In the english NIV Bible, John 1 starts: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I have always loved that picture. It feels calm and timeless to me. It feels still. And I like that.
And then I learned Spanish…And it ruined everything. (Okay, maybe not “everything”…but it ruined a lot of stuff for me. Shut up! I am NOT being “all dramatic”!) So here’s the thing; The Spanish VNI (NIV) translates John 1 like this: En el principio ya existía el Verbo, y el Verbo estaba con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios.
I always think it’s weird that the english translation says “Word”, but in Spanish it says “Verb”. Now, I can be kind of nit-picky about stuff like this, but, in my opinion, ”word” and “verb” have very different meanings. In my mind, a “word” just is. But a “verb” is, like…doing something.
I’m gonna be honest with you. I really liked the picture that I had of Jesus, just, like, floating around in space, kinda chilling out, you know, relaxing and stuff. He’s in no hurry. He’s “the Word”. And all a word has to do is be spoken. And ultimately, it’s up to the speaker to give it power or not, to make it beautiful or not, to make it meaningful or not.
But Jesus as “the Verb”? That just sounds…busy. That sounds like work. Like Jesus was there, in the beginning…with a job. And that conjures images of Jesus doing stuff, planning, preparing, movin and shakin…I don’t know. But I don’t like it. I prefer Calm Jesus with Nothing to Do.
That’s because I want to be like Jesus. I strive every day to be like Jesus. But I want to be like space-man Jesus, lazing around until it’s time to be spoken. Are you feelin’ me?
At this very moment, I’m watching the Hallmark Channel. (I’m not even going to try and say that I’m being like Jesus, although laying on the couch, writing a blog, and watching crap TV does fit with my ideal picture of “life of a Christ-follower”. Just saying.) So I’m watching this horribly lame, made-for-TV movie about some genetic grasshopper experiment gone awry, and now these crazy, fast-breeding, extra-hungry locusts are eating all of the crops in the whole world…and some people. And it’s hilarious!
Don’t misunderstand. I am not sitting here getting kicks out of the low-budget destruction of the human race. It’s not like that at all. It’s funny, A) because the main guy’s name is “Peter Axelrod” and that just cracks me up. I can’t explain it. But every time anyone says “Get Peter Axelrod on the line.”, or, “Only Dr. Axelrod has the answer!”, I expect, like, a hot nurse and a shirtless pizza boy to appear in the next frame. It makes me chuckle.
And B) because of this: Someone spent the time and money adding Spanish subtitles to this gem of a film. And, it appears that the only spanish translation for the word “locust” is “langosta”. Which also mean “lobster”. So the subtitles say things like “Run!! The LOBSTERS are coming!” and “These lobsters are unstoppable!”, which paints an entirely different picture, doesn’t it? Lobster in place of locust? I mean, lobsters are creepy, and they have those big pinchers with rubber bands on them and everything. But, a “swarm” of beady-eyed lobsters flopping their way through a Nebraska corn field, click, click, clicking at the air with their one big claw doesn’t really translate into terror. Lobsters are just funny. And delicious.
Locusts = Terrifying
Lobsters = Funny/Delicious
Lobsters + Dr. Peter Axelrod x really bad acting² – money + a kitschy script = HILARIOUS!
So Spanish ruined this movie for me, too.
No, I’m kidding. Truly, I love what learning this language has done to my mind. It’s forced me to look at all kinds of things, like movies, and books, and news reports and, most especially, the Bible in new ways. I wish I had always seen the world with these eyes, eyes that ask questions, that want to know more, that want to know “why”.
So. Locust…or lobster? Word…or Verb? I really don’t know.
But it is weird, isn’t it? What a difference one tiny Word can make…