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, March 31, 2022

Opus 2022-115: Book Review: Is Atheism Dead?

I just finished reading Is Atheism Dead? by Eric Metaxas.  I would recommend it for most readers.

The general hypothesis that he is presenting is that honest inquiry has all been pointing toward the existence of God and away from materialistic atheism.  He addresses this in three areas.  First, he looks at the scientific research of the last 50 years.  Second, he looks at archeology.  Third, he gets into the logic and philosophy of science.

The science section is powerful.  If you are not familiar with the Fine Tuning of the Universe, this is a very important read for you.  What he says is not really new.  I have been coming across bits and pieces of this for years.  I read The Fingerprint of God written by Hugh Ross in 1989.  He comes at it from the point of view of an astronomer and astrophysicist.  

I think the next point I hit was Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary by Ben Stein in 2008. The high point in that was when he had a live interview with Richard Dawkins and all he could come up with for the cause of intelligent life was “crystals”.  

Then about ten years ago I was listening to the podcasts of William Lane Craig as I walked.  He talked about the fine tuning of the universe.  In one lecture he said science was showing that the entire universe seemed to be put together to make advanced life possible on earth.  He said there might be some kind of very low life somewhere but nothing intelligent.  At Reasonable Faith it says there are 290 results for a search on the topic.  I am not going to wade through them to find what I listened to.

After science Metaxas reviews the discoveries of archeology.  Some I had heard before but the discovery of the actual location of Sodom was the most interesting.  By using what the Bible said a modern archeologist changed the entire search parameters and found an actual, undisturbed site that had all the characteristics of a cataclysmic destruction.  This has happened frequently as archeologists get serious.

The most surprising bit of information for me was the statement that “scholars” questioned the existence of King David.  It started with a discovery.

“Three years later it happened again.  Another Times article, this one on the front page, said Israeli archaeologists had discovered a stele bearing the first reference outside the Bible to King David and the dynasty he founded, ‘the House of David.’”
Then the statement that I was not expecting.
“But the discovery of archaeological evidence for the Bible’s King David was genuinely earth-shaking news, since many scholars thought King David was a mythical figure like King Arthur.” p. 121
I had not been aware that there were people so full of hate for the Bible that they rejected the existence of David.  Keep in mind that such a view also would negate Solomon and all the the Bible verses talking about the line of David.  It would be important to make David a myth if you wanted to make Jesus a myth.  Score one for the Bible

The last section dealt with the logic and use of reason in science and how it also reinforces the rejection of atheistic materialism.  One of the big arguments of anti-God scientists is that religion is not based on reasoning and facts but on faith.  By some twisted rational they assert that the two cannot go together.  He then proceeds to look at things like atomic theory that largely developed on nothing but guess work and imagination.  Towards the end he deals with some of the distortions of history about Galileo and Copernicus being at war with the church.  A must read is the chapter entitled “Christianity Begat Science.”  It is an point that has been around for a good while but you may not have come across it.

If I have a problem with this book it is the absence of an index.  Metaxas does footnote, which is helpful but if I am going to use this as a resource I want to be able to find specific topics.  I read a library copy but I think there is enough detail in it that I will buy a copy for reference.  It brings a lot together in an easy to read style.

Metaxas, Eric.  Is Atheism Dead?.  Washington, D.C.:  Salem Books, 2021.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Opus 2022-114: Headlines: We May Be Forced to Cancel Easter

Just when you think things can get no worse you see a headline like the one at The Daily Wire:

“Easter Is The Latest Holiday Hit By Inflation; Candy Prices Surge, Supply Shortages Abound”
On the positive side it may save the lives of a few chicks and keep the blood sugar down on a lot of Americans.  I consider it my patriotic duty to not buy any chocolate bunnies.  I will leave them for the needy.  It does make you wonder what the disciples would have done two thousand years ago if they had been faced with a lack of colored eggs.

It is a good thing that the resurrection is not influenced the same way as Easter.  Jesus coming out of the grave on the third day is what we celebrate.  I invite you to celebrate also, no extra charge and no shortage of forgiveness.

Full disclosure:  I didn’t read the article and don’t expect you to either.

He is Risen.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-113: Headlines: So Many Potential Causes

So many questions as another relatively young person dies.  The article in The Gateway Pundit says her name is Dr. Cat Pause’.  

“New Zealand: Massey University’s Queer Fat Studies Lecturer and ‘Fatlicious Feminist’ Dies Suddenly in Her Sleep at 42"
The article says nothing anywhere about the cause of death.  Based on the picture it could have been caused by complications of obesity.  Based on my litmus test I would also assume that she is one of those who was fully vaccinated so we have another possible cause.  We will probably never know more as a general population because for most of us Dr. Pause’ is far off our radar.

I am always a bit amused at some people who call themselves Doctor.  Think of the president’s wife.  Many people think she is an MD and I think she encourages that.  What most people don’t know is that there a a level of doctoral degrees that are far below MD and Ph.D.  Many people even have honorary doctorates that reflect no necessary qualification other than friends in the academic community.  When we consider Dr. Pause’ and her area of expertise, I have questions.
“Cat Pause,  an academic whose research explored the impacts of “fat stigma”, has died.”
Based on the title of the article it wasn’t just “fat stigma” but “Queer fat stigma.”  

