Category Archives: tvaraj

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!”

The Millennials


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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 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 orignal 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.

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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.”

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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.

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Frontispiece of Thomas Ady’s A Candle in the Dark.

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 of Mary 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


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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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Racism Revealed by the Minister for Forests in Tamilnadu, India


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BT. V. Antony Raj

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Dindigul C Sreenivasan, Minister for Forests in the present AIDMK government in Tamilnadu, India.

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Today, Thursday, February 6, 2020, Dindigul C Sreenivasan who serves as the Minister for Forests in the present AIDMK government in Tamilnadu was at Theppakadu in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) located in the Nilgiris to inaugurate the annual rejuvenation camp for captive/tamed elephants. Along with the minister were Ms J Innocent Divya IAS, District Collector of the Nilgiris District, Mr A Ramu, alias ‘Shanthi‘ A Ramu, the MLA for Coonor, and officials from the district revenue and forest departments.

Dindigul Sreenivasan who bent down almost to the floor every time he saw Ms JJ when she was alive and after her demise bowed to Ms Sasikala, and hence nicknamed “a tire-licker” along with his fellow ministers, has accumulated so much fat that he can’t bend even to remove his own footwear now.

The inauguration of the annual rejuvenation camp for elephants was marred by an incident in which Dindigul C Sreenivasan exposed himself as a VVIP Racist.

Kethan, a Class IX schoolboy belonging to the Irula tribal community was present there to witness the inauguration of the rejuvenation camp with a friend. Both the boys were sons of mahouts at the camp.

Before entering a shrine, the 71-year-old minister, who found it difficult to bend due to accumulated fat, beckoned the tribal boy Keithan.

Keithan was afraid when the minister called him as he thought the minister would scold him for not having gone to school. With hesitation, Keithan and his friend approached. The minister asked Keithan to unbuckle his slippers.

When press photographers and others tried to take photographs, Dindigul C Sreenivasan asked them to stop, while A Ramu, the MLA for Coonoor, tried to block photographers from getting a clear picture.

The two boys were then asked by another member of the minister’s entourage to pick up the slippers and leave them at the entrance of the shrine.

Now, the above video of the incident has gone viral on social media. People are outraged by the minister’s “arrogance” and are demanding action against him and sacking him from his position for discriminating and mistreating the tribal boy.

Many want Dindigul Srinivasan to be booked under the SC/ST PoA Act. along with the equally liable government officials who were silent spectators during the incident.

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School Children Seated on a Live Bomb


Myself

BT. V. Antony Raj

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School Children Seated on a Live Bomb (Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)

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Any fuel, including those used in motor vehicles, can be dangerous if handled improperly. Fuels contain energy, which is released when ignited. Gasoline is a potentially dangerous fuel and the same is true of natural gas.

At a compressed natural gas fueling station the gas is compressed before being provided to vehicles at 3000 to 3600 pounds per square inch (psi).

In India, many parents prefer to send their children to school in vans, some of them powered by natural gas because monetary wise it’s cheaper than official school buses; these parents do not object to overcrowding in the vans because their children can be picked up and dropped closer to their homes.

Whenever these vans are checked for safety and action initiated against them for failure to comply with the norms, it is the parents who come forward in defence of the errant van owners.

The River of Sand in Iraq


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BT. V. Antony Raj

In November 2015, a rare weather phenomenon brought extra-heavy rain for a few weeks in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The freak weather led to the death of thousands of people in Iraq also brought excessive rain and hail storm to an otherwise hot and dry desert area in Iraq.

This video footage captured on November 16, 2015, shows the incredible sight of the river of sand and round uniform hailstones, some the size of golf-balls, moving at a rapid pace through the desert in Iraq.

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When I lay me down to Sleep, …


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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John Brown by Augustus Washington

John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was an American radical abolitionist who believed in and advocated armed insurrection as the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. He had 20 children of which 11 survived to adulthood.

In mid-October 1859, John Brown and 21 other men seized the federal armoury at Harper’s Ferry, the holding place for approximately 100,000 rifles and muskets, with the hope of arming slaves and start a violent slave liberation movement that would spread south through the mountainous regions of Virginia and North Carolina.

Within 36 hours, the revolt was suppressed by local farmers, militiamen, and US Marines, the latter led by Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate States. The raid resulted in thirteen deaths – twelve rebels and one U.S. Marine.

John Brown was hastily tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, the murder of five men (including 3 blacks), and inciting a slave insurrection. He was found guilty on all counts. He was the first person convicted of treason in the history of the country.

Henry David Thoreau.

On Sunday Evening of October 30, 1859, two weeks after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, tax resister, historian, development critic, and transcendentalist read to the citizens of Concord, Massachusettes, “A Plea for Captain John Brown” and repeated it several times before Brown’s execution on December 2, 1859. It was later published as an essay as a part of Echoes of Harper’s Ferry in 1860.

In his “A Plea for Captain John Brown“, Thoreau vents his rage at the scores of Americans who have voiced their displeasure and scorn for John Brown. Thoreau says, the same people, who say their prayers and then go to sleep aware of injustice but doing nothing to change it can’t relate to Brown because of their concrete stances and “dead” existences.

Joseph Addison by Sir Godfrey Kneller

About 148 years before, 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.

All the bedtime prayers of the modern pious Christians, then and now, begin with one of the variants of this classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century which is 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.

In his “A Plea for Captain John Brown“, Thoreau criticized contemporary Christians by saying 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. All his prayers begin with “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

In plain English, the modern pious Christian does not wish to be disturbed. He looks forward to a future of inactivity. All effort, especially intellectual effort, is distasteful to him and is apt to offend and unsettle him. Hence the intellectual life must not be real; what must be real is the sleep. Sleep seems to be his quest, and in the words of Thoreau “he is forever looking forward to the time when he shall go to his ‘long rest.’

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mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Last Sunday, during the sermon, the village Pastor told his congregation that one should always embrace his/her mistakes and say “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa” meaning “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.

Now the Pastor wonders why his pious gardner hugs him every day and utters “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

Do You Believe in Prayers?


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By T. V. Antony Raj

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The following story is a modern-day admonition to many “I’m holier than thou” churchgoers to not allow transient secular needs to get in the way of their belief and faith.

The tale prompts the readers to assess the true contents of their hearts and find if they aren’t at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing by setting aside their faith when faith becomes inconvenient or whether they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?

The judge in the story points out, that there is something wrong about the congregation that puts worldly matters first and doubts its belief in prayer.

A Tavern Owner Sues Members of the Baptist Church

In the early 19th century the Goshen Road was the main road in Mount Vernon, the county seat of Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The Baptist settlers built a church on this road and had a good following.

In 1860, Pierce Drummond after getting a permit to open the first tavern in Mount Vernon bought the building opposite the Baptist church and launched his business.

The members of the Baptist church who strongly opposed the opening of the tavern appealed to the authorities to shut it down. The officers, already bribed by Drummond with liquor and money turned a deaf ear to their appeal. So, every day, the members of the Baptist congregation prayed to God to intervene.

Four months later, the building that housed the tavern was struck by lightning and a fire broke out. The members of the Baptist church rejoiced and praised God for hearing their prayers. Their jubilation was short-lived because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner sued them.

In court, Mr Drummond contended that the lightning bolt that destroyed his tavern was the result of the prayers of the members of the Baptist church. The members of the church, nonetheless, denied all responsibility for the destruction of the tavern.

After the preliminary hearing, the judge warily remarked, “It’s difficult to decide the case because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner, believes in the power of prayer and the church people don’t.