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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, August 25, 2019

Opus 2019-152: Election 2020: Reinstate the Alamo

As I sit in the airport I keep hearing PR blurbs to promote San Antonio.  One of the often mentioned attractions is the Alamo.  That is interesting because the political leaders have been doing everything they can to drain the Alamo of any meaning to Americans.  There used to be an annual ritual of locals to go to the plaza in front of the Alamo and have a family picture taken in front of a huge Christmas tree.  The city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to relocate the tree to a little park somewhere else.  The reason?  I never heard one worth remembering. 

In addition to that the Alamo is now or will be soon a UN World Heritage site.  This is an ongoing thing around the world.  In the process the history will be rewritten to eradicate anything that might make the United States look good.  It will become the location of an atrocity rather than a symbol of patriotism.  If you check you will find that there are a growing number of National Parks that are being moved under the umbrella of the UN.  I was shocked when I visited Smokey Mountain National Park and found out that it was a UN site.  In defense of the UN they did have a circle on the ground labeled a “Free Speech Zone” in which I could exercise my First Amendment right. 

I would like to submit as a campaign issue the reclaiming of American landmarks and natural resources for Americans.  I don’t think most Americans are aware that the Grand Canyon is no longer an American wonder but a product of their benevolent world government.  I think this would be a winner for anyone running for office who loves their country.

Foreigners would always be welcome and encouraged to visit.  They need to know that they are in America.

Meanwhile, remember to vote the suckers out.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Opus 2019-151: Fame

Talk about making an impression, I have been trying to remember who was Hillary’s running mate in 2016.  I asked my wife and she drew a blank.  It is so important to me that I have not even taken the time to do a search.

Being famous is tough.

homo unius libri

Opus 2019-150: Firsts: The Back of the Bus

For an average citizen I do a fair amount of flying.  I don’t go enough to benefit from the big time Frequent Flyer bennies but I did go through the process to guarantee TSA Pre when I fly.  This flight had a new experience.  For the first time I got off the back entrance of an airplane.

I have known they exist but I thought they were for emergency evacuations.  This may have applied in a way.  We were at least 40 minutes late taking off.  It was something about the First Officer getting sick and they needed to bring in a replacement.  That was a better excuse than the time a stewardess got stuck in the bathroom but a long wait is a long wait.  I assume that since we were so late at arrival that they decided to empty from both ends to speed the process up.

It was like the old days.  We had to go down some steps, walk across the open and climb stairs at the other end.  Just another day in the life of a world traveler.

homo unius libri

Friday, August 23, 2019

Opus 2019-149: Translation Service: Save the Planet

The tasteful little plastic placard gave a heart wrenching plea:  SAVE OUR PLANET.  Who would not want to be a part of that?  What they wanted you to do was reuse your towels instead of getting a clean one when housekeeping came in to do the room.  It sounds very righteous.

Let me translate that for you.  You should understand that as meaning, “Save our bottom line”.  Washing towels costs money and forces the hiring of workers.  That reduces the profit margin.  So please, reuse your towels.  It makes sense to corporate management.  They can save money, virtue signal and appear woke.  A good deal when the only one to give anything up is the traveler.

If they would only give me a discount for using a dirty towel they might have me on board.

It overlooks the fact that one reason I enjoy staying in hotels is the fresh towels every day.  At home I don’t have that luxury.  Too expensive.  My wife screams even if I do the laundry myself.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Opus 2019-148: On the Streer: Another Excuse to Party

I will soon be off to help celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of some friends.  It is to be a surprise and so far the secret is being kept.  I have been blessed by a few people who are genuine good friends and they are in that bunch.  That is Friends not “friends”.  They are a constant challenge spiritually and intellectually. 

When I was young a couple staying married 40 years would have been considered normal.  Divorce happened but I didn’t see it much in my parents generation.  Even in my circle I did not see it.  Of course I went to college in the 60's and didn’t see any campus protests either.  I guess I lived in a bubble, but that is a good thing.

They have gone through some struggles.  They have stayed the course.  I would imagine that there were times when they would repeat a phrase that keeps coming up in marriages that make it, “Divorce is not an option”. 

Why is divorce not an option?  The only reason is spiritual.  Our culture has embraced divorce as well as a lifestyle of fornication.  For this couple as well as most of my circle the reason we keep at it and make it work is not that we are such jewels but because our faith in Christ includes the Biblical standard of marriage:  One man, one woman, til death do us part.  Anything less is a foundation of sand.

