|Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 11 Thursday, September 15, 2022|
The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed because he set several file servers at remote offices to automatically reboot early in the morning, however, instead they all shut down completely and he has to drive around town powering them back up. Even so, he seems rather chipper as he walks into my office with his coffee mug while I am hunched over my keyboard punching away relentlessly at the keys. "Good morning," he says, but I know better. He suspects something. Maybe he's on to me about chronicling his daily activities, which are potentially limitless. But he acts as if he doesn't care. I think that deep down inside his gruff exterior is a soft kitten -- and I'm allergic to kittens. "Ahem," he says as he clears his throat. I am startled that he is still standing at the door of my office. He announces that this year he will be prestigiously honored as the grand marshal of the ValleyFest Parade, bestowed upon him for volunteering all these past years as the parade's lead coordinator. Big deal. I've never been to the parade and I won't be going just to see him waving at people. "I'm proud of you, my little darling," I tell him. "Will you be wearing a sash and throwing candy to the children?" He takes a swig of coffee and answers, "Not this year. No more candy throwing. Wasn't my decision." He also mentions that he will be retiring from the stressful position since he doesn't need any unnecessary stress in his life. I keep typing. Eventually, I glance towards the door and see no one, but I sense a presence. Yes, he's peering through the venetian blinds from the other side of my office window, which overlooks the hallway. He takes a swig of coffee and departs, or so it seems. I have a webcam pointed down the hall and I take a moment to check the feed. Yup, he's standing in the middle of the hall, facing the camera. He waves and disappears. He's definitely suspicious.
Nuestro Señor de Los Milagros de Buga
Wednesday, September 14, 2022|
Today's topic is about religious relics and icons, with emphasis on the crucifix known as Our Lord of the Miracles of Buga. This item is considered to have been miraculously created in the sixteenth century, an icon known as an acheiropoieta (Greek, "made without hands"). It was discovered in Buga, Colombia, and resides in the Basilica of Our Lord of the Miracles in Buga, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. A woman saw it floating down the Guadalajara River around this day in 1573, took it home, and made an altar for it. Originally the size of her hand, tradition says that it miraculously grew to about 4.5 feet (1.3m) and when this happened people came from far and wide to pay homage, turning the woman's home into a sanctuary. Another miracle accorded to tradition is that the river also miraculously altered its course around Buga to allow for travelers to the site to not have to cross the river, since there was no bridge nearby. In the seventeenth century, the Catholic Church sent in a bishop to evaluate the piece, who determined that it was too dilapidated from candle smoke and abuse from people breaking off bits and pieces, so he attempted to destroy it by fire. However, it would not burn and instead exuded an oily substance which onlookers wiped off with cotton balls that were later reported to heal people of illnesses. Over the years, several hermitages were constructed to house the icon, which were all destroyed by earthquakes. In 1783, after receiving a list of miracles attributed to the crucifix, Pope Pius VI granted special indulgences to those who made its pilgrimage. By 1907, a basilica had been built of brick by volunteers. In 1937 and again in 1969, the crucifix was attacked and damaged, revealing that it had been originally formed from mud and grass. Throughout the centuries, additional items have been added to it such as a crown of thorns, a skirt, silver, gold and platinum, and an ornate base. The icon has been believed to contribute substantially to peace in Colombia during times of conflict and has lasted longer than if carved from wood.
If you are of Catholic or Orthodox faith, then you probably don't doubt the miraculous powers of icons and their biological counterparts -- relics. You may have also made a pilgrimage to a shrine that houses some of these sacred items and may have even been healed of leprosy or acne or cancer. But is it the power imbued in the icon, the power of the belief itself in the icon, the power of the attributed saint, or the faith of the believer that heals? Typically, it's the power of God as a result of prayers to the saint who then intercedes on their behalf. Icons are generally artistic pieces depicting something sacred, like the crucifix or the Madonna with child. Relics are generally body parts of saints and their clothes or belongings. Historically, the veneration of icons has been debated within the early Christian Church, with many citing the third of the Ten Commandments as a reason for not doing so: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4, KJV). Isaiah 30:22 also likens graven images to menstrual cloths and Isaiah 42:8 says that the Lord will not give his glory and praise to them. Some argue that the term "graven image" is assigned to those of false gods, while others argue that it may also be applied to any Christian image that is worshipped directly. Those opposed to icons to the point of destroying them are called iconoclasts, which included such early Christian Fathers as Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Justin Martyr, and Eusebius. The Synod of Elvira (305-306 AD) declared that "Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration." In the centuries following, wealthier Christians became patrons of religious art, which helped it to flourish. Miracles attributed to works of Christian art are recorded as far back as the second century, with direct veneration of images and association of their miracles becoming ecclesiastical practice in the sixth century. The Catholic Church waffled back and forth about the use of images and artwork, finally embracing icons in the latter half of the ninth century. During the Protestant Reformation, iconoclasm was again at the forefront, primarily among the followers of Calvin and Zwingli, who incited riots and the public destruction of Christian icons and artwork.
But it's getting late so I need to wrap this up. In conclusion, I do not deny the possibility of God's power as the source of miracles that seem to revolve around Christian icons and relics. However, I remain skeptical of them, as well as cautious that the power may very well be of a Satanic nature masquerading as holy signs and wonders. I do not believe in veneration of the saints or their relics, nor of icons in any fashion, but I do admire Christian-related art and architecture. Maybe I'll bring this topic up at a later time. Or perhaps not. Look at the time.
Battles of Muret & Portopí
Monday, September 12, 2022|
On this day in 1213, the last of the major battles of the Albigensian Crusade to rid the Catholic realms of Catharism was won by a relatively small force of knights and crusaders under the command of Simon de Montfort the Elder (IV). In a standard pitched battle of the time, where opposing forces lined up on either side and advanced straight on, the Crusaders were outnumbered roughly ten to one by several conservative estimates,* but soundly defeated allied forces led by King Peter II of Aragon. The Albigensian Crusade officially ended in 1229, before King James I the Conqueror attacked Almohad Muslim forces on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain on this day in 1229 in the Battle of Portopí and took the island after three years of fighting. The relationship between the two battles, other than being on September 12, was that one side from both was fought by armies from the Crown of Aragon,** a kingdom that comprised parts of southern France, eastern Spain, and the Balearic Islands, which remained until the early part of the 18th century. King James I was son of King Peter II and trained by Simon de Montfort, which makes for an unusual threesome -- and that, my friends, is a double entendre.***
An old illustration circa 1861 titled "Burial of the Moncadas" depicting some significant event from the Battle of Portopí.****
*Laurence W. Marvin at Berry College, Spencer C. Tucker at Texas Christian University, Clifford J. Rogers at West Point, and Lord Jonathan Philip Chadwick Sumption, to name a few.|
**Unless I'm confusing the Crown of Aragon with the Kingdom of Aragon, the latter of which was a member of the former. I really don't care. It's all French to me.
***Not my intent at all.
****For an image of the Battle of Muret, go here. It's the same one used here on Wikipedia.
Feast of Nayrouz
Sunday, September 11, 2022|
Welcome. Abiding by the Gregorian calendar, today is the Feast of Nayrouz in the Coptic Orthodox Church, when the Coptic saints are remembered and celebrated -- and who more than Felix and Regula? These were third-century siblings (brother and sister) and soldiers of the Roman Legion of Thebes under the leadership of Mauritius (Saint Maurice), who converted to Christianity along with the 6,666 men under his command. These were all martyred in 286 A.D. at Agaunum in modern-day Switzerland for refusing to sacrifice to Emperor Maximian. (The legion was formed by Emperor Diocletian and stationed at Alexandria to protect Thebes, then detached by Emperor Maximian to Gaul to fight barbarians. Diocletian and Maximian were co-emperors at this time.) Various accounts record that not all of the legion was put to death at once, but that some fled, later to be captured and martyred: two of whom were Felix and Regula, who were captured in Zürich with their servant Exuperantius, tried, and executed. As legend has it, the three were beheaded, stood up, carried their heads to a hilltop, prayed, then died. A number of churches with funny Swiss names have been built over the centuries on the site, such as Grossmünster, Fraumünster and Wasserkirche.
The Coptic Church (officially the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria), is based in Egypt, with diocese throughout the Middle East and Africa. Like the Catholic Church, the Coptic Church has their own pope, called the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark. As you may surmise, one pope is based on the apostolic ascension from Peter, while the other stems from Mark. Prior to the Great Schism of the Western Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in 1054, the Orthodox Church consisted of two primary factions -- the Greek Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox. The Egyptian Orthodox Church, a member of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, was also called the Coptic Orthodox Church. The term "Coptic" is of ancient Egyptian origin and often refers to the language of the region in North Africa. This is why in Bibles with commentaries and reference notes you'll see citations from the Coptic (Egyptian) scriptures and the Septuagint (Greek) scriptures. When the Roman empire split in the fifth century between the western Roman Empire and the eastern Byzantine Empire, the two churches associated themselves with each side -- the Catholic Church with the Roman Empire and the Orthodox Church with the Byzantine Empire, yet even during this period they remained collectivized by doctrine and held joint periodic Ecumenical Councils to maintain order and unity. There, now, I don't know about you but I like my stories short and concise.
|Himitsu Wo Shiritai
Saturday, September 10, 2022|
Now, back to business -- the Christian business, that is. Or religion. The business of spreading the Christian religion. Yet most Christians would not consider their belief system a religion, but rather, "The Way" (John 14:6). Since Jesus said he was the only way to God, this has emboldened thousands to forfeit their lives in an effort to travel to far off lands and proselytize to strangers who either think their religion is the way or else foreign rulers who believe themselves to be the All Powerful. As with many countries in many ages, this was the case in sixteenth-century Japan, when Catholic Jesuits came and converted tens of thousands because the Japanese Shogunate -- the military dictators -- had hoped that this would reduce the number of troublesome Buddhists, however, because the Christians answered first and foremost to God, this proved to be a threat to national unity. Within the first forty years that Japan opened its kimonoed arms to Jesus Christ, it then began driving Christians underground (Senpuku Kirishitan, or Underground Christians), where they tended to thrive like groundhogs (guraundohoggu). Hundreds of guraundohoggu missionaries and their converts were dug up and exterminated throughout the seventeenth century, forcing Christianity to remain hidden until the nineteenth century. These clandestine Christians came to be known as Kakure Kirishitan, or Hidden Christians. During the formative years of Japanese conversion, on the other side of the globe, the Jesuits also attempted to bring Christianity to the Indians of Virginia, over three decades prior to the settlement of Jamestown. Unfortunately, within a year, all but one were killed by the new world heathens at the site of the Ajacán Mission. Today, the Catholic Church recognizes many of the martyrs from this period of these two remote locations. Kakure Kirishitan still exist today on remote Japanese islands, with religious practices adopted from Buddhism mixed with Latin prayers and hymns, secret doctrines, baptism, celebration of Christmas eve (Otaiya), communion of rice and sake, Japanese folklore, and ancient Catholic manuscripts written in Portuguese, the meanings of which are long-forgotten. There are no known books or relics, since Kakure Kirishitan had to abandon all visible traces of Christianity to evade persecution.
|What's Worse Than This Blog? Friday, September 9, 2022|
Once again, apologies to my Ganlu Members for having to wait around for so long between posts. I haven't been on a sabbatical, or on vacation, or out sick, or too busy -- I've just been extremely lazy. No excuses. So let's ease back into this blog business with a secular segment I shall only refer to once as Whiz Bang Quiz Thang. Test your testing ability by taking this test...
Q: What's worse than being openly reprimanded by your boss?
|Annunciation of the Waffle
Wednesday, August 24, 2022|
Today is Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day in Scandinavian countries, which sounds similar to Vårfrudagen, which is the Feast of the Annunciation, when Scandinavians typically eat waffles. Wait, no? I stand corrected: Våffeldagen is on March 25th. Today is just Waffle Day in the U.S., marking the anniversary of the first U.S. patent for a waffle iron. Big deal, stick a waffle in it. Damn, I was going to go somewhere with this. Instead, and I hesitate to do this, here's another installment of Steve the Cat -- about my sister's fat, orange tabby who had many wonderful and amazing adventures before his mysterious disappearance. This episode is entitled "Kitty Porn." Please, enjoy...
Once upon a time, Steve was spending leisure time licking himself while watching wild animals mate on the Nature Channel when no one was home. However, this became increasingly more frequent and he soon found that he could eavesdrop on neighbors who had premium channels like the Discovery Channel or National Geographic with higher-caliber wild animal-mating action. This obsession turned into an addiction which he took to the internet (which back then started with a capital I). Steve went from pleasuring himself with educational animal programs, to naughty pet videos on You Tube, to hard-core pay-per-view bestial pornography and mail-order blackmarket movies from third world countries where laws did not prohibit inter-species relationships. Even Steve realized in his miniscule feline brain that his addiction was a problem -- a problem that was affecting others when he began acting out unspeakable fantasies with throw pillows, stuffed animals, family portraits, articles of clothing, tooth brushes, refrigerated leftovers, and even the house owner on evenings when she was passed out drunk. Steve checked himself into a rehab center for recovering porn addicts, but met up with the wrong crowd and soon ended up starring in homemade pornos by local directors and getting mixed up in trying to sell them in a multi-level marketing scheme, which caused him to go broke buying all his own product in an effort to move up the pyramid. So he was forced to turn tricks as a kitty gigolo on the streets, where one day a patron invited him to a Pentecostal church service, which he reluctantly attended on a Wednesday night when business was slow. Many of the elders present that night were armed with anointing oil and, sensing demonic comportment, laid hands on him, anointed him with oil, and cast out the evil kitty porn demons. The End
Oh, and Steve eventually quit going to church and slid back into licking himself in front of the TV, this time while people were home trying to watch it. He didn't care. God was for people, anyway.
|Go Away, I'm Busy
Sunday, August 21, 2022|
Today I'm too busy to do any scholarly research. So, instead, here's a story from the archives of my sister's cat, Steve -- a fat, orange tabby who had many wonderful and amazing adventures before his mysterious disappearance. This episode is entitled "999, The Mark of the Beast." Please, enjoy...
Once upon a time, Steve was infected with ringworm, so he was taken to the vet where he had various parts of his body shaved. Steve had often thought about getting a tattoo and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Steve visited a local tattoo parlor (Tiger Tattoo, ironically) and after careful, sober consideration decided to have the number 9 tattooed on each of the bare spots. He chose the number 9 for the following reasons, one for each bare spot: the first for nine lives; the second for his age in human years; the third because nine was his favorite number (at least now it was). In time the ringworm healed, the fur grew back, and Steve forgot all about his sweet tats. One day Steve was run over by a bicycling priest. His tail was pulled into the gears and his fur was ripped from the skin, exposing his number 9 tattoos. The alarmed priest, however, interpreted them as the number 6 because there was no distinguishing line under the numeral, of which there were three, and identified them as the mark of the beast from Revelation 13:18. He immediately borrowed a shovel from a bystanding neighbor and cut off Steve's head. Since Steve still had eight lives remaining, his head instantly grew back. The priest considered this fulfillment of Revelation 13:3 and took Steve to the local parish where he prayed in the sanctuary for the Virgin Mary to smite the unholy beast. Steve jumped up on the altar and coughed up a hairball -- "the abomination that causes desolation" spoken of in the Book of Daniel and by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. But Steve got out and escaped, later to emerge on the international scene in his rise as Satanic leader of the New World Order. The End
Now, go away. I'm busy.
|Onward Christian Soldier
Saturday, August 20, 2022|
So much going on, so little to say. Today is World Mosquito Day (no rhyme intended). Yes, today we remember that mosquitos can spread deadly diseases like malaria, which is apparently an important purpose in life, whether you believe in creationism or natural selection. Today the Church of England also celebrates the compassion of The Salvation Army towards the dregs of society, begun in London's East End in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth as The Christian Mission. William was a Methodist preacher and Catherine was an up-and-coming minister who championed women's rights to preach the Gospel publicly. As sympathizers of the Reform Methodists, the Booths were expelled by the Wesleyan Methodists and eventually started their own church with a militant structure, renamed The Salvation Army in 1878. Along with preaching to the poor and destitute of London, they also founded ministries for alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, gamblers, refugees, the homeless, and disaster survivors. Early on they were met with violent opposition from pub owners united under the Skeleton Army. Today, the Salvation Army is one of the world's largest and most well-known providers of charity and social aid. It is popular for its thrift stores, small military marching bands, and holiday red kettle bell ringers. Although it has come under criticism for its anti-LGBTQ stances, it has recently made it clear that these viewpoints are directed at their own members and not those which whom they serve.
The Salvation Army was instrumental in World War 1 for introducing doughnuts to America by providing them to U.S. soldiers overseas.
Speaking of instrumental, from left to right starting at the top: tuba; trombone; kazoo; euphonium; bass drum; euphonium; cornet; cornet; girl who pushes the electric guitar amp; euphonium.
Every time a bell rings and someone drops in twenty bucks or more, an angel gets is wings.
|Catherine Booth wrote and presented many sermons in her day. Go here to read much of what she had to share about Jesus. Here are a few excerpts from a lecture by Catherine titled "Popular Christianity" she published in 1887:|
|...This is the great distinguishing boast of our faith--the only religion on the face of the earth in which the idea of a Christ has ever been conceived. The Bible offers this Christ. The golden chimes of great joy that rang out on the day when He was heralded by the angels, were to be glad tidings to all people of a Saviour which was Christ the Lord, a mighty deliverer, able to cope with man's inability, with the disadvantages of his circumstances, and the consequences of his fall. Now we contend that this Christ of the Bible, the Christ who appeared in Judea 1800 years ago, is now abroad in the earth just as much as He was then, and that He presents to humanity all that it needs; that He is indeed, as He represented Himself to be, the Bread of Life come down from heaven, the Light, and the Life, and the Strength of man, meeting this cry of his soul which has been going up to God for generations. Here I stand and make my boast, that the Christ of God, my Christ, the Christ of the Salvation Army, does meet this crying need of the soul, does fill this aching void, and does become to man that which God sets Him forth as being in this book. Guilty humanity He promises to pardon, and He does pardon. Ignorant humanity (with respect to God and the things of God) He promises to enlighten, and He does enlighten it. Degraded, sunken, impure humanity (in the very essence of its being) He promises to purify, and He does purify it. We make our boast of this Christ, and we say He is able to save to the uttermost, and that He does this now as much as ever He has done in the 1800 years that are past, that He is a real, living, present Saviour to those who really receive and put their trust in Him.
I know that many may answer, "This is not the Christ that is generally presented in the preaching and teaching of this age, or that is generally professed and believed in by the Christians of this age; neither do we see such results as you depict in their characters or lives." Granted. The sceptics and the infidels say: "We do not see these results, and therefore we do not believe in your Christ." And I say, looking at the question from their standpoint, I should feel just as they do, because they have a right to have these results proved to them. It is useless telling of wonderful things having transpired a long time ago and a long distance away. They say, Show them now; show us the men in whom this change is wrought, and then we will believe that this Christ always does these things. I say Amen, and that because they do not see these signs in the popular Christianity of this day, therefore they reject its Christ, and there is great excuse for them, not such excuse as will justify them at the bar of God, because they ought to have found out Christ for themselves, nevertheless, an excuse to themselves and to their fellow-men. I say, I grant that this is not the Christ exhibited in these days...
...For 1800 years millions of the best of the human race have accepted these assumptions without being shocked by them. If He be not Divine, how comes it to be that, the greatest of human intellects, the sincerest of human souls, and the most aroused and anxious of human consciences, have ventured their all upon this Divine word, and have seen nothing contradictory between His claims and the actual character which He sustained in the world; whereas, imagine the very holiest and best who ever trod our earth putting forth such assumptions, and how would they sound? Suppose Moses, who had talked with God in the burning bush, or Isaiah, whose tongue was touched with the live coal from off the altar, or Daniel, the man greatly beloved, to whom the angel Gabriel was sent again and again, or the apostle of the Gentiles, who was admitted into the third heaven, or the beloved apostle John, suppose any of these men saying, "I am from above, ye are from beneath," "I am not of this world," "If ye believe not I am He, ye shall die in your sins," "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world." Again, "I leave the world and go to the Father;" and in His prayer on the eve of His agony, "The glory which I had with the Father before the world was," and again, in answer to Philip's request, "Show us the Father," "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;" "believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?"
...Without a Divine Christ Christianity sinks into a mere system of philosophy, and becomes as powerless for the renovation and salvation of mankind as any of the philosophies which have preceded it. But no, our Joshua has come, our Deliverer is here; He is come, and is now literally fulfilling His promise to abide, "I and my Father will come unto you, and make our abode with you." He comes now in the flesh of His true saints, just as really as He came first in the body prepared for Him, and He comes for the same purpose, to renew and to save; He is knocking at the doors of your hearts even now, through my feeble words, and will come into your hearts if you will let Him. As He came walking over the sea of Galilee to the men and women of His own day, He comes now to you, walking over the storm raised by your appetites, your inordinate desires, passions, and sins--a storm only just gathering, waxing worse and worse, and which, unless allayed, will grow to eternal thunderings, lightnings, and billows; but He is able to allay it, He offers to pronounce "Peace, be still," and end this tempest of your soul for ever. Will you let Him?
|A Witch is a Witch is a Witch
Friday, August 19, 2022|
Today is World Humanitarian Day (UNGA Resolution A/63/L.49), however, today also commemorates the 1612 Samlesbury witch trials in England and the 1692-93 Salem witch trials in Massachusetts. The former resulted in 14 accusations and 11 deaths and the latter resulted in over 200 accusations, thirty convictions and 25 deaths. Although the trials in England were due partially to anti-Catholic sentiment and those in Salem due primarily to public hysteria, both were the result of an honest belief in witchcraft intended for maleficence against others. True, some of the charges included sacrificing children to Satan and orgies with demons, but most were simply due to spells cast against the antagonists of the accused which caused curses, disease or even death. Today, most practitioners of witchcraft are seers and use tarot cards, potions, crystals, candles, herbs, meditation, spells, oils and astrology to foretell the future, communicate with the spiritual realm, or for self-improvement. According to this article in The Atlantic, many are women who are drawn to the practice of witchcraft because of its feminist overtones and anti-patriarchal undertones. According to this article in Quartz, witchcraft is a paganistic form of self-worship. Unlike medieval witchcraft, modern witchcraft is not seen as predominantly dark magic but rather as white magic, to be used for good. Regardless, all magic is still an occult practice to be avoided by the religious, God-fearing, piously patricentric Christian community (Deuteronomy 18:10-11, 2 Chronicles 33:5-6, Micah 5:11-13, Galatians 5:19-21). Remember, it's all fun and games until someone goes to hell and comes face-to-face with the source of their power.
