Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Non drug treatments for anxiety and depression

There was a full page ad for Nexalin in a recent edition of the Budget. This is a device which emits a low frequency electrical wave that is said to produce positive results in treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain and similar conditions. These treatments are available at some chiropractors and other alternative therapy clinics.

I would like to suggest a better solution for these, and other, ailments — get a cat.  Research shows that owning a cat will lower stress, anxiety and blood pressure. Cat owners are less likely to suffer from depression and their risk of having a heart attack is reduced by 40%. There is research showing that the vibrations produced by a purring cat are exactly the right frequency to stimulate the healing of injured bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. These vibrations also help heal wounds and swelling.

Besides, cats are just a whole lot cuter. You don’t need to make an appointment and travel to the nearest clinic offering this kind of therapy either. Your cat will make his own appointment to de-stress your day.


About those portraits of the Strickland sisters

Two days ago I posted an article about Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie and included the best pictures that I could find of each one. I was intrigued by the portraits, Susanna is stiffly posed as was normal in early photography, Catherine looks much more natural and relaxed. I concluded that Catherine’s portrait had to be a painting.

Susanna Moodie, undated                 Catherine Parr Strickland, undated

The first photographs were produced by Joseph Niépce in the late 1820’s. These were still life photographs as his process required an 8 hour exposure time. In the 1830’s Louis Daguerre improved the photographic process by using silver coated copper plates as film and reduced the exposure time to five minutes. By 1842 he had reduced the exposure time to a minute or less, depending on the light. These photographs were known as daguerreotypes and the process rapidly caught on around the world. In the 1850’s glass plates were introduced to produce negatives which could be used to produce multiple prints on paper.

The exposure time remained lengthy until further developments in the 20th century, requiring those being photographed to remain perfectly still. Head rests, or even clamps, were used to help and the subjects clenched their teeth to keep still. This explains why people photographed in the 19th century all tended to look rather grim.

Catherine was born in 1802 and would have been 40 in 1842 when daguerreotypes were introduced. In the portrait she appears to be much younger than that. One web site calls the portrait a photograph, but the National Archives of Canada calls it a mini portrait of Catherine Parr Strickland. Thus it dates to before her marriage and cannot be a daguerreotype. Catherine died in 1899 at the age of 97 and there are two photographs of her in her later years, both looking rather grim. Susanna was almost two years younger than Catherine and died in 1885.

The photographic ideal since that time has been to produce photos that appear to be unposed. The natural look, with a smile on the face, is what is desired. However, earlier this year I needed to have a new photo taken for my driver’s license. I was told to remove my glasses and assume a neutral expression, no smiling allowed. The photo on my driver’s license now looks almost as grim as those old 19th century photos. Taking my glasses off uncovers my bushy eyebrows which adds to the effect. The same rule applies to passport photos.

For I am the Eternal, I change not

The title is taken from Malachi 3:6 as it reads in French Bibles. This use of Eternal for the name of God is found throughout French translations of the Old Testament in places where one would find LORD in the English AV (KJV).

The Hebrew language was first written without vowels and the name of God was spelled YHVH. It is commonly accepted today that the original pronunciation was Yahweh and that the name had its origin in the name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush: I AM. However, there developed a superstition among the Jews that a person who spoke this name aloud would be cursed. From then on another word was subsituted when the Scriptures were read aloud, most often Adonai, meaning Lord. In the course of time, the vowels of Adonai were inserted into YHVH, producing Yahovah, which became Jehovah in English.

The English translators of 1611 continued the Jewish practice of substituting LORD for the name of God, setting it in all upper case letters to distinguish God the Lord from other lords. French translators continued the practice of not using the name of God, but opted for a word that reflected the meaning of I AM.

I wonder if the use of LORD for the name of God doesn’t confuse some people.  Who is this Lord? Many people today don’t  understand the significance of the uppercase letters.

Here are a few more examples of how the Scripture sounds when Eternal is used for the name of God:

And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7).

The Eternal is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1).

The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).

But they that put their trust in the Eternal shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

There can be no confusion here, there is only one Eternal. To my ears and my mind at least, it lends a greater weight of meaning to read the verses this way. The main thing is to understand that however we spell and pronounce the name of God, we are referring to the self-existing, unchanging Creator and Master of all that exists.

The world turned upside down

The scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus with a woman who had been caught in adultery, reminded Him that the law required that such a person be stoned, and asked what He had to say. Jesus only answer was to stoop down and write on the ground. One by one the accusers left.

The story is familiar, but gives rise to the question of what Jesus wrote on the ground. Evidently it was not aimless doodling. There was a purpose to His action and it made the accusers feel that they were better off elsewhere. But why? That has been fodder for many an interesting discussion where various speculations were shared and we came no closer to understanding just what had taken place.

