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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Opus 2024-020: Unexpected

I am frustrated because I have not lived up to my expectations.  Not only did I fail to become a cowboy or fireman, I didn’t become an NBA star either.

It occurred to me that I have lived up to God’s expectations.  He knows me better than I can know myself.  He knows what I am capable of.  When I get frustrated because of my failure to measure up to my goal of perfection or fulfill all my plans He just shakes His head and sends me a bit of encouragement.

He expected me to be a faithful husband and good father.  He expected me to worship Him in a living way.  He expected me to be a good example for my world.  His expectations tended to be generic and very similar in scope to those He has for you.  I never preached the sermon that changed the world or recorded the song that appealed to all generations but He has seen to it that I was on board for His plans.

Maybe I will be a star quarterback in eternity.  

Maybe not.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 29, 2024

Opus 2024-019: 33>20

It seemed in my fallible memory that I had read about the discovery of galaxies 20 billion light years from earth.  I did a search and found that there are actually “verified” sightings of galaxies 33 billion light years away.  That make my problem even worse.

When I did my search I found that I am not the only one having a problem with this.  My, our, problem is that science claims that the universe is around 14 billion years old and now they are detecting fully developed galaxies that had to have been fully developed 33 billion years ago.  This should present you with quite a problem.

The search revealed a lot of attempts to explain it.  I did not bother reading them.  It isn’t that they would not be interesting but at this point you get to speculation, not science.  To be fair this is where science has arrived today.  Since theistic believers have been silenced, exiled and cancelled the realm of science has become more science fiction than science fact.  Scientists who believe in the God of the Bible, which included most of the great ones in the past, base their research on the scientific method which assumes that there will be consistent principles or laws of nature underlying all that we see.  They believed in truth.  Even the theory of relativity is based on absolutes.  

Modern science is becoming a field that is modified by the adjective “political” or “speculative”.  That means it is no more science.  The fewer people you get who believe in a God-created universe the less they can assume the scientific method has validity.  

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you are not a scientist.  Accept the fact that many, if not most, of them are not scientists either.  It is the same problem we face in the church.  A growing number of our spiritual leaders would not know the truth if it were written out for them and opened to chapter and verse.  As you realize, it is written out that way.  The salt in the open sore is that it is written in multiple translations and almost every language.  You may not know a spectrometer from a centrifuge.  You can still recognize nonsense.

Nonsense is the adjective a growing quantity of science demands.  Theology too.

Keep your brain turned on.  Keep thinking.  Keep praying.  Speak out.  Stand up.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Opus 2024-018: Marriage Conflict

Marriage has a lot of issues that need to be dealt with.  I was reminded of this when I walked into the kitchen and found a fresh stick of butter with a huge divot out of the middle.  My first question was, “Is there something wrong with the end of the stick?”  Of course, having been married for 48 years, I never uttered the question out loud.

Think of all the things you either argue about or just learn to ignore.  The classic is those who squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, but there are other causes for divorce.

Roll TP under.

Fold underwear.  

Raisins in chocolate chip cookies

Temperature for butter and cheese.

Well done or rare?

Peas in tuna-fish casserole

I am sure I could go on but my wife might come in and catch me.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Opus 2023-017: Make Mine Meat

We are living in the midst of a war against meat.  Somehow cow farts are going to destroy the atmosphere but bison flatulence had no effect.  What about all the people in the world who eat foods like beans that increase the human gas output.  That might be reduced with a diet richer in beef.  

As you probably know the enemy is not cattle.  The enemy is a healthy and prosperous nation that makes meat a basic part of its diet.  It isn’t about doing away with cows.  I understand at the elite dinners they serve cuts that us common folk can’t afford.  It is about doing away with a middle class that has the freedom to make its own decisions.  

I was thinking about the part in Proverbs saying it’s better to eat vegetables in a peaceful house than meat in one that’s full of strife.  I was thinking about the importance or relationship with meat and vegetables in the Bible as opposed to our cultural mandates. Meat was the food of the wealthy and vegetables were the food in the poor. The comparison was not what kind of food you eat but what kind of atmosphere your home had. I think of other places where it talks about meat and I think of the sacrificial system.  All those animals that were sacrificed were not destroyed. Most of them are eaten either buy a feast of the people sacrificing or as food set aside for the priests and Levites.

In the Passover the central feature was to be the Paschal lamb. I’m thinking that in most of the feasts in the Bible meat was central.

The original human diet was either vegetarian or vegan.  We know this because after the flood, God made it clear that meat was on the menu.

(Gen 9:3 KJV)  Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Later under the Law of Moses that carte blanc was rescinded but it was not a ban on meat, just certain types of meat.

So ignore the godless One World Order people who want you to eat bugs, own nothing and be happy.  God has ordained that meat is a part of the happiness that is possible in this life.

I like mine well done.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Opus 2023-016: God’s Bad Guy List

How does God deal with disobedience?  We know the ultimate result, hell and eternal damnation.  But there seem to be many lesser approaches.  I think this is because God prefers repentance to damnation, but there is only so much He can do.  Sometimes He works with plan B.  Sometimes the last chance has come and gone.

What are some examples?

Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden.  Sometimes our actions generate a response from God and there is no turning back.  Adam was destined to start working for a living and Eve to go through childbirth.  I am sure that they repented many times and I am just as sure that God forgave them but the banishment endured and sin was released on the world.  Let that be an example of what we might expect.

Shortly after that Cain murdered his brother.  God punished him with some kind of a sign to keep people from killing him.  There is no indication what that sign was.  The only thing I can think of is literally a magic billboard hovering over his head.  So he was punished but still a target of grace.

The Bible is full of examples.  

At the tower of Babel the people were divided by language and forced to spread out.

Anybody not on the ark with Noah was destroyed.

When you move into history we can date you have Sodom and Gomorrah.  Although they were not given a chance to repent, God at least was willing to spare them if there was a righteous seasoning.

When some of the Jews rebelled against Moses they were swallowed up by the earth.
David lost a child because of his dalliance.
Nebechanezer ate grass for years,
Judas was condemned for eternity.  Jesus did not try to reason with him just as he let the Rich
    Young Ruler go his way.
Paul was blinded for a few days
Annaias and Saphira were struck down.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list.

The severity depended on whether God knew you would repent or not.

If the punishment was not fatal, the length of time depended on how long it took to repent.

God is serious about people living righteous lives.  People are serious about not living righteous lives.  In this battle of the wills God will only be so patient.

Something to think about as you plan your day.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 15, 2024

Opus 2024-015: How Important Is Being Alive?

I was on a follow-up read of Psalm 84.  My mind was looking for statements having to do with the phrase “walk uprightly” (from verse 11).  I barely got to verse two when the description of God as “living” got my attention.  I went into squirrel mode.

What is the inference about other gods if yours is regarded as “the living God”?  It would seem to imply that they are not alive.  When you think of how the escaping Hebrews stopped in the desert and while waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain created their own golden calf it makes you wonder.  Psalms puts it this way,

(Psa 115:4 KJV)  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
(Psa 115:5 KJV)  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
(Psa 115:6 KJV)  They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
(Psa 115:7 KJV)  They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
(Psa 115:8 KJV)  They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
Did the pagans of Rome really believe their gods were alive?  Did the generic pagans of ancient times really believe the rock they worshiped was alive or aware?  How about the oak tree that they left offerings in front of?  I guess it is another one of those cases where you had to ask what you mean by “alive”?

Yahweh was very clear in His conversation with Moses.  When Moses asked who he should say sent him, God said to tell them His name was I AM.  For me that is a defining moment in contemplating on the attributes of God.  He picked out what may be the most important quality in a God:  He exists.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Opus 2023-014: The Right Foundation

What does it mean to live by faith?

First I think I need to explain this to non-believers, non-devout Christians and non-orthodox Christians.  To be honest, you don’t have a clue.  Also to be honest, even the devout have often not thought through what it means.

What it does not mean,
    Faith in your fellow man
    Faith in democracy
    Faith in reason
Those are all good, but not what devout Christians mean.

Living by faith means we realize we can never fix ourselves or the world.  We must trust in God to do that and that involves getting started by trusting in Christ to forgive our sins.  Then we follow the path that God has laid out for us and trust Him to make the difference around us.

It means that we are honest even when it looks like the act of a loser.  We live in faith that God is in charge and will make it work.  It means we forgive and go the extra mile.  Our choices are not made based on cold calculation but on faith in the character of God.

There is also a sense in which we face the future with optimism.  Things do not seem to be going well in our country.  The people who are running things hate God, the Constitution, the rule of law, justice and liberty.  They hate us.  They have control of all the public voices and forces.  All we have is God and a call to live faithfully.

I am gambling that it will be enough, if not for the country then at least for those who are faithful.  Pray, obey and trust.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 12, 2024

Opus 2023-013: The Habit of Holocaust

How would we rank the Holocausts or attempts at genocide of history?

I am not thinking of the common movements of tribes and peoples who pushed weaker cultures off their land.  The group pushed off tends to move a bit and push another bunch off.  That has been going on around the world since God pushed Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.  I am talking about the organized, systematic annihilation of a weaker group by the dominant culture.

Most people who know which end of straw to drink out of have heard of the Jewish Holocaust.  They may be deniers.  They may have been in the cheering section.  They still know about it.  If we were going to rank these tragedies the Jewish Holocaust is mainly useful in setting a standard for the others since it is the best known.

The Noble Savages of North America were participants.  The Iroquois destroyed at least eight other tribes in their area.  I think it is possible that the Cherokee ended up in Georgia to escape the depredations of their indigenous brothers.  Then came the Trail of Tears.  Some groups face repeated problems but it is not genocide.  

We have the Armenian holocaust of the early 20th century.  According to the Turks who did the honors, it didn’t happen, or, if pushed, will say it wasn’t as bad as portrayed.  I think the methodical murder of over a million people qualifies as more than just a misunderstanding.  

When you think of mass murder don’t leave the Communist party out.  Which one?  It doesn’t really matter.  It could be the kulaks of Ukraine, the peasants of China or the middle class in Cambodia.  Dead is dead.  In shear numbers the Communist version of socialism dwarfs the efforts of the Nazi version.  Both tried hard.  If you show up on their radar at the wrong time it is the end of the road.

The October 7 slaughter is fresh in our minds.  Compared to other atrocities in history the numbers are a bit small.  It comes into this discussion only because it is one step in the historic jihad holocaust.  If you go back in history this has been a 1400 year effort to eradicate the Jews.  We ignore it at our peril because it isn’t really just the Jews.  Everyone who is not a Muslim is on their list.  

How many other holocaust can we think about if we range through history?  My guess is that the list would be long and most we would not even know about because the receiving group of genocide does not write the history books.

Stay alert and pay attention.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Opus 2024-012: Reminders

I am often reminded of my unworthiness.  Sometimes I see it myself and beat myself up.  Other times I am told about my failures, time and time again. And the problem with that is not that I was a failure, but that the reminder is given with such glee and joy. The purpose of the reminder is to drag me down and to destroy me.

When God reminds me of my failures, and inadequacies, it is for an entirely different reason. It is to encourage me to improve. It is to make me want to do better. God’s reminders are from love not from hostility.  That makes all the difference in the world.

You can come at this from different directions but they should all start with I Corinthians 13.  For those who missed that Sunday School class, it is the love chapter.  Here is is from the NASB:

(1Co 13:4-8a NAS77) Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails...
Some of the words that might apply are rebuke, correct and reprove.  They all have to do with pointing out errors but they are to be guided by the love described in I Corinthians.  They have a purpose:  Not to tear down but to build up.

Scripture does that for me.  I am aware of my unworthiness before God.  When I meditate on His attributes there is no other way to come to it, but as I read verses describing those attributes I come across the statement that God is love.  Being unworthy is not the issue.  That is a given.  The other side of that coin is I am worthy of God’s love and worth Jesus dying for.  What an uplifting way to look at my failures.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Opus 2023-011: Free Markets Start with Us

We need more free market capitalism and less crony capitalism.  There are some very vital differences.

