Monday, August 14, 2006
I knew I recognized these pictures. Taxipage is a collection of pictures taken by some random cabbie in Leiden, The Netherlands.

I lived in this town for a year (plus a few weeks the two prior summers, as well) doing research for my Ph.D. So I just had to make note of it. Perhaps if he ever gets to Hooglandse Kerkgracht, he'll take a picture of the Lutheran Church in Leiden.

Actually, I preferred the Lutheran Church in Utrecht, because it was a Geheimekapel: a hidden chapel. In the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, Catholics, Jews and (yes!) Lutherans were "tolerated" by the Hervormede Kerk (Reformed) as long as the church buildings (or synagogues) were discreet (i.e., nobody knew what they were). The Lutheran Church in Utrecht (on Hambugerstraat) retains this today. From the outside, it looks like three separate houses; but on the inside is a beautiful sanctuary, complete with pipe organ and (miniature) transcept. You can see it here. Unfortunately, this site does not show the outside; but it just looks like three typical Dutch row-houses. The main screen will show a slide show, but if you click on either klein or groot (small or large) panorama, you can get one of those "virtual tour" kind of shots that you can direct any where you want. The pipe organ is to the left of the altar (from the congregation's perspective) up high. Look closely underneath the cenral rank of pipes. What do you see?

If you read German, you can probably figure out that the Church was once a Cloister, but was taken over by the town in 1580. The properrty was passed around a bit, but came into Lutheran hands in 1743, after the restrictions on non-Reformed services eased up.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures of Leiden. After my dissertation is done, I'm toying around with the idea of writing a brief beginners history of Leiden, along the lines of Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization. My working title is The Town that Made America. The connections between Leiden and various topics of American history are pretty numerous, but most Americans have no idea that a town called Leiden even exists. Most of us remember from our elementary school education that before the Pilgrims came to the New World, they went to Holland for eleven years. They lived in Leiden. Our Thanksgiving Day feast actually has its roots in a similar feast that takes place a few weeks earlier (October 3) in Leiden. John Locke lived in Leiden for several years, and most of his major work was done there. Ben Franklin's ideas on electricity came form his reading of Dutch scientists who worked in Leiden (ever heard of a Leyden Jar?)
HT to Jeremy at Eating Words for pointing out this post at Pastor Alms's blog.

Lutherans of the uber-conservative stripe (the ones, for example, who support the efforts of groups like the apologits cum junk-science supporters at Answers in Genesis) don't know who they're getting into bed with sometimes when they support other (so-called) conservative groups. More often than not, these groups go hand-in-glove: literal reading of Genesis=literal reading of Daniel=literal reading of Revelation. I suppose I should say "literalistic". Personally, I read Genesis literally, and I have yet to find 6 24-hour days in the first two chapters.

Anyways, yes, as Confessionalists, we have an obligation to oppose this crap.

I have only one nit to pick with Pastor Alms: the church does not replace Israel. It is the same thing as Israel: the congregation of people who have been called to worship the One True God. Remember that when the Jewish scholars at Alexandria translated the OT (the Septuagint), the Greek word they used to describe the congregation standing outside the Temple was "ekklesia".
Using the word replace sells the farm to the Hagee miscreants.

Tolle lege!

UPDATE: Doh! My nit was addressed in the comments section. Tolle lege, indeed!
UPDATE: Have I leanred anything? Apparently not. Alms's follow-up post runs along similar lines to my rant above.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I don't know if it is, or not. I guess it's accurate. I have deleted, however, the portrait of Tom Delay which came with the result, since I think he's dirty and deserves to go to jail for a while....assuming, you know, that he's actually found guilty by a jury of his peers.

But, IMHO, he belongs to that party of politicians (and I'm NOT speaking of any one political party!) who think the rules were only made for the other guy. Well, I am the other guy, and if it's good enough (or bad enough) for me, Tom, then it's bad/good enough for you.

You scored as Pro Business Republican. Pro-business Republicans support supply-side economics. By cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and supporting large corporations, they want to spur innovation and create economic growth that benefits all Americans.

Pro Business Republican




Foreign Policy Hawk


Socially Conservative Republican




New Democrat


Old School Democrat


What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with

Another example of a bad quiz. Either whoever wrote it doesn't seem to understand how he (she?) has mixed categories, or has done so deliberately. Partisan hacks on either side are capable of such deliberate confusion. Here is an example:

Question 28: We should support co-ops and public enterprises that distribute resources more democratically.

Well, co-ops are (usually) private enterprises, while "public" enterprises means "run by the government". What if one (like me) agrees with the former, but not the latter? I guess you vote with the middle button (i.e., neither strongly agree nor disagree). But how does this help determine where one is politically?

Where is the "fanatical moderate" result (which is where, like Tom Friedman (whom I loathe/love) I usually find myself)?

The first question really is the best (read: worst), however, and (probably) betrays how historically naive the author of the quiz is.

Question 1: Every family has the right to a decent home, and the right to earn a decent living.

My question is, what are the determing factors of this question? Here's how I could answer the question: AGREE, every family does. The constitution guarantees the RIGHT to life, liberty, and property. (Yeah, that pesky "pursuit of happiness" language is an intentionally all-encompassing euphamism which includes "property" which was John Locke's original word.)

But my guess is that the author of the quiz wants me to choose "agree" because (the author being of the "progressive" persuasion (what was it Lewis said about progess down the wrong road?)) I agree with government entitlements, which I do not.

Anyways, it's not a horrible quiz...but it's not nearly as good as The Political Compass (where I score very closely to my home-boy Tchaikovsky!)

Your political compass (lower right quadrant):

Economic Left/Right: 2.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.03

You scored as Luther. You are Martin Luther. You'll stick with the words of Scripture, and defend this with earthy expressions. You believe in an orthodox Christology. You believe that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ, but aren't too sure about where he goes after the meal, and so you don't accept reservation of the Blessed Sacrament or Eucharistic devotions.











Eucharistic theology
created with

The only thing about these quizzes is that I wish people who write them wouldn't be quite so cheeky about them. I like the ones where the results really expose the crap people believe...

Rick ended up slightly more RC than I did. I wonder why?

UPDATE: Link fixed. (Cat still fertile)