November 20, 2017

Saturday Brunch, October 14, 2017: Random Edition

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for some brunch?

You know what I really love about a good restaurant brunch? Well, one thing is that you can eat as much as you want and no-one cares. It’s not like lunch. You can’t order two sandwiches for lunch. You can get a side (chips, fries, an okra smoothie) but only one sandwich. But brunch has no quantity limitations. Brunch is unlimited, man. You can go back for more bacon till your blood has the viscosity of Crisco. It’s all good. The other thing is that brunch has no rules about the menu, either. Oh, sure, it should have some eggs of some kind, and probably a breakfasty meat. But it’s mostly free-range. You can put most anything on a brunch: waffles, cod, mashed potatoes, tacos. And you never know. It’s totally random.

All that to say that today’s brunch is much more random than normal. There’s some serious stuff. A couple jokes. A few odd sayings I’ve run across. Weird pictures. Some videos. There is no theme, here. It’s BRUNCH, baby!!

I’m the guy in the sweet hat

After new allegations emerged that he had engaged in decades of sexual harassment, Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein was fired Monday from his firm the Weinstein Company for violating the company’s very strict 3,000 strikes and you’re out rule. This after the New York times finally published some of the details of Hollywood’s worst kept secret. Then New Yorker upped the ante by publishing a shocking story (that NBC had spiked) of at least three women raped by Weinstein. Hurricane Harvey was like, “Dude, you’re giving me a bad name.”

Cheezburger Image 9085266944Students at Oxford University banned the Christian Union from a freshman fair to protect lonely new undergraduates from “harm” and accused Christianity of being “an excuse for homophobia and neo-colonialism”. Leaders of the student union at Balliol College, which was founded by a bishop, prevented the Christian Union (CU) and other religious representatives from attending the fair.  The pushback demonstrated British understatement, I thought: The Rev Nigel Genders, the Church of England’s chief education officer, said: “Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental principle that underpins our country and its great institutions and universities. Christian Unions represent some of the largest student led organisations in many universities across the country and to exclude them in this way is to misunderstand the nature of debate and dialogue and at odds with the kind of society we are all seeking to promote.”

The trailer for The Last Jedi, the penultimate episode of the Star Wars saga, was released Monday night. And yes, I did post this so I could use the word “penultimate”.

My brother has the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from the Indianapolis zoo.

An essay defending colonialism has been removed from the journal Third World Quarterly: “The essay, ‘The Case for Colonialism,’ was withdrawn at the request of the journal’s editor, Shahid Qadir, and in agreement with the essay’s author, Bruce Gilley, an associate professor of political science at Portland State University, the notice said. The publisher said that it had conducted a thorough investigation after receiving complaints about the essay and found that it had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal’s editorial policy. However, the publisher’s notice continued, the journal’s editor received ‘serious and credible threats of personal violence’ linked to the publication of the essay.”

I Know I’m One Of The Biggest Busts In Nba History

Monday was Columbus Day. Did you notice? I didn’t until my son called and wished me, “Happy xenophobic, racist, incredibly lucky, colonialist-who-started-genocide Day.” Or something like that. As I said, Columbus Day was not on my radar screen [it seems to be the “don’t ask, don’t tell” holiday], so it took me awhile to decipher this greeting.

I have no need to defend the man. But the National Review did give some pushback, questioning the origin of the denigration he now faces, and its accuracy in light of the historical context:

But it is not just communists who oppose Columbus. Here, in the United States, the anti-Columbus movement was sparked by white supremacists nearly 100 years ago. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan promoted negative characterizations of Columbus in order to vilify Catholics and immigrants, many of whom celebrated Columbus not only as a source of ethnic and religious pride but also as a symbol of the free and diverse society that resulted from the European presence here. The Klan tried to prevent the erection of monuments to the Great Navigator, burned crosses in opposition to efforts to honor him, and argued that commemorations of his voyage were part of a papal plot. Rather than honor a Catholic explorer from the Mediterranean, Klansmen proposed honoring the Norseman Leif Eriksson as discoverer of the New World and a symbol of white pride.

