Category: History

500 years of Reformation

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500 years ago today, the history of the church, of Europe, and of the western world were forever changed in the town of Wittenberg Germany. Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses, a list of grievances against corrupt and unbiblical practices within the Catholic Church. The impact of this event continues to ripple throughout the Christian world.

Luther was not the first person to call for reform in the church. Continue reading “500 years of Reformation”

JFK at 100

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John F. Kennedy was the Steve McQueen of presidents. His family were the reality stars before the Kardashians.

He would have turned 100 years old today. But he’s forever frozen in time as the vibrant, handsome president of the early 60s.

Ever since I was a kid, the presidency has fascinated me and JFK has been part of that fasciation. He’s often considered to be one of our ten best presidents. He continues to have one of the highest favorability ratings among former presidents. Kennedy biographer Robert Dallek Continue reading “JFK at 100”

Where I was on 9/11

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Based on an essay of the same title, originally published September 11, 2011

I thought it was an accident. When my high school principal announced over the PA system that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I distinctly remember hearing someone in the back of the class mutter, “terrorism.”

I was taking a quiz in my third period geometry class fifteen years ago. I was 15 years old, and a sophomore in high school.

I’ve changed a lot over these last fifteen years; we’ve all changed a lot over these last ten years. Continue reading “Where I was on 9/11”

Elie Wiesel: 1928-2016

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons @David Shankbone

“It was pitch dark. I could hear only the violin, and it was as though Juliek’s soul were the bow. He was playing his life. The whole of his life was gliding on the strings–his last hopes, his charred past, his extinguished future. He played as he would never play again…When I awoke, in the daylight, I could see Juliek, opposite me, slumped over, dead. Near him lay his violin, smashed, trampled, a strange overwhelming little corpse.”

-Elie Wiesel, “Night”

Holocaust survivor, writer, and peace activity, Elie Wiesel passed away today at the age of 87. Continue reading “Elie Wiesel: 1928-2016”

The death that started a world war: 100 years later

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It’s interesting to look at photos from the beginning of World War I. They look like they could be from the Napoleonic Era. Yet by the end of the war, armies were fighting with airplanes and tanks. The world changed. World War I set the stage for World War II. With the tensions of the war and an impoverished Russia helped lead to the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty. The result was communism in the newly formed Soviet Union. The Ottoman Empire, which had lasted since the Middle Ages, collapsed. To the victor goes the spoils, and as oil was starting to become more important, imperial European nations took advantage of the Middle East. But a casualty of the fall of the Ottoman Empire was the relative stability of the region. As a result of the war, the League of Nations was created as a precursor to today’s United Nations.

In the generation before the war, most of the fighting in which European armies had engaged was in imperial skirmishes against opponents with inferior equipment. The conventional methods used in World War I had not caught up with technology. A war that started in the summer, and which most of Europe thought would be finished by Christmas trudged on for four years. Causalities were on a scale never before seen in human history. Continue reading “The death that started a world war: 100 years later”