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, December 31, 2023

Opus 2023-330: The Border Approaches

Now we come to the last post of 2023.  It is such a non-momentous moment.  Will the tides stop rising?  Will the rivers reverse?  Will the mountains crumble?  Will Democrats suddenly become Americans?

If only a few words could bring about such wonders.

For us it has been a good year in spite of all the problems presented by the federal elites.  We have kept off the radar, inflation has only been a mild inconvenience and we never believed covid was a real danger anyway.  

I hope when you stop and look back at the year you will see the blessings as well as the struggles.

May next year not live up to our expectations.

See you on the other side.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-329: SUV Nativity

At Christmas time we have numerous Nativity sets spaced around our home.  Children are always encouraged to play with them and our grandchildren take advantage of that.  It leads to a healthy amount of mix and match, but it is good education.

Then comes the time to pick them up.  We noticed that one stable was bare and no matter how hard we looked we could not find the correct inhabitants.  Finally, in desperation, we asked our grandson if he knew where they were.  No problem.  He knew exactly where they had been stashed.  

It turned out that he had managed to get the entire cast into the back of one of his “goes”.  It was a jeep type vehicle with a back that opened.  There they were, on their way to Bethlehem.  I don’t remember reading about a Jeep in the Bible accounts but there is no mention of a donkey or camels either.  Use your imagination.  Think like a three year old.

Until January 6, Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 29, 2023

Opus 2023-328: Gestalt Theology

I believe in Gestalt interpretation of the Bible:  You must take it all into consideration.  What we disparagingly call proof-texts have a place but that place is fragile when the verse stands alone.  If it is supported by other verses, it has power.  If you have two ideas that seem to be at odds then it is important to dig deeper to find the common ground, Gestalt.

One contrast that has been on my mind a lot is the Biblical expectation that we live righteously.  At least I think it is a Biblical expectation.  Many would say that it is impossible to live an upright life.  They have a problem if they gestalt the whole Bible.  Consider,

(1Pe 1:13-16 NAS77) Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
I keep coming across passages that fit in with this.  Psalm 18 specifically says that David kept the law and was righteous.  
(Psa 18:20 KJV)  The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
Psalms and Proverbs are full of this kind of statement.  

James, although he declares that works are necessary, seems to imply that we cannot keep the law.
(Jas 2:10 KJV)  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
He does not come right out and say you can’t keep it, but the point is there.  On the other hand he does imply that you can keep most of the law.

Both must be combined for the final understanding.  

James is talking about original sin and being born in sin.  Paul would say, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

David is pointing out that it is possible to live a righteous life.  This point is supported by Zachariah and Elizabeth and other examples.

Don’t confuse the two or ignore one point.  Walk straight.  Live upright.  God gives the power, you supply the will.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Opus 2023-327: Critical Mass: How Do You Know

476 A.D.
732 A.D.

I don’t know if you recognize these dates.  They are turning points in history that were not recognized as such when they happened.  I am sure I could come up with a lot more.  If you had been alive in 476 you would not have been aware that everything had changed.  It is the date of the fall of Rome, except it didn’t.  It is chosen because it was the ascension of the first non-Roman emperor.  The man on the street still paid the same for cabbages and grain.  

It you were at the Battle of Tours in 732 you would have noticed something happened.  You won a battle, or lost, depending on which side you were on.  It made a difference to you but you would not have recognized it as the high water mark of Muslim expansion into Europe.  It was the beginning of a 700 year push by Christian Europe to take back the continent for Christ.  Everything changed when that battle was won.

What date will historians look back on as the demise of the United States of America as a federal republic, ruled by law and embracing the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?  What is, or was, the turning point?  Our most recent example is the action of the Colorado Courts which decided that Donald Trump could not be listed on the primary election ballot.  It is a classic example of Banana politics that we have seen in so many parts of the world and thought we were immune to.  It follows the long litany of ridiculous collusion by the press and the Democrat hacks who are convinced that when the dust settles they will be the ones on the throne.  

When will the attacks reach critical mass?  Will they ever?  Will there be violence in the streets?  Oh, wait, we have already had that in many major cities thanks to BLM and Antifa and the paid stooges that are their shock troops.  Of course it was mostly peaceful protest while old ladies being waved into the capitol were an insurrection.  Will the people of America finally have enough and bring about something like the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution?  If it happens it will not be pretty and there will be no winners.

My theory is that if the people of God will do enough praying, repenting and obeying, we will see God reach His critical mass and move in ways that will not be pretty.  America needs to be humbled but not destroyed.  The rest of the world needs the leadership we offered when we were more righteous.  How will God bring that about?  His methods will make a second Civil War seem mild.  You might actually prefer that.  Picture a totally divine intervention.  Picture massive solar flares, earthquakes at key locations and the massive volcano in Yosemite erupting.  Add a few tidal waves and hurricanes like the climate alarmists have been hoping for.  Add to that diseases that were not created in labs and let go on purpose along with a new and improved dust bowl.  Are you getting a picture of what could happen?

Imagine the west coast of the United States if a series of solar flares took out all the electric grid and its backups.  Throw in a mild earthquake to cut off the flow of water to Los Angeles and you have massive metropolises erupting into murderous chaos within hours.  None of that requires much imagination and would not bring the God haters to the table.  “Just coincidence,” they would say.

With the destruction of the Left Coast it is possible that the balance of moral fiber in the country would swing enough so that God did not have to apologize to Sodom any more.  While we are not Israel God has blessed us in the past.  It may be to late to expect Him to bless us in the future but we will only find out as we repent and pray as individuals.  One at a time eventually adds up.  I believe God wants to bless people who live in obedience.  I hope there are enough of us.

