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  • ivanildotrindade 6:22 pm on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    So Long 

    I was dreading this day, but it is finally here. Many of you already suspected it. As of today, I will no longer be able to blog here. It is simply much more than I am able to do at this stage of my life.

    For those of you, my wonderful readers, who hung at the edge of their seats in anticipation of each new blog post (ha, ha), I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    And if you still desire to read my rambling thoughts, you may go here. Don’t forget to subscribe. I write once a week, usually on Friday and it is more geared to people in my parish.

    But by now you should consider yourself a member of my virtual parish, so what’s the difference.

    Keep fighting for justice, and especially if involves little children who have been victimized by the brutes of sexual slavery. To see what I am personally doing about this, please go here.

    So long,

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 2:58 pm on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: animal instinct, ethiopia, girls at risk, kidnap for marriage, maternal instinct, rape. forced marriage   

    If Humans Will Not Give Us Good News, Animals Will 

    I got this from somebody’s Facebook page. I think it is worth the read on these days when people are becoming ever more creative in finding ways to bring havoc into our world.

    Well, look, we just report the news around here, no matter how incredible it sounds. And this one is incredible and beautiful and almost too good to be true, but in a story that’s being corroborated by many witnesses, a 12-year-old girl who had been kidnapped in Ethiopia by a group of men who intended to force her into marriage was rescued by a trio of benevolent lions (a trio of benevolent lions). The girl, who had been missing for a week, was the captive of seven men who had beat her and intended to marry her. But before they could seriously harm her, three lions appeared and—holy moly, can you even believe it?—stood guard over the girl until she was found by police. Government authorities suspect that the girl’s crying reminded the lions of mewing cubs and they took her under their incredible golden paws until they were certain she was safe.“They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said. “If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage” …

    To read the full story from NBC News, click here.

    Peace. And please pray for the families of the victims of the “Boston Carnage.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 3:52 pm on April 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fire in thailand, hill tribe people, mae surin camp, minorities in thailand, refugee camp fire, suspicious fire, thai-burma border   

    Questions About the Mae Surin Camp Fire 

    Refugee fire 5
    You may have heard the news. It’s already over a week old now and in the age of fast short news cycles, this is an eternity. But there is an angle to the story about the fire at the refugee camp in the Thai-Burma border that has not been explored. Most of the people living in that camp are Christians of different denominations and stripes. The evangelicals have been there for the last 10 years, having been reached by some indigenous pastors who are Karen.

    Refugee fire 4The Karen are a minority group in the northern part of Thailand. They, along with many of the so-called “hill tribe” people, are often despised and discarded. They are called “monkeys,” among other terrible names. Many of them do not have proper Thai I.D. cards and thus are not even considered citizens of Thailand. Without proper papers, they can’t work, go to school or get medical cards. They are displaced people, literally without a country.

    Refugee fire 1The Thai government does not officially recognize these refugee camps so that makes it a little more difficult to help these people. So when the Christians say that they have reasons to suspect that the fire was intentional, I tend to believe them. But, of course, the cause of the fire is still under investigation so we have to wait, but the fact that the police chief who raised questions about the investigation has been removed from his post raises even more questions…

    The good news is that there are at least three relief organizations inside the remains of the camp now. The bad news is that a lot of the Christians, for one reason or another, are not receiving much help at this point.

    I have two friends who have been inside the camp in the last week or so. One is Jay Milbrandt. I have written about him here in connection to his book Go and Do. Jay works for Pepperdine University and he happens to be in Thailand right now. He wrote recently about his trip to the refugee camp here. Please read his article. It is very informative.

    Refugee fire 3My other friend is Karen. She is the one who supplied me with the pictures, which she took during her last trip to the camp. She works with an organization inside Thailand which helps rescue orphan children. She has made two trips to the refugee camp. She has a special permission to get in because of her connection to some of the officials in charge. She is heading up an effort to bring relief to the Christians. In fact, in a couple of hours she will be heading back to the camp for a third time, with four pick up trucks loaded with supplies. She says that her people need everything, from pots and pans to shoes to Bibles to food. Let me know if you would like to help. I will have more information soon. Please e-mail me at ivanildoctrindade@gmail.com.