We are at 44 and still counting.  I trust we will make it to 45 and they will make it to 41.

homo unius libri

Opus 2019-147: Expiration Dates, part 5 of 5

Maybe we need to offer the cities their independence.  It would be a place to start.  We could bring back the idea of the city state, build walls or fences around them and declare them no longer a part of the United States.  They would pay no taxes but at the same time get no subsidies.  Citizens of Los Angeles would be treated as foreigners when they tried to travel to Burbank.  In some parts of the nation you would have nothing but a bunch of city states squabbling with each other for survival.  It would require some hard decisions and no nonsense negotiations.  Should they be given the opportunity to vote to leave or told that the checks would stop and the chain link go up on the morrow? 

Too drastic for you?  We could take a page from the story of the American Indians.  They exist today on “reservations”.  Those reservations are semi-independent.  Some federal law applies but the local sheriff can’t go on the reservation to enforce it.  At one time if you saw a gambling casino in certain states you could assume it was standing on Indian land.  It didn’t matter if the state law declared gambling illegal, the Indians were outside the United States. 

Maybe we need to encourage business to relocate.  Why are banks in a place like Los Angeles?  Why are computer firms clustered around San Francisco.  If they want to stay, well and good but if we removed all the government subsidies they might be glad to move to Iowa.  We already see this happening on the state level as businesses flee California.  It would lower the costs of their production if their employees could buy a house for $200,000 rather than $450,000. 

I am sure there are other things that can be done but I would stipulate that it is time for cities to go.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Opus 2019-146: Expiration Dates, part 4 of 5

Historically cities were sources of great wealth.  Part of the reason was that walls kept the profits safe from marauding bandits.  Production was in the hands of the guilds, early forms of labor unions, and they congregated for mutual support and protection.  It was also possible for the local authorities to tax more effectively. 

As the world of industry and production developed, walls were not the key to cities.  Now it was factories and factories needed workers.  Thus you would have locations that had access to transportation, like rivers and harbors, and were where raw materials could be gathered.  Iron works would need coal and iron ore, a way to ship their products and the people to do the work.  This would require more people to build houses and run stores to supply the needs of the people.  It was not long before you had the beginnings of modern cities.  Men would leave the farms to get jobs in the factories.  By modern standards they lived in poor circumstances but for their times it was better than walking behind a plow or swinging a hoe.

We still have factories and production located centrally.  They generate a lot of wealth, employ a lot of people and pay a lot of taxes.  What also seems to take on a life of its own is a large group of people who are living on the edge.  Most scrape by and keep trying.  A growing percentage turn to crime.  Also down through history cities have spawned a welfare class.  Ancient Rome had to deal with the jobless masses.  It is where we get the term “bread and circuses”.  Today the welfare classes seem to be taking over the cities.  When was the last time you heard anyone who wanted to move to the parts of your local big city that are considered run down and dangerous?

With modern technology, transportation and communication it is no longer necessary for the cash cows of industry to stay in the city.  More and more are fleeing to greener pastures.  Some are driven out by taxes.  Some are forced to make decisions because of politics.  The basics are, they are closing up shop and leaving.  But the cities remain and those left behind tend to depend on the government to support them. 

Maybe it is time to have a serious discussion on this.  Maybe we have learned all that history can teach us from the lesson of cities. 

To be concluded...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Opus 2019-145: Expiration Dates, part 3 of 5

Historically cities were places where the non-elites were able to defy the elites.  Cities had walls.  Walls meant that people with limited training could stand up to the professional soldiers of the king and nobles.  It was hard for a knight covered with armor and riding a massive horse to take on a shopkeeper on top of a wall and armed with a crossbow.  If they had some food stored and a source of water they could often write their own ticket.

Cities were instrumental in building the idea of the nation state.  Historically the Roman Empire was replaced by strong local chiefs and tribal divisions that developed into the medieval feudal system.  A nobility developed based on who had the biggest muscles and the sharpest swords.  A social contract was developed in which the soldier class promised to provide protection while the farmers agreed to grow food.  It had many variations but it meant that a small elite began to run things.  When kings would come along they had to bargain with these nobles in order to get their cooperation.  Kings could only give orders to the soldiers from their personal lands.  Everyone else had the option of ignoring them.  Cities came into it because they bought charters from the king giving them the right to build their walls and thumb their noses at the local nobles.  Thus the common people would often develop more of a tie with the king than they had with the local castle. 

Eventually you had cities and the common people gaining enough wealth and power that democratic forms began to develop.  In England the king originally had a council of nobles to give him advice and approve taxes.  This lead to the breakthrough of the Magna Carta.  Eventually that became the House of Nobles.  In time the ordinary people got enough clout that there was a House of Commons.  The English Civil War gave the non-nobles real power. 

