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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Opus 2016-351: Middle Class Morality: The Protestant Work Ethic

It is sometimes called “The Protestant Work Ethic”.  When you want to be insulting you call it “The Puritan Work Ethic” because we know what narrow minded haters the Puritans were.  In reality we should call it the Biblical Work Ethic.  The Bible presents work as noble and worthwhile.  It presents sloth as a sin.

Americans tend to work more and vacation less than people in other developed countries.  It is expected, or it used to be.  We are now seeing two extreme.  At one end we have the idle rich.  They live extravagant lives on money made by their parents.  At the other end we see the idle un-rich.  They live in a reliance on welfare and government handouts that have undermined the expectation to work.  That is un-American.  Americans are expected to work and pay their own way, not to be owned by their social worker or local party boss.

The strongest statement on this is
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV)  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
There is provision for orphans, sick and widows.  There is none for sluggards. 

So get a job.  Be American and also be Biblical

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, December 30, 2016

Opus 2016-350: Headlines: Not Ready for the Big Time

It is a strange place to be in.  Putin is showing more international class than the President of the United States. 

In his continued attempts to weaken the United States and do as much damage as possible, Barak Obama has decided to expel Russian diplomats over the issue of hacking.  This has been in the news since before the election but now it is an issue.  He is obviously trying to cause an international crisis and show what a big boy he is.  He expected the Russian leader to respond in kind by expelling American diplomats.  This would create a crisis for the new Administration of Donald Trump. 

Surprise!  Surprise!  Putin seems to be a big enough man to say, “I will wait until the adults arrive and deal with them.”

I am thinking that Trump may only need one executive order when he gets in office:  “Everything that came out of this office for the last 30 days is null and void.”

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Opus 2016-349: Lite Ain’t Right

Some products in the lite version are not worth eating.  I remember diet Italian dressing when it first came out.  It was enough to swear you off salad forever.  Cheap baloney comes to mind.  You know, the kind that has grease dripping off of it while still in the package.  I meet people who eat pop-corn without salt and I ask myself, “Why?” 

Sometimes it does not make any difference.  Of course, that could be because I do not have a discerning palate.  I like broccoli.  I like my meat well done.  I like my cheese cold and my butter room temperature.  In spite of what the haute cuisine people say, I like tomatoes in my chili and on my hamburgers. 

In politics you sometimes have to go with the lite version.  I am a conservative.  I am a conservative because the positions associated with that work for a society that benefits the masses as well as the elites.  I am a conservative because the positions they take on the moral issues are in line with the Bible. 

In my faith there is not real lite version.  When you try to lower the spiritual calorie count you end up with something like instant oatmeal or fat free bacon.  Too many people who will accept the label “Christian” have removed all the vitamin content.  Real Biblical Christianity gives you the framework to live life in a complicated, crazy world.  It doesn’t make you fit in but gives you a rudder or an anchor depending on the need.  It is the difference between being a power boat with a compass and a life raft at the mercy of the current current.

Christmas and Easter.  The incarnation and the resurrection.  Great bookends for life.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Opus 2016-348: Headlines: Using a Baby for a Sneak Attack

Would you recognize Ivanka if she walked by you on the street with a bag of groceries in her arms?  I wouldn’t.  One of the things I have noticed about celebrities and many of the beautiful people is that if you get them out from in front of the camera and take off their makeup, they look like normal people.  They have wrinkles and blemishes.  Their hair sticks out.  Their clothes sag.  You would not look twice.

We recognize people by the frame around them.  I remember when I was in basic training and my family came to visit.  My own mother walked right by me and did not recognize me with a shaved head and ill fitting fatigues.

So how did this guy on the airplane recognize Ivanka?  He had to be looking for her.  He had to have some inside information on where she was and how she was traveling.  If I remember the article she was traveling in coach with her husband and children.  Do you walk down the aisle of an airplane staring at people asking yourself, “I wonder if that is a celebrity?”  I doubt it.  The man was looking for trouble. 

I am impressed at how the Trump offspring was traveling coach.  I doubt if it was a publicity stunt.  If the jerk hadn’t singled her out most of the people on the plane would have taken her as just another women traveling with her family.  This incident may for her to upscale.  It would be wise.  If the left wants to send a gay man holding a child to insult her in public when she is with her children I would say there is little they won’t do to get at the future president. 

For those of you who still are comfortable in the Democratic party or just in the masses this needs to be a wake up call for you.  You keep hearing about how violent and full of hate Donald Trump is and yet it was the progressives and democrats who paid all the trouble makers at his rallies.  It is the left that marched violently in the streets when they could not steal an election.  It is the gay and lesbian community that attacked a woman going about her business.

We need to make America great again not continue in the divisive tactics of the current elites.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Opus 2016-347: Are You Impressed?

Whose approval is important?  Whom do you want to impress?

When I think of Barak Obama I see a man pandering to the socialist elites.  He may like to play the race card and race bate but he isn’t really doing this because he wants the black masses to love him.  He is doing it because he wants the George Soros’s and the Muslim oil barons to pat him on the head and say, “Good boy.” 

