Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Opus 2016-172: Headlines: A Silver Lining

One of today’s headlines should be a little bit encouraging to you if you live in the West.  I refer to the terrorist attack in the Turkish airport.  How in the world can that be encouraging?  I know you ask that because you are paying attention. 

The encouraging aspect of the mayhem is that it in intramural instead of intermural.  The sects of Islam are very tribal.  Killing Muslims of another sect is just as righteous as killing Christians and Jews.  Okay, maybe not as righteous, but close.  Also keep in mind that the Muslims of Turkey are not Arabs, they are Turks.  To us they look the same but they consider themselves totally different people.

Americans do not understand the hatred of the medieval Middle Easterner.  That is probably a good thing but we need to find some way to factor it into our view of the world and how we relate to people of other cultures. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-171: Mystery Music

How do you cross the culture divide between the musical tastes of the old and the young?  Churches across the nation are struggling with this.  In the past two weeks I have seen two approaches.  One works better for me.

Last week we had a hymn sung in which the musicians had taken the words to a well known piece and put it to new music.  Musicians have a need to express themselves and sometimes their ego gets in the way.  The original song was written as a march.  The words lend themselves to the idea of the church triumphant.  It had a strong, singable melody that worked well.  They felt a need to redo it in their image and took the march and turned it into a ballad.  It is hard to march to a ballad.  Ballads make you want to sit back and feel.  Marches make you want to get up and do.  It was not an improvement.

I also find it hard to pick up the music.  Much of the new stuff is rather boring, to be honest.  I am sure that in time I could learn it.  I might even get used to it.  There is a rare chance that I might like it but I don’t think it is going to happen because I don’t think it will stand the test of time.  Of course some of the old stuff was boring too.

This week we had the opposite approach.  The words on the screen were unfamiliar.  When it is a song I don’t know I usually listen through the first verse to try to get a feel for the music.  As they began singing I realized I knew the melody.  They had taken a known melody and written new words.  I was able to join in the singing right away.  Sometimes this does not work because the person writing the new music only thinks they understand rhythm.  Often the words are awkward and just don’t fit.  This one was very well done.  The words were strong and meaningful and fit beautifully into the music. 

Setting aside the music critic in me, I think it is easier to learn new words to old music than it is to learn new music to old words.  Maybe it is just me.  Then again, maybe it’s not.

I hope you were aided in your worship this week by the choices of the people leading the music.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 27, 2016

Opus 2016-170: Headlines: The Wave

I am not alone.  A few posts ago I mentioned that Brexit might be the beginning of a movement of separation that could involve California and Texas.  It seems that many others have had that idea according to the Washington Times.

According to “experts” quoted in the article it is possible for a state to secede but only with permission of the other 49.  The problem would be that the states that would gladly wave goodby to California would refuse to let Texas go and those who would encourage Texas to exit think California is the best thing since sliced bread.

If we started splitting up then we would see a lot more wars and conflict.  How many years before California went to war to get the water of Arizona and Washington?  How long before a non-fracking state went to war to stop the process in the next?  Would the  rest of the country be willing to build a wall around New York City?

The article mentions old movements such as Scotland and Quebec and talks about Northern Mexico wanting to split off.  That is not really new either.  Mexico has wanted to go different ways since the days of Poncho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.  They also missed the movement in the Hawaiian Islands.   
Interesting times.  I hope it holds together until I move to Texas.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Opus 2016-169: Read It Before It Is Banned

It is getting close to time to dig out your copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it.  The general population of sheep has rejected it because all they are worried about is security, that and five bars on their phone.

It doesn’t hurt for the rest of us to revisit what we think we know and refresh our foundations.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Opus 2016-168: Headlines: First Great Britain, Next California

We are not the only place in the world where change is taking place.  The British have just finished an historical vote and declared they would exit the European Union (EU).  One place you can read about it is in the Washington Times.

Knowing how politics works and not knowing all the details of the treaty that took them into the EU, I would imagine there will now be a lot of court opinions and arm twisting.  In spite of all the hype, it probably won’t be over just because the people spoke. 

