The Plague

I have occassionally shared the odd bit of information and goings-on in the life of Samuel Pepys as shared in his diary. As of late, daily life in London is very much effected by the latest news regarding the plague. Pepys reports on some numbers and projects a certain gloomy outlook:

Thus this month ends with great sadness upon the publick, through the greatness of the plague every where through the kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its encrease. In the City died this week 7,496 and of them 6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead, this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that cannot be taken notice of, through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for them.

Little Gruntings of Pain

Occassionally I share some snippets of what is going on, or shall I say what has gone on, in Samuel Pepys’ life. Well, on Saturday 13 May 1665 he recorded this assessment of his day:

Up, and all day in some little gruntings of pain, as I used to have from winde, arising I think from my fasting so long, and want of exercise, and I think going so hot in clothes, the weather being hot, and the same clothes I wore all winter.

Might I suggest we be careful what we ‘record’. Who knows who might be reading things someday.

Some Things Never Change

Up, and this day being the day than: by a promise, a great while ago, made to my wife, I was to give her 20l. to lay out in clothes against Easter, she did, notwithstanding last night’s falling out, come to peace with me and I with her, but did boggle mightily at the parting with my money, but at last did give it her, and then she abroad to buy her things, and I to my office, where busy all the morning.

— Samuel Pepys’ Diary, Wednesday 1 March 1664/65

Yes, We Can

There is something about this that strikes me as so very different than other political messages out there today. Might this be a peek at the new nationalism? While this is not a political ad in the purist sense, it is certainly very creative and I must say that I am impressed with the positive sense I am left with after viewing it… for what it’s worth.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.

Celebrities featured include: Jesse Dylan, Will.i.am, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon

Jesus And The Victory of God

It has been suggested that I clean off my ‘desk’. Much of the old mail can get tossed, but there are other items that I am actually getting around to — really. What is driving me a little nuts though is the started-but-not-finished books I am reading. My disposition improves tremendously when I complete something. Having these lying there unfinished is just short of torturous. So, I have done the only thing I can reasonably do; start another. Yes, on Graham’s recommendation I ordered Jesus And The Victory of God by N.T. Wright and it has arrived. Given that The One Purpose of God by Jan Bonda is conjuring up too many simultaneous conversations in my head, I’m just going to set it to the side for awhile — sorry Lee. It’s not that I mind the voices, it’s just I can’t get a word in edgewise. Operation Inasmuch — Mobilizing Believers Beyond the Walls of the Church by David Crocker is another that must wait.

To say I have been anticipating this book is a slight understatement. I have listened to recordings of several talks Bishop Wright has given and I am just thoroughly enthralled by his warm and unpretentious delivery and how his work is usually of a historical nature. I think I am about to enjoy this read. Here’s a short bit from early on:

The point of having Jesus at the centre of a religion or a faith is that one has Jesus: not a cypher, a strange silhouetted Christian figure, nor yet an icon, but the one Jesus the New Testament writers know, the one born in Palestine in the reign of Augustus Ceasar, and crucified outside Jerusalem in the reign of his successor Tiberius. Christianity appeals to history; to history it must go.

343 Year Old Blog

SAMUEL PEPYS M.A. F.R.S.
CLERK OF THE ACTS AND SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY
TRANSCRIBED FROM THE SHORTHAND MANUSCRIPT IN THE PEPYSIAN LIBRARY
MAGDALENE COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE BY THE REV. MYNORS BRIGHT M.A. LATE FELLOW
AND PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE

Samuel Pepys is an interesting fellow. I say is because even though Samuel Pepys wrote his diary over 300 years ago, it is being revived one day at a time by Phil Gyford with the text compliments of Project Gutengerg. There are some overview pages in the section the story so far. Here is a sample from the overiew:

March 1660

Mountagu regains his old position of General at Sea, and Pepys agrees to accompany him to sea as his secretary. Pepys spends most of March preparing for the journey; this includes making his will and providing for his wife in case he should not return.

Mountagu and Pepys begin their journey on 23 March, sailing down the Thames and into the English Channel. Mountagu keeps Pepys occupied preparing commissions for members of the fleet, with a strategy of moving Anabaptists out of positions of power. When not working, Pepys fills the time with political gossip, religious debates, music and the occasional game of ninepins.

What I find wonderful is the extensive anotations that people have added. There is a wealth of historical nuances that is so powerful because you are seeing things through the eyes of someone at that time as they are seeing/experiencing them. This is just too cool!