Know That You Don’t Know

I’m still trying to figure out the faith application of something that happened to me today. As some of you may know, I speak a little Spanish. I wouldn’t call myself “Bi-lingual” just yet, but I can manage a conversation with a (very patient) native speaker. So, I’m also on Twitter, and I use that to follow some Twitter feeds en Espanol so I can brush up a little. One of them had a link to a little quiz to test Spanish vocabulary.

I thought that was neat. I clicked on it, and was able to follow the directions- filling out data, basic instructions, things like that. Actually, that part wasn’t even totally easy, and the fact that immigrants to our country have huge language barriers didn’t escape me. What I could surmise was that they wanted me to click “yes” for words that I knew/thought I knew. On the flip side was that I was to click “no” for words I didn’t know OR thought were made up.

My results were that I was 29% proficient. Not bad, since most of the words were way above my head. Now, I admit that I clicked “no” on a lot of words… but I didn’t click affirmatively on any words that weren’t, well, actual words. Then I saw that there was an English version. I took it. Same rules, less difficulty in navigating through the directions (I’d already done it, but more importantly- it was en Ingles!)

These weren’t “gimme’s”, y’all- even so, my stats were higher. (One word was “eschatology”- I took advantage of the theological word!) But there *was* a category that was higher than in the Spanish version. I had clicked on 5 words that weren’t actually words! English fail! So this left me thinking about these results. I also did a Google search for one of them. Mumpish actually IS a word… just a very old, out-dated, no longer used word. (The spell checker underlined it just now. It makes me feel mumpish!)

OK, so where’s this all going? I realized that I’ve been preaching from Ephesians lately, and last week’s message was in Ephesians 2. What’s the most quoted passage from Ephesians 2? Verses 8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast.” (NIV)

I hope this isn’t too much of a stretch- but the way I see these events is that for me to take this little test in Spanish was sort of like relying on grace. I was in over my head, and my efforts didn’t provide all that much. Even getting started on it took me some time! The fact that I made no wrong answers in a foreign language is like God guiding His children in a land that isn’t supposed to be their own anymore. We at one time were a part of this world, but now we’re His. How does that come about? Grace.

In the English quiz, I felt like I knew enough on my own. Though I’m still protesting “mumpish” (there’s that red squiggly line again!), I see this as relying on my efforts and coming up short on the results. I led myself astray. And in our spiritual lives, if we feel like we can save ourselves apart from Christ, or if we want to wander away from His grace that sustains us, we’re in trouble.

How do you see this play out in your own life?

(just for fun- here’s the link to the Spanish version)  http://vocabulario.bcbl.eu/vocabulario/start

(and here’s the link to the English version)  http://vocabulary.ugent.be/

Until next time!

NeedMoWriMo…Yo!

I’ve already seen some things on Al Gore’s invention (aka the Internet) that are hyping up NaNoWriMo.  Some of you know what this is, some of you don’t.  At the same time, there is another group that started sweating, even as they read it!  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  In this process, a person has to make a 50,000 word novel appear in the 30 days that make up November.  I’ve thought before that this would be pretty neat to try, then I realized that this is a sick, psychotic, twisted thing to do to yourself!  Therefore, I am going to be the champion of the everyman (or lady) and fight the government or whoever is in charge of this “National” thing.  Maybe Al Gore invented this, too…

I propose that there should be more WriMo’s from which people can choose.  I don’t know about you, friend, but coming up with 1700ish words per day and being a slave to a tyrannical (and self-imposed) deadline don’t sound like the best ways to spend November.  As a runner, I liken this to the craziness of an ultramarathon.  I’ve done a half (13.1 miles).  It wasn’t exactly a roll out of bed on the day of thing, but I was capable of completing it.  I can at least fathom what a marathon would be like (13.1 times 2, for the mathematically-challenged).  What I can’t understand is why you’d want to go further than 26.20001 miles!

Since I feel like I know so much and have Internet access, here are my suggestions:

NaShoStoWriMo (National Short Story Writing Month)  The entrant will write a short story every day for that month.  This is more do-able.

NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month)  A poem every day for a month.  And there needs to be a haiku limit… that’s kind of cheating.

NaHaNoWriMo (National Half-Novel Writing Month)  Write half of a novel in a month.  Seriously, this seems like a better way to do it.

NaTweeStoWriMo (National Tweet-Story Writing Month)  I’m dead serious about this one!  Write a story using one tweet per day… 140 characters.  I think this one would be every bit as challenging as the real deal!

Now, some of these sound like Indian names, while others sound like drinks to order from Starbucks.  My point is that these offer some alternatives to the current choice.  Maybe you’ll consider doing one of “my” WriMo’s.

Until next time!