The article says they joined in 1973.  That makes their withdrawal 43 years later.  When South Carolina withdrew from the United States it was 73 years, almost twice as long.  That led to the American Civil War.  I don’t see that kind of reaction in Europe but if the vote is honored there will be a lot of adjustments.

If you remember, Scotland just finished voting about withdrawing from Great Britain.  If this goes through we may see that coming up again.  We may see other countries trying to withdraw from the EU.  We may see Texas voting for independence.  California may vote to go their own way. 

I hope they both wait until I get moved to Texas.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 24, 2016

Opus 2016-167: Coffee Adventure

One of the hard things for me to accept is that advice is just that, advice.  It is not the final word.  It is someone else offering the benefits of their experience to help you reap the rewards of yours.  It is not the final word.  It is not a guarantee.  It is for consideration.

The results may vary not only because the results may vary but because we vary.  What might be excruciating pain to one person might be a mild irritation to another.  What might make you want to vomit could be an elixir of flavor to your friend.  Consider the vision of liver and onions.

So we need to experiment in life.

This came to me when I was buying some coffee on vacation.  I am staying with my son and this trip I put away the drip system and decided to go with just the French press and a hand grinder.  I don’t need to get to work so I have time to enjoy the process.  I was making conversation with the clerk and asked her how long she steeped the coffee.  To my surprise she said five minutes.  I had heard three.  I had read four.  I had never heard five.  Her suggestion was in line with what I was planning on doing:  Experiment.

So today I have made three brews.  Each had a different time.  Actually the five minute came out the best.  Now I am wondering if this coffee needed longer because it is a light roast.  I am coming to the opinion that every coffee has different needs.  Three minutes might work for one but another needs five.  When I am at home I have a standard established.  The road offers a chance of adventure, even if it is only in making coffee.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Opus 2016-166: Eternal Prospects in Temporal Clothes

Christians have a different world view because we think in terms of eternity.  This life is just the opening act of a production that will go on forever.  What happens here and now is important but no tragedy is final and every joy can multiply.  It doesn’t matter if the multiplication is mathematical or geometric, over eternity both will pay big dividends.  It is like the difference between someone who plants pansies and someone who plants oak trees.  One is looking for beauty next week.  The other is doing something for his grandchildren.  The Christian plants both and a few apple trees for ten years from now.

If that is true I am developing my eternal personality.  What I am now I will carry beyond the grave.  It may be cleaned up but it will be eternal.  I will no longer have the limitations of a physical, temporal body so there will be potentials that I can’t dream of now.

I was thinking in terms of eternal life in God’s presence, heaven  Then I thought that I would take the same personality to hell if that were my choice.  What is the difference?  Would there be a difference.  I think so.  In hell I will be isolated by myself with no hope of improvement.  When I got tired of myself I would face the despair of knowing I would only get more frustrated. 

In heaven I will be part of the body of Christ in eternal fellowship with the living God.  Growth will continue.  I will have an ever changing, ever improving personality. 

Something to think about.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Opus 2016-165: Headlines: Doomsday Produces Hope

They make it sound like it is a bad thing.  Here is the headline from the Washington Times,

“Partisanship dooms lawmakers’ latest effort to ‘do something’ about guns”.

We need to get over thinking that “partisanship” is a bad thing.  Partisan means you have strong opinions and are willing to stand up for them.  I would hope that the people elected to represent me have strong opinions.  I would hope that those opinions would be based on principles and facts.  I would hope that I agreed with their opinions. 

One of the reasons that the Founding Fathers put so many checks into the Constitution was because they wanted enough difference of opinion to exist to keep any one extreme group from controlling the lives of the citizens.  Partisan politics is a safety net that protects us from tyranny.  In this case it is keeping the left wing nuts from taking away our liberty of due process.  There might be another time when it keeps me from getting what I want.  I can live with that.

We don’t need more laws.  We need more enforcement of the laws we have now.

Partisanship is a good thing.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Opus 2016-164: Headlines: In Case You Were Not Paying Attention

I know I wasn’t.  I came across these by accident on World Magazine in the Highlights section.  We have been so busy with our own atrocity in Orlando that we ignore the “small stuff”.

