Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Remembering Pearl Harbor

I'm reminded today of what a scary situation the world was in on December 7th, 1941. Germany had already pushed all the way to the Atlantic Ocean through France. It had taken Austria and Poland. It had allies in Spain and Italy. Hitler had only (stupidly) broken with Russia a few months before.

Meanwhile, Japan threatened to take all of Asia, as it actually would do for a time. So we were looking at a world united against us on both sides, a situation that would no doubt eventually have led to all out world war against us. War is always a course of last resort, but this was surely a time to defend ourselves if there ever was one.

Many Germans at the time were captives within their own country. Many of them had not supported Hitler at all in his rise to power. They were taken captive by a subgroup they initially had not taken seriously and that had slowly taken over everything by stealth and violence.

Pearl Harbor is a reminder to us of the great freedoms we have that have been paid for more than once at a high price. We have the freedom to worship who we want. We have the freedom to publish and say what we want. We have the freedom to defend ourselves against aggressors. We even have the freedom to burn flags, although it seems a stupid thing to do.

Let us never let fear of some loser blowing him or herself up convince us to give up these freedoms. We're stronger than that. Let us not ever let some charismatic leader who shares our values talk us into taking away the rights of others who disagree with us. Let us never let fear or crisis lead us to give away our freedoms.

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Bands of Restless Men 2

1. Last week I started reading a book published in 1944. The first chapter talked about how a man named Alfred Rosenberg came across a book in Moscow that he was convinced was true. It told of a worldwide conspiracy by Jews to take over the world. Driven out of Moscow during the communist revolution, he found himself in Munich, Germany in 1918.

2. Munich in late 1918 was an extremely polarized place. There were the communists, who were energized by the Russian revolution a year earlier. (Lenin had actually spent some time in Munich previously.) But then there were also the discontented soldiers who had just returned from World War I, half infuriated, half demoralized.

War is heck, or something like that. In Bavaria in 1918, as in all Germany, there were many who had just returned defeated from World War I. Many of them had been sucked out of high school to fight, and all they knew was war. They had not trained for "normal" life. What they knew was how to kill.

Many of them were infuriated that the German leadership had surrendered. And what was worse, the terms were devastating. Germany was forced to pay the entire bill for all the Allied forces. It was a punishment they could not meet, that would have other consequences, as Keynes had argued.

3. On November 7, 1918, the anniversary of the Russian revolution, a Jewish socialist named Kurt Eisner marched through the city of Munich with a few hundred men and took over the government without a shot. The king fled. The generals and ministers fled. Eisner declared a republic.

Two months later he was shot dead on his way to resign. Three months after that the communists took over and declared Munich a Soviet Republic. A month later, the republic was restored, and Munich was reconnected to the rest of Germany.

4. The communists had killed ten people in all, in their final moments of power as the "White Army" marched on them. These were prisoners detained in conjunction with the assassination of Eisner. The author of my book even here says it was done by a fanatical subordinate against the will of the communist leaders.

The death toll on the other side made this act by a communist pale in significance. Fifty-three Russian prisoners from World War I all shot to death in a sandpit south of Munich. A priest in a village gave a list of twelve people who frightened him in town. The twelve innocent men were dragged to the Munich slaughterhouse and shot against a wall, along with several hundred others.

Heiden says this: "The drunken soldiery arrested, by mistake, Catholic workers, loyalists, enemies of the revolution and the republic; they murdered twenty-one persons in a cellar by order... of their captain" (22). The White Army went to one of the barracks. Every tenth man was shot at random. There was one person in the midst of the barracks, a spy, who quickly became the executioner--Adolf Hitler was his name.

5. After the republic was restored, these men went semi-underground, still discontented, still murderers. In public, the Allies were still around after the war, still watching. But there is a silent army of former soldiers, secretly stockpiling weapons. Anyone who might tell was eliminated. "One night we get into an automobile together. Two comrades 'happen' to be along. Out into the woods; we raise our gun to the fellow's head, and boom. That is how we fight against traitors" (24).

The minister who pushed for Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles--shot in a dark thicket of the Black Forest. Opponents were eliminated. Politicians were killed. Judges and police turned a blind eye. Harry Potter no doubt was imitating life when it had the early days of Voldemort be days when people just disappeared.

There were patriotic revolts, led especially by displaced middle-level German officers from the war. "A fatherland rises up within the fatherland" (26). It is no longer the Germany of Luther or poets. It is not the place of the cathedral. The disaffected do not feel like it is their land any more. They belong not to Germany but to its "army."

6. There was a man sending out the murderous deplorables in Bavaria. His name was Ernst Röhm. New groups with new names under varying leaders kept springing up, but Röhm stood in the background orchestrating much of it. He was the one who founded the National Socialist Worker's Party. He took the clubs of talkers in back rooms and made them political. Rosenberg's ideas became actionable, as these groups hunted down Jews and beat them.

"Events have taught me," Röhm wrote in an autobiography, "that the leading stratum of our society is incapable of giving the German people the will to freedom." (33). "Only he who is without possessions has ideals."

"A broken people, a broken army, broken men. The new movement rises out of wreckage... The gilded troop met in feebly lighted beer halls... Officers became conspirators... Now they were with workers. Not with the main body of workers... but with the flotsam, the stragglers living on the fringe of their class, the workers at odd jobs and the unemployed. The declassed of all classes came together; those of the upper and the lower classes made common cause."

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Seminary PL29: Tillich's Protestant Principle

This is the fiftteenth post on church management in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the twenty-eighth post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post in this series looked Zwingli as an example of a leader who didn't compromise on a number of issues that he might very well have. This week now shifts to think about church splits and their causes. Today, we look at one of the Protestant causes of church split--having a text as the medium of final authority.
1. There were relatively few church splits prior to the Reformation of the 1500s, when Martin Luther inadvertently caused the separation of the Lutheran church from Catholicism. Until the 300s, Christianity was not legal and so did not have any real chance to centralize its organization. It was more of a network for the first two centuries.

But it would largely be one church for over a thousand years after that point. If you were a western Christian in the year 1000, you were part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. 1054 was the first really big organizational split, when the Orthodox East split officially from the Roman Catholic West. But for the next 500 years after that you were either one or the other.

2. That all changed after the year 1517. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) of that moment was both spiritually empty and politically weak. It did not have the power to burn Luther at the stake as it had Jan Hus a hundred years earlier in 1415. He had political protectors who were strong enough to protect him.

One of Luther's key battle cries was "Scripture only." If you could not prove it from Scripture, he could not be compelled to believe it.

Of course he was fooling himself. He continued to believe a number of legitimate theological positions that come as much from tradition as Scripture. The Bible might support infant baptism, but you cannot prove it from Scripture any more than you can prove from the Bible that you should only baptize those who are old enough to confess faith consciously. But Luther continued to believe in infant baptism. For communion, he believed in "consubstantiation," that Jesus was truly present in the bread and wine of communion. But where is that clearly stated in the Bible?

You probably cannot prove the Trinity from the New Testament, although the seeds of Trinitarian belief came from the Bible. The church answered questions like the relationship between Jesus' human and divine natures in the centuries following the New Testament, because the NT did not have explicit statements on questions of this sort. We are seeing a hint of the problem of Protestantism here.

3. The problem of Protestantism is this. Of course we would say that our final authority is God and Christ. But Protestants often operate as if the only access we have to that authority is through the words of the Bible. At the same time, we have no "magisterium" like the RCC--no authoritative teacher to give us the authoritative interpretation of the Bible. Therefore, Protestantism has as many de facto ("by the nature of the situation") authorities as it has interpreters of the biblical text.

So we have a final authority, as it were, that is inevitably co-opted by individual interpreters, individual churches, and by Christian denominations. We subtly substitute ourselves for the Bible and God without realizing it. We think we are simply reading the Bible and doing what it says, but we are as often as not bringing our own traditions, personalities, and situations to the text and reading it as a mirror of our own thoughts and desires.

