Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (3)

The past week has been a pleasure. The C.P. message board has calmed down and the name calling, personal attacks, and screaming have lessened to an acceptable level. It will never disappear. It is good that folks defend their research and concepts of their relationship with God with such fervor. However, it is always distasteful to see them resort to attacks on persons in lieu of logic and scriptural inquiry.

Since this is a rant, let me please ask everyone to open their bibles to the last page of the text. At the top of the two columns what does it say? I’ll help you with this. It plainly says REVELATION 23! It is singular, not plural. There is no S! There never was an S! There will never be an S! What in the world is it that prompts members and priesthood alike to assign this unnecessary S?

The very first sentence makes the matter clear. “1. The Revelation of John, a servant of God, which was given unto him of Jesus Christ things which must shortly come to pass, that he sent and signified by his angel unto his servant John.” It is not a series of revelations; it is one, to one man, by one Author. People constantly refer to the “mysteries” so I guess this must be one. Like many impediments to clear speech, this is probably attributable to curtailed reading skills, carelessness or just plain laziness. Stop it! Thank you.

Speaking of words, is it possible that God doesn’t understand twenty-first century English? Yours may not but mine does. He would understand my prayers if I rendered them using some obscure dialect of Mandarin Chinese.

One of my favorite movie lines, from a “great” film, which title is long forgotten, still lives in my memory. Ma and Pa Kettle are seated with a large family at a groaning table of food and she nods at him to offer the blessing. He starts with: “Well Sir, as You can see, we have plenty . . . .” He then recounts in folksy terms a brief inventory and they eat. Some might be offended by the prayer but I can’t imagine that God is impatient with anyone, no matter how uncultured, who takes the time and the will to offer thanksgiving to the Provider of all things which we treasure.

This prompts the question of whether private and public prayer should differ. When I listen to public prayer I hear a constant refrain of thee’s and thou’s. In most cases these pronouns are used incorrectly both in number and implied respect. Current usage in English, especially in America the land of liberty and equality, makes no built-in distinction of class or position in the use of the pronoun, you. We ask the dog, “Do you want to go out?” We ask the president, “What were you thinking on immigration reform?” In either case there is no difference because of status. We are constantly reminded that, “God is no respecter of persons.” Since the differences between "thee" and "thou" are solely one of respect or intimacy and, the prayer is directed to God, why not acknowledge that He doesn’t differentiate? If we don't use these words and use the pronoun "you" instead does that make us disrespectful? I don't think so. Does He not know our hearts? I would rather use 'You" and "Your" correctly than "Thee"and "Thou" incorrectly.

I experienced this form in association with tourists from Germany. On more than one occasion I was asked why I consistently used the respectful sie (you) instead of the more familiar du (you). I replied that du was used with children, dogs and lovers and inappropriate for seasoned adults for whom I had tremendous respect. Although they pleaded that we were good friends first, they did appreciate my respectful attitude. Keep in mind that this construction was in the normal language usage of their society. I truly believe that the reason they were not offended by my usage was because they realized I knew the difference. Dual pronoun situations are common in Europe. In France it is the vous and the familiar tu. Personally, I favor the democratic use of one pronoun for second person singular.

As you know by now, I am a cynic. I believe God. I believe His Son, Jesus Christ and I abide by the direction of the Holy Spirit. Past Those, I am ever on the alert for those who would clothe their speech in prayer to impress those who hear the prayer. I believe God created the universe and everything in it. Therefore, and our Mormon brethren out west would disagree, I believe Him to be capable of understanding my pitiful prayers not only for me but for thee and thou.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lo and behold, multitudes knoweth that the ear of the Almighty inclineth more intently toward thee if thou dost speak in the fashion of His Royal Highness, King James. Dost thou not know that the Almighty himself doth speak the King's English and hath directly penned the very words of scripture on parchments of elder and willow or on skins of kine or kid?