Both highlights were posed on June 14.  One relates two police officers who were murdered in their home in Paris by Muslim terrorists associated with Isis.  The other tells us about two Canadians who were murdered in the Philippines by Muslim terrorists. 

What do they all have in common?  They were not Americans.  There is no indication that they were Jews or Christians.  The police were a married couple with a child so it isn’t hatred for homosexuals.  What could the tie be?  None of the victims were Muslims.  All of the murderers were.

Wake up America.  Wake up world.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-163: Fathers’ Day Strikes Again

On Fathers’ Day my kids decided it was time for me to take a step in technology.  I hate it when that happens, but so far I have been able to adjust.

I was just fine with the smart phone they bought me a few years ago.  I have adapted to what it could do for me and learned to ignore the lure of aps that were nothing but data gathers for the commercial world of the internet.  It was becoming useful in checking my personal e-mails but I had refused to link it to my school account.  The map function was of great use.  I had learned to work with the hot spot that gave me internet access through my computer from almost anywhere.  I was good to go.

They decided it was not fast enough.  I am sure that they have other secret schemes for moving me ahead without the kicking and screaming but those will only emerge in time.  It is going to take my son a few days to get it all set up.  I don’t expect it to change my life but it will make them happy.  My guess is that they will put a tracker in so that they can find me when I start to wander drooling through a mall someday.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 20, 2016

Opus 2016-162: Ode to Old: Maybe Tomorrow

This summer is going to be a prelude to retirement.  There are issues I will need to begin dealing with and priorities that need to be established. 

Teachers live in a world of privilege.  Yes, we have a rough job.  The stress is high and it takes a lot of energy.  At the same time the benefits are beyond what those of you paying our salaries can only dream of.  After having all summer off I can understand the appeal of welfare.  It is awesome to not have to work and still be able to eat.  It is so refreshing to not hear an alarm every morning.  Can you picture months in which you can say, “Tomorrow” to something you need to do and know that you will have the time.

Most of you are lucky to get two weeks paid vacation a year.  Most of you are losing your health insurance.  Many of you are worried about layoffs.

I will only need to worry for one more year.  That is what I know I have to do.  At that point we will decide if we can get out of the rat race and out of the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  Then I will have to make some changes and I might as well get started.

It is hard to motivate yourself when you have plenty of time.  When you can mow the lawn tomorrow and it won’t make any difference it is an excuse for a nap.  You can have all the projects and goals in the world but when you have plenty of time it takes the edge off.  I think that discipline and a schedule will be necessary to self-impose.  I want to write more.  I have files full of ideas to write about.  I have a lot to say.  It doesn’t matter if no one is listening, I still want to say it.  Lazy afternoons are killers for a posting schedule.

I need to get started on this.  I have the rest of the summer.  Maybe tomorrow.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Opus 2016-161: Discernment Watch: The Camel Nose of Censorship

The attack on your freedom of speech is underway.  What is interesting is that it is being pushed by people who should be fighting on the other side.  I found a statement that was designed to move people toward censorship in an article tying the Orlando shooter with a imam who ran an online “Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary.”

My problem is not with linking the two or identifying the imam as radical.  My problem comes with saying that the imam was “openly and enthusiastically preached against homosexuality,...”

This was implied to be hate speech.  You know how filled with hate those radical Muslims are, right?  The problem is that this statement could be used to label every Bible believing Christian pastor in the country.  The label would not be given because they were filled with hate and wanted to kill homosexuals.  It would be because they pointed out that the Bible clearly states that homosexual acts are sinful.

Beware of media and government censors trying to tell you what you can say and thus tell you what you can believe.  Keep in mind that the university students of today consider the Declaration of Independence a seditious document.  Polls on college campuses show a coming generation that has been brainwashed into giving up the freedoms of the Bill of Rights.  It will start with the crazy ones and proceed to you.