To Trump it is the masses, the ones the elites are trying to disenfranchise.  Yes, he is a populist.  Yes, he knows how to talk Locker Room.  Yes, he can be vindictive.  But he really doesn’t care what the New York Times says about him or what the media pool thinks about him.  It is kind of like the experience of being a teacher.  If you goal is to be liked by the students you are putty in their hands.  They only like you when you are giving them candy or a free period.  You know when you have crossed a line and you go into reverse immediately.  On the other hand, when a student tells me, “I hate you,”  I tell them, “You’ll get over it.”  Of course I use the same line when they say, “I love you.” 

Trump really doesn’t care what the elites think.  He is wealthy.  He can buy and sell many of them.  He has been to their parties and bought their influence.  He is not impressed.  Of course everyone wants to be liked but not at the price of kissing lower dorsal body parts.

That is what makes Trump scary to the left.  It should also be a bit frightening to those on the right.  He will do what he thinks needs to be done.  Currently he seems to be on the side of the Constitution and conservative values.  Since those positions are based on facts and have been demonstrated to work I am hopeful that he will remain with us.  We cannot get complacent.  We need to keep encouraging the right people to have their influence on him.

Will he make mistakes from our point of view.  Count on it, but I am hoping that they will be honest mistakes of the moment that can be corrected with reason and facts.

It is going to be a wild ride for all of us.  If you ever get upset about something he does then you might need to get an arm band like the ones that were popular saying WWJD (What would Jesus do?) only the one you will have is WWHHD, (What would Hillary have done?)  I guarantee the contrast will make you feel better than a double dose of Vicodin.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 26, 2016

Opus 2016-346: On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love...

Farewell Christmas Music.  I put it away on December 26.  On occasion a family member will protest and I will bring it out again but for me it is time to move on, at least until Thanksgiving.  When I was directing music in a church I used to bring out “Joy to the World” in the middle of the summer but that is a personal issue.

Technically we have now entered into the Christmas season, not left it.  The song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” covers the time between what we call Christmas on December 25 to what we call Epiphany on January 6.  Since I have spent Advent focused on Christmas I will spend Christmas focusing on the new year.  Since all of the labels and dates are arbitrary choices, I feel free to do that.

So happy new year.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Opus 2016-345: Birchers out of the Closet

I have not heard much about the John Birch Society lately.  With the current actions of President Obama regarding the anti-Semitic UN vote against Israel I am thinking he may be a secret recruiter for that organization.  They were a group that stood strong against Communism but the one image that comes to my mind are posters saying, “Get us out of the United Nations”.  When I Googled I came up with that image at the top of the screen.  That was a theme they had although a  quick look at their website didn’t have it highlighted. 

I never spent much time on the Birch Society.  At the time they were vilified by the press as right wing wacko types.  That was before I began understanding how biased the media was.  They might be poised for a new growth in membership.

One of my first thoughts when I heard what Obama did in refusing to veto the UN vote was that it was time to get out of the UN.  It has become an international joke.  I often wonder why we continue to let this organization that actively works against the interests of the United States to have their headquarters in New York.  Others around me spontaneously came up with the same idea.  They suggested moving the headquarters to Siberia.  I could live with that.  As I read posts on the web I see this is a recurring theme.  You have my vote.

So check out the John Birch Society.  Maybe we could start putting up those posters again and get some traction this time.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-344: Why the 25th? Why not?

What are the odds that Jesus was born on December 25?  I would guess about 1/365.  He was born.  He lived.  He died.  He rose again.  That you can take to the bank but we do not know the actual day. 

There are other things we do not know about Jesus.  We do not know what He looked like.  There is no physical description.  He was a He.  He was healthy enough to do a lot of walking.  Beyond that there is nothing but guesswork. 

We do not know what He liked to eat.  We do not know His favorite colors.  We don’t know if He liked traditional or contemporary music.  We don’t know if He was a KJV man or into the NIV.

There is a reason for that kind of ignorance.  It forces us to focus on the real issues instead of developing a bunch of superstitions and traditions based on fools’ gold.  Recently I heard a podcast talking about the opening of Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  The speaker, William Lane Craig, who is usually very scholarly was positively giddy about being able to see into this tomb.  He gave a run-down of the history of the spot and felt like it could very well be the real tomb of Jesus.  I hope not.  We don’t need another “holy spot” for the gullible to rush to for some magical cure.  If you want to read what National Geographic has to say it is consistent with what Craig had to say.

What we need to know, we know.  We do know why He was born.  It is wrapped up in His names.

(Matthew 1:21 KJV)  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

(Matthew 1:23 KJV)  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

So keep in mind what we do know and what we don’t.  What we know is important.  What we don’t is not.  If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas because the date is associated with a pagan holiday then pick a day to remember, mediate on and celebrate the incarnation.  And don’t look too deep because whatever day you pick you will probably find that pagans are doing something too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Incarnation.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opus 2016-343: Book Review: Missing Ingredients

I have been reading a sci-fi series by David Weber.  It is called the Safehold series and like all of his work it is very entertaining.  The latest is called At the Sign of Triumph.  It is a take-off on Battlestar Galactica except the humans have found a planet and are hiding from the aliens.  He builds a world and culture and provides action, tension and characters.

