Monthly Archives: June 2012

How unlike our own Kirk’s General Assembly

The Meenister’s Log


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by Daniel Manastireanu

I had to share this here: A quote from the website of a hotel in Glasgow built in a former church: “Instead of a sermon, you’ll find a top-class menu at the elegant brasserie. Instead of hymns, you’ll be able to soundtrack your stay with your own music on the in-room entertainment system.” Future church, anyone?

(from the OneKirk FB page)

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Don’t Worry – Be Happy


The Meenister’s Log



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Joke Number 56

The Meenister’s Log

An American visitor to Lindores Abbey was being shown round by the abbot when a monk shouted out “64!” 
All the other monks roared with laughter.

Another then called out “15!” — again much laughter.

“What’s going on?” asked the visitor.

“They know each other’s jokes inside out” said the abbot. “So rather than tell them each time, they’ve numbered them. If one calls out a number, they think of the joke and laugh. Have a go…”

The visitor called out “45!” and there was a small ripple of polite laughter.

“I’m afraid,” said the abbot, “that’s not very funny. Try again.”

So, the visitor called out “56!” and there was uproar. 

“Must have been a good joke,” he said.

“Yes,” said the abbot wiping his eyes. “And we’ve never heard it before.”

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Names – again

The Meenister’s Log

when Helen was having Matthew, there was a teacher in the next bed who had also had a baby – she told of a Primary One teacher who was taking the roll on the first day at school; she asked all the kids what their names were and this five year old answered “Gooey” She checked the list & no “Gooey” there. His name was actually “Guy” but his thicko parents had only seen it written down – never pronounced – and the poor wee lad had been called “Gooey” ever since he’d been born.

What trouble we can have with names.  For example, Niamh is pronounced “Neeve” not “Niamah

And Siobhan is pronounced shiv + awn

Isla can cause problems too if you’re not Scottish

My surname “Strachan” is “Strawn” in England; “Straughan” in some parts of the north-east of Scotland; and in Trinidad, where i worked….well anything would do from “Stitchen” to “Stra-Chan” (the latter is a common mistake with telephone call-centres)

Many got round it by simply calling me “Rev”

My paternal grandfather had a beautiful brass plate on his front door “A Strachan”, but the “A” and the “Strachan” were just a wee bit too close together, and a postman once addressed him, when grandfather opened the door for the mail, Mr Astrakhan”!

More seriously, “Jesus” wasn’t His name!

Read on – it’s lengthy, but interesting

How “Yeshua” Became “Jesus”

The first letter in the name Yeshua (“Jesus”) is the yod. Yod represents the “Y” sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the yod in these names was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter “J” rather than “Y”. This came about because in early English the letter “J” was pronounced the way we pronounce “Y” today. All proper names in the Old Testament were transliterated into English according to their Hebrew pronunciation, but when English pronunciation shifted to what we know today, these transliterations were not altered. Thus, such Hebrew place names as ye-ru-sha-LA-yim, ye-ri-HO, and yar-DEN have become known to us as Jerusalem, Jericho, and Jordan; and Hebrew personal names such as yo-NA, yi-SHAI, and ye-SHU-a have become known to us as Jonah, Jesse, and Jesus.

The yod is the smallest letter of the alphabet, which is why Yeshua used it in His famous saying in Matt 5:18: “Until heaven and earth pass away not one yod (“iota” in the Greek text) or one kots will pass from the Torah.” For emphasis, Yeshua incorporated in this saying a well-known Hebrew expression: lo’ yod ve-LO’ ko-TSO shel yod, “not a yod and not a ‘thorn’ of a yod,” i.e., not the most insignificant and unimportant thing. When Yeshua declared that heaven and earth might sooner disappear than the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, or the smallest stroke of a letter, He was simply saying that the Torah (“Law” or “Teaching”) of Moses would never cease to be.

The second sound in Yeshua’s name is called tse-RE, and is pronounced almost like the letter “e” in the word “net”. Just as the “Y” sound of the first letter is mispronounced in today’s English, so too the first vowel sound in “Jesus”. Before the Hebrew name “Yeshua” was transliterated into English, it was first transliterated into Greek. There was no difficulty in transliterating the tse-RE sound since the ancient Greek language had an equivalent letter which represented this sound. And there was no real difficulty in transcribing this same first vowel into English. The translators of the earliest versions of the English Bible transliterated the tse-RE in Yeshua with an “e”. Unfortunately, later English speakers guessed wrongly that this “e” should be pronounced as in “me,” and thus the first syllable of the English version of Yeshua came to be pronounced “Jee” instead of “Yeh”. It is this pronunciation which produced such euphemistic profanities as “Gee” and “Geez”.

Since Yeshua is spelled “Jeshua” and not “Jesus” in most English versions of the Old Testament (for example in Ezra 2:2 and 2 Chronicles 31:15), one easily gets the impression that the name is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet ‘Yeshua’ appears there twenty-nine times, and is the name of at least five different persons and one village in the southern part of Yehudah (“Judah”).

In contrast to the early biblical period, there were relatively few different names in use among the Jewish population of the Land of Israel at the time of the Second Temple. The name Yeshua was one of the most common male names in that period, tied with Eleazer for fifth place behind Simon, Joseph, Judah, and John. Nearly one out of ten persons known from the period was named Yeshua.

