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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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Opus 2018-045: Headlines: Crown Prince Alexander

It seems that King George has a son.  Who would have thought?  That means that George Soros has, or had, a wife.  The article in the Free Beacon tells us that the son, Alexander, has been taking the father’s place in making some donations to Democrats.  For those of you wondering how long old George would be with us, you can relax.  He is already passing the baton to the next generation.

Keep in mind that the dynasties of the elites also have offspring and care about the future.  The thing is, their future does not have a place for you other than scrubbing their toilets and picking their soybeans.  One big difference between socialism in all of its forms (from Stalin’s communism to the Democrat’s crony capitalism) and free market capitalism in all of its forms is not at the top.  The upper crust always does well.  Look at Korea.  The little fat boy eats very well.  The ones who gain the most from free enterprise are the masses in the middle.  Under free enterprise capitalism us common folks have running water, air conditioning and little fear of the knock on the door at 2:00 A.M.

The king is not yet dead but the new crown prince already has his check book out.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Before they come for you they will be coming for the Bill of Rights.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Opus 2018-044: Election 2018: A Good Start

People ask me, “Why Texas?”  My quick answer is, “Because it isn’t California.”  That of course is not a complete statement.  As I was going over the Republican ballot for the primary election in March I realized that the propositions on it were as good a reason to move to Texas as I have ever seen.  I don’t know if passing them will put them on the general election ballot or whether it is just a straw vote.  Either way, this is why I came to Texas

Here are the propositions, paraphrased, but not much:

1.  Replace property tax with consumption tax
2.  No toll roads without a vote
3.  Republican nominee for speaker of the house chosen with no Democrat input
4.  E-verify for new employees
5.  Allow school choice to include all options
6.  Bathroom privacy for women and children
7.  Abolish abortion
8.  Make vote fraud a felony
9.  Complete repeal of Obamacare
10. Tax revenue increases capped at 4%
11. No tax dollars for professional sport team arenas

This may only be a Republican dream but it is a totally different attitude from the go along/get along attitude of Republicans in California.

Next question?

homo unius libri

Friday, February 16, 2018

Opus 2018-043: Drugs and Guns Don’t Mix

Recently I was stuck in a waiting room without a book.  It is a situation I try to avoid but it happens.  In desperation I picked up a magazine I would never buy, read or normally even see.  I think it was the one that Oprah puts outs.  It was an interesting look into the world of the masses.  It was like being at a snowflake convention.  It was an out of body experience.

In light of the recent school shooting and the press coverage, or lack of coverage, I remember some of the advertisements I looked at.  What sparked this was an article in WND about the elephant in the room:  Mind altering prescription drugs. 

When I came to the quotes off the label of one of the drugs, which read like this (toward the end of the article),
“...known “adverse drug reactions” – according to the drug’s FDA-approved label – include “mania,” “insomnia,” “anxiety,” “agitation,” “confusion,” “amnesia,” “depression,” “paranoid reaction,” “psychosis,” “hostility,” “delirium,” “hallucinations,” “abnormal thinking,” “depersonalization” and “lack of emotion,” among others.”
my mind went back to the ads in the magazine.  I don’t remember what the drug was but in the list of side effects I saw a lot of things like that.  I remember joking with my wife about why anyone would take something like that.

Evidently many people do. 

What might be useful to look at is the long list of shootings in which the killers were on some sort of heavy psychiatric drugs.  The list starts with the Columbine killings and reaching up to the one this week.  The point of the article is that the connection is being ignored. 

The drug used by the Columbine killers was a real read flag.
“Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s one in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.”
How does this kind of stuff get approved by the FDA?

When I was teaching I rarely had a class smaller than 25.  What that means is that I had a good chance of facing someone who was literally drugged out of their mind in every class.  I don’t find that scary but it does give you a perspective of the numbers we are talking about.

We need to look at a lot of government agencies.  We should not stop at the FBI and CIA.  We need to also look at the FDA.