    Like I said, this is old news already, but I beg you not to let it leave your mind too quickly. These people are suffering. They deserve a break and most of us who live in this part of the world are able to do something to help. Please find an organization with a good track record, especially if you know the people who are running it, and help. There are multitudes of way you can help now. Don’t wait too long. Soon this will be so ancient no one will remember.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 10:13 pm on March 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anwar el sadat, easter, friend of sinners, , izaq rabin, , jesus drunkard, jesus glutton, jfk, john lennon, martin luther king jr, pope francisco, , ronald reagan, tax collectors   

    Jesus, John Lennon & Other Martyrs 

    I haven’t posted here in ages but it is Easter weekend, how can I not speak of something I feel so passionate about?

    I met a couple from a western European country in my local Starbucks here in Lititz today. We had a delightful conversation which lasted a little over 30 minutes. During that time we talked about a variety of subjects, among which the newly elected Pope. These folks are not religious people but they both expressed a certain degree of fascination with Pope Francisco, and especially how he comes across as a common man who is passionate about the poor and so far has said no to some of the luxuries of the good life afforded the “Prince” of the Roman Church.

    The lady made a comment that I thought was very intriguing. She said, “If other Popes and religious men had been that way, it would probably have impacted my life differently. I think I would have gone to church then.” Interesting.

    I guess few people dwell on the fact that contrary to many of the religious leaders of today, Jesus Christ was meek, compassionate, and irrevocably drawn to the poor and downcast. He was accused of being a “glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners,” a libel leveled against Him by the religious leaders of the day, who felt threatened by the fact that Jesus was radically different from them. Many of today’s religious leaders, by the way, don’t stand a chance of being even falsely accused of such things, because they endeavor not to be seen anywhere near such people or things (or, if they do, they make sure it is in secret…).

    Think about this: Jesus loved the poor and those who were considered “the least, the lost, the last” were attracted to Him like a magnet. He was killed. Gandhi was in favor of non-violent protest. He was killed. Martin Luther King Jr. was willing to dialogue with his “enemies.” He was killed. JFK was a Catholic President. He was killed. John Lennon imagined a world without class or war. He was killed. Ronald Reagan dared to talk to the leader of the Soviet Union about ending the Cold War. Someone tried to kill him. Izaq Rabin was willing to hold direct talks with the PLO. He was killed. Anwar el Sadat achieved an armistice with Israel. He was killed. And the list goes on and on…

    One has to wonder what might happen to this Pope… It seems like every time someone of prominence establishes himself against the status quo, they come gunning for him.

    But back to Jesus Christ. All the other men listed above died for a political cause (except maybe John Lennon?). Jesus died for a cause that was outside Himself. In biblical terms, He died a substitutionary death — His body and blood in exchange for the sins of the world to satisfy God’s justice. Jesus said that nobody took His life from Him, He voluntary gave it. Jesus didn’t die just because He was different; He died so YOU could be different.

    And most of all, all the other men above are revered today for what they did while living and maybe their heroic death. But there is a tomb somewhere where you can honor their memory. Jesus, on the other hand, though revered for His divine words and deft miracles is revered primarily for what happened AFTER He died. According to Scriptures, He rose again on the third day, and thus accomplished the greatest feat against the greatest enemy of mankind — death itself. And that is why we celebrate Easter this Sunday.

    “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died… Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (Paul in 1 Corinthians 15).

    Happy Easter, everyone!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    PS.: I am blogging more often here.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 5:01 pm on March 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AIDS cure, anti-retroviral drugs, children and AIDS, HIV cure, , miracle and science, science and bible,   

    Miracle or HIV Cure? 

    Today is a great day for those who have lived with the scourge  of the HIV virus for their entire lives. Up until now there was only a couple of known “cures” for patients carrying the virus and they were all adults. Their circumstances were so rare, though, that no doctor would recommend anyone to go through what those few had to endure (plus the fact that it would be nearly impossible to replicate their situations).

    But today the first cure among children was announced. A little 2.5 year-old Mississippi girl has been declared cured from the HIV virus. No traces of the virus have been found in her system, even after a good amount of time has elapsed since she stop receiving the anti-retroviral medication.

    And what is unique about this situation? Well, it is unique!  Again try as they may (and scientists now have the capabilities of running tests that detect even an infinitesimal amount of the virus in a person’s system), doctors who conducted the studies are baffled at the reasons why this girl was cured. One doctor calls it a “miracle.” There is a word you don’t usually hear associated with the medical field. But the circumstances are so unusual, this doctor had to use the “m” word.

    I don’t know about you, but if I were among those doctors, I would be moving heaven and earth to find every little details about what mother and child were doing the time they went under the radar and were nowhere to be seen for six months, thus unavailable to continue the treatment the girl had started since before birth.

