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.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Opus 2024-135: Firsts: Power and Blow Outs

For me, it is a double timing.  First I got a new used lawnmower, a riding mower.  This is the first time I’ve ever had one.  I actually did not want one but circumstances made it happen.  I I will be able to live with it but I think it opens a door to a whole new category of expenses.  

Then as I was mowing the lawn, I blew a tire.  It totally ripped the tread all the way across.  So now I have the experience of having to change a tire on a riding lawnmower.  It is not going well.  It is one of those situations that means repeated trips to various stores looking for tools and supplies.  My basic experience is that given enough time and a solid budget, I can get some things done.  I get no satisfaction from these projects.  They still need to be done.

I am looking at this as an adventure.  I am trying not to look at it as a mystery.  My wife thinks it is a fantasy and I am not sure I would argue with her.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Opus 2024-134: Ignorance of Priorities

I was watching a short video where a guy was interviewing people on the street and asking them questions.  They were simple questions like, “What is the capital of the United States” and “Who was the first President of the United States?”  The people being interviewed did not have a clue.  I would guess it’s because when this was reviewed in their high school history class, they never pictured someone stopping them on the street and asking them a question about it and so, since it didn’t amount anything for them, they ignored it.

If you can’t put it in your mouth, in your veins, or into your sexual fantasies, it probably doesn’t matter.

My hope is that these people never vote or have a position of responsibility.  I would also hope that they never pass on their genes.  I am afraid they could not even hoe weeds in a garden.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-133: Jigsaw Theology

How can people get so many denominations out of one Bible?  I’m thinking about theology as a gigantic jigsaw puzzle that God has given us.  All the pieces are there.  When it’s put together, it will be a glorious picture.  But there are so many pieces and the colors are so radical that putting it together is a real challenge.

I think about the parallels.  The first thing I do when I try to put together a jigsaw puzzle is look for the straight edges that make the sides of the picture.  Then I look for obvious features that might continue from one piece to another, and indicate what group of pieces go together and try to assemble that one spot of the of the big picture.  Eventually I get down to the point where I have to start taking pieces and seeing if they fit.  That is where I can really run into trouble.  How many times have you found a piece that almost seems to fit and so you force it.  But it is really not the piece that goes there. And you have to be open to someone presenting you with the right piece which will fit in exactly.

We have all the pieces to this puzzle.  Putting it together, however, is a major challenge which may take all of eternity.  Pull up a chair, sit down and join me looking for the right pieces and how they fit.

Actually, the first thing I do is turn all the pieces right side up. I think some people try to put the puzzle together without turning the pieces over so they can see the true colors. Many world religions are simply human beings, taking the blank side of the back of the puzzle and trying to fit the pieces together.  The chances of that happening, even an eternity, are very slim.  Even if they succeeded they would not know what the picture showed.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 27, 2024

Opus 2024-132: Coffee

I came to coffee in the same way that many people might have arrived; as a gradual addiction.  It started off in college as a way to stay awake when I had ignored studying and needed to pull an all nighter before a big test.  When I was drafted into the army and ended up sitting in an office and bored to tears, coffee was available.  So I would drink it.

I started with cream and sugar, because who can stand the taste of coffee without it?  It smells great, it doesn’t taste great, at least, until you develop a resistance to it.  Then when we went out to eat, and we’re sitting talking for long periods of time, they did not refill Cokes, so I went to coffee.

Eventually, I started liking it.  Eventually, I started purchasing whole bean coffee and grinding it in the store.  Then I got a blade grinder for home.  As I got more involved, I bought a burr grinder.  Then I started experimenting with different blends and sources of coffee.  In time I came to really enjoy it.

What brought me to this is the nuances that I am picking up in the coffee I’m drinking this morning.  I find that even if I brew my coffee exactly the same way every morning, it still tastes different.  I noticed that as the morning goes on the flavors that I am picking up change.  It is an interesting progression.  I guess it is part of the reason people drink it just in case you are one of those people who are still pure.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-131: Mystery

I have a friend who likes to emphasize Paul talking about mysteries.  When he talks about Paul and the mysteries, he is talking about a specific doctrinal position focusing on the revelation that Paul received from Jesus.  He is talking about Paul revealing something totally new.  And he has his reasons for proposing that.  Most of those reasons have to do with fitting into his system of theology.  That, of course, is my opinion offered without charge.

I would suggest that when the word mystery is used in the Bible, it does not refer to some secret knowledge.  I would suggest that mystery in the Bible refers to things that we can proclaim and share, but not to even begin to totally understand.  Paul uses the term in regard to the resurrection.  I need to look at some of the other uses of the word mystery, but it does not mean secret knowledge.  In modern terms I would think of the trinity and incarnation.

When my friend quotes what the secret knowledge means, everything he comes up with I can find reference to in the Old Testament except for a clear statement that the cross finished something.  When Paul says in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, I can find reference to that multiple times in the Old Testament as God declares that He is the God of all people and that all nations will come to him.  When it comes to grace and faith, I can find lots of references in the Old Testament about how we are saved by God‘s power and by our belief in him.  And so forth.

So I submit that mystery is not some secret that God was hiding from us, but a glory that we will spend eternity delving into.  I don’t know if it applies or if it’s just spiritualizing, but take how God refused to show his face to Moses, because Moses could not handle seeing God’s face.  That will not be true in eternity. And the same thing may apply about many of the realities that God has hinted that and has laid the foundation for.

Eternity is going to be ________________ (fill in unknown English word that is a million times more awesome than awesome).

