Showing posts from 2008

book report: Samson Occom - marriage sermon

In light of the current debates on the definition of marriage in our country these days, I found Samson Occom's marriage sermon to be refreshing, if we forget his opposition to marrying "down", to Africans that is, but by the pictures in this edition of Love's biography, marrying "up", to whites, seemed frequent enough to make the Brothertown elders in Green Bay, Wisconsin look like my white neighbors today. Regardless, this journal entry of his regards 2 Indians marrying. When I got up, I spoke to them Some Time upon the nature of Marriage, the Honourableness and Lawfulness of it, whereby we are distinguished from Brutal Creation: Said Some of the first marriage in Eden & of the Marrage where Christ and his Disciples were invited and the Honour he did to it by working the first mericle he wrought in the World in turning water into Wine and then we prayed,... p.251 I enjoy the point that marriage is one way we are distinct from "Brutal Creation.&qu…

another atheist commends Christian missions

No video this time, but a quote from British columnist and atheist, Matthew Parris of the Times (UK) who writes from his experience of growing up in Malawi and recently revisiting. He's convinced that Christian missionaries are needed in Africa for the well being of Africans. Is he racist? Or is he observing the difference between a theology of pantheism and monotheism? But he isn't calling for Muslim expansion in Africa. So it's not just monotheism that changes the world. Perhaps its the Holy Spirit, something Parris has no language for since he denies a God, moreso a God in three persons, a Triune God, who sends his Spirit to abide with his people.
Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take…

a healthy organization

A friend who blogs at Member Care muses on organizational health and lists these 10 qualities of an ideal organization.
1. Mutual respect among staff
Is this enforceable? It sure would be nice to be respected by everyone at my job but I'm also guilty of not respecting everyone, especially of those who, I perceive, are cheating the system.
2. Fair pay/compensation
My department frequently complains about promotions they don't agree with.
3. Opportunities to make contributions
I think I have that
4. Opportunities for advancement and personal growth
I think I have that, but it really depends on your supervisor
5. Sense of purpose and meaning
This must be hard in retail
6. Management with competence and integrity
Dilbert would not be so popular if this were common
7. Safeguards to protect individuals (staff and customers) from injustice
8. Responsibility for actions: owning mistakes, not blaming others or covering up
Now this is where I only see Christians doing this and not all of them. …

book report: Samson Occom by Love 1899 - abolitionist

Samson Occom was a complex man. He was highly accomplished, intelligent, gifted and full of the Holy Spirit. Regarding human rights, opposed slavery but also opposed miscegenation of Indians and Africans. His biographer in 1899, W. DeLoss Love, wrote
We may as well just here make record of this Indian's opinion as to slavery. At that time most wealthy families in New England held slaves. The ministers very commonly had one or more lacks as servants in their households, and the servant class being then small they could hardly do without them. Doctor Wheelock himself [Occum's Christian mentor], in 1757, paid ₤50 for a negro, "Ishmael" by name, whom he bought from William Clark of Plymouth, Mass. The Indian of the full blood generally despised the negro and such of his own race as would marry among them. It was Occom's opinion that such marriages wrought degeneracy in both races. At the same time he had a warm sympathy for the slave, whose estate was not always pleas…

Brothertown Indians

I finished the biography of Samson Occum by Love yesterday and will have a bunch of quotes over the next few days. I was looking for the location of the first Brothertown in New York state and came across a great site of someone else's research into Brothertown from the final home of the Brothertown Indians in Wisconsin. His summary of their history is helpful. He writes, Brothertown was officially founded on November 7, 1785. “We now proceeded to from into a Body Politick-We named our town by the name of Brotherton, in Indian—Eeyamquittoowauconnuck” (Occom 1785). Unfortunately, the Brothertown Indians did not escape some the land issues that they had moved west to avoid. Euroamerican land speculators and settlers placed constant pressure on them to sell or lease their new lands (Love 1899). In an effort to protect the Brothertown Indians from losing their lands, the New York state government appointed commissioners to advise the tribe and passed laws that forbade the sale/lease …

