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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, July 23, 2017

Opus 2017-231: Aristotle on American Culture

I can’t remember where I was reading when I came across some of Aristotle’s comments on tyranny but I was able to locate them in his work, “Politics”.  This spurred me to find it at Project Gutenberg, download it and read the entire book.  The quotes are from that source, Book 5, Chapter 11, Kindle location 2816-2827.

Aristotle looks forward to the day that the NSA will be recording everything we do in life. 
“...for they all contribute to support slavery; and to endeavour to know what every one who is under their power does and says; and for this purpose to employ spies:...there is the less chance of its being concealed;...”
Obviously they did not have the electronic intrusions we have today but the intent is clear. 

Another goal is the politics of class warfare, race baiting and division.
“...to endeavour that the whole community should mutually accuse and come to blows with each other, friend with friend, the commons with the nobles, and the rich with each other.”
We saw this practiced by President Obama who constantly made race an issue and stirred up racial hatred every chance he got.  We see it in the Progressives (Democrats) who are always talking about the rich paying their fair share and ignoring that the poor don’t pay any share.  The goal is jealousy and division.

It is important to keep people living hand to mouth. 
“It is also advantageous for a tyranny that all those who are under it should be oppressed with poverty, that they may not be able to compose a guard; and that, being employed in procuring their daily bread, they may have no leisure to conspire against their tyrants. The Pyramids of Egypt are a proof of this,...”
People who are so exhausted from working long hours don’t have time to go to demonstrations.  One of the common characteristics of the snowflakes in the street is that they don’t seem to have real jobs.  They have plenty of time to protest.

Then you need high taxes.
“It is necessary also to multiply taxes, as at Syracuse; where Dionysius in the space of five years collected all the private property of his subjects into his own coffers.”
The Progressives want the government to own everything.  They want you on their trains, at their hospitals and in their housing.  It is easier to control you that way.  Tyranny is a word that we need to understand and apply.  It is alive and well in American politics.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Opus 2017-230: Headlines: Finally a Tax I Can Like

I have to laugh.  Once again we see a new tax created by a Democrat.  The problem is that it makes people who support the Democrats actually pay the tax.  The Washington Times tells us that Oregon now has an excise tax on bicycles costing over $200.  The cyclists are indignant.  Why should they pay their fair share?  And I think it is a tax on the wealthy.  I have not purchased a bike since my children were small so I have no idea what it takes to buy a decent bike today, but like all taxes on the “wealthy” it eventually hits everyone.

What is next?  I am sure that there will soon be a way in which they tax the air we breathe, but only if you are rich.  Maybe we can put a sales tax on any meat above a certain standard.  How about sales tax on all groceries that are not generic brands.  Some states are already trying to tax property owners on the rain that falls on their land. 

It is probably the kind of high level thinking that our schools are pushing.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 21, 2017

Opus 2017-229: Scary Products

I marvel at the limited cultural background that people have.  I was trying to ignore the TV in the room when I heard them talking about eugenics, or at least that is what I thought I heard.  It got my attention and I realized it was a commercial. What puzzled me was the joy of the actors as they discussed killing people.  I guess I didn’t catch what they were talking about until they showed the bottle label at the end.

If you are not familiar with the term it was an early movement sponsored by Progressives like Margaret Sanger and Woodrow Wilson.  I guess you could define it as “selective breeding to improve the human species”.  It was a blatant attempt to get rid of inferior human beings.  It was also racist because minorities were considered inferior and thus subject to extermination.  It was part of the philosophy behind Planned Parenthood.  It was the thinking behind Hitler seeking to establish the Master Race.

Not a pretty picture.

At the end of the commercial they showed the product and at that point I realized that it wasn’t eugenics, the label said Nugenix.  It is some kind of product that is supposed to enhance something called “free testosterone”.  In other words it is a snake oil for flabby, middle aged men.  I used to be a flabby, middle aged man.  Now I am a flabby, old man.

I am still not interested, but I do wish that the people who name products would pay attention in school so they would not come up with brands that sound evil.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Opus 2017-228: Digging into Deuteronomy: Later May Not Come

(Deuteronomy 1:45 KJV)  And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.