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Opus 2024-130: Core Focus

When we would go out of the house my father would often say to us remember you are a Jaberwoky (Name changed to protect the innocent).  We knew exactly what he meant.  He had worked hard to make the name a reflection of upright living and dependability.  He did not want us to be stupid and tarnish it.  It worked.

What is it that you would fill that blank with if someone were to say you to you “Remember you are a ________”?  Are you proud of your family?  Maybe you would put in “the parent of _____” or “the husband of _______”.  There should be something about your life that draws you to live better and be an example.

We should think of ourselves, of course, as Christians.  And that should be what guides our behavior and our choices.

Instead, we have so many different priorities that set the agenda for our day.  Obviously, there are times when our work tells us what we are to do next.  Our families make demands on us.  But that is not the question.  My father was not asking me to answer.  He was telling me to remember what my core was.  It would do us well to remember that.

Of course the first step in achieving that is spending some time in introspection deciding what our core is.

Start contemplating your navel.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Opus 2024-129: Property Is Liberty

I am thinking about the communist manifesto and it’s emphasis on property.  It does not want you to have any.  The communists have that in common with autocrats,  monarchies,  kings and any other powerful political force.  All of these have made a monopoly of owning property.  We have a record of Pharaoh bring that about.

(Gen 47:20 KJV)  And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.
And much of the world in order to own property you need to be either royalty, nobility, or the church.

While this is the norm for pagan culture it is antithetical for Biblical societies.  In the Bible, we have a lot of evidence that personal property was real and good.  In proverbs 31 the wife buys a field and plants a vineyard.  We have the king who had a property owner executed so he could buy his property.  Abraham bought land to bury his wife.  And so forth.  

When Israel came to the promised land, it was divided up by clans and later on by family.  We know this because they were not supposed to move boundaries.  They were not supposed to take the land from widows and orphans.  And there was a provision for returning land to his original family in the Jubilee.
(Lev 25:23 KJV)  The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
I don’t know that this law was followed but it was the way God intended it to be.

One of the salient motives for people coming to America was the knowledge that there was land to be had.  The government did not make it impossible to own your own farm or home.  In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson did not have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, he had “life, liberty and property”.  At the end of the Civil War the Homestead Act was passed that made it possible to claim 160 acres of land if you improved it and lived there five years.  

Property was recognized as a part of liberty.

That is why out communist overlords are determined to do away with private property.  Notice how many laws make it hard to buy your own home.  Notice the economic policies that want to force us into 15 minute cities.  Think zoning laws, environmental impact statments, wetlands regulations, building permits and the list goes on.  What we see going on in Texas now and across the country as states and the federal government grab more land is a similar movement.  In a state like Nevada the government owns almost everything.  Every year they gobble up more land to preserve for future generations, or at least their future generations.  Us peasants will only have access to the great outdoors if it is allowed.

When you hear of anything that limits your right to buy and own land or anything else that would be considered property an alarm should go off in your head.  Big Brother wants you in a tenement, without a car and dependent on your government handouts.  As the memes keep reminding us, “You will own nothing and be happy.”

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Opus 2024-128: I Swear

Have you noticed how people like to take the name of God in vain?  Have you noticed how they like to take the name of Jesus as a cuss word?  I’m going to suggest that those of us who believe Jesus is God start using the name Karl Marx as a cuss word.  You see, these people may not know the Karl Marx is their God, but then they don’t know Jesus is God either.  So I’m suggesting that when somebody is really stupid or says something really stupid that you say, “Karl Marx, that was really stupid”.

I don’t know if it’ll help anything but it might be an interesting reaction from them.  It could lead to some interesting conversations.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-127: Pardon My Skepticism

I am finding the suggestions by You Tube to be of declining value.  I fell for some click bait today.  It advertised something like “10 Things Churches Do That Are Not in the Bible”.  I didn’t think the discussion would change a lot in my life but I was curious about what the guy had to say.

I was not disappointed in my skepticism.  

He started off with “denominations”.  They are not in the Bible.  I guess that would be true since things were just starting up.  Of course you could also make a case for the first church split was when the believers in Jesus were kicked out of the synagogues or maybe the time when the Hellenistic Jews and the locals were arguing over how they served lunch.  Wouldn’t the proclaimed difference between the ministry of Peter and Paul be considered different denominations today?

Things like “confession” were simply digs at the Catholics.  Declaring that immersion was the only Biblical form of baptism is a position I agree with but ignores the case that other believers make for pouring and sprinkling.  Such a case does exist.

What really got me to wondering where he was coming from was when he said the Bible did not talk about “worship services”.  It is possible that he was technically correct.  Of course, the Bible does not use the term “trinity” either.  I wonder what he thought the people in Acts were doing when they gathered together on a daily basis.  Where does he think Paul has been that made him write the 14th chapter of I Corinthians with its list of approved activities and telling women not to speak?

I thought it was of interest that he did not mention the Bible has nothing to say about podcasts telling us about what the Bible does not say, but my mind tends to run that way.

Time to go read a book.  You do remember books, don’t you?

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Opus 2024-126: Secrets

I am fascinated with the concept of the oral Torah.  I just became aware of this recently, although evidence of it has been in front of me for a long time.

First, a bit of background.  Christians believe in the Bible as the word of God.  I always assumed that Jews looked at what we called the Old Testament as the Bible and believed that it was inspired by God similar to Gentile believers.  I believed they accepted the end of Malachi as the end of God’s revealed word.  That might’ve been true at some point but it was not true at the time of Jesus.  Somewhere in between they became infatuated with this idea of the oral law.  I have not seen any evidence for this in the Old Testament.  Maybe I have just not looked hard enough.

