We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Text Complexity

Included in a commitment to Christianity is a commitment to a specific cultural incarnation of that reality. That, of course, means history and literature but in the most basal sense it means language. My language is English, no getting around that. It is my Mother Tongue, composed of the phonemes first encountered sonorously in the womb.

However, our 'fund' of language is greatly reduced: thanks to the standardized product repeated everywhere in media, our vocabulary, supplemented by the complete disappearance of foreign language learning, is sharply limited.

I would have thought the following was suitable for 8th-graders. It is marked for 11th-graders. I would have thought the only word that required explication was that 'professors' here means 'those who profess' and not 'the occupants of university chairs'. But if you go to the pedagogical website (with Java script turned on), you can see all that they believe cries out for further explanation. The following twelve sentences are not examples of plain and sober English prose, they are instead exemplars of text-complexity.

Excerpt from “A Model of Christian Charity”

[1] Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. [2] For this end we must be knit together in this work as one man. [3] We must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities for the supply of others’ necessities. [4] We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience, and liberality. [5] We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body. [6] So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. [7] The Lord will be our God and delight in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness, and truth than formerly we have been acquainted with. [8] We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” [9] For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. [10] The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and by-word throughout the world. [11] We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God’s sake. [12] We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

This strongly suggests that reading from the Authorized Version would actually now require a second reading in contemporary idiom, one that effectively translated not only the words but the concepts, as well. But, after all, these are all vain and empty conceptions: there is little chance of anything positive emerging from any proposed future course of action. For the moderns, religion is simply 'no-go' for the basic reason that it suggests "control and sometimes curtail your sexual activity." Say what? Shut-up!

It tolls for thee.

No comments:

Post a Comment