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Opus 2018-041: Don’t Let Them Eat Cake

I saw a reference to this somewhere else and skipped over it.  When I saw it on 90 Miles from Tyranny I read it with great approval.  The basic idea is that instead of giving people cash cards that can be spent on just about anything, people will be given a box of food.  I think it implied that part of the cash card (EBT) would still be in place for perishables like milk.  As long as the list is short I can go with that.  Modern technology makes this very doable.

All of us have stood in line behind people buying steak and other items we can’t afford and pay with an EBT card.  What that means is that I was paying for their luxury items while I waited behind them. 

This is a much more generous program than I have advocated.  My plan was a little bit simpler.  Stock warehouses with basic food items:  Peanut butter, crackers, powdered milk, dried fruit, etc.  The items would not be fun to eat and would be incredibly boring but they would be adequate to keep you alive.  We are a wealthy nation and we can afford to provide food for everyone but we destroy their pride and initiative by giving them cash cards.  We can feed them but we don’t need to encourage them to stay on the dole.
 
It would be free for the taking.  If you wanted to back up a truck and haul it away by the ton, be my guest.  Since it is free you will have a hard time selling it.  I think that after a steady diet of beans and rice a lot of people might to decide to get a job.  It would cost very little because you would be cutting out all the well paid social workers and accountants that administer the current program.  All you would need would be someone to direct traffic in the parking lot and pile goods in the right bins.

Since my plan would never be approved, I think I can go with what this one would do.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Opus 2018-041: Headlines: Statements of Fact = Racism

The Free Beacon accuses Jeff Sessions of racism.  I know, samo, samo.  They could not make it stick when he was going through confirmation but like an old record player with only one disk, they keep playing it again.

What was his crime this time?  He made a statement of historical fact.
"The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement."
Whether you want to admit it or not, our form of government with its checks and balances and belief in law rather than personal opinion comes from the British Isles.  There may be tweaks thrown in from other parts of the world and the Founding Fathers did read up on Greece, Rome and other attempts at government, but when the sun goes down, it is basically British.  If you look at our Bill of Rights and compare it to the English Declaration of Rights of 1689 you get a feeling of genuine plagiarism. 

The term “sheriff” comes from the old English according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  Everyone who has heard of Robin Hood has heard of the Sheriff of Nottingham.  The term and the office comes from Merry Old England.

If that makes Sessions a racist then I guess that means two things.  It gives him a chance to wear the title with pride and it makes the serious charge of racism into a joke.

Get a grip.  Stop trying to divide the country.  Put away the race card.  Grow up and move on.

homo unius libri

Opus 2018-040: Headlines: A View from the Parade

I would join those who are against the idea of a big military parade.  I speak as one who has earned the right:  I am a veteran. 

I have not done any surveys so this is not a scientific opinion, but then neither are a lot of the scientific opinions we hear.  I speak as one who has worn the uniform and been forced to stand and march in formation.  I hated marching in parade.  I hated standing in formation.  I think that the vast majority of enlisted personnel would agree with me.

If they have the parade I will get on board and cheer my country.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel sympathy for the poor saps that have to march in step and keep their lines straight.  I am also not promising to watch.  I am someone who used to spend the entire night on the Rose Parade route and then sleep through the spectacle itself.

My suggestion would be to take all the money that will be used to plan and produce the parade and divide it up.  Give each enlisted man who would have been forced to march a little bonus in their next paycheck.  That would boost morale.  Maybe they could also give them a medal for their participation and make the progressives happy.  For that matter they could mail out ribbons to everyone who claims they would have attended.

homo unius libri

Monday, February 12, 2018

Opus 2018-039: Headlines: Trump Gets One Wrong

Whew!  That is over.  It has finally happened.  Donald Trump has done something I feel is totally wrong in signing this new budget.  I am not going to nit pick on all the details.  There is no way I have time to read the whole budget and the critics are all harping for their key concerns.  Some are on target, others just perpetuating Fake News.

The basic fact is that it will continue the trend of borrowing to buy votes.  I have no problem with the money for defense.  The Constitution is clear that the Federal government has the responsibility to defend the states and citizens.  Subsidies for the Post Office are also constitutional.  I am not so sure we can justify giving tax dollars to groups like Planned Parenthood.  Set aside the issue of abortion for a moment.  The question is taking money coerced by the government and giving it to an organization that has nothing to do with the priorities of the Constitution.