A witch by any other name is still a witch. Pictured: 16th-century engraving titled "The Witch" by Albrecht Dürer. The four creatures at the bottom are putti, which are cherub-like spiritual messengers (Greek, "daemon"), here representing horticulture, alchemy, necromancy and sexual deviancy -- traditional symbols of witchcraft.
|Hippolytus of Rome Saturday, August 13, 2022|
I left off the other day with Romans 5:1-11, referring to faith and hope as the crutches of a Christian. This was following Matthew 22:8-14 about somehow getting invited to heaven and showing up without proper attire (no pants?), only to be thrown out. As usual, I shall digress because I have since lost my train of thought. Today is the feast day of Hippolytus of Rome (A.D. 175-235), an early Christian theologian and disciple of Irenaeus (A.D. 130-202), who was a disciple of Polycarp (A.D. 69-155). Like many of his day who bore the same name, not much is known and what little that exists is sketchy, but what is known is that he wrote in Greek. Of the books that are attributed to him, some are mixed in with those of Origen of Alexandria (A.D. 185-253) because the two had similar styles and themes. One famous treatise that bears his name is the Apostolic Tradition, about the early Catholic Order which, of course, is difficult to trace to its original source. It contains details about Christian worship, baptism, communion, ordination of deacons and elders, offerings, widows, spiritual gifts, new converts, burial, prayer, fasting, acceptable employment, martyrdom, and various other details about daily Christian life. Hippolytus also wrote about eschatology, or the apocalyptic end times and the second advent of Christ, which he predicted to be 500 years after the death of Jesus, while criticizing those who were waiting for his imminent return. He was also critical of the popes of his generation and rumored to have been elected himself by a schismatic group as an antipope (possibly the Novatianists). However, he was martyred under Emperor Maximinus Thrax after being exiled to the Sardinian mines as a Catholic priest.Pictured: either Hippolytus of Rome, or Hippolytus of Alexandria, or Hippolytus of Porto, or Hippolytus of Antioch, or Hippolytus of Palestine, or Hippolytus of Egypt, or Hippolytus of Anatolia.
Here are some excerpts from the third-century Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus for your edification:
Chapter 16: They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted. A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. The catechumen (he who is being prepared for baptism) or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. The prostitute, the wanton man, the one who castrates himself, or one who does that which may not be mentioned, are to be rejected, for they are impure. A magus (magician, particularly of the Zoroastrian priestly cast) shall not even be brought forward for consideration. An enchanter, or astrologer, or diviner, or interpreter of dreams, or a charlatan, or one who makes amulets, either they shall cease or they shall be rejected. If someone's concubine is a slave, as long as she has raised her children and has clung only to him, let her hear. Otherwise, she shall be rejected. The man who has a concubine must cease and take a wife according to the law. If he will not, he shall be rejected.
Chapter 20:3-5: From the time at which they are set apart (those who are chosen who are to receive baptism), place hands upon them daily so that they are exorcised. When the day approaches on which they are to be baptized, let the bishop exorcise each one of them, so that he will be certain whether each has been purified. If there are any who are not purified, they shall be set apart. They have not heard the Word in faith, for the foreign spirit remained with each of them. Let those who are to be baptized be instructed that they bathe and wash on the fifth day of the week. If a woman is in the manner of women, let her be set aparta and receive baptism another day.
Chapter 18: When the teacher finishes his instruction, the catechumens (new believers) will pray by themselves, separate from the faithful. The women will also pray in another place in the church, by themselves, whether faithful women or catechumen women. After the catechumens have finished praying, they do not give the kiss of peace, for their kiss is not yet pure. But the faithful shall greet one another with a kiss, men with men, and women with women. Men must not greet women with a kiss. All the women should cover their heads with a pallium (originally a wide band of wool cloth, later to be worn only by popes and bishops), and not simply with a piece of linen, which is not a proper veil.
Chapter 21:9-20: When the elder takes hold of each of them who are to receive baptism, he shall tell each of them to renounce, saying, "I renounce you Satan, all your service, and all your works." After he has said this, he shall anoint each with the Oil of Exorcism, saying, "Let every evil spirit depart from you." Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water. When each of them to be baptized has gone down into the water, the one baptizing shall lay hands on each of them, asking, "Do you believe in God the Father Almighty?" And the one being baptized shall answer, "I believe." He shall then baptize each of them once, laying his hand upon each of their heads. Then he shall ask, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died, and rose on the third day living from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, the one coming to judge the living and the dead?" When each has answered, "I believe," he shall baptize a second time. Then he shall ask, "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?" Then each being baptized shall answer, "I believe." And thus let him baptize the third time. Afterward, when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, "I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ." Then, drying themselves, they shall dress and afterwards gather in the church.
Chapter 23: Widows and virgins will fast often and pray for the Church. The elders will fast when they want to, as is the same for the laypeople. The bishop may not fast except when all the people fast. For often someone will bring an offering, and it cannot be rejected. For whenever the bishop breaks the bread, he must partake of it, and eat it with all who are there.
Chapter 28:3-4: When you eat, eat sufficiently and not to excess, so that the host may have some left that he can then send to someone as leftovers of the saints, so that the one to whom it is sent may rejoice. Let the guests eat in silence, without arguing, saying only what the bishop allows. If someone asks a question, it shall be answered. When the bishop answers, all shall remain silent, praising him modestly, until someone else asks a question.
Chapter 32: These are the fruits which he shall bless: the grape, fig, pomegranate, olive, pear, apple, blackberry, peach, cherry, almond, and plum. But not the pumpkin, melon, cucumber, onion, garlic, or any other vegetable. Sometimes flowers also are offered. The rose and lily may be offered, but no other flowers. With all foods, give thanks to the Holy God, eating them to his glory.
Chapters 35-38: The faithful, as soon as they wake up and are risen, before beginning work, shall pray to God, and then go to their work. But if there is any instruction in the Word, they shall give this preference and go there to hear the Word of God for the strengthening of their souls. They shall be zealous to go to the church, where the Spirit flourishes. The faithful shall be careful to partake of the eucharist before eating anything else. For if they eat with faith, even though some deadly poison is given to them, after this it will not be able to harm them. All shall be careful so that no unbeliever tastes of the eucharist, nor a mouse or other animal, nor that any of it falls and is lost. For it is the Body of Christ, to be eaten by those who believe, and not to be scorned. Having blessed the cup in the Name of God, you received it as the antitype of the Blood of Christ. Therefore do not spill from it, for some foreign spirit to lick it up because you despised it. You will become as one who scorns the Blood, the price with which you have been bought.
Chapter 41:5-15, 17: If you are at home, pray at the third hour and praise God. If you are elsewhere at that time, pray in your heart to God. For in this hour Christ was seen nailed to the wood. And thus in the Old Testament the Law instructed that the shewbread be offered at the third hour as a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. And the sacrifice of the irrational lamb was a symbol of the perfect Lamb. For Christ is the Shepherd, and he is also the bread which descended from heaven. Pray also at the sixth hour. Because when Christ was attached to the wood of the cross, the daylight ceased and became darkness. Thus you should pray a powerful prayer at this hour, imitating the cry of him who prayed and all creation was made dark for the unbelieving Jews. Pray also at the ninth hour a great prayer with great praise, imitating the souls of the righteous who do not lie, who glorify God who remembered his saints and sent his Word to them to enlighten them. For in that hour Christ was pierced in his side, pouring out water and blood, and the rest of the time of the day, he gave light until evening. This way he made the dawn of another day at the beginning of his sleep, fulfilling the type of his resurrection. Pray also before your body rests on your bed. Around midnight rise and wash your hands with water and pray. If you are married, pray together. But if your spouse is not yet baptized, go into another room to pray, and then return to bed. Do not hesitate to pray, for one who has been joined in marital relations is not impure. Those who have bathed have no need to wash again, for they are pure. By catching your breath in your hand and signing yourself with the moisture of your breath, your body is purified, even to the feet. For the gift of the Spirit and the outpouring of the baptism, proceeding from the heart of the believer as though from a fountain, purifies the one who has believed. Thus it is necessary to pray at this hour. Likewise, at the hour of the cock-crow, rise and pray. Because at this hour, with the cock-crow, the children of Israel refused Christ, who we know through faith, hoping daily in the hope of eternal light in the resurrection of the dead.
|Invited but Not Chosen Thursday, August 11, 2022|
Today's reading is from Matthew 22:8-14 (NIV), where Jesus is likening the kingdom of heaven to a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son but nobody came. These were the Jews of Israel, so God went to the Gentiles and invited them and here is where the parable continues:
|"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, 'How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?' The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are invited, but few are chosen."|
So this should tell us a few things in a sobering manner: 1) You may get invited to heaven and appear before God; 2) He may refer to you as friend; 3) You may not have actually been chosen; 4) You then get the royal bum's rush straight to hell. This passage is troubling. I think it refers to me. The only assurance that it's not me is Romans 5:1-11 (NIV):
|Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God... And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly... But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.|
That's right, it all comes down to faith and hope -- the Christian's two crutches. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4, KJV) -- pretty sure these are similar to crutches. Anyhow, that's all the time I have for Thursday. More on this later. (Who has time for a blog, anyway?)
Patron Saint of Mad Dogs
Thursday, August 4, 2022|
Today will be brief, as it is the feast day of Saint Sithney (died c. 529), an Irish Catholic Benedictine missionary who emigrated from Britain (England) to Brittany (France), where he founded a monastery and was chosen by God to be the patron of young women seeking a husband. However, he replied that he would never get any rest and would rather take care of mad dogs than women. From then on he became the patron of mad dogs and rabies and dogs have since been brought to drink from his well at Guic-Sezni for healing. That's all I could find, so that's all I know.
If you would like further information send for a booklet to:
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland
Prepared for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by the Central Office of Information, 1977.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland
Prepared for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by the Central Office of Information, 1977.
|Fool for Christ Tuesday, August 2, 2022|
Have you ever wondered about that Disney cathedral in Moscow's Red Square, the one with the multi-colored cupcake domes? It has many names, including Trinity Cathedral, Pokrovsky Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, and the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed. The cathedral was constructed in wood by Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century in memory of the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, two major cities of the Tatars, previously the Great Horde, formerly the Golden Horde, and built on the site of several wooden churches collectively known as the Trinity Church. It was later reconstructed in stone during the reign of Catherine II the Great in the eighteenth century. It's a wonder the Communists never tore it down but they did confiscate it from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1928 and turned it into a national museum, but not until after the Bolsheviks melted all the bells and killed its priest. Stalin did consider tearing it down because it was an obstacle to his military parades but relented after he was promised a peek at the Immaculate Breasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Novgorod (he never did and several people were imprisoned for it). Although still part of the Moscow Kremlin, church services have been held in it since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The name Vasily the Blessed comes from Vasily Blazhenny (1468-1557), or Saint Basil, who was considered a holy fool for Christ ("yurodivy" -- an Eastern Orthodox ascetic who was deliberately provocative towards society by his/her simple life of exaggerated self-humiliation to the point of appearing naked and insane) and there were reportedly 35 throughout the history of the Russian Orthodox Church besides Basil. However, Basil was known for being prophetically knowledgeable about people who were dishonest and he had the half-naked balls to rebuke Ivan the Terrible for being preoccupied in church one day with thoughts of building a palace on the Vorobiev hills. Basil concerned himself with the poorest of the poor in Moscow for 72 years, even though he still accepted alms from them, and often wore heavy chains, which are preserved at the Moscow Orthodox Spiritual Academy for visitors to disrobe and try on. Today is his feast day and since he ate very little there's nothing to feast, so remember Basil by being a fool for Christ. (He was often beat up for it, though.)
|The Cathedral of St. Basil is often mistook by tourists as an amusement park, although once inside they can see over 400 religious paintings, all meticulously restored with red spray paint which the Bolsheviks censored all of them with, and for a few rubles visitors can paint a remaining bare spot. Other museum activities include freezing cold temperatures in winter, climbing up or falling down a variety of winding staircases, gawking at modern Russian peasants who are no wealthier than their medieval ancestors, a selfie with the remains of Basil the Blessed, vodka vending machines, and one restroom break.|
|International Tiger Day Friday, July 29, 2022|
Today is International Tiger Day and what tiger is as well-known as the Bible? That's right -- Tony the Tiger. Although tigers are awesome, I'd be remiss if I didn't concentrate instead on Lazarus, Mary and Martha of Bethany, who today are venerated by Catholics (Lazarus, Mary and Martha), Anglicans and Lutherans (Martha), and the Western Churches (Lazarus). According to Western Church legend Lazarus became the Bishop of Marseille in Provence (southeastern France), but according to the Eastern Orthodox Church he became the Bishop of Kition on the island of Cyprus. According to both, Lazarus never smiled much after being raised from the dead by Jesus. Some combine him with Lazarus the beggar from Luke 16, just like some combine Mary of Bethany with all the other Marys, claiming that they were all redeemed whores. And we all know that Martha just needed to keep her mouth shut and work diligently behind the scenes. You can read more about all three in The Gospel of Martha.
Above: Tony the Tiger at the raising of Lazarus. Like corn flakes in a bowl of milk for four days, Lazarus arose from the dead a little on the soggy side, but Jesus made him fresh and crispy. Right: Tony the Tiger at the home of Martha and Mary, explaining how Mary's choice to just sit and listen is Gr-r-r-reat!
Right: Tony the Tiger at the home of Martha and Mary, explaining how Mary's choice to just sit and listen is Gr-r-r-reat!
Above: Tony the Tiger in modest Eastern Orthodox priestly attire circa 1952. The original slogan was: "Kellogg's Frosted Flakes are like manna from heaven (Exodus 16:14-15)."
Reprobus the Canaanite Monday, July 25, 2022
Today is the feast day of Saint Christopher -- or was, as it was discontinued by the Catholic Church in 1969. But the Eastern Orhtodox Church still celebrates one of the most well-known Christians that stood at 7.5 feet tall -- even taller than most of the statues of the Virgin Mary. As legend has it, sometime in the mid-third century this average-size Canaanite who was originally known by the name Reprobus (Latin, "Reprobate") was forced by the Romans to serve in the Unit of the Marmaritae, or dog-headed legion. One day he decided that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could, so he presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the Devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power. He then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, Reprobus learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil. So he converted to Christianity and after baptism by a hermit named Peter of Attalia he devoted himself to serving Christ by helping travelers across a dangerous river. One day he helped a considerably heavy child to cross the river, after which he commented, "I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." The child replied, "You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work." The child then vanished and Reprobus was Christened anew as Christopher (Greek Christophoros, "Christ bearer"). Soon his image was appearing on medalions and dashboard figurines as a protector of travelers, surfers and children who wander the globe on their own, as well as being used to ward off epileptic attacks, toothaches and bachelors. After this, he went to the cities of Lycia and Antioch in Asia Minor and converted thousands during the Christian persecution under Emperor Decius, becoming a martyr himself in the process.
Note: The Feast of St. Christopher is celebrated by the Orthodox Church on May 9. Sorry if you missed it. What river he ferried travelers across to safety is unknown, as most of what remains about him is based on later legendary accounts. Christopher was not really venerated until about the seventh century, as far as anyone can tell. Oddly enough, he is also the patron saint of a holy death... but wouldn't any martyr be? He is sometimes depicted with the head of a dog, a condition some refer to as cynocephaly, which either means he had a dog face or he really wasn't a Canaanite but a Canine. However, I have chosen above to point out that he was recruited by the Romans to serve in the Marmaritae, of which there is also very little known and could very well have been a pack of giant dogs who walked on their hind legs wearing sandals and skirts (or pteruges).
|Christina the Astonishing Sunday, July 24, 2022|
Today we remember Christina Mirabilis of Belgium (1150-1224). But how can we remember what we didn't even know? She was reportedly raised from the dead at age 21 before witnesses at her funeral, levitated to the rafters, and recounted being taken to heaven, hell and purgatory by angels who offered her the opportunity to continue living a life of penance on behalf of those suffering unspeakable torments in purgatory, which she did to the fullest extent. Once back on Earth, she renounced the basic necessities of life and lived homeless and in rags, begging, often chased by dogs, and regularly throwing herself into burning furnaces or plunging into the wintery river for hours and each time emerging unscathed. Those who witnessed such spectacles described that she was experiencing the agony of these events and could hear her screams while in the flames or see her being battered by a mill wheel in the freezing waters, yet they saw no visible burns or broken bones. During these periods, she would experience ecstasies wherein she led the souls of the recently dead to purgatory and those in purgatory to paradise. She was twice jailed for suspicion of demon possession and often chased by dogs. With the ability to smell other people's sin, she usually avoided close contact with people, hid out of sight, and even levitated to get away from them. She later joined the Dominican Convent of Saint Catherine in Sint-Truiden in the province of Limburg, where she died of "natural causes" at age 74 (possibly exhausted to death from being chased by dogs). Never beatified, many still venerate her as the patron saint against insanity. If you find yourself being chased by dogs, try calling out to St. Roch instead.
|St. Demoniac of Magdala Thursday, July 21, 2022|
On this day in 1209, to kick off the Albigensian Crusade at the behest of Pope Innocent III, 20,000 inhabitants were slaughtered in the Massacre at Béziers in Southern France. The intent was to round up all the Cathars, a Gnostic Christian cult that challenged the Catholic Church, but the town was not willing to hand them over and instead taunted the Crusaders, who broke through the city gates and killed Cathars, Catholics, women and children. Supposedly, this is where the term "Kill them all and let God sort them out" came from, according to Catholic prior Caesarius of Heisterbach (1180-1240), who attributed the saying to Catholic abbot Arnaud Amalric (1160-1225). One of the churches that was ransacked -- and where it was reported that 7,000 people were killed* -- was the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is today. The Gnostics loved to write about Mary Magdalene, however, not many manuscripts have survived that were mentioned by the early Church Fathers, particularly those who spoke out against the Gnostics. One manuscript that partially survived is the Gospel of Mary, wherein Mary Magdalene calls the disciples a bunch of pussies for despairing after Jesus' death and resurrection, then goes into a polemic about Gnostic cosmology which Jesus revealed to her in a vision, to which some of the Apostles question her credibility as a woman. Another manuscript that was recently discovered, The Gospel of Martha, devotes a whole chapter to the dark secrets of the demons who possessed Mary Magdalene. Even more importantly, it dispels the rumor that she and Jesus had a thing going. Here is an excerpt from chapter eighteen:
Then saith Thomas unto Jesus, "And what of thee, Lord? Surely thou art an eunuch." And Jesus saith he, "Nay, but I am as thee, tempted in all the ways of man." But Thomas persisting saith he again, "Surely it is doubtful, Lord, for thou art daily surrounded about by maidens and damsels who tend to thee, and still thou keepest unto thyself."
Then Jesus lifting his robe saith he unto Thomas, "Lookest thou, but touchest thou not, that thou mayest see that I am tempted just as thou art tempted." And Thomas beheld, and believed.
Then saith Philip, "But what of the demoniack, Mary who is called Magdalene? For she it is who is closest at thy side always, and vying with the menfolk; and a comely dame besides. Naturally we but assumed."
And Jesus replying saith, "The Son of man hath he no bosom upon which to lay his head. But verily I say unto you, Mary hath she a fondness for one of these my disciples, even an one that is amongst ye now."
Then the disciples looked one upon an other, inquisitive of whom he spake. And, lo, their curiosity was piqued exceeding, and they did enquire amongst themselves, which of them it was that Mary called Magdalene should fancy; and began every one of them to say unto him, "Lord, is it I?" Simon Peter therefore beckoned, and saith unto him privily, "Lord, pray tell, who is it?"
Jesus answering saith unto them, "One of the twelve: he it is that dippeth an hand with me in the dish, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped, the same shall be him to whom Mary hath preference. The Son of man indeed goeth in continence, not knowing the familiarity of a woman: but glad tidings unto that man in whom Mary doth delight! It had been good for that man that he had not been an eunuch."
Then did Jesus dip his bread, and unto John of Zebedee did he give sop. And so the eleven delivered unto John a good ribbing, and much banter was shared amongst them all; unbeknownst to Mary called Magdalene, from out of whom seven demons were cast.
*According to some historians there were no more than 15,000 inhabitants in Béziers and the number of those killed was inflated by early witnesses, but it was the Feast of Mary Magdalene** and historians weren't there. Pictured: Most artists agree that Mary Magdalene was a woman, however, they do not all agree on what color her hair was or if she even had hair. **According to some Catholic historians, the feast day of Mary Magdalene was not officially established until 2016.
|Bloody Friday Thursday, July 21, 2022|
On this day in 1972, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated about twenty bombs in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 9 and injuring 130 in an attempt to wreak financial harm. Aimed primarily at the British government and the ruling Irish government, the Ulster Unionist Party, it was part of a thirty-year internal skirmish referred to as "The Troubles" which officially ended in 1998. On one side were the Protestants, the ruling elite, and on the other were the Catholics, the repressed minority. Although not necessarily a religious war, it was fought primarily over Northern Ireland's membership in the United Kingdom and the desire of the IRA and its nationalist alliances to be independent. This attack by the Provisional IRA happened the same year as Bloody Sunday, when British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians and killed 14 during a protest march in Derry, Northern Ireland, on January 30, which resulted in a song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono that year and another by U2 in 1983. More than 3,500 people were killed in conflicts related to The Troubles -- about 52% civilian and 32% British security forces, with the remainder being members of paramilitary groups. Even though the IRA was considered a terrorist group, they were sorry for all the civilian casualties they caused.Pictured: Kieran Nugent (1958-2000), who was imprisoned more than once for his involvement with the Provisional IRA and the first to refuse to wear the issued prison uniform and instead wore a blanket while claiming to be a political prisoner rather than a criminal. In 1973, at age 15, he and a friend were gunned down by union loyalists while standing on a street corner in Northern Ireland, so in fairness, they started it.
|PSA: Disaster Preparedness Wednesday, July 20, 2022|
Everyone should be prepared for a natural disaster. Hording food and supplies and always wearing long underwear are a good start but what do you actually do in the midst of a disaster, especially when there's no time to think? Well, look no further, because here are your options:
Note: Deathly smog or a poisonous chemical fog are not natural disasters. However, akin to a limnic eruption or lake overturn, perform the same fish bowl maneuver as with volcanic ash.
|LWoS 104, 105, 107, 114, 116 Tuesday, July 19, 2022|
Once again we return to the sound advice of King Solomon, having been lost all these years but now available to all who speak the English language. Did Solomon speak English? Why, he invented English -- the King's English. Yet in his wisdom, he had the foresight to remove all the fanciful Elizabethan pronouns for the common man. Should you desire more wisdom in your foolish life, check out the book. (By check it out, I don't mean like from a library -- shell out a measly buck for the Kindle version or for the same price as $10 you can procure a paperback copy just like that which the scribes of old used to pen by hand.)104 My son, do not be a sluggard. Observe the industrious ways of the mountain yeti. Without command, or overseer, or ruler, it goes about gathering stones, and sticks, and branches, and whatnot. And for what purpose? Who knows, but it toils in warm weather and times of plenty in order to store up provisions for colder seasons and times of scarcity.
105 My son, on second thought, do not be like the mountain yeti, for it slumbers all winter long.
107 My son, contrary to popular belief, idle hands are not the devil’s workshop. He does not seek for slackers to do his bidding. He needs driven, hardworking, misguided infidels. Furthermore, an idle mind is not the devil’s playground. It is his toilet, where he takes an existential dump. Give the devil his due, but not too much credit. You are your own worst enemy.
114 My children, a short story about a dog and a penguin who were close friends for years. One day the dog killed the penguin, ate most of it, and used the remains as a hump toy for days until its tattered corpse completely fell apart. Why? Who knows? Although friendly, dogs are relatively carnivorous and given to impulsive behavior, while penguins tend to taste like meat. Moral: One day, the Lord will reign upon his throne from Zion and the dog shall lie down in peace with the penguin. Until then, animals of different kinds are not friends.
116 A wise man observes the cycles of the moon and studies the positions of the stars. A fool stares into the sun. A wise man knows what time of day it is by the position of the shadows cast upon the ground. A fool chases his own shadow. A wise man expects the best but plans for the worst. A fool tries to predict the weather, but he cannot even forecast a bowel movement if he were disrobed and squatting over a hole.
|Edict of Expulsion Monday, July 18, 2022|
Today we remember Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) as well as those who were persecuted under the Edict of Expulsion (1290). I shall once again flip a coin and go with... The Edict of Expulsion was a royal decree issued by King Edward I of England on July 18, 1290, expelling all Jews from the Kingdom of England and giving them approximately 3-1/2 months to clear out of the country. It was in effect for about 350 years until 1657. William the Conqueror had invited the Jews to England in 1066, probably for their money, then instigated a feudal system and brought all estates under his subjugation, however, Jews were considered direct subjects of the king, who could treat them as he wished and taxed them heavily because they were the primary financial lending body since the Church forbade Christians from lending for profit. Hence, the Jews were increasingly seen as extortionists and antisemitism went on the rise. Jews were not protected under the Magna Carta of 1215, were ordered to wear yellow badges in 1218, were prohibited from building synagogues, owning slaves and mixing with Christians in 1222 (Synod of Oxford), and from then on segregation, limitations and taxation increased, along with brutal rumors, persecution, and the killing of Jews. The Statute of Jewry in 1275 outlawed all lending at interest, synagogues began to be forcefully closed in 1282, and King Edward began seizing Jewish property and expelling Jews in 1287. In 1290, King Edward I imposed a heavy tax on English citizens while at the same time expelling all Jews to rid England of the possibility of any further usury. Estimates range from 2,000-3,000 Jews were forced to leave with only the possessions they could transport. On May 8, 2022, the Archdeacon of Oxford marked the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford with an apology from the Church of England during service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, even though the Catholic Church was the official church of England at the time of the synod. When asked for comment, Pope Francis shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Apology accepted."
|Firgun Sunday, July 17, 2022|
Today is International Firgun Day and International Justice Day, so I will flip a coin and go with... Firgun (pronounced FEER-GOON) is a Hebrew word with Yiddish origin, no good English translation, found in no Bible concordance and means the act of sharing in or even contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune with a purely generous heart and without jealousy. It was founded in 2014 by Made in JLM and its website is here. It's akin to giving a compliment but not like giving a compliment but sort of -- something like this: I'd like to give a shout-out to Sam McGhee and Mitch Williams at Inland Film Co. (IF), a commercial and documentary film production shop based in the Inland Pacific Northwest. These guys are bringing genuine innovation and creativity to a region that is imaginatively impoverished and saturated with meretricious advertising for Dave Smith Motors. For more of Sam's amazing photography, visit him online.
A photograph taken by Sam McGhee somewhere in Ireland. Looks like a cathedral. Most of his photography and cinematography are homegrown. In my biased opinion, he's really good.
|Sermon by the Camp Fire, Part V Monday, July 11, 2022|
Today's reading is from chapter twenty of The Gospel of Martha, where the Christ has gathered his apostles around a camp fire and is teaching them mysterious lessons that are difficult to comprehend. Jesus often said that those who have ears, let them hear. The common understanding of this phrase is to pull your head out of your butt and pay attention.
Mary Magdalene saith unto Jesus, "What are your disciples like?" He replying saith, "They are like little children playing in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say: You kids get out of our field. Then the children take off their clothes in front of them, and wag their little behinds, and they return their field to them."
Jesus continuing saith, "For this reason I say, if the owners of an house know that Steve is coming, they will be on guard before Steve arrives, and will not let Steve break into their domicile and steal their possessions; unless they are insured, and their property can be replaced. As for you then, be on guard against the world, for it is full of Steves."
Jesus saith, "Prepare yourselves with great strength, so also the Rogers can not find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come from Roger. Let there be among you a person who understands. When the crap [sic] ripened, Steve came quickly carrying a sickle in hand and reaped it. Whosoever hath ears to hear, let him not just hear, but listen."
Then asketh John brother of James, saying, "Lord, will there be in heaven intimacy that is sexual in nature?" Jesus saw some baby opossums nursing, so he saith unto his disciples, "These suckling are like those who enter the kingdom of heaven."
They say unto him, "Then shall we enter the kingdom as opossum babies?" Jesus saith unto them, "When ye make the two into one, and when ye make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when ye make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female; when ye make eyes in place of an eye, an hand in place of an hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then shall ye enter the kingdom."
And James the brother of John saith unto him, "Lord, thou didst lose us at opossum babies. From then on did thy words but falleth upon ears that heard, but did not listen."
But Jesus continuing saith, "I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one. And, lo, the remnant shall be as a glob."
His disciples say, "Shew us the place where thou art, for we must seek it." He saith unto them, "Whosoever hath ears, let him hear. There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it doth not shine, then that person is Steve, and he is darkness."
Jesus saith, "Love your friends like your own soup; taste them with a spoon as you would the broth of your chicken."
Jesus saith, "Thou seest the dander in thy friend's eye, but thou seest not the kitten in thine own eye. When thou takest the kitten out of thine own eye, then shalt thou see well enough to remove the dander from thy friend's eye; even after he hath rubbed it sore, and it becometh swollen shut."
Jesus saith, "If ye fast not from the world, ye shall not find the kingdom. If ye observe not the sabbath as a sabbath, ye shall not see the Father. If ye commit not the scriptures unto memory, ye shall not be able to recite them on demand. Then assuredly shall ye sound foolish attempting in vain to make your words sound as holy writ; and moreso in an ancient tongue."
|I Forgive Bob Johnson Sunday, July 10, 2022|
We all have had a Mr. Johnson in our life. For me it was Bob Johnson the trigonometry teacher, baseball coach and unmitigated bitter persona. This sour apple should not have been teaching children, influencing children, or allowed anywhere near children. Yet he was paid to make Pythagorean arithmetic even more convoluted and boring for teenagers than on its own and he was allowed to take the fun out of baseball at a varsity level. He complained every day about being a human being, criticized the youth of humanity and frowned upon every human who walked through the door of his classroom. During the day he turned sines, cosines, tangents and secants into a foreign language. In the afternoon he practiced benching players. It was because of him that I quit both activities. I loved playing baseball but suffered from an uncontrollable side arm. If someone had simply come alongside me and said, "Stop doing that and throw correctly," I would've been a contender. I struggled at mathematics and didn't even know that trigonometry was about triangles. But if Mr. Johnson taught me anything it was that quitting is an important variable in becoming a cynical asshole (maybe akin to a negative correlation coefficient, but I wouldn't know). I quit to get away from Mr. Johnson. I'm sure he would've said that I was incompetent at either pursuit and that someday I would thank him for leading me from the wrong paths at an early stage, but I don't care what he would have to say and I'm pretty confident he doesn't give a polynomial's functional notation what anyone remembers of him as a teacher or a coach. I know that I have a mathematical impediment and that I never would have made it to the Minor League and I readily accept that, but I still struggle with the memories of being an adolescent in a world where Mr. Johnson stands in the doorway, arms crossed, scowling and slowly shaking his head from side to side. I've had other teachers and professors just like him, however, I don't remember their names. Instead, they are all just a composite of Bob Johnson. I cannot forget Mr. Johnson but I cannot blame him either. I forgive Bob Johnson. God bless you, Mr. Johnson, and may the Lord have mercy on us all.
|Pictured: Mr. Johnson as I remember him. As a fellow member of Assholes Anonymous, I did not post an actual photograph of Bob Johnson. I could've tried drawing a picture of him but other Bob Johnsons sneered me away from that path, too.|
|Martyrs of Gorkum Saturday, July 9, 2022|
Today we are reminded that it wasn't just the Catholic Church which euthanized its nemeses in Christ. On this day in 1572, during the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, nineteen Catholic monks and clerics were hanged after being mutilated by militant Calvinists in the town of Brielle near the city of Gorkum in Holland in the Netherlands of the Low Countries after refusing to disavow transubstantiation and papal supremacy because, as you may remember, Calvinists were opposed to -- among other things dogmatically Catholic -- transubstantiation and papal supremacy. Between 1523-1648, it is estimated that over five million European Christians perished at the hands of one another over differences of doctrine, but partly fueled by nationalism, but mainly between Catholic realms and Protestant domains.
Sancti in Memoria
|The Facts of Life Friday, July 8, 2022|
The facts of life can be generally frightening because, as they say (whoever they are), truth is stranger than fiction. If we all had an Edna Garrett in our formative years like the girls at the fictitious Eastland Academy in Peekskill, New York, we may have all been better off. But now that you have gotten to this place in life where you browsed the Internet and came across this website, it's time you knew the real, unadulterated facts of life...
Joan of Arc Acquitted for Donning Pantaloons
Thursday, July 7, 2022
On this day in 1431, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was posthumously found not guilty of heresy, which is why she was sentenced to death twenty-five years earlier by the Roman Catholic Church, which now considers her a saint. Long story short, France was in the midst of internal conflict while in the midst of war with England over control of Europe, better known as the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453), and young Joan had visions of saving France, then helped France win some battles against England and get Charles VII crowned King of France, then she was captured by the English who tried her for heresy before an ecclesiastical court which in effect determined that Charles was aided by a woman wearing men's clothes and therefore had no divinely-ordained right to the throne. She was subsequently burned at the stake at age nineteen and her ashes were thrown in the river, but the French went on to win the overall war twenty-two years later flying her Fleur de Lis pantaloons from their flagpoles. Eventually, Joan was exonerated due to improper procedures, even though she recanted to being French but did not repent from wearing men's clothing and continued to do so until her death, which was in clear violation of God's Law (Deuteronomy 22:5). She was later honored by the 1948 film of her namesake, starring Ingrid Bergman and based on the successful Broadway play, Joan of Lorraine, starring Ingrid Bergman. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three, including Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.
(This history report earned me a D+ in junior high school. Back when it was originally written, there was no Internet and therefore no Wikipedia. I had to visit a public library on a bike with no helmet and locate some books using the Dewey Decimal System, all without a protective N95 mask. I now cut myself some slack and postmundanely award it a C- in memory of Mr. Olson, although I think he may have been the U.S. History teacher. I don't remember. I was never good at history.)
|Star-Spangled Applesauce Saturday, July 2, 2022|
This fourth of July is the fourth of July and as such, U.S. Independence Day, when we as Americans minus Canadians and Mexicans and also everyone in Latin America join together and fight for parking space to get a glimpse of fireworks representing our freedom to burn money. The Founding Fathers of this great nation may not like what has become of it over the years, but quite a lot has changed since the start and they didn't stick around to see it all the way through to the end. Most of us have all but forgotten these free-thinkers and freedom fighters except that some of them remain printed on our play money and a few of them here and there still stand in the form of stone or bronze and covered in pigeon droppings. To help refresh your memories, here are some grilled morsels of U.S history served up with virtual BBQ sauce and cyberslaw. Use them to impress your friends, make new ones, or correct your elders.
|Council of Brabant Friday, July 1, 2022|
Today we commemorate the lighting of the Lutheran pyre by the Catholics with the burning of Jan van Essen (not the painter) and Hendrik Vos (not the politician) on this day in 1523, two Augustinian monks in Belgium who were burned at the stake for refusing to recant their Lutheran beliefs, which was a capital offense even in the civil courts of the Holy Roman Empire. There was a third, Lampertus Thorn, who was given a little longer to think it over and eventually died in prison. Actually, the whole of Saint Augustine's Monastery in Antwerp professed to Lutheran doctrine, but the threat of searing capital punishment graciously persuaded them to be more amenable to Catholic doctrine instead. A conservative estimate is that about fifty million European Protestants were put to death by the Roman Catholic Church and their political sycophants, although it is difficult if not impossible to put a number on those who were Lutheran, so we'll just say plenty. Back then the "Church" had a zero-tolerance policy against those who failed to toe the line. Allowing members to openly sass the papacy or make their contentions known could possibly undermine the Church's authority, so these heretics needed to be delt with swiftly and severely, but not without the opportunity of being tried and tortured first. As a result of this particular episode, Saint Augustine's Monastery was deemed defiled and subsequently destroyed.
|Pictured: An etching from the Wellcome Library in London of an unknown Christian being burned at the stake, so the liberty has been taken to clone him and label them Jan van Essen and Hendrik Vos -- again, not the Flemish painter and Dutch politician. This was possibly the work of Italian painter Giulio Cesare Ferrari (1818-1899, no known affiliation with the Italian luxury sports car), and possibly a self-portrait of self-immolation.|
|International Asteroid Day Thursday, June 30, 2022|
Today is International Asteroid Day (2016 UN A/RES/71/90) and the only reason I mention this is because I have an apocalyptic-dystopian movie idea I came up with when I wondered recently why this subject hasn't already been sufficiently exhausted. But it hasn't because here's my storyline: It's the future and Earth is either at peace or at war, it doesn't matter. A large asteroid roughly the size of our moon has been detected outside our solar system by a space probe that was lost and presumed inoperative. As it moves closer, scientists discover that it is comprised of garbage from another solar system, possibly from another galaxy, as the collected debris cannot be readily identified. Since it appears to be on a collision course with our moon, we (whoever we are, it doesn't matter) send a fleet of rockets on an intercept course to nudge its trajectory towards the sun with the intent to incinerate it. However, it slingshots around the sun and heads directly for Earth at an accelerated speed. So we shoot missiles at it do blow it apart, only to discover that there is a large cosmic whale trapped inside, which is now free to swim in orbit around the Earth and consume all of our satellites like plankton. After digesting the majority of Earth's weather and global positioning satellites, it defecates on our planet and, although a large portion of it burns up as it enters the atmosphere (creating a giant hole in the ozone, no less), a remaining turd the size of Australia hits the surface (where doesn't matter, but likely Australia). This causes tsunamis of feces around the globe and shit storms which wreak havoc on our already fragile environment. The foreign bacteria released into Earth's ecosystem also causes the pigment of all biological matter to change, eventually turning Earth into a hellscape of fluorescent pink. Featuring an all-star cast of Bruce Boxleitner, Wesley Snipes, Helen Hunt, Scott Bakula, Cuba Gooding Jr., Meredith Baxter, Michael Gross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Haley Joel Osment. Directed by Steve Guttenberg. Produced by Saban Films in conjunction with The Asylum. Rated TV-MA. This film has not yet been made but eventually it has to be.
|Of Plimoth Plantation Tuesday, June 28, 2022|
When last we left our intrepid Pilgrim folk, they were in the midst of a defective pea harvest and had sent some newlyweds on a honeymoon to a territory strewn with the bodies of Indians who had succumbed to plague. Squanto and Hobomok were being razzed by a Wampanoag Indian chief by the name of Corbitant for being allied with the Pilgrims. Today's episode is brought to you by Clifton's Radiator. If your car is experiencing radiator problems, call Clifton and he will gladly loan you his radiator until you get yours fixed. We now continue with William Bradford's harrowing account of Plymouth Plantation.
After a sollemne meeting and a day of humilliation to seeke ye Lord for his direction, this somer they builte a fort with good timber, both strong and comly, which was of good defence, made with a flate rofe and batllments, on which their ordnance were mounted, and wher they kepte constante watch, espetially in time of danger. It served them allso for a meeting house, and was fitted accordingly for that use. Now ye wellcome time of harvest aproached, in which all had their hungrie bellies filled. But it arose but to a litle, in comparison of a full years supplie; partly by reason they were not yet well aquainted with ye mannner of Indean corne, and they had no other. Also much was stolne both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable, and much more afterward. And though many were well whipt when they were taken for a few ears of corne, yet hunger made others (whom conscience did not restraine) to venture.
Behold now another providence of God; a ship comes into ye harbor, one Captain Jons being cheefe therin. They were set out by some marchants to discovere all ye harbors betweene this and Virginia, and ye shoulds of Cap-Cod, and to trade along ye coast wher they could, but ye Indeans had no trading comodities. This ship had store of English-beads (which were then good trade) and some knives, but would sell none but at dear rates, and also a good quantie togeather. Yet they weere glad of ye occasion, and faine to buy at any rate; they were faine to give after ye rate of cento per cento, if not more, and yet pay away coat-beaver at 3 shilings per sterling pound, which in a few years after yeelded 20 shilings. By this means they were fitted againe to trade for beaver and other things, and intended to buy what corne they could.
Shortly after harvest Mr. Westons people who were now seated at ye Massachusets, and by disorder (as it seems) had made havock of their provissions, begane now to perceive that want would come upon them. And hearing that they hear had bought trading comodities and intended to trade for corne, they write to ye Govr and desired they might joyne with them. Althings being provided, Captaint Standish was apointed to goe with them, and Squanto for a guid and interpreter, about ye latter end of September. But they could not get aboute ye should of Cap-Cod, so they put into Manamoyack Bay and got wat they could ther. In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indean feavor, bleeding much at ye nose (which ye Indeans take for a simptome of death), and within a few days dyed ther, desiring ye Govr to pray for him, that he might goe to ye Englishmens God in heaven, and bequeathed sundrie of his things to sundry of his English freinds, as remembrances of his love; of whom they had a great loss.
After these things, in Febrary, a messenger came from John Sanders, who was left cheefe over Mr. Weston's men in ye bay of Massachusets, who brought a letter shewing the great wants they were falen into. He desired advice whether he might not take corne from ye Indeans by force to succore his men till he came from ye eastward, whither he was going. The Govr and rest deswaded him by all means from it, for it might so exasperate the Indeans as might endanger their saftie, and all of us might smart for it; for they had already heard how they had so wronged ye Indeans by stealing their corne, as they were much incensed against them. Yea, so base were some of their own company, as they wente and tould ye Indeans their Govr was purposed to come and take their corne by force. The which with other things made them enter into a conspiracie against ye English, of which more in ye nexte. Hear with I end this year.
This episode was brought to you by Clifton's Radiator, who reminds you that if your car is experiencing radiator problems, call Clifton and he will gladly loan you his radiator until you get yours fixed. Here's a sneak preview of the next installment of Plimoth Plantation in the year 1623:
Mens wives were to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, and they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. To be continued.
|Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 10 Monday, June 27, 2021|
The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed because he is becoming absent-minded. Lately he has been misplacing his coffee mug or keys but today he forgot which side of an argument he was on. Those who say that you are only as old as you feel are senile. Growing old carries with it many torments, as Kelvin will often remind me and does so even now:
I have a good laugh as Kelvin finishes his rant, along with his usual whole wheat bread sandwich, one piece of fruit, and a diet soda. About that time he receives a phone call from a vendor needing access to a communications closet on the other side of town. "Yeah, and what do you want me to do about it?" he says, then adds before hanging up, "Try me again tomorrow before 9:00AM. I'm old and I don't like surprises."
|IDISOVOT Sunday, June 26, 2022|
Today is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (UN Resolution 52/149) and what better way to celebrate than by looking back on ways in which Christian churches tortured their own for refusing to confess to charges of heresy. The Spanish Inquisition was exceptionally innovative and had nearly three centuries of practice, but not everyone need be tortured. Many were spared by having to witness their loved ones being tortured, which caused them to recant, thus resulting in a win-win for all involved. Don't blame the Christians for inventing this stuff, as the Romans were known to use them on the Christians back in the day.
This device suspended the suspect by their wrists, which were tied behind their back, and their body weight usually caused the shoulders to pull from the sockets and separate within an hour, especially if additional weight was added or the rope was jerked.
Similar to waterboarding, the suspect was strapped to a board, a cloth called a toca was shoved into their mouth, then water was poured over their face to mimic the sensation of drowning. The duration of time allowed to take a breath was incrementally shortened and the process could go on for days as a single session. A similar method was Water Curing (pictured), whereby the suspect was forced to imbibe copious amounts of water, causing water intoxication.
This device was designed to slowly crush the skull with each twist of a screw, first breaking teeth and jaw. Eventually the eyes would be forced out of their sockets and the brain would follow. By then it was usually too late to confess to anything. Smaller ones were also devised for fingers and toes.
The suspect was stretched over a wagon wheel and beaten with a club, the spaces between the spokes allowing bones to break upon impact. Ordinarily a form of capital punishment, the suspect had to be removed before too much damage was inflicted resulting in death.
Burning at the Stake
Other torture methods not pictured here include the Spanish Donkey (wooden horse covered with spikes), Choke Pear (hand-held expandable device for insertion into bodily orifices of the lower extremities), Spanish Tickler (which resembled a Garden Weasel), and the Knee Splitter (self-explanatory). Of the roughly 97% of those who survived being tortured, most of whom were either Jewish or Muslim converts, a good many were mutilated for life. Not to worry about the plight of the inquisitors, as the torturers were just doing their duty to bring the accused back to the faith and therefore forgiven. Those who confessed and recanted were then often forced to pay penance by bearing a heavy wooden cross or wearing heavy clothing made from uncomfortable materials such as barbed metal, called a cilice, for hours to days on end. And to think that kids these days complain about having to go to church and sit through a forty-minute sermon.
Activities Center for the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition
|Augsburg Confession Saturday, June 25, 2022|
Yesterday was a historic day in the U.S. because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and since everyone has their opinion on pro-choice v pro-life, I will spare you mine. Instead, let us here remember the Augsburg Confession, presented on this day in 1530 before the Diet of Augsburg and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, which outlined twenty-one articles of faith of the Lutherans plus an additional seven antitheses against the Roman Catholic Church, all edited by German theologian Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) and originally released in Latin and German. Now, most Lutherans have these memorized from birth, so I will spare you the entire list here, but to refresh your memory check out the Book of Concord online containing the doctrines of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Basically, Lutherans disagreed with the importance of religious tradition, good works as a necessity of salvation, and veneration of saints. Although they opposed transubstantiation, they sort of didn't, instead describing the Eucharist as the less complicated process of "sacramental union" whereby the bread and wine don't actually become Christ's body and blood but his presence is still real in the consecrated sacraments, which is sacred fodder for a later blog post. Lutherans felt that priests should be allowed to get laid once in a while within the aegis of wedlock. They still wanted to hear the juicy confessions of the flock, but without the heavy guilt trip in return. Of course the Catholic Church cried taurus faecibus exturbandis opitulatur to this in the form of a confutation, to which the Lutherans issued an apology, but not the kind which means they were sorry, rather the kind defending their stance. The Augsburg Confession (Latin, Confessio Augustana) was released to the English-speaking audience six years later, although it had mixed reviews and was not well received by the Reformed Church. A third sequel to the Augsburg Confession, Confessio Catholica by German theologian Johann Gerhard (1582-1637), was released in Latin without English subtitles and was not as big of a hit as the original Confessio Augustana or its first sequel, Apology of the Augsburg Confession.
|Pictured: King Charles V receiving the Confutatio Augustana from the Catholics on his right, while receiving the Confessio Augustana from the Lutherans on his left. What is important here is the contrast between a full length gown that covers the entire leg as opposed to a knee-high skirt that now bares the ankle and the calf.|
|Whether Catholic or Not, You're Catholic|
Friday, June 24, 2022
Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was consecrated to the entire human race by Pope Leo XIII in 1899. But that's not all. Prior to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-65), salvation came only through the Catholic Church to baptized Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church was the only legitimate Church of Christ and Protestant churches were not part of this body, although the Eastern Orthodox Church was because it had preserved the apostolic succession of bishops. From Vatican II, it was determined that salvation could come to anyone, regardless of their beliefs or non-beliefs. Salvation may now come to those who, although either a believer of a non-Christian religion or not belonging to any church at all, seek God sincerely and follow his commands as best as their conscience directs. The Roman Catholic Church is still the one true Church of Christ, all others being somewhat valid but deficient, however, through some mystical communion with the Catholic Church, those who are indeed saved outside the Catholic Church are actually connected to it and still fall under the infallible authority of the pope. Although early Catholic Church fathers taught that those outside the Catholic Church, as well as those who left the Church or who were excommunicated, could not be saved, the Catholic Church now holds that those who are baptized in Christ are not guilty of separation from the Catholic Church, even though their communion with the Catholic Church is imperfect.
|This is visibly possible because elements of the Catholic Church can exist outside the boundaries of the Church, such as the Bible, grace, faith, hope, charity, gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc., albeit they all rightfully belong to the Catholic Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992-94), section 847, "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience -- those too may achieve eternal salvation." However, according to section 846 of the Catechism, unless those outside the Church recognize it's supreme authority, then they cannot achieve salvation or attain heaven after death. Therefore, non-Catholic churches are simply ecclesial communities which must still ultimately adhere to the Catholic and Apostolic Universal Church as their head -- that is, the Roman Catholic Church as their mother. In a recent declaration by the Vatican, Declaration Dominus Iesus ("On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church"), non-Catholic churches were referred to as defective. Though salvation may come to individuals who belong to these defective churches, it is still incomplete because the Roman Catholic Church is the chosen instrument for Christ's salvation for all humanity. At least according to them.|
|Proper Recognition for Widows Thursday, June 23, 2022|
Does anyone remember the Bible story about the widow at the well who tossed in two copper coins, which was all she had to live on, so Jesus rewarded her with a cup of living water? Neither do I, but I do recall that the Apostle Paul said to give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need (1 Timothy 5:3, 5:16) and some guy named James said something like, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, etc." (James 1:27). Some believe this to be James the brother of Jesus known as James the Just, or possibly James the brother of Joses and son of Mary wife of Clopas which is often attributed to being one and the same as James the son of Alphaeus also known as James the Less or James the Younger, but probably not James the brother of John and son of Zebedee because he most likely died before it was written; be that as it may, considering that it appears to have originally been written in Greek, someone else may have dictated the letter for one of these or a completely different James. Regardless, we are admonished to care for widows, which is something the United Nations picked up on in 2010 and made a day of it called International Widows Day. My grandmothers were all widows and someday my wife will be a widow. My grandfathers provided and someday a new husband will provide for my wife. But for those whom provisions are unprovided, we must give proper recognition in the form of benefaction, ministrations and service. My Catholic grandfather died of a heart attack while jogging following quadruple bypass surgery and my grandmother, also Catholic, was fond of accusing him of doing it on purpose, but she was well provided for the last fifteen years of her life spent in a nursing home with dimentia. However, not everyone is as blessed.
