Friday, August 22, 2008


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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Malaria Protozoans
A microscopic image shows protozoans of the genus Plasmodium, which invade red blood cells and cause malaria in humans. The protozoans are transmitted through the bite of mosquitoes, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Malaria is characterized by chills, fever, and sweats. In some cases it can lead to death.
Malaria, debilitating infectious disease characterized by chills, shaking, and periodic bouts of intense fever. Caused by single-celled protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium, malaria is transmitted from person to person by the bite of female mosquitoes.
Erythrocytes, or red blood cells, are the primary carriers of oxygen to the cells and tissues of the body. Malaria parasites enter red blood cells in an infected person’s bloodstream and multiply there, eventually causing the cells to burst. The destruction of the red blood cells causes the episodes of chills and fever characteristic of malaria.
Although malaria was once widespread in North America and other temperate regions, the last major outbreak of malaria in North America occurred in the 1880s. The disease today occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, malaria is prevalent in over 100 countries. Each year more than 300 million cases of malaria are diagnosed, and more than 1.5 million die of the disease. In recent years, malaria has become more difficult to control and treat because malaria parasites have become resistant to drugs, and mosquitoes that transmit the disease have become resistant to insecticides.Malaria in humans is caused by four species of Plasmodium parasites. Plasmodium falciparum is the most common species in tropical areas and is transmitted primarily during the rainy season. This species is the most dangerous, accounting for half of all clinical cases of malaria and 90 percent of deaths from the disease. Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed parasite, existing in temperate as well as tropical climates. Plasmodium malariae can also be found in temperate and tropical climates but is less common than Plasmodium vivax. Plasmodium ovale is a relatively rare parasite, restricted to tropical climates and found primarily in eastern Africa.II.MALARIA LIFE CYCLE
Life Cycle of the Malaria Parasite
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a one-celled parasite known as Plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted to humans by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The Plasmodium parasite spends its life cycle partly in humans and partly in mosquitoes. (A) Mosquito infected with the malaria parasite bites human, passing cells called sporozoites into the human’s bloodstream. (B) Sporozoites travel to the liver. Each sporozoite undergoes asexual reproduction, in which its nucleus splits to form two new cells, called merozoites. (C) Merozoites enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells. (D) In red blood cells, merozoites grow and divide to produce more merozoites, eventually causing the red blood cells to rupture. Some of the newly released merozoites go on to infect other red blood cells. (E) Some merozoites develop into sex cells known as male and female gametocytes. (F) Another mosquito bites the infected human, ingesting the gametocytes. (G) In the mosquito’s stomach, the gametocytes mature. Male and female gametocytes undergo sexual reproduction, uniting to form a zygote. The zygote multiplies to form sporozoites, which travel to the mosquito’s salivary glands. (H) If this mosquito bites another human, the cycle begins again.
Plasmodium parasites undergo many stages of development, and their complete life cycle occurs in both humans and mosquitoes. The parasites are transmitted to humans by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. About 60 of the 390 species of Anopheles mosquito transmit the malaria parasite. Of these, only a dozen species are important in the transmission of malaria worldwide. Usually just one or two species play a role in malaria transmission in a particular region where the disease is prevalent.
Female Mosquito Sucking Blood
There are approximately 2,000 species of mosquitoes ranging from the tropics to the Arctic Circle and from sea level to mountaintops. Female mosquitoes have hypodermic mouthparts which enable them to pierce the skin and suck the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles, and other arthropods. Female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are responsible for transmitting the malaria parasite from person to person.
Malaria transmission begins when a female mosquito bites a human already infected with the malaria parasite. The mosquito ingests blood containing immature male and female gametes (sex cells) of the malaria parasite. Inside the mosquito’s stomach, the gametes quickly mature. A male gamete fuses with a female gamete to produce a cell known as a zygote. The zygote enters the wall of the mosquito’s gut and develops into an oocyst. The oocyst multiplies to produce thousands of cells known as sporozoites. The sporozoites leave the wall of the gut and migrate to the mosquito’s salivary glands. The mosquito phase of the malaria parasite’s life cycle is normally completed in 10 to 14 days. This development process occurs more slowly in areas with cooler temperatures. Sporozoite development of Plasmodium falciparum is slowed particularly by low temperatures, preventing transmission of this parasite in temperate climates except during summer.When the infected mosquito bites another human, sporozoites in the mosquito’s saliva transfer to the blood of the human. Sporozoites travel in the blood to the liver. In liver cells over the course of one to two weeks, the sporozoites divide repeatedly to form 30,000 to 40,000 merozoites. The merozoites leave the liver to enter the bloodstream, where they invade red blood cells. Inside these blood cells, the merozoites multiply rapidly until they force the red cells to burst, releasing into the bloodstream a new generation of merozoites that go on to infect other red blood cells. Some merozoites divide to form gametocytes, immature male and female gametes. If another mosquito bites the human and ingests these gametocytes, the life cycle of the malaria parasite begins again.III.SYMPTOMS
The fever that characterizes malaria develops when merozoites invade and destroy red blood cells. The destruction of red blood cells spills wastes, toxins, and other debris into the blood. The body responds by producing fever, an immune response that speeds up other immune defenses to fight the foreign invaders in the blood. The fever usually occurs in intermittent episodes. An episode begins with sudden, violent chills, soon followed by an intense fever and then profuse sweating that brings the patient’s temperature down again. Upon initial infection with the malaria parasite, the episodes of fever frequently last 12 hours and usually leave an individual exhausted and bedridden. Repeated infections with the malaria parasite can lead to severe anemia, a decrease in the concentration of red blood cells in the bloodstream. The malaria parasite consumes or renders unusable the proteins and other vital components of the patient’s red cells. The pattern of intermittent fever and other symptoms in malaria varies depending on which species of Plasmodium is responsible for the infection. Infections caused by Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, and Plasmodium ovale typically produce fever approximately every 48 hours, or every first and third day. Infections caused by Plasmodium malariae produce fever every 72 hours, or every fourth day.Infections caused by Plasmodium falciparum are marked by their severity and high fatality rate. This type of malaria can also cause severe headaches, convulsions, and delirium. The infection sometimes develops into cerebral malaria, in which red blood cells infected with parasites attach to tiny blood vessels in the brain, causing inflammation and blocking the flow of blood and oxygen. In Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale infections, some merozoites can remain dormant in the liver for three months to five years. These merozoites periodically enter the bloodstream, triggering malaria relapses.A.Diagnosis and Treatment
Cinchona Tree
The bark of the cinchona tree, native to South America, contains quinine alkaloids used to treat malaria. The ancient Incas used cinchona bark to treat fevers, and Spanish Jesuit missionaries brought the bark to Europe as a malaria treatment in 1638.
Malaria is difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone. This is because the intermittent fever and other symptoms can be quite variable and could be caused by other illnesses. A diagnosis of malaria is usually made by examining a sample of the patient’s blood under the microscope to detect malaria parasites in red blood cells. The different species of Plasmodium can be distinguished by their appearance under the microscope. Parasites can be difficult to detect in the early stages of malaria, in cases of chronic infections, or in Plasmodium falciparum infections because often in these cases, not many parasites are present. Recent advances have made it possible to detect proteins or genetic material of Plasmodium parasites in a patient’s blood.Malaria is treated with drugs that block the growth of the Plasmodium parasite but do not harm the patient. Some drugs interfere with the parasite’s metabolism of food, while others prevent the parasite from reproducing. Drugs that interfere with the parasite’s metabolism are related to quinine, the first known antimalarial drug. Quinine is a chemical derived from the bark of the South American cinchona tree and was used as a fever remedy by the ancient Inca in the 15th century. This drug has a bitter taste and produces severe side effects, such as nausea, headache, ringing in the ears, temporary hearing loss, and blurred vision, and large doses can be fatal. However, quinine is still sometimes used in treating malaria today, particularly in developing nations, because it is inexpensive and effective.Chloroquine is a synthetic chemical similar to quinine. It became the drug of choice for malaria when it was developed in the 1940s because it was effective, easy to manufacture, and lacked most of the side effects of quinine. However, in the last few decades, malaria parasites in many areas have become resistant to chloroquine. Presently, it is effective against malaria only in some parts of Central America and the Middle East. Mefloquine is another drug related to quinine that is still largely effective, but for many people, especially those living in developing nations, it is too expensive to use routinely.The other important class of antimalarial drugs depends on a unique aspect of Plasmodium biology. In order to copy its genetic material and reproduce, the malaria parasite must obtain compounds similar to the vitamin folic acid from its human host. Antifolate drugs, which prevent the parasites from properly metabolizing these compounds, inhibit the reproduction of the parasites. In recent years the parasites have developed resistance that diminishes the effectiveness of antifolate drugs when used individually. These drugs can still be effective when given in combination with each other or with other types of antimalarial drugs, because an individual malaria parasite is not likely to be resistant to multiple drugs. Combination drugs are very expensive, however, and are only used in particularly severe cases of malaria.B.Immunity
Sickled Red Blood Cells
A mutation in the gene responsible for producing the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood causes a disease known as sickle-cell anemia. In this disease the structure of hemoglobin in the human bloodstream is severely altered. The mutation changes the structure of red blood cells to a slender sickle shape. Individuals who inherit two hemoglobin genes with the sickle-cell mutation become ill and often die prematurely, but those who inherit only one gene with the mutation are resistant to malaria.
After repeated infections, people who live in regions where malaria is prevalent develop a limited immunity to the disease. This partial protection does not prevent people from developing malaria again, but does protect them against the most serious effects of the infection. These individuals develop a mild form of the disease that does not last very long and is unlikely to be fatal. Most of the deaths and severe illnesses caused by malaria occur in infants, children, and pregnant women. Infants and children are vulnerable because they have had fewer infections and have not yet built up immunity to the parasite. Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria because the immune system is somewhat suppressed during pregnancy. In addition, the malaria parasite uses a specific molecule to attach to the tiny blood vessels of the placenta, the tissue that nourishes the fetus and links it to the mother. After exposure to this molecule during her first pregnancy, a woman’s immune system learns to recognize and fight against the molecule. This phenomenon makes a woman particularly vulnerable to malaria during her first pregnancy, and somewhat less susceptible during
Geographic Distribution of the Sickle-Cell Mutation
The genetic mutation to the hemoglobin gene that causes sickle-cell anemia is most widespread in parts of Africa where malaria is prevalent. Individuals who carry one copy of the mutation are less susceptible to malaria than people with two normal hemoglobin genes.
Some people have genetic traits that help them resist malaria by preventing the parasites from growing and developing normally, even in people who are infected with malaria for the first time. Sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia are two inherited blood diseases linked to malaria resistance. People with two sickle-cell or thalassemia genes become seriously ill and often die in childhood if their disease is untreated. But people who have only one sickle-cell or thalassemia gene do not develop the genetic disorder and are, in fact, resistant to malaria. Various sickle-cell or thalassemia genes are widespread among people in Africa, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Another genetic condition that results in an increased resistance to malaria is ovalocytosis. In ovalocytosis, a protein found in the membrane of red blood cells is abnormal, causing these cells to have an oval shape. This trait, which is common in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, causes chronic anemia but protects people from developing cerebral malaria. Finally, Plasmodium vivax cannot infect people whose red cells lack the Duffy antigen, a protein that is usually found on the surface of red cells. This trait, known as Duffy negativity, is common in people of African ancestry and causes no apparent health problems.C.Prevention and Control
Malaria can be prevented by two strategies: eliminating existing infections that serve as a source of transmission, or eliminating people’s exposure to mosquitoes. Eliminating the source of infection requires aggressive treatment of people who have malaria to cure these infections, as well as continuous surveillance to diagnose and treat new cases promptly. This approach has been successful in areas such as North America and Europe where malaria is not common. However, it is not practical in the developing nations of Africa and Southeast Asia, where malaria is prevalent and governments cannot afford expensive surveillance and treatment programs. Eliminating exposure to mosquitoes, the second strategy, can be accomplished by several means. These means include permanently destroying bodies of stagnant water where mosquitoes lay their eggs; treating such habitats with insecticides to kill mosquito larvae; fogging or spraying insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes; or using mosquito netting or protective clothing to prevent contact with mosquitoes. In 1947 the United States initiated a program to eliminate exposure to malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The program involved applying the insecticide DDT to the interior walls of homes, where female mosquitoes typically rest after feeding. Within five years, this program virtually eliminated illness and death due to malaria in the United States.In 1950 the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a similar indoor spraying program with the goal of eradicating malaria worldwide within eight years. However, budget considerations limited preliminary research, and the program did not take into account the complex differences in the patterns of malaria transmission in different parts of the world. The eradication program was very successful in some countries, particularly island nations such as Sri Lanka, but in other countries, it did not lead to a significant or sustained reduction of malaria cases.By 1969 it had become clear that eradicating malaria altogether was out of reach, and WHO shifted its focus to malaria control. However, financial obstacles continued to limit the success of this effort. Many of the countries where malaria is prevalent are developing nations where even basic health care is unaffordable for many people and governments lack funds for public health programs. Some countries that had been willing to make short-term financial commitments for malaria eradication programs were unable to make the long-term commitments necessary to sustain malaria control programs. A shortage of health care workers trained in malaria surveillance and control further complicated the problem.During the mid-1960s, insecticide-resistant mosquitoes began to emerge in some regions. Around the same time, malaria parasites developed resistance to chloroquine and other antimalarial drugs. By the late 1970s, malaria had reemerged in many countries, such as Sri Lanka and Mozambique, where eradication programs had virtually eliminated the disease just a few years before. This resurgence was particularly devastating because many people had not been exposed to the disease in years and no longer had protective immunity.Today continuing difficulties with insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and drug-resistant parasites have led to the abandonment of community-wide mosquito control programs in many countries. In these areas, the primary means of preventing malaria is the use of insecticide-treated bed nets. Recent research has shown that these nets are one of the most effective malaria prevention strategies available, but even their modest cost is beyond the means of many families in developing nations. Lack of access to medical care and to effective antimalarial drugs is also a problem in these countries.The resurgence of malaria and the widespread problems of drug and insecticide resistance have focused increasing attention on the need for a malaria vaccine. Developing such a vaccine has been difficult because the malaria parasite has hundreds of different strategies for evading the human immune system. Many of these strategies are not well understood, and it is difficult to develop a vaccine that will block all of the parasite’s ways of getting past the immune system. To be successful, a vaccine will also need to target several different stages of the parasite’s life cycle. Some pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to work on a malaria vaccine because malaria is most prevalent in developing nations and the companies fear that sales of the vaccine may not be able to recoup the costs of its development. Progress has also been slow because the malaria parasite is difficult to raise in the laboratory and study, since it must live inside the cells of another organism. Despite these hurdles, scientists have developed several possible vaccines that are now being tested in humans.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Stock Exchange, organized market for buying and selling financial instruments known as securities, which include stocks, bonds, options, and futures. Most stock exchanges have specific locations where the trades are completed. For the stock of a company to be traded at these exchanges, it must be listed, and to be listed, the company must satisfy certain requirements. But not all stocks are bought and sold at a specific site. Such stocks are referred to as unlisted. Many of these stocks are traded over the counter—that is, by telephone or by computer.
Stock exchange transactions involve the activities of brokers and dealers. These individuals facilitate the buying and selling of financial assets. Brokers execute trades on behalf of clients and receive commissions and fees in exchange for matching buyers and sellers. Dealers, on the other hand, buy and sell from their own portfolios (inventories of securities). Dealers earn income by selling a financial instrument at a price that is greater than the price the dealer paid for the instrument. Some exchange participants perform both roles. These dealer-brokers sometimes act purely as a client’s agent and at other times buy and sell from their own inventory of financial assets.
Stock exchanges perform important roles in national economies. Most importantly, they encourage investment by providing places for buyers and sellers to trade securities. This investment, in turn, enables corporations to obtain funds to expand their businesses.
Corporations issue new securities in what is known as the primary market, usually with the help of investment bankers. The investment bank acquires the initial issue of the new securities from the corporation at a negotiated price and then makes the securities available for its clients and other investors in an initial public offering (IPO). In this primary market, corporations receive the proceeds of security sales. After this initial offering the securities are bought and sold in the secondary market. The corporation is not usually involved in the trading of its stock in the secondary market. Stock exchanges essentially function as secondary markets. By providing investors the opportunity to trade financial instruments, the stock exchanges support the performance of the primary markets. This arrangement makes it easier for corporations to raise the funds that they need to build and expand their businesses.
Although corporations do not directly benefit from secondary market transactions, the managers of a corporation closely monitor the price of the corporation’s stock in secondary markets. One reason for this concern involves the cost of raising new funds for further business expansion. The price of a company’s stock in the secondary market influences the amount of funds that can be raised by issuing additional stock in the primary market.
Corporate managers also pay attention to the price of the company’s stock in secondary markets because it affects the financial wealth of the corporation’s owners—the stockholders. If the price of the stock rises, then the stockholders become wealthier. This is likely to make them happy with the company’s management. Typically, managers own only small amounts of a corporation’s outstanding shares. If the price of the stock declines, the shareholders become less wealthy and are likely to be unhappy with management. If enough shareholders become unhappy, they may move to replace the corporation’s managers. Most corporate managers also receive options to buy company stock at a selected price, so they are motivated to increase the value of the stock in the secondary market.
Stock exchanges encourage investment by providing this secondary market. Stock exchanges also encourage investment in other ways. They protect investors by upholding rules and regulations that ensure buyers will be treated fairly and receive exactly what they pay for. Exchanges also support state-of-the-art technology and the business of brokering. This support helps traders buy and sell securities quickly and efficiently. Of course, being able to sell a security in the secondary market increases the relative safety of investing because investors can unload a stock that may be on the decline or that faces an uncertain future.
Stocks are shares of ownership in companies. People who buy a company’s stock may receive dividends (a portion of any profits). Stockholders are entitled to any capital gains that arise through their trading activity—that is, to any gain obtained when the price at which the stock is sold is greater than the purchase price. But stockholders also face risks. One risk is that the firm may experience losses and not be able to continue the payment of dividends. Another risk involves capital losses when the stockholder sells shares at a price below the purchase price
In an example of a trade, an investor wanting to buy 200 shares—also known as two round lots, of 100 shares each—of ZINOX stock will telephone or e-mail the order to a brokerage firm. This communication is normally made to an individual called a stockbroker. The investor might desire to buy the shares at the market, or current, price. On the other hand, the investor may choose to pay no more than a set amount per share. The brokerage firm then contacts one of its floor brokers at the NYSE, the exchange on which ZINOX stock is traded. The floor broker then goes to ZINOX’s stock post—that is, the particular spot on the trading floor where ZINOX stock is traded. Here other floor brokers will be buying and selling the same stock. The activity around the post constitutes an auction market with transactions typically communicated through hand signals. The most important person at the post is a broker-dealer called a specialist. The job of the specialist is to manage the auction process. The specialist will actually execute the trade and inform the floor broker of the final price at which the trade has been executed. For this service, the investor will pay the original broker a commission, either as a flat fee or as a percentage of the purchase price.
The price of a stock depends on the market forces of supply and demand. With companies issuing only a limited number of shares, price is determined by demand. An increase in demand will raise the price whereas a decrease in demand will lower the price. Normally the demand for a particular stock depends on expectations regarding the profits of the corporation that issued the stock. The more optimistic these expectations are, the greater the demand will be and, therefore, the greater the price of the stock.
A stockbroker is an employee of a brokerage firm. The individual investor contacts his or her stockbroker and provides the stockbroker with the details of the transaction the investor wants to complete. Stockbrokers, however, are more than order takers or sales representatives for their firms; they frequently provide advice to the investor. They may have their own client list and call clients when they. Stockbrokers almost always have certification from, or registration with, a state government agency or an exchange or both. For this reason they are sometimes referred to as registered representatives.
A. Institutional Brokers
Institutional brokers specialize in bulk purchases of securities, including bonds, for institutional investors. Institutional investors include large investors such as banks, pension funds, and mutual funds.
Institutional brokers generally charge their clients a lower fee per unit than brokers who trade for individual investors. This is the case because the total cost of both large and small transactions is much the same. When this total cost is spread over a larger number of shares, then the cost per share is lower. Given the lower per-share cost, institutional brokers can charge a lower per-share fee.
Exchanges trade in all forms of securities. Although the general operations of exchanges apply to all securities trading, there are some differences. In particular, trades in nonstock securities, such as bonds and options, are often managed by financial intermediaries other than brokers.
A. Bonds
Bonds provide a way for companies to borrow money. Companies obtain funds when they initially issue bonds. As with the initial issue of stocks, companies use the services of investment banks in primary market transactions for bonds. Once issued the bonds are then traded in secondary markets or on exchanges and the company is no longer directly involved.
B. Options
Options are traded on many U.S. stock exchanges, as well as over the counter. Options writers offer investors the rights to buy or sell, at fixed prices and over fixed time periods, specified numbers of shares or amounts of financial or real assets. Writers give call options to people who want options to buy. A call option is the right to buy shares or amounts at a fixed price, within a fixed time span. Conversely, writers give put options to people who want options to sell. A put option is the right to sell shares or amounts at a fixed price, within a fixed time span. Buyers may or may not opt to buy, or sellers to sell, and they may profit or lose on their transactions, depending on how the market moves. In any case, options traders must pay premiums to writers for making contracts. Traders must also pay commissions to brokers for buying and selling stocks on exchanges. Options trading is also handled by options clearing corporations, or clearinghouses, which are owned by exchanges.
C. Futures
Futures contracts are also traded on certain U.S. exchanges, most of which deal in commodities such as foods or textiles. Futures trading works somewhat like options trading, but buyers and sellers instead agree to sales or purchases at fixed prices on fixed dates. After a futures contract is made, the choice to buy or sell is not optional. Instead, there is an obligation to buy or sell. Futures contracts are then traded on the exchanges. Commodities brokers handle this trading.
Futures and options traders often judge market trends by monitoring compiled indexes and averages of stocks, usually organized by industry or market ranking. Among the most closely watched U.S. indexes are the Dow Jones averages and Standard & Poor’s.



Christianity, the most widely distributed of the world religions, having substantial representation in all the populated continents of the globe. In the late 1990s, its total membership exceeded 1.9 billion people.
Like any system of belief and values—be it Platonism, Marxism, Freudianism, or democracy—Christianity is in many ways comprehensible only "from the inside," to those who share the beliefs and strive to live by the values; and a description that would ignore these "inside" aspects of it would not be historically faithful. To a degree that those on the inside often fail to recognize, however, such a system of beliefs and values can also be described in a way that makes sense as well to an interested observer who does not, or even cannot, share their outlook.
A community, a way of life, a system of belief, a liturgical observance, a tradition—Christianity is all of these, and more. Each of these aspects of Christianity has affinities with other faiths, but each also bears unmistakable marks of its Christian origins. Thus, it is helpful, in fact unavoidable, to examine Christian ideas and institutions comparatively, by relating them to those of other religions, but equally important to look for those features that are uniquely Christian.
A) Central Teachings
Any phenomenon as complex and as vital as Christianity is easier to describe historically than to define logically, but such a description does yield some insights into its continuing elements and essential characteristics. One such element is the centrality of the person of Jesus Christ. That centrality is, in one way or another, a feature of all the historical varieties of Christian belief and practice. Christians have not agreed in their understanding and definition of what makes Christ distinctive or unique. Certainly they would all affirm that his life and example should be followed and that his teachings about love and fellowship should be the basis of human relations. Large parts of his teachings have their counterparts in the sayings of the rabbis—that is, after all, what he was—or in the wisdom of Socrates and Confucius. In Christian teaching, Jesus cannot be less than the supreme preacher and exemplar of the moral life, but for most Christians that, by itself, does not do full justice to the significance of his life and work.
What is known of Jesus, historically, is told in the Gospels of the New Testament of the Bible. Other portions of the New Testament summarize the beliefs of the early Christian church. Paul and the other writers of Scripture believed that Jesus was the revealer not only of human life in its perfection but of divine reality itself.
The ultimate mystery of the universe, called by many different names in various religions, was called "Father" in the sayings of Jesus, and Christians therefore call Jesus himself "Son of God." At the very least, there was in his language and life an intimacy with God and an immediacy of access to God, as well as the promise that, through all that Christ was and did, his followers might share in the life of the Father in heaven and might themselves become children of God. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, to which early Christians referred when they spoke about him as the one who had reconciled humanity to God, made the cross the chief focus of Christian faith and devotion and the principal symbol of the saving love of God the Father.
This love is, in the New Testament and in subsequent Christian doctrine, the most decisive among the attributes of God. Christians teach that God is almighty in dominion over all that is in heaven and on earth, righteous in judgment over good and evil, beyond time and space and change; but above all they teach that "God is love." The creation of the world out of nothing and the creation of the human race were expressions of that love, and so was the coming of Christ. The classic statement of this trust in the love of God came in the words of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount: "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26). Early Christianity found in such words evidence both of the special standing men and women have as children of such a heavenly Father and of the even more special position occupied by Christ. That special position led the first generations of believers to rank him together with the Father—and eventually "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father [sent] in [Christ’s] name"—in the formula used for the administration of baptism and in the several creeds of the first centuries. After controversy and reflection, that confession took the form of the doctrine of God as Trinity.
Baptism "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," or sometimes perhaps more simply "in the name of Christ," has been from the beginning the means of initiation into Christianity. At first it seems to have been administered chiefly to adults after they had professed their faith and promised to amend their lives, but this turned into a more inclusive practice with the baptism of infants. The other universally accepted ritual among Christians is the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, in which Christians share in bread and wine and, through them, express and acknowledge the reality of the presence of Christ as they commemorate him in the communion of believers with one another. In the form it acquired as it developed, the Eucharist became an elaborate ceremony of consecration and adoration, the texts of which have been set to music by numerous composers of masses. The Eucharist has also become one of the chief points of conflict among the various Christian churches, which disagree about the "presence" of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine and about the effect of that presence upon those who receive.
Another fundamental component of Christian faith and practice is the Christian community itself—the church. Some scholars question the assumption that Jesus intended to found a church (the word church appears only twice in the Gospels), but his followers were always convinced that his promise to be with them "always, to the close of the age" found its fulfillment in his "mystical body on earth," the holy catholic (universal) church. The relation of this holy catholic church to the various ecclesiastical organizations of worldwide Christendom is the source of major divisions among these organizations. Roman Catholicism has tended to equate its own institutional structure with the catholic church, as the common usage of the latter term suggests, and some extreme Protestant groups have been ready to claim that they, and they alone, represent the true visible church. Increasingly, however, Christians of all segments have begun to acknowledge that no one group has an exclusive right to call itself "the" church, and they have begun to work toward the reunion of all Christians.
B) Worship
Whatever its institutional form, the community of faith in the church is the primary setting for Christian worship. Christians of all traditions have placed a strong emphasis on private devotion and individual prayer, as Jesus taught. But he also prescribed a form of praying, universally known as the Lord's Prayer, the opening words of which stress the communal nature of worship: "Our Father, who art in heaven." Since New Testament times, the stated day for the communal worship of Christians has been the "first day of the week," Sunday, in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ. Like the Jewish Sabbath, Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. It is also the time when believers gather to hear the reading and preaching of the word of God in the Bible, to participate in the sacraments, and to pray, praise, and give thanks. The needs of corporate worship have been responsible for the composition of thousands of hymns, chorales, and chants, as well as instrumental music, especially for the organ. Since the 4th century, Christian communities have also been constructing special buildings for their worship, thereby helping to shape the history of architecture.
C) Christian Life
The instruction and exhortation of Christian preaching and teaching concern all the themes of doctrine and morals: the love of God and the love of neighbor, the two chief commandments in the ethical message of Jesus (see Matthew 22: 34-40). Application of these commandments to the concrete situations of human life, both personal and social, does not produce a uniformity of moral or political behavior. Many Christians, for example, regard all drinking of alcoholic beverages as sinful, whereas others do not. Christians can be found on both the far left and the far right of many contemporary questions, as well as in the middle. Still it is possible to speak of a Christian way of life, one that is informed by the call to discipleship and service. The inherent worth of every person as one who has been created in the image of God, the sanctity of human life and thus of marriage and the family, the imperative to strive for justice even in a fallen world—all of these are dynamic moral commitments that Christians would accept, however much their own conduct may fall short of these norms. It is evident already from the pages of the New Testament that the task of working out the implications of the ethic of love under the conditions of existence has always been difficult, and that there has, in fact, never been a "golden age" in which it was otherwise.
D) Eschatology
There is in Christian doctrine, however, the prospect of such a time, expressed in the Christian hope for everlasting life. Jesus spoke of this hope with such urgency that many of his followers clearly expected the end of the world and the coming of the eternal kingdom in their own lifetimes. Since the 1st century such expectations have tended to ebb and flow, sometimes reaching a fever of excitement and at other times receding to an apparent acceptance of the world as it is. The creeds of the church speak of this hope in the language of resurrection, a new life of participation in the glory of the resurrected Christ. Christianity may therefore be said to be an otherworldly religion, and sometimes it has been almost exclusively that. But the Christian hope has also, throughout the history of the church, served as a motivation to make life on earth conform more fully to the will of God as revealed in Christ.
Almost all the information about Jesus himself and about early Christianity comes from those who claimed to be his followers. Because they wrote to persuade believers rather than to satisfy historical curiosity, this information often raises more questions than it answers, and no one has ever succeeded in harmonizing all of it into a coherent and completely satisfying chronological account. Because of the nature of these sources, it is impossible, except in a highly tentative way, to distinguish between the original teachings of Jesus and the developing teachings about Jesus in early Christian communities.
What is known is that the person and message of Jesus of Nazareth early attracted a following of those who believed him to be a new prophet. Their recollections of his words and deeds, transmitted to posterity through those who eventually composed the Gospels, recall Jesus' days on earth in the light of experiences identified by early Christians with the miracle of his resurrection from the dead on the first Easter. They concluded that what he had shown himself to be by the resurrection, he must have been already when he walked among the inhabitants of Palestine—and, indeed, must have been even before he was born of Mary, in the very being of God from eternity. They drew upon the language of their Scriptures (the Hebrew Bible, which Christians came to call the Old Testament) to give an account of the reality, "ever ancient, ever new," that they had learned to know as the apostles of Jesus Christ. Believing that it had been his will and command that they should band together in a new community, as the saving remnant of the people of Israel, these Jewish Christians became the first church, in Jerusalem. There it was that they believed themselves to be receiving his promised gift of the Holy Spirit and of a new power.
A) The Beginnings of the Church
Jerusalem was the center of the Christian movement, at least until its destruction by Roman armies in ad 70, but from this center Christianity radiated to other cities and towns in Palestine and beyond. At first, its appeal was largely, although not completely, confined to the adherents of Judaism, to whom it presented itself as "new," not in the sense of novel and brand-new, but in the sense of continuing and fulfilling what God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Already in its very beginnings, therefore, Christianity manifested a dual relation to the Jewish faith, a relation of continuity and yet of fulfillment, of antithesis and yet of affirmation. The forced conversions of Jews in the Middle Ages and the history of anti-Semitism (despite official condemnations of both by church leaders) are evidence that the antithesis could easily overshadow the affirmation. The fateful loss of continuity with Judaism has, however, never been total. Above all, the presence of so many elements of Judaism in the Christian Bible has acted to remind Christians that he whom they worshiped as their Lord was himself a Jew, and that the New Testament did not stand on its own but was appended to the Old.
An important source of the alienation of Christianity from its Jewish roots was the change in the membership of the church that took place by the end of the 2nd century (just when, and how, is uncertain). At some point, Christians with Gentile backgrounds began to outnumber Jewish Christians. Clearly, the work of the apostle Paul was influential. Born a Jew, he was deeply involved in the destiny of Judaism, but as a result of his conversion, he believed that he was the "chosen instrument" to bring the message of Christ to the Gentiles. He was the one who formulated, in his Epistles ( Epistle) to several early Christian congregations, many of the ideas and terms that were to constitute the core of Christian belief. He deserves the title of the "first Christian theologian," and most theologians who came after him based their concepts and systems on his Epistles, now collected and codified in the New Testament.
From these Epistles and from other sources in the first two centuries it is possible to gain some notion of how the early congregations were organized. The Epistles to Timothy and to Titus bearing the name of Paul (although many biblical scholars now find his authorship of these letters implausible) show the beginnings of an organization based on an orderly transmission of leadership from the generation of the first apostles (including Paul himself) to subsequent "bishops," but the fluid use of such terms as bishop, presbyter, and deacon in the documents precludes identification of a single and uniform policy. By the 3rd century agreement was widespread about the authority of the bishop as the link with the apostles. He was such a link, however, only if in his life and teaching he adhered to the teaching of the apostles as this was laid down in the New Testament and in the "deposit of faith" transmitted by the apostolic churches.
B) Councils and Creeds
Clarification of this deposit became necessary when interpretations of the Christian message arose that were deemed to be deviations from these norms. The most important deviations, or heresies, had to do with the person of Christ. Some theologians sought to protect his holiness by denying that his humanity was like that of other human beings; others sought to protect the monotheistic faith by making Christ a lesser divine being than God the Father.
In response to both of these tendencies, early creeds began the process of specifying the divine in Christ, both in relation to the divine in the Father and in relation to the human in Christ. The definitive formulations of these relations came in a series of official church councils during the 4th and 5th centuries—notably the one at Nicaea in 325 and the one at Chalcedon in 451—which stated the doctrines of the Trinity and of the two natures of Christ in the form still accepted by most Christians.
To arrive at these formulations, Christianity had to refine its thought and language, creating in the process a philosophical theology, both in Greek and in Latin, that was to be the dominant intellectual system of Europe for more than a thousand years. The principal architect of Western theology was Saint Augustine of Hippo, whose literary output, including the classic Confessions and The City of God, did more than any other body of writings, except for the Bible itself, to shape that system.
C) Persecution
First, however, Christianity had to settle its relation to the political order. As a Jewish sect, the primitive Christian church shared the status of Judaism in the Roman Empire, but before the death of Emperor Nero in 68 it had already been singled out as an enemy. The grounds for hostility to the Christians were not always the same, and often opposition and persecution were localized. The loyalty of Christians to "Jesus as Lord," however, was irreconcilable with the worship of the Roman emperor as "Lord," and those emperors, such as Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, who were the most deeply committed to unity and reform were also the ones who recognized the Christians as a threat to those goals and who therefore undertook to eliminate the threat. As in the history of other religions, especially Islam, opposition produced the exact contrary of its intended purpose, and, in the epigram of the North African church father Tertullian, the "blood of the martyrs" became the "seed of the church." By the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity had grown so much in size and in strength that it had to be either eradicated or accepted. Emperor Diocletian tried to do the first and failed; Constantine the Great did the second and created a Christian empire.
D) Official Acceptance
The conversion of Constantine the Great assured the church a privileged place in society, and it became easier to be a Christian than not to be one. As a result, Christians began to feel that standards of Christian conduct were being lowered and that the only way to obey the moral imperatives of Christ was to flee the world (and the church that was in the world, perhaps even of the world) and to follow the full-time profession of Christian discipline as a monk. From its early beginnings in the Egyptian desert, with the hermit Saint Anthony, Christian monasticism spread to many parts of the Christian empire during the 4th and 5th centuries. Not only in Greek and Latin portions of the empire, but even beyond its eastern borders, far into Asia, Christian monks devoted themselves to prayer, asceticism, and service. They were to become, during the Byzantine and medieval periods, the most powerful single force in the Christianization of nonbelievers, in the renewal of worship and preaching, and (despite the anti-intellectualism that repeatedly asserted itself in their midst) in theology and scholarship. Most Christians today owe their Christianity ultimately to the work of monks.
E) Eastern Christianity
One of the most influential acts of Constantine the Great was his decision in 330 to move the capital of the empire from Rome to "New Rome," the city of Byzantium at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The new capital, Constantinople (now ─░stanbul), also became the intellectual and religious focus of Eastern Christianity. While Western Christianity became increasingly centralized, a pyramid the apex of which was the pope of Rome,the principal centers of the East—Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria—developed autonomously. The emperor at Constantinople held a special place in the life of the church. It was he, for example, who convoked and presided over the general councils of the church, which were the supreme organ of ecclesiastical legislation in both faith and morals. This special relation between church and state, frequently (but with some oversimplification) called Caesaropapism, fostered a Christian culture in which (as the great Church of the Holy Wisdom at Constantinople, dedicated by Emperor Justinian in 538, attests) the noblest achievements of the entire society blended the elements of Christianity and of classical antiquity in a new synthesis.
At its worst, this culture could mean the subordination of the church to the tyranny of the state. The crisis of the 8th century over the legitimacy of the use of images in Christian churches was also a collision of the church and the imperial power. Emperor Leo III prohibited images, thus precipitating a struggle in which Eastern monks became the principal defenders of the icons. Eventually the icons were restored, and with them a measure of independence for the church. During the 7th and 8th centuries three of the four Eastern centers were captured by the dynamic new faith of Islam, with only Constantinople remaining unconquered. It, too, was often besieged and finally fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. The confrontation with the Muslims was not purely military, however. Eastern Christians and the followers of the Prophet Muhammad exerted influence on one another in intellectual, philosophical, scientific, and even theological matters.
The conflict over the images was so intense because it threatened the Eastern church at its most vital point—its liturgy. Eastern Christianity was, and still is, a way of worship and on that basis a way of life and a way of belief. The Greek word orthodoxy, together with its Slavic equivalent pravoslavie, refers to the correct form for giving praise to God, which is finally inseparable from the right way of confessing true doctrine about God and of living in accordance with the will of God. This emphasis gave to Eastern liturgy and theology a quality that Western observers, even in the Middle Ages, would characterize as mystical, a quality enhanced by the strongly Neoplatonic strain in Byzantine philosophy. Eastern monasticism, although often hostile to these philosophical currents of thought, nonetheless practiced its devotional life under the influence of writings of church fathers and theologians, such as Saint Basil of Caesarea, who had absorbed a Christian Hellenism in which many of these emphases were at work.
All these distinctive features of the Christian East—the lack of a centralized authority, the close tie to the Byzantine Empire, the mystical and liturgical tradition, the continuity with Greek language and culture, and the isolation as a consequence of Muslim expansion—contributed also to its increasing alienation from the West, which finally produced the East-West schism. Historians have often dated the schism from 1054, when Rome and Constantinople exchanged excommunications, but much can be said for fixing the date at 1204. In that year, the Western Christian armies on their way to wrest the Holy Land from the hand of the Turks attacked and ravaged the Christian city of Constantinople. Whatever the date, the separation of East and West has continued into modern times, despite repeated attempts at reconciliation.