Free market capitalism sees the prosperity possible in sharing the wealth.  Henry Ford did not want to make inexpensive cars to get rich.  You could do that many ways but he saw an untapped market.  He wanted inexpensive cars to that his workers could afford to buy them.  He would get rich from their prosperity.  It was the economics of scale.

Free market capitalism understands that more wealth can be generated if you have a healthy middle class.  They spend money.  That means you can make money.  Everyone benefits.  The key word is generated.  When the masses do better, everyone does better.

Crony capitalism is based on greed.  Your goal is to get as many of the marbles as you can and at the same time deny marbles to others.  You figure there are only so many marbles and you want them all.  In stead of making more marbles you scramble for what someone else created.  

Free market capitalism believes in generating wealth.  Crony capitalism thinks the only way to gather wealth is to take it away from someone else.  

One of the great barriers to returning to the free market is the entitlement mentality that has overcome America.  It seems like everyone believes that deserve a special deal and that someone else should pay for it.  They never read the story of the Little Red Hen.

You can’t change everyone else.  Your calm voice and consistent example might open a few eyes.  Like free market capitalism, if everyone opened a few eyes eventually there would be enough vision that we could walk down the street without everyone running into walls.  Change those you can.  Be kind to those you can’t.  Remember being kind does not mean financing their irresponsibility.  

If enough of us become part of the solution then we can fix the problem.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Opus 2024-010: Bluster and Character

A conversation was going on in the next room and I could not get away from it.  At one point someone said that there were few women who would die for their children today.  I am not sure that is true.  Most parents would say they would die for their children and would mean it when they said it.

The problem is they won’t give up their Mercedes for their children.  They won’t live in a smaller house for their children.  This is the problem with our children today.  It isn’t that their parents would not die for them but that they will not live for them.

It is relatively easy to make glorious, idealistic claims.  The sad thing is that most of the key choices in life are not roof top proclamations but deep heart priorities.  Few people would rob a bank but when a clerk gives them too much change they walk out of the store quietly.  Children watch the daily character of their parents.  They may be temporarily impressed by bluster and loud claims but that quickly wears off and produces eye rolls more than security.

Pay attention to the small choices.  It may not change today but it will certainly mold tomorrow.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-009: Should-a-Beens: God and Cats

I would love to see God herd cats.  He could read what they have for minds and anticipate every movement.  He could have a half-dozen whips for each cat and know just where to snap it.  

He could do it.

I think He does.  It is probably a good illustration of how He both holds the universe together, listens to all our prays and works out His master plan.  I have no idea what that is like but He does it anyway.  Last time I checked He did not need my advice or approval.

You should find that comforting.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 8, 2024

Opus 2024-008: I Wish


My mind has a hard time staying focused.  Here is the squirrel trail (rabbit trail, vectors, RAM, etc.) of the morning.

In the shower I was soaping up and noticed some rough skin which is checked by the dermatologist on a regular basis.  

That made me think about skin cancer.  People die of skin cancer but most don’t.

I observed that I don’t seem to get it on my back in spite of my youthful attempts to get a glorious tan.  I worked on it.  Even though I got to where I could work outside without a shirt all day and not get burned, I never developed the glorious tan that others seemed to get with occasional exposure.  Life is not fair.

That got me thinking about how we are all so different and no matter how hard we try we may not be able to match what others do.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Often it depends on our attitude.

Attitude leads to a whole new rabbit trail.

homo unius libri

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Opus 2024-007: Killer Splinters

People die from splinters.  Splinters kill.

I assume we have all had them.  When I was a child and got a little, tiny piece of wood under my skin my mother would be forced to remove it in the face of my squirming and screaming at the torture.  Now if I get one I usually dig it out myself, or if it is too awkward, I have someone else do it with no drama.  Maturity does wonders.  

Still, people do die from splinters.

We are all different.  We respond differently.  Our hygiene and immune systems are different.  The probability of infection is a big issue.  There are so many weird bugs out there.  They all seem to be out to live off of us even if it kills us in the process.  What do we do?

