19996Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Wonderful words and colors
- May 10, 2007I applaud subdeacon Martinian's essay and certainly agree with Fr
Stefan's added comments about the rainbow.
The proper use of language is a long-standing concern of mine. Language
can easily and subtly be manipulated by those with a particular agenda.
We are seeing this more and more now in this age of mass media and
instantaneous communication. In a single generation there have been many
words that have been misappropriated or rejected, often by the political
Though we must fight for the rainbow, I am afraid we have lost the word
gay. Most unfortunate! I agree that we should be able to use it in its
old sense. It's a perfectly good word, as long as people understand the
sense it which it used. But if a parish advertised a "gay parish picnic"
or something of that sort, I think it would attract the wrong kind of
attention. It's sad that sick people have taken over a nice (there's an
old-fashioned word from my childhood) word; it masks a reference to
their psycho-spiritual sickness. On the other hand, for those of us
brought up with the last of the Victorian culture of euphemisms, in
which a certain short word beginning with "s" was never mentioned in
polite conversation, even within the family circle, it is convenient to
have a word that is not so ugly as the sin to which it refers, of which
it is shameful even to speak, as St Paul says.
It seems a similar, and even worse, situation has occurred in
contemporary Russian. Slang is always changing, but at least few years
ago the word "goluboy" (blue) was being used to refer to the same people
who have taken over "gay." Imagine - the colour of the heavens, the
colour of the Mother of God being used for stubborn sinners! At least we
can substitute another word, such as "merry", for "gay", if we wish to
avoid misunderstanding and smirking. Blue, however, is one of those
basic words for which there is no substitute.
(By the way, I recall an instance some years ago, in a parish comprised
of mostly elderly Russian immigrants, where I was told that red covers
were not desirable in church, because red is Soviet.)
I will continue to speak English as I learned it over fifty years ago.
It is true that language changes, but we can resist the change, refuse
to go along with it, till no one understnads us any more, and then we
can translate for them into another idiom. This is the value of "King
James" English or Church Slavonic - words that are used in a fixed and
anciently accepted way, not subject to the sway of newspaper columnists,
rappers or university language police.
A basic English word for which we _must _contend is the word "man." This
is a word for which there is no substitute. Those who either
deliberately or unthinkingly accept the PC rejection of its age-old
meaning of God's rational and physical creature frequently resort to the
circumlocution of "human being." That sounds like a scientific term, not
an ordinary word. Must we soon refer to pets (another word that some
wish to outlaw) as "feline beings" and "canine beings," or ride "equine
beings," or drink milk from "bovine beings"? Or else they resort to
"person" or "individual", which are proper and specific philosophical
and legal terms, but when overused in conversation sound like speech
from a Damon Runyon story, in which everyone is regularly referred to as
a "citizen." The refusal to use the word "man" in its common meaning is
part of an insidious plan to sexualize (sorry! there's that word) or
genderize all of language and, ultimately, all of life. I used to make
it a point to tell young people in church school classes that boys and
girls, men and women are all men, part of mankind, and each of us is a
man. ("Mankind was my business!" cried Marley's ghost.) Treatises could
be, and have been, written on the subject of the alteration of language
as a sign of the alteration of culture. (Perhaps someone could recommend
a favourite book on the subject.) It is always good to see a man jump to
the defence of his tongue.
Hieromonk German Ciuba
Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko wrote:
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> And RAINBOW!, how dare Rainbow be taken over by political ideologues,
> it is wonderful if it only represented to some the joy of all peoples
> together, that's fine, but again it included radical political
> stripes and immoral activities also, how sad is that. We are taking
> the RAINBOW back, too! We had a gay time at the picnic after the
> summer shower, when the rainbow shone brightly above our heads!
> Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko
> --- In email@example.com
> <mailto:orthodox-synod%40yahoogroups.com>, "Martinian Prince"
> <riparianprince@...> wrote:
> > Chris is Risen!
> > Father, bless!
