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.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Opus 2016-262: Thanks Thoughts: Grandfather Clause

As I worked through my daily Eucharist the words “new covenant” stood out to me. 
(1 Corinthians 11:25 NAS77)  In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
As much as I consider myself a child of the new covenant, old contracts are not always voided by new ones.  We have some grandfathered in. 

We see it in technology.  When the rotary dial was phased out in production it still worked for the old phones around.  USB 1 still works in new computers with USB 2.

Jesus made a specific statement that applies to this.
(Matthew 5:17 KJV)  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
So think of the Old Testament (covenant) as being a rotary dial.  It worked and worked well.  It was also slow and inflexible.  Things have changed.  We now have buttons and smart phones.  Some people have special ring tones to tell them who is calling.  We have call forwarding, texting and voice mail.  The wires have even changed but the general concept of phone numbers and communication remain the same. 

God is waiting to communicate with His people. 

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Opus 2016-261: Pseudo-Coffee Snobbery

I am currently enjoying two coffees bought for my by my daughter.  They come from a boutique coffee roaster, La Dolce Grind, that seems to only roast when an order is in and paid for.  I went on line and could not get past the search for a “local coffee broker”.  Even the click on the “product” link took me to that search.  My daughter knew someone who liked their coffee and somehow found such a person.  I know it is classy coffee because it comes with a roast date hand written on the label.

As I said, I am enjoying what she had roasted just for me.  What got me thinking was the label I was reading when I was waiting for my current cup to brew.  I got to thinking about all the hoopla around coffee and how much of it escapes notice.  For instance one bag was labeled “Brazilian”.  That is not much of a recommendation because my reading had already told me that Brazil is the largest producer of the cheap coffee that goes into generic brands.  There are only a few beans that are considered top notch.  One is Brazilian Santos, which I was able to buy and brew in Maryland but have not seen on the west coast.  Santos is good coffee.  This is good coffee so I assume it is Santos or a blend.

The other was labeled “African Rwanda”.  Now I wonder, “Where else would Rwandan coffee come from?  Brooklyn?  Beverly Hills?”  The only Rwanda I know of is a country in Africa famous for genocide.  I have had Rwandan coffee before, again in Maryland, and that coffee had a specific estate listed.  It isn’t so much the country of origin but where in the country it is grown that makes for the better coffees.

Of course you could be one of those people who don’t like coffee.  Been there, done that.  But I enjoy it now without worrying too much about all the snob stuff except in a hobby sense.  I am to coffee like I am to working with my hands:  I can explain the theory but I am not sure I can really tell the difference.  I can explain how a car engine works but I can’t fix one. 

So remember that Rwanda is in Africa, Brazil is in South America and coffee should be in your cup.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Opus 2016-260: Middle Class Morality: Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is an idea whose time has departed, at least if you pay attention to what is going on in our society.  We have become a culture of victims and helpless pawns that need an overpowering central government to protect us from ourselves and the forces around us.

This is not Middle Class Morality (MCM) and it is not Biblical.

The Bible concedes that there are forces we cannot defeat. 
(Ephesians 6:12 KJV)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
But notice that these forces are spiritual and if you read the context it is only the power of God that can deliver us, not the power of government.

We are responsible for our own behavior and will be held accountable for our behavior.  The obvious, an often quoted, verse is,
(Galatians 6:7 KJV)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
But there are a lot of other references that talk about personal responsibility.  One I came across in Proverbs,
(Proverbs 26:27 KJV)  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
So get over the class warfare, the victimhood, the calling for government programs to bail you out of your own stupid choices.  Most of the homeless are not on the street because society has conspired against them.  They are there because of choices.  Most people living in poverty in this country have no one to blame except themselves.  They do blame others, but all it does is make them more dependent.

I think of a guy who was “homeless” years ago.  He wanted me to let him sleep in my back yard and of course he wanted me to loan him a sleeping bag.  In the course of our discussion I asked him about family and his comments made it clear that he had lied and cheated so much with everyone who was related to him or called him friend that none of them would trust him any more.  And I was supposed to.  No thanks, my mama didn’t raise any children that foolish.

Personal responsibility is a Biblical, Christian value that used to be MCM.  It was part of what made this country great.  It’s absence will bring us down.

