Wednesday, December 01, 2004

And for a brief moment life seemed more beautiful

Perhaps history is rarely tidy. Perhaps it should be untidy at times. The truth, after all is usually, probably always in fact, paradoxical.

In 1610 in Utrecht there was a disturbance, the militia asked the city council to resign, which they did, funny how the council where unwilling to argue with men with guns. Prior to Emperor Charles V’s “reforms”, the city council had been chosen by the guilds (allowing some popular choice in local government), Charles decided to appoint them instead. So, it was an appointed council which was overthrown, the militia choosing instead a council more in line (at least in the view of the militia) to be acceptable to the citizens of Utrecht. So, the militia are overruled and the old appointed city council is restored.

But I digress. It turns out at the time that there was controversy in the Dutch Reformed Church between highly disciplined orthodox Calvinists and a more tolerant “libertine” group. For a moment, life seemed more beautiful, to know that once there had been “Libertine Calvinists” a most fascinating concept. But no, perhaps I misread my source documents. But oh to have some grim Calvinists drinking, smoking and fornicating. For a moment life seemed more beautiful.

Once walking between Headingley and Chapeltown in Leeds I passed a “Strict and Particular Baptist” church. Went to their Sunday service once. All the sisters where in gothic black, and all the men where dressed as penguins. I am still looking for some Lax and Unfussy Baptists. Let me know if you find any.

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