Powerful cities once stood for freedom from local lords.  In modern times they have become the local lords.  Maybe their power needs to be abridged.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Opus 2019-144: Expiration Dates, part 2 of 5

Cities are past their shelf life.  They claim to be rooted in history.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

We see cities embracing the idea of being sanctuaries.  This is not new.  Historically the idea of sanctuary cities has a place.  One place we see them is in the Bible where they are called “cities of refuge”.
(Num 35:11 KJV) Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.
It would be easy to misconstrue this as the same idea of modern sanctuary cities.  The modern idea is to defy law and allow law breakers permanent shielding from the consequences of their deliberate law breaking.  Not so in the Bible.  The cities were for a specific issue:  Manslaughter.  It did not apply to murder.  As the verse above and other verses verify, manslaughter was the unintended killing of another person.  And the refuge was not permanent.  It only applied until people calmed down and the case could be reviewed.  It was not defiance of law but a way to stop revenge killing.  It was pro justice and anti vengeance. 

The room used for worship in a church is often called the sanctuary.  It is rooted in this idea.  Historically people were considered safe from the law when they took refuge there.  The church was considered above the state and the civil authorities had no rights inside the church. 

So the modern degeneration called “sanctuary city” has nothing to do with the historical locations.  It is simply a move by the liberals in our society that think the law is for chumps, not the enlightened.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Opus 2019-143: Expiration Dates, part 1 of 5

I am beginning to think that cities have reached their expiration dates.  They seem to have become the lint traps of culture.  Perhaps a better picture might be sumps, as in sump pump.  Perhaps we might think of the settling tank on a septic system.  Perhaps we need to develop a system for putting the “best is used by” label on those signs that mark the city limits and give the population.

Cities once had a function.  They developed because there was a logical need.  When people only got around by walking it was often necessary for the baker to be close to the flower mill.  The blacksmith set up his home/forge by the inn so that his business could thrive.  Those horses changed things.  You now had problems with road apples and the need to clean them up.  It has been a competition between benefit and liability ever since.  I think we have tipped the balance.

What brings this to mind is Congressman Al Green repeatedly bringing articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives.  I am embarrassed to confess that Green is from Texas.  What caught my attention was that he was from Houston, a major city.  As I look at the list of government officials who seem to be out to destroy the liberty of Americans they seem to come from big cities.  Politicians from big cities seem to be into every form of bribing for votes that it is possible to imagine.  Big cities are bottomless pits of welfare spending and government subsidies.  They now have enough votes to enshrine the practice. 

We saw the break up of ATT.  People are concerned about Google and Amazon.  Maybe it is time to do the same to the cities.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Opus 2019-142: Headlines: Debt Crisis

I have seen a number of headlines lately about how Americans are in debt and their credit cards are going through the roof.  I don’t doubt it for a minute.  I have stood behind them in line.  I have seen then spend.  I have observed their choices.  I have been in restaurants where big families come in and buy things that I am not sure I can afford.  One of our big questions when we look around is, “How can they afford that?”

People as a general rule are in deep debt because their mantra is “I want!  I want!” and there are not adults in the room to tell them “No.” 

One illustration I can give from my world and I offer it as an example of subjective thinking.  There was an extended period where my wife felt she needed to go to McDonald’s in the morning for oatmeal.  The nearest McDonald’s is about 15 miles from our house.  In addition to that she needed to go to Sonic for an Iced Tea.  She had some physical issues and this was like magic snake oil to her.  She had to have it.  When you add up the cost of gas and food it was casting about $10 each morning.  I could make Quaker Apple/Cinnamon oatmeal at home for about 25 cents and tea for a few pennies more.  Somehow my oatmeal was not made from magic beans so it did not have the properties of the McDonald’s label.  I am not claiming bankruptcy.  We could afford it.  All I ask is that she not say it is cheaper. 

I am sure there are exceptions.  I believe there are people who have been frugal and thrifty and still can’t make it.  Emergencies can drain our resources.  Illness can keep us off our feet.  It happens, but it happens in the same sense that there are some children who need Ritalin and sometimes police do pull people over for no reason.  At some point in life you need to admit that you can feed a family of four at home for less than one person eating a meal at Red Robin.  It may be tuna casserole vs a gourmet burger but it is still reality.

Americans are facing a financial crisis but it is a crisis of poor stewardship.  Many are in so deep they don’t see any way out.  They have made choices.  They continue to make choices.  Nothing can be changed over night.  Nothing will change until wiser choices are made.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Opus 2019-141: Firsts: Coyotes

Now I know.  We have coyotes in Texas.  Not that I ever doubted it.  Coyotes are everywhere, so why not here.  I saw one out my window this week.