Be alert.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Opus 2016-160: Discernment Watch: Social Justice

I have a lot of old thoughts to get to and write about.  This one hit me as I was listening to an Alistair Begg sermon back in 2011.  Begg used the term “social injustice”.  I am used to the term “social justice” but had not heard it turned around this way.  In case you are not paying attention you might think that “social justice” is something that Christians should be all in favor of.  After all, are we not called to justice?
(Micah 6:8 KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Yes we are, but we are not called to “social” justice. 

The whole meaning changes when you add the adjective.  Social justice is a term coined by a group of manipulators who want to carve out special privilege for certain groups of people at the expense of others.  Social justice means that you take the blindfold off the statue of justice so that she can she who is on trial and adjust the results to compensate for supposed inequality.  In the last few years we have had a judge decide that a handicapped person who wants to be a professional golfer could be allowed to ride in a golf cart.  This is in spite of the rule that says all golfers must walk the course.  It is the source of the blue outlined parking spaces outside of gyms and athletic fields. 

The Biblical idea of justice is based on truth.  If you buy a dozen eggs then when you get home you should find twelve eggs in the carton.  You should not have eleven eggs.  You should not have two rocks, three marbles and seven eggs.  Justice demands twelve eggs.  If you get home and find that you only have ten eggs because the grocer knew you had high cholesterol and didn’t need the eggs and gave the two extra eggs to someone with five children, that is social justice.  If, in the process, he made you pay more for the eggs because you made more money, that is social justice.  If it just so happens that the person who is getting the benefit of this social justice is a relative or someone who’s vote you want to buy, that is also social justice.

Why do we need the adjective.  Adjectives modify nouns.  If God has given us a noun why do we feel a need to modify it?  We act like we are clarifying but often we are just watering down.  I am on a diet.  I am sure you are impressed but keep in mind, everyone is on a diet.  You modify the type and meaning of the diet by the adjectives you use.  Remember the See Food Diet.  You see food and you eat it. 

Justice does not play favorites.  Justice is.  Or it is not.  I am afraid that social justice isn’t.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 17, 2016

Opus 2016-159: Thanks Thoughts: The Last Breakfast

Part of my morning routine is pausing to give thanks based on the example of Jesus at the Last Supper.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-5 KJV)  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
It occurred to me today that this was the Last “Supper” not the Last “Breakfast”.  Jesus was not demonstrating how to start the day but how to pause the day.  Too often we allow our worship to be limited to Sunday, and Sunday morning at that.  When we think of devotions, or daily worship, we tend to think in terms of the beginning of the day.

Notice that the cup was taken after He had “supped.”  That would seem to imply that the bread was taken at the beginning of the meal and the cup at the end.  Both were done at a time other than morning. 

This is a reminder that we need to pause frequently during out day to “be still and know that He is God”, to paraphrase Psalm 46:10.

Daily and all day should be our pattern.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Opus 2016-158: Discernment Watch: Be Careful What You Wish For

If you like a good political cartoon, go to Hope and Change.  If you want reason to think, read the essay under the cartoon.  Today’s comments are very important.

The call is to get a grip.  Politicians that want to increase the power of the government to deal with a few (50 out of over 300,000,000 Americans) deaths are very likely to have you on one of their watch lists.  If you can find this blog on the internet and link to Hope and Change then you are obviously a danger and preemptive action is necessary.  That’s according to the elites.

Read it and think.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-157: Headlines: Trump Bashing by the Washington Times

I was waiting for my coffee to get ready and looking at the headlines.  I found the first one I saw a bit unsettling.
“Donald Trump joins Democrats in post-Orlando gun control push”
This was the leading story at the Washington Times.  As a lure to get me reading it worked.  As a piece of legitimate reporting it failed.

I started reading the article and saw nothing about Trump that justified the headline.  When it switched to reviewing all the boilerplate rhetoric of the Democrats I began skimming, looking for the information to back up the headline.  The closest I could come up with was almost to the end of the article and it went like this:
“Mr. Trump’s statement that he plans to meet with the NRA on the issue roiled the debate — though it’s unclear exactly what the presumed Republican presidential candidate has in mind.