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Opus 2016-259: On the Street: The Past Returns

Three of my ex-students bounced through my life this week. 

One is living his dream.  He said he is back in Mexico and on a pro soccer team.  He isn’t a starter yet but he is still young.  The first hurdle is crossed and life is good.  He also understands that he needs to prepare in case there are physical problems and he can’t continue to pay.  It was good to hear he was doing well.

Another is still dreaming.  She wants a career in music.  She tells me she is a singer, plays the saxophone and writes music.   The problem is that she didn’t understand the problem with changing keys in the middle of the national anthem.  That told me that she still doesn’t understand what it will take to make it.  The good news is that she is going to pursue a degree in business, just in case.  So she has a future but isn’t there yet.

The third one has grown up and begun to build a future.  He hailed me when I was shopping in a local grocery store and we talked awhile.  He is in line to take over for the manager during vacation.  He is working and starting the long climb.  He is not in college now but understands that he will eventually need the piece of paper to keep climbing.

All in all it was a decent week.  Some of them will wake up and smell the roses.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 26, 2016

Opus 2016-258: Should-a-Beens: Another Hat in the Ring

Powerline had a post on Hillary’s eyes.  It was pure speculation about what be physically wrong with her.  I found myself identifying with the problem.

The post had a link to something about “wandering eyes” which I did not bother to check out.  You see, I have wandering eyes.  I think the technical terms is amblyopia.  Often it is called “lazy eye” and I refer to it as being cock-eyed.  It is a family condition.  My brother was so bad he needed surgery. 

Anyway, it occurred to me that this could be one of the reason’s why Hillary is qualified to run for president.  It certainly isn’t in her wisdom, patriotism, intelligence, integrity or experience.  I have more of all that.  I also have a wandering eye.  Maybe I should get in the race.

You could call me the Cock-Eyed Candidate.  We could have slogans about A New Vision and so forth.

Vote Amblyopian.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Opus 2016-257: On the Street: Vocabulary Lesson

I am constantly shaken by what my students don’t know.  I read though the text book looking for words I don’t think they will understand and we spend time going over the vocabulary I come up with.  This week I had several students call me over and as what “superior” meant.  I must admit I missed that one. Can you picture someone twelve years old who does not know the meaning of “superior”?

I guess that explains why so many of their parents will be voting for Hillary.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Opus 2016-256: Should-a-Beens

We are not just superior animals.  Take a wolf from 3,000 B.C.  Move it in a time machine 5,000 years into the future.  It still hunts the same.  It sleeps the same.  It breeds the same.  It dresses the same, no wait, it still doesn’t dress for winter, just grows more hair.  It lives no differently except that it is easier to hunt confined sheep than running deer. 

You cannot say the same for human beings.  I will admit that the sinful nature is still there and that people are still self centered but aside from that we have made a lot of progress.  Wolves have not developed hospitals or zippers.  They have not organized into political parties.  Okay, some things are not necessarily progress, but you get the idea.

Why is it that people are the only animals that have “evolved”?  Could it be that we are more than animals?  Of course when I look at the students I have at school I sometimes wonder.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 23, 2016

Opus 2016-255: Ode to Old: It Isn’t My Fault, Really

Why does my coffee cup only leak on mornings I am wearing a light colored shirt?  It wasn’t a senior moment.  I hit my mouth square with the cup.  In spite of my protests, I still have a stain on my shirt and a day facing middle school students ahead.

It happened when I was half way to work.  I had been drinking from the cup for 20 minutes.  Suddenly I felt an unexpected warmth on the thumb wrapped around the bottom.  It was a trickle that made my shirt look like I had been dribbling my soup.  Why didn’t it leak when I pulled out of the driveway?

I guess it is just a way in which the coffee gods are trying to teach me humility.  It wasn’t my fault, really.  If it was I would remember, right?

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opus 2016-217: Petty Prayer

Unless you live in LA you probably don’t have any idea of what real rush hour traffic is.  I was at a walking pace on freeway, literally.  I thought of praying my way out, you know, “God get this traffic moving”.  That seemed a bit arrogant to me but it goes deeper.  I have a real reluctance to bring petty wants before God.  Why would He rearrange traffic so I could get somewhere quicker.  Why should He turn off the rain so I don’t get wet?  Why would He make my gas go further when I was too lazy to fill the tank?