Several weeks ago I had coffee with an acquaintance who has given much time to studying Scripture and history. He mentioned that he had purchased a commentary on the New Testament written by a Jew. This commentator said that the scribes and Pharisees, being very well versed in Scripture, would have immediately associated Jesus’ actions with Jeremiah 17:13:

“O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”

Now, I cannot say for certain that this was the case, but it is really the most plausible explanation that I have heard. The AV translation says “in the earth” in Jeremiah and “on the ground” in the Gospel of John. The Louis Segond French translation says “sur la terre” in both places.

The implication would be that the scribes and Pharisees, who were so well versed in the law, and so scrupulous and righteous in obeying the law, had their names written in the earth. Then, when Jesus told the sinful woman “neither do I condemn thee,” the inference was that her name was now written in heaven.

This is the world turned upside down; and that is what Jesus came to do. We need to be reminded often that Jesus did not come for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.

The Strickland sisters told it like it was

Sisters Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill were Canadian pioneers. Their husbands brought them from England to Canada in the early 1830’s, settling near Peterborough, Ontario where Samuel Strickland, a brother of Catherine and Susanna had earlier settled. The sisters had each written and published books before marrying and coming to Canada and both continued to write in what little time they could spare during the long hard days of raising their families and establishing new homes in the midst of the forest where practically everything had to be made at home. They wrote books for children and nature studies, but their most famous books describe their lives in the backwoods of Upper Canada (as Ontario was known at the time). Their most famous books are Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie and The Backwoods of Canada, by Catherine Parr Traill. They were among the literary pioneers of Canada, helping to establish a literary tradition that realistically depicts life in a harsh climate.

The following excerpt is taken from Roughing it in the Bush and describes a time when Mr. Moodie had been called away for militia service after the rebellion of 1837. Jenny is their elderly Irish servant and nursemaid.

When the trees came into leaf, and the meadows were green and flushed with flowers, the poor children used to talk constantly of their father’s return; their innocent prattle made me very sad. Every evening we walked into the wood, along the path that he must come whenever he did return home, to meet him; and though it was a vain hope, and the walk was taken just to amuse the little ones, I used to be silly enough to feel deeply disappointed when we returned alone. Donald, who was a mere baby when his father left us, could just begin to put words together. “Who is papa?” “When will he come?” “Will he come by the road?” “Will he come in a canoe?” The little creature’s curiosity to see this unknown father was really amusing; and oh! how I longed to present the little fellow, with his rosy cheeks and curling hair, to his father.

June had commenced; the weather was very warm and Mr. T—– had sent for the loan of old Jenny to help him for a day with his potatoes. I had just prepared dinner when the old woman came shrieking like a mad thing down the clearing and waving her hands toward me. I could not imagine what had happened.

“Joy! joy!’ bawled out the old woman, now running breathlessly towards us. “The masther’s come — the masther’s come.”

“Where? — where?”

“Jist above in the wood. Goodness gracious! I have run to let you know — so fast —that my heart — is like to — break.”

Without stopping to comfort old Jenny, off started the children and myself, at the very top of our speed; but I soon found that I could not run — I was too much agitated. I got to the head of the bush, and sat down upon a  fallen tree. The children sprang forward like wild kids, all but Donald, who remained with his old nurse.  I covered my face with my hands; my heart, too, was beating audibly; and now that he was come, and was so near me, I could scarcely command strength to meet him. The  sound of happy young voices roused me up; the children were leading him along in triumph; and he was bending down to them, all smiles, but hot and tired with his long journey. It was almost worth our separation, that blissful meeting. In a few minutes he was at home, and the children upon his knees.  Katie stood silently holding his hand, but Addie and Dunbar had a thousand things to tell him. Donald was frightened at his military dress, but he peeped at him from behind my gown, until I caught and placed him in his father’s arms.

His leave of absence only extended to a fortnight. It had taken him three days to come all the way from Lake Erie, where his regiment was stationed, at Point Abino; and the same time would be consumed in his return. He could only remain with us eight days. How soon they fled away! How bitter was the thought of parting with him again! He had brought money to pay the J—–‘s. How surprised he was to find their large debt more than half liquidated. How gently did he chide me for depriving myself and the children of the little comforts he had designed for us, in order to make this sacrifice. But never was self-denial more fully rewarded; I felt happy in having contributed in the least to pay a just debt to kind and worthy people. You must become poor yourself before you can fully appreciate the good qualities of the poor — before you can sympathise with them, and fully recognize them as your brethren in the flesh. Their benevolence to each other, exercised amidst want and privation, as far surpasses the munificence of the rich towards them, as the exalted philanthropy of Christ and his disciples does the Christianity of the present day.  The rich man gives from his abundance, the poor man shares with a distressed comrade his all.

