God’s Smuggler: The Brother Andrew Story

Check out my (really, really long) book report on God’s Smuggler below and be sure to visit Leah’s Bookshelf for more information. Enjoy!

 

I recently read the book God’s Smuggler.  It is the autobiography of Andrew Van Der Bijl, who is better known as Brother Andrew.  It was first copyrighted in 1967 and is available from amazon.com as well as other bookstores.

The story tells about Brother Andrew’s life starting when he was a young boy in the 1930s.  He was always looking for adventure; whether it was covering the chimneys of his annoying Christian neighbors to cause smoke from their wood burning stoves to fill their houses, or throwing firecrackers at the Nazis after they took over his home town in Holland.  As he grew older, his appetite for adventure never died.  He decided to enlist in the army in 1946 when he was eighteen.  When he arrived in the East Indies, he was rather disgusted with it.  In training, it had always been little paper targets that you shot at, now it was real people and many of them didn’t even wear uniforms.  He began drinking and carousing to try to get away from that fact.  He even began wearing a bright yellow straw hat into battle, “it was a dare and an invitation.  ‘Here I am!’ it said.  ’Shoot me!’”  (Page 26) After several years of fighting, he was shot in the ankle.  This disgusted him even more.  As he said on page 30,

“Somehow in all my furious self-destructiveness I had never considered this possibility.  I had always seen myself going out in a blaze of contempt for the whole human farce. But to live – and crippled! – that was the meanest fate of all… Worse, I was twenty years old, and I had discovered that there was no real adventure anywhere in the world.”

While in the hospital recovering, he had an increased interest in spiritual things, mostly due to the Bible his mother had forced him to with him bring and the Franciscan nuns that ran the hospital.  After he returned home, he began visiting churches.  He learned to ride a bicycle by only pedaling with his good foot so it wouldn’t hurt as much.  At first he only attended church on Sundays, and then Wednesdays too, it finally rose to every night.  His family worried about him.  As his sister said on page 42, “…going to church every night.  It isn’t natural.  What happened to you, Andy?” Andrew replied, “I wish I knew!”  That night, as he lay in bed, he thought about what was happening to him.  Then one night in 1950, he said a simple prayer, “Lord, if You will show me the way, I will follow You. Amen.”  Shortly afterwards, he felt called to become a missionary and then began trying to find a way to fulfill that calling.  After being turned down at several places, he was finally accepted at the ‘World Evangelization Crusade Missionary Training College’ in Glasgow, England.  Then, the family friend that had taught him English told him that she had never actually heard anyone speak English but had only written letters and had been told her grammar was perfect.  Then, he received a letter informing him that the expected vacancy at the WEC had not materialized and he would not be able to attend.  He was crushed.  Unsure what to do, he decided to still travel to England and trust God to make an opening.  When he arrived, he realized to his dismay that when he asked a police man for directions, he could not understand a word he said.  He finally managed to get a taxi to take him by showing the driver the address written on a piece of paper.  When he arrived, they managed to find another Dutch man that was at the college.  Through him, Andrew explained why he was there.  They agreed to let him attend the college in return for painting the exterior of the old building.  Andrew agreed.  After two years of training, he graduated and began trying to decide what he should do with his life.  While he was packing to leave the college, he stumbled across a magazine in the basement.  It advertised a large ‘youth festival’ to be held in Warsaw, Poland.  Everyone was invited.  He contacted the address listed and asked if he could come to exchange ideas.  “[He] would talk about Christ, and they could talk about socialism.  Would they be willing for him to come under these circumstances?” (Page 77)  The responded that yes, they would like him to come.  Since he was a student reduced rates would be available.  He arrived in Warsaw on July 15, 1955.  He brought many booklets about salvation, as Karl Marx himself had said, “Give me 26 soldiers lead soldiers and I will conquer the world.” (Speaking of the 26 letters of the alphabet)  Now, it would work the other way.  He snuck away from the group and the regulated tours as often as possible to hand out his tracts and visit underground churches there in Poland.  He even discovered a Bible Shop.  On the last day of the festival, a ‘Parade of Triumph’ was held.  Andrew describes it on pages 87 and 88:

