Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

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

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 29, 2015

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

Myth 3.  Computers are preparing students for the future. 

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Saturday, November 28, 2015

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

Myth 2.  Computers are fun.

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, November 27, 2015

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

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

Myth 1.  Computers are smart. 

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

They are also stupid.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-247: New Term: Blessgiving Day

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

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Opus 2015-246: Thanksgiving Blessings

How many First World Problems do you have?

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

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

Thanksgiving blessings.

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

Thanksgiving blessings.

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

Thanksgiving blessings.

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

Thanksgiving Blessings.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Opus 2015-245: What are you?

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

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

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

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

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

What are you?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Opus 2015-244: Shake on It

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Monday, November 23, 2015

Opus 2015-243: Sword Time

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Opus 2015-242: Why?

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

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

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

I hope you have something to celebrate.

homo unius libri

Friday, November 20, 2015

Opus 2015-241: A Russian Army in America?

You pick up tidbits of history in the strangest places. 

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

Would it have changed the outcome?

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

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Opus 2015-437: Discernment Watch: Just Wondering

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

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

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

homo unius libri

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

What a difference one vowel make.

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

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

Expect more of the same.

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

homo unius libri

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

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, November 14, 2015

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Friday, November 13, 2015

Opus 2015-433: Chairman Mao Wants You

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

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

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

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

Keep your firewall up.

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Opus 2015-432: Religion and Culture: Sacred Cows

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

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

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

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

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

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

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

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

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

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Opus 2015-430: Discernment Watch: Redefining Privilege

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

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

So I clicked on the link.

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

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

This is the poster child to protest white privilege.

homo unius libri

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Opus 2015-428: Bread

Historically bread was a primary food, a staple.  When there was nothing else, there was bread of some kind.  Every culture had some kind of bread:  tortillas, pita, bagels, biscuits, saltines, won-ton, and the list goes on.  Only in modern times has our wealth and plenty made it an accompaniment to other foods, almost a condiment.  Only in modern health food culture does it become the enemy because of carbohydrates and gluten. We take it for granted.

I came across a statement that gives an idea of the place that bread played as late at the French Revolution.  In France, 1789, “Bread constituted three-fourths of an ordinary person’s diet and cost one-third to one-half of his or her income.”1

Forget the potatoes.  Don’t even dream about meat.  Hope you can get enough bread.

One Sunday the congregation was reciting the Lord’s Prayer together and we came to the line that says,
(Matthew 6:11 KJV)  Give us this day our daily bread.
That got me to thinking about communion and its reference to bread.
(1 Corinthians 11:23 KJV)  ...That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
We do not understand the historical importance that this is declaring.  Not only is Jesus to be a daily part of our lives but He is to be thought of as our primary sustenance.  This is the context of His reminder.
(John 6:48 KJV)  I am that bread of life.
If you are a Christian you are to take communion.  When you do, you are to remember the sacrifice Jesus made.  You are to remember that He died for your sins.  You are also to be reminded that He is to be at the core of your nutritional needs, not a condiment.

1Massie, Robert K.  Catherine the Great.  New York:  Random House, 2011, page 534.

homo unius libri

Monday, November 9, 2015

Opus 2015-427: Election 2016: Winning Planks, Daylight Savings Time

There are a lot of concerns that need to brought up and considered in the coming elections.  From city council to President we need to be thoughtful and prayerful.  Most of the important issues will be ignored because the public has a short attention span stiffled by awesome ignorance and the media plays to those weaknesses.  So I suggest a plank for the election that is not exactly world changing.  It might, however, change your world.

I would suggest the we propose to do away with daylight savings time. 

I have heard all kinds of explanations about why we do it.  They are somewhere between weak and insipid.  If they did away with it most of us would be healthier because we would not need to readjust our internal clocks twice a year.  My guess is that somewhere in December someone would say, “Did we forget to turn the clocks back?” 

Or maybe they would never notice.

It would be worth a try.

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Opus 2015-426: Headlines: You Think We Are Crazy?

You have to take a look at this.  In England six men arrested during a riot were released without bail and told to come back next year for their trials.  Okay, what is so strange about that?  The judge who released them does not know who they are.