The modern conception of Columbus as villain is, of course, incredibly simplistic — as is the opposing conception of Columbus as unblemished hero. So too are silly depictions of the native tribes as peace-loving people whose state of harmony was shattered only by the arrival of the Spanish. In truth, the 15th century was a time of great brutality the world over: Some Spaniards did, indeed, commit atrocities. Some of the native tribes desired war with the European explorers; others routinely engaged in human sacrifice and cannibalism. Slavery at the time was practiced across the globe (most notably in Africa, Asia, and the Arab world). But, on balance, the Spanish treated the native people more humanely than did their other European counterparts, and arguably more mercifully than many of them treated each other. …In a world where slavery and barbarism were commonplace, it is remarkable that Columbus’s goal remained trade and evangelization of the natives, not conquest or elimination, and that he punished (even executed) those who abused natives against his express orders.

Thoughts?

 

Cheezburger Image 9085269248

Good to see Friedrich Nietzsche got a job writing for CNN:

A recent bill passed by the house would limit legal abortions to the first 20 weeks; In the bill’s description, it made the claim that only 6 other nations in the world allowed abortions after that time. The Washington Post did some research to see if that could possibly be correct.

This [claim] seemed a bit surprising, so we looked into it. And it turned out, it’s backed by data.

There are 59 countries that allow abortion “without restriction as to reason,” or “elective,” or “abortion on demand.” These are countries where the letter of the federal law does not impose specific eligibility requirements for women. The other 139 countries “require some reason to obtain an abortion, ranging from most restrictive (to save the life of the mother or completely prohibited) to least restrictive (socioeconomic grounds) with various reasons in between (e.g., physical health, mental health),” the report says.

Only seven of the 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, the group found: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The study also found that of those 7, only North Korea, Vietnam and China have no limits on abortion at all. The US and Canada do not have a federal limit, though some states and provinces limit legal abortions (anywhere from 12 to 24 weeks), while the Netherlands and Singapore restrict abortions after 24 weeks (allowing them only in certain circumstances). So out of almost 200 countries, the U.S. and Canada are certainly outliers on this issue. Surprised? I certainly was.

Don’t borrow trouble. Be patient and you’ll soon have some of your own.

The last privately-owned Leonardo da Vinci painting, a portrait of Christ, will go on sale in November. If you’ve got $100 million tucked away in your mattress, this could soon be hanging in your man-cave:

Don’t ever crack open an avocado seed; there is a tiny man inside. His name is Greg. If you set him free then you have to take care of him.

Meme about Mexican pinata being like a Trojan horse.

In defense of comments: “Earlier this year, The Financial Times found that its commenters are seven times more engaged than the rest of its readers. The Times of London revealed recently that the 4 percent of its readers who comment are by far its most valuable. ‘You can see the benefits in terms of engaging readers and renewing subscriptions,’ Ben Whitelaw, head of audience development at the Times and The Sunday Times, told the online news site Digiday. When an organization moves these communities onto Facebook, it is handing over everything to the big blue thumb: all of the readers’ data, the control of the moderation tools, control of the advertising, even the opportunity to manage subscriptions — and all in a place where people are more likely to comment without even opening the article.”

Cheezburger Image 9024844032

Commentary Magazine had some interesting news:

 The transgender movement is at war with the English language. With a new set of style guidelines, the Associated Press has joined the trenches—on the transgender side…In a series of tweets on Tuesday explaining the changes first promulgated earlier this year, the AP’s editors contended that ‘gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics’ and admonished writers to ‘avoid references to being born a boy or girl.’ The venerable news agency also endorsed the language- and prose-disfiguring use of ‘they/them’ as a singular pronoun. It even left open the door to more exotic made-up pronouns such as ‘ze’ and ‘zir.’ Tuesday also saw the AP introduce a new rule: Instead of the expressions ‘sex change’ or ‘transition,’ writers are to use ‘gender confirmation.’ This was a deep kowtow to the transgender movement, which believes that physicians don’t alter anything essential or fundamental when they perform a sex-change operation: Caitlyn Jenner was always Caitlyn Jenner. The operation merely confirmed this ontological fact.”

Also this, which should greatly trouble anyone who believes in something as old-fashioned as free speech:

A Canadian bill passed this summer restricts “discrimination” on the basis of gender “expression.” That provision, proponents hope, will lead to “monetary damages, non-financial remedies . . . and public interest remedies” for those who dare use a non-preferred pronoun. (And yet, they insist, the bill won’t trample free speech.) California has enacted similar legislation.

We’ve started a new outreach ministry at our church: spray-painting Bible verses on city buildings and bridges. We call it evandelism.

It’s been a while since it’s rained potatoes. I guess that’s a good thing.

A man who’d been living in a Philadelphia church for nearly a year to avoid deportation to Mexico has walked free. Xavier Flores Garcia left the Arch Street Methodist Church last Wednesday (Oct. 11), surrounded by his family. Garcia took sanctuary in the church last November, when he was to report for deportation. He says he plans to stay in Philadelphia, and that he is entirely sick of communion wafers. This does raise an interesting question: Should churches provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants? If so under what conditions?

I, for one, like Roman numerals.

Pope Francis has issued his strongest statement yet against the death penalty, calling it “contrary to the Gospel.”

The Pope made his comments in an October 11 speech to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. “The death penalty is an inhumane measure that humiliates, in any way it is pursued, human dignity,” said Pope Francis. “It is, of itself, contrary to the Gospel, because it is freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred,” he added. “In the final analysis, God alone is the true judge and guarantor.”

While recent Popes have criticized the death penalty, this is the first time a Pope has advocating officially changing the church’s teaching. Church Doctors like Augustine and Aquinas, as well as Pope Pius XII, has always viewed capital punishment as a legitimate form of protection of the public from immediate danger and as a legitimate punishment for serious crimes.  Aquinas, in his classic defense of capital punishment in the Summa Theologicaargued that “if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.” Professors Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette have argued that if the Pope were to teach that capital punishment is inherently immoral, then he would be “contradicting the teaching of scripture, the Fathers, and all previous popes, and substituting for it ‘some new doctrine.’”

Francis, of course, is aware of all this. I found his defense very interesting, but felt it also raised a lot of questions.

Tradition is a living reality and only a partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static. The Word of God cannot be conserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket to be preserved from parasites. No. The Word of God is a dynamic reality, always alive, that progresses and grows because it tends towards a fulfillment that men cannot stop.”

This “law of progress” appertains to the peculiar condition of the truth revealed in its being transmitted by the church, and does not at all signify a change of doctrine. One cannot conserve the doctrine without making it progress, nor can one bind it to a rigid and immutable reading without humiliating the Holy Spirit.”

That sounds reasonable. But certainly some questions can be asked about this. For example:

  • What if a later Pope returns to an endorsement of capital punishment? Is that still progress?
  • If not, why not? What is it, exactly, that we are progressing to, and which Pope gets to determine that?
  • Isn’t the claim that the Church’s doctrine should change and progress itself a theological claim that should also change and progress? Or is it that part static and immutable?

Well, obviously these things are above my pay-grade. I put them out here as fodder for healthy discussion.

Well, that’s it for this week, brunchers. I leave you with Bobby Pickett weirdly singing The Monster Mash on Dick Clark’s show from October 13, 1964. Enjoy.

 

Comments

  1. The viscosity of Crisco or Lard is 1,000,000-2,000,000 centipoise. Whatever that is. But whatever it is, blood is only 10, while water at 70F registers somewhere between 1 and 5 – figures which are at least mathematically consistent with the received wisdom.

    One has to think the Crisco/blood viscosity ratio of ~100,000 stridently militates against excessive consumption of fried foods. But I find I still want a donut nonetheless.

    http://tru-flo.com/Technical/viscosity_chart.pdf

  2. Christiane says:

    LOL . . . . using that enormous ‘Trojan Horse Pinata’ to smuggle Mexicans into the States . . . . I can see it happening

    Donald Trump might believe it . . . .
    ( he seems to be a right gullible soul, having once been goaded by a comedian into actually providing ‘proof’ that he, Donald Trump, was not the offspring of an orangutan. You cannot make this stuff up)

    Actually, using a pinata to smuggle someone has already been tried:
    http://legacy.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/metro/20041112-9999-7m12pinata.html

  3. eye 41 like Roman numerals II

  4. Bacus ball?

  5. A Canadian bill passed this summer restricts “discrimination” on the basis of gender “expression.” That provision, proponents hope, will lead to “monetary damages, non-financial remedies . . . and public interest remedies” for those who dare use a non-preferred pronoun. (And yet, they insist, the bill won’t trample free speech.) California has enacted similar legislation.

    Thus, the rise in popularity of a Canadian named Jordan Peterson…

    • Josh in FW says:

      Peterson is great. He has a seat of lectures going through the stories of the Bible. It’s fascinating to listen to a psychologist analyze these stories. But the two videos I enjoyed most are a discussion on the Joe Rogan show with Bret Weinstein and a discussion with Camille Paglia. I think the discussion with Paglia is my favorite so far.
      https://youtu.be/v-hIVnmUdXM

  6. What is this strange heresy that you speak of, Daniel? Okra smoothie?
    (And yes I know what Summa Theologica says about them so don’t you try to bring it up…)

  7. I get the idea that Pope Francis is a progressive.

    • flatrocker says:

      I get the idea that Pope Francis is serious about the sanctity of life – from conception to natural death and all points in between.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Yep. Which given human history requires one to be a “Progressive”.

        • flatrocker says:

          Actually, it requires one to be “Radical”
          And radical in the more classic sense: a return to our source and origin, i.e. our center point. Our radix if you will. Embracing the fullness of the sanctity of life is such a simple and enormously provocative principle. Pope Francis is doing a great service in reminding us of this. Living as if all life is a treasure of immense importance is a great unifying force – possibly the greatest.

          It’s all about recognizing the holiness. And that’s pretty radical.

    • senecagriggs says:

      Sadly, serial killers don’t share the Pope’s view of the sanctity of life [ though they certainly share his view that they not be executed as they executed others.]

      • So only the merciful should receive mercy, then?

        “Use every man according to his deserts, and who’d escape whipping?”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Remember, Evangelical Christians are some of the most pro-Death Penalty types you’ll ever find.

          • Christiane says:

            well, given the ‘judgemental’ personality types drawn to fundamentalism, I guess that fits, yes.

            I’m sure that there are personality ‘profiles’ for evangelical-fundamentalists which back up the average opinion of people who, when you say ‘fundamentalism’ think ‘Westboro’

            ‘Gun owners’ who must ‘control others’ seems a hypocritical group, when you think about it. A strange lot in my opinion, although I do actually TRY to see into the thinking . . . . but it is so far from my sensibilities that I’m not sure I CAN understand them. No harm in trying. Can’t hurt to listen, at least. (?)

      • A great conservative argument AGAINST capital punishment is that it cost more tax payer money (~10x more) to convict and execute than to convict and imprison for life.

        http://onforb.es/1o5mEBQ

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          It’d cost a lot less if we just outsourced it to ISIS.
          They’re not squeamish about it at all.

        • Christiane says:

          Good argument for them with $$$$ signs in their eyes.

          I am sensitive to the feelings of victims’ families, so I won’t judge them harshly if they prefer the death penalty for the culprit.

          Maybe none of us knows how we WOULD feel, if the victim was of our families. In principle, I oppose the death penalty on religious grounds, being Catholic; but my heart sees victims’ families as people with the gravitas to have an opinion that is authentic to them, seeing what they are going through with heavy grief.

          It’s a mess.

  8. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > to more exotic made-up pronouns such as ‘ze’ and ‘zir.’

    … verses the not-made-up pronouns? Personally, I *LOVE* the idea of a gender neutral pronoun – think how much that simplifies things! Just as “Ms.” replaced “Miss” & “Mrs” – because the writer very rarely cares, or knows, if a woman is married or not – it was a hassle. For 99.44% of anything whatever someones gender/sex/identity is is not relevant; so why reference it? Gender in language is an inefficiency.

    gender/sex/identity is a familiar aspect – know to people who **know** the person. To everyone else that person is ‘just’ a person – note that we have the word “person” which identifies a … person … regardless of age, race, creed, citizenship. “Person” is ruthlessly generic; a pragmatically genius device.

