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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Opus 2017-130: Healthy Insights: Metabolism, part 4 of 5

I have a simple question for those who are diet gurus with the answers to long healthy lives:
If what we eat is so unhealthy, why are we living longer?
Here is a paragraph from the beginning of the book,
“We are asking more of our bodies than at any other time in the history of civilization.  We ask them to live on food that is of a much lower quality than ever, thanks to all the chemical additives, preservatives, and processing.  We pump ourselves full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, hormone-riddled dairy products, and foods like wheat and corn and soy that are so genetically modified, it is a wonder we can even digest them.  We live in a world that with deleted soil, polluted air, and water teeming with environmental chemicals.  We eat and drink from plastic containers that leach even more chemicals into our foods and drinks.  And, we live with great amounts of often crushing, overwhelming stress.”, p. 13
You have all seen the lists of things that are bad for you.  I am willing to accept that to be true.  I am also aware that the last time I did a number 1 or a number 2 I witnessed my body getting rid of a lot of things it could not use.  Number 1 gets rid of toxins.  Number 2 gets rid of leftovers.  Factor in the reality of sin and its effect on the natural processes.  Some people have issues with salt.  Some don’t.  We have a growing number of people who react to peanuts.  We have a lot of people worried about gluten and a few that actually have a problem with it. 

The simple truth is that for most of us what we have is working just fine.  We eat too much and move too little, granted.  That is not the fault of the food, it is the fault of the foodees.  The concept is slothful, sluggard, or, dare I use the word, laziness.
(Proverbs 21:25 KJV)  The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.
If you feel better about life eating only organic, free range egg whites, go for it.  I have the same regard for people who eat sushi and menudo.  Liberty is wonderful so let me enjoy my corn on the cob, BLT and hamburgers.

Pomroy, Haylie.  The Fast Metabolism Diet.  New York:  Harmony, 2013.

To be concluded...

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Opus 2017-129: Headlines: The Payoff

I am sure you have heard about Barak Obama getting almost half a million dollars for one speech.  Now I see a headline that he has another on his schedule.  How do we respond?

First, as a capitalist who believes in free enterprise, I say, “Go for it!”.  I congratulate him.  We all need to seek the greatest return possible for our skills and contributions.

Which brings up a second response.  Just what are his skills and contributions?  He is an ex-president.  He has never done much of anything except write books about himself and read a Teleprompter.  What make a speech by Barak Obama worth $400,000?  What does he have to sell?  What did he already sell?  If the money is for a great speech I would suggest that the judgement of our business leaders is questionable and the stock holders need to have a quick meeting.

I know I would not pay 25 cents for his books at a yard sale.  What does he have on these bankers that they offer up this kind of a payoff?

CIA are you listening?  NSA are you awake?  Follow the money.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 28, 2017

Opus 2017-128: On the Street: Security

I am not paranoid.  I know they are out to get me.  I just don’t know who “they” are or when they will show up.  With that in mind there are certain precautions I take.

I don’t give out my e-mail or SSN unless I have to.

I never open attachments from untrusted sources.  My definition of “trusted” is narrow.  Not all my friends are considered trusted when it comes to attachments.  I usually don’t open unsolicited e-mails.  If I have a password I never put it on automatic recall.  What is the point of a password if it does not engage?

I lock my doors as soon as I get in the car and I lock my car as soon as I get out.

I lock the door to my home and check the doors each night before I go to sleep.

I look in dark corners when I leave home for work.

Stairs are starting to be a warning to “wake up”.  I don’t have trouble getting up and down.  What happens is that my automatics don’t work as well as they used to.  I just need to focus a little bit and I will be okay.  I have gone down hard several times and so far have not major injuries.  It has always been because I am in a hurry and not thinking.  Sooner or later God is going to get tired of catching me.

What am I missing?  The list is too long, you say?

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Opus 2017-127: Healthy Insights: Metabolism, part 3 of 5, Organic Starvation

I have read or skimmed my share of diet books.  They all claim to be the answer you have been waiting for.  They all claim it will work for everyone.  Most claim it will be easy and painless.  They lie.

One of the questions on my grid of diet analysis is, “Could a person of limited means who works long hours and has a big family have a hope in doing this?”  There are certain concepts that keep coming up in the current crop of books:  Organic, free range, dairy bad, wheat bad, sugar bad.  This one also assumes we are going to have an exercise program that involves vigorous cardio some days and yoga others.  What you have described is a life style that can only be achieved by the rich and the famous.  It is a statement of the elites.  It requires money and leisure.

I have no problem with you if you want to eat organic.  Go for it.  Make someone rich if you can afford it.  My income says I can’t afford to pay the price for the exclusive brands and special labels.  There is a reason why much of the world lives on grains and beans.  They are cheap, easy to store and keep you alive. 

