Thursday, July 28, 2005


vaD joH'a' ghaH QaQ. Daj muSHa'taH pung SIQtaH reH, Daj voqtaHghach Daq Hoch DISmey.
For the LORD is good. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations. psalm 100:5

podcast version

Some people may remember, when the world waited and worried about Y2K, and when clocks began ticking over - in Australia part of the celebration was emblazoning the word "ETERNITY" in script at the climax of Sydney's New Year's fireworks. Some may have been curious about the story. If they looked into it, they'd have learned about a man, Arthur Stace, who once heard a preacher say "Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?"

Mr. Stace was so taken with this that he took to chalking the word - just that word everywhere on the sidewalks of Sydney.

It is a good word to reflect on - because, looking around the world, and at the works of our own hands, we'll see: nothing lasts forever. And if we think that, the psalmist is there to remind us: we're wrong.

vaD joH'a' ghaH QaQ. Daj muSHa'taH pung SIQtaH reH
For the LORD is good. His loving kindness endures forever

l'olam - is the word behind "forever" here. It means something like unto-the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind, ALWAYS. In the context of this Psalm, it says there isn't a limit to God's love. Without an assurance that God's loving kindness is unlimited a word like "eternity" frightens me - it sounds like extinction. For I see an unlimited future that will swallow up anything I might be or do.

But when I know God' s loving kindness endures forever - then I know I've trusted the one who can bring me through this life, and into that eternity.

Now it is always dicey to make too much of wordplay - especially in a constructed, fictional language like Klingon, but I like this "coincidence." Namely, that the word I've used for "forever" is reH: always. This word is also the word for "play," as in play a game. As I said - don't make too much of this - but isn't it a wonderful thought that - at least in Klingon when we spell out eternity, we may also be looking forward to the delights of playing together in the courts of the Lord.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


'el Daq Daj lojmItmey tlhej tlho'taHghach, Daq Daj bo'DIjmey tlhej naD. nob tlho' Daq ghaH, je ghurmoH Daj pong.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

podcast version

Take a moment to consider the last door you went through. Was it an exit or an entrance? Were you happy or upset to use it? Maybe you didn't notice it at all - it all depends on the circumstances. A child may dread the first day of a new school, may even be dragged into it - yet years later the same student may be more upset to be leaving that place for the last time.

What makes the difference? I think it can be a matter of perspective that comes from our attitude, an attitude that may be tied up in one word: tlho'taHghach - thankfulness.

Go to Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem today and you'll hear this word in the shops and on the street. Between friends or business associates.- the same word used in Psalm 100 - todah - "thanks!".

[People are sometimes surprised that Klingons have some words. Peace is one (roj) and thanks is another. To say "thank you" simply add qa- (the prefix for I - something -you) and add tlho'. qatlho', I thank you.]

To express this word, this idea of thankfulness, I extended the word a bit more: tlho'taH (on going thank-ing) plus the -ghach suffix to make a noun of 'the process of on-going thanks': tlho'taHghach - thankfulness.

Maybe this is a clumsy way to express it, but it is key to the attitude we need when approaching God's lojmItmey, his gates.

There is a Klingon saying that shows a negative attitude about gates - looking at them as EXITs not entrances.

yIvoq 'ach lojmItmey yISam
Trust: but locate the doors.

This counsels that 'gates' are the method to get away if your trust is misplaced. Cynical advice indeed - certainly not built on an attitude of thankfulness.

This is not the Biblical approach. Psalm 100 is about coming to God with joy, with delight, with THANKS. This is not always easy, I admit, yet it is a key that lets us see "Daj lojmItmey," (his gates) as the pathway to delight.

Paul writes something that fits in here when he reminds the Philippians (and us) that the way to peace with God, the way to approach him in prayer - the way to enter his gates - is with thanks:

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. phil 4:6,7

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Stars Salute You!

