Monthly Archives: May 2022

More Headcovering

Here’s an interesting passage from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

2 Samuel 15:30 — “… and [David’s] head was covered… and all the people with him, [each] man covered his head also….”

This is a passage about David mourning and weeping, of course. But the words in Greek are “ten kephalen epikekalymmenos” (he covered the head) and “epekalypsen aner ten kephalen autou” ([each] man covered the head of him). So that goes along with the previous wording we saw in the Byzantine putting up your hair rite. (Okay, I know that’s not what it was, but that’s how I can remember it.)

Exodus 29:6-7 – “And you shall put the mitre on his head” (epi kephalen) “and put the holy crown on the miter. And you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head” (epi ten kephalen) “and anoint him.”

Another interesting parallel to Paul’s comment about women having authority on their heads. First lets’s run Paul.

1 Cor. 11:10 — “Because of this, the woman ought to have authority on the head, because of the angels.”

“Dia touto, opheilei he gyne exousian echein epi tes kephales, dia tous angelous.”

Matthew 7:29 — “For He taught them as one having authority, and not as their own scribes.”

“Gar en didaskon hos echon exousian, kai ouk hos auton grammateis.”

Usually when Greek says “on the head,” it means “on the head of the person I’m talking about.” So normally you would translate it as “the woman should have authority on her head.”

So… yeah. Unless I’m really, really missing something in the Aramaic or Hebrew, it seems like Christian women should have authority on their own heads. Their own authority, granted by God. Much like Jesus had authority from the Father. It wasn’t saying that He had no power at all, but that it was delegated authority. He was acting as God’s official; and they are officials also.

Daniel 3:3 in the Theodotion LXX actually uses “oi ep’ exousian” as a translation for “the sheriffs” or “the authorities.”

Daniel 4:3 in the LXX uses “he exousia” to translate “dominion” or “His dominion.” And it’s that way in a lot of other verses, too.

Look. If anybody was saying “dominion is on his head,” they’d be sure we were talking about a king or another mighty servant of God. So exousia on a woman’s head is probably the same – a sign of her authority and her right to make decisions. She’s only a subordinate to her husband the way a first officer is subordinate to a captain — ie, she runs things most of the time, and only needs to consult on big stuff. She’s his ‘ezer.

Before the angels, both Christian men and Christian women should remember that they are able to judge in small things, as they will judge angels later. So women should be able to judge what’s appropriate to wear on their own heads, surely? If an individual woman is wearing something inappropriate, that’s her individual ignorance or bad judgment.

So women’s hats and veils, etc. are symbols of office, dignity, and authority. It’s not about shame, or keeping men from being tempted, or anything like that.

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Clothed with Power

In the Ascension Thursday readings, we are looking back and looking forward.

We look back to David fleeing Jerusalem with his followers, barefoot as a sign of repentance for his sins and failings that led to Absalom’s revolt. He is followed by two priests with the Ark of the Lord, but he orders them to take back the Ark and remain in the city. In the Septuagint, they “sat down” there, just as the Apostles are ordered to “sit down” in the city. And David goes up to the Mount of Olives, talks to his friend Hushai and to God, and then leaves to be an outlaw in the wilderness. Again.

But Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives in triumph, sending His followers back to the city to rendezvous with the Holy Spirit and be clothed with power, and then to go out and evangelize the world. But the painters remembered David’s bare feet; and they often draw the Ascension with Jesus’ bare feet being the last thing the Apostles see, as He disappears into the clouds.

So then we look forward. The angels say that Jesus will return the same way He left, as if the Apostles should already know that. And they should, because the angels are referring to a Messianic prophecy, and here come the feet again:

(Zechariah 14:1, 4-5, 9) “And the days of the Lord shall come… And His feet shall stand that day upon the Mount of Olives… And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Him… And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.”

But then we think a little bit back , but still forward, to the Apostles’ mission and the beginning of the Church, at Pentecost.

