Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

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

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Opus 2017-164: Historic Replay

One frustration I have in teaching is trying to get students to think past their latest Instagram and look at the patterns that history shows us and the possible dangers those patterns involve.  We have been examining the progress of the slavery debate.  There was a series of laws called Fugitive Slave Acts.  They had various applications but the point was that slaves were still property according to the Constitution and still belonged to their owners, even if they had escaped.

In 1850 you had a series of events that illustrated the growing tension.  In the context of the Fugitive Slave Act the state supreme court of Wisconsin declared the act unconstitutional.  The state legislature claimed the right of secession over the issue.  Vermont passed a law making it illegal to return runaway slaves.  Massachusetts passed a law giving a five year prison term to anyone obeying the federal law. 

Notice that 1850 was a long time before Obama or Trump.  This is ten years before the South tried to break away.  Politics has always been partisan.  It will always be partisan.

What does that have to do with today?  Does legalizing marijuana mean anything to you?  Have you heard of sanctuary cities and now sanctuary states?  How about reciprocity in concealed carry permits? 

Do any of these issues carry the conviction to bring us back to the point of general violence?  It would seem that the Progressives are pushing in that direction.  And they are getting away with it.  We don’t need to do much to bring back sanity.  All we really need to do is enforce the law.  Last I heard it was illegal to riot, burn and destroy.  We don’t need anything more than a few arrests, trials and jail time.  It is already illegal to slander and defame.  We don’t need to censor the press, just hold them accountable for betraying the country and telling lies about people they don’t like.

We can push for civil behavior now or reap the whirlwind later.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Opus 2017-163: Watching Out for the Cooties

When will the offerings of smart phones drive people to actual living contacts again?  How insipid does electronic media need to be to get people to turn back to books?  What does it take to want a face-to-face conversation?

I am not an extrovert.  I am not a people person.  I can get along and even enjoy human contact but a perfect day for me does not need anything social.  When my wife was out of town for an extended time once she asked me, “Do you miss me yet?”  I made the mistake of pointing out that she had only been gone a week so how could I be lonely?  Sometimes honesty is not the best policy.

That being said, I prefer being within punch-in-the-nose distance when I have a conversation.  I want to be able to see if they have their fingers crossed.  I want to read their body language.  Did you ever wonder if the talking heads on TV had a full suit on or just the coat?  The other day we wondered if funeral directors dressed the bottom half of the deceased. 

Someday I am hoping that the younger generation will realize that they are living on the edge of the desert and the real life is just a handshake away.

I am aware that I am offering this electronically.  No you can’t have my phone number or address.  You might have germs or cooties. 

homo unius libri

Monday, May 29, 2017

Opus 2017-162: Why Remember

As I was thinking about Memorial Day I asked myself, “Why is it important to remember those who have died to protect our freedom?”  My roving mind dredged up a phrase that I recognized from the Gettysburg Address.  Let me offer it up as a worthy way to focus on this day.

                           Lincoln's Address at Gettysburg

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.  We are met on a great battle field of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The phrase that came to mind?  “..that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain...”  When we don’t take seriously the battle we are still in, we surrender the victories and make the deaths of millions in vain.


homo unius libri

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Opus 2017-161: Woe Is Me

I was thinking about how many blessings I have.  It was a good process but as I thought it occurred to me that it has not been as smooth a sail as my current thinking makes it.  I am not sure what spurred the tangent.  Maybe the problems that I saw others experiencing came to mind.  Maybe I thought of some complaints I had heard.  Some people seem to have more than their share of pot holes.

It occurred to me that I have my own struggles I could share. 

Some people feel they were held down by childhood poverty.  I could tell you stories of meals centered around bread and gravy.  How about the Christmas that my brother and I got one toy to share?  Remember patches on the knees of your pants before they were a fashion statement?

Things did not get better overnight.  I once worked a minimum wage job with no health insurance and needed a doctor.  How about being a month behind in my rent with nothing but a can of soup on the shelf and no job?  Then there was the homeless period with a pregnant wife and ten dollars in my pocket. 

Children always raise the bar.  The hospital wanted $500 before they would release my wife and child and I had no money.  One of the doctors hounded us on the phone for a long time because we had not paid his bill.  Did I share that at the time of the birth we had no insurance?  Then there was the three year old on a gurney in a small town hospital sunk in a coma and no one knew why.  How about a child with a brain tumor or one who lost the use of her arms.

We could go on about cancers, but why bother.  You get the picture.

We have come through it all feeling very blessed, not put upon. 

Now if I could just find an honest newspaper.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Opus 2017-160: Headlines: Photo Editor Needed

When I checked The Drudge Report to see if the world had ended without anyone telling me I saw a picture of Hillary that gave me a moment of pause.  As I looked at it I thought it would link to the Onion or another site that does political spoofs.  I guess in a way it was because it told me it was the New York Magazine.  Although I might think of them as a low level humor magazine, they take themselves seriously.  So I clicked the link to check it out.

