10 February 2011

Staggering through Sheol

Yeah, it’s that time of year. Sheol. The pits. Cold, nasty, empty and bleak. There’s something about the light, I think. The days are cut to fall-length, but they have a hollow slant not shared by the October sun. They’re getting longer, and that’s the hope of it all, but the sunlight is cold and barren, and new buds are as likely to be stillborn by frost as to reach full bloom.

It’s been a nasty and unpleasant day in some respects, with more notices fastened to our door by unseen lurkers, harbingers of some vague and nameless doom. There’s nothing to do, apparently, but fax them to our lawyer, and hope that he knows what he’s doing. But the threats upset me, as they are intended to do, and another day’s work goes down the drain. If I could put a face to the faceless—well, let’s just say that that person would find him- or her-self faceless in a way very different from that comfortable anonymity that allows a corporate functionary to steal the effort of a lifetime from a real person with lies and false promises.

I’m not interested in excuses. There’re a lot of people out there who are only doing their jobs. And like the people who were just following orders, they should not be surprised when reality turns and bites them. To paraphrase Pseudo-Burke, the hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who were only doing their jobs.

To distract myself from all this I’ve been burying myself in an old project, my New Testament translation. I’ve tried to eschew all fanciful translations—none of this “he ascended into heaven” stuff when the Greek says “he went up into the sky.” Some words defy translation—baptism, spirit/wind/breath, kingdom, and the like—reflections of a world categorized in such a different fashion from current understandings that any modern translation inevitably falsifies the meaning. Do I turn “slave” into “servant” like the KJV, or render it as “employee” or the like? It seems to me that a modern corporation has a lot more in common with the hierarchical “kingdom of heaven” envisioned by the NT writers—a sort of vast ante-bellum plantation with Yahweh as the nearly absent slaveowner—than any governmental structure familiar to modern Americans. Decisions, decisions.

Well, anyway, it’s late, and the old Rational Ranter’s got to get up tomorrow and start packing. No point leaving things to the last minute, right? And I can always unpack if the storm clouds lift.

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