This is one of the great stories from Modern Farmer magazine. If you have a natural affinity for music, or enjoy hearing cows milking, then you’re going to love this story.

Milk production of cows goes up when the animals listen to music

We proudly say that our milk production goes up when we listen to classical music, and that’s true. But a recent study shows just how important it is: cows are more productive when they hear music.

Of course, there are many factors at play here. Modern Farmer has also found that cow’s milk production goes up by 20% when they are listening to classical music.

We don’t know if the effect is due to the music itself or some sort of association with it, but at least one study has shown that cows experience a reduction in stress when they listen to musical instruments in their barn. Listen to this excerpt from our humble blog post on the topic:

If you don’t like classical music (and I think most people do) then you might want to try this out for yourself for a few days. Music can be thought of as providing positive reinforcement for desired behaviors (e.g., cows being milked). This has been observed in other species, including humans and laboratory animals (e.g., subjects who listened to recordings of naturalistic vocalizations while having avoidant anxiety-related responses). In some cases, scientists have observed this effect using operant conditioning techniques; in others using behavioral experiments (e.g., paper-plate preference).

The music, however, must be upbeat

Do you like music? Do you like classical music? Or perhaps, would you rather have your cows listen to something that has a lot of loud trumpets and lots of loud strings? Well, the answer may be “no” to one and “yes” to the other. But in an era when most home entertainment systems have built-in speakers that drown out even the best recorded music, well, it’s probably a good idea not to turn your cattle into regular listening devices.

Today we are going to talk about two ways of pumping some tunes into your cows. Both are simple:

• Plop a radio in their enclosure, and set the volume to full blast.

• Play music on a speaker connected by wire or Bluetooth to your phone or PC.

Both do their jobs well — but they do them in different ways. The first method is more common among commercial operations; the second is more common among hobbyists. Both are equally effective at getting your cows listening to classical music (or whatever musical fare you choose) — but which one is right for you depends on what kind of operation you have in mind.

Modern Farmer magazine has the playlist

It is said that milk production increases when cows listen to music and Modern Farmer magazine has just the playlist. We have a few reasons to be skeptical of this claim.

First, we can’t rule out that the increase in milk production observed during the broadcast of classical music is due to animal learning or habit (as opposed to human skill). For example, cows might learn that classical music is associated with calving and pass on this association to their offspring. Once they do, milk production may increase.

Second, if it were true that sound changes the behavior of cows, we would expect that sound levels should change as well (which they don’t). It’s possible that those changes are due to other factors that aren’t related directly to sound (such as temperature changes) or other factors unrelated to sound itself (such as cows being moved around by humans).

Third, we have no way of knowing whether any behavior change is due specifically to listening to music or just general cow behavior. We couldn’t even say whether increases in milk production observed during broadcasting of classical music could be attributed only to increased cow health or whether people are also playing an important role in this process.

Fourth, if something does change their behavior from what it was before the broadcast, we would expect the listener reaction time (the amount of time it takes for a person who hears an audio message for the first time) should not change even after hours of listening (it’s likely longer than hours but probably less than days). This means we can’t use “hours” as a measure here: if someone spent 12 hours listening and then another 12 hours playing around with his iPhone before moving on he should not experience any difference in his reaction time at all. Instead, we need “minutes” because there isn’t really any way for us to measure anything more specific than this here.

We think hearing classical music makes cows a lot more productive and it may have some effect on their reaction times too — but we don’t know enough about these matters either. If you want more details you can read our previous post on why you shouldn’t trust results like this one which had exactly this result:


TorrentFreak reports that the ripples of milk production are increasing across the audio spectrum in a huge way. Why? It’s because the media goes to great lengths to make sure the people who drink it get what they want, and for good reason.

The Divine Liturgy as Mystical Experience of the Sound

This is a very long post, which I will break into two parts. First part: the divine liturgy as mystical experience of the sound. Second part: the positive impact of the sounds of the divine liturgy THE DIVINE LITURGY AS MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE of the sound.