Is it just me? 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opus 2016-254: Thanks Thoughts: Extended Tolerances

My car started.  Again.  And again.  I shudder to think of all the things that could keep it from happening.  And it keeps running.  Again.  And again. 

It ran all the way to work.  Again.  And again.  I can think of times sitting in traffic with a dead vehicle.  It should happen more often with my old cars and sloppy maintenance.  I salute the engineers who designed and the God who sometimes extends expected tolerances.

So many little things to be grateful for in the midst of social and political chaos.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Opus 2016-253: Discernment Watch: Those Pesky Judges Are At It Again

Since we have at least four members of the Supreme Court who salute the laws of other countries over the Constitution, we have some dangerous precedents being set, this time in Kenya.  The story is in World.

If it is on your radar you know that the Anglican church in Africa has split from the world wide communion of the Anglican church over the issue of homosexuality.  The African church has read their Bibles and determined that since they are supposed to be Christians they should follow what the Bible says.  Thus they removed three priests for their homosexual activities.  Now something called “The Employment and Relations Court” has ordered the church to reinstate the priests and pay them their back salaries.  This is a dangerous step for freedom of religion in the world.

Read your First Amendment. 
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.
In order to keep the government from establishing the requirements of such things as church attendance, tax supported churches, government appointed pastors and government mandated doctrines those little things called “the establishment clause” and the “free exercise clause” were inserted.  If you look at the remaining freedoms mentioned in the First and Second Amendments and know anything of the religious wars of England you can see how all of those are necessary to guarantee freedom of worship.  The Progressive leaning courts are committed to undermining and destroying that freedom. 

The reason free worship is such a problem to the Progressives is that it places God above the elites of congress and education.  It says that there are limits to government power.  It maintains that the rights we have are “endowed by their Creator” and not granted at the whim of bureaucrats. 

What is a guarantee of freedom for citizens is a threat of limitation to the power of elites.

Be aware of the courts working to take away all of your freedoms.  Keep in mind that it is just to keep you safe.  If is for your own protection.  You need mature, Progressive adults to limit your choices so that Utopia will arrive. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Opus 2016-252:  Headlines:  Awesome Threads

My first reaction to the picture was that African pastors dress well.  I saw a man in a blue suit with a congregation of well dressed men behind him.  Then I looked a little closer because I thought he had rolled his sleeves up.  I was wrong.  He was wearing a dress suit that was fashioned with short sleeves.  With a matching bow tie it was an interesting combination.

I don’t know if it will catch on.  I don’t know if it will spread to California from Nigeria.  It seems strange to me because I have never seen it before but I am sure it is no more strange than any of the other fashions that have passed in the night.  It certainly shows more class than what most people wear to church here every Sunday.

Short sleeves may go white tie some day.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Opus 2016-251: Discernment Watch: Rule of Law

The Rule of Law is one of the cherished principles of American liberty.  Unfortunately it does not always work as advertised.

All that is necessary for the Rule of Law to fail is to have people in positions of power who use the rules to manipulate those who are trying to follow them.  Thus you can use the courts to wear down any opposition like Microsoft did to the companies it stole intellectual property from.  Another example would be the way in which the government uses the tax payer’s money to force the tax payer into court to get justice which should have never been questioned in the first place.

An obvious example currently is the way in which Hillary Clinton has been avoiding jail time simply because she is one of the elite.  She joins a long line of political and entertainment personalities who have spit on the law and walked away whistling. 

Another almost daily event is judges making rulings that defy the law, common sense and even average intelligence.  Recently the California Supreme Court made refused to review a lower court that gave the green light to reverse racial discrimination, i.e. Affirmative Action. 

It almost make you wonder if we can avoid violence in the future.  How long will the masses continue to ignore the special treatment of the chosen classes?  Probably as long as the bread and circuses hold out.  I don’t know which way to hope.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Opus 2016-250: Thanks Thoughts: Hosanna

The idea of sitting around the Throne and singing hosannas for a thousand years sounds really boring.  Maybe one of the things we will be doing is finding out about the multitude of times that God’s intervention has kept us from pain and tragedy.