What is hard for me to accept is the way in which he creates a religion for the world.  He recreates a parody of the Catholic church of medieval times.  It has priests, saints, angels, sin, mass, penance and a complete list of Christian accouterments.  It has a holy book and many of the quotes are paraphrases of the Bible.  It has sincere and devout believers and fanatical hypocrites.  It is much like the church today.  The one thing left out is Jesus.

People don’t seem to realize that the whole edifice comes crashing down without Jesus.  You notice the same phenomenon in our society today.  We can talk about God.  We can even use the word “lord” but the one thing that gets people shook up is when we talk about Jesus.

I find that much like modern Christmas.  We have schools that let out for two weeks and ignore the reason for the break.  We have holiday programs and ignore the fact that “holiday” is a corruption of “holy day”.  We celebrate joy for no reason.  In the end, it really doesn’t work.  It becomes a frantic search for the present in the gag gift where you keep opening boxes only to find a smaller box inside.

So enjoy the books.  Enjoy the season.  Understand that you will get a lot more out of them if you know the missing ingredient.

Merry Christmas

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-342: Legacy Building

Trump isn’t even president yet and he is already having more positive effect on the world than Obama after eight years.  Consider the Days of Countdown.

Obama is vacationing in Hawaii while he sets free hundreds of convicted criminals.  And the lame duck session isn’t over yet.  Just think how many more he can set free.  And if he gives them a pardon they might be able to vote again.

Trump gets Carrier to keep jobs in America.  I understand people are already starting to build new homes and the stock market is up.  He talks to one of our long-time allies and reassures them.  He stops a UN vote to condemn Israel, another long term ally.  He also got the snowflakes out of the house, exercising so their mommies can clean their rooms and get ready for Christmas.

(Since I wrote this, our legacy laden president has gone back to the drawing board and forced the vote in the UN that betrays Israel.  I can’t wait for the legacy to end.)

It is too soon to be sure but I am guessing that soon people will begin to wonder if Barak Obama is somehow related to Jimmy Carter.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 23, 2016

Opus 2016-341: School Assemblies

I really didn’t want to go to the holiday program but since I had children to supervise, I did.  I don’t celebrate Holiday, I celebrate Christmas.  I guess if you are technical I don’t even celebrate Christmas since that is a contraction of Christmas Mass.  I do celebrate the incarnation.

We gathered all the cherubs into the auditorium and watched a grade B talent show in celebration of the winter solstice.  It is appropriate that we celebrated it a day late.  We have been know to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the 20th and Black History month in March.  One day is not big thing.

This is a day when I have a lot of sympathy for those curmudgeons who don’t celebrate Christmas.  On this day I will feel your pain.

Meanwhile I rejoice in the incarnation.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Opus 2016-340: Monday Pulpit: Creche or Cross

Okay, so it is Thursday.

I wonder which was “harder” the incarnation or the crucifixion?

On Good Friday we focus on the passion of Christ.  That is the suffering that He went through culminating on the moment that He took all our sins upon Himself.  This would obviously be a major trauma.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I am wondering if Christmas wasn’t even more traumatic.  Picture what it must have been for the eternal Son to take on full humanity.  Consider this,
(Philippians 2:6-8 KJV)  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
I am thinking that the incarnation could have been as incredible a shock as taking on the sin of the world.

Christmas is not a stand alone moment.  It is the beginning of the road to the cross.  It isn’t about babies, wise men and shepherds.  It is about redemption and hope.  It wasn’t a creche that was the focus, but a cross.

Merry Christmas, or as the pastor said on Sunday, “Merry Incarnation”.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Opus 2016-339: The Republic Survives

I am always amazed at how well our election process actually works.  We have some real issues and over the course of our history all political parties have had their hand in manipulating the vote.  In spite of that we have had no meltdowns.

Twice in my attention span the Democrats have made a big deal about recounts, implying that the Republicans cheated.  After the fake-news people have brainwashed the mush heads enough and the recount has begun, the issue disappears from the headlines.  Why?  Because when the votes are recounted the Republicans tend to gain ground, not lose it.

We saw that happen in the Bush Florida recounts.  We just saw it happen in the current spate of recounts.  We also saw this happening in the electoral college.  Hillary had more defect than Trump.

We need to fix what is broken.  We need voter ID.  We need proof of citizenship.  We need a paper trail instead of hacked computers.  We nee a lot of things but the good news is that the republic is still on its feet and moving forward.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Opus 2016-338: Headlines: Faithless Electors

It was a typical news day.  The electoral college met and elected Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States, yet most of the articles were about the protests, popular vote and faithless electors.  I even had to go to an English news source to find out the actual vote count.  Business as usual for our news manufacturers. 