Organic is wonderful if you are the lord of the manor and have enough peasants to do the hard labor to produce it and half starve eating the leftovers and half rotten produce.  The world would quickly starve to death if everyone tried to live organically.  I would guess that the Little Fat Guy in North Korea eats very well as his people starve.  That is the model that the elites are after.  The lower classes are just there to serve the elites anyway.  What they don’t see is that eventually they will run out of peasants to starve or the peasants will pull a French Revolution on them.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Opus 2017-126: The Next Goal of the Class Warriors

I am feeling like a prophet.  I believe that one of the changes we are going to see in the near future is the federal government taking away the tax deduction for home mortgages.  The leaches in Washington are looking for any changes they can make that will give them more money to pass to their cronies. 

I was listening to a podcast called Uncommon Knowledge.  Peter Robinson was interviewing an economist who was supposed to be conservative.  In the course of the interview the economist talked about how the home mortgage deduction only benefitted the rich with their big homes.  It would only be fair to the general population to take it away.  This is classic class warfare.  This is another example of someone disguised as a conservative pushing to move more power to the hands of the elites by making it harder for the common man to get ahead and gather wealth.  He may even believe he is conservative but this is “blame the rich” stuff.

Why do I say this?  The home mortgage deduction is the same for everyone.  It is not graduated like the income tax or capped like social security deductions.  Untold millions of Americans with moderate means find that it is the difference between owning a home or living in an apartment.  It helped us when we were living on one salary.  It is helping my children as they buy their first homes.  I must admit that at this time I do not have any mortgages so taking away the deduction would not hurt me in the least. 

What about the rich?  If you take away this tax break they will simply find another way around it.  They will put everything in a trust.  They will play all kinds of legal games.  They will lease instead of buy, just like they do their cars.  I don’t even know how but I know what. 

Could I go for getting rid of the deduction?  Not in that form but I would be willing to look at a flat tax or some other approach.  Whatever we do we need to stop listening to the people who blame the rich for the problems of the poor.  I continue to notice that every student at my school has a phone that is more expensive to buy and operate than the one I own.  I see the secretaries and janitors drive newer cars than I do.  We have a security guard who says he has 100 pair of shoes and I doubt if any of them came from the thrift store.

Give the poor the opportunity to become wealthy by removing the roadblocks not making them more dependent on government.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Opus 2017-125: Healthy Insights: Metabolism, part 2 of 5, Calories Lie

The central point of “The Fast Metabolism Diet” is that we can speed up our metabolism by eating the correct way.  That is an hypothesis I am willing to investigate.  So again I pick up the book and start looking for principles that might make sense.

The author spends a lot of time “debunking” other plans and theories.  I always read these passages with my long range radar on.  When they say startling things I sit back and think and then see how it is applied.  One statement that got my attention was,
“Calories are a lie.” page 22 
That came as a surprise to me because calories are simply a matter of physics.  She admits that but goes on to say that you don’t need to count calories because they are not important.  Just follow her plan and you will be satisfied, have food left over, and lose weight painlessly.

I glanced at her diet plan and almost laughed.  Dinner for one day is something called “Chicken and Barley Soup”.  Sounds good to me but that was the total meal.  I looked up the recipe and did a little math.  I did not go OCD just for this.  I already have a simple spreadsheet for counting my calories every day.  I simply plugged in the ingredients.  My calculation is that one portion of the recipe is 467 calories.  According to the recipe, a portion is three cups.  On the daily page you are told to eat 2 cups.  It comes to about 308 calories for dinner.  If you are a 105 pound woman that might make it for you but I would never call it easy or painless.  Anyone would lose weight eating in these quantities.

So far I am not a convert to the new program.

Pomroy, Haylie.  The Fast Metabolism Diet.  New York:  Harmony, 2013.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Monday, April 24, 2017

Opus 2017-124: Healthy Insights: Metabolism, part 1 of 5, Guru or Not?

I was talking with one of “my” doctors and he was giving me advice on weight loss and diabetes.  The only problem is, he is a podiatrist, not an internist.  I have a lot of respect for him and understand that he still knows more than I do.  So I listen.  He recommended a couple of books to me.  The first he identified as “Fast Metabolism”.  At the library there were several with that phrase in the title by the same author.  I began to get the impression this was an ongoing series and I was supposed to buy them all.  Only one was on the shelf, so I check it out.
Pomroy, Haylie.  The Fast Metabolism Diet.  New York:  Harmony, 2013.
The doctor said that the key to weight loss and health was speeding up our metabolism.  That makes sense to me because that thought had already occurred to me.  I examined the book with an open mind.  Keep in mind that in my world view an open mind is always skeptical and engages its gestalt.  Thinking is not taking one piece of See’s candy and assuming that anything brown and bumpy is dark chocolate peanut clusters.  Thinking is wondering how adding cummin to a recipe will change the interaction of the flavors. 

So I read and keep my mind engaged.

I have read enough diet books to recognize a diet guru when I meet one.  This book quickly made it clear that I was walking with a diet guru.  The first clues were the cover.  It promised me I could “lose up to 20 pounds in 28 days”.  I would be impressed but I am not looking for a quick fix of water loss and an empty digestive tract.  I do not believe you can safely lose 20 pounds in 28 days, not and keep it off. 

