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.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Opus 2023-235: Old Messages

Old songs are running through my head.  When I say “old” you need to understand that such adjectives are relative.  In my repertoire that includes “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” from the 12th century.  The “old” I refer to this time is from the mid 60's.  I don’t know why the playlist was selected but it precedes without my approval.  One that is wearing itself into the ground is titled “Even of Destruction.”  The segment reverberating in my head goes,

Old enough for war
But not for votin’,
Don’t believe in war
Then what’s that gun your totin’?
I enjoyed singing and playing the song when I was a callow youth.  It didn’t keep me from showing up for my draft physical.  We sang a lot of things we didn’t think too deeply about.  Looking back the reasoning seems a bit shallow.

Can you be old enough to be drafted as a soldier and not be ready to vote?  I would say yes.  That goes double as I look at the maturity of the current crop of high school graduates.  You can hardly tell the graduates from the drop-outs without a score card.  The same can be said about college graduates.  One solution might be to raise the voting age to 35 but when I listen to the current crop of elected officials I don’t think that would help.  

For years people have talked about the benefits of the military experience.  It helps young men to grow up.  It teaches them discipline.  It develops leadership.  Many of these guys have never had to make a bed before.  Young people usually need to do things under supervision before they are ready to have a say.  Think of running a dairy farm and trying to put a young Greenpeace warrior in charge.  It is very likely that the young worthy would try to milk a bull.  It would not go well.  There are places besides the military where the learning curve can be steep and dangerous.

And what about belief?  I don’t “believe” in war.  I also don’t believe in shooting people on the street but a little bit of judicious shooting and clubbing would have saved our major cities from the destruction of Antifa and BLM.  I don’t believe in Santa Claus but I am sure I can find a picture of him somewhere in my house.  I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy but I still put my tooth under the pillow.

I used to drive kids crazy when they would ask me if I believed in the focus of the day.  I would tell them “No, I believe in Jesus.”  Then to make things worse they might ask me what my sign was.  What did I reply?  You guessed it, “My sign is the cross.”

Old songs are warm fuzzies.  They are also a chance to sit back and reflect.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 29, 2023

Opus 2023-234: Power or Nonsense

I don’t hear it as much as I used to but the concept is still out there of speaking truth to power.  I had a hard time figuring out what it meant because usually it was some ignorant excuse for a speaker making ridiculous statements from a protected status.  Remember how they used to call George Bush “Hitler”.  If he had been half Hitler they would have been dead meat and they knew it.  

I finally realized that the classic example of speaking truth to power was found in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” when the child asked in a loud voice why the king was naked.  

As my mind was running down one of its gullies I had a thought.  We don’t need to speak truth to power, we need to speak truth to nonsense.  We all know we are surrounded by nonsense.  Who with the IQ of a rotten tomato thinks that it is fair for males to compete in women’s sports?  How many genders are there?  If you answer anything other than “two” then I am afraid you are not even ready for beginners Candyland.  

We are surrounded by nonsense.  You know it.  I know you know it.  You know I know you know it, etc.  We still have a chance to speak up without being arrested.  I can’t guarantee how long that will be true.  If you are in California it is already too late.

So pray.  Speak up.  Let your voice be heard.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Opus 2023-233: The Human Face of God

The Bible tells us that God created.

(Gen 1:1 KJV)  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
After that we have a brief rundown of the steps of creation.  In that checklist there is one that stands out, the creation of man.  What makes it different is that man is created in the image of God.

I come to this from musings on the nature of free will and the conflict between the idea of free will and God’s omni’s.  The paradox presents us with a mystery.  How can man have free will and be responsible for his choices while God knows and controls everything?

I think the resolution comes from this statement about the image of God.

The universe as a whole is deterministic.  The laws of physics apply and, except for the direct intervention of God, the story of creation plays itself out as programmed.  God does not break in with a “miracle” very often, but is free to do so when He deems it appropriate.

Humanity, on the other hand, is given the mystery of free will.  In physics the only thing that keeps us from being able to determine an outcome is a lack of computing power and observational skills.  God’s perception goes to the level that He can see all that but in some way that we cannot understand, He goes so deep into the matrix of existence that we cannot begin to comprehend and gives us that divine quality of making choices.  Only an all-powerful God can allow genuine free will.