We often think of Confirmation in terms of the mighty wind and tongues of flame of the Holy Spirit. But this reading tells us that it’s also being “clothed with power from on high.” Or, since it’s the same word, “clothed with miracles” or “clothed with mighty works.”

One of the first things that happened was God replacing Adam and Eve’s worse-than-poison-ivy fig leaf clothing with clothing made of animal skins. But before that, Jewish tradition says that Adam (and presumably Eve) was clothed with light, by God’s grace. Now we read that everyone in the Church who is confirmed is clothed, by the Holy Spirit, with miraculous power.

The Gospels use the exact same word and tense to refer to how Jesus tells the Apostles not to worry about how they’ll be dressed or what they’ll eat. Apparently we’ll always be clothed in miracles, so I guess that means the other clothes really are less of a worry.

This kind of “clothed” is also a reference to an office. It’s not about us. It’s the job we’ve been given to do and be. We are becoming more and more like Christ, but (right now) that’s because we’re supposed to be doing His work and representing Him.

So it’s a very interesting reading.

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Dr. John Cheng, Hero

If we lived in a world with a news media that wasn’t corrupt, we’d be hearing about Dr. John Cheng every minute of the last week or so.

As terrible as the church shooting of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church folks was, Dr. Cheng acted heroically and sacrificially. He epitomized the best of being a doctor along with the best of being a martial arts master. He shone as both a great American and a man of all the virtues, both natural and Christian. And he saved his mother’s life by attacking the shooter and attempting to disarm him, which was an act of great filial love. Reports differ on what happened, but apparently Cheng served as enough of a distraction that other churchgoers were able to join in the attack, knock him down with a chair, and bind him with extension cords.

But a Taiwan Communist who had worked with the CCP, trying to kill free Taiwan-Americans, has to be memory-holed by the mainstream media, and thus Dr. Cheng also has to be memory-holed.

In a way, it’s probably easier on the family. The people of Orange County, their friends and neighbors, know what happened and are helping, and so do the people of Taiwan and the martial arts community, especially practitioners of his own art, Seven Star Preying Mantis kung fu.

But the larger world and the larger American community also need heroes, and to be reminded that one good man can stop evil in its tracks, if he is willing to give his life for his friends and family.

Dr. Cheng was a grandmaster of Seven Star Preying Mantis, and was well known as an instructor. At one point, he had a chain of martial arts studios, but closed them to concentrate on his work as a doctor of sports medicine.

Seven Star Preying Mantis is a substyle of Northern Preying Mantis, aka Mantis Fist or Mantis Boxing. The ideal of Mantis Fu is that a small preying mantis can defeat a much larger cicada. The name “Seven Star Preying Mantis” refers to the Big Dipper asterism, which is shown in artwork to look somewhat like a preying mantis. In general, the name is said to mean that students of the art should try to spread it all over the world, so that it will be seen everywhere.

As with coaches in many sports, traditionally a kung fu master is supposed to understand a lot about sports medicine, in order to help his students if injured, and to improve their bodies to prevent injuries and maximize progress. So healing sciences and martial arts are not as weird a combination as one would think.

A video made in 2021 about Dr. John Cheng’s martial arts career. The compiler of the video, Dong Thai, was a student of Dr. Cheng. California Martial Arts Academy was Cheng’s studio/studio chain; he founded it in 2001.


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A Little Glimpse of John’s World

If you’ve read the John the Balladeer stories by Manly Wade Wellman, here’s the kind of event where John hung out. Exactly the kind of place.

Yes, that’s Obray Ramsey and Bascom Lamar Lunsford playing in the background. Real life friends of Manly Wade Wellman, and canonically friends of John. And it’s Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s house.

You will notice that the cloggers don’t have special shoes like today. They were just dancing hard shoes on wooden floors.

The camerawork is really nice, but what makes it great is that it’s obvious the filmmaker was having as much fun as the dancers.

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Olden Days Baby Formula Substitutes

The Science of Feeding Babies,” 1916, by H. Elizabeth Gould (aka Mrs. Hannah Elizabeth Gould), a maternity nurse.