The second clue on the cover was the statement that I could “eat more food & lose more weight”.  It reminds me of people who walk carefully down the sidewalk avoiding the cracks because they don’t want to break their mother’s back.  I also stopped believing in the tooth fairy at a very young age.

Strike three was in the back where I was invited to visit the authors web page where I could go shopping with her.  $$$.

At this point I have put the book down several times but I keep thinking there will be something of value.  I am not going to buy into her diet plan but she might have some insights of value.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Opus 2017-123: Headlines: Freedom Donates a Pint of Blood

As I checked out Drudge, looking for news about the most dangerous event in current history all I could find at the top of the page were links to the Republican budget and the Korean Krazy Man.  Those events are blips that generate a lot of worry but they are not the biggest danger to our liberty.  I had to scroll down to the bottom to find mention of Ann Coulter being censored by Berkeley. 

In case you missed it, Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak at Berkeley.  In order to speak she was required to agree to certain limitations.  She was required to speak at a place and time that would be inconvenient to students and not publicize the event until the last minute.  Then, after all was in order, tickets were purchased, hotels were booked and plans were made, the University cancelled for security concerns.

My understanding is that “censorship” is prior restraint of expression by a government agency.  For those who have not been paying attention, lets review Government 101 and the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Notice that the University is violating at least two of the rights guaranteed in this amendment.  As far as I know the University Progressives who had made this edict are not being disciplined or confronted by the Civil Rights Commission.

A short time before the ex-president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, came to Berkeley and spoke with no problems.  It would be interesting to see if he was required to sign the same agreements that Coulter was faced with.

This is chilling because it is a blatant example of how Big Government uses its monopoly on coercive power to limit free expression.  Tie it together with the filters being put on the internet by Google and Facebook and we start having issues with liberty.

I would call this “abridging the freedom of speech”.  I would call it an ax being put to the roots of the Tree of Liberty.

I am worried about the future of my country.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 21, 2017

Opus 2017-122: Cornerstone Considerations: Article 1, No Scandal Here, This Time

We should welcome the run-off in Georgia that features the $8+ million Democrat candidate who lost to Republicans who could not decide from a field of many.  Why?

First, it might cost Soros another $8 million, not that he will notice.  That brings us to the second benefit.

Second, maybe people will stop referring to the Republicans as the party of the rich and special interests.  It seems to me that the rich of America are financing the left.  This is a good example of it.

Third, it might encourage people to read their Constitution.  It has come out that Jon Ossoff, the Democrat does not live in the district he is running for.  That is okay.  What the Constitution says in Article 1, Section 2 is,
“ be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.”
Of course it says the same thing about the Senate and I can guarantee we will not hear anything about Hillary Clinton being elected from New York.

So let the games continue.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Opus 2017-121: Headlines: Is It Because I’m White?

I didn’t bother reading the articles but the headlines told me that several of the Patriot’s football team members refused to go to the traditional meeting with President Trump.  I am not interested in their childish reasons.  I know the real reason.  It’s because he is white.

Sounds stupid right?  What would have happened if members of the winning team had refused to go to a meeting with President Obama?  The mantra would be, “Racist.  It’s because he is black.” 
So look and see if the refusenicks were black or just Democrats.  Evidently their pride in America only applies to people who fit in narrow categories.  If Trump were really Hitler you can imagine what would have happened to these snowflakes.

It seems strange to think of professional football players as snowflakes.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Opus 2017-120: Browsing

When I was a kid my parents ran into an encyclopedia salesman.  It may have been an extravagance but it became the source of endless browsing for me.  On rainy days I would sit down by the book shelf, pull of a volume and just start turning pages.  It was part of my education.

How is that different from smart phones and the Google search engine?  Can’t they access information and learn from the electronic media?  In a perfect world, yes.  In the world of data bases and selling ranking in the search process, no.  In a world of political correctness and Progressive, left wing censorship, no.  The information that young people see is carefully crafted by people with political agendas.  It is like only reading the L.A. Times or the National Enquirer.

Did encyclopedias have editors?  Of course they did.  Choices had to be made.  Many people won’t notice.  It even applies to dictionaries.  Years ago when I was still trying to educate young people I was trying to get dictionaries for my classroom.  For a brief time I was foolish enough to think I could actually go out and chose a set.  I ran into a problem.  I was covering the Constitution and wanted the students to define “ex post facto” and “bill of attainder”.  The dictionaries that the school district would provide me did not have those words in them.  If I were on the internet I would not even know they existed.

The current trend in Facebook and other social media to filter, not only searches but comments, shows us how weak modern sources are.  To delete information from the Encyclopedia Britannica would require an army of scissor wielding fanatics.  To do it from Google only requires on well meaning liberal pushing a button.

Don’t throw out the books.  Someday you may want to know what liberty means.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Opus 2017-119: Ode to Old: Dirty Hairy

Why do old men look like they need a shave? 

The most obvious reason is, because they do.  Old men are not known for the power of memory.  We forget.  We are also not stand-outs in vision.  Unless we have an old woman around it is easy to slide past that moment.