The above is a much shorter version of my talk at Ignite Toronto in 2016, where I discussed this topic in terms of both the experience and its social impact.

As I said at that time, we are living in an age where people’s lives have increasingly become shaped by digital technologies. In addition to being a great way to connect with other people and thinking about things like art and music, technology has enabled us to create new forms of worship and prayer that go far beyond mere church attendance or religious observance. For example, one stream of devotional practices is attentive listening for sacred sounds — especially those created by music — during times when one may be acutely conscious of quietness around them or feel spiritually distracted by everyday activities like work or work-related tasks (just think about how many times you have heard someone quietly sing while you were working on something). Our ability to listen attentively to these sounds has been a major way we have come to understand ourselves and our world. In recent years,  the quality of our prayers has also been improving as well; churches have come up with sophisticated ways to make their worship more effective and meaningful without losing their sense that they are an assembly that is sharing communion with God (which is something very few people do today).

This degree of attentional awareness literally seems like magic: what does it feel like for God to be in front of us? How does it feel for Him to speak directly into our ears? What if He were saying things we could actually hear? The answer is obvious: it would be magical!

As much as I love hearing these sounds from God’s mouth, what if someone else was saying God’s words instead? What if we were able to hear exactly what He was saying but were told only through the lens of someone else’s words? Would we still feel as inspired as we would if His voice were flowing from our own mouths? Would we then still be able to feel His presence so strongly? What if God had taught us how to meditate on Him through some kind of audio recording instead? Would you still be able to get so close your heart felt beat-by-beat?

The Meaning of Music in the Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy, or the “Sabbath prayer” in Greek, is the most sacred of all the services that commemorate the holy week of lent. It is a time when Christians gather together to celebrate, rather than to do work. After all, there is no work in heaven as there is here on earth. But what are they doing that they are celebrating? Well, it turns out that the answer is music!

The worship of God in this service begins with the Chant (or “song”) of praise. This chant consists of not one word but many songs: hymns and psalms, etc. In fact there are at least twenty different chants used during this service. Each one tells a story of God and his saving power — as portrayed by an artist or musicians who have been commissioned to give an account of these events in song form.

These stories include a host of amazing scenes from history and even some from legend that have been retold with music (which isn’t something you will be able to find on YouTube). Furthermore, we can all find songs about Jesus Christ himself, which are spoken by the priest during certain parts of this service (those songs being sung by the choir throughout most parts).

From each chant comes forth a musical theme; and so it goes through several changes over time — moving from one sound to another — until it finally reaches its climax at the end. There are three main themes that recur throughout many centuries:

The heavenly hosts sing praises before the Lord: The angels sing praises before Christ; Saint John appears before Christ; Christ with his twelve apostles sings praises before his risen body; The Father singing praises before Mary and her soul, as she embraces her Son; St Michael singing praises before Christ; The patriarchs sing praises before Christ; Saint Peter singing praises before Jesus after his resurrection: And finally at His return to heaven we can hear angels singing their praise again…

And so it goes through several changes over time: moving from one sound to another — until finally it reaches its climax at the end… …the three main themes that recur throughout many centuries: The heavenly hosts sing praises before the Lord: The angels sing praises before Christ; Saint John appears before Christ; Christ with his twelve apostles sings praises before his risen body; The Father singing praises before Mary and her soul, as she embraces her Son; St Michael singing praises before Christ; The patriarchs sing praises before

Theology of Sound

I’ve been writing about the sounds of the divine liturgy for a while now and was happy to see that I finally received some feedback on my article on the theology of sound.

The piece has been sitting in draft mode for quite a while now, but it’s finally time to write it up. I’ll be updating it frequently over the next couple of months, so it should be worth revisiting at some point. But there are a few things that I want to address before we begin:

First, let me point out that this is *not* meant as an attack on any sort of religious practice (or belief) or institution (or even anything). I just happen to find sound more interesting than other forms of human communication.