> > I beg you all not to consider things like gay and red "ruined by
> > ideologies" to us who honor and seek the Truth. Father Stefan is
> > right, there IS yet hope! We had them first; they are still ours to
> > take back. I submit this view: continue to fearlessly use those
> > whose original meanings are innocent and good! We may be the last
> > thing standing between a bit of good being snuffed out, usurped by
> > spirit of Antichrist.
> > I humbly yet firmly say that we should use these things unnaffected,
> > in innocence and goodwill, as those exhorted to live in the world
> > not be of it. Every good, noble, beautiful,righteous and holy thing
> > will be taken by the enemy and twisted to suit his purposes, but
> > as the world understands them--we are not of this world. We did not
> > let the Arians take the word 'Christ'. Rightly, it is the big ideas
> > should most fiercely defend. Why, however, should we give the world
> > even the smallest word or concept? What has the world ever given us?
> > Could this be a token way to "be as the little children" and in our
> > own unnaffected use of the word, keep the innocence and simplicity
> > gaiety alive? After growing up in the SF Bay Area, and had friends,
> > a sort, who had fallen to the temptation implied, I know there is no
> > mistake in the colors, words and symbols chosen to proclaim their
> > accursed path. See how the demons have led these wretched dupes to
> > wave a rainbow flag--the very symbol God gave to us as a promise to
> > never again punish us for our sins by a destroying flood--as a
> > of His mercy.
> > I don't say this as a rebellion to what you said Father, but I heard
> > your comment as a call to rebellion. I say no! I will not let words
> > taken from me because those lost in darkness have forgotten their
> > understanding. "God is with us,understand O ye nations, and submit
> > yourselves!" We are the wards and keepers of those things that are
> > good, noble, beautiful, righteous and holy. Consider them to be a
> > prize to be won in the Unseen Warfare! I certainly feel this is so,
> > but feelings can't be trusted, and I'm no authority.
> > What do you think, Father Stefan? Do we do work for good by ignoring
> > the implications that the world and the enemy have inflicted on
> > traditional concepts and culture? When I read books by Charles
> > or the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder,
> > there is so much cultural good that is now lost or reviled. This
> > is so in need of gentility and nobility (but not fake, we have
> > of that)! I don't want to give up what we can still keep by
> > Wishing all a Paschaltide bright and gay!
> > He is Risen indeed!
> > Sdn Martinian
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org
> <mailto:orthodox-synod%40yahoogroups.com>, "Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko"
> > <StefanVPavlenko@> wrote:
> > >
> > > The color "red", crimson/ very bright red, for emigre Russians
> > > much like the word "gay" in the English Language. A wonderful
> word a
> > > beautiful color ruined by evil ideologies that make the very
> > > and sight distasteful and symbolizing an abomination. But in
> > > the color Red was always intertwined with stronger meanings,
> > > and joy, so they stayed more firmly in the body of the
> > > maybe there is still hope for the word GAY!
> > >
> > > Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --- In email@example.com
> <mailto:orthodox-synod%40yahoogroups.com>, DDD <dimitradd@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > On Wed, 02 May 2007 17:46:20 -0500, Anna Voellmecke wrote:
> > > > At 01:14 AM 5/2/2007, you wrote:
> > > > >Christ is Risen!
> > > >
> > > > Truly, He is Risen!
> > > >
> > > > >Can someone tell me what is with those horrible "blood-red"
> > > candles at
> > > > >Boris Yeltsin's funeral??
> > > >
> > > > ???? I didn't get to see the video, but I have seen red
> candles at
> > > a
> > > > ROCOR cathedral in Munich. I thought it was because it was
> > > Pentecost.
> > > > It's an interesting question.
> > > >
> > > > Anna V.
> > > > _________________________________________
> > > >
> > > > I don't know about them, either, but I recently was doing an
> > > search for photos of Russian wedding crowns, and one of the
> > > the search engine came up with showed the small table with the
> > > crowns on it and two RED candles! ??
> > > >
> > > > --Dimitra Dwelley
> > > > _______________________
> > > >
> > >
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