42 is too young to die.  Early death is not a surprise though.  Young people tend to think they are immortal.  They get on motorcycles and skateboards and assume the laws of physics don’t apply to them.  They take drugs and drink themselves into a stupor and assume they will be the exceptions.  Or take this young academic who ate herself into extreme obesity and then climbed to the top of the mountain to scream, “Fat is beautiful!”  All very romantic but then she fell off the mountain.  I am not qualified to comment on the aesthetic aspects of obesity.  As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  All that being said, you can’t ignore the science.  Obesity kills.  I believe it was the leading cause of deaths that were attributed to the recent Covid virus.  I know it is well documented that it leads to other life threatening conditions.  It is one thing to advocate a high protein diet.  It is another thing to ignore what you know to be true.

Being paid tax dollars to teach what she was teaching was an even greater travesty.  How many other young people will die because they listened to her personal hangups.  Maybe it is time to shut down our universities or at least the departments that have the word “studies” in their title.

Who knows, it might save lives.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 28, 2022

Opus 2022-112: Headlines: Approval Ratings

I keep seeing click bait that talks about President Biden’s low approval ratings.  I don’t pay much attention but I think the 34% I saw today was the lowest I have noticed.  My question is, “Who are these 34% and what are they smoking?”  Where is Romney’s 47% when you need them?

This is not original with me.  I have been asking it a long time but I have also noticed it coming up in various memes.  

Assume that it is an accurate number.  Just what has he done, other than registering as a Democrat that could get their approval?  I imagine there might be some little thing but I can’t remember it because the total dedication to destroying America drowns it all out.

I also get introspective.  Am I guilty of this same blindness is areas of my life?  I am sure that is true but I have a hard time believing my ignorance could be this all embracing.  Maybe he feels the same way but I am not telling the world to take out Putin.

I pray that we can make it to January without war internationally or insurrection domestically.  It isn’t enough to make it to November and win elections.  We then have to wait until the new congress is inaugurated.  Keep in mind the Triple Flush we are facing.  If Biden is replaced it will be with Harris.  If Harris is replaced it will be with Pelosi.  In the wings we have this new nominee for the Supreme Court who doesn’t seem to know what a woman is and thinks child porn is cool.  It is a good thing we are not playing baseball.  We need more than three strikes.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Opus 2022-111: The Right Combination

I am not a fan of the change back and forth of an hour.  I am a fan of the longer days.  It isn’t that I don’t like evening and night.  What I am looking forward to is the time when the mornings are warm enough for me to sit on the front porch with my coffee and guitar and watch the sun rise.  Some are mediocre.  Others are awesome.

Right now there are some days when the porch is great in the middle of the day and evening but morning is still too cold to enjoy.  Of course the days will eventually come when it is too hot to sit outside even before the sun comes up.  I treasure the days that put it all together.

Enjoy spring, it won’t be around very long.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-110: Critical Mass: Sodom Quotient

Recently I read in an Eric Metaxas’ book about the real location of Sodom being found.  Part of the description dealt with conditions that would be created by something like a nuclear explosion.  That got me to thinking about our country.

Every time I think of Sodom being destroyed I think about the conditions that caused it.  One of the most blatant was sexual sin, specifically homosexuality.  I then think about how the city would have been spared if Abraham could have produced a few righteous individuals in the city.  I think it would only have required ten out of a city that could have been over 100,000.

I then start thinking about conditions in the United States.  I am reminded of the words of Ruth Graham in 1965,

"If God doesn't soon bring judgment upon America, He'll have to go back and apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!"
That was in 1965.  The top TV program in 1965 was Bonanza.  You had Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith and even Lassie was still on.  Donna Reed still had a year to go.  And Ruth Graham thought we were decadent then.  Now we have homosexuality and all the variants being taught in our grade schools.  We have a man dressed like a woman on the staff of our national government.  We have child pornography as a thriving business and people calling for the repeal of the age of consent.  I am sure you could go on.  You live here too.

The United States is not Israel.  We are not God’s chosen people.  Yet we have been blessed for two centuries.  I have a feeling that blessing is coming to an end.  If Abraham were talking to God about us today I wonder what the number would need to be to keep destruction away.

Keep in mind that we don’t need everyone to live a righteous life, just enough.

Be salt.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Opus 2022-109: Headlines: White House Trumps Biden

I don’t know about you but I find this scary.  According to the Gateway Pundit, Joe Biden told troops they were going to Ukraine and “the White House” refuted that statement.  It is scary enough that we would be considering sending troops into a conflict that does not concern us.  What is really terrifying is that a spokesman for the White House says it ain’t so.  

Who is running this country?  It would be funny if it were just the department of education tripping over its own feet but we are talking about the leader of the free world being corrected by a flunky.  Are people in the military bound by the Constitution to obey the orders of a “White House Spokes ‘person’?”  