Have you ever met someone who says that they plan to live life fast and loose and on their death bed they will repent.  They assume this will give them the best of both worlds.  They assume they will have time to take that step.  They assume God will always be there ready to respond to their prayer.

They assume wrong.  This verse makes it clear that you are not smarter than God.  This is not the only place I have found this but is another example of God not listening when people call on Him.

It sounds like the people referred to are sincere.  At least they are good at shedding tears.  But notice that it says God will not listen.  God is not your grandmother.  He is not your kindergarten teacher.  He is not your social worker and He does not play games. 

So don’t assume He is standing right behind that tree over there hoping to hear you say the right words.  He has a universe to run.  He may be saving the life of a future Mozart when you want to have your tizzy fit.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-227: Firsts: Thumps in the Night

My wife heard a noise last night.

I realize this is nothing new in our marriage and it isn’t even the first noise she has heard in Texas.  It was the first time she woke me up in the middle of a Texas night to search the house.  I had checked the doors before I went to bed.  I assumed it was just getting used to the sounds of a different house.  But I got my baseball bat and began to “clear the house”.

It is an interesting experience, and a good one to practice.  In our old home I knew all the hiding places and hidden corners.  This was full of constant surprises.  One surprise was a door that I had not even thought of.  It was standing wide open.  That is less than optimal.  I didn’t think of it because I never use it and it had no reason to be open.  Later I remembered that a workman had been at the house and had brought his children who played hide and seek.  Evidently one of them hid outside.  No harm, no foul.

We finally figured out the noise she was hearing, yes, there was a real noise, came from the used drier I had wired the day before.  It was a combination of “wrinkle guard” and a warning buzzer that sounds like a little bell.  It was ringing once every few minutes to tell you the dryer still had clothes in it. 

I still had to go through the garage.  After I had her calmed down I decided to also check the windows.  We never open them but the workmen seem to find it a challenge. 

If I had really believed someone was there I would have dialed 911. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Opus 2017-226: On the Street: More Like on the Road, part 10 of 10

Finally we come to the end of the road.  We have left the hotel and are in the house.  All is not finished but there is enough for my wife to get by.  She is excited about road runners in front of our house and the turkey vulture that seems to roost on the chimney down the hill.  She is not excited about all the bugs that are coming through unsealed gaps.

I was up early enough to see where the sun rises.  At this time of year it is straight in front of the porch.  We overlook a few ridges and although today was clear I am expecting some great colors when there are a few clouds in the right locations.  There are many adventures ahead.

The greatest joy, though, is that I can now find a room where I cannot hear the TV. 

Bliss.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-225: Firsts: Wired

I am not known for my mechanical skills.  If you give me enough time, clear enough instructions and a large enough budget I can eventually get something done.  And of course necessity is always an encouragement.

We have been trying to get into our new home.  It is not finished.  The shower in one bathroom is tiled and plumbed but the soap dishes are in the shower that is not ready.  The rooms we are going to sleep in don’t have any window coverings.  We can work around that but there are other issues.  One of them was a show stopper for my wife.  We brought our washing machine from California but had to buy a used electric dryer.  The problem we ran into was that the dryer had a four prong plug and the wall had a three prong.  Electricity scares me.  200 scares me even more.  Our builder promised to take care of it but time is passing and we are moving regardless.  My wife is frantic so I Googled the issue.

On the internet it looks pretty simple.  I convinced myself that I would not electrocute anyone.  I know that circuit breakers are supposed to keep that from happening.  I bit the bullet, fetched my tool box and leaned over the appliance.

I think I was successful.  The drum rotates, I felt heat and I am still alive.

If I was not successful this blog may stop suddenly in the next few days.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 17, 2017

Opus 2017-224: What Others Want in a House

As I am trapped in the hotel room my wife is watching one of those “look at the houses other people are buying” programs.  It is impressive the wide range of properties that exist across the country and how much location fits into the listing price.  It is also impressive to note the different priorities and values that people have.  Some are looking for what will work best for the family.  It is shocking how many are totally into self gratification.

The house that got my attention was listed at $750,000.  I had seen others like it for $250,000.  Location, location, location.  After I got over gagging at the price I started listening as they evaluated the house.