We see reference to this when Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees, and accusing them of following the traditions of men, rather than the commands of God.  Paul refers to the traditions of his elders.  As I read non-Biblcal sources, I come across this idea of the oral law, which I had not noticed before.  Different sources I have seen say that it was looked at as being more authoritative than the written law.

With that in mind, I turn to the Jewish rabbi Philo.  He lived, I believe, about 200 years before Christ during the intertestamental period.  He was known to be a gnostic.  He allowed this to influence his theology, writings and the direction of his teaching.  I don’t think he’s stood alone.  I think he was just the salient voice of a movement.  It is also during this time that I believe the oral tradition emerged.  One of the sources I read, talked about how Jews of Jesus’ time looked upon the oral tradition as their secret knowledge which was not available to the Christians.  I see the Christians had adopted the Jewish Old Testament as their scriptures and were using them.  To protect themselves, the Jews were quite willing to consider the oral tradition as superior to the written tradition and kept it hidden from the rest of the world.  Thus it became a secret knowledge.

Notice the parallel here between Gnosticism with a secret knowledge and what was happening in Judaism.  I will submit that the Jews of Jesus day had already lost touch with the God of the Bible, and were very much into the wisdom of man.  The sad part is that they still seemed locked into that source of authority.

I will take my authority in the open access form, thank you.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-125: Let’s Play, “Spot the Nazi”

I came across a statement in a Thomas Sowell book that made me think of some of the nonsense we have been hearing in our culture.  First the Sowell quote,

“In totalitarian nations, virtually every intellectual field is politicized.  Genetics and economics acquire ideological significance in the Soviet Union, and Nazi German proclaimed the existence of such intellectual entities as German physics, German chemistry, and German mathematics.” p. 341, emphasis in original
Now compare that to the nonsense you have been hearing about science and math being infested with white supremacy.  

At the risk of overplaying the Hitler card, do you notice the similarity in emphasis between the Communists and Nazis in acting like even the factual subjects are different when they are covered by their pet political group.  It is just another example of the way the thinking of the woke is adopting the philosophy and methods of totalitarian movements.  

The results will be the same unless America wakes up to the woke.

Sowell, Thomas.  Knowledge and Decisions.  New York:  Basic Books, 1980.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 20, 2024

Opus 2024-124: Law as worship

When I think of David, praising the law and talking about how much he loved it, and how much it meant to him, I think that the law to him was a means of worship.  Yes, it did have to do with the atonement.  It did offer forgiveness.  But ultimately, it was an access into the presence of God.  It was a form of worship.  When he went to the temple and made sacrifices, it was not empty ritual.  It was meaningful ritual.  It was coming into the presence of the Almighty.

This is true of us today in our rituals.  We sing hymns, read scripture, pray together, and all of these are rituals that are a means of worship.  They only have value as they bring us into the presence of God and remind us of who He is and help us to live as He would have us live.

The law has dangers like any ritual would.  It is much easier to turn off our hearts and minds and go through the motions.  Have you saluted the flag lately?  Did you really think about the words?  At our church we have a ritual of reciting the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday.  I work at thinking about the words.  I try to read it with feeling.  It is hard but it can be done.  If I just recite, does it make the Creed invalid or just reflect on me?

The law can never replace a heart for righteousness and love for God.  It isn’t designed to.  It was given at a time when the Hebrews had no clue about how to live an upright life.  They had been 400 years immersed in a pagan culture.  They needed a crash course in holy living.  They got it.  If you need it, focus on it for awhile but realize that your salvation comes through faith in the blood of Christ and your sanctification is through the work of the Holy Spirit.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Opus 2024-123: Answers

How many very clear questions are asked that we never bother to listen to, let alone answer.

I’ve been listening to the songs of my youth, and it is amazing how little I understood about what I would sing.  One of the songs I listened to was, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”  Now, at my age, with a bit more experience under my belt, I know the answer is, “No”.  The guy she was singing to was not interested in his feelings tomorrow.  All he cared about was his lust tonight.  However, as I listened to the words, I noticed there are a lot of good questions being asked.  

She just didn’t want to hear the answers.

How many times have we had right in front of our faces, the questions and the information, and we refused to see it.  It doesn’t take much research to see that the fetus being aborted is actually a tiny human being with fingers, toes and the ability to feel pain.  If you think there are more than two genders you need to raise rabbits for awhile.  If you think that every war was unnecessary you need to read a bit more history.  If you think he will still love you tomorrow you need to pay attention.

And, no Epstein did not kill himself, in case you were wondering.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-122: Fearsome

I am sitting here delighting in the sovereignty of god.  He is all powerful.  Who am I to declare such a thing but just another one of his creatures?  I only am able to rejoice in his sovereignty, because I am aware of the depth of his character, and his other attributes, that are revealed to us through Jesus.  I can rejoice in the awesome, fearsome, overwhelming sovereignty of God, because I know Jesus.  I have enough fear to live in awe but no terror because I know enough to trust in who He is.

I sit and let my thoughts wander.  In a group I would stifle my words because I don’t like being called a heretic but just between Him and I there is great freedom.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Opus 2024-121: Just Perfect

People quarrel over the idea of perfection as expressed in the Bible.  Some say no such thing is possible.  Check out these two verses, one in the OT and one in the NT.  The word “perfect” appears in both the KJV and NASB,

(Psa 19:7 KJV)  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

(1Jn 4:18 KJV)  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
The problem is not that this perfection is impossible.  The problem is using our cultural definitions of a word rather than seeking to understand how it is used in the Bible.