The reason I thought it was a spoof was because Hillary looked goofy in the picture, with apologies to Goofy.  At first glance she looked cross-eyed and spaced out.  I thought it was a Photo-Shop product by a disgruntled Republican.  Not so.  It was the real thing.

What really made it hard to take seriously was the title you clicked which said, “Hillary:  I Beat Bernie and Donald”.  Evidently she doesn’t read the newspapers that wish such delusion was true.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-159: Targets of Terrorism

In the battle against terrorism I often wonder how much the righteous are shielded.  I am a bit concerned with my train of thought here.  It doesn’t feel right but it keeps popping up.

I was reflecting on the young people, some call them children, who were massacred in Manchester, England recently.  I used a headline reflecting on the type of music when I wrote about it before.  I don’t have any real knowledge about the style or volume but I would be willing to bet that it was not Beethoven, Bach, Mozart or even Barry Manilow.  I am willing to assume that I would have not recognized it as “music” or been able to understand the words.  I am also willing to assume that it would not have been my children who died there.  I would assume it is not the children of any of my good friends who died there.

Here is where the value judgement comes in.  The music would have fit into the broad category I call trash.  The kind of people who would pay big money to hear it are not the kind of people I would trust to babysit my children.  The young people who attended have parents who don’t seem to care what their children do.  I am sure that there are exceptions.  There always are, but the generalization still holds true.

This does not make the murder any less evil.  It does not suggest a need to censor the kind of music people listen to.  It is not an attempt to send everyone to hell that disagrees with me.

It is a simple observation.  I think it is consistent with many of the terrorist attacks.  Not all by any means.  The killers have slain Copts in church.  They have targeted Christians.  If you believe in freedom and are not in their narrow world of non-infidels, you are a target.  But so far in the West the people dying are the ones who would have been at protests to “Islamophobia” and travel bans.

They will come for me and mine eventually if we don’t stop them, but it is comforting to know that living a quiet and respectful life, not to mention upright and righteous, may be one of the best protections you can find.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 26, 2017

Opus 2017-158: Digging into Deuteronomy: Immigrants

(Deuteronomy 1:16 NAS77)  "Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him.

Immigration is a big issue today in the United States.  It has been an issue from the beginning of our history.  As should be expected the Bible has something to say about it.  The legal structure of Israel made allowance for dealing with the “alien” (1616).  This is the first reference to non-Jews in Deuteronomy.  There are more.  I have noticed three issues. 

First is the concept of justice even for foreigners.
(Deuteronomy 24:14 NAS77)  "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns.

(Deuteronomy 24:17 NAS77)  "You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge.

(Deuteronomy 27:19 NAS77)  'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
I remind you that the Biblical idea of justice has nothing to do with the modern mantra involving “social justice”.  That is just a way of pushing a left wing agenda.  Real justice is based on unchanging truth and values.  Real justice does not change based on who is in power.  Write that down and underline it if you need to. 

The Bible says that even the alien is to receive justice.

A second principle for aliens is that they were also expected to celebrate the Sabbath.
(Deuteronomy 5:14 NAS77)  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.
The day of rest was a principle established by God for all of creation.  It did not just apply to an in crowd or ruling party

All of this being said, the third principle is that foreigners are not always held to the same standard of Jews.
(Deuteronomy 14:21 KJV)  Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
God did not expect the non-Jew to follow the same dietary laws as His people.  Food that would be rejected for a Hebrew was okay for a gentile.  This is a focused verse but it shows you the principle.

These are principles that should be taken into consideration as we think about the aliens in our midst.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Opus 2017-157: A Battle Plan for Defeating Terrorism

How do we fight terrorism?  That is an important question for those of us raised in liberty and reading about another cowardly atrocity in England.

Go to a concert.

Go to the mall.

Go to church.

Hang around in the park.

Keep living your life the way you would have lived it, because if you back off and live in fear the terrorists have won.

I am sure that owning guns and knowing how to use them would help.  You might want to reinforce your front door and avoid certain parts of town.  You need to up your awareness level.  But those are things you should be doing anyway, not because of the terrorists.

There are security measures that could be put in place to catch the evil butchers.  The problem is that the cure would be worse than the disease.  It would require actions which would make the Gestapo look like kindergarten crossing guards.  Sure we could lock up the murders but in the process we would also be confining a lot of totally innocent people.  We would lose our freedom of movement and association.  The cost would not be worth the cure.

That is what they want.  They don’t need to kill anyone.  All they need is for us to begin the process of becoming a police state.

Then, they win.

I confess this is easier for me than some.  I am old.  As a believing Christian I am ready to go.  Death has no fear and I have a confidence in God’s ability to guide history.  My children are launched.  I don’t have as much to lose as many of you. 

