One of my favorite authors has published a nifty little Postmodern religious primer on what those of us in the Evangelical world coyly refer to as Protestant Latin. Protestant Latin is perhaps not as different perhaps as traditional Russländer Plautdietsch, but infinitely more complicated.
In Amacing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Kathleen Norris takes Protestant Latin head-on, detailing her vocabulary of faith, while expounding on why those definitions are pertinent to her rich spiritual life. One of the terms that she explