December 4, 2020

Saturday Brunch, September 7, 2019

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend.

Do you play golf? Here is a great, simple tutorial you need to watch. Actually, you need to watch it even if, like me, you consider golf the biggest waste of time since Freud.

The descendants of Kaiser Wilhelm II are suing the state to reclaim palaces and artworks: “The biggest prize up for grabs is the right of residence in Cecilienhof Palace near Berlin, site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. The Tudor-style mansion, which boasts 176 rooms, six courtyards and 55 fireplaces, was the last Prussian palace built by the Hohenzollerns. It was there that the victorious Allied leaders, US president Harry Truman, British prime minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, decided the shape of a post-war world . . . Family representatives and cultural foundations have held secret negotiations on their compensation and restitution demands since 2013, sometimes in Angela Merkel’s chancellery building.” Who you pulling for in this?

Do you have concerns about your privacy in today’s world? If not, you haven’t been paying attention. But I’m not sure the following is the way to handle it. Polish designer Ewa Nowak has created a metal mask called Incognito. The mask affixes to the front of your face to make you unrecognizable to a facial recognition tech. Each shape is connected by a strand of wire that also secures the mask. The result? Well…you can judge for yourself?

Yes, way to stay under the radar. Very incognito.

By the way, from what I understand the above “jewelry” would be illegal in the U.K. where you get a fine if you obscure your face in a public area that gets surveillanced.

Deanna Grills asked her sister to be maid of honor, and told her, “You can wear anything”. Sis took her quite literally. Image may contain: 1 person, standing, wedding, outdoor and nature

What is the essence of modernism? Disenchantment?  Gabriel Josipovici thinks so. Scott Beauchamp reviews Josipovici’s latest book.

Pinpointing exactly when this disenchantment occurred is a complex, almost impossible task. Josipovici suggests that the Marburg debate between Luther and Zwingli over the substantial presence of Christ in the Sacrament might be a milestone of creeping secularization. Luther, despite being such a firebrand in certain matters, was a solid denizen of the old world, in which God worked directly upon reality turning the bread and wine of the Eucharist literally into the flesh and blood of Christ. Zwingli found the notion laughable. By Josipovici’s definition, Zwingli was a modernist, at least in spirit. Luther was not. In literature the earliest expressions of the modernist impulse come from Cervantes and Rabelais, whose awareness of the absence of cosmic authority force their writing into comical self-referentiality.”

Well, maybe. Or maybe disenchantment has always been with us, and there is no milestone.  Or maybe the essence of modernism has very little to do with disenchantment. Your thoughts? Read the rest of Scott Beauchamp’s review here.

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Children are growing up with robots. Are we okay with that? Better question: how will growing up with toys and figures with artificial intelligence change the next generation? The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article, including this list of how to raise an AI-savvy child:

Use the pronoun “it” when referring to a robot.

Display a positive attitude toward the beneficial effects of AI.

Encourage your child to explore how robots are built.

Explain that humans are the source of AI-driven devices’ intelligence.

Guard against AI-propelled toys that presume too much, such as claiming to be your child’s best friend.

Invite children to consider the ethics of AI design, such as how a bot should behave after winning a game.

Encourage skepticism about information received from smart toys and devices.

Holding up our fish for a photo. What could go wrong?


Scholars discover unknown John Locke manuscript in St. John’s Greenfield Library: “It was a unique find; in the world of Locke scholarship, there is a fairly definitive online bibliography of more than 8,000 of the philosopher’s works, from books and treatises to notes and letters. The Reasons for tolerateing Papists manuscript was not among them. ‘It was amazing because it was obviously a Locke manuscript. There was no mistake about that. St. John’s was in possession of a very rare item even by the standards of major U.S. libraries . . . And the content was really, really interesting.’”

There's always going to be a Thomas Edison in our life, f**king shit up and then taking credit for the good stuff.

The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) has changed its position on end times doctrine. The denomination recently voted to drop the word “premillennial” from its statement of faith.

…we “major on the majors and minor on the minors.” In light of this distinctive
EFCA value of uniting around the central doctrines of the gospel, our SOF is silent
on significant issues on which we have divergence of conviction and agree to
disagree, such as Calvinist/Reformed vs. Arminian/Wesleyan views of
conversion, cessationist vs. continualist views of the miraculous gifts, believer vs.
infant baptism and the young vs. old age of the earth.

In presenting this EFCA identity we believe there is a significant
inconsistency in continuing to include premillennialism as a required theological
position when it is clear that the nature of the millennium is one of those doctrines
over which theologians, equally knowledgeable, equally committed to the Bible,
and equally Evangelical, have disagreed through the history of the church. All,
however, have agreed that Christ’s return will be “glorious”

Are GMO’s bad? That’s the wrong question, Tess Doezema argues in her review of Mark Lynas’s Seeds of Science: Why We Got It So Wrong on GMOs: “The central problem that plagues Lynas’s argument is the same one that plagues the GMO debate in general: The conceit that the battle will be won by establishing a unitary scientific Truth about whether genetically modified organisms are good or bad. This view from nowhere is impossible to achieve for an issue bound up with so many questions of social and cultural meaning, from humanity’s relation to nature, to the significance of life, to the role of markets in creating, shaping, and producing it. What ought to be genetically engineered, when, and to what ends — these are questions far broader than biologists can answer. Lynas’s book reveals how damaging the effort to pretend otherwise has been.”

It works

Despite all the differences between languages, there is at least one similarity: People use them to transmit information at roughly the same rate. Rachel Gutman explains in The Atlantic:

“In the early 1960s, a doctoral student at Cornell University wanted to figure out whether there was any truth behind the ‘cultural stereotype’ that certain foreigners speak faster than Americans. He recorded 12 of his fellow students—six Japanese speakers and six American English speakers—monologuing about life on campus, analyzed one minute of each man’s speech, and found that the two groups produced sounds at roughly the same speed. He and a co-author concluded that ‘the hearer judges the speech rate of a foreign language in terms of his linguistic background,’ and that humans the world over were all likely to be more or less equally fast talkers.

“In the half century since then, more rigorous studies have shown that, prejudice aside, some languages—such as Japanese, Basque, and Italian—really are spoken more quickly than others. But as mathematical methods and computing power have improved, linguists have spent more time studying not just speech rate, but the effort a speaker has to exert to get a message across to a listener. By calculating how much information every syllable in a language conveys, it’s possible to compare the ‘efficiency’ of different languages. And a study published today in Science Advances found that more efficient languages tend to be spoken more slowly. In other words, no matter how quickly speakers chatter, the rate of information they’re transmitting is roughly the same across languages.”

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Well, that’s it for this weekend, friends. Have a good one.


  1. OMG the poor cat !!!!!

    • Indeed. Not funny.

      • Very much agreed. It’s not a “joke,” even though it clearly was staged.

        Daniel, Why???

      • Not funny.

      • Animal cruelty.

        There, i said it.

        • To all the above, I suggest you watch the latest Dave Chappell show on Nextflix. Clearly this was an joke pic and in no way supporting or suggesting animal cruelty , although I did report a fat guy at Atby;s who was so hungry he was going to eat a horse and a woman who wanted a bird in her hand rather than leaving two in the bush.

          Thanks to Mr. Jepsen for putting a pretty good collection of off the wall thoughts for Saturday.

          Get real, there I said it.

          • Also , to all the above, I am outraged Mr. Jepsen put out instructions on how to size up a freezer to place humans in, if it is not against the law it should be. Does this not show how inhumane and callous we have become with serial killing and the freezing of the dead, usually murdered? it starts with children eating animal crackers and ends with family member in a Whirlpool Freezer. Storage should be related to in bags of ice, 12 bags of ice equal one human. These are the important issues, we must take literally.

            • randy, i have a polite reply to you that’s un moderstion ATM. it concerns real things that animal rescue people see re. animal cruelty.

              I hope you can respect POVs that are different than your own.

              Given Chappelle’s defense of some unconscionable behaviors by certain celebs in that show, there is no way in h*ll I’ll watch it. (Fwiw, i know some people who were harmed when they were children, and the area where i live was hit hard by Jerry Sandusky’s “behavior.” None of these things are even remotely funny.)

              • “Outraged”? No. Finding the content in question in very poor taste + insensitive – yes.

                You assume too much.

                /end of messsge

          • Sorry, not sorry.

            And no, i am not going to watch that – his defense of Michael Jackson against accusations of pedophilia is absolutely not OK.

            Just as what i believe to be staged content in *this* post could lesd to REAL behavior that harms animals. I am an animal rescue person, living in a state that’s infamous for its puppy mills, among other things,

            We all come from different perspectives, so i would ask you to please respect how and why thus us troubling content.

            • numo, that is fine except we have free speech due to the Constitution. We have the right to be offensive, crude , vulgar, disrespectful, mean, We also use to have market place where ideas and speech were evaluated and their worth decided. That you are not ok with anyone’s defense of M. Jackson, the pervert, is fine for you and you have the right to so state and defend your position.. As you have not seen the Chappell comedy act you are going by published reports usually in opinion pieces, which again is fine but bottom line the world does not really need your ok to practice free speech, jokes, comments, beliefs, wrong, offensive or non life threatening . You did the right thing personally , do not watch the Chappell act. You have the right to advise Mr. Jepsen about your opinion and thus bring your opinion into the court of public opinion and comments. I respect your right to free speech and the right to state it without reservation but I also have the right to disagree and so state. I support the right to burn the American Flag, I do not support the action of doing so but it is a First Amendment right. Dave Chappell is now finding out who really supports free speech and all that entails. He left to politically correct zone of self censorship that is consumed the entertainment industry. If Dave Chappell made fun of conservative Catholics, rednecks, ghetto people, trailer trash , uneducated or snake handlers, which is his right, there would not be a peep of Chappell “going to far or attacking people. The mirror does tell the truth.

              and of course , only a fool would not accept the fact that there are different perspectives and all should be examined if one so chooses but all free speech promoting different perspectives should always be respected.

              • This blig belings to Chaplain Mike, and he has no warrant to post anything in the nsme of “free speech,”

                /end of message

        • I agree numo.
          I have zero tolerance for any kind of cruelty towards humans or animals, not even in jest.

  2. senecagriggs says

    Golf: You can never win but it’s fun to try.

  3. Never mind privacy and paranoia — pair Incognito with a tinfoil hat and you have the fashion statement of the season.

    • Damn, you beat me to it. 😛

    • Actually I think Incognito is pretty cool. I wonder if it comes in pastels? It does not obscure the face in any appreciable way. It just screws with the electronics. A praiseworthy endeavor. Down with Big Brother!

      • Just a little more metal and you’d look like Magneto.

        • The last time I had my driver’s license renewed they had me take off my glasses for the picture. They said it messes with the facial recognition technology. So the state’s pic of me on file is without glasses, all I have to do to go incognito is wear my glasses (which I do at all times). Clark Kent was on to something after all.

          • My computer uses facial recognition for me to log-in, and it does a good job of recognizing my face with my glasses on AND wearing a baseball cap!

  4. Regarding disenchantment: I don’t believe it is a new phenomenon, nor have I seen any evidence that people of this era (especially if we are talking about the global human community rather than just the small section of it known as “The West”) are any more prone to it than those of others. Regarding proneness to disenchantment of the different eras, I’m agnostic, since such a determination relies on very debatable and highly speculative cultural analysis with little or no substantial scientific sociological data, since no studies of the popular psychology of earlier societies exist.

    • Plus “disenchantment” is redolent of privilege. In most times and places most people have had other things to worry about. Like not starving to death or dying from an infection from a cut or a bad tooth.

      • But in the past and now, superstition often comes into play when people feel and/or are out of control, and look to invisible forces with the power to influence events for the better on their behalf. To the degree that superstition is part of an enchanted view of the world, the poor subscribe to it as much as the privileged in any era. I think we should include contemporary conspiracy-theorizing as part of this phenomenon.

        • Plus, i really have difficulty with people inveighinh against “modernism” and “post-modernism.” The evangelicals who do so don’t seem to have the foggiest regarding what those terms mean in both the arts and culture, for one, which is where in1st encountered them and is, for better or worse, still my frame of reference.

          Also, pushing “modernism” all the way back into the latev15th-early16th, to my mind, absurd. Luther wasn’t even, by some scholars’ accounts, past the late medieval world in his thinking + superstition, and Zwingli was likely reacting to what he believed was superstition within the RCC regarding transubstatiation. I honestly don’t see either as Renaissance men, in comtrast to folks like Erasmus, who gets very short shrift among both Catholics and Protestants. More’s the pity – from what i know of him, they needed him then – and we need people like him now. (Fwiw, i personally believe in the Lutheran understanding of “sacramental union” in the Eucharist, but it’s *not* some kind of magic – it’s a matter of belief, and the clergy don’t do anything to make it happen.)

        • I have a reply that got caught by the spam filter – who knows why!

          It’ll be posted eventually, though – i let CM know about it. So please do check back. 🙂

      • I tend to agree with you that it’s largely a product of our first world gated Elysium.

        • There’s lots of such belief, that we might call superstition and certainly requires what we could rightly call an enchanted view of the world as filled with spirits capable of influencing material events, among the poorest of the poor in India, South America, etc., among hundreds of millions of people. Here, enchanted does not mean whimsically magical, but magical nonetheless, with all the ambivalence that word includes in its first definitions.

        • Hello Norma Cenva,

          I was thinking about your phrase ‘our first world gated Elysium’ and how very true this is. I was looking for some reason(s) why our country was not raging about OUR abuse of little children in camps by the DT admin for purposes of ‘discouraging immigrants who are seeking asylum’.

          Now that I think about it, perhaps that is what afflicted the poor photographer who took a photo in Africa of a starving child crawling towards a food center with a vulture ‘waiting’ behind the child. The man’s photo won a Pulitzer Prize for that year, but the photographer had taken the advice not to touch the child because of the possibility of disease, so he did nothing to help the little one. In the end, the photographer, after all the recognition for his work, could no longer live with his conscience, and ended his own life. Perhaps he was, like so many in our own blessed country, harmed by the experience of being ‘at one remove’ from his own humane nature because he had been touched by the frost of living in a ‘first world gated Elysium’?

          Is that what is wrong that our country has not risen to confront our own government’s OPEN abuse of the asylum little ones?

          in the end, has our ‘first world gated Elysium silence’ not harmed us more, or were we already too far gone?

          what does God ask of us? if we are called to ‘respond’ to God, to act in some way because He asks it of us, then I think it must be that we are called to be loving beings . . . does this ‘save’ us? or might it have saved that poor photographer who left the sick child crawling towards the food center a quarter of a mile away?

          • Just as the NOAA can rewrite National Weather Service weather history to meet the standards of a Sharpie wielding lying Chief Executive, the DHS can eventually do the same regarding those held in detention. Then, in response to your concern about the children, they may say, “What children?”

    • What if one was never Enchanted with whatever in the first place?

  5. Regarding the EFCA’s doctrine change: Good choice, but that shouldn’t have been such a hard decision, or taken so long. Talk about majoring in minors!

  6. They have a robot at the Giant supermarket. It does nothing but roam around looking for spills and announcing them in a woman’s voice over the sound system, and get in people’s way. A few weeks ago, I saw a small boy, five or six years old I think, go up to the robot (which stops moving automatically whenever people are within a certain distance from it), say, “I don’t like you, Mr. Robot! I’m going to kick you!”, before his mother told him to leave the robot alone, and called him away. I think his name must’ve been John Connor.

    • And here i thought that the robotic cash regi6st my local Giant store were the dizzy limit….clearly not!

  7. a half moon
    in the cloudless sky
    reason to pause

    • Love it. I’d add “A” in the final sentence, i think, but it’s not mine… imo, it scans a bit better, but i can see why you left it out.

      • I look at most of these I write here as explorations in haiku rather than successfully completed poems, so revising is par for the course:

        half moon
        in a cloudless sky —
        reason to pause

  8. “the essence of modernism has very little to do with disenchantment.”

    These things always come in cycles. Secularist materialism can be found in Greek philosophy as well as contemporary campuses. When established paradigms fail, disenchantment always ensues.

    • This last week we had a presidential candidate, one that comes across as very personable, reasonable, and thoughtful in their public appearances, statements, and disposition, suggest that we should all neutralize hurricane Dorian by visualizing it turning away from inhabited areas and toward the open seas . Although that statement was ridiculed by many in the media and many commenters, the fact is that many, many Americans believe that such an ability is actually part of human potential, and do not consider it incredible at all. Naive superstition, religious belief, and credulity are actually hallmarks of the modern world, in which people will believe almost anything.

      • Isn’t that called prayer?

        • I guess it could be. I should not have used the word naive in the above statement, since it implies judgment, and I did not intend to judge. I’m just trying to say that I don’t see any obvious evidence that our modern age is any less religious or superstitious, or any more disenchanted, than previous ones.

          In connection with this, I’ve read recently that interest in astrology among millennials is widespread and growing.

          • Hey I have it on good authority it was the staff psychics at the WH that kept Dorian from hitting Alabama.

            Sorry folks but when they lob a big slow fat one over the plate I have to take a swing.

            • You swing, you miss! The weather forecast history has officially been altered to assure that those who dare point out that the emperor is naked will be punished!

              • but what will they do to the military brass who okayed using Trump’s facilities in Europe for transport plane stop-overs? The troops didn’t receive enough funding to cover the costs of the super-fancy facilities, so they had to pay out of pocket some also. . . . . (there’s a law? what law?)

                Trump will get off, sure, but someone is going to get it for throwing pentagon money into dt’s wallet so dt doesn’t have to face the music

                any guesses, but someone’s gotta swing for this mess, but who? the perpe-traitor? or some fall guy? looking forward to public hearings by oversight soon

                • Maybe Trump will give the military brass in question a bailout, the way he did farmer’s hurt by his trade war.

                • It is clear that he is gradually, but with increasing momentum, corrupting the institutions themselves, so that they do his bidding rather than what’s good for the country. By the end, it is possible he will turn the military, or parts of it, into his own Praetorian guard, as corrupt as any banana republic military, and as beholden to him as to any run of the mill Third World autocrat. It is getting worse, and it will continue to get worse, as long as he occupies the Oval Office.

        • A lot of people insist that prayer must be to a triune God and done “in Jesus’ name, amen,” but since we don’t understand how that works anyway, or why or when it’s effective, only that we are called to pray, I’m inclined to be generous and include “visualization” in the mix for those who don’t recognize Jesus. It may be a start.

          • Visualization can be part of prayer, depending on how it’s done. But if it’s the kind that focuses on the power of the visualizer to exactly envision the results they want, and to make it happen with the power of their own unaided mind, or of many minds focusing together, quite apart from any invocation of God, then it’s not prayer, as far as I can see, but magic. Of course, there are plenty of American Christians who visualize in exactly the way I say isn’t prayer, and call it prayer because they invoke God as they do it! And there’s always the fact that God refuses to abide by anybody’s rules, for prayer or anything else, including mine!

            • But, the word visualization doesn’t necessarily mean that st all. It can be a ps s8mple as having a mental picture of someone or something. Which all of us do, pretty much all of the time.

              I’m not much of a “pray-er” these days (still SO burned out on it from being in evangelical charismatic circles), but am finding that, if i do choose to pray for someone, just quickly recalling their face and their circumstances is about all i can handle – along with asking for help for them.

              This is quick and painless, and i have to wonder if perhaps it isn’t better for many of us that the soul-destroying “daily prayer time” that’s demanded of most evangelicals. I could never focus, would doze off, etc., and felt incredibly guilty about it all.the.time.

              If we believe that God is immanent, exactly what point is there in long drawn-out, self-defeating, guilt-inducing”prayer”? I just…. well. I’m clearly not in Kansas anymore.

              • It can be as simple….

                • As you say, numo, the word visualization does not necessarily mean that, which I actually indicated in my comment above. But in the case of Marianne Williamson, with her strong connection to the New Age movement and The Course in Miracles, I think that’s her approach and understanding. That doesn’t mean I don’t like her, or many of the things she says. She might even make a good president.

                  • Robert – well, yes, that’s a different thing entirely. I’m still not able to comprehend why she is trying to run for president.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                i have to wonder if perhaps it isn’t better for many of us that the soul-destroying “daily prayer time” that’s demanded of most evangelicals.

                “SPEND FIFTEEN! MINUTES! EVERY! MORNING! WITH! THE! LOOOOOOORD!”, in the words of the most extreme guy I’ve ever encountered on the subject. (He approached it as “Just Do This and It Will Fix Everything”.

                Which lends itself to One-Upmanship Games — “I SPEND TWENTY MINUTES!” “THIRTY!” “A WHOLE HOUR!” “TWO HOURS!” “25 HOURS EVERY DAY!”

                • An hour. A solid, guilt-inducing, soul-destroying hour. Even more if possible.

                  It wasn’t.

                • I’ll tell you what did “work” – praying through the a.m. office with other people. Totally guilt-free, and much more engaging.

                  There’s a lot to be said for both communal and liturgical prayer. Few of us Protestants know about it, sadly.

                  • don’t you pray the Lord’s Prayer in community?

                    • That’s not the same kind of thing, to be honest. Getting up early and making time with ithers for liturgical prayer + some free-form stuff is something unique.

            • Robert, as usual I agree with you, once we’ve established a few definitions. If it’s ego, it isn’t prayer.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I remember a couple historical novels by Paul Maier set in the Early Roman Empire. From what Maier wrote (and the guy was a historian), Romans of the time manifested both Extreme Skepticism (especially where the gods were concerned) and Extreme Superstition (astrology, divination, magical & luck charms) at the same time.

      • David Greene says

        Hurricanes going up the east coast often turn out to sea, it is their normal pattern. So I think their claim for success is empty and they never seem to admit failures for the ones that do make significant landfall. Or maybe they were not praying hard enough in past years?

  9. By calculating how much information every syllable in a language conveys, it’s possible to compare the ‘efficiency’ of different languages.

    How exactly does one calculate “how much information every syllable in a language conveys”? Maybe with a little hubris. Talk about disenchantment.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Linguists have a way of measuring information. There are morphemes which carry semantic information and morphemes that carry syntactic information, that show how it is being used in a sentence; as object or possession, etc. And then there is a lot of redundant information, like the correspondence of gender and number in Romance languages, which English dispenses with with no lack of information.

      I was surprised to find that some languages had more redundant information than others. In both computers and humans, the optimal ratio of information to redundancy for the transmission of information seems to be roughly 6/7, as in “six days shalt thou labor”. Any more redundancy and the signal is wasted. Any more and the receiver is overwhelmed.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        +any less and the receiver is overwhelmed

      • Okay, but again, doesn’t this overlap to a significant degree with the disenchantment of the world that is one of the items covered in today’s post? The idea that you can parse whole languages for their effectiveness, using a neutral, objective template for analysis, seems occlude the tremendous particularity of both language and meaning.

        • Correction: …..seems to occlude…

        • Burro (Mule) says

          You ignore what you can’t measure to determine the limits of what you can.

          There is enough enchantment left over in language after you’re done with the positivistic stuff. Wy do you think grammar and grimoire come from the same root?

          • I don’t have a lot of faith in most of the social sciences, including linguistics.

            • The social sciences are not exact, as you know. I think “sciences” is a misnomer in that phrase, in fact.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                And the “soft sciences” attempts to be as (or even more) rigorous and exact as the “hard sciences” (“See? We’re Science too!”) just make things worse.

                • Oh, but there *are* good researchers and profs who do really good work.

                  Let’s not throw out the good along with the questionable

                • And let’s remember that the rule “I before E except after C” has been disproved by, uh, science.

      • Great comment Burro!
        It underscores the old tried and true math dictum for any calculated result: “Simplify”.

  10. For what it’s worth, Luther didn’t believe in transubstantiation in the Catholic sense, that the elements physically become flesh and blood. But he did insist that Christ is present in the elements in a real, ontological sense that makes them more than just bread and wine.

    • Yes. It’s called Sacramental Union, and is often mislabeled as consubstantiation.

      Also, do i detect another (fellow) Lutheran commenter? 😉

    • Well from an old Southern Baptist (it’s a symbol but you have to take it literally) what does “present” mean?

      • Present in, with and under the bread and wine is one explanation from Luther’s era.. Aka Real Presence. (Somehow transcending the laws of physics and who knows what all else.) Jesus didn’t refer to the bread and wine at the Last Supper as symbols of himself. I personally believe that we can’t truly comprehend what is going on in the eucharist. It just *is,* (or not, for many of you.)

        Luther compared it to a horseshoe that had been put into the fire by a blacksmith. The heat and the onject cannot be separated.

      • transubstantiation, consubstantiation, ‘presence’, symbol . . . . .

        we are all fed in His Name
        but none of us understand the mystery of just how we are being cared for,
        even if we got the words of the theology correct, and had the ‘correct’ rite,
        we still wouldn’t understand the mystery that surrounds this ritual

        or how, if we ‘do it wrong’, the Lord can make up the difference for our sake

        • Christiane – yes, i don’t think we need to worty about “doing it wrong. ” It’s just what it is, and none of us can claim to truly what is, in essence, a Mystery (of our faith). I believe Christ is truly present no matter what one believes. If he is both immanent as well as transcendent, then he is there.

