Saturday, October 31, 2015

USA holiday 12

Saturday 31st October I had a lazy day staying at home in Mansion Larson, the only house I have seen with a five car garage. Katy went for a walk with our host while I saw the rugby world cup final live on TV, a broadcast I only found thanks to a tweet from Russell Crowe on BBC News website. I am for the first time ever sorry to see an Aussie team lose. my usual way is to support England and any team playing against Australia.

95 Theses

Real title, "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," .

Key Statements

Here are 13 samples of Luther's theses:
1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, says "Repent ye," etc., he means that the entire life of the faithful should be a repentance.
2. This statement cannot be understood of the sacrament of penance, i.e., of confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priesthood.
27. They preach human folly who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings a soul from purgatory springs.
32. Those who suppose that on account of their letters of indulgence they are sure of salvation will be eternally damned along with their teachers.
36. Every Christian who truly repents has plenary [full] forgiveness both of punishment and guilt bestowed on him, even without letters of indulgence.
37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and the Church, for God has granted him these, even without letters of indulgence.
45. Christians should be taught that whoever sees a person in need and, instead of helping him, uses his money for an indulgence, obtains not an indulgence of the pope but the displeasure of God.
51. Christians should be taught that the pope ought and would give his own substance to the poor, from whom certain preachers of indulgences extract money, even if he had to sell St. Peter's Cathedral to do it.
81. This shameless preaching of pardons makes it hard even for learned men to defend the pope's honor against calumny or to answer the indubitably shrewd questions of the laity.
82. For example: "Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love … for after all, he does release countless souls for the sake of sordid money contributed for the building of a cathedral? …"
90. To suppress these very telling arguments of the laity by force instead of answering them with adequate reasons would be to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to render Christians unhappy.
94. We should admonish Christians to follow Christ, their Head, through punishment, death, and hell.
95. And so let them set their trust on entering heaven through many tribulations rather than some false security and peace.
Within two months, Johann Tetzel fired back with his own theses, including: "Christians should be taught that the Pope, by authority of his jurisdiction, is superior to the entire Catholic Church and its councils, and that they should humbly obey his statutes."
Reprinted from "Protestants' Most-Famous Document," the Editors of Click here to read the original article and for reprint information.

USA holiday 11

Friday 30th October we drove the about 10 miles into Pittsburgh and visited Phipps Conservatory, a large greenhouse complex with various rooms like Japanese, desert, tropical and orchids. In the evening we went to Heinz Hall for a classical concert, first a composition from a 21 year old pianist. He was very accomplished but once you are past the 19th century the music is not for me. (Elgar is an exception.) Next was Gershwin. Very much the jazz age but best of the evening for me as the last piece was Richard Strauss.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

USA holiday 10

Thursday 29th October the Larson's RV took us on the four hour journey through Pennsylvania to their Pittsburgh home  which is a veritable mansion in the woods, shared with son Paul, his wife Alysia and their five children. Soon there will be seven children with two to be adopted from Ghana. The five are at present homeschooled. The sun shone on our journey with varied autumn colours though many trees have already shed their leaves.

USA holiday 9

Wednesday 28th October we stayed at the Gettysburg RV camp. It was our first wet day but no problem. We were taken on a tour of the battlefield area. It is a national park and the town has not been expanded too much since 1863. Gettysburg was a three day battle which put a stop to the Confederate invasion of Union territory though the was dragged on two more bloody years. IMO Robert E Lee should have been the victor but mistakes were made. He lacked the counsel of his most trusted general, Stonewall Jackson, who died from friendly fire at Chancellorville, unlike the film which has him present. We had a guide all to ourselves and the Larsons and he drove their car. This battlefield and its museum are far far better than anything in Europe. What have we in the UK except Culloden and in Europe Waterloo is not a patch on this. The battlefield has more memorials than any other in the world. Veterans started coming back soon after the was ended. But it was not until 1917 that Lee got his statue. Pictures have been uploaded including some to the Cyclorama in the museum. It is the largest painting in North America and over 100 years old. The museum is very educational with a film of the battle and many exhibits telling the story of the war's bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

USA holiday 8

On Tuesday 27th the Larsons took us in their RV to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War this was the location of the Federal armoury and arsenal. It is located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Before the war the ferry was replaced by a rail bridge which was a casualty in the war when the town changed hands eight times. It was famous before the war for the attack by abolitionist John Brown. He killed a local free back man, was captured and hanged. Later in the afternoon we drove to the Gettysburg RV Park and in the evening watched the second DVD about the terrible battle where over 50,000 died.