The prospective buyers found a lot of negatives.  Two stood out to me.  It didn’t have a room for her shoes.  It didn’t have a garage for his exotic cars.

The big plus was that it had a game room for him.  What mystified me was that the “game room” was a regular room with a pool table in the center.

It is no wonder that the Muslims of the world think we are a decadent society.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Opus 2017-223: Teachers of the Past

How times change.  I have just retired from being a teacher.  We hear all kinds of praise for teachers and glorify what they do.  It has not always been that way.  I came across this comment about teachers in 17th century America.
“In all colonial communities the schoolteacher stood low in the social scale, and usually with good reason.  He was often a drunkard, or ne’er-do-well, and his pay was so small that he had to live in a state of perpetual shabbiness.”  p. 54
I am glad to see that child molester and porn star are not on the list.

In that day most education was done by the parents.  Only in rare cases was a teacher employed.  If a child could learn basic math and how to read, the rest was pretty much up to him.  Keep in mind that Abraham Lincoln didn’t have more than a half a year of formal education.  In reality, it is much the same.  People who become educated do so because they have applied themselves, not because someone taught them.

I am still learning and using the modern technology that seems to be dumbing down the next generation.  It all depends on how you use it.

Woodward, William E.  The Way Our People Lived.  New York:  Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1964.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Opus 2017-222: Headlines: The White House Releases Confidential Information. Or Did It?

More angst about nothing.  The headline on the Washington Times site read like an expose.  How could the White House release confidential information of people who commented on their plan to reform the voting system?  As you read you get the idea that this is some kind of betrayal or incompetence. 

As usual you need to keep reading to get the rest of the story.  Of course the Washington Post is quoted as claiming the White House didn’t warn people or ask for permission.  WaPo is at the fake news game again and the Washington Times is playing along.  It is not until the end of the piece that you find the little detail that the website that received all the information explained that all information given might be released to the public.

Lots of smoke.  Still no fire.  Lets get on to getting the work done instead of playing “gotcha”.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-221: Digging into Deuteronomy: Age of Accountability

(Deuteronomy 1:39 KJV)  Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

There are a number of questions that sincere believers have.  One involves people who die without hearing the gospel.  Another, which this verse deals with, is “At what age does a person become responsible for their moral choices”.  Or to put it another way, what is the “age of accountability?”

In the context we see that the nation of Israel, except for Caleb and Joshua, have refused to trust the Lord to lead them into the Promised Land.  As a result God has withdrawn the promise from that generation and said that none of them would live to see it.  In His mercy and grace God explained that you don’t held the children responsible for the actions of the parents.  He excludes the children from the curse.

The key is the ability to know the difference between good and evil.  What is that age?  It would be different for everyone.  Children mature at different speeds.  I think that a lot of children are aware before we want to admit but God knows when we question.  I think this also would apply to those who are mentally deficient.  Again, God will know.

If you are reading this I would assume you are old enough to know good from evil.  God waits for you to decide whether the promise or the curse applies to you.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 14, 2017

Opus 2017-220: On the Street: Young Love

I am watching a young couple at breakfast.  They came in every day about this time.  As I watched them they are both staring into....their cell phones.  I shook my head in wonder and then it occured to me, they were happy this way. 

It is easy for us to judge the techie generation.  A few minutes later they were talking.  It seems to be working for them.  We used to see a steady stream of cartoons with the husband hiding behind a newspaper while his wife chattered away.  It was probably a caricature based on experience just as much as the jokes about people sitting next to each other texting instead of talking.  Both were real but not the whole picture.

So relax and let them have their smart phones.  At least they are not writing graffiti on your garage while they are doing it.  Hacking into your checking account maybe, but at least your walls are clean.

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Opus 2017-219: A Building Block of Civilization

One of the fantasies of our modern age is “back to nature”.  We have people who think that life would be so much better if we were all raising our own food, making our own clothes and free from the demands of modern society.  Although I salute people who want to simplify life and minimize their dependence on industrial society, it is a dream that would only mean misery and suffering to most people who try it.