I am sitting outside this morning and, to be honest, it is a perfect morning.  It is positively awesome.  There is a refreshing breeze and I’m told it’s about 73°.  It is a perfect morning.

Yesterday was also a perfect morning.  I am told it was 71°.  It was a very light breeze.  It was a perfect morning.

I can go on like this.  There are numerous perfect mornings and yet each one is different.  Why do we have so much trouble with his word perfect?  We know in our hearts what it means.  Why do people refuse to accept it?  Much of the problem is beginning with a theology that says there is no such thing as perfect in spite of the examples of the word.

Another word we have trouble with is “sovereign”.  We have trouble with the conflict between the idea of God, being omnipotent, and us having free will.  We have the trouble with so many other issues.  Lighten up, broaden your mind, think.  The universe is beyond you.  God never said you would understand every mystery.  He also gives you permission to contribute crazy ideas that might answer the paradox.  

Who knows, you might get lucky and be right.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-120: Sneezing

I was going through a bout of sneezing this morning and it didn’t seem to want to stop.  I kept acting like I was in polite company.  I would cover my nose and try to stifle it.  Then I let go one massive sneeze and sprayed it all over creation.  This is not a problem since I was sitting on the front porch, before dawn, by myself.  I was free to do so.

And I noticed that the sneezing stopped.  This makes me ask a question.  Would it be healthier if we would stop trying to contain our sneezes and just let them blow?  Is the sneeze a natural, God-given, way of dealing with something in our head.  Will we be better off if we would stop trying to stop?

How many of the habits we develop to be courteous and civilized are potentially unhealthy?

homo unius libri

Friday, May 17, 2024

Opus 2024-119: An Adjective for the Bible

We have different ways of expressing the high place that scripture has in the life of a believer.  The vocabulary is varied.  We talk about being inspired.  That is in the Bible.  We talk about being infallible.  That is not in the Bible.  You have heard of inerrancy?  It is not a Biblical vocabulary word.  We talk about it being without error.  It is not expressed that way in the Bible.

The Bible is inspired.  It was given to us for our salvation.  It is not a science textbook nor a math table.  It is not even a history textbook.  It is a book that God has given us, so that we can know what we need to know in order to live as He would have us live.

When it comes to understanding Paul, or other authors in the Bible, we tend to put them on pedestals and make them idols.  We tend to deify them.  We forget that they are human beings like us, and God has to use us as human beings.  That means personalities and feelings will often show through.  We need to keep that in mind when we read Paul’s letters.

Christians believe the Bible gives them truth.  It is sometimes crystal clear.  How hard is it to understand “Do not steal”?  Sometimes it requires a bit of study.  Sometimes you can study for ever and not be getting close, eschatology anyone?  It is still truth and has values that do not change with every whim of culture or theology.

I have a suggestion.  Consider the source.  Put away your books about the Bible and start reading the original source.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-118: American Midden

If I lived in another country, I think I would be terrified when I see what is going on in the United States.  We have the most powerful country in the world with a large atomic arsenal, being run by a crazy man who can’t even walk up some stairs without stumbling or share a complete sentence.  He seems incapable of making a true, factual, accurate statement.

It certainly gives something to worry about.  As much as everybody has enjoyed hating America there was always a sense of security knowing that we were here and were still on our white horses ready to rescue the fair damsels of the world.

The horse has gone to the glue factory and the lance has been recycled.  I am not sure we can defend ourselves any more.  What is happening on the southern border makes you think that the elites don’t even want to.

I don’t need to live in another country.  I live here and am terrified at what I see going on in the United States.  Well, not really.  I have a faith that ultimately God will prevail.  I am just concerned that we may not have ten righteous left and so we will join Sodom on the midden of history.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Opus 2024-117: Labels: What a Day

As I sit here on the porch, watching people go to work I will stop and lift up a brief prayer for them as they drive by.  I sometimes look for labels to put on that prayer.  Let me consider a few.  May they have a...

Red Letter Day.  But that is a better prayer for believers, that God would speak to them that day.  

Damascus Day, remembering Paul being knocked down on his way to Damascus.  We all have lessons to learn.

Loaves and Fishes Day, where are you suddenly realize that the assets you have are enough for the problem at hand.

Red Sea Day.  The enemy is closing quickly and you need a miracle.

Bic Moment, where they realize they are being gaslighted.

Blessings, for generic moments.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-116: It Is What Walls Are For

I keep wondering how people find the time to watch screens as much as they do.  I am asked, “Did you see...”  My answer is usually, “No”.  I am at the point where I might recognize the name of a program but that is probably because they mentioned it before.  I usually ask if it is a medical problem or something.  I recently asked a group of senior men if they had closed all the libraries in their area.

How bored do people have to be to pick up a book?  It seems like everywhere I go, I see people sitting with nothing to read.  They just pick a spot on the wall or floor and stare.  My wife sometimes get insulted when I take a book with me.  I patiently explain to her that it is insurance or a superstitious token.  I find that if I have a book to read the time in a waiting room is very short.  If I forget to bring one then I always join the literate zombies and stare at the wall.

If you can’t afford  library card (they are free) then look around and you will probably find some books that are being given away.  

Or stare at the wall.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Opus 2024-115: Thoughts on Heaven

I was trying to think about what heaven will be like, and it’s really hard because I think it will be something that is beyond our present comprehension.