“It was coming toward me down the avenue.  Martial, smart, with a sound of voices singing.  And then I saw it – the perfect climax to the visit… that ended the festival.  This was the other side of the picture.  For over against the one little Bible shop and the occasional Christian I had met was this mammoth counterfact: the tremendous strength of the regime.  Here they came now, the young Socialists, marching down the avenue.  Not for a moment did I believe they were there under coercion.  They marched because they believed.  They marched eight abreast: healthy, vital, clean-cut… The effect was overwhelming.  These were the evangelists of the twentieth century.  These were the people who went about shouting their good news.”

As he looked down at the Bible on his lap that he had been reading he saw that the wind had blown the pages.  As he put his hand down to steady them, he realized that his fingers were pointing at Revelation 3:2:

“Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death…”

Was God calling him to begin doing mission work behind the Iron Curtain?  But what could he do?  He had no money, no organization and, as far as he knew, there was not a single other missionary in this field!

When he returned home, he was given the opportunity to speak about his experience.  After the talk, a woman from the crowd came up to him.  He recognized her as a communist that had been on his trip.  She told him that she did not like his talk because he only told part of the story.  She then invited him to come with her and a small group of other Dutch men and women to Czechoslovakia for a four week trip, similar to the one he had taken previously.  Also, she informed him that he would be able to attend free of charge.  Andrew accepted, thinking that it would be a good way to both learn more about the countries behind the Iron Curtain, as well as making connections for future trips, both of which would be necessary if he was going to begin ministering there.  While he was there, he learned that the Czechoslovakian government was sponsoring a new translation of the Bible, as well as a Bible dictionary!  He asked to visit the place where the translation was being worked on.  The next day, he was taken to the ‘Interchurch Center’ the headquarters for all the Czechoslovakian protestant churches.  Brother Andrew describes his visit on pages 92 and 93.  Inside, there were many men in black suits working behind “heavy tomes and piles of paper.”  At first, Andrew was astonished at what the Church was allowed to maintain, but slowly the truth began to leak out.  He asked to see a copy of the translation and was handed a large, bulky manuscript; the new translation had not yet been published.  He asked when it would be.  The scholar that was talking with him glanced nervously at the tour director.

“We’ve had it ready since the war, but…” his voice trailed off.

“Is the Bible dictionary ready?” Brother Andrew queried.

“Almost,” he responded.

“But what good will a Bible dictionary be if there are no Bibles?”

Still looking nervously at the tour director he blurted out, “No, it’s very difficult.  Very difficult to find Bibles here nowadays,” the tour director then considered the interview over.  He was shepherded out before he could ask any more questions.  He had glimpsed what it was really like.  Although the regime didn’t openly oppose Christianity it played a game of frustration with it, a new translation of the Bible that was never quite published, a Bible dictionary, but no Bible to go with it.  The last day of the trip was Sunday.  He wanted to slip away from the group to visit churches around the city but it was much harder to sneak away this time as there were less than twenty people, in contrast to the several thousand that had been at the festival.  He tried to slip out the bus that was taking them site-seeing, but there were too many heads looking all around.  Finally, while everyone was staring at a heroic statue of a man on a horse, he slipped out the door and on to the street. For the first time, he was in the city without a ‘guide’.  Less than an hour later, he arrived at a church he had seen previously, watching the people arrive.  Every so often, someone would come in carrying a hymnal or a Bible but for some reason many brought in loose leaf notebooks.  As soon as the service started, he saw what these were for.  Everyone with a hymnal or notebook held them high in the air above their heads.  Suddenly, he realized the purpose for this.  They were sharing with those who had now hymnal; in each notebook every hymn was copied, note for note, word for word.  The same thing happened during the service, everyone with a Bible or a notebook, held them up so that they could be seen.  As he watched the people lean in together, some were standing, almost on tiptoe, to literally get closer to the Word.  He felt the Dutch Bible in his pocket.  He had always taken for granted his right to his own book.  After the service, he introduced himself to the pastor.  “We’ve been almost imprisoned since the war,” the pastor explained.  The government was trying to get a total grip on the church.  The government chose theological students, the government had to proofread all sermons before they could be preached, the government issued two month licenses to pastors, and denied renewal at will.  The pastor invited Andrew to give the congregation ‘greetings from Holland’ (preaching by a foreigner was illegal) he accepted.  After the service, the man who had translated for him, Antonin, asked if he would like to visit another church, and bring them greetings.  He agreed.  He travelled around the city with Antonin, speaking at five different churches.  After he returned to his hotel, he began facing the problem of his rendezvous with the rest of his group.  They were not at the hotel, and nobody knew where the farewell dinner had been held.  He tried visiting a sandwich shop they had eaten at frequently but, no they had not been there.  He stayed to eat dinner there but had hardly taken a bite when the door flew open and the tour director walked in.  In Frantic anger, she looked around the room.  When she saw him she was visibly relieved but obviously didn’t trust herself to speak.  She hurried him out into a black government limousine.  The gruff looking driver opened the door for them and then locked it.  Brother Andrew relates the ride on page 97:

