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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.

Monday, July 22, 2024

Opus 2024-190: Answers

Recently, I was reading and thinking about some of the Bible verses that talk about prayer and answers to prayer.  We tend to be very subjective on so many topics and when we think of answers to prayer, we focus on answers to our prayers.  People wonder why they don’t get what they asked for.  Often times the answer to that is relatively simple.

What brought me to this was thinking about the old wristbands that asked, “What would Jesus do?”  That is a happy thought, and a positive thought, but that’s not the question we should be asking.  What we should be asking is, “What would Jesus have us do?”  I thought of Jesus walking on the water as he wanted to get out to the boat in the middle of the lake.  I thought of Jesus telling the storm to quiet down.  It would be really great to be able to tell storms to quiet down.  It would be great to be able to control the weather.  But can you imagine the chaos if everyone was able to control the weather.  You might have one person asking for snow and another asking for a sunny beach day.  What kind of conflict with that cause?  Would it be hurricanes, tornadoes?

In reality, we are to often be glad that God does not answer our prayers.  He has a better view of what’s going on.  That’s why one verse specifically says that if we pray, according to his will, we will be answered.

Keep praying.  Our country needs it.  Your neighbors need it.  I imagine you and I need it.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Opus 2024-189: Shortcuts

Americans are always trying to find an easier and quicker way to do something. The reason this comes to my mind is that I’m having a hard time getting in and out of the used car that I bought.  It is a 2002 Mercury and it is very low to the ground.  I like the car but at my age it’s hard to go up and down.

Is it a good idea for me to think about getting a car that is higher and easier to get into?  There are two ways I can go on my rationale.  On the one side I can say that it’s just too hard and it’s going to get harder.  On the other side I could say it’s good for me.  I need the exercise.  

Americans are inventive and creative.  There are times when things get so hard we think of new ways to deal with him and we move our culture forward . That is a good thing usually.  On the other side when we make things easier we can to reinforce our laziness.  That is a bad thing.

In the 1800's we did not need to go to an air conditioned gym to work out or install a treadmill in our back room.  We also did not have as much leisure to read and fellowship.  Everything has trade offs.  

I hope your attempts to find a balance go better than mine.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-188: Click-Bait: Solo or Sola

I got pulled in again by clickbait.  The title had the Nicene Creed juxtaposition against the concept of sola scriptura.  And it said that we couldn’t have both.  OK.  You got me.  I clicked and started listening.

It was an interesting conversation up to a point.  The problem that I saw developing was the same tension that I see every day between people who have a theological position, and what the Bible itself actually says.  They often are quite different.

The Bible does not use the terms, sola scriptura, mainly because that’s Latin and the Bible is written in Hebrew and Greek.  I don’t even think the concept is there.  The Bible does say that all scripture is inspired, or God breathed, but it doesn’t say it is the only anything.  And yet we have this group of concepts, I think there are five, that are sola:  Scripture, grace, faith, and so forth.  The logic of five different “only’s” escapes me, but it is vital to some theological systems.

The point I’m trying to make is that we need to keep the advice of theologians and gurus in perspective.  The Nicene Creed developed at the Council of Nicea is of great assistance in understanding the complexity of our faith.  The debate on the trinity was very helpful to Christians today.  It is not the word of God.  We need to be careful when we take something even as traditional and long-standing as the Nicene Creed and try to make them into doctrine.  Oh, creeds are helpful in someway, but they all have their limitations.  I think of the Apostles Creed recited in our church.  It leaves out the divinity of Christ.  It doesn’t deal with salvation by faith alone.  And yes, it is something which has been helpful to believers for centuries.

You have a Bible, use it.  Let people help you with their ideas, discuss things, disagree, disagree with enthusiasm.  Ultimately though, focus on what God tells us through the Scriptures and understand that the theologians all have their own point of view and system they are pushing.

Come, let us reason together.  I think someone said that once.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Opus 2024-187: Look, Ma, No Hands

As we look back at the attempt to murder Donald Trump for being popular, and not being a part of the Washington establishment, it’s hard to deny that the hand of God was what kept him alive.  A fraction of an inch was the difference between life and death.  What they call an accidental turning of his head, gave him that fraction of an inch.  If you don’t see the hand of God in this, you’re not looking.