    Aside: I do not accept that person necessarily even demands “human”, although that is clearly the most common use-case. It is more anything that can recognize it is being talked to or about.

    • Damaris Zehner says:

      Kyrgyz has only one pronoun for third person singular — “al.” When I first learned the language, I thought I would have a hard time figuring out who people were speaking of, but it actually was never a problem. However, that formation doesn’t guarantee a more enlightened view of gender. Kyrgyz culture is desperately sexist, up to and including bride stealing. So for the sake of convenience, a single pronoun is a good thing, but it won’t of itself force a more open-minded attitude in speakers, despite what some advocates insist.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        “””Kyrgyz has only one pronoun for third person singular”””

        Cool!

        “””but it won’t of itself force a more open-minded attitude in speakers, despite what some advocates insist.”””

        Certainly! My love for the idea if fueled entirely by pragmatism. Even the design of computer interfaces is simplified by jettisoning the irrelevant parameter of the user’s gender|sex|whatever.

        You’d be hard pressed to find someone less sympathetic to Identity Politics [IP] – I mean, seriously? Someone looks out at the world and **that** is the thing that fires their furnace? Drippin’ with privilege much? But I also don’t get the angst about Political Correctness [PC] either; that is equally stupid. These two “sides” are kit-n-kin, two partners in the same inane dance. I am happy to use whatever pronoun someone prefers so the conversation can go back to substantive issues: education, clean water, clean air, transportation, economic equity, criminal justice, housing affordability, human trafficking, … If someone wants to be referred to by the pronoun “spivak”, fine with me, it is a silly thing to care about; IP & PC are both swatting at flies while dragons circle overhead.

        • Spivak is a good choice. Hadn’t thought of him in years. Charlie Spivak was a great trumpeter and band leader. Thanks for reminding me.

        • https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-politics/

          I have no idea what many people have lodged in their brain as the definition of “identity politics”, but it’s basically the collective term used to describe the mass civil rights movements that began in the latter half of the 20th century. It’s only those “drippin’ with privilege” who can afford to dismiss the ways marginalization and oppression impact *other* people’s lives (assuming they really consider them people at all).

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            That is a historical definition, just as some people still defend “Evangelical”.

            That is not what IP means anymore, not on the street where it matters.

            iP shuts down conversation, and disables the ability to negotiate chances in policy – that can actually help marginalized people. IP denies the common humanity of people which is the bedrock of civics. IP says “you cannot understand me”. IP leaves us with little more than a shouting match.

            • Unfortunately, among a significant part of the populace, charges of racism similarly shut down conversation, and are said to be meaningless because supposedly overused as criticism of any opposition to progressive positions and pieties. Yet, racism still exists in systemic ways, and deforms our national life. But just try to talk about that beyond the horizon of the already convinced.

            • Christiane says:

              Are people now running from ‘Evangelical’ in the same way that people wanted to run from the ‘Southern Baptist’ label?

              I saw that Dee, one of the moderators of TWW has declared she is now a Lutheran as well as an ‘evangelical’.

              What are the stats showing about people wanting not to be ‘labeled’ evangelical? Is is partly because they are now heavily identified as ‘Trump supporters’, having voted for him at 81% ???

              Or is it something else that is troubling people?

              I always liked the word ‘evangelical’ because I associated it with ‘angels’ and ‘proclamation’, but the way many have used the Bible and interpreted a ‘gospel’ that judges people to hell, I am not so sure I’m on good ground wanting to celebrate ‘evangelicals’ as people of ‘proclamation’ of the Good News.

              I think fundamentalism infected the evangelical world some time ago, and then the POLITICS seems now to be more recognizable as ‘evangelical’ than the Gospel of the Beatitudes. And forget about social justice. . . . . them what identifies as ‘conservative evangelical Christians’ seem to despise any works that might come close to social justice issues, which I find shocking being that as a Catholic, social justice issues are such a big deal, especially Our Lord’s preference for the poor.

              thoughts, scrambled . . . . late at night, or no . . . very early morning 🙂

        • Dana Ames says:

          I believe it’s “kith and kin”… (although in German the archaic “th” word endings are always pronounced with the hard “T” sound – German hasn’t had a true “th” sound for, what, 800-900 years?)