It might need to get a little dramatic.  You could get a glimpse of the pain and suffering you might have gone through if that car had hit you when you stepped out in the street without thinking.  You could look down through time and see how history would have been different if your wife had died in childbirth.  The options are endless.

God protects us.  He uses natural (i.e. God designed) things like the oils in our skin to shield us from bacteria and stomach acid to dissolve all kinds of strange things.  He uses stuck mechanical devises to slow us down and miss the crazy driver.  Use your imagination.  And sing “Hosanna”.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Opus 2016-249: On the Street: Envy

It is a good thing I have learned to drink my coffee black.  The little, skinny guy in front of me was lacing his coffee with honey and cream.  I was tempted to get jealous until I realized I don’t like it that way any more.  But I can remember when I did.

It is the principle of the thing.  He also had a breakfast sandwich, dripping with cheese, and I have not reached the point where that doesn’t call to me.  Don’t you hate skinny guys who can eat anything they want?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Opus 2016-248: Digging into Deuteronomy: Promises, Promises

Today I continue looking at passages in Deuteronomy that stood out to me this summer.

God “swore” (7650) He would “give” (5414) all of this land to Israel. 
(Deuteronomy 1:8 KJV)  Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
Set aside whether that refers to modern Israel or not.  What I want to focus on is the nature of God’s “gifts”.  Keep in mind that God’s gifts often, if not usually, if not always, have strings and conditions attached.

The land was there.  The borders had been described.  The promise had been given generations before and repeated.  The conditions here were two fold.  First, they needed to “go in”.  God often lays out blessings for us but there is a requirement that we get moving.  The promise of salvation is out there.  I think it is pretty clear.  Why?  Because the general public is informed enough to mock it and turn away. 

Second, the children of Israel had to “possess” (3423) the land.  An interesting aspect of this word is that it can also mean “dispossess”.  In order to claim the land they had to take it away from the people that lived there.  That involved continued obedience.  It involved struggle and fighting.  It involved building and plowing.  The milk and honey did not just appear on store shelves.

One balance that is always hard to find is between grace and obedience.  Although God can do it all by Himself, witness creation, He has chosen to structure the world so that we need to get involved to make things complete.

What does God expect of you?  What does He expect of me?  I ask that second question a lot.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Opus 2016-247: Temporary Geekdom

It isn’t just modern technology that mystifies people.  At school I have been called to help people get their computers working.  Am I a geek?  No, not even close.  My great strength is that I have the rare ability to see it an electronic gadget is plugged in or not.  It seems to be a rare talent, but I wear the mantle humbly.

My skill came into play at home.  The air conditioning had stopped working.  The only change had been a professional maintenance man who had made some adjustments.  My wife knew my skill level and scoffed at me taking a look.  Since my man-card was in question I looked anyway.  At first I was mystified and was ready for her to call the expert back and then I noticed a cord that ran one way for no reason.  When I pulled it out I saw that it had a plug on it that was not attached to anything.  On the wall was a receptacle with nothing in it.  I put the two together and...the fan rumbled to life.  We had A/C. 

Sometimes the ability to observe and think can trump ten thumbs.  If only fixing the country were that easy.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Opus 2016-246: Thanks Thoughts: Why Me, Lord?

I was going over all the blessings I have and being thankful.  One is health insurance.  I was thinking about how important it was for my wife and children and it occurred to me that I don’t use it much.  That is something else to be thankful for, having health insurance and not needing it.  A twoffer.  Along with that is an awareness that my health is not a result of my great discipline and decisions, it is a gift of God.  “Why me, Lord?” is a constant question I ask in a positive way.

My prayer is that you will also have blessings and be aware of them.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-245: Election 2016: What Is My Problem?

Never Trump people need to consider a question:  Is voting for Trump really any worse than voting for Dole or McCain?  I am still undecided.  I know I can’t vote for Hillary but I am still not convinced I can vote for Trump.  Why?  What is my problem? 

It can’t be that Trump is at best a moderate.  That would describe a string of people I have voted for.  Sure, I held my nose on most of them.  Why am I having such a hard time finding my nose this time around.

Part of it may be a growing realization that compromise in politics has brought no results.  Even the patron saint of conservatives, Ronald Reagan, gave in to amnesty.  We all make mistakes but what we see is the wholesale selling out on principle.  I have seen it in school board members.  I have seen it in presidents.  I can deal with compromise.  What I can’t deal with is betrayal.

