Category: Occasonal Blogs (page 3 of 8)

Understanding Our President

 

I am referring to our current president, Mr Donald Trump, elected in 2016 and therefore in office for four more years. During his campaign tour he regularly said things that were misunderstood, misinterpreted and, even occasionally, understood. He has continued with this ability. However, as a linguist, I have wondered: How does one analyze what he is saying?

Although words are typically simple with Trump, he claims to have a “great education”. But then everything about Trump is, in his view, “great”. Linguists note that he talks with words like  “many, many” and “very, very” and is super-duper at non sequiturs. I looked on-line to see what some analysts and interpreters were saying about his speaking style. Here are a few reflections on Trump’s messages:

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On Gender Benders

 

The January 2017 issue of National Geographic is a special one entitled “Gender Revolution.” On p. 3, Gloria Steinem is quoted as saying “I suppose getting rid of the idea of gender [is the most pressing issue today]. You know living in India was a revelation because I came to understand that there were old languages that didn’t have gender—that didn’t have “he” and “she.” The more polarized the gender roles, the more violent the society. The less polarized the gender roles, the more peaceful the society. We are each unique and individual human beings. We are linked: we are not ranked. The idea of race and the idea of gender are divisive.”

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The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good

 

First, the bad news: I was watching the program called “60 Minutes” some time ago (June 28, 2015) that outlined how fraudulent our society has become: not the occasional Ponzi scheme or politician who lies, but wholesale “identity theft”. A former master of theft, now serving time in prison, gave some examples of how easy it is to buy social security numbers that belong to individuals and turn them into bogus data that cheats the Internal Revenue Service out of billions of dollars. And, what is more, the IRS knew about it (actually, “knows” about it because it is ongoing), but handed out checks to the swindlers anyway. They didn’t have the time to check the personal records of the phony people applying for tax redemptions.

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Marriage, Divorce, Adultery and LGBT

Marriage, Divorce, Adultery and LGBT

In this essay I wish to examine some traditional and current viewpoints about the practice of marriage, as well as its dissolution and interpretations of what it is and is not.

Professor Kenneth L. Pike, long-time president of SIL International and former Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan, used to say “You don’t know what something is until you know what it is not”.[1]

Traditional Marriage

With Pike’s maxim in mind, let me try to define what traditional marriage is not:

  • It is not between members of the same sex
  • It is not simply a civil (as opposed to religious) ceremony
  • It is not “forever” (there is no marriage in heaven)

I will now take each of these negative aspects of marriage and discuss them; later I will focus on what marriage is, or what I understand that it is supposed to be. My perspective is a Christian one and should be considered in that light.

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On Resilience by Mark Sayers

Some excerpts from “Creating a culture of Resilience” by Mark Sayers, in Christianity Today, July-August, 2016, pp. 56-60.

Mark Sayers is senior pastor of Red Church in Melbourne, Australia and his latest book is “Disappearing Church”.

It is rare that I read an article in CT that is so well reasoned and compelling, but this is one that I can highly recommend because what he describes is what I believe can happen in our own church and, certainly, is already in place in many churches in the West. I include here a few of his observations:

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