The principle is still solid.

Resist evil.  Keep living in liberty.  Eventually those willing to die will die.  The problem will solve itself and I will still have freedom of speech, the press, religion, petition, association and self defense.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Opus 2017-156: Connecting the Dots

Two days ago I wrote about the article in the New York Times about the CIA operatives being rolled up by the Chinese government.  Let’s be honest.  What that means is a group of people spying for the United States were caught, interrogated and probably executed.  That is serious business that is a part of the interaction of nations.  I do not fault the Chinese for protecting their interests.  I do fault the Times for their partisan hack reporting. 

I also want to connect some dots for you that I don’t believe the Times will get to.  I could be wrong but I am not going to pay them to find out.  I pointed out that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state while this was happening.  What did not occur to me until this morning that it was also the time when she was compromising the security of the United States by running an illegal server for her internet connections.  I think I have read that the Russians had hacked her.  Based on the timing of these deaths I think we can assume that the Chinese were also not asleep to the opportunity.

Does my timing work?  If it does, I would say it is pretty obvious that these agents of the American government were caught and punished because Hillary broke the law.  To me this is serious stuff, but how did Hillary put it, “What difference does all that make now?”

And they wet their pants because Trump does his job and talks to the Russian ambassador.  These people are insufferable. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Opus 2017-155: Headlines: Maybe They Didn’t Like the Music

Followers of the Religion of Peace handed out tracts at a concert in England yesterday.  Okay, so they actually set off a bomb.  My heart goes out to the victims and their families.  My rage goes out to the politicians who continue to play word games with the war on Western culture by Muslim terrorists.

In reading an article in the Daily Mail I came across this,
“The suicide bomber, who was known to authorities and is said to be British-born,...”
We will probably read about what a nice guy he was.  We will hear about how surprised everyone is who knew him.  They will be disappointed that he was not a Baptist protesting homosexual marriage.  Meanwhile the death toll keeps growing.

Keep in mind that the Koran gives devout Muslims permission to kill heretics and infidels.  Understand that anyone who does not agree with your interpretation, or the interpretation of your spiritual leaders, is a heretic and infidel.  That is why the terrorists actually kill more Muslims than non-Muslims.  It keeps the Muslim masses, who might protest the violence, quiet.  They are afraid it might be them next.

You wonder why I don’t want the government reading my e-mails and private documents?  Everything the government knows eventually become available to hackers and haters.  The government may never come for me but maybe ISIS will.

Will the West find a way to deal with the cancer or will we just convert.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 22, 2017

Opus 2017-154: Headlines: Funny Papers

The media keeps muddying the water and trying to make Trump look bad while protecting Hillary and Obama.  The link on the Drudge report told about China killing CIA agents.  Trump seems to have done it again.  When you go to the Article in the NY Times it seems to reinforce that information.  How many people stop reading here?

Oh, wait.  When you start reading the article, in the fine print under a very large picture you find that the agents disappeared between 2010 and 2012.  I read the article with my baloney meter plugged in.  The basic facts seemed correct.  There is no real reason to doubt them.  But the Times can’t help itself.  Who is the one politician mentioned in the article?  You guessed it, Donald Trump.  He was nowhere near the White House in 2010.

Guess who was.  I know, it is hard.  Go ahead and say it, Barak Obama.  And to add insult to injury guess who was Secretary of State during that period.  Got it first try, Hillary Clinton.  So we have a major breakdown in our intelligence gathering and the two people in charge are not mentioned but a man who was not even running for office at the time is highlighted in the article.

If it isn’t a deliberate conspiracy then it is an example of children running a newspaper.  Take your pick.

And don’t believe anything you read even when the facts are accurate.  You can lie by telling half the truth even better than making up leaks from anonymous sources.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Opus 2017-153: Headlines: They Keep Coming Out of the Closet

We tend to think that the Trump haters are all snowflakes dancing in the street and throwing rocks at police.  Not true.  Many Trump haters are wearing the masks of conservative pundits and bloggers.  It makes taking Caesar down easier if he thinks you are his friend.  Recently I read through three posts on Power Line starting with “I, Nut Job”.  While billing themselves as conservatives all three bloggers weigh in with attacks on Trump for comments that were leaked by someone “close” to Trump. 

What is my criticism?  I am not above criticizing the president.  I am sure he needs to be criticized.  But it seems a bit counter productive to hold a trial and pronounce a conviction based on an unnamed source “quoted” in the New York Times.  You need to get to the second post before you find the words, “That is, assuming that the anonymously sourced report on a memo by an unidentified author is true.”


And then Power Line proceeds to reinforce the hysteria of the left.  What is the big issue this time?  He says something uncomplimentary about the guy he just fired.