Picture what it would be like for a family to be totally isolated.  Think about growing your own food.  You would make everything yourself and do everything yourself.  That means that unless you are a miner, ore processor and blacksmith you would not be able to have any tools that were not made with local wood and stone you gathered and chipped yourself.  You would need to learn how to tame and train animals to pull the wood plow you made yourself or have a lot of children to hook up to the self made harness.  And of course, where would you get your seed?  And have you ever seen a vegetable garden with no pesticides?  And all of these specialties would need to proceed at the same time. 

One of the greatest boons for living in comfort and plenty is the step our ancestors made with a division of labor.  Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations put it this way,
“The greatest improvements in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment, with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.”  (Kindle Highlight Location, 108-10)
He gives an illustration with a simple tool called a pin.  You know, the straight pins that the tailor used to hem your pants.  He says that one person working by themselves would have a hard time making twenty pins in a day, yet with the division of labor and the machines involved ten men could make 48,000 in a day. (Kindle Highlight Location, 130-31)

Think about the simple things we take for granted:  Aspirin, pencils, rubber bands, gasoline, or oatmeal.  Add to that all the complex luxuries we consider necessities:  Air conditioning, radio, microwave ovens and skateboards.  All of these come to us because of the increased productivity from the division of labor.

I don’t know what you contribute but you are part of the mosaic that makes modern civilization and gives of longer and healthier lives.

Smith, Adam.  An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book I, Project Gutenberg download.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Opus 2017-218: Headlines: Stop Buying Rotten Fruit

The Washington Times had an article regarding a pole that shows how little respect the news media receives in this country.  If it is accurate, it comes as no surprise.  It reminds me of the joke about the judge threatening someone with contempt of court and he answered that he had plenty of contempt for the court.  I think it is safe to say that anyone who is paying attention and smart enough to work a remote control knows they cannot trust the news media.  They have an agenda.

The danger comes when we ask ourselves what should be done about it.  I have expressed my answer several times:  Stop patronizing them.  That means filtering the links you click on and refusing to go to anything from the left wing Democratic media.  It means not watching their programs and not buying their products.  It means not going to the movies they put out.  And horror of all horrors, it might mean finding an alternative to Face Book.  It is called letting the free market work.  That reinforces liberty.

We start down a slippery slope when we expect the government to protect us.

This is dangerous.  It is what the NY Times wants you to do.  The elites that control the major news outlets could love to see some kind of law passed making anyone who claims to publish news more accountable to the government.  At first this sounds good.  Who would not want a law demanding that the L.A. Times print the truth instead of their spin?  The problem is, who polices the police?

Take another example of a good idea that was corrupted by the elites:  Minimum standards to vote.  Today in order to vote all you need is citizenship, 18 years and register.  The Democrats have also found ways around all of those.  At one point in our history you had to be a white male, 21 years of age and of a social socio-economic standing.  At one point some well meaning people decided that the ability to read was important.  I can see that.  I can agree with that.  The problem was they began to use that to filter the voting base.  When poor black citizens would come in they would give them a reading test in a foreign language.  When whites came in they had something at 2nd grade English to read. 

If we allow the government to get involved we are throwing out the First Amendment.  Let liberty prevail.  We know they lie.  We don’t need to buy it.  Unless we allow them to control the internet, something they are trying to do, we will always have an alternative.  Ignore the poles and stop buying left.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-217: Digging into Deuteronomy: Hard Choices

(Deuteronomy 1:35-6 KJV)  Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.

How easy it is to throw away a promise.  In the first Chapter of Deuteronomy we see how the children of Israel who had been led out of captivity in Egypt, across the Red Sea and to the verge of the Promised Land have thrown away the promise God had given to them.  They refused to trust and move forward in obedience.  As a result all those alive at this point were told they would not enter Canaan.

There were two exceptions, Caleb and Joshua.  In this verse we see why Caleb would receive what God had promised.  He looked at things differently than the majority.  He stood out because he was different.  I think it is significant that God says Caleb “followed” (310) “wholly” (fully NASB) (4390).  He wasn’t just a lot of talk.  He was not an opportunist.  He was fully committed.

It is important that we give God everything we have.  Most people who come to believe in Jesus will have a moment of crisis.  There will come a time when they will be forced to decide whether they are hangers on or disciples.  Everything started out beautiful.  Emotions were high.  The sense of forgiveness made life different.  But eventually the everyday steps in and begins to mess up the glow.  Eventually the call to walking in righteousness makes itself harder to ignore.  Eventually you come to a point where you need to fish or cut bait.  We will need to decide if we are follow the Lord fully. 