Pictured: UN mascot for International Widows Day by Heinrich Zille, 1902. Fun fact: IWD was introduced by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon based on the charity work of Baron Rajinder Loomba through the Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Trust. Another fun fact: One in ten of the estimated 258 million widows worldwide lives in extreme poverty. Okay, that didn't sound fun. On the contrary, it is sad. As my grandmother used to always say about shitty situations -- the one who was Catholic, "Lord have mercy on us all." She also used to say to me, "No, you're not my brother Pete. I may have forgotten your name, but I still remember who you are -- that smartass grandson of mine. Now get me out of here."
|Christ Conspirator Wednesday, June 22, 2022|
I'm not into conspiracy theories, but if I were I'd consider Christianity as one of the greatest conspiracies of all time. For one, the Bible itself mentions the possibility that the resurrection of Jesus was a possible conspiracy of his disciples, who came and stole his dead body at night, which it also refutes as a lie of the chief priests (Matthew 28:11-15). Second of all, most of the Jews throughout history do not accept that Jesus was their promised messiah, which he claimed to be. Thirdly, even though it's difficult to deny that Jesus was an actual person, it may have been likely that his followers fabricated his miracles to bolster his ministry (John 10:37-38). Fourth, if there are two diametrically opposed forces of good and evil which are above mankind, then wouldn't it stand to reason that one force would release a double agent to intentionally mislead as many believers of the other force as possible by any means necessary (Matthew 12:24-29, Mark 3:22-27)? Fifth, what if Jesus was enlisted by a demi-god, just one of several whom the nation of Israel chose as their sole deity, to represent the one called Elohe in a cunning manner appealing to the Gentiles? Or what if Jesus was impersonating a rabbi to pass the time and was so convincing that he began taunting the real rabbis just for sport, then kicked it up a notch and worked full time at making people believe that he was actually the Son of God? Or what if some secret cabal invented Jesus to disrupt the steady flow of tithes to the Jewish Temple, so then the Jews let one of their own religious leaders convert to the Christian faith as a means of covertly subverting Christianity into a Gentile religion that would disrupt pagan sacrifices to the Roman gods? Or what if Jesus' followers eventually started making shit up and misleading everyone else from the third generation of believers on for two thousand years before God finally set people straight by sending a latter-day prophet with even crazier teachings? Or what if Jesus was planted on Earth by extraterrestrials from another planet to sow discord in the form of love and forgiveness among the Earthlings for nefarious purposes and to disrupt our timeline? I would pursue these further and make up others except that the Holy Spirit convicts me of the truth. If you don't know Jesus on a personal level and are not convicted by the Holy Spirit, then send me your ideas and I will consider posting them here. Otherwise, repent.
Pictured: Jesus performing unbelievable acts like washing feet. Apparently, he had a homosexual foot fetish. Why else would he go to great lengths teaching others that they should love their enemies then die on a cross at the hands of his enemies unless he was a masochist? And another thing, why make outlandishly egotistical claims like being the only way to God unless he had a messiah complex? (Artist unknown.)
|Love Thyself as Thyself Tuesday, June 21, 2022|
Christians think they have the market cornered on compassion and charity, but today is the June solstice (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and winter solstice in the southern), as well as World Humanist Day, reminding us all that secular people care about heathens, too. Humanists believe in themselves with an emphasis on science, reason, naturalistic philosophy and something called "free inquiry," whereby nothing is sacred except for individual dignity and autonomy. They trust that morality need not come from a higher source. They promote progressive policies based upon liberal ideals in order to advance democracy and human rights with the goal of happiness and self-fulfillment for everyone. Let's face it, Humanists have faith in people, whereas Christians don't. We have faith in a Savior who has redeemed people from themselves, whereas Humanists don't believe in sin and a God who punishes sin. Now is the time for Humanists and their wealthy uncles, Humanitarians, to step it up and take over so that Christians are no longer necessary for benevolence and may be "raptured" from this world. Everyone will be better off after getting rid of us pesky, naive, meddlesome, religious do-gooders who serve no real purpose other than to inhibit the natural evolution of humankind. Unfortunately, when that day comes, it will be Satan who steps in and fills the void. Whether or not you believe in Satan is of no concern to him because he believes in you and that's all that matters to him, that you're both on the same side.
|BEDTIME for Bigotry Monday, June 20, 2022|
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform around 250,000 slaves of their freedom, about 2-1/2 years after the Civil War had ended and Abraham Lincoln had announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Many states now honor this day as a holiday called Juneteenth (which has afforded me the time to write this today). Although not as clever as "May the fourth be with you," it is far more important since racism has stuck around these past 157 years in the hearts, minds, subconscious, hiring procedures, judicial processes and biased institutional frameworks of white majority rule through what is being called systemic racism. Even though slaves were freed after the Civil War, their freedom was not upheld by the laws that governed white U.S. citizens, despite the Reconstruction Amendments. Worse, local black codes segregated blacks from white society, which was solidified by regional Jim Crow laws that carried discrimination and disenfranchisement through the following century. Regardless of the outcome of the Civil Rights movement in the latter half of this past century, American POGMAIPs continue to struggle with residual discrimination, latent prejudice and even outright bigotry. On behalf of those who feel uncomfortable about having to address this topic, myself included, it's obviously an issue that needs to be put to bed. Therefore, I propose the acronym BEDTIME: Belated Emancipation Day To Individuals Marginally Enslaved. However, this does absolutely nothing to help the situation and only goes to show that I am ignorant, which I freely admit, but not quite as ignorant as those who actually think that racism no longer exists in this country, or even those who are afraid this means having to admit that all whites are inherently racist, then paying restitution to all minorities for the injustices imposed upon their American ancestors. Systemic racism means that inequality has been perpetually developed upon a foundation of ethnological favoritism which has resulted in white privilege, the construct of which needs to be openly dealt with once and for all. My understanding is that this is the primary purpose of Critical Race Theory, but my comprehension notwithstanding, people are people and therefore we are all mainly just a bunch of derogatory expletives.
|Now With Improvd Spell Check Sunday, June 19, 2022|
I went through this site with a spell check yesterday and was appalled at how many words were misspelled. If you come across any misspellings or grammatical errors here, rest assured that someday I will eventually find them myself and make the necessary correction. With that said, today is a reminder that we have only one Father. According to Matthew 23:8-12 (NIV), Jesus said, "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you only have one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." So then why are priests referred to as Father?
|Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 9 Friday, June 17, 2022|
The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed -- he opened a door in the basement hallway because water was pooling from underneath, only to discover it was a couple feet higher on the other side. Apparently, the city had accidentally broken a water main during sidewalk beautification construction outside our building. The biennial basement flood was a record two inches deep by the time it was shut off. With wet pants and soggy shoes, Kelvin immediately sets about to getting to the bottom of this mess and discovers in short order that the building owners had illegally tied into the city water, which the work crew didn't know about. While waiting for the maintenance crew to arrive with wet-dry vacs and fans, Kelvin pours himself another cup of coffee. Without restraint I ask, "Why'd you open that door?" To which he quips, "And what would you have rather had me do about it?" I reply, "Left it closed and submitted a work order to have it checked out." To which he replies, "But that could take days, if not weeks. We'd be under water by then." I ask, "Did you do the math?" "Yes," he says tersely, "I just so happened to have my slide ruler with me at the time and was able to predict disaster!" He then sloshes out the door to the parking lot to see if he has a pair of dry shoes in his car but never returns. I assume he either went home or ran off down the street barefoot and carefree, but I'm pretty sure he went home and went back to bed.
Pictured: My co-worker, Kelvin. Notice the veins in and around the head indicating that he is perturbed. His face has been censored to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent, not even Kevin. I mean Kelvin.
|Jah Loves Ya, Mon Thursday, June 16, 2022|
Today is the birthday of Leonard P. Howell (1898-1981, aka the "Gong Guru"), one of the leading figures in the Rastalogy movement in Jamaica, a street preacher who proclaimed that black Africans were superior to white Europeans, author of the 1935 Rastafari tract The Promised Key, founder of a Rasta community called Pinnacle, and regarded as the First Rastaman. Howell was arrested twice for his involvement with the Rastafari movement, resulting in two separate two-year prison sentences, and finally committed to a mental asylum. Rastafari is a religious belief system grown in the 1930s when black Jamaicans got fed up with the white Protestantism of colonial Britain. Here is what you need to know about it if you don't already know anything about it:
*The mansion known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel does not believe this, but rather that Emperor Selassie was a very important messenger of God. Selassie, himself a Christian and member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, denied that he was Jesus or a messiah and warned the Rastafarians that they had made a mistake in claiming that a human being is emanated from a deity, possibly referring to himself rather than Jesus, but many Rastas believe that Jesus was no more God than anyone else.
Bob Marley (1945-1981), a convert from Catholicism to Rastafarianism in 1966, sang many Rastafarian songs to a reggae beat, including "Jah Is Mighty," "Rasta Man Chant," "So Jah Seh," "Positive Vibration," "Exodus," "Babylon System," "Zion Train," "Forever Loving Jah," "Jump Nyabinghi," and "What's New Pussycat?" Reggae is often associated with Rastafari, but not all Rastafaris associate themselves with reggae.
|60 Second Romance Vol 10 Wednesday, June 15, 2022|
Warning: The following may not be suitable. There are certain men who wear certain kinds of fragrances, or colognes, or musks. But why? Regardless, his favorite was Saxon Wood Spice after shave lotion by Lee Pharmaceuticals. Although he had tried others -- Old Spice, English Leather, Aqua Velva, Afta by Mennen, Brut, Gillette Fusion, and Bay Rum -- none attracted the kind of woman he preferred except for Saxon. His pheromones were toxic and Saxon not only soothed his razor burn but had the right chemical balance to mask the putrid bodily pheromones which naturally repulse the opposite sex and aid in distracting from a frightening personality and other disagreeable characteristics. But what kind of woman was a Saxon woman? Her name was Persephone and although argumentative, ultimately she was compliant. She was the kind to have "daddy issues" and he was the browbeating daddy she furtively craved. Their love was short-lived, as the universe was out of balance while they were together, but they procreated offspring who, for the most part, would continue to upset the intricate balance of the universe with the exception of the youngest, Daphne, named not for the nymph Daphne and daughter of the river god Peneus and the naiad Creusa, but after Daphne Blake of the Scooby-Doo animated television series. Yes, it was she who broke the shackles of the Saxon curse and rose to become a contributing member not only of society but to the harmony and stability of the universe.
|Old Glory Tuesday, June 14, 2022|
Today is Flag Day in the United States of America, commemorating adoption of the first flag of the U.S. on this day in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established Flag Day in 1916 and it was enacted by an Act of Congress in 1949. Although the image of Old Glory is in the public domain, how it's used and displayed is still under civil scrutiny. Here are some tips for flag-flying etiquette of Old Glory based on the 1923 American Legion Flag Code and Title 4, Chapter 1 of the United States Code. Note: Unlawful treatment of Old Glory can result in punishment by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both. All states have their own flag laws, so consult with local authorities before ratting out your neighbors for perceived disrespect or desecration of Old Glory.
|Check your replica of Old Glory for this label of authenticity. If missing, promptly light on fire. If imposter is made from non-flammable material or has been treated with flame retardant, then incinerate using thermal treatment. When you purchase a flag with the FMAA Certified seal, you can be confident that your flag was not imported from China, although it may have been assembled in the U.S. by illegal immigrants.|
U.S. Code Title 4 Chapter 2 - The Flag|
Executive Order 10834 - The Flag of the United States
Chamber of Commerce: The United States Code, Title 36 Chapter 10 - U.S. Flag Code
The Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA)
The Atlantic: Raising the American Flag Made in China
American Legion: United States Flag Code
Behavioral Scientist: What's the Deal with American Flag Fashion? Car and Driver: How to Display the American Flag Correctly on Your Car, Truck, or Motorcycle
|Triphyllius Against the Aliens Monday, June 13, 2022|
Today we look back on Tryphillius, the fourth-century bishop of Leukosia on the island of Cyprus and disciple of Spyridon of Tremithos, who was an ardent opponent to Alienism and the abduction of humans by "the greys" who challenged the Trinity. These little grey aliens were seen as a demonic force from higher dimensions who preyed on Christians of a weaker faith and turned them against the theology of the early Church through a series of physical probings with strange medical devices which often left seeds in the victim's body that influenced their thoughts and behavior. The term "alien" (Latin alienus: alius "foreign" + anus "anus") was applied to these foreign entities because they were notorious for gaining access into the human body primarily through the anus. Reports of ancient abductees reveal that when the greys attempted to enter the human body through other areas it often required the surgical removal and replacement of the targeted body part. The rectum, it seemed, did not require as much alteration and provided easier access to the inner workings of man. Tryphillius in a letter to Athanasius of Alexandria pondered why the anus and not the mouth, which was a larger opening and much closer to the heart and the mind of man, the ear being a clear dead end and the nostrils contained the nasal passage which was difficult to penetrate. Regardless, this was a hot topic of the day and the Church concerted much effort to focusing attention on the theological aspects of the resulting heretical outcome rather than the source and methods of infiltration. This called for identifying someone by name whom the Church could attack and Arius of Alexandria became the prime suspect.
|Costco Quiddities Sunday, June 12, 2022|
Your family just left church and you are looking forward to going home and resting when your spouse suggests to the kids the idea of going to Costco Wholesale for a hotdog. What a dumb idea, but you are outnumbered and on the way. Costco used to be a shopper's paradise. However, the list of complaints has grown to overshadow the list of reasons to keep renewing a membership:
Note: All complaints aside, Costco staff are generally the shit. It's the customers who are the shits.
|60 Second Romance Vol 9 Saturday, June 11, 2022|
They first met on the Soviet dating show Russian Roulette, where contestants choose one blind date out of six without knowing anything about them other than a brief bio and a quick introduction from behind a curtain. Their date consisted of being kidnapped and driven to an undisclosed location with bags over their heads, where they were tortured to reveal deep, dark secrets about one another. But there was something about the experience that bound these two contestants together, besides rope. They continued with further dates but insisted on keeping the bags over their heads. They both knew a lasting relationship was too good to be true and neither wanted to take any further chances with this one, especially over something as trivial as appearances. Love is like pointing a gun with one bullet in the chamber at your heart and pulling the trigger. They had survived, so now it was someone else's turn to pull the trigger. This episode was brought to you by Anatoly Head Bags. Anatoly makes the finest quality head bags which are breathable, antimicrobial, and completely washing machine and dishwasher safe. Remember, "Better an Anatoly's over your head than dead."™
|Assholes Anonymous Friday, June 10, 2022|
Today is viewed by members of Alcoholics Anonymous as the day AA co-founder Dr. Robert Smith took his last drink in 1935 with help from AA co-founder Bill Wilson. The two were members of the Oxford Group, a Christian ministry that taught the root of all personal problems is fear and selfishness and the only way to overcome them is to surrender to God's plan. So they worked together to formulate the Twelve Step process for overcoming alcoholism, an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. Other groups have adapted these twelve steps to a variety of addictions and atheistic groups have modified them to replace God with some other form of higher power. Here I have adapted the Twelve Step method of Alcoholics Anonymous to my own illness and removed my own anonymity in the hope that others who suffer as well may overcome.
|PSA: The Truth About Herpesviridae Thursday, June 9, 2022|
Not enough conversation these days centers around the sexually transmitted disease of genital herpes. If you don't warn your children and neighbor's children about the dangers of promiscuity, then don't be surprised when they walk through the door with shameful sores all around their mouth. Here's what you need to know about this virus that is as old as sex itself:
Pictured: various forms of the herpes virus. If you encounter any one of these little rascals, do not engage them. Report herpes infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by dialing 1-844-872-4681, no matter what the country of origin. That number again: 1-844-USA-GOV1. Scary image provided by CDC/E.L. Palmer. Note: herpes is often depicted in portrait paintings and selfies as purple but it is actually color blind.
|I Beg Pardon Wednesday, June 8, 2022|
My humble apologies for misleading many of you into believing yesterday was the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, when it was merely Commemoration Day of St. John the Forerunner in the Armenian Apostolic Church. June 24th is the day all the other bloated bodies of Christ celebrate Johnmas. I hear tell several over-indulged in fried locusts and mead fermented of wild honey, although John the Baptist was a teetotalling stick in the mud and would not have approved. Anyhow, today I know for sure that no one is celebrating John the Baptist. So what are they celebrating? In Russia they are exulting over the sixteenth-century love story of Saints Peter and Fevronia, which I just read about. If you're into love stories and you can read Russian then you'll surely like this one. I personally do not know Russian, so I didn't quite understand what the story was about. Wait, that's on July 8th. Today is June 8th. Today the pagans are observing World Oceans Day while the faithful are observing a host of saints, not the least of which is the Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan (1876-1926), who was mother superior of the Congregation of the Holy Family at the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, India, and so on and so forth. She died from a leg wound that was exacerbated by diabetes, which should be a lesson to us all. According to the CDC, there were 154,000 lower extremity amputations in the U.S. due to diabetes in 2018. Whew, that was a lot of research for me. I was just going to make up some numbers but I figured I'd at least try Googling for five or ten minutes. Of course, I say "Googling" but I didn't use Google. Maybe if I say Google a few times it will increase my own site's search rating. Speaking of Google, today is also World Brain Tumor Day.
|Lil' John the Baptizer Tuesday, June 7, 2022|
Today I pick out of a hat the subjects of the First Crusade, Chief Seattle, and John the Baptist. Whether or not you agree with the Crusades, they happened, so your opinion doesn't matter. The First Crusade (1096-1099) was initiated by popular demand to take back Jerusalem and much of Israel from the Muslims, who had controlled the region for centuries but allowed Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land. However, under the new management of the Seljuk Turkish Empire, Christians found they had to arm themselves or travel with soldiers to make their way to Jerusalem alive and intact, so Pope Urban II held the Council of Clermont in 1095 to suggest taking over the Holy Land, which they did in the course of the next four years with the primary aid of peasants and Frankish military forces. Unfortunately, Jews along the way were also targeted for looting and rampage killing. Fast forward to the nineteenth century when Europeans were spreading across America and populating the Pacific Northwest, which meant moving the Native American Indians to reservations by force if necessary. Seattle, Washington, was named after Chief Seattle (1790-1866) of both the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, who had conquered many of the neighboring tribes but found it better to make peace with the white settlers. He was baptized by French Catholic missionaries in 1848 and today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrates him on this day as a saint. Another saint commemorated today is John the Baptist, who was believed to be born on this day sometime before Jesus. You can find out more about the Nativity of John the Baptist and his childhood years in the Gospel of Martha. Yes, this was all leading to a shameless plug for my book, so here's a few excerpts from chapter two:
Now little was there known of John's youth, for he was but a recluse of a boy who kept unto himself, and preferring solitary desert places with but a dearth of provision. Howbeit his mother Elizabeth did recollect but a few verities of slight import.
John had he a dog named Ezekiel, which he stoned to death when it was discovered to have sinned by engaging in unnatural relations with a raccoon.
John began baptising at an early age: first with frogs; then with other children's pets; and finally travellers who were bathing in rivers and streams, most of them by surprise. His first disciples were a family of otters, which mimicked his mannerisms in preaching the coming of the Anointed One, and baptised they one another daily in a pond.
John learnt the scriptures from the teachers of the law by reading their lips from afar, and through windows, and ofttimes at an angle; where he could see naught but the movement of their jaw.
John was an harvester of wild honey, and made many useful objects of bees wax: including candles, moustache balm, leather polish, whole pieces of furniture, and full size replications of prophets; which also he baptised. His waxen manikin of Elijah was convincing enough to lure people from afar.
John ate locusts, for they were plentiful enough to fill of themselves into his mouth when swarming, or when they were come together to form a beard upon his face. And he did acquire a taste for fried red locusts drizzled with a boiled white locust sauce; and even authored a recipe book on how to prepare locusts for social events and dinner parties, which he kept hidden in a cave.
Now and again John would pay his cousin Jesus visitation. And they played games following the leader: whereby John walketh several paces before Jesus through the streets of Nazareth, and proclaiming the coming of his kinsman, and calleth he forth, and shouting, "Gang way! Coming through! One side! Prepare ye the way, make strait the paths!" And the siblings of Jesus follow behind, and playing the timbrel, and the horn, and the gong, and waving palm branches. And Jesus rode upon the back of James his brother, as upon a colt; the foal of an ass.
John spent the latter part of his younger years prior to his publick ministry in prayer, and fasting, and performing of cartwheels and backward flips in his lonesome. Calistheniks was an important part of daily life; as was rhythmic gymnastics.
|Day of Retribution Monday, June 6, 2022|
The e-mail has been pouring in since yesterday's post and people are making it known that they are passionate about their convictions. Here are just some of the messages I have received so far:
Subject:Catch new LGBTQ premieres and free previews, all month long!
Hot new shows. Free previews. All month long. Explore now. See what's coming soon this month - included at no extra cost! As always, thank you for being an Xfinity customer. Please do not reply to this email, it is not monitored. If you'd like to contact us, please visit our website.
