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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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Opus 2018-019: Headlines: Yes, but Is He Crazy?

I was called into the room to watch the president’s doctor report to a group of Tourette victims on the status of Trump’s health.  His summation was straightforward:  The president is healthy.  Then it went to the question and answer period.  Here is where the mental disorder became obvious.  It was almost as if this group, mysteriously called the White House Press Corp, was suffering from a strange form of Tourette’s syndrom.  They seemed like they could not utter a complete sentence without some variation of “crazy” included.  We have several possibilities.

This could be a new form of malady.  It seems to effect only Trump haters.  It does not discriminate between political affiliation, sexual orientation or race.  It does seem to be intensified by the presence of microphones and cameras.

Another possibility is that they are mentally unstable themselves.  This often goes with people on the left, intense projection.  An example would be Hillary Clinton talking about the “vast right wing conspiracy” when the left was the one conspiring.  Or take the talk of Trump in collusion with the Russians when all the evidence points at the Clinton campaign.  Or take the accusation of hate speech on conservative talk radio.

Another is megalomania.  Do these “reporters” really think they are going to trick the doctor into saying, “Yes, actually, he is nuttier than a CNN talking head”.  I did notice that the doctor had a hard time not laughing at them.

As I keep reading others comment, “Bring out the popcorn.”

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Opus 2018-018: Place, Rights, Righteousness

The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein has a lot to say in addition to talking about the role of IQ in society.  At one point they give a quick synopsis of the view of man in the philosophies of history.
“For thousands of years, great political thinkers of East and West tried to harmonize human differences.”, p. 528
They start with the ancient Chinese.
“For Confucius, society was like his conception of family....  People were defined by their place, whether in the family or the community.” p. 528
And that is extended for centuries and around the world.
“So too for the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers:  place was all.  All great religious traditions define a place for everyone, if not on earth then in heaven.”  p. 528
The Ancients saw man in terms of their place in society.  Moderns see people in terms of their rights.   Even this has gone through a progression.
“They are equal in rights, Locke proclaimed, though they be unequal in everything else.  Those rights however, are negative rights (to impose contemporary terminology):  They give all human beings the right not to have certain things done to them by the state or other human beings,...” p. 530
Today we have evolved to the point where rights are totally different.  It is not the right to “the pursuit of happiness”, it is now the right to happiness, guaranteed.
“The original concept of equal rights is said to be meaningless cant, outmoded; taking equal rights seriously, it is thought, requires enforcing equal outcomes.” p. 530
The Christian concept is totally different, although most Christians take a stand on the idea of rights.  The Bible see people in terms of their righteousness.  We have no “rights”.  We are hopeless sinners, helpless to change without God’s help and when we change the success is measured in terms of righteousness.  The question is how well we conform to the ethical standards that God demands.

We have value, but only in relationship with God.  If there is no God, we are just smart animals as the evolutionists say.  If there is a God, it does not matter what our rights are.

Herrnstein, Richard J. and Murray, Charles.  The Bell Curve.  New York: 
    The Free Press, 1994.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Opus 2018-017: Why Don’t I Win the Lottery?

The easy answer is “I never buy a ticket”.  You can’t win if you don’t play, but how many borderline believers go out and buy a lottery ticket in hopes that God will let them win and bail them out of a crisis?  How often do people promise God that if they win they will tithe on the winnings?  Why does God not play this game?  Economics.

Picture what would happen to the economy of the United States if every time a believer had a financial difficulty, God said, “Buy a lottery ticket” or “Horse number seven to place in the third race”.  He could do it but He doesn’t.  If He did the local community would be flooded with all kinds of unearned, extra cash.  For a day or two there would be parties and celebration.  After a short time all the good stuff would be gone and the stuff that wasn’t so good would cost a fortune and by that time you have blown all the largess and need another word from the Lord.  It would have the same effect that we have when governments start printing money instead of balancing their budgets.  Inflation would kick in and the economy would become a mess.  Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Which brings us to the second problem.  Think of the effect on the character of the believer.  It would undermine such things as thrift and moderation.  It would discourage hard work.  We see what happens when welfare is too easy to get.  Many people stop looking for work or don’t try very hard to keep the job they have.  After all, if they don’t have a job there is always the EBT card.  Getting a job after a long time off is hard to do.  I know how hard it was as a teacher to go back to work after a summer off.  If I had enough money in the bank I would have retired at 50 instead of 70.  God would become my social worker.

And think of the effect on the church.  It would lose the opportunity to share and express love.  Maybe you have been unfortunate enough that you have never been in such a desperate state that the family of God needed to step in to help.  Yes, you read that right.  You were unfortunate because you were never up against the wall.  I remember when my first child was born.  I was a young pastor and had been caught between churches so that I had no insurance.  The hospital wanted $500 cash up front or they would not release the baby to go home.  We had no money.  We laugh about it now, “What were they going to do, keep the baby?”  At the time is was terrifying.  Suddenly we got an unsolicited phone call telling us our district had found a special fund that awarded $500.  I don’t remember what cover story they came up with.  What had happened was a wealthy retired man who volunteered a lot in the district office had dug down and written a check for this struggling pastor.  The church needs to be the church.  The church needs to give and support.  If God started using the lottery or the government steps in with welfare checks then God’s people are being robbed of the opportunity to serve and relieved of the responsibility to give.

So buy a ticket if you must but don’t expect God to award the win.  If you do win you might ask yourself just who it was that made it happen.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 15, 2018

Opus 2018-016: Your Philosophy Makes a Difference

Are you a ducker or a remodeler?  How do you interface with your world.

Our contractor was doing something in my shower and kept hitting his head on the shower curtain bar.  I am taller than him and he wondered how I dealt with it.  Simple, I duck.  My wife’s solution was to remove the bar until they were through working there.  That demonstrates two different world views.

Some people are duckers.  They usually adjust to their world.  If they buy a product that has a flaw they will often adapt and work around the flaw.  People like me don’t expect the world to be perfect.  When people would ask me if I was a good teacher I was torn on how to answer.  Yes, I was a good teacher because I could see the people around me and I knew I did a better job than most.  No, I was not because I could always find something that could have been done better.  It didn’t matter how well things went, they can be improved.

Other people remodel their world to fit their needs.  They feel they have paid for it, it should work perfectly.  I pity their mechanic and painter.  They tend to feel that the way they do things is the best way.  If you disagree, you are the arrogant one with a problem.

Two philosophies, one world.  No wonder there is so much conflict.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Opus 2018-015: Ode to Old: Sunday, Sunday

I will always be able to tell what day it is, at least on Sunday.  Part of my morning ritual is to go through different humor sites.  The ones that are syndicated cartoons such as Dilbert and Rose Is Rose have a double long contribution on Sundays.  It will keep me grounded in my senility.

The rest of the week is up for grabs.  I can see how people who are retired begin to lose track of the day.  That is a real problem if they don’t have something like church, a club or some kind of activity to anchor the time.

The adventure of life continues.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Opus 2018-014: Lessons in the Trees

As I watch the trees outside my window I notice that they look greener than they did a few minutes ago.  Then they were a dark gray with spots of orange.  Now they are varieties of green with brown and beacons of sky blue shining through.  What has changed?  Did the trees pull a chameleon on me?  Were my eyes wrong?  Did the sun change its color?  Maybe it is just an example of how life is a process not a photograph.

It is much more than beauty that is in the eyes of the beholder.  The trees themselves did not change.  My location did not change.  It was outside factors that caused me to see what I saw.  Intellectually I knew that the trees were not orange.  I enjoyed the passing facade.  I did not question my sanity or the sincerity of the trees.  Why do I have so much trouble with that concept when it comes to politics and personal interactions?

How often am I only too ready to accept that someone has done evil?  If it is someone who has a long record of doing evil then the answer is obvious, because that is what they do.  But when you have someone who has a long record of at least trying to do the right thing, why am I so gullible.  And it works both ways.  Often we refuse to see the evil because we don’t want to see it.  We had a conversation with a waiter recently.  He said the one thing that disturbed him about President Trump is the way he has caused all the tension and hatred between blacks and whites.  What was his evidence?  All his black friends said so.  It didn’t do any good to point out that Obama was the race baiter and cause of increased hostility.  I brought up specific examples but I am not sure he was convinced.  After all, his black friends said so.

Have I been quick to jump on the person who upset me with a caustic comment?  This can also be personal and every day.  Think about it from the other angle.  Have you ever said anything and later realized how it must have come across and been totally embarrassed and even ashamed?  You didn’t mean it the way it was taken.  I think of a time I was daydreaming at a stop light.  It turned green.  I daydreamed.  The guy behind me finally honked.  I realized I had messed up and waved at him to show there were no hard feelings.  He thought I was giving him the finger.

We need to be a little more forgiving in the day to day business of life.  In elections and community choices we need discernment and discrimination but on spur of the moment stuff our skin needs a good thickening.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 12, 2018

Opus 2018-013: Crazy Works for Me

We are just starting 2018 and Trump is already driving the left crazy.

He is opening up areas full of oil and allowing Americans to access their natural resources.

Black Americans are seeing the lowest unemployment since that statistic has been recorded.

North Korea is starting to talk.

Major corporations are passing the benefit of the tax cut on to employees.

And we are only half way through January.  Of course I imagine there will be setbacks.  Some will be real.  Many will be the lies of the Fake News industry. 

I remember when students used to ask me if I was crazy.  I told them that being crazy was one of the requirements for teaching middle school.  I said it was right on the application, “Are you crazy?”  You had to answer yes to get the job.  For you liberals out there I did say it, but I was only joking.

If Trump is crazy, maybe we can find a way to make it infectious.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Opus 2018-012: Headlines: The Narcissism Continues

I have always assumed that President Obama would build a library.  That seems to be what ex-presidents do.  And he started out that way but according to the Washington Free Beacon he has had a change of plans.  Now instead of a presidential library he is going to build a “Presidential Center”.  It will “saddle local taxpayers with an estimated $100 million tab, and commandeer large swaths of beloved historic public parks for private development.”

In case you have not noticed, I can’t stand Obama.  It takes a special kind of misfit to replace Jimmy Carter at the bottom of the pile while claiming his awesomeness would stop the oceans from rising.  I would begrudge him a library.  It is what is done and although I have a low opinion of him he was still the president of the United States.  Maybe it is just my bias but “Presidential Center” sounds like it is either a center for all presidents or the location frequented by the serving president.  The title seems a bit narcissistic. 

It is equally humorous that the liberal professors are protesting the way he is taking over a large area of Chicago that had been designated as historic.  The article was a big vague on why it was historic but keep in mind that Chicago also thinks that banning guns has made the city a safe place to live.

Cartoons and posters have expressed the wish that Hillary would just go away.  I have the same feeling about Obama.

At least I am consistent.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Opus 2018-011: Headlines: Talk Is Cheap

The good news and the bad news.  On the good side, North and South Korea are talking and it seems like they are making progress.  On the bad side, this is nothing new.  According to the Associated Press,
“The countries have a long history of failing to follow through with rapprochement accords.”
So continue to hope but don’t sell your emergency supplies in a yard sale.

homo unius libri

Opus 2018-010: Headlines: Conspiracy Anyone?

My wife has discovered You Tube and all the conspiracy theories being broadcast.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.  One meme going around is that the Trump administration has submitted thousands of sealed indictments against the people involved in the deep state and other corruption.  The number varies.  The jury is still out for me on the rumor.

But I find one thing interesting.  I am seeing recurring strange things happening in resignations and changes of heart.  It is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if some people in positions of authority have been informed of the evidence for their deviance and given a chance to do some kind of plea bargain. 

Take the judge who resigned suddenly from the 9th Circuit out west.  Someone made an accusation and he was out of there. 

Take the legislation that is suddenly being passed by people who were claiming they were going to block it.

Then I saw several references to the charges against the Bundy family being dropped with prejudice.  Evidently this means that charges cannot be filled again.  What is shocking is that the judge gave the proper ruling.  This is surprising because the judge had been intent on throwing the book at Bundy and was doing everything she could to prejudice the trial against him.  Now suddenly she throws the trial out.

Could this be another case of a corrupt judge that Trump has the goods on deciding not to push her luck?

Maybe I will have to get on board with the conspiracy crowd.  Anybody got an extra tin hat?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Opus 2018-009: Election 2018: A Novel Idea

I wonder if we should suggest a new campaign promise:  I will keep my word.

One of the things you have to admit about Trump is that he is working to fulfill his campaign promises, and I don’t just mean the one to Make America Great Again.  I am talking about things like nominating judges who believe in the Constitution and not their DNC talking points.  How about moving the embassy to Jerusalem?  Then we have the destruction of ISIS.  Shall we go on?

In the face of those accomplishments, struggling against 90% negative media attacks and bogus polls, Donald Trump still has as high an approval rating as Barak Obama at this point in his presidency.  And the new year starts with more.

Just think what could happen in this country and the world if the politicians who are elected by talking like traditional Americans with conservative values would actually get into office and apply their promises.  Is there any end to the prosperity and success that people would experience?

It is worth a try.  What do we have to lose?  Well, our liberty for one thing if we don’t try it.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 8, 2018

Opus 2018-008: Headlines: Knowing How to Push the Buttons of the Left

Squirrel!  “My button is bigger than his button.”  “I’m a genius.”  The media goes wild.  If it wasn’t so funny it would be monotonous. 

The reason that the media gets so upset is the same reason they are called fake:  They cannot stand the truth.  The irresistible ire of the elites, right and left, toward Donald Trump is the same.  They also have no sense of humor.

Most Americans who work for a living laughed when Trump tweeted about having a bigger button and felt a bit of reassurance when he pointed out that his worked.  Humor is sometimes based on presenting the clear truth in an unexpected way or with unexpected candor.  Trump’s response was clever, too clever for the left.

Which points out his intelligence.  You don’t rack up the success he has if you are stupid.  I have not read his Art of the Deal but I would not be surprised if one of the things he talks about is dealing with people who think they are sharper than they are.  An old bit of wisdom is that it is hard to cheat an honest man.  Why?  Because he isn’t willing to take advantage of you and most of the times you are trying to cheat you want your victim to think they are getting something for nothing.  I would suggest that it is even harder to cheat an honest, intelligent man. 

Is Trump unbalanced?   If he is then we need more vertigo in our lives.  Is he a genius?  The last people to know will be the ones who keep responding to “Squirrel!”

Some people should stay out of the woods.  Some people can’t see the forest because of the trees.  It is even sadder when they can’t see the trees because of the squirrels.

homo unius libri

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Opus 2018-007: Nature at Work

Out the window I saw a bird hopping around in a tree.  I began to wonder what I would do if a predator suddenly jumped out and grabbed the bird.  Would I intervene to save the bird?  I doubt it.

On the other hand, if I saw an adult assaulting a child in my yard, would I get involved.  Yes.

What is the difference and how do many in our culture disagree with me?  It is a strange fact but if you find people who want to save the whales and keep you from killing predators that are attacking pets and domestic animals you also find people who have no problem with killing unborn children.  I am sure there are some exceptions and if you are one of them you have my apologies, but certain patterns run true.

Most people who think of the whales as their brothers tend to believe in evolution and global warming.  It is consistent with their world view.  Humanity is a disease that is destroying Gaia and must be dealt with.  Of course that only means other members of humanity.  They will still have their toys and luxuries.  The ones we must get rid of are those smelly peasants that used to work in our fields and factories.  Now that we have machines to do those tasks, the masses are not needed any more except to vote Democrat in elections.

The Christian world view recognizes the food chain but because man is created in the image of God, we are at the top.  We are not just smart animals.  We are different in quality as well as quantity.  I will admit I have a hard time accepting that when I see politicians and entertainers, but it is still true. 

If I saw Hillary and Barak hopping around in my tree and they were attacked by a wolf, would I intervene.  I would need to think about it.  It could be divine retribution, natural selection or an illusion.  I’ll get back to you on that.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Opus 2018-006: Headlines: Whoops

For those of you who are panicked over the North Korean development of nuclear weapons and threats to hit the U.S. mainland you might want to check out this report.  I have seen it several places but you can check The New York Post.  It seems that one of the missiles went wrong and crashed into a North Korean town. 

Reports say that Kim Jong Un’s program has the distance to reach our west coast.  That stirs up the fear.  What we need to understand is that if he could reach Seattle and launched a missile at that city, it might be the inhabitants to Honolulu or Anchorage that need to worry.  We have this report.  How many other missiles crashed that we don’t know about?

Someday?  Yes, maybe.  The biggest current danger of the crazy from North Korea is what he will cause by mistake rather than what he wants to do.

I think Texas is still beyond his range.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 5, 2018

Opus 2018-005: Timing

I am sure you have heard about the comments that Steve Bannon was supposed to have made to Michael Wolff.  The consensus seems to be that Wolff is not a reliable source for much of anything but what I have read seems to overlook one thing:  The timeline.