Maybe if I could just lower my expectations to “Who will make it easier for me to get the government to pay my bills” I would have less trouble.  But then what do I do with the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Commandments?

homo unius libri

Friday, September 9, 2016

Opus 2016-244: On the Street: Danger Signs

How long will it be before the government starts removing these full color, changing signs along the highway “for our own safety.”  I find myself trying to read them before they switch to another ad.  In the quest I forget that I am driving a huge chunk of metal at high speeds.

If I need the government to make me safe, I think you need it even more.  It will be for your own good.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Opus 2016-243: Election 2016: Levin Caves

It is all over the news so there is not point in linking it.  My wife announced it when I walked in the door last night.  Mark Levin has announced he will vote for Donald Trump.

Ann Coulter.  Phyllis Schlafly.  Bobby Jindal.  Rick Santorum.  Michele Bachmann.  Now Mark Levin.  Some, like Coulter, were on board from the beginning.  Others have grabbed a hand full of nose and put in their two cents.  As Levin says, he is still a Cruz man but Cruz is not in the race.  I guess I don’t need to really decide until that Tuesday in November.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-242: Election 2016: Kayne for President

Why should children not be allowed to vote?  We were discussing the election and one of the kids said that Kayne West should run for president.  This is a guy who has so much discernment that he married a Kardashian.  The class was very enthused.  It seemed that everyone they knew would vote for him.  This from a bunch of kids who think that Europe is a city in Saudi Arabia and have no idea who Mohammad was.

I would like to say, “They are only in 8th grade”, but I am not sure that they will think any different in 20 years except that they will have forgotten Kayne West by that time.  Unless he is elected president.  Considering what we have to chose from this time around that may not be as ridiculous as it sounds.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Opus 2016-241: Shower Thoughts: Two Edged Sword

The idea of a two edged sword is a familiar one.  It expresses the point that a lot of things cut two ways.  This came up in a conversation about the frivolous information on the internet.  What used to be said about the Bible is double true for the internet.  You can find anything you want if you keep looking.  That is a two edged sword.  You can find lots of information and opinion to back up your position wherever you stand on global warming, abortion or dependable cars.  I often here arguments that are supposed to shut people like me.  The problem is that those points can cut both ways.

Is abortion a matter of choice and women’s rights?  Well what about the choice of the female child in the womb?  Does she have a right to live?  Is the earth getting warmer?  Is that a tragedy in the making?  Even if you accept that understand that the last time we had a warmer earth the deserts of today were covered with forests and civilizations were emerging all around the world.  The problem is that people cherry pick their information and expect us to make an apple pie.

There is a reason why a sword has two edges and a pairing knife only has one.

Keep thinking.  Rearrange the details and see if you are being fed junk food or food for thought.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Opus 2016-240: Headlines: Anti-Bullying Campaign Comes to Washington

President Obama moves from one humiliation to another but what can you expect from someone who is a soul-sister to the people leading the anti-bullying thrust in our public schools.  One of the hallmarks of the campaign is that you do not retaliate against a bully.  You are supposed to get the school counselor to intervene for you and make the bully see reason.  It all seems so sensible and safe.

Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way whether the bully is Brutus or Vladimir.

The president thinks that Putin will care about Obama’s need for a safe space.  He thinks if he plays nice then Putin will play nice.  From the Washington Times,

“But he suggested that he doesn’t want to retaliate.

“‘Our goal is not to suddenly in the cyber arena duplicate a cycle of escalation that we saw when it comes to other arms races in the past, but rather to start instituting some norms so that everybody’s acting responsibly,’ Mr. Obama said.”
School bully’s don’t respond that way.  Business bullies don’t respond that way.  Politicians don’t respond that way.  Tyrants don’t respond that way.  I learned that lesson in elementary school.  Some people never learn.  Obama is one of those.  Maybe he always had body guards.

Read your history.  The example has been run into the ground but that doesn’t make it any less true.  European leaders kept giving Hitler little chunks of other people’s countries in hopes that a little more would satisfy him.  It didn’t.  Appeasement just made him lust for more.  If they had stood up like men and mobilized their armed forces then Hitler would have backed down.  That is the way of bullies.  A one sided arms race can only have one result.  It makes the whole country a “No Gun Zone” in a world of thugs.