And there's more where these came from but not all of them are so eloquently written, nor written in English. Incidentally, I have tried unsubscribing from Best Buy but every time I receive the message: "An error has occurred. Please try again later." I am also suspicious that unsubscribing from one e-mail list only validates your e-mail address and automatically subscribes you to more lists. But call me old fashioned because I trust no one and think everything's a scam.
|Animals Are LGBTQIPAAA+ Too Sunday, June 5, 2022|
This is rainbow flag appreciation month in the U.S., recognizing non-heterosexual peoples who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), intersex, pangender/pansexual, androgynous, asexual, and agender, plus everyone else who didn't make it into the acronym and all those yet to be identified and labeled, the latest of which are people who have two spirits within them - a male spirit and a female spirit. Add to this the rights of all living creatures and the end to speciesism because today is World Day Against Speciesism. Studies are finding that more people are believing that research is concluding that people who eat meat have no respect for animals because they think the human species is superior and therefore they uphold their own beliefs above all others, which is the deep-seated root of prejudice, which leads to discrimination, which leads to racism, homophobia and sexism. The primary culprit of this supremacist view is of course man. Therefore we must stop using anthropocentrist terms such as "human" and instead refer to all living creatures in terms of equality. Then we need to begin treating all living creatures as our equals. To do this, we must rid ourselves of the pervasively ignorant ideals based on the primitive religions of our carnivorous forefathers and stop believing in a male God that acts so superior and claims to have made man in His image and placed man on this planet above all life -- especially a deity that is partial to animal sacrifices. The simplest way to do this is to call animals by what names they wish to be called by, but until then we shall foolishly keep referring to "them" as "he," "her," "it," "those," and any one of the millions of man-made classifications we have reduced all fauna and flora to.
Homosexuality exists in the animal kingdom and animals should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They should also have free access to universal healthcare and should not be discriminated against based on their taxonomic classification, intelligence quotient, or the taste of their meat when cooked to perfection.
|4077th Rabbit Hole Saturday, June 4, 2022|
Warning: the following contains language that may not be suitable for adults. Most of my dreams make little sense, are senseless, or are complete nonsense. Case in point, recently I dreamt that I had to poop. Most of the time when I have to pee, I dream that I have to pee, but seldom do I dream about having to poop. When having to pee, I usually find a bathroom quickly and generally have a choice of a plethora of urinals. Unfortunately, instead of my brain waking me up to go to the bathroom and pee, I dream about peeing and end up peeing the bed. What the floop? But in this recent dream I am looking for a bathroom in which to poop but cannot find one. This takes place in either a college dorm bathroom or a high school locker room -- it's sort of blended together as my mind has become lazy over the years and does not always differentiate between the two. Anyway, my pants are off as I find a locked stall, then I realize everyone else is coming and going to the showers, so I take off all my clothes so as not to be suspicious, except I can now feel a stool beginning to protrude from my sphincter, so I grab a towel and wrap it around my waste. I locate an office in which to call my roommate, which should warn me that this is not a dream because I never complete a phone call in dreams, but it is not a lucid dream and I sit down and try dialing numbers. Then I realize that others are joining me for lunch at the table where I sat down and I am sitting on the poop that has become squashed in the towel, so I just decide to poop right then and there. Then I awaken, neither having to poop nor pee.
|Feast of Nettles Friday, June 3, 2022|
Today we observe Kevin (498-618 A.D.), founder and first Franciscan abbot of Glendalough Monastery in County Wicklow, Ireland, after living seven years as a hermit in a cave, wearing animal skins, going barefoot and subsisting on nettles, and also after four years in solitude. His Irish name was Coemgen (anglicized as Kevin) and he reportedly lived 120 years. He was also reportedly the first person named Kevin. Irish poet Seamus Heaney wrote a poem called "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" about how Kevin was so immobile in prayer that a blackbird landed upon his hand, made a nest, laid eggs, and hatched them there. This is based on a legend of the same report wherein the blackbird also fed Kevin nuts and berries during the whole of Lent. Another legend is that while living in his 5x7x3-ft cave in Glendalough, near where he prayed neck-deep in one of the two ice-cold lakes during winter, an otter would feed him fish and herbs. Although he was not much fond of people, his reputation grew and his propensity for miracles gained him much notoriety. Many believe that Kevin was the fulfillment of St. Patrick's prophecy of one who would evangelize the region south of Dublin.
Today we also consider Catholic philosopher Peter Abelard (1079-1142), who coined the term "theology" to label the religious subdivision of philosophy. Much of his own theology was later considered Protestant, but the Protestant Reformation wasn't to take place for another four centuries, so during his time he was officially excommunicated by Pope Innocent II. However, his charges of heresy were posthumously cleared. But wait, this just in, apparently there is a new season of [subscription streaming provider]'s [television series title], so here I must depart with my snack bowl of herb-flavored nettles and retire to the devil's tabernacle to challenge my convictions.
Feast of St. Elmo
Thursday, June 2, 2022|
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Elmo by eating his favorite foods, including oatmeal with orange slices, broccoli, yogurt, kiwi, sushi, chicken fingers, potato soup, and wasabi. At just 3-1/2 years old, Erasmus of Sesame Street left home and became Bishop of Formia in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean coast of Lazio, Italy. It is recorded that he was captured during the great persecution of Emperor Diocletian at the end of the third century and chained in prison, but escaped, only to be captured again under Emperor Maximian and martyred in 303 A.D. after being enclosed in a barrel full of protruding spikes and rolled down a hill, beaten and whipped, coated with pitch and set alight, then having his abdomen slit open and his intestines wound around a windlass. Therefore, he is the patron saint of abdominal cramps and intestinal ailments. Some of his greatest acts include Elmo's Potty Time, Bye Bye Binky, CinderElmo, Elmopalooza, Episode 4206, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. His contemporaries were Zoe, Abby and Murray Monster. He reputedly authored the deuterocanonical Codex of Red and the Apocryphon of Brussels Sprouts. He loved riding on his tricycle, avoiding pronouns, referring to himself in the third person, and being tickled.
Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 8
Wednesday, June 1, 2022|
The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed -- he misplaced his keys somewhere, but is not delighted in the least when I pull them out of my pocket and say that I found them in the outside door lock this morning when I got to work first. At lunch he points out to me that I am getting a belly, to which I respond that it's worth it not to have to eat the same thing for lunch every day that he does: a sandwich on wholewheat bread, a piece of fruit, and a diet soda. Our supervisor thinks he has good communication skills, but I think he's just vocalizing his complaints louder and more often. He's also gotten in the habit of leaving behind clues as to his comings and goings, as opposed to clear and concise documentation. He's becoming more agitated and absent-minded these days, sometimes even forgetting which side of an argument he's on. Our heated debates generally end with him shouting, "And what do you want me to do about it?" My main concern is that I'll quit laughing at him and become just as agitated as he is. Then I'll know I'm old. But work is over and it's time to cease talking about work and raise a glass of Scotch to John Cor, a Dominican Friar and apothecary in the court of King Henry IV who on this day in 1495 was the author of the first known written reference to a batch of Scotch Whisky. And a second round in honor of Kelvin.
|No Smoking Tue, May 31, 2022|
Yesterday we memorialized those who have given their lives in service to their country, specifically the United States of America. Today we memorialize an individual who gave his life in honor of Christ over his country, specifically a Roman soldier named Hermias who was beheaded in A.D. 160 by Proconsul Sebastian in Comana, Cappadocia. Like many in his day, he was tortured for confessing Jesus Christ, which included but was not limited to a broken jaw, defacement (literally having the skin peeled from his face), eyes gouged, poisoning, extra poisoning, smoking in a hot furnace, plunged in boiling oil, suspended upside down for days, listening to children practice playing musical instruments, and yet he continued praising and thanking Christ. As with many of these accounts, even his tormentor was converted upon witnessing such a miraculous endurance of faith, then immediately put to death. There are quite a few reports of Roman soldiers being converted to Christianity and, as a result despite knowing the consequences, being tortured and executed for adhering to Christ and renouncing the emperor. As the ancient tradition continues, Christians are still tortured and persecuted today for adhering to Christ as their sovereign Lord and you can find out more about it here. But why would people still challenge the status quo and oppose human progress by accepting an archaic religion as the path to fulfillment? Don't we all just want peace? Can't we all just get along and coexist? Can't we all just embrace scientific knowledge and continue to evolve farther from our primitive past? It is my desire that we can and that we must... in order for Christ to return and establish not just a peaceful kingdom on Earth but a righteous one and that won't happen until Christians are silenced or removed. True peace only comes through reconciliation with our heavenly Father and that's the truth these Christians are taking to their transitory grave.
|Today is also World No Tobacco Day, declared by the World Health Organization (WHO?) in 1987 to draw attention to the perils of tobacco consumption. This year's theme is environmental protection. Gone are the days of growing tobacco and smoking tobacco because resources are now scarce and our earthly habitat is fragile. Imagine a dystopian future where the world has been ravaged by transnational tobacco companies and the population decimated by second-hand smoke -- all food is gone and the only subsistence the remaining survivors have are addictive cigarettes. Now imagine Jesus transforming that apocalyptic hellscape into a new world filled with lush vegetation, after which he sits upon his throne and smokes a fine Cuban cigar and all peoples around the globe can smoke freely without any adverse effects. Imagine, someday.|
|More Snack Bowl, Please Monday, May 30, 2022|
America has spoken and its citizens have identified with Doug the half brother. I have listened to your cries to fill your cerebral snack bowls with more about this iconic figure, so here are a few passages from the Gospel of Martha regarding Doug the half brother to feed your insatiable appetites for leisurely diversion:
Lo, and behold, when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus was in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: and many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. But Doug was not so much concerned, and layeth he upon the floor of the house, and consuming of a bowl of leftover falafels in a stupour of apathy. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat in the house, watching Doug litter his protruding belly with crumbs of indifference. (Introduction by John, the disciple whom Jesus loved)
Now Lazarus had two sisters named Martha and Mary. In the formative years of the children their father passed, and their mother married his brother and bare him a son, and named him Doug, (meaning dark discharge). Now Jesus was called upon to perform the circumcision, which was undertaken with flawless precision, and the foreskin was buried beneath a newly planted olive sapling. But the sapling withered and died, and the foreskin was unearthed and consumed by a dog, which also withered and died. (Chapter 3, Adolescence of the Nazarene)
Jesus saith, "In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back: and he that lieth upon his couch, like Doug, let him rise up and wipe not even the crumbs from his belly. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Chapter 14, Beware the Leaven)
Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There made they him a supper; and Martha served, as she was wont. And Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. But Doug the half brother reclined upon the couch, and ate from his belly, as he was wont. (Chapter 19, Lazarus Arise Again)
My sister Mary ought she to have done so of her extensive time spent at the Lord's feet, for she is more learned than I. Even so, she did recount many of his sayings unto Lazarus, who hath not much feeling in his extremities, and myself, and even unto Doug, who unfortuitously remembereth he nothing, as is to be expected of him, and is illiterate, even that our family invested no small fortune towards his education. I must awaken Doug, and insure that Lazarus is still amongst the living. And, behold, I have for Doug a most important task: to deliver these writings to Simon Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem. He hath only to meet sister Mary half way, for she is there already; and I would that I deliver them in person, but the disciples lodged in my home are youths, and prone to untidiness; and I shall not have it.
I pray Doug strayeth not from his mission, and therefore become lost. I send with him a day's provision, even that Bethany is not more than a leisurely stroll from his destination, and the mule that carrieth the jars knoweth the way by memory. For Doug doth wander, and tire easily, and he thumbeth rides from strangers with wagons, no matter their direction of travel. In times past hath he been gone for weeks whilst on simple errands: like gathering eggs from the hen house, or retrieving water from the well, or visiting the draught house. (Chapter 28, Day of Pentecost)
My dear Polycarp, glad tidings I send thee with Doug, the half brother of Martha, who maketh those delectable halvah sweets that thou canst but get enough of. (I suspect she sent some with Doug, but he did eat them on his way here to Jerusalem.) He is well overtaken with morbidity, and half blind, and his limbs stricken with gout; but he doth serve us by running errands of lesser import. I solicited of him the works of Martha once again, as to where he took them. He saith of remembrance a desert cave, but knoweth he not a region. Sendest thou him to the caves of the Essenes, and charge him look round about. Meanwhile Titus Vespasianus is rumoured to make a grand entrance to the city, so I leave on the morrow for Antioch, that I may avoid the crowds. Yours in Christ, Ignatius Theophorus. (Afterward, letter from Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp of Smyrna, c. AD 70)
|Saint Doug the Half Brother Friday, May 27, 2022|
Today is the snack day of Doug, half brother of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. On this day in 1074 Doug was canonized by Pope Gregory VII who himself was a Benedictine monk and was said to have ordained the tonsure as the official haircut of monastic clerics in the Latin Rite, the members of which shaved the tops of their head in honor of the Apostle Peter (whose head was shaved in mockery) or the Apostle James (who had a receding hairline) or the Apostle Paul (who was bald) or whomever, but left a little around the sides as a nod to Leviticus 19:27 and thus resembling a crown of humility. It is said that monks at the monastery of St. Mary on the Aventine Hill in Rome, where Gregory VII (named Hildebrand) spent much of his early years, would use a bowl to cut their hair. It was here that young Hildebrand donned a wooden bowl with the inscription on the bottom that read Doug Portio Crater - Manus abi! - Proprietas Doug (Latin for "Doug's Snack Bowl - Hands off! - Property of Doug") and after cutting off the hair around the bottom of the bowl it was removed to reveal that the top of Hildebrand's head was completely and miraculously hairless. The Bowl of Doug was then used to miraculously tonsure the head of monks for decades before being retired as a relic and placed on display under glass at the monastery. This act alone raised the original owner of the bowl to the glory of the Altars.
|Pictured: Bowl of Doug, simple yet elegant, which made for a perfect tonsure each and every time. Leviticus 19:27 says, "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads" (KJV). Tonsure comes from the Latin "tonsura" meaning "just a little off the top." The popularity of this monastic coiffure transcended centuries before finally going out of style in 1972.|
Pope Gregory VII spent much time and resources searching for clues as to whom this mysterious Doug could be and finally narrowed it down to the half brother of Lazarus, Mary and Martha according to various letters and the apocryphal Gospel of Martha. Here is all that Pope Gregory VII could find out about Doug:
It was for these reasons that Pope Gregory VII chose to beatify Doug as the patron saint of snacks and bowl cuts and snack bowls. The Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Churches do not observe Doug, nor do the Jews. However, the Roman Catholics observe this day as the Snack Day of "Saint" Doug the Half Brother. And how could they not? They venerate over 10,000 saints and can't possibly keep track of them all. Doug was surely bound to slip in there somewhere.
|Pictured: Eleventh-century fresco of Doug handing over the Gospel of Martha to Pope Gregory VII, a passage from which reads, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus; and yea, even Doug, howbeit with a righteous love: one that transcendeth repugnant qualities and loathsome character." Doug is also bestowing upon them the tonsure style haircut, minus the tail, which was circumsised of its Semitic origin.|
|Quadratus of Athens Thursday, May 26, 2022|
Today is the feast day of Quadratus of Athens, a first-century Christian and -- according to some, including Dionysius of Corinth, Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome of Stridon -- a second-generation disciple of the apostles of Jesus, or a first-generation disciple according to the Eastern Orthodox Churches which consider Quadratus to be one of the seventy (seventy-two according to the Western Churches) whom Jesus sent out to preach the gospel in pairs and heal the sick (regarded by Eastern Orthodoxy as apostles). The Gospel of Luke (10:1-24), however, does not list these seventy/seventy-two individuals by name but other sources have tried, including Hippolytus of Rome, Irenaeus, Solomon of Basra, and Martha the sister of Lazarus, Mary and Doug (the half-brother). None of them seemed to mention Quadratus though, unless it was by some other name. Those who did list Quadratus as one of the seventy/seventy-two include Dorotheus of Tyre and Demetrius of Rostov. Regardless of this and there being accounts of other early Christians named Quadratus, there is enough proof that Quadratus was bishop of Athens sometime after the turn of the second century (c. 125-129 A.D.), preceded by Publius and succeeded by Leonidas. Eusebius (c. 260-339 A.D.) was a historian who recorded in his narrative Historia Ecclesiastica (IV.3) that Quadratus presented a favorable Christian defense to Emperor Hadrian sometime between 124 and 125 A.D. and is considered by many to be the first Christian apologist.
|Pictured: Seventeenth-century portrait of either Quadratus of Athens or Quartus of Beyrouth, possibly one and the same. The former was the bishop of Athens and the latter was reported to have been martyred in Athens. In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentions a brother of the faith named Quartus (Romans 16:23). Again, there were a few of them around.|
|There's a frood who really knows where his towel is. Wednesday, May 25, 2022|
Today is Geek Pride Day, but not geek in the traditional sense such as a circus sideshow freak, although there's further differences between freaks and geeks (freaks usually have some kind of abnormality while geeks perform gruesome acts), but geek in the modern-day sense of scientifically and technically impassioned. Who cares, you ask? But wait, there's more -- most geeks may also be classified as nerds and most nerds worth the gravitational force exerted on the gold-plated edge connectors of the printed circuit boards in their Commodore 64 will know that today is also Towel Day in honor of Douglas Adams (1952-2001), author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which he explains that a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Who cares, you are still asking? Today is also International Missing Children's Day, you say? Yes, and here I am making fun instead of seriously discussing serious matters. But that's too serious for me, including what happened yesterday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. When incidents like this happen, people say the dumbest things. So here I shall end this post with a moment of silence in memory of the innocent.
|Aldersgate Day Tuesday, May 24, 2022|
Oh, boy, has it been fun the past couple days recognizing goths, turtles, and goth turtles, but now it's time to get back to business -- the business of the Christian Gospel. Today's subject is John Wesley (1703-1791), a former Anglican priest of the Church of England who helped start the Methodist Revival movement after a spiritual experience on this day in 1738 when he attended a group meeting in a Moravian chapel on Aldersgate Street in London during which he felt the warmth of the salvation of Christ in his bosom. But let's not forget John's brother, Charles Wesley (1707-1788), who wrote thousands of hymns for the Methodist Church and had his evangelical experience three days earlier. The two went on to traveling and preaching the gospel charismatically outdoors or anywhere they could, much like their contemporary, George Whitefield (1714-1770), the three of whom attended the University of Oxford together, were ordained priests in the Church of England, and traveled to America to take part in the first Great Awakening. John and Charles Wesley formed several Christian societies throughout England and Ireland which were made up of converts and itinerant preachers. The intent was not that of a new Christian sect or church, but simply to make Christian disciples like those of the early Church. The term "Methodist" refers to the orderly way these believers use rules and methods to go about living their faith. The heart of their methodology is Arminian theology, as put forth in their doctrinal Articles of Religion, here summarized and simplified:
These articles were adapted from those of the Anglican Church and ratified in the U.S. after the Revolutionary War at the first General Conference of 1784, where Methodist preachers were ordained for the first time into the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church. Until then, Methodist societies worked closely with Anglican churches and relied on Anglican priests for administering the sacraments. Today there are two primary factions of this early church -- the United Methodist Church with over twelve million members worldwide and the Wesleyan Methodist Church with less than a million members.
|John Wesley did not believe in Calvinist predestination. Instead, he taught Arminian prevenient grace, in which grace enables but does not ensure personal acceptance of the gift of salvation. He was so adamant about Arminianism that he parted ways from Whitefield over it in 1741 and went on to publish The Arminian Magazine in 1778.|
|Charles Wesley was opposed to separation from the Church of England as well as ordaining Methodist ministers in America. Two of his most famous hymns were "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending." He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1995.|
|George Whitefield was influential in the Methodist Revival movement although he believed in Calvinism and disagreed with John Wesley on other theological points. While the Wesleys returned to Great Britain, he visited America seven times and eventually settled there. And, yes, he was cross-eyed.|
Note: Most Methodists no longer wear powdered wigs. The label "Methodist" was first applied to the Wesley brothers in college who started their own "Holy Club" and dedicated themselves to pious discipline (it wasn't a compliment). John, Charles, and George Whitefield were not allowed in Anglican pulpits because they were too charismatically evangelistic in their preaching.
|World Turtle Day Monday, May 23, 2022|
Today is World Turtle Day, sponsored by your 501(c)3 nonprofit turtles' rights advocates at American Tortoise Rescue, encouraging you to ask your grandparents if they can show you anything from their attic that is made from turtle shell. Or perhaps they have a jar of turtle jelly in a cupboard somewhere. If so, there is bound to be other mysterious treasures in that same cupboard, so keep digging. Maybe they lived through the Great Depression and subsisted on various delicasies like gopher tortoise stew. If you're really lucky, grandma might make you a bowl of turtle soup, served in an authentic turtle shell. However, outside the Great Wall of China it's unlikely you'll use or eat anything consisting of dismembered turtle. But you might encounter an actual live turtle, tortoise, or terrapin right in your own backyard. My son once rescued a turtle from a street puddle -- or should I say it rescued him? We learned the hard way that keeping a turtle around the house requires lots of hand washing because they are havens for Salmonella, but it was good practice for COVID-19. Eventually he grew tired of it and released it into a nearby lake, where it choked on a plastic straw from a discarded pouch of Caprice Sun (based on a true story).
|Goth(s) Are People Too Sunday, May 22, 2022|
Today is International Day for Biological Diversity and a subclass of this observance is World Goth Day, "a day where the goth scene gets to celebrate its own being, and an opportunity to make its presence known to the rest of the world"* (not that they are a people who can easily blend into society). The history of the Goth subculture can be traced back to the Germanic peoples of the fourth century, known as Gutans, or those with dyed hair and dark angst, who helped to overthrow the Roman Empire with their nihilist music, then went on to form their own kingdoms of the eastern Ostrogoths and the western Visigoths which ushered in the Dark Ages. Soon everyone was sullen, gloomy, and just plain Goth. Towards the end of this medieval period, around the fourteenth century as spirits began to lift and color slowly came back into art and culture, the Goths began to stand out more with their black clothing and morbid demeanor. By the late twentieth century, the Gothic peoples were all but forgotten until post-punk bands like Bauhaus, the Cure, Sex Gang Children, Theatre of Hate, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Damned, and Southern Death Cult resurrected their macabre memory from the mausoleum of the melancholy with musical hits like "Rose Garden Funeral of Sores," "Bela Lugosi's Dead," "Disintegration," "All Cats Are Grey," "Draconian Dream," and "Incinerator." So cross out your nipples with electrical tape and join black-laced hands with your estranged step-sister who still wears a studded dog collar and together raise a goblet of mead in honor of those weird kids in high school you avoided who were pale, pierced and donned combat boots long before it was hip. (Join hands figuratively, that is, as she probably desires not to be touched.)
|Charlie Chaplin made heavily-outlined eyes and dark clothing a fashion statement in the early days of silent films. In his little-known moving picture from 1914 called "Cradle of Filth" he plays a misunderstood young man who fails at being a magician and ends up living in his mother's basement where he becomes withdrawn and increasingly morose. One day he discovers an old double bass, which he learns to pluck and write music about death. He then joins a traveling freak show and falls in love with the tattooed woman. The movie ends with a high-speed car chase and the two of them driving off a cliff.|
|World Day for Indefatigability Saturday, May 21, 2022|
Today is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, as put forth by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 57/249 for "acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity - in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) - [which] are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding." Good luck with that because the Aryan Neo-Nazi White Supremacist trolls have been perfecting their digital poison for decades, such as Daily Stormer, QAnon, Stormfront, and 8kun. Or take the Islamic State, which has been successfully using technology and the Internet to promote a culture of Muslim extremism and repression worldwide. Regardless that these entities are increasingly being forced into the dark web, where they flourish, they still know how to take advantage of mainstream technology for the purpose of harassment, intimidation and recruitment. As critical as I try not to be of the UN and UNESCO, I should be equally cautious about denigrating hate groups since they have a tendency to retaliate in force. But some things just go without saying. I'm just saying.