Critical mass of evil could bring us down but it works both ways.  Critical mass could also bring revival.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Opus 2023-326: Cyber Fools Needed

We need to develop a cast of cultural geeks.  I’m thinking of the fools of the middle ages.  They were the guys dressed up like the Jack in a deck of cards.  They looked foolish.  It was deliberate.  Their job was to insult the king in order to keep him humble.  They would say things on a regular basis that would get other people separated from their heads.  Sometimes that was the result for the fool.  At least it was a steady job.

I am thinking we need some cultural geeks, some cyber fools.  We need a group of people to tell those in power that they are really being stupid.  We need someone who can penetrate through the bubble surrounding  politicians and connect him with real people and what they are thinking.  I will grant you that many will not care.  Too many fit into the category described in Proverbs,

(Pro 4:16 KJV)  For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
We have a growing pestilence of people in power who really are evil and relish passing it on.  There is no other explanation for the things that people like Soros and Klaus are perpetrating.  They already have all the money available.  They have lots of syncopates praising them about how brilliant they are.  All that is left if power.  You also see it in the clerk behind the counter at the government agency.  They will never go any higher but they can push you lower.  

Perhaps we could have the opposing party appoint a presidential fool.  The actual fool in the White House would have no input and the thorn in the flesh would have his own apartment on the grounds.  It might also be necessary to make it illegal for the media to quote this person.

No thanks, I don’t want the job.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Opus 2023-325: Christmas, Phase II

As I settled into my chair Monday morning, I uttered a “Merry Christmas, Lord,” through the pre-dawn darkness.  Ignoring how silly that sounded, it felt right, my mind went on a Squirrel.  It occurred to me we don’t know the actual date Jesus was born but God the Father does.  And He ain’t telling.  Think about all the mundane details God could give us about history and life but He keeps it to Himself.  That’s fine by me.  I already know more than I can deal with.

Maybe that knowledge is why He created us in His image and gave us free will.  I imagine it spices up His days watching our antics and, in a sense, never knowing what we will do next.  I say, “in as sense” because I don’t understand the point of view of omnipotence and omniscience.  Those are the joys the season brings to mind.  God not only intervened in history, He invented it and maintains it.

Keep in mind that according to the church calendar, Christmas is not over.  It is just beginning.  I believe it goes to January 6 when Epiphany begins.  You can take down the lights, put away the music and clean up the gift wrappings but don’t abandon the awareness that God is with us, Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Opus 2023-324: Lack of Tastes Differ

We talk about comparing apples to apples and oranges oranges.  We need to take this another step and instead say Galas to Jonathans or Valencias to Navels.  You may not be into fruit but there is a world of difference between a Red Delicious and a Pink lady.  Some apples are for chomping.  Some apples are for cooking.  Some are good for little but cider or applesauce.  And even then it might be different if it’s an early crop or late crop or even different orchards.

Life is complex.  People and situations have many nuances.  We need to contribute the effort it takes to understand and discern.  I am noticing this when it comes to health and medical conditions.  What works for one person may not work on another.  If we are looking for simple and quick then we often end up with useless and side effects.

Have you ever wondered why all grocery stores seem to have red delicious and gala apples?  Because they are easy to produce and are good enough for the vast middle who have someone else packing and paying for their lunch.  Have you ever wondered why we still have people voting for Democrats?  Same answer.

May your mental taste buds be discerning.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Opus 2023-323: Thanks for the Memory

Memory is truly a blessed thing to have.  

Every day when I go walking, one of the things that I thank God for is my memory.  I start down the walk with the knowledge that I know where I live and I will know how to get back.  I am thankful that no one has needed to check my ID so they can retrieve me.  Or at least I don’t think it has happened.  It is hard to tell when you get to this stage of life.

I tell myself that the fact that they let me go out the front door by myself means that I have been finding my way home on a regular basis.  But what if that is my imagination?  What if I am sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch and only think I have been walking every day?  Maybe I am just a Boltzmann Brain.  At least I am happy.

But what generated this train of thought?  I asked myself a question this morning, “Have I washed my hair?”  Maybe you don’t have that experience but there are times when I am standing there, my hair is wet and I wonder, “Did I just rinse out the shampoo or am I getting ready to apply the shampoo?”  This is real life drama.  If you are too young to understand then count your blessings, or ask yourself if you just forgot.

I have a routine for taking my blood thinner.  After I eat my gruel, that’s oatmeal for your young folk, I take my drugs.  What happens when my wife comes in to ask me a question or require immediate help at just that moment?  I later ask myself, “Did I take my medication?”  

Or what about the phenomenon of walking to the other end of the house and not remembering why.  What makes that more of a challenge is when, halfway to your goal with your purpose still alive, your wife asks you a question and engages you in conversation.  Poof.  Gone.  

I guess the good news is I can still laugh at myself before others do.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Opus 2023-322: Death Knell

Blogger is dying a slow death.  Many, like myself, are being stubborn.  It is still almost out of the picture.  I think about every blog I ever followed has stopped posting all together or moved to a different platform.

Part of that is simply because the thrill seekers among us always want the newest shiny.

Part of it is because of the actions of the Blogger people.  They continue to mess with what works and substitute “better” ways of doing things.  In the mind of a cubical bound geek that may be true.  To them the more clicks the more glorious.  There are things I used to do with one click that now take three.  There are hoops I jump through simply because I am too lazy to leave and go somewhere else with my wisdom.  Or it could just be that I am stubborn.

This makes me think of the demise of the Sunday evening service in churches across the country.  It used to be standard practice to go back to another time of worship at night.  Now you really have to look to find it.  The one church I know that has an evening service is following the pattern that destroyed interest in returning:  Boredom and special events.  

When I first saw this I noticed that pastors were putting no effort into their sermons in the evening.  They would recycle old sermons or steal them from other sources.  They would do a “Bible study” instead of a sermon.  They would have missionary slides or special speakers.  Eventually people drifted away.  After all, if it wasn’t important to the pastor, why should they bother coming back?