    Could they be receiving alternative treatment in a clinic in Ukraine somewhere? Or better yet, maybe the doctors should simply check where they went to church for that period of time.

    Yes, sometimes the answer is closer than you think. Be that as it may, I wish this girl and all other children who suffer this virus due to no choice of their own the best of luck. And more miracles to boot.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 4:37 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: african salves, end times, french colonial rule, haiti, papa doc, point of no return, slavery, tolkien, voodoo, wandering souls, wraiths, zombies   

    Are “Zombies” Stealing our Religion? 

    I read an article recently in which the author was arguing that the preponderance of ghost-zombie-themed movies in our society was one of the evidences that America was reaching what he calls “the point of no return” after which God’s judgment is supposed to fall hard on the nation. Now I have no way of knowing whether he has a point but it is true that Zombies are more popular today than princesses and fairies in Halloween customs. Need I say more?

    Zombies indeed have an ominous beginning in the history of mythology and cult. According to another author, the full-blown concept of the zombie comes from the African voodoo ideas collapsing with the evils of slavery. He says that “[The Zombie] is a New World phenomenon that arose from the mixture of old African religious beliefs and the pain of slavery, especially the notoriously merciless and coldblooded slavery of French-run, pre-independence Haiti.”  You should try to read the full article here.

    As this narrative goes, Africans were familiar with the concept of souls of the departed that were never totally released from this world and wandered around following the will of another who took possession of them. But according to this writer, the full Zombie came as a result of sheer religious manipulation on the part of the oppressors.

    Here is how this might have worked. In order to escape the horrors of slavery, the Africans began to resort to suicide. Suicide was the way for them to achieve heaven, or lan guinée, to use the expression still used today in Haitian Creole to refer to “heaven.” Suicide is the only way a slave could show that she was still in control of her body and it deprived the slave owner of both the labor and the sensation of being the proprietor of “goods.”

    But the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? In order to exploit the fear of death to their own advantage, the oppressors used something that was familiar to the slaves to make sure that no one would wish upon himself the curse of being a slave forever, even in the afterlife. Suicide was the surest way to become a zombie and “The zombie is a dead person who cannot get across to lan guinée. This final rest — in green, leafy, heavenly Africa, with no sugarcane to cut and no master to appease or serve — is unavailable to the zombie.” 

    Check mate. Right? Not quite. There is a way for a zombie to have his will and soul returned to him and that is by eating salt, so a smart zombie master will make sure that he keeps the creature’s food tasteless. So you have to wonder if the kids sporting the Zombie Halloween wouldn’t mind if you gave them a little salt instead of candies…

    More importantly, from a commercial standpoint, the author brings up the fact that “Zombies” are the ultimate work machine — never tiring, never going on strike, never complaining. Like so many workers who labor in mindless, mass production today — the clothe industry in India and Bangladesh, the computer copy cat shops in China, etc. But is that just equally a stretch as the article I just read equating the increase of “Zombie activity” to the end of the world?

    I don’t know. All I know is that the concept of wandering aimlessly without a soul is so prevalent in our society many people believe it is true. Some people think they are zombies; others believe they have met zombies.

    I actually reject both ideas. Increased emphasis on Zombie “activity” as sign of the beginning of the end relies on proving that this stuff is really increasing. From my perspective, I think we simply are more aware of this because information technology allows us to have more access to this stuff at a more rapid pace. And as far as the full Zombie concept being a result of the French colonial rule mixed with old African religion in Haiti, this is tempting but doubtful. I suggest that the Nazgûl or wraiths were Zombies in the imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien in Middle-earth Legendarium.

    Be that as it may, I just have to wonder: just like the oppressors of slaves in mid-20th Century Haiti, who manipulated religion to bring confusion into the minds of the simple, could we be witnessing the reverse of that in our culture? In other words, could fictitious notions of wandering souls be also manipulated to confuse us about religion? Could our fixation with Zombies obscure from our minds the biblical narrative which is as simple as we die once and after that we have to give an account of what we did while on earth?

    Ah, the simplicity of the biblical text sometimes baffles me. And pass the salt, please.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 7:41 pm on February 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , child labor, children and livestock, children in brazil, children in cambodia, kids and adults, too young to work   

    Kids Behaving Like Adults 

    My little blog is suffering from a lack of post. Somebody just told me the other day that he was going to stop checking every day if I didn’t post something new. So to save me from losing a reader, here we go. By the way, if you don’t want to keep checking every day, just sign up on the blog itself to receive an e-mail. The blog entry will be sent to you via e-mail every time I post. Easy, huh?

