Grandpa's early life is - to me - like something out of a history book. I have never been to Russia, although I would very much like to go and study Russian seriously. My wife, when I told her that once upon a time, just nodded and said that she had had this premonition of us living in Russia, so it was all no big deal. There are times when I feel like there is some strange bond between us Martenses and Russia, although it seems silly when I say it out loud. My own research has taken me, time and again, into the world of socialist and czarist Russia, often at times when it seemed completely unrelated to what I was doing.
If there is a place on earth that I never imagined I would revisit, even rhetorically, it is the city of Greeley, Colorado.
Greeley has recently made the blogs, starting with this post on Eschaton. It was something of a shock to me, because Greeley makes the news basically never, and because Greeley, Colorado was the very first place in the United States where I lived. My family moved there in the fall of 1980 so that my father could pursue a graduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado. We stayed a total of three years, until my mother had completed her Bachelor's degree and obtained a Master's degree, and my father had completed the coursework for his Ph.D.
Reading Thoughts Arguments and Rants this afternoon while feeling frustrated at a misbehaving web craplet that I am currently authoring, I came across Battlefield God. It is a quiz that tests for consistency in your beliefs about God.
I appear to have done pretty well. I took no hits and bit one bullet. The average to date, apparently, is 1.37 hits and 1.10 bullets. From the explanation, I take it to mean that my beliefs are consistent, although in one case I've had to agree to a conclusion most people have trouble with.
As I've pointed out before, it's election season in Belgium. There is a new sort of party here in Belgium. I've only recently become aware of them from their bumperstickers, which seem to be proliferating in college-town-liberal Leuven. They're called Vivant and they have an ad on the front page of Metro today - a free newspaper distributed in the train stations in both French and Dutch.
Mrs. Tilton makes a point in the comments to a previous post:
I think the religious should not be shy about being seen as religious, and I would hope the influence of their belief upon their lives might prompt non-believers to wonder whether there might be something to all that. But intrusive crawthumping is not only offensive in itself; it's also likely to drive away non-believers who might not otherwise have been driven away. Note the difference in style between Tony Blair and George Bush, both committed Christians. One can disapprove of both (and for many of the same reasons); but Bush's religiosity puts Christianity in a bad light in a way that Blair's does not.I agree entirely. Religious people should not shy away being recognised as such. No one should have to hide who and what they are. Not just in matters of religion, but in all aspects of identity. That is an important part of what substantial freedom, as opposed to legalistic freedom, should mean. And this has some bearing on today's instalment from Grandpa.
Pedantry is, to put it bluntly, not a democracy. My posts, my choice, my editorial authority. I am the General Secretary, the Chairman, El Presidente and the Great Helmsman. That's what blogging is all about: low cost, small market self-publishing. We babble, you decide.
Nonetheless, today I'm going to try an experiment in "guided democracy" in order to show the masses that I am not without populist impulses.