          Which is far simpler than all the elaborate arguments that have surrounded communion/the eucharist. Snd not hard to grab hold of.

          I figure that, if we can believe in a whole host of things we cannot see – like electricity, radio waves, the pull if the moon on the esrth (tides) and so much more – that it really isn’t so hard to take this whole issue as a thing very *like* (but not the same as) those things that can be scientifically proven.

          Nobody needs to “believe in” electricity in order to turn on a light. It just simply *is.*

    • The Lutheran view is so much closer to the Catholic than the Zwinglian. I do believe Luther did not necessarily disagree with transubstantiation so much as insist it was unnecessary to dogmatize the greek concept of accidents and substance as a way of defining how “is” can be “is.”

      I think Beauchamp did a pretty good job of highlighting the incompatibility of Lutheran and Zwinglian philosophical perspectives in a way that contemporary Zwinglians tend to miss.

      • Miguel, very much agreed on Luther’s thinking.

        I can’t comment on more, as you clearly know a great deal about the controversy per Luther and Zwingli. I have never been on Zwingli’s side of the fence on this one, whichmis probably why.

        Also, nice to see you dropping in here! I haven’t been around much myself, but it’s nice to at least wave at each other in passing. 🙂 Hope all is well with you and yours.

  11. senecagriggs says

    A little off topic but it is Saturday Brunch.

    Swedish lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja, who initially represented U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky, was shot in the head and chest after leaving a residential building in Stockholm.

    Personally, I believe the MOST DANGEROUS profession in the U.S. is being a Rap Star.

    The list is huge.

    • I don’t understand. Is Lilja a rapper as well as a lawyer?

      • Dave Greene says

        Apparently he was closely associated with a rapper and someone did not like that.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Another corollary of one-upmanship; specifically, what gets attracted when Rappers try to be More GANGSTA! Than Thou. It attracts the REAL Gangster and Criminal types.

          (As well as pushing the occasional Rapper into criminal behavior — up to robbing a convenience store or attempting murder — as a publicity stunt to build GANGSTAAAAA! Street Cred. (And then there’s the “More GANGSTA Than Thou one-upmanship factor…)

          In a way, it’s a specific form of the mind game “Tough Guy”, where the “gamer” hangs around REAL Tough Guys (criminal gangs being the classic example) to Show How TOUGH I Am. Unfortunately, that sort of Tough Guys can all too easily turn the wannabe into their next Victim. (Who finds out The Hard Way.)

          • Um… HUG, a lot of contemporary rappers have absolutely NO connevtions to criminality or gangsta anything. The genre and its exponents are very diverse, as one can rap about anything, after all. I’ve had a bit of contact with black slam poets who rap, including a woman friend who’s getying ready to put out a rap single.

            Your stereotype troubles me, b/c of its implications and assumptions re. black folks.

            Please dial it back, ok?

    • That is so going to be the name of my new gospel punk band. DEAD RAPPERS

  12. This is not the first generation to grow up with robots and artificial intelligence. My generation had Speak & Spell and Teddy Ruxpin. Later came the Nickelodeon Face, Tickle Me Elmo and the infamous MSN Windows paperclip assistant. Furbies were once banned from the Pentagon because they could learn words and phrases and repeat them later. I couldn’t read the full Wall Street Journal article without subscribing but there was nothing in the paragraphs I could see about AI tech spying on us; did that come up at all? I think Amazon Alexa is great but many are concerned about Amazon, Facebook, Google and others listening to everything we say.

    • And kids personalize everything. When I was a small kid I had a little blue plastic soldier I took everywhere. One Saturday playing outside I lost it. I grieved for days. I remember wanting to go outside to look for it. In fact…sniff…I’m getting a little…sniff…teary right…sniff…now.

      Better to personalize robots than depersonalize human beings.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      There’s a local Urban Legend (no provenance) about a “Bugger Me Elmo” where somebody hacked a Tickle Me Elmo control chip and “Evil-ized” it so Elmo simulated an orgasm. Don’t know what they did with it after that, either demoed it to their friends as a joke or sneaked a couple surprises onto store shelves.

