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Random Notes, 71

I still, as I have since youth, do all my writing by pen and ink. This does not mean that I do not appreciate the importance of computers.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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  1. I still, as I have since youth, do all my writing by pen and ink. This does not mean that I do not appreciate the importance of computers. One of the many advantages given to scholars is that the vast body of Greek literature is being brought into a workable unit. As of not too long ago, 60 million Greek words, from Homer to the sixth century AD, have been gathered together on CD-ROM. This has meant that a New Testament koine usage can be checked against other uses of the same word to understand better its possible meanings. Some important insights are emerging.
  2. In 1933, during the depression, my father bought me a Royal Portable typewriter, which I still have. I used it all the way through the university and I transferred my early writings and books from hand-script to type on it. The typewriter was expensive for its day, $25, and virtually new. My father bought it when he really could not afford to because he believed that some kind of writing was basic to my future.
  3. A few days ago, Gary Wagner was here with his family and some friends, and it was a happy occasion. In the course of our conversation, the name of an old friend of Gary's came up, the late Walter Brennan, the leading actor in "The Real McCoys" and in many films. Brennan was a devout Catholic who made clear his dissent with Hollywood's morals. He said plainly that he had never had anything to do with any woman outside of marriage, and he was still happily in love with the bride of his youth.

    Walter Brennan became dissatisfied with the direction of the local parochial school, and, prompted by Gary, sent a committee of women to talk with me about starting an independent school, which he was financing.
  4. Gary and I, in the course of our discussion, got into the subject of self-pity and victimization. I have always held that self-pity is a form of psychological cancer, and very destructive. There used to be a popular ditty ridiculing self-pity, and a member of Gary's family reminded me of the lyrics, used at a Christian summer camp, which ridiculed self-pity. I had forgotten most of it. Here it is:Nobody likes me, Everybody hates me, Guess I'll eat some worms: Short, fat, fuzzy ones, Long, slimy, skinny ones, Guess I'll eat some worms! Down goes the first one, Down goes the second one, Guess I'll eat some worms! Down goes the third one, Down goes the fourth one, Guess I'll eat some worms! Out comes the fourth one, Out comes the third one, Why did I eat those worms? Out comes the second one,Out comes the first one, Why did I eat those worms? Everybody likes me, Nobody hates me, Why did I eat those worms?
  5. When I was a student, I carefully avoided marking my books, a habit then which causes me grief now. I just spent about half an hour trying to locate a valuable statement in a book I read and did not mark in the 1930's. If you own the book and plan to use its materials, mark and index its important data and comments.
  6. The word lady in Old English meant "the person who gives out the bread" (Carson I. A. Ritchie: Food in Civilization, 58). Gluttony is a sin we rarely hear about today, but it was once taken very seriously, especially by the Scots, for whom it was also a crime. Offenders were either strangled or drowned in a running stream (74)
  7. Focus, in July, 1954, reported on the salaries of U. S. State governors. New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey received far, far more than most, $50,000 a year. Gov. Theodore McKeldin of Maryland received $4,500; Gov. Dan Thornton, $10,000; and so on.
  8. For officers of state to live off the public treasury is an ancient vice. On June 7, 1594, Friday, the ten judges of England's Star Chamber dined together on a fast day on ling cod, green-fish, salmon, pike, gurnard, dory, carp, conger, barbel, flounder, tarbot, whiting, lobster, crab, and prawns, also on eggs, capons, chickens, rabbits, artichokes, peas, strawberries, apples, gooseberries, oranges, lemons, quinces, and barbaries. Obviously, the ten judges had a good appetite, since this was at public expense.

    Of course, this was under the stingy Queen Elizabeth! Later, in 1621, in a feast for the French ambassador, 1600 dishes were prepared by 100 cooks! Space forbids describing the meal.The medical profession was meanwhile urging dieting, and one man claimed that over-drinking was killing more people than the wars.

    If you think this was extravagant, think of the greater amounts spent on clothing. Queen Elizabeth was as extravagant here as she was stingy elsewhere (Lawrence Stone: The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 255ff). The good old days?
  9. Now we have the ultimate in democracy, a recent survey on what or which prominent persons are likely to go to heaven. Mother Theresa had 79% of the votes; but Oprah Winfrey had 66%; Colin Powel, 61%; Michael Jordan, 65%; Princess Diana, 60%; Pres. Clinton, 52%; Al Gore and Hilary Clinton, 55% each; Gingrich, 40%; Pat Robertson, 47%; Dennis Rodman, 28%; O. J. Simpson, 19%. People seem to think heaven is gained by popularity. 87% of Americans surveyed expected to go to heaven (U.S. News & World Report, March 31, 1997, p. 18). What next? A poll to see who deserves to be God?
  10. The origin of our English word "worry" goes back to an old Germanic word meaning to strangle. That is what you do to yourself when you worry.
  11. This is what John Adams, later second President of the U.S., wrote in his diary on February 22, 1756:
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry, to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence towards Almighty God. What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.

Like others of his day, Adams was a theonomist!


R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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