USA holiday 7

Monday 26th October our last day with Kenneth in Alexandria. We went into town and walked to the harbour where we took a water taxi across the Potomac to the National Harbour. Photos to be posted later. After lunch we returned to town. Our friend Elliott Larson came around 6pm and drove us to his wife Marti in their  RV at Bull Run park, a beautiful situation in the woods. The RV pulls the car we came in with Elliott. After dinner we watched the first DVD of Gettysburg. Strange to see the man who played Blair and Clough portraying Robert E Lee.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

USA holiday 6

Katy and I went to Alexandria Presbyterian Church this morning, 25th October. Our host went to his usual United Methodist. We were warmly welcomed to a congregation of around 300. The liturgy was fine - Reformation Sunday with most hymns traditional. The men’s choir gave a great rendering of ‘Jesu joy of man’s desiring’. The sermon on Romans 5 was expository. All in all a good service.

Monday, October 26, 2015

USA holiday 5

On Saturday 24th October I missed the rugby semifinal as we were taken first thing to the home of Gordon and Rita Babcock near Baltimore. They took us on a two hour drive into Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, Amish country. We did not see many buggies and were told not to photograph them. Both at lunch and in the shops here was much evidence of an openly Christian culture. No pictures except of us with halloween gourds and pumpkins on sale. On our way back Gordon treated me to 16year old Laphroiaig and 21 year old Strathisla. He tells he does not brink from his stocks these days as he has no friends who, unlike, appreciate Scotland's finest.

USA holiday 4

Friday 23rd October we went on a two hour drive in Virginia to seem Monticello, the home Thomas Jefferson built for himself atop a wooded hill. Pictures on Facebook. Delightful house and gardens but  entry at $25 a head seemed steep. This was our third shirt sleeves warm day. Learning about the third US president there was no hiding the issue of slaves on this plantation. TJ freed a few at his death but his words on liberty sound hollow.

USA holiday 3

Thursray 22nd Otober we went first to Mikelburg, a small Virginian town where we lunched in a hotel which boasted Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Onassis a past guests. Then we went round the excellent   National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Pictures posted on Facebook. Highlights shown there like the space shuttle, the fastest ever plane and Enola Gay. My only criticism was a shortage of planes from the UK. There were plenty from Germany

Thursday, October 22, 2015

USA holiday - 2

On Wednesday we did not venture out until the afternoon. The weather is fine and warm. Kenneth drove us into Washington to see the  gothic National Cathedral. In the evening we were treated to dinner at the Outback Streakhouse, an Australian themed restaurant. The steak was good but I do not think such a theme would do so well in London.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

USA holiday

Alexandria, Virginia.
This is our sixth transatlantic visit. We took a minicab to Heathrow, terminal 5 to join a BA flight to Baltimore which is Washington’s third airport. The flight of just over eight hours got us to the US at 8pm local time, 1am in England. We had the last row of seals in a Boeing 767 so the engine noise spoiled the sound on the excellent entertainment system. Catering was good. As is my habit on BA I request London Pride to drink. Who wants foreign brews on British Airways. We flew into the setting sun, cloudy over the ocean but perfectly clear going south down the Atlantic coast. Immigration was slow but uneventful. We were last in the queue but that meant we did not have to wit for our cases. Our friend Kenneth was waiting for us. Unfortunately on the way to his car, carrying a case and computer bag, I slipped and fell awkwardly on an up escalator which was promptly stopped and people helped me up. I declined offered medical examination. We were at Kenneth’s home in time for bed at 11pm having declined further refreshment.