There are times when I am glad I am prayed up and don’t have any family members of draft age.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-108: Basic Beliefs II: The Foundation, part 4 of 4

There are also differences in the nuances of inspiration.  Christians will say the Bible is infallible but will parse that different ways.  The key factor is that it is trustworthy in communicating what God wants us to know about Him and salvation.  Two people will look at something like the Parable of the Prodigal Son and get totally different understanding.  Some will focus on the prodigal, others the older brother.  Many say the father is the center of the story.  Others will feel it makes a difference whether it is a story made up by Jesus to make a point or it actually happened as written.  

I for one prefer the New American Standard Bible.  I do so for several reasons.  First, it is a word for word translation.  The priority is on accuracy at the cost of simplicity.  When I am feeling really testy I will ask who these people are that can correct what God gave us.  Second, it has the best tools for understanding the original languages behind the text.  It uses the Strong’s Numbering System that means anyone can access the Greek and Hebrew.  Third, I have 40 years invested in it and am not looking for something new.  The last is probably the reason I don’t look into some of the newer efforts.

Even with all this there is plenty left unsaid, but Christians look to the Bible as their source of information in spiritual matters.  Ultimately it is the only authoritative source.  

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-107: Basic Beliefs II: The Foundation, part 3 of 4

There are three main reasons for different Bible translations.  The first is having translators that want to put their cultist spin on the book.  You see this in the translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the verse I quoted in a previous post.  Christians translate I John 1:1 “and the Word was God.”  They say, “and the word was a god.”  One problem with that is the Greek has no indefinite pronoun “a”.  These groups, who are not Christian even though they often act like it, have a belief system that is developed outside the Bible and they are then trying to pervert that book to back up what they say.  Their translations are a waste of time for Christians.

A second reason for different translations is that there are two major groupings of manuscripts.  One group has the most pieces containing writing and is thus called The Majority Text.  These range from just a few lines up to entire books.  The other collection is smaller in number but supporters claim to be generally older.  The Majority Text was used in the King James Version.  As far as I know it is the only one that is based on that grouping today.  Most modern translations also consult the older samples.  Even the New King James fits into the second group according to a friend I have who is a “King James Only” person.  Opinions can get really strong and I am not going to wade into that now.

The third reason is different philosophies of translation.  One method is word-for-word, or as close as can be done (KJV, NASB, RSV).  A second approach is sometimes called dynamic equivalence.  This tries to take the ideas of a passage and put them together in a more modern way (NIV, GNB, The Message).  A third is to simply try to paraphrase with the emphasis on simple vocabulary and contemporary phrases (Living Bible, Cotton Patch Version).

To be concluded...

homo unius libri

Friday, March 25, 2022

Opus 2022-106: Basic Beliefs II: The Foundation, part 2 of 4

Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  As I said, the word “inspired” means literally “God breathed”.  The idea is that the Holy Spirit breathed truth into the words.  We don’t know how this was done but we believe God was the guiding hand.  Those who say this are usually referring to the original writings, called autographs.  To be honest, we do not have any of the autographs today.  What we have are copies of copies of copies....  One of the reasons we have different translations of the Bible today is because scholars disagree on how to get to the most accurate understanding of what the originals said.  More on that in the next post.

As you would expect of a document being copied by hand over centuries, the manuscripts we have today have thousands of differences.  Most of them are minor things like misspelling or using the wrong word.  (As an example I just saw that I had “our” instead of “or” and this is possibly the fourth time I have gone over this.)  Misspellings are easy to see if you know how to spell.  I find that even with built-in spell check they get past me after several edits.  As for the wrong word, think in terms of their, there and they’re.  In context this kind of error is easy to spot.  As I understand it there are no differences that call into question any historic doctrine.  Honest scholarship presents no problems but when you have someone who rejects the idea that the Bible is inspired, then the field is wide open for nonsense.  It is like arguing with a cat about how wonderful dogs are.

The problem with the differences is not the differences.  It isn’t the existence of people of other religions writing about the Bible.  If a Hindu is trying to explain what the Bible means then I will listen and keep in mind where he is coming from.  He is probably being honest.  I am not afraid of that because I am not afraid of truth and seeking it.  When the scholar rejects all the major teachings of the Bible yet is trying to act like he is seeking truth as a Christian, we have a problem.

Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God.  If you don’t believe that then where would you get any idea of what a Christian is?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-105: Basic Beliefs II: The Foundation, part 1 of 4

Where do you start when you talk about what Christians believe?  I suggest that a good place to start is where we get all of the ideas we believe in, the Bible.  

Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God, the written word, not the Word of John 1:1.   

(Joh 1:1 KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
That is a theological statement about Jesus.  I will get to that eventually but for starters we need to look at the basic reference work itself.  The Bible is like no other book in the world.  It is like no other book in the Christians library.  It is the place where everything must start.  It is not enough to say that it contains the word.  We believe that it is the word.  Many books are inspiring but the Bible is inspired.  The key word is used one place in the Bible.
(2Ti 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The Greek phrase is a bit deeper than the English word “inspired”.  It is a compound Greek word which literally means “God breathed.”  Anything less is just human.  It is an important distinction.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-104: Basic Beliefs II: Introduction

It is time to revisit the topic of Basic Beliefs.