Old men have white hair.  White hair tends to be lighter and it is harder for the razor to cut.  It takes a lot longer to get them all and since I can’t see as well as I used to, I miss some.

Old men get ornery.  If they don’t like us the way we are then a pox upon them.  In short, we often just don’t care.  Sometimes that goes for taking showers too but that is another topic.

Of course it is possible that we are just trying to be trendy and adopt the metrosexual look of today’s young male model.  It looks to me like most young men have forgotten to shave for about three days.  The problem is they have to work to keep that look.

Don’t feel like you need to point out the problem.  I either won’t hear you, won’t care or will forget.

homo unius libri

Monday, April 17, 2017

Opus 2017-118: What About Socialization?

We home schooled our children.  That means that they never attended school until they enrolled in college.  I don’t want to brag, but I think they are doing all right.

When I mention to people that we home schooled one of the big concerns I hear is socialization.  What mystifies me is that people talk as if the socialization that takes place in school is a good thing.  Why in all of creation would I want children that I love very much to be socialized by the barbarians that fill our schools?  Why would I want them taught by the pagans that think tolerance means rejecting moral values? 

My class of failures are experts at socialization.  That is why they are failures.  They are so much in love with sharing about how they dribbled a basketball or who they saw at the mall they don’t care about their rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion or redress of grievances.  In fact I always need to point out the “redress” does not mean changing at the end of PE.  Nor do they have any idea what grievance means.

No one has ever questioned that home school students know how to read, write and do basic math better than public school inmates.  Everyone agrees that they do well in college.  What they are concerned with is socialization.

But then that fits in perfectly with the goals of public education.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Opus 2017-117: A Moving Easter; A Stable Resurrection

One of the questions I got in school this week was whether Jesus was born in December.  I am guessing that a Jehovah’s Witness had been at work trying to undermine the beliefs of children who had any Christian background.  They start with Christmas which is an arbitrary date picked by the church and segue into Easter which is rooted in historical facts.

Point of fact:  We do not have any historical reason to pick December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  The Bible does not say.  All it says is that He was born.  In an effort to educate the masses and make sure that everything was covered, the church picked a day to celebrate the mass of Christ, i.e. Christmas.  They also picked a day to remember the trinity, Pentecost, the coming of the wise men and other points of Christian doctrine and history.  It was all part of the curriculum.

Easter, on the other hand, is rooted in historical context.  It is tied to the Jewish Passover.  The Last Supper was the Passover Seder.  Jesus went from there to the crucifixion.  The confusion comes because the Passover date is determined on the lunar calendar.  Lunar months do not line up consistently with the solar year thus the beginning date of each month moves around.  Since Passover moves, Easter moves.

Dishonest or ignorant people try to take the arbitrary nature of Christmas and transfer it to Easter and thus try to make the resurrection arbitrary.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  It is the central point of Christian belief.  We are not making a day sacred but emphasizing an event that changed history.

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Opus 2017-116: The Emptied Holiday

Holy week is drawing to a close.  It has gone by without me paying much attention.  That bothers me because this is the most important week in the Christian calendar.  What is the problem with me?

Part of it is I am not currently involved in a local church.  We are in transition and it is hard to get committed for a short period of time.  Also I am getting critical in my old age.  I can find churches that have good preaching but insipid music.  I can find churches that have a little better music but either boring or heretical preaching.  When we move I hope to get serious about being involved.  It will help me in my spiritual focus.

Another part of the neglect is the influence of my work culture.  I remember when “spring break” was Easter vacation.  When I have this discussion with people I keep asking, “Then why do we have a week off in the middle of the year?”  I have yet to get any answer of any substance.  We don’t have school in summer because farmers needed their children to work the fields.  We have no such reason for spring break or winter break.  Schools started giving holy week off because the educators were believers and the community demanded it.  Now we have the tradition but not the reason.  Now it’s meaning is ignored in the name of multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity.  Another name for that is anti-Christian bigotry. 

To my shame I have been influenced by my culture.

Maybe next year will be better.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 14, 2017

Opus 2017-115: Headlines: Or Lack of

If I understood correctly, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court sometime in the recent past.  I didn’t see near the headlines I would have expected.  Maybe I missed checking Drudge one day.  Another thing I have not seen is the end of American culture.  I see the process continuing but I missed the cliff.  From the rabid tirades of the Progressives I would have thought that one appointment was going to reverse the fact that Obama stopped the oceans from rising and brought in a sense of unity across the country.

Maybe I have not waited long enough.  Maybe it is a case of a watched pot never boiling.  Maybe is was just snowflake hysteria.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Opus 2017-114: Mistakes

My daughter got married last year.  It was a glorious time.  She found the right man.  It was a time of establishing a new covenant.  As I was praying for her and her husband I found myself praying that she would be able to avoid the mistakes she saw her parents make. 

It occurred to me that our mistakes have the value of being warning signs for those who know us.  It is wonderful to think that we can learn from our mistakes.  It is an indication of how God put the world together that others can learn from them.