How do we start to fight the lies and anti-American rhetoric of the Democrats and their allies in the media?  Stop quoting them or believing that anything they say is true.  If they quote some anonymous source, ignore them.  If they quote someone by name, get the entire transcript from a neutral source and read it in context before you let your response see the light of day.  According to Wikipedia the idea of the Big Lie goes back to Adolf Hitler and Mein Kampf. 

Maybe we could make a litmus test for conservatives whether they become tools of the Democratic attack on America.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-152: On the Street: Filters

I couldn’t understand any of the words except for the often repeated refrain, “Take me the way I am.”  It reminded me of the process of selling a used car when we label it “as is”.

I am in a restaurant with the “elevator music” being played in the background.  Often I can tune it out but other times it keeps poking it’s obnoxious nose into my thought track.  This is one of those days.

Why would I want to take her the way she is?  Maybe she is the one perfect person in the world.  Maybe it is simply a request to stop being so critical.  Love tends to be blind.  We take people the way we think they are, not the way they are.  That is why marriage is a difficult road.  As you wake up your realize the trailer is not the movie, the cover is not the book.  In order to make a meaningful relationship work it is necessary for both sides to realize that you are a work in progress and how the final design emerges depends on whom is more important to you.

So if taking you the way you are means you like your steak rare and hate tomatoes, I can live with that.  If it means bad breath, body odor, rap music, foul language and voting Democrat, I pass.

I am afraid you will also have to take me the way I am, or not.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Opus 2017-151: It’s in the Blood

Christians have a lot of ideas that seem strange to modern minds.  One of the obsessions that we have is with blood.  It isn’t that we are violent or perverted.  We are not talking zombie makeup.  It is because of the teachings rooted in the history of Israel about God’s character and humanity’s needs.

One attribute of God is justice.  This is tied in with His immutability.  God is thus locked by His character into a consistency that does not allow for Him to violate His principles.  We may not always understand them but they are consistent.  The laws of science and nature are a result of this consistency.  Thus we have such ideas as cause and effect, action and reaction and a refusal to accept that life could come from nothing.  We might get a deeper understanding through research and experimentation but at the core are unchanging laws.

As a just God, there is a requirement that breaking His laws demands punishment.  When we sin we must be punished. 
(Romans 3:23 KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
So that means that all must be punished.  That is what a just God demands.  But a loving God provides a way out.
(Romans 6:23 KJV)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In order to be consistent, God won’t just forgive the sin.  The sin must be paid for.
(Hebrews 9:22 NAS77)  And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
So you end up in a paradox.  We sin.  Sin must be punished.  The punishment must be death.  Blood must be shed.
(Leviticus 17:11 KJV)  For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Thus blood becomes of vital importance to Christians.  Blood must be shed.  It can be ours or it can be the blood of the Perfect Lamb of God.  Is it the shedding of the blood or the sprinkling, application, that makes the difference?  That is for another day.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 19, 2017

Opus 2017-150: Thanks Thoughts: Infinite to Insignificance

I was meditating on the nature of God and his omnipotence.  It came to me again that the God who created the universe also knew me in totality.  That thought contains both warm fuzzies and abject terror.

Some might think such thinking is a bit arrogant.  Who am I to think that God even notices me?  I understand and agree with that response.  In the scheme of things I am of no significance.  Neither are you.  The awesome nature of God is that He is big enough to cover both ends of the spectrum.  In fact, it isn’t arrogance on my part to think He knows me.  It is an awareness of how eternal and infinite God is.  You see, if He were not big enough to know me, He would not really be God, at least the God of the Bible. 

We have so many things to be thankful for.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Opus 2017-149: New Terms: NIWS

I have been trying to find out news about what is happening in my country and the world.  One place I check is The Drudge Report, but since I realized I could hover over the link and see the source in the bottom corner of the page I have realized how little there is beyond The Democrat Talking Points Media.  I see hit piece after hit piece and they all come from the same five or six  sources.  I think if Drudge would eliminate the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Politico, Bloomberg and The Hill, there would be little left on the site.

I find that the Washington Times and Fox also tend to just echo the latest attack from the socialist agenda.

News should become NIWS meaning Nonsense, Innuendo, Wishful Thinking and Slander.

Does anyone know of a serious news site that isn’t a propaganda fount for the left?  And don’t give me an Old Faithful for the right either.

I guess I still believe in miracles.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Opus 2017-148: On the Street: Lap-snowflakes

Snowflakes are like dogs and I mean no disparagement to dogs when I say that.  Maybe I should say they are like little, happy lap dogs when they are out for a walk.

What stirred this was an observation on a street corner as I drove to work.  Some local resident was walking a little dog and was waiting for the light to change so they could cross the street.  The dog was all perky, vibrating with energy and wagging its tail.  It looked past the collar and leash which anchored it and showered adoration on the human at the other end of the leash.  It was happy to be out with its master.  It was so happy to be going that it didn’t care that it had few choices.