All choices are not pure free will.  We always need to make allowance for heredity and environment.  We need to realize that there are other people with free will and when you have two free agents nothing is certain.  Now make that billions of free agents and your mind is well on the way to being blown.  But while free will is not without its manipulators, it still exists and negates all attempts to demand perfect projection.

At one end you have a universe that runs by rules.  At the other end you have human beings given the power of choice.  In between you have the animals and I would guess they are a combination of the two.

Human beings are made in the image of God.  We will spend an eternity delving into what that means.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 22, 2023

Opus 2023-232: Design a Deity

The aphorism “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him” came to my mind as I was working to get my mind around His centrality.  I looked it up and it turns out to be a quote from Voltaire.  

Not true.

It is because God exists that man has found it so necessary to reinvent Him.  The reason for the exercise in creativity is that mankind does not like what they see in the God of the universe.  He does not put them in the place they think they deserve so they want a designer god instead.  It is the same difference between a Timex and a Rolex.  One says you want to know the time.  The other says you want to be known.  One is a tool and the other is an ego-enhancer.  

Pagan religions are all the results of human creativity.  When the Greeks put together a pantheon it was made up of all the personalities and broken characters that they saw around them.  The only difference was more powerful.  It was the nightmare of a toddler being given an adult body and superpowers.  This is the general case in western paganism.

Eastern paganism looks at the unsurmountable world around them and develops a philosophy to deal with it.  My understanding of Buddhism, which is far from perfect, is that Siddhartha saw a world of pain and misery and came up with a thought process that would free people from it.  Thus the ultimate goal is a Nirvana in which you lose all personal awareness and are freed from the prison of existence.  

The God of the Bible is different.  For one thing, the Bible teaches that God has revealed Himself to mankind.  Historically He did this through speaking to individuals such as Moses, through people called prophets and ultimately through Jesus who claimed to be equal with God.  Our job is to take what He has given us and study it so we can know about Him and His plan for the world.

The reason Voltaire and others reject the God of the Bible is because it He refuses to allow any human to become a god.  We are creatures.  We are above the animals but we were created to glorify God not compete with Him.  That humbling detail drives the arrogant and self-centered away.  Since they can’t take their football and go home, they invent an entirely new game with them as the Masters of the Universe.  

If that works for you, there is little I can say to change your mind.  If it doesn’t then you might consider actually reading the Bible instead of just listening to what people tell you about it.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Opus 2023-231: Endorsing the Six Commandments

Awhile back I watch Peter Robinson interview three men on the topic of Christian culture.  Only one of the three, Stephen Meyer, was a definite Christian.  Tom Holland was a bit vague so I assume he was not and Douglas Murray, an open homosexual, never even acted like that was a possibility.  What was strange was the topic.  They were discussing the importance of Christianity in molding Western culture.  What was even stranger was that Murray and Holland seemed to feel like we needed to get back to the place where Christianity was the basis of our society.

The two men who were not Christians were not ready to embrace the faith or for Christians to evangelize.  It was more of an intellectual admission.  They had a point.

In once sense American was founded as a Christian nation.  It was not Muslim or Hindu, thus the predominate religion was Christian.  In another sense, we were never a Christian country because the people serious about Jesus have always been a minority.

The important factor was that the general population agreed with the values, priorities and morals of the Christian faith even if they did not embrace it.  Jesus did not tell us to expect to be in the majority.

(Mat 7:14 KJV)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
I know that does not set well with many people.  We want everyone to be saved.  So does God.
(2Pe 3:9 KJV)  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But it isn’t going to happen.

What we can expect, and demand, is that people embrace the expectations for living outlined in the Bible.  Start with the Six Commandments.  I say “six” because the first four are geared toward believers but the last six apply to everyone.

If you are not ready to repent and trust Jesus for salvation then the least you can do is endorse the plan God gave us for a civil society.

Endorse or perish, not because of the fire from the sky but because of the disintegration of everything that you want in a civilization.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Opus 2023-230: The Answer

There are many benefits delivered by a men’s Bible Study.  Obviously you get to study the Bible, or at least that is the goal.  You have a chance to get to know people on a deeper level.  You gain insights that you could not get on your own.

You also find out you are not the only one.