Should we mandate a national program to prevent splinters?  We could have inspectors going around looking for objects that might make a hole in us.  We could have subsidies for varnishes and paints to cover over dangerous surfaces.  We could require a daily inspection in elementary school to make sure that the innocent children are not at risk.  Maybe home visits to insure that parents are keeping the home environment safe.  Perhaps we could require the purchase of splinter insurance by anyone wishing to leave their home.

Or maybe we could just learn to remove them and wash the wound.  It is something called personal responsibility.  Sorry, I know those are obscene words in some circles.

Be alert.  The world is out to get you.  Don’t give it any help.

homo unius libri

Friday, January 5, 2024

Opus 2024-006: A Place for Law

If you are a Bible reader you may have been puzzled by the different attitudes toward the Law.  Usually this refers to the Law of Moses.  Part of that law is the Ten Commandments, which most people have heard of even if they can’t name them.  It would also contain instructions for the sacrificial system, eating kosher and treating common health issues.

Most Christians would say that the Law of Moses does not apply to us for at least two reasons.  First, we are gentiles and the Law applies to Israel.  Second, when Jesus died on the cross He paid the debt owed for the sins of mankind and we have moved into the age of grace.

As you read the New Testament you find that there is a lot of negative press for the law. There are two reasons people bad mouth the Law.

One is because you have embraced the glory of grace.  This is where Paul is coming from.  He teaches that salvation comes from grace.  All Christian agree with that.  We don’t need a sacrificial system based on the blood of animals any more.  Salvation is a gift based on trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus to pay for our sins.  It can be a tremendous source of liberty.

But there are others who have a different reason, at least in my opinion.  Some reject any call to righteous living or requirement for morality because they want to live an unrestrained life of personal gratification.  Their problem is not with the Mosaic law.  Their problem is with the concept that they need a savior.  They fall into the same trap that Satan laid for Eve in the garden.  

(Gen 3:5 KJV)  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Self-centered ego is the condition of all human beings at birth.  Part of that is dealt with by adults who help the children mature.  Eventually it is a matter between the new adult and God Himself.  Most modern philosophies that reject the idea of a strick moral code do so becaue they think that they are gods and have the right to determine what is right.

This has many names.  One of the best is “narcissist”.  This can be hidden under many differnt covers.  Some people are known for their benevolence.  What most don’t see is that they expect some kind of pay-back.  If they don’t reap then they stop sowing in your direction.  Some are considered anti-social but often that is just an attitude toward people they think are below them.

This attitude is what we are seeing in the elites of the world today.  They think rules are only for the little people.  They think us common folk are bacteria infecting the world.  They really look down on you.  Law?  For their subjects.  Due process?  In your dreams.  The pursuit of happiness?  What have you been drinking.

The masses could bring them in line without violence if we would simply stop enriching them with our irresponsible spending and following their orders when they are clearly immoral.  I again urge you to use the power of the pocketbook.  Most of these people do nothing to bring wealth into the world.  They just manipulate paper and us.

Learn to discern and learn to resist.  Our lives depend on it.

homo unius libri

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Opus 2024-005: New Terms: Crony-Justice

Just as crony-capitalism has perverted the residue of capitalism and the free market, so crony-justice is perverting the rule of law and the Constitution.

In the brainwashing that has been going on for at least a generation certain concepts have been reworked and redefined.  Capitalism is one of those.  Dragged under the bus is the idea of a free market.  Capitalism was a system developed to allow groups of people to combine their resources, their capital, and share not only the risks but also the profits of a major enterprise.  At first is was probably the wealthy that got involved, but in time the concept of stocks made it possible for even common people to get on board.

One of the early examples of this that most can understand involved the spice trade to the Indies.  Pepper, cinnamon and other spices were available from the mysterious East.  What was available came through the caravans crossing the world of Islam and the profits were reserved for Muslim traders.  When the European explorers found a way around Africa and across the Indian Ocean to India it made these commodities available to European traders.  It was a long voyage and full of risk but the payoff was incredible.  