I remember the days when we could hardly wait to get back to the youth meetings and came expecting to experience great singing and a strong sermon.  It was like being able to go back for seconds at your favorite restaurant.  Now I have little interest in trying to resurrect the beast.

Be it software or Biblical teaching, there is nothing you can’t kill if you really set your mind to it.

Meanwhile when the blogging gets tough, the stubborn keep blogging.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-321: Dark Thoughts: Timing

We live in desperate times.  That desperation is a bit overblown in comparison with world history but very real when compared to the world I was raised in.  We never locked our house.  The police were our friends.  I was not worried about any other country in the world.  I never worried about going hungry or loss of electricity.  

That world is a thing of dreams.  Every day we see another place where the secret cabal that runs America comes a little more out of the closet as they rip our liberties away.  I fear that things will come to an explosion point.  I also fear that things will never come to an explosion point.  I fear that we will slowly dissolve into another failed culture.  

Psalm 21 speaks to David’s enemies, but for us it speaks to God’s enemies.

(Psa 21:8 KJV)  Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
God’s enemies are not worried about us, for good reason.  They know about the other cheek.  They know about the extra mile.  In spite of that, God tells us to wait.  

Eventually, when He is ready, God will move.  How will we know?  I think when it comes we will know and be sure in the knowledge.  That will be the time for us to move.  In Matthew 10 Jesus sent out the disciples and told them to only go to Israel.  In Matthew 28 He sends them out to all nations.  Situations change.  What is always the same is the difficulty of waiting.

The Bible has numerous indications of waiting.  One that many are familiar with is,
(Psa 46:10 KJV)  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
The “be still” does not refer to noise but to motion.  It means to relax and allow God to do His work.

Then you have some of the last words Jesus gave to the gathered disciples,
(Act 1:4 KJV)  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
They were to wait until God gave them the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit.  

And of course we have God waiting,
(Gal 4:4 KJV)  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
How appropriate for the Christmas season.  One of the questions David kept asking in the Psalms was “How long, O Lord?”  I am sure we ask the same question.  We are usually told to wait.  A large part of the waiting is to teach us to trust Providence.

We live in desperate times.  That does not mean we are desperate.  The early church knew the meaning of persecution.  They knew desperate times.  In spite of that they were known for their love of each other.  We would do well to remember that.  Much of the reason God seems to take so long is to give people a chance to repent.

He will eventually reach the end of His patience.  Wait for it.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Opus 2023-320: Ready, Aim...

Beware of circular firing squads

Conservatives in general and Republicans specifically have a tendency to get in a circle and fire at the poor slob in the middle.  The fatality rate is high, both in the target and the collateral damage to the other side of the circle.  I am thinking of Mike Johnson.  He has only been in office a short time and already the firing squads are organizing.  Let me offer some victory advice.

Don’t believe everything you hear.  I get regular reports from my Resident Conspiracy Theorist.  Yes, I know that the success rate of these people is incredibly high.  I also know that when all the facts are revealed, the theory they originally presented is not always 100% as originally proclaimed.  I also see other sources.  The opinions are all over the page from Great American to Traitorous Turncoat.  Since we are talking about a living, breathing human being the truth is probably somewhere in between and the exact location depends on your personal opinions.

Give the man a chance.  Keep praying for him, those around him and the nation as a whole.  We may have had a favorite that got passed over but we really don’t know how that specific individual, under pressure, would be looking right now.   There is little that us peons can do directly.  Focus on the indirect, what we can do.

Feel free to offer concerns but do it in a polite manner.  Mix in some encouragement with the concerns.  If you know anything about Christian character you know that reproof and correction are always allowed but it is to be done in love, not anger.

He is one of our own.  He is not the enemy.  He will not bat 100 percent.  Neither would you or I.

We need to act like we are on God’s side and all the prayer, obedience and faith that demands.  Pray, vote, stand up, speak up.  Expect a miracle.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 15, 2023

Opus 2023-319: Emmanuel Blessings

We look to the past with fond memories.  How many times have you heard the observation that the days when your family had scant resources and was scrambling to put things like Christmas together were times remembered with fondness.  The conclusion is that you were happier during the times of scarcity.

I suggest you take that and apply it today.  Take some time to contemplate on the blessings you have today and imagine yourself looking back on them at some later date.  Think about the people around you who look at your situation and can only wish.

Enjoy the moment.  Relish the ways in which God is enriching you.  None of your kids can make it home for Christmas?  Reach out to someone in your church who is also childless for the holidays.  One of my warm memories this year was the lady who invited me over for Thanksgiving because she wasn’t sure I had any place to go.  My wife doesn’t go to church with me so she thought I was alone.  Now that I think of it, this might be a good time to cheer her up by reminding her of that blessing.  Reach out and look for people to touch and the gaps in your day will be filled.

Look to next year.  Work on creating a home environment that the kids will want to come to next year.  You don’t do that by gripes and groans but by whispers of Emmanuel and mention of how you have been blessed this year.  Make them want to be a part.

Our attitude can transform or smother.  It is cold and rainy as I write.  I could focus on the cold and wet, I could.  If I had to go out and dig ditches today I might do that.  But I can focus on the fact that I am retired, inside, warm and dry.  I can focus on the life renewing change of seasons and moisture.  I can enjoy the pitter patter of raindrops.  Two views of the same world.

Two wishes for you.  May God bless you.  May you recognize the blessings when they come.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Opus 2023-318: The Danger of Tradition

I am coming across real parallels between Islam and Rabbinical Judaism.  

The Hadith and the Talmud are both transcribed oral traditions.  Both religions have a written source of truth.  For the Muslims it is the Koran.  For the Jews it would be what we traditionally call the Old Testament.  That is established.  Then we have the teachings that exist today in written form but were passed down orally for centuries before being recorded.  For Muslims this is the Hadith.  For Jews it is the Talmud.  Both oral traditions are vastly longer than the written originals.