Look at the different ways in which the hand of God have could’ve caused a miracle here without even coming out of the closet.  Think of the track of that bullet.  We focus on how close the shooter was, around 100 yards.  Think of the kind of accuracy it takes to project a small piece of metal, 100 yards at the speed of sound and come within a quarter of an inch of being effective.  Good shooting, but not good enough when God is in charge of the ballistics.  All God had to do was send a strong puff of wind at the right time while that bullet traveled, and it would miss.  He could have even done it by sticking His finger out and, nothing noticeable, just changed the trajectory oh so slightly.  No one would’ve seen.  No one would’ve known.  And yet it was the hand of God.

As for turning his head, that’s the stuff of spine apples, read that “spy novels”, and John Wayne movies.  How many times does an author insert just such a coincidence to bring the story to the place he wants it.  Consider God the Great Author of the novel of life.

Extend that ability to work miracles into places where people don’t normally see.  Think of the health issues that you might have.  God could have prevented them simply by tweaking a cell.  He could’ve kept you from getting sick simply by zapping on a bug.  You might ask, “Why didn’t you do that?”  And the answer, of course, is that He did, many times, multiplied times.  You just didn’t see it.

I am aware of the times in which God has caused me to just start off from a stop sign a little bit slowly, and some crazy person whizzes through the intersection, taking up the space I would have filled.  What I am not aware of are the times, in which that crazy person turned left instead of going straight ahead, ran out of gas, was nagged by his wife, or many other possible solutions that could’ve happened with no one knowing what God was saving me from.

Is God active?  Yes.  Is God moving?  Yes.  What we do is make it very hard for Him to make a difference and still give us free will and the joy of independent movement.  We fight Him every step of the way.  In spite of that He continues to work miracles.

One of the things that we tend to forget is that God is busiest taking care of His people and those who are faithful.  One of the possible reasons why we don’t see more of His hand is because the country is so full of rebellious, pagan, self-centered people.  The quiet miraculous outcomes are the ones that no one sees.  The homes that are not flattened by tornadoes are not visited by reporters.  If you are one of His then you should not be asking yourself why something went wrong but consider how wrong it could have gone if God were not awake.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-186: Scapegoats

I have not been watching the abundance of videos, nor reading the articles, but I’m seeing a lot of mentions of low-level reporters and journalist being fired for making mocking comments about the Trump assassination attempt.  What is sad about this is that large numbers of people in these organizations have been taught that it is OK to make grotesque comments about Trump.  Good taste and class are not to be consider in regard to him.  Remember the severed head that Kathy Griffin held up.  Remember Maxine Waters telling people to get in the face of anyone who is a Trump supporter.  The list goes on.  Big-name celebrities and high-powered executives have gotten away with this nonsense for years.  Suddenly the low level people are getting fired over it.

What gives?  It is like beating a puppy today for behavior you praised yesterday.  I think that the celebrities and high-level executives are beginning to realize that more and more people are on to their game. We see increasing numbers of people saying that they were once never Trumper’s who are now joining the team and getting with the program.  Since the CEOs are mainly interested in profit, and don’t have any moral compass to guide them, the public turning to Trump means that they have to change the cut of their sails.

Of course, another bit of the sad part of this is that the people who are really responsible for setting this tone of hatred and violence will get away with it scot-free.  They will be sheltered by the legal system, since they pay the prosecutors.  They will be protected by judges who are in their pocket.  Keep in mind that is the way life has been forever.  Don’t expect anything new this week.

But hang in there.  The wind is changing.  The weasels are going into their holes.  The manure is being shoveled in a different direction, and we may see a little bit of sunlight through all this.  If you are a believer, pray.  If you’re not a believer, think good thoughts.  It won’t do any good, but it might make you open to looking little deeper.

November is coming.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 19, 2024

Opus 2024-185: The Real Man

I watched President Trump‘s speech last night.  It was the same man in many ways that we are used to.  He is not what I would consider a gifted public speaker in the crafting of what he has to say.  He talks too long.  He repeats himself, repeatedly.  He uses. superlatives almost without end.  Everything is the greatest, the biggest, the best, and so forth.  That’s Donald Trump.

