Tag: Plagues

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This morning from Business Insider, titled: “New Swine Flu Strain with Pandemic Potential”. It seems this one is a potentially strange and bizarre combo from birds, pigs and human flu! Once again, it all comes from China. These “new” viruses have been rolling out of China for two decades. What is going on?? Why do […]

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What Was So Good About Friday?


Lights on HilltopsThe western churches are celebrating the beginning of Easter season, while the Orthodox Church marks the beginning of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, a matter of differing calendars. At the same time, Jews have been marking Passover, which Christians believe to be both a historic event and a prefigurement of the events commemorated in the highest holy days in the Christian faith. While we are constrained by government, for the first time in modern history, from gathering together in fulfillment of religious obligations and in communal affirmation of our faith, congregations are still celebrating the ancient truths, perhaps more than ever, as “virtual” attendance anecdotally exceeds the usual physical attendance. Our current circumstances may make us reflect more closely on the habitual rituals and readings.

Recall that the first Passover found families sheltering in place in their homes. On the instruction of their leaders, each family had selected a lamb, killed it, painting the doorposts and the lintel, the cross-member framing the top of the doorway, with the lamb’s blood. The family was eating the roasted lamb with their traveling clothes on, ready to move out when ordered, after the Angel of Death had passed them by.*

So, that first Passover would have been quite dark, quite scary. After all, they were warned of a great plague, and had only the blood-stained doorway between themselves and that killer. Yet, that darkest night was also a time of hope based in a promise. They were all dressed for a speedy departure because they were promised liberation in the wake of the plague.

History and the Vector of Shame


Perhaps you have seen the meme that shows WWII soldiers and says something along the lines of “they stormed the beaches for us, we’re just being asked to stay on our couches.” As far as exhortations to stay home go, I suppose it is one of the less annoying and more anodyne ones, but it’s still full of a smug, pompous, and scornful shame directed at us today, extolling the virtues of our honored ancestors over and against the alleged sins of our current generation.

It absolutely reeks of the sort of derision that says “not only are you no better than them, but you’re actually likely a great deal worse since we have to nanny you into staying in your own home.” It is an appeal to heroic nostalgia for a sepia-toned and non-existent past, where somehow the people were “more real,” more manly (or womanly) than today. Putting aside my general annoyance with such nannyism, as a perpetual student of history, I also have to cry foul over the comparison and call it what it is: bilge.

School Bologna


In the beginning was the word, and the word was the law: the law of Rome. And Justinian I commanded that the law be gathered and compiled. And in this compilation of 1,500 volumes, he found many conflicts, so he ordered these conflicts resolved and fifty were published as The Fifty Decisions. And when this was done and apparently liking the number fifty, he commanded that the 1,500 books of law be digested down into fifty volumes, and that this should be the Law of Rome henceforth. And so it was done; and so it was published, and so it was the law of the land. It was called the Digest, and it was good and much simpler than what had gone before.

And as the years passed, it was used in both East and West, but then the West fell to barbarians. And so they lived in the light of a golden age for five hundred years with no professional lawyers to pester them and make wreck of their lives, only having to worry of honest robbers and barbarians.