Reading excerpts from Rabbis, you come across a lot of the medieval phrases that you find in the quotes of mullahs.  I would assume these were matters of etiquette and the culture of the Middle East.  

It is interesting also that Mohammad talked about the people of the Book, Christians and Jews.  He seemed to teach that there was a written source that came from God.  The problem, according to Mohammad, was that the Book had been perverted by Christians and Jews.

He may have had something there.
His knowledge of Christianity was formed by the works that were never accepted into the Christian canon.  The area he lived in was hotbed of gnostic heresy.  It makes me wonder if his knowledge of Judaism was based on the interpretations of the Rabbis.  Another complication would be the Septuagint.  There are numerous places where the Septuagint is different than the Hebrew text.  In other places it has sentences added.

I wonder if a Jew from the time of David would recognize modern Judaism in any of its forms.  I wonder the same about Islam.  We face the same temptation in the world of Christian theology.  Much of what we believe is based on tradition and hearsay rather than what the Bible text actually says.  It is a challenge to all of us.  It is a challenge that only we, as individuals, can answer.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-317: Dark Thoughts: A Place to Start

What a glorious time of year this is.  It is a perfect fit for reflection, meditation and contemplating today and tomorrow.  Don’t waste it.

I was in a discussion of Christmas and how we respond to it with a group of older men who claim Jesus as Lord.  In spite of that the general tone was not bright and shiny.  How typical this is when the holidays come around.  People expect some magic elixir that will transform their situation.  I will admit that I am blessed with family in the area who see each other regularly and enjoy each other.  That is a blessing that I thank God for on a regular basis.

But the blessing starts closer to home.  I can’t wait for Thanksgiving dinner to be over so I can put on the Christmas music.  I admit, much of that is based on memories of Christmas.  I remember Christmas programs and the joys associated with them.  I remember the years I would load up my dad’s truck with friends and we would go around singing carols to everyone we could think of.  I remember glorious times.  So Christmas music starts with the anticipation of memories.  

The memories are augmented by the theology of Christmas:  Emmanuel, God with us.  Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.  That is what makes the season so special.  I can’t think about Christmas without considering this,

(Php 2:5-8 KJV)  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Okay, the price of Christmas trees has gone through the roof and they don’t live as long as they used to.  Materialism is rampant.  Your kid did not get the lead in the Christmas program.  There was no Christmas program.  And yet,
(Joh 1:14 KJV)  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Christmas merry.  It starts in your heart.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Opus 2023-316: New Term: Music of the Spheres

For some reason the phrase “Music of the Spheres” popped into my head.  There is no explanation of how my head works.  I wondered if it came from the Bible because it is used in at least one hymn.  Could it be the foreknowledge of God involving all of the music that would be written by mankind through the ages?  Are there parallel words for other areas of life?

My speculation didn’t work out, according to a search the term goes back to Pythagoras, not the Bible.  Still it is a great phrase.

Another interesting fact is that when you use Google to do the search, the first page, at least, is made up of commercial purchases by a group called Coldplay.  You gotta love Google.  They would sell their soul to the highest bidder.  I guess they already have.

There are times when I feel Google is an insult to my intelligence but then it occurred to me that it might just be my intelligence that is the problem, not Google.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-315: Dark Thoughts: Censored Carols

I was sitting in the dark listening to the music of Christmas.  I was skipping secular songs and ones that I didn’t know the words.  I like them but I wanted the inspiration so I was focusing on the real Christmas carols.  Joy to the World came up and I was immersing myself in the message.  I kept waiting for one particular verse and it never showed up.  I knew there were four verses but they only sang three.  What did they leave out?

The verse about sin.

“No more let sin and sorrow grow”
It seems that even classic Christmas carols must be edited to stifle the message of Christmas.  Our world loves to be reminded of Joy to the World.  It is not so anxious to be reminded that the problem that Christmas was addressing was sin.  

Yes, there was a baby in a manger and a young mother.  Yes, there are shepherds and wise men.  Yes, the angels had a great message.  No, that was not the complete story.  There is a reason God had to break into history.  There is a reason the Eternal Son became man.  There was a reason for the virgin birth.

We needed a savior.  That is what the name Jesus means.

Sing all the verses this year.  If you can’t get it on your recordings then do it in your heart.  Take the time to get out a hymnal and look at the actual words.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Opus 2023-314: Memory Lane

Memory is always a challenge.  People of all ages have moments when they can’t wrap their mind around a specific word.  It just gets more frequent and frustrating as you get older.  Much of what we experience is just an increase of the brief spells as youngsters.

I am working to fill in the gaps.  This comes when someone will share something I was a part of and I have no memory.  I think I already shared about getting my son to eat green beans.  I don’t remember, so I will repeat it.  He was stuck at the table until he finished his green beans.  I kept warming them up and they kept getting drier.  He claims that what finally convinced him to eat them was that when the ones on his plate were too desiccated to eat, I opened another can.  At that point he knew he was not going to win.  I had lost that memory.  Now I have added it.

More recently my daughter shared how I used to take her to the men’s room to use the bathroom.  I don’t remember ever doing it but she said I would check to make sure it was empty, get her installed in a booth, stand guard in front until she was done and tell her when the coast was clear.  I can’t believe I don’t remember, but she does.

I expect to know more about my past next year than I do today.  What anticipation.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-313: A Topic for Contemplation

Psalms is full of praise for God.  Israel had reason.  They had been chosen out of the entire world to be God’s people.  That is something to shout about.

There is great misunderstanding about that call.  You have to ask yourself “Why?”  We usually focus that question on what qualities attracted God’s attention.  That is the wrong line of meditation.  The real question should involved should be, “For what purpose was Israel called?”  The emphasis is on called, not chosen.