“Where were they taking me?  Remembering the Hollywood version of such scenes, I tried to keep track of where we were going.  And, as I did, the humor of the situation came to me.  Because we were going to the hotel.  Just before the car stopped, the tour director spoke her first words.  ‘You have held the group up half a day.  We have called every hospital, every police station.  We finally called the morgue.  Unfortunately, you were not there.  Where have you been?’”

She then informed him that he was officially no longer welcome in Czechoslovakia.  A year later, he applied for a visa, and was refused.  The same happened when he applied two years later, he was again refused.  It was five years before he was able to visit the country again.  And, in that time he visited places that made Czechoslovakia look like a place of freedom, and liberty.

For years after those first few visits, Brother Andrew visited other countries under the grip of communism.  Over and over, God intervened for him, from keeping border guards from seeing the bibles he left on the front seat of his car, to bringing him contacts in the countries he visited just when he needed them.  He continued making trips, and growing his group of fellow missionaries, until the fall of European communism.  Now, he has begun smuggling Bibles into the Islamic countries of the Middle East.  He has written two more books about his work in the Middle East, Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire, published in 2004, and Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ, published in 2007.  To this day he continues to minister to those under the oppressive Islamic rule in the Middle East through his ministry, Open Doors.  You can visit their website at www.OpenDoors.org.

 “I’m a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?”

–Brother Andrew

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Top Three Resources – General Election 2014

The general election is fast upon us.

Citizens, especially in Omaha, NE, have a pivotal chance to make some real changes.  And I’m not just saying that.  If we push through these last few days, we can swing our unicameral legislature to the conservative side for the first time in many years.  And that’s not counting the senate, holding the house, and on and on and on.

Below, are three solid resources to take to the polls with you.  Print your sample ballot from the Election Commission and fill it in while you do your research.  Don’t skimp on this, you don’t deserve to complain about our government if you can’t even put in the work to vote well.

Douglas County Republican Party Candidate Slates


For a start, check out the DCRP’s candidate slates that show the republican candidates for even the minor races.  For most races, this will answer all your questions.  Check out the sample slates by clicking on the image at this site: Voting Information.

KETV Newswatch 7: Commitment 2014


This year, KETV has undertaken the very noble project of interviewing (virtually) every candidate in the Omaha area and posting it in their own words on their website.  Visit this link to view the videos: Candidate Video Statements: ‘In Their Own Words’

Voter Information Project


For more unedited comments, check VIP.  They get a hold of as many candidates as possible and publish their statements.  Search by name to find all the candidates in a race or search for all races in your county, plus a registered voter can enter their information and see races specific to them.

Remember! Polls are open 8am to 8pm this Tuesday; November 4th.  Take the time to do this small step and make an impact for your country.