Yes.  You read that right.  They were arrested for being part of a violent protest.  They were taken to jail.  They refused to give their names.  They were released on something called “unconditional bail”.  They were told to come back next March for the trial.  I think this judge is lobbying for a position on our Supreme Court.

Anybody want to bet on whether they show up or not?

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-425: Headlines: That Evil Ben Carson

I am sure you have heard about it by now.  Ben Carson is accused of making up a story about him and West Point.  All I can tell you is consider the source.

The source is a website called Politico.  I will not link it because I don’t want to increase their hits.  I first became aware of Politico several years ago when I was still listening to Hugh Hewitt on the radio and thinking that he was a real conservative.  Politico was a start up at that point and he made a real effort to give them publicity and encourage people to visit the site.  After a few visits it became clear to me that they were another leftist site trying to act like they were coming from the middle.  There was a definite slant to what they wrote and topics covered.  When I saw that Politico was the source of this “scandal” I knew that it was the site that was fabricating, not Ben Carson.

Carson never said what they said he said.  His campaign never said was they said it said.  All of that can be documented.  Was Carson totally accurate?  Probably not.  Who is?  Certainly not Politico.

Carson remains one of the top three on my list of good presidential candidates. 

Meanwhile, consider the source.

homo unius libri

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Opus 2015-424: A Day of Mourning

Mostly Cajun has a feature called “Today in History”.  On November 3 he us it was the day that the United States introduced the income tax.  It is a day to wear black.

I am not sure if Cajun is referring to the tax during the Civil War, later attempts to introduce the personal income tax (and the courts rejected it) or the time that the Constitution was amended to make it legal.  According to Wikipedia the 16th Amendment was ratified on February 3.  Who would you believe, Cajun or Wikipedia?  Both are entertaining. 

The real problem is that it was ratified, showing why the Founding Fathers had serious doubts about pure democracy.  Of course they would have never believed that people would be so stupid as to accept the current nonsense about identifying as transgender.

Sodom move over.  Rome, take a back seat.  America is coming just as soon as our taxes are paid.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-423: Headlines: Truth to Power, Israeli Edition

I am confused.  You may not think that is new, but the confession is.

The Drudge Report had a link to a Yahoo article about a new appointee by Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for saying that President Obama was anti-Semitic, his own prime minister was not important enough to assassinate and that John Kerry had the mental ability of a twelve year old.  The only one he missed on was the second and the only reason that the third is a problem is because he set the bar too high.

Two out of three is nothing to apologize about.

When I got home and tried to get the link it was already gone and my Google search could not seem to find the Yahoo story.  I did find in on NBC, which never gave the details of what he aide had said and on Reuters, which gave the entire story.

Why is this worth a headline?

homo unius libri

Friday, November 6, 2015

Opus 2015-422: Tax Dollars at Work: A Slice of the Pie

I have not seen it in print yet but the radio was reporting a new scandal involving Marco Rubio.  It seems that when he was a younger politician he may have misusing a government credit card.  I expect it might become a popular theme.  We will see.

Rubio is not high on my list but I am not sure if this is really a big issue.  It isn’t that using tax money for personal benefit isn’t wrong.  It is.  The problem is that our government class is so corrupt that we can put this in the “everyone is doing it” file.

For instance, as I was listening to this on the radio I noticed a car driving beside me.  On the door was the proud seal of the City of Los Angeles.  Below it was the identification of“Public Utilities”.  We were at least three cities away from the boundary of Los Angeles.  There is no way that a city employee of Public Utilities would be out here unless he was simply using a government car to drive home.  Illegal?  Probably.  Common?  Definitely. 

Corruption is more than congressmen passing lucrative contracts to their friends and cronies.  It is also the guy at the bottom getting his slice.  It is too common.  It is still wrong.

homo unius libri

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Opus 2015-421: A Pet Peeve

I have a peeve to pet.  I was reading another blog and it had some great quotes from some significant people.  I would like to use them.

