November 22nd, 2011

Sick Family Update

As of this morning, R. seems to be mostly recovered from the respiratory issue, but has developed some GI problems. A. has _not_ recovered from the respiratory issue and developed a serious enough GI problem that even I couldn't rationalize sending her to preschool (and she wasn't sad to stay home, for that matter). She had enough energy to want to do an outing when M. left after a visit with her dog P., so A. and I went to Idylwilde to pick up the turkey I ordered and some other things for T-day. I had already had to cancel my hair cut. After we returned, A. was seriously underfoot and unhappy and started complaining vigorously about her ear. I tried to get her down for a nap, failed, went downstairs to have lunch and call the doctor. While I was on the phone to the doctor getting a same day (unfortunately, at exactly the time T. gets home from school on the van), A. finally wiped out -- she's asleep with her legs half draped off the bed.

The good news is, I got most of the T-day shopping done. The bad news is, R. is not responding to phone messages; he's probably out on the bike. Hopefully he'll be back in communication before someone needs to take A. to the doctor and/or meet T.'s van.

Please continue to feel sorry for us. We certainly feel sorry for all the people who are at the grocery store doing their T-weekend shopping while sick.

_More Psychic Roots_, Henry Z Jones, Jr

Subtitled _Further Adventures in Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy_

Again, not available in e-form, so I bought it in p-form.

The emphasis in this volume is less on pro-genealogists and more on "grass roots" contributors who responded to the first book and the television show based on it. Again, a lot of these things just aren't actually that random (and the genealogist I hired was a specialist in exactly what I needed! Yes, well, you picked them and the process you described for picking them certainly increased the odds of getting a person with that specialization), there's a lot of domain knowledge in play and many of the stories have solid evidence of perceptual distortion.

That said, they're enormously fun to read, and the tribute to Carla Mittelstaedt-Kubaseck at the end is extremely endearing. If you enjoyed the first one, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. If you're scratching your head trying to figure out why I'm reading this stuff, well, never mind.

Anabaptist Reading Project

I'm in the throes of a reading project -- not sure exactly how it happened. I had the books already, but have been lacking the motivation to read them. When my cousin Big B. visited recently, we spent some time talking about the genealogical research I've been doing and how we feel about what I've been finding. While B. was not raised a Jehovah's Witness, and B. has a good relationship with his dad's/my mother's cousin C. and C.'s wife I. and thus knows at least as much about our Mennonite relatives as I do, B. finds the religious elements of our shared ancestry at least as troubling as I do, if not more so. Talking about these issues with B. made me feel a lot better about it -- enough better to dive back into Mennonite history in an effort to build a context in which to place my relatives. The lines I've been working on go back to communities along the Vistula/West Prussia (weirdly, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vistula_delta_Mennonites) and I am trying to understand why they were there/then.

I'm a good chunk of the way through Cornelius J Dyck (editor)'s _An Introduction to Mennonite History_, which is published by Herald Press and aimed at a young adult audience with predictable consequences (they are _so_ mean to unitarians, it is continually shocking, but even worse is the editorial tone taken towards schisms. _Theirs_ are justified and besides, they already said they were sorry for sins committed by their forefathers in previous splits -- like, torturing the Mennonite Brethren -- whereas other groups splitting were just inadequately loving and blah blah bleeping blah). It is what I need (an overview) and it's not at all obvious that there is a better alternative.

As I'm reading it, however, I'm getting a much more solid sense of the relationship between the followers of Amman and the rest of the Mennonite groups. I've ordered a roughly equivalent overview of the Amish, in part so I have a better sense of the migration and family groups on the off chance I stumble across them on R.'s or my lines that touch down in Pennsylvania. It doesn't seem likely (I don't seem to connect up to the Mennonites in the Dutch Colony or the Mennonites in the Palatine migration, so the odds would appear to be against an Amish connection), but I'd hate to miss it out of ignorance.

Dyck also reminded me of Romans chapter 13, the first part of which always makes me scratch my head when people propose to not pay taxes because they are Christian and Christians don't pay for war. Predictably, the author(s) blow that one off as "often misinterpreted" (viz. We decided we didn't like what Paul had to say so we ignored it in favor of running with some other stuff Jesus said instead.). On the one hand, I don't identify as any flavor of Xtian any more, so I feel like I shouldn't even have an opinion on this stuff. On the other hand, I _do_ have opinions on this stuff and it's hard to read something written from a perspective that is at times very similar and at other times so wildly opposite.

I have no idea what I'll read next (whether it will be the Amish history or one of the more academic Mennonite things upstairs or something else entirely), or if I'll go back to trying to push on the tree some more. But definitely expect the occasional foray into hermeneutics over the next few days/weeks. I'll try to keep the daily activities posts separate so you can skip the obscurities.

Ike

A while ago, I was trying to find out what denomination Presidents belonged to (I had this sense they were all Episcopalian except for JFK, but I knew that had to be wrong and I was trying to correct it). Along the way, I stumbled across this:

http://www.seanet.com/~raines/eisenhower.html

That was a bit of a shocker. Ike raised by a group that would later be called JWs? JWs mining the relationship (via mum)? Whoa. I took an extremely brief look at the "River Brethren" which is/was the official story. Extremely brief. As in, I failed to notice they were Anabaptist. D'oh.

In reading Dyck's _An Introduction to Mennonite History_, I stumbled across a section on the Brethren Church/Dunkards/River Brethren and I Remembered Ike's Mom. Holy Moly. Another Mennonite become JW.

WTF.

If I didn't know several people who went from JW to LDS, it would have taken me weeks to recover. As it was, my exploded brain cells reassembled themselves efficiently and I was moving right along again within 24 hours.

In the meantime, however, I'm wondering about Charles Taze Russell. I know there is massive overlap between JW eschatology and Seventh-Day Adventist eschatology (and I understand there was extensive interaction between adventist groups and Russell early on). I'm a lot less clear on Mennonite/JW connection, but thinking that the River Brethren (with their emphasis on immersion) are a likely candidate. Russell being in Pennsylvania presents a target rich environment for Mennonites of all flavors as well. Initial googling doesn't turn anything up, but with this topic area, it never seems to.

ETA: It took a while, but while I've got nothing on the Mennonite/Russell theory, I _do_ have something connecting Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to Russell: the Emphatic Diaglott (Wilson was connected to Stone-Campbell until he decided to co-found another group). This isn't significant to anyone but me; my Repeatedly Religious G'ma had extended family in Stone-Campbell/Disciples of Christ then married a guy who was raised Mennonite then converted to JW. A connection between religion #1 and religion #3 is personally satisfying.

I was also interested to stumble across indications that pre-White adventists were mostly anti-trinitarian.