Saturday, January 31, 2009

A man, two sons, had (Mat. 21:28-32)

I have a somewhat lengthier quote to discuss from İncil, the parable of the two sons found in Mat. 21:28-32. My English-speaking friends can look it up.
İki oğul benzetmesi

«Ama şuna ne dersiniz? Bir adamın iki oğlu varmış. Adam birincisine gidip, `Oğlum, git bugün bağda çalış' demiş. «O da, `Gitmem!' demiş. Ama sonra pişman olup gitmiş. «Adam ikinci oğluna gidip aynı şeyi söylemiş. O da, `Giderim, efendim' demiş, ama gitmemiş. «İkisinden hangisi babasının isteğini yerine getirmiş olur?» «Birincisi» diye karşılık verdiler.
İsa da onlara, «Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, vergi görevlileriyle fahişeler, Tanrı'nın Egemenliğine sizden önce giriyorlar» dedi. «Yahya size doğruluk yolunu göstermeye geldi, ona inanmadınız. Oysa vergi görevlileriyle fahişeler ona inandılar. Siz bunu gördükten sonra bile pişman olup ona inanmadınız.

A man two sons had. Bir adamın iki oğlu varmış. The -mış verb ending, by the way, is nearly unique in major languages. It's called the "dubative" or "narrative" suffix, and is used by Turks to indicate events they have no personal, direct, knowledge of. When translating this single syllable into English, you need to use such expressions as "they say," or "it has been said," or "once upon a time."

I have read, it has been said, that Muslims and Christians have contrasting opinions about the two sons. Christians take note of the fact that the second son at least repented and did the right thing. The Muslim notices that the first son at least showed proper respect for the father. Islam does not mean "peace," but "submission." Although the Muslims I've met yearn to please God and take delight in prayer, there is an emphasis on external conformity as the ultimate duty of a man, or nation. Kidnapped journalists are released if they'll repeat the Arabic statement of faith in One God and in Mohammad his prophet. To the journalists, it's just a matter of parroting nonsense syllables. To the kidnappers, it's a valid conversion to flaunt to the world.

A superficial compliance is a small price to pay for peace in the family. No sense in getting all worked up over things you can't change. Republicans under the 0bama administration can see the charm in the Turkish proverb "İt ürür, kervan yürür." The dogs bark, the caravan moves on. No need to join forces with Al Capp's caricature of college demonstrators, Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything (S.W.I.N.E.).

Yet, there is a Kingdom, and there is a King, whose interests take priority over the status quo. And there are real, and eternal, consequences for ignorning reality.

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