Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Love & Separation

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Family, History, Uncategorized

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A Sack Full of Love: Local artifact to be displayed in new Smithsonian museum

When I read the story linked above, tears streamed down my face. I cannot imagine the anguish this mother and her daughter felt at this forced separation. I am away from my family on business. The anguish I feel at parting, the heartache I experience just being a way this short time is, I’m sure, nothing in comparison.

I was raised to believe in the intrinsic value of every human life. To trade in humanity as property unthinkable.

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I really wish churches would stop singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was not written by a Christian and is not about the Second Coming of Christ.

The writer of the lyrics, Julia Ward Howe, was a not a Christian, but a Universalist. The song is not about the second coming of Christ but was about the Union army (the army of the Republic of the United States – thus the name) getting ready to crush the Confederacy. It is a Civil War song. Mrs. How was a raging abolitionist (something which I can applaud) and saw the conflict between north and south as the great Battle of Armageddon.

Verse three is blatantly non-Christian:

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal

Gospel means good news, not death by bayonet. Grace is unmerited favor or receiving what we don’t deserve, not reciprocity. This is a very unchristian song.

I can understand why (though still disagree), at the time, Christian people concerned about abolition of slavery would take up this hymn, but why have we forgotten the source and nature of the hymn?  Why do we insist on singing this “hymn” which came from no Christian source and, despite the biblical allusions, neither edifies the believer nor makes much of God?

I really do wish we’d stop singing this song.

Sometimes Hate is Good

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Faith, History, Life, Politics

Recently I saw a picture on Facebook which stated, “Don’t hate that which you don’t understand”.  My first thought was, “Don’t assume someone doesn’t understand that which they hate”.  Sometimes hate is justified and the more we know of a thing the more we ought to hate it.  Let me give you two examples, one from history, and one current.

Personally I believe that Nazism in general and the Nazi regime in particular are deserving of our hatred.  Both the philosophy and manifestation of that philosophy either directly committed or caused to be committed unspeakable atrocities, not only against the Jewish people but minorities of all kinds, devout Christians, mentally and physically handicapped, anyone who spoke out, etc.  Hate is an appropriate emotional response and the more one learns about the Nazi regime and the policies they enacted and atrocities committed, the more one’s hatred ought to grow.  This hatred helps to safeguard against such a thing happening again.

Currently in our time we are dealing with a global epidemic (would that then be a pandemic) in Human Trafficking.  Again I would argue that hatred is an appropriate response.  This hatred ought to spur us on to activity.  This is not simply an academic history lesson, but a current concern.  This is something we can and must do something about now.  My sister’s church is actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.  Not simply taking up special offerings and mouthing words of support, they are active in their work to help stop it.  Looking from the outside, I would say that their fight against this evil is second only to their concern for the lost – and the two passions tie together very well.  Not hating this evil leads to complacency and traps people in a living hell.

I absolutely hate that children all over the world are starving to death.  In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths were due in some way to hunger and malnutrition.  My hatred for this situation causes me to petition and write letters to various government officials, encouraging them to work to end this.  My hatred for this situation causes me to devote financial resources to supporting children through Compassion International (Word Vision is another great child sponsorship organization).  My hatred for this situation causes me to volunteer time to help pack food with Feed My Starving Children.  My hatred for this situation causes me to try to convince other people to join me on this crusade.

Support is not clicking a “like” button or forwarding an email.  Support means to bear all or a part of the weight of something, to give assistance to something or someone, etc.  It means putting your money, time, energy and other resources where you’re mouth is.

It is good to hate evil.  Do not assume I do not understand that which I hate.  Ignorance is not the only cause of hatred.  Sometimes a healthy dollop of knowledge produces a healthy measure of hatred.

Historical Fiction

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Books, History

History is one of my favorite subjects. I read once that history is biography and I certainly enjoy reading a good biography. Recently I read “10 People Every Christian Should Know” by Warren W. Wiersbe. It’s a great little book of mini-biographies to give the reader a sort of appetizer. Wiersbe includes bibliographical information in the event a reader wishes to read more on a given historical figure in Christian history. I also enjoy reading historical fiction, but I’m kind of picky about it.

I prefer to read fictional stories set in historical settings as opposed to fictional stories employing factual characters. I don’t mind the appearance of historical figures as cameos or extras to lend credibility to the setting, but I don’t like it when they become part of the story itself. It really chaps my hide to read in a story an event or description which is incorrect. Unless the reader is really up on their history they won’t know where fact ends and fiction begins. I like history, and I like fiction but I don’t want to have to try to figure out which parts of the story are fact and which are fiction.

If a story or book is going to include major historical figures I’d prefer it to be an altered history where there is no possibility of confusion

Recently I was at a pastors conference during which a guest speaker used the word “niggardly.”  This upset several people and the tension in the room shot up several degrees as the denomination I belong to is one that prides itself on being sensitive to minorities of any stripe.

It’s unfortunate really since the word “niggardly” has bears no relationship (other than an unfortunate phonetic similarity) to the infamous, “N-word”.   (more…)

Where Are They Now

Posted: April 28, 2011 in History

There is (or was – I no longer have TV) a show called, “Where Are They Now” which revealed what celebrities of the past are doing doing now.  With few exceptions I don’t really care about “has been” celebs.  Cultures – now that’s a different thing.

Throughout history cultures have constantly been overwhelmed or subsumed by larger or more powerful cultures.  However, there are a quite a few cultures which have mysteriously vanished.  They accomplished some amazing feats, then disappeared.  I love a good mystery.

So, what are the Top Ten Civilizations That Mysteriously Disappeared?

I Learned About Rupert Today

Posted: March 25, 2011 in History

I learned something new about World War II today.  Apparently the allies used “paradummies” during the D-Day invasion.  500 Paradummies, constructed of burlap and straw or sand and made to roughly resemble the human figure, were dropped over France in an effort to confuse the German soldiers and divert troops away from the real drop zones.  To further confuse things they included chaff and rifle fire simulators to make it sound like the Germans were being fired upon by these artificial paratroopers.  Two teams of British SAS (Special Air Service) soldiers also dropped with these dummies (nicknamed Rupert) to spread further confusion.