Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

April 23, 2016

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

The Haggadah (הַגָּדָה‎) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

“There’s a reason the haggadah feels goyish: Formally speaking, it’s Greek. It’s a Judaicized version of a Greek genre called ‘symposium literature’. Plato loved the form. So did Xenophon. The symposium enshrined the most appealing traits of the Hellenic personality: conviviality, Epicureanism, a love of good conversation.”

–”Platonic Form,” Judith Shulevitz, Tablet Magazine

The ancient Greek symposium (συμπόσιον) was a drinking party; drinking four glasses of wine is a Passover obligation. Diners are supposed to recline while they do so, just like the Greeks.

There’s a cute Passover tradition, breaking a piece of matzoh (unleavened bread) and hiding half of it. The bread can only be eaten at the end of the meal, after the family’s children discover it. That piece of bread has a funny name, afikomen, but its origin isn’t Hebrew. You guessed it, it’s Greek:

“In Greek, the word is epikomen and is made up of two smaller words: epi, which means after (as in an epilogue), and komos, which means a banquet or merrymaking, and is the same word that inspired the English word comedy. For centuries, Jews have taken afikomen to mean ‘that which comes after the meal,’ more commonly known, of course, as dessert.”

– “Breaking Matzah,” David K. Israel, Mental Floss

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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‘Two Corinthians Walk Into a Bar ….’

January 27, 2016

'2 Corinthians Walk Into a Bar ....'

When Republican presidential hopeful, shady golfer and adulterer Donald Trump spoke at fundamentalist Liberty University recently, he quoted from his “favorite book,” the Bible, which someone else read for him (he “has people…”). Mr. Trump elicited ridicule by citing Second Corinthians as “Two Corinthians.” Oops.

Maybe The Donald would have been better off quoting from his “second favorite book,” Art of the Deal. That’s the autobiography he paid Tony Schwartz to write for him.

Really smartWharton grad Donnie Trump may have flunked Bible School, but that didn’t stop gun-totinlawyer and Liberty U. prez Jerry Falwell Jr. from endorsing him. Mr. Falwell, like his televangelist daddy, is a man of faith, facts and democracy be damned.

More:

“Trump Thumps Bible, Bible Thumps Back,” Monica Bauer, Huffington Post

“Trump’s Liberty U Performance Was Insulting to Christians Everywhere,” Tom DeLay, Christian Post

“Bible-thumping playboy: Associated Press explores faith, contradictions of Donald Trump,” Bobby Ross Jr., Get Religion

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-n4P

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Christmastime For the Jews

December 24, 2015

“Christmastime for the Jews,” a Robert Smigel stop-action animation featuring the voice of Darlene Love in a “Wall of Sound” production, from a  2005 Saturday Night Live episode (lyrics here).

Gut yom tov to all, and to all a good night.

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Colorado Springs: God & Guns

December 1, 2015

Colorado Springs: God & Guns
It was the home of Garrett Swasey, Jennifer Markovsky, and Ke’Arre Stewart. It’s White Evangelical Mecca, where it’s perfectly normal to walk down the street carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. Welcome to Colorado Springs.

“Colorado’s second largest city, with a population of 445,800, has built itself a reputation as a playground for white, pro-gun, pro-life Evangelical Christians. It is also home to one army base, two air force bases, and an air force.”

— “Colorado Springs: a playground for pro-life, pro-gun evangelical Christians,” Josiah Hesse, The Guardian

So when you visit Colorado Springs, bring your Bible, your ski vest and your flak vest.

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The War on Christmas Coffee Cups

November 13, 2015

The War on Christmas Coffee Cups

For many Americans sipping coffee is a sacrament, so that may be why the new Starbucks Christmas cups stirred up such a heated controversy. The cups are red for the holidays, but with a clean design devoid of tree ornaments or snowmen. What, no snowflakes? Another assault in the War Against Christmas!

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Pope in the USA: Punk’d by a Tea Party Saint, Hugged Gay Guys

October 3, 2015

Pope in the USA: Punk'd by a Tea Party Saint, Hugged Gay Guys

When Everybody’s favorite pontiff, Pope Francis, visited Washington DC in September he had a secret meeting with intolerant, oath-breaking Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her current husband. It was a secret to His Holiness, anyway, who had no earthly idea who Mrs. Davis is. She was apparently one of many people he greeted during his Vatican Embassy stay.

Pope Francis didn’t set up the meeting; it was arranged by papal nucio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s envoy to the US, who was sent to the States by former Pope Benedict XVI to keep him from meddling in Vatican City politics. Archbishop Viganò turns 75 in a few months and is expected to be “retired” by the current pontiff.

While in DC Pope Francis met with a same-sex couple, Washington caterer Yayo Grassi and his long-time partner Iwan Bagus. His Holiness had personally invited Mr. Grassi, his former student at Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción in Argentina, to a private audience, and there were hugs all around.

Lawyers for Kim Davis from the Falwell-affiliated Liberty Counsel claimed that the Pope’s off-the-cuff comments on conscientious objectors referred to their client, but the Vatican denied this, and many have observed that the county clerk is not a CO since she forced her beliefs on her deputies rather than letting them act on their own. Papal spokesmen have emphasized that the Papal greeting was not a show of support for the delinquent Rowan County clerk.

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Michele Bachmann: God Will Destroy America Like Sodom & Gommorah!

October 1, 2015

Michele Bachmann: God Will Destroy America Just Sodom & Gommorah!

Last weekend, while Pope Francis spoke to you about world peace and justice, former Congresscreature and Tea Party loon Michele Bachmann told radio host Janet Markell that President Obama, same-sex marriage, family planning clinics, and fetal cell research doom the United States to God’s fiery wrath:

“When we raise our fist to a holy God and say that we are going to redefine marriage, we are going to be okay with paying a Planned Parenthood to cut up innocent baby parts and sell them for research, that clearly is a problem and as we have seen God render judgment in the days of Noah, in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and so forth throughout history, what the prophets have told every generation is that there is a just God and the people must repent and turn to him. So too in this day of wickedness in our own culture, we need to do the same. We need to repent and we need to confess because a holy Savior is coming to save us and redeem us from this sin-sick world.”

— “Bachmann: God May Destroy America Over Gay Marriage Just Like Sodom,” Brian Tashman, Right Wing Watch

More:

“Michele Bachmann: God Will Punish America for Planned Parenthood, Gay Marriage Just Like Sodom and Gomorrah,” Samual Smith, Christian Post

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Top image (“The Eyes Have It”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Pope Francis Visits DC, September 22 to 24, 2015

September 18, 2015

Pope Francis Visits DC, September 22 to 24, 2015

Everybody’s favorite pontiff, Pope Francis, will visit Washington DC for three days. Unofficial schedule:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
4:00 PM: Pope Francis arrives via Alitalia at Joint Base Andrews from Havana, smokes big cigar on the drive from Maryland to the Apostolic Nunciature on Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
9:15 AM: White House Welcoming Ceremony; Pontiff shoots hoops one-on-one with President Obama before posing for pics on the Truman Balcony

11:00 AM: Popemobile Parade along the Ellipse and National Mall; brief stop to buy Astronaut Ice Cream at Air & Space Museum gift shop (mirabile dictu!)

11:30 AM: Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at historically ugly Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in DC; side trip to the Indiana Jones exhibit at nearby National Geographic Museum. His Holiness will address the bishops in Spanish, and many expect him to “no dejar titere con cabeza” (kick butt).

4:15 PM: Greets Native American demonstrators before celebrating Junipero Serra Canonization Mass — in Spanish — at the East Portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at Catholic University (leave your selfie stick at home).

Thursday, September 24, 2015
9:20 AM: Speech to Joint Session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol (in English); crowds gather to watch it on Jumbotron screens on the National Mall (and listen to Spotify’s Pope Playlist while they’re waiting)

11:00 AM:  Brief appearance on West Front of Capitol (possible photo op with former altar boys Biden and Boehner?)

11:15 AM: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in DC and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, site of the Homeless Jesus sculpture (artist: Timothy P. Schmalz). His Holiness will meet with — and feed — the charities’ clients.

4:00 PM: Departure from Joint Base Andrews for New York City and a decent slice of pizza.

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In Kentucky, They Really Believe in Marriage

September 3, 2015

In Kentucky, They Really Believe In Marriage

Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis believes in marriage so much, she’s had four of them. She’s making news right now for denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, a violation of the U.S. Constitution she swore to uphold. Apparently God told Ms. Davis that it’s okay to violate her oath to Him as well as the 14th Amendment.

For Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk’s office must seem like the family business, since her Mom held it for 37 years. Like her daughter, she also swore not to “commit any malfeasance of office” and to “faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.” The Deity will no doubt settle with Kim Davis later, but Federal District Court judge David L. Bunning will decide if she’ll be held in contempt of court.

As County Clerk, Ms. Davis is paid $80,000 a year to do her job; annual per capita income in Rowan County is $17,094. Unemployment is 6.3%, so there’s room for one more.

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Trump’s Favorite Book

August 31, 2015

Trump's Favorite Book

Donald J. Trump often says that the Bible is his favorite book, so interviewers were recently surprised when he could cite neither Chapter nor Verse. Of course, we already know that he’s not good with Numbers.

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