Israel as a nation was called to touch the world for God.  Ultimately they refused.  They failed.  They became preoccupied with how special they were and focused on the letter of the law instead of the spirit.  God kept trying to get their attention but they did not listen.

Today we are called individually.  We are not called because of our noble character.  We are called to serve.  It might be a good way to spend a quiet morning thinking about how God wants us to serve.  It will be different for each of us.  I might not understand your calling, nor you mine.  That is why we are cautioned about judging the spiritual condition of others.

We have enough to be concerned about in keeping ourselves on track.  Keep in mind that you have as much reason to rejoice and praise God as the children of Israel.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Opus 2023-312: Seeds of Character

Have you ever been around people talking about who was most influential in their life?  It has always amazed me how someone can pull up the name of one person who radically altered their world.  I don’t question it but I usually just draw a blank.  It is like my wife asking me what my Zoom group talked about and I can’t think of a thing at the moment.  As I get on with my day things come back to me.  

I have had a lot of people influence me.

Working chronologically I would need to start with my family.  My father stands out.  He wasn’t one for giving big lectures but he was a man who lived the values he did talk about.  Then there was my grandmother.  If you met her you would have thought of her as a straight laced legalist but I can remember the excitement of going to spend the night at her house.  The thing I dreaded the most was the nightly prayer where she prayed around the world, a couple of times.  The best was how she made cornmeal mush in the morning.  She had her quirks.  She did buy a TV but would not let us watch “them shooting programs” and would come and stand in front of the screen when commercials came on pushing things like cigarettes.  As a child she got me to join the LTL.  Never heard of them?  It was the Loyal Temperance Legion.  It was a children’s program of the WCTU.  At the heart of all that she was someone I loved to be with.

Sunday School over the years made a contribution.  The Bells kept us singing joyfully in the basement children’s department and one of my teachers, Al Bjur, really made the lessons come alive.  Then in Junior high there were the Frankhousers and Dwight Matthews.

In high school there were a couple of men who sharpened my skills.  The parents were not too excited about either one of them but they helped me grow up.  Dale Bailey was borderline crazy but he developed my leadership skills.  He let me actually be in charge of things.  I remember negotiating a concert for our teen choir with another church.  Then there was Phil Reed.  Phil took over the high school class when I was about ready go give up on Sunday School.  He challenged me to think.  He is still around fifty years later keeping me on my toes.

Probably Julian Loewe was most instrumental in my intellectual development.  In high school we used to walk to school.  It was one of those up-hill both ways routes.  It did not matter what position I took, Julian would take the other side and argue me into the ground.  I am not sure I ever won but it didn’t matter.  I was learning not to be so cocky and to get my ducks in a row.

I hope I have planted seeds in the same way.  I hope the same for you.  I am guessing that usually we will not know whom we have touched, but they are out there.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-311: Funeral Hope

I went to a funeral yesterday.  The man was a believer and so it was a celebration of hope.  He would be missed, that much was obvious from the people who shared how he had touched their lives.  It was a reminder of the resurrection and eternity.  

What was startling was that he was one month younger than I am.  That would have really gotten my attention if I was not ready to go also.  It did remind me of how blessed I am in health, family, wealth, knowledge and spiritual experiences.  I again ask that question, “Why me?”  I have to assume there is still more for me to contribute.  

I would assume the same for you.

Merry Christmas and a blessed eternity.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 8, 2023

Opus 2023-310: Who Celebrates

Why has Christmas spread through the entire world and invaded many cultures when Easter seems to be isolated to Christians?  Or at least Easter was Christian until the modern commercial pollution set in.  

The difference goes back to the original announcement.

(Luk 2:10 KJV)  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Some people would like to limit this to the people of Israel but that little word “all” makes that very difficult.  

The offering of a Savior, God becoming man, the incarnation, these were gifts of God offered to all mankind.  This is a reminder that the God of Israel is also the God of the entire world even though they do not acknowledge it.

Easter is when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  You can get into a big debate on the word “Easter” and whether or not it has pagan roots.  I have read both sides.  The point is, when Christians talk about Easter they are talking about Jesus rising from the dead.  This is a message that only applies to people who believe He was the Son of God and died for our sins.  I am under the impression that Jewish and Hindu homes will have a Christmas tree.  I have a friend who is Buddhist and I believe he celebrates Christmas.  None of them sing “Up from the Grave He Arose”.  

So all are welcome to celebrate Christmas.  Maybe someday you will be able to celebrate Easter also.  Although there is nothing to celebrate unless you put your faith in Jesus for your own resurrection, the hope of Christmas is extended to everyone.

Merry Christmas.  Glorious incarnation.  Someday, happy Resurrection Day.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-309: The Politics of Righteousness

I was listening to a presentation on the book of Isaiah by Dr. James Tour and he made the statement, “We don’t talk politics here.”  In the context that gave me no problem.  There are many venues where what we call politics do not come up.  I have no problem with what he said at the time.  But it made me think of how often I have heard that statement in different contexts.

Sometimes it is a total lie.  People out to manipulate and destroy often claim they are not being political.  This is what is going on when people lament how partisan we have become and want us to “just get along.”  No, they want us to shut up and do it their way.

Sometimes it is a sad truth.  People who should be involved in politics take a pass.  We are involved in the moral decline of America.  We are more involved than we want to admit because we get uncomfortable standing for truth.  We don’t want to be called prudes or narrow minded.  To avoid that we label moral issues as “social” or “political” and thus act like we don’t need to speak up.  Abortion is not a social issue.  The spectrum of homosexual perversions being pressed on our children and into our thought processes I not a social issue.  Both may involve politics, but that does not mean we should ignore them.  It means we should engage even more rigorously.  Since we live in a free society we have an obligation to do what we can to present God’s truth, even if it means getting political.

The people who should be the most involved in politics refuse to dirty their hands in the process and by default they leave it to the manipulators.