Let me give you an example from my lecture notes of bygone years.  In 1497 Vasco de Gama sailed with four ships and found a way around Africa to India.  He returned two years later.  In the process he lost two ships and two thirds of his crews.  In spite of those loses he sold his cargo and made 60 times the cost of the voyage.  My notes say this came from Bernstein, Paul.  History of Civilization, Volume I:  to 1648, 1960.

Groups of investors would pool their money to send out multiple ships and the odds were that they would get rich.  In our lifetime, you could have invested in Microsoft at its beginning and be living in the lap of luxury.  

Then the government gets involved and the whole equation changes.  We see this in American history on the issue of tariffs.  The northern states that had an industrial base wanted high tariffs to protect their factories and workers.  The South wanted no tariffs because they imported everything and did not want the high prices that protectionism brought.  This issue almost started a civil war long before slavery became the catalyst.  

We now have seen this blossom into full blown crony capitalism.  This is a situation where big business and government get together to line their own nests at the expense of the general population.  A good example would be in the laws passed with the noble concern of making life accessible for the handicapped.  In these laws there were a lot of requirements for businesses that reached a certain size.  If you were already big you were grandfathered in or at least given a long period of time to put in handicap access in restrooms, elevators and doorways.  If you were a small business on the verge of moving up the cost was prohibitive and thus you were destined to stay small and not provide competition to the big guys.

Another name for crony capitalism is fascism.

We are seeing the same process in our justice system.  I am sure there has always been corruption.  I will accept the fact that there are conservatives who are effected by partisanship.  I also know that left wing, ideologue judges are in the process of ignoring justice and advancing a left wing agenda.  All you need to do is see the way in which Marxist prosecutors and judges have excused violent criminals with mild reprimands and for lesser “crimes” thrown conservatives in jail for years.  The only way you can be sure of having justice is to avoid the justice system.  Instead of the rule of law we have crony-justice in place.

Both gilded capitalism and gilded justice make use of the old terms.  This is part of the method of the progressives based on the philosophy of deconstructionism.  It is deliberate and has been in motion for a long time.  They use time honored words and phrases but they mean exactly the opposite of what they actual say.  They will not be happy until they bring about the violence they claim we are starting.  Their happiness will be short lived when they find out how their Marxist overlords treat the traitors that put them in place.

It will be no consolation for the rest of us.

So pray first, then act.  Stand up.  Speak out.  Vote.  Choose which businesses you support and stay off the radar.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Opus 2024-004: Whom Is Being Measured

If you are reading the prophetic portions of the Bible, one of the major themes is the disobedience of Israel and the punishment God has in store for them.  Usually it is a call for repentance as much as a threat of destruction.  Usually it is ignored.  Modern America has a lot in common with ancient Israel.

How does God measure the spiritual status of a nation.  Take Israel as an example.  Which has more influence on God’s decision, the attitude and actions of the king, or the attitude and actions of the general population?  How much original thinking did the ancient Jewish people do?  Were they just repeating what their betters said or were they reading and deciding on their own?  I don’t know if we can know but the result seems to be the same:  Rebellion and rejection.

I’m thinking in terms of the nation of Israel and the evil that appeared so many ways.  Does God come down on the nation because the king is evil or does he reject the nation because the people turned away from him?

It makes a difference to us today.  If God only considers the elites, we are toast.  There are very few people at the top of any segment of our society that even pay lip service to the God of the universe.  Once you get down to where most of us peel our potatoes the numbers change a bit.  

The book of Proverbs points out the kind of attitude that is necessary,

(Pro 30:8-9 KJV)  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
There is a sweet spot in the middle of the wealth spectrum that we need to be in.  One reason that the top 1% ignore God is because they are so full that they don’t think they need God.  At the other end you have people who get desperate and do even stupider things than ignore God.  We want to be in the middle ground.  We want to be there not just for our personal well being but for the health of our nation and ultimately our world.

I hope God is more patient with us than He was with Sodom and Gomorrah.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Opus 2024-003: On the Street: Dog Collars

As I approached the turn-about point on my daily walk one of the dogs on the corner came through the fence and after me.  I wasn’t really threatened.  It was a small dog and not super aggressive, and I had a nice walking stick with a heavy head.  But I worried about the dog becoming road mush, so I went up to the door on my way back and had a talk with the owner.