Among the points of controversy between Constantinople and Rome was the evangelization of the Slavs, beginning in the 9th century. Although several Slavic tribes—Poles, Moravs, Czechs, Slovaks, Croats, and Slovenes—did end up in the orbit of the Western church, the vast majority of Slavic peoples became Christians in the Eastern (Byzantine) church. From its early foundations in Kyiv, Ukraine, this Slavic Orthodoxy permeated Russia, where the features of Eastern Christianity outlined above took firm hold. The autocratic authority of the Muscovite tsar derived some of its sanctions from Byzantine Caesaropapism, and Russian monasticism took over the ascetic and devotional emphases cultivated by the Greek monasteries of Mount Athos. The stress on cultural and ethnic autonomy meant that from its beginnings Slavic Christianity had its own liturgical language (still known as Old Church Slavic, or Slavonic), while it adapted to its uses the architectural and artistic styles imported from the centers of Orthodoxy in Greek-speaking territory. Also in the Eastern church were some of the Balkan Slavs—Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnians, and Slavic Macedonians; the Bulgars, a Turkic people; Albanians, descendants of the ancient Illyrians; and Romanians, a Romance people. During the centuries-long rule of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans some of the local Christian populations were forced or enticed to embrace Islam, as, for example, some of the Bosnians, some of the Bulgarians, and some of the Albanians.
F) Western Christianity
Although Eastern Christianity was in many ways the direct heir of the early church, some of the most dynamic development took place in the western part of the Roman Empire. Of the many reasons for this development, two closely related forces deserve particular mention: the growth of the papacy and the migration of the Germanic peoples. When the capital of the empire moved to Constantinople, the most powerful force remaining in Rome was its bishop. The old city, which could trace its Christian faith to the apostles Peter and Paul and which repeatedly acted as arbiter of orthodoxy when other centers, including Constantinople, fell into heresy or schism, was the capital of the Western church. It held this position when the succeeding waves of Germanic tribes, in what used to be called the "barbarian invasions," swept into Europe. Conversion of the invaders to Catholic Christianity meant at the same time their incorporation into the institution of which the bishop of Rome was the head, as the conversion of the king of the Franks, Clovis I, illustrates. As the political power of Constantinople over its western provinces declined, separate Germanic kingdoms were created, and finally, in 800, an independent Western "Roman empire" was born when Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III.
Medieval Christianity in the West, unlike its Eastern counterpart, was therefore a single entity, or at any rate strove to be one. When a tribe became Christian in the West, it learned Latin and often (as in the case of France and Spain) lost its own language in the process. The language of ancient Rome thus became the liturgical, literary, and scholarly speech of western Europe. Archbishops and abbots, although wielding great power in their own regions, were subordinate to the pope, despite his frequent inability to enforce his claims. Theological controversies occurred during the early centuries of the Middle Ages in the West, but they never assumed the proportions that they did in the East. Nor did Western theology, at least until after the year 1000, acquire the measure of philosophical sophistication evident in the East. The long shadow of Saint Augustine continued to dominate Latin theology, and there was little independent access to the speculations of the ancients.
The image of cooperation between church and state, symbolized by the pope’s coronation of Charlemagne, must not be taken to mean that no conflict existed between the two in the Middle Ages. On the contrary, they clashed repeatedly over the delineation of their respective spheres of authority. The most persistent source of such clashes was the right of the sovereign to appoint bishops in his realm (lay investiture), which brought Pope Gregory VII and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV to a deadlock in 1075. The pope excommunicated the emperor, and the emperor refused to acknowledge Gregory as pope. They were temporarily reconciled when Henry subjected himself in penance to the pope at Canossa in 1077, but the tension continued. A similar issue was at stake in the excommunication of King John of England by Pope Innocent III in 1209, which ended with the king’s submission four years later. The basis of these disputes was the complex involvement of the church in feudal society. Bishops and abbots administered great amounts of land and other wealth and were thus a major economic and political force, over which the king had to exercise some control if he was to assert his authority over his secular nobility. On the other hand, the papacy could not afford to let a national church become the puppet of a political regime.
Church and state did cooperate by closing ranks against a common foe in the Crusades. The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem meant that the holy places associated with the life of Jesus were under the control of a non-Christian power; and even though the reports of interference with Christian pilgrims were often highly exaggerated, the conviction grew that it was the will of God for Christian armies to liberate the Holy Land. Beginning with the First Crusade in 1095, the campaigns of liberation did manage to establish a Latin kingdom and patriarchate in Jerusalem, but Jerusalem returned to Muslim rule a century later and within 200 years the last Christian outpost had fallen. In this sense the Crusades were a failure, or even (in the case of the Fourth Crusade of 1202-1204, mentioned above) a disaster. They did not permanently restore Christian rule to the Holy Land, and they did not unify the West either ecclesiastically or politically.
A more impressive achievement of the medieval church during the period of the Crusades was the development of Scholastic philosophy and theology. Building as always on the foundations of the thought of Saint Augustine, Latin theologians turned their attention to the relation between the knowledge of God attainable by unaided human reason and the knowledge communicated by revelation. Saint Anselm took as his motto "I believe in order that I might understand" and constructed a proof for the existence of God based on the structure of human thought itself (the ontological argument). About the same time, Peter Abelard was examining the contradictions between various strains in the doctrinal tradition of the church, with a view toward developing methods of harmonization. These two tasks dominated the thinking of the 12th and 13th centuries, until the recovery of the lost works of Aristotle made available a set of definitions and distinctions that could be applied to both. The philosophical theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas sought to do justice to the natural knowledge of God while at the same time exalting the revealed knowledge in the gospel, and it wove the disparate parts of the tradition into a unified whole. Together with such contemporaries as Saint Bonaventure, Aquinas represents the intellectual ideal of medieval Christianity.
Even by the time Aquinas died, however, storms were beginning to gather over the Western church. In 1309 the papacy fled from Rome to Avignon, where it remained until 1377 in the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the church. This was followed by the Great Schism, during which there were two (and sometimes even three) claimants to the papal throne. That was not resolved until 1417, but the reunited papacy could not regain control or even respect.
G) Reformation and Counter Reformation
Reformers of different kinds—including John Wycliffe, Jan Hus (John Huss), and Girolamo Savonarola—denounced the moral laxity and financial corruption that had infected the church "in its members and in its head" and called for radical change. Profound social and political changes were taking place in the West, with the awakening of national consciousness and the increasing strength of the cities in which a new merchant class came into its own. The Protestant Reformation may be seen as the convergence of such forces as the call for reform in the church, the growth of nationalism, and the emergence of the "spirit of capitalism."
Martin Luther was the catalyst that precipitated the new movement. His personal struggle for religious certainty led him, against his will, to question the medieval system of salvation and the very authority of the church, and his excommunication by Pope Leo X proved to be an irreversible step toward the division of Western Christendom. Nor was the movement confined to Luther’s Germany. Native reform movements in Switzerland found leadership in Huldreich Zwingli and especially in John Calvin, whose Institutes of the Christian Religion became the most influential summary of the new theology. The English Reformation, provoked by the troubles of King Henry VIII, reflected the influence of the Lutheran and then of the Calvinistic reforms, but went its own "middle way," retaining Catholic elements such as the historic episcopate alongside Protestant elements such as the sole authority of the Bible. The thought of Calvin helped in his native France to create the Huguenot party, which was fiercely opposed by both church and state, but finally achieved recognition with the Edict of Nantes in 1598 (ultimately revoked in 1685). The more radical Reformation groups, notably the Anabaptists, set themselves against other Protestants as well as against Rome, rejecting such long-established practices as infant baptism and sometimes even such dogmas as the Trinity and denouncing the alliance of church and state.
That alliance helped to determine the outcome of the Reformation, which succeeded where it gained the support of the new national states. As a consequence of these ties to the rising national spirit, the Reformation helped to created the literary monuments—especially translations of the Bible—that decisively shaped the language and the spirit of the peoples. It also gave fresh stimulus to biblical preaching and to worship in the vernacular, for which a new hymnody came into being. Because of its emphasis on the participation of all believers in worship and confession, the Reformation developed systems for instruction in doctrine and ethics, especially in the form of catechisms, and an ethic of service in the world.
The Protestant Reformation did not exhaust the spirit of reform within the Roman Catholic Church. In response both to the Protestant challenge and to its own needs, the church summoned the Council of Trent, which continued over the years 1545-1563, giving definitive formulation to doctrines at issue and legislating practical reforms in liturgy, church administration, and education. Responsibility for carrying out the actions of the council fell in considerable measure on the Society of Jesus, formed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola.The chronological coincidence of the discovery of the New World and the Reformation was seen as a providential opportunity to evangelize those who had never heard the gospel. Trent on the Roman Catholic side and the several confessions of faith on the Protestant side had the effect of making the divisions permanent. In one respect the divisions were not permanent, for new divisions continued to appear. Historically, the most noteworthy of these were probably the ones that arose in the Church of England. The Puritans objected to the "remnants of popery" in the liturgical and institutional life of Anglicanism and pressed for a further reformation. Because of the Anglican union of throne and altar, this agitation had direct—and, as it turned out, violent—political consequences, climaxing in the English Revolution and the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Puritanism found its most complete expression, both politically and theologically, in North America. The Pietists of the Lutheran and Calvinist churches of Europe usually managed to remain within the establishment as a party instead of forming a separate church, but Pietism shaped the outlook of many among the Continental groups who came to North America. European Pietism also found an echo in England, where it was a significant force in the life and thought of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement.

Festival Description Normally held
Christmas Day Celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem; Christians meet for worship, often at midnight, when the events are retold through words, music, drama, and pictures December 25
Epiphany Celebrates the arrival of the three wise men from the east who came looking for a newborn king and were led by a bright star to Bethlehem; they brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh January 6
Ash Wednesday In many churches, people come forward to be marked with ashes, an ancient symbol of sorrow and repentance; Lent is a time of reflection and fasting which recalls the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert start of Lent (six weeks before Easter) (February/March)
Palm Sunday Christians recall Jesus's entry into Jerusalem during the last week of his life, when he was welcomed by people waving palm fronds; other important days of Holy Week are Maundy Thursday, when Jesus shared the last supper with his disciples, and Good Friday, when he was crucified start of Holy Week (one week before Easter) (March/April)
Easter Sunday Time of rejoicing that recalls the disciples' discovery that Jesus was alive, and that he had been resurrected; many churches keep a vigil throughout Saturday night so that they can greet Easter Day with services, family meals, and the exchange of flowers and eggs between March 23 and April 24 in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches
Ascension Day This day commemorates the disciples witnessing Jesus being lifted up to heaven 40 days after Easter Day 40 days after Easter (May/June)
Pentecost or Whitsun When Jesus left his disciples for the last time after his resurrection, he promised them a 'comforter'who would be with them forever; Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples seventh Sunday after Easter (May/June)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Does A Hair Dryer Work????

If you are working with a hair Dryer here is how it worksssss Appliances that heat up, such as a hair dryer, a clothes iron, toaster, electric toaster oven, or an electric space heater all work on the same idea. They change electrical energy to heat energy.
The devices all plug into a source of electricity. Electric current runs from your wall socket down the wire and into the appliance.
Inside each of the appliances are loops of special mixture of metals. One type is called nichrome. Nichrome is a nickel / chromium alloy.
Electricity cannot pass through this special metal very easily. The metal slows down the electrons and "holds up" the current flowing through it. This is called the "resistance" of the metal. When the resistance of a metal is higher, the metal will get hot because of the friction of the electrons in the current of electricity.

As the electricity is forced through the wires, the wires begin to heat up and glow very hot. If you look inside your toaster, you'll see those coils or wire glowing orange. It's those coils or loops of wire that cause the bread to brown making your toast.
In older toasters, the hot wires heat up a small device called a thermocouple. When it reaches the right temperature, which is about the same time as your toast is properly toasted, it releases a catch allowing the toast to pop up. At the same time, it shuts off the electricity. In some newer toasters, the thermocouple is replaced by a small timer.

In a hair dryer, a small fan is turned on at the same time the heater coils are turned on. The moving air is forced over the glowing wires, warming the air. The warm air blows out of the front of the hair dryer and causes the water in your hair to evaporate and dry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


In these modern times the world has been reduced to a global village. The better a quoted company expands and develops locally and internationally (OFF SHORE) the more a higher returns will impart positively on the organization in the interest of the shareholders. It is therefore expedient for an investor to find out how the company he or she needs to buy its shares is expanding its business both at domestic and international level. For instance, in the banking industry in Nigeria First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) and United Bank of Africa (UBA) plc have maintained their leadership positions in local branch network and their global penetration. No wonder UBA plc pride itself as the African Global Bank. It is note worthy to mention here that the income from foreign exchange transactions their off-shore market will impart positively on their operations result to put a smile on their shareholders. Recently, Oando Nigeria plc as return to West African Countries. It is expected that their 2008 financial report will definitely surpass the result of the 2007 reports. The investors should know that deep penetration into an off shore market is an indication of formidability, strength and juicy promise to the shareholders.

Friday, July 25, 2008