Hoch QaQ gift je Hoch perfect gift ghaH vo' Dung, choltaH bIng vo' the vav vo' lights, tlhej 'Iv laH taH ghobe' variation, ghobe' turning QIb.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. James 1:17


A reading from the book of James - a fitting source as we pause to honor the memory of James Doohan. James Doohan, who faked a Scottish burr to create one of television's most endearing characters, Chief Engineer Montgomery (Scotty) Scott of the U.S.S. Enterprise, died today at the age of 85.

For this podcast, I want to take a break from our travels through Psalm 100 and offer a few words of thanks to the man who gave us the Klingon language, who gave us the words that are used in the Klingon Language Version.

Although the famous order, “Beam me up, Scotty”, was never given on the show, Doohan’s character, Montgomery Scott, became one of the most familiar, and most parodied, characters in TV history.

Whenever the USS Enterprise was pushed to the limits, he would famously cry: “The engines canna’ take it.” Reliable to the end, however, he ensured that they actually could take it.

But he did more than just create a loveable character. Coming from a background in radio, Doohan was skilled at voice work. In fact he used something like half a dozen different accents when auditioning as Scotty - but settled on the Scottish one since everyone knew a real engineer would have to be a Scot.

Using his considerable vocal skills, Doohan devised the Vulcan and Klingon language dialogue heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Later, professional linguists, particularly Mark Okrand, expanded Klingon into a fully constructed language with a working grammar.

Although Klingon became refined by others, Doohan can be credited with formulating the world’s most popular artificial language — Shakespeare and parts of the Bible have been translated into it - a fact that is no doubt familiar to listeners of this podcast.

As we offer our prayers and sympathies to the friends and family of James Doohan, let us give thanks to him for his gifts and the way he shared them with us.

nIvan Hovmey - the stars salute you,

we might say.

pItlho' 'ej joH'a'Daq bIlengjaj - we thank you, and may you go with God.

This podcast included text and information from TimesOnline, New York Times, and Wikipedia

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Who Made You?

Sov vetlh joH'a', ghaH ghaH joH'a'. 'oH ghaH ghaH 'Iv ghajtaH chenmoHta' maH, je maH 'oH Daj. maH 'oH Daj ghotpu, je the Suy' vo' Daj tI yotlh.
Know that the LORD, he is God. It is he who has made us, and we are his. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

There's a joke about a scientist who achieved so much knowledge that he felt that he could do everything - that he was the equal of God. God responded with a challenge - they would each try to outdo the other. God began: he picked up some dirt, added water, molded it in to a human shape and brought it to life.

The scientist nodded to himself, made a few notes, then rolled back his sleeves. As he reached out to gather up some dirt... and God interrupted.

"Oh, no you don't. You make your own dirt."

I think of that joke when I hear the odd expression "self-made man," usually presented in admiration for someone who has accomplished a great deal.

As a term of praise, I suppose it has its place. It is a way to say how much a person has accomplished. But take care if you begin to believe it about yourself. This is a mistake and the psalmist tells us clearly that we can't claim any such thing:

'oH ghaH ghaH 'Iv ghajtaH chenmoHta' maH
It is he who has made us

It is tempting to assume we are on our own - that we can take credit for all our accomplishments. Once, in the heat of battle on Deep Space Nine, Worf remarks that the Klingons have no gods - "we killed them." Bold words, and tempting to some who wish to consider themselves "self-made." But such a notion is founded on an imaginary independance - as if we could somehow make ourselves out of nothing.

The word used here for "made" in Hebrew is "'asah" and is also the verb used in Genesis when we read:

joH'a' leghta' everything vetlh ghaH ghajta' chenmoHta', je, yIlegh, 'oH ghaHta' very QaQ

God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31)

In the Klingon, I've used "chenmoHta'." chen, build up or take form, then added the suffix moH (cause to) and added one more suffix ta' (did happen) giving
chenmoHta' : did form or create.

One other note of interest in the text. Some translations, notably the KJV say "it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves," instead of "It is he who has made us, and we are his. " The reason is that the Hebrew word "v'low" can mean "and not" or "and his," depending on the context. This could yield either the modern reading "he made us AND-HIS we-are" or the KJV's "he made us AND-NOT us." Neither translation rules out the meaning of the other - but the majority of translations do not use the negative clause since it doesn't fit in with the parallel construction that follows, "We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. "

The emphasis is that we are God's handiwork, and that this has a consequence. We are not our own - we are answerable to a maker.

