July 31, 2008

Y not, he Z

Two nuggets from apparent preachers on two different Christian radio stations, heard while driving through central and western Minnesota. This is as near to verbatim as I could manage:

"God deserves our full-blooded worship -- not half-hearted like so many people, but a full great Super Bowl kind of worship!"

"The churches in America are filled with people who don't know Christ."

Well, you have to ask. I have to ask. What tells these guys that they know what "half-hearted" worship is, that "so many people" indulge in it, and that most church-goers "don't know Christ"?

***

It also reminded me ... on an "overnight" plane ride -- actually just three hours -- an older couple sat down in my row, he next to me. Began talking nonstop to me, so much so that I began to fear for getting any sleep at all. Then rudeness won out, and I decided to pretend sleep so I could avoid talking. Didn't help, because he kept on in a dull monotone. And whenever there was a break, he would not let it pass for long -- he'd lean a little closer and start off on his then chosen subject.

Of course I don't want to be harsh to a man who was trying to be friendly. But I did want, desperately, to sleep. Turns out he used to be a missionary in Japan. Spoke of how the Japanese reacted to his missionary work after the devastation of WW2. Also how many people willingly turned to Christianity then because one of the fallouts of the war was that Emperor Hirohito renounced his divinity and left his people spiritually bereft (so he said, at any rate).

He also talked a lot about the Bible. "If you go to a hotel room and pick up a Gideon's Bible, read John", he said. Didn't explain why, and I didn't get a chance to ask. I did mention a long-time puzzle: that people hold up "John 3:16" signs at sports events. Why? In answer, he rattled off what the passage says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Then I mentioned to him that a paper packet I had got a burger in had "Revelation 3:20" printed on it, and we had no clue what that was about. He turned to his wife, and she leaned over and rattled off what that passage says, and he joined in: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Enough for a burger place to put the citation on its food packets.

***

For no particular reason that I can fathom, I've always been intrigued by names that begin with "Y" pronounced as a vowel. Thus not Yellowstone or Yosemite, but certainly Ypsilanti, Ypres (known during the first World War, famously, as "Wipers"), Yves, etc. And there's a brand of perfume, or toilets, or eau de toilettes, or something, by name "Ysatis". Where did that name come from?

A historical marker on the shore of Mille Lacs Lake ("Thousand Lakes Lake", yes) made me think of that question again. It's titled "IZATYS".

Izatys was a "great Sioux village" in the 17th Century. A Father Hennepin -- judging by the number of times I've run across that name, he was a big man -- visited Izatys in 1680. In the middle of the 18th Century, the Chippewa (Ojibwe) tribe, "moving westward from Lake Superior", attacked and captured Izatys. This battle "drove the Sioux permanently into southern Minnesota".

Could that have inspired a perfume two centuries later?

***

Speaking of the Ojibwe. How do you say "It is snowing" in the Ojibwe language?

"Zoogipon".

And by what Ojibwe name is Agnes Pendegayosh known?

"Waywayshgagowikwe."

It's not for nothing that I forked out $7 to visit the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post.

***

Speaking of the letter "Y", Minneapolis is the first city I've been to in the US with so many street names that begin with "X". Well, at least three, only two of which I managed to scribble into my diary in time: Xerxes and Xavis.

I imagine the initial "X" in both those are pronounced rather differently.

And there is, of course, "Zoogipon".

***

New York Mills, Minnesota, is the home, as announced by a large board on the highway, to "Lund Boats".

Nearby Frazee is the home, as also announced by a large board on the highway, of "the world's largest turkey."

Now I could resist the boats, but not the turkey. So I swerved right into Frazee and went looking for the bird. First thing, I saw several long barns filled -- visible even from a distance -- with the birds. I tried to circle around and go up to the birds, but was stopped by a very determined sign that said "Keep Out: Disease Control Area."

I wanted to point out that I had no disease that I know of, but there was nobody to tell.

Drove on in search of the bird. A bare-chested young man was walking up from a swim in the river, so I made a U-turn and asked him. He looked puzzled for a second, then smiled, turned and pointed to a slope I had passed on the way to my meeting with him. Sure enough, a huge bird there.

Up close, it's a malevolent looking bird, tail up and head down, beak chipped. A seriously overweight couple and their frisky but slender kid strolled up to take a look, and I was tempted to tell them to watch their kid in case the malevolent bird pecked enormously at him. Then I realized that given their slow waddle, it was probably a better idea if I readied myself to save the kid from any pecking.

Then I realized that this isn't a real bird, but a statue.

***

Outside Frazee on the highway, these two signs in quick succession:

"ADOPTION: I can live with that."

"ABORTION: One heart stops. Another heart breaks."

***

Also somewhere near there, this sign on the highway:

"RODEO: June 27nd and 28rd, 2008."

Gives me a 2th ache, really.

4 comments:

B said...

People dont know Christ because of the X-factor! I wonder why he is not called the X-man.

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Sidhusaaheb said...

"...a full great Super Bowl kind of worship!"

Is that the height of materialism?

:D

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