4. An individual who wrestled with some of these issues was Paul Tillich (1886-1965). A German who struggled with the authoritarian context of his childhood and then Nazi Germany, he formulated what he called the Protestant Principle. In his mind, it was the extension of Luther's doctrine of justification by faith to all realms of human thought. "Justification by faith" is the idea that we cannot earn a right status with God. Rather, God accepts us on the basis of our trust in him.

Tillich applied this principle to our certainty of knowledge. We cannot know the truth with absolute certainty. Rather, as good protesters, we are justified by our doubt in any human authority that tries to establish itself as absolute, thus showing our faith in the transcendent beyond the human. We show our faith by our "ultimate concern" and our rejection of any human absolute.

He strongly resisted any attempt to set up an absolute authority over knowledge. He saw this dynamic as the problem with the Catholic system with the Pope as absolute authority, and he saw this problem with fundamentalism that sets up the Bible as an absolute authority. The heart of Protestantism for Tillich was an ongoing protest against such absolutes, including treating the Bible as an absolute.

The denominational landscape that has resulted from the Protestant Reformation is thus predictable. Tillich sees this fragmentation as a result of failed attempts to arrive at absolutes in the human realm, even in the Bible.  

5. Much of Tillich's thought seems dated now. Like all of us, he was a product of his time. But we can reformulate his insight in order to shed some light on the never-ending splits that Protestantism has experienced over the years. According to Martin Marty, there are well over 20,000 Protestant denominations or collections of churches in the world. The overwhelming majority of these claim to get their beliefs from the Bible as their absolute authority. What is going on here?

Church splits tend to feed on two key factors. The fundamental cause is of course fallen human nature. We are prone to peacock. We are prone to beat our chests and to fight to see who is the stronger or to back-stab to remove a rival. We say we are fighting for the truth. We say we are fighting for God. More often than not we are fighting for ourselves, our own needs and drives.

In Protestant churches, we often play out these fallen human games as if we are fighting over interpretations of the Bible. We say the Bible is clear and our opponents say the Bible is clear. But the Bible is really just the playing field for our fallen human urge to defeat anyone who does not submit to us or who stands in our way.

6. The "polyvalence" of words enables these cock-fights. Polyvalence is the potential of words to take on more than one meaning. Words can take on many different meanings and nuances, and the Bible has many, many words. So it is not only possible, it is virtually certain that there will be never-ending disagreements over what the Bible really means at multiple points.

Protestant church splits have often played themselves out on this playing field. First, there is the ambiguity of the words themselves. Then there is the fact that the Bible is made up of dozens of books written at different times and places. These books do not say exactly the same thing, so there is plenty of room for fitting them together differently. Lastly, they were written for audiences that lived thousands of years ago, so there is the matter of bridging the gap from their time to our time.

All these factors make the interpretation of the Bible a many-splendored wonder. It is no wonder at all that we have tens of thousands of groups who all disagree with each other. Do you baptize infants or only people old enough to know what they are doing? Do you baptize by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring? Is baptism necessary or only a symbolic ritual? Does it actually change you somehow? Can you be rebaptized? Whose baptism really counts? How soon after faith should you be baptized?

Welcome to dozens of denominations, all of whom think they are simply following the Bible.

7. Whether we admit it or not, tradition is also in play here. A non-denominational church is simply a church that isn't telling you what tradition it draws on. A few questions and you will quickly be able to tell whether it is basically Baptist, basically Pentecostal, or basically whatever. It's probably Baptist. There is no church that really only follows the Bible alone.

So one way to stop church splits is for us to become aware of ourselves, not only as fallen human beings but also as interpreters of the Bible. Not every hill is one to die on. We have been handed a historical situation in which we have countless little Christian groups. We start where we are.

There are times for Christians to agree to disagree and to go their separate ways. If we stop thinking of our denominations as the final answer on all matters of theology and practice and rather as communities who are in the same tradition and walking in the same direction, we will make great progress. We do not need to split even when we disagree on matters that are not essential to our identity--and we should not consider too much beyond common Christian faith in that bucket. [1]

The Anglican Church has found a way to exist together despite a wide range of differing beliefs. [2] Baptists of course are congregational in form, so find their unity in association rather than organization. In my tradition, the Wesleyan tradition, there are several sub-groups that could "easily" unite to form a common organization ideologically (Wesleyan, Nazarene, Free Methodist, etc). But it is just as well for us to walk together in unity as different denominations, since that is the hand history has dealt us. What we do not need is more Wesleyan denominations. [3]

So we would do well to know that we stand in Christian traditions. We are not simply reading the Bible unfiltered or without many, many influences at work on us. Much of what we think is essential Christian faith is really a matter of specific communities of faith who see faith and practice the same basic way. We can agree to disagree without dechristianizing each other. Our attitudes toward each other are more important to God than dotting our theological i's and crossing our theological t's.

Next Week: Avoiding Church Splits and Exits

[1] There are broad traditions that exist--Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, Baptist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal. Each of them have general distinctives that locate a church in that tradition. Beyond these distinctives, belonging to a specific subgroup is surely more a matter of finding a community we feel at home with than a fight over absolute truth. A Christian would ideally be able to worship in any of these churches.

[2] The Anglican Church has everything from evangelical Anglicans to Anglo-Catholics to charismatic Anglicans to non-realist Anglicans. The liturgy and geography provides the unity.

[3] Although it is quite possible we will get a "Wesleyan" split if the United Methodist church splits in the next two years. The fight here is over homosexual practice, a key ethical question of the church in general these days and a key historical issue given the virtually unanimous position of the past that is under debate. It is certainly an issue that seems more worthy of "agreeing to disagree" than what color to paint the inside of the church.

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management

Friday, December 02, 2016

Friday Gen Eds MS7: The Basic Tools of Algebra

This is the seventh post in the math/science part of my "Gen Eds in a Nutshell" series. It's a series of ten subjects you might study in a general education or "liberal arts" core at a university or college. I've already done the subject of philosophy, and I'm over half way through the world history subject on Wednesdays. I'm combining the last two on math and science into one series on Fridays.

Thus far in the math/science subjects:
Solving for x
1. It is hard to convey how much math lept forward and the greatest developments in science became possible when algebra really began to develop in the late 1500s. Algebra is basically the use of letters to stand for unknown qualities that can change (called variables because they can vary in what number they stand for). For example, x + 6 = 10. If I need 10 apples and I already have 6, how many more do I need? [1]

But this area of math did not have its greatest impact until René Descartes (1596-1650) developed it, coming up with a way to graph equations (the "Cartesian coordinate system, to the right). It was Descartes who designated the x as the unknown it has come to be.

Algebraic equations are used to express real world situations using symbols. Simple unknowns, like the one above, are often easy enough for us to solve without using algebra. But algebra lets us express much more difficult situations, often with more than one unknown, and then to solve them.

2. Perhaps the first key to solving for x is knowing that 1) you can add or subtract any amount as long as you do it to both sides of the equation and 2) you can multiply or divide any amount as long as you do it to both sides of the equation.

So in the example above, x + 6 = 10, I can subtract 6 from both sides and the equation remains the same basic situation. So x + 6 - 6 = 10 - 6. I can simplify this to x = 4, and I have my answer.

As another example, let's say I have 33 dollars to spend and I want to bring as many friends as I can to a play where the tickets are 5 dollars a piece. I also have to pay 8 dollars for a taxi ride to get there. How many friends can I invite? I might express this situation by the equation 5x + 8 = 33.

First I subtract 8 from each side, giving me 5x = 25. Then I divide both sides by 5, giving me x=5. So I can bring 5 friends.

The very simple equations above could be expressed as a point on a number line, x = 5.

3. The equations above are "equalities." This equals that. There are also "inequalities." So x can be anything "greater than" 5: x > 5. And y can be anything "less than or equal to 6": y ≤ 6.

Another kind of equation is the "absolute value." The absolute value of a number is its positive value. For 5, it's easy. 5 is already positive. But for -5, it's absolute value is 5. The absolute value is usually written between two up and down lines.

Linear Equations
4. Sometimes there is more than one unknown. x + y = 10. An equation of this sort, where two variables (to the first power, as here) are in play, is called a linear equation because it graphs as a line. As the x changes, the y changes accordingly.