Do you consider this good news? I imagine the Klingon response to be much like our own individualistic one - I AM MY OWN! It isn't easy to give up our autonomy. Yet the psalmist wants us to know we are answerable to a creator. No way can I claim to be "self-made."

And it is good news. If we are responsible to our maker, we should realize that he is responsible for US. He did not make us to be discarded or abandoned. Peter wrote:

trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.
(1 Peter 4:19b NLT)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Now Hiring!

toy' joH'a' tlhej tIvtaHghach. ghoS qaSpa' Daj Daq tlhej bomtaH.
Serve the LORD with gladness. Come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2

On my planet, in the hemisphere where I live, it is summer: the time of year for vacations and enjoying times of leisure. Except - if you are a student of a certain age, it is often the time to find a summer job.

Work can be a necessity. Work can be a mission, work can be many things - but most do not do it "with gladness," as this psalm commands. That may be why the current best-seller Joy at Work catches people by surprise - "what, I can have JOY... at WORK?"

Yet an older book talks about the same thing - here in Psalm 100 we're called to a special kind of work - a joyful work, to "serve the Lord." Too often we have the impression that the Bible is a book of doom, when it is far more about joy - the joy that God intends for his people. In the WEB translation alone, the word "joy" occurs over 160 times, compared to "sorrow" which occurs fewer than 50 times. Or look for "glad" (nearly 90 times) compared to "sad" (15 times).

God is hiring. And the work he's calling us to do, is a joyful one to be done tlhej tIvtaHghach with gladness. The word here "gladness" is simchah, and carries the idea of gladness, joy, mirth, and pleasure : hardly a call to drudgery. As Jesus told his followers - it was his intention "that your joy may be made full." (John 15:11, 16:24)

In this verse we can see another case of parallelism, the poetic structure used in the Bible to emphasize an idea, in this case "serve the Lord," and "singing" drives home what our work is to be: delight in worship. By the way, the Hebrew word here translated "toy'" or "serve," abad, is familiar to many: you see it in the name Obadiah and Abdullah, which both mean "servant of God."

This IS our work. In fact, the term "liturgy," used to refer to services of worship, is Greek for "the work of the people": it is our job. And this joyful work isn't a summer job: we're talking about eternity. To serve God, by delighting in his gifts and love toward us. We will serve him, and celebrate - forever - what he has done.

toy' joH'a' tlhej tIvtaHghach. ghoS qaSpa' Daj Daq tlhej bomtaH.
Serve the LORD with gladness. Come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


jach vaD Quch Daq joH'a', Hoch SoH puHmey!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all you lands! Psalm 100:1
podcast version

What makes you stand up and cheer?

Sometimes at a ballgame, or in the theater, something happens that surprises and delights you so much that - without thinking about it - you cheer or clap or just shout out your approval. You just HAVE to praise something wonderful.

And that may not be enough. If you're really excited, you'll nudge your neighbor and exclaim "Wow, wasn't that GREAT?!"

That kind of enthusiasm is what the author of Psalm 100 is sharing with us:

jach vaD Quch Daq joH'a', Hoch SoH puHmey!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all you lands! Psalm 100:1

Nobody presents a lecture at the baseball game, giving a detailed reason to express approval. When the ball is hit out of the park, everyone cheers. Likewise, without argument or explanation, this is the kind of direct, spontaneous joy that this psalm urges us toward.

"jach," the Klingon word used here means just this kind of noise: yell, scream, cry out! It is familiar to many Klingon speakers from the common toast "'IwlIj jachjaj," "may your blood scream." That word is very close in meaning to the psalm's Hebrew word, "roua." Used 42 times in the Bible, it means to make a lot of noise. The idea is literally "to break," like to split the eardrums with noise in alarms, or cheers. The context of the psalm makes clear that everyone, everywhere is being commanded to rejoice and cheer because of what God has done.

