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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Opus 2024-144: Air Quotes

We need to start using air quotes and paying attention when we see them.

The thought came to mind in regard to “Biblical scholars” and wondering if the quotes should be around one word or both.  

The thought moved to “scientists”.  Keep in mind anyone who says, “The science is settled” is not a scientist but an imposter.  Science is never “settled”.  That is why it is science.  

I was reading the portion of Josh McDowell’s More Evidence that Demands a Verdict.  He was working through what is called the Documentary Hypothesis of interpreting the Old Testament.  If you don’t know anything about it, all you need to know is enough to realize how ridiculous it is.  Josh works through the theory step by step and gives examples of how modern archeology has proven these university professor wrong.  He even points out that there was enough evidence when they introduced their theories to prove them wrong.  He points out the errors of their ways in a very direct but gentlemanly way.

If you know anything about Josh McDowell you know that he is a gentleman.  He has been a faithful advocate for Christianity and is one of the greats of the 20th century.  At times he is too much of a gentleman.  It is perfectly clear that the reason these “Biblical Scholars” came up with their theory and kept pushing it in the face of facts was that they hated the Bible and everything it said.  They were not trying to “understand”, they were trying to destroy.  He talks all around it and implies such a thing but never says it.  

One of the qualifications that the Air Quote people have is an advanced degree.  They are educated beyond their ability to exercise humility.  Education is a grand thing.  Pride is poison.  It seems that pride trumps education.  What should teach limitations instead bloats egos.  As someone with a college degree (BA), a seminary degree (M.Div) and enough classes in education to qualify for three different teaching credentials, I remain unimpressed by diplomas and certificates.  Look for character concentrated in integrity and don’t be impressed with the meaningless paper that hangs on the wall.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-143: The Quiet That Isn’t

Recently I had a discussion where I mentioned how quiet the front porch was before sunrise on Sunday.  It’s so quiet I can hear my ears ringing.  Other days of the week there are brief moments like this, and I find myself enjoying the quietness.  Today I recognize the fact that it’s not as quiet as I think it is.  The bugs are out giving a concert.  I didn’t know what they are. They look like fat grasshoppers.  I thouht they might be katydids.  They might be some other obscure form of life.   It turns out they are called cicadas.  But they make real noise.  It doesn’t get quiet, it just becomes a natural background concert.  And as I think back, before the cicadas started giving a concert, the local animals liked to check in too.  I could hear donkeys braying across the valley.  In normal times I can hear all kinds of other noises made by animals.  And then the birds will join in.  It’s never really all that quiet.  It’s just that the quiet that I experience seems that way.  It seems more natural.

I can’t wait for the cicadas to get over their seventeen year cycle of lust and reproduction.

homo unius libri

Monday, June 10, 2024

Opus 2024-142: Discernment Watch: Tradition or Truth

I was sitting in Sunday school, paying attention, listening, and with my mind turned on.  The teacher was working through the verse below, and made a comment that the husband of Candace was one of the wise men at Jesus’ birth.

Acts 8:27 (KJV) And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
At that point, my bologny meter went off, and I almost stood up and said, “No”.  We need to be aware that there is a difference between tradition and truth.  It is possible that the church in Ethiopia had a tradition that the husband of Candace was one of the wise men.  I would not quarrel that is their tradition.  However, tradition is not always based in fact.  A little thinking can go along way.  I believe that the Gospel account says that the wise men came from the east.  I don’t know if you are aware of any geography, but Ethiopia is to the south.  Unless the husband of Candace was on an extended sabbatical, studying with the astronomers of the east, there is no way that he could’ve qualified to be one of the wise man at the birth of Jesus.  We need to be aware that there is a difference.  Tradition is sometimes based in fact, and almost believable.  In fact, tradition might even be true, but not necessarily.  If we want to be a person who has any clout in our world, you need to keep your mind turned on and acknowledge a difference between tradition and verifiable facts.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-141: One Size Fits All

When it comes to t-shirts and cheap hats this is a joke.  It can’t happen.

With Jesus it is a different story.  Unlike caps, we don’t have to keep adjusting Him until He fits.  Unlike spandex, He does not get stretched out of shape to reveal all of our flaws.  

Think of it more like a giant bath towel.  In my opinion I have never met a bath towel that is too big.  Little people can just wrap it around more times.  Big is a blessing.  

There is a sense in which Jesus is the same for all of us.  He redeems us.  He saves us.  

There is a reality in which Jesus meets each of us in a unique way.  We have different personalities and experiences.  He is flexible enough to form fit and begin to mold us from where we are.

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Opus 2024-140: Africa Takes the Lead

If you are a believer, I assume you’re in prayer for our country and for our so-called leaders.  That goes double for Donald Trump.

I once went to a class on the concept of praying scripture.  The idea was that you would find a verse or a passage that applied to someone and their situation and you use it for a framework of prayer for them.  Might I suggest Psalm 91 as a place to be reading today.  It talks about fear.  It talks about protection.  It talks about the things that God does for those who follow him.

So pray for President Trump.  Pray for his spiritual condition.  Pray for his safety.  Pray that he will be obedient to God‘s will even if he’s not aware of it.  And while you do this pray for your country.  We are in a time of great evil.  The church has abandoned its roll as source of righteousness.  I guess I mean the organized church.  It is up to the real church, the Body Christ, those walking in the spirit and following his leader ship.

God will judge His people.  What is scary about that?  “His people” is not synonymous with America, but with the church in America and the rest of the world.  Pray that we are obedient and faithful stewards.  Political America is on a suicide run.  The only thing that will save it is a revival starting in the studies and pulpits of America.  It would be good if Americans would follow the lead of the Methodist Church in Africa which has just disassociated itself from the United Methodist Church over their vote to embrace the homosexual agenda.

We need a little bit of Africa over here.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Opus 2024-139: Christian Cliches: Pray and Change

I keep hearing that “Prayer changes things.”  While I accept the general idea I don’t see it as a guarantee given by the Bible.  The change is a choice of God, not the petitioner.  

You want a couple of examples?  Start at the top.  Take Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He was arrested.   

(Mar 14:36 KJV)  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
It seems pretty clear He is asking for plan B.  At the same time He knows it isn’t going to happen.

Not enough for you?  You are a hard sell.  Next, take the apostle Paul.  Yes, the Paul who said,
(1Th 5:17 KJV)  Pray without ceasing.
Paul is well known for his thorn in the flesh.  He was not excited about it.  He asked God to remove it.
(2Co 12:8 KJV)  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
He asked three times.  God said, “No” three times.

Too many people think that prayer is a “to-do list” for God.  Yes, there are verses that can be understood that way but they have qualifiers.

So pray.  Expect God to answer.  Accept the reality that “no” is an answer.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-138: Numbers

As I read Dennis Prager’s Bible commentaries I notice he continually makes a big issue of certain numbers and explaining what they mean.  The number seven, the numbers 40 and 12 are filled with significance.  I keep asking myself, “How does he know?”  He does not explain.  He just says “The number ___ means.”  Does the Bible actually say that certain numbers represent certain things?  Are these biblical or do they just come from the Pharisees making things up?  Are they biblical or they just pagan inventions?

The only place I find a specific reference is when 666 is declared the mark of the Beast.  I tried doing a search on numerology and everything I came up with was occult and mystical.  This goes beyond the simple references we have of “seven is the perfect number” and such.  There are whole systems of belief based on numbers.

There are many points in life that can be fun and games but if we take them too seriously they can become a fixation that fixes nothing.  Good questions are, “Says who?” and “How do you know?”

homo unius libri

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Opus 2024-137: One in 10

My prayer today is that I would be one of the 10 righteous individuals God was looking for in our modern Sodom.  God promised Abraham if he could find 10 righteous people he would spare the city.  I know that this is not Sodom.  I am certainly not Abraham.  And yet I somehow feel the principal is the same.  I believe that if there are enough righteous in America, God will spare us.

Let me be one.  I don’t know what the number would be for us today but I sure could use as many on the team as possible.  There are no tryouts like in Little League.  There are no essay questions.  It is just a matter of trusting in Jesus and living the life He wants us to live.

Sign ups begin immediately.

homo unius libri

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Opus 2024-136: Morning Miracles

As I sit on the front porch, looking out into the darkness and glorying in God’s creation, one of the things that struck me this morning was that I was sitting on a porch overlooking the hill country of Texas at a house which was purchased by my wife.  You may wonder why that would suddenly hit me.  I knew it before we moved in.  This is the woman who wanted to be blocks from the best hospitals and around the corner from great shopping.  We are 13 miles from the nearest gas station.  This is glorious.  I would have never believed that my wife would buy a house in this location.

It is a miracle.  I don’t even remember having the nerve to ask the Lord for something like this, or to expect it, yet here it is.  He often takes better care of us than we would even think of.

homo unius libri