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The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Competition 2014

Well, history day 2014 has come and gone. Joel Myers and I have spent over six months working on our website about the American Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct and an American POW’s responsibility to escape. We placed first at the district and state competition and therefore advanced to the national competition in Washington, DC held this past week. As previously mentioned, Justin Myers who has been doing NHD for longer than Joel and I didn’t advance past the state competition this year. This was a great shock to all of us. He sent the documentary he had made to a few people who had helped him with research. It got passed on, and then he received and invitation to play his video at the National League of POW/MIA Families annual conference (also in Washington) and then meet with Secretary Chuck Hagel…! Dad and I had the immense pleasure of coming with him and his family on a VIP tour of the pentagon and meeting with Secretary Hagel. I don’t agree with Chuck Hagel on everything, he and I have different opinions on many things but I still have never felt so honored by someone giving time out of their busy day for me. The next day, the news released that a suspect regarding the Benghazi, Lybia terrorist attack had been caught. Secretary Hagel, doubtless, already new that had happened but he still took time out of his day to meet with some highschoolers. Justin also got featured in the Omaha World Herald as well, you can see the article here: Losing contest leads to meeting Hagel. Justin is working on getting copyrights figured out on his film and then it will be available for viewing. I’ll be sure to publish it when that comes.

Now, pictures!

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Beuatiful downtown Chicago from the air.

Dad and I broke security during our layover in Chicago to find a geocache. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. (:
Here’s some of the interesting stuff we saw on our walk:

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The first four way train stop I’ve ever seen.

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Planes landing at the airport.

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A little bunny hiding in a tree nearby the cache. It was holding so still I thought it might be the geocache. (it wasn’t)

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Driving up to the Pentagon for our tour on Monday

The only place we could take pictures at the pentagon was inside the 9/11 memorial. Being able to stand at ground zero and see where the plane actually hit was incredible. The pentagon was actually built in just 16 months so it was made all out of reinforced concrete. In 2001, they started taking it apart in sections and rebuilding using steel beams to make it stronger. When the plane hit that September, they where almost finished with that section but it was still closed. That means that there were hardly any people in that part of the building, only two offices open during the construction, and, since it had just been replaced, it was the strongest part of the whole building. Incredible to think about. Imagine the damage that could have been done if it had hit somewhere else. Maybe God really does protect us.

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The walls in the memorial (shown above) are actually just silver. The reason they look green is because the windows have Kevlar in them. They cost $10,000 apeice and are bullet, fire, and explosion proof. They also discovered that they are plane proof. That’s right; those windows are original from the September 2011. They just fell out of their frames in the impact and were put back in during reconstruction.

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The Purple Heart Medal (awarded to all service members killed on 9/11)

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The Defense of Freedom Medal (awarded to all civilians killed on 9/11)

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Visited Arlington National Cemetery after the Pentagon to hopefully find the graves of a few men that where important to our project.

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Dieter Dengler: Successful Escapee from Vietnam

F. Brooke Nihart: Original Author of the Code of Conduct

F. Brooke Nihart: Original Author of the Code of Conduct

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The Eternal Flame at President Kennedy’s grave

We also got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. That is a ceremony that stands out from any other I have seen. I will not post a video because I could not do justice to the dedication the honor guards have. All American citizens should see it sometime in their life.

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Changing of the guard

The next day, Tuesday, we judged and then returned to our hotel. Justin had met the head of the Vietnam Veterans Association at a conference recently and to our surprise, their national headquarters was right across from our hotel. Being the inquisitive homeschoolers we are, we ventured across and struck up conversation with the lady at the front desk.

We were then introduced to the Communications manager who took us downstairs to show us around. Below is Joel holding a brick from the Hoa Lo (wah-low) prison in Vietnam.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost every POW we read about was kept in the Hanoi Hilton. And I got to touch one of the bricks from that very place! All the way from Hanoi and because we were curious enough to walk over to this office we got to actually see it.

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In. Credible.