“‘I want to meet with the NRA — we’re going to be discussing it,’ he said. ‘[A] number of people have brought this to my attention, and I understand why we should be discussing it.’”
So no, Trump has not decided to “join the Democrats”.  What he has agreed to do it talk to the people at NRA about the topic.  That means that he is looking in the right place for an overview of the issue.  That means he is being reasonable, not knee-jerk.

I am not a Trump backer.  I am a truth backer.  It would seem that the Washington Times doesn’t know the difference.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Opus 2016-156: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

One of the comments I have seen on several websites about the Orlando Massacre is that it is the worst attack in the U.S. since 911.  I have not been counting but I will take their word for it.

Something is implied in those statements:  Worse is yet to come. 

The surplus of gun free zones around the country is mind boggling.  Think of places where people congregate.  Schools and hospitals head the bill.  Since I work at a school I am aware of how vulnerable we are.  Many churches are gun free zones.  Pick a mall, any mall.  It doesn’t take much imagination to add to the list.

Add to that our open borders and immigration policies. 

Add to that a president who is either clueless or clued in.  Either reality is chilling.

We ain’t seen nothing yet.  The brightest light I see is that I am ready to go.  If they get me I go on to better things.  That won’t help you if you are left behind, but it is a comfort to me since I work in a target zone and fly several times a year.  There is also hope that there will be enough tragedy that the general population will wake up.

Until then...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Opus 2016-155: Discernment Watch: Is the Pope a Catholic?

Every once in a blue moon I click on the button at the top of the blog that says “next blog”.  Many of the offerings that turn up have been abandoned by their creators.  That is what I got today.  On a whim I looked at the blogs he had linked and clicked on one called Bad Catholic.  It was still active so I read a post dealing with Pope Francis. 

I got the impression he felt Pope Francis was misunderstood by liberals and conservatives.  As I read quickly I came across a statement that I thought bears repeating.  The topic was the Pope seeming to be soft on divorce and remarriage.  The Pope called for mercy.  The post then came to a defense of the Pope in called for mercy.
“...the gaze of mercy either presupposes the actual failure of the recipient of mercy, or else it is no mercy at all. This is missed by a culture that conflates mercy with allowance and forgiveness with acceptance: An increase in mercy is an accentuation and not a cloaking of moral ideals.”
The point is that the Pope is not speaking from the point of view of our post-modern world but from the point of view of the traditional Christian world-view.  In that view mercy is only extended when there has been sin that needs to be forgiven.  Also assumed is repentance and a desire to be forgiven.

It is a good reminder that the culture is practicing deconstruction, a philosophy that says there is no absolute truth.  Our culture keeps redefining words to mean what they want instead of what they mean.  Thus the world does not need real forgiveness because they reject the standard that says they are guilty of sin.  They want to be accepted as they are, not expected to become what they should.

The Bible has standards.  The author says the Catholic church has standards and that Pope Francis is in agreement.  I know the first is true.  I hope the second is also.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 13, 2016

Opus 2016-154: Headlines: An Important Word in Response to Orlando

I found an important word in an editorial by Michael Brown at Town Hall.  The word was “measured”. 

He walks the middle ground of reason in his article.  He points out that the cause of the shooting was not homophobia, whatever that is, but a Muslim terrorist attacking a densely populated gun-free zone.  Sure it was a gay bar but keep in mind that Islam condemns the alcohol as much as the homosexuals.

As Christians and Americans we need to condemn killing for either reason.  We need to make a measured response instead of a frantic primordial scream of extremism. 

The most important quote involves the dangerous trend that we see going on in our culture involving censorship.
“We must renounce all rhetoric that leads to violence without restricting freedom of speech.”
We know that there will be a call for more gun bans.  We have been fighting that knee-jerk response for decades.  What is new is the attempt to make everyone safe by taking away our freedom of expression.  The governments of Europe and the big internet voices are now trying to limit expression on the internet by deciding what is proper and what is not.  It will not be long before we will be silenced of any opinion that does not agree with the socialist agenda.

Be compassionate for those who lost loved ones.  Reject the violence.  Beware of the lurking Nanny State that promises security if we will just give up a little bit of our freedom.  All that will get us is a censorship in which atrocities will take place and you won’t know about it.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Opus 2016-153: Ode to Old: A Close Shave

I really don’t like shaving.  In addition to being a pain it is the one time of the day that I am forced to look at myself closely in a mirror.  What I see is an old man.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know I am an old man.  I just don’t feel like it all the time.  I am healthy enough that it is easy to forget.  That is not true when I am looking in a mirror.

I have never been one who needs to look in every mirror or shiny window to see if my hair is still in place.  Who cares?  Not me.  My wife might but if she isn’t with me she doesn’t know and what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.  When I catch an unexpected glimpse of myself in a store window or glass door I often wonder who the old man is.  I don’t worry about his hair.

When the kids at school try to get under my skin by implying, or stating outright, that I am ugly I simply tell them, “I would rather be the ugliest person in the room because I don’t have to look at myself.” 

I wear my age with dignity.  I just don’t like to look at it.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Opus 2016-152: Thanks Thoughts: Heavenly Spices

I cannot conceive of eternal life or, as it is commonly called, heaven.

Much of what we go through is preparatory for eternity.  We wonder why a mild improvement can be important and compared to how much we need to improve, anything is mild.  I again refer you to something I believe C.S. Lewis wrote.  He said that over a short distance a mild tangent won’t make much difference but over a thousand miles it makes a big difference.  That is why airplanes, ships and cars are always being redirected.  Now picture how far off you would be if you drove a million miles and never corrected your “small” divergence.  Still don’t get it?  Okay, try this but be careful.  Next time you go for a drive get your car aimed straight down the street.  Hold the steering wheel motionless.  See how long it takes for the car to head for a tree or a pedestrian.  I would suggest that you end the experiment as soon as you get the idea.

I am wondering if our six senses are also waiting to explode with variety.  What flavors will we experience in heaven?  I am enjoying some fresh baked bread and brewed coffee.  What will be served at the wedding feast of the Lamb?  What will we have for breakfast that morning?  What unknown spices will be used?  How do taste buds function without the limitations of sin?

How about our vision.  I am looking forward to the day that I can take off my glasses and find out what the rest of you see with stereoscopic vision.  I have little depth perception.  I also have a bit of color blindness.  Imagine me being able to pick out my own clothes.  And think of the colors that will be added to the palate.  Certain animals see into a range we don’t.  Dogs only see in black and white.  What would it be like to be a dog and suddenly get color vision?  We have much more to experience.  What color are x-rays?

You could continue this with sound and touch.  Perhaps there are senses that we can’t even begin to comprehend.  What do I mean “perhaps”?  I think it is a definite.

I hope to see you there and find out what you really look like.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 10, 2016

Opus 2016-151: Cornerstone Consideration: Better Slurs Than Censorship

One of the cherished liberties that we have enjoyed in this country is what we call the Freedom of Speech.  It is the second protection from an oppressive government that the Founders wanted to emphasize.  It came only after the freedom of religion. 
Second Amendment to the Constitution

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.
That freedom is under heavy attack by the elites of the country.  That would include anyone in power who could be made insecure by you saying what you think.  It could be the President of the United States.  It could be your child’s kindergarten teacher.  It takes many forms from attempts to regulate the internet to “safe zones” on university campuses. 

I read an interesting column in World Magazine on this issue.  It might be worth your time.  One point was to acknowledge the dangers involved in free speech.
"'Free speech' is a positive value with some negative effects. Censorship is a negative value with a negative effect."
Notice that even though free speech might hurt your feelings, censorship can take away your freedom to act and the knowledge to know when to act.  Freedom has a big up-side against a small down-side.  Control has nothing but negatives.

The conclusion the author come to is that we need less control, not more.
“In the long run, it’s better to allow bruising slurs than to ban them, for, when words go on the chopping block, the ax doesn’t know where to stop.”
If the only speech you are protecting is what you agree with then there is no freedom of speech just freedom to quote, and then you get into plagiarism. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Opus 2016-150: Election 2016: Trump Endorses

Donald Trump has endorsed Renee Ellmers in a North Carolina primary race according to the Washington Times.  If you are like me that didn’t send out any alarm bells but that changed as I read the article. 