So let's say that you want to build a device that requires 6 of x for every 2 of y and costs $12. So we have an equation in two variables: 6x + 2y = 12. Or a simplified version would be 3x + y = 6.

A nice way to put the formula so it can be graphed is y = -3x + 6. This is the "slope-intercept" form or the y = mx + b form. B here tells us where this line hits the up and down line, usually called the y axis. So b is the "y-intercept." In this case, the line will cross the y axis at 6.

M is then the "slope," that is how the line "rises" for every bit the line goes to the right or left. So if the slope is -3, then the line goes down three units for every one unit that it goes to the right.

To the right is what that graph would look like. The horizontal line is often called the x-axis. As I already said, the vertical line is often called the y-axis. So in this graph, the point 6 on the y axis is the y-intercept, where this line crosses the y-axis. Then the slope is negative three. The line goes down three (-3) for every 1 that x increases.

The slope is the "rise over the run," the amount it goes up or down for every one it goes right.

5. We locate points by using the format of (x, y), where x is the location of the point along the x-axis and y is the point along the y-axis. So the y-intercept is at (0, 6). If you look, the x-intercept (where it crosses the x axis) is at (2, 0). If you plug these numbers into the original formula, y = -3x + 6, you'll find that the numbers work. In fact, the line is all the sets of x's and y's that make the formula come out right. So (1, 3) works. (-1, 9) works. An infinite number of points work--the points on this line.

6. Sometimes you can have two equations that apply to a certain situation. Let's say you have 16 seats at a dinner, but for some reason you need to have 3 women for every one man. So f + m = 16 (the total number of women and men). At the same time, there are going to be three times as many women as men (f = 3m).

We can solve this situation in a couple of ways. For this one, substitution is the easiest. So we know that f = 3m, so we can plug this in for f in the other equation: (3m) + m = 16. So 4m = 16 and m = 4.

Now we can plug this value for 4 back into one of the original equations: f + 4 = 16, f = 12. So we should invite 12 women and 4 men. [2]

Quadratic Equations
7. There are equations where the variable is raised to a power more than 1. "Quadratic" equations are equations where the highest variable is squared. d = t2 - 4t - 12. This is the kind of equation that would be in play if you were tracking the motion of a baseball you hit into left field.

So we solve an equation like this one by factoring it. So t2 - 4t - 12 can be factored into (t - 6)(t + 2). We know this because if you multiply the material in these two parentheses together you get the other. The way you multiply something of this sort is by using the FOIL method (first, outside, inside, last).

So when does this equation work? For example, if t is time and d is the distance from the ground, then the baseball is at zero when t - 6 = 0 and when t + 2 = 0. The second one doesn't make sense because it is t = -2. But the second one makes sense t = 6. So the ball will return to the ground in six seconds.

8. Some quadratic equations are hard to factor. In such cases, the quadratic equation is used.

If you put a quadratic function into the form ax2 + bx + c = 0, then a and b are coefficients in front of the variables. Plugging these into the formula tells you what x works.

Other Equations
9. Of course there can be equations of higher powers than these. There are cubic equations (raised to a third power). And there can be equations raised to even higher powers. These are "polynomial" equations, where the "poly" means powers more than one.

There are inverse functions (1/x). There are equations for circles, ellipses, hyperbolas. There are trigonometric functions (sine, cosine, tangent). We we will consider in our post on Geometry and Trigonometry yet to come.  

Next Week: Math/Science 8: Thermodynamics

[1] A Greek named Diophantus (200s AD) has often been called the father of algebra, but the name "algebra" comes from the medieval Persian al-Khwarizmi (ca. 780-850).

[2] You could also find the solution by graphing both of these line equations and then finding the intersection point on a graph. In this case, the intersection would be (12, 4), if the we were graphing points as (m, f).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gen Eds H7b: Kings Rising in the Middle Ages

This is the second post in the seventh unit of my treatment of world history, a unit called, "The Age of the Church and Jihad."

These are posts in the World History part of my "General Education in a Nutshell" series. This series involves ten subjects you might study in a general education or "liberal arts" core at a university or college. The first topic in the overall series was philosophy. So far in the world history section:
The Fall of the Roman Empire
1. The Western Roman Empire effectively ended in 476, when a "barbarian" named Odoacer overthrew the last western emperor, Romulus. [1] The Roman Empire had been in serious decline for two or three centuries already by that point, drastically declining in population and without enough soldiers to defend its vast territories. Augustine had written the City of God after the Visigoths had sacked Rome in 410, arguing that the city of mortals (Rome) must decline at the same time that the city of God was increasing on earth (the Church).

Of course the Roman emperor Constantine had moved his headquarters to Constantinople in the east in 330 ("Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople"). For the next 150 years there were usually two emperors, one in the east and one in the west. After 476, the eastern empire would continue, but the western Roman empire was at an end.

2. Germanic tribes had been steadily pealing off territory the Romans had previously held in northwest Europe. The Visigoths who had sacked Rome in 410 settled in what is now southern France, Spain, and Portugal. By 450, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes had taken England after the Romans had abandoned the territory earlier in the century. [2] The Franks were a factor in northern Europe from the late 200s. In the late 400s, Clovis I and the Franks would take most of the territory of modern day France and Germany. [3]

The Byzantine Kingdom
3. The Roman Empire in the east would survive another thousand years. After Constantine moved the center of the Roman empire to Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople, a succession of kings would continue all the way until 1453 when the Ottoman Turks finally took the city. It remained an independent and at times very powerful kingdom, even giving rise to the first Crusade to protect it from the Seljuk Turks in 1096. [4] However, it was sacked by crusaders themselves in the Fourth Crusade (1204) and never fully recovered. [5]

4. The Franks continued to rule the parts of Europe we know today as France and Germany in the centuries that followed. At the Battle of Tours in 732, Charles Martel successfully stopped the advance of Islam up through Spain. In the late 700s, his grandson Charles the Great would expand the kingdom to cover the easternmost parts of present day Germany, Switzerland, and Italy down past Rome.

Charles the Great, known more commonly as Charlemagne, is sometimes thought of as the Father of Europe. He was a devout Catholic and had a close relation with the Pope (Leo III). [6] On Christmas Day in the year 800, the Pope declared Charlemagne the emperor of the Romans, although the Roman empire had never actually ceased in the east. Some later looked to this event as the birth of the "Holy Roman Empire," which would last until 1806 when Napoleon brought it to its end.

5. Charlesmagne's empire was divided into three parts with his grandchildren. The westernmost part would eventually develop into France and speak French. The easternmost part would become a collection of states that would speak German. A middle sliver running from top to bottom would be a collection of states running from the eventual Netherlands in the north to Switzerland and parts of Italy in the south.

Holy Roman Empire
6. The "Carolingian" dynasty only lasted a little more than 70 years after the death of Charlemagne. But the torch of empire would be picked up again by Otto I, who in 962 was crowned by the Pope as emperor. So Otto was understood to be the heir not only of Charlemagne's empire but of the Roman empire itself. His son would take the title "Emperor of the Romans," and after 1184, it would be known as the Holy Roman Empire. [7]

The HRE did not have a single capitol and was actually a collection of states. At the time of its end in 1806, there were over 1800 such territories. The emperor was elected and so, although it sometimes passed from father to son, at times it moved around. From the mid-1400s on, the Habsburg dynasty would be emperors based in Austria.

Norman Conquest
7. In the 900s, Norse conquerors began to settle in the north of France, intermingling with the Franks there, mixing with the Latin-influenced language there, and switching out Norse religion for Roman Catholicism. In 1066 William the Conqueror would invade England, displacing the ruling Saxons. Many of the kings in the next couple hundred years were as much French as they were English.

Cultural Developments
8. We see in the Middle Ages a number of key human transitions that have been formative toward the world we now live in. For example, the Middle Ages saw both the development and eventually the deterioration of feudalism. Many of the tribes of Europe at the end of the Roman Empire were not firmly established in a location. They slowly migrated westward.

One transition of the Middle Ages was thus the establishment of permanent areas that coincided with permanent people groups. The Celts that ended in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales had wandered from Turkey in the time before Paul all the way to France (Gaul) and up into what is now Britain. The Germanic peoples followed them into westernmost Europe.