Jesus ran into this during His teaching ministry.
(John 6:60 KJV)  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

(John 6:66 KJV)  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Notice that these are called “disciples”.   These are people who had declared that they were going to follow Him.  He would be their guru.  At least until the teaching got too hard; then they were out of there.

Caleb had to make that decision.  If you are a follower of Jesus, you will need to make that decision.  Caleb and the nation of Israel traveled together for the next forty years.  Most of the way you could not tell that he was different, but when the crossing was made across the Jordan, Caleb was the only one left.

The decision is up to you.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 10, 2017

Opus 2017-216: Salesman of the Year

I think President Trump may be the best thing to happen to Twitter.  The media keeps twisting, warping and dodging what is happening.  On Rush we heard that Secretary Tillerson was cleaning house in the State Department.  The media, crickets.  In USA Today I read that the VA has gotten rid of 500 of these people who have been ignoring the needs of the veterans in their care.  The talking heads, crickets.  Trump keeps tweeting because this puts him in contact with the people of the United States.  Sure he throws in some crazy stuff but nothing compared to the media calling anarchist rioters “protesters”. 

What President Obama did for gun sales, Trump may do for Twitter.  He is even making me think of getting involved with Twitter just so I can know what is happening.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-215: Headlines: Savior or Villain?

What a difference an ocean makes.  After and during the G20 Summit, the Democrat News Networks kept straining to find anything they could to taint President Trump.  One of the issues was how The First Lady and The First Daughter were sticking their noses in where they did not belong. 

I thought it was refreshing to see the headline linked by Drudge at the Telegraph.
“Dinner with Putin and a President's stand in: How Melania and Ivanka Trump saved the day at the G20"
The American media thought there were terrible things.  One English newspaper claimed that their involvement had “saved the day”.

Keep in mind there are always different spins on any set of facts and often the difference is the attitude in the heart of the reporter.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Opus 2017-214: Middle Class Morality: Two Parent Families

Another title for this might be “The Father in the Home”.

One of the disturbing trends we see in modern culture is the growing number of single parent families.  This usually involves a single woman raising multiple children, although there are a few men who are taking on this role.  The reason this is a problem is not because single parents are evil people but because our social spokesmen are glorifying this condition to the point of making it normal.  Remember the hoopla over Murphy Brown.  It is not normal and it is not healthy.

American Middle Class Morality (MCM) says that children are best raised in a home that has a father and a mother.  Obviously there are single parents who are doing a good job.  There are also people running in marathons who have artificial legs.  More power to them, but it is not the best way to do the job.  The problem is not being a single parent but how you become a single parent.  MCM is based on Christian morality that calls certain types of behavior sin and praises other behavior.

There are two major causes of children being raised by single parents.  Both are against the standards God has given us.  The first is the modern mantra pushing sex outside or marriage.  Whether it is sex education beginning in kindergarten, advertising that stimulates lust, movies and TV that glorify momentary physical gratification or just pure selfishness, if you believe that sex is to be reserved for marriage you are labeled as a fool and a bigot.  The Biblical standard is clear.
(Hebrews 13:4 NAS77)  Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
When a society embraces this standard they have the foundation they need.  When it is ignored, things start to fall apart.

The second major cause is divorce.  Easy divorce is rampant.  The percentages are scary no matter how you interpret them.  The ones who suffer the most are the children.  Again, God condemns divorce. 
(Malachi 2:16 NAS77)  "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."
When we encourage easy divorce and mock God’s standard we are digging our cultural graves in addition to destroying our own lives.  When we allow our feelings or convenience to establish how we live we lose the long range considerations that give a chance at success.

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Opus 2017-213: On the Street: More Like on the Road, part 9 of ?, The Big Eye Is Watching You, or Me

As we wait for our house to get finished off I find myself imprisoned in a hotel room with a television that seems to have no off button.  My wife is having a hard time concentrating after surgery so she has non-stop programs going showing people buying houses or traveling the country looking for antiques.  HGTV and the History channel seem to be the dominate sources.