          Sincerely,
          Grammar Geek

    • Donalbain says:

      Thank you for pointing this out. ALL words are “made up”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      From the guy who’s been an SF fan since Old Testament Star Trek:

      There have been a LOT of attempts to create a third-person gender-indeterminate/neutral animate pronoun for English — hir, s/he, ze, zir, sahn, you name it — but none have ever caught on.

  9. “Werewolf?”

    “THERE wolf!”

  10. Richard Hershberger says:

    Columbus: the quoted piece is a combination of bad logic, with its argument by association (“You know who else didn’t like Columbus???”) and straw man argument (“If you don’t like Columbus, you must think that the natives were pure innocents.”) In other words, about par for the course for the National “We’re the Smart Ones!” Review.

    • Yep. The “Never Trump” issue was the Last Stand – the lunatics have now pretty much taken over the asylum.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree. My experience of the 2016 election is that a lot of genuinely interesting conversations occurred, especially around the “conservative” camp. Boy howdy is that OVER!!! Lunatics is the correct word.

        It has been deeply disappointing how many, nearly everyone, around that camp has folded so quickly and completely. However much I disagreed, I thought more highly of them than evidently was warranted.

      • Yes, the lunatics and extremists are calling the shots. Principled conservative opposition to Trump and Trumpism has gone, or is quickly going, the way of the dodo.

      • “Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, one of the party’s most libertarian members, recently said that when he realized that primary voters backed him and his fellow libertarians Rand Paul and Ron Paul, it wasn’t for their ideas. Instead, he said, “they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race — and Donald Trump won best in class.”

        Republican voters weren’t voting for any policy outcome. They were voting for chaos. And that, more than anything, is what the party has come

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Fully agreed. Columbus started ok-ish on his first voyage. By the second, however, he was a ruthless imperial conqueror – taking slaves against the wishes of the Spanish crown.

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      Once again, there should be a difference between what you tolerate and what you celebrate.

      • Yep. My mantra: Tolerance doesn’t mean I need to believe what you believe, it means I will let you believe what you believe.

        I don’t think many in the tolerance movement understand that nuance.

        • It’s part of the nature of the human beast. We gotta have SOMEONE who’s on the outs, so we can beat them up and prove how virtuous we are.

  11. Richard Hershberger says:

    “Should churches provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants? If so under what conditions?”

    I was in college during the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s. The issue then was refugees fleeing governmental murder squads in El Salvador. The problem was that the US supported that government, and while it did not strictly speaking support the murder squads, it certainly opposed any efforts to prevent the victims from being murdered. Hence the need for the refugees to seek asylum.

    In short, if your answer to the first question is “no,” you need to reassess what Christianity is. As for the second question, I don’t have a comprehensive answer, but as a baseline if the asylum seeker is facing death, then he should be granted sanctuary.

    One lingering sign of hope for our society is that our government still feels a bit queasy about busting down church doors, or at least queasy about the bad publicity that would result.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      “””One lingering sign of hope for our society is that our government still feels a bit queasy about busting down church doors, or at least queasy about the bad publicity that would result.”””

      +1,000. Hopefully we don’t lose that; might be a bit rocky in the near future.

      • Yeah but the sanctuary movement is a subset of a subset. Many church going folk in the US of A, including the majority of evangelicals, supported the Iraq War, torture, and now the expulsion of brown skinned people for any reason they can make stick. The government doesn’t have to bust down church doors.

  12. Susan Dumbrell says:

    tears are wiped away
    bright shines the Saturday sun
    praise and thanks to all

    Susan

  13. As a Christian, I can’t find a theological warrant for celebrating and honoring the invasion and conquest of foreign peoples and societies in anything Jesus said or did. It doesn’t matter that there might or might not have been a few pluses or minuses in the methodology of a specific conqueror in comparison with others; national conquest is not part of the foundational narrative given in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, nor in the advance of his Kingdom. At the very least, we as Christian citizens of our non-Christian country should support telling more of the truth about the character of colonial conquests and conquerors, and the peoples they conquered and exploited. That requires not looking at Columbus through the rose-colored glasses that have become part of the way we view our national heritage. The disenchantment around the memory of Columbus over the last few decades has been a good thing; I see no good reason why it should cease.