Abraham Lincoln's Advice for Weight Loss
Friday, May 20, 2022
Yesterday's public service announcement was such a big hit that the only thing that could top it is if it came from a former U.S. president, specifically the sixteenth. Today's PSA comes hot off the press of yesteryear with some timeless advice on maintaining a stovepipe physique.
Abraham Lincoln in 1864 teaching his son, Tad, how to read and ride. Back in his day the brain was seen as a muscle, to be exercised and exerted. We now consider the brain an organ, like those of the digestive system, to be fed knowledge and excrete intelligence.
|PSA: Relaxation Techniques Thursday, May 19, 2022|
For a while I visited a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a psychotherapist provided by my HMO who taught me some valuable relaxation techniques which I now offer to you without a fifteen-dollar co-pay:
|LWoS 80, 82, 85-87, 91 Wednesday, May 18, 2022|
Today is as good as any for a reading from The Lost Wisdom of Solomon, available in paperback or Kindle format.80 Two heads are better than one. With the exception of the two-headed goat which belongs to the flock of Bildad son of Nor the Ammonite from the hill country of Ephraim. It had to be slaughtered because it kept falling off the rocks and tumbling down the mountainside.
82 The Lord has ordained the stars in the night sky. He has set the sun and moon in their appointed places. He has given all plants and animals and creeping things their rank and has ordered all things above land and below the sea. He knows the heart and schemes of man. He knows that Rezon, king of Syria, is cruisin' for a bruisin'.
85 My son, don the breastplate of righteousness, and the sword of the testament, and the helmet of salvation, and the loin shield of truth, and the belt of utilities, which contains the grappling hook of vertical ascent, the zip line of cavernous retreat, the trail mix of sustained nutriment, and the wet wipes of a spastic colon.
86 Do not be dismayed, my wife, for your time in the presence of the king will surely come. Wait for me under the shade of the olive tree and I will visit you without haste. Once I am rested, yes, I shall come. As a ravenous lion shall I pounce and devour your pinkish flesh, like unto a grazing doe fattened on thistle and milkweed. I will gorge myself with your succulent meat and feast upon your hearty sinew. I... am now out of breath. Who am I kidding? Surely I am going back to bed. Wake me in the morning with breakfast.
87 It is all fun and games until someone gets injured. Then it becomes blood sport. Children are cruel that way. Especially toddlers. They will feed on one another if left to their own devices.
91 Avoid the winepress of God's wrath, which is filled with the bodies of the wicked. They will be trampled like grapes and their blood will fill celestial wine casks for the consumption of demons that are perpetually drunk with the evil of mankind. They stagger to and fro upon the earth, wiping their grotesque lips with scaly arms, slurring their slanderous contempt for everything holy, and filling the minds of simpletons with vile urine. Avoid evildoers and their wayward influence. They mock that which is sacred and their brains are sponges soaked in demon piss.
|Tuesday Tuesday, May 17, 2022|
Today some may commemorate Paschal of Baylon (1540-1592), a humble Spanish shepherd who was called to become a humble Franciscan lay brother with an inclination towards the Eucharist and who lived humbly in a worn, uncomfortable habit without sandals while working as a cook, porter, gardener, doorkeeper, and beggar. Others may be more inclined to observe today as the founding of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre in 1977 by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell. Birthdays include Norwegian chemist Odd Hassel (1897-1981), who won a Nobel Prize for discovering that carbon molecules exist in three dimensions; Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (1912-2006), who invented and patented the sanitary belt; Dennis Hopper (1936-2010), who won a Golden Raspberry Award in 1995 for Worst Supporting Actor in the movie Waterworld; Celtic New-age singer Enya (1961); Trent Reznor (1965) of Nine Inch Nails; Jordan Knight (1970) of New Kids on the Block; K-pop singer J-Lim (1981); Estonian cross-country skier Timo Simonlatser (1986); Estonian basketball player Rain Raadik (1989); and the death of Lembit Oll (1966-1999), Estonian chess grandmaster. Still others may remember this day in 1990 when the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO?) eliminated homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases, now celebrated as International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). However you choose to commemorate Tuesday, don't forget Bob Saget, who was born on this day in 1956 (a Thursday) and passed away earlier this year on a Sunday.
|Sermon by the Camp Fire, Part IV Friday, May 13, 2022|
Today's entry is the continuation from chapter twenty of The Gospel of Martha, where Jesus has gathered his apostles around a camp fire and is teaching them while they eat a medley of toasted fruits. Fear not, for just because this gospel was recorded by a female doesn't mean it's a cauldron of boiling schmaltz. This is hardcore scripture.
Jesus saith, "When ye see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father." And Philip replying saith unto him, "But what of angels, for are they born of women?" And Jesus saith, "Twist not my words, great Satan, for the angels will not that they be worshipped."
Jesus saith, "Perhaps people think that I have come for to cast peace upon the world. They are ignorant, and know not but that I have come for to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war, bloating, and gassiness. Maybe not this day, but possibly of the morrow. For there will be five in an house: there will be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father; and they will stand alone, but flatulating as one."
Jesus saith, "I will give you what no eye hath seen, what no ear hath heard, what no hand hath touched, what hath not arisen in the human heart. Again, maybe not this day, but possibly of the morrow. We shall see."
The disciples say to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?" Jesus saith, "Have ye found the beginning, then, that ye are looking for the end? Ye see, the end will be where the beginning is; some where in the tween. Congratulations are in order to the one who standeth at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death; but he who doth kneel at the end will be born again, and death will not taste him."
Jesus saith, "Felicitations unto the one who was before coming into being. If ye become his disciples and pay attention to his sayings, these stones will serve you. For there are five trees in paradise for you; they change not, summer or winter, and their leaves fall not, for they are life. Whosoever knoweth them will taste not of death, but they shall taste of the fruit of the trees therein. Nor will there needeth be for to make of the fruit into jellied preserves, for it is fresh everlasting."
The disciples say to Jesus, "Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like unto." He saith to them, "It is like unto a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falleth on prepared soil, it produceth a large plant and becometh a shelter for birds of the sky. Literally, I say unto you, heaven is a mustard tree full of birds."
|Heretics, Schismatics and Novatianists, Oh My Thursday, May 12, 2022|
From the earliest years of Christianity and all throughout history there have been schismatics, those whom the Catholic Church regarded as heretics for their professed beliefs that did not adhere to Catholic dogma but were not heretical enough to receive a papal death sentence. The difference between heresy and schism is that the former rejects essential doctrine while the latter breaks with the authority of the Church and thus rejects its communion, both of which result in excommunication. Today we consider Novatian (c. 200-258), also called Novatus (not to be confused with Novatus of Carthage), a Roman priest (yet not confirmed) who felt the Catholic Church was too soft on former Christians who had succumbed to Roman pressure to denounce their faith but wanted to return when the coast was clear. These apostates were called Lapsi because they had lapsed from the faith and there were different classifications, such as those who sacrificed to idols, those who burned incense to idols, those who had a false certificate of doing such things, those who simply lied, those who gave up scriptures or artifacts, and those who betrayed others. Most of these the Catholic Church allowed to return after doing penance. However, Novatian disagreed and argued that they should not be forgiven because they denied Christ, which was fine, except that he went so far as to criticize the Catholic Church as not having the authority to forgive the lapsi and even declared himself Pope in 251 (antipope, actually), both of which were his undoing. His followers were called Novatianists but preferred Purists or just Christians and added to the unforgiven fate of idolaters those who committed murder, adultery or even fornication. Novatian was reportedly martyred under Emperor Valerian I sometime in the mid third century and his followers hung around until the seventh century before they were persecuted by the Catholic Church into oblivion or swallowed by other sects. Novatian was inducted into the Schismatic Hall of Fame in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine, along with Marcion, Arius, Melitius and Valentinus.
|60 Second Romance Vol 8 Tuesday, May 10, 2022|
"Is this my woman or an alien life form that has consumed her and taken on her form?" That's a question he often asked himself early in the morning as he watched her sleep. Or maybe an extraterrestrial parasite burrowed into her brain and she'll have a new personality -- one who doesn't like him. There was that self-conscious phase she went through where she didn't want him to see her naked and that's the reason he concluded with. Sometimes he'd try to wake her with an open-mouth kiss and his eyes open wide. If she didn't wake up, then he'd pick her up out of bed and carry her through the streets, sometimes for miles. Some mornings he'd gaze at her and wonder if there was a better man out there for her, one who wasn't a body snatcher. Then she would start drooling and snoring and he'd know without further doubt that she was the one for him. What he didn't know was that she was using chloroform to put him under at night in order to perform minor surgery on him with the intent that he'd begin to believe he was being abducted. It was an April fools that was years in the making.
|Theology > Hermeneutics > Exegesis Mon, May 9, 2022|
Today's topic is exegesis. I thought about briefly covering Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics first published on this day in 1950, but I couldn't care less. Hermeneutics in general is the methodology of interpretation, primarily with regards to philosophy and theology. Exegesis is similar but focused primarily on literary works, particularly biblical interpretation in ways that make the ancient meaning or intent understandable in modern languages. Simply converting Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek straight to English (for example) is transcribing one language to another, word for word, which tends not only to make things confusing but degrades the essence and substance of the original content. It's not just about translation, but about everything that helps make the written language comprehensible and ideas understandable to other peoples and cultures -- grammar, linguistics, syntax, genre, communication, symbolism, allegory, metaphor, narrative, signs, historical background, analogy, style, etc and etc. If the absolute meaning cannot be conveyed in translation, then a supplemental commentary is generally a part of exegesis. But before you begin to care less about this than Scientology, here are some common elements of biblical exegesis you can employ to better help you understand the Bible. (Disclaimer: this is only a feeble attempt at condensing this topic into a ten-minute read. For more about exegesis, hermeneutics and the like, visit Stack Exchange > Biblical Hermeneutics.)
Pictured: Seventeenth-century painting by Gerard Seghers of St. Augustine of Hippo, who authored a four-part series called "De doctrina Christiana" on Christian hermeneutics between the late fourth and early fifth century.
Blessed Mother's Day
Sun, May 8, 2022
Today in the U.S. is Mother's Day and if I were a practicing Catholic I would surely give thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven. As it turns out, I am Catholic, born and raised, baptized and confirmed, but not practicing yet apparently still considered by the Vatican to be Catholic. However, I cannot recognize Jesus' mother the way the Catholic Church does, nor any of the saints for that matter, nor do I agree with any of a dozen other beliefs it promotes. But on the subject of the "Mother of God" (Greek Theotokos), which was declared at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431, I am particularly at odds. Over the years I have come across only one source that might persuade me otherwise, that of The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, in which it is mentioned that Joseph is supposedly an old widower and already has children when he is betrothed to Mary. However, it was ultimately rejected by the Holy See as inauthentic. According to Matthew 12:46-47, 13:54-56, John 2:12, 6:41-42, 7:3-5, Acts 1:14, 1 Corinthians 9:5, and Galatians 1:19, Joseph and Mary had other children. However, according to Catholic tradition, they are neither the offspring of Mary nor the siblings of Jesus in the proper sense of the word, but they are his cousins or the more or less near relatives.
|A Special Place in Hell Sat, May 7, 2022|
We've all thought at one time or another, whether in our head or out loud, that there is a special place in hell for certain individuals (e.g., Hitler) or a group of individuals (e.g., pedophiles, serial rapists, the Third Reich), whether or not we believe there actually is a hell. It's comforting to think that evil people or people who do evil things to other people will spend an eternity being sodomized by angry demons in a fiery pit of torment. But will they? Some, like those featured last week (SDA), choose not to recognize such a horrible place and render Matthew 10:28 as annihilation, even though Jesus likened it to eternal fire (Matthew 18:8, 25:41). Later he appeared in a vision to the Apostle John and said that hell will be thrown into a lake of fire reserved for the devil and his cohorts (Revelation 19:20, 20:10, 14-15). Before this, not much was mentioned in the Bible about the hereafter except for a sleepy retirement villa in the underworld called Sheol. Whether or not hell is eternal fire and damnation has yet to be seen, since it's a one-way road (Luke 16:26). I for one do not want to go there... yet I cannot deny that it exists... although I may question why a good God sends people whom he loves to such an awful destination... but I'd rather do what it takes to not reserve a spot there.
|"But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:5, NIV)|
Day After International Firefighters' Anti-Bird Bullying Day
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Sincerest apologies to my Ganlu Members for not finding/making/using the time to post anything yesterday when there was so much to talk about (or actually for me to talk about). What I intended to point out was that John Wycliffe died in 1384 but yesterday in 1415 he was condemned posthumously as a heretic by the 16th ecumenical Council of Constance for his criticism of the wealth of Catholic priests, of which he was one -- that and he got a team together to translate the Latin Vulgate into English for the common laity, and also some other stuff that pissed off the Catholic Church, so they exhumed his corpse and burned it to ashes, then dumped the ashes into the river. His followers, a band of poor and uneducated priests called Lollards, wrote up a list of twelve beefs against Catholicism over a hundred years prior to Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses and which was also nailed to a church door. Based on the writings of John Wycliffe, here are the Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards:
Another heretic of the 1415 council was Czech theologian Jan Hus (1372-1415), who was influenced by Wycliffe and a key figure in the Bohemian Reformation. Unlike Wycliffe, Hus was burned alive, but his ashes were also dumped in the river. I feel compelled at this time to confess my dereliction of duty -- I was watching HBO's The Righteous Gemstones because I succumbed to the temptation of free premium viewing this week on Xfinity. There, I came clean. Judge me if you must.
|Roodmas Tuesday, May 3, 2022|
Today is Roodmas. From the Old English rood (rod) and mass (service) comes the Feast of the Cross, or Crouchmas, or to be more precise, the supposed discovery of the True Cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Some time between 326 and 328 AD -- we'll say in 327 AD -- Empress Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, traveled to Israel and discovered three crosses in a broom closet in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, one of which had a sign affixed to it reading: "Property of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." There are many legends about the history of the crosses, both where the wood came from and what happened to them after they were used, so I shall just create my own. Somehow, the three crosses ended up in the hands of the Persians, maybe from a church swap meet. But on this day in 629 AD, Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recovered the one belonging to Jesus, or rather part of it, allegedly -- at least enough to splinter it into relics that were distributed to churches abroad. However, the authenticity of each splintered relic has yet to be determined, as many are suspected to either be a forgery or a second-class relic, one which touched the original and received its blessing. It used to be that the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Cross on May 3rd and the Orthodox Church celebrated it on September 14th, the day Helena originally found it, but these days just about everyone celebrates it on September 14th. So, forget about Roodmas, unless you're a Catholic in Mexico (¡Felices Fiestas Roodmas!) or a member of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in India (Haippee Roodamaas!).
Portrait of the Empress Helena and her "Invention of the True Cross" in a 9th century Byzantine manuscript, which I didn't have time to touch up, let alone restore. However, it seems to be an adequate representation of the story, holes and all. As the story goes, Helena wasn't sure whether the crosses were actually genuine due to their rather miniscule size until she had a vision of Michael the archangel with a crucifix on the dashboard of his El Camino.
Reliquary of the True Cross on display at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, which Quasimodo saved from the fire of 2019, a fire which he actually started with the Zippo Lighter of Sainte-Chapelle.
In 1942, the German city of Lübeck was bombed by allied forces, partly destroying five cathedrals located within blocks of one another and misplacing a splinter of the True Cross, taking decades and thousands of volunteers to then touch every piece of wood with every other piece of wood in order to try and make second-class relics of them all.
|International Harry Potter Day Monday, May 2, 2022|
Today is the day on which Harry Potter and friends of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry vanquished the unspeakable Lord Voldemort, according to author J. K. Rowling of the Harry Potter novel series. Something Rowling never really explained was where magic came from or originated from, other than it was a wizarding gene inherent to some degree in every human who was born with it. Nor was the origin of the powers of the Dark Arts ever really explained, other than it could be used for good or evil and the greatest defense against it is love. In the non-fiction world, there are practitioners of white magic (used for selfless means or helpful purposes, also referred to as high magic or the right-hand path) and black magic (used for selfish means or harmful purposes, also referred to as low magic or the left-hand path), but both originate from the same source: spiritual forces. It could be argued that there are other forces at play, such as those of nature, the subconscious mind, elemental manipulation, or the supernatural, but these also have spiritual sources. By spiritual I mean demonic or of fallen angels - regardless of how the power is used or what the intention is. Whether magic is invoked by spells, incantations, ceremonies, oracle cards, scrying, alchemy, potions, astrology, symbols, sigils, geomancy, numerology, divination, witchcraft, voodoo, charms, sexual rituals, or necromancy, it's all to summon the aid of spiritual forces - even grey or neutral magic. It's all just malevolent spiritual forces responding in some preconceived expectation and it's all fun and games until someone is cursed or possessed. Christians should not be involved in such practices (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). You have been warned.Note: Rowling considers herself a Christian, as did C. S. Lewis, author of "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, and J. R. R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit." Lewis and Tolkien were friends and belonged to a literary discussion group at Oxford called the "Inklings." Although Christian themes may be found in many of their stories, they all just liked writing fantasy fiction. Remember, in real life it's all fun and games until someone is cursed or possessed. Again, you have been warned.
|U.S. Law Day Saturday, April 30, 2022|
Today is another relatively new commemoration day begun in 1958 called Law Day, which is primarily concerned with governmental rule of law. However, like yesterday's rant against Latter-Day Saints, I am going to focus on Seventh-day Adventism and biblical legalism. Like the LDS, the Seventh-day Adventist movement can be considered a recent movement (1863) that took place in the U.S. during the Second Great Awakening period of Christian revival in the nineteenth century.1 Originally the Sabbatarians, they believe in and promote a Saturday Sabbath as a matter of salvation. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians (chapter 2), he explains how Gentiles have been reconciled to the Jewish Law through the grace afforded by Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is no longer of works, adherence to the laws of Moses, or tradition by which believers are reconciled to God -- it is by Christ's sacrifice only.
2. "A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs" (page 26) by George R. Knight, ©2000 Review and Herald Publishing
3. Number 18 in the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
4. One could argue that she had zero false prophesies. Possibly, except that any prophecy that didn't turn out the way it was interpreted was then reinterpreted. So if a prophecy didn't pan out at all then apparently it took place in the spirit realm rather than the physical. One of her visions was that the fourth Commandment had a halo over it and another was that people who go to church on Sunday have the mark of the beast.
5. She was an avid writer based on this. On this topic, many have argued that a fair amount of her books were plagiarized or written by her assistants. To these accusations, the SDA Church counters with this and this.
6. Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, was careful about classifying SDA as a cult, as am I. However, due to SDA's adherence to the writings of Ellen White as being of equal weight to biblical scripture, in addition to their stance that they alone are God's chosen remnant, I'd tend to consider them a cult of the Christian faith.
|U.S. Honesty Day Saturday, April 30, 2022|
Today is a relatively new commemoration day which was begun in 1991 called Honesty Day and you can Google it for yourself for the backstory, unless you fear the Google beast and its intruding tentacles into your browsing history and subliminal mind control, then look it up using Brave or DuckDuckGo. Honesty Day brings us to Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because, quite frankly, Joseph Smith was a liar, which has led to the deception of millions of people around the world. Let me be upfront by stating that Mormons are not Christians. Their aim is to convert Christians to a religion that claims that Christianity is wrong about who Christ is. On the surface, LDS doctrine, literature, and missionary teachings may seem in line with the Christian gospel. They openly claim to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for our sins and is one of the three personages of the Trinity. The LDS Church's Articles of Faith, its creed for the general public, lists several Evangelical doctrines, such as faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, speaking in tongues, and organizations of the primitive church (apostles, prophets, teachers, etc.). It's no wonder that half of LDS converts come from Christian denominations. However, below the Mormon Tabernacle lies a foundation of concrete made from a mixture of scriptural rubble and bullshit:
This brings us to Joseph Smith himself as being a liar. Tenth president of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, wrote that Mormonism "must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol 1, p 188). Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet, with promises from God that would be fulfilled (Doctrine and Covenants, 1:37-39), but not all of his prophecies came true. For example, he prophesied that Independence, Missouri, would be the city of Zion and that the faithful would be preserved there (Doctrine and Covenants 57:1-2, 62:6, 97:10-28), however, the Gentile settlers drove them out in 1833. To this, he prophesied that the U.S. Congress would be broken up as a government if it didn't grant protection to the Mormons (History of the Church, vol 6, p 116), which it didn't. He prophesied that his seed would possess his house in Nauvoo, Illinois, forever (Doctrine and Covenants 124:22-23, 59), but it was completely abandoned shortly after his death. He prophesied that the result of the Civil War would be international holocaust leading to the second coming of Christ (Doctrine and Covenants, section 87). He also prophesied more than once Christ's return to be before the turn of the 19th century (Documentary History of the Church). Of Smith's 65 to 70 recorded prophecies, less than 10% of them came to pass in due time. According to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Jeremiah 23:31-32, he would then be considered a false prophet. Mormon doctrine, however, maintains there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Brigham Young stated in Journal of Discourses (vol 7, p 289) that none would enter God's celestial kingdom without the consent of Joseph Smith. He also stated that any spirit that did not confess that God revealed his gospel through Joseph Smith was of the Antichrist (vol 8, p 176).
Some of the nicest people I know are Mormons, but this is not a competition to fill sanctuary seats, it's a battle for immortal souls. Mormonism does not set Christianity straight, which it refers to as the "Great and Abominable Church" (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 13:1-29). Rather, it corrupts and perverts it. I would go so far as to say that the angel Moroni was actually Satan, the father of all lies (John 8:44), yet LDS doctrine places Satan next to Jesus as a spiritual brother who was in contention for the salvation of mankind (The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4 and Abraham 3:27-28). How ironic.
|Tithe Thursday, April 28, 2022|
A topic I never included in my website but have often wondered about is Christian tithing. I've heard plenty of unconvincing sermons over the years, all citing Malachi 3:8-10 and not much else.
"Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me." But you ask, 'How are we robbing you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - your whole nation - because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." (Malachi 3:8-10, NIV)
A tithe is Hebrew for a tenth, which all Israelites were commanded to give of their crops, wine, olive oil, and cattle every three years (Leviticus 27:30, 32, Deuteronomy 12:6, 11, 14:22, 2 Chronicles 31:5-6, Amos 4:4) which was presented to the Levitical priests (Numbers 18:21, 24, 27, 31), part of which was sacrificed upon the altar (Deuteronomy 14:23-26) and the rest portioned out to the priests as their pay, which they in turn tithed on (Numbers 18:26, Nehemiah 10:37-38, NIV). Plus some of it was given to those in need (Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 26:12). This was part of the Law given to Moses for the Israelites, but Christians are not under this Law (Romans 6:14, 1 Corinthians 9:20-21, Galatians 3:10-14, 23-29).
