking for real law-breakers.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-167: Headlines: Be Concerned for Those Oppressed Asians

I just received my May issue of California Educator, the Pravda of the California Teachers’ Association (CTA).  Being open minded I will usually glance through and read the captions the editors think are worth putting in big print for their public school graduates who are teachers.  Being intelligent, I rarely read the articles.

The front cover emphasized a title “‘Model Minority’  Do You Look Beyond the Myth?”  In small print for the rest of us it identified this a applying to Asian students. 

I glanced quickly through the pages and its usually selection of mind numbing, insultingly PC articles.  There was one on the shooting of a young thug in Ferguson that ignored all of the facts and got into race-baiting immediately.   Several pages spoke to the glory of “Education Support Professionals” (aka janitors, bus drivers, clerks).  Tax the greedy rich corporations also got a nod.  A typical month of “journalism” for CTA.

I looked a little closer at the cover story.  It seems that it is a terrible thing for people to look at Asians as being superior.  Since the CTA is into diversity instead of accuracy they lump Asia American/Pacific Islander together.  I am well aware that we think Chinese students are the top of the deck academically.  I was not aware that we put Samoans in the same category.  I guess once you start looking at people with group identity, like the Progressives do, instead of as individuals, as conservatives do, it is necessary to make some racists assumptions. 

Rest assured, I did not read the entire article.  Life is too short to waste that way.  One sub-title caught my attention, “Parental pressure not a myth”.   It says,
“It may be a joke, but there is a lot of parental pressure on Asian American students to succeed,...students say parental pressure is commonplace.”  p. 12
Well, duh.  This should come as no surprise to anyone.  What might also not surprise you is that this CTA article portrays that parental pressure as a bad thing. 

One reason that such a high percentage of our university students in the math and physics departments are Asian and graduate to good jobs and so few in the Liberal Studies department are Asians who end up working fast food, is that the parents motivate them to success.

CTA should be proclaiming this as a solution to declining education standards, not a problem.

I should be rich and good looking, too.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-166: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 6 of ?, Lack of Stewardship

One cause of poverty may surprise you:  A lack of financial obedience.  Many are familiar with the proof text on tithing.
(Malachi 3:10 KJV)  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
What people don’t go on to see is how God will provide the blessing.  The next verse points out that the blessing will not be finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or having a rich aunt die and leave you a fortune.  The blessing is that the grasshoppers won’t eat your crops and your fruit will not get a fungus.  In other words, your labor will pay off as God originally intended.

A lot of people claim they cannot afford to tithe, they are too poor.  I would suggest that you cannot afford not to tithe.  Picture the situation that was before Malachi when he delivered this word from the Lord.  The land was being eaten up by locusts.  The crops were being destroyed.  Poverty was upon them.  Even worse, starvation was on the horizon.  In that context they were told to tithe.

When we are obedient God is able to bless.  When we are disobedient it does not necessarily mean an active curse, it often just means an inactive blessing.  Think of how many flat tires you could have had.  Think of how many times that bacteria could have penetrated your body defenses.  Think of how many times someone could have run a red light as you were going through the intersection.  We are not even aware of God’s blessings most of the time.

God provides when we obey.

To be continued...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Opus 2015-165: In Loco Parentis

Recently as I was reading an article on Power Line Blog, I came across the Latin phrase, “in loco parentis”.  It is one I quote to students at school when they tell me I am not their father.  I use it after I tell them, “And I am thankful for that.”  The term is supposed to mean that teachers are serving in the place of the parents since the parents are not there.  In theory it gives us the authority to deal with many issues that would otherwise be none of our business.

I have always used it as a concept that gives me the right to make the student sit up and fly right.  As I read it today I had another thought:  The parents are obviously basket cases or the kid would not be acting this way.  If I am taking the place of the parent, and enforce the standards of the parent, my response would be to cuss them out, turn the TV up louder and/or get another beer.  This would certainly avoid a lot of confusion and make my life easier.

Several problems emerge immediately.  First and second and third, I don’t cuss or watch TV and I don’t drink.  This seriously cuts down on my options.  I try humor but many students don’t have the mental wattage to understand anything that does not include a four letter word.  I would try reason but that requires them to listen and respond.  Experience has told me that is a cul-de-sac. 

I meet a good number of parents that are on the same team with me.  Usually their children are not the ones I phone home about or kick out of class.  Occasionally they have a bad day.  Everyone does, but antisocial ignorance is not their forte.