    • A good thing only so long as it is factual. It’s not always. Unfortunately these things are too often like a pendulum swing and a person goes from saint to devil with no room in the middle.

      • Much of it has been factual. The most important element is that what is true in the stories of the conquered peoples should be included in the overall narrative; this will invariably reshape the way we understand our national founding figures, like Columbus. And in this way, we tell the truth about our own origins, rather than feeding ourselves on falsehoods about an heroic, idealized and idyllic past that never existed, and thereby distorting our understanding of the moment we live in right now; it is these falsehoods about our historical origins that lead to misguided and destructive attempts to “Make America Great Again”. The past is never past; it lives in the present. The Church of all bodies should know this, and do its best to foster truth-telling in all human projects and endeavors, including national ones.

        • I will always be grateful that my otherwise blue-dog Democrat/blue-collar Republican dad gave me a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee to read as a kid.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          …an heroic, idealized and idyllic past that never existed, and thereby distorting our understanding of the moment we live in right now…

          This was an entire genre of popular literature in Weimar Germany:
          “Blut und Boden” (“Blood and Soil”), originally nostalgia for an idealized agrarian past like a German version of “Little House on the Prairie”. A term which got hijacked by an up-and-coming Party who (before their coup from within) positioned themselves as Guardians and Restorers of Traditional German Family Values.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Exactly Robert. What is wrong is wrong.

      • Many people in America, perhaps most whites, would rather not hear the truth about the country’s national origins, and the place violence and exploitation played in it. They would rather maintain the religious mythology, in part because it lets them off the hook, excusing them from acknowledging the place repressive violence and exploitation still play in our national life, and doing something about it. This is a fundamentalist reflex, and it is as true of the Church as of the country.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          Exactly. Even though we are only responsible for our own actions, especially as it pertains to those around us, we often buy into identity/tribal/ethnic politics so that we would rather excuse the most appalling wrongdoing, rather than call evil by its name.

          Of course, the irony is that if we we were to explore our own personal ancestry, we discover it to be complicated. I discovered I had both slave owner and slave ancestors- the latter I found only through DNA testing. The slaves likely came from Madagascar. And given the long, sordid history of racial relations in Southern Africa, it was also interesting to realise I have indigenous DNA as well – both African and South African (Khoi and San). But ironically my more immediate ancestors had the privilege of being white in that part of the world.

          Our past is complicated and messy. We cannot and should no try to excuse evil. Ours are the time and and the decisions we make.

          • White Americans are loathe to acknowledge that this country was built in large part by slaves, not free people. The ruling mythology told us that this is a nation built by free peoples. But free peoples were only part of the story; enslaved peoples were equally, if not more, a part of the story, if the story is truly told.

            • If you are white, the next time you see a Hispanic person or African-American, in vastly more cases than not, that person’s family line has been present in this country far longer than your own.

              • My family has only been here a generation and a half, so your statement definitely applies to me.

          • Burro [Mule] says:

            Many people in America, perhaps most whites, are tired of professional guilt manipulation about things that occurred in the past. There is enough to call account in everyday life.

            One of the reasons I am so in favor of reparations, despite the logistical and genealogical issues involved, is that it would be a wonderful terminus ad quem after which no further emotional leverage could be applied for misbehavior on either side, somewhat like a tort settles things. You may still hate the other guy’s guts, but you know you’ve got everything that’s coming to you.

            As for Columbus, Southern chattel slavery, etc., people blinded by self-interest did some pretty awful things back then. They do some pretty awful things now. As always, the official Church both alleviates the damages and serves as a nosegay to take away the stench. Look too closely anywhere and you won’t have anything left to celebrate.

            I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for racial justice to come to America. I live in John Lewis’ district, 5th GA. There is ample opportunity for me to practice the Golden Rule with people who don’t look like me.