Thus the parallels with the snowflakes of today.  They are on a leash and don’t even know.  They are full of energy and look with adoration at their handlers.  Their handlers make them feel important and throw food their way.  An occasional pat on the head is also a bonus.  EBT cards for their daily wants, free clinics to get shots for their STD’s, a bus pass and legalized pot round out their day.  One big advantage is you don’t need to pick up after yourself.

What they don’t see is the other side of being a lap dog.  If you get to be a pest, a quick trip to the vet puts you out of your misery.  You can be locked in a cage and kicked off the couch.  You have no choice about where you go and when you go but since you don’t know any better it doesn’t bother you.

I am afraid I have seen too much of life and enjoyed too much liberty to want that kind of life.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Opus 2017-147: Ode to Old: Turning Pages

As I face retirement I am not preparing to die, I am preparing to live.  That has a double focus.

First, I am going into a new phase of life.  I am not closing the book, I am going to the next chapter.  I will be exploring a new part of the country, experimenting with new restaurants and developing a schedule free of alarm clocks.  I look forward to it.

Second, I am looking at eternity not a few more years.  I realize there is no point in me buying expensive books any more.  Paper back or e-books will do.  I am not going to take them with me and if my kids are not interesting in the title it only needs to last as long as I do.  What is in those books will be preparing me for the ages.  Eternity is a long time.  I imagine I will have a universe to explore and an infinite God to relate to.  What I will be reading and studying now are the children’s books of an eternal education.

Sounds good to me.  Paul put the conflict like this,
(Philippians 1:23-4 KJV)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
It is a win/win.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 15, 2017

Opus 2017-146: Happy Janitors’ Day

“Hmmm, this is not light roast.” 

We are creatures of habit and often stop paying attention.  We expect the stop sign to remain at the intersection.  We avoid the intersections with cameras and don’t need to think about it.  I fill my coffee cup from the second-from-the-right urn.  That is where the light roast is supposed to be.

Not this morning.  Someone messed up.  Did it ruin my day?  No, but it sure woke me up quicker than the coffee is supposed to work.  It made me wonder how much I take for granted in my daily existence. 

What people do we take for granted.  Have you ever asked yourself who cleans your workplace?  Maybe it is you.  If you are at a place that expects you to bus your table do you take your trash to the bin or leave it for someone else to clean up?  Do you pick up your own socks? 

We just went through Mothers’ Day.  Mothers across the nation heard from sons that had not thought about them for 364 days.  I guess that is worth something.  It would be nice if we would get a little more in the habit of thanking people for what they do.  At our school we have a great group of support staff.  Often they are overlooked as we talk about children and teachers but where would we be without the clerks and custodians. 

Maybe today could be Janitors’ Day.  Or maybe every Monday.  Tuesday could be Clerks’ Day.  On Wednesday you could have a kind word for the guy putting out peaches at the grocery store.  Do you have a place you eat or shop where the people seem extra nice?  I don’t think we need a Bloggers’ Day.  We feed our egos enough with the arrogance of posting.

Make someone’s day.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Opus 2017-145: One the Street: Judge a Book by It’s Index

At times I wonder what people’s stories are.  I look at an attractive, outgoing woman working a flunky job at a restaurant and wonder, “Why is she doing this?”  I look at a short guy walking with difficulty and wonder what has happened in his life to steal his mobility?  I am guessing that these samples of humanity once had dreams.  I am guessing that at one time they were full of hope for the future and the picture in their mind did not look anything like the one they are living.

I wonder if they are still actively writing chapters in their life book or whether they have given up and just go through their day.  You often can’t tell from the little glimpse you get.  The clerk in the store might be a manager spending some time in the trenches and experimenting with a new approach to retail.  The guy on the bicycle may have just begun a new exercise program in the battle to overcome diabetes.  The guy in the old car might be saving to buy a new home.

As I approach retirement I find it too easy to coast into the index of life and spend all my time looking at what has already happened.  God keeps reminding me that if He was done with me then He would not have had that crazy driver turn left instead of right.  I need to remind myself that there are millions of books I have not read.  There are dance steps to learn.  There are people to help and trees to plant. 

And of course there are blogs for posting.

Have a glorious weekend and keep writing that story of your life.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 12, 2017

Opus 2017-144: Middle Class Morality: Concern for the Poor

One of the political mantras that is used to manipulate the masses is “concern for the poor”.  Most of what we hear is nothing but contempt and deceit.  If the left cared about the poor they would teach them self respect, independence and force them to work their way out of poverty.  Instead they talk about self-esteem, rights, entitlements and perpetual dependence.

The real concern for the poor comes from the Bible and has always been a part of Christian culture.  Think about the institutions we think are normal but have been carved out of the centuries by applying Christian ideas.

