Friday, March 03, 2006

Der Herr... El Senor... The Mister?

In both prayers and songs, Germans often refer to God as "Herr." Until recently, I'd only heard this word used in the context of "Herr So-and-So", meaning "Mr. So-and-So."

The same phenomena occurs among Spanish speakers, which I know thanks to my dear former roommate whose church I visited on several occasions. It's a purely Spanish-speaking church, and in prayers and songs, they frequently refer to God as the "Senor."

At first, I thought it was a Spanish-language thing, but being here in Germany raised some new questions. So, I decided to ask my brilliant friend Leo (my buddy Leo!) his opinion on the matter. He informed me that the word "Herr" has meanings above and beyond "Mister" or "Sir"... it can also mean "Lord", "Master", "Boss", or even "Gentleman." Ok. Makes semi-sense.

English speakers often refer to God as "Lord." "Master" is uncommon, but understandable. "Boss." Hmm... this'll make you think. And "Gentleman." I don't know if I'd refer to God as a "Gentleman." When I think "Gentleman", I think of someone standing on a doorstep, bowing slightly and revealing a bouquet of flowers. And maybe even wearing a light pink tie. Smooth and graceful... like Gene Kelly.

Anyway. Now we all know that there are multiple meanings for the word "Herr"... and we can assume that the same holds true for the Spanish word "Senor."

Now I'm curious about other languages... do French people, for example, refer to God as "Monsieur"...? Now that sounds suave and gentlemanly.

Lyric of the day: "Takes more than combat gear to make a man... takes more than a license for a gun. Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can... a gentleman will walk but never run." (Thanks to Sting)


Rori said...

I call God "Jimmy Dean".

But from now on?

Monsieur Jimmy Dean Herr Gentleman.

Mary said...

Hmm... why Jimmy Dean? (Dare I ask??)