    I had a conversation the other day with someone about the difference between what young kids are expected or not expected to do here in the U.S. as opposed to other cultures. It started me thinking.

    I had dinner with a family recently. There were three generations there — parents, son and wife, and grandson. The grandson was in his early teens but I was impressed with how he sat by the table with us and carried on a normal conversation about soccer, life in school and many other subjects. Only later I noticed that I had just witnessed something unique — kids here are not expected to spend much time in the company of adults who visit your home.

    Actually, kids are generally segregated from adults even in other settings. In church they normally have their own services. In social gatherings the hosts provide a table for the “young folks.” Even in malls, young people walk together, children have their play areas and adults run around trying to catch up with their kids.

    This conversation led me to think about the things I did as a child that most of the kids in the U.S. would never be required to do. At 8 years of age I would walk to the market with my mom for about half an hour one-way and help her carry groceries back home. Since the age of 4 or 5 I learned to fold and put away my own clothe. When I was 9 I started working selling sweets on the streets. At the age of 10 I was working at a grocery store and when I was about 11 I was on the back of a truck lifting and loading big sacs of sugar and rice.

    I became the president of the junior department at church when I was about 12-13 and at 15 I preached my first sermon. I babysat all my younger siblings since I was about 8 and was sent with my sister on mission to get a midwife to attend to my mom when she was in labor pains to deliver one of my siblings at home — a mission we failed miserably at but that is a story for another day.

    I also remember serving as a sort of taxi driver to younger ladies in my neighborhood who were a bit older than me, taking them to work or school on a bicycle. I must have been about 12 then. Even as a young teen, if my parents needed to go somewhere, they had no qualms leaving our younger siblings for me and my sister to look after. We were 9 so this was a lot of responsibility and thought nothing of it. Today this would probably be considered some kind of abuse, at least in the U.S.

    When I was in 5th grade, I walked 40 minutes one-way to school with my sister for a whole year. I had to get up about 4 am right before school started every year to get in line to get the yearly shots that were a requirement to enroll in school. This was before I even entered High School. Well, the list could go on and on. And none of this stuff, by the way, made me feel, then or now, that I was robbed of my childhood…

    And that’s why I laughed hysterically (at least inside) when I was in Cambodia once with a guy who had retired from working with livestock in an academic setting in the U.S. Traveling in the countryside one day, he noticed a girl who couldn’t be more than 6 or 7 guiding a cow with a simple stick, a not too uncommon scene in Cambodia. He said he would love to meet the parents of that little girl and warn them of the dangers of having a girl her age around large animals like that. I wanted to say something like, “Dude, these people having been doing this for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, and you think you are going to teach them something new about children and livestock now?” But I kept my mouth shut.

    Putting kids in an adult world and expecting them to do “big” things when they are still young, within reason, will help them grow stronger. It will give them confidence and it will result in their becoming much better citizens, able to adjust to any set of circumstances and face any challenge thrown their way. At least that’s what I think it did to me.

    How about you? Do you have memories of doing things that only adults would do today? Do share!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Brianna Wasson 3:36 am on February 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Pastor I, your post here resonates with me a lot. Now that I’ve lived in Germany for almost a year. Because we have seen our kids grow leaps and bounds inside all the adult things they’ve had to do while here. Not nearly what you had to do, but much, much more than anything they’ve ever faced in the U.S. Like facing uncomfortable and plowing through it. Helping me carry heavy bags of groceries, like you had to do. And, well, just “grown up” stuff that is no doubt maturing them. We are amazed at God is growing them this year. Anyway — thanks for your thoughts on this! Love it. :)

      • ivanildotrindade 8:13 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        very good, Brianna. Good to know at least one person gets it… :). So happy for u and your family!

  • ivanildotrindade 12:53 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baltimore Ravens, CBS, evangelicals, , , Lewis, NBC, Person of the Year, Rahab, Ravens, Ray Lewis, speaking for evangelicals, speaking for God, Super Bowl   

    Ray Lewis Doesn’t Speak for God 

    Ray Lewis will probably have a statue of him erected at the Ravens stadium commemorating his storied career. But no amount of rings or statues will ever erase the cloud of suspicions which still hover over the murders of two men, after Super Bowl XXXIV, as a result of which Ray Lewis was convicted of obstruction of justice, after striking a deal with the prosecutor. He also allegedly settled for an undisclosed amount with the family of the murdered men later on before the matter went to trial on a civil court.