As I watch the programs involving people buying new homes I am struck by how materialistic and petty we seem to be as a people.  I was not raised during the Depression but sometimes I feel like it.  I am always aware of how much it takes to earn a dollar.  I know how quickly they go and how slow they come.  When I look at a house I am looking for function.  I am on another world.

I watch people go into homes and listen to the comments they make.  Some of them just make me scratch my head.
It is so out of date.
The cabinets are not my style.
No curb appeal.
Literally nothing modern about this house.
I want to scream, “It is a house, not a fashion statement”.  For the life of me I don’t understand what is wrong with a shower that delivers hot and cold water, drains properly and hides you from public view.  Who cares if the tile is from the 60's?  How can cabinets be out of style if they doors open and close and the shelves hold lots of stuff?  Why do you need to replace appliances that work quite well just because they are white instead of stainless steel?  I will admit that some people’s taste is a bit jarring but paint will cover a lot of sins and tile can be replaced.

I also notice that many of the young couples don’t seem to be planning on children.  And it is amazing how many are not even married.

I can’t wait to get into our new house.  It will be big enough for me to get away from the TV.  Then if I ever want to, I can wander into the part that has the Big Eye.  If I am not there you can start without me. 

homo unius libri

Friday, July 7, 2017

Opus 2017-212: The Thousand Year Battle of Cultures

I did not listen to President Trump’s speech in Poland.  All I heard were the parts that Fox chose to repeat.  I liked what I heard.  One of the points he made was the way in which Poland had stood up for freedom against the Soviet Empire.  I think he overlooked an important moment in history though.

In 1683 the armies of Islam were on the march in eastern Europe.  They had advanced from Istanbul all the way to the walls of Vienna.  The Hapsburg Empire was trying to defend the city but the Emperor had fled.  Enter Poland.  Poland had signed a mutual defense treaty with Austria-Hungary.  King John of Poland raised an army and marched to the defense of Christian Europe.  He arrived just in time and attacked immediately.  His army of 30,000 Poles routed the 150,000 army of Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa.  By doing so they saved Europe from being conquered by the sword of Islam.

This victory took place on September 12, 1683.  It makes you wonder if the terrorist of 9/11 had this in mind when they attacked the United States.

President Trump was right in calling to mind the battle of cultures.  What people don’t seem to realize that in regard to Islam and the battle has been going on with only brief truces for 1,200 years.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-211: On the Street: More Like on the Road, part 8 of ?, Not in Stitches

My wife is on the mend.  She had her stitches out on Wednesday and the doctor is happy.  She is not full of joy because there is still much pain.  For those lifting her in prayer I say thanks.  A gracious God, good doctors and actually having insurance makes a big difference.

I know she is doing better.  One clue was that after two weeks of fluffing pillows, helping her in and out of bed and all the other things she could not do, I learned that I don’t know how to fluff a pillow.  That is a good sign.  The pain has receded enough that she has the energy to give lectures on pillow maintenance.  That means that she is feeling good enough that I don’t need to learn how to fluff pillows.  She will be able to do it for herself.

We keep getting promises about when the house will be done enough for us to stay there.  It is similar to the promises of a health care bill we can live with.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Opus 2017-210: Thinking Is Out of Style

In one of his sermons, Alistair Begg was making the point that evangelicals don’t think.  No problem.  I have seen a lot of evidence for that.  My only caveat would be that all who call themselves evangelicals are not.

My real problem is that I think the criticism needs to extend a little further.  He should have pointed out that Americans don’t think, at least the modern public school product doesn’t.  Thinking is work.  Thinking has consequences.  If someone tells you something really silly and you tell them it is silly, they may reject you and get hostile, and we would not want that, would we.

We as believers have allowed ourselves to become like our culture in this.  As followers of Jesus we are called to read, meditate, think, listen and apply what we find.  Remember that knowledge, wisdom and discernment are all gifts of the Spirit.  They have been rejected by modern Christians and Americans.  It is much easier to let the talking heads and published gurus do our thinking for us.

That needs to change.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Opus 2017-209: Health Care Discussions: Tort Reform

We need tort reform and I don’t really know what that means or how you get it.  I think it has to do with the legal conditions of bringing a lawsuit.  One of the items that drives up the cost of health care is malpractice insurance.  One of the reasons the insurance is so high is that it is so easy to sue and so many cases are settled out of court to save legal fees.

