Thursday, August 31, 2006

english

spanishI once heard a speaker at the James Robison Bible Conference give a talk called Power, But Not Power, which was essentially about experiencing the power of God in its foolish simplicity without taking up power over others. O that those words would be heard! But I digress. This man's speech began with saying several graceful greetings he'd received in each of several languages he spoke, capping it off with, "but in heaven, we will all speak one language..." and then he spoke something so beautiful in Spanish that I remember wanting to cry even though I didn't have any idea what he'd said until he translated it.

Of course when I was in Spain I told Lucía and Nicolás that I agreed that Spanish would surely be the language we all speak in heaven, and how I particularly like the way they greet each other with kisses and leave each other with Adios which literally translates, To God. But ever since 1992 when I got stuck on the idea of Spanish being such a heavenly language, I have been on a quest to find something I'm proud of in English. I have found one thing: you're welcome. In Spanish when you thank someone—which is said beautifully as gracias (literally grace), they answer de nada (literally of nothing). But that just seems cheap to me. Now, we do that, too. We say, don't mention it or even it's nothing or no biggie. But you're welcome is such a beautiful phrase. You're well come. Don't those words make you feel like you're a long lost friend that someone has been expecting to show up so that he could finally do the good in his heart towards you? Well come. I sometimes think that's what God says when we say grace. You're welcome. I like it anyway.

What I don't like is stupid junk like this. If you speak English, please read the following words aloud:

thorough
through
trough
cough
bough
bought
thought
fought
ought
tough
although
borough
sought
drought
dough
rough
enough

Not only is it idiotic to have four letters when one would do. Not only what do g and h have do with anything? Not only is it stupid to prounounce the same letters so many different ways. But worst of all, it doesn't exactly welcome anyone who would learn our tongue.

So anyway, I'm back to trying to learn Spanish again. My kids will probably learn it first, seeing that they have a private tutor who just left from her weekly afternoon with the Coans.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

as we were saying yesterday

fray luis

Fray Luis Ponce de León entered the University of Salamanca at the age of fourteen and in 1544 joined the Augustinian order. In 1561 he obtained a chair in Theology at Salamanca; in 1571 he attained the chair of Sacred Letters as well. While at the University, he translated classical and biblical literature and wrote on religious themes. He was denounced to the Inquisition and was consequently imprisoned at Valladolid from March 1572 until December 1576; the charges against him were then abandoned, and he was released with an admonition. The first day after returning from four years’ imprisonment, all eyes were on him, waiting for what bitterness, what railing, what grudges were four years imprisoned in his heart, waiting for public vindication from his seat of power, his lectern. He began that lecture with, “As we were saying yesterday…” and continued with the sublime voice of his calling, which was to impart young intellectuals in this Spanish university we visited with truth and virtue.

I feel like I’ve been unable to speak for some time now on this blog, unable to write or even converse. But today I am back, and for me it was just yesterday. I would start with something very short, a simple thought that maybe is (or isn’t) profound. And this one is for my conservative friends. It’s actually more of a question.

The opposite of justice is _____________________.

(see comments for the answer)