I think the “faithless electors” should have a special fate but it should be political, not legal.  I don’t want any laws passed to require them to vote as their states voted.  I don’t want any jail time.  What I want is for the political parties to make sure that they are labeled “pariah” from this point forward.  If they want to be martyrs, grant their wish.  Shun them.  Ostracize them.  Don’t invite them to Christmas parties.  Don’t let them serve on boards.  Let them know that you are not happy with them.

It is amusing and typical that the Democrats went crazier than the Republicans.  If the reports are accurate, and in this day and age that is a big question, the Washington electors that should have voted for Hillary voted for a Republican who was not running and an Indian activist.  At least the defective Texas electors voted for people who had actually run for president.

But no new laws, please.  The founding fathers in their wisdom did not provide for punishing faithless electors.  Just as I bow to their wisdom in establishing the electoral college I accept that they did not see the need for criminal indictment.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-337: Monday Pulpit: Cultural Attitudes

The pastor was talking about the Virgin Mary and how she was a very young girl, possibly as young as 14.  My mind went off on a tangent.  I have worked with junior high, high school and college age children ever since I myself was in high school.  Teen age pregnancy happened but it was relatively rare in my lower middle/upper lower class world.  Christmas involves teenage pregnancy.

Today if a teen aged girl gets pregnant she becomes a celebrity.  A girl at the church I used to attend ended up pregnant.  As far as we know the child was conceived in the back of a van by an unemployable young man who has departed the scene.  The church held showers and gave a lot of gifts in an attempt to be “loving”.  I am sure that the government services are giving her a check.  I am sure you have seen her compatriots pushing beautiful strollers down the street in a group and not one wedding ring in the bunch.  There is no stigma or reproach.

That is not the way it was in the world of Mary.  She faced the possibility of being stoned to death or rejected and thrown out on the street.  She knew that being pregnant would make her a pariah in her world and destroy all her dreams.  She was an unwed mother.

Yet she knew she was innocent.  She knew she had done nothing wrong.  That is why she was able to respond to the angel’s life threatening message,
(Luke 1:38 KJV)  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Mary knew her heart and she knew her behavior.  She knew there was no way she could be pregnant.  She also knew that noone would believe her story.  She still trusted in the God of Israel.

It all worked out but not exactly the way modern fiction would portray it.  She did not go on to a life of luxury and notoriety.  She did not get a government check.  She continued as the wife of a carpenter, lived in a small town and had a normal home for that day.  She continued to be the same faithful servant she had been before the great announcement.

You may have some hard times in your life.  You may have tragedy.  It does not mean that you have done something to deserve it.  Only you and God know your heart.  But like Mary, you can trust Him to work His will in the big picture. 

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 19, 2016

Opus 2016-336: Headlines: Partisan Politics at Its Best

Today is the day the president of the United States is chosen.  What has always been a forgone conclusion to those who believe in the rule of law and playing by the rules has become a moment of drama and tension because of the Progressives who want to rule the country by elite fiat instead of a system that has made us the most stable form of democracy for over 200 years. 

Some say the electoral college is a relic of the past and should be done away with.  Strangely enough the same people feel that way about the Ten Commandments too.  Just as they put themselves above the Constitution they put them selves above the Bible.  At least they are consistent and understand the import of God blocking the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden.
(Genesis 3:5 KJV)  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
But enough of theology. 

This is a day where we can glory in the robust nature of our republic.  We are a nation where liberty has promoted and nourished the ability to express our stupidest opinions freely.  We can agitate and demonstrate until dinner time.  We can live with out mommies and still think of ourselves as adults.  You can disagree with me and I can call you a fool.  It is called partisanship.  It is called freedom. 

In once sense I would welcome a significant number of electors to be faithless as long as they don’t pull off a coup.  I fear the results of such treason but I don’t expect it.  A serious defection from integrity and law would be a wake up call to the nation and possibly get us thinking again.  Jefferson talked about the blood of martyrs and tyrants watering the tree of liberty.  Perhaps if we get stirred up a little we can irrigate a little without the extreme of shed blood.

We should welcome the controversy.  It will hopefully stir the mush headed masses to start thinking because it will finally get their attention. 

Enjoy the spectacle.  You won’t see its like in Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, China or any other place you have the word republic without the freedom to be partisan.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Opus 2016-335: Plow and Crown: Protecting the Masses from Themselves

There will always be a group of people who run things.  They are the ones with power and influence.  Along with that is wealth.  It has always been that way.  It will always be that way.  The rulers can be called elders, kings, presidents or Big Dog.  The name doesn’t matter, only the reality of the position.  Down through history there has always been a struggle between the ruled and the rulers.  A call it the plow and the crown. 

We have lived in a brief time in history where the masses have had access to power.  The United States has been at the top of the pyramid of liberty.  The reason is that a group of outstanding men, seeped in Christian values chose to live what they lectured on.  The English heritage from the days of the Magna Carta had slowly evolved to give the common man a voice in his destiny.  It has not been a smooth slope but it has been continually upward if you are one of the masses.  In ancient history you have the Pharaohs being God.  You have the Roman emperors being deified.  You have the Pope as God’s representative on earth and the divine right of kings.  In Asia you have the mandate of heaven in China and the emperor as a descendent of the Gods in Japan. 