Oh, and also, turns out that they were just donated a bunch of documents from a former POW/MIA researcher.

Found some of the books we cited plus new ones that where very interesting. Justin went back the next day just to read.

Wednesday, we went to the Nebraska breakfast and got to hear our five state representatives (Fischer, Johanns, Fortenberry, Smith, Terry) speak. Congressman Fortenberry’s charts are always a favorite.
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Beautiful view of the capitol.

Beautiful view of our capitol.

Final day of our trip was Thursday and the awards ceremony.

Thanks, University of Maryland, for admitting that the human body is created more efficient than any machine we can design.

Thanks, University of Maryland, for admitting that the human body is created more efficient than any machine we can design.

Parade of states

Parade of states

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Outstanding entry from the state of Nebraska!

About our award, we did not place in our category (Senior Group Website) as we did last year but we did win an award for having an “Outstanding Entry” from the state of Nebraska. This means our project was the best out of all the other projects in the state of Nebraska. We did learn that we were in the top twenty websites in our division as well. Definitely disappointing considering last year’s first place win but when you consider that last year we were the oldest in our age group and now we are the youngest in a larger group and we still medaled two years in a row, it’s not too bad. 🙂

Here we come, Nebraska!

Here we come, Nebraska!

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Adoption: An Isider’s View

Today my post is on Leah Good’s adoption awareness blog, Teens Interceding for Orphans! Click over to read the full post:


Adoption. When Leah first asked me to do a guest post on TIO about adoption I wasn’t sure what I’d write about. There are many facets to adoption that would each take volumes to cover; everything from the legal requirements of adoption to attachment and bonding with the child you adopt. I guess I’ll start by telling about my experiences with adoption. My family first got involved in adoption in October of 2009…

Be sure to read the full post here!

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What I’ve been doing this spring: @Sasse4Senate

As you all know, I’m interested (and often involved) in politics. This past spring, I got in with Ben Sasse and his campaign for US Senate to replace the now retiring Mike Johanns. I first heard about Dr. Sasse at the NHCEA homeschool legislative day in Lincoln, NE. I was very impressed with his speaking skills and where he stood on important issues. I got involved with his campaign because I honestly think he’s the best candidate for anything we’ve had in a long time. Ending up on Twitter a couple times was just a bonus.


He was declared winner when only a quarter of the vote had been counted – one quarter! – and he had 25% out of the vote (out of five total candidates). The final count had him at over 49%, which is absolutely unheard of. This was a candidate that Nebraskans could actually get excited about someone who was good, not just the best of two evils. Ben Sasse ran NO negative TV. None. Nada. Something else that is unheard of in this day and age (unfortunately). Dad and I also got to attend his victory night party (which I wouldn’t have missed for anything). I was very impressed with his speech. In it he said that this campaign “was about America” this was about big stuff; bringing America back to its roots, restoring good, Christian, conservative values. What that reminded me of is what Rush Limbaugh said about Mitt Romney back in 2012 (quoted by TiAS 10/8/12):

The Obama campaign was about small stuff. War on Women, binders, Big Bird, this kind of stuff. The Romney campaign was about big things, was about America.

I’m not saying Mitt Romney was the perfect candidate; he wasn’t. But in a way, this victory can be seen as even though the whole nation isn’t ready for this “revival” of real common sense, Nebraska is. We’re leading the way to bring this big picture, us-not-me thinking back to America. Maybe we really should move the capital.

Posted in Family Happenings, Patriotic, Turning In All Standing | 1 Comment

Memorial Day and NHD

“There’s a lot of great people in this country, don’t ever let anybody tell you different.”
— Loosely translated from A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins

Mr. Jenkins was right when he said that in his book. There really are a lot of nice people. Like the man who gave me this pin. powmiapin His name is Eldon Robinson. In 1970 his brother, Larry Robinson, went missing over Laos during the Vietnam War. He and four soldier’s wives founded the “League of POW/MIA Families” that same year. It was his organization that started the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, JPAC, which is the government agency responsible for finding service members who have never been returned. Like Mr. Robinson’s brother. Before the League of POW/MIA Families, there was no POW/MIA flag, no POW/MIA awareness programs, nothing. Eldon Robinson, essentially, started all of that. And then that same man, took time out of his Saturday afternoon and met my history day partner and I at a church in South Central Omaha on short notice just to talk with us about our project.