I have heard it and observed it:  The things that bother me about other people are often the patterns I am demonstrating in my life.  So I continue to watch and listen.  I live in hopes that your mistakes will teach me things I could never see in myself.

And thank you for being irritating. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Opus 2017-113: Glory

I have never been enthused about looking for hidden meaning in literature.  I really don’t like poetry.  I don’t believe that the authors intended all of the mysteries that scholars claim.

Having said that I have been thinking about a movie I show at school when we are covering the Civil War.  It is called “Glory”.  If you have never seen it, I recommend it.  It tells the story of a Massachusetts’s regiment, the 54th.  It was one of the first black regiment in the war.  It was very well done:  Historically accurate, good acting and a great script.  The only thing missing is romance.

Why would I suddenly dwell on the movie?  It reminds me of the battle I have been fighting in education for years.  In one scene Colonel Shaw says to his friend, a major who has been casual in his responsibilities, “I am here to get these men ready to fight.  I am willing to give my life to get them ready.  I owe it to them and I think you do to.”  It reflected the different attitudes toward the black men being trained, attitudes that I find permeate education today.

There were at least three general groups of people on the issue of black men being trained and armed.  All were represented in the movie.  All are represented in education.  One group was blatantly racist by any definition.  One officer calls the men “little monkeys”.  To them the training was a joke.  Another group represent the masses of people.  They don’t even think about the issue and just follow the path of the mob.  Then you have a small group who see the issues, believe in the men and are willing to pour their lives into making them ready.

Too many people in education really don’t believe that today’s children can excel.  Yes, they use the term and talk about rigor.  They just don’t believe it in their hearts.  Most just jump on board the latest fad.  The fad can be whole language, cooperative learning, new math or whatever stirs the hearts of the ivory tower.  I hope I am in that small group that really believes in Martin Luther King Junior’s call to judge people by their character, not their color.  If there is anything that can bring tears to my eyes it is not a student saying, “I don’t like you.”  It is the waste of potential I see by slogans instead of standards.  It is the lie of rigor.  It is a concern with feeling good instead of having a reason to feel good.  It is modern education.

I only have a few months left to fight the battle.  I have done what I can but feel I have been totally inadequate.  Think of the German soldier of World War II.  He may have been the best trained infantry soldier in the world.  He may have had the best equipment in the war.  He may have fought with courage and valor.  It was not enough to overcome the foolishness and evil of the Nazi regime that was giving him orders.

I am ready to return the battle to you, the general public who votes and speaks out.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Opus 2017-112: The Bread and the Cup

Warning.  Theology ahead.

In taking communion I reflected on the two elements and what they represent.  The bread is depicted as Jesus’ body; the cup, His blood.  Both represent a sacrifice we can never understand.  We can meditate and gain meaning.  We can focus and gain a glimmer of truth.  We can study and find all kinds of applications.  In the end it involves realities that we cannot grasp.  If that were not true He would not be God and it would not be powerful enough for our salvation.

His body represents the incarnation.  What an awesome thing for God to step into humanity.
(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.
We can define each of the words.  We can work out the grammar.  We can get the point.  We can never begin to experience what it was for the Word to become flesh.  He humbled Himself to the point of death.  He who was eternal put Himself in a position to know our limitations and our fears.  The contrast is too wonderful for us to absorb.

But we try. 

The cup represents the crucifixion and the atonement, the shedding of blood.  Because one of God’s attributes is justice, it was not possible for Him to just say, “Olly, olly oxen, free, free, free.”  We are sinful.  Sin demands payment.  We can never hope to pay the principle, let alone the interest.  Only the Perfect Lamb of God could do that.  So, He who knew no sin became sin our out behalf by dying on the cross and shedding His blood.  That is why it is called the passion.  The agony of bearing our sin is beyond comprehension.

But we can try.

And we can rejoice in the knowledge that,
(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
homo unius libri

Monday, April 10, 2017

Opus 2017-111: Maybe It Wasn’t Reagan

I wonder if the defeat of the Soviet Union was a result of a secret deal between American leftists and the Communist leaders.  They could have been convinced that if a visible enemy and example of socialism were removed from the playing field then a generation of snowflakes could be raised to embrace a candidate such as Bernie Sanders.

Think about it.

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Opus 2017-110: Headlines: Punch a Bully in the Nose Day

The questions have been hard to answer.  The kids at school are asking about the missiles fired at Syria.  How do you give an answer on a complex issue to a generation that is conditioned to sound bites? 

I have mixed feelings.  There is much I don’t know.  I am not worried about going to war with Russia.  For a good summary you can read Scott Adams has to say on his Dilbert blog.  The only thing I could add is that mature military leaders do not like war but understand it is sometimes necessary.  They understand that peace comes from the willingness to make war and the bad guys understanding that.  I admit there are loose cannons in the military but I think Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who have their heads on straight. 