Part of the time we spent together was spent in a project to help a widow in the church.  In the process of discussing our lives one guy pointed out that his wife wondered why he had time to work on church projects but not enough time to do what she wants.  Suddenly we were all nodding our heads.  It seems this is a common concern of the women in our lives.

I guess it is just one of those mysteries that has no answer, except, “Yes, Dear.”

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Opus 2023-229: Know Your Place

Why is it important to practice thrift and accumulate wealth to leave your children?  Liberty.  Having enough equity to be able to say “no” and make good decisions is a great source of freedom.  It gives flexibility.  

Why are the government and the elites so concerned to destroy the middle class and rob them of their wealth?  Liberty.  They hate it.  They believe, deep in what they use for a heart, that they are better and know what is best for us.

Part of that vision is locking us up into government run housing so they can keep track of us.  That way if we get too close to them they can send out some lackeys to make sure they don’t have to put up with our inferior vibes.

Part of that vision is making sure everyone has a smart phone and a chip in their car so that the three letter agencies can find us when they want us.  And we go along with this.  We let them install smart meters on our homes so they can decide if we are running the A/C too much and make adjustments for us.  After all, they know best.  Add to that the microphones and cameras that are in just about every electronic device in your house.

Part of that vision is to go to electronic currency.  That way they can track every purchase you make and even cut off access to your funds if you do something irresponsible like refuse a vaccine.

Some of these actions we have little control over.  Others we can slow down and fight if we are serious about that little thing, liberty.  Pray.  Speak up.  Let them know they are opposed and let your neighbors know they are not alone.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Opus 2023-228: Thanks Thoughts: Happy Extra’s Day

Did you ever stop to think how the dance scenes with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would look without the extras?  Where would Superman have been without a crowd to stand, looking up and shouting, “Look!  Up in the sky....”  Where would you get an excuse for being late if it were not for all the peasants clogging up the highway in front of you?

We don’t stop to think about what unknowns strangers do to make our day.

Somewhere in the world is the worker who put the ink in the bottle that I use to fill my fountain pen.  Someone picked my coffee beans.  Someone assembled the drawers on my grandfather’s desk that I use every day.  You get the picture.

There are so many people who make so many little contributions that make the world go round.  Where would we be if they did not show up for work.  Where would they be if I had not made my littel contributions through the years.  It is awesome how a free market makes it all come together and we can enjoy it.

So, take a moment and thank God and all those unseen faces for the contributions to your life.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 11, 2023

Opus 2023-227: Twenty Years Later

Two decades ago we experienced a moment of infamy.  Devout Muslims struck at the Great Satan and left a pile of rubble and thousands dead.  The nation stopped and stared.  

Two decades ago we experienced a moment of unity.  The nation came together.  Heroes emerged and went into the rubble looking for survivors.  Political party loyalty was set aside as the entire nation tried to deal with what had happened.  To channel Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,...”

Two decades ago we saw George Bush rise above himself at ground zero and rally a nation in shock.  If only he had followed with more of that we might be a different people today.

Today we are divided again.  I don’t go along with the people who proclaim we must do away with partisan politics.  Partisan politics is a sign of a free people.  The problem is that the elites that have taken over the country are trying to make us united by coercion.  They are doing to the Constitution what the airplanes did to the twin towers.  The difference is that no one claimed the towers survived.  Today many see no problem with the destruction of the rule of law and due process.

We are still under attack.  We must pull together around the ideas that made America a city on a hill and a beacon to the world.  Keep talking.  Be courteous but do not back down.  Work to beat back the forces of evil.  The airplanes took down a few building and killed a few thousand people.  The Progressives* are working to enslave an entire nation.

And never forget, not only the forces that hated America twenty years ago, but the ones that hate America today.

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

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Opus 2023-226: Election 2024: Vivek? Maybe Someday

Everywhere I look I see the face and name of Vivek Ramaswamy.  At first I ignored it but eventually I took the click bait.  I find him an interesting person.  I find him an unknown quantity that needs consideration.  I find him to be totally human in the fact that he is a mixed bag.

I have watched a few interviews.  At this point I can’t remember which ones except the beginning of his conversation with Bill Maher.  The bit I watched convinced me that they both had big gaps in their education and that Bill Maher is not as funny when he is drunk as he is in the clips I occasionally watch.  