It makes me glad I don’t raise chickens.  My wife will worry about “her” roadrunners.  The feral cats have some competition.  Other than that it was just interesting to me.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Opus 2019-140: What Are You Missing?

I just finished assembling a purchase from IKEA.  I was successful.  At least I think I was successful.  I had one little part left over.  I hope it was an extra.  If it wasn’t, the item will still function as designed.  I hope.

I am a believer in following directions when I assemble a purchase.  Part of that is a lack of confidence in my ability to wing it.  Part is because I have a feeling that somewhere in the world is a person who knows more about this thing and has worked out the best way to do it right.  I realize there are certain things I could do in a different order.  I don’t think I needed to put the wheels on the bottom when they told me to.  I also believe that I could have left out one or two of the little dowels, like the one left over, and the chest would be strong enough to be useful. 

The big question is “How many dowels can I leave out?”  If I left them all out the chest would skew sideways and collapse.  I could see that, but if I left one out it would only take away one in four and three would probably hold it.  There are other parts that if I left them off the drawers would have had no chance of success.

Do you play those kind of games in life?  Most of us believe that if the speed limit is 55 we are safe going 60.  For us the question is “Will I get a ticket at 61?”  Are you feeling like living on the edge?  Drive 62 MPH. 

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Opus 2019-139: On the Street: Sun 1, Sprinkler 0

It is hot in Texas.  Okay, it is hot a lot of places.  It is called summer, or, if you are a liberal, climate change.  If it were a loaf of bread you would say it is browning up nicely.  One of the advantages of the seasonal system is that the grass has stopped growing, thus I don’t need to mow or feel guilty about not mowing.

I noticed as I have been out walking in the dawn’s early light that one of my neighbors has been using his sprinkler.  I notice this because I see it spewing water over his lawn.  What I don’t notice is that the grass is getting green.  In fact I can’t see any real difference between his yard and everyone else’s.  I think the sun is winning.  I would guess that the grass turning brown is a much a seasonal thing as a lack of water.

I will keep walking.  He may keep watering.  I know the sun will keep shining.  I expect to see green in a month or so.  More climate change.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Opus 2019-138: Trickle Down Violence

The reason that people like James Comey and Hillary Clinton need to go to jail is to stop violence.  My primary concern is not that law abiding citizens will storm the Bastille as much as borderline angry crowds will routinely become mobs.  Keep in mind that the reason most people slow down to the speed limit is when they are worried about getting a ticket.  It isn’t respect for the committee that decided they should drive 35 but fear of the red lights in their rear view mirror.  Take away the restraints and the red line is the limit.  You have all been passed by swarms of Indy wannabees that think there is safety in numbers.  The same applies to an orderly society.

Currently the people on the street think there are no consequences for their violence.  If they think there is a possibility then they look at the odds and the possible rewards and make a choice.  Keep in mind these are the people who spend their children’s milk money on the lottery.  All they need is a strong feeling that there are no consequences and every excuse turns into loot and burn.  More and more they feel there is no law to restrain them and it seems that they are right.

If we don’t change the way we deal with law breakers it will get worse.

The answer to fascist violence on the streets is the rule of law not the rule of the gun.  If one is not implemented the other will be to the detriment of all and the end of liberty.  The Nazis of Germany filled the streets with violence after disarming the population and their version of the rule of laws was tyranny and oppression.  That route did not work out well.  We are still armed. 

If the courts do not do their job and law abiding citizens are forced to take to the streets and start shooting back then the elites will have won.  It will lead to civil war, revolution and anarchy.  History does not give a lot of hope for that kind of action.  They may not survive the violence but they will have brought down the “City on the Hill”.  Most follow the path of France not America.  Most lead to a Reign of Terror not a Constitution.  Most have a symbol like the guillotine not a Bill of Rights. 

Enforce the law.  Arrest them.  Indict them.  Try them.  Punish them to the full extent of the law.  Let the rule of law be our guide.  Don’t forget this applies to elected officials, appointed bureaucrats and self appointed demagogs.  They should be the first to be judged by the law.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Opus 2019-137: Headlines: Focus, People

Don’t get distracted by the well timed shootings in Texas and Colorado.  The real danger is still in Washington, D.C. and in the offices of the socialist cabal that is trying to destroy our republic. 

You may have seen the prophecies in the memes.  The forecast was that the Deep State operatives would soon be deploying some mayhem to get the attention off of the criminals who have been trying to bring down a lawfully elected president and continue their reign of power.  They have delivered on time.  There will probably be more.