We now are in one of those downward slumps of liberty.  Warlords, Mullahs, bureaucrats, and local sheriffs are all taking a big bite out of the hard won freedoms of the past.  We are watching this with the current election.  The elites of America are out to throw the republican form of government under the bus.  They want a system that makes all kinds of promises but always delivers what the annointed think is best for the common fools of the country.  If they think they will lose in the Electoral College then the Electoral College needs to go.  The electors need to be suborned.  The masses must be overruled.  Of course it will be for their own good.

Donald Trump was not my first choice but he became my only choice.  I don’t expect him to do everything my way but I understand that he won the election fair and square, or at least as fair and square as you can win any election. 

Anyone concerned about liberty and the rule of law needs to do everything they can to stop the Progressive elites from destroying the republic in their lust for the crown.  We did not have a revolution when Clinton took over.  We did not have one when Bush won.  We got past it with Obama.  It is time for the Nanny Staters to step back, take a deep breath, read the rules and try to find more fools to vote for them next time. 

homo unius libri

Friday, December 16, 2016

Opus 2016-334: First Christmas Present

I am getting an early Christmas present.  It is a trip to the dentist. 

Why is that making me celebrate?  I was able to schedule it on a Monday.  On Mondays at our school the kids go home early and every second Monday we have a meeting planned and run by our fearless leaders.  If you are a woman or man who likes to share your feelings and have no discernment about the big picture these are safe spaces for educators.  If you think Common Core is a bunch of nonsense then these are times of cruel and unusual punishment.

It used to be that we could leave early on days like this and get in a dental appointment.  Now they get legalistic with us and threaten to take an entire half day of sick leave.  Okay.  I can live by the rules.  Now I take a day off, sleep in, go to the dentist and miss the meeting.

(For those of you who do not work for the government you may not even know what dental insurance and sick leave are.  I understand.)

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Opus 2016-333: Words Matter

As I was listening to Christmas music on my I-Pod I was singing along with Joy to the World and got the words to the third verse wrong.  Actually I got them right.  The singers got them wrong.  They left out the third verse.  I have noticed this trend all my life.  If a song has four verses the director will skip the third.  I don’t think it is a plot but we miss a lot of solid teaching that way.  Actually Christmas carols do a lot of teaching about who Jesus is and why He came.  That is why they are being sifted out of the playlists on radio. 

Consider the opening words to “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”:
Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.
This is a message that the world rejects.  We are sinners.  We need deliverance.  It can only be found in Jesus.  That certainly puts rain on the self-esteem parade.

So, let it rain and let Him reign.  Stop and consider the words to the music you might know how to hum but have trouble singing.  Music has a message.  At Christmas it is the message that
(Galatians 4:4-6 KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
And let the pagans grumble.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Opus 2016-332: Keep Dreaming

One of the principles that capitalists like Henry Ford understood was that if your employees can’t afford your product then your market is very limited.  Increased sales means more profit.  He figured out that if you sold one Cadillac and made $500 it was less than if you sold 1,000 Model T’s and made $1.00 apiece.  Find the balance of paying as well as you can, selling as low as you can and making money on volume.  That is capitalism at work.

We need to apply that to the third world.  Much is being made about Carrier and Trump.  I take it all with a grain of salt but there is an opportunity we need to take.  We need to find ways to raise the economic level of the average Mexican so that they can buy American made air conditioners.

One side of that is raising their income.  That will never happen without political reform in Mexico.  I was talking to a man from Mexico and all he could talk about was the corruption of the government and how rich the politicians were.  There must be a peaceful way we can encourage liberty and free markets in that country.

A second side is to lower the cost of A/C so that everyone can afford it.  We need a Henry Ford of air conditioning.  Why have we lost the ability of dream big.  It used to be the American way.  Now the American way seems to be snowflakes in the street having social tantrums.

A third leg is cheap energy.  That could be atomic.  It could be hydrogen.  It could be something we haven’t thought of yet.

The future has so much potential if we would get rid of the Progressive mind state that tells us we need the government to take care of us and the EPA to keep us safe from ourselves.

Keep dreaming.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Opus 2016-331: Monday Pulpit: Joy to the World?

I think I am going to need to move to the front row if I want to be able to worship.  The other people in the congregation are very distracting.  It isn’t because they are standing on  their heads or picking their nose.  Usually it is because they are doing nothing.  Sunday we were singing “Joy to the World”.  I was into the words, “No more let sin and sorrow grow...” and I glanced to the left where a group of high school students were standing.  There were six of them.  None of them were even trying to sing.  There were six sets of eyes, glassed over and staring at nothing.  This during “Joy to the World” on the third Sunday of Advent.

I work with kids.  I see them bumping and jiving at the more boring drum beat.  I see them going through the entire routine of a music video that is making the rounds.  And here stand six young minds of mush with vacant faces in the midst of the celebration of the incarnation.  That got me looking around and I noticed how many adults were just standing there like someone was trying to sell them life insurance.  I could understand that look while a very mediocre choir worked through a dull piece of music.  I could see it during the offering.  I could even see it during “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  I can’t understand it during “Joy to the World”.