Second, if you know about any religion or organization, please let me know! There are a lot of people out there who claim to speak on behalf of God — in fact, some people are claiming that they do so almost exclusively through accoustic devices and the full range of human speech is not enough for them. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that God could use sound as well; after all, God created everything!

Third, this article isn’t meant as a comprehensive treatise on theology (although there are several points here that are getting heavily referenced). Instead, what we’re going to do is look at two different ways in which sound can affect us — and how those effects can vary depending on our context. First up is the theology of sound itself: what exactly does God want us to hear? Second is how that theology can influence how we communicate with each other using different methods — and ultimately how we act with each other in various contexts. These two aspects might seem like unrelated topics in isolation but when they come together they can have major impacts on all sorts of things; they aren’t mutually exclusive at all and there are many ways in which both might come into play at once — which means you could end up spending quite a bit of time reading about each topic separately before you get anywhere near these two ideas. And yet…I think these two ideas actually have significant overlap and you should still consider them interrelated when considering them as parts of one larger whole (which would make more sense if I explained what “theology” actually is).

So: What exactly does God want us to hear? Well firstly, he wants us to hear his voice! The

The Sonic Reality of the Liturgy

There are so many great liturgical liturgies — the Mass is an obvious one, but the Church also has a lot of other great sacred music such as Gregorian chant, plainsong, and the Eucharistic Liturgy.

I’m not going to say it’s all bad (there are plenty of places where it’s beautiful and powerful), but none of it is necessarily “supernatural” or even “supernatural-sounding.”

Our ears are wired to hear consonants, rising and falling tones; the resonant sounds of silence; the murmurs of sacred music; an awesome choir singing to God.

We can be fooled into thinking that because we aren’t hearing these things while we listen to our favorite songs or watch a football game we aren’t listening with our full attention (our brains focus on what we hear and not what we don’t). But when you have a liturgical liturgy as a background sound (which this blog does) you will discover that there are definitely some good reasons for why our brains really do go wild over some of these sounds — even if they don’t form words.

In fact, there are a lot of reasons for why humans love sacred music so much — at least in my book. And this blog is about them.

Studying the Role of Music in the Divine Liturgy

I believe this is a topic that I’ve written about before, but it is still worth repeating here. It is one of the most important aspects of the liturgical experience, and yet it has been largely ignored by music critics.

The objective of the Divine Liturgy (the service of Holy Communion) is to give thanks to God and to share in his presence through the communal participation of all Christians in a miraculous act of worship.

The result is a mystical experience, where the souls of Christians are united with Christ and are admitted into his presence through an encounter with the sacred, not through their own efforts or abilities.

Music plays a key role in this mystical experience because it penetrates deeper into our consciousness than any other non-physical element available to us. In fact, one might say that music is “mind” itself and that no other medium can convey what music does for our souls: it makes us feel closer to God than any other thing we could experience – including prayer (and prayer alone).

As such, music’s contribution to our mystical experience should be recognized as an important aspect of its role in the Divine Liturgy. However, without being fully understood by academics, listeners have unwittingly served as a conduit for some people who have too much time and energy on their hands who have failed to realize that they serve as a counterbalance to those who understand music better than they do. As such, I would like to propose three questions about music’s role in liturgical services: 1) Are there any logical reasons for why we should listen to certain types of music during liturgy? 2) What are the practical implications for how we listen to certain types of music during liturgy? 3) What are some musical styles which communicate certain messages best?


This is a summary of my talk at the UX Conference in Stockholm, which was held on the same day as the UX Summit in London. I believe this is a good example of how to be an optimist when it comes to the value of design and user experience. In Stockholm, we have an amazing church that has been built entirely out of stone for hundreds of years. In London, we have a building entirely made out of plastic for thousands of years and we are just getting used to it. But our buildings are not any more beautiful or magical than the stones that were once employed to build them.

The point I want to make is this: if you want value from your product, it is not enough to spend time designing things that look like they are doing what you say they do; you need to take some time actually being present with people and listening to them talk about what they like about your product — because that what you will be making work for them.