    Ray Lewis is undoubtedly a gifted athlete. He also seems to be a sincere man. He claims to be an evangelical Christian, even a preacher. So that means that by virtue of his celebrity status he will at times speak for all evangelicals.

    And that is the matter with Ray Lewis. As far as I know, He is not theologically trained and has no authority to speak on biblical matters as if he were some kind of an expert. And I deplore his attempts to appeal to God in explaining away the questions surrounding the issues of the murders of two innocent men. And that is exactly what Ray did on the eve of the most recent Super Bowl. If you didn’t see the interview, here is the critical moment of it. I reproduce the question the CBS reporter asked him and the unmistakably bizarre answer by Ray Lewis:

    CBS: “What would you like to say to the family?”

    LEWIS: “It’s simple: God has never made a mistake. That’s just who he is, you see. If our system — and this is the sad thing about our system — if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have gotten to the bottom line. But the saddest thing ever is a man looked me in my face and told me, ‘We know you didn’t do this, but you’re going down for it anyway.’ To the family: If you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don’t use people who commits anything like that for his glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”

    If you want to read the full report, go here, but in essence Ray is saying that his innocence is proven by the will of God. I say: nonsense.  (For a more incisive analysis of Lewis’ interview, read this story by NBC). The thought that God does not use someone who is decidedly “bad” for His glory is preposterous.

    First, you have to establish whether God is really bringing glory to His name through the individual in question (in this case, Ray Lewis). In the absence of unbiased evidence, are we expected to take Lewis’ own words that God is indeed using him for His glory? How many people have been so successful and done so much good and yet have been so far away from God and don’t care to state that publicly? Goodness is not a propriety of the religiously initiated. Ignorance of God does not make one automatically evil.

    Secondly, all you have to do is take a cursory look at some of the Bible stories. David was a murderer, he was an adulterer, and a thief. Saul was a murderer before he became Paul. Rahab was a prostitute before she became an ancestor of the Messiah. The list goes on and on. And may I tell you about me?

    Look, I am not calling any of these people “bad.” I am just saying they weren’t exactly walking on the straight and narrow. At a certain point in their lives they were not candidates for the “Person of the Year” award. They were not your hometown heroes, they were not someone you would ask to babysit your children. But fast forward a little and each of those folks ended up being used by God to do some significant things.

    Ray Lewis has missed the opportunity to show a little humility. He doesn’t have to admit guilt or confess to something he didn’t do. But I would appreciate if He would just leave God out of his lame explanation. Don’t taint God’s honor with man’s foibles. Don’t think you can fool us by just saying that you and the Almighty have a special deal where He has given you one of a kind killer insight. I cannot bear the thought of hearing that type of nonsense anymore.

    And if Ray Lewis really wants to speak for God, I recommend that he should at least start doing some serious reading and systematic studying of God’s Word, now that He will have plenty of time since he is retiring from professional football. And by all means, express some sorrow to the families for the pain you have, intentionally or unintentionally, caused them.

    And if you change your mind and decide to accept a coaching position with the Ravens, please don’t hire God as your assistant. You may end up embarrassing Him… again!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Ted Beaver 9:26 am on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ray has some interesting theology, for sure. I’ll be paying attention to how he lives his life now that he isnt playing, and doesn’t have the world telling him how great he is on an hourly basis.

    • Derek Johnson 7:13 pm on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The vague reporting in the Lewis story is the result of the media lumping all Christians into the same category, without bothering to learn the specifics of what they believe. Ray, if you want credibility, say what church you belong to. With the public reporting, it’s possible that he’s religious but doesn’t go to church.

      • ivanildotrindade 11:38 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        not sure revealing which church he goes to will give him credibility, but I understand that u r making a larger point: show me your confession with your deeds. thanks for posting!

    • lionjudah 1:08 am on February 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      God’s name gets used, blamed and brought into the courtroom of daily living for lots and lots of things that goes against his righteous attributes. Unfortunately, good folk like us justify our selfish and unholy living by involking his holy name. When instead, God should be simply obeyed, revered, feared, and understood as someone to whom we will ultimately stand in judgement.

      The beautiful thing about all of this is that God will be the final judge and we will all–each one of us–answer for the unrighteous deeds we have done. The “lake of fire” is waiting for us unless we confess and own our sins before we make that final “touch down.”