One of the questions I ask the kids to get them thinking is, “What is the best way to deal with a bully?”  The usually answer reflecting the results of brainwashing, “Tell a teacher.”  Those who think know that such an action usually gets them bullied more.  The proper answer is, “Punch him in the nose.”  Assad is a bully.  Putin is a bully.  ISIS is a bunch of bullies.  Terrorism is the art of bullying.  Unfortunately the only answer is often, “Punch them in the nose.”  Obama either did not understand that or wanted the bullying to continue.  Thankfully there is a new sheriff in town.

Consider Assad punched.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Opus 2017-109: Don’t Hold Your Breath

A new member of the Supreme Court has been confirmed.  I am assuming he will be sworn in.  Everything I hear sounds good.  I am optimistic about the future of the court.  I could have written that about John Roberts but I don’t think I was blogging at that point.  I would have not known how disappointed I would be in the results involving health care and we have another twenty years to go.

A new member of the Supreme Court has been confirmed.  I am assuming he will be sworn in.  Everything I hear sounds good.  I am optimistic about the future of the court.  I am writing that about Neil Gorsuch.  Will time find me disappointed?  We will be forced to wait and see.  What I do know is that the future has a much better prognosis than it would have if Hillary had been elected, Trump had not been true to his word or the Republicans in the Senate had not finally shown that they have a pair.

In this case it was three strikes and your in.  Three times I have held my breath.  Three times I have been glad to go on breathing.  It remains to be seen if we have a home run or the runner bunted and was hit by the ball on the way to first base.

But for now, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in,...

Don’t stop working, voting or talking.  If we just hold our breath we could turn blue.  If we keep active we can turn the country red.  It must be spring, hope is eternal.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-108: Headlines: Surprise! California Heads Toward Sanctuary

I kept hearing rumors that California had become a Sanctuary State yet I was not seeing it in any of the headlines.  I finally did a Google search and got the status.

The California State Senate has passed a law that would make the People’s Republik of Kalifornia a state that ignores federal law on immigration and thus makes us a Sanctuary State.  We would join Maryland in rebellion.  It passed on party lines.  It is now going to the Assembly where the Democrats have a super majority and from there will go to our own governor Moonbeam, the Honorable Jerry Brown.  Guess what party he belongs to.  Since the Democrats are the party of “we hate America” I expect it to pass. 

I then hope that President Trump and his cabinet proceed to fulfill their promises and cut off all federal funds to the state.  Won’t that be fun to watch!  Think of an already crumbling highway system with no federal money.  Think of schools kept afloat with federal grants sinking like a sieve.  Think of welfare programs without the billions to pay their social workers.  Think of all the politicians and government officials without the bottomless largess of the federal government to siphon funds from.  It will not be a pretty sight.  Actually it will be a beautiful sight.

I hope it happens.  I plan to be gone from the state before it kicks in so I will be able to enjoy it from afar.  The only problem is that things may get so bad that the rest of the rats might try to desert the sinking ship.  We may need to draw new lines for the border fence.

homo unius libri

Friday, April 7, 2017

Opus 2017-107: On the Street: I Am Not the NSA

What have I learned this morning while trying to study and write?

She doesn’t like cherries.  She has a mortgage and no children, but she does have a dog.  The dog has a hot pink halter.  She doesn’t like that her parents help themselves to food in her refrigerator when they visit.  They don’t even ask.  She thinks it is quaint that her mother sends thank-you notes.

Her friend has a black thumb.  That sounds racist to me but I think she felt a black thumb is the opposite of a green thumb.

The thing that bothers me the most is she is an employee.  She seems to be managerial level because she has her laptop out and was seemingly doing some work in between conversations with people across the room.  She doesn’t seem to realize that the entire world doesn’t want to know about her private conversations.  We are not all the NSA.  I wonder if she is a snowflake?

Privacy also means I don’t need to listen to you.

homo unius libri

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Opus 2017-106: Ideas on Health Care

We need to continue the conversation on health care.  I would prefer that the federal government get out of it totally but, since that isn’t going to happen, I am sure I can come up with other ideas.

How would health care be different if regular office visits were removed from the insurance coverage.  Sometimes this is called catastrophic coverage. 

Some would say that it would cost more because regular check ups are a way of avoiding bigger problems.  People would not go if they had to pay.  It might cut into their plans to go to Disneyland.  Of course that is why I shop at Walmart not Nieman Marcus.

We would also need to demand a serious co-pay for the Emergency room.  Too many people use it as their GP.  We could refund any charges if the problem turns out to be a genuine emergency.  Of course the issue then is defining genuine emergency.  It might be set at the level of being admitted to the hospital.  I remember one time I went because I thought I was going blind.  I never saw a doctor.  The triage nurse took one look at me and said, “Pink eye.”  What I thought was an emergency, and it was after hours, should have cost me the going rate for an office visit and a few bucks for a generic prescription.  It should not have socked my insurance $800.

