March 15, 2012
Y’all I am back at it. Charles in Charge is home in Minnesota and I have returned to translating Aramaic and whining about translating Aramaic. All is as it should be. Except that it would be nice if my dad were here every day to hang out and chat and buy me things.
Bad news update: My burn is healing and the scab is coming off, but the letters aren’t going away. What am I supposed to do?! No one will want to marry a girl with a curling iron brand on her leg, right? This is dire.
Weird news update: My apartment complex keeps shutting off our water for the entire day. Seriously, they had it off from 8-5 yesterday and they’re doing it again today. So hopefully no one has to shower or wash their face or make a meal or use the toilet or drink a cool, refreshing glass of water because it is apparently not allowed where I live. Also, this has made me realize, yet again, that I would not have done well on the prairie. They had to lug buckets of water from a well just to brush their teeth or make coffee. I complained today as I turned on the tap (before eight of course) to fill the teapot in case we needed some extra water during the day. It’s a tough life.
Good news update: Axis had its very first banquet last weekend and it was so great. More than 250 people came, and I felt so honored to be there hearing about all the great work they’ve done in the last few years. A bunch of my good friends came to the banquet to support Axis. My Springs crew and my Denver friends both came out, and I was so grateful. After the banquet, a few of us went to the Broadmoor since we were all dressed up anyway.
Best news update: March Madness starts today!!!! I do not give a thought to college basketball until this very moment. And from this very moment until the end of March, I will care about college basketball more than anything else in the world. Did you fill out a bracket? Who are you cheering for? Minnesota is not an option because they are awful at playing basketball. But Colorado has two teams going to the big dance (that’s what we basketball lovers call the tournament, you guys).
Bible news update: So, in case you were wondering, I am taking Aramaic because small parts of the Bible were written in Aramaic. Mostly chunks from Ezra and Daniel — those books took place around the Babylonian exile, and Aramaic was the language of the Babylonians. So, we have portions of our Old Testament that are in Aramaic instead of Hebrew. Aramaic is pretty similar to Hebrew — the same alphabet and pronunciations. It’s the vowels and suffixes and prefixes and some of the vocabulary that are different. We’ve been translating Daniel 2, which is the passage where Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that no one is able to interpret. This upsets him a tiny bit so he decides to have all the wise men of Babylon killed. But Daniel saves everyone because he is able to interpret the dream.
Yesterday, I translated the section about the dream — it’s that big statue with a head of gold, a chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. Daniel interprets the meaning of this statue — it is a line of kingdoms that will reign and rule. But a stone would come and smash the statue — a great stone that would turn into a mountain and fill the whole earth. That stone, Daniel said, would be a kingdom that would endure forever — long past Babylon, Greece, Persia, or Rome. When Nebuchadnezzar heard that interpretation he fell on his face before Daniel and he said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries.”
As I translated that passage yesterday, I was so grateful that our God reveals mysteries, that he knows the future, that he has a plan for how things will turn out. He is God of gods, and his kingdom will endure forever. Pretty sweet.
K, you guys, please quit distracting me. I have so much whining to catch up on and a lot of basketball to watch! Talk to you tomorrow!
March 7, 2012
You guys, short and sweet today because unfortunately I have an Aramaic midterm this afternoon. Even more unfortunately, I do not know any Aramaic.
OK, I promised I wouldn’t subject you to pictures of the burn on my leg, but I thought you should see this.
This is what my curling iron says.
And this is what my leg says.
I’ve been branded.
Last night in my Hebrew class we talked about how complicated it is to figure out the theology of Joshua. There’s a lot of killing and many people have a hard time understanding God because of all the violence he commanded. We talked about how, as much as people want there to be, there’s probably not any easy answer — we have to consider the types of writing (law code is different than narrative), the worldview of the Ancient Near East, the redemptive model of Scripture, the way God hands out historical judgments to other nations and to Israel, the meaning of “the ban” in Joshua, and on and on and on. It doesn’t mean that there’s no solution, but I do think it means that we probably can’t give a quick, neat answer to questions about justice and judgment in the Scripture. We have to be thoughtful and we have to think well. We have to take the time to discuss and ponder. It may not be a quick answer, but we know the character of our God and his holiness and goodness.
So the holiday of Purim starts tonight at sundown! Purim was not one of the seven holidays commanded by God, but we see it begin in the Bible in the book of Esther. It is a joyful holiday that commemorates when God saved his people from destruction at the hands of the evil Haman. The Bible commands the Jewish people to celebrate it every year by giving gifts, and giving to the poor and having a great feast. I’m not actually celebrating it until Thursday evening with my small group, but I’ll tell you lots more about it then. If you do want to consider celebrating, you mostly just dress up and eat lots of good food. And on Thursday, you could give to the poor and bring treats to friends!
OK, seriously. I’ve got to study for this awful midterm. I’ll see ya soon!