Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the grammar stage

I just finished an excellent book called "How to Learn Any Language" by Barry Farber. It's a great encouragement as I continue to work on my Spanish.

But when I read this bit, I was reminded of nothing so much as theology, and how we perceive dogma early in our Christian walks, and then how that perception changes as we grow to know the Lord better:

You don't have to know grammar to obey grammar. If you obey grammar from the outset, when you turn around later and learn why you should say things the way you're already saying them, each grammatical rule will then become not an instrument of abstract torture disconnected from anything you've experienced but rather an old friend who now wants you to have his home address and private phone number.

Isn't that great? It's exactly that way as we learn the creeds, or struggle through some of the early fathers, or try to understand Romans the first time around. But, more and more, the more you live it and actually obey the Lord's instructions, the more what was obscure becomes clear. As Proverbs says, the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, growing ever brighter to the full light of day.  Farber continues, saying that a foreign language's grammar, once you've got a bit of the language in you, 

becomes a gift flashlight that makes you smile and say, "Now I understand why they say it that way!"

Grammar eventually is revealed to be common sense, much like Christian dogma. Once you understand it, it's not weird and convoluted, rather it's beautiful and useful, and you understand why "they say it that way": because it's the only way it can be said while still preserving all the meaning intended.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

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