My mind was turned this way as I was in a time of thanksgiving.  I was thinking about my heritage and my grandmother.  How would I label her?  Labels have their uses when they are accurate but we have seen so much of the deconstruction philosophy at work that words are hard to pin down.  She was a Southern California based Democrat out of Texas.  That sounds like a shaky heritage.  It shows how things have changed.  There was a time I would have called her an Evangelical but that has been watered down to being almost meaningless.  I would have said she was born again but I have heard used car salesmen use that term about the jalopies they wanted to sell.  You see the problem.  

She was a person of basic Christian beliefs.  I wrote a series about this starting on December 10, 2010 and ending August 21, 2016.  If you are bored enough you can take a look at them.  I have decided that I am not going to do so until after I have written again, if even then.  If I repeat myself it is because there are certain things that need repeating.  If I take a different approach then I can live with that.  Last time I used the Articles of Faith of my denomination as a framework.  That was valid because I agreed, and still agree, with those Articles, but this time I am going to set my own order.  I may eventually check to see if I missed anything but I don’t see that happening soon.

I would hope that most believers would agree with me, at least as we begin.  I will try to focus on the things we believe that bind us together as genuine Christians.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Opus 2022-103: Who Wagged the Dog?

I keep getting the question, “What do you think about the Ukraine situation?”

I guess the best response I could give is that anything I say needs to be considered Fake News.

Really.  I am not sure that we can know anything about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  Having seen the movie “Wag the Dog” I am not even sure there is a conflict going on.  I would say that we obviously can’t trust the left or the MSM but since they seem to be on both sides of the issue that causes a problem.  Is Putin suddenly a good guy trying to bring down the Deep State or is he trying to position himself in charge of the One World Government?  Is Zelenskyy the hero of the hour or a Fascist thug?  

I used to have what I could call The CTA Standard.  When we had an election I would wait with anticipation the recommendations of the California Teachers’ Association.  I would then vote exactly opposite of their choices.  It worked well.  If we use that standard here we find that George Soros, Mitt Romney and assorted others are backing Zelenskyy.  But then we have Iran and China making deals with Russia.  Life is hard.

Two things are definite.  Wait.  Pray.  When it comes down to it we as individuals are lacking in influence beyond spitting distance.  Look to the principles we live by and act on them.  That will mean voting for the people who are closest to non-crooked.  It will mean speaking up for what is right when no one else will stand and speaking even louder if someone else has stuck their neck out for righteousness.

Blessings.  See you down the road.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Opus 2022-102: Wildflower Watch: Blue Is Back

The first bluebonnets are appearing in our yard.  I have not noticed them along the road but I have not been out much lately.

We used to sing a song in elementary school, join in children,

“Spring is here,” said the bumble bee.
“How do you know?” said the old oak tree.
“I just saw a daffodil,
Dancing with a fairy on a windy hill.”
I haven’t seen any daffodils and the fairies that escaped from California are mostly in Austin but seeing the bluebells had me check and, yes, we are now in spring.  That means we are entering wildflower season.

They tell me the lack of rain may cut down on the numbers but there will still be some to enjoy.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Opus 2022-101: Cultural Contrasts

Let’s talk about the Holocaust a bit.  To start with you need to understand that a growing segment of the American population either does not know what it was or considers it nothing but Jewish propaganda.  Both of those states of ignorance can be attributed to the Progressives* who control education and the media.  

What we don’t understand is that looking at events like the Holocaust without freaking out is much more typical of history than we understand.  The world population was about 2 billion in 1939.  Depending on whom you asked, between 62 and 78 million people died in World War II.  6 million is the number I have always heard about the Jewish deaths.  While it is significant, it is still only a fraction of the total.  The estimate for world population in 70 AD that I found was 256 million.  According to Josephus, a contemporary historian, the Romans killed 1.1 million Jews when they destroyed Jerusalem in that year.  Historically slaughter and destruction were a common part of life and everyone participated.  

Western culture only looks at things like the Holocaust with horror because we have been insulated by our Christian culture.  What Hitler did has been the norm for civilizations throughout history.  It is not the norm for Christendom.  The Jews who survived the slaughter in 70 AD were sold into slavery.  Compare that to the end of World War II and the occupation of Germany and Japan.  Instead of slaughter the question was, “How do we feed all these people?”  And the question that began to emerge was, “How can we rebuild them?”

One of the concerns we should have is that the world leaders are now rejecting the moderating influence of Christianity.  Paganism is back in style.  You can see the difference locally between the “mostly peaceful” destruction of cities by the BLM and Antifa compared to the violent attempt to destroy democracy with misdemeanor trespass by the January 6 insurrectionists.  

If you are a Christian, start speaking up.  If you are not a believer then you need to start asking yourself which set of values you think should predominate in our country.

*(Liberals, educators, the media, socialists, communists, crony capitalists, elites, Rinos, Democrats, leftists, Never Trumpers, Antifa, BLM, MSM, Deep State, etc.  Synonym for swamp dwellers)

homo unius libri

Monday, March 21, 2022

Opus 2022-100: Cycles

Too many people today are living on the equity of their ancestors.  I would think this is mainly those from working age to mid-life crisis.  Before they go to work, children are in the growth bubble.  They are nurtured and spoon fed to a certain degree.  How this nurturing is done will determine their ability to face the real world when they leave the nest.  The mid-life crisis forces the older group to take a more serious look at the time they have left.

I am reflecting mainly on the children of friends and acquaintances.  My own children are of course Lake Wobegon children, above average.  They look at the world without rose colored glasses.  It is the other “children” I worry about.  The ones I am thinking about have jobs that pay well.  They are not suffering.  They are definitely not going without.  At the same time they seem to think that the party will go on forever.  

When you think about it, my generation is much the same.  I grew up in the Leave It to Beaver years.  I am not criticizing the show.  That was the way my world was.  My family was blue collar but worked hard and kept their head above water.  My three brothers and I never went hungry and always had patches to put on the knees of our non-Levi’s.  I don’t think any of my brothers ever saved a dime.  It was a time of plenty, why would you need to have a nest-egg?

The lock-downs and government tyranny of the Covid manipulation have made some people wake up but the handouts and free money kept the party going for many.  My fear is, as the man said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”  Gas is getting close to double what it was a year ago.  The groceries I buy and thus know the price of are creeping up every time I go to the store.  I am not hearing about a parallel track on my income sources.  I don’t know what people are going to do who have their credit cards to the hilt and are still renting.

The economy goes in cycles.  We are in a down time.  Let us hope that our children make it through and the only scars they have are the ones that taught them to watch their pennies.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 18, 2022

Opus 2022-099: Headlines: Where We Can Get the News

It was a meme.  It was supposed to be a joke.  It is the kind of thing that gives us the real news.

I was scrolling through the memes at Mostly Cajun and came across one that listed speakers at a May conference at the Vatican.  The topic was supposed to health and the soul.  Check out these names that the Vatican thinks have important things to say,

Chelsea Clinton
Anthony Fauci
Deepak Chopra (popular Hindu and New Age guru)
CEO’s of Moderna and Pfizer

I found myself wondering if this was some kind of Fake News from the right.  So I did an internet search and found that it was totally accurate according to the Catholic News Agency.

As for the themes, it had this to say,

“In his remarks at the start of the conference on May 6, Pontifical Council president Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said that the conference was organized around three themes, which he described as three stars that light up the sky: the body, the soul, and the mind.”
I have a few friends who are devout Catholics.  In case you don’t know any you need to understand that people who are serious about their Catholic faith are as concerned about the leadership and direction of the Catholic church as patriotic Americans are about America.

The rumor is that Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin and Idi Amin were not available for a May conference.

Will this insanity never stop?

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Opus 2022-098: A Good, Flawed Idea

I recently finished Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.  About the same time I was watching a video from Prager U with Dennis in discussion with Jordan Peterson.  It was a good combination but I always get a little testy in the way some people interpret the Bible and theology.

The topic came up involving Adam and Eve and the Fall.  Christian Theology teaches sin entered the world at that point and refers to Jesus as the Second Adam because He had victory over sin.  Then they started waxing philosophical.  I can’t remember which one brought up the idea but they agreed that sin did not come from eating the apple.  They claimed that sin already existed in Adam and Eve or they would not have had the ability to disobey God.  

This is the kind of topic I would really enjoy examining over dinner or coffee.  It is not something that can be resolved by two people who are not a part of the Christian family.  They have a point but they miss the point.  One of the aspects of being created in the image of God is the idea of free will.  If you have free will you have the ability to disobey God, to sin.  If you do not have a real choice then you cannot exercise free will.  When I go to a Mexican restaurant I usually don’t have to decide if I am going to over indulge in Cheez-Its.  It isn’t a choice.  Not pigging out on Cheez-Its is not a matter of free will.  There is a difference between ability to sin and the act.  Sin did not become a reality until the action gave birth to it just as I don’t gain weight until I eat those delightful little crackers.

I like both Peterson and Prager.  Both are men of great depth but I have the feeling they can have conversations with normal people like myself without being patronizing or insulting.  I will continue to explore what they have to say but I will continue to refuse to accept what they say as the final word.

That comes from the Bible.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-097: Thanks Thoughts: Aaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhhh!

If you are old enough you might remember the BC comic strip.  I don’t know if it is still out there.  One of the personalities involved was Willie.  Willie had an aversion to water.  When he came in contact with water he would go streaking across the landscape yelling something like, “Aaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhhh!”.  That is a paraphrase.  I found myself saying the same thing this morning.  His was panic.  Mine was joy.

In my Worship of Thanks I was thinking about salvation and Jesus dying on the cross for my sins.  I was saying, “Thank You, Jesus.”  I was struck by how lame that was.  My thoughts went back to Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ and a few moments of thinking about what the Spotless Lamb of God went through for me was enough to convict me of my shallow conception.  So I said to myself, “Aaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhhh!”

Good Friday is coming.  Soon after we will celebrate the resurrection.  There is much to be thankful for.


homo unius libri

Monday, March 14, 2022

Opus 2022-096: Say That Again

In the third lecture of his Biblical Series Jordan Peterson talks about the necessity of a body and how the lack held back AI development.

“One of the primary reasons that we still don't really have autonomous robots—although, we’re a lot closer to it than we were in the 1960s—is because it turned out that you actually have to have a body before you can think.”
This came to mind as I was looking to throw out some old magazines.  I had looked through them but only read a few articles.  It seemed a waste.  But is it?

I like getting physical magazines.  I like physical books.  I can read on line and the Kindle but it just isn’t the same.  I had not read all of the magazines I received but if it were on line the chances are I would have never even looked at it.  Does this relate to what Peterson was saying?

That makes me wonder how much thinking can be done when the source of information is digital.  How much real contemplation can you invest in a medium that could be altered at any time without notice.  I have posts that I make based on the book of Proverbs.  I write them as part of an ongoing commentary I keep on the book and what I put on line is shown in a different font and a date posted.  Every once in awhile I come across a bit of poor grammar or wrong choice of word and I change it in my files.  It is easy.

Have you ever been in a conversation and you quote something the other person said and their response is either, “I  never said that” or “That is not the word I used”?  Generally you do not have a recording of the conversation but you remember it well.  How do you discuss important issues with people who keep editing their memory?

I think traditional print sources are important.  Word processors are convenient but I still find it helpful to print things out for reference.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Opus 2022-095: 613

Have you heard about the 613 Commandments?  Most have heard of the Ten but not the expanded version.  I first heard about them a few years ago after I had graduated from college and seminary, pastored full time for 10 years and part time for 7, raised a family and taught school for 20 years.  Now I am hearing about them more and more.

It is a bit of nonsense perpetuated by people who have too much time on their hands.  To be fair the list comes from Jewish scholars studying the Babylonian Talmud.  The idea is almost 2,000 years old.  It is still nonsense.

Let me give you a couple of examples.  I have a list of the first 86.  In one section it is talking about missionaries who try to convert people to idol worship.  Law 37 says, “Not to love the missionary” and 38, “Not to cease hating the missionary.”  Number 47 says “not to perform ov” which is defined as a medium and 64 says, “Not to attempt to contact the dead.”  There is a difference?  Earlier number 13 says “To love Jews” and then 15 says “Not to hate fellow Jews.”

I may be nit picking but I think a lot of this big number is for theatrical effect rather than teaching truth.  I think that most of the 613 are so obvious that if they had been shared with Abraham, who lived long before the law was given, he would have said, “Well, duh.”  Others would make him wonder what you had been smoking.  The law exists.  For the most part it contains serious moral standards, health advice and guidelines for civil society.  We don’t need to add anything that we think will make it sound impossible to live righteous lives.  

Maybe I am the one who has too much time on my hands.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Opus 2022-094: Ode to Old: Tickling Cure

The old age word for the day is “flaccid”.   I am not addressing what might come to your mind.  I am concerned about the mind it comes to.  I am worried about a flaccid mind.

One of the dangers of old age is a mind that has lost its edge.  Many worry about such things as dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss.  We have all seen it in family and friends.  I see it in others when they repeat the same question in a conversation or tell the same stories over and over again.  Every time I have a hard time remembering a word I start to wonder if it is just a word.  Have I told this story before?  Was it in this conversation?

I wonder how much of the decline can be held at bay.  I remember reading somewhere that learning new skills can keep your mind active.  It is very easy to not put in the effort.  I sometimes think that writing these posts is one of the ways I try to keep my brain alive.  Something else I have thought of trying is not telling stories of things that happened more than a day earlier.  

For me the biggest danger is living in a daydream, putting my mind in neutral.  I don’t mean naps but flaccid fantasy that robs the mind of vigor.  I can sit and drift off on a moment’s notice.  I can rework the past and create all kinds of futures.  A little probably doesn’t hurt but it is easy to get preoccupied.

I guess this is where grandchildren come in.  It is hard to daydream when you are tickling a two year old.  Maybe I have a few years left in me yet.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 11, 2022

Opus 2022-093: Should-a-Beens: Biden in History

Where would we be today if Joe Biden had been president in 1939?  As low as my opinion is of FDR, he had the leadership to move the country forward to confront the Germans and Japanese.  

There were similarities.  Both men had administrations that were totally infiltrated by the forces of communism.  Both were totally blind to that threat.  Both had control issues.  The difference is that Roosevelt moved the country toward confronting the threats while Joe seems to just want more ice cream.

What is strange is that Biden, in his incompetence, seems to be succeeding in bring down America where Roosevelt just made us stronger.  The difference may be that the citizens have lost the sense of what it is to be American.  

We can’t blame it all on our leaders.

Speak up and take a stand if you have an opportunity.  Time is running out.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Opus 2022-092: Inscrutable Verbosity

There is a point where philosophy becomes nonsense and needs to be called something else, maybe sophistology or erosophy.  The word means love of wisdom and wisdom becomes anything but when it is obscured by inscrutable vocabulary.

In first year Greek we started translating from John.  Usually the words themselves are within the range of the average understanding.  The problem in clear translation is often not ability but willingness.  In fact the New Testament was written, not in classical Greek but in koine Greek.  This was the language actually used by the people who wanted to communicate and not just sound educated.  

I guess this is a problem not just for philosophy but for most academic fields.  I know that educators are specialists in coming up with jargon.  They would often take common words and put nonsense meanings to them.  Our “opportunity room” was what common people would call detention.  Common Core was really something with no core.  I sometimes get fed up with doctors who like to use their Latin instead of English.  Or take their abuse of the English.  A compound fracture is really a broken bone sticking out through the skin.  