            • It’s hard to get people to see something they’d do anything to avoid, WITHOUT a bit of manipulation.

            • Different stories are now being told, stories that contradict the traditional American narrative, and they are reshaping that narrative with new facts and interpretations. Those telling the different stories are not going to stop, not even if reparations are paid to them. They want to look very closely at the past, so that they can unearth stories about their own heritage worth celebrating, suppressed stories. Not you or anyone else is going to stop them; get used to it. This country was built by enslaved peoples.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Many people in America, perhaps most whites, are tired of professional guilt manipulation about things that occurred in the past.

              Which is another mainstay of Trumpism — “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I”M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!”

  14. So if the “penultimate” Star Wars is The Last Jedi, what is the ultimate Star Wars? The Really Really Last Jedi? The Other Last Jedi? Seriously The Last Jedi? The Last Jedi That’s Just After The Last Jedi? Don’t Think You’re Getting Anymore Because There Are No More Jedis?

  15. My brother was dishonorably discharged from the Marines. He was rotten to the core.

  16. Re: The Columbus controversy. Columbus Day was first created to celebrate the “discovery” of America by that Genoan adventurer, but in the latter half of the 20th Century it also became a celebration of Italo-American culture. But I’ve noticed a change in the last 20 years or so; Italian communities across the US are making less of a celebration on Columbus Day and going more toward the Feast of St. Joseph as the major celebration of Italian culture. I’m all for that move! After all, they don’t make zeppole for Columbus Day, but the Festa di San Giuseppe floats on a cloud of that wonderful pastry!

    • I’m Italian-American, and I can tell you that, when I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, we did not celebrate Italian culture on Columbus Day in any way, shape or form. Neither did any of my extended family, or any Italians I knew. I’m sure the Knights of Columbus observed it, but that observation did not penetrate any other part of Italian-American culture, that I ever saw.

      • Zeppole should definitely be included in the Saturday Brunch…

      • Dana Ames says:

        Not among us of northern Italian descent, either. Neither was St Joseph’s day made into an Italian “thing.”

        I do miss that the holidays continuing to be celebrated have been moved from their real day to Monday, e.g. Lincoln and Washington weren’t born on “Presidents’ Day” – they were born on 12 and 22 February respectively. It was so great to get days off school in the middle of the week (including Columbus Day on **12** October)! In California, we went back to school the day after Labor Day, and in a few days on 9 September we got out of school for Admission Day (CA admitted to the US).

        Dana

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Problem is, St Joseph’s Day comes two days after St Patrick’s Day, and everybody’s too hung over from St Patty’s to care.

  17. Ronald Avra says:

    Thanks, Daniel, for the Saturday brunches. Appreciate the effort you put into it.

  18. grey sky
    muted light
    necessary things

  19. Daniel, as I said last week, you have a knack for cookie’ Saturday brunch. Great mix of humor and thoughtful, sometimes even at the same time!

  20. One thing the Christian Union story, transgenderism, and Christopher Columbus all have in common is the increase in institutions imposing thought and speech on those with less power. It is against the basic nature of Western Democratic philosophy and ethics, but has been well cloaked in odd old ends stolen out of academia.

    • Hmm….hadn’t thought of that before. There is a certain “academic arrogance” in the air, isn’t there…

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Actually, I think it one a from all sides. Think of how people want to force nationalism, define protest, language, religion… it is always a battle for power. The real revelation is when we turn out backs on power politics. Reason, evidence, tolerance (another word for love), humanitarianism. Now that is not going to win elections…. Yet. But that is what it should be.

        • Power always corrupts… which is probably why Jesus counseled us to turn our backs to it whenever possible.

  21. That Other Jean says:

    That thing is not a wheelchair ramp. It is, at best, an invitation to a double hernia, even if the wheelchair you’re pushing is empty. It boggles the mind to think what would happen if there were a person in it. I don’t think even Red Bull would help. Maybe the owners could cover it in plastic and use it as a slide–up the staircase, down the slide.

  22. Heather Angus says:

    Very enjoyable (late-night) brunch, Daniel. Many thanks!