It is called pork.  It is called graft.  It is called buying votes.  It is called vote the sucker out.

And the president signed it.  The country will survive.  We have been doing this for years.  I had hoped that Trump would be wise enough to see through it and take a stand.  It does not mean I give up on him or don’t approve of his overall performance.  We need to avoid the posturing that requires him or any other politician to get everything right.  It won’t happen.

Keep praying for the man and hoping for the best.  He can now be expected to be more human and fallible.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Opus 2018-038: Definitely Not Couch Potatoes

I have never planned on being a hunter.  I have no problem with going hunting in principle but I am not sure I would be able to shoot anything but a rat.  I am talking about the four legged kind, not the ones in congress.  Most of the stories I hear about hunting involve starting in darkness, sitting motionless in snow or being waist deep in murky water.  Not my idea of fun.

Recently I was at a family/friend event and spent a few days talking to and listening to a real, live hunter.  He has trophies on his walls and everything.  He was sharing the details of a moose hunt that he and some friends went on recently.  They waited for years to get the tags or whatever they call them.  They had to charter a company to fly them far from civilization.  They slept in tents and tromped through the wilderness.  It rained almost the entire time. 

I probably won’t ever do something like that.  I learned another reason I probably will never go hunting:  It is too expensive.  The trip cost each of them around $10,000.  That is a bit rich for my blood but it reminds me of what a great country we live in.  He is a retired blue color worker and he has been able to put himself in a position to take trips like this.  Only in America can people who are died in the wool members of the working class have the resources to follow a dream like this.

What a country.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Opus 2018-037: Middle Class Morality: Servants Are Human Too

How do you treat the waitress at your table?  When you are at a banquet, do you thank the person who takes your plate?  Do you consider people who serve you in one capacity or another to be human beings?  Do you notice them at all?

These may seem like silly questions, but they are not.  In a recent discussion someone was trying to make a case for why the wealthy elites think they know so much and are qualified to direct our lives.  It is rooted in a belief in class.  It is still prevalent in Europe and much of the third world.  Some people believe that they are inherently better than others.  It is the root of genuine racist attitudes.  It can hide behind what we call sexism today.  Some nationalism is class oriented.  The rich and the famous do not believe that you are human in the same way they are human.

In many cases they do not even notice you. 

Middle Class Morality (MCM) is based on the Biblical principle that every human being is created in the image of God.  It means they are capable of moral behavior and deserve at least the consideration that they are children of God.  It is the reason that slavery died out in Christian countries and not in the rest of the world until the Christian countries insisted.  In the New Testament book of Philemon we find the Apostle Paul sending a runaway slave back to his master.  Paul does not condemn slavery but he puts an interesting twist.  He send him back
(Philemon 1:16-17 NAS77)  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.  If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.
Legally he is still a slave.  Theologically he is now a brother in Christ.  That does not dissolve the legal bond but demands that he be treated as a fellow child of God. 

This is just an example of the concept of what it means that all men are created equal.  As it played out we developed a culture in which common people could become president of the United States.  Think of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and yes, the ultimate outsider, Donald Trump.  None of them were considered of the ruling class.  All were elected to lead the country.

Only in America.

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Opus 2018-036: Who Is Winning the War on Poverty?, part 2 of 2

Millions received a check from the government during the Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal.  They came out stronger and hard working as opposed to the results of The War on Poverty.  Why?

I would suggest it was the requirement to work?  I vaguely remember reading in The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes that for all of their confusion the Roosevelt administration knew that just giving away money would be bad for people.  It would destroy their pride and sense of self worth.  I don’t have the book available right now so I can’t find the quotes but I am pretty sure she took that position. 

Welfare as we know it started for the best of reasons but the Progressives behind it have a flawed view of the nature of human beings.  They assumed that society was the problem and if you could hand out enough money, people would respond by taking what they need and going back to work.  The traditional view of human nature, found in the Bible, is that mankind is wired so that most people will take whatever you give them and still not want to get up to go to work.