U2 - I Believe in Father Christmas

for unto us a Child is born


Husbands in the doghouse for Christmas

An hilarious ad suggesting the only safe present for wives this Christmas is highly compressed carbon. HT: The Jolly Blogger

I know I've put up too many videos lately, but they are easier than composing every day.

what makes an atheist respect a Christian?

from Penn of Penn and Teller, the magic duo

Homebrewed comedy 1990

I'm the one with the mullet.

book report: Samson Occum by Love 1899 American Indians and the "lost tribes" of Israel

I knew Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Latter Day Saints, believed that the Indians were "missing" Israelites. I also knew that he was not alone in this belief in the mid-18th century. But then, while reading Jeff Siemers great blog, Algonkan Church History, he mentions in the post The Hope of Israel how Puritan missions to the Indians were partly motivated by this theory as well. His blog also has motivated my latest choice from the library shelves, Samson Occum and the Christian Indians of New England by W. DeLoss Love, 1899.

I am enjoying this history, especially the foibles and failures of minsters, both English and native, that are not unfamiliar to our times and seasons. One of these weaknesses is false motivation for good purposes, including redeeming these "lost" Israelites. John Eliot, apostle to the Indians founded separate villages for Indians to get civilized in the English way. Love writes, The experiment at Nonantum had not been two years under w…

Bikes for missionaries

Last year I linked to a story about a woman evangelist in North America who bikes and preaches. Today, I received in the mail an opportunity to provide bikes for missionaries in India through a ministry I support, Gospel for Asia. Perhaps some of my readers would like to bless a South Asian evangelist with a bike.

recumbent riding respite

My recumbent bike is not responding well to this winter's road conditions, not like last winter. In last week's ride in the low teens Fahrenheit a brake cable and a shifter froze up and would not move, even after WD-40 treatment. I keep the bike in a garage, so it isn't protected from the temps. When I got to work I brought it inside to warm it up. That resulted in my front tire deflating. Fortunately, I had a spare tube. Not 10 minutes into the ride home, in the afternoon when it had warmed up to the 20s, the cables re-froze. I didn't ride for the rest of the week but Monday morning I went out to the garage, the temps were then in the upper 50s (hear, hear, global warming) and the bike's repaired front tire was flat again and the rear brake was stuck in the engaged position. Time for the Trek 7200 commuter. Despite the uncomfortable post that I had to adjust to sitting on, and wrist pain, I do have to commend the quality of the components. Although the Trek has ha…

Love as a filter

Guy Muse, missionary/blogger, shares a love quiz and muses,
As we approach a new year, I intend to use the "love factor" as a filter for everything we decide to do. Before embarking on yet another busy schedule, does the activity encourage a greater love for God? Are we really loving others in a way that they "feel" loved?
Make sure you visit his blog and take the quiz.

Cinema review: The Nativity Story(2004)

I enjoyed Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider and I enjoyed her presentation as the virgin Mary, Theotokos, in The Nativity Story. Not only was the movie well acted but also lushly filmed. The best part of the movie was the focus on the all the earthly, human issues surrounding the pregnancy of a betrothed adolescent of excellent reputation and her honorable husband-to-be and the political issues of Deliverer-expectation during the reign of a homicidal paranoid despot. Theology is not delved into. The movie has no qualm with taking as truth the appearance of angelic messengers and prophetic dreams, which is good. The timeline is compressed, as happens in most movies, for the sake of keeping the story moving along. It assumes a Protestant back story, Joseph is not a widower with children from the first marriage. My only complaint is the appearance to the shepherds did not include a heavenly choir. It's a great movie to complement your preparation for Christmas.

book report: Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular

I thought I'd give another children's book from Thomas Nelson another chance, even though I didn't enjoy my previous choice. This new book is for older children. It's full title is Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks, by Nowen N. Particular a.k.a Marty Longé. If you want the short review, don't bother. It has potential, it's almost funny, but it's not one a parent would enjoy reading aloud to a child. My 13 year old daughter did find it fun, but she also saw my furious notes in the margins when I got to the really bad middle part of the book.