Hospitals are a Christian concept.  Consider all the hospitals in town that are affiliated with a Christian group.  I am not sure of my history on this but I think the idea of a hospital was generated by medieval monks as they tried to care for lepers and other poor sick people.  The poor had a doctor come to their home and servants to care for them.  The poor had the monks.  Today we think it is normal.

We have all heard of Sunday Schools.  The original concept came from the Christians of England concerned about all the children working six days a week.  The only day they had free was Sunday so they started teaching them to read on that day.  The idea of universal education was the result of the Protestant emphasis that the Bible was the authority and that each individual needed to be able to read it. 

Rejection of Slavery has its roots in Christianity.  While it is true that the Bible does not forbid slavery it tells masters to treat their slaves like brothers.  It is hard to maintain the institution when it is family.  William Wilberforce was motivated by his Christian faith.  Leaders of the underground railroad tended to be people of faith.  These are not concepts that were generated by the pagan or Muslim world.

Nobles Oblige is a concept that needs to be revived.  It is a Christian concept that says those who are blessed are expected to use their blessings for those less fortunate.  The world has always had elites and always will have elites.  They are the blessed who have power, wealth and influence.  They run things.  The problems we are having today is a surfeit of narcissistic elites and a lack of servant elites. 
(Proverbs 31:5 KJV)  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
The idea of being created equal is Biblical, not philosophical.  We need to get back to our roots.

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Opus 2017-143: Red Lines to the Right of Me,...

I expect my last sixteen days of teaching in middle school to be peaceful and full of learning.  Why?  Because 20 minutes before the end of school yesterday one of our fearless leaders came on the intercom, interrupted a student giving an oral report and trying to explain the dialogues of Socrates to other sixth graders, and told us that she was drawing another line in the sand and they had better not cross it. 

Okay, she didn’t put it that way.  What she said was that some of them have been here three years and they know the rules and expectations.  From this point on there will be no tolerance.  If they did not behave, all end-of-the-year activities would be cancelled.  I am not sure what happened to bring this red line but I expect the results will be similar to what happened with Obama in Syria.

Or the kids could suddenly become well behaved and seekers of wisdom.

I will get back to you on that.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Opus 2017-142: Headlines: Awesome Unity

Did you hear about the election results of Paris, 90% for one candidate.  That is an awesome display of unity or a clear example of stupid.  Personally I think it sounds a lot like the managed elections of the soviet empire.  Remember those days when you were required to vote and there was only one candidate and no write-in line?  It sounds like they are still with us.

We see similar patterns in the United States in large cities controlled by the Democrat machine.  I remember one of the elections in pre-statehood Missouri where there were around 3,000 registered voters and 6,000 votes were cast for the pro-slavery Democrats.  It must have been full of issues that concerned the local zombies.

Since it was France and its capital, I am willing to believe there might be that much group think but not anywhere else in the “free” world.  Next time you hear someone complaining about the partisan politics we have and how we are a divided country remember that is a mark of freedom.  It is also a sign that we are not French.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Opus 2017-141: Keeping Info Private

In many of my classes I don’t worry about students cheating on quizzes.  None of them know enough to copy from.  I had a different experience in a more advanced class.  I told a student to turn around and stop trying to copy the work of the guy behind him.  The one with the answers told me that I didn’t need to worry.  He could not copy the answers because they were written in cursive.

Who would have thought.  Maybe the way to encrypt documents has been right in front of us all the time.

Cursive, the secret language.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 8, 2017

Opus 2017-140: Smarter but Slower

I am constantly amazed at how the spell check on my computer works, or doesn’t work.  I have certain words that I use frequently and have a brain block against.  Here is how I spelled one of them:


The spell checker was clever enough to tell me it was spelled wrong.  That worked, but when I clicked for a correction it told me, “No suggestions”.

Really?  The correct spelling is “crucifixion”.  Surely that isn’t such a big stretch. 

Keep in mind that computers are not smart.  They are fast and generally have good memories but that is it.  AI will never replace thinking, at least for Republicans.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Opus 2017-139: Headlines: French Fried Freedom

The Drudge Report takes us to an ominous article in The Independent.  It brings up the specter of censorship by the government and points out a significant difference between European values and America. 

France is having an election.  A group of hackers have been posting information about the “moderate” (read elite choice) candidate,  Emmanuel Marcon.  We have experienced the same thing in our elections.  If it isn’t hackers it is scurrilous advertisements the night before the election.  When our candidate is the target we are full of righteous indignation and demand that something be done about it.  When the other guy gets hit we tend to shrug and say, “That’s politics”.

France is doing something about it.  They are threatening to put journalists in jail if they publicize the content of the e-mails.  I will confess that there have been times when I would have welcomed that consquence.

