If it’s not bad enough that everything is new in this ancient tradition it’s also in a language I don’t know.
There’s an app for that. I downloaded it.
What I’d really like is a babblefish in my ear. (google: hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, babblefish)
I actually downloaded three apps. One I paid for, two were free. Some of the phrases in one of the “free” apps was “I’ve been watching you dance, you have style.” And another I liked said, “I am a dolphin trainer.”
I’m not making this up.
At my last Orthodoxy class I asked the priest about the language and in that context I asked him if there were any “american” Orthodox churches. There are Greek, Russian, Serbian…among others…but no “american” Orthodox churches. It’s alright, I don’t require an “american” version. It might, in fact, really put me off if there were. It’s interesting that there isn’t one though. I’ll have to look into the reasons for that, although I can guess.
Rather than lament the absence of an “american” flavor of Orthodoxy I’m lamenting my poor overworked and flabby brain. To date I can understand about seven words in Greek. If they are spelled phonetically, I can read them too. It took me weeks to be able to say “Theotokos” without stuttering.
I suppose if it’s language that trips me up, I’m at least thankful it’s the mechanical part of the language. I don’t stutter in the metaphorical language of Orthodoxy. I don’t trip over the theological concepts. The imagery isn’t a stumbling block although I have found myself wanting to fall to the ground lately when I encounter the Icons.
Even in the anger I feel while praying I am certain that I am also not at odds with Orthodoxy. I know now, I recognize my need, my lacking, my oddly stained and battered nous. It’s the physical language, the learning of something completely new and foreign, the words and the alphabet and the intonation…the phonetics and the accents of the Greek language that I now allow to intrude on my journey.
I want to know it. I just want to know it now, in a flash, not as one struck on the tower of Babel but rather as one burned by pentecost’s flame…bursting in…unexpected in that upper room, infusing and exciting every cell so that each man spoke with the tongue of the whole world.