11 June 2012

Help with a translation

I leapt out of bed this a.m. at 4.30.  And there was no coffee brewing downstairs.  So I had to fix some and wait a whole three minutes for my first cup. . .so, yeah, I'm a little cranky and probably not playing my A-game. . .

So, when I read this document from some-Anglican-Church-of-Canada-bishop-cmte-thingy, I was sure that it was written in a foreign language. 

Is Canadian a foreign language?  Is it like Mississippian?  Cajun?

Anyway,  tried Google Translate.  No luck.  Google couldn't make any sense out of it. 

Maybe it's a local Canadian dialect.  No.  Wikipedia notes that Canadians usually speak French or English or both. 


This document (?) could be some English/French fusion except that I can read both French and English (sorta) and I've never heard of Englench, or is it Frenglish? 

Then, after the first cup of coffee, it dawned on me!  These guys are Anglican bishops!  Of course!  They speak a national dialectic of Bishopese.  One of the most obscure and difficult languages to translate into Normal People Talk. 

Have a cup or three of really strong coffee and see if you have any luck with a translation. . .here's a sample passage:

We began to experience, as bishops together, the key challenge and opportunity that meet us: “How can we support and assist our fellow-bishops in the mission decisions that they make in their context and from their perspective?” We noted those times when we have judged our fellow-servants without taking time to understand the context and perspective that informed their decisions and actions. As we move forward we commit ourselves to consider deeply the impact of our decisions and actions – informed by our own context and perspectives – on the life and ministry of the church in other contexts.

And another:

We affirm that the Church, gathered around the mystery of redemption, fosters and nurtures a specific response to particular mission imperatives, by restoring our human capacity to discern God’s initiative and joining our lives to it. We recognized that mission partnerships are not about shifting resources from a context of abundance to one of scarcity, but rather about combining a range of resources – such as knowledge, trust, experience, discernment, and material wealth – to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world. 

Lots of affirming and missioning and perspectiving.  The only thing that I can tell about the composers of these passages is that they seem to have no clue what "mission" means for a priest, prophet, and king baptized into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Apparently, they think that the Great Commission, given by Christ to his disciples and received by his Church, is an invitation to adopt an individual perspective in a specific context in order to do something or another with a variety of resources.  Huh.

Any help out there?


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  1. It sounds like the kind of doctrinal committee report written to try and please everybody and not take or exclude any doctrinal position, or to put it another way, it tries to say everything and actually says nothing!

  2. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Why, isn't the Great Commission about setting up a grandiose committee?

  3. Anonymous4:28 AM

    They are speaking the language of new-age Nun-speak -- "Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" (Macbeth)