We can get people off the dole but it will be painful.  In the words of Solomon,
(Proverbs 16:26 NAS77)  A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on.
I am not sure we are willing to pay the price.

Shlaes, Amity.  The Forgotten Man.  New York:  Harper Perennial, 2007.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Opus 2018-035: Who Is Winning the War on Poverty?, part 1 of 2

The War on Poverty has been waged for about 50 years now.  It was instituted by Lyndon B. Johnson to try to end poverty in our country.  How is it working?  It isn’t.  Of course you need statistics to get an answer and statistics are usually used to spin the conversation you want it to go but consider this spin from Forbes magazine,
“Has the War on Poverty been a failure?  Well, of course it has.  If you devote 50 years and $21.5 trillion (in 4Q2013 dollars) to anything, and people are arguing about whether it was a success or a failure, then you can be sure that it was a failure.

“Have you noticed that, 50+ years from its inception, no one is suggesting that the Apollo program was a failure?”
The statistics become a factor when you try to understand the data.  One chart I was looking at from a government budget site confessed in the footnote that the way of gathering the data had changed at one point.  Strangely enough the change made things look better.

We had another “war of poverty” in our history that went under the name “The New Deal”.  It also was instituted by Democrats.  It too was heralded as a great success even though it was World War II that finally brought us out.  Many would argue that the actions of Franklin D. Roosevelt actually exacerbated the problem and extended the depression.  To the Progressives it worked because it kept them in power, but that is a discussion no one wants to hear.

Both the New Deal and the Great Society (official name of the War on Poverty) were dealing with people out of work and destitute.  The first attempt did not solve the problem but it also did not destroy a whole group of people the way the welfare programs of today have done.  The WPA and CCC did not create a permanent underclass the way ADC, WIC and EBT have done.  Why the different response to the welfare of the Great Depression from the War on Poverty? 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Monday, February 5, 2018

Opus 2018-034: The Original Recycle Idea

When we talk about reincarnation we tend to think of Buddhism and Hinduism.  Both religions teach that a person goes through a repeated cycle of death and rebirth.  Evidently the idea is not unique to India.  Consider this from Plato.
“There comes into my mind an ancient doctrine which affirms that they go from hence into the other world, and returning hither, are born again from the dead.”  Kindle Highlight 814-815
He expands on this a little later.

“For if the soul exists before birth, and in coming to life and being born can be born only from death and dying, must she not after death continue to exist, since she has to be born again?”  Kindle Highlight 952-953
Buddha was born as early as 563 B.C.  No one is sure.  The same is true of Plato except he is given a more specific date of 427.  In ancient terms that makes them almost contemporaries.  Did the idea originate with Buddha and travel to Plato?  Was it an already popular idea that both felt had value?  Did they come up with them on their own?  I am not sure.  Maybe some scholar has better knowledge. 

Some ideas are repeated by great thinkers and religious leaders.  For instance, the Golden Rule is found in many systems of belief.  Just because someone you disagree with believes something to be true or of value does not mean you must discard all that they believe.  Hitler liked vegetables.  That does not make them evil by association.

The People of the Book, Jews, Christians and Muslims reject the idea of reincarnation.  It doesn’t matter what you local new age pastor says.  It is directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible.  People of the East disagree.

Lots of ideas.  Lots of truth.  Not enough thinking.

Plato.  Phaedo.  Project Gutenberg download.

homo unius libri

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Opus 2018-033: Is It a Boycott if You Never Watched?

We went to lunch today and the sign on the door said that today they closed at 6:00 P.M.  That puzzled me until I realized the Super Bowl would be played today.  I am guessing some time after 6:00.

I keep forgetting.

I will not be watching the Super Bowl this year.  I would like to say it is because of the millionaires protesting how brutal life is in the United States by showing a lack of respect for our flag and national anthem.  That would be a lie.  The truth is I stopped watching the Super Bowl years ago.  I almost wish I was still watching football on TV so I could make a protest, but it is not to be.