What was really bad in the middle of the book? Stereotypical American Indians, the Hopontop tribe who were circus Indians that traveled around the country doing crazy circus tricks with names such as Chief Knife Thrower and the Fire Diver, Flaming Arrow, and Dark Cloud the Magician. How would it fly if he set the story in the South and wrote about an African American village who ran a circus and had dumb names? But i…

Help refugees resettle in Providence RI

My friend, Keith, helps refugees resettle in the Providence area. Part of that effort involves learning job skills. He and my friend Geoff have hit on the idea of selling granola made by these folks. You can order the granola by mail, and even subscribe for a monthly delivery. Please consider making a good ethical Christmas purchase and visit the Providence Granola Project.

Cyclist pulled over by Traffic Cop!

Groton, CT (UMN*) Dec 5, 2008
"I was so busted," said cyclist John Umland. "I'm coming down this sweet hill to a 5 street intersection, and pass this long line of cars, of which, at the head, was a City of Groton Police SUV waiting at the red light. I don't run this light indiscriminately, I always check. And I didn't think the cop could even see me in my low recumbent or care if he did. But, he cared."

Friday afternoon, an unidentified CIty of Groton Police Officer, pulled over the brazen cyclist. "I asked him if he knew running a red light was not allowed. He got smart with me and claimed he was a pedestrian on two wheels. I reminded him that cyclists have to obey all the rules of the road like any vehicle driver, no exceptions. He seemed humiliated. Plus, he had alot of gray on his beard, so I figure he's old enough to be losing it a little bit, so I let him go."

Umland added later, "Inertia is a precious gift that keeps giving if you…

Lee Grady's take on Lakeland in hindsight

Great editorial by Lee Grady of Charisma magazine. Todd Bentley is still in sin with an intern/nanny, still seeking to divorce his wife, hasn't seen his kids since July, and, obviously, remains unaccountable. Grady says the lessons are: Accountability from the beginning, teams not stars, Sabbath, character matters more than gifting, don't cheer to quickly, and repentance as a reliable sign of revival.

Cinema review: Bolt (2008)

I just got back from the theater with my new-qu-leer family where we saw Disney's latest, Bolt. I have two words and then some, "loved it." We all laughed. I might have laughed harder than my kids, but not because of any innuendo. This movie is clean. But it's really funny with especially endearing moments. Love your pets. Don't abandon them. Watch out for the pigeons. Don't over-indulge your guinea pig. Don't lose hope. Keep your priorities on people not success.

image source, Croatians in America

Culture and Christianity

My religious friends of the progressive persuasion like to accuse unnamed brethren on the conservative persuasion of co-mingling their faith with their patriotism, see here. However, those of us who have been around recovery circle know the expression, "whenever you point at someone, there are 4 fingers pointing back at you." No one is out of their culture, we are, hopefully, learning to wear our heavenly citizenship more and more and our earthly stuff less and less, except for the earthly stuff that is in agreement with the heavenly stuff. In light of this, this author sounds interesting. He writes, Here is my question: if in every age the church has benefited and suffered from its engagement with culture, should we expect that our postmodern age is any different? Our postmodern context rightly reminds us of the biblical concern for humility, social justice, and care for the poor. But postmodern Christians can be so humble that they mumble, and they can be so focused on soc…

Grace and works

“In the New Testament, religion is grace and ethics is gratitude.” - Thomas Erskine

From Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox

Thanksgiving break 2008

I'm planning on being computer free for the holiday break. I have some posts scheduled, but if you leave a comment it probably won't show up until I get back to approve it. I had to go back to moderating comments after the pornographers showed up. I don't want any pornography here, but I will take people who stumble here looking for pornography, as I want them to be convicted of their sin. For those looking for porn I recommend the XXX Church.

