My great-grandparents

My great-grandparents on my mother’s side were married Sept. 29, 1901. Jennie Smith and Joseph Brown, and this is their weeding photo.

Joseph Brown and Jenny Smith wedding, June 29, 1900.

Frank Smith (brother of Jennie) was best man, and Julia Brown (sister of Joseph) was maid of honor.

They had 11 children, then Jennie and the 12th baby died. Joseph then married his second wife (Emma Marie Racine Cook Franks). Emma had one son from her first husband and two sons from the second husband. Then Jospeh and Emma had two sons of their own. My mother was close to both of these sons because she was born between them. I had met both sons.

Sadly as much as my grandmother loved Emma, Emma died in 1930 giving birth to another child (child also died). Measles hit the family in 1931 and so my grandmother, my mother (age 4), and uncle(age 6) moved into the Smith home. My grandmother (who had just turned 21) cared for her two children, plus all the others who were sick in the household, with as many as six people sick at the same time. Only two of the entire household never got sick: my grandmother and my uncle.

Joseph and Jenny Brown with 8 oldest children.

In the photo above is Joe and Jennie with eight of their children. My grandmother is the girl standing on the left. She died in 1984. Sadly both my great-grandparents died before I was born. But my mother wrote about some of the episodes of their lives. I met all of the great-aunts and great-uncles. Pictured above are the eight oldest, and three youngest pictured below. All of them died decades ago.

 

 

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“A Liturgical kind of guy”

Still relevant today

“believe, teach, and confess”

On another blog, I was asked what liturgy means. I posted a short response there, and repeat it here (slightly edited) because I think it is crucial for us as Lutherans to state where we stand on this issue.

Liturgy = informally described as what is done in a worship service. Even non-denominational churches that claim to be non-liturgical have liturgy. It is just what you do repeatedly service after service. I taught 10 years ago at a Bible college run by charismatics, held at a cutting edge charismatic church. For the worship class, I asked the class members to notice carefully what happened during each service. They were astounded to discover that they were much more rigid in what happened during their service than what is often caricatured as a conservative Lutheran service.

As Lutherans, we specifically state that the proper term for what happens is Gottes Dienst (“divine…

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Memory from US Navy

While deployed on USS Oriskany in 1975-6, we had several crashes. This video shows two. The first is an RF-8G (VFP-63 Det 4), my detachment. He had lost one of the main struts on first pass. He was given option to fly around dumping fuel and then ejecting for at-sea rescue, or have the barricade rigged and fly into it. He chose the latter. Uninjured. I was in my office right under the #4 wire. Instead of the usual crush of a landing, all I heard was “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle” from the landing gear sliding down the deck. Immediately ran to ready room to watch the camera.

The second plane was an A-7 on same cruise. Commander of one of the A-7 squadrons was flying. He was coming in too low hit the ramp and exploded. The plane was a fireball, slide down the deck. As it began to tip, he ejected, with one swing of the chute. Uninjured.

In the squadron (F-8 training and 5 detachments) we had 11 pilots who were killed in crashes during the 3+ year period.

48 years ago today

48 years ago today, this happened in northern MN. Hi temp 10°, low temp -40° overnight. To the love of my life.

*And yes, color photography was invented by then.

Wedding: February 20, 1971.

The rest of the story….We had originally planned to marry on March 20, 1971 during quarter break from college. But the pastor refused to marry anyone during Lent. So we were married the Saturday before Ash Wednesday.

A video shows my emotional life

…from decades ago.

Although more than two decades ago, I still have flashbacks to the breakdown. Over the years I have felt inadequate to describe what it felt like as I was going through it and the aftermath. While the breakdown was a specific point in time the events leading up to it and the aftermath of years encompassed so much but included only some elusive descriptions.

A couple days ago I came a cross a video of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and the resultant tsunami devastation. As I watched the scenes of the waters rising, and taking everything in its wake, it struck me how closely this scene described how I felt.

Buildings were pulled from their moorings, being driven by forces often unseen, then collapsing at some point. That powerful flow of water took people, property, and everything else in unexpected directions. There were no straight lines in the resultant destruction.

This photo illustrates my emotional sense during that time. Everything recognizable, but changing instantly. What I clung to previously was now being torn apart.

That was how I felt, observing people, places, events happening around me but unable to fully grasp the significance, the reasons, the seeming incidentals were passing me by in the torrent of rain. I couldn’t focus on one thing, yet I couldn’t comprehend the full scene either. I was being tossed by events, more as an observer than a participant.

I have realized over the years that I have memory gaps, especially in the 2-3 year period. But it seemed odd, because my memory had never failed that way.

And yet, this video captured my sense of emotional turmoil, previously unstated, even unknown during the most turbulent storms. Recognizing, but not recognizing. Seeing but not seeing. Experiencing yet unable to comprehend. In the midst of this terrible tsunami video, I began to sense my own description of what happened to me.

As I continue to reflect on this turbulent time, this video is almost comforting in a strange way. Finally something reflects my emotional devastation, helplessness, being pulled along. And throughout this time, there were some who endured my inability to communicate what I felt. For them I am grateful. They reached out with life lines and floated on some of the destroyed foundations, always encouraging and comforting even during the worst days.

