Oh, It’s A Matter of Hearing


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

One Sunday morning, during the sermon, the Pastor said, “If anyone with ‘special needs’ wants me to pray for them, please approach the altar.”

Albert Perera, a businessman and prominent member of the community, stood up and walked to the altar.

The Pastor asked, ” Mr Perera, what do you want me to pray for?”

Perera replied, “Reverend, I need you to pray for my hearing.”

The Pastor placed his right hand on top of Perera’s head and then inserted the middle finger of his left hand into his right ear. He began to pray fervently, and the congregation joined him with enthusiasm.

After a few minutes, the Pastor removed his hands, stood back, looked into Perera’s eyes and asked, “Mr Perera, how is your hearing now?”

Perera replied, “I don’t know yet, reverend. The Criminal Court has scheduled my hearing for next Thursday!”

Are You a Millennial?


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By T. V. Antony Raj

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In the late 1980s, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe developed The Fourth Turning theory, also known as the Strauss–Howe generational theory or simply the Fourth Turning, describing a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history and global history.

In their book “Generations” published in 1991 which discusses the history of the United States as a succession of generational biographies, the two authors coined the term ‘millennials‘ to describe the generational comradeship of people born between 1982 and 2000. One of the reasons behind the term is the fact that the oldest millennials were graduating high school in the year 2000 – the beginning of the new millennium.

Over time, with more and more young people coming of age, the term millennials has become popular to refer to this generation.

Until 2013, the word ‘millennials’ was not commonly used online and became increasingly popular as psychologists and sociologists sought to understand the millennials as individuals and advertisers targeted them as consumers.

In mass media, newspapers and journals, some people older than the millennials use the term disparagingly to refer to any young person, accusing them of over-sensitivity, an addiction to smartphones, destroying traditional industries, and much more.

Some millennials themselves often use the term as a form of self-deprecation.

Turning 38 this year, the oldest Millennials are well into adulthood.

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How Do Pious Christians Pray?


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By T. V. Antony Raj

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Prayers recited mainly by Christians are generally brief, rhyming, or have a memorable tune. They are usually said to give thanks before a meal, before bedtime, or as a nursery rhyme. Many of these prayers are either quotation from the Bible or popular traditional texts.

Now I lay me down to sleep is a classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century. Here is the original version:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen

The following is a recent version of Now I lay me down to sleep:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
There are four corners on my bed,
There are four angels overhead,
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
God bless this bed that I lay on.

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, yogi, historian, and transcendentalist was right when he said that “The modern Christian is a man who has consented to say all the prayers in the liturgy, provided you will let him go straight to bed and sleep quietly afterwards.”

Joseph Addison (May 1, 1672 – June 17, 1719)

On March 8, 1711, Joseph Addison (May 1, 1672 – June 17, 1719), an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician wrote an essay that appeared in The Spectator in which he says:

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his Care;
when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction
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All the prayers of the modern pious Christians begin with one of the variants of this classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century. This prayer and its adaptations are sometimes combined with the “Black Paternoster”, one version of which goes:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch and one to pray
And two to bear my soul away.

Frontispiece of Thomas Ady’s A Candle in the Dark.58) the queen of England, blessed herself every night with the “popish ( Roman Catholic) charm”:

Thomas Ady in his witchcraft treatise “A Candle in the Dark, or, a treatise concerning the nature of witches and witchcraft” (1656), tells about a woman in Essex who claimed to have lived in the reign oMary I (r. 1553-1558) the queen of England, blessed herself every night with the “popish (Roman Catholic) charm”:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
The Bed be blest that I lye on.

In 1685, George Sinclair, in his”Satan’s Invisible World Discovered” wrote about a witch who used a “Black Paternoster”, at night, similar to Ady’s rhyme:

Four newks (corners) in this house, for haly (holy) Angels,
A post in the midst, that’s Christ Jesus,
Lucas, Marcus, Matthew, Joannes,
God be into this house, and all that belangs (belongs) us.

A year later it was quoted again by John Aubrey, an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer, but in the form:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lye on.
And blessed Guardian-Angel keep
Me safe from danger whilst I sleep.

So, we find the typical pious Christian does not wish to be bothered. He looks forward to a future of inactivity. Any effort, especially intellectual effort, is distasteful to him and is apt to offend and unsettle him. Hence for him, the intellectual life must not be real but sleep should be real. Sleep seems to be his quest, “and he is forever looking forward to the time when he shall go to his ‘long rest.

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Paintings With Navels of Adam and Eve – Part 1


Myself

 

 

 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

The above painting opened my eyes to the world of art. Do you see anything wrong in this painting of Adam and Eve? I am not a connoisseur of art per se, nor do I pretend to be one.

Explain this - Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Explain this – Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

I couldn’t but exclaim “What? Adam and Eve with belly buttons? The artist was a dumb idiot!” 

But the artist who painted it was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes. 

Self portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Self-portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder was the principal member of the family of artists by the name Cranach who were active in Saxony during the 16th century.

From about 1501 to 1504 Lucas Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of the Wife of Dr Johann Stephan Reuss (1503), found in the collection of Staatliche Museen, Berlin and The Crucifixion (1503, in Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg and held the position until 1550. As a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, he received a title and was mayor in 1537.

In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. He painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and EveThe Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and nearly 20 versions of Venus and Cupid from 1527 to 1545. 

As a friend of Martin Luther, Cranach’s art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation. 

Cranach ran a large workshop and produced hundreds of works. His sons too were artists. His oldest son Hans Cranach died prematurely. His other son, Lucas Cranach the Younger was his pupil and assistant and distinguished himself.

Lucas Cranach died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553.

Here are some more paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder. All with navels!
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Adam and Eve - 01b - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 16 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 19 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

Adam and Eve - 17 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 05Adam and Eve - 18 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

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