But after Charlemagne, these peoples reach a certain stopping point. Regions become established. Lines are drawn across a land by human minds. Kings become established in permanent locations. Of course the Romans and other peoples had done this long before, but this is the first time it happened in the lands of northern Europe.

9. With locations now fixed, a hierarchy is established. Kings rule barons who now own land. Then there are serfs or vassals who work the land owned by the nobility in exchange for the lord's military protection. Feudalism thus implies a rather decentralized power structure such as typified the Holy Roman Empire.

Given the power of the Roman Catholic Church, the church became integrated into this feudal system. At times the church dictated the politics. At times the politics ran the church. When the emperors or kings were strong, they sometimes picked the Pope. At other points, the Pope picked the emperor. This was often a bad situation.

The rise of monasteries provided an opportunity for those without any means to have a meaningful life with adequate resources. They provided hope on a grass roots level. At other times, priests became far too powerful and involved in local politics. When the church took the role of "lords," the same abuses of power became possible.

10. A bright spot was the Magna Carta in 1215. It signaled the beginning of rights for the landowners under the king of England. It put limits on how much the king could ask of them. It protected against illegal imprisonment. It called for speedy justice. Although it was not often followed, it became part of the cultural expectations of England.

It thus created a trajectory, a culture that did not consider it appropriate for kings to do whatever they wanted. It would create a climate in which first a House of Lords would exist in which the landowners had a say that, at least a little, counter-balanced the power of the king. Eventually a House of Commons would be added, where the ordinary person was represented as well.

This was the trajectory that would eventually lead to modern representational democracy.

Take Aways
  • No earthly kingdom lasts forever.
  • It is by far for the best for church and state to be separated structurally, to where the church is free to be the church and the state is not under the control of the church.
Next Week: History 7c: Medieval Arabia, India, and China

[1] Others identify Julius Nepos as the last emperor. In Rome he was just before Romulus (474-75), and he continued to be the official emperor until he died in Dalmatia in 480.

[2] They pushed the Celtic people that the Romans had conquered to what is now Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.

[3] In 503, Clovis would convert to Christianity. His dynasty is known as the Merovingian dynasty.

[4] What is now Turkey had been part of the Byzantine empire, but the Seljuk Turks steadily conquered it in the late 1000s.

[5] See the previous post.

[6] Not least because Charles liberated Italy from the Lombards.

[7] Voltaire in the 1700s remarked that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Take Over a State

Started reading an old book today.

1. The first chapter is about how the Russian Tsar's secret police around the year 1900 took a document and re-brandished it as The Protocols of the Men of Zion. Their goal was to accrue power to themselves by creating a crisis that unified Russians against Jews and thereby empowered the Russian leaders in order to stop them. They wished to create a state-directed revolution, and several thousand Jews were massacred in Russia as a result.

Part of the recipe had to do with a real event--the meeting of Jews in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland, to start a movement to bring Jews back to their homeland in Israel. So there was a kernel of truth in the propaganda.

2. But it was joined to an untrue conspiracy theory, in fact to a novel. In a 1868 novel (Biarritz), twelve rabbis from around the globe meet together in the Jewish cemetery in Prague. Their goal? World domination! So we have a pretend conspiracy and a document to go with it.

Obviously these Jews had to be stopped! ... even though there was no conspiracy to take over the world and, as it turned out, this was a document that had been re-purposed. It had nothing to do with Jews originally.

3. The original document was created as a satire about Napoleon III, written by a French lawyer named Joly. It's cynical point is that people are easy to satisfy and that a clever mind can easily dominate masses of people. This is VERY ironic, since the secret police used allegations that Jews were saying these things about them in order for them to dominate the minds of Russians.

In The Protocols the Antichrist would come at the end of days. He would look like everyone else. He does not look like what he is, which is why he is so dangerous. He has a strong and seductive personality. He wins fame at first with a book that seems to respect ancient traditions and symbols. He is the type of man who comes to the fore when an epoch is dying. He will talk with the masses, and the masses will rise up and burn the culture to ashes.

The conspirators will take whatever view of political questions that the moment requires. What the leader says will spread through the whole country like wildfire. They will create unrest, struggle, and hate in the whole of Europe.

They will poison relations between the people and the states of various countries. They will create hunger, destitution, whatever is necessary to bring all peoples so that their only escape is in total submission to the dominating power.

"We shall paint the misdeeds of foreign governments in the most garish colors and create such an ill-feeling toward them that the people would a thousand times rather bear a slavery which guarantees them peace and order than enjoy their much-touted freedom. The peoples will tolerate any servitude we may impose on them, if only to avoid a return to the horrors of wars and insurrection."

"Outwardly, however, in our 'official' utterances, we shall adopt an opposite procedure and always do our best to appear honorable and co-operative. A statesman's words do not have to agree with his acts."

"By all these methods we shall so wear down the nations that they will be forced to offer us world domination."

4. So this satire on France was written in 1864. The novel about a Jewish world conspiracy was written in 1868. The Zionist movement--to resettle Jews in Israel--began in 1898. And the Tsar's secret police cooked The Protocols around 1903.

In the middle of the Russian revolution in 1917, the book by chance landed on the desk of a German-born Russian named Alfred Rosenberg. He believed it hook, line, and sinker. To escape Lenin and the communists, whom he wrongly took to be Jews, he fled Russia and, by 1918, was living in Munich, Germany.

Harry Shepherd Prophecy Final

This is the eighteenth and final installment of my grandfather Shepherd's prophecy book, without comment.
A Recapitulation Plus
In this booklet we have tried to show:
  1. That the Fall of Man necessitated a Coming of the Lord.
  2. That the truth of a Kinsman Redeemer required the Coming of the Lord.
  3. That this Kinsman Redeemer would come into this world by a different process by which ordinary men came.
  4. That God gave to Abraham Four Promises in which may be seen the Coming of the Lord.
  5. That these promises applied especially to Abraham's descendants through Isaac (Israelites) and not through Ishmael (Arabs).
  6. That God began to work on this Four Promise Program when Joseph was sold into Egypt.
  7. That He has worked on it since then with some successes and hindrances.
  8. The World Setting at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.
  9. A Lost Golden Opportunity at Jesus' First Coming.
  10. How Far God has progressed with This Program in the time of people now alive and the prophetic meaning of this.
  11. The chronological order of chapters 36, 37, 38, and 39 of Ezekiel, a sign of the Coming of the Lord.
  12. The riddance of Palestine of the Turks in World War I, an indication of the end of this age later on.
  13. World War I was the first birth pang in the period Jesus called the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:8) Armageddon will be the last travail pain which will bring the birth of the Millennial Dispensation, hence, a Second Coming Sign.
  14. That World War II, another birth pang, helped bring the New Jewish Nation and made way for, at least, a three fourths partial fulfillment of Ezekiel 37, indicating the end of the age.
  15. That the Jewish economic situation now following the groove of Ezekiel 38 is a sign of the coming of the Lord.
  16. That the Palestinian stage is so fully set now for the Russian invasion that it is a great sign of the Coming of the Lord.
  17. How the Fourth Promise has determined the destinies of Nations and Individuals.
  18. The Time of the Russian Invasion.
  19. The Purpose of the Tribulation.
  20. How the Fourth Promise applies to the antichrist and the False Prophet in connection with Armageddon.
  21. The details of the Battle of Armageddon.
  22. The Four Promises to Abraham as they apply to Christ's Millennial Reign and to Gog and Magog of Revelation.
  23. Two prophetic outcroppings in the Election of 1960 show the shaping of events pointing to the Coming of the Lord. The sentiment of incongruous Church Federation is a sign of His Return.
  24. Jesus Christ, at His Revelation with His Holy Angels, will wipe out all communists, including the Greatest, the antichrist, and destroy Communism forever. Amen!
  25. We are living in a world of smouldering animosity, trying to get rid of God. It is an hour of pent-up tensions. Smouldering animosities eventually will blaze and pent-up tensions will break.
VIII. The Count Down On The Launching Pad
In these days of missiles, we read about rockets on their launching pads before they begin their journeys—in case of war journeys of devastation and destruction. When these missiles are placed on their launching pads, there probably is a period of anxiety and tension, especially while the count down is on and very especially at the moment of the Zero Hour of firing. The Nations today are on a launching pad of Anxiety and Tension. In the light of the whole of prophetic signs, God, in His heaven, has already begun the count down. The Zero Hour is the shout and descent of the Lord for His upward-looking and deceased saints—the Rapture. The count down, seemingly already on, is 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0. Only God knows where we are in it. For the nations, following the Zero Hour, is the terrible, incomprehensible Tribulation. For the redeemed, at the Zero Hour, is eternal salvation and immortality. Reader, are you, yours, your neighbors, and acquaintances ready for this Hour?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Harry Shepherd Prophecy 17

