Archive for March, 2011

Maybe Kaya Henderson just can’t admit she was wrong

The continuing story of Hardy Middle School

Whatever the reasons for Pope’s removal, Hardy is still searching for a permanent replacement, Pope is currently serving as the principal at Savoy Elementary and Chancellor Kaya Henderson continues to resist calls for his return to Hardy.

4th mov’t to “Reformation” Symphony

Goodbye basement angle, you will be missed

Lorenda Starfelt 1955-2011

My favorite psalms, hymns and Bible books

The 100th Psalm is my all time favorite, although the 121st is a close second.

My all time favorite hymn is We Gather Together (old lyrics, not New Century Hymnal).

I also like A Mighty Fortress is Our God (old lyrics, not New Century Hymnal).

Other hymns I like are Holy Holy Holy (I also like the Schubert Holy Holy Holy), Blessed be the Tie that Binds, There is a Balm in Gilead.

The Book of James is my favorite book in the Bible, but I also like Matthew, esp. the Sermon on the Mount, Exodus, Esther, Amos, and Micah.

The Magnificat is my favorite Bach choral music, but I also like the Christmas Cantata and the Christmas Oratorio and the Easter Oratorio.

My favorite Choruses from the Messiah are Behold the Lamb of God and Worthy is the Lamb. Other Handle Choral music I like are See the Conquering Hero and the Entrance of the Queen of Sheba.

Religion in America

Towards the end of his book, The Reformation, Diarmaid MacCulloch asks why America remains so religious while church attendance has plummeted in Europe. My answer is that America is peculiarly a nation of religious refugees. Most of us are, to one degree or another, descended from people who placed such value in religion that they were willing to pull up stakes and emigrate rather than conform to the state sponsored church in their native country.

Also, because from almost the very beginning America had freedom of conscious, Churches had to take responsibility for attracting members and building their church. They could not look to the state for sponsorship. This produces a much more energetic clergy.

Right now religion in America is part of the moral crisis that faces our country. Why is America more interested in starting wars oversees than it is in providing health care for its own people? What is it about religion in America that remains silent in the face of state sponsored torture?

Over the past four decades a cabal of billionaire bullies have, with reptillian single mindedness, worked to subvert every institution in America society to such effect that we have now lost our ability to self correct.

I don’t know if MacCulloch deals with this in his series on Christianity, but he would do well to turn his attention to it. For to the extent that American churches encourage imperial hubris, they actively endanger world peace. Is MacCulloch familiar with the work of Sheldon Culver and John Dorhauer? Has he followed Howard Ahmanson’s assault on the Episcopalian church? Or Scaife’s assualt on the Methodist Church? Does he know about the C Street Family or Opus Dei?

Diarmaid MacCulloch The Reformation

I am just finishing Diarmaid MacCulloch’s The Reformation. It’s great. He completely demolishes Weber’s and Tawney’s theory about Protestantism and the rise of capitalism. Few things are as satisfying as watching a historian demolish a widely accepted theory, even if it is one of your favorites.

MacCulloch is a truly witty historian and provides plenty of comedic relief, which is so important when you are dealing with a subject like the Reformation. His history is comprehensive, as it includes the Reformation in central and eastern Europe. I was previously unfamiliar with the Reformation in Poland and Transylvania, I had just assumed that it never got that far east. This is also the best history of the 30 years war that I have read, althought that might reflect more on my limited reading than anything else.

MacCulloch brings out and explains the back and forth between the various reformers. Previously I had no idea that Strasbourg had played such a crucial role in the Reformation.

MacCulloch also gives us a glimpse of what life during the Reformation must have been like for ordinary people with he detailed looked into ideas about death, magic, and sex.

One thing he explains is why anyone would put up with, never mind be attracted to strict Calvinism. This is something that I have often wondered about, as like MacCulloch, I am descended from Huguenots. People in the 16th Century did not have the same assumptions about personal freedom as those of us who inhabit 21st century America. They did yearn for order in a disorderly world and Calvinsim provided that in spades.

MacCulloch is also the only Reformation historian with which I am familiar who credits music with the spread of the Reformaiton. Previously I had never heard of Clement Marot; now I plan to research his music. I wonder if anyone has recorded it?

UPDATE: Kevin Drum was not impressed. He should have skipped ahead to the section on the United States, which I suspect he would like. The Reformation is a huge subject, is simply must be covered at length at with some detail. Drum might prefer Preserved Smith’s Age of the Reformation, which is organzied by country, and then a series of chapters on the times of the Reformation, arts and literature, science, economics, and so on. I am going to write about Smith’s book later.

Earthquake Tsunami blogging

Tsunami graphic with travel times.

Blogging from Japan (in English).

Twitter feed from Japan.

Earthquake List for Map of Asia Region