Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

A colorful American idiom describes apprehensive anticipation as "waiting for the other shoe to drop." This cliche dates back to the days when many people lived in "boarding houses." You go to bed, just start to doze off, when the boarder in the room above you drops one shoe on the floor. Thump! And you are unable to go back to sleep until the thoughtless guy with heavy shoes drops that other one.

Much of İncil was written with this motif, this foreboding mood. A new world had begun when God "put on shoes and walked among us." The ministry of Jesus inaugurated God's Kingdom rule upon the earth with fresh power, fresh visibility. Yet, the new world a-borning was also the death sentence upon the established order. The settled landmarks men had structured their lives around were about to be shattered. And they knew it. They had it "on the best authority" that the clock was running down on everything they took for granted. Time was running out on the "terminal generation," the "this generation" Jesus had warned approximately thirty years before this letter was written.

I Petrus'un mektubu 4 begins with Peter flaunting a suspiciously rich vocabulary on the theme of drunken partying. He is, of course, describing those things believers are supposed to leave behind. He goes on to tell his readers, in verse 7:

Her şeyin sonu yakındır. Bu nedenle, sağduyulu ve dua etmek için ayık durun.
The Turkish possessive construction is a "belt and suspenders" arrangement, that tacks different endings upon the item possessed, and the item possessing. This takes a while to get used to. Look at the first sentence: Her every. şeyin -- thing. sonu -- end. yakın -- near. dır -- is. şeyin takes the -in ending, since it is the thing that owns. sonu takes the -u, the direct object ending, since it is the item owned.

The end of all things is near. The other shoe is about to drop. Therefore, for this reason, sağduyulu (use common sense) and, in order to pray effectively, ayık durun (stay sober). I suspect Peter is dealing with the temptations we all face when things are about to fall apart. When the factory is about to shut down. When major changes are pending.

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