There are times to use technical language if you are trying to be accurate.  Many people may not know that imbecile, moron and idiot are actually words from IQ testing and have specific IQ’s associated with each one.  Too often big words are just used to obfuscate.  That’s okay, I had to look it up myself.

Don’t fall into the trap.  Speak clearly, but speak.  We need to call evil, evil and tyranny, tyranny.  We are running out of time.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 7, 2022

Opus 2022-091: All’s Fair in Love and War

War is dangerous.  That is obvious in the obvious way but what we don’t think about is how people in power tend to abuse the good will of the population they are supposed to be serving.  

A lot of things change on the home front during war.  If you have talked to people who remember World War II or read about the conditions you are aware of rationing, scarcities, victory gardens, victory stamps and a lot of other things that seem strange today.  People could not get new tires.  New cars were a dream for the future.  All kinds of foods were unavailable.  And people rolled up their sleeves and did their best to make it work.  There was a war on, don’t you know?

One of the forgotten dangers is the willingness of people to allow their government extraordinary power during a time of crisis.  I refer specifically to such freedoms as the writ of habeas corpus.  In case you were not paying attention in school or had a typical socialist teacher who did not want to bring it up, the writ of habeas corpus is one of the liberties that comes to us from England.  It basically means you cannot lock someone up without a clear statement of why.  It meant people in power could not arrest you and keep you in jail because they don’t like your face or were mad at your grandfather.

The Constitution allows that liberty to be suspended under certain circumstances.  

Article 1, Section 9

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety require it.”  
I have often heard how Lincoln violated the Constitution by suspending the writ.  Recently I heard George Bush was accused of the same thing.  The sentence above would seem to make that no problem but people claim congress has the power of suspension, not the president.  While I concede that this is found in the section on the legislature, it does not say that the president cannot do so.  Seems a bit murky to me.

The point I am making is that one reason the elites who want to run our lives are looking for any excuse they can find to limit our freedoms and give them carte blanche.  To be honest they are ignoring it and the rule of law in general.  An example of that is the arrest and incarceration of the people who were guilty of trespassing on January 6.  Held in solitary confinement for a year for a minor offense is not the way the law was meant to be applied.  

Now imagine if the Progressives* running our government decide to declare war.  Now they have all the justification they want for suspending the writ of habeas corpus and locking up anyone who has been suspended from Facebook or Twitter.  

Was is dangerous when you have wannabe totalitarians at the reins of power.  

Be alert.  Speak up while you still have the right.

*(Liberals, educators, the media, socialists, communists, crony capitalists, elites, Rinos, Democrats, leftists, Never Trumpers, Antifa, BLM, MSM, Deep State, etc.  Synonym for swamp dwellers)

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Opus 2022-090: A New Strategy

The spam bots have found me again.  Where did I go wrong?

Then I put on my tin foil hat.  It really helps me think.  I wonder if this is a new plot by social media.  Instead of banning us they have decided to change their algorithm to start sending ridiculous responses to guilty parties.  At least it isn’t offers of generic Viagra or Russian brides, or at least not yet.

Am I being paranoid or are they really after me?  Could it be both?

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-089: Craven Conformity

The older I get the more I realize my education has some serious vacuums.  Some is total lack of information.  Other times it is a slanted and distorted narrative that is off base enough to give a total lie to what I think is truth.  The resistance of Christians in German to the rise of the Third Reich is one of those areas.

I had always heard that the church cooperated with Hitler and was joined at the hip with him and his perversions.  I am currently reading Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas and as he works through the life of the man I find that there was a very active and adamant attempt by the real Christians of Germany to keep the faith.

Bonhoeffer is famous for being executed shortly before the prison was liberated at the end of World War II.  He had been involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler.  He was arrested and condemned.  What gets lost in the shuffle is his life long opposition and defiance to the Nazis.  He worked with the leaders of the ecumenical movement to censure the attempts to turn the German church into an arm of the socialist state.  Obviously he did not succeed but that is not because he did not try or because there were not others involved in the resistance.

I am only half way through the book at this point but I see many parallels with the spiritual condition of the United States.  The majority of American churches and pastors are more concerned about fitting in and being comfortable than presenting the truths of the Bible to a needy culture.  Bonhoeffer ran into this in Europe.  They seem to think Paul said to be conformed to this world in Romans 12:2.

There are so many parallels to what is happening in the United States and what went on in the great upheavals of the French Revolution, Russian Revolution and the rise of the Third Reich.  I wish people would pay attention.  I pray to that effect.

Think.  Speak out.  Dare to be counted if given the opportunity.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Opus 2022-088: Oxymoron Coffee

I am staying in a time share and in a moment of curiosity used the coffee they had left me.  It was labeled “gourmet roast coffee”.  I am sure that somewhere there is someone who does not drink coffee that thinks that might be true.  If you keep reading you see that it is decaffeinated.  My coffee snob credentials are still in the mail, along with my check, so I am not sure I am qualified to make a value judgement but it seems to me the words “decaffeinated” and “gourmet” are not meant to be printed on the same surface.  

