Language fun

So I’m doing my final paper in liturgics class.  I ran into a funny translation matrix when using Google Translate for the New Zealand name of their Book of Common Prayer.

He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa – translates to “An Anglican Anglican New Zealand.”

He Karakia Mihinare – translates to “An Anglican Catholic.”

He Karakia – translates to “A Catholic.”

He Mihinare o Aotearoa – translates to “An Anglican of New Zealand.”

He Karakia o Aotearoa – translates to “A New Zealand Catholic.”

Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa – translates to “British Anglican Church.”

Karakia Mihinare – translates to “Greek Orthodox.”

Karakia – translates to “Religion.”

Mihinare – translates to “English.”

This was too funny to just ignore how words are put together to mean different things.  If you go to the Maori dictionary, Karakia is a verb to recite chants, rituals and prayers.  Mihinare is an Anglican.  O Aotearoa is of New Zealand.  He without a line over it is the article An.  So more accurately, “He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa” would be something along the line of Anglican Prayers of New Zealand.

Why did I write this out here?  Because while fascinating, the paper I am to write is only 5 pages, and this really doesn’t help with comparing and contrasting the Books of Common Prayer of the United States and New Zealand. 🙂  Ignore me – I’m easily amused.

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Good Advice

So, I recently posted on Facebook the following:

“We have to get over the uncomfortability of things being messy.” – Masud Olufani on racial discussions

“Tension is not something we are afraid of in Judaism… It propels us forward.” Mayim Bialik on women in spiritual leadership.

These two statements got my attention this week – it’s something that the “PC” crowd needs to understand. Changing terms, eliminating uncomfortable discussion topics, etc. are not going to help change the world. Love, tactful expression, willingness to *listen* and *empathize* are what we need to stop being stuck where we are and begin moving forward.

One other statement got my attention, by a lady named Maya Mansour:  “… really getting to know someone and engaging with people past their visual identities.”  That is a completely awesome phrase.

I’ve always said that to eliminate a prejudice, you have to get to know individuals, because prejudice is not against an individual.  It’s a concept against a bias against a “visual identity”.  What we look like means nothing to who we are.  Now you will likely find that there are wonderful people in every “category” of visual identity, and you’ll likely find some real jerks, too.  People are people.

Part of the concept of active listening is actually hearing what people are saying, and not what your own bias is hearing them say.  There’s the typical example of “You look nice today”, which can be taken plainly, that your appearance is pleasant; it can be taken with an ear toward criticism (say for instance, you grew up with a critical parent and are used to hearing the criticism underlying everything they say) – “well, you look nice today, but you looked like crap yesterday”; it can be taken with an ear of insecurity – “you look nice today – finally put a bit more effort into your appearance, huh?”

When we’re dealing with issues of prejudice, be that regarding skin color, economic class, gender, religion, physical or mental handicap, age, nationality or any number of other prejudices out there – those listening skills are crucial, for both parties.  I’m not one who believes prejudice and bias only go one way.  I do believe that every aspect of your self-identity has an influence on how you hear things, no matter what someone else might intend to say.

But I think the above speakers are absolutely correct that we can only move forward if we are willing to sit in tension, be uncomfortable, and move forward in love with the idea of healing past hurts.

Transubstantiation

What is the difference between transubstantiation and real presence in the Eucharist?

In reading Aquinas, he seems to say that the bread and wine are representative of the remembrance of the act performed by Christ, but that when received, they are transformed into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (and given what we know about the nature of energy and matter, that makes sense) which feeds our own spirits.  That we are not able to perceive the difference through our own senses makes no difference to the fact that they are transformed.

In reading Newman (Tract 90), he rejects the concept that the bread and wine are transformed, but believes that through remembrance, Christ is present with us in the act of Eucharist, and His real presence is what feeds us.  He emphasizes that “locality” is in terms of God’s understanding and not human understanding.

I don’t think that Newman’s opinion negates Aquinas, but then I don’t see the Eucharist as merely a “symbol” either.  I don’t tend to be one to limit God’s abilities.

Sacraments are held as outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace given by Christ.

Part of the question, I think, has to do with whether the bread and wine are transformed prior to ingestion by the recipient, or whether that is an individual transformation that takes place in the heart of the receiver.  There are those who feel the nature of the priest is of primary importance in this change, and others who feel that it is more despite the nature of the priest, and because of the belief of the receiver.

Adding on 3/6/18:

I found the excellent explanation on transubstantiation my professor gave:  We have substance and we have accidents. Accidents are all the qualities of the thing that are part of it but aren’t totally necessary. Substance is like the thing’s “-ness”. Kind of like adjectives vs nouns.

Take this chair. (grabs chair) We can see that this chair is made out of metal, plastic, cloth, has different colors, etc. But it’s a chair, right? (right).

Take this other chair. (grabs other, different-looking chair) It’s made of wood, different colors, has a desk attached to it, etc. It’s WAY different than the first chair, but we still know that both of them are chairs. We have this idea in our minds of what a chair is, we have this understanding of “chair-ness” that we agree on, that exists, but isn’t totally dependent on what’s in front of us. That “Chair-ness” is the substance, the materials are the accidents.

In the Eucharist, we have substance and we have accidents. The accidents are the hosts and the wine mixed with a little water. The mystery of the Eucharist is that the accidents don’t change, but the substance does. It may have all the appearances of bread and wine, but it’s “breadness” and “wineness” are gone, replaced with “Jesus-ness.” And we can’t say it’s both bread and Jesus, because there’s no “bread-ness” left. The “-ness” is what we all agree actually makes the thing a thing, not the accidents.