But that’s not what attracts people to Donald Trump.  There is a basic personality that if you look, you can see.  It often expresses itself in love for America.  But it goes deeper than that.  It brings to mind a verse that one of my favorites in the Bible,

Micah 6:8 (NASB95) He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
When you break this down the first part of “ Do justice?”, describes Donald Trump to a T.  You might say he is one of the greatest of the legalists.  He follows the law.  That means that he takes advantage of the nonsense that is in the laws and the conflicting laws and use them to his own advantage.  But at all times, he follows the law.  That is why all these witch hunts have been able to do nothing to him with legitimate lawsuits.  He has a tendency to do what is right or “just” as this verse talks about.

He definitely “loves kindness”.  Many people don’t see this or know about it because the media is on a vendetta against him, and would not say anything if they saw him walking on water, or raising the dead, things which he has never claimed to do.  But if you follow the little bits and pieces here and there you see constant instances where he is reaching out to those less fortunate than himself, and trying to help them.  In his speech, he mentioned several times that he talked to family members of people who’ve gone through trials.  He mentioned the man who was killed behind him on the podium.  He mentioned talking to families of people murdered by illegal aliens.  This is not just for show, this is Donald Trump when no one is looking. There are endless stories of him quietly, with no publicity, doing benevolent things for other people.  He truly does love kindness.

If there’s any area that Donald Trump has had trouble with is in the idea of walking with humility.  Part of that is just who he is.  And if there’s anything that this recent attempt on his life may help him with it is this idea that he is to be humbled before Almighty God.  I think he finally gets it.  He brought it up several times in the speech last night.  Of course we are used to politicians talking about God and getting religious during campaigns.  Those politicians have not come within a quarter of an inch of dying.  There are so many factors that were miraculous in his survival.  I think he sees that.

I support Donald Trump. Big surprise, right?  It’s not because of his great speaking ability.  It’s not because he is flawless in his execution of things.  He is still a big spender. He will make many mistakes.  But the basic man is decent, caring, and patriotic.  Now if we could just be sure that he was saved.

Opus 2024-184: Book Review: A Second Shoe

I finished the first book and went to the second in the series.  My concerns were justified.  As the second volume opened up, the woke attributes began to emerge more and more steadily.  The author is excellent to telling a good story, knowing what was expected by the publisher, knowing what was rejected by the readers, and slowly combining them to produce a book.

The best comparison I could think of was when I would make cream soup out of a can.  I would dump the contents into the pan and start the heat, low, and begin gently stirring what came out as a lump.  Once it’s consistency had been broken up and it was stirring smoothly, I would start introducing the water or milk that I was going to use to dilute it.  If I dumped it in all at one time, the soup became lumpy, and I would never get a smooth result.  In order to get what I wanted. I had to do small amounts, stir until it was smooth, and then add a little bit more.  I had to surprise the target.  

That is what was happening in the book and it reached the critical mass point quickly.  The joy fled.  The PC mantras overwhelmed.  The story disappeared in the woke tide.  Too bad, but I keep hoping there will be other books out there.

Read with discernment.

O’Keefe, Megan E.  The Fractured Dark.  New York:  Orbit, 2023.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Opus 2024-183: Book Review: One Shoe Writing

I don’t spend as much time reading fiction as I used to.  One reason is there is a shrinking pool of fiction that is worth reading, at least to me.  One of the first things I look for is a good action story.  I like action, not description.  Give me Louis L’Amour, you can have Zane Grey.  I’m not into emotional introspection.  I tend to skip over a lot of stuff like that.

That being said, it has to have good characters that I can identify with and care about.  The story needs to hold together and needs to be well written.  What makes it hard for stories like this is the wole formula all authors are forced to use nowadays.  Some are able to meet the minimum‘s of the politically correct progressives, and still write a good story, but most are not up to it.  I am currently exploring a new author who has promise.  I am assuming the author is a woman because she has one of those names that could be taken either way, and the main characters in the story tend to be evenly divided between men and women.

All the same, it is a woke story, but the wokeness is kept in the background, so far.  I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I see a few cases where pronouns come up.  There is a doctor who is continually referred to as “they”, but it is done in such a way that it is not clearly referring to one person.

Homosexuality is introduced in a passing way by a brief reference to the main character, who is a man, having his father tell him when he was 15 that it was not appropriate for him to approach this boy that he liked.  The reason he wasn’t to approach him was because the character is the son of an absolute monarch, and is not allowed to abuse his underlings by forcing them into relationships.  It had nothing to do with sexual impropriety or morals.