So in a sense, I do not want to be a replacement parent for these future voters.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-164: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 5 of ?, Love of Pleasure

The love of pleasure leads to poverty.
(Proverbs 21:17 KJV)  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

(Proverbs 21:20 KJV)  There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

That is a pretty simple statement.

The second part of the verse might require some examination.  By loving wine and oil it does not mean that you like to have them around, it means you consume them.  People who love pleasure say things like, “Life is too short...” and “You only go ‘round once in life...”  The logic is that you need to grab what you can get, when you can get it and not worry about the future.

I see this around me all the time.  There are secretaries at my school that drive newer and more luxurious cars than I do.  That is a matter of choice on my part and their part.  I could afford anything they drive and they could find reliable transportation for a lot less. 

Years ago I read a couple of books, The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door.  One of the ideas expressed was that the first generation makes the money, the second generation sometimes maintains the wealth and the third generation usually blows the wealth.  The reason is that the third generation does not have a clue to restraint.  All they know is wealth and privilege.

Several years ago I had a conversation with students about shoes.  At that point I was wearing some shoes I had resoled many times.  They were wearing the latest creations of Nike and Reebok.  I showed that over a period of twenty years I would have thousands in the bank and they would have a closet full of old shoes.  They were not impressed.  They could look cool today.

A major source of poverty is putting pleasure and comfort before thrift and planning.  Many people are poor because they live like kings...until the money runs out.  Then they want you to share.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Opus 2015-163: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 4 of ?, Sloth

Poverty.  It will always exist.  It will never be cured.  In the words of Jesus.
(Mark 14:7 KJV)  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
He was not saying this was desirable, just realistic.  That is because there are many causes to poverty and most of them are rooted in the actions of the poor.  You can educate and redistrute income all you want, you will still have poverty.  I will be looking at them in the order that I became aware of them as I read through Proverbs.

After absentee fathers, I think the biggest cause of poverty is sloth.  I come to this conclusion because it is mentioned so many times in Proverbs.  Many different words are used but they all have the idea that some people are just plain lazy and get the reward they have earned.  This is like the third rail of discussions about poverty, but it is Biblical.  Here is a verse that uses the word sluggard. 
(Proverbs 6:9-11 NAS77)  How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?  "A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest"– And your poverty will come in like a vagabond, And your need like an armed man.
So take a nap.  Lean back and relax.  You won’t need to hunt for it, poverty will find you. 

One major source of poverty is an unwillingness to work.  A warning though, don’t make the assumption that poor people are all lazy.  It could be one of the other factors we are looking at.  It could actually be beyond their control.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Opus 2015-162: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 3 of ?, Oppression

According to the media and the educational elites, poverty is caused by the greed and oppression of the rich.  How can you deny that?  I guess the key reason is because it isn’t a genuinely true statement.  The falsehood is not in the listing of oppression as a cause of poverty but in making it the action exclusively of the rich.  The lie is in blaming the rich and ignoring the government angle.  Yes, oppression happens.  Proverbs is not blind to that and has something to say about it.
(Proverbs 14:31 KJV)  He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
It happens, but oppression by the rich in modern America is a blip on the road of life.  It is something that is done to you, but most causes of poverty are things we do, or don’t do, to ourselves.  It is the result of repeated bad choices and a refusal to learn by experience.

If we are looking for outside forces, oppression by the government is much more prevalent and difficult to overcome.  Proverbs also points out that you don’t need to be rich or powerful to be an oppressor.
(Proverbs 28:3 KJV)  A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
I want to get beyond those popular targets.  I know of many people who came to America with nothing and fit all the minority stereotypes except attitude and went on to build wealth and find success.  I want to look at some of the overlooked causes of poverty that are at the root of our problem in American today.  A large part of what I suggest will be based on what the Bible teaches about the issue in the book of Proverbs.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Opus 2015-161: Headlines: Follow the Money

The Drudge Report headline led me to an article dealing with increased violence in schools.  It is talking about policy being pushed across the country by our Progressive (aka Liberal, socialist, communist, Democrat, Rino) leaders.  The policy says that since minority students receive more disciplinary action it must be a result of racism, not the behavior of the students.  The People’s
Repubik of Kalifornia recently had Chairman Brown sign into law a new standard that made it much more difficult to remove disruptive and defiant students from the school environment.  I wrote about that at How Wrong Can I Be, parts 1 and 2.