      Knowing this, each of us should come to the foot of the cross of his son, Jesus, to find refuge and forgiveness–that includes me, you, rulers, the high and the low, the rich and the poor and SPORTS HEROS, too.

      Here is a simple story that I used to tell to children. The officials of a local town offered a beautiful bicyle as a prize to any child catching the largest fish in a contest on a given Saturday. So a young lad decided to spend a couple days fishing, then select his largest catch and freeze it until the day of the contest. Sure enough, he was being celebrated for catching the largest fish until the judges weighed his prize fish. But the judges had to disqualify the lad’s fish when they discovered his fish was FROZEN!

      • ivanildotrindade 11:34 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks, Harold. appreciate your taking the time to comment. not sure how the story relates to ray lewis but i loved it.

  • ivanildotrindade 8:37 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brazilian dictatorship, curriel, ephraim, fear of police, french email, french hashtag, french language police, french war of words, french words, french words in english, gilead, hashtag goodbye, hashtag war, hutu, language, language protectionism, language purist, , military dictatorship, mot-dièse, police, protectionism, rwanda. rwanda genocide, shiboleth, siboleth, tutsi   

    French Alert: Kiss Hashtag Good-bye 

    Among Western nations, France must be one of the few that has an active “Language Police,” although they have a fancier name for it: The Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme, “The General Committee for Terminology and New Words,” which seems like a bureaucratic heaven for people who might not be big fans of new things.

    Be that as it may, in 2011 this illustrious group banned the use of “Faceboook” and “Twitter” in any news coverage, unless the word was germane to the story. In 2003 they also decreed that “e-mail” was a threat to the pristine French language, so they substituted it with “courriel,” which actually sounds cooler to me.

    The latest victim to fall under the sharp knife of the “Language Police” is the beloved “hashtag” of Twitter fame. From now on, in all official French documents, that ignominious word is to be referred to as “mot-dièse,” a Gallic substitute literally meaning “sharp word.” The French, being the masters of self-ridicule type of humor, obviously reacted (on Twitter, of course). Here is a sample:

    Je teste un nouveauté de la langue française : le . Je préférais  

    “I tested a novelty of the French language: the #motdièse. I prefer #hashtag #riplittleword.” Very funny…

    One other user  said, “We will not say Facebook anymore but ‘Livre des facies.’”

    Having grown up under a heavy military dictatorship for 20 years in Brazil, I am naturally suspicious of Police anywhere. I know, it is a conditioned response. I understand they play a crucial role and I have some good friends who are in Law enforcement, but to this day whenever I see an uniformed policeman anywhere my first impulse is “RUN!”

    Now you can imagine how I must feel about the thought of a “Language Police.” It is not only irritating, it can be downright dangerous. In a crisis moment, having a language apparatus that is incapable of producing a certain type of sound, or carrying a dialect that betrays your origin, can land one in deep trouble (Peter on the night he betrayed Jesus) or even determine whether you will live or die (the Ephraimites in Judges 12, who looked exactly like the Gileadites and yet could not say “shiboleth,” instead they kept saying “siboleth,” and thus 42 thousand of them perished on that day — the first case in recorded history of death by language malfunction).

    The modern-day equivalent of a “shiboleth” type of war was what happened in 1990′s Rwanda. I have friends who are Tutsi and friends who are Hutu. They all tell me that you can’t tell by looking whether one is a Hutu or a Tutsi, yet in a matter of 100 days 800 thousand people (or more) were massacred, mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutu who favored the peace accord. Now I am not saying that language particularity was the only issue there, but it must have played a part.

    Make no mistake about it: in the case of the Ephraimites and the Rwanda genocide, the people drawing the war strategies were not the war generals, they were the language and cultural purists — those who could tolerate no deviation from “the norm.” That is one of the dangers of a department dedicated to protect a national language. It is not the good intention of preserving one’s own, it is the ever-present potential misuse and manipulation of information that scares me.

    French, by the way, ironically, has given a wealth of contribution to many of the languages of the world, including English (and my soul language, Portuguese). If the same rule they are now applying to their own language, would somehow be applied to English, for example, we would (at least I would) all of a sudden realize how much we love the French!

    Here is just a small sample I just quickly recalled from memory:

    “Cordon bleu” would now have to be “blue ribbon.” Would it taste the same?