One idea of Heaven involves the resurrected body.  Think of Jesus walking through walls and then having something to eat.  What kind of abilities will this new body give us that we don’t have now?  Speculations are endless,

Or how about where we will spend eternity.  The Bible talks about the new Jerusalem descending from the sky.  It talks about a city that needs no sun.  We will be living in that it seems.  Outside the gates you will have children playing with vipers.  You will have lambs frolicking with wolves.

Then, how about the crowd around the judgment seat of God?  I picture millions or billions of redeem souls joined in chorus before the judgment seat of God.  We will suddenly be able to sing.  That means the guy next to you will finally find the harmony he was after.  We will have found that inner something which makes our voices blend together, and sends chills up and down your spine.  We will rejoice in the presence of God for 1 million years.  It seems impossible. Yet when I think of times, when I have gotten into that musical groove with other people, I can comprehend it.

Or think about me being able to play on the ultimate celestial guitar.  One made with the finest woods, perfectly crafted to resonate.  And then add to that not only the time and the ability, but the desire to learn to play divine music.  Put it all together, and it will be glorious.

Hope to see you there.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-114: On the Street: Only in Texas

I usually don’t pay police cars much attention.  I tend to drive the speed limit so my break peddle doesn’t get tromped on much.  Recently I was passed by a cop car (going over the speed limit) and when I glanced over I noticed a statement on the back:  In God we trust.

Only in Texas, and not even in all parts of Texas.

I wonder if the ACLU is going to get on their case?  Since it is still on our money they might not get far but with what is going on in the legal system today, you never know.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Opus 2024-113: The Evils of Cheeseburgers

I continue to think about the Law given in the Pentateuch.

As I was pursuing a question in trying to understand the Law revealed to Moses, I focused on the statement that we were not to “seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.”  It occurs three times.  Here is the first,

(Exo 23:19 KJV)  The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
I was trying to figure out how this statement evolved into the ban on cheeseburgers.  In case you were not aware, observant Jews will not eat cheeseburgers because they claim it violates this law of God.  Their desire to please God is praiseworthy.  Their logic and Biblical understanding could use some work.

As I did a bit of internet research, one site I was led to was called “Ask a Rabbi”.  That seemed like a good place to start.  It was an interesting study in understanding modern Judaism.  The issue was summed up in a phrase I found,
“Regardless, all the Sages of the Talmud are in agreement that these verses forbid more than the literal meaning implies.”
Modern Judaism is based on the rulings of the “Sages of the Talmud.”  In case you slept through that Sunday School class, the Talmud is a commentary on the Torah.  It was written by Rabbis over thousands of years and it currently over 60 volumes.  The Torah is the Law which is mostly found in the first five books of the Bible.  They may talk about verses in the Bible but their ultimate source of authority is not the written word but the combination of traditions passed down orally from Moses and what the Rabbis have decided they mean over the centuries.
“ When everyone in the Talmud agrees to something, we can be quite certain that the law is a tradition passed from Sinai...” (EO)
Keep in mind that most of what you hear about the Law of Moses and how hard it is to keep, most of what you hear is the opinions of the Rabbis, not what Christians would consider the written Word.  The Rabbis also have something that was called the Oral Torah until it was written down about 200 years after the time of Jesus.  It is like secret knowledge known only to the Rabbis and several sources have told me that the oral law is preferred to the written law.

As I was following various links I came across one from the Times of India.  What could the Times of India have to say about kosher?  Nothing.  It seems that there is a form of medicine used in India that has similar rules.
“As per the books of Ayurveda combining milk and meat or drinking milk after eating meat is considered to be a wrong combination.”
I find it interesting that a law of kosher is almost identical to the teachings of a pagan document thousands of miles away.

The thought process will continue.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-112: Invention Needed

I really try to not be judgmental, but I still think tattoos are ugly.  Like circumcision they cannot be undone but unlike circumcision they have no health advantages.  On attractive people they take away the shine.  On ugly people they exaggerate the problem.  Of course that is just my opinion.  There must be some people who like them.  It can’t all be just trying to be cool.

I am waiting for an invention to alleviate my distress:  Glasses that filter out tattoos.  You have seen the 3-D glasses.  It seems to me that someone ought to be able to filter out the color of tattoo ink.

I live for the day.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Opus 2024-111: Emily Leviticus Post

I continue to think about the Law given in the Pentateuch.

I am wondering if the original purpose of the Mosaic law was more a book of etiquette, instead of a penal code.  When Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, they had been so saturated in the pagan culture that they had no sense of how to live a moral and upright life.  The law was given as instructions on civil living in order that they could have liberty and be able to reach their potential.

This is a different issue than the Law.  It would be education instead of salvation.  Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  He was given a promise from God.  God called Abraham out of paganism.  He established a covenant with him.  The concept of the chosen people follows down through that line until they all end up in Egypt where they eventually became slaves.  Up until that time there was very little instruction that God gave them in how they should live or relate to each other.  They were essentially monotheists of a sort in a polytheist culture.  They had much to learn.

They did not learn it in Egypt.  The flow of culture went the other way if anything.  God gave Moses the Law.  Moses passed it on.  The learning began.  Although the lessons were to be followed as individuals, the covenant was with a people.  It was painful.

Much of what is lumped with “the Law” is related to the period in Jewish history that had a temple and a priesthood.  That is in limbo.  The ethical and theological points are still something we need to learn and apply, even as we are saved by grace through faith.

That is how I am working right now.  The thought process will continue.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Opus 2024-110: New Terms: Neo-Kosher

Down through history, the Jews have often been persecuted because they are healthier.  During the time of the Black Death, you found that the Jews did not die as often as Gentiles.  One of the reasons was that the Jews followed the biblical standards for cleanliness and diet.  Unlike the Gentiles, they washed their hands.  They did not eat questionable foods.  You might consider all of this fitting under the title of kosher.