Gould says that babies two weeks old or less can be fed on an “oatmeal solution” mixed with milk (or other protein/fat liquids). She specifically advocates “Rotch solution,” which is two-thirds whole milk and one-third starch, along with a little sugar to taste. Oat starch, specifically – she gives a recipe to make it, in Appendix 10, and the starch is salted.

A similar recipe is “Oat Jelly,” which is 1 quart boiling water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to two heaping tablespoons of rolled oats. Boil down to half a quart, and then strain. This can be fed either with milk or without, and you can add a little sugar to make it more palatable. Yes, it’s gooey, but it definitely won’t hurt a kid unless he’s allergic to oats. It’s not enough to satisfy all of a kid’s needs, but it’s a start.

Obviously Gould’s love of cow milk and breastmilk doesn’t deal with lactose-intolerant babies, because that used to be uncommon or undiagnosed. (However, some babies can drink goat’s milk when they can’t drink whole milk, or they might be able to drink other foods like oat milk or rice milk.) Her belief was that the primary use of carbs for baby formulas was to make cow milk casein easier to digest, which was why she served them together.

Another formula in Appendix 10 is “oatmeal gruel,” which is very boiled oatmeal mixed with meat stock and milk, and strained. So there’s protein, carbs, and fat.

Egg, sugar, and lemon juice is another formula. It’s basically an egg ceviche/custard. I think today you’d have to cook the egg, unless you knew for sure that your eggs didn’t have salmonella. But you could use hot rice or boiling water to soft-cook an egg into custardy consistency.

If a baby has not been able to eat much recently, she advises frequent feeding (for ten or fifteen minutes, every two hours) of as much food as the baby will eat, until the baby gets more weight and starts to thrive. Older babies can be given bits of softened Graham crackers for extra nourishment.

A typical nourishing breakfast for a 16 month old could be an egg softboiled in water, together with some Graham cracker crumbled and stirred into the softboiled egg. Foods like custard (egg) pudding, chicken stew, and Graham crackers crumbled into milk were also nourishing to children of this age.

Other bland, nourishing foods for children of weaning age who needed to gain weight (and fight scurvy with vitamins) were brown bread and butter (there’s a brown bread recipe in the appendix, and it’s made with equal parts wheat flour, corn flour, and oats), baked potato with meat juice, meat broths, rice pudding, baked apple, oatmeal, and cornmeal mush with milk. (This was from a time when oranges were scarce; but potatoes also have a lot of Vitamin C.) Orange juice and berries (“in season”) are also praised.

Gould advocates eggs strongly, and for good reason, because of course they include almost everything a chick (or a human) needs for life. She was all for raw eggs in certain situations, but of course that doesn’t work with salmonella.

Gould also advocates whole grains like wheat, oats, corn, and rye, or supplementing white flour bread with stuff like meat juice and eggs. She wants whole grains cooked down like a congee, and hulls preferably strained out because babies find them hard to digest. Cream of Wheat is considered especially suitable. (Rice was not super-common in her part of the country.)

People forget that in the old days, it was considered more important to make sure babies got some fat on their bones and some calories in their bodies. So yes, she advocates sugar, maple syrup, and other add-ons to food. Butter is strongly advocated for kids one year old and up. Older kids are also encouraged to eat vegetable soups, milk soups, beans, and so on, with the object of making sure that they eat plenty of protein.

Gould also advocates teaching children to be interested in eating meals, instead of wanting to run off before finishing or becoming fussy eaters, by having their mother tell the kids interesting little stories at dinner time, and by making meal times orderly but relaxing. I don’t know if this works, but it sounds fun for everyone. She also advocates a separate children’s table and children’s meal… and her reasons are interesting. We tend to forget that stuff we don’t agree with, had its own rationales.

The appendix on labor/maternity/lactation advice is… well, some of the advice would still be used today, and others not. But it’s interesting, that’s for sure, and probably the most free-spoken historical advice I’ve ever come across. Appendix 10 talks about how to make homemade Murphy bandages for nursing help.

The plasters and enema advice are also pretty dated. Feel free to ignore.

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Behind the Bible by Gary Michuta

A collection of his diocesan newspaper columns of Bible-illuminating facts. A bit pricey, but worth it for collecting a lot of useful and obscure info into one place. The columns are collected in order by Bible verse, rather than chronologically according to their appearance.

For example, there’s a nice column on Deut. 28:66, which, as part of a list of Covenant curses/consequences for breaking the Covenant, warns, “You shall see your life hanging before you.” Early Christians saw this as a hidden reference to the Crucifixion (which reversed Covenant curses and made them into blessings for humanity), and it was also used as a justification for icons of Christ and for crucifixes. (“They shall look upon Him Whom they had pierced” is another one for that.)


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Larry Connor on ISS Stay

Via WHIO-TV, Channel 7. Larry Connor’s experimental work on the ISS.

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St. Ambrose’s Sermon on His Brother’s Death

Ho-lee crud. What a sermon start.

“Most beloved brothers, we have brought my sacrificial victim — an undefiled victim — a victim pleasing to God: my lord and brother, Satyrus.”

Heh, just think if your bishop started a funeral homily like that. Barnburner!

And yes, if you were a bishop in the old days, you were totally justified in talking about the deceased as a saint, and honoring him as such. Because that was one of a bishop’s powers — to create a martyrology and name any people in his diocese who were saints.

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Roman Law Thing: Adsertor Libertatis

Under Roman law, if somebody free was unlawfully made a slave, a case for freeing him/her could be brought by an “adsertor libertatis.” This person didn’t have to be related to the wrongfully enslaved person in any way, or even know the guy/gal. In fact, such a case could be brought without the knowledge, or against the will, of the slave or supposed slave.

Unlike other people who took up cases, an adsertor libertatis could be a total scumbag with a horrible reputation. All that mattered was the case he presented, not his own record. It does seem that the adsertor had to put up some kind of money bond for the “slave” to appear for hearings, because the slave was effectively free from the time of filing until his case was proven or disproven. (!)

Under Constantine, the law even provided for sending a person of disputed status back to his home province, with a sign around his neck advertising that he needed an adsertor libertatis to take up his case.

If it was proved in court that the slave wasn’t one, the now-vindicated person received compensation money, a servus mulctatitius. If he died during the hearings, his heirs got it.

Unfortunately, if the unjustly enslaved person was a woman, and she had a child during her captivity, a separate case would have to be brought for the child.

Under Theodosius, anybody who had lived free for 20 years could defend himself. (I think this is related to the law that anybody who hadn’t seen his owner in 30 years received freedom by default.)

Under Justinian, no supposed slave needed an adsertor at all; he could argue his own case.

This seems like a great source of court drama for Roman stuff, although also of problems. (I never got through all of Turtledove’s “time traveler frees slaves in classical Rome” book, so I don’t know if the adsertor thing came up.)

On his coins, Vespasian portrayed himself as the “adsertor” for the entire Roman Empire. This followed previous emperors who had called themselves the empire’s “vindex,” avenger or vindicator.

Of course, the Law in the Bible called for the “go’el”, the avenger of blood or the kinsman-redeemer, to buy back any close kinsman who was enslaved for debt or other reasons, as part of his family duties. Jesus was seen as being the go’el for the entire human race.

So one could argue that He was also the ultimate Adsertor….

Anyhow, I had never heard of this Roman legal job before, and I thought it was pretty neat.

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I Have Reached the End of the Internet

Downhill Barbie jeep and Power Wheels racing.

The Motocross helmets make it safe. Sorta.

Feeling better, as the body ache has gone away, and the coughing and congestion is much less. I have now spent most of two days sleeping, though.

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Granny Mochi!

A 95-year-old Japanese lady makes bamboo leaf-wrapped mochi. From scratch.

You also get to see how to make red bean paste from the raw adzuki bean. Pretty cool.

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