This video almost gives me comfort in a strange way; it helped me identify how I felt for so long.

https://youtu.be/wvSWBlg6XLc

Update on my health

In July 2017 I fell [backwards] on a sidewalk. I broke my shoulder. (https://exegete77.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/time-for-nothing-and-yet-for-much/) That has been prominent in my life since then. Obviously the pain and recovery has taken a long time. And I notice that my balance is not quite right. I have had some near falls because my balance was not right. I have now learned how to brace myself and take extra precautions.

Memory

My fall in July 2017 left me with a broken shoulder and a few other problems. One of the more consequential problems is with my memory over the past 17 months, namely gaps in my memory. For a while I thought it was just a passing problem, but it is not. In early 2018 I had the neurologist test me, and nothing was noticeable except Vitamin D deficiency.

In teaching seminary classes I began to notice that sometimes a theologian’s name or book title would escape me. Usually not a problem as others would chime in with the info. Helpful and understanding students.

Now Personal

But in the past few months the memory blanks have become personal. In June when on vacation we visited family, and I spoke with my niece. I stopped her in one conversation and asked: “What is your son’s name?” I was shocked that I asked her but even more that I couldn’t even continue in the conversation until I asked.

Then 3 weeks ago our son stopped by and stayed over night. I had to stop him in our conversation and ask “What is your oldest daughter’s name?” The scary thing is when we lived near each other and they even lived with us for a couple years, their oldest daughter was best buds with me. And now, to not remember her name??? Disconcerting, indeed!

Not sure what is the next step, but the long term implications of this could be significant.

Next steps?

Comparison of translation choices

I have been reading ESV for a few weeks. I am posting just some random translation choices of ESV and comparing it to other translations. The first two examples have to do with seemingly awkward (oral) translation choices. The last example has to do with the difference between translation approaches: formal equivalent and functional equivalent (other terms have been used to express the differences in approaches)

Formal equivalent: reasonably equivalent words and phrases while following the forms of the source language [Greek in this case] as closely as possible. Sometimes called “word-for-word” translation. Examples include ESV, NAS, NKJV, and MEV.

Functional equivalent: This type of translation reflects the thought of the writer in the source language rather than the words and forms. Sometimes called “meaning based translation.” Examples include: GW, NLT.

Combination: Then there some translations that fall somewhere between these classifications, namely CSB, which leans toward Formal equivalent, and NIV, which shifts between the two approaches (without any signal that such a change is taking place).

Deuteronomy 4:39

ESV know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

NAS Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.

NKJV Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

CSB Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other.

NIV Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

MEV Know therefore today, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

“Lay it to your heart” just sounds odd, and I am not familiar with any other contemporary use of that phrase in English.

Deuteronomy 5:3

ESV Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.

NAS The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.

NKJV The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

CSB He did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with all of us who are alive here today

NIV  It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today.

MEV The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, we who are living now and here today.

GW He didn’t make this promise to our ancestors, but to all of us who are alive here today.

The translation “but with us, who are all of us here alive today” is awkward English and hence problematic for oral reading. Surprisingly CSB follows ESV closely, only shifting the word “all.”

Interestingly NKJV adjusts the word order to make it more comprehensible but also flowing better for oral reading. MEV goes about it differently to achieve the same result.

Ephesians 1:3-14

This is one section in which the formal equivalent and dynamic equivalent translations show marked differences even in where to put sentence stops (periods).

Ephesians 1:3-14 is one of the more difficult passages, partly because it depends on how sentences are divided in the entire section, 1:3-14. Here are the number of sentences (in parentheses) in each text:

NA28 (Greek text, 4): 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

ESV (4) 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

NKJV (4) 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

MEV (4): 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-12, 13-14

NAS (5) 1:3-6, 7-8a, 8b-10, 11-12, 13-14

==========

CSB (8) 1:3, 4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13, 14

NIV (8) 1:3, 4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13a, 13b-14

==========

GW (14): 3, 4, 5-6, 7, 8, 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14

NLT (15) 1:3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 13, 14, 14

You can see the division of sentences relative to Formal (ESV, NAS, NKJV, MEV) and Functional (NIV, GW, NLT) translations.  Interestingly CSB and NIV sit in the middle of sentence division choices but for different reasons. CSB (and predecessor HCSB) tend toward Formal equivalence, while NIV sometimes alternates the translation decision between Formal and Functional (without noting which is being followed in a particular text).

ESV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

NAS  7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

NKJV 7  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth

CSB 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ 10 as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.

NIV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

MEV 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight, 9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth.

GW 7 Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. 8 He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight 9 when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us. He had decided to do this through Christ. 10 He planned to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ would be the head of everything in heaven and on earth.

The challenge in a passage like Ephesians 1:3-14 is to provide a translation that reflects the original Greek, and yet make it understandable in an English context. Very difficult to do. That is why I recommend to those who do not know the original languages to choose one from each type of translations (i.e. NAS and GW, or other combination).

PS: As an experiment, try to orally read each translation of Ephesians 1:3-14. And compare your ability to faithfully read and then understand.

Further Notes:

Keep in mind that there are many factors in translation choices. Those decisions can be much more complex than I have indicated. This only looks at one of two of those choices.

I have carefully avoided the evaluation and comparison terms (“better” “best” “worst”) in this post. I think it more appropriate to evaluate based on understandability of the English used in the translation.