Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's hear it for chutzpah ! (Luke 11)

English, a wag once said, does not "borrow" words from other languages. Rather, English follows other languages into dark alleys, beats them up, and forcibly takes the words it wants. America is a nation of immigrants, and every major immigrant group has enriched our common culture with its cuisine and its vocabulary.[1] A century ago, quite a few Jewish folks got tired of the pogroms[2] in Russia and took steerage[3] passage to these shores.[4]

One of the things the Jewish folks brought with them, in addition to a formidable work ethic, was Yiddish -- an energetic German dialect written with Hebrew characters. As Jewish folks rose to prominence in a number of fields, including entertainment, was a number of words that have passed into vernacular English. Many words that begin with sch- were originally Yiddish.

Then, there's today's word, chutzpah. The standard definition goes like this: "If a man is on trial for murdering his parents, and asks the judge for leniency because he is an orphan, that's chutzpah!"
Which brings us to today's İncil selection:
Luk 11:5-7 Sonra şöyle dedi: "Sizlerden birinin bir arkadaşı olur da gece yarısı ona gidip, 'Arkadaş, bana üç ekmek ödünç ver. Bir arkadaşım yoldan geldi, önüne koyacak bir şeyim yok' derse, öbürü içerden, 'Beni rahatsız etme! Kapı kilitli, çocuklarım da yanımda yatıyor. Kalkıp sana bir şey veremem' der mi hiç?
Luk 11:8 Size şunu söyleyeyim, arkadaşlık gereği kalkıp ona istediğini vermese bile, adamın yüzsüzlüğünden ötürü kalkar, ihtiyacı neyse ona verir.
Luk 11:9 "Ben size şunu söyleyeyim: Dileyin, size verilecek; arayın, bulacaksınız; kapıyı çalın, size açılacaktır.
Luk 11:10 Çünkü her dileyen alır, arayan bulur, kapı çalana açılır.
Luk 11:11 "Aranızda hangi baba, ekmek isteyen oğluna taş verir? Ya da balık isterse balık yerine yılan verir?
Luk 11:12 Ya da yumurta isterse ona akrep verir?
Luk 11:13 Sizler kötü yürekli olduğunuz halde çocuklarınıza güzel armağanlar vermeyi biliyorsanız, gökteki Baba'nın, kendisinden dileyenlere Kutsal Ruh'u vereceği çok daha kesin değil mi?"
And that brings us to today's Turkish word:
  • yüzsüz -- chutzpah. Impudence. Shamelessness.
Grace means divine mercy to those who don't deserve it. Most of the time, we create most of our problems for ourselves. If we could only pray for mercy when we deserved it, we'd never pray.
As this selection shows, our Creator loves to hear from us, and to respond to us. Sometimes, though, He expects us to show a measure of persistence. Faith. And sheer chutzpah.

May your prayers be aggressive, bold, blessed, and answered, today!


[1] Well, the folks who were already here added place names to our vocabulary.

[2] pogrom is one of the very few Russian words that has passed unchanged into English.

[3] That's where the ship gives you a place to sit for the trip, and you bring your own food.

[4] One Jewish American poet, Emma Lazarus, wrote the poem The New Collosus that is found on the tablet at Statue of Liberty:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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