For the rest of my readers, Happy Thanksgiving.

the Hitler meme re-made for the Emergent Village

I've seen probably a half-dozen of these now. The ones during the presidential primaries were a riot. Andrew Jones linked to this one today. It's funnier if you watch a few of these and if you know the names and current history. I love when Hitler calls Tony and Andrew "brothers."

Pilgrims and the others

A new book by an author in my area, "In his book “Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America,” Hanover author Glenn Cheney describes Thanksgiving as it surely was in that rough beginning of America."

I'm interested in this account of how their Christian beliefs affected their relations with the Wampanoags.

And while the common assumption is the brave Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom, only 40 of the 140 passengers were actual separatists. The rest were there to try their hand at fortune, their passage paid for by investors.

Christianity, Cheney said, seemed to have a role in the Pilgrims’ ultimate acceptance by the American Indians because during one tense moment that followed an earlier skirmish, they put down their guns and met the Indians, who had the advantage of being on top of a hill, armed.

“They turned the other cheek, giving these savages a chance, and the savages did the same; they put down their bow and arrows and met them,” he said. “It was a …

Thanksgiving history

We have much to be thankful for. When our world crumbles around us, we still have things to be thankful for. The Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts in the winter. They were aided by the Wampanoag tribe members. But they weren't the most pleasant guests. The resident Indians were recovering from the the devastation of the plague. Squanto was the last surviving member of his tribe. The Pilgrims survived on corn buried by the recently killed tribes. The plague changed everything. I highly recommend this link. I am quoting liberally from it but there is more to be had there by James W. Loewen. The Black Plague does provide a useful introduction, however. Black (or bubonic) Plague "was undoubtedly the worst disaster that has ever befallen mankind." In three years it killed 30 percent of the population of Europe. Catastrophic as it was, the disease itself comprised only part of the horror. Thinking the day of judgment was imminent, farmers failed to plant crops. Many people gav…

Church diversity: good or bad?

I expect better from Philip Yancey. He disappointed me in today's CT essay Denominational Diagnostics. He writes, In his great prayer in John 17, Jesus stressed one request above all others: "that they may be one." The existence of 38,000 denominations worldwide demonstrates how poorly we have fulfilled Jesus' request. If he really believed this then he would repent and join an Orthodox Church or a Coptic Church, since they are the closest to pre-division era churches. But there are reasons churches have calved off from earlier versions. It's usually because the parent church has calcified or drifted from truth or affiliated itself to closely to the world or its ways. The calving often will bring reform to the parent church.

I think we are blessed to have a diversity of churches in our towns. A monopoly is never healthy. Diversity is healthy. In fact, he claims that it is important for him to belong to a diverse church. Just like some of us like McDonald's and…

book report: The Moon Shines Down

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my favorite books to read to small children, especially at bedtime. My youngest just turned nine so those days are long gone in my household.
I enjoyed so much the rhythm, cadence, and meter of that book. It just rolled off the tongue. I recently received a “lost” book of Ms. Brown’s for review, titled The Moon Shines Down. The introduction states that this book is based on the New England sampler prayer,

I see the moon
and the moon sees me
The moon sees the somebody I'd like to see.
God bless the moon
and God bless me
God bless the somebody I'd like to see!

Unfortunately, the publisher felt the manuscript was “too short for a standard size picture book,” so they asked a fan of Ms. Brown’s to fill it out. The introduction continues that the supplemental author, Laura Minchew, was able to capture “Brown’s unique rhythms and rhyme schemes.” “Unique” is an adequate euphemism, because the rhythms and schemes are wooden and out of sync …

winter biking in November

Connecticut is having a bit of a cold snap, a global-warming-denying cold snap, to put a finer point on it. I don't expect 23F morning rides until February. Yet this morning it was that cold and it may still be below freezing when I ride home. I'm not as dedicated as Jill in Alaska who can ride cold and wet, or the Iditarod race by bike, but I can ride cold. I thought I'd list my gear for these rides.