You might be better off if you took a walk or read a book.  Enjoy your evening.

homo unius libri

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Opus 2018-032: Election 2018: Vote the Memo

I have read the memo.  I don’t consider it to be a blockbuster.  It is simply more evidence to prove that Hillary Clinton, the DNC and a collection of officials on the public payroll need to be visited by Lady Justice.  The level of deceit and malfeasance is so obvious that to deny it is like the king thinking his new clothes were stylish.  We are talking naked, pot-bellied, knock-kneed, wrinkly truth.  It ain’t pretty.  Something needs to be done about it.

I believe the president is willing to do something but he needs a team behind him. 

He needs a House of Representatives that is willing to step up to the plate and start due process in its slow motion wind up.  This is where impeachment starts, and I am not talking about the president.  I am talking about partisan judges.  I am talking about department heads and assistant department heads.  This is where the unelected agencies can be brought to heel.  If nothing else it can be done by the power of the purse.  Tell the employees of EPA that they can keep their jobs as long as they want but we will no longer pay their salaries, reimburse them for expenses or buy their supplies.  We will no longer pay for a/c or heat.  Stay as long as you want but we are changing the locks and you won’t get a new key.

We need a Senate that lives up to the reputation of being beyond knee jerk reaction and proves they are still capable of action.  We need judges confirmed and legislation from the house to be endorsed. 

Scooter Libby “lied” to an FBI agent and went to jail.  Michael Flynn “lied” to the FBI and was indicted.  Kristian Saucier took a few photos for private use and went to jail.  Richard Nixon lost a few minutes of tape and was hounded out of the White House.  At the same time James Comey admitted to passing secret information to a journalist.  Hillary Clinton has committed too many crimes to review on the 154 GB available on my computer.  It is time for the people of good faith to begin to enforce the laws as written.  They don’t need to go for vengeance or push the envelope.  Just enforce the law against the rich and powerful.

And it needs to start soon so that it will be a campaign issue in 2018.  It needs to be an issue in the primary elections.  There are incumbents that need to decide they need more time with their families.  There are committee chairs that need to return to private life.  There is a country to get back on course.

Vote the suckers out.  I like the sound of that.

homo unius libri

Opus 2018-031: The Temperature of America

I am currently in Maryland.  When it brightened up enough for me to see the thermometer out on the back porch the needle was hovering between the 10 and the 20.  I checked my phone and was told it was 16̊ outside.  Time for another cup of coffee.

In a few days I will travel back to Texas and I believe it is forecast to be about 60̊ there.  That is bad enough but after a short stopover I will be flying to California where it is supposed to be 85̊.  What a country.

It amazes me that so many diverse populations and geographies have managed to hang together this long.  How can someone living in beach weather understand a life where you need to worry about your pipes freezing? 

The right managed to make it through eight years of Bill Clinton without imploding.  We endured eight years of Obama without taking to the streets.  My hope is that by the time Trump does his eight years the left will have gotten in touch with their inner-American or if they never had one fulfill there promise.  Canada would love to have them.

homo unius libri

Friday, February 2, 2018

Opus 2018-030: Best Bible App

There are many different translations of the Bible available today.  On my software I have 17 and that does not include many that have come out in the last few years.  I tend to like translations that seek for a “word for word” approach rather than what the trade calls, “dynamic equivalence”.  To me those are all paraphrases that have a lot of personal opinion and a little of God’s truth. 

That is a personal prejudice, I admit it.  In reality, from God’s point of view, every translation is a paraphrase.  You cannot transmit infinite truth with a finite vocabulary.  It just can’t be done so you look for the best word and hope to convey what is needed.

God understood the problem.  That is why every translation comes with a special app.  God was into apps before the smart phones came out.  His app for Bible understanding is the Holy Spirit.
(John 16:13 KJV)  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
A person who is looking for the message God has for him will find it if he looks and listens.

I prefer the New American Standard Bible (NASB) for three reasons.  First, it is a word for word translation.  Second, it has a lot of helps available for understanding the Greek and Hebrew.  Third, it is the one that I have worked in for years so my research is tied to it.

Find what works for you and God will meet you.

homo unius libri