I am concerned for the people killed and lives destroyed.  I feel for them and their families.  I am more concerned about the future of the world if these criminals are not dealt with under the rule of law.  The dots will never be connected in these shootings.  I am sure that the central forces that relish this kind of thing are well hidden and have covered their tracks.  Let the murders be put on trial and punished according to the rule of law.  While that is going on, don’t forget that the anti-American left is out to turn us into a bigger version of Venezuela. 

Don’t panic.  Don’t rush out and buy more guns.  Focus.  Hold feet to the fire.  We need to see that the head of the hydra is dealt with.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Opus 2019-136: Humor Based on Wishes

Every once in awhile I see humorous posters referring to the dietary laws of Islam.  They go along the path that you can screen out terrorist in a group by requiring everyone to eat a ham sandwich.  This comes from a limited awareness of the Koran.  It does say that faithful Muslims should not eat pork.
173a.  But that which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and that over which any other name than that of God hath been invoked, is forbidden you.
But it does not stop there.  The Koran continues with an escape clause.
173b.  But he who shall partake of them by constraint, without lust or wilfulness, no sin shall be upon him. Verily God is Indulgent, Merciful.
Your little test will not work.  In that situation they might even ask for seconds.  And of course you remember when the Gitmo internees were complaining about the food.  It didn’t need to be halal. 

All Koran quotes are from the translation by Rev. J.M. Rodwell, M.A. provided by the Gutenberg Project.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Opus 2019-135: Window Hunting

Our cat is a mighty hunter, at least in her own eyes.

She goes after scorpions.  She follows them across the rug and will act like a pointer when she sees them on the wall.  She finessed a snake and a lizard into the house right past my wife.  Yes they were tiny but they were real.   Evidently she will attack a pillow. 

Now she is hunting birds.  The problem is that she is hunting them from the inside of a window that she has no way of opening.  Her tail is twitching.  Her haunches are all over the sill.  Her fangs are showing.  And the birds are perfectly safe.  In fact they are flying loops past the window as if they know they are driving her crazy.

It made me think of us common citizens.  We think we are mighty patriots.  We have voted and written letters and maybe even canvassed neighborhoods.  And we sit at our keyboards posting and seething while the politicians fly loops past our collective noses.  We watch the circus going on in Washington, drooling in anticipation of the powerful meeting a jury that is not impressed with their schemes.  We all have lists of names.  We know there is evidence.  They are guilty.  They are also still free.  And they keep writing books and going on TV to flaunt their privilege. 

I am not sure how we can get outside the window and actually bring some of these birds down.  I am still rejecting violence.  Aside from the moral question of becoming judge and jury and the historic precedent of vigilante justice going amok, there is the reality we go to jail for things that get them book deals.  I can boycott Nike and Dicks but the left would love me to boycott elections and the political process.

Somehow we need to find more bang for our buck.  Meanwhile 2020 is coming and we have to hope that elections matter.  Vote the suckers out.  And will the last American out of California bring the flag.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Opus 2019-134: Want a Ride?

Trigger Warning:  Theology ahead.

Protestant Christianity is full of divisions.  Actually, so it the Roman Catholic Church but we tend to ignore them.  One of the big divisions in the Protestant world is between Calvinists and Arminians.  Calvinism is focused on the sovereignty of God and looks at everything through that lense.  In practical terms it rejects the idea of free will.  Calvinists reject that simplification, but then they have to say that.  Arminians accept God’s sovereignty but believe that He has given human beings free will as part of the package of being created in the image of God.  Both of these are generalizations and have adherents in every nook and cranny of the theories.

Most of us are not formal theologians although even in denying it we are taking a theological stand.  It is kind of like philosophy.  Few claim to be philosophers but all have a philosophy.  For the common thinkers of the world I offer a simple analogy.  The Calvinist views life as a roller coaster.  The Arminian thinks more in terms of bumper cars.

If you don’t get it or forgot about amusement parks then go take a look.  The roller coaster only gives you a choice of front, middle or back.  Once you get on you can’t get off until the end of the ride.  The track is set and there will be no variation.  There will be times when you think you are going to die but if the engineers have done their safety checks you are on for the duration.  You will be delivered no matter what you do.

Bumper cars are an entirely different proposition.  You get to pick your car.  It sits there doing nothing because you really can’t supply it with power but when the power comes the hunk of metal is transformed into a wild ride.  You can start and stop.  You can go right or left.  Most people feel they are on for the entire ride but you can stop, pull over to the side or even get out and try to make a run for it at any time.  The power is there and the controls are in your hands.  Most people who are willing to get on make it to the end.

If you don’t like that explanation then make up your own.

homo unius libri