I am in the dark here.  You hear of doctors getting away with murder.  You hear of ridiculous settlements.  You wonder what juries are thinking about.  People do need to be protected from genuine negligence but there has to be a bit of common sense involved.  Remember the case where someone spilled hot coffee in their lap and won a big settlement because the cup didn’t tell them the coffee was hot.  There needs to be some kind of limits put on people trying to get rich based on a warped judicial system and crazy juries.

We need to expand the protection of the Good Samaritan concept.  In my life there have been numerous times that doctors have treated my family at no cost or greatly reduced cost.  I believe that if doctors didn’t need to fear being sued by goldbricks they would be more willing to help.  Perhaps some provision could be made for free clinics being exempt from lawsuits.  All doctors are not greedy treasure hunters.  Many are humanitarians who would be glad to help out if it would not drive them to bankruptcy. 

We need to explore the options.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Opus 2017-208: Headlines: Can I Have a Real One?

The TV is on.  Fox at the moment.  I keep trying to ignore it.  The media seems to be bouncing between Trump Tweets and Christy on the beach.  I keep asking myself, “What is happening in Africa?  How is the Russian economy doing?  What are the actual details being considered on the Senate health care discussions?  What are the parallels between what is happening in Venezuela and what the Progressives have in store for the America?”

Do I care if Trump tweets?  Not really.  I enjoy watching the media and Trump haters go catatonic, but I really don’t care.  I am interested in the next Supreme Court nominee.  He did fine on the last one.  I am interested in how his attempts to cut back on regulations is making progress.  He is doing things I do want to hear about.

Do I like Christy?  No.  He is a moderate Republican who has a few good ideas but I can’t forget the big buddy moment with Obama.

Leave the infatuation with silly issues to CNN.  Since I can’t get away from the TV, Fox, you might at least give me something that keeps my brain from turning to Jello.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-207: Liberty Entitlement Payments

Every year I plan to read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July.  It is kind of like reading the Christmas story on December 25.  It offers a good reminder of important building blocks in our country.  Take a quick review of the first paragraph.
    When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
The word “entitle” stood out to me this year.  It made me think of all the people with an “entitlement mentality”.  It is another word that had a great meaning, now being distorted by a culture of victims.

What is it that we are entitled to?  The immediate context deals with the right of a nation to be free from foreign oppression.  If you go to the next paragraph you get to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  We are entitled to use our own efforts to pursue our dreams or put our focus on being a couch potato.  There is nothing here about taking the sweat from the forehead of one citizen and passing it off to someone on perpetual vacation.  When you do that you take my life and give it to someone else.

The major problem I see in finding solutions to the health care issues, Social Security, Medicare and all the other entitlements people think they deserve, is that everyone thinks they can come up with a system where they get what they want and someone else pays for it.  If Social Security only covered those who paid into it and was genuinely based on what they paid in, it would be solvent.  If government health care plans didn’t end up giving people Cadillac plans for the price of a skateboard then things like Medicare would be solvent.  The problem is that the politicians, and voters, think that they can gimmick the system so that someone else pays.

Keep in mind that ultimately you and I are that someone.  Freedom isn’t free, neither is health care.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 3, 2017

Opus 2017-206: Headlines: Socialized Medicine at Work

My attention was caught by a post on the Trumpland site.  Since I originally put it in my “Fun Sites” folder, I can never tell at first glance if it is satire, true or both.  With all the Fake news around it is often hard to tell the difference.  The basic facts seemed too evil to be real.  A baby was born with serious brain damage.  The doctors had done everything they knew to do and said it was time to let the baby die.  The parents raised almost two million dollars to take the baby to America for some experimental treatment.  According to this site the courts had refused to let them do so.  This couldn’t be right, could it?

I followed the link to something called “Right Wing News”.  While I might find that an indication that they were reliable, I know that many others would not.  So I looked for a further link, and found it.

Which takes us to a “real” newspaper.  I assume the British Daily Mail could be considered a legitimate source of news.  What I found was that all of the details in the first post were accurate.  Even though the parents had raised the money to move on, the government court took the slot reserved for the proverbial “death panal” and said the baby must die.