Obama wants to appease the tyrants.  That is the good spin.  The bad spin is that he is doing everything he can to weaken the leader of the free world.  He does not want liberty for all, he wants the elites of the world to run everything and of course he considers himself one of the elite. 
He knows what is best for you.  I hope we can survive until January.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 5, 2016

Opus 2016-239: Pumicisms: Definitions

“Are you guys trying to redefine strange?”

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-238: Reaping Is a Two Way Street

If you are one who likes short posts that have long thoughts you might take a look at Christian Ear.  It doesn’t take long and often has a thought to jump start your thinking. 

It hit me today as I read “The Benefits of Labor”.  I was expecting another Bible truth of sowing what we reap but she pointed out that it isn’t just,
(Galatians 6:7 KJV)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
It is also that we reap the results of other’s labor.

That can cause me to rejoice in the ways in which God provides.  It also serves as a reminder that I have a responsibility to do my part so that others can reap their rewards.  We are tied together in common everyday ways.  If the baker does not get up early, I have no bread.  If the farmer does not plant, I have no bread.  If the truck driver takes the day off, I have no bread.  If the grocer stays home, I have no bread.  What happens when I am the baker who did not get up early?

I am thankful, not only for having work myself but for the work of others.  And Christian Ear said it faster.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Opus 2016-237:  Digging into Deuteronomy:  Historic Israel

Over the summer I read through the book of Deuteronomy and jotted down some ideas that came to me.  Here I begin to develop those as time permits.  I want to start with,
(Deuteronomy 1:7 KJV)  Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
As you read through this passage you get a view for the vision God had for His people.  He planned on giving them a land.  This is quite a large chunk of territory.  It would include a much larger area than modern Israel. 

The exact lines are difficult to establish.  Every scholar seems to have a slightly different understanding so let’s look at the terms that we are more familiar with.  In verse 1 you have the KJV mentioning the Red Sea.  Everyone I read agreed that the word “sea” is not in the Hebrew and it seems to refer to something else.  The Amorites and Moab are mentioned as well as the Negev and Canaanites.  This would mean the area to the east of the Dead Sea and south to the Gulf of Aqabah.  In the North and East you have Lebanon and the Euphrates River mentioned.

This is obviously a larger area than modern Israel and covers areas that neither David or Solomon controlled. 

So what is historic Israel?  Larger than today.  Does that give a right to conquest?  History will be the judge of that.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-236: Ode to Old: Time to Grow Up

It is time for old people to step up to the plate and take one for the team.  I speak as one who is officially old.  I am 68, soon to be 69 and not long after that 70.  In fact I will keep getting older until I die and then they will talk about how “he would have been 97, if he was still with us.”  Maybe it is time for us old folks to grow up and realize that TANSTAAFL.

I am looking primarily at Medicare.  The cost of this is destroying the country.  Okay, that may be a little over dramatic, but it is one of the problems with our economy and a set of concrete shoes for our future.  It is costing too much.  Why?  Many reasons.  A large one is mismanagement.  Waste sucks up the bucks.  So does fraud.  Another is government regulation which always lights the fuse on the rocket of prices.  The elephant in the room is the sense of entitlement that seniors seem to have. 

Yes, entitlement.  The same thing that is ruining the welfare system and education.  That character trait which we lay on the millennials when they want everything free.  They learned from their elders.  I saw it in my mother.  Before she hit Medicare she never had insurance and never went to the doctor.  After the government started paying she lived at the doctor’s office.  The thinking beings when you have good insurance.  I don’t know how many times my wife has said, “We have good insurance, I am going to use it.” 

We need to stop using it because we think it is our due.  Somewhere I read the suggestion that we should look at the car insurance model.  Car insurance does not pay for regular maintenance.  It covers damage from major accidents.   How would our rush to healing change if we actually were forced to ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”

Perfect health will never happen.  No one will live forever.  We need to set an example of selflessness to the younger generations.  Will it hurt?  Of course but if nothing changes it will hurt even more.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Opus 2016-235: The Unexplainable

William Lane Craig was talking about physics on one of his podcasts and trying to explain some complex detail of science.  At one point I expected him to say “It is too complicated to explain.”  He didn’t.  He went and attempted to make it clear.  I don’t remember the point buy I do remember wondering, “Is it possible that something is not too complicated to understand but too complicated to explain?”  I am more at home with theology than physics or philosophy so I apply it to concepts I deal with every day.

