THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
It’s the weekend during which most Americans and others in countries around the Northern Hemisphere set their clocks back one hour. Why in the world would we do that? Here’s a little background from TimeandDate.com:
- Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward 1 hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.
- US inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin first proposed the concept of DST in 1784, but modern Daylight Saving Time was first suggested in 1895. At that time, George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, presented a proposal for a 2-hour daylight saving shift.
- When Germany switched to DST on April 30, 1916 for the first time, it became the first country in the world to use DST on a national level. However, the town of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada implemented DST already in 1908.
- Less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST. Some countries use it to make better use of the natural daylight in the evenings. The difference in light is most noticeable in the areas at a certain distance from Earth’s equator. Some studies show that DST could lead to fewer road accidents and injuries by supplying more daylight during the hours more people use the roads. Other studies claim that people’s health might suffer due to DST changes. DST is also used to reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting during the evening hours. However, many studies disagree about DST’s energy savings, and while some studies show a positive outcome, others do not.
- In the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator) the participating countries usually start the DST period in September-November and end DST in March-April.
UPDATE: For more DST fun and information, read this lively and illuminating article in the Washington Post: “Termination of chaos”: How daylight saving solved America’s clock craziness.
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CONGRATS TO THE WORLD CHAMPION ASTROS!
Now there’s a phrase that’s never been uttered before. The Houston Astros won the first World Series championship in their 56 years of existence, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to three.
George Springer was voted the Series MVP. Springer matched Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) by hitting five home runs in one World Series. Springer also had 29 total bases in the World Series, breaking the record of 25 shared by Willie Stargell (1979) and Jackson. Springer also passed Stargell for the most extra-base hits in a World Series with seven, becoming the first player to have had at least one extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.
Not only is this great because it’s Houston’s first title, but in the light of all the city has been through this year, it’s nice that they get a little bit of joy through this win.
My Chicago Cubs sent the Astros 40 pizzas as congratulations for winning the World Series. It’s become a tradition that the previous year’s champion sends the new champion pizza.
And now the long dark night of life with no baseball begins…
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Joint Statement by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the conclusion of the year of the common commemoration of the Reformation, 31st October 2017
(Click the link to read the entire statement. Here’s an excerpt:)
On 31st of October 2017, the final day of the year of the common ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation, we are very thankful for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation, a commemoration that we have shared together and with our ecumenical partners globally. Likewise, we begged forgiveness for our failures and for the ways in which Christians have wounded the Body of the Lord and offended each other during the five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation until today.
We, Lutherans and Catholics, are profoundly grateful for the ecumenical journey that we have travelled together during the last fifty years. This pilgrimage, sustained by our common prayer, worship and ecumenical dialogue, has resulted in the removal of prejudices, the increase of mutual understanding and the identification of decisive theological agreements. In the face of so many blessings along the way, we raise our hearts in praise of the Triune God for the mercy we receive.
…We rejoice that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, solemnly signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, has also been signed by the World Methodist Council in 2006 and, during this Commemoration Year of the Reformation, by the World Communion of Reformed Churches. On this very day it is being welcomed and received by the Anglican Communion at a solemn ceremony in Westminster Abbey. On this basis our Christian communions can build an ever closer bond of spiritual consensus and common witness in the service of the Gospel.
…Looking forward, we commit ourselves to continue our journey together, guided by God’s Spirit, towards the greater unity according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ. With God’s help we intend to discern in a prayerful manner our understanding on Church, Eucharist and Ministry, seeking a substantial consensus so as to overcome remaining differences between us. With deep joy and gratitude we trust “that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph1:6).
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MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING READ…
CT took a look at a book that might prove interesting to iMonk readers: Lincoln A. Mullen’s The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America.
According to the review, Mullen claims “that conversion is not unique to evangelicalism. Instead, he argues, it is perhaps ‘the defining feature of what American religions had in common.’”
The fact that there was such “variety of conversions” in the United States actually helped create a shared understanding of religion—that religion is something you choose, as opposed to something you inherit. This freedom to choose, however, implied an obligation. The book speaks of “obligatory religious choice” or the “burden to choose.” As Mullen states it: “…in the United States, people not only may pick their religion, they must.”
However, this led to an ironic outcome:
But here’s the irony: While forced choice may have helped create a more religious United States, it simultaneously made the country more secular. To support this argument, Mullen borrows from Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007), which distinguishes between different kinds of secularity. One kind of secularity is when a society moves from having an unchallenged belief in God to regarding this belief as one option among many. The widespread attention given to conversion in the United States made it impossible for people to ignore religious options (thereby making them more religious). But it also made people more aware of the fact that options existed (thereby making them more secular).
Sounds like we ought to be exploring this here on the blog soon.
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IS THE WORLD GETTING MORE DANGEROUS?
Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency thinks so. And, according to their calculations, they don’t have enough nuclear shelters to protect their population from an attack.
They only have 65,000 such shelters. That’s right: the country currently has 65,000 shelters with space for seven million people in the event of an attack.
Sweden’s shelters are housed in residential buildings, office blocks, and some more unusual locations. They are designed to protect residents from “all weapons that could be used”, according to the MSB, including shock waves and shrapnel as vapor deposition, biological weapons, fire, and ionizing radiation.
The Agency’s report recommends that more bunkers with space to shelter 50,000 additional people should be built over the next twelve years. Also, many of the existing shelters need to be refurbished. These efforts are in addition to other actions by Sweden, such as reintroducing military conscription this year, and stationing a permanent military force on Gotland, a strategic location in the Baltics.
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SOME STRANGE NEWS STORIES FROM THE WEEK…
On Halloween, Oskar Frankenstein was born in Florida to Kyle and Jessica Frankenstein.
Max Crocombe, goalkeeper for Salford City, was sent off the field in their match against Bradford Park Avenue. Why? He urinated on the field in the middle of the game.
In Utqiagvik, Alaska last week, workers had to figure out how to remove a 450-pound bearded seal off an airport runway.
Sam Adams released their beer Utopia that costs $199 per bottle, boasts an alcohol content of 28%, and is illegal in 12 U.S. states. (Maybe that’s what Max Crocombe was drinking.)
A kung fu master in China broke a Guinness World Record when he used his bare hands to smash 302 walnuts in 55 seconds.
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ALL SAINTS, ALL SOULS, ALL SKULLS
This week the Church marked All Saints and All Souls days (some traditions will commemorate the dead this Sunday). Here’s a chapel in Portugal where you can worship among the visible remains of the “great cloud of witnesses” every day of the year.
Constructed by Franciscan monks in the 16th century, the Chapel of Bones in Evora will get one’s attention about human mortality like nothing else.
The Chapel’s story is a familiar one. By the 16th century, there were as many as 43 cemeteries in and around Évora that were taking up valuable land. Not wanting to condemn the souls of the people buried there, the monks decided to build the Chapel and relocate the bones.
However, rather than interring the bones behind closed doors, the monks, who were concerned about society’s values at the time, thought it best to put them on display. They thought this would provide Évora, a town noted for its wealth in the early 1600s, with a helpful place to meditate on the transience of material things in the undeniable presence of death. This is made clear by the thought-provoking message above the chapel door: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos,” or: “We bones, are here, waiting for yours.”
About 5,000 corpses are interred in the chapel. In a small white coffin by the altar, the bones of the three Franciscan monks who founded the church in the 13th century rest. Two corpses hang by chains from the wall next to a cross, one of them a child.
A poem on one of the pillars addresses pilgrims and urges them to take what they see to heart. It says, in part:
Recall how many have passed from this world
Reflect on your similar end
There is good reason to reflect
If only all did the same
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TONIGHT: JOHN GORKA
Tonight one of our regular folk series that we’ve enjoyed here in Indianapolis will be holding their final concert, and they’re bringing back one of our very favorite singer-songwriters, the remarkable John Gorka.
In anticipation, I present you with a taste — my all-time favorite Gorka meditation…