Then you run into the problem of women being written with the characters of men.  The female lead in the story is a Wonder Soldier.  She is a super fighter and is the bodyguard of the male lead in the story.  There is a romantic interest developing, which is forbidden by their social mores but I expect it to develop.  He is the son of one of the oligarches, she is a servant.  Their future happiness is not bright.

You also have the missing spiritual awareness.  In this culture people are “printed” and stored in a computer of some kind.  When they die, the old print is resurrected, a body is cloned, and the old person is inserted.  Somehow they have managed to transfer the memories of the person who dies violently or out on the trip back into the print out, and life starts over again.  Star Trek explored this idea.  One of the problems you have and this is the idea of making duplicate copies of the person.  Do you remember Captain Kirk coming back with a double?

There are two questions here.  The first is metaphysical, I guess, “Is it really the same person?”  Does it just think it’s the same person because memories have been copied into its brain?  Or is it just an artificial recreation?  The question is never even looked into, at least in this first book.

The second question would be the place of a machine as a storage for a human being.  If a machine can store a human being and a machine can re-create that human being, then it just follows that machines could make up a human being on its own, and then the question becomes, “Is it a human being?”

Another issue is where the main character gets his Christian cultural values in a society which seems to have rejected all forms of religion.  He is concerned that his father, who he knew was strong and had to do terrible things, might not be a decent person after all.  If not, he might not be doing things because they were necessary, but be committing atrocities because he enjoyed it.  Where would you come up with those kind of values in the world devoid of Christianity.

At this point, I can read the next book with anticipation.  I also will read it with a bit of dread, often these authors suck you in with a good story, keeping the dissonance in the background, and then, as they establish a relationship with you they start pushing their agenda.  There have been series of books, where I would follow to the third or fourth volume, and suddenly all kinds of weird and strange things become the norm.  I remember one where the admiral of a massive space fleet, who was totally the manly man, suddenly started talking about his husband at home.  I don’t know if I got much further than a few paragraphs after that.

I don’t know which way this author will go.  I know there’s a lot of pressure to follow the plan to fall into line, and to conform.  With modern progresses it really doesn’t matter.  If you are a great author tell me a good story.  The real concern for the publisher is, are you following the playbook?  Are you working to tear down the standard values of society?  Are you jumping through the woke hoops?

I will enjoy while I can and then move on.

O’Keefe, Megan E.  The Blighted Stars.  New York:  Orbit, 1923.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 15, 2024

Opus 2024-182: Grassroots Cameo

He survived and seems to be more motivated than ever.  That is the good news.

What is also interesting to me is a cameo view of public opinion on the grass roots level.  I am not overly interested in how the talking heads spin things.  I don’t expect to hear much information from the news media and government agencies.  A simple attempt at murdering a political opponent will not make them suddenly reliable.  Listen with care.

What do everyday people think in a specific microcosm?  Sunday I was helping babysit my grandchildren so I found myself in an unaccustomed atmosphere.  I had been there before.  There were a few faces I recognized but I did not know them well.  I went to Sunday School and listened as we went into the opening prayer request time.

The first point was praise and thanksgiving.  The general sense was relief that Donald Trump was only bleeding from his ear.  The consensus was that God had protected him and all were grateful.

The second focus was the man who was murdered for sitting behind Trump and being in the line of fire.  There were prayers for his family and also for the other victims that were hit on the platform.

The third item was the mark of America, the attitude that we don’t acknowledge much.  I think it was echoed in churches across the nation.  We prayed for the family of the killer.  We lifted them up in the pain of the moment.  The prayers were focused on their loss and for their salvation.  Being the cynic that I am I wondered if their pain was more that he missed than that he died in the act.

I sensed no new hostility towards the media and politicians that have been seeking this kind of activity.  No one called on the church to start striking back, and believe me, this is a gun toting church.  All was forgiveness and hope.

That is America in a nutshell, at least the small bubble I was in on Sunday.

God bless America.  Pray for revival.  Pray for the haters.  Pray for President Trump.  Vote like you expect your prayers to have feet.


homo unius libri

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Opus 2024-181: Grace

(Exo 33:13 KJV)  Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

When you read this out of context, it sounds like a glorious New Testament idea.  How wonderful to know His grace, how wonderful to follow, wonderful to be His people.  What doesn’t show up in the context is that this is immediately after Moses was given the law on the mountain.  Not only was it given to him by God once, but he had the carve it out by hand himself a second time.  I think the law was fresh in his mind.  I think he knew what it contained, and what it said.  And yet here we have him talking about grace, and about knowing God.