In our discussion he pointed out that several of his dogs had huge collars, big balloon type things around their neck.  He said that was to keep them from going through the fence.  He was aware of the problem and I assume he will deal with it.  Since I have no emotional attachment to the dog that is good enough for me.  And I will always have my walking stick.

My thoughts went to what the Apostle Paul called his thorn in the flesh.  I am sure that the dogs felt that way about their clown collars.  Could it be that a thorn in the flesh given by God is really a collar to keep us from going places we’re too stupid to avoid?  No, I am not implying that you are stupid.  I am stating that you probably do things that are stupid.  Make whatever application you want.  I know it applies to my life but I may be the only one.

May your thorns be gentle enough to bear and sharp enough to get your attention.

homo unius libri

Monday, January 1, 2024

Opus 2024-002: Servanthood Remains Unpopular

I think it was an army commercial that said, “Be all you can be.”  Then you had the hamburger that told you, “Have it your way.”  We have a generation of Cafeteria Catholics who have infected the Protestant into Beatific Buffet fans.  The concept of a business making a profit by giving the customer what they want has infiltrated all of our society.  It came to the church in the form of “seeker friendly” services.  Instead of “repent and be saved”, it became “Don’t worry, be happy.”

We want to be social workers not servants. The idea of being a pastor and a minister is being bypassed by a generation that wants personal fulfillment instead of fitting the mold of previous generations.  That could be progress but it doesn’t seem to be working that way.  Now they’re going for a specific and specialize ministries to the down-and-outers. They have forgotten that we are called to serve others, not to serve in positions that pay well and make us noble while we reach out to those less blessed than we think we are.

Part of this is a response to a “guest speaker” we had at church Sunday.  He had a ministry to college students that really sounded exciting.  One of his goals was to raise enough support so his wife could quit her job and spend more time working with the young women that were coming to them.  You got the impression that they were lined up out the doors.  What I heard was here is another guy who wants to do something noble and he is not above putting his wife to work to pay for it.

Have you wondered why your pastor’s sermons don’t seem to be that powerful?  Maybe it is because he is spending his time drinking coffee with “prospects” rather than in the study risking spilling coffee on his Bible.  It could also be that the congregation expects them to be hold their hands instead of holding them up in prayer.  It is hard to say.

People forget that the word “minister” means “servant” and in the Greek New Testament the word in the original actually refers to slave status.  That is not popular today.  Perhaps it is time to have a revival where we sing songs like “I Surrender All” and mean it.


homo unius libri

Opus 2024-001: A Place to Start

Psalm 91 is a great way to begin the year.  I read it in my normal worship routine this morning and it was almost like I picked it out on purpose.

It starts out with standard promises.

(Psa 91:2 KJV)  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
As I kept reading I nodded my head and said, “Yes.  I can identify with that.”
(Psa 91:3 KJV)  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Does FBI entrapment and a new variant of the Covid panic come to mind?  These are not new concerns of ordinary people.  History is full of tyrants oppressing everyone they can reach.  Plague and disease have been a part of life down through history.  Why should we be any different?

Then we have the concern about the knock in the middle of the night.  Recently I have been reading about people being “swatted”.  That means some anonymous person calls up and reports something terrible going on in your house and the swat team comes calling.
(Psa 91:5 KJV)  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
See?  Nothing new here.  The chapter goes on this way.  

A lot of promises are given.  The one I like the most involves guardian angels,
(Psa 91:11 KJV)  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Like I said, a good place to start the year.

One word of caution before you get too excited:  Keep in mind that the promises are conditional.  They are not extended to everyone.  They are based on us calling on God and listening to His answers.  God loves to deliver people.  I think of a friend whose neighborhood was burning to the ground.  His house was not touched.  You could follow the path of the fire up to a certain point and it was as if something, or Someone, said, “No farther.”

Get in touch with that Someone.

Happy New Year.

homo unius libri