?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Sharing and caring - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
View My LJ [By Tag]


June 10th, 2008
02:20 am
[User Picture]

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Sharing and caring
I saw a license plate on my way to work today that, had I not been driving a vehicle, would have made me stand up and cheer.

There were no bumper stickers or other meaning clues on the tan minivan. Just a simple California plate: "ANESTE".

And I was immediately struck by the subtlety and the power of the message. Now that, I thought, is pitch-perfect evangelism.

*    *    *

I am not, I must point out, a believer in evangelism qua evangelism. I have already written eloquently about my feelings on religious promotion, and nothing's changed.

But a doctrine against proselytization does not mean a doctrine of silence. It means a doctrine of pragmatism. All are welcome who choose to hear; let those who won't listen select themselves out, and save everyone the hassle of an argument.

Besides: Your true religion is not in what you tell others, it's in what you live.

If you're satisfied with who you are -- if you're living sustainably and joyfully -- if you're making the world a better place for yourself and others, you are viscerally demonstrating the power of your beliefs.* Living well is evangelism.

As such, evangelism is not a declaration. It's a conversation. It's opening up and sharing to the world what makes you joyful, and -- this is important -- listening back. You want to borrow their best ideas and let them emulate yours. You want to recognize when someone is content without your help, and when someone is fulfilled in a way that you are not. Your time in your current role is limited, and you have to help those you can best reach and learn from those who have the most to teach you.

Evangelism must play well with others. This is why evangelism cannot push. Evangelism shares.

*    *    *

Which brings me back to the license plate.

They misspelled (or Anglicized) it, but the word is Greek to me: anesti, ανέστη, "he has risen." I grew up in a household celebrating Greek Easter, and "Xristos** Anesti" -- "Christ has risen" -- has long been drilled into my head.

So "Anesti"/"Aneste" is a bald public statement of faith. Pushy evangelism? Ah, but no: context matters.

The number of Greek speakers here in America is tiny, and overwhelmingly likely to already subscribe to the views that "Aneste" expresses.*** The people that don't know Greek will have no clue what it means unless they take the positive step of asking you. So it's public without being pushy. It's declaring in no uncertain terms: Here is something that defines me! -- and yet letting people approach it at their own pace.

It shares.

I respect that. And I always strive to be a similar ambassador for my beliefs.

--
* And, hey, even if your beliefs end up wrong, you have nothing to regret.
** Note that the x in Greek, chi, is pronounced like a throat-clearey sort of "ch". Thus the Greek "xristos" got transliterated to "Christos" and later "Christ." I borrowed the same consonant as the closest local equivalent when writing my name, Baxil. And now you know!
*** In Greece itself, the number of non-Greek Orthodox residents is in the low, low single digits. The second largest minority group is Muslim at 1.3%, and the rest combined is 0.7%. I don't have similar statistics for American Greek-speakers, but such people are mostly either ethnographically Greek or college classics students.

Current Location: ~journal
Current Music: Sting, "Fragile"
Tags: , ,

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:ngarewyrd
Date:June 10th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
(Link)
I wasn't aware that you had a greek background, It's interesting the way our upbringings and stuff define us. Plus I agree with the numberplate, I was one of those who didn't know what that word meant, but now I do, and it _is_ a declaration of belief without being pushy, Especially when that is the Only hint of stuff like that on the car

Mind you, it could belong to the local greek orthodoxy church, and anisti was already taken =8D
[User Picture]
From:jenett
Date:June 10th, 2008 11:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
I usually read the eta as an e when transliterating, rather than an i (which I reserve for iota). I admit to being a classical Greek sort of person, more than New Testament, though.
[User Picture]
From:r_caton
Date:June 10th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I learn something every day!
Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:paka
Date:June 10th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Wow. That's interesting. I'd never actually heard the Greek before, and actually learning Greek is not something I'd figure as typical for anyone other than Greek-Americans and the occasional archaeology/classic civ major. Think this person was Orthodox?
[User Picture]
From:siege
Date:December 29th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
As a side note (I'm reading back in this journal a bit), my father (a Methodist minister) took classical Greek as part of the schooling for his vocation (and studied Latin in high school, being part of the Latin club, among other interests). One of the more interesting books in his collection is a huge concordance of the Bible which contains the original Hebrew, Greek, and Latin of the various books and verses (including translations of each into the others), side by side with several different English translations and transliterations. It is HUGE, but you get all kinds of context (with occasional footnotes on language differences) that wouldn't have occurred to an ordinary Post-Modern moderately-churched man reading the King James version alone.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:December 30th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
As a side note to your side note - if you're skimming back, I've added you to the woo-woo filter, and the magic tag should be a little more populated now.
[User Picture]
From:gchpaco
Date:June 10th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Only semi-related, but you might know; can you explain the polytonic/monotonic thing in Greek? Everything I've seen on the subject implies the extra diacritics in polytonic Greek are superfluous, but it appears to be a fundamental offense against the sanctity of the universe to typeset older Greek quotations in anything other than polytonic. As a non-speaker the distinction is largely lost on me, but I take some pride in typesetting well and so need to understand it.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 10th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That wasn't something I'd personally heard of (my Greek skill is extremely lightweight), but I do think I found an answer via google-fu:

[Polytonic] was the standard orthography for all varieties of Greek from Hellenistic times until 1982. ... The monotonic orthography (μονός = single + τόνος = accent) is the simplified spelling introduced in 1982 for modern Greek. [1]

HTH!
[User Picture]
From:puropis
Date:June 11th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
(Link)
Even though ancient Greek was not originally written with the polytonic accents (being written entirely in capitals without accents), polytonic accents were added to copies of manuscripts starting in the early centuries CE. The extra diacritics give additional information about pronounciation that is otherwise lost. Modern Greek uses a stress-based accent system, but ancient Greek was polytonic; the accents represented changes in pitch.

So to a native speaker of ancient Greek, the extra diacritics would technically be superfluous (as would lowercase letters), but all modern renditions of ancient Greek that I've seen (in four years of classes in college and additional dabbling outside of class) include the polytonic marks, with all uppercase (and no additional diacritics) reserved for titles and other such roles.

I hope that's helpful. Sorry about some of the vagueness; it's been a year or two since I last was reading up on the exact details of ancient Greek pronunciation that tell more about the accents than "memorize how these accents work" that shows up in textbooks.
[User Picture]
From:gchpaco
Date:June 11th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thank you! All the stuff I have seen on the subject is of the "memorize how these work" and poorly motivates the monotonic transition; my minimal linguistics training rebels against the idea of legislating pronunciation change, so it must have already happened at the time of the legislation.
[User Picture]
From:puropis
Date:June 11th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
(Link)
It looks like there's some further information on accents (and the development of them) here.

I only really found additional details while trying to read up on pronunciation. Beginning texts generally teach students to use stress-based accents and ignore the language's polytonic nature entirely. This becomes notable when students move on to poetry ... which has its own stresses based on the meter, which mean you suddenly ignore accent entirely in your pronunciation, and everyone tends to have this sort of monotonic (and monotonous) chanting quality when they read.
[User Picture]
From:puropis
Date:June 11th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
Actually, aneste would be the proper way to transliterate ανεστη from Ancient Greek. The 'η' is most commonly transliterated 'e', though variation certainly exists, I think.
Tomorrowlands Powered by LiveJournal.com