It’s not as simple as copying something else and assuming it will work for everyone else too; nor does it require making sure that everything on your site works well with every device or operating system either. It requires active listening, because only then can you judge whether what you designed works for anyone who uses it.

If you can provide long-lasting value even though there is no guarantee users will come back again and again, then your design will have served its purpose — which should be enough motivation by itself.

I’m going to leave this one open-ended because I think there’s a lot more interesting ways to think about design and user experience than I’ve ever encountered before (and enough room left here for further developments). These findings may help us all come up with new ways of looking at these two fields and start thinking creatively instead of optimistically!

The book and the movie alike are based on a series of elaborate and unauthorized conflations between what the author believes to be historical facts and what the author thinks is true. They are both, of course, wrong.

But they are both wrong in different ways. In fact, if you have read more than one version of The Da Vinci Code , you will know that each has its own unique way of making these two points.

But neither does it really matter which way you do it. It’s just that both versions get it right at some level or another. That is what makes them both interesting and fun to read, to think about and to discuss.

Main Body

Many of the lessons that Christians learn from the Da Vinci Code can be transferred to other contexts, and you wouldn’t want to miss them:

• Great personalities who have overcome adversity can inspire us. In particular, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso

• Great writers, artists and musicians have made their mark in history (and will continue to do so)

• Great heroes/heroines who were marginalized or shunned by society can inspire us (indeed, we admire them!)

• Be careful what you wish for: it’s not always good news. It’s worth being prepared for disappointment. We may not get what we wish for. What we do get is better than we could have imagined. This is a great lesson to learn from The Da Vinci Code novels and movies. It will help you learn how to leverage your strengths and assets as a startup in a new market so that you can make more money than you ever dreamed possible — even if it means going through tough times like this one — and live a life that is full of meaningfully fulfilling work!


The Da Vinci Code is one of the most controversial and widely discussed books of all time, with various interpretations and arguments for and against it. It was recently made into a film starring Tom Hanks, who plays Leonardo Da Vinci, as well as an HBO series directed by Paul Haggis. For people who do not know the story behind this book (which is much more complex than I can cover here), it is a complicated book that tries to answer some important questions about art, religion, history and even the nature of God. The author was a Catholic priest and professor at Georgetown University, who tragically died in an airplane crash while conducting research on The DaVinci Code. The subject matter has been heavily debated by scholars and theologians since its publication.

This blog post attempts to set out some of the more interesting points from the book, using my own views to go over some of them in greater detail than I can here (I will provide links to further reading).

The first thing I want to start with is that there are some pretty extreme views around this book. For example, Wikipedia’s entry on the book says that “the Da Vinci Code represents a form of anti-Christian polemic” (emphasis added). This is simply inaccurate; the text does not make any claim about the nature or essence of Christianity or any specific religion or belief system; it simply makes an argument about its relationship with other religions. It is certainly true that many commentators have argued that there is a fundamental tension between “good” Christian faith and what they believe they should do in life: they are worried that their faith will be judged in light of their actions.

The second point I want to make is that no matter how you interpret it, The Da Vinci Code actually has quite a few things going for it — so many things in fact that even I am surprised there isn’t more controversy around it (this blog post should help explain why). Many people have found inspiration in its narrative; others have seen echoes of their own experiences or past beliefs. Others still find inspiration in its narrative from both sides — from those who see parallels between themselves and Jesus or other religious figures or from those who see parallels between him/herself/itself and others/the world etc., really anyone with an interesting setting for them can find something in there worth discussing!

A Christian parent is one who continually and consistently seeks after the glory of God, works for the edification of others, and loves everyone.

All these things are essential to raising your child in a way that will help him or her grow up to be a person who is truly happy and satisfied.

The good news is that these things can be learned, practiced, and perfected without even thinking about them!

Even if you don’t know how to do any of those things yourself (which, frankly, doesn’t seem likely), all it takes is a little time to learn those skills, and then apply them in your own life. So let’s talk about what you need to do.

Why Christian Values are Important

What are some of the main benefits of Christian values?

