New Blog

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Present Matters has been a great little place for me, but I feel like I’ve moved on from it’s original purpose. Plus, I’m trying in general to reorganize DualRavens into something a bit less Winchester House. I’m not ready to close the doors here quite yet, but I will start doing a little more writing at my newest blog. Wander over to the Ravens. It’ll be my primary place for talking about most stuff. Plus, I’m trying out a look, but it’s not quite done and I’d love to hear how it works for folks.

the goings on

considerations, personal, theology, writing No Comments »

Been quiet here. No real reason. The calm before the storm? Quite possibly.

I haven’t been neglecting writing. This is the project of my past week, an interaction between Jurgen Moltmann and the Emerging Church.

in case you missed it

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I journaled for the last two weeks over at Barclay Press.

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Merry Christmas!

Bathroom reading

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More evidence the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by a bunch of Essenes.

Odd evidence.

Tabor and Joe Zias, an Israeli paleopathologist, were part of an international team that studied soil samples outside of Qumran, an ancient settlement in the West Bank.

“The evidence shows conclusively that the area was a toilet,” Zias said in a news release, adding later, “These things had to come from human feces.”

as long as we’re at it

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Happy Alaska Day!

More from Gran McConnell

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“Soft,”Mrs. McConnell contemptuously refers to the present generation. “They can’t compare with the boys and girls I knew. Imagine a flapper with seven children to support. The world is full of weaklings.”

Eliza McConnell at 100

In case you can’t read the newsprint, here’s the text from the March 1926 article:

Just Hard Work Says Woman Who Did It

“Work. That’s the secret of being a centenarian,” yesterday declared Mrs. Eliza McConnell 810 East Forty-fifth Street, who will celebrate her one hundredth birthday anniversary Monday. And when Mrs. McConnell says “work” she means just that.

In the days when Cynthia, Indiana was a straggling frontier settlement, Mrs. McConnell and the other women would help the menfolk plow the field and clear the forest with axes, after the washing and household chores were finished. Mrs. McConnell was married and had nine children. When her husband was killed in the Civil War she was left alone to do the farm work and care for the children.

“Soft,” Mrs. McConnell contemptuously refers to the present generation. “They can’t compare with the boys and girls I knew. Imagine a flapper with seven children to support. The world is full of weaklings.”

Mrs. McConnell laughed at the modern housewife who requires servants.

Imagine what she’d think of us? I need to get to work.

Christianity, Hard Work, California

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That’s the secret to longevity, apparently.

A few years ago, well maybe a little more than that, a local newspaper had an article on one of my relatives — my great-great-great grandmother.

Here’s the article, from 1925 in what I think was the LA Times.

Eliza McConnell

“If I want coffee three times a day — and I frequently do — I have it.”

Words to, literally, live by.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where she lived when she was such a ripe old age, here’s a map:

my great, great, great grandmother’s home 1926


More from Gran McConnell.

voices from the past

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Mona lisa, mona lisa, men have named you
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only cause you’re lonely they have blamed you?
For that mona lisa strangeness in your smile?

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Well, now it seems she’s a little less cold. Now you can hear what she sounded like. Some Japanese researchers examined her facial structure and made a recording of Mona Lisa’s voice. Of course, there’s no English to be found on their website, so read more about this feat here.

In more recent news

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The Vatican had this to say about violence against Christians in the Middle East:

“If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us,” Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State (prime minister), told journalists in Rome.

“We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts,” Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the daily Corriere della Sera.

I agree with the stance, but I can’t help but think Polycarp was a lot more rousing to the faith with what he had to say.

Somehow I don’t think “We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities” is going to go down as famous phrase of Christian martyrdom.

“Hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and you shall hear them,” as Polycarp said is a bit more impressive.

Though Polycarp did get burned alive, and that’s not something good for anyone, even if it does make for a good sense of duty in the rest of us.