June 17th, 2010

never there

A History of Christianity; The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart

Started off TV night with the second episode of A History of Christianity, which was all about Catholicism and called The Unpredictable Rise of Rome. And if the first episode was about how Christianity fared when it was a minority living in & with a different culture (both Islam & in China) then this was a story, as he said, of what can be accomplished when you have friends in high places. So this covered the period between Christianity becoming the state religion of the Roman Empire in ~300AD through to ~1500AD and just before the Reformation. This covers as diverse things as the rise of the doctrine of Original Sin (Augustine's gift to future Western Christianity via reading the letters of Paul and concentrating on the corruption of Adam & Eve), the centralisation of Catholicism (particularly after the split with the Orthodox church in the 1100s) due in part to concentrating on Simon Peter & "on this rock I build my church", the Crusades & the unpleasantness of this era of Church history, Francis of Assisi & his message of humility & return to Christs original teachings. And laid some of the foundations of where the Reformation came from - a reaction against things that had become fundamentals of the Catholic church, the concept of Purgatory, the ability of priests to dispense forgiveness for sins (to stand as an intermediary between God & the people), the idea of being able to buy an Indulgence (buying your way into Heaven). The next programme will be about the Orthodox, though, rather than the Protestant Reformation.

And second up (after some pudding and a bit of an attempt at providing Rockband tech support for someone ;) ) was an episode of a nature programme we've had sitting on the magic box for ages - The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart. We'd not managed to record the first episode (of three), so started with the second one - all about water. I watch nature programmes to go "oooh" at the pretty scenery, so no detailed write up :) Lots of neat creatures, including fantastically coloured birds and weird & wonderful fish. And gorillas looking miserable in the rain, and young hippos curiously investigating crocodiles (which didn't end badly, unlike the fish that went just that bit too far into the hot pools in search of tasty algae ...).