Have you ever tried to explain the trinity?  I have.  I have a deep satisfaction with understanding it even though I am continually getting new insights.  The problem is explaining it.  I constantly have a comment of one of my professors run through my mind, “Gentlemen, if you ever think you understand the trinity you have probably drifted into heresy.” 

Think about the things that are so hard to explain.  At school I tell my eighth graders that I had a lot of fun changing diapers.  I tell them that it is different when the child is yours.  They don’t believe me.  They don’t understand.  I have had fathers who understand but noone without the experience even has a clue. 

This does not mean we turn off our brains.  It does not mean we abandon thinking or reason.  It does not mean we stop changing diapers.  It means that we have been out and experienced enough to lose the arrogance of thinking our understanding is the measure of truth.

Just because you can’t explain something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 2, 2016

Opus 2016-234: Training Is Basic, part 2 of 2

Basics are the foundation of anything worth doing.

I served my time in the military.  I went through basic training.  By the time we were done I realized that they didn’t really teach anything but marching and following orders.  I began to realize we were a long way from warrior training when one day in our “hand-to-hand combat” training the instructor said, “Remember what I have been teaching you?  Forget all that.  We are going to do it a different way.”  What?   The point being taught was “shut up and do what you are told”.  Thinking, application and initiative would be instilled later when we knew how to “column right” and “count off”.

College is pretty much the same.  A college degree doesn’t mean you are educated.  All it means is you were able to complete a task.  You have been given the basic skills that will enable you to continue to educate yourself and adapt to whatever comes.  It is amazing how many people get jobs that have nothing to do with their major in college.  One reason that so many college graduates today can’t find jobs is that they took the path of least resistance, were given grades they did not deserve and didn’t miss any of the parties.  They didn’t complete anything of note.  They have no skills.  They are not wanted by employers.

Our education is never over.  That is why we keep reading and arguing.  If we were short-changed by our teachers we have a lot of making up to do.  I am thankful that we live in America where there is always a second chance for people who wake up and want to smell roses instead of the welfare line.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-233: Training Is Basic, part 1 of 2

What is the purpose of education?  Cynics will point out the desire to mold a population for a certain purpose.  To them education is all about social engineering.  Since we are preparing young people from many backgrounds to be successful in the larger society that view has some traction.  The idealistic would think along the lines of giving children the tools to be productive and happy.  They want citizens, people who can make a contribution by using their gifts in a positive way.

Either way education is training for things to come.  It is not the final step, but a foundation.  Educators get all kinds of grand ideas.  The current Common Core Curriculum (CCC) people talk about preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist today.  They think they have the wisdom to determine what those skills will be.  Unfortunately their vision is a Socialist Workers’ Paradise that will never exist because they have a false vision about the nature of human beings.  Instead they should be focusing on the basic fundamentals of being an educated person.  Until a child has a firm grasp of what used to be called the Three R’s they will never be able to grasp the complexities of future society. 

Picture a football team in spring training.  They don’t start by working on the Statue of Liberty play or triple reverses.  They start with blocking and tackling.  They work on conditioning.  It is a time of preparation.  When the basics are taken care of what do they do?  Work some more on the basics and begin to introduce some plans for the year.  When they have a losing streak what do they work on?  Basics. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Opus 2016-232: On the Street: Love at work

It was an interesting couple.  He was obviously severely mentally retarded.  At least fifty years of age with a bulging forehead and the facial features that told the story.  She was not young and was leading him by the hand.  She was wearing a bright shirt that said, “Love, love, love, love” on the back.

Sounds like a good definition to me.  Even those who are extremely handicapped are human beings and deserve to be cared for as well as possible.  It takes special people to do so.  I requires a deep understanding of love.  It is a chore to exercise it even if they are paid well.

I salute her as she leads him.  I would have honked and given her a thumbs up but I might have scared the love out of her.

homo unius libri