Ellmers is an example of the seduction of power.  We elect people because of where they “stand” and then they do an about face.  She was once endorsed by the Tea Party for her position on spending and size of government.  Another betrayal.
“She has made clear that she no longer thinks of herself as her constituents’ representative to Washington; instead she thinks of herself as Washington’s representative to her constituents,” Jenny Beth Martin, chairwoman of the Tea Party Patriots fund, said.
The article focused on her support for amnesty and allowing illegals to stay in the country.  It also says she is actively pro abortion.  She is not favored in the primary but it shows the willingness of Trump to move in the opposite direction than I want the country to go.

The jury is still hung in my mind.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Opus 2016-149: More Than Nazis

Most people are aware of the evil of the Jewish Holocaust perpetrated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.  Not as many consider the Armenian Holocaust that the Muslim Turks inflicted on the Christian minority of the Ottoman empire.   In reading Laura Schlessinger’s book on the Ten Commandments she got me thinking about how often there are “holocausts” and we don’t consider the frequency. 
“The many tens of millions of murders of the Stalinist era, the Third Reich, communist China, and the killing fields of Cambodia, to name only a few are blatant testimonials to godless chaos and cruelty.” pp. 32-33
These are just the ones we are aware of if we have done any reading or thinking.  These are just in the last hundred years.  These are just the ones that made the news.

How many deaths does it take to rate as a holocaust?  We have other words for them today:  Ethnic cleansing, genocide, abortion.  Does the destruction of the welfare system or drugs qualify?  Do we run the danger of desensitizing people by calling too many things holocausts?

It is important to note the anniversaries for the Jewish and Armenian holocausts.  It isn’t because these groups are any more important than the Ukrainians or Cambodians.  It is because they are more familiar.  It is because they remind us of the evil that is perpetuated by certain regimes.  It is to make us aware of what is going on today in the Middle East and in parts of Africa.  Maybe we need to have special days to mark more of these atrocities.

I expect to see it again.  I won’t be surprised if devout Christians are rounded up someday in America.  There is a saying about eternal vigilance being the price of liberty.

Here’s to vigilance.

Schlessinger, Dr. Laura and Vogel, Rabbi Stewart.  The Ten Commandments
    New York:  Cliff Street Books, 1998.

homo unius libri 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Opus 2016-148: Basic to Inquiry

I am reading a book I picked up called The Ten Commandments by Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel.  They are writing from the point of view of serious believers and although their insights come from a Jewish framework I find a lot of solid teaching.  I am also listening to podcasts by Dr. William Lane Craig who is a Christian philosopher.  He travels the world to debate well known critics of a theistic view of the world.  Sometimes he really gets my attention.  Other times he is so ethereal that I just listen with one ear.  There are times when philosophers are too smart for their own good.  Us normal people wonder what is so important to them.

One of the consistent truths that I hear or deduce is that even the hard sciences start from a position of faith.  They don’t call it that and don’t see it but it is still a position of faith.  There is a place where they are forced to say, “We don’t know”.  One of the memes that I am hearing in these discussions and the science fiction I read is that physics is coming to a place where we may not be able to learn much more.

This brings me to what Schlessinger and Vogel had to say.
“Our ears can only hear certain sound frequencies.  Our eyes can only discern certain-size objects and certain wavelengths of light.  We are limited, mortal creatures.  To believe that only that which we can see, hear, or touch is the extent of what is possible is a product of our arrogance and our tendency to worship our own egos.  God is greater than form and beyond our sensory abilities.  That we finite beings cannot fathom either the divine or infinity does not give evidence against God’s existence, only evidence that there is more beyond ourselves.” p. 26
Believers in science make a big issue of mocking Christians because we believe in a God that is bigger than we are.  They claim that belief in God is just a defense mechanism for people who are too dumb to think and too weak to stand on their own two feet.  To be honest it is kind of like assuming that you see the same colors as a dog just because you don’t know any better.  It is like ignoring that a cat can run around the house in the dark.  It is basing the universe on your own limitations. 

