The Two Parts of Wisdom

Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern.
John Calvin
Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)

I’m reading a book on the Renaissance and Reformation called In Search of God and Self, and this quote is on its first page.

Upon some reflection, I considered that neither precedes from the other. Rather, the search for Truth and self-knowledge are two sides of one coin. Both precede from a single source.

The Three Reichs

All of us know that Hitler’s Nazi Germany was called the Third Reich.
But what were the first two Reichs? I was unclear about this, so I looked it up:

The First Reich
I’m still somewhat unclear about this. Wikipedia has it starting in 962 AD with the coronation of Otto I and the creation of the Holy Roman Empire. However, Encyclopedia Britannica suggests it started earlier with the seemingly impromptu crowning of Charlemagne on Christmas Day in 800 AD. It ends with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 after the Napoleonic Wars.

The Second Reich
The Second Reich begins with Bismarck’s unification of Germany in 1871 under the Kaiser and ends with its defeat in World War I.

The Third Reich
Well, that needs little introduction …

Word of the Day: Nimbus

The Word of the day this year is Nimbus.

According to Merriam-Websters, the indisputable crown of English language reference, the word nimbus means the following:

a: a luminous vapor, cloud, or atmosphere about a god or goddess when on earth
b : a cloud or atmosphere (as of romance) about a person or thing
2: an indication (as a circle) of radiant light or glory about the head of a drawn or sculptured divinity, saint, or sovereign
3: a rain cloud

Fun fact: a nimbus cloud is simply a cloud from which rain is falling. Astound your friends with this amazing bit of trivia.

Here are some examples of the word nimbus in sentences:

From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through a notable
nimbus of nebulous noonshine …
~ A.C. Swinburne

The nimbus about my head cannot denote divinity; a much more plausible explanation is that my hair is on fire.
~ Me, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at The White Peacock

Snowden, Not Edward

The first time I heard the last name Snowden is not on the news, concerning the plight of Traitor/American Hero Edward Snowden. It may have not been the first you heard it either.

I recently read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. However, you may have read it in high school or college.

It is revealed in fragments throughout the course of the novel that Snowden was a gunner that died in Yossarian’s arms, his guts pouring out of his carcass, having been shredded by flak. It is revealed that this experience was the motivation behind Yossarian losing his courage to continue fighting the war.

At any rate, this quote seemed apropos:

“Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window, and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.”

– Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Diocletian: Dude That Saved the Empire

I have a rather long commute to work.  Forty-five minutes to work, and forty-five minutes back home.  An hour and a half in sum.  That’s a lot of time to idle away thinking about nothing.

In comes The Great Courses to save the day!

I’m not sure I’d survive the commute without being able to listen to these lectures.  As I’m a bit of a history buff, I’ve been using my commute time to enrich my admittedly pedestrian knowledge of bygone ages.

At any rate, currently I’m listening to “Early Middles Ages” by Professor Philip Daileader.  It covers the vicissitudes of western civilization from about 300 AD to 1000 AD, or as it used to be called, The Dark Ages.

For various reasons, scholars no longer use this pejorative term, and refer to it as the Early Middle Ages, or Late Antiquity.

So, many of my upcoming blog posts will be about interesting things I’ve learned in this course.

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Obey your Parents!

[post_intro]“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”[/post_intro]

Saint Paul
Saint Paul

A lonely Sunday evening in McPherson, KS.

I didn’t feel much like preparing dinner, so I drove to Hunan, the local Chinese food dive, and ordered the Vegetable Delight with steamed rice.  I took it to go and ate it in my car in Hunan’s parking lot.

There was nothing on the radio, so I settled for a Christian radio station … just for the hell of it.  I listened to a Christianized news break.  Each story ended with a, “Won’t you pray for such-and-such?”  For example, “Edward Snowden fled Hong Kong and is believed to be on an airplane headed to Russia.  Won’t you pray for his eventual capture and inglorious return to the United States?”

At any rate, after the news break, a pastor began a sermon about family relationships, particularly the relationship between children and their parents.

Continue reading →