And - just what has God done?

Now, the subtitle of this psalm is "a psalm of thanksgiving," a powerful theme throughout the Bible. Some take the scriptures mandate to praise as their starting point: if we do this (praise God) , then we will experience divine blessing. Indeed some do find this so, and I rejoice with them.

But you're not likely to cheer if you don't see the homerun, if you don't notice the great play. Part of our responsibility is to watch carefully and appreciate what is going on so we WILL jach vaD Quch - shout for joy - at God's work. "Count your blessing," in other words

And there is more to the duty of believers. When we are blessed, then we can share with others - and when we do - then we've helped give others a chance to be thankful to God.

As Jesus reminds us - give people something to cheer about!:

'ach vaj, chaw' lij wov shine qaSpa' loDpu'; vetlh chaH may legh lij QaQ vum, je glorify lij vav 'Iv ghaH Daq chal.
Let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Monday, July 04, 2005

July! Vote For Your Favorite Podcasts!

podcast version

Just a quick reminder - if you're inclined to vote for podcasts, remember that it is a new month at - be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite podcasts. Maybe even KlingonWord!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Traveling Light!

ghaH ra'ta' chaH vetlh chaH should tlhap pagh vaD chaj journey, except a naQ neH: ghobe' tIr Soj, ghobe' wallet, ghobe' Huch Daq chaj purse,

He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse, Mark 6:8

podcast version

Going anywhere this summer? This weekend my family is visiting a comet! As I mentioned before, I've taken advantage of NASA's offer to put names, like those of my family, on board a spaceship.

Space travelers know the value of what Jesus told his disciples: travel light. Pack your bags when traveling through life - but do it with care. Consider what you can afford to carry and what the cost will be.

You might guess I'm a space enthusiast (and you'd be right). Being a mathematically inclined space cadet, I can do some of the calculations regarding spaceflight. It is sobering to realize how much it costs to bring cargo into space. The mass ratio just to get to orbit is around 10:1 - nine pounds of fuel to get one pound of cargo into space. Going to Mars? The total cost could be as high as 43:1! (Take a look at my program "Joyride," if you want to try some of the numbers yourself.)

"Running the numbers" can illustrate how costly it is to carry too much, even if we're only traveling on this planet. Considering such things can help us take just enough - carry only what we need, not all we MIGHT need..

Here's a trivial example of traveling light (yes, this is kind of the excuse for this "holiday travels" podcast) - here's how I work on my Bible studies for these podcasts. I'm fortunate to have plenty of resources - from commentaries and different translations, to a Biblical Encyclopedia. But (considering that I commute to work by bicycle) it isn't practical to carry them wherever I go. I've posted a picture at of what I use - take a look; I've found a way to carry "just what I need" in my pocket.

What do you need to work on your podcast? Posted by Hello

Here's what I use to work on the Klingon word from the Word podcasts:

  • Moleskine Notebooks to write in
  • References printed out:

    • Hebrew Text
    • Three translations NLT, WEB, KLV
    • Reference Notes
    • Cross References

The core is, that I use the tools put together by the Crosswire Bible Society. Using their Sword Project, or the Online Bible, I copy into a word processor several translations of the text. I also copy some cross-references and notes from another Bible tool. I print this all small enough that it folds neatly into my pocket note book. Put together, in a package smaller than a passport, I have just enough to take a moment - whenever I have a moment - to work on my studies.

Oh, I'm probably too proud of my mini-Bible library. I enjoy it, and it (for me) is a practical way to do my Bible studies. But in truth, it is so hard to "travel light." I'm at a time in life where I am anticipating the "empty nest" and a house that is too big and filled with far more than I need. We need to pray that God gives us not just what we need - but the wisdom to know what we DON'T.

And traveling light is what we need to do, because we've got a promise that, in the long run, we have nothing to worry about:

'ach nej wa'Dich joH'a' Kingdom, je Daj QaQtaHghach; je Hoch Dochvammey Dochmey DichDaq taH nobpu' Daq SoH as QaQ.

But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33