In addition to that I have finished Ramaswamy’s first book, Woke, Inc.  I am in the process of reading his second, A Nation of Victims.  I love libraries.  He writes well.  If you like what you see on video I would suggest you read his books with your mind turned on.  You will see the enthusiasm for America but you will also see that he has drunk a bit of the Kood-aide and doesn’t seem to know it.

He is an interesting combination of innovative thinker and naive sponge.  One simple example of the concept appeared in his discussion with Bill Maher.  He stated his opinions and was not going to back down.  When it came to discussion Christopher Columbus he managed to get Maher to admit that Columbus made a contribution.  Well and good.  Too bad they did not leave it there.  I would have been impressed with both of them.  Maher then went on to compliment Columbus on his courage, sailing out into the unknown where everyone thought they would fall off the end of the earth.  He even said everyone believed that.  Ramaswamy agreed with him.  I don’t know if you ever did any reading outside your public school class room but this is one of the popular myths of our age.  When I was researching early explorers I learned that the existence of land to the west was well known.  Columbus knew that the Vikings had tried to plant a colony in the area.  The ancient Greeks had even calculated the circumference of the earth.  The truth is that the only people who believed the world was flat were farmers who lived in small, isolated communities.

Too bad our modern intellectuals also live in small, isolated communities.

I find this tendency in Ramaswamy.  I am an uncompromising Trump supporter in this election but I am looking down the road.  I wonder if he will grow into a good candidate.  I hope to come up with more as I finish his second book.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Opus 2023-225: Question Tangents

Anyone who attends church or synagogue is familiar with the verse,

(Psa 8:4 KJV)  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
My mind always goes on tangents.  I find myself looking at it from the other side.  What is God that we are mindful of Him?  Or perhaps you could phrase it, “What is man that we are mindful of God?”

This is a real question.  Why do people contemplate God, or gods?  What even brings such a topic to our minds?  As far back as we have any historical records there seem to be people seeking to know the answers to the big questions like, where did we come from and is there meaning to life?  

I am sure that being created in the image of God has something to do with it.  We are designed to look at the night sky and wonder what those lights are.  We visit the zoo and recognize a basic difference between us and the animals.  Why are all of them on one side of the bars and we are on the other?  We are weaker, slower and helpless for years, yet we are at the top of the food chain.

A second reason is found in the Bible verse that brought up this question.
(Psa 8:3 KJV)  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
(Psa 8:4 KJV)  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Notice that verse 3 is reflected in my statement about animals and the sunrise. The animals don’t contemplate infinity.  I am not sure they really enjoy the sunrise splendor.  Many of them don’t even know to come in out of the rain.  Of course I notice that my wife cleans out the cat’s liter box and the cat has never worried about mopping the kitchen floor.

I rejoice in the ability to think even if I don’t have a lot of answers.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 1, 2023

Opus 2023-224: Shared Ignorance

I am always amazed at the truth gaps that seemingly informed people have.  Often it is people who are self-styled informed rather that actual.  This hit me recently when listening to a discussion between Bill Maher and Vivek Ramaswamy.  They were having a great time.  Vivek got Maher to admit that Columbus might have made a contribution and then he shared his ignorance, probably as a result of a public school education.  They both were saluting Columbus’ valor in sailing into the unknown because everyone knew that they would sail off the end of the world.

This is ignorant.  It didn’t surprise me about Maher but I thought Ramaswamy was a bit more educated.  If you were a peasant farmer who had never been more than an hours walking distance from your cottage then you might think the world was flat.  Everyone else knew it was round.  The ancient Greeks did a good job of calculating the circumference.  Columbus knew that the Vikings had tried to plant a colony on what would become known as North America.  This is information that is readily available if you go beyond CNN.

This is ignorant if you know anything about science, geography and physics.  If the world were flat then the water in the oceans would be running off the edge.  In fact I have seen art work that shows these waterfalls.  Now I ask you, how long would it take for the water to run off so you could walk across what had been the Atlantic?  It is possible that the mid-Atlantic trench would have held a lake that would require a boat, but really, what would keep the water from disappearing?  

The next thing you know people will be trying to tell us that the world is going to boil.

homo unius libri