Have you been in those coffee roaster stores that have lots of open bags of coffee beans?  Each variety is labeled with the name and an exotic description of the unique qualities of the coffee below.  It has been a long time and I was not looking at the time but I don’t think the coffees that were priced in the $60.00 a pound range came in decaffeinated.  

I could be wrong and as hard as it is to imagine, I could be right.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-087: Monetizing Wokeness

Perhaps we have the making of two new team mascots for the NFL.  I found the inspiration in my previous post.  Two unclaimed monikers are the Deplorables and the Abjects.  

What a headline that would be, Deplorables vs Abjects in the Victim Bowl.

Sponsors would fight for advertising privileges.  Think of all the CEO’s that would want to claim a place to take a stand against White Privilege.

homo unius libri

Opus 2022-086: Pick Your Adjectives and Nouns

Most real Americans both guffawed and gnashed their teeth when Hillary called us “deplorables”.  Obama got the same reaction when he talked about how real Americans cling to guns and religion.  King David had a better line in Psalms, which I read this morning.

(Psa 35:15 KJV)  But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
Notice that he called those he had contempt for “abjects”.  I like that.  

In Psalms the Abjects were the people who did not cling to religion and swords.  They were the ones who mocked David while he was sick.

While I am here notice that David had been praying for them when they were sick.
(Psa 35:13-4 KJV)  But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.  I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
People who hate America don’t seem to understand why we are different.  One of the key Christian concepts in of our culture, or maybe I should say “was in our culture”, is to love our enemies.  What many don’t realize is that the basic concept is rooted in the Old Testament.  All Jesus did was preach what the Jews already knew.

So all you Abjects out there, get to praying for the President and our political leaders.  Just because they seem to hate God doesn’t meant that you can’t link their name to “Thy will be done.”  There may be a few pastors that you can add to the list.

Get with it you deplorable Abjects, or is it abject Deplorables?

homo unius libri

Friday, March 4, 2022

Opus 2022-085: Time Tested Fantasy of Scholars

I am exploring the world of You Tube.  Jordan Peterson is popular right now and with You Tube it is possible to get a feel for who he is without having to spend money on a book I don’t read.  I think one video I watched was a speech he gave on his 12 rules book.

I find that I don’t like videos that are snippets.  Usually they are click bait that doesn’t deliver.  In regard to Peterson one blurb said something about the stunning question he asked Bill Maher.  I watched it and didn’t see anything stunning about his question.  In fact it was a typical liberal set up where he said something and a group of four liberals started with their talking points.  Instead I watch his interviews and lectures.

He has a series of lectures on the Bible.  In the first one he says,

“There’s four sources in the Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible—four stories that we know came together. The first one was called the Priestly.”
What he is talking about stems from something called Textual Criticism.  It is a legitimate attempt by scholars to try to figure out what the original documents said.  Keep in mind that we do not have any of the originals, called autographs, for either the Old Testament or New Testament.  Scholars work from copies of copies, done by hand over the years.  The honest ones are trying for truth but keep in mind that Biblical scholarship has its share of charlatans and glory hounds.  Always keep in mind what their real goal is.

This topic was old when I studied it 45 years ago.  The earliest reference that I could find was in 1753 and claimed two sources.  What Peterson is referring to goes back to the 1870's and a German called Wellhausen.   The end result he is referring to is called the PJED theory.  I learned it as the JEDP theory.  How you arrange the letters depends on how you are trying to make yourself famous in the book you are writing.  Much of their claims have been refuted by archeology.  If you want to look into it there are serious problems with the claims.

The problem with textual analysis and PJED is not the scientific review of the text.  What is, is.  The problem is the same issue we have with the “science” of global warming.  The conclusion is reached before the computer models are assembled and the output is guaranteed because the “scholars” come with an agenda.  Just because the “research” was done before computers does not mean that scholars were unable to adjust their evidence to lead to a forgone conclusion.

Keep in mind the foundations people have.  As a person who believes in the God of the Bible, I make certain assumptions and go from there.  Atheists and tepid believers start from different sets of facts.  The agenda of the PJED crowd was the same that I see in so much literature today, both fiction and pseudo-non fiction:  They are trying to elevate the limited vision of men over the omniscience of God.  It is the Eden Syndrom:  Ye can become as Gods.

Some things never change.    

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Opus 2022-084: We Are All Geniuses

One of the things I like is when egg-heads have marvelous “insights” that every parent could come up with if they thought it was worth writing a book about.  Here is one shared by Jordan Peterson in his third lecture of his Biblical Series.

“One of the things I really like about Jean Piaget, the development psychologist, was that he was so insistent that children act out and dramatize ideas before they understand them. Merlin Donald, who is a psychologist at Queen’s University, wrote a couple of interesting books along those lines, as well, looking at the importance of imitation for the development of higher cognition in human beings. The notion that we embody ideas before we abstract them out, and then represent them in an articulated way, is an extraordinarily solid idea. I really can't see how it could be any other way. If you watch children, you see that.”
He then goes on at length how this is demonstrated by children.  I would guess that his audience is made up of childless individuals who never had brothers or sisters.  My reaction is, “Well, duh.”

homo unius libri