People of faith don’t seem to realize that their faith, if true, touches all parts of life, including politics.  They need to get involved and they need to get involved from the position of righteousness.

We serve a God who is the God of everything not just Sunday morning or packaged spiritual topics.  Of course it starts with prayer but ask yourself who would live in your house today if Noah had sat under a tree meditating on faith instead of building an ark.

homo unius libri

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Opus 2023-308: Rings of Submission

Last week we went exploring new restaurants.  The young woman assigned to wait on us was exploring new careers.  She was a trainee.  We may not have been her first table but we were close.  She had a mentor helping her work through things.  Mistakes were made but it all worked out as she was pleasant and we were pleasant right back.

When I first lifted my eyes to look at her I stopped at the ring in her nose.  Later I realized she had nice features and would possibly grow into a beautiful woman but my eyes were startled by the ornament.  When I see this kind of thing I usually wonder how they blow their nose or some such nonsense.  I think she had other piercings but I was stopped by her perforated nostrils.

She did a good job and we enjoyed the meal.  The nose ring was really not an issue to get concerned about.  We see them more and more as the days go by.  I wonder if these young ladies realize what the nose ring says.  This stuck in my mind becaus this morning I read,

(Gen 35:4 KJV)  And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
In the ancient Middle East nose and ear rings often carried a message.  The fact that Jacob demanded them along with their personal household gods is a clue.  Often these earrings were decorated in such a way as to declare your allegiance, or submission to a certain deity.  They spoke of submission.

Another place that reflects this is ,
(Gen 24:22 KJV)  And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
The context has the servant of Abraham being sent to find a wife for his son.  Rebekah seems to be the choice.  These gifts were a step in getting her to agree to be a wife for Isaac.  You don’t give a young girl gifts like this simply for watering your camels.

Another illustration we might use is the cartoon about Ferdinand the Bull.  Notice he had a nose ring.  So did pigs.  The reason was that when you hooked a chain to their nose ring they became very agreeable.  

So go with the fashion.  Like the Christmas tree originally being a pagan fertility symbol, the common cultural item does not mean you agree with the background, but if I were a young girl I am not sure I would want a symbol of slavery hanging from my nose.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-307: Another Day of Infamy We Forget

December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day.  Like the Holocaust, 911 and now October 7, it is fading into the memory hole of America.  Some of that is just human nature.  Pain and pleasure both fade.  Much of it is because the molders of influence and thought, teachers, professors, journalists, politicians, and such have been working overtime to dim the lights on the atrocities done to America while they paint us as evil incarnate.

Have you noticed how patriotic celebrations like the 4th of July have become safe and sane spectator sports for most people.  Not everyone and not everywhere but the enthusiasm has a regular downpour of wet blankets by civil leaders and law enforcement.  I know I don’t celebrate president’s day.  Why would I celebrate a day that includes Barak Obama and Jimmy Carter while pushing George Washington to the sidelines.  In researching this a little I came across the statement in The Almanac that the name has never been officially changed.  It is still Washington’s Birthday.  Would you explain to me who has the power to change a national holiday, have everyone join in and no one calls them on it?

When we are busy forgetting we need to understand that our enemies do not forget.  Just because you want to be nice does not mean that Islam no longer considers us the Great Satan.  We wonder why but they know, and remember.  Their memory may not be based on reality but it is their memory.  The Muslim mullahs are the ones who probably came up with the saying, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”  They probably believe that American Boy Scouts were in the lead during the First Crusade and Billy Graham was the commanding general.

December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy, or it should have been.  We were at peace and expected to continue in that way.  Suddenly the air was full of Japanese airplanes.  In war sneak attacks are part of the accepted routine.  The issue was that we were not at war.  In fact, Japanese diplomats were in Washington talking to our people when the attack came down.

Oh, and in case you are one of those Americans who went to public school, we declared war and we won.  It is why you don’t speak Japanese or German.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Opus 2023-306: Book Review: Saint Francis

I just finished reading a biography of Saint Francis of Assisi called God’s Fool.  It was very informative but at times a bit of a slog.  The style reminded me of Sunday School materials I had as a kid and the world view was based on that of a devout Roman Catholic author and readers.  The man who comes across was a bit crazy but in a way that would be required to live the life of total poverty he advocated.  Even allowing for the bias of the author the man who was canonized practiced what he preached.  As a devout Protestant I can say I recognized the Jesus he was trying to serve and that Francis was serious in his faith.  Even if I roll my eyes at some of the miracles that were described, I can salute his faithful service to the Lord.

One of the problems with vows of poverty like Francis followed is the same that emerges when you have total pacifists.  Both rely on other people to do the dirty work.  While it is true that in Utopia if everyone was a pacifist society would work, it is not true of the vow of poverty.  In that world it would not take people long to starve to death or die of exposure.  Also, since there would be no children born, it would be a short lived world for humans.  Since Utopia will never happen in this world I guess those are things we won’t need to worry about.

I can recommend the book even if I did not enjoy the style.  There is much to learn for Catholics, Protestants and even the non-believer can pick up interesting details about medieval life.

Green, Julien.  God’s Fool, The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi.  San Francisco:  Harper and Row, Publishers, 1985.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-305: Learn to Duck

I have a friend who seems to live in constant fear of Covid.  He brings it up regularly.  When he gets a bit under the weather he runs to get a test.  He changes his behavior because of fear.  At the same time his talk is full of the opposite.  I find it confusing and common.  People so often talk one way and don’t see that their choices reflect another reality.  I see it in people who talk about the mess in our public schools and then drop their children off at the front door.  Then there are the masses who condemn the woke corporate culture and you see the Amazon Prime truck making regular stops at their front door.  I bet if I looked hard enough I would find the same pattern in my life.

