About those nine noun classes…

One of the best discoveries of the last two weeks (and it was a mere two weeks ago today that we landed here!!), is that the Swahili language is quite beautiful in its logic and clarity. Its speakers move with ease through some pretty clearly-observed grammatical rules with some irregularities, but not that many.

Its noun classes group together many varieties of things in the world. It’s not so strict a classification system as the scientific system of binomial nomenclature, but it clearly provides a kind of rough taxonomy of life. That is, Kiswahili’s noun classes are not merely a matter of operating language correctly but also of seeing the world in a Swahili way.

(This way of speaking and seeing was worked out without any input, thank you, from the wazungu – white people).

Cynthia and I look forward to seeing the ways in which the Tanzanians likewise work out their relationships to God. Genuine relationships with God can be influenced, but never forced. Just like with human relationships, they have their own life and power. They are facing many of the same questions and issues that Americans like us face, but always in their own way, their own context, their own language. And of course they are also facing issues and problems that are very different from ours.

Those differences of culture and life help to show us even more facets and dimensions of God’s love for humanity, God’s good news for us wayward humans. We struggle both toward and against the light of God, and if we have sense, we share notes with each other along the way.

Thank you to all who read this, and please share your notes with us along your way! The grace of God is big enough for us all to share, but it is never enough for any of us if we fight over it.

And if you are so moved, please help us through our support webpage. Thank you!

Mark and Cynthia

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