I continue to enjoy the Christmas season.  I sing along with the songs I know and rejoice that in the fullness of time, God sent His son.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
If that doesn’t rock your boat maybe it is time to start bailing.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Opus 2016-330: Should-a-Beens: A Disclaimer

It just occurred to me that in my previous post I wrote the words, “So shoot me.”  For any liberals, millennials, snowflakes, drones or sheep out there (Yes, I know that is redundant), that was not meant to be taken literally.  It was used as a figure of speech.  Do not feel threatened.  Do not imagine that anyone who is intelligent enough to go through the process of buying a gun will actually take it as literal permission.  Those not that bright would shoot me anyway with their stolen gun.

Maybe I should have said, “So sue me” but that would have encouraged the same people who are threatened by what I did say.

So, as I used to be forced to say to the math teacher on my team at school, “Joke, Irene, Joke”.  To which she would reply, “Oh.”

So, joke snowflake, joke.  And all the snowflakes said,......

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-329: Firsts: A Time for Coffee

I am finding there are times in life when the bells and whistles actually get used.  My word processor has more little adjustments and buttons than I have time to look at, let alone figure out.  I can “create a redacted document”.  Not only do I have doubts if I want to, it sounds vaguely immoral.  Under legal I have a button for a “pleading paper”.  But occasionally something calls out to be experimented with.

For years I have been aware that I could program my coffee maker to start the brew before I got up.  Since I rarely set the time on my coffee maker that wasn’t too practical but as I started getting up earlier and earlier and trying to figure out ways to streamline my morning, I gave it a try.

It works.

Now I can stumble a little longer without needing to count out scoops of coffee.  Since I don’t have what anyone in my family would call a discerning palate, it doesn’t bother me if the coffee is “stale”.  So shoot me.

You are never too old to learn, just too old to remember what you learned.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 9, 2016

Opus 2016-328: On the Street: Sneak Attack

I gotta get out of this place.

Today a panhandler hit me up at the cash register.  I had ordered my bread and coffee.  I was taking advantage of a free pastry and looking forward to it on Saturday morning.  While in the process of paying a young lady walks up to me and asks me to buy her some food.  She was hungry.  I never give money to panhandlers but I don’t want to turn away people who are hungry.  I keep extra snacks in my car so I can give it to people who are really hungry.  So far no one has been hungry enough to accept what is good enough for me.  I have never been accosted inside a restaurant before.

I was tempted to buy her a piece of bread.  After all, if it was good enough for the old man who had not eaten since last night it would be good enough for her and she probably would turn it down.  I had a better idea.  I did not need the pastry.  It didn’t cost me anything.  So I had the clerk give it to her.

I am trying to tell myself it was a win/win but I am still amazed at the nerve of people who refuse to get a job and support themselves.

Welcome to California.  It is time to leave.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-327: New Terms: Polytetrafluoroethylene President

We have all heard about how the media called Ronald Reagan the Teflon President.  I have often wondered why the term is never used for Democrats.  Think of Bill Clinton, Barak Obama and the potential president, Hillary Clinton.  None of the refuse of their lives seems to stick.

I propose calling them Polytetrafluoroethylene Presidents. 

It actually means the same thing but it sounds so much more noble.  Polytetrafluoroethylene is the technical name for Teflon. 

All Hail to the Chef.  May he produce successful recipes. 

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Opus 2016-326: On the Street: No Beat

One of the interesting things I learned from a fellow teacher at our faculty meeting on Monday was that Peter, Paul and Mary have no beat.  This was the response of a young teacher, entrusted with molding the next generation, after we had listened to “Leaving on a Jet Plane”.  Each week the fearless leaders play some music and have us guess who’s music it was.  They call it “team building”.  I call it a waste of time but since I was approached in the hall and asked for some favorite music I came up with Peter, Paul and Mary.  On reflection I could have suggested the Platters and “Great Pretender”, Smokey Robinson doing “My Girl” or The Nutcracker Suite by a guy who has a name I can’t spell.  P,P & M bubbled to the top.

It was amazing how much everyone got into the song.  Where most of the time they sit like zombies during this segment of the faculty meeting, this week half of them were singing along.  You can always tell what is good music by how many people sing along.  Alas, I was informed that they had no beat.

That is the level of culture and intellect inhabiting your public schools.  Next I expect to find out that they don’t have any melody or harmony either.  If we also eliminate vocabulary words of more than one syllable we have the kind of music that the music critic must have liked.

Until then, on the downbeat...

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Opus 2016-325: Remember the Alamo?

Think of all the events in history that have caused people to remember.  And then they forget. 

How many of you have spent any time remembering the Alamo?  I cover it every year in my U.S. history class.  It was a defeat for the Texans.  The men who died there knew they would be defeated.  As they heard  “El Deguello” they knew that they would die.  It was a bugle call that warned defenders no prisoners would be taken.  So what was the point?  It slowed Santa Ana down so that the rest of the army of Texas could pull it together for a later victory.  How many remember?

