Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I love a parade! ( 2 Cor. 2)

As a high-school band member a bit over four decades ago, I was the favored target of kids with pea-shooters. When the parade went by, I was toting and tooting a sousaphone. Wearing a fancy uniform, brass buttons gleaming from the application of Brasso and elbow grease.[1] Playing patriotic and martial tunes. Entertaining the crowds lining both sides of the street.

We don't seem to have as many parades any more. A scholar I love, R. J. Rushdoony, commented on that in one of his later books. Processions, he pointed out, are religious events. Patriotic American parades often celebrate our "civic religion," a generic, denatured Unitarianism that recommends some kind of unspecified piety towards an undefined deity. Gibbon spoke of the Roman religious beliefs -- "All equally true to the citizen, equally false to the philosopher, equally useful to the magistrate."

Hegel described the State, humanity in its ultimate collective form (or so he thought), as "God marching through history." In this chapter, Paul compares the march of history to a Roman triumph. As the enchained captives trudged through the streets, they carried pots of incense. Those towards the front of the parade would be released at the end. Those toward the end, put to death. The same incense carried two different, and contrasting, messages to those who smelled it.
2Co 2:14 Bizi her zaman Mesih'in zafer alayında yürüten, O'nu tanımanın güzel kokusunu aracılığımızla her yerde yayan Tanrı'ya şükürler olsun!
2Co 2:15 Çünkü biz hem kurtulanlar hem de mahvolanlar arasında Tanrı için Mesih'in güzel kokusuyuz.
2Co 2:16 Mahvolanlar için ölüme götüren ölüm kokusu, kurtulanlar içinse yaşama götüren yaşam kokusuyuz. Böylesi bir işe kim yeterlidir?
Two words for tonight:
  • ölüm -- death
  • yaşam -- life
What people say about Jesus tells us quite a bit about them. Some folks find this message about the Great King, and His astonishing triumphs, the best news possible. Others resent the very notion of there being a god beyond themselves, one to whom they will give account.

What do we smell like to you?[2]

[1] Idiomatic expression describing the most important ingredient in the cleaning process -- human energy!

[2] When I tried to say, in Turkish, to a new friend that she was afraid of dogs, I said she smelled like dogs ... amazing what a difference a single letter r can make between korkmak and kokmak!


Anonymous said...

I am thrilled by this blog. I started to learn Turkish once, on a trip there, but have been away from it for over a decade. I speak fluent Castilian and pretty good Catalan, and I love reading the Bible. I wish you the best. I'd like to recommend some people for you to share this blog with, but I'm concerned for security issues. Keep on praying.

Al ve oku said...

If I were a Catholic, Ramon LLulle (or is it Ramond Lulle?) would be my patron saint! This father of Catalan literature was also a progenitor of the XML approach to managing information. Organize and tag your facts carefully enough, he believed, and new insights would pop out. He was convinced that properly organized information would make the Christian gospel irresistibly appealing to Muslims. The facts would speak for themselves, with persuasive eloquence, if you could but structure them properly!

I'm following his footsteps with my dissertation, performing computerized content analysis on two documents that achieved similar goals.