This is the seventeenth installment of my grandfather Shepherd's prophecy book, the second to last post. His opinions were quite intertwined with events almost 60 years ago, a good warning against tying contemporary events to interpretations of Revelation. JFK did not turn out to be the beginning of the end or the final push of communism (he actually sparred strongly with the Soviets). Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church would undergo a spiritual revival in the late 60s at Vatican II. My grandfather's thoughts, however, are fascinating from a historical perspective, as difficult as they may be to read at points.
VI. The Last and Greatest of the Communists
In our previous discussion of the Third Promise to Abraham in the Election of 1960, as well as in the caption above, we may, at first thought, seem far field. But not so, for the forces at work under both captions are headed eventually to try to block this promise to bless Abraham had to make him a blessing to all the families and nations of the earth, through his greatest Son—Jesus Christ.

In discussing this theme, we need to refer to some Bible truths. There's the truth of a Divine Trinity, comprising God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is also a truth of a True Church and a False Church. The former is hidden and known by God alone. The latter is already in existence, but not fully made up nor fully revealed. As there is a true Divine Trinity so, also, there is a satanic trinity, a counterfeit of the true. We find this given in Revelation, chapters 12 and 13 and chapter 19, verse 20. In chapter 12, we have Satan, counterfeiting God the Father or anti-father. In chapter 13, the composite Leopard beast counterfeits Jesus Christ the Son or antichrist. The beast out of the earth in verses 11 to 18, and called the False Prophet in Ch. 19:20, counterfeits the blessed Holy Spirit or anti-holy ghost. In chapters 4, 5, and 19, we have the True Church and in chapter 17, the false church—the purple and scarlet clad woman. Here this false church must be in peaceful co-existence for the time being with the scarlet-colored beast, for it is carrying her. But who is this beast? A comparison of chapter 13, verses 1 to 3, will show that it is the same beast in both chapters. But in chapter 17, the yellow leopard has lost his black spots and become, apparently, scarlet all over. What does this change of color mean? In my opinion, it indicates not only his ruthless, bloody disposition, but also his communist ideology of government. I would say, here is the last (with the False Prophet probably included) and greatest of the Communists—worldwide communism in its final form under the terrible antichrist of the Great Tribulation, which and whom Christ Jesus will destroy with the brightness of His Coming.

VII. A League or Federation of Churches (Revelation, Ch. 17)
And who is this purple and scarlet-clad woman who is the Mother of harlots and Abominations of the Earth (v.5)? In the Bible, spiritual fornication consists in infidelity to the true God and the forsaking of Him for false gods—the sin of idolatry. Written upon this woman's forehead was, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots (or margin fornications) And Abominations of the Earth? The word, Babylon, has the idea of confusion in its meaning. This woman then is in religious confusion. She is the mother of spiritual fornications—evidently, the mother or originator of false and idolatrous religions. She was born over for millenniums ago (about 2347 B.C.) down at old Babylon under the institution of the mighty Nimrod, the rebellious panther and mighty rebel against God. Before the building of the tower of Babel, he and his wife, Semiramis, originated the beginning of idol worship from which have descended spiritual fornications of the earth. As The Scarlet-Clad Woman, decked with the outward finery of the world (17:4), she is here in her final form before her destruction. At this time of her life, there is a federation of ten nations, which we may call the Bible League of Nations that will have put their economic, political, and military might at the disposal of and under the terrible scarlet beast (Ch. 17:13)—the awful antichrist. They, for a while, will tolerate this idolatrous False Church and then finally turn on her and destroy her root and branch (Rev. 17:3, 15-17). In the light of her origin and nature, we may safely conclude that she is a religious monstrosity made up of idolatrous Roman Catholicism, Apostate Protestantism (the Modernists, including all churches who preach only a Social Gospel), the Orthodox Greek Church, Mohammadanism, possibly Buddhism, and some other false faiths—a League or Federation of Churches or Faiths.

But who is this miracle-performing False Prophet that directs and controls the religious side of the antichrist's kingdom (Revelation 13:11-18)? As he is likely the head of one of the federated religions above, and as the Roman Catholic faith is probably the strongest of these, could it be that some Pope will eventually be this Prophet? Whether this be true or not, he will finally establish the worship of the antichrist of God (Revelation 13:12, II Thessalonians 2:3-4) and the worship of the antichrist's image. Death will be the penalty for those who refuse to comply (Revelation 13:12-18), possibly including the martyrs of Revelation 6:9-11. If we are as near to these events as prophetic truth seems now to point, the only way to escape these two satanic possessed men, this through death or being translated at the coming of our Lord at the First Resurrection. The late election (1960) either began the acceptance of or toleration of the public sentiment that a man's religion does not make any difference as to his fitness to be President of the United States. As this election headed us as a nation in the direction of this idolatrous, purple and scarlet-clad woman, I wonder what God in Heaven thinks now of "the land of the free and the home of the brave?" As free enterprise and religious liberties will finally perish under the Last of the Communists (the antichrist, etc.) at or following the Coming of Christ "with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God” to rapture the true Church, (I Thessalonians 4:16) our hope is to pray that God will preserve these till that event. Amen! Surely, this coming is at hand in God's sight (Philippians 4:5).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Seminary PL28: Zwingli: No Compromise?

This is the fourteenth post on church management in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the twenty-seventh post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post in this series looked Athanasius as an example of a leader who didn't compromise on an essential matter of dogma. This week continues with a second example from church history: Zwingli, someone who probably should have compromised and didn't.
1. Athanasius stubbornly held on to the Trinity in the 300s even when it seemed all political power--and perhaps even most popular sentiment--was against him. Jan Hus (1369-1415) and Martin Luther (1483-1546) similarly refused to recant their positions, both against some of the problems in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) of their day. Luther especially refused to recant his belief in justification by faith unless he could be shown from the Bible.

Both Hus and Luther were willing to be convinced on the basis of Scripture. Although they were persistent, they were perhaps still not quite as unbending as Athanasius. Nor do they seem as dogged as another reformer of Luther's day, Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531). Zwingli became a priest of the cathedral of Zurich in 1518, in the Swiss Confederation of that time. [1] This was the year after Luther nailed his ninety-five theses of protest against the thinking and practices of the RCC of that day.

2. At the same time that Luther's situation was playing itself out in the German states, Zwingli was in Zurich pushing back on various abuses and doctrines of the RCC to which he objected. A defiant soul, one such protest took place in 1522 when he and some others cut up a couple sausages during Lent and distributed them (they were supposed to be fasting). He secretly married a widow in defiance of the requirement for priests to be celibate, and was publicly married in 1524. He was able to get away with these things because of the tide of Swiss independence that had become so strong in the decades before.

Zwingli and others in Zurich increasingly pushed back on the veneration of saints and on the rituals and opulence of the church. There were a number of public debates in which Zwingli took part. In the early 1520s, some in Zurich began to push back on the practice of infant baptism, believing it to be unbiblical.

One wonders if Zwingli was of a certain personality that vigorously wanted the right and freedom to air his grievances and make space for his perspectives but who could not allow for anyone else to disagree with his positions and who would not make space for the right or freedom of others to disagree. It was apparently okay for him to push back on the RCC on the basis of the Bible, but when some in his own church had a crisis of conscience, he did not tolerate it. Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock performed the first adult baptisms in 1525. They refused to leave Zurich. The next year a penalty of death was attached to anyone who would rebaptize.

