Work in joy

January 20, 2015:

Amber and I have decided we will leave Wycliffe in 2017…That is also when our current work permits will expire. I know the temptation to go back on this decision will be very strong [it wasn’t, though!]. We will fear leaving financial stability, organizational support, and reputation. People – wise people – will caution us and urge us to act wisely…My heart longs to leave the organization, but then ‘wisdom’ silences those longings.

February 6, 2015:

I have decided this day, Friday, February 6, 2015, that we shall humbly leave Wycliffe and SIL as soon as our work permits have expired. We no longer belong in an organization whose primary goal is Bible translation.

Where we go from, I’m not entirely sure. I will pursue a PhD in theology. We may start our own fledgling organization or we may just be independent: Christian professionals giving their lives away…

February 5, 2015:

This book I’m reading, The Intellectual Life, by A. G. Sertillanges, is pure intellectual poetry and spiritual water of life. The current chapter is on gaining breadth and depth of knowledge, crowned with both philosophy and theology. I already have a multidisciplinary approach to learning, but I want to lay even more of a foundation for my future work…

Sertillanges bemoans the lack of a modern Christian synthesis, a “Bible of knowledge,” akin to the Summa of the Middle Ages. I hear the call. I don’t know if my “Grammar of God” could end up being such a synthesis…Is this not the very thought that has been rising in me for ten years? There is some elusive first principle of the cosmos that I keep getting glimpses of…

February 6, 2015:

I got up early and read a few passages from Sertillanges’s book that have really spoken to me. He writes, with regard to the vocation we choose:

“It is very important to work in joy, therefore with relative ease, therefore in the direction of one’s aptitudes. By going forward at first on different paths each one must discover himself, and when he has found out his special vocation, pursue it.”

In light of this admonition, when I consider language learning and descriptive linguistics over against Bible translation with all its attendant duties, the answer is clear.

Later he writes: “Everyone in life has his work; he must apply himself to it courageously and leave to others what Providence has reserved for others.”

And on the following page: “We are not much, but we are part of a whole and we have the honor of being a part. What we do not do, we do all the same; God does it, our brethren do it, and we are with them in the unity of love.”

These words give me the courage to release the translation of Christian scripture into the hands of one of my brethren, unknown though he is at this time. It is God’s work, and he will accomplish it. Still, it’s painful…

Sertillanges says: “We are obliged at a given moment to accept necessary sacrifices. It is a painful thing to say to oneself: by choosing one road I am turning my back on a thousand others.”

By choosing descriptive linguistics, I am turning my back on Bible translation, anthropology, natural sciences, biology – anything else that interests me.

“For everything is interesting; everything might be useful; everything attracts and charms a noble mind; but death is before us; mind and matter make their demands.”

I, Terrill Schrock, 1) love people by learning and describing their language; and 2) love God by studying and adoring his language:

“Know what you have resolved to know; cast a glance at the rest. Leave to God, who will look after it, what does not belong to your proper vocation. Do not be a deserter from yourself, through wanting to substitute yourself for all others.”

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