It takes months for a book to be written and published.  You also need to allow time for the supposed interviews and such.  Even if Bannon said something close to what is quoted it was said months ago, possibly around the time he left the White House.  So what if he and Trump had hot words months ago.  Months ago I was saying I would never vote for the man and we know how that went.

Does the book clear this up?  I don’t know and I am not going to read it to find out.  Feel free to let me know.

homo unius libri

Opus 2018-004: Headlines: Bexar Says “No”

I saw a column based on President Trump doing away with his committee that was looking into voter fraud.  In the context of that I saw one today going the other direction.  The Free Beacon strikes close to home.  It tells about a group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which is trying to access voter records to check on non-citizens voting.  It seems like a no brainer to me.  Why would the county refuse to reveal the records.  It might be some kind of turf battle or pride issue but there is no legitimate reason.

The reason it got my attention is that it is in Bexar county.  I live just across the street from Bexar county.  It is pronounced like bear, that animal, by the way.  This is in Texas.  Let me give you some details about Bexar county.  As the article says, it contains San Antonio.  One of the strange details about Texas is that the large towns are blue and purple.  The reason the state tends to be red is because most of the people outside the cities are traditional conservatives.  It surprised me the first time I heard that San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States, but it is true.  Big cities breed corruption and Democrats. 

Bexar county has the highest taxes in the area.  When we were buying a home we made it a point to not be in Bexar county.  They also are elitist.  I cannot use their libraries because I don’t live in the county.  Since I don’t pay taxes there, I can halfway understand that but there are many libraries in Texas that will issue cards to anyone in the state and many cities that give courtesy to card holders from other cities.  There is even a state wide card you can get.  They will honor that but they tend to be exclusive.

This group, PILF, wants to check for non-citizens registered to vote.  As in all things civil it will now be 90 days before they can file a lawsuit.  Why?  I don’t know but it is one of the burdens of the rule of law. 

Too bad the other side only uses it to frustrate the law.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Opus 2018-003: Ode to Old: Hide and Seek

I was discussing water problems of roofs with our contractor.  He talked about how water would get pulled back under the shingles and over a period of time cause rot and damage.  Quick now, what is the word for that?  Neither of us could think of it either.  I could say it is old age but he is in his thirty’s.  Later the word popped into my brain and I sent it to him in an e-mail just to show I was as clever as I thought.

Give up?  Capillary, as in capillary action.

Words play hide and seek more often every day.  Names do the same.  So far I have not had to concede defeat.  I have found them all.  Some day I will come to a point that I never remember them or if I do I won’t remember why I wanted the word.  I may even get to the point where I won’t even know that I knew a word.

But those are concerns for tomorrow.  If you didn’t pay attention in high school science, go and Google it.  Capillary action.  If you are old enough you will be able to look it up in a dictionary.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Opus 2018-002: Headlines: Suggestion for Expanding the Bureaucratic State

If you wonder what may be next on the agenda of the GOP Rino leaders you might want to check out this blog from Nigeria.  No, it is not from a prince offering you wealth but it does contain a goal of happiness.  I offer it as a suggestion for those who don’t want to do much about health care and little about taxes.

One of the things I frequently do is click the “next blog” button at the top of the page.  It takes me interesting places, supposedly at random.  Once it brought up Cindy Sheehan.  Another time it was Linda Sarsour.  Really?  Out of how many million blogs these two just happen to show up?

Anyway, The last one I hit was this blog from Nigeria that talks about a Commissioner of Happiness.  It might be a good position for Al Franken, in Nigeria.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 1, 2018

Opus 2018-001: It Starts

Texans like to shoot guns to welcome the new year.  They started around 9:30 and kept it up until after midnight.  Some of it may have been fireworks, Texas opens up their fireworks stands for New Years, but the spacing of someone pulling the trigger on a semi-automatic is different than firecrackers.  The only reason I know they kept celebrating was because they continually woke me up.

When I checked the weather it reported in the low 20's.  I toured the property to make sure everything was still secure.  After returning I could feel that the wind had been moving my face toward the unhealthy state.  I won’t get dramatic and claim “almost freezing” or “on the edge of frostbite”, but the skin was burning a little for a few minutes as I warmed up.  I was born and raised in California, my military service was in Vietnam and I am not used to this.  It is worth it being away from the Left Coast.

I expect to see the sun in the next few days.

Happy New Year.

homo unius libri