The article at EAG shows the results of the new policy.  What it doesn’t do is expose the real reason why so many schools and districts go along with it:  Money.  Money for the school district and increased salaries for administrators as they work their way up the ladder of conformity.

First of all consider how schools are financed.  In the Republik the district is reimbursed by the state for the number of bodies it has on campus.  In the old days if a student was involved in a fight they would be suspended from school for three days.  The district would lose the money they would have gotten for the bodies in attendance.  Now, instead, the guilty parties are either counseled and returned to class or have what is called “in school suspension” which often means that they get to sit and kibbitz with a sympathetic adult all day.  Thus the school gets the money, the teacher gets the relief and the student has a good time.  Over the long run the students learn that the consequence of anti-social behavior is pleasure not pain.

Then we have the issue of records and how they reflect on the administrator who wants to move up the ladder.  Our district keeps a record of referrals written at each school.  Our school keeps a record of how many written by each teacher.  Lots of referrals means people in power get unhappy.  It makes them look bad.  If you are a new teacher it might mean your job.  If you are an administrator it might mean your promotion.  One way to deal with it is to threaten teachers.  Another, more subtle way, is to “run out” of official referral forms.  When this happens the administration substitutes another form, which we call a “detention slip”, and tells us to use it like a referral.  The issue is that it isn’t.  Since they are not the official form, they don’t get counted.  Everybody wins.

So follow the money.  These Progressives do not care about eggs, only omelets and they believe in their recipe with a religious fervor that makes ISIS look like Junior Varsity. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-160: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 2 of ?, More on Absentee Fathers

The best way to keep your children out of poverty is to be married when they are born and stay married.  The following is a lengthy quote from Charles Murray in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.  My “page numbers” are from my Kindle edition.   It is lengthy.  Basically it says that even allowing for variations in socio-economic factors the children raised in two parent families are better off than any other situation.  Period.
“No matter what the outcome being examined - the quality of the mother-infant relationship, externalizing behavior in childhood (aggression, delinquency, and hyperactivity), delinquency in adolescence, criminality as adults, illness and injury in childhood, early mortality, sexual decision making in adolescence, school problems and dropping out, emotional health, or any other measure of how well or poorly children do in life - the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married. Divorced parents produce the next-best outcomes. Whether the parents remarry or remain single while the children are growing up makes little difference. Never-married women produce the worst outcomes. All of these statements apply after controlling for the family’s socioeconomic status. I know of no other set of important findings that are as broadly accepted by social scientists who follow the technical literature, liberal as well as conservative, and yet are so resolutely ignored by network news programs, editorial writers for the major newspapers, and politicians of both major political parties.”  Kindle Highlight Loc. 2658-72.
It also seems that the fact of being married itself is key.
“...the children of married couples did significantly better than the children of cohabiting parents, who in turn had scores that were only fractionally higher than the children of single mothers.” Highlight Loc. 2765-66
The Biblical standard for family starts with one man, married to one women, for life.  By encouraging and supporting unwed mothers we handicap all of the children in their future potential. We have a Biblical standard.  We have modern research the reinforces that standard.
 What is there that you don’t understand?

Murray, Charles.  Coming Apart.  New York:  Crown Forum, 2012.

To be continued...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Opus 2015-159: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 1 of ?, Absentee Fathers

A couple of months ago, in his comments about marriage and the family, our pastor pointed out that the one sure ticket to poverty is for a man to leave his family.  It is poverty for the family, not for the man.  That got me thinking about why people are poor and the lies that our common culture tells about this.  Our socialist/Progressive culture only sees oppression as a cause of people being poor.  The Bible gives many causes.  I am going to work through those in a series of posts.  Today we start with the point the pastor made.  The most obvious, and ignored, source of poverty is children without fathers. 

The Bible targets two groups as in special need of help and support:  Widows and orphans.  A clear example of this would be,
(James 1:27 KJV)  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
In modern American culture the number-one cause of poverty is single parent families.  The vast majority of cases involve the absence of the father.  There are three major sources of this situation:  Death of a parent, divorce and unwed mothers (or irresponsible fathers).  Death cannot be avoided.  It is a natural part of life and it seems that children hammered by this tragedy adjust and move on.  It is different when the father walks away, legally through divorce or morally through abandonment.  That is more like an all day cold remedy.  The chemicals just keep being released.  The poverty is not only financial but emotional and intellectual.  Remember that Dan Quayle was right, even if no media talking head would admit it at the time. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Opus 2015-158: Response: Muslim and Traitor Are Not Synonyms

I want to respond to a comment left recently by Vincent of Ton Thoughts.  I responded on the post but my thinking continued.  That is always a good sign.