The revisors of history are beginning to deny the Jewish Holocaust.  The denial is common in the Muslim world and gaining ground among socialists in the academic world.  One of the phrases I heard associated with it was “Never Forget” yet when you Google it the main idea is that the words are a generic political phrase.  What is really amazing is the number of Jewish voters that continue to be loyal to the Democratic party as it sells Israel down the drain. 

Today we are supposed to be commemorating the “day which will live in infamy”.  That is how FDR labeled the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  It was the foolish move of the Japanese which drew us into the second world war.  It woke up the “sleeping giant”, a statement attributed to Admiral Yamamoto.  If you have seen the movie “Hacksaw Ridge”, read the book Unbroken or learned about the Bataan Death March,  you begin to understand that Pearl Harbor was mild compared to the atrocities that were to come. 

The list could go on.  We could remember the Battle of Tours, Waterloo, Lexington, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, D-Day, 9/11 and so many others.

Whom we are as Americans has been molded over centuries.  People have stood tall and been buried deep.  Pearl Harbor Day is not a day to remember the perfidy of the Japanese in 1941.  It is a day to remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Remember Pearl Harbor

 homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Opus 2016-324: Morning Pulpit: One Gram at a Time

I am not sure what the reference was that Alistair Begg was preaching from but a phrase he used caught my attention.  It may not be exact because I could not write it down while driving in rush hour.  It went something like this:
“It might not be much, but it is what made the difference.”
I think he was talking about prayer and the influence it has.  The principle applies in most of our lives.  Few of us will be the leading character in a successful TV series.  We won’t make it into the history books.  No one will remember us but we all make little contributions that keep things going. 

In the morning when I am having my bread and coffee and celebrating my own personal Eucharist I often look at the bread and think of all the hands that went into putting it in front of me.  It runs from the guy who put the bolt on the wheel of the combine to the employee behind the counter that put the bread on the plate.  All it would take for my plate to be empty is one level of hands to not do their small bit.

So cheer up.  You make a difference.  The only question to ask is, “Am I a positive difference or a negative difference.”  If you leave the eggs out overnight it doesn’t make much difference.  If you leave the ice cream out it changes everything.

I am counting on you doing your part.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 5, 2016

Opus 2016-323: Liberty Means a Half Loaf

Politics is about power and a republic is about compromise in power.  We tend to forget that.  In politics the only way you get everything you want is to be a total tyrant and care nothing about anyone else.  It is usually a scenario that ends violently.  We need to understand it is okay to go for the whole enchilada as long as we don’t expect to actually get it.  One person's freedom is another person's limitations.  Liberty only exists in compromise and constraint.

Trump was not my first choice and for a reason.  Many of those reasons are still there.

Trump was my final choice and for a reason.  Those reasons are still there.

We are watching the process of putting together an administration.  There are names for everyone to feel good about.  There are names for everyone to worry about.  It is a process in which no one gets everything they want.  The Founding Fathers set it up that way on purpose.  They understood that the more voices you had at the table the less chance for tyranny and despotism. 

Remember that none of us will get a whole loaf, even Trump.  And be glad. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Opus 2016-322: Is There Hope?

I believe Donald Trump has declared himself to be a Christian.  Ultimately that is between him and God.  I don’t think he is trying to lie,  I also don’t think he has a clue to what the question is.  He is a business man, not a theologian and he attended a church that preached more positive thinking than the gospel.

We need to be cautious about depending on Donald Trump’s spiritual condition if we are hoping for the country to get back on track.  Donald Trump is not a prophet and Americans are not the chosen people.  Both will be used by God but make sure your hope is in the right place.  If Trump’s administration is actually able to pull us back from the abyss it will not be because of Trump.  It will be because there has been a faithful remnant.

Take the example of the discussion between Abraham and God about the destruction of Sodom.  Let me set the tone by a couple of verses.
(Genesis 18:23-24 KJV)  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
And God’s response,
(Genesis 18:26 KJV)  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
And as you know the bargaining continues all the way down to 10 righteous.  We are not Sodom, yet.  I am certainly not Abraham.  But God is still God.  Jesus called us salt.  I have to believe that as long as God’s people are being faithful salt, He will hold back His wrath.

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?  Your faithfulness may have more to do with our survival as a nation than what Donald Trump does.  God was able to deal with Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.  The trouble He had was with the children of Israel and their rebellion.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Opus 2016-321: On the Street: Patterns and Habits

I am getting better at remembering my phone. 

We get used to certain patterns.  I always pat my pocket to see if I have my keys, even when I am at home and just going out for a few moments.  My wife likes to lock doors and I don’t like to be on the wrong side of her security.  I can’t remember when I walked out the door without my keys or wallet.  The phone doesn’t have such a good record.

But I am getting better.  It is becoming a part of my hand or a weight in my pocket.  I am beginning to sense that something is missing.  I had that feeling the other day as I started down the steps to the car.  Something was out of balance.  I had my phone.  I had my wallet.  I had my coffee and lunch.  Then I realized what I was missing was my rolling case with my work in it.  Habits can be good things.

