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Neither Jew Nor Greek

Out Of Egypt

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

The book of Galatians is an amazing book to read through. It is one of the earliest epistles of Paul and also one of the most shocking when read in its historical context. In it, Paul basically does away with the entirety of the Old Testament for the Gentile believers. The new Gentile believers coming into the faith are no longer required to keep the same Sabbath, the circumcision or the Mosaic law that was given to Moses and the Israelites. This reflects the decisions made at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. The Gentiles did not have to hold on to the Mosaic laws as they were under a new covenant instituted by Christ.

Paul goes on to write in…

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The Mongols are a people originating from what is now Mongolia, northern China, and parts of Russia. They are most famous for their namesake Empire founded in 1206 CE by Chinggis Khan (often called Genghis Khan), and the destruction and murder wrought by that Empire.

Hoelun_Ujin

Hoelun, the mother of Chinggis Khan and wife of Yesügei.

Here are some historical facts about the Mongols that I find interesting and that I hope you will find interesting as well:

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Getting Married Soon

In exactly one month (31 days) from today, I will be pledging myself in marriage to Jessica Daisy Evans. Last year, I posted about my engagement to her. In a month, that promise I made to her will be fulfilled!

Jess and I met at Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany, where we were both studying for our Master’s Degrees. We’d met at the start of the first semester in the Fall of 2017, and after the New Years Ball in January 2018, she asked me out and we started dating. And things developed from there! I don’t what to say more than that, Jess is too special and amazing a person to be able to describe in a short blog post. I’m looking forward to living the rest of my life with her. Below are pictures of us as dated and grew to love each other:

A bit ago I posted the article “The Birthday of Free Government?” in which I briefly summarized how the Declaration of Independence helped popularize the ideas of democracy, constitutional restraint, and limited government. Indeed, these ideas of freedom have spread globally. However – that freedom has not been, and still is not, implemented equally even in my own country. I referenced this in the previous article, and I want to unpack that more. I had suspected that I glossed over the deeply problematic references to slavery and indigenous people, and feedback from a friend as well as consultation of a couple articles confirmed this. So let me unpack this.

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245 years ago, some British men in colonial North America formally declared that they no longer wished to be tied to Britain but rather stand on their own as a separate and equally sovereign power. For over a century, new ideas about limited government, government ruled by the people, and government constrained by constitutions had developed on both sides of the Atlantic. For example, in the Five (and later Six) Nations of the Haudenosaunee in Eastern North America; in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales in the British Isles in Europe; and in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in Central and Eastern Europe. With the United States Declaration of Independence, these ideas took on even greater power and effected global change. People and countries all over the world aspire now to be “free.” Below you can follow the link to a transcription of the Declaration. I don’t agree with all of what was said, especially the derogatory reference to indigenous people (some of whom were the source to much of the revolutionary spirit in the first place) and the complaint about Britain instigating slave rebellions (a hypocritical complaint given that the United States was rebelling against a government that it believed was oppressive). Yet the impact of this document cannot be denied, and since its creation and announced people the world over have striven and fought for better and more consistent implementation of the ideas it espouses. Happy Fourth of July to my US readers!

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

Prior to my belated engagement announcement post, the last post on my blog was from October of 2017. I went an entire year without any new posting. Yes, I have been in graduate school, but there has been plenty of time in which I could have blogged. But, you see, in that time I’ve been active on Facebook. I’ve been active on Facebook for years, but I’ve gotten especially drawn in this year. I joined a group for Christian singles late last year, and that community has taken most of my energy for writing. Social media has become a black-hole for me.

And this is sad. I have had many adventures in Germany and Poland and Czech Republic which I could have written about. I could have written about milestones in my relationship with Jess. I could have written about theological questions I’m working through. I could have written about history, or written some new poems.

Instead, I’ve mostly been reacting on social media. And I’ve started to notice how it effects the way I think and act. There is a place for engaging on a social platform, but I found that I start reacting to what others do and say, and I am less proactive myself. I don’t formulate new ideas the same way. My posts become more about soliciting reactions rather than exploring a topic.

I hope that as I start writing more frequently, I can become more proactive in my thoughts and in my online presence once again. We’ll see how it plays out, I guess.

As is obvious if the history of my posts on here is looked at, I haven’t been active for a year on this blog. During that time, many exciting events have transpired. Of these, the most exciting is that I started up a relationship with Jessica Evans, an English classmate at my university in Germany. We started dating in January, made our relationship official over Valentine’s Day weekend, and, this September, I asked her to be my wife!

She was visiting my family in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and I took her up to the top of Mount Greylock to propose to her. My father proposed to my mother on the same mountain, and I wanted to continue the tradition. I then took her to dinner at Ye Old Forge Restaurant down in the valley.

Below are some pictures of us on Greylock, and of our engagement rings:

I’m back

Well, it’s been almost a year. I’d wanted to be posting at least semi-regularly, but that just didn’t happen. Anyway, after this extended hiatus, I’m back to posting again. A lot has happened since I last posted, and I will try to give you updates.

Exactly 500 years ago – on October 31st, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther changed the world. Concerned about the serious errors he that he believed were being taught by the Roman Catholic Church, he wrote down a list of 95 problems that he believed needed change, and (depending on the historian you talked to) either nailed them to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg, or else mailed them from Wittenberg to the archbishop of Mainz. Whichever way it happened, that event is how all the turmoil started.

I am studying at Brandenburg University of Technology, and my blog has been silent for a few months while I adjust to my studies. But I wanted to write something for this special time, the 500th year since Luther started the Protestant Reformation. But what is the Protestant Reformation? What happened 500 years ago that was so special? What is so important about this list that Martin Luther made? Today, as I travel out to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the birthplace of this theological revolution, this post will upload and you can learn the basics of just what makes that day so remarkable.

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Though I’m busy with packing and preparing to go to Germany, I do want to write a short post on a current topic: Google and free speech in a market economy. Google has been taking a lot of flack recently for some of their decisions regarding speech in the workplace and websites from which they generate revenue. They fired James Damore for advocating positions that they felt detracted from a healthy working environment; after GoDaddy stopped hosting the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer, Google picked up the domain only to also drop it after a few hours; they threatened to pull ad revenue from an alt-right leaning political opinion site because a particular article was written by a former contributor who participated in the “Unite the Right” rally; a far-left site claims that Google is reducing their exposure; and there are many other such accusations of censorship of all kinds.

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