But are the true?  Are they accurate?  Most bloggers refuse to give their sources.  Thus, while I like the quote and might express the thought, it has no clout without the reference.  Think of all the time people quote Jesus when it was really Benjamin Franklin.  Think of all the quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln that never passed his lips.  Today I have seen quotes from Gandhi, Emerson, Thomas Paine, Plato, Mark Twain and others.  Are they accurate?

Often we read a quote that was repeated from another source, that was repeated by another source that was repeated by another source, that was repeated by the person who made it up.

Other times we follow the same procedure and it is like the old parlor game of “Telephone” where the message at the end is nothing like what went in at the beginning.

I remember one time I wanted to quote Shakespeare,
A rose by any other name,
Be it oh, so sweet,
Is still a rose.
Not being a Shakespeare scholar I did a quick search and found that what he actually said was,
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II
I like mine but it is not accurate.  Notice I did not put quotes around mine.

I realize you may not have the time but I would appreciate it if you would give me a title and a page number so I can see if it is accurate.

There.  I feel better now.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Opus 2015-420: Zombie Theology: Demon Possession

One of the kids at school was talking weird and I postulated that he was demon possessed.  What surprised me was that the kids knew what I was talking about.  Somehow in the discussion it came out that I was not worried about it.

I am not worried about being demon possessed.  Why?  Because I am filled with the Spirit.  That spot that a demon might get a toe-hold is already full. 
(1 John 4:4 KJV)  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
It is the difference between trying to crush an empty soda can compared to one that has not been opened.

Now my question here is about becoming a zombie.  The pagans like to look at the world as only material or, if there are spirits, you only hear about the evil ones.  The popular theme is that once you are bitten by a zombie you become a zombie.  As a Christian I question that.  If there are no spirits and the world is purely physical the process is purely nonsense.  Consider:  A body with all of its organs shot out, except its brain, somehow rises up and starts looking for brains to eat.  What physical process keeps the muscles contracting?  It ain’t going to happen. 

Then it requires a belief I spirits and requires it to be understood as some kind of demon possession.  By definition a true, regenerated, spirit filled disciple of Jesus Christ cannot be possessed by a demon.  Thus, I and my brothers and sisters become zombie-proof.  Bite away.  I may get an infection from your dirty mouth but God gave me an army of macrophages to deal with that invasion. 

And He gave me the Holy Spirit to send your zombies running the other way.

Sorry to rain on your parade, zombie fans.  It doesn’t need to ruin your day.  I figure you can suspend belief and enjoy the genre just as I can suspend my knowledge of the laws of physics while watching X-Wing fighters bank and roll in a vacuum. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Opus 2015-419: A Has Bean

Did you ever ask yourself what it would be like to be a coffee bean?

Think of the journey.  You start as the twinkle in the pistil of a plant in some third world country.  Who knows how old you are before you begin to yearn for freedom and opportunity that can only be had in the cup of an American blogger.  The yearning may develop slowly or it may pop full blown into your coffee bean heart. 

We will never know because a careless gringo dropped you on the floor.

You grew to maturity in the shade of a large tree and were carefully chosen by the fingers of a mountain peasant.  He decided you were ready for your journey.  He started you in motion by plucking you from the comfort of your branch.  But you knew you had a purpose.

You endured the processing, bagging and being tossed in the back of a truck.  You were nauseous on the ocean voyage but you knew it would be worth it.  The roasting simply made your goal one step closer.

Then came the day you slid down that chute in the bulk coffee dispenser and met your master for the first time.  At last.  You were in the hands of your consumer.  It was getting close.

Can you imagine the joy of beginning to be measured out on that special morning.  It was here.  You could see the coffee grinder, waiting with its lid off.  And then the unthinkable.  You missed your target and fell to the floor.  As you were screaming, “No!” you were picked up and dropped in the trash.  Instead of being the joyful part of a glorious morning you are suddenly landfill.

Today a coffee bean’s destiny was frustrated.

Think about your role in the destiny of others.  Remember that a coffee bean has feelings too.  It has dreams.  It has goals.  That same might be said for that noodle that your dropped and callously discarded.  Or what about that piece of radish that jumped from the chopping board to the ground.