"For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.' Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because 'the righteous will live by faith.' The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, 'The person who does these things will live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us..." (Galatians 3:10-13, NIV)
There is no New Testament scripture in support of tithing for Christians. The first believers came together and shared all that they had (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37). When the church grew beyond Jerusalem, Paul in his letters mentioned financial gifts from members of the church abroad (2 Corinthians 8:10-15, 19-21). Very little from the regulations of the Jews were imposed upon the Gentile believers (Acts 15:29, 21:25). However, if you recall the plight of Ananias and Sapphira, they were warned to be careful about withholding what they intended to give (Acts 5:1-11). We are encouraged to give to all believers in need, which the Old Testament regarded as alms for the poor and was apart from the tithe.
"Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: "The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little." (2 Corinthians 8:13-15, NIV)
Paul also encouraged believers to give generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-15), just as Jesus praised the gift of the poor widow (Luke 21:1-4), which is an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18). This then means that as Christians not bound by the law of tithing, we should probably give above and beyond a tenth of our income, not just to our local church but to believers abroad. Most churches consider this a missions offering apart from the tithe and therefore alms.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV)
This in effect is what Malachi 3:8-10 is all about. If you are giving 10% of your income (gross, not net) because a pastor has worked over your conscience, then it is a guilt offering and that is something different entirely (Leviticus 5:15-19). If you are tithing out of duty or obligation, then become a Seventh-Day Adventist and be sure to observe all of the Laws of Moses. 10% is a good base and many believers are prompted by the Holy Spirit to give as such. However, there is nothing biblical that says you have to dedicate that much and no less to just one source - that being a single church. I'd say if your church is struggling financially, then there's more to be concerned about than who's not paying their dues. That's my two pennies' worth.
|60 Second Romance Vol 7 Wednesday, April 27, 2022|
Once upon a time there was a story, and in this story there was a boy and a girl who loved each other very much -- so much so that they took the vows of matrimony and lived happily ever after. Their sex was never dull, they both liked the same television shows, arguments were brief and always ended in sex, they shared chores equally, sex was frequent and lengthy, they got along great with each other's friends and family, he made sure she always had the first orgasm, she always put the toilet seat up and the toilet paper roll over the top instead of behind, he liked to massage her entire body for hours, and jealousy was never an issue... which actually makes this story too good to be true. If this was the end, however, then it would make for a rather uninteresting story -- so even though they loved one another unconditionally, it was not without trials, tribulation, and controversy. For instance, he loved his job so much that he had no ambition to promote up the ladder, which meant that she had to work when she wanted to quit and be a stay-at-home mom for their three-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. Maybe she held a bit of animosity that her dream of making a living from her website dedicated to their Yorkshire Terrier would have to be put on hold indefinitely. Or maybe some parts were fabricated. Maybe they didn't have a Yorkshire Terrier and she hated her job and just wanted to stay home. However, the animosity was real and the names were withheld to protect the innocent.
|Robert Hunt Tue, April 26, 2022|
Today we remember Robert Hunt (1568-1608), a vicar of the Church of England who sailed aboard the Susan Constant, one of three ships led by Captain John Smith to the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on this day in 1607 to found Jamestown, Virginia. Unfortunately, most of the 214 settlers died within the first year due to the location being poor for hunting and growing crops but a prime spot for disease-carrying mosquitos and hostile Indians. Hunt died the following year, but not after planting the first Protestant church in America. It is rumored that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Bancroft, secretly handed Robert Hunt one of the few known copies of The Gospel of Martha, which he brought with him and somehow survived the fire that destroyed his library and is now available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle format.
|"First Communion in the New World" by Tompkins Harrison Matteson, 1858, on loan from Wikimedia Commons. The guy in the lower left, possibly English writer Richard Hakluyt Jr. (1553-1616), may have copied "The Gospel of Martha" before Reverend Hunt's copy was destroyed by a fire that started from the burning ash of a Lucky Strike cigarette. We may never know for sure.|
|Of Plimoth Plantation Monday, April 25, 2022|
When last we left our intrepid Pilgrim folk, they were experiencing a dearth of fish and on the verge of encountering unreasonable men. Today's episode is brought to you by Chunderrhea®. On those rare occasions when you need to be purged from both ends, you can count on Chunderrhea®. (Warning: Chunderrhea® may show no mercy. Chunderrhea® can cause excessive bodily expulsion with extreme prejudice and should only be taken while naked in an empty bath tub or open field. Children and pregnant women should stay clear of anyone with a prescription for Chunderrhea®. If you or anyone you know has recently taken Chunderrhea®, then may the good Lord deliver you safely.) We now continue with William Bradford's harrowing account of Plymouth Plantation.
After a sollemne meeting and a day of humilliation to seeke ye Lord for his direction, and being now come to ye 25 of March in ye year 1621, the house which they had made for a generall randevoze by casulty fell afire. Then the sicknes begane to fall sore amongst them, and many fall downe sick dayly, now many of their ablest of men being dead. Afterwards they began to plant ther corne under the watchful eye of Squanto, who tould them excepte they gott fish for fertilisement it would come to nothing. Also some wheat and pease they sew, but it came not to good by some defecte. The rest of ther necessary provissions were got by triall and experience.
In this month of Aprill whilst they were bussie about their seed, their Govr (Mr. John Carver) came out of ye feild very sick, it being a hott day; he complained greatly of his head, and lay downe, and within a few howers his sences failed, so as he never spake more till he dyed, which was within a few days after. Whoss death was much lamented, and caused great heavines amongst them, as ther was cause. He was buried in ye best maner they could, with some vollies of shott by all that bore armes; and his wife, being a weak woman, dyed within 5 or 6 weeks after him. Shortly after William Bradford was chosen Gover in his stead, and being not yet recoverd near ye point of death.
May 12 was ye first mariage in this place, so ye 2 of July they sente the newly-weds on a honeymun with ye foresaid Squanto for ther guid, who gave him a suite of cloaths, and a horsemans coate, with some other small things, which were kindly accepted; and jornyed 40 miles from hence, to wher Indeans being dead and abundantly wasted in ye late great mortalitie which fell in all these parts aboute three years before ye coming of ye English, wherin thousands of them dyed with wasting plague, they not being able to burie one another; ther sculs and bones were found in many places lying still above ground, where their houses and dwellings had been; a very sad spectackle to behould. So they found but short comons, and came both weary and hungrie home.
Aboute ye later end of this month, one John Billington lost him selfe in ye woods, and wandered up and downe some 5 days, living on beries and what he could find. At length he light on an Indean plantation, 20 mils south of this place, called Manamet, and thus his peace and aquaintance was prety well establisht with the natives aboute him; and ther was an other Indean called Hobamack come to live amongst them, a proper lustie man, and a man of accounte for his vallour and parts amongst ye Indeans, and continued very faithfull and constant to ye English till he dyed.
Hobamack and Squanto being gone upon bussines amonge ye Indeans, mett with a Sachem called Corbitant, alyed to Massassoyte, but never any good friend to ye English to this day, and begane to quarell wth them, and offered to stabe Hobamack; but being a lusty man, he cleared him selfe of him, and came runing away all sweating; and he tould ye Govr what had befalne him, and he feared they had killed Squanto, for they threatened them both, and for no other cause but because they were freinds to ye English, and servisable unto them. Upon this ye Gover taking counsell, it was conceivd not fitt to be borne; for if they should suffer their freinds and messengers thus to be wronged, they should have none would cleave unto them, or give them any inteligence, or doe them serviss afterwards.
Whereupon it was resolved to send ye Captaine and 14 men well armed, and to goe and fall upon them in ye night; and if they found that Squanto was kild, to cut off Corbitants head, but not to hurt any but those that had a hand in it. Hobamack was asked if he would goe and be their guid, and bring them ther before day. He said he would, and bring them to ye house wher the man lay, and show them which was he. So they set forth ye 14 of August, and beset ye house round; the Captin giving charg to let none pass out, entred ye house to search for him. But he was goone away that day, so they mist him; but understood that Squanto was alive, and that he had only threatened to kill him, and made an offer to stabe him but did not.
After this, ye 18 of Septembr: they sente out ther shalop to the Massachusets, with 10 men, and Squanto for their guid and interpreter, to discover and veiw that bay, and trade with ye natives; the which they performed, and found kind entertainement. The people were much affraid of ye Tarentins, a people to ye eastward which used to come in harvest time and take away their corne, and many times kill their persons. They returned in saftie, and brought home a good quanty of beaver, and made reporte of ye place, wishing they had been ther seated; (but it seems ye Lord, who assignes to all men ye bounds of their habitations, had apoynted it for an other use). And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to blesse their outgoings and incomings, for which let his holy name have ye praise for ever, to all posteritie.
To be continued. If you cannot wait, visit Project Gutenberg for yourself. If you suffer from obstipation or extreme abdominal tumescence, ask your doctor about Chunderrhea®. (Warning: Chunderrhea® may tear you a new rectum. In clinical tests, Chunderrhea® has been found to violently expel bodily waste from any and all orifices, regardless of where it originated. Chunderrhea® is not intended for mild constipation or an upset stomach and should not be taken after consuming a Barnyard Reunion Burger at Waffles n More.)
|World Day for Laboratory Animals Sunday, April 24, 2022|
Today is World Day for Laboratory Animals and one of the organizations leading the charge is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I tend to agree that humans need to treat animals better and that just because the Bible says that God put man in charge over all living creatures (Genesis 1:26, 28) doesn't mean we should abuse or mistreat them. It can also be argued that God intended for humans to be vegetarians (Genesis 1:29). However, due to the fall of man all that changed and God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them with it (Genesis 3:21). Then God established animal sacrifices (Genesis 4:4, 8:20-21, 15:9-10, Leviticus 1:17), which he preferred over agricultural sacrifices (Genesis 4:2-5), more than likely because animals were full of blood (Genesis 9:4-5, 22:12-14, Leviticus 17:11, 14) and without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:19-22). Then God allowed the consumption of "clean" animal flesh (Genesis 9:2-3). And even though mankind perturbed God to the point that he destroyed all life on Earth, he saved a few people along with a sampling of the animals (Genesis 7-8). However, even after this, some of these animals were sacrificed to God and then God said to Noah and his sons, "The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." (Genesis 9:2-3, NIV)
But... PETA aims to tear down those walls that divide species, which the Bible refers to as "kinds" (Genesis 1:21, 24-25), because as they see it the smartest of animals are no less intelligent than a human with special needs and therefore should be treated equally. According to them, mankind has no God-given supremacy over animals whatsoever. We have all evolved on the same planet together and we all have feelings, so since humans currently have the evolutionary upper hand it is our responsibility to protect animals from feeling pain, rejection, suffering, intolerance, and prejudice. Here is some of what they teach about animal rights:
We must abandon the archaic and incorrect boundary of "human" ...We are taught from a young age to discriminate among beings. We are fooled into eating the flesh of some beings, ignoring the cries of hunted beings, and cuddling with furry baby beings. We grow up confused - as adults, most of us feel sick and sad when we see living beings tortured and killed, yet we purchase and consume the flesh, fur, secretions, and skin of living beings every day. We work hard to deceive ourselves and each other in order to maintain the illusion of a real boundary around "human." ...Every time a boundary shifts, the suffragists or the abolitionists or the emancipators are at first ridiculed and belittled for their stance of equal consideration. Eventually, the lies are exposed, and freedom is won - for women, blacks, Christians, gays, Asians, the Irish, Catholics, Jews. Let freedom now include all beings. Human beings have few, if any, unique capabilities... We don't yet fully understand how all beings think - or what they think - but dismissing their mental world as less developed, rational, moral, or intelligent than our own is clearly a mistake... We share the same evolutionary origins, we inhabit the same Earth, and we are ruled by the same laws of nature. We are all the same. https://www.peta.org/features/what-peta-really-stands-for/
Whether it's based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or species, prejudice is morally unacceptable. If you wouldn't eat a dog, why eat a pig? Dogs and pigs have the same capacity to feel pain, but it is prejudice based on species that allows us to think of one animal as a companion and the other as dinner. https://www.peta.org/about-peta/why-peta/why-animal-rights/
"Speciesism" is the human-held belief that all other animal species are inferior. Speciesist thinking involves considering animals - who have their own desires, needs, and complex lives - as means to human ends. This supremacist line of "reasoning" is used to defend treating other living, feeling beings as property, objects, or even ingredients. It's a bias rooted in denying others their own agency, interests, and self-worth, often for personal gain... It's speciesist to believe that farmed and captive animals don't suffer or feel emotions to the same extent as the animals with whom we lovingly share our homes... Animals are often referred to as property. Many humans call themselves an animal's "owner" and refer to the animal as "it," as if he or she were an inanimate object like a table or a chair. https://headlines.peta.org/end-speciesism/
Animal rights means that animals deserve certain kinds of consideration - consideration of what is in their best interests, regardless of whether they are "cute," useful to humans, or an endangered species and regardless of whether any human cares about them at all. It means recognizing that animals are not ours to use - for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation. https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/what-do-you-mean-by-animal-rights/
There are animals who are unquestionably more intelligent, creative, aware, communicative, and able to use language than some humans, as in the case of a chimpanzee compared to a human infant or a person with a severe developmental disability, for example. Should the more intelligent animals have rights and the less intelligent humans be denied rights? An animal's inability to understand and adhere to our rules is as irrelevant as a child's or a person with a developmental disability's inability to do so. Like small children, most animals are not capable of choosing to change their behavior, but adult human beings have the intelligence to choose between behavior that hurts others and behavior that doesn't. https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/animals-are-not-as-intelligent-or-advanced-as-humans/
I don't believe I am in violation of PETA's copyright protection by sharing this information here, since I am not going to openly criticize their fundamental beliefs of animal rights. Instead, I am simply going to say that I appreciate their efforts as an obvious sign that the second coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. If I am wrong, then I shall accept animals as our equals and welcome their leashless integration into society. I will also fight for their inherent rights to not be spayed, neutered, or euthanized with a painless intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital unless that is their clear desire. Then, when they have been equally educated and come to realize the opportunity of the situation, my children's children shall embrace our rising animal overlords and be thankful for their benevolence over humans because I know in my heart that they will be kind to us and not enslave us, eat us, warehouse us, and use us for laboratory experimentation.
|LWoS 71-77 Saturday, April 23, 2022|
Today is World Book and Copyright Day, encouraging us to "cherish and defend books as symbols of hope and dialogue. Books have long embodied the human capacity to conjure up worlds, both real and imagined, giving voice to the diversity of human experience... blah blah blah, so on and so forth." Anyway, here's a reading from a classic, The Lost Wisdom of Solomon, available in paperback or Kindle format.71 Walk upright in the ways of the Lord and your years on this earth will be long and prosperous. Should you falter, call upon the Lord and he will be faithful to pick you up and set your feet back on the straight and solid path of righteousness. Just be sure your sidelocks always remain oiled and curly.
72 The man who labors alone toils from dawn till dusk. His back is bent and he longs for the grave. The man with many servants tells one to do this and orders another to do that, and the ones who tarry he can put to work as clowns entertaining his children and his children's children, even to the third generation. Many clowns exult the heart.
73 Do not forsake the LORD, lest he hand you over to your enemies and they carry you off, along with your wives and children and menservants and maidservants, and make of you slave clowns for their sordid amusement.
74 My son, be not yet weaned from wisdom's teat. Suckle well into adulthood and do not be ashamed. Some will mock, but these are jealous, for they are those who were bottle-fed by the old, dry nurse of insolence. They are inbred slaves to their own folly. Their lot in life is to sneer with yellow teeth at what they do not understand because they were deprived of the nourishing mother's milk of wisdom. No other analogy will do but that of breasts, which are a blessing from the Lord, as is wisdom.
75 A head of silver hair is a crown of glory. A head of no hair is a crown which lacks follicles. Do not be dismayed at a bald head for, like the bare testicle, it is a hallmark of manliness. A flap of dyed wool or palm fibers is but a codpiece upon the noggin.
76 Reprimand with equanimity he who bites the nails. Yes, to he who chews his fingernails, deliver a moderate chastisement, for it is both feculent and unseemly. In regards to the one who bites the toenail, be it man or woman, cover them with a blanket or a tarp, walking backward, with head turned away so as not to look upon them, for it is a covering of shame. They are like an animal which bathes the genitals with its tongue.
77 The recompense of the wicked is death. The reward of the blameless is gladness of heart and abundance of life. Then, eventually, death. It has been said before and it will surely be said again: life is meaningless. Or pointless. Or vanity. Call it what you will.
Tomorrow is the Catholic observance of Mary of Clopas and Mary Salome. You can read more about them in another classic book, The Gospel of Martha, available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle format.
|Earth Day Friday, April 22, 2022|
Today is as good a day as any for debating the pros and cons of environmental sustainability. Quite a bit of information regarding conservation can be found here, although however appealing saving our planet may seem there is always another side to the argument.
|Reducing the use of plastic and using grocery bags made from hemp can save lives.||Plastic is awesome. It's also everywhere and there's no getting rid of it. Island countries like Indonesia and the Philippines have amassed protective levies along their coastlines from plastic debris, something that cannot be accomplished with hemp. Also, hemp does not boost the immune system against Bisphenol A.|
|Reducing the manufacturing of clothing from harmful, synthetic polymers and natural fibers which destroy the environment with pesticides and instead wearing clothing made from organically-grown hemp can save lives.||The fashion industry is awesome and polyester is here to stay. Fashion scientists just need a larger research budget to figure out how to make acrylics more cohesive so that they don't slough in the wash.|
|Stop cutting down trees and make homes from pressed hemp fiberboard and books from hemp pulp.||Most hemp is grown in China, which stamps all of its products with "Made in China." Most hemp paper is used in cigarette wrappers and Bibles, which are both harmful when smoked. Trees must be evicted in order to make room for hempburbs.|
|Establishing bee sanctuaries in areas where hemp is grown can save lives.||Hemp does not produce floral nectar and therefore is not pollinated by bees.|
|Fishing with nets made from hemp rope can save lives.||Fish eat hemp, which destroys the nets and sets them free. Cetaceans will still commit suicide by beaching themselves if unable to become entangled as bycatch. A better alternative is to make fishing nets out of plastic straws.|
|Planting hemp in the arctic will insulate the glaciers and prevent them from melting.||Hemp is a plant and although it requires less water it still requires a fair amount of dirt to grow.|
|Burning hemp as biodiesel fuel rather than coal and oil can save lives.||Hemp tax is higher and hemp exhaust can give you a secondhand high.|
|Growing hemp can regenerate the soil and remove harmful toxins.||This reduces the production of high fructose corn syrup, a vital ingredient in children's breakfast cereals.|
|Making concrete from hemp can save lives.||This has not been scientifically proven. Although cereal boxes can be made from hempcrete, this increases the cost of shipping.|
|Feeding hemp to apes can reduce primate starvation in underdeveloped anthropoid nations where the monkey population is in decline.||Studies done by the U.S. and USSR space programs on sending chimpanzees into space have determined that plants containing THC increase their appetite while decreasing their ambition to obtain food. Although chimpanzees have opposable thumbs and technically can operate a telephone, they lack the communication skills and monetary resources for ordering takeout. Until Grubhub expands into these market areas, apes may become paranoid of starving to death.|
|Saving the planet can save lives.||God commanded man and woman to go forth and fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).|
|Lisbon Massacre Thursday, April 21, 2022|
This week in the year 1506 in Lisbon, Portugal, Christians gave baby Jesus a black eye when they rounded up and killed nearly 2,000 Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism and who were blamed for local draughts, famines, and plagues. Although many of those who were members of the lynch mob may not have been Christians or even residents, word has it that a couple Dominican friars incited the crowd by promising absolution to anyone who killed the deicidal maniacs. Jewish converts of all ages were beaten, torn apart, dragged out into the streets, and burned to death, which made the Portuguese Inquisition seem like an afterthought.
|A Jew is eating a grilled cheese sandwich when a Christian points and says, "The toasted bread of that grilled cheese sandwich bears the likeness of Jesus." But the Jew takes another bite and the Christian yells, "That Jew killed Jesus!" Then all hell breaks loose. (That's pretty much how it all started -- that and decades of Spanish and Portuguese intolerance against Jews for killing Jesus.) Image source: "Massacre de Lisboa de 1506" from Wikimedia Commons.|
Another black eye to the baby Jesus is Christian Identity, which is basically militant, right-wing Aryan racism. Of these groups, "The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord" went down on this day in 1985 when the FBI and ATF raided their compound in Arkansas. Fortunately, no one was killed or even injured, and several of the top leadership of the CSA were sentenced to prison on charges of racketeering and illegal weapons possession. Now, I know a believer or two who are survivalists but not fanatical. However, I have never understood why a Christian who should be looking forward to persecution and death for the sake of Jesus would arm themself with munitions, rations and supplies in the hopes of surviving this world.
|A Reading from Sativa 4:20 Wednesday, April 20, 2022|
Today is 420 (4/20), a day for celebrating cannabis and/or protesting its illegal status. I'll make this brief, as I don't have much time for this post. Whether cannabis consumption is immoral or a God-given privilege is up to the individual. On one hand, Genesis 1:29 says that God gave every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it to man and animals as food. On the other hand, inebriation is a sin (Ecclesiastes 10:17, Romans 13:13, Galatians 5:21, 1 Timothy 3:3, 1 Peter 4:3). Somewhere in between is gladness of heart (Psalm 104:15), but this also comes down to a comparison between alcohol and cannabis. Most would agree, however, that natural substances like caffeine and CBD oil are a blessing. In the end, however, we must remain sober and clear-minded (Luke 21:34, 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; Titus 2:2, 6; 1 Peter 4:7). So whether you are for or against the use of substances like THC, just remember that it can cause strange, hallucinatory visions like the following...
|Sermon by the Camp Fire, Part III Tuesday, April 19, 2022|
Today's entry consists of a continuing selection of passages from The Gospel of Martha, chapter twenty, where Jesus has his apostles gathered around a camp fire and is teaching them. This episode did not make it into the other four Gospels, more than likely because even Thomas could not decipher his own handwriting. Both Martha and Mary had to assist with transcribing it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The disciples say to Jesus, "We know that thou art going to leave us. Who will be our leader?" Jesus replying saith unto them, "No matter where ye are, ye are to go unto James, just because he looketh like me: for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."
And, behold, they knew of whom he spake, and thenceforth referred unto his brother as James the Just. But they pondered for whose sake heaven and earth came into being: Jesus or James? And Jesus knowing their thoughts saith unto them, "The answer ye seek is mine." And they pondered this also: whether the answer was Jesus, or that Jesus had the answer.
Jesus saith to his disciples, "Compare me to some thing and tell me what I am like." Simon Peter awakening saith unto him, "Thou art like a just messenger." Matthew saith unto him, "Thou art like a wise philosopher." Thomas saith unto him, "Abba, my mouth is full of toasted prunes, and utterly unable to say what thou art like."
Jesus replying saith, "I am not thy daddy. But because thou hast drunk, thou hast become intoxicated. Drink instead from the bubbling spring everlasting of which I tend, and flavour with that which doth meet unto thy fancy: such as lemon, or lime, or raspberry, or pineapple, or coconut; or a medley thereof."
And he took Thomas aside, and withdrew to anoint an acacia tree with urine, and spake three sayings unto him. When Thomas came back to his friends, they asking of him say, "What did Jesus saith he unto thee?" Thomas replying saith unto them, "If I tell unto you one of the sayings he spake unto me, ye will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you."
Jesus saith unto them, "What I said was this: If ye fast not, surely will ye bring sin upon yourselves; and if ye pray not, surely will ye be condemned; and if ye give not to charity, surely will ye harm your spirits."