Most of us are not Jewish.  The kosher laws never were applied to us unless we were visiting a Jewish friend, although even that is questionable under the Rabbinical Jewish laws.

I would suggest that the biblical principles of diet and behavior would go along way towards making us healthy and keeping us healthy.  We would not be practicing them for salvation or an extra dose of grace.  We would simply be saying to ourselves, “God usually has a reason for the things He says.”

I might suggest calling it Neo-Kosher or maybe write a book about The Antinomian Diet.  Although I am not ready to give up bacon I will gladly stop boiling baby goat in the mother’s milk.  Actually I would be looking at other indicators in scripture to give guidance in what is healthy and what is not.  For instance, Jesus referred to Himself as “the Bread of Life”.  How could bread be a bad thing.  We are to be the salt of the earth.  Israel was going to the land of milk and honey.

Is this a doctrinal statement or a new denomination with dietary laws?  Never.  Just a little thinking outside the box and away from the cookie jar.

Bon Appetite

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Opus 2024-109: Conversations

Recently at church we sang the song that talks about God walking in the garden with us.  

“And He walks with me and He talks with me...”
From that, I think we get the idea that when God came to the garden of Eden He would walk with Adam and Eve, and have these exciting conversations.  On contemplating that scenario, I don’t think that God really could get too excited about having a conversation with a being who lived in a garden, never had to work and did not even know the word “philosophy”.

I would have never considered having a meaningful conversation with my newborn granddaughter.  That does not mean I did not delight in her company or rejoice in the communication that did take place.  That is probably a better example, even today, of what a conversation with God is like.  I don’t think He is impressed with our wisdom or insight.  I remember when I would start chasing my granddaughter around the couch and as she squealed and giggled I would let her gradually lap me until she caught me.  I would then turn around and the chase would go the other way.  Somehow I think God enjoys the chase because we are special in His eyes.

I also don’t think it stops there.  As we mature we learn and grow.  We get more complex and discerning.  We will never be on His level.  We will never approach His level but He enjoys watching us grow and develop beyond what we were.

Enjoy the journey.  God will.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-108: It Is Never Easy

In his commentary on Exodus Dennis Prager makes some observations about the problem with government help.  His third consequence says this.

“It literally makes addicts out of many of these people - they become addicted to receiving unearned income.  It can be as difficult to wean people off unearned benefits as it is to wean people off drugs.” page 365
Although I don’t know the intoxication of hard drugs I do know, as a glutton, how hard it is to control my eating.  I accept the difficulty, but the real reason we are not able to get people off drugs is not because it is so hard on them.  The factor blocking their recovery is that it is too hard on the people who want them to get off drugs.

There are solutions for many of the problems in society but they require hard decisions and even more difficult follow through.  People want answers for things like drug addiction that will be easy, like taking a pill.  They don’t want the addict to suffer or go through any pain.  

Or take another common problem, Diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is a daily struggle with no cure at this point.  Type 2 is another story.  Although I accept there are exceptions, the vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes could be brought back to health if they were locked in a room with a limited amount of food each day and required to exercise in order to get the food.  Again, I know there are exceptions but not as many as people would want you to believe.  There are also those who are so far down the road of type 2 that it is too late to recover by behavior changes.

It does not really matter.  The addicts don’t have the will power.  Their support doesn’t have the will power.  That is why Alcoholics Anonymous calls them enablers.

Life is never easy.

Prager, Dennis.  Exodus.  Washington, D.C.:  Regnery Faith, 2018.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Opus 2024-107: Popcorn Catalyst

I’m thinking about how Jesus said he is the way the truth and the life and I’m focusing on truth. This is coming to mind because of the changes in the nutritional labels of my popcorn.  Since I do not have a discerning palate and my financial situation lets me ignore the price of the pop corn I buy, I look at the nutrition lables.  The problem is that I assume they will stay the same.  They don’t.  You would think that popcorn nutrition would be stable but I have had two brands quietly slip in changes.  When your daily goal is 30 grams and a portion of popcorn goes from 7 to 2.5, it makes a difference.  This makes me think of how the foundation of what we eat keeps changing, which takes me to bigger issues.

Truth starts at a foundational.  It then influences our expressions.  Eventually it finishes with our execution, how we do things.

There may be some variation in how we execute truth.  We may express truth in different ways at different times to different people in order to communicate.  The underlying truth never changes. Those are values and priorities of God, and His truth does not change.

Truth exists, whether we acknowledge it or not.  Denying truth does not drive it away, it just makes it impossible for us to deal with reality.  Our culture is denying truth, and will suffer the consequences.  The same is happening in the church.

I want to be an agent of truth not a tool of deception.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-106: Thanks Thoughts: The Blessing of Toilets

It occurred to me this morning that one of the great blessings that we have in our day and age is the blessing of hygiene, or if you wanted to say the blessing of sanitation. We take for granted flush toilets.  We take for granted soap and hot water.  Neither one has been a part of history and the lives of our ancestors.

I have read that one of the greatest extenders of the average life span is something as simple as soap and water.  Right up there with it is the flush toilet.  Yes, the same flush toilet that the government has been messing with by reducing the water flow.  These simple tools have done the heavy lifting in stopping the spread of disease.  We inherited them.  Thank you, Ancestors.

What a blessing.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Opus 2024-105: Spiritual warfare

I have been listening to a podcast by Michael Heiser, which deals with the spiritual realm.  He talks about something called The Divine Council, and how God seem to have a group of spiritual beings that He sat with as He ruled and oversaw the world.  The jury is still out on that for me.  But one of the things he said dealt with the world view that they had in ancient times.  They were much more aware of the spiritual realm.  As I think about that, I believe that is true.

We have not had to deal with the forces of evil in the same way that they did in the ancient world.  The 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries were a time when the Holy Spirit was filling believers.  The Holy Spirit kept the forces of evil at bay.  Evil was still active but forced to work in different ways.

At the end of the 20th century and in the beginning now of the 21st century, we find that the church is turning away from God and I’m wondering if He is withdrawing His Holy Spirit in such a way that demonic forces have less to check them now and can move more in the open.

Does this also affect us in the area of health and medicine?  We have a real uptick in cancer and other illnesses right now.  We have blamed that on these vaccines going around.  Could it be that the removal of the Holy Spirit coincides with the vaccines in such a way that the forces of evil are much more able to impose sickness and illness on human beings?

As I look at my personal circle, I don’t see a lot of the illnesses that the world is experiencing.  My family, friends, church, and others that I have contact with are not reporting massive cancers and other things like that.  The reports we get are at least one step away.  I am not seeing lots of deaths from this type of thing.  This has to be more than coincidence because these people seem to be serious followers of Jesus.

Is the other shoe just waiting to drop?  Or the cancer is growing and we just don’t know about it yet?  Am I going to drop dead tomorrow?  It’s hard to know.  Disease, sickness, cancer, accidents are all a part of life.  But I wonder.  I remember the book None of These Diseases, where it is made clear that God provides for our health often through the regulations of the Law. An example is circumcision.  We know that God commanded it for his people.  The modern gentile world adopted it largely.  I would imagine the areas that would be labeled as white supremacist have been largely circumcised.  We know that it reduces cervical cancer in women.  We now know that it makes it much harder to catch HIV.  How many other diseases and sicknesses are held at bay by obedience to God?

This is one of those things that we could never prove scientifically, but we have reason to believe, in faith, is true.  It would fit with the personality of God.  It would reflect His desire to care for His people and yet still maintain our free will.  It could be one of those secret benefits that we don’t know about until later.

Spiritual warfare or coincidence?  As someone once said, it amazing of much coincidence there is when God is involved.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Opus 2024-104: Feelings

How do you tell the difference between feelings, emotions, and the witness of the Holy Spirit.  To an atheist or agnostic it would be a meaningless question.  Anyone who believes man is the final measure would see no need to get the supernatural involved.  For believers it is a tough slog to find an answer.

Feelings and emotions are part of being human.  We call people who don’t feel them psychopaths or sociopaths.  They are considered lacking in humanity.  When you look at the gifts of the Spirit you would have some that are very closely aligned such as mercy and helps.  Others such as discernment might ask, “What are you getting emotional about.”

One tool in knowing the difference would be your feeling’s relationship to truth and the facts available.  Part of the test that applies in all situations is the witness of the written word.  I have laughed at some of the memes that have a mature woman saying something to the effect that if he is already married, God did not send him to you.

Another tool is patience.  Wait.  Let it simmer.  Of course, when we are emotional waiting is the last thing we want to do.  Being in a hurry might be an indication that it is not the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes there might be no difference.  The Holy Spirit would be capable of working through feelings and emotions.  I would imagine there are times when it is the most effective way to get us to respond.  That would be even more true when the issue being dealt with is based on emotion rather than truth.

Engage your brain.  Compare your concern with eternal truths.  Trust the Lord to guide you.  

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Opus 2024-103: Wait for It

I hope you’ve heard about the fraternity guys who protected the flag recently from the Hamas terrorists.  I didn’t read the article but saw enough headlines to get the idea.  Good job.

I don’t think it is over.

You need to get ready to see them arrested and kept in jail without indictment or trials.

Can you say January 6?

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-102: Storm Clouds and Probability

I just read an essay by Sarah Hoyt about preparing for the long rains.  As usual she has an interesting way of saying things.  What almost kept me from reading it was that it was a reprint from twelve years ago, but, since I was not reading her twelve years ago, I continued.

The once consistent point she makes here and other places is that we really can’t know what will happen, when it will happen and how much it will touch us.  That is not a weasel position.  It is a statement of fact.

So what do we do?  Do we panic?  She is very adamant that we hang in there and that we will make it through.  I think that is wise.  It goes along with something Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast use to always point out, the likelihood of a disaster is in inverse proportion to how serious it will be.  An example is that a planet destroying asteroid hitting the earth is very unlikely but a flat tire on a rainy night is fairly common.

I believe we need to be prepared.  That will look different for each of us.  There will be different levels of crisis to bring panic and that will be the biggest killer.  I plan on beginning my preparation with a solid confidence that God is in charge and nothing will happen to me that does not fit into His providential plan.  That does not mean I won’t suffer.  It means I can trust Him to be in control.  So when I look at food supplies, I could buy plastic sheds and pile up 30 year food packs or I could have a sensible but generous supply of canned goods under the bed.

Above all, I plan to not panic.  If the government goons come and herd us into camps then I will find a way to rejoice and look to the future.  If all of the bloggers are wrong and things return to normal, I can live with that too.

Remember to take your umbrella if you hate getting wet.  It looks like rain.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 3, 2024

Opus 2024-101: Don’t ask, don’t tell

It seems the newest thing we can’t mention is whether you were vaccinated or not.  The question pops up in my mind every time I hear about someone dealing with cancer.  Our church has two moments in each week where people verbally share prayer requests:  Sunday School and Wednesday evening service.  It used to be mainly elderly falls and heart attacks.  Now it is usually cancer.  The evidence is purely anecdotal but I keep wondering.  

Some would say that at this point there is no reason to ask.  After all, there is nothing that can be done about it.  Part of me agrees.  The other part of me is concerned about sharing the truth with people so during the next pandemic just before the presidential election people will be better informed.

I guess that assumes people would listen.  Since so many people still get their news from the MSM it is doubtful that they would wake up no matter how strong the rose smell is.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-100: Rubicon or Styx?

After years of playing footsie with paganism the United Methodist Church has finally crossed the Rubicon.  Maybe it would be better to call it the River Styx.  They are now officially apostate.  They have rejected the Bible and endorsed the Gospel of Gaia.  

If you missed the headlines, the United Methodist Church has officially voted to embrace the agenda of the homosexuals.  They have voted to celebrate what is called “gay marriage” and endorse open homosexuals and lesbians to the ministry.  The attack on Biblcal standards has been going on for years but the Christians in the churches seemed to have enough votes to keep it in the wings and not the pulpits.  That has changed and the change is only beginning.

Once you reject the clear teaching of scripture on sexuality it will not be long before you do the same for such things as the divinity of Christ and the physical resurrection.  Obviously sin is not a problem that needs solving.

There has been a movement, led by the African churches, to leave the UMC and start a separate denomination.  I believe it is called the Global Methodist Church and it embraces the Methodist church that emerged from the Wesley Revival of England.  

We are now seeing John Wesley roll over in his grave for a second time.  His original plan was to revive the Church of England.  He remained an ordained elder in that denomination until he died and urged his followers to stay in the church.  That did not work.  After he died the people called “Methodists” in derision took the name and started a new work.  That was the first roll over.  I think the second came when the church that theoretically followed his teaching voted to ignore the Bible and go pagan.

So far about 25% of Methodist churches have pulled out of the denomination.  I expect the departure of organized churches leaving will slow for legal reasons involving property.  I also expect the increased departure of individuals who have been reading their Bibles, hanging in there praying for revival and fighting the good fight.  The good fight is over in the denomination.  I expect they will be looking for churches that are still believing in Jesus and the teachings about Him in the Bible.

Look for them in a church near you.  Welcome them.  Pray for them.  It is a hard decision but one that needs to be made.  You might pray for your own church because the leaven might already have a foothold in a house of worship near you.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Opus 2024-099: Cosmic Fun

What would be the fun of philosophy if you knew all the answers?  I think this is one reason why God would probably not be excited about philosophy because when you asked him what was truth he would know the answer.  Or maybe not.  Maybe there are some questions that have no final answer, but the joy and stimulation is in the discussion.  Maybe God has made us that way to understand how He is.  Immutability might mean that He is contemplating things that never can be contemplated even by Him.

Now there is a question, “Are there things which God has established, which even He will be contemplating forever?”  Picture God really enjoying long division and trying to find out the value of pi.  

Not being a fan of long division, I would rather not.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-098: Gnosticism

I have a friend who is into calling anything he does not like in the spiritual realm “Gnosticism”.  I am not sure he knows what the word means.  Of course it could just be ignorance on my side.  When it come to something like Gnosticism I will plead guilty.  But it is not just my lack of information.  Getting a read on Gnosticism is like asking what the side effects of a new medication are.

There is no central, revealed, divine source of truth in Gnosticism.  The concepts are sometimes traced back to the philosophy of Plato but the term itself evidently started being used in the 19th century.  Because of that, each guru can create what he wants to make up, add what he wants to add, and pervert all that is left.  That may be fun for the guru but it makes it frustrating for the gurette.  Even I, who love to argue, get tired of trying to nail jello to the wall.

You cannot narrow it down to your preferred definition, and ignore everything else.  That often also involves changing your definition to fit your mood for the day.  What are the core tenants of Gnosticism?  There are a few foundational doctrines as far as I can tell.  One is the duality of nature which says that the physical world is evil and the spiritual world is good.  Another is the basis of the title because “gnosis” is the Greek word for knowledge.  Gnosticism is a mystery religion which believes that there is secret knowledge known only to the elite.  How they get that information is a bit vague but you can be assured that getting it passed on to you will be demanding.  There is also the idea of a divine spark in us that needs to be nursed to godhood.

As far as I can tell there are no gnostic beliefs that are compatible with Christianity.  I could be wrong but I could also be skinny and that ain’t gonna happen.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Opus 2024-097: Cosmic Chortles

Does God have a sense of humor?  I believe he does.  If he didn’t have a sense of humor, he might have to throw a lot more lightning bolts.

We have all seen video of the cat that comes rushing around a corner onto a waxed floor.  Or how about the cat thinking it is being cute and rolling off the bed onto the floor.  Don’t forget the human world.  I remember when I was first married and I took a tumble down some narrow stairs in our new apartment.  Did I get sympathy?  No, but my wife laughed so hard I thought I was going to need to call 911.  We all know what it’s like to see a child do something really stupid and come to us crying.  One part of us is full of sympathy, empathy and support.  Inside we are laughing our heads off.  I think maybe God does that.

Can you see if God wasn’t able to laugh at how stupid we are He sometimes might be forced to be angry, and His wrath is not something we want to face.  Enjoy the farce of your life.  Show your kid how to skateboard.  Sure, go ahead and argue that obscure doctrinal point.  You may fall on your face both ways but God will enjoy the show.

homo unius libri