Destiny is in your hands.  Cook with care.

homo unius libri

Monday, November 2, 2015

Opus 2015-418: Monday Pulpit: Sources of Poverty, part 11 of ?, Sin

I go back to a series I started about what makes people poor.  Another cause of poverty is sin. 
(Proverbs 13:25 KJV)  The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want
Sin is destructive.  It may be fun at the moment.  It may be cool.  It may feel good.  It will destroy you.  This is expanded in an often overlooked verse.
(Exodus 15:26 KJV)  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Righteous living leads to a healthier life.  Sure, righteous people get sick.  So do rich people.   This is not a blanket guarantee that God’s people will never get sick.  It is a guarantee that God will not send the consequences of disobedience on His people.  Better health would seem to be a part of prosperity. 

S.I. McMillen makes the case in a book called None of These Diseases.  He goes into great detail about the physical infirmities that can be avoided by following the standards taught in the Bible.  I think the original is out of print.  I reread it in the third edition, referenced below.  I found that the rewriting had added a bit of political correctness but also a lot of startling statistics with footnotes for the research.  One of the startling statistics he gives in the new book comes from research done in Africa regarding the scourge of HIV.
“Uncircumcised men were up to eight times more likely to become infected with AIDS.” p. 75
I doubt if you will hear that on the evening news.  Maybe you need better sources of information.

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

homo unius libri

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Opus 2015-417: Zombie Theology: The Resurrection

Zombies.  Everywhere.  All the time.  Halloween is gone, zombies remain.

One of the popular heresies being perpetuated in the “Christian” church is that Jesus was not really physically resurrected.  They teach that it was a spiritual resurrection only.  To them it was only His spirit that came back.  It was kind of a Star Wars, Obi Wan Kenobi, moment.  Like Obi Wan, Jesus after saying what need to be said, just faded away.

It makes a fun plot line but makes the Christianity these people celebrate a sick joke.  Actually it is not even a new idea.  The Star Wars theme was around in the early church.  It was what Paul was responding to when he wrote,
(1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV)  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Old heresy revisited.

Modern pagans have approached the idea of resurrection from the other vector.  In the ancient heresy Jesus was supposed to have only had His spirit resurrected.  In the modern pagan version the dead are resurrected only physically.  Instead of becoming saints they become zombies.

A zombie is a body without a soul.  It isn’t always lacking a mind.  I have only seen one zombie movie but I understand in some threads of the meme there are zombies with the ability to think and talk.  What they lack is the soul.  Cool, if you are a pagan.

Zombie evangelism involves eating brains.  One of the differences with Christian evangelism is that the zombie approach seems to be 100% effective and require no consent from the target.  In both forms of evangelism the targets usually run away.  I am not sure why people run from zombies.  They seem to like the idea.  They dress up like them.  They walk like them.  They take drugs and alcohol to make themselves temporarily brain dead.  Maybe on the inside they realize it isn’t a good option.

Feel free to make your own choice. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-416: Happy All Saints Day

It is no longer Halloween, it is now Hallow.  I read over the Wikipedia article on All Saints Day.  Much of what it had to say I already knew.  November 1 is observed by the Roman Catholic Church and liturgical Protestants as a day to remember and honor the saints of the church.  If you are an evangelical Protestant you might not understand that the term “saint” in the Catholic tradition refers to a select few who have been recognized and elevated by the church for their holy lives and miraculous actions.  For evangelicals it simply refers to believers.

A few tidbits that I found interesting.  Evidently in Shakespeare’s time the day was referred to as Hallowmas.  You can see the parallel evolution of language when you consider Christmas (Christ’s mass) Eve comes before Christmas.  Thus Hallowe’en (Hallow’s evening) is connected with Hallowmas.

The other interesting thing was that the liturgical celebration began at Vespers on what we consider Halloween.  That would rule out much of the nonsense we associate with the holiday.  It is hard to go trick or treating when you are sitting in a Vesper service.

The Day for the Evil Dead is over.  Now it is time to celebrate the Righteous Dead.

I don’t think it will catch on.

homo unius libri