Where John Calvin preached in Geneva. I visited this church in 1999 when I was in Geneva. ~Wiki
One of the worst things about being trapped inside in winter is that slowly you dry out. I don’t mean the drying out that takes place when you give up alcohol, I mean literal desiccation. If this keeps up, I should be a mummy in a few weeks.
To combat this loss of bodily fluid, I have filled a pot of water, added spices and orange peel, and have it simmering on my store. I find this is far more effective than a humidifier, and the mix of cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, etc. makes the air smell sweet. Yesterday, the extra moisture in the air aided my eyes, and I was able to read in comfort. I’m also using an eye lubricant my ophthalmologist recommended.
Yes, supposedly we have a humidifier on our furnace, and we’ve also run those portable jobs that breed mold and other vermin. I won’t have the latter in the house.
Yesterday, I smelled something fishy in the kitchen. After sniffing around, I discovered the plug in the little Vornado heater was the source. I’ve had the heater for several years. I used it in my office at one point, but it finally died this winter.
More than once my sense of smell has saved my life. The plug was red hot, and the heater was about to catch fire when I noticed it. Thus, I ordered another one, but it won’t arrive until the next cold spell, predicted Monday.
I went a little nuts with books this week, ordering more books about the Puritans, John Calvin, and the foundations of American politics in A Reforming People, by David D. Hall. Hall, a Harvard historian says, the working title of his book was ‘Why They Matter.’
The book focuses on the politics of the Massachusetts settlement, why the dissenters, called ‘Puritans’ by Max Weber and others left England, and why they did what they did regarding the social organization in their colony.
For example, their comparatively strict adherence to certain forms of religion had more to do with survival than intolerance. They were wise enough to understand that when the center does not hold, things fall apart, as the twentieth century poet T. S. Elliot noted in his poem, The Wasteland.
So these are the proverbial “horns of the dilemma” Freedom or relative liberty and the risk that goes with it, versus autocratic rule and some security. Finding the middle ground is the challenge.
Disasters in Virginia and other colonies showed what could happened when there was no set of common ethics and no governing center. The dissenters in Massachusetts wanted change but they wanted to do better than the other colonies.
Hall says it is ironic that although the dissenters were “trouble makers” in England, today they are considered by many to have been too conservative.
For example, how many times have you heard someone make a disparaging comment about “the stuffy old Puritan ethics”? However, to the extent they succeeded, the origins of much most of us hold dear still exists, although it is constantly under threat.
Hall is a revisionist historian and offers criticism of much written about “the Puritans” by other historians in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A good read. Now back to my book.