Bishop Says No One Clocking Out Until All These Goddamn Sins Are Forgiven
Get it done!
After a hard day grinding it out on the pulpit, Bishop Humbert of Chisolrye told all the priests in his diocese that no one was allowed to clock out of work tonight until “all these Goddamn sins are forgiven.”
“Listen, we’ve got a fyckton of unforgiven sins just floating around out there, and I’ve got God breathing down my neck about absolving them,” spake he. “I doth not give a fyck how it gets done — indulgences, Hail Mary’s, whatever — just have the fycking forgiveness paperwork signed off and on my desk ASAP.”
Humbert runs one of the most sin-laden dioceses in the Realm. Bouts of revelry o’er the week’s end can oft drive his priests’ schedules into overdrive.
“After a particularly lustful weekend, I could be in the confessional for fourteen, fifteen hours a day forgiving sins,” spake Father Landa, a priest whomst specializes in lust and sloth forgiveness. “Lust and sloth sins o’er and o’er again. I’d love to break up the monotony with something interesting like wrath or murder, but a different team works on those.”
Bishop Humbert laments that this generation of priests is too lazy and entitled to forgive sins seven days a week. Overworked and undervalued priests hath been quitting his diocese in droves.
“Seriously, these guys have the gall to ask me for ‘a day set aside specifically for rest and worship’ at the end of each week? Who hath ever heard of such a thing?” he spake. “Maybe in the business world this whole ‘Sabbath’ nonsense would fly. But not in God’s House. In God’s House we hustle and grind.”
“These young bucks think this game is all about Pater Nosters and Ave Marias,” he continued. “They don’t see all the shyte I have to deal with behind the scenes to get our customers into Heaven.”
Whilst Father Landa enjoys working as a man of God, grueling overtyme hours without tyme for family or social lyfe hath caused him to question his role.
“One grows tired of it,” he spake. “‘Tis always the same olde sins. ‘I lusted,’ ‘I coveted this or that neighbor’s wife,’ ‘I’m currently masturbating in the confessional.’
“I long for a job with some sort of higher purpose. Maybe I’ll become a cooper or something. Everyone loves barrels.”
A recent addendum looked at birch bark letters from medieval Novgorod. To stick with that theme, here’s an excerpt about ancient Novgorod from Norman Davies’s Europe that offers an interesting look into that extinct civilization, and what might have been.
Ancient Novgorod lay in the centre of the forest zone, and hence was built almost entirely from wood––with wooden houses, wooden churches, wooden streets, wooden drains, even a wooden, birch-bark writing system. It began life as a trading-post on the banks of the River Volkov, at the northern end of the Baltic-Black Sea and Caspian-Baltic trade routes. Timber must always have been one of its staple commodities.
When Novgorod was comprehensively excavated in 1951-62, in one of the showpieces of medieval archaeology, the science of dendrochronology or "tree-ring dating” was presented with one of its major challenges. The waterlogged ground had preserved the wooden remains in a remarkable state; and in thirteen seasons of excavation the team, led by A. V. Artikhovsky and B. A. Kolchin, opened up a site of 9,000 square metres, uncovering 1,150 log buildings. Most surprisingly, no fewer than 28 layers of wooden street-levels were identified on the former high street, from the top level 1 of AD 1462 to the earliest level 28 of 953. On average, the roadway had been renewed once every 18 years over 5 centuries, simply by laying a new layer of pine logs over the old ones damaged by cart-wheels and sledge runners. Extensive coin hoards, two from eighth-century Central Asia, showed that Novgorod's far-flung trading contacts had never been seriously interrupted, even by the Mongol invasions.
Of 400 birch-bark letters, all but one Finnish specimen were written in an early form of Russian.1 In No. 17, which was found at level 5 (1409-27), the bailiff from an estate outside the city writes to his lord:
“Mikhail makes obeisance to his lord, Timothy. The ground is prepared and we must sow. Come, sir, for everyone is ready, but we cannot have rye without your command.”
In a fragment of No. 37, found between levels 12 and 13 (1268-99), there is a proposal of marriage:
“From Nikita to Ulyanitsa. Marry me. I want you, and you me. And Ignatio will act as witness.”
Walking the wooden streets of old Novgorod, whose inhabitants were slaughtered by the agents of Moscow, some people wonder how the world would have changed if Russia could have grown under the leadership of this peaceable republic. A Novgorodian Russia would clearly have been very different from the Muscovite Russia which triumphed over its rivals. But such thoughts are unhistorical. In any case, medieval archaeology offers no clue.
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Since 1998 when the book was published, many more letters have been discovered.