Should I worry about covid?  When people ask my if I have had it my general response is “I don’t know and I don’t care.”  I’m thinking about the latent fear I see around me.  If I used that measure of what to fear I would tremble every time I came near the garage door.  Years ago I kept bumping my head because of my first pair of bifocals.  I hit so many times I developed a big lump on my forehead.  I eventually had it surgically removed.  I have reason to be in dreaded fear of garage doors.  

Instead of living in fear I learned to duck.

I’m sure there are other examples.  We need to make conscious choices and take the path of courage and faith.  Did people die of covid?  Some.  People also die from falling off ladders and slipping in the bathtub.  Yet we continue changing light bulbs and taking baths.

Live like there is a tomorrow.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Opus 2023-304: Click Bait: Bait and Switch

I recently was enticed by some clickbait about mistranslations of the 10 Commandments.

The host did not identify his spiritual affiliations.  I don’t know if he was speaking from conviction or from a distaste for people who read their Bibles.

Like many influencers he used bait and switch.

Some of what he said I knew to be true such as “Thou shall not kill” really being “Thou shalt not murder.”  He also showed the Biblical text when he pointed out that the passage that contains the 10 Commandments really starts with a statement about who God is, not a commandment.  One of the conventions for deceiving people is to establish a few true points so your audience begins to trust you.  Then you throw in the stuff that sounds the same but is not necessarily true.  The unwary keep trusting what you say without thinking about it.  

After establishing his bona fides he started to come up with the idea of “traditions” and synonyms.  This is where the distortion creeps in.  It is why I don’t like to read what commentators have to say or trust the words of “scholars”.  Tradition is not the same as truth.  Some traditions are harmless and may even give some insights into the culture of the writing.  Many traditions are total rewrites of the text.

He says that “Thou shalt not steal” is translated “Thou shalt not kidnap” in traditional Judaism.  Then he goes on to expand on that thought claiming that the prohibition was about personhood not property.  This is where tradition tries to trump text.  What struck me was that the denial of personal property is a mark of the liberals in society and is one of the prime targets of the Communist Manifesto.

You can do your own homework or take my word for it, but the word means “steal” not “kidnap”.  Get out your Bible study tools, you do have Bible study tools, don’t you?  Do a little study.  Find out the Strong’s number for “steal”.  Okay, I will give it to you (1589).  Look at the many times it is used in the Old Testament.  Sometimes a minor application is included in the Major meaning.  The KJV never uses the word kidnap that I can find.  The word is translated that way three times in the NASB.  Each time involves taking people to sell them into slavery.  Kidnaping a person fits into the larger meaning of stealing.  Stealing is a much broader scope than kidnaping.  

Give the man the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe there is a “tradition” in some branches of Judiasm that says the word means kidnaping.  When you look at the way the word is actually used that “tradition” becomes just another one of the long list of interpretations of “scholars” that totally ignore the teaching of the Bible.

Read your own Bible and do your own thinking.  Test all new ideas.  Some may help you grow.  Some may weaken you.  By engaging them you can sharpen your mind and strengthen your faith.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-303: On the Road: Thoughts Generated by Headlights

Sunday night we returned from a multi-generational family outing.  We went to a small town about two hours north to see a re-creation of the Biblical nativity.  It was called “Main Street Bethlehem”.  The local Baptist church had been doing this for about 30 years and had a small section of Bethlehem recreated with genuine stone buildings.  It was a real labor of love.  They had church members playing the parts of residents and Roman occupiers.  Watching my grandchildren brought back memories of taking our children to a similar event.

The globalists want to destroy all this type of thing.  

It isn’t just a war against religion.  It is a war against liberty.  As we were driving up and back it occurred to me that all those people pushing the green agenda and bug-burgers have a target on every automobile in America.  The idea behind the 15 minute city is to keep you throttled and unable to move.  They want to cut down your options so you are easier to control.  As I watched the multitude of private vehicles on the road and the number of people who had gathered to this event, I realized what is at stake.  

What that means is making serfs out of the population.  Historically the difference between a peasant and a serf was that the serf could not go more that a short distance from home without the permission of his lord.  Peasants were also at the bottom of the social ladder but had more freedom.  Groups like the WEF and Sierra Club don’t just want to keep you poor.  They want to control you.  It isn’t about money.  It is about power.

Older people remember the feeling of emancipation that came from getting a drivers license.  Eventually you got a job so you could afford your own car.  It represented freedom, responsibility and was a big step toward being independent.  The elites hate that idea.  They want you to be bound by the schedule of public transportation.  They want to be able to deny that transportation either by a digital pass that can be cancelled or a master switch which turns the whole thing off.  The idea of having your own car, run by gas you purchased from a local businessman and guided by you is anathema to them.  

I don’t know it they are clever enough to have plotted it, but the current generation seems to be more concerned with the latest phone than the independence of a driver’s license.  They would rather walk around looking at an electronic device than move in the real world.  They live in a world of virtual reality that is much easier to manipulate than the streets of the city.

All this thinking just from going on an outing with the family.  I have too much time to think.

homo unius libri

Monday, December 4, 2023

Opus 2023-302: Price Tags for Eternity

What seems like a cute little Christmas song, “Little Drummer Boy” carries a bit of insight,

“I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give our king”
How true of all our lives.  God still glories in our gifts like a grandparent accepting the artwork of a three year old.  Recently my grandson proudly brought me a bit of his work.  As artwork it was nothing to write home about.  As an expression of love it was awesome.  

I think that is how God responds to our works of love.  There is nothing we can do that compares in absolute value to a sneeze of the Almighty.  What even God cannot force is a freewill offering given from our hearts.

Let one of your gifts this Christmas be a work of love for the Father.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-301: Who Says?