    Les Misérables would have to be “The Wretched Ones,” and north Americans would be forever robbed of the joy of their favorite pastime — coming up with a nickname lest they be forced to pronounce a foreign-sounding name. “Le Mis.” (How many times after I tell people my first name, do I hear them say, “Can I call you Ivan?” or “Do you have a nickname?”).

    “Carte Blanche” is now “blank card,” but it just doesn’t feel like having the same all-encompassing power to say “blank card,” does it?

    “La vie en rose,” the famous movie (and song by Edith Piaf) becomes “life in pink,” which sounds more like an advertisement for a new Barbie doll.

    “Papier-mâché”  is “chewed paper.” Now imagine explaining that to your kindergartners when you are telling them about the materials you will be using for today’s craft…

    Our beloved “dessert,” from the French “desservir,” “clear the table,” “unserve” (it was the last course served) would suffer significant damage if suddenly we told the guests, “Now we are going to unserve you.”

    “Moulin rouge”  is “red windmil;” “aide-de-camp” is “field helper,” which sounds like a “farm hand,” “Brigadier” is “the one who fights,” a title any brawler at a bar would gladly embrace.

    Companies would have to say good-bye to the title of their top executive — C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer). All three of these words come to English via French via Latin. Good luck getting rid of that one!

    Two of my favorite French words, “fatigue” and “milieu” would have to be banned. “Medium” or “surroundings” for “milieu” just doesn’t cut it and I would get fatigued just trying to say “that which causes weariness.”

    By the way, all the words that have “petty” in them (“Petty Officer,” “petty coat,” etc.) are also of French derivation, as is “coat” (from French “cote”) and “officer,” “oficier,” by way of Latin.

    And let’s not even talk about one of the most popular and expressive French words, starting with “m_ _ _,” which has an equivalent in English starting with “s” (let the reader understand), which unfortunately did not make it into the English language, which is a shame because had it made it into English, we would all be getting mad at each other so much more poetically…

    By the way, I went to the website of the Journal Officiel, which broadcasts these official pronouncements of the “Language Police,” and to my surprise I found a link on the upper left corner with the words FAQ. I still have to find what that stands for in French… Tell me if you know, s’il vous plaît.

    I think I have caused enough trouble with this post, so c’est fini. Sorry, “It’s finished.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • lionjudah 10:25 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Moons ago when I studied World Lit at Kutztown University, in a class discussion about the Budist 8-fold path of right living which included #3 “right speech,” a girl posed this question, “Does the Christian religion have anything to say about right speech?” I was then a student and my answer was blatanly mocked by the professor–a Greek.

      “Yes, Maam,” I answered, “The Apostle Paul gave us instructions on right speech in the New Testament.”

      The Greek Dr. professor leading the discussion, marched over to where I was seated in the corner on the front row and demanded, “Rev. Stoltzfus, chapter and verse, please!”

      I said, “I can’t give that reference from memory.” The Dr. Professor marched back to his lectern and continued with another topic.

      In an earlier test I had written a PS note that said, “I have done my best to answer your questions from an academic point of view, but as a Christian believer I cannot endorse this Greek mythology.” I guess he had my number. At that point I was not yet ordained, so I was not a Reverend.

      Both God and his son, Jesus Christ, have followed the same thread of “right speech” throughout the
      world famous, holy writ, the Bible. One can begin a study of this in the Ten Commandments, “You shalt not bare false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16 RSV) Although evidence of right speaking, starts in the Garden of Eden.

      Yes, worldly government systems use speech to control the masses. Indeed, Christians throughout the centuries and until this day, die because of their confessions.

      • ivanildotrindade 3:11 pm on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        harold. it’s funny, we’ve already talked in real time about this before i read your comment. that professor was just testing u. i guess u must have failed his criterion. if u had given him any reference, i bet u he would have gone for it. funny how we have an answer for every awkward situation we lived… 30+ years later! blessings, brother.

    • Brianna Wasson 4:54 am on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for making smile this morning. A brilliant discussion of etymology. I love it. (J’adore.) :)

  • ivanildotrindade 10:42 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , farm house, Farmhouse, , hanging things, History, hooks, horse barn, hustler, new things, Norman Rockwell, , old farm house, old houses, old things, World War III   

    Unmovable Hooks 

    I am living temporarily in an old farm house. The house is 150 years old and though everything works pretty well, it is still 150 years old — no amount of make up can hide. At night, because the house is heated by oil, you hear noises coming out of the metal plates on the floor – and there is no pattern, no logic, and no apparent rhythm to the cacophony of sounds.