As they say, such a view of reality is a “product of our arrogance”.  And ignorance too.

Schlessinger, Dr. Laura and Vogel, Rabbi Stewart.  The Ten Commandments.
       New York:  Cliff Street Books, 1998.

homo unius libri

Friday, June 3, 2016

Opus 2016-147: Ignoring the Problem

A long time ago Alistair Begg was talking about the apostle Paul’s comments on spiritual warfare.  He said Paul doesn’t try to present a case for the existence of the devil, he just assumes it.  I can’t find the reference at his point but Hebert Schlossberg maintained that one of the assumptions we should have is that there is a spiritual realm and we are battling in it.  Remember the well known statement of C.S. Lewis about the devil.  He said there are two mistakes people make.  They either totally ignore him or give him too much attention. 

The problems that our world faces are based on spiritual malnutrition, not material shortages.  Take world hunger.  People are starving to death all around the world.  It isn’t because there isn’t enough food to feed them.  The problem is governmental coercion and personal selfishness.  It is in distribution and management, not production.  The same case can be made for most shortages.

How about unemployment.  Obviously there are some big issues but one of the contributing factors is an unwillingness to work.  It always amazes me then young men who seem alert and capable ask me for money outside a store when across the parking lot there is a sign saying, “Now hiring”.  Two things are necessary for a person like this.  They must be willing to work and willing to cut their life style to match their income.

We do live in a physical world.  There are physical needs and demands.  Those are real.  Our problem comes when we forget the spiritual forces and priorities that propel how we deal with those demands.  Saving is wise.  Hoarding is destructive.  Feasting is glorious.  Gluttony is a sin.

As long as our leaders and teachers refuse to address the spiritual we will continue to be like natural water, always running down hill and following the path of least resistence. 

Schlossberg, Herbert.  Idols for Destruction.  Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983.

homo unius libri

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Opus 2016-146: Headlines: Interested?

My wife worries about a lot of things and her condition is aggravated because she often believes what she hears on the radio.  She should know better.  She claims to know better.  She still worries a lot.  Recently she heard that mortgage interest rates were going up in June, at least in California.  Could be.

With that in mind I thought it was interesting that in Great Britain they were looking at lowering interest rates again.  The story is in The Telegraph.

In April the British seemed to be paying 2.41%.  One thing we know about interest rates, they will change but no one knows if it will be up or down.

Of course if you are not buying or selling a house this is not as earthshaking as the way that the price of fresh vegetables is increasing.  I buy a lot more apples than houses.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Opus 2016-145: Evolutionary Tangent

Evolution by chance?  Really?  I took this tangent because I just finished dropping my wife off at the airport.  I arrived at my breakfast spot and began my worship with meditation on the Lord’s Supper.  One of the first things that comes to my mind is the safe trip I just had.  Today I had a moment of awe that my old clunker had made it again.  Think of how many moving parts your car has.  How many have to fail for the car to fail?  Think of the times your car has just stopped.  A broken timing belt will do it.  Once a loose wire to a coil did it.  A crazy driver on his phone could do it to you.

It doesn’t take much to stop a simple machine like a car.  You say a car is not simple?  It is when you compare it to the human body that some claim is the product of evolution.  It doesn’t take much to mess up the whole process.  Have you ever tried to install software and missed one step?  Have you ever tried to send an e-mail and get one letter wrong?  Now look at a string of DNA.  It makes your password look like a kindergarten project.

Evolution is a theory that had logic behind it.  When I was a kid it made sense.  Of course when I was a kid I thought that Roy Rogers could actually shoot his revolver from a running horse and hit something.  Darwinian evolution through natural selection is an attempt to explain the questions of “Where did we come from?” and the bigger question of “What is the purpose of life?”  Since the reality is much more complicated than Darwin could imagine his theory is full of holes and flaws.  It is just a theory and real science will look at new knowledge about the complexity of life and say, “Back to the drawing board.”

Might I suggest,
(Genesis 1:1 KJV)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Take it from there.  That is a starting point but if you don’t start at the right point you never get anywhere.

homo unius libri