First off, I am not convinced that President Obama is a closet Muslim who is part of a conspiracy to bring sharia law to the United States.  I am convinced that he is not a Christian, in spite of his claims.  To paraphrase a paraphrase, I know Christians.  Christians are friends of mine.  And you, Mr. President, are not a Christian.  Unless of course by Christian you mean someone who is not a Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu.  In that case, okay.

He is, however, a left-wing socialist who would prefer sharia law to the Constitution because it institutes an elitist hierarchy instead of elected political leaders.  The benefit of sharia law would be that it is the rule of elitist opinion rather than the rule of law.  The law becomes whatever the mullahs say it is this week.  That kind of understanding flies in the face of Constitutional law but is preferred by Progressives (aka socialists, communists, Democrats, Rinos, environmentalists) because it lets them rule by fiat instead of consent.

In reference to my earlier questions about President Obama in regard to treason, I would also point out that being a Muslim does not make one a traitor.  Along with the part of the Constitution I quoted about treason there is a part that goes like this,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It is called the First Amendment.  It is hated by Progressives as much as the Second Amendment, in fact as much as the Constitution itself.

Technically you can be a Muslim and an American but it is harder to be a “good” Muslim and a loyal American than it is to be a “good” Christian and a loyal American.  Both have a priority of obedience to God before obedience to secular authority but the traditional American values are more in tune with the God of the Bible than with the God of the Koran.

In the real world nothing is easy.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-157: Even More Dumb Questions

I hope we can agree on this one:

“Can I borrow a Kleenex?”

No!  A thousand times, no!  Might I add, “Never”?  Things which are borrowed are supposed to be returned.  I do not want you to return the Kleenex to me.  After you are done, throw it away.  A gift, yes.  A loan?  Yech!

Maybe it’s just me.  It seems to be that way on a lot of other issues.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Opus 2015-156: The Question of “Traitor?” Keeps Coming Up

If you need a moment of humor check out Hope and Change.  The offering I read recently made a backhanded inference that President Obama was viewed as a traitor by many who love America and many who hate America.  One mourns and the other celebrates.

Is Barak Obama a traitor?  Treason is defined in the Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 3.
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” 
Is Obama guilty of treason?  I recently had several posts about dumb questions.  I should add this one to the list.

I have lived under presidents I would label as “bad” presidents.  Clinton was a criminal and a pervert but I don’t think he deliberately tried to bring the country down.  Jimmy Carter was, and is, a fool but I think he seriously believed he was working for progress.  I have criticisms of many but this is the first time I have ever believed that a president of the United States felt like his goal in life was to destroy the nation. 

If you need a lift after that, go check out the cartoon.  And read the post below it.  My favorite line was toward the end.
“As one wit observed, ‘pass it to see what's in it’ is the definition of a stool sample.”
I wish I would have come up with that one.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-155: Still More Dumb Questions

School is coming to an end for the year and one of the questions I keep getting is, “Are you going to miss me?”  My typical responses take two directions.  First, I will ask are they going somewhere.  Second, I will point out that I am not throwing anything.

Will I miss them?  Some I will miss like a headache that goes away.  Some I will miss like I miss someone who never reads my blog again.  A few have wormed their way into my heart.

The missing will not really start though until next year.  It is like when my wife goes out of town.  If she is only gone for a week all I notice is that I need to do the laundry.  As the time extends the absence grows.  When the day comes that one of us dies, it will leave a real and permanent hole.

Will I miss you?  Sure, but probably not until next August. 

homo unius libri

Friday, June 5, 2015

Opus 2015-154: More Dumb Questions

We are in the last week of school.  Promotion was scheduled for Wednesday.  I was still getting this question,

“What can I do to get my grade up?  Do you have any extra credit?”

In a few cases all the student would need to do is turn in the last homework assignment, get half credit and move from an “F” to a “D”.  They were that close.  Did they do it?  Not this year.