Manz was drowned in the Limmat River for rebaptizing in 1527. More would follow. [2]

3. In 1529, Zwingli met with Luther at what is called the Marburg Colloquy. Zwingli had increasingly come to reject the idea that Jesus was in any way present in the Lord's Supper. [3] Zwingli's view was that the Lord's Supper was merely a remembering of the Last Supper, nothing more. Meanwhile, while Luther had rejected the RCC doctrine of transubstantiation, he still believed that the "real presence" of Jesus was there with the elements. [4]

The two came to a consensus on fourteen of fifteen points, but there was no agreement on communion. Luther had no real expectations of the meeting, although Zwingli thought he could convince Luther of his position. Certain personalities, perhaps like Zwingli's, always think they can convince their opponents if they argue long enough and think you perverse when you remain unconvinced.

What would have happened if Luther and Zwingli had agreed to disagree at Marburg? Might Protestantism have remained a singular alternative to Roman Catholicism? Probably not, for reasons we will explore in the next post.

4. I do not know the heart of Zwingli, nor am I an expert on him. But there is a certain personality that enjoys conflict and is unwilling to compromise on many issues that are neither dogma nor essential. They would rather blow up the world than bend on any point. Conflict obviously follows such individuals everywhere they go unless everyone around them is willing to do what they want.

Zwingli died in battle against five states in the Swiss Confederacy who wanted to remain Roman Catholic and believed that Zurich and the other states were in a process of forcing Protestantism on them. Luther is said to have believed God had a part in the death of Zwingli, saying, "All who take the sword will die by the sword."

Next Week: Pastor as Leader 29: Tillich's Protestant Principle

[1] These thirteen Swiss states were part of a sprawling collection of hundreds of county-sized states that made up the "Holy Roman Empire." These states covered territories that today are part of Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, and more.

[2] Zwingli was not on the council that enacted these things, but we have every reason to believe that he fully supported and would have promoted this course of action. These "Anabaptists" or rebaptizers were a branch of the Reformation known as the "Radical Reformation."

[3] An influence on Zwingli here was Andreas Karlstadt, who had been a colleague of Luther's at Wittenberg and who, like Zwingli, was more militant in pushing his views than Luther.

[4] Luther's view is called "consubstantiation." Transubstantiation is the belief that the elements literally become the actual body and blood of Jesus in their underlying substance. This view drew heavily on the philosophy of the Greek Aristotle (384-22BC) as passed on through Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) in the Middle Ages.

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management

Saturday, November 26, 2016

6.3 Variational Analysis

This is the third section of Module 6 in the Navy Basic Electricity and Electronics series, a module on parallel circuits. The sections so far are:

6.1 Rules for Voltage and Current
6.2 Rules for Resistance and Power

This third section is about how voltage, current, power, and total resistance change as voltage is increased or resistance is increased/decreased.

1. So the basic principles so far in this module are that
  • Voltage is going to be the same in every branch of a parallel circuit.
  • Total current is the sum of the current in every branch.
  • The total resistance goes down if you add another branch.
  • E = IR
  • P = EI
So this section plays out a few scenarios.

2. What if you double the voltage from the source?
  • Voltage in every branch will go up.
  • Therefore, current in every branch will go up because I = E/R.
  • Resistance will stay the same--it's a physical factor.
  • Power will go up because P = EI.
3. What if you add another resistor in another branch?
  • Voltage remains the same in every branch.
  • There will now be current in that branch and since current is additive, the total current will go up.
  • That means the total power will go up, since P = EI.
  • Total resistance will go down, due to the reciprocal method.
4. What if you change the resistance in one branch, say decreasing it?
  • Voltage remains the same in every branch.
  • Current goes up in that branch because I = E/R.
  • Therefore, total current goes up.
  • Therefore, total power goes up.
  • Since Rtotal = E/I and total current goes up, total resistance goes down.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Gen Eds MS6: Chemical Reactions

This is the sixth post in the math/science part of my "Gen Eds in a Nutshell" series. It's a series of ten subjects you might study in a general education or "liberal arts" core at a university or college. I've already done the subject of philosophy, and I'm over half way through the world history subject on Wednesdays. I'm combining the last two on math and science into one series on Fridays.

Thus far in the math/science subjects:
1. There are two basic kinds of changes that substances can undergo. Physical changes do not change the chemical structure of something. Molecules remain the same molecules. Ionic compounds remain the same ionic compounds. But a chemical might change its physical state without changing its chemical structure. A gas might condense into a liquid or a liquid might evaporate into a gas. A liquid might freeze into a solid or a solid might melt into a liquid. These are examples of physical changes.

Chemical reactions, on the other hand, actually involve a change in the chemical structure of the elements or compounds that are reacting. The law of conservation of matter means that no element can be destroyed. [1] Accordingly, if there are a certain number of atoms of certain types before the reaction, there must be the same number of atoms of the same types after the reaction. The elements just get arranged in different ways.

2. So two very simple kinds of reaction are a "composition" reaction and a "decomposition" reaction. In the first kind of reaction (composition), two different elements or compounds come together to form a single compound. In the second (decomposition), one compound breaks down into two or more elements or compounds.

Take the following reaction:
H2 + O2 → H2O

This is a composition or "synthesis" reaction because a hydrogen and an oxygen molecule combine to form a water molecule. It is also, by the way, a combustion reaction because this process normally takes place by burning hydrogen. Sometimes a little Δ (delta) is put above the arrow to indicate the addition of heat.

3. The equation above is "imbalanced" because there are two oxygens (O) on the left side of the reaction (the "before" side) but there is only one oxygen on the right side (the "after" side). "Balancing" an equation is when you make sure there are the same number of each type of atom on both sides of the equation. This is necessary because you can't create or destroy matter.

After a little trial and error, here is what a balanced form of this same equation looks like:

2H2 + O2 → 2H2O

The number in front of a chemical symbol indicates that many of that particular molecule. So 2H2 means two hydrogen molecules. [2] So now we have 4 hydrogens on the left side of the equation and 4 hydrogens on the right side. But now we have two oxygens on the left and two oxygens on the right. The equation is "balanced."

4. The process can also happen in reverse in a "decomposition" reaction. If you put electricity through water (electrolysis), water will begin to decompose into hydrogen and oxygen gas molecules. The balanced decomposition reaction looks like the following:

2H2O → 2H2 + O2

5. Two other kinds of reaction are single replacement reactions and double replacement reactions. In a single replacement reaction, an element in one compound trades places with an element in another:

AB + C → AC + B

For example, if you take silver nitrate (AgNO3) [3] and add it to copper in solid form (Cu), the copper trades places with the silver, forming copper or "cuprous" nitrate (CuNO3) [4] and the silver coming out in solid form. The balanced formula looks like the following:

AgNO3(aq) + Cu(s) → CuNO3 + Ag(s) [5]

When a solid comes out of solution, as the silver does here, we call it a "precipitate."

6. Another way of thinking about many single replacement reactions is as oxidation-reduction reactions or redox reactions. "Oxidation" refers to some component of a reaction losing electrons (OX-loss). "Reduction" refers to some component of a reaction reducing its charge or gaining electrons. "OIL RIG" might help a person remember what the definitions mean. "Oxidation is loss, Reduction is gain" of electrons.

So in the silver nitrate reaction, silver gains electrons (it goes from +1 to 0) and copper loses electrons (it goes from 0 to +1). So the copper is "oxidized" because it loses electrons. The silver is "reduced" because it gains an electron and gets more negative, in a sense. We say that the silver is an "oxidizing agent" and the copper is a "reducing agent."

Elements are assigned an "oxidation number" somewhat depending on what column they are in on the periodic table. Any element in column 1 has an oxidation number of +1. Any element in column 7 has an oxidation number of -1. The rest is predictable. Oxygen is -2. Nitrogen is -3. Carbon can be either +4 or -4.