    The house sits behind a cluster of newer homes, not on the street, but back about one-tenth of a mile, as you follow a gravel road. The GPS lady can never find us. It has an old basement that looks like a dungeon and a red barn that used to house animals. The barn may be as old as the house, I am not sure, but it has the character of a well-built structure that might survive World War III. With enough hard work and artistry, it could be converted into a quaint little house where the occupants might live happily hereafter.

    Down to the east there is a farm, which is part of the property. It is an 8-acre parcel of land, I am told. A beautiful descending field takes you to the other, where a dog is always barking and I am told that people go hunting for deer and walking on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice. I can’t wait to go there some time in the future, but I will stay away from the dog’s path.

    Though the house is small and we are not even totally moved in yet — our stuff is not coming until 1/25; Though we have no garage and the sink in the bathroom has only one basin, we love the element of simplicity our lives gained since we moved there. We love the quietness and the fact that our neighbors are far enough they will not complain about our two dogs. We love the beautiful mornings when the sun comes up against the fields. And we love not having to pay mortgage, most of all (it will be better once our house in Ohio is sold!).

    But by far the most peculiar thing about this house is none of the things I mentioned. It is rather the unusual number of hooks and hanging gadgets of all sorts and ages I have found around the house. There are original metal hooks painted over multiple times in years past. There are some shiny new metal strips, old nails of all sizes and shapes, hung at different heights over walls, doors, on the sides of cabinets and the showers.

    This interesting phenomenon has made me ask the question: Why do we have so many of these objects in our homes? Obviously, to hang things. We hang pictures, calendars, dish towers, coats, hats, charts, boards, bags, belts, etc. But why do we hang thing? I guess we do it because we love to hang things because the stuff we hang gives us a sense of permanence in a place. They help us build a history, make memories, leave a trace. The proximity to things give us more of a sense of home, I guess.

    The things we hang say a lot about the kind of person we are. Whose picture goes on the wall of the living room? What type of calendar — Norman Rockwell paintings or Hustler magazine’s? Clean or dirty towels? Expensive or cheap china? Diplomas or Birth certificates?

    But we also hang things to try to make our lives easy. If I hang my coat by the door, I don’t have to look for it deep within the house if I have to go somewhere in a hurry. We are too busy to waste even a couple of minutes looking for something that is not obviously in front of us, so we transform what could be a beautiful, plain, empty wall into a utilitarian space always at my service.

    But life is so transitory and things pass away. No amount of hanging will prevent you from having to part with things. And your organizational scheme will some day fail you. We have all experienced the pain associated with a relocation and the feeling of empty walls that had for long been occupied with stuff. The pristine, bright paint in the space where the picture once was serves as a vivid reminder of how new things used to be.

    I can’t help but think that the only secure place to “hang” things is the wall around your heart. If you have hooks there, they will remain with you no matter how far you go. So I encourage you to cultivate your heart with wisdom and love. Wisdom is the application of solid principles to daily living. The Book of Proverbs says that a healthy reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom. I couldn’t agree more. And love is the irresistible force to accept even when logic pushes you the other way. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

    Wisdom and love will never need to be unhooked from your soul. Happy travels.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • lionjudah 12:49 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Pastor, Ivanildo, what a illustrive musing about hooks in the “Farm Camp!!” You are in Pennsylvania now, one of the 13 original colonies! One connects to yesteryear in an old Pennsylvania farm homestead, which I have affectionatly dubbed, your “Farm Camp!”

      Sylvia and I have spent a number of years of our lives in fasinating old houses. With these, you have rodents, flying things and creeping things. Not always pleasant, but it goes with the teritory. As do dungeon like basements which harbor all of the above mentioned residents.

      At the funeral of Ammon Stoltzfus, one of Sylvia’s many cousins, it was mentioned that he wished to build a house of all doors, because then there would be enough room for everyone to drop their shoes and other items that folks wanted to leave by the doorways. I suppose that goes for hooks as well. When we move into a house I am always grateful for ever waiting hooks for my wraps–that is coats, handbags, etc. In new houses one always hesitates to make a new hole in the wall or your landlord wraps your knucles if you do!

      • ivanildotrindade 3:14 pm on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        we, thankfully, have great landlords. a house of all doors — i love that concept. and with as few pieces of furniture inside as possible. open spaces fascinate me, even if it is indoors. and considering how much time we spent indoors, we should find the most comfortable and amiable environment possible inside our homes. i have a friend who calls himself “an indoor enthusiast.” i would’t go that far…

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