The New Testament focuses on grace.  Actually, Paul focuses on grace.  Jesus never mentioned it.  Paul’s emphasis is scripture.  But we need the balance of the entire Bible, and we need to realize that the law is not evil if we take it in the way in which it was intended.

It would also be good for us to realize that the grace talked about here is the same grace that we find in regard to Noah.  People like to talk about Noah, finding grace in the eyes of the Lord.  

(Gen 6:8 KJV)  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
It would seem that Moses also had found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  I sometimes wonder if Paul ever read his Old Testament in the original Hebrew, or whether he just listened to what the rabbis told him and quotes from the Talmud.  Grace was not a new discovery that he made.  He simply took a truth that was being ignored and brought it into the light.

Grace and peace.

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Opus 2024-180: Gotcha

As I sit on the porch, looking out over the valley, listening to the chirping insects, I’m aware of all of the possible things that could be able to get me.  My grandson keeps asking “Will that ou’ (ouch) me”.  I think of the daddy long legs spider that is considered one of the most poisonous creatures in the world, and yet is absolutely harmless to us.  The reason is it’s tiny teeth can’t get through my think skin.  I have heard the same kind of thing about coral snakes.  That’s kind of the way it is with the evils of the world when God is in us.

I act toward daddy long legs and coral snakes the way I have learned to act toward the evils of the world.  Just because I don’t think they can get me, I still keep my distance.  When I am in one of those moods I assume that I will be the one case where they penetrated.  

For all of my seeming confidence I still maintain the standard protocol.  I lock my doors.  I don’t go down dark alleys.  I keep checking the parking lot when I go to my car.  You know the kind of common sense things that we all should be practicing.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Opus 2024-179: Contradictions

I am reflecting on some scriptures I read several days ago.

Exodus 33:11 (KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Exodus 33:20 (KJV) And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
The conflict struck me then and it has been in my mind since.  My first train of thought had to do with Moses, speaking to God, face-to-face as a friend.  I liked that.  It goes along with my questioning about the character of God, and the personhood of God.  It is a wonderful concept.  It is what we can strive for.  I believe this is a good way of expressing what prayer is all about.

All was in harmony in my world.

And then I come to this other verse that says, Moses cannot see God’s face.  How can you talk face-to-face and not see someone’s face?  I went back-and-forth on this a while, and finally in reading the verse before I noticed that God was speaking from the cloud.  Yes, I understand that you saw that immediately.  He was standing at the door of the tabernacle.  Moses is inside.  God is speaking to him as a friend.  Moses was not actually need to see God’s face.  Think of it more as an old fashioned telephone connection rather than Facetime.  

If you go back a few verses, you find that Moses did not actually ask to see God’s face, he wanted to see His glory.  
Exodus 33:18 (KJV) And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
That’s a step above just seeing his face.  I don’t know if it’s possible that we can see God’s glory, but I know we can live in the glory of his presence.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-178: Precious Memories

You may or may not know that song that begins with “Precious memories”.  We are living in that time in Texas where we have to live on precious memories.

We are at the season in the Texas year that might go along with those words, “the dog days of summer.”  The problem with that is that I think we’re still in spring.  Welcome to Texas.  Just a few weeks ago I was sitting out on the front porch almost any time of the day and enjoying the weather and the scenery.  It was a glorious time.  Not this week.

We are now in that time where it is hot and humid.  It doesn’t seem to matter what time you go out.  It is unpleasant.  This would be a good time to have people visit Texas if you didn’t want to have them move here.  So, come one, come all from California.  Come visit Texas.  You’ll probably go home again.  Why does that thought make me happy?

I will hang on, waiting for first, the heat without the humidity, then the cold.  In between the heat and the cold, there should be a brief time of joyful weather.  After the cold we will have spring again.  At least that’s what happened before.

I think that’s our memories not only bring us the warmth of the past, but they also bring us a reassurance about the future.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 8, 2024

Opus 2024-177: Huh?

I was thinking about how God communicated with the patriarchs.  He did communicate, and yet it seems he used different methods.  My mind went to Daniel.  Daniel was not one of the patriarchs, but he did communicate with God.  Sometimes I think God communicated directly with Daniel, but most of what we have are in the form of visions.