This is European socialized medicine at its best.  This is the great health care system of Great Britain that so many American Progressives like to hold up as an example.  This is what is coming to us if the Republicans don’t get their act together and follow through on their promise to repeal Obamacare.  This is a socialized, central controlled health care system that won’t even let people spend their own money for health care.

Welcome to the goal of Obama and the Progressives.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-205: Cornerstone Considerations: Trial by Innuendo

One of the reasons that people are talking more and more about Fake News is that the reporters are able to make up anything they want by claiming is comes from anonymous sources.  So far the judges have protected the sources of journalists.  I think the idea is that people won’t speak up if they fear reprisals.  Although that is a genuine concern, it also works both ways.  People will speak a lot of lies about targets of their hatred if there is no consequence for their deceit.  It makes cowards and Progressives, I repeat myself, into saviors of the people.  It is also clearly forbidden by the constitution.

Trial by media based on anonymous sources is a violation of the Constitutions requirement that we be allowed to face our accusers.

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution tells us that a person accused of a crime has the right
“...to be confronted with the witnesses against him;...”.  The obvious reason for that is to keep people from making up lies to drag you through the dirt.  It slows people down who want to destroy you.  It is a basic protection in a free society. 

When the courts allow “journalists” to hide behind protection of sources they violate this clear statement of the Constitution.  Freedom of the Press is supposed to make it possible for people to criticize the government without prior restraint.  It is not about tabloids printing all the filth their imaginations can come up with.

There are times when I think it would be nice to require judges to read the Constitution.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Opus 2017-204: Impressions and Covers

I find it hard to get past first impressions.  Every year when students enter the class you have a lot of short lived concepts of what they will be like.  Often by the end of the first day those have been shattered and replaced by a new set of first impressions.  It is amazing how many times that impression is proven to be accurate.  It is amazing how often it can be totally wrong.  I worked at starting every day fresh.  When a student came into class I was willing to start a clean sheet but they prefered to get out the old one and keep adding entries.

Should we work to get past first impressions?  I am not so sure.  Part of the reason students, and adults for that matter, act like such jerks is because they think they will get another chance.  Think of the guy who gives you the one finger salute in the parking lot.  Would he be so generous in his evaluation of your driving skills if he knew you would be interviewing him for a job tomorrow?

I think we might have a better civilization if we put more emphasis on first impressions.  I think we would live better if we stopped telling people they can’t judge a book by its cover.  We just turned in our textbooks at school.  From the condition of the covers you couldn’t tell much about the book but you could certainly tell something about the student turning it in.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Opus 2017-203: Health Care Discussions: Who Pays?

Every involvement of government in a human need becomes a way of redistributing wealth.  Everyone thinks that the rich can be tapped to subsidize those less fortunate.  It sounds so moral.  It seems to be workable.  The rich can afford it.  The big problem is that the poor cannot afford it.

One of the problems with subsidizing health care, housing, food or anything else is that it takes away the motivation to improve yourself.  It saps the will to strive and move to a higher level.  Be honest.  If you could get all the comforts of life without going to work, how long would you put up with your dead end job?  If you could depend on the government mandating increases in wage without doing anything more to earn it (minimum wage), would you work harder?  Again, be honest.  I think the answer is no.

The land of opportunity was not the land of guaranteed comforts.  It was a country where if you were willing to work hard, take chances and plan for the future, the sky was the limit.  If there are no rewards for sitting on your couch you might get a second job, train for new skills, go to college or move to a location that has more opportunity.  Your future was in your hands.  You were a free citizen.

All the government subsidies make short term comfort but cause long term limitations.  They tend to keep you on the dole and make you subjects instead of citizens.  The Progressives love that because they know what is best for you.  The conservatives hate it because it takes away the freedom of the hard working as well as the unmotivated.

homo unius libri

Opus 2017-202: The 4th Is Coming

The Fourth of July is just around the corner.  I want to take a line to encourage you to find a copy so that you can read it on that day.  Remind yourself of the great wording in the first few paragraphs but also spend the time to read the issues that were eating at the Founding Fathers, issues that, to them, were the government usurping too much power.

Look for parallels in today’s world.

homo unius libri