We need to understand.  Either we have a free press or we don’t.  We do not need our government mimicking the French and passing laws on what the main stream media can publish and what they can’t.  The reason is that you can’t trust anyone to draw such lines.  It reminds me of the high moral ground that my students tend to take on honesty.  They say, “I never lie.......unless it is necessary.”  Would the French election commission have been so fast to drop the hammer if the expose were about Merine Le Pen?  Could we trust the Obama administration to draw the line without political calculation?

We need to deal with our press by not buying their publications, paying their fees or supporting their advertisers.  We do not need to go the European route of benevolent despotism. 

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-138: Confusion Is Normal

Have you read the latest on quantum physics?  No?  Neither have I.  I am not even sure that I know what quantum physics is.  I am not sure that the scientists and mathematicians who are researching and debating it know what it is.  That does not keep them from knowing it exists and seeking to understand it.

What I do understand if displacement.  What is displacement?  It means that I don’t fill the bathtub up to the rim before I get in.  Do you understand Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics?  You do but you may not know that you know.  It means that the harder you swing the bat the further the baseball goes, assuming you make solid contact.

You do not need to know all the jargon and nuances of physics to know enough to live in safety and productivity. 

Theology is the same way.  There is jargon and nuance that escapes most of us.  Scholars debate with big Greek and Latin phrases.  They can’t seem to come to any agreement.  I still can say without any hesitation that adultery is wrong.  False witness is wrong.  Forgiveness and patience are right.  Jesus conquered death.  We can know enough to live in safety and productivity, for eternity.

So don’t hide behind the excuse that the theologians can’t agree.  Don’t ignore simple truth because you don’t want to get into a long discussion of things that might interest but won’t change the way you behave today.

Physics and theology are both based on truth even if you don’t understand it all.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Opus 2017-137: The Gifts of Parenthood

One of the great assets of my life is a son who is a geek.  I am unaware of how many headaches he has prevented but I am aware it is happening.  Why?  Because I listen to the horror stories of other people.  There are a lot of things in my skill set.  I can install software and do some low level trouble shooting.  I know what not to do in many cases.  There is much more I might figure out but the learning curve does not justify the investment of time.

That is what geeks are for. 

And it is often what children are for.  They drag me kicking and screaming into the world of technology.  Some of their cool stuff I reject.  Some I work into my world.  Not only did they teach me new levels of love but they taught me to check my e-mail on my phone.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 5, 2017

Opus 2017-136: On the Street: Empty Heads and Warm Hearts

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow educator recently.  We were talking about many things and I began hearing snowflakes falling.  At one point as I was making a point I noticed the same look in the eyes that I get in class.  I stopped and asked, “Do you know who George Soros is?”  The response was a blank stare.

Do you wonder why our students come out so ignorant and open to the nonsense of global warming, tax the rich, down with coal and transgender rights?  Ask yourself, “Can someone who does not know how to tie their shoes teach a child to tie their shoes?”

If you don’t know the answer to that question or you answer, “Yes”, congratulations.  You have passed the first test in being screened to teach in our public schools.

Teachers are caring, concerned, motivated and too often ignorant.  I guess that is what makes them such loyal Democrats.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-135: Generic Brands Come to Education

I feel like cussing and swearing, big time.  As I walked around checking work I kept catching kids working on a packet of papers that included English and math.  I finally got one in my hands to examine and asked them about it.  They are flunking my class as well as others.  Someone with power has told them that if they do this packet they will be able to participate in all the promotion activities.  ???????

Why am I trying to teach them when everything I do is undermined by the self-esteem police? Why do I keep pushing when the one’s in charge are into conflict avoidance?  Why do I keep caring? 

They are doing this packet.  They are working very hard.  It tells me that if there was a real reason for them to work, they would.  Since they are continually handed alternatives and easy outs, why should they?  I am not sure if that makes them smart or not but they certainly know how to get the most bang for their buck.  Why would you pay for the big name medication when you can get the generic for free?

As I approach retirement I get happier and happier.  The challenge to me is to keep giving it my best up to the last day.  I don’t measure myself by what everyone else is doing but by the expectations of God.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Opus 2017-134: Headlines: Who Needs the Times When We Have Will

Every morning I check the weather on my phone and scroll down the headlines they have picked for me.  Usually all I do is scroll because I realize that many of the “headlines” are really paid ads from different websites.  I also ignore Trump Derangement Syndrome pieces that appear regularly in the NY Times, Washington Post, Politico and so forth.  I got sucked in this morning by National Review and George Will.

Do we really need George Will jumping on the anti-Trump bandwagon?  I realize he didn’t want him elected.  I was not excited about the prospect either but I am not putting on a snowflake costume and marching in the streets chanting “not my president”.  That is essentially what George will did in his piece.

