Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life As a Clergy Wife: Language, Please

Of course we had to discuss the clergy thing, the clergy spouse thing, and the ecumenism thing during our courtship and engagement. No cozy combative chats about china patterns, flatware, or linens for us.

Our conversations swirled around such topics as open communion, apostolic succession, and whether Nicaea or Trent caused a bigger mess. And it was not usual for me to hear sentences from my future husband start with the words, "In our tradition..."

In response, I'd roll my eyes and make snotty pointed comments about the durability of his Roman Catholic upbringing and education. His predictable response, "I'm still catholic, just not Roman Catholic."

In response, I'd roll my eyes again and usually default to my equally predictable harangue about being Jewish and how Christians ought to get smarter about that tradition. Truly a miracle the man married me.

What I should have paid more attention to and didn't at the time, was not the content but the construction of the phrase, "In our tradition..."

Fast forward and I'm now acutely aware of how often my beloved uses words like "whilst"  and "methinks" during normal, daily conversation. Methinks "whilst" comes with the Anglican territory, which is pretty hilarious because he thinketh Rite I with all its thee's, thou's, etcetera is "theologically bankrupt."

I pretty much let it flow by me...until I cannot abide it anymore, as was recently the case when I sent this text message:

"When are you coming home?"

and received this:

"We are to be done at noon."

In response, I rolled my eyes whilst texting back:

"We are TO BE DONE at noon?!? Get away from those people. Come home immediately."

I should have added:

"Thou art trying my patience with thine overwrought language."

Yea, verily.


  1. Meredith, the comment "to be done" took me back several years to the time when I was a clergy spouse. I became accustomed to this phrase but was stunned the first time I received a phone call from a parent who wanted "to have the baby done"! I learned that in some circles it is a synonym for baptism. Language is so interesting.

  2. Loved this post. If you and @revweb ever contemplate marriage counseling, do consider coming to High Valley to see me. I can speak Anglican and also understand your objections. Plus, I love, love, love, talking about, arguing about words.You probably don't need help. Such a wonderful foundation for married life!

  3. Lovely post that had me laughing
    I use methinks a lot and find it used by my Irish friends as a humorous idiom when engaged in late night intellectual conversation which has got so convoluted no-one knows what they are talking about.:-))
    I tend to think of it more as a thespian device of Shakespearean origin. e.g."The lady doth protest too much, methinks." from Hamlet. Forsooth and verily are others that come in handy for intense irony.

    You may like these links too when things get really hot :-))

    Ye Olde Official Shakespearean Insult Generator Kit


  4. Great comments, all! Totally get the value of Elizabethan language to express "intense irony." I think that's what he intends to do at times, at other times? His "tradition." Veni sancte spiritus...because LATIN isn't pretentious!


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