The first sound of the second syllable of Yeshua is the “sh” sound. It is represented by the Hebrew letter shin. However Greek, like many other languages, has no “sh” sound. Instead, the closest approximation, the Greek sigma, was used when transcribing “Yeshua” as “Iesus”. Translators of English versions of the New Testament transliterated the Greek transcription of a Hebrew name, instead of returning to the original Hebrew. This was doubly unfortunate, first because the “sh” sound exists in English, and second because in English the “s” sound can shift to the “z” sound, which is what happened in the case of the pronunciation of “Jesus”.

The fourth sound one hears in the name Yeshua is the “u” sound, as in the word “true”. Like the first three sounds, this also has come to be mispronounced but in this case it is not the fault of the translators. They transcribed this sound accurately, but English is not a phonetic language and “u” can be pronounced in more than one way. At some point the “u” in “Jesus” came to be pronounced as in “cut,” and so we say “Jee-zuhs.”

The “a” sound, as in the word “father,” is the fifth sound in Jesus’ name. It is followed by a guttural produced by contracting the lower throat muscles and retracting the tongue root- an unfamiliar task for English speakers. In an exception to the rule, the vowel sound “a” associated with the last letter “ayin” (the guttural) is pronounced before it, not after. While there is no equivalent in English or any other Indo-European language, it is somewhat similar to the last sound in the name of the composer, “Bach.” In this position it is almost inaudible to the western ear. Some Israelis pronounce this last sound and some don’t, depending on what part of the dispersion their families returned from. The Hebrew Language Academy, guardian of the purity of the language, has ruled that it should be sounded, and Israeli radio and television announcers are required to pronounce it correctly. There was no letter to represent them, and so these fifth and sixth sounds were dropped from the Greek transcription of “Yeshua,” -the transcription from which the English “Jesus” is derived.

So where did the final “s” of “Jesus” come from? Masculine names in Greek ordinarily end with a consonant, usually with an “s” sound, and less frequently with an “n” or “r” sound. In the case of “Iesus,” the Greeks added a sigma, the “s” sound, to close the word. The same is true for the names Nicodemus, Judas, Lazarus, and others.

English speakers make one further change from the original pronunciation of Jesus’ name. English places the accent on “Je,” rather than on “sus.” For this reason, the “u” has shortened in its English pronunciation to “uh.”

In the West, a child’s name is often chosen for its pleasant sound, or because another family member had it. The Jews of the Second Temple period also named after relatives (Luke 1:59-63). However, almost all Jewish names have a literal meaning. Occasionally this is seen in English names too, such as Scott (a person from Scotland), Johnson (son of John), and Baker (bread maker). But with Hebrew names it is the rule, rather than the exception.

The name Yeshua literally means The LORD’s Salvation, or Salvation from the LORD. In comparison, prior to being transliterated from the Hebrew Bible, the name Iesus did not exist in Greek. Through multiple translations and changes in pronunciation, a tradition of saying “Jesus” has obscured His name, “Yeshua.” It has shifted His perceived message and identity from Hebrew to Greek.

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what a mix we are

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Live like you are wearing this shirt every day.

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pass me that bottle of Jack Daniels, please

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The Meenister’s Log

There was a Scottish footballer of many years ago who had a well-deserved reputation as being a hard man and a bully,on and off the pitch.

At one particular International, where the ref was French, he was at his appaling worst – hacking down opposition players in the most brutal manner.

This was before the days of yellow cards, but the French referee had strong words with him, warning him that if there was going to be a repeat of this thuggish behaviour, he’d be sent off.

Ten minutes later and a nasty foul.

Ref: “You’re off!”

Player: ” away and bile yer heid, ye bandy legged wee nyaff.

Ref:  “Thank you, but it’stoo late to apologise!”

Words, communication, misunderstanding – how do we do it?  What umbrage has been taken and what relationsships destroyed so often over a misunderstood word or words?

And so often it is so unnecessary. Words – speak them gently and kindly – and be patient; the person that you’re talking to may not always grasp the nuances of what you really mean to express. 

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. 

Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to speak softly and kindly. Silence, when one is attacked, is often the best method to cool wrath. Decisions made when angry, tired, or discouraged are unreliable anyway, so it is best to relax and let anger cool. And when you do speak, let it always be quietly and lovingly

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Baptism (with or without water?)

The Meenister’s Log

Church of Scotland candidates for the Ministry have to undergo what is known as Trials for Licence.  This happens usually after the academic side of things has been completed and before full Ordination – the time spent in between (usually a year) is as a sort of apprentice or curate – known as a Probationer or Licentiate.

There’s a service to be conducted and wise men and women from Presbytery come to listen to see if the candidate is “up to it”; there is also a longish interview to discover if he/she knows Church Law etc.

At my interview for Trials for Licence (in 1973) , I was asked, simply enough, what is the element used in Baptism……..obviously, water
 Then the minister who asked the question, said “what if you’re in a desert – what would the Desert Fathers have done?”
 Cheekily, I answered “pee on the candidate”
I wonder how 39 years later, I’m still an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament!

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