We submitted our website on Tuesday and have a month or so of respite before the national competition in College Park, MD; starting June 15.

God bless those that have fought and died for our freedom, both here and abroad, to keep our America the greatest nation on earth. God Bless America.

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Election Day

Get information on candidates in your area at voterinformation.org and then go

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vote!

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National History Day State 2014

This year, Joel Myers and I participated in the National History Day competition again. This was our third year doing NHD, but our first year in the senior division. We again made a website and entered it in the district competition in March. Joel and I placed first for our division again! I stuck my iPhone in my pocket and turned it on record when we were announced. Here’s the video:

Joel’s brother Justin also competed with a documentary and won first place.

After that, we all three competed at the state competition. Joel and I again took first place! We will now advance to nationals to compete in Washington, DC this June.

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Justin, however, didn’t advance. He has born this disappointment with extraordinary dignity. I know this was a big blow to him. God has already been opening up doors for him to share his documentary in other ways though. You can see it and read more about his project on his blog here.

Now, a little about Joel and I’s website. The theme this year is Rights and Responsibilities in history. We chose to do our website on the responsibility for American service members to escape if and when they are captured according to the United States Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct. Unfortunately, I can’t share the link to our site at this time because we still have to compete at the national competition, however, our thesis statement is

With the adoption of the United States Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct in 1955, an American service member taken as a prisoner of war (POW) had the responsibility to attempt escape. This reflected a significant change in the conduct of the American Prisoner of War. What was once an option was now every service member’s responsibility.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

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Satire in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

BOOK INFORMATION

I recently finished studying Jonathan Swift’s famous satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels as part of my “Great Books” high school curriculum.  Jonathan Swift was “born in Ireland of British stock” in 1667 (iii).  Gulliver’s Travels was originally published in 1726 under the title of Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World in Four Parts by Lemuel Gulliver; First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships.  The copy I read was copyrighted 1996 from Dover Publications.

LITERARY BACKGROUND

The satirical form Swift writes in is typical of many of his other writings, the most famous of which is A Modest Proposal (published in 1729) which suggests that starving Irish farmers should sell their children to the aristocracy for food, thus benefiting both parties.  He was not actually suggesting cannibalism.  A Modest Proposal was meant to be a “wake up call” to those who read it of the conditions Irish farmers were actually facing, the attitude of those in power (by suggesting that they would actually agree to this proposal), and the importance of children in a society.  While I only read the first two sections of Gulliver’s Travels (Voyage to Lilliput and Voyage to Brobdingnag), I could tell that it followed the same trend and poked fun at many things.

STORYLINE

In the first part of Gulliver’s Travels, Voyage to Lilliput, Jonathan Swift’s character, Lemuel Gulliver, takes a voyage as ship surgeon on board the Swallow.  The ship runs aground on some rocks, but Gulliver manages to escape the wreck and believes that he is the only one to do so.  He manages to make it to an island and collapses from exhaustion.  While he is asleep, the inhabitants of the island, the Lilliputians, capture him and tie him up.

Lemuel Gulliver Captured by the Liliputians

Lemuel Gulliver Captured by the Liliputians

This is no small feat considering their height being only about six inches.  They transport him to their village and place him, chained, in an abandoned temple.  After falling in disfavor with the king, he escapes to the neighboring province of Blefuscu, inhabited by people of the same stature.  Off that coast, he finds a human sized boat and with it returns to England.  He then takes another voyage.  While onshore looking for water, he is captured by individuals “as Tall as an ordinary Spire-steeple; and took about ten Yards at every Stride,” placing him in the exact reverse position he had been in Lilliput (55).  He lives in their land for a time and then returns home when his living compartment is carried away and cast out to see by an eagle.