In looking at the different ways in which God communicated, He was sometimes very clear, and sometimes very cryptic.  Why the difference?  Why could He dictate the law to Moses almost word for word and yet when it came to Daniel and his prophecies they were so confusing and dystopic that no one could figure out what they mean.  The same with John and his Revelation.

I would come to the conclusion that there were times when God wanted you to know specifically some information and other times he didn’t want you to know.  He might want you to figure it out.  He might want you to think about it.  Sometimes chewing on one subject will bring you to a better understanding of others.  But He doesn’t want you to know.

So when I think of Revelation, Ezekiel, Daniel, and prophecies like that, I don’t see them as being clear teachings of God as much as emotional warnings about possibilities.

Feel free to disagree.  The tension of discussion might teach important truths.

homo unius libri

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Opus 2024-176: Winner

You’ve all heard the question about which is stronger, the irresistible force or the immovable object.  I continue to vote for the irresistible force simply because persistence wears down stubbornness.

We have been in Texas almost seven years.  Almost the day we moved in my wife started talking about a riding mower.  We are on roughly two acres and about half of it needs to be mowed.  I kept saying a push mower would be fine.  I needed the exercise and still had the strength to do it.  Every time the grass got longer than she liked the subject came up again.  A variation was hiring someone to do it.  I never wavered but she never backed off.  

Finally we came to the point where my mower blew up.  Bidenomics have almost tripled the cost of a replacement.  While I was trying to work up to the investment she planted two seeds.  One was with my son in law about fixing up one he had in his yard.  The other was with our neighbor who is mechanically inclined.  The son in law decided the one he had could not be repaired.  As far as I knew the neighbor was out of the competition.  I went ahead and bought a new push mower.  About two weeks later the neighbor came over riding a mower for us to look at.  

I now have a riding mower.

The irresistible force keeps working even when the immovable object is not paying attention.

The element that is left out of the equation is time.  If you’re just talking about now, then you are faced by a very philosophical problem.  If you add the long, eternal progression of time, it changes the whole situation.  Water will splash off a rock.  It seem to have lost the battle.  If you extend that contact over thousands of years than you began to see that the rock has been worn a bit.  In time the rock will be split or done away with.

I don’t remember this truth being a part of our marriage counseling or vows.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-175: Book Review: Unseen Realm

Several months ago I stumbled across some podcasts by a man named Michael Heiser.  I had never heard of him before but that could just be a reflection of my limitations.  His doctoral studies were in Hebrew.  He had taught at the university level and I eventually found that he was employed by the Logos Bible Study Software people.  He mentioned it but I never saw him shilling the product.  He wrote book called The Unseen Realm which gives a feel for his focus.  I eventually bought that book and read through it.  He seems to have died in the last few years from pancreatic cancer.

A phrase that becomes a foundational concept for him is “the divine council”.  He gets the phrase from the ESV,

(Psa 82:1 ESV) A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
As far as I can tell from the translations on my software, the ESV is the only one that puts it that way and I cannot find the phrase anywhere else.  Compare,
(Psa 82:1 KJV)  A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
(Psa 82:1 NAS77) A Psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.
I picked this up from the podcast but it is peppered throughout his book.  I think a more literal rendering would be “congregation of gods,” but I don’t have a Ph.D. in Hebrew.

From that precarious perch he begins an interesting voyage of constructing a view of the spiritual world that at times seems insightful and other times sounds like heresy.  At first I was onboard with what he was teaching.  By the time I finished the book I had some serious doubts.  When I tried to work through it again, it raised too many questions.  I may get around to looking at some of them in the future.   

Heiser, Michael S.  The Unseen Realm.  Bellingham, WA:  Lexham Press, 2015.

homo unius libri

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Opus 2024-174: Creation Legos

I’m thinking about God‘s creation this morning looking at all the variety that is out there.  God had quite an imagination and was not in any box when it came to putting things together.  We, of course, are used to it and so it’s not considered unusual.  But to be the one to come up with this originally is awesome.