    • Meh. Small children need other humans to speak to them for optimal learning about anything and everything; they get bored with the technology really fast. The tech aspect is meant to appeal to parents, I believe. (Almost) anything that doesn’t need a battery is automatically a better toy, in terms of optimal fun and learning skills for children.


  13. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I have often been told that on average speakers of my mother tongue speak very fast. However, in my own experience, this changes geographically- in the south and west of South Africa, the Western and Northern Cape provinces, as well as Namibia, they place us markedly slower than in the north. These are also the areas where mother-tingue Afrikaans speakers are dominated by “non-white” speakers. Interestingly enough, the ancestry of the non-white Afrikaans population here is heavily dominated by the Khoisan and Nama – part of a very distinct language group. In the north the speed is very different, and the dialect sounds very different. This from a very young language.

    In the same vein, I have Swiss family, and while it sounds like they speak German slower and in a sing-song way, it appears that the “speed of information ” is just as fast if not faster.

    • Hmm… where is your Swiss family from? Swiss German is a very different animal to any dialect I’ve ever heard in Germany (although I’ve heard only a handful, a long time ago). A variety of Swiss German is spoken by the Amish and Old Order Mennonites where i live, and not many generations sgo, a lot of “English” people could speak ut, or just understand it, but not speak it. (Some of the earliest Amish and Mennonite immigrants to the colonies came to the area where i live.)

      As for speed, NYers and folks from North Jersey are known for talking just a hairs’-breadth below the speed of sound.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        As for speed, NYers and folks from North Jersey are known for talking just a hairs’-breadth below the speed of sound.

        You’ve never heard Mexican radio disc jockeys on the air, have you?

        • Burro (Mule) says

          Or Brazilian sportscasters doing play-by-play for a soccer match.

          • Or, they take five minutes to say one word.


        • Actually, i have, but i was thinking about spoken English when i wrote that comment. I have friends from the area, and often, people from other areas just can’t follow them, due to the speed at which they talk.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        My SA aunt married a Swiss fellow. I believe he originally came from close to Zurich, but they have lived in Rheinfelden near Basel for maybe 30 years now.

        • Hmm. The dialect in Zurich defeated my tiny knowledge of German, that’s for sure!

          Swiss Germans visiting this area can understand the dialect used by the Amish, whose ancestors came from there, mainly.

  14. I don’t agree that *the* hallmark of modernity is “disenchantment”. First of all, that’s too broad a term; it could include both superstition and true integrated one-storey religious faith, which are not the same thing (though a modern person may believe they are). I think disenchantment is part of the package, but is fallout from nominalism and evacuation of connectedness and meaning from reality.

    One definition of “modernity” I have recently read, and which rings a bell for me, at least relative to living in the First World: exchanging Meaning for Power.


    • I am still baffled by the use of the terms “modernism” and “modernity” outside of the arts, as well as in history with a focus on cultural developments. I don’t mean that as focusing solely on the arts, as so many things (economic, military, scientific, political, etc.) play into other things. Without science and engineering and some innovative thinkers, metal paint tubes would never have bern been developed. And tubes of oil colors were one of the biggest spurs to French artists, ultimately leading to being able to paint on canvas outdoors.

      Monet would never have developed as he did without that bit of tech. And there are so many other examples.

      Anyway, i probably need to try and get a grip on how and why these words are being used in other contexts, but iirc, they were used 1st in the context of the arts and architecture.

      • Used here, the terms are more connected to the socological and philosophical trends of post-Enlightenment Europe and America. Yes, “modernism” was probably used first for the art movements, but broadened to take in other aspects of expression that eschewed tradition.

        Modernity isn’t about technology per se; those of us who see problems with modernity aren’t decrying technology as an evil. (As N.T. Wright says, I wouldn’t want 14th century dentistry…) It’s the nominalism behind seeing unrestricted technology as an ultimate good, for example, that is problematic. Also, the understanding of what “progress” entails – along with other ideas, many of which have to do with a dualistic view of reality, also supported by nominalism.

        Search the archives at Fr Stephen Freeman’s blog for discussions about the contrasts between Modernity and classical Christianity.


  15. 19th c. French artusts (not just the Impressionists).