7. In a double replacement reaction, two elements in two compounds trade places:

AB + CD → AC + BD

For example, if you take sodium chloride (NaCl) and mix it with silver nitrate (AgNO3), the sodium and the silver will trade places, yielding sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and silver chloride (AgCl), which will come out of solution as a precipitate. The balanced formula is:

AgNO3(aq) + NaCl (aq) → NaNO3(aq) + AgCl(s)

8. A slightly more complicated example is when you dissolve marble, calcium carbonate (CaCO3), in sulfuric acid (H2SO4). The calcium will take the place of the hydrogen, yielding calcium sulfate (CaSO4), and the hydrogen combines with some of the oxygen to form water (H2O). Carbon dioxide is also formed (CO2).

The equation is CaCO3 + H2SO4  CaSO4 + CO2 + H2O

9. In the previous post, we mentioned that acids are compounds that want to give a proton and most typically have hydrogen ions as part of their formulas. Bases are then compounds that attract protons, often having an OH- ion at the end of their formula.

One special kind of double replacement reaction involves the neutralization of an acid with a base. [6] One example would be the neutralization of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) with sodium hydroxide (NaOH):
H2SO4 + 2NaOH → NaSO4 + 2H2O

Next Week: Math/Science 7: The Basic Tools of Algebra

[1] Some radioactive degenerations involve one type of atom deteriorating into two lighter atoms.

[2] One molecule of hydrogen (H) consists of two hydrogen atoms (H2). We say that it is a "diatomic" molecule for this reason. The reason there are two is because with each hydrogen sharing its one electron with the other, the outer shell of the hydrogen is full. Hydrogen and helium don't follow the octet rule because they only have one "s" shell, which only can take two electrons.

[3] Ag is the symbol for silver because it is an element that has been known long enough to go by its Latin name argentum. The ion NO3 is the nitrate ion. It has a negative one charge.

[4] Some elements, like the transition metal copper, has more than one ionic charge. So copper can either take on a +1 charge or a +2 charge. When the +1 form combines to form a compound, it is called "cuprous" something. When the +2 form combines it is called "cupric" something.

[5] (aq) means that the compound is dissolved in water and is "in solution."

[6] One way to neutralize is by a method called titration, where an acid or a base is dripped into the other until the resulting solution is completely neutralized.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gen Eds H7a: Church Schisms in the Middle Ages

So finally we begin the seventh unit of world history: "The Age of the Church and Jihad."

These are posts in the World History part of my "General Education in a Nutshell" series. This series involves ten subjects you might study in a general education or "liberal arts" core at a university or college. The first topic in the overall series was philosophy. So far in the world history section:
Schisms in the Church
1. Most historians, both Catholic and Protestant, would agree that the Roman Catholic Church in the late Middle Ages was not particularly true to its professed identity. Some have said in recent years that Luther would not have withdrawn from the Roman Catholic Church of today. But the church of the late Middle Ages was often corrupt, inconsistent to its own values, and typified by the kinds of power and money struggles of any purely human organization.

The problem, it would seem, is the way in which political power and religious authority became intertwined, a strong argument in itself for the separation of church and state, of religion from political leadership. As the papacy became more politically powerful, those with political ambition found it more and more desirable. Rather than seeking the office to do good, they sought it to have power and wealth.

No one should be able to get rich off of religious or political office while they are in office. It's too dangerous a conflict of interest and often leads to disaster for the governed.

Simony became rampant in the Middle Ages. This was the practice of buying your way into religious position--"pay for play." It is no wonder that churchmen like John Wycliffe (1320-84) and Jan Hus (1369-1415) began to protest the church's leaders and practices. In their day, they did not have the political power to launch a "protesting" movement that could successfully reform or escape the power of the Roman Catholic Church. It would take over a hundred more years for Luther to do that. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415. Wycliffe escaped such punishment while he was alive, but his bones were dug up and burned in 1428.

The ability to obtain positions of power should not be a matter of wealth. Anyone in theory, no matter how much status or power he or she has, should be able to reach the highest offices on merits rather than money or legacy. This is why limits on the amount of money that can be used to advance a candidate for office seems to make sense.

2. You might say that the Roman Catholic Church was born in 1054 when a series of events led the Western church to excommunicate the Eastern church, with the Eastern Church excommunicating the Western church in turn. [1] This event is called the Great Schism between the East and West of the church catholic, the church universal.

The power of the "bishop of Rome" had steadily grown over the centuries in comparison to other leaders of the Christian church in key cities of the Mediterranean. Leo the Great was the first to use "Pope" regularly in his title (Pope from 440-61). [2] Around the year 600, Pope Gregory I established the bishop of Rome as the "first among equals," the "servant of the servants of God" (Pope from 590-604).

At that time, there were prominent bishops in Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria  as well (the "Pentarchy"). With the Muslim conquests of the 600s, only Rome and Constantinople remained as the primary bishops of Christianity. The split in 1054 was really over who was the greater authority of the two. As usual, there was a presenting issue that brought the underlying issue to the surface, namely, the right of the western church to add the words "and the son" to the Nicene Creed without the East's permission.

The original Nicene Creed of 381 said, "I believe... in the Holy Spirit... who proceeds from the Father." The western church had long added the words "and the Son" to its version. The Eastern church objected that Rome did not have the authority to add to the creed without a universal ("ecumenical") meeting ("council"). The situation came to a head in 1054 with both sides excommunicating the other.

The result is that we have the Eastern Orthodox Church in the east and the Roman Catholic Church in the west. Both claim to be "catholic" or universal churches, so the word "Roman" becomes necessary after that point when we are speaking of the Catholic Church based in Rome.

3. Some aspects of the Roman church that Protestants later objected to came to the fore in the five hundred years after the Great Schism. For example, the celibacy of priests was not an absolute practice of catholic Christianity until after the split from the East. In the eastern church, you can still become a priest if you are married, although you cannot remarry if your wife dies after you are a priest and a "patriarch" cannot be married.

The Crusades also took place after the great split. The Muslim invasions of the west in the 600s and 700s took all of Turkey and Africa, not to mention Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In 1095, Pope Urban II came to the rescue of the Eastern church (perhaps hoping to reunify it) as the Muslim Seljuk Turks were advancing in the direction of Constantinople. By 1099, Jerusalem had also been restored to Christian control.

This version of the First Crusade sounds noble, but war always brings atrocities. The overall intentions might be good--or not--but on the level of individual versus individual, atrocities always take place. There is always the death of the innocent. There is always rape and plundering. In the lead up to the First Crusade, for example, the "People's Crusade" or the "German Crusade" involved the murder of thousands of Jews in Germany (1096).

The Muslims would reassert themselves and a Second Crusade took place from 1147-49 to try to regain lost ground, but it did not succeed. The Crusaders were defeated by the Seljuk Turks. Then in 1187 Jerusalem fell again to Saladin, the greatest of the Seljuk Turks. This led to the Third Crusade in 1189-92, the "Kings Crusade." This is the crusade in which Richard the Lionhearted of England (of Robin Hood fame) participated.

The Third Crusade saw great military success, but Jerusalem was not retaken from Saladin. In 1192 unarmed Christian pilgrims were however granted access to Jerusalem in a treaty with the great Kurd.

The desire to retake Jerusalem led to the Fourth Crusade (1202-4), but these crusaders never even made it passed Turkey. Instead, they turned aside and sacked the Christian city of Constantinople in 1204. The Fifth Crusade (1213-21) never made it past Egypt and was defeated. A Sixth Crusade (1228) restored Jerusalem for a few years (and banished Jews once again from the city). A Seventh Crusade failed to get back Egypt and was led by King Louis IX of France (1248-54). He tried again on an Eighth (1270) and a Ninth (1271-72), both of which were failures. Here endeth the crusading.

4. There was a time in the Middle Ages, when the popes were not located in Rome but in France (1309-77). As background, one of the most powerful Popes of the Middle Ages was Pope Boniface VIII (Pope from 1294-1303). He issued a papal decree (called a papal bull) in 1302 which declared that the Pope was supreme over all human authority, including political authority, in effect declaring himself the final authority on earth over every other human being. [3]

Boniface excommunicated lots and lots of people. His conflict with the King of France at the time (Philip IV "the Fair") was particularly fierce, as Philip began to tax the lands of the church in France. Dante puts Boniface in the eighth ring of hell in his Inferno, the ring for those who commit simony, fraud, and hypocrisy. After Boniface's death, the next pope lasted scarcely eight months and left Rome for his own protection.