About the time I get used to something they will come up with a new shinny.  It is called progress but I would question that assumption.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-320: Headlines: California Wants to Secede

I can understand that feeling but I want them to wait until I am gone from the state.  Once I get out I will be ready for California to get out of the United States, but it presents some problems.  You will not find those problems at the Yes California website but you can take a quick look through their rose lenses if you want.

One reason it isn’t a good idea is that it will require a much longer wall to be built.  If you look at a map, the border between the United States and Mexico is only about 140 miles across the southern boundary of California.  If we had to build a wall on the eastern border it would be over 1,000 miles through some very mountainous territory and we would still need to go across the top. 

We would also lose some vital ports in San Diego, Long Beach and San Francisco.  If California is allowed to leave I would suggest that those areas and a few miles around be retained as U.S. Territory with an easement through to reach them by land.  Think of how Guantanamo is American territory in Cuba.  Think of the way in which Berlin was located in Communist East Germany but trucks and trains were allowed access.  This would keep them from charging huge tariffs on goods brought in from Asia and keep us in the world of trade.

I am not sure it would work but we might also keep the first mile from the coast and the right to the oil in the water.  That would make California a land locked nation but still let the majority of socialists in those coastal counties to not be Americans.

Secession would cause problems in education.  We would all need to relearn the highest and lowest points in the continental U.S.  Since American students are so bad in geography this would not require much besides changing the Wikipedia sites. 

Probably the biggest reason it would not be a good idea is that it would not work.  California could not make it on its own.  It reminds me of the adolescent who wants to live his own life but doesn’t want to move out and get a job to do so. 

California leaving is like going into a fast food place, ordering a hamburger and expecting it to actually look like the one in the advertisement.  Pleasant thought but it ain’t gonna happen.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 2, 2016

Opus 2016-319: Cornerstone Considerations: Viva la Electoral College

As I had this on the back burner others were writing about it.  One of the best I found was at Gorges Grouse.  He approaches from a different direction and has a lot of easy to understand numbers.  I would recommend you check it out.

The cry to do away with the Electoral College is being heard again.  The losers want to go to a popular vote instead of the current system.  That still won’t solve their problem of losing.  Keep in mind that if we go to a popular vote we should also demand a majority.  A plurality won’t do it.  In most of the current elections that would mean a second election with just the top two vote getters.  As of the last count I could find Hillary only had 48% and Trump 47.1% of the popular vote.  That means 4.9% of the country is not included in those counts. 

How would that 4.9% vote?  If you look at third place it is usually the Libertarian Party.  How would those people vote?  Would they bother to vote if they could not go third party?  Libertarians tend to side with the Republicans on economic issues, the Democrats on moral issues and all over the map on other things.  There are no guarantees.

Would people bother voting a second time?  Would they change their minds?  Would the loser still complain and demand a two out of three election?

Then consider that the campaigning would also change.  Bribes and corruption in the big cities would get even more dramatic and destructive.  Even more dead people would vote.

Do away with the Electoral College?  Be careful what you wish for.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Opus 2016-318: Immortal Quotes: “A Different Drummer”, part 2 of 2, The Step

How have the church and Christians become social clubs and nice people?  It is an almost irresistible force and happens repeatedly through history. 

During my life I have seen the transformation of marriage.  I have witnessed the gradual acceptance of divorce.  I don’t mean the obvious cases of adultery and abuse.  I mean the large number of “incompatible” and “no contest” splits.  What used to be rare and frowned upon has become mainstream and cool.  It started as an attempt to be loving and compassionate and has gone a long way toward undermining a foundation of society.

We are also redefining marriage.  We are silencing our minority of people who still claim that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Today the force behind it is the homosexual community.  Tomorrow it will be the Mormons and Muslims.  In the process we are redefining what family means.  No longer is it bound by blood and marriage.

The sexual revolution has become the status quo.  We have begun to accept fornication and out of wedlock births.  When you accept the tenants of evolution it is amazing how easy it is to accept animal behavior as “natural”.  It is amazing how often people claim to be followers of Jesus and yet they are living in physical intimacy that God reserved for the marriage bed. 

Discipline has gone out the window in the name of self esteem and caring.  Corporal punishment can lead to court cases.  The death penalty is rejected.  Both of those are clearly endorsed by scripture.  What does it mean when people who claim the Bible teaches salvation by faith refuse to read the parts that teach the death penalty?  Protestants talk about cafeteria Catholics when the term applies equally well to the one doing the pointing. 

Wealth has blinded our eyes to balance and stewardship.  In Proverbs the excellent wife dresses her household well, feeds them well and runs a business.  Jesus wore a seamless cloak which was not cheap.  Quality clothing and good food are not condemned and yet somehow I find it hard to justify a closet full of shoes and a steak dinner that costs more than a week’s groceries.  At the same time we have large numbers of illegal aliens working in sweat shops at substandard wages.

I am sure if you are thoughtful you could add to the list.

We need to act like we are in the locker room at half-time and the coach is saying, “Listen up, you clowns.”  The drummer is beating.  We should get in step.

homo unius libri