Unintended Consequences

The election of Donald Trump has already led to unintended consequences, whether it be Neo-Nazi’s saluting Trump in Washington D.C. or a Trump victory parade planned by the KKK.

Nothing surprising, though – Europeans and their descendants have excelled at creating unintended consequences for a thousand years.

The following comes from Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, originally published in 1957, and quotes pages 66-69 in my copy.

In each captured city the Tafurs looted everything they could lay hands on, raped the Moslem women and carried out indiscriminate massacres. The official leaders of the Crusade had no authority over them at all. When the Emir of Antioch protested about the cannibalism of the Tafurs, the princes could only admit apologetically: ‘All of us together cannot tame King Tafur.’

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Seems Applicable

I’ve listened to much analysis of Trump’s win and while looking for something else ran across the following passage from Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, originally published in 1957. The following comes from pages 87-88 in my copy.

This seems to echo the idea that voters were discontent and willing to push for change at whatever cost:

But not all strata of society were equally exposed to traumatic and disorienting experiences. As we have seen, amongst the masses in the overpopulated, highly urbanized areas there were always many who lived in a state of chronic and inescapable insecurity, harassed not only by their economic helplessness and vulnerability but by the lack of the traditional social relationships on which, even at the worst of times, peasants had normally been able to depend.

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Goldilocks Christianity

These two tweets have been rattling around in my head for a little while now:

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God Knows

God Knows, by Joseph Heller, is written in the voice of King David at the end of his life, as a kind of memoir. Entirely fictional, obviously, Heller’s book has the kind of humor you find in his well-known Catch-22, although it is most funny if you’re familiar with the Biblical account of David’s life.

Adding to the farcical effect, Heller’s David knows historical figures and events far after his lifetime and, in a particularly nice touch, cites the King James version of the Bible rather than any Hebrew translation. This is put to particular comic effect in an exchange between David and Jonathan as they puzzle over a phrase as rendered by the King James Bible translators. I think this challenges assumptions about the Bible in the same way that Heller challenged assumptions about war and humanity in Catch-22. As a Jew, I think Heller has more license to challenge Jewish history with humor such as when he has Solomon telling David that he got a particularly good deal because he “Jewed them down.”

It isn’t all farce and humor, though. King David also considers the consequences of his decisions, from Bathsheba to the death of his son Absalom to the feeling that God had abandoned him later in life.
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God and baseball

Over at Defeating the Dragons, Samantha wrote a post in which she settles on God as a football coach to explain her faith.
With God as football coach, she writes, humanity is the team which carries out His divine directions but He is not an active participant in the game of life.
This works pretty well insofar as God doesn’t intervene to solve all our problems because humans, Christians in particular, are supposed to be representing God and following his ‘playbook.’

Here’s why it doesn’t work for me, although I want to be clear that this isn’t meant to recruit her or anyone else over to ‘my side.’ This is merely semi-coherent thoughts from my perspective. Continue reading

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Female Teachers Who Seduce Students

I keep track of The Thinking Housewife as a reminder that racism, sexism and religious intolerance still exist – pretty much the exact opposite of Libby Anne and Samantha.

One of the posts there was titled Female Teachers Who Seduce Students, wherein a reader asked

what explains the recent phenomenon of female schoolteachers who engage in sexual intercourse with their teenaged students?  This phenomenon started, as best I can remember, with Mary Kay Letourneau in the late 1990’s.  But in the past four or five years the trend appears to have really picked up steam, and each day seems to bring a new scandal involving a female teacher and a male student.  Why do these women do It? What are they thinking?  What is motivating them?

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Assorted tidbits about marriage

What do you know, Matt Walsh is wrong about marriage. I think listing subjects about which he is right might make for a less cumbersome list.

Anyway, so Libby Anne responded to Walsh’s post exhorting people to get married young. As is usual, my attempted comment started running into multiple volumes and so I decided to throw things here. The following is a collection of historical bits from various books I have read over the years and the sum paints a picture of marriage that doesn’t…quite…jive…with Walsh’s assumptions. I’ll add more as the spirit so moves me and I find new tidbits. Continue reading

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