The next pope was elected by force and moved the papacy to France, where it would basically stay under the control of the French king for some 68 years. This is the period of the Avignon Papacy, since all the popes were French and served from the French city of Avignon. This period is also sometimes called the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy."

Boniface had tried to assert the power of the Pope more than ever before, and the end result was a more or less enslaved papacy for almost 70 years. Here is a lesson. When you go all in, if you lose, your loss may also be total.

5. Pope Gregory IX returned to Rome in 1377, the year before his death. As the cardinals sought a successor, a mob formed around the papal enclave demanding that the next pope be a Roman pope rather than a French one. Pope Urban VI was selected. The problem is that he wanted reform, many of the same kinds of reform that Jan Hus wanted and was preaching on in the empire of Bohemia at the time (today, the Czech Republic).

His bullish manner was so offensive that the cardinals wanted to reverse their selection. Another pope (or perhaps, anti-pope) was selected at Avignon, beginning what is known as the Western Schism. There would be two popes from late 1378 until the Council of Constance in 1417--the one in Rome now considered legitimate and the one in Avignon now called an antipope.

6. The Council of Constance (in southern Germany) was called in 1417 to end this Schism. By this time there were actually three people claiming to be Pope, since a council in 1409 had claimed to depose the other two and impose a new one. The remaining popes abdicated, and a new Pope, Martin V, was elected. This was also the council that condemned Jan Hus to the stake.

Take Aways:
  • No one should be able to get rich off of religious or political office while they are in office. It's too dangerous a conflict of interest and often leads to disaster for the governed.
  • The ability to obtain positions of power should not be a matter of wealth.
  • War always brings atrocities--rape, murder of the innocent, stealing
  • When you go all in, if you lose, your loss may also be total.
  • Great conflicts often cannot be resolved until both sides are willing to give up their rights and claims.

Next week: History 7b: Kings Rising in the Middle Ages

[1] To excommunicate is to kick someone out of the church and, in effect, to consign them to hell.

[2] Other bishops also called themselves Pope at this time as well, and it was not until after the great split between east and west that the Pope of Rome insisted only he had right to the title.

[3] Unam Sanctum.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harry Shepherd Prophecy 16

The sixteenth installment of my grandfather Shepherd's prophecy book, copied here without comment.
The election through which we have just passed (1960) has, at least, two significant prophetic outcroppings. Both should be cause for profound misgivings and consideration on the part of all patriotic Americans and should not be brushed aside or forgotten because the election is apparently over. The First One is the part and the success the big labor bosses had in one of the National Conventions, as well as in the voting, which is heading the groove of the Book of James, chapter 5:1 to 9. Here is the Capital and Labor struggle of the end of this Gospel Age with its predicted outcome. In this, we can see a period in which those with money heaped up colossal fortunes partly because they, by fraud, retained the hire, or at least part of it, of the laborers. Then the laborer raised his cry and the Lord of hosts heard it and took record of the struggle. In this record, the struggle began with the advantage in favor of the capitalist. Finally, the advantage shifts to the laborer, for the multi-millionaires weep and howl for the miseries that have come upon them. These miseries will probably stems from the loss of their possessions, their stocks and bonds, their money, and probable physical inflictions which shall come upon them at the hands of their despoilers. Verse two says their riches are corrupted. The Greek word (sepo) translated corrupted, means to cause to become putrid. It would seem to indicate that some of this great wealth was acquired through smelly ways. Verse three declares that their gold and silver is cankered. Here, the Greek word (katioomai) translated cankered, means to be rusted. Rust indicates lack of proper use, decay, and eventually loss. They had wantonly used their wealth till now it is lost and the loss burns their minds as fire.

This capital and labor struggle was already underway when the American Federation of Labor was organized December 7-8, 1886, and Samuel Gompers became president. Strikes since World War II and the 116-day Steel Strike the summer of 1959, with the president election campaign, indicate how far Capital and Labor have traveled in the predicted groove of this Fifth Chapter of James. During the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1908) Capital was in the saddle and he brought suit against big trusts to curve them. Now the big Labor bosses are in the saddle as predicted, and no one seems able to curb them but the Federal Government, and the politicians seem afraid to buck them. We, the innocent consumers, have to suffer and eventually pay the bills for the strikes which are passed on to the public through increased prices. This is unchristian and when God's Great Judgment Day rolls around, Capital and Labor both will have to meet whatever is unjust in this gigantic struggle.

According to the news press, the Los Angeles National Convention was rigged and one of the most powerful Labor barons pulled the strings which nominated the head of the ticket. He, and others, also helped deliver the votes, no doubt, which brought success to that candidate. The continuance of this type of work will eventually dominate and control the government. Free enterprise is facing jeopardy and the final loss of their holdings by the rich, in all probability, will come under a socialistic or communistic in government, which is already looming on the American political horizon. This type of government seems to be the final end of this fifth chapter struggle which, apparently, was near enough to the Coming of Christ that the Christians were told to be patient and, of course, get their deliverance through that Coming. The left-wing liberals in both major parties unknowingly and unwittingly pointed in this direction in the recent campaign. Many blindly and ignorantly are swapping off Individual Liberty for the idea of "Security from Cradle to Grave.

I have been thinking for some months, that we are seeing the struggle between the two Great Personalities in the universe in the end of this Gospel Age, namely—God Almighty and Fallen Lucifer or Satan. During this recent election campaign, I had a feeling that a master mind was working out a satanic design and plan and the people high up in our land and lower were blind to Satan's work and plan to destroy our land and liberties through the twins—socialism and communism. Apparently, providentially, an article came into my possession at this time on a similar theme. I will pass out of its ideas on to the reader. Forty-eight years ago (1912), Colonel E. M. House, a personal adviser to President Woodrow Wilson, put out a book with its authorship concealed, advocating a revolutionary movement in our country. He tried to influence President Wilson in the direction of his book's idea, succeeded some, and then failed, with Mr. Wilson repudiating him on Mr. Wilson's death bed. Later he turned to Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt and influenced him in the direction of the revolutionary movement, advocated in Colonel House's book. In the year Mr. Hoover was elected President, (1928) a Socialist Professor of a London school, who also believed in Carl Marx communism and whose name was Harold Laski, came to the United States to help Felix Frankfurter teach a nucleus of Harvard University students in revolutionary socialism. The object was for these, later on, to turn our government in the same direction. After Mr. Roosevelt was elected President, Professor Laski was asked to come to America and help plan the New Deal with its NRA, WPA, etc. During the summer of 1935, young John Kennedy was sent by his father to take work in the London school above, under the revolutionary Professor H. Laski. Later, he returned home and went to Harvard where were the revolutionary sowings of Mr. Frankfurter and Mr. Laski. It seems to me, from all of this, that Satan is the master mind behind a set program, working through people ignorant of his purpose, to turn our country away from blood-bought liberties and privileges and set up a Godless dictatorship.

The Second Prophetic Outcropping in the recent election (1960) is to be seen in the breaking down of what may be called an unwritten, verbal precedent of thinking that a true Roman Catholic cannot be a true and safe President of the United States because of the views held by the leaders of his church by which he must abide. According to printed statements which appeared during the late contest in the publications fearful about American religious liberty, this church does not believe in the American doctrine of separation of church and state. As far as I have ever read, the Pope has never renounced the claim to political authority as well as to spiritual authority and infallibility. Hence, it is not being a bigot to feel and say that no American can be safe and true American leader as long as he is under the authority and control of such foreign power. The late election, at least, began a breach in the thinking barrier against such leadership and danger, and with a hole in the dike, this election trickle unless dammed up four years hence, may become a flood which can never be turned back. Suffice it to say, very little change may be seen in the coming four years, but may we not reasonably expect a considerable widening of the break in the dike if four years more are added? And we may add this, that in states where a governor of this church has been elected, legislation has been passed, granting rights not existing before, such as public bus transportation to Roman Catholic schools and allowing garbed nuns to teach in the public schools and be paid out of public tax money, which then finds its way into the coffers of this church. Let Americans beware!