A past life

A couple years ago, Jaime came across a stack of old letters, photos, and documents. The papers seemed to have belonged to Isabell (Tuttle) Winchell who lived in Brighton, Colorado. Among the papers is her marriage certificate to Isaac Winchell. The two married on August 30, 1885 in Hamilton County, Nebraska. He was 27, she was 24.


Another of the papers was a geneology of Isabell’s side of the family dated in September 1904. Isabell also kept cancelled checks datign back to 1923. Only her name appears on the checks, which makes me think her husband had likely died by that date.

Other letters in the stack include the name Earl Winchell who seems to have been their son. Isabell’s father and brother were also named Earl according to the marriage license and the geneology.

Also among the papers was a short poem written on half a page – unsigned, undated, and written in faded pencil:

“Baby, father, mother, brothers
and sisters four,
Waiting for me, waiting for me,
waiting for me on that ever green shore.”

The last document with Isabell’s name is dated in 1950. I’m guessing her death was around that time. That would make her about 90 years old, having been widowed for roughly 30 years.

Interesting to see a person’s life laid out in front of us like that. I’d wish I could find Isabell and Earl’s descendants to give them this link to their family history.

Why did Columbus sail?

The always controversial Columbus Day Parade in Denver will take place this Saturday. Organizers of the parade like to celebrate Columbus’ discovery of the New World. Protestors claim they are celebrating genocide of American Indians. I’m skeptical of that belief since I’ve not once seen anyone claiming Indians should be wiped out.

Beyond that, I’ve coincidently read a little about Columbus this week. American education teaches children that Columbus sailed to prove the Earth is round. Columbus had to overcome the objections of the Roman Catholic Church which taught that the bible proved the world was flat. He was able to overcome the Church’s ignorant assumption and convince the Queen of Spain to fund his expedition. Even after his voyage the church still taught the world was flat until Magellan circumnavigated the globe in 1512 give science a “crushing blow” against the teachings of the church.

The problem with that story is that it is entirely a lie. Every educated person during the time already knew the world was round. Learned men like the Venerable Bede (ca. 673-735) Bishop Virgilius of Salzburg (ca. 720-784), Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), and Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1224-1274) all taught the world was round hundreds of years before Columbus ever lived. Incidentally all four of those men are Catholic saints.

Learned men (who were catholics) did oppose Columbus voyage. Not because they thought the world was flat. Rather they thought Columbus calculations of the circumfrence of the world was too small and that he would starve before he got to Asia. Turns out they were right. Only (unknown to both Columbus and his critics) a couple of other continents were in the way. This doesn’t take away from Columbus’ bravery as an explorer. It does show that Medieval scholars were a lot brighter than we give them credit for.

So where did this lie that is even taught in today’s schools come from? The most influential person in spreading the myth of oppressive Christianity including the Roman Catholic Church fighting science was Andrew Dickson White, the founder and first president of Cornell University. It seems he didn’t like Christians and wrote his book A History of the Warfare of Science with Tehology in Christendom to get even with Christians who were critics of his plans for Cornell.

Rodney Stark documents how the story of Columbus was corrupted in his book For the Glory of God. Incidentally, Stark is a sociologist who denies being a catholic. His book details how science was only able to develop because of Christianity, not in spite of it.

Aurora Mall to close

Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colorado (a suburb just east of Denver) has had a reputation for a gang problem for years. Last night the danger peaked in a shooting in the mall.

One person was shot and killed and two people were wounded after an argument escalated at the mall Tuesday night.

Police were able to immediately apprehend the suspects and recover the weapons suspected in the shootings.

I pray for the victims of the violence, that the family of the woman who was killed will be comforted in their grief and those wounded will recover.

The business owners in the mall will have a tough time coming up. Who wants to go to a mall where people get shot? Yeah, the mall will struggle on for years while sales drop. Still, if you were a business owner, would you open a store there? More importantly would you shop there?

We can’t have people shooting others in public spaces with impunity and expect to remain a civilized society. These thugs didn’t care who they shot. One of their victims was a woman in her 50s or 60s who got caught in the crossfire.

It’s time for Aurora to get tough on gangs again.