If I can come up with ideas why can’t the elite classes that want to rule us?

homo unius libri

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Opus 2017-105: New Terms: Trauma, part 4 of 4, The Solution

We need to be understanding.  No one would argue with that.  The problem according to Sporleder is that we are stressed so we overreact.  The students are stressed because of the trauma in their lives so they have no self control.  The illustration is the child that was “brutally beaten” the night before and can expect the same tonight.  I know that the illustration reflects real life.  Brutality happens.  It does not happen to everyone.  And keep in mind that to many educators raising your voice to a student is brutality.  Making them feel bad is brutality.  I was once called on the carpet because the student felt bad when I was talking.  He could not give anything I said but it made him feel bad, it was just a feeling.   ?????  Welcome to modern education.

You will be glad to know that we now have the trauma solution.  Evidently the answer is to allow the student who has just dropped the F bomb five times and questioned whether your parents were married to leave class for a time-out room where he can get in touch with his feelings.  When he has dealt with the deep trauma that is effecting his life he will return ready learn.  This miracle will take place in ten minutes, or however long it takes to smoke a cigarette.  On returning he will be allowed to bring his pet unicorn and any Easter Bunnies he came across in the hall.  (I just made up that last part.  I get carried away.  Please forgive me.  No?  Stress.  Can I go to the time out room?)

In the quest for progress there are certain words that must be labeled as evil.  This time the big bad word was “traditional”.  “Rules” of course are anathema.  The student really wants to work hard, get an education and be successful.  It doesn’t matter that his hero is a basketball star with groupies following him everywhere.  It is irrelevant that he figures he can make all the money he needs by selling drugs.  If we can just deal with his trauma all will be sweetness and light.

It started to dawn on me that he had a program to sell the school district.  Since I will be gone next year I will not be forced to deal with it.  Unfortunately I will still be a part of society that will be inundated with these walking tragedies.  So will you.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Opus 2017-104: New Terms: Trauma, part 3 of 4, Charts and Graphs

Be careful when someone starts showing you statistics with charts and graphs.  Benjamin Disraeli put it well:  “There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies, and statistics.”  That doesn’t mean that the statistics are wrong, just that they are presented in such a way as to prove the point of the speaker.

Sporleder evidently reached “national attention” levels because he had improved the performance of his school.  I had never heard of him but that doesn’t mean much.  He then showed how dramatically he had reduced the number of suspensions and expulsions in his school.  I do not question that he could document the numbers.  The charts were impressive.  The problem is that unlike the masses of educators in the auditorium, I was not born yesterday.  He lost me when he claimed it was done by simply being sensitive to students and letting them know he was listening.  The numbers looked dramatic but I have been at a school where we could have duplicated the same graphs.  We did it by redefining terms, changing forms and ignoring facts. 

We redefined terms by calling what used to be a suspension an expulsion.  When I started teaching “suspension” meant being sent home to the care of your parents for a few days.  It was supposed to get you thinking about the seriousness of your action and force your parents to acknowledge that all was not roses and Student of the Month.  “Expulsion” used to mean that you were never to darken the doorways of our district again.  Now it means what suspension used to mean and it is very rare for someone to be totally kicked out of the district.  Sent-home suspensions have been replaced by “ISS” which is an acronym for “In School Suspension”.  Since they are still on campus we not only don’t count them as being suspended we get the money for their bodies, too.  It is a win/win for everyone except the student.

We used another way a few years ago.  We “ran out” of referral forms.  Those are the legal forms that must be filed and tabulated.  They are the same across the district.  We were told to use a locally prepared detention form instead.  We were told they were the same as referrals and for us in class, that was true.  For the school and district it made us shine because detention forms were not required to be tabulated and reported.  We were looking good.  Another approach is requiring a student to be 30 minutes late to class before it becomes a truancy.  It did not take students long to realize that they could be 25 minutes late and no one would care.

Then we ignore facts.  I have one student that I usually see every period, except the period he is supposed to be in my class.  He is failing every class and a known trouble maker.  As a penalty he has been made a teacher’s aid for the counselor.  That means he has access to information he should never see and actually can wander around the campus with impunity.  I also have classes where half the class is tardy on a regular basis and I keep hearing how we don’t have a problem with tardy students.  If you are on a ship at dock and stand on the seaward side you can claim there is no land in sight.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

To be concluded...

homo unius libri

Monday, April 3, 2017

Opus 2017-103: New Terms: Trauma, part 2 of 4, Evidence Based

Several times a year we have a gathering of all district employees to prepare us to serve our students better.  This session was about “serving the whole child”.  Education is trying to replace the family, church and any other traditional source of stability in the culture.  Jim Sporleder was our keynote speaker this time and led us another step down the yellow brick road.

He started off with race and class warfare.  He made statements that could only be interpreted to mean that minorities and poor people are helpless victims and too limited to deal with life on their own.  He then preceded to pontificate about “evidence based research” that supported everything he had to say.  The research has been done.  It is conclusive.  All we need to do now is fall into step and make “Trauma” our key operative.  Does Al Gore and his claim that the science of global warming is settled come to mind? 

