16 June 2009

Mid-June snippets

  • While the explosive growth of Christianity in sub-saharan Africa is a fairly new development, there is one country in that continent boasting ancient christian roots, as reported in this fascinating article: Living history in Ethiopia. An intriguing excerpt:

    The 11 rock-hewn churches in the town of Lalibela have often been called the "Eighth Wonder of the World." Like the monoliths at Axum, they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, according to legend, they were each carved out of a single piece of rock at record speed, "as angels worked on them during the night." The churches, many carved in deep trenches with only their roofs exposed, others cut directly into the rocks of caves, are all connected by a labyrinthine series of tunnels, paths and steep steps. Each has been used continuously since the beginning of the 13th century. Most are decorated with a Star of David, underscoring the church's close kinship with King Solomon. One displays a very old painting of a black Jesus.

  • This is a grizzly story that I would not otherwise flag, save for its legal ramifications: London autopsies reveal 3 babies may not have been full-term. A woman has been arrested in this case, but if it turns out the infants were aborted before birth, will they drop the charges and let her go?

  • While we're on the subject, it is helpful to remind ourselves occasionally that the early Christians, contrary to their pagan neighbours, strongly disapproved of exposure of infants and abortion. David W. T. Brattston gives us a summary of ancient sources on the subject: Early Christians and Abortion.

  • I recently discovered, much to my surprise, that the tune to Go Tell Aunt Rodie, played by every young violin student of the Suzuki method, was composed by none other than Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the Presbyterian hymnal the tune is called ROUSSEAU, while Cyberhymnal calls it GREENVILLE. Sensing a paedagogical opportunity here, I have set the opening words of Rousseau's Social Contract to this tune, which is available here exclusively and for the first time.

  • What? I'm shocked, shocked! at the vicious rumours that the Iranian president might have rigged his country's recent election: Iran protest cancelled as leaked election results show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came third.

  • Could Canada's foremost cranky conservative really be flirting with the likes of Noam Chomsky? Read it here: Popular theatre.

  • Happy 794th birthday to Magna Carta. I hope a big celebration will be planned for six years hence.
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