Uh-oh …

South Africa should expect to be struck with a serious natural disaster within the next week because it has arrested a Holy Man accused of raping women.

Following the arrest and detention of Pastor Tim Omotosho, a Nigerian pastor based in South Africa over allegations of sexual abuse, a member of his church, Jesus Dominion International, has declared that the country will face a calamitous disaster in seven days.

The church member who said that the South African police erred in arresting a man of God no matter what he did, have incurred the wrath of God and a devastating natural disaster awaits them within the next seven days if he not released.

The controversial Pastor Omotosho was arrested at the Port Elizabeth Airport after he was declared wanted by the police for allegedly abusing over 30 young female church members over a period of time.

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Theology-related deepity of the day

No.

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The earliest Americans

I posted a few weeks ago about America’s earliest known miners, the aboriginals who dug copper from pits in the Keweenaw Peninsula about 5000 B.C. It’s one of those odd historical tidbits that gets stuck in my head and doesn’t go away until I’ve learned more.

The first thing to know is that the copper found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is pure native metal, the same stuff from which pennies used to be made. As the magmatic fluids penetrated cracks in the surrounding rock, it cooled and the copper precipitated out. So there were seams of pure copper in the rock. The first miners heated the rocks until they cracked and the copper could be separated. Traces of those old works remain, and Carbon-14 dating makes it possible to know that the mines — hand-dug pits, actually — were active about 7000-years ago.

The picture below is native copper collected by me when I was at Michigan Tech, and sits on my desk. That’s a 3/16-inch grid.

But wait! There’s more! The Keweenaw Peninsula is the only place in North America where native silver has ever been found intimately entwined with native copper — and jewelry made of entwined silver and copper has been found by archaeologists in Central America. The plain implication is that those ancient miners had established far-reaching trade.

Seven-thousand years ago — more than 3000-years before Atrahasis, the first iteration of Genesis — there were mining and trade in North America.

Who were those people?

There is almost nothing known about them, and that only inferentially. We know, for instance, that they mined and traded, and so we can reasonably assume they had some sense of numbers and a rudimentary way of keeping accounts; we know nothing about that aboriginal math, however, or how they did record-keeping. That, in turn, suggests the use of perishable materials, perhaps marked birch bark? Nobody knows.

Whomever they were, the aboriginals on the southern side of Lake Superior were succeeded by the Ojibwa Indians, a branch of the Chippewa. Geography shapes culture, which in turn shapes religion, and the Ojibwa were a peaceful people, indulgent of children and generous-minded toward strangers. That makes sense, for the waters and woods are full of food, and there is no shortage of building materials. Whether or not the same thing might be said of the earlier miners is difficult to know; they probably tended to be jealous of their mineral wealth.

I’ve picked-up a few books about the Ojibwa during the past month, thinking there might be at least a cultural memory of the people they succeeded. Nope. Maybe they were gone by the time the Ojibwa arrived.

The thing that has most surprised me over the past few weeks of amateur anthropologizing is how little research has been done in this country about the first Americans. There is some academic literature, certainly, but it is sparse to begin with and there have been no sound popularizations of that research; what is available tends to be of the Princess Brighteyes’ Book of Shamanic Potions variety.

But thinking about these things has implications for other things. Where the land was generous and indulgent .. so, too, were the people. It cannot be a coincidence that the aboriginal people of the upper midwest were peaceful, but those of the much harsher American west were aggressive. Similarly, it cannot be a coincidence that the Abrahamic faiths, spawned in the bleakness of Mesopotamia, tend toward dog-eat-dog cruelty.

Our libraries groan with minute parsings of those cultures and religions and their imperialistic migrations to places they didn’t fit and introduced only misery — and are almost barren of information about those people who created a way of life fitted to here. Gore Vidal was right: Monotheism is the greatest disaster to ever befall humanity.

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Pastor Bubba: Authoritarian

Bruce Gerencser offers a reading recommendation today, On Tyranny by Yale historian Timothy Snyder. One of the most striking things to me about his blog is that, though there is little in our backgrounds that is shared but the fact that we are both from the upper midwest, our thinking aligns pretty closely on the big things — not something you’d expect from two guys with educational and professional backgrounds as different as engineering and the clergy.

So I take Bruce’s reading recommendations seriously, and I downloaded the book to my NOOK.

The book enumerates and discusses 20-recommendations for citizenry worried about authoritarianism taking root here in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A., and this is the first:

Do not obey in advance.

That’s good advice, and I’m happy to endorse it. A free, clear-headed adult reserves judgments for himself, doesn’t mindlessly follow any ol’ gaudy Pied Piper.

Or, at least, that’s what me, Gerencser, and Snyder seem to think. In fairness, I should tell y’all that Southern Baptist biggie David Platt has an entirely different take on that. From Radical, among the best-selling Christian books in years:

First, from the outset you need to commit to believe whatever Jesus says. As a Christian, it would be a grave mistake to come to Jesus and say, “Let me hear what you have to say, and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it.” If you approach Jesus this way, you will never truly hear what he has to say. You have to say yes to the words of Jesus before you even hear them.

Then second, you need to commit to obey what you have heard. [emphases in original]

Platt is not an anomaly, a one-off authoritarian freak; his words are standard-issue, shrink-wrapped Southern Baptist preaching. You will hear the identical thing any Sunday morning in any of thousands of churches across the south.

Yes … Pastor Bubba is an authoritarian leading a cult of self-abasement. Don’t fall for it. Your life is yours, and the good is to live it.

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Quote for the day

Republicans at all levels sold out their principles and morals (at least what was left of them) to support Trump and they need to pay for their betrayal of decency and integrity.

Michael Hamar

Exactly right. It’s not surprising that Trump found supporters; there are a lot of naive people in the world, and a lot of malicious and frustrated people who just want to stick a finger in somebody’s eye. But the political professionals who whored themselves to Trump — Ryan, Cruz, on and on — have no excuse. They have disgraced themselves and soiled the offices they hold, and they need to go.

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