This is one reason I moved George Will from the conservative column to the moderate column years ago.  He still has the label but doesn’t have the conviction.  To be honest I didn’t read much past the first paragraph or two.  It doesn’t take long to get the drift.  He quotes Trump in the first paragraph as saying,

“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”

Then he mocks the grammar and diction.

The statement is essentially correct.  I have been teaching history for years.  30 years ago I took a test on historical knowledge and scored in the 90th percentile.  That means I knew more than 90% of the people taking the test, people who wanted to be history teachers.  In spite of that I had never heard of Frederick Douglass.  I have since read his autobiography and find him an impressive American.  I recommend his Narrative of the Life of a Slave.

I still had not heard of him and yet you find him in every book today.  So yes, he is being recognized more and more.  Maybe George Will is one of those who knew about Douglass.  Maybe his arrogance is better than his memory.  Either way we need to find genuine reasons to criticize the president, not take cheap pot shots that put us on board with the Democrat Talking Points Media.  I wonder if Will wrote a similar article about Obama claiming to have visited all 57 states.

He is my president.  He became my choice when Cruz bowed out.  He will not be perfect and will make mistakes.  At the same time I ask you who would have been nominated for the Supreme Court if Hillary had won. 

I hope that puts it in perspective.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Opus 2017-133: Pandora Was Once a Box

One of the things our principal does on a regular basis is copy and paste a pre-cooked idea for us to use.  At least I think that is what it is about.  It is part of the Common Core Project Based Learning.  The title of the most recent caught my attention because it made me think about the difference between modern education and education in the classic sense.

The headline had to do with Pandora Radio.  This is one of those applications on-line that allows you to find music.  The kids already know about it and probably used it when it was the latest cool thing.  It is now almost 20 years old so qualifies as geriatric.  There is no learning going on, only trying to find something in the common culture that will grab the students interest, sound like fun and trick them into learning.  Modern education follows that track.

Classical education says that there is wisdom to be learned from the ancients.  You might even learn from your parents.  It looks to the lessons already mined and tries to get students to wrestle with the vast sea of knowledge available that has been tried, tested and applied for centuries.  After you get the foundation and background you are able to go out and change your world.

Common Core wants you to fit into the culture and have fun.  Classic education wants you to challenge the culture and have a purpose.  If your background in the Greek myths is not up to date you might need to be told that Pandora’s box was the source of all the evil in the world.  Good analogy, educators.

Give me the classics.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Opus 2017-132: Thermostat Philosophy

I always need to clarify what “turn up” means.  My wife is frequently requesting that I “turn up” the air conditioning.  Of course she also asks me to “turn up” the heat.  The first question is does she want me to turn up the temperature or the power?  It makes a difference.

The second question is, why is she asking me to do it?  Get the picture.  When she calls out for me to change the temperature, I am not standing by the thermostat meditating on world peace.  I am usually across the room deep in philosophical enquiry or playing a computer game. 

So who is lazy?  Is it the one who does not like to get out of his chair and walk across the room to do something about a problem that doesn’t exist in my world?  Is it the person who is too important to walk down the stairs and take care of a personal concern?  It is both?  It is neither?

Is it showing love to get up and make your spouse comfortable?  Then is it showing love to expect someone else to do for you what you could do for yourself?

Philosophical concerns are a burden on my soul.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 1, 2017

Opus 2017-131: Healthy Insights: Metabolism, part 5 of 5, The Divine Liver

I am a creationist, not an evolutionist.  I believe that God created my liver.  I don’t believe that it evolved from an amoeba.  What is the difference?  God knew that someday we would be faced with all kinds of pollution in our food.  He designed our liver to deal with it.  An evolutionist believes that the liver evolved based on conditions it encountered.  Thus the liver needs to be protected by our infinite wisdom and the wisdom of diet gurus. 

Does that mean I reject science?  Absolutely not.  Good research using the scientific method is possible because there is a God of the Universe who is not fickle and capricious.  He said that water boils at 212̊ F.  That is good enough for kindergarten scientists.  Anyone who has really considered the laws of nature realizes that you need to add, “at sea level with pure water”.  There may be other qualifications.  In the universe of the evolutionist those “laws” could change at any time.  Remember, in evolution it is all up to chance.

As an example of dietary guru science let he give you a quote from another book.
“Only in the past twenty years or so has it been found that saccharine is unlikely to have any negative effects in humans even at the highest concentrations – but we still can’t shake the feeling that it just isn’t good for you.  Probably safe, but again, we’ll take a pass.” , p. 145
Notice the scientific method used here.  They “can’t shake the feeling that it just isn’t good for you”. 

I am willing to accept God’s “because I said so” to the diet guru’s “can’t shake the feeling” any day.  I have the same response to the global warming Chicken Little’s. 

Masley, Steven and Bowden, Jonny.  Smart Fat.  New York:  Harper One, 2016.

homo unius libri