Many people have asked me this question, or at least answered it as if they had been asked. I will answer the questions in hopes that others might find this helpful.

For a lot of people, the answer is simply “I don’t know”. If you’re like me, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t difficult to answer the question — and it may be useful for you to do so. Here are some brief notes on each question:

1)   How does Christianity relate to non-Christian religions? It does not promote violence, nor does it condone sexual immorality. It condemns only one specific kind of immorality, namely murder and adultery.

2)   How does Christianity relate to other religions? It doesn’t claim that these ones are better than others; rather, Christians should judge according to the Word of God (the Bible) and not by some so-called “higher authority” (i.e., what someone else says).

3)   How does Christianity relate to political systems such as liberalism and conservatism? The world has changed drastically over the past 300 years because of the development of those systems. They are no longer relevant for most people today; consequently, Christianity is more relevant today than ever before in history! For example, homosexuality is still an immoral act in many countries around the world today because of religious beliefs; likewise with abortion rights lawsuits — which Christians should support while opposing them on moral grounds. No liberal or conservative system is perfect; but neither can we make a major change without knowing what Christianity teaches about these issues! (A quick note on abortion: Last year I wrote an article called “Why Abortion Is Morally Wrong” which was eventually published by LifeWay Christian Books.)

4)   What role should religion play in public life? Especially when there are problems with global warming and other areas that require solutions from all sectors — not just one sector! If a particular system cannot solve global warming, then no system will be able to solve it! Therefore as Christians we need to pray for our leaders and everyone involved in government; we must continue praying for every leader from now on until we get what we want from them!  (Note: If you want more information about how

Raising Kids in a Secular World

I would like to share three ways parents can raise their children in a secular world:

1. Raise your children to be free and independent. In an age of surveillance and control, it is crucial that your children learn to stand up for themselves and be able to choose what they want. This is a very difficult task, but one that I believe we can make happen with the right approach.

2. Give your kids a lot of freedom in their lives—but also keep them safe. In today’s society, we are highly dependent on technology for our survival—whether it’s our phones or cars or even food! We need to teach our children how to protect themselves against cyber-threats, but also how not to get so dependent on technology that they allow it overrule their beliefs and values.

3. Teach them how to love each other—and even ourselves—in a Godly way. Whether you are religious or not, every child needs a little more love from their parents than they receive at home in this busy world out there!

How to Teach Christian Values

In the popular sense, a Christian is someone who believes in God.

I believe that there are many ways to be a Christian. I think the way I talk about it is important, because we can’t isolate the word from how we live it.

One thing I do know is that no matter what kind of Christian you are, there are some things you should never do.

For example: I would never teach my children to lie or steal or abuse animals – any of these things would violate my faith in God and His love for me and my family.

I would never tell them that smoking pot was okay – because it isn’t. And neither should you, whether you are a parent or not.

And neither should you.

Those things shouldn’t just be in Scriptures – they shouldn’t just come from God’s Word – they should come from your heart and your conscience as well.

The way you talk about your faith is as important as the words you use to teach it to other people (whether those words are inside or outside of Scripture). So in this post I want to share some examples of how parents have taught their kids about the meaning of Christian values using both books and movies (as well as video games). It’s very easy to find quotes on “Christian values” which aren’t actually Christian values at all, but then again they might be useful ways of teaching our children certain things without being explicitly Christian (or not even being explicitly religious). This post is intended for parents who wish their kids could learn these values without having them interpreted by the church, school or government (or maybe even other people). It is also intended for kids who don’t need an explicit instruction manual when they’re learning their morals; it’s probably fine if they just play by themselves knowing that some good ideas will stick around anyway (and some bad ones will sink into their subconscious?). In this post I’ll share a few examples from books and movies which show how children can learn about Christian values without having it defined by an authority figure like me; I’m hoping these examples will inspire more parents to give this a try themselves! And if there’s anything else you think we missed out please let us know!