The Pentateuch is the first five books of the Bible.  Genesis to Deuteronomy are basically the same for Christians and Jew.  Contained in the Pentateuch is the Torah, or law.  So far the Jews and Christians are on the same page but now things get murky.  Christians as a whole are only aware of the written Torah.  That is what is included in the five books.  What most don’t know is that the Jews also have something called the Oral Torah.  This was supposed to have been dictated by God to Moses and passed down orally over the centuries.  It was not written down until about A.D. 200 and has been consistently added to over the following centuries.  It is now called the Talmud and is 38 volumes in length.

I am wondering about this oral law.  In my contemplation I have real questions about how a five book part of the Bible, which in the Bible I have with me takes up about 260 pages, can be expanded into 38 volumes.

I am wondering if the Talmud is an ancient example of “publish or perish”.  The Rabbis had to find a justification for their privilege so they kept coming up with personal opinions that were then elevated to the point of inspired.  They were the experts of their day.  In my view their opinions have about as much validity as the announcements of Anthony Fauci during the covid fiasco.  

Their peers approved just as they do today.  I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine.  

Be careful whom you believe whether it is medicine, science, history or theology.  Do your own reading and your own thinking.  There are times when you will have to trust someone as speaking truth but make sure they are trustworthy.

We live in interesting times.

homo unius libri

Opus 2023-300: Take a Moment

On the first Sunday of Advent I was listening to “It Came upon a Midnight Clear” and reveling in its message.  The third verse caught my attention.  The words were painting the burdens of life and how we keep moving forward.  I could identify with that from the years of earning a living and raising children.  Then there came the line,

“Oh, rest beside the weary road And hear the angels sing.”
What good advice.  Take a moment.  Take several moments.  Take many moments.  Use the incarnation and the miracle of God becoming man as an excuse.  Start to build a habit.  There is renewal and refreshment in pausing to hear the angels sing.  

This is a good time of year to work on new habits and shuffling priorities.  Don’t waste it.  Yes, we might feel like we are those
“Who toil along the climbing way With painful step and slow,”
But God offers those moments of refocusing that make all the difference in the journey.

Merry Christmas.

homo unius libri

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Opus 2023-299: Wake Up Call

I keep reading that increasing numbers of what were perfect stereotypes of brainwashed citizens are waking up.  I refer to the mindless obedience of American blacks and Jews who have historically voted for the party of the KKK, Jim Crow, filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights act and constantly voting against Israel.  I keep hearing that some are waking up.


At this point I think the ones waking up are the minority of the minority that are capable of independent thought and are paying attention.  In case that offends you as racist or some such nonsense, even the majority has a minority that are capable of independent thought and paying attention.  The move, if it is really happening, is an encouraging sign.  When you have numbers in the 90% voting straight Democrat you wonder about their sanity.  

There is a reason why the elites should fear this movement.  At present it represents no threat to them.  I have heard Stalin quoted as commenting that the important action is not how people vote but who counts the vote.  I expect there will be continued theft of elections.  These people control the courts, justice system and information outlets.  If they were able to get away with such obvious crimes last time we can expect more of the same.

The reason the elites should fear is that these thinkers and attention payers are like most conservatives.  They are peace loving, slow to anger and believe in the rule of law.  The plain truth is that they do not operate the same way that others in their demographic operate.  For now the Progressives* will go home and party.  Eventually the part of those demographics that are used to using violence to solve their problems will realize they have been had and start to come for the smug liberals.  When that happens the calls for talk and due process will fall on deaf ears and there will be blood in the streets.  By that time the police and military will be so gutted that they will do what they did before, turn and run or not show up.  This time is will be from fear, not because they will ordered to.

Now if we could only start infiltrating the great brainwashed masses of journalists, teachers and academia.

*(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

Opus 2023-298: Build a Bubble

We often complain about the rodents of congress living in a bubble.  They don’t know how the other 99% lives and, as long as they get reelected, don’t care.

I am wondering if it might be a good idea to actually put them in a bubble.  Make it a self-contained world in which they cannot read the MSM or have access to any polls.  It might also be reinforced so that they could not talk to other members of congress.  No parties, no interviews by talking heads, no eating out.  You get the idea.  Make that double for Democrats.  Make them decide what to do based on their promises and their knowledge of how the real world works.  I say this as I watch the Republicans continue to be the worthless party as the Rinos keep crossing the line to lick the shoes of their Democrat overlords.

I wonder how they would vote if they were not worried about the next cocktail party or trip to Epstein’s Island.  It might transform the country.  It is clear they are transforming the country, the wrong way.

Primaries are coming up.  Consider whom you will vote for.  If the Republicans won’t give you a real option then go third party.

Elections matter.  Vote.  Pray.  Stand up.  Speak up.  Be counted in life.

homo unius libri

Friday, December 1, 2023

Opus 2023-297: Dark Thoughts: Immutable Change

I was thinking about the character of God and His attributes.  I have a whole page covered with words that describe God and His actions.

Is God restricted by these attributes?  Is God described by these attributes?  Are the words given in the Bible just a human equivalent of something divine and beyond our comprehension?

I think the answer is “Yes.”

While God in His sovereignty could change His character, part of His character is that He won’t change.  We have a fancy word for that, immutable.  The fact that God is immutable leads to confusion.  It tends to define God as a concrete existence that has no possibility of interacting with creatures like us.  That is obviously not the case.  We have examples of God changing His mind and reacting to people.  Moses argued with God.  Abraham bargained with God.  Gideon is another example.  God’s character did not change in those encounters.  He is immutable.  His stated decisions did change.  He is a free agent.

The Bible gives us a description of God.  We need to remember that God came first and the description came later.  An example of that concept is music theory.  I took a class on music theory in college and did well although I am not a musician.  One of the things I remember being explained to us was that music theory came after Beethoven, not before.  Beethoven did not learn how to do what he did by reading a book.  The book was written in analysis of what he did.  The same is true of God.

Go to the source.

homo unius libri