Cotton/poly t-shirt
2 layer poly long sleeve shirt
zip up fleece
anorak wind breaker

leg tights- spandex
cotton sweat pants

two pair of socks

double layer gloves

thin balaclava
thin knit cap
ski goggles

neck sock

Actionbent Recumbent us Jet Stream 2. All the cables on my bike were frozen. Both gear shifters and both brakes needed loosening. In fact, the front shifter refroze towards the end of the ride. On the other hand, I sweat in all these layers. The layers are good for the strong north wind and times when I'm at a standstill. When I'm climbing hills, I'll st…

complementarianism and spouse abuse

Dan Wallace, who is also a reluctant complementarian, writes,A friend wrote to me recently, asking why I haven’t written anything about wife abuse on Parchment & Pen. She urged me to do it because, according to her, complementarianism is rich soil in which to grow this kind of wickedness (she’s an egalitarian).

His words are good for any husband, regardless of his theology.

Top 10 diet myths

WebMD has a new article on recent findings presented at the American Dietetic Association this week. Here are the myths, but you'll need to read the article for the explanation.

Myth: Eating at night makes you fat.
Reality: Calories count, whenever you eat them.
Umblogger: Great, I enjoy a snack after the kids retire for the evening.

Myth: Avoid foods with a high glycemic index.
Reality: You could use the glycemic index to adjust your food choices, but don't make it your sole strategy for losing weight or controlling blood sugar, Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: I avoid those sugary foods unless they are laying around the hallway at work, then all bets are off on my self-control.

Myth: High fructose corn syrup causes weight gain.
Reality: "There's probably nothing particularly evil about high fructose corn syrup, compared to regular old sugar," Rosenbloom says.
Umblogger: As I've told some friends, fructose is fructose, which is natural. HFS is concentrated. However, I enj…

Algonkian Church History

A new blog right up my alley has started this month during National American Indian Heritage Month. I am looking forward to many posts in the future from Jeff Siemers at Algonkian Church History.

The Advent Conspiracy

What would Christmas look like if we did it like Jesus did and gave ourselves to those who won't appreciate it, won't thank you for it, and won't reciprocate for it? And I'm not talking about your mean uncle. Consider the gift of clean water.

HT: Justin McRoberts

November is national adoption month

James tell us that pure and undefiled religion that is acceptable to God cares for widows and orphans. One way to care for orphans is by adopting them. November is National Adoption Month.The issue, of course, occurs worldwide. Please also see the Cry of the Orphan.

free blog psychoanalysis

According to Typealyzer, the Umblog belongs to an
INTP - The ThinkersThe logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Folded Homes

Haven't come across new yurt designs in awhile, until today. Folded Homes offers small single or double walled plastic yurts with windows and doors. Their answer to space needs are connect another yurt. At $1200 a yurt, its not the cheapest solution, but I like these as a way to occupy a remote piece of land. It's lightweight and easy to assemble. The double wall, which the owner fills with whatever insulation material at hand, addresses the noise concerns I have about yurts.

Update: See comment from company representative in the comments section...

Thank you Veterans

As I rode my bike in this morning, I observed the traffic was really light. Then I realized, today is a national holiday, Veteran's Day. Thank you veterans for your voluntary service. Thank you veteran families for sharing your dear ones with the nation. Thank you veterans for standing in harm's way. Thank you.

Jesus and Old Testament rape law

How's that for a title?