SATIRE

During Jonathan Swift’s lifetime, 1667 to 1745, and the time he was writing this book, there were still many explorers going to distant lands to find new routes, continents, and countries.  Which means, while few people most likely thought he was serious, the idea of finding a new land was not as farfetched as it is to us today.  On these journeys, the explorers would often write “travel logs” or recounts of their adventures and publish them.  It seems that Jonathan Swift was making fun of these accounts, which could not have always been telling the whole truth, by writing one of his own that was so fantastic.

Shortly after his arrival in Lilliput, Gulliver  agrees to let the Lilliputians search his pockets, “for probably [he] might carry about [him] several Weapons, which must needs be dangerous Things, if they answered the Bulk of so Prodigious a Person” (13).  He placed several officers in each of his pockets and they made a report of all he had with him.  While this was a very humorous report, the most satirical part was their description of his pocket watch.  Their report of it read as follows on page 14.

Out of the right [pocket] hung a great Silver Chain, with a wonderful kind of Engine at the Bottom.  We [the searchers] directed him to draw out whatever was at the End of that Chain; which appeared to be a Globe, half Silver, and half of some transparent Metal: For on the transparent Side we saw certain strange Figures circularly drawn, and thought we could touch them, until we found our Fingers stopped with that lucid Substance. He put this Engine to our Ears, which made an incessant Noise like that of a Water-Mill.

Then they gave their opinion on what this “Engine” was.  The two searchers stated that “…we conjecture it is either some unknown Animal, or the God that he worships: But we are more inclined to the latter Opinion, because he assured us… that he seldom did any Thing without consulting it. He called it his Oracle, and said it pointed out the Time for every Action of his Life” (14).  This seems merely comical but when you think about it, we truly do base most, if not all, of our lives on what time it is.  As pointed out by Tom Vaderbilt in Traffic: How we Drive and what it Says About Us, when asked how far away something is, we nearly always give the answer in time, not distance.

Also in the first part, the country that Gulliver flees to after falling out of favor with the king of Lilliput, Blefuscu, has been at war with Lilliput because of a dispute over cracking eggs.  The emperor of Lilliput published an Edict declaring that everyone must crack their eggs on the small end after his son cut his finger while cracking one on the large end.  This is, obviously, a rather trivial topic but

The People so highly resented this Law, that our Histories tell us, there have been six Rebellions raised on that Account; wherein one Emperor lost his Life, and another his Crown… It is computed, that eleven Thousand Persons have, at several Times, suffered Death, rather than submit to break their Eggs at the smaller End (26).

Perhaps Jonathan Swift was making fun of all the things we get “hung up on” and worried about that are really not important enough to spend time on and ruining friendships over.

CONCLUSION

I enjoyed reading this book.  While it did not include as much old English as the last book I read for Great Books, John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress which was written several years prior, there were still a few words I did not know and words spelled differently than we spell them today.  I was still able to enjoy the book, however, and I am interested in reading the other parts someday as well.

 

“Undoubtedly Philosophers are in the Right when they tell us, that nothing is great or little otherwise than by Comparison: It might have pleased Fortune to let the Lilliputians find some Nation, where the People were as diminutive with respect to them, as they were to me. And who knows but that even this prodigious Race of Mortals [living on Brobdingnag] might be equally over-matched in some distant Part of the World. Where of we have yet no Discovery?”
-Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (page 56)

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iOS Anomalies

Has your iPhone ever done something weird? Maybe there was something where it shouldn’t be? Or nothing where there should be?

Rotated Calculator

It’s kind of fun to find those little moments and save them. Now there’s an app website for that. My website startup, iOS Anomalies, accepts submissions of the anomalies you find on your iDevice and they get published on the site in one of the biweekly posts. Plus, for the month of March, whoever submits the most anomalies will win an Amazon gift card! Head over to iOSAnomalies.com to look around and start submitting your own!

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