From “Grammerly blog – “40 (forty) is the number that follows 39 and precedes 41. Though it’s related to the number “four” (4), the modern spelling of 40 is “forty.” The older form, “fourty,” is treated as a misspelling today. The modern spelling could reflect a historical pronunciation change.”
Well isn’t that special? I got a lot of comments on my spelling of “40” on the blog about Rev. Don Fondow and his anniversary of ordination. I went back and corrected it but it raised an interesting observation. People get upset about spelling errors and they really get wound up if you confuse people or places. I was glad for instance, that my attribution to an unknown World War I vet about memorial day, was pointed out to me as an inspirational and rather long speech by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Correcting mistakes is important, because facts are important, because the truth is important. We see more and more that folks want to rewrite history and reinterpret facts even as they happen in the present.
It happens even in the church. There is of course, a lot of craziness that happens before church conventions when there are elections for different leadership positions in the church. There was another very expensive brochure sent out to all the congregations for a presidential nominee that listed his expertise in missions. It was the same kind of brochure that was accompanied by an email blitz that claimed the falsehood, that my Board, the Board for International Missions, had “secretly sold” properties in Hong Kong. That of course was not true but the lie was allowed to stand and I still have heard no explanation and have received no apology, and neither has my Board. This brochure which I am sure cost enough to fund a missionary or mercy project for a while is really what I call a vanity card, but I digress. It was accompanied by an email blast endorsing the candidate and his expertise in missions. In the fluff piece that followed was a remembrance that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod began mission work in India with a missionary named “Nathan”. This is amazing stuff and shows and incredible insensitivity to that mission. Our church body formed an organization called MELIM; the Missouri Evangelical Lutheran India Mission and the first missionary sent was Theodore Naether, not Nathan. This is an appalling thing to have to note because anyone who is an “expert” in missions would know that Theodore Naether is memorialized in India. He and his family are portrayed on the website of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church for along time. I haven’t visited the site for a while so I am not sure that is still there, but Naether is a hero to that church body. So maybe the expert in missions can get the record changed, or at least clue is in as to who Nathan was. I know about the Nathan in the Bible, but I have no idea about the Nathan who was a missionary to India.
There are times when dealing with what some call “liberals” in the church, I feel we have entered some kind of cosmic rabbit hole. We get the feeling that worship is supposed to be a kind of pep rally; proclamation can be defined as Gospel touches; and mission should be divorced from being Lutheran. In our life together, by-laws mean what they, (the liberals) say and nothing more. I have noticed that conservatives are called unloving and controlling while being called vile names and having their character impugned, and if they respond they do not have the proper demeanor to be leaders. When they do not respond it is considered a means of covering up wrong doing. In this context Matthew 18 is a one way street and politics takes over.
Things get curiouser and curiouser (yes I know but I am so much surprised that for the moment I have forgotten how to speak good English)* because another letter sent to a whole bunch of people from a high ranking, supposedly Lutheran ecclesiastical from Hong Kong, informed that there is religious freedom in China. I had missed that earth shattering news somewhere. For years we have been told we have to be very careful not to step on Chinese sensibilities and their atheistic policies. Now overnight we learn there is religious freedom. This is a major news story that I am sure all the experts on missions must have picked up on. Why have we been misinformed until today?
So there are all kinds of corrections in order I guess. Apologies to China. Apologies to the memory of Naether. Apologies to Fondow for misspelling his anniversary date. Apologies to Ms. Perry my grade school English instructor. Apologies to the wonderful faithful Board members of the BIM. Apologies for the mysterious Nathan and apologies to Lewis Carrol.
*This is of course from “Alice in Wonderland” for you English Lit experts.