“Evidence based research” is a new buzzword that I began hearing at faculty meetings a few years ago.  It sounds powerful because all research should be based on evidence, right?  As someone once said, or should have, “There’s evidence, and then there is Evidence.”  When you hear about “evidence based research” it is not based on the scientific method.  It is based on the Main Stream Media method.  You decide where you want to go.  Find some people to interview that will reinforce your position.  Interview them with carefully chosen questions.   Edit the results and present the profound insights it has given you.  It is bogus.  It is based on anecdotes by people who have an agenda or are in so much pain that they cannot think straight.  It is not based on double blind experiments testing a hypothesis.

What was interesting was that when he began to deal with this awesome research, it all seemed to have been done on affluent white children.  What happened to our mantra about people of color and economically depressed populations?  He then proceeded to show us charts and graphs that were supposed to convince us that he had the answer to all our problems in education and society.

Welcome to the world of modern educational research.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-102: New Terms: Trauma, part 1 of 4, The Guru Arrives

We had a district wide training session for teachers.  Our speaker was Jim Sporleder and he seems to be the latest guru of education, at least in our district.  His contribution to our jargon of education is “trauma”.  His thesis is that every child we deal with is a victim of trauma and the only way we can reach them and teach them is to be warm, accepting, listening and positive.  He stressed that it is not just obvious victims of trauma but every child.  The reason that this is a new term is because it is now defined as applying to everyone.  If you are not aware that you suffer from trauma it is probably buried deep in your subconscious and you are hiding it to shield yourself from the pain.  Suddenly every teacher is going to become a psychotherapist. 

Once again we have another “One size fits all” miracle.  What makes it almost providential is that you have your public schools, guided by ex-school-teacher consultants, to lead you to the promised land.

Sporleder is part of an organization called Resilience Trumps Aces.  They have a spiffy website that explains it all.  Amazing as it may seem they expect to be paid for this.  I know you thought they were doing it because they care about the kids but it seems they have expenses.  It is clear when you scroll to the bottom and see icons of all the credit cards they accept.

Old educators never die and, unlike old soldiers, they never fade away.  They become consultants who after years of working in a system that is a disaster become the ones with the answers to fix it.

Why do I feel there is nothing new here?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Opus 2017-101: Getting on with the Health Care Conversation

We need to continue the conversation on health care.  I would prefer that the federal government get out of it totally but, since that isn’t going to happen, I am sure I can come up with other ideas.

How would health care be different if regular office visits were removed from the insurance coverage.  Sometimes this is called catastrophic coverage.  It is the kind of coverage that young people preferred and which they were willing to pay.  I would recommend it for everyone.

Some would say that it would cost more because regular check ups are a way of avoiding bigger problems.  People would not go if they had to pay.  That is possible but it leaves the decision up to them instead of forcing everyone into one size fits all plans.

We would also need to demand a serious co-pay for the Emergency room.  Too any people use it as their GP.  We could refund any charges if the problem turns out to be a genuine emergency.  Of course the issue then is defining genuine emergency.  It might be set at the level of being admitted to the hospital.  I remember one time I went because I thought I was going blind.  I never saw a doctor.  The triage nurse took one look at me and said, “Pink eye.”  What I thought was an emergency, and it was after hours so I had an excuse, should have cost me the going rate for an office visit and a few bucks for a generic prescription.  It should not have socked my insurance $800.

So there are a couple of ideas.  I know there are a lot more out there.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-100: Headlines: Red Herrings from the Right or Left?

Have you seen the headlines about Flynn wanting immunity in order to testify?  If you read beyond the headlines it is a bit more complex than that but it seems he is willing to tell what he knows as long as it doesn’t  become the typical feeding frenzy that the media loves.  Than I asked myself, “Is this Trump playing the media again?”  I am not the only one asking that question.

Does the Rachel Maddow exposé come to mind?  All the hoopla and publicity to tell us that Trump had paid his share of taxes.

The news certainly does get interesting.

homo unius libri

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Opus 2017-099: The Spirit of April 1

Is April Fools’ Day like Mothers’ Day or like a birthday?

Is it something to remind us of a daily reality or a one time celebration?

Mothers’ Day is a type of holiday that reminds us of what we should be celebrating all year long.  We should always be thoughtful of our mothers and fathers.  We should always be romantic to our significant other.  I guess we should always be glad to be Irish, Mexican or Black.  Those days are simply reminders.

Other days are to honor a specific idea or person.  Veterans’ Day, Washington’s Birthday, Guy Fawkes Day are all a simple reminders.  I don’t think about my birthday every day of the year.  Some women who are age averse might but most people don’t. 

Some days are both, depending on the people involved.  For the masses Easter is a time for new clothes, candy and egg hunts.  For Christians it is a day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus which is also to be celebrated every Sunday.  Halloween is either a celebration of evil or a chance to get candy. 

Where does April Fools’ Day fit in?  I am afraid I would put it with Mothers’ Day.  Fools are always with us.  They never get the attention they deserve.  Maybe it would be better to say they never get the recognition they deserve. 

(Proverbs 26:5 KJV)  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
My wish for you is that this would be a day in which you do not need to celebrate.

homo unius libri