I promise that I will connect the dots by the end of this post. My thoughts started when I read this before church today. One friend reminded me that for almost 20 centuries of church history, Christian theologians regarded women as inherently inferior to men, prone to deception and perhaps not fully sharing in the image of God. Be patriarchal if you want, she said, but do not bother trying to soften the blow by calling it equality. Those conversations opened my eyes. I had downplayed the Old Testament passages that treated women as property, spoils of war, or trophies for victorious men. I had not noticed that Deuteronomy 22 orders rapists to be fined and then given their victims in marriage. It's by a seminary professor, Bob Pyne, who describes his switch from believing in gender roles in church office (complementarianism) to gender equality in all church roles (egalitarianism). I can say I've waffled on this over the years. I'm currently a re…

Persecuted Church in India

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. I have a special concern for the church in India, which is experiencing "religious cleansing" in some of its states. Here are links to some stories of recentatrocities and an open letter to President Bush from national religious leaders.

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

For more than two months, Christians in seven of India's states have borne the brunt of repeated waves of violent and deadly attacks that have left scores of people murdered, communities and churches destroyed, and tens of thousands of people homeless. The situation demands a strong and urgent American response to a strategic democratic global partner such as India. As has been well documented, the violence erupted following the tragic attack on a charismatic Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others, which led to their deaths on August 23. Although a radical Maoist …

Crazy ducks!

Here are our three Indian Runner ducks. This is their abode and pen. They live behind chicken wire, in a dog house filled with straw, and, at night, behind a board held against the opening with cinder blocks to keep the coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons out. We feed them in the morning and afternoon and we keep their water bowls full, but not clean. I think they like it dirty. We bought them as big handfuls a few months ago, hoping we'd get all girls. No one is laying yet, still too early, but the big duck has a curled feather at his tail, which usually indicates a non-egg layer. These ducks belong to my children, one for each, but I end up doing alot of their pen and house maintenance.

I must admit I enjoy it.

My grandfather came east from an Iowa farm, and I must be feeling my heritage when I'm slinging a little bit of hay around. The beautiful weekend past enabled me to get them in better shape for winter. I dumped out the dirty hay. I put a pallet underneath their house, a…

McCain and Fey on SNL

Gotta give them credit for embracing SNL.

book report: Bitterly Divided (5) by David Williams

This is the last one, I think. David Williams in his book Bitterly Divided about the secession of the South and the divided loyalties of Southerners concludes with observations and predictions. Southerners had shown their displeasure at the polls in 1863 but is it that simple to agree with the speculation that if there were 1865 elections in the South, the bums would have been kicked out of office? (p.247) If fraudulent politics were needed to get some states to secede, would honest election results have been released that sought reunion?

I did enjoy the short summary of how the rich planters restored their esteem by those who fought on their behalf by creating the myth of the Lost Cause. The Old Order moved to shore up its image as well through a post-war pop-culture movement that came to be known as the Lost Cause. With white supremacy its creed and Robert E. Lee its Christ, the mythological Lost Cause became something of a religion for most white southerners, romanticizing the Sout…

book report: Bitterly Divided (4) by David Williams

In my penultimate installment of this book report on David Williams' Bitterly Divided , about the rebellions in the rebellious South, I'm happy to report his coverage of the involvement of native Americans in the Civil War conflict. November is national American Indian Heritage Month. Please click the link if you never knew that. The tag at the bottom of this post will bring you to the posts I made last November with a focus on Native American history. I have a few books in the queue already focused on Native-American/Anglo conflict in the 17th century. By the start of the Civil War, most tribes had been kicked out of the South and were told to live in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, the Union focused all their energy on the war and stopped promised funding and support for the tribes. This provided opportunity for the Confederacy to come and seek treaties. The tribes wanted to be neutral but that wasn't an option. To most Cherokees assembled at Tahlequah, the path of wisdom seemed…