And Thomas replying saith, "I thought thou saidst: If ye fast, ye will bring sin upon yourselves; and if ye pray, ye will be condemned; and if ye give to charity, ye will harm your spirits." And Jesus replying saith he unto him, "Remember, I am not thy daddy. Payest thou attention."
Jesus saith to them all, "When ye go into any region and walk about in the countryside, should people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them. After all, what goeth into thy mouth will not defile thee; rather, it is what cometh out of thy mouth that will defile thee." And with that, Simon Peter was again fast asleep.
|Roast of Ben Franklin Monday, April 18, 2022|
There were other commemorations going on yesterday other than Easter, however, Jesus takes precedence. Today we remember Benjamin Franklin, one of the U.S. founding fathers and a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, and who died yesterday in 1790. His birthday is actually January 17, but I just so happen to have some intel on him that can't wait.
Franklin's head suffered from gout. He died at age 84 when it became so big that it collapsed in on itself and his brain went supernova.
A bust of Franklin made from tofu. He was a vegetarian, except when it came to pescetarian turducken, especially tuna cooked inside halibut cooked inside salmon.
Franklin was good at coming up with slogans. Here was his for the Franklin Mercantile Chess Club, later changed to "JOIN, or NOT" in 1885. "JOIN, or DIE" was adopted by Girl Scouts of America in 1912.
Franklin preferred wearing his hair down, except when in France, where he often wore it Marie Antoinette-style, which made him all the rage.
|Easter Greetings Sunday, April 17, 2022|
Today is church day for many non-church goers, when they dress up and step foot in a strange place that feels foreign and uncomfortable, like the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but fortunately many will be entertained with dynamic re-enactments of the crucifixion and fields of plastic eggs for their children. Personally, I avoid going to church on Easter because for me every day is cause to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do I hear an amen? I sometimes wonder, but not always, if we should even be celebrating Easter because of its pagan influences, but I love Whoppers Speckled Robin Eggs just as much as the next heathen. Did you know that Robin Eggs take five months to craft because they are each made individually and hand-painted? Do I hear an amen? Did you know that Brach's individually wrapped, tempered marshmallow eggs are made from ground Robin bones? They're the worst, even worse than Peeps, which I believe are made from dehydrated blubber, corn syrup, and any combination of red #3, yellow #5, and blue #1. I've done some homework about Easter which can be found here. Now that I look it over, though, there's not much. Anyway, it'll help you fall asleep for that sugar-induced Sunday nap. Amen.
|White Jesus Saturday, April 16, 2022|
Continuing on the subject of white Jesus, it's not an American invention but originated with white peoples of antiquity, about the time Jesus lived or thereabouts. The rule of thumb is whomever depicts Jesus in art -- whether a fresco, painting, sculpture, mosaic, relief, stained glass window, codex illustration, what have you -- gets to portray him in their own culture and ethnicity. Since he was historically Jewish and lived in Israel, it's safe to picture him as a Jew. He probably had a beard, short dark hair, curly sidelocks, a prominent nose, olive-brown skin, a yarmulke, and maybe glasses. The earliest known images show him with short hair and no beard but somewhere along the line he became a rebel with long hair, most likely in the fourth century when the Roman Empire embraced Christianity and considered long hair as a trait of a god. None of the Gospels describes his appearance, however, Isaiah 53:2 tells us, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (NIV). Later on, John had a vision and saw Jesus, whom he described as follows: "...When I turned I saw ... someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance." (Revelation 1:12-16, NIV) Therefore, Jesus now looks like a flamboyantly ominous albino, but still wearing a robe.
|Universal Day of Culture Friday, April 15, 2022|
Today we recognize the Roerich Pact of 1935, named after Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), also known as the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments, which legally recognizes that the defense of cultural objects is more important than the use or destruction of that culture for military purposes and the protection of culture always has precedence over any military necessity -- meaning you can bomb hospitals, schools of lower education, and modern buildings of worship, but don't damage the museums, universities, monuments, historical landmarks, antique stores, or any ITT Technical Institutes. This, however, was only signed by France, India, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, the North Pole, cosmonauts aboard the Mir space station, some penguins in the Galapagos Islands, and twenty-one of the United States of America. But if you display the Banner of Peace (pictured right) outside your home or business, your chances of being destroyed during wartime go down exponentially, which is why Russia hasn't yet completely destroyed Ukraine. Now, my home where I grew up was a culture of Wonder Bread, Tang, bell bottom jeans, Huffy bicycles, The Krofft Superstar Hour, and white Jesus, which meant we had a ballistic missile target over our heads. There was no such thing as culture other than a Native American museum in town that featured a collection of arrowheads and pottery, a fraternal Sons of Norway lodge, some cathedrals, two community colleges, a statue of Abraham Lincoln, and a few public libraries. I have never seen the Banner of Peace anywhere in or near my hometown, although we do have quite a few pawn shops which display the pawnbroker's symbol that bears a vague resemblance. I believe the three balls of the pawnbroker's symbol are actually doorknobs which, when placed in a pillowcase, can be used to beat a homeowner unconscious in order to rob them of their pawnable belongings. The three circles of the Banner of Peace are called the Pax Cultura ("Cultural Peace") and represent art, science and religion. They are also arranged as the "therefore" sign, meaning when the Pax Cultura is displayed in full view, it indicates there are valuable objects inside, therefore do not destroy. It is also a clear indicator of pawnable belongings.
© Anderson University and Warner Press
|Pictured: traditional white Jesus (Warner E. Sallman's 1941 oil painting "Head of Christ"), in case you've ever wondered why family portraits by Olan Mills show everyone looking to one side. The denomination of white Jesus is basically Evangelical Protestant. He speaks English, possibly with a slight British accent like 90% of the actors who portray him in talking pictures. He comes from a culture of antiquity where people wear robes and sandals and the buildings are all in ruins. Since this image represents a predominant culture of twentieth-century American Christianity, any dwelling or building where it still hangs should share the same protective privileges as the Roerich Pact.|
|60 Second Romance Vol 6 Thursday, April 14, 2022|
She quivered in anticipation as she approached her longtime male coworker and felt like a nervous school girl. She had put off the inevitable encounter far too long and felt the time had come at last. What would he think of her if he were to decline her advance? If she was successful, what would others in the department think? This kind of relationship, although not forbidden or taboo, was discouraged among management and rumored about around the water cooler. She cleared her throat and paused, then asked shyly, "Would you be interested in buying some Girl Scout cookies from my daughter?" There, she finally said what she had been so eager to say for so long. The cat was out of the bag. There was an awkward silence before he answered without even looking at her. "No, thank you," he plainly replied without explanation. Once again there was awkward silence as she slowly retreated in rejection and shame, trying to fight back feelings of humiliation and regret. Would he keep this encounter to himself? Would their work relationship change in any way? Would he lose respect for her professionally? Would her reputation be forever tarnished? Worst of all, would her daughter be disappointed in her? They didn't speak at all the remainder of the day and intentionally avoided contact. The next day, he put in for a transfer to another office across town.
|Mithras & Friends Wednesday, April 13, 2022|
Before Jesus Christ, there were others that laid claim to many of his attributes, including a virgin birth, sacrificial death, miracles, resurrection from the dead, creator, trinity, and eternal judge. These included, but were not limited to: Osiris of the Egyptians, Tammuz of the Mesopotamians, Adonis of the Greeks, Baldur of Norse mythology, Attis of the Phrygians, Bacchus of the Romans, and Mithras of the Persians. This last one was a topic at my website, but I removed the link because of 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 and for the sake of weaker consciences. No one really needs to know that Christ was not exactly unique to the pagan world, except that he was a historical figure whose followers claimed that he was unique in that they were witnesses of him being the real deal. Yet we cannot ignore mythology, particularly that which predates Christianity, and especially when it parallels in similarity. Is it coincidence? Were these alternate Christs for other civilizations? Impostors? Cyclical messiahs? Did Christians borrow from other sources? Was it the devil's way of foreshadowing doubt on Christ's authenticity? Again I must concede to 1 Corinthians, this time chapter 2 in reference to knowing nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals truth and weighs it against the legends of antiquity upon the scale of God's discernment. If you think this foolish, then you aren't alone (1 Corinthians 2:12-16), unfortunately.
Mithraic communion of Keebler crackers and Kool-Aid with the sun god Sol. Bas relief from Konjica, Bosnia, from "The Mysteries of Mithra," p 159, by Franz Cumont.
In his younger years Mithras was a porn star, as seen in this sex doll from Tajikistan, c. 5th-6th century.
Relief of Mithras slaying the cosmic bull, c. 160-170 AD. This procedure was known as a tauroctony and required a scorpion pinced onto the bull's testicles, among other things.
|Sermon by the Camp Fire, Part II Tuesday, April 12, 2022|
Today's entry consists of a selection of passages from The Gospel of Martha, chapter twenty, where Jesus has his apostles gathered around a camp fire and is teaching them. A similar account is given in the Gospel of Thomas, which is considered a gnostic text and part of the Nag Hammadi library (Codex II).
And he saith, "The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish, which he threw back into the sea. But he kept all the little fish to be used as bait, and the fine large fish swam off and informed the other fine large fish where to catch the little fish. Let those who have nets listen."
Jesus saith, "Look here, the sower went out, took an handful of seeds, and scattered them. Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they did but taketh no root in the soil, and none produced heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choke the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure. Yet some of the seeds which the birds did gather were effused unto the ground, and fertilised, and sprang up, and yielded a crop: six per measure and twelve per measure. Not so much, but still something."
Jesus saith, "I have cast fire upon the world; and, behold, I am guarding it until it blazes. And Once I am finished separating the wheat from the chafe… Excuse me, once I am finished separating the wheat from the chaff, then will that which remain, that is, the chaff, become consumed by unquenchable flames that none can stop."
And his disciples marvelled that he said chafe, when he meant to say chaff. But he realising the error of his tongue saith he, "There is in our midst an one who doth suffer a rash most severe of the inner thigh; and, lo, it consumeth thy thoughts exceeding." So he stood, and walked round the camp fire, and after he had touched each and every disciple upon the shoulder, he took seat again. And, behold, Judas Iscariot was healed: for his thighs were they flabby, and of rubbing together were become chafed.
Jesus saith, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away, and the one above it also will pass away, and the one above it also will pass away also, and also the one above it also will pass away also, and also the one also above it also will pass away also, and also the one also above it also will also pass away also: for, behold, there are many layers of heaven."
Jesus saith, "The dead which are not alive will see the living which will not die. During the days when ye ate what is dead, ye made it come alive. When ye are in the light, what will ye do? On the day when ye were one, ye became two. But when ye become two, what then will ye do? Scoobideedoobideedoobideedoo."
|LWoS 46, 51, 52, 65, 66, 68 Monday, April 11, 2022|
Today's entry consists of a selection of passages from the Lost Wisdom of Solomon. They could also be the next winning lottery numbers, but don't bet on it (copied and pasted verbatim from 3/28/22).46 Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Mourn, and it will weep for you. Shart your undergarments, and it will point and jeer at you, as well it should. It does not matter if it was an accident. Always go to the bathroom before leaving the house to sojourn in public. And always wear clean undergarments, but nothing woven of a blended fiber, for this is forbidden, as well you should know.
50 Blessed is the man with many wives and at least as many concubines, if not more. Yes, the more the merrier.
51 Cursed is the man with too many wives. Too numerous to count, and the names of which escape him. The horror. The horror.
65 Large breasts are a shield of honor. Small breasts are gems of valor. The Lord handcrafted them all with utmost precision. They are pleasing to behold. Nothing in all of God's creation are as perfectly symmetrical, nor as proportioned and harmonious as these. Even breasts which are lopsided and dangly are flawless and to be meditated upon. Not enough can be said about this topic, nor sung with lyric.
66 Food and water are nourishment for the body. The commandments of the Lord are refreshment for the soul. Breasts are but scrumptious icing upon the cake. Again, this subject cannot be exhausted.
68 Do not trust the house cat, for it sees and obeys the dead. It calculates your comings and goings, and counts each step, so as to maximize its tripping hazard. It perches up on high, that it may look down upon you in disdain, and turns its nose up at whatever you present to it at mealtime, no matter how delectable and sumptuous. It also bleeds all over the house when wounded, sprays your undergarment drawer, and kills small creatures that attempt to warn you of danger. Though it impersonates a pet, do not be deceived, for clearly it cares not a whit for your welfare.* It serves only to mock your feeble attempts as a benevolent provider.
*The Greek translation is: "clearly, it does not give a shit about your well-being."
|High Strangeness Sunday, April 10, 2022|
Speaking of the mark of the beast, today is the Feast of the Third Day of the Writing of the Book of the Law, observed by Aleister Crowley's occult followers of Thelema, a pagan religion of his own crafting. A member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Crowley was an eccentric advocate of a wide range of mystic, occult, and pagan ideologies through drug-induced ritualistic sex magic and founded his own order called the A∴A∴, wherein he promoted the doctrine of "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Among his many beliefs of raising man to a higher spiritual plain was the notion that "magick" (the synthesis of magic with science) bridged science with religion and acted as a direct path to spiritual enlightenment, or something to that effect. I personally get most of my occult and paranormal information from the podcast Mysterious Universe, hosted by Benjamin Grundy and Aaron Wright from Down Under (pictured below in reverse). Here's a plug: "Mysterious Universe brings you the latest news and podcasts covering the strange, extraordinary, weird, wonderful and everything in between. We strive to maintain a balance of healthy skepticism and entertainment while never losing our sense of humour." They also feature daily articles by a team of dedicated writers -- so many that I can't keep up. I myself have been a free-loading barnacle and alternating Plus+ member for over ten years and always learn something new, whether it's relevant, significant, applicable or not, and most of it isn't... or is it? If you are interested in finding out more about Aleister Crowley, you can do a search on MU's website to find articles, images and podcasts related to the wickedest man who ever lived. However, I am not.
Aleister Crowley (1845-1947), mystic, occultist, spirit medium, astrologist, alchemist, black magician, esoteric writer, and all-around dangerous weirdo, although he never considered himself a Satanist.
|Mark of the Beast (Continued) Saturday, April 9, 2022|
My apologies to those who tune in regularly and have been waiting on the edge of their seat for answers about the mark of the beast and the antichrist but I got tired, went to bed, then took a two-day sabbatical. So I shall get right to the point. Here's what you need to know in order to better prepare yourself for this foreboding episode in history:
*Many attribute the "abomination of desolation" to one of two events that have already taken place -- the end to daily sacrifice by Antiochus IV in the 2nd century B.C. and/or the complete destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 A.D., during which over one million Jews were killed and 97,000 imprisoned, the daily sacrifices were halted in the midst the siege, the priests were put to the sword, the sacred utensils looted, and General Titus supposedly sacrificed a pig at the altar. This second event will be portrayed with animatronics, special effects and live actors as one of the regular spectacles at Disney Holy Land.
|Mark of the Beast Wednesday, April 6, 2022|
Today is Asexuality Day in honor of Paul the Apostle, however, I'm going to address the beast in the room. Yes, the beast of Revelation, which has many in this day and age worried that the mark of the beast is in the COVID-19 vaccine. John the Apostle wrote in Revelation chapter 13 of a beast that will rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and given power by the great dragon to wage war against the saints. It will blaspheme God and cause everyone to worship both it and the great dragon. Then another beast will rise up to perform mighty wonders and give life to an image of the first beast that will result in the death of those who don't worship it.
|And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:16-18, KJV)|
Most interpret the first beast as a series of world empires that have risen up throughout history and in the end of days will be brought together and ruled by a single individual known as the antichrist, whose power comes from Satan. The second, smaller beast is the false prophet that performs miracles and causes everyone to take the mark of the beast and worship him/her/it. The mark, of course, is the number 666 somehow imprinted on the forehead or wrist (some may argue that the number is actually 616, but not here, not now). Many have surmised throughout the ages who this antichrist might be, singling out characters like Emperor Nero or Constantius, Caliphate Mu'awiyah I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Juan Carlos of Spain, EU Secretary General Javier Solana, Nicolae Jetty Carpathia, Bill Gates, any American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Barney the Dinosaur, Zoltan Istvan, a supercomputer in Brussels, and all of the Roman Catholic Popes.
Mark Beath, Andy Chris, and Paul Yon -- the three best foosmen in the world of foosball. No one gets to be that good unless of course they sell their immortal souls to the devil.
Andy Chris commands the table for seven seasons.
Eventually every foosman will take the jersey number of Mark Beath if they want to be a winner.
|Day After Children's Day Tuesday, April 5, 2022|
Today we continue from yesterday and talk briefly about how the Chinese government controls religion, specifically the Christian ones, which it considers Catholicism (Tianzhujiao) and Evangelical Protestantism (Jidujiao). It allows certain religions because it can't necessarily stop them, but it controls them to keep them from challenging the Chinese Communist Party's authority, ideology, and socialist values. One would think that Christianity would pose little threat to Communism with its admonitions to obey rulers and treat one another as equals, but China considers it a potential menace to nationalism that is growing faster than in any other country. Here are some of the measures the CCP puts in place for state-sanctioned churches:
Billion Bibles: China's Three Self Church
China Highlights: Christianity in China
The Christian Post: Chinese pastor blacklisted by Communist Party warns Church: 'Don't be fooled' by lies of state-sponsored church
Council on Foreign Relations: Christianity in China
Christianity Today: Chinese Christians Deserve a Better Label Than 'Persecuted'
Deutsche Welle: In Xi we trust - Is China cracking down on Christianity?
The Diplomat: China’s Thriving Underground Churches In Danger
Freedom House: Christianity: Religious Freedom in China
Foreign Policy Insider Access: The Chinese Communist Party Is Scared of Christianity
The Gospel Coalition: What Christianity in China Is Really Like
Social Service Department: The Official English Website of the Protestant Churches in China is the only comprehensive portal by CCC & TSPM
South China Morning Post: Official head of China’s Protestant churches says religions must be purged of 'Western influences'
TIME: Prison Sentence for Pastor Shows China Feels Threatened by Spread of Christianity, Experts Say
|Children's Day Monday, April 4, 2022|
For today's post I was going to write about St. Tigernach of Clones and as a play on words talk about how he is the patron saint of cloned animals and persons, however, I wasn't in the mood for deciphering Gaelic. Moving on to plan B, today is Children's Day in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong) and the Republic of China (Taiwan), when children receive a day of reprieve from factory work and mining. While most of the world observes Children's Day on June 1, including the rest of China, these two industrial powerhouses which have complicated and delicate connections to the People's Republic of China moved it to April 4, placing further tension on relations with China. In Taiwan, it is called "The Combined Holidays of Women's Day and Children's Day" or "Women's Day, Children's Day Merger Holiday," whereas in Hong Kong it is called the "Day Before Tomb Sweeping Day" or "Ching Ming Eve." Although it is not actually a day of reprieve from factory work and mining for children or women, it is generally believed by the United Nations that it should be, of which neither is a member, but both are represented collectively by China (UN General Assembly Resolution 2758). Taiwain is a democratic nation that allows freedom of religion and has a 4% Christian population, while Hong Kong is communist but still allows relative freedom of worship with a 16% Christian population. I say "relative" because the practice of Christianity in China is controlled by the government, which recognizes around 45 million registered adherents over age eighteen, although there is an underground Christian movement in China of an estimated 20 million to 100 million unregistered believers.* The officially atheist Chinese Communist Party wants no organization in mainland China owing allegiance to foreign influence. There are three sanctioned Christian organizations in China -- the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church (no ties to the Vatican), the China Christian Council, and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches -- all overseen by the United Front Work Department through the State Administration for Religious Affairs, which elects religious leadership, manages interpretation of all religious doctrine, and controls all religious publications including the Bible.*Estimates are based on estimates and therefore only an estimated estimation.
|Sisterhood of Martyrdom Sunday, April 3, 2022|
On this day in 304 A.D. sisters Agape, Chionia and Irene were ordered by Roman Emperor Diocletian to be burned alive in Thessalonica for refusing to eat food sacrificed to heathen gods, for refusing to deny Christ, and for possessing Christian scriptures. Irene was killed by an arrow through the throat after being sent to a brothel from which she escaped while Agape and Chionia were burned to death along with other Christian women. Now here's a hymnal in their honor from the Greek Orthodox Church: Apolytikion, Plagal of the First Tone: "Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strengthen the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man." Kontakion, Third Tone: "O Most fair Chionia, divine Irene, and Agape, ye are mirrors glittering with spotless virginal brightness; and ye shine like unto lightning upon the whole Church with the splendour of your contest as valiant Martyrs; and ye drive away the darkness of pain and sickness as brilliant gems of Christ God." Idioktisia, Chant of Possessorship: "The content on this page is under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder. Amen." There is more detail about their ordeal here.
|Reverend Henry Budd Saturday, April 2, 2022|
Today we remember Henry Budd (1814-1875), the first Native American ordained an Anglican priest, who ministered to the indigenous peoples of Canada. Originally born as a Cree named Sakachuwescam, he was later baptized by Anglican missionary John West and attended the Church Missionary Society school in the Red River Colony of Manitoba. He translated the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into the Cree language and pastored a mission at The Pas, located at the confluence of the Pasquia River and the Saskatchewan River, where the Henry Budd College for Ministry is now located. Here is a passage from Reverend Budd's diary:(1870) April 28, Thursday. At 9 Oclock this morning I left the Moose-Lake Fort and started for the Poplar-Point to look for the people of that Trading Post and baptize their children. As it was all downstream we came on rapidly, and reached the Poplar Point in the evening. Here we came to a Camp of Indians, but Oh what wretchedness we witnessed! The poor people had just brought some rum from a Free Trader close by, and they were more or less intoxicated with it, already and they kept on going to this Trader and getting his rum for a few Muskrat skins. In a short time there was such a noise in the Camp, the poor creatures howling, and yelling so savagely that we tho' some hundred yards from them could scarcely hear each other talking. I could do nothing this evening with all this noise, but had to defer the Baptisms to a later period.
April 29, Friday. In the morning while the Indians were all quiet, I had an early morning Service with the people at the Post, and got their children baptized. After toiling all the day we came upon a Camp of our own people just as the sun was disappearing. When the Indians knew that our own suppers were over, they all came to our fire and collected themselves for the evening prayer. I read a portion of a Chapter from the New Testament to them, and enlarged upon it. After singing a hymn we all kneeled down to prayer. What a contrast, I thought, to the howling and yelling of the Moose Lake Indians the other night. Here is peace and quietness, prayer, and praise, ascending up to the God of heaven; praising his holy Name because His mercies are new to us every morning and his faithfulness every evening. What has made such a difference? "Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" Rom. IV.7. Surely the Gospel of Christ received in the truth and love of it. It is all of free Grace and mercy that the Devon Indians have been led to receive the offer of mercy; and this is what makes all the difference. These have received the Gospel of Christ, and the others have rejected it.
The Diary of the Reverend Henry Budd 1870-1875 (pages 63-64), Volume IV: Manitoba Record Society Publications,
|April Fools Friday, April 1, 2022|
Today it is customary to play a prank, then tell the hapless victim that they are a dumbass or just say, "April fools!" This dates back to the beginning of the world when God made the red-lipped batfish as a possible sign of evolution, an ongoing gag through the ages. Typically this blog is a place for me to break away from the seriousness of the Christian faith at my own website, Holier Than Thou, and make light of anything and everything while still remaining informative and relevant. So here's a brief list of random momentous pranks from this day in history: