Sandwiched between articles on “A New Reason for Dehorning” and “Brown Coal” in the Kansas City Sun of May 6, 1921, one finds this little bit of whimsy – perhaps the editor was desperate for something to fill two column inches on a really slow news day.
Whatever the case, the text reads:
Really Not Important
An investigator claims to have discovered in some dusty archives that back in the days when the pilgrims landed each person coming to America from England was required to bring with them eight bushels of corn meal, two bushels of oatmeal, two gallons of vinegar and a gallon each of oil and brandy. In view of the fact that nothing of importance hinges on the truth or falsity of this statement, not much time need be consumed to ascertain whether this is truth or fiction.
I was pointed to this gem by the inimitable XKCD, which cites a grudging respect for the fact-checker of the Kansas City Sun that day.
The rest of the page is viewable as a free clip here; some of the articles are stolid and mundane, others exude a hint of humor – such as this ad for the Peerless Bowling and Billiard Parlors:
Perusing old newspapers can be just as entertaining as Netflix.
An experience interacting with a rather un-Christian biblical apologist some time ago left me somewhat unsettled, and I wasn’t able to think about much else for a couple of days. The thing that unsettled me the most was that despite my best intentions, I felt myself being dragged into the fray.
Additional research on the internet has led me to a plethora of websites of every possible permutation.
Atheists vs. Apologists
Evangelicals vs. non-orthodox Christians
Muslims vs. Jews
Muslims vs. Christians
Jews vs. Gentiles
Secular humanists vs. Believers
Mormons vs. Atheists
Evangelicals vs. Mormons
Bible-believing Christians vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses
Scientologists vs. Everybody
7th-Day-Adventists vs. …
You get the picture. Choose one from column A, and one from Column B, and you’ll be able to find it out there.
Incredible amounts of time, effort, indignation, anger and outright hatred are being spent in attempts to prove, by logic, or reason, or scripture, or exegesis, or tradition, that which is virtually unprovable – hence the cartoon above, which I created more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. And it all comes down to the most basic of human addictions, the addiction to being right.
I remember back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when Vietnam was in full swing, a popular bumper sticker read, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”, and that led me to an odd thought. My own faith holds out that before Christ comes again, the earth has to be made ready for his coming. Part of this involves preaching the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, which is why almost everywhere you go, you see our young missionaries out spreading the word.
That’s well and good, but what’s the ultimate point of that Gospel? Imagine with me for a moment that the earth was divided into only two nations, Exegetia and Harmonia.
The Republic of Exegetia consisted of three billion people. 99% of those belonged to a single faith – the “correct” one, whatever that happened to look like. Other than that, things were pretty much the same way they are now.
In Harmonia, there were also three billion people, of all different persuasions, religious and secular – and it was not uncommon to find a mosque and a synagogue built next to each other, right across the street from a Hindu temple, an Anglican chapel, and a chapter of the Harmonian Humanist Society. While not everyone was rich, there were no poor, because everyone believed in a society where everyone wins. People didn’t covet one another’s goods. People didn’t lie, or steal, or rob, or murder, or slander or persecute one another. People lived simply, so that everyone could simply live. People respected their environment, and did all they could to be good stewards of the only planet they had to live on. People were kind, and loving, and charitable. Lawyers and judges were out of work, because nobody wanted to sue anyone else.
If you were God, which nation would you want to walk with? “Wait, wait, God loves everyone, he’s not a respecter of persons!” Well, you’re right but you get my point, which is:
“In the end analysis, God cares less about which Church you belong to, or don’t, than how you’re treating your fellow man.”
This, then, is the Ecumenism that I support. It has nothing to do with the various faiths trying to become like one another. It has nothing to do with everyone joining the “First Church of Blah Unsalted Farina”. It has to do with each one of us, regardless of our walk in life, reaching out to every member of humanity and doing our best to create an entire planet where everyone wins, and helping every other member of our species to make it across the finish line.
Utopia won’t come cheap. Given human nature, there will always be poor folk, there will always be those who don’t obey the rules, there will always be illness, natural disasters and everything else that makes our world a challenge to live in. But what if we were to make it even halfway to that glorious goal? Wouldn’t that be better than maintaining the status quo?
The more time goes on, the more I become committed to bringing people to Christ (which is my particular walk) by raising the human condition, rather than worrying about what they wear, which scriptures they read or which direction they face to pray – or if they even pray at all. I may be the only book of scripture that some people ever read.
Just saying that could get me heaved out of my own faith by certain people.
It was traditional for BYTE magazine to include one bogus article in their “What’s New” section each year in the April edition. Here are two years’ worth that I archived in my “what the Hell” file. They’re interesting not only because of the gag, but to see what was actually considered new in those years. Ah, history… see if you can spot the bogus articles.
It’s interesting to walk down memory lane and see how far technology has come for real in the last 4 decades.