When we think of creation and things being created out of nothing, we tend to think of the material side of the creation.  I think we also need to you think about the immaterial side of creation.  God was not just thinking up new shapes and sizes.  He wasn’t just coming up with materials that have not existed before.  It’s not just a matter of making Adams.  It was a mind looking at plants and coming up with the idea of animals.  It’s the idea of a totally new concepts.  That is the miracle of creation.

Think of Legos.  Any child can take those parts and put them together in different ways.  The original idea of pieces of plastic in a few shapes that could be assembled in a multitude of combinations, that’s the creative part.  Actually it is the same concept that God came up with when He created man.  A limited number of elements, types of cells and the few parts of the DNA and you have a world full of people where no two are the same.

That is quite some God.

homo unius libri

Friday, July 5, 2024

Opus 2024-173: Another Conspiracy Theory

Let me make a contribution to the doom sayers and conspiracy theorists.  

On the day before the election Joe Biden will have some kind of “accident” that will remove him from being a candidate.  One day would not be enough for the Democrats to plug in his replacement so Kamala will step in and postpone the election.  In a banana republic postponing an election means one of two things.  First, it will be postponed forever.  Second, they will make sure that when the election takes place there will only be one candidate and it will be a person of  the cabal’s choosing.

We are now living in a Banana Republic.

Just a wild hair to add to your list of things to worry about.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-172: Thrift Truck Stops

Would you do your weekly grocery shopping at the local truck stop?  I find that the prices are higher than my local supermarket.  The general reason is that when you are traveling you don’t have the time to price shop.  Of course some people never do.

Imagine what it would be like if you went through a time warp between the car and the hot dogs.  Say you went back ten years in time.  You might go outside and check the sign again because you might think you had walked into a discount store by mistake.  The prices would not just be low, they would be shocking.  I guess for that matter all you would need to do is go back one year.

We have gotten so used to inflation that we think it is a normal way to live.  Not so.  When money was based on gold and silver prices might fluctuate by supply and demand but the overall extremes would recede to the level you were used to.  All you would have to do is go without for a short time and the excess product prices would come tumbling down.  That doesn’t work any more.  The government is printing so much money and passing it out with abandon that people just keep spending which makes the prices go even higher.  There is no reason for delayed gratification which is the mechanism of supply and demand.

Some people think there is no way out of this spiral.  I disagree.  If we could just get the government to stop trying to buy off their constituents then things would start to normalize.  A free economy would start the recovery but socialist believes that everyone else should pay for their style of living.  As long as they are around things will get worse.

November is coming.  Make sure you are paying attention.

homo unius libri

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Opus 2024-171: Lessons of Hide and Seek

We had the grandchildren over today and I was drafted for a game of hide and seek.  The four year old didn’t have a clue.  He told me to hide behind the door, counted to three and then came and found me.  We switched roles.  He went and hid behind the door, while I was still watching.  We both screeched when I “found” him.  My granddaughter walked by him in his bright green shirt when he was playing turtle on the floor in front of the couch.  She did not see him.  Needless to say we all had a great time.

It also taught me something about our American population.  Like my grandchildren, they don’t have a clue.  They don’t see things in plain sight.  They never look in corners.  They are as mature as those kids were and they often have just as good a time.  The polls say that a third of Americans still would rather have Biden in the White House with prices that have doubled than to have someone who posted mean tweets which effected them just how?

If you live next door to one of that third, or have one in the family, you need to realize they will never understand what you are talking about.  They believe Joe when he says he as endorsed by the Border Patrol.  They think the devil wears an orange suit.  It is about that simple.

That means that the other two thirds have to step up to the plate.  It means speaking up.  It means taking a stand.  It also means getting right with God and living a life of repentance.  That is actually the hard part.  

November is coming.  We keep saying the current election is vital.  If you don’t believe it is true then just look at the condition of the country compared to four years ago.  It is hard to believe anyone could destroy things so quickly.  They did.  Once again, it is the most important election of our life time.  Maybe they all are.

I hope to be seeing you on the other side.  I pray that the rule of law will be revived.  I know that a lot of people need to go to jail.  I dream that violence will not be necessary.  It was a good life while it lasted.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-170: A Pause in the Recital

Sunday the pastor was waxing strong on a patriotic theme.  As usual on days like this the Declaration of Independence was trotted out.  He quoted it in a way that I had not heard before,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created...”  

He said he likes to pause right there.  While it is true that the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was not exactly born again, devout believer in Jesus Christ, he at least had a basic understanding of Providence.  All of the founding fathers did.  One of the basics for everyone was that God had a part in the universe coming into being.  It was a given.

Believing in the kind of God that even the deists would admit to put some parameters on your sense of right and wrong.  You might commit adultery but you acknowledged that it was wrong.  While you might be self-centered, you knew you shouldn’t be.   It is important to keep reminding ourselves that this country was founded based on the teachings of the Bible.

Pray that such an attitude will return.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Opus 2024-169: On the Street: Clear Skies

As I was returning from a shopping trip I listened to some music.  A song came up that I was not familiar with but the theme was well know, the unclouded sky.  The clear sky scenario went on and on.  They were really excited about not having any clouds in the sky.

I had a different view of the matter.  It was central Texas and the temperature was at least in the mid 90s.  It was hot.  One of the reasons it was hot was the clear skies.  If every day of the year was like this it would not take long to turn the countryside into a dust bowl.  Sunshine is wonderful, in reasonable amounts.  Clouds and rain are necessary for life.  Face it, there are times when you like to listen to the rain on the roof.

Sunshine, like most of life is a matter of balance.  Too much of any good thing becomes an ungood thing.  Be grateful for what I call Missouri weather because that is the first place I heard the statement about waiting a few minutes and it would change.

Variety is not just the spice of life.  It is a requirement.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Opus 2024-168: A Reminder

It is that time of year again.  This is when it is good to take a few minutes and read over the Declaration of Independence.  As we watch the political theater and realize it is not just a fictional stage, it would be good to renew our memory on what the Founding Fathers actually said.

It doesn’t take all that long.  Get as far as you can.  I am sure you will see something to get you a little bit angry.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-167: Uncreated

Cain complains,

(Gen 4:14 KJV)  Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

In reading this passage, a question comes up that also appears other places.  Who are these people that Cain is worried about?  Where did they come from?  We know that Adam and Eve were created.  We know that the animals were created.  We have no record of any other people being created.

We see the same situation in regard to angels and those called the sons of God.  What about the wives for the children of Adam and Eve?

We talk about the two people in the Bible who never died, what about the ones who were never created?

We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say because, if you will forgive me, we don’t need to know.  This is not the need to know of a security clearance, it is simply that it is not important for our advancement in righteousness.

Of course the fact that the Bible does not say is not a barrier for people who want to share answers that don’t exist.  We have theories.  We have opinions.  We have a lot of hot air.  That is okay as long as we are clear that some things are just our opinion or a quoting of tradition.  There is often a difference between a good theory and truth.

Questions are good.  Keep asking.

homo unius libri

Opus 2024-166: Dark Thoughts: 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 don’t know what they are.  They look like fat grasshoppers.  They might be katydids.  They might be some other obscure form of life.  They are Texas big and make Texas noise.  It doesn’t get quiet, it just supplies a natural background noise.

And as I think back before the grasshoppers started giving a concert, the local animals like to check in too.  I can hear donkeys braying across the valley.  Other animals make their contribution.  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.

Have a blessed day.

homo unius libri

Monday, July 1, 2024

Opus 2024-165: Unrecorded Conversations

Don’t you wish the NSA was around at the beginning of history.  I find myself wondering what kind of things God had to say to Adam and Eve.  We have one short record of their conversations, but the familiarity with which God spoke to them tells me that this is not the only time that he talked with him.  What did they talk about?  If only Siri or Alexa could tell us.

What about Abraham and the other patriarchs?  What about Moses?  What did God have to say to the prophets that did not get recorded?  I would imagine that God spoke to a lot of people at different times and no one bothered to write it down.  Did the farmer in Judah ask God to explain how to get better quality honey?  Did his daughter ask it the boy next door liked her?

Or take unrecorded events.

Paul’s shipwrecks are not written down.  The one we have recorded took place after this.

(2Co 11:25 KJV)  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
We do not know about the other two.  We know that he also wrote at least one more letter to the Corinthians.  I would expect that he wrote letters to other churches too, but we have no record.  

I would imagine that Satan visited God and more times than are recorded in the book of Job.  He must have had some interesting reports about what he saw.  I guess God figured we would have enough trouble deciphering the book of Job so He didn’t give us any of the others.

Then take the last verse in the Gospel of John,
(Joh 21:25 KJV)  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Now that would make some interesting reading.

homo unius libri