Here are a few examples:

1) When Jesus was walking through Jerusalem he noticed two blind men sitting on the ground crying loudly: “Jesus, Son of David!” Jesus said quietly, “Don’t worry…I’ve got my own store

Acknowledging Accomplishments with Rewards and Praise

We often say that one of the best things about being a parent is the feeling of accomplishment as your children grow and mature. But, this feeling also comes with a price — which is that parents tend to forget about their achievements when they are young.

Every parent wants their children to be happy in all aspects of life, but there are some areas where happiness is much more difficult to achieve than it was in the past.

In the modern world, success has become a way of life and therefore most people value it highly. Parents used to be able to count on their children’s happiness in these areas:

• They had a stable environment with loving caretakers (and they were also consistently rewarded for their efforts)

• They were provided with food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs (compared to what they used to get)

• They were allowed to do whatever they wanted without being criticized or punished (compared to what they used to get)

The idea that success is the goal for anyone has changed; it is not enough for us anymore for our children or ourselves. Nowadays, we want our kids to enjoy having good jobs, travel abroad and even pursue higher education. But how can we help them have these goals? How can we help them become successful? How can we motivate them? What should we teach them about motivation? And how do we raise successful children?

After all, there are no simple answers; no formulaic ways of helping a child reach his/her goal. However, I have found a few things that have worked pretty well over time:

• Create change in your child’s environment

• Be consistent in behavior if you want results (but don’t expect miracles)

• Give your child rewards that he/she wants and don’t expect too much from him/her (but you want him/her too!)

Regardless of how you approach raising child(ren), it is important that you keep these simple tips in mind as you do so:  • Create change in your child’s environment while remaining consistent yourself. If you want him/her succeed in anything he/she will need regular feedback on what has worked and what hasn’t. For example: “I love this board game,” one father told his son after winning an award at school (“I won an award! You got me excited”). This

Conclusion – The Importance of Christian Values in the Modern Society

“We are not only our own children, but also the children of God. None of us is an island, and none of us is alone.” –C. S. Lewis in “The Chronicles of Narnia”

Christian parenting is a tussle between the interests and values of the family as well as that of their child(ren). A Christian parent might be on the one hand interested in strengthening the family bond, while at the same time wanting to set themselves apart from those who do not view them as representatives of God.

In today’s world, that means being able to find a way for each member of a family to develop their own identity and self-respect. They do this by showing respect for one another and for God – showing themselves worthy enough to be part of a holy community, even if they are not ‘perfect’. As such, it can be challenging for parents who place great value on Christian values to balance their interest in their own families with those which stem from faith in Christ.

But parents do have a duty: to teach their children about what it means to follow Jesus and make sure that they are living out His example so that they will grow up into good people who will be able to lead others into following Him as well. It may be hard work at times – but its worth it when we see our children grow into strong Christians who live life according to His teachings and model a way for others to follow Him too (and we can all do so together!).

There are so many fascinating things you can learn about early Christianity from this site. I just did a little bit of research on it, and it turns out that the Dead Sea Scrolls actually date to the fourth century A.D.

This is the first time that there’s been any kind of archaeological evidence or archaeological proofs of ancient Christianity (or any other early church) in the desert for almost 2,000 years. The Dead Sea Scrolls show us that Jewish Christians were alive and well in Palestine in the fourth century, not just a couple thousand years ago.

If you want to see what early Christianity was like before Christianity became a part of mainstream culture, here’s your chance to do so right now!

Who Built the Site?

A large building in the desert, a mountain and a river are not the sort of places that you would expect to have been built by early Christians. But they were.

And they did so with incredible speed: within less than a decade, the Christian community in this region had not only built an entire city (dubbed “the City of David” by locals), but it also immediately began constructing monastic structures, most notably in its capital of Jerusalem.

The site itself was named for its location between the fourth and eighth centuries A.D., during the period known as “the Early Church,” when Christianity first gained widespread support from mainstream religious leaders. The exact date is unknown, but it is estimated to have taken place between A.D. 500 and 600, shortly before the first Council of Nicaea (which took place at the end of that period). This occurred after the Council of Laodicea (in A.D. 431).

The site was about 200 kilometers distant from Jerusalem, on the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias (which is now called Yarmuk) in what was then known as Perea Province (now part of Jordan). While some would argue that this small village was not worthy enough to be a metropolis, it is clear that early Christians were truly serious about finding ways to evangelize this remote region — so serious that they chose to build their own city right next door to their main religious center in Jerusalem!

The site itself consisted of three distinct areas:

• The City Temple — which housed multiple churches, monastic cells and other buildings

• A large complex north-westward from this temple consisting primarily of monastic cells which were used for prayer and study as well as housing various religious officials such as monks who served at other shrines in Jerusalem like Mount Zion or Cholula

• A vast sea area known as “the Jordan basin” due to its proximity to several different rivers and lakes including Lake Tiberias where boats could travel easily along its shores for cargo or travel purposes

This image shows just one section within this vast complex:

It may look like two hills; but these are actually two different hills on opposite sides of one another with an administrative building located on top of one hill while a church stands on top of the other hill. The administrative building sits on top because it was intended primarily for governmental operations: it housed councils and government officials among

Who Used the Site?

If you have read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that I am fascinated by ancient communities; and the way in which they used ICT. One of the questions I have been pondering recently is how these communities managed to survive the rise and fall of their respective empires. What happened to them? Are they still around today? It turns out one of the sites that is still standing is a fascinating early Christian community, active between the fourth and eighth centuries A.D., called Lorsch Abbey .

The Lorsch Abbey community was built with two specific purposes in mind:

1) To secure an endowment for building a church and monastery on behalf of Saint Gallen or St. Gallen in Switzerland (the site is actually near Lake Constance)

2) To build a large number of cells for monastic communities at various locations around what is now Germany, Austria and Switzerland — including Lorsch Abbey.

It has been described as “”…a community based upon a religious ideal, which was formed by its members to reach that ideal through prayer, work, contemplation and missionary work””. As such, it has long been identified as one of the greatest early Christian communes. The term “communalism” itself comes from this sense of communal ideals (“communion” being Latin for “covenant”).

The source material for this blog post comes from an article written by Daniel Pinchbeck about his recent visit to Lorsch Abbey . Check it out!

What Happened to the Site?

The first Christian communities in the Roman Empire were small and often disintegrated due to internal strife and persecution. One exception was the site of Ephesus (modern-day Izmir, Turkey).

A few years ago, through some luck, a young archaeologist named James Mellaart (now Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh) stumbled upon this church in an excavation that was going on nearby. He decided to take a closer look and found that it was still standing. The church had been abandoned for several centuries, but not before it had acquired a reputation as one of the most vibrant Christian sites in antiquity. What’s more, he discovered that the site continued to be active well into the fifth century A.D., when Christianity became the dominant religion in Roman Asia Minor (Izmir is located on the Asian side of this region). The activity there continued even after Constantine I declared Christianity a legal religion in A.D. 324; according to legend, he explicitly forbade any further development or worship at this site but instead concentrated on building Constantine’s palace nearby and converting his relatives to Christianity himself. This added to its already significant legacy as one of the largest Early Christian sites outside Rome with multiple churches, monasteries…and an amphitheater!

This is just one example of many archaeological discoveries around today’s world where we are still discovering things we didn’t even know we knew: how different cultures interacted with each other long ago; how ancient civilizations laid out their cities; how they built roads…even when they didn’t want anyone else to build them!


I’m going to skip over the Q&A and go straight to the conclusion.

The whole process of discovery and learning is a long journey that might take you years or decades — even lifetimes — to complete. For me, it was about a decade, but I’m not counting that “long journey” in this one.

If those of us who are reading this post are lucky, it will be bookended by two discoveries: one about how my dad got into the business, and one about how we got so lucky with our mentors and friends. If you read this far, I hope you have learned something new along the way. If you haven’t — well, I guess we’ll just have to keep exploring!