Usually the student asking this question has done no work all semester, does not bring their tools, has numerous tardies and unexcused absences and has been kicked out of class frequently.  Their average could be in the teens or low twenty’s.  It is like being a doctor, removing the wrong kidney and asking if you can fill a tooth to make up for it.

Stupid question, bad timing.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-153: Dumb Questions

The person who said, “There is no such thing as a dumb question” had never taught 8th grade.  Let me give you a few examples.

“What time is this class over?”

On the first day of school or a day with a special schedule this might be a reasonable question but after 35 weeks of school, on a normal day, and the schedule printed in large print on the bulletin board, it is a stupid question.

“Do we need our book today?”

Keep in mind that one of the assignments for 35 weeks has been to bring their book every day and the daily “tool check” which reduces their grade if it is not on their desk, it is a dumb question.  My answer is usually, “Do you need to breathe today?”

I am sure there will be more.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Opus 2015-152: I Am Evil

At least that is the conclusion I have been forced to accept.  It seems that I fail students who do all their work, are never late and work hard.  At least that is their story and they are sticking to it.

I must be evil.

When you compare my stand to the school district I work in, I qualify.  The official policy is that they can fail two core classes on their final report and still walk in promotion.  This is a district that believes in high standards and rigor.  As one parent screamed, “What are they trying to teach these kids, that they can do nothing and be successful?”  I told her she was preaching to the choir.

I care about my students but I care about their future chance of a productive life.  I am not overly concerned about how they feel about me in eighth grade.  I hope they will live to thank me but I am not holding my breath.  I am just one little tinkle in a symphony of self-esteem self-destruction.  I am afraid that by the time they wake up to reality they will be living in a hovel and dependent on the nanny state.

So I must continue living with myself as an evil person.  I can deal with it.  I am not sure they will be able to.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Opus 2015-151: Growing Up Is Hard to Do

The only reason I can function as an adult is because I was not allowed to go to the bathroom when I was in school.

Students today think that the way to avoid work is to leave class and “go to the bathroom”.  I have never done a serious study, but I bet you would find a strong correlation between students who do poorly in school and the frequency of bathroom breaks.  I don’t work in an office but from the cartoons I see the water cooler might fill the same niche in business life.  It is a place to go when you don’t want to produce.  It is a place to go that nominates you for the next RIF list.

Some students never have to leave class.  Some claim to need to go every day.  From what I hear the same students need to go every period.  I also see them pressing their faces repeatedly against the window in my door during the day.  We all know who they are.

As an adult I have been forced to plan my day and look ahead.  Part of that education was the second stage of potty training:  Not now and not here.  As I get older I use these lessons when I travel.  It is hard to find a bathroom on the drive from Barstow to Las Vegas.  It is rough to need the bathroom on an airplane when there is a long line and one closet.

Growing up is hard to do.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Opus 2015-150: Ode to Old: You Know You Are Getting Old When... (Retiring)

What are safe topics to talk about?  The reason we talk about the weather so much is that religion and politics are too dangerous.  I would also recommend that you don’t ask women when the baby is due.  They may just be showing their donuts.

We are also free to ask how people are doing.  Usually this is just cultural jargon that generates a “Fine” in response.  Sometimes it generates organ recitals but you learn after a while not to ask certain people how they are doing.

You know you are getting old when they don’t ask how you are doing but ask when you are going to retire.  I get this question all the time from adults and children.  I also seem to get a lot of junk in my school mailbox about retirement seminars and such. 

So, for the record, I was originally planning on retiring two years ago.  Now I am hoping to make the jump in two years.  As they say in the ads for gold and silver, “...subject to change without notice.”

homo unius libri

Monday, June 1, 2015

Opus 2015-149: Should-a-Beens: Cardio-Phone

As I was walking to my table a young man interacting with technology gave me an idea:  We need a cardio-phone.

He was a buff young dude in a “wife-beater” shirt.  He obviously spent a lot of time working out.  The problem is that right then he was doing nothing but pushing buttons on his phone.  He needed a bit of technology that would help in his body building goals as well as his social media needs.

I am not sure how we would fit this in a pocket sized device.  It might need to be a suit or a series of chords that would cause resistance.  Thus to dial a 9 you might curl your arm.  A six might be a virtual push up.  A squat could give you a 3.  You get the idea.

I think there is real potential in this idea.  I don’t want one but I don’t watch TV either. 

homo unius libri