Espionage, University, and Jesus

I was filling in a form today for a visa waiver scheme in the states, and one of the questions asked was whether I’ve ever been involved with espionage, genocide or the Nazi party. Can’t say that I’ve ever been asked that before during an application (or indeed ever).

For the sake of it, let’s examine the redundancy of those questions:

  • Espionage: What kind of spy, current or ex,  would admit that?
  • Genocide: Murdering thousands of innocent people isn’t exactly the activity of the common individual. Seriously, how many African warlords are applying for a visa waiver scheme in the states?
  • Nazi Party: What am I, sixty?!

Honestly though, I was always under the impression that applying for such a thing was an arduous, monolithic task. It went rather swimmingly for me however. Now all I have to do is to get some insurance for the trip and I’ll be set.

I have to admit that I’m feeling a little bit old. A-Level results were released today, and a whole new generation of teens will be going to university in September. I’m jealous! I really want to do it all again! I can remember the day I moved to Reading…Paying a ridiculous amount of JCR fees that I would never get back, getting free beer from a ‘Beer Van’ that I’m pretty sure was illegal, drinking copious amounts of alcohol in order to prepare my liver for the years to come. A friend of mine recently gave me the best advice: “Never stop drinking alcohol. The second you start doing that, your liver will begin to slack off”.

Earlier this year I read that university places were going to be reduced due to the state of the economy. That, coupled with the fact that six people are chasing every single place makes me kind of grateful that I managed to go through the process whilst the going was still good. Saying that though, those who are entering higher education now will probably graduate into a better job market than I did. I’m still confident that something will come up though. Three months working abroad will only serve to enhance my CV!

A friend of mine recently asked me…Or maybe he was just making a point, I can’t recall…how Jesus could be a Jew AND the founder of Christianity. I was kind of taken back by this since I thought this was above common knowledge. Jesus was a Jewish teacher that preached ideas that his contemporaries thought to be radical and dangerous. His followers accepted his words and felt that they could work within a traditional Jewish framework, and after Jesus died these followers set about preaching to both Jews and Gentiles. The likes of St. Peter and St. Paul are remembered as Christians.  However, they would have never have called themselves that, and if they did it wouldn’t have meant a religion outside of Judaism as it does today. Early Christian’s saw themselves as a sect within Judaism (cf. the Epistles and Acts. For a non-Christian source, cf. Suetonius) and it wasn’t really until after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE that the two began to be recognized as separate entities.

So yes, that whole paragraph went off in my mind the second my friend asked that question and I answered it with my usual swagger. However, I feel that I should have been more patient. I assumed this was common knowledge, but then again for someone who isn’t into religion or ancient history I suppose it isn’t. So for what it’s worth Paul, I’m sorry for jumping the gun! Savour the moment, because it might not happen again sometime soon.


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