book report: Bitterly Divided (3) by David Williams

As David Williams in the book Bitterly Divided tells over and over again, a Confederacy based on secession will struggle with ever smaller secessions. A big issue was desertion in the Confederate army. In April 1863, a brigade commander in the Army of Northern Virginia told General Lee that his regiments were being reduced by desertion far more quickly than they ad ever been by combat...By late 1863, close to half the Confederate army had deserted and, according to one soldier, half those desertions were caused by depressing letters from home. Less than a year later, President Jefferson Davis publicly admitted that "two-thirds of our men are absent...most of them without leave." p.106
In response to resistance within the Confederacy, the supporters resorted to terror, lynching and kangaroo courts that turned out executions. In February 1863, pro-Confederates slaughtered 180 peace men in central Texas for no other crime, wrote one Texan, than "loving the flag of Washingto…

book report: Bitterly Divided (2) by David Williams

Proclamations of secession were not roundly well-received in the Southern slave holding states, as noted by David Williams in the book Bitterly Divided. Some in the Alabama hill country pushed for annexation by Tennessee, where secession had been voted down. Others thought the region should form its own state and ask for admission to the Union. James Bell of Winston County reasoned that north Alabama counties could certainly leave the state, "for they have the same Right as the state had to secede from the united states." After a Union rally in Huntsville, one worried secessionist wrote that the possibility of a new "state of Nickajack to be formed by the counties of North alabama and possibly by adjacent counties of Georgia and eastern Tennessee, looms large." p.38The secessionists did not like seeing their logic brought to its conclusion. Hence, they forced secession on southerners by back handed tactics, force, and intimidation. In fact, existing records from th…

book report: Bitterly Divided (1) by David Williams

This book report is a little different for me as a blogger. I'm pulling quotes before I've finished the book. There is such a wealth of anecdotes that put to death the "Lost Cause" mystique of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War by David Williams wants those who think the Lost Causers make a legitimate case to hear the whole story from the letters and newspaper accounts of those who lived and suffered under secession.

Even before secession, some Southerners saw the writing on the wall regarding slavery and its effects on the South. In The Impending Crisis of the South, published in 1857, [Hinton Rowan] Helper argued vigorously that the "lords of the lash are not only absolute masters of the blacks...but they are also the oracles and arbiters of all non-slaveholding whites, whose freedom is merely nominal." Slavery, Helper pointed out, existed for the benefit of only a very few. Its existence kept most white…

cinema review: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a great film. It was made in 2005 by Chinese director, Yimou Zhang.

I have a fondness for foreign films. I find comfort in the familiarity of our common humanity across cultures. The theme in this movie is the broken relationships between fathers and sons and the redemption sought for that brokenness. The title is also the name of a Chinese folk mask opera about a hero who travels 1000 miles to rejoin a close friend. The opera serves as the metaphor for the movie. As a Japanese father tries to soften his dying son's heart, he travels to China to finish a project of his son, who filmed the folk operas. The man he wants to film is also separated from his son, only a child. The Japanese father connects with the Chinese man's son in a way he never did with his own son. He also softens the heart of the boy's father, who had never seen him and languished in prison. The Japanese son, when he learns of his father's endeavor, also warms to …

book report: A Great and Noble Scheme (6) by Faragher

John Mack Faragher mentions my former hometown, New London, a couple times in his book A Great and Noble Scheme. When the English commenced the ethnic cleansing of L'Acadie/Nova Scotia of its French Catholic inhabitants, they didn't have a place to send them except anywhere but there. Hence, they decided to force them on the lower 13 colonies, including Connecticut.
The exiles on the Edward reportedly came down with malaria, and by the time the vessel docked at New London, Connecticut, in May 1756, nearly one hundred had died. Dove, one of the vessels assigned to pick up the last contingent of inhabitants from Minas in December 1755, was apparently lost at sea - at least there is no record of its arrival in Connecticut. Out of the nearly seven thousand Acadians who boarded transports at Chignecto, Minas, and Annapolis Royal in 1755, the best estimate is that roughly one thousand died in transit. p. 372Of course the colonies were not excited about receiving unwanted refugees. Th…