ERROL CASTENS: No matter who's at fault, we all have blind spots

– The average house has nearly doubled in size (mine included) during the same few decades that families have shrunk by more than a third (mine included). So much for “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth …” (Matthew 6:19)

– When was the last time someone took Scripture (in this situation, Matthew 5:40) seriously enough to pay more than the court ordered in a lawsuit – especially in child support or alimony?

– On a somewhat related subject, for too many people, attorneys' fees and alimony have been the literal fulfillment of Proverbs 5:10's warning to steer clear of an adulteress “lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man's house.”

– Spiritual principles are for our own good, I believe. A generous spirit with our money doesn't earn us a free pass on gossip, for example, for the same reasons a child's cleaning his room doesn't earn him permission to play in traffic.

– “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread,” Agur prayed in Proverbs 30:8. Considering our necessities have blossomed far beyond daily bread, our modern American standard of poverty, like the standard of prosperity in the first paragraph, seems to have seen some serious inflation.

– It's hard to read Jude 4 without speculating about its application today: “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

– One of the hardest things for many of us seems to be faithfully doing everything in our power to make things right while keeping the perspective that it's ultimately not in our power to make things right – but it is in God's power and purpose (Acts 3:21).

– Akin to that is Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”

– I wonder what folks who dismiss biblical miracles out of hand do with Mark 6:5-6. “Jesus said to them, Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house, is a prophet without honor.' He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

– In Haggai, God tells his people that because they have not honored him, “You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

That would seem to be guaranteed in our consumption-driven society, where we're told thousands of times a day, “Be dissatisfied! Want something! Now!” (And my, don't we respond!)

– Proverbs 21:13 says, “If a man shuts his ears to the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”

– Ever notice the easiest time to pull the beam out of one's own eye (mine included) is when one can use it to beat someone else over the head?

Errol Castens is the Daily Journal religion editor. Contact him at 678-1586 or