True Knowledge of God

There the Holy Spirit brings rest and peace to the consciences and hearts of the believers in true Christian love and unity; there also is found the living hope, whereby the believer hopes for salvation through the grace of Jesus Christ, yea so that he is assured and certain that he is being sanctified, and that he has the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart (Rom. 8:16), whereby he is assured that he is the child of God, that Jesus Christ is his brother, and that he has the fellowship of the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 13:14).

This liberty of the mind brings about the living hope in God, and the certain assurance of the grace of Jesus Christ and the sealing of the Holy Spirit unto eternal salvation, by which the heart becomes so joyful that the believer is comforted under all circumstances to be with the Lord, and in the real life to come into full possession of all that he by faith looks forward to in hope, and which he now sees but darkly as through a glass and knows from words more or less dark (1 Cor 13:12).

Dietrich Philips (1504 – 1568)

Raunchy isn’t cool

Every once in a while I hear Christian sisters say something like, “I feel so raunchy.” It is generally said following some outdoor physical activity in hot weather. I believe that I understand what they mean to say, but others may take quite a different meaning, one that would horrify the sisters who say it.

You see, while raunchy has a range of meanings, the underlying implication is generally of  sexual arousal. Here are definitions from three current Canadian dictionaries:

Nelson Gage: 1 lewd; indecent: raunchy songs bordering on the obscene. 2 smelly or dirty, esp. from body odour: raunchy sneakers. 3 vulgarly exuberant: Some of the fans got pretty raunchy.

Oxford: 1 coarse, earthy, sexually provocative. 2a (of the sound of an electric guitar) distorted. 2b (of music) featuring raunchy guitars. 3 esp. US: slovenly, grubby.

Collins: sexy or earthy

I am quite sure that sisters who use this word are thinking only in terms of definition 2 from the Nelson Gage dictionary or perhaps definition 3 from the Oxford dictionary. But what if the hearers understand it in terms of the first definition from all three dictionaries? I wish that Christians would retire this word to the ranks of the terminally uncool.

Why I wear a beard

Well, it’s not a decision I have to make every morning, like deciding if this is short sleeve or long sleeve weather, it just grows there. I would have to physically remove it with some kind of blade every morning if I didn’t want it.

Now, I think that if God made me in such a way that hair grows on my face, it shows a little respect to Him to leave it there. But there is no commandment in the Bible saying that a man must wear a beard. A good thing, too. There are men who would be in serious trouble if there was such a command, since hair does not grow on their faces. God does not command them to do what they are not able to do.

There is a verse in the Old Testament that says “Thou shalt no mar the corners of thy beard.” Again, that can’t apply to men who cannot grow a beard in the first place. Just what it does mean is a subject of much discussion. Hasidic Jews believe that it refers to where the hair line meets the beard line in front of the ears. Therefore, they grow that side hair long, so that it hangs in ringlets over top of their beards as hard and fast evidence that they have not marred the corners of their beards. Good for them. I’m not convinced, though. Consequently, I do not have any ringlets.

Wearing a beard is a very simple thing for me – it grows, so I let it grow. I do try to keep it neatly trimmed, though, so that I don’t look like I’ve spent the past six months holed up in a cabin in the bush.

The difference between worship and entertainment

Worship is an act of homage, reverence and devotion paid to a deity. Entertainment is something that offers us amusement, excitement and a diversion from the mundane problems of our life.

Worship is something we do; it implies an active participation in the act of worship. Entertainment is an activity where we are merely spectators. Our emotions may be thoroughly aroused, but we have no active role in the activity being presented.

These concepts seem to have become all muddled up in our day. Many people regard church as a spectator activity; they go to church expecting an experience, lively music, an attention grabbing message, eloquent prayers. At the same time, there appears to be a very real adoration and worship of singers, musicians, actors and athletes.

But none of these popular gods can do anything to help us with the real problems of our life. The best they can do is divert our attention from our real needs for a moment and allow us to participate vicariously in their seemingly glamorous and thrilling lives. That will eventually grow old and leave us deflated.

True worship of God the Creator does not need to be embellished by ornate buildings, loud music or human eloquence. Our need is to meet our maker in heartfelt adoration, make our pleas known to Him and to hear what He might have to say to us. This may come through the words of a song, the reading of Scriptures, the words that are spoken and the prayers that are made in the service, but the ultimate source of what we receive is not in the outward things, but in the inward working of the Holy Spirit.

Meaningful worship does not depend so much on the performance of the preacher, or of others who take an active part in the service, but in an attitude of the heart that feels a need to commune with God through worshipping together with those who are bound together in the same faith.

Faith is

Bob Goodnough:

yalandarose posted this yesterday and it fits our situation. My wife was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) a year and a half ago. Her white count has shot upward over the summer and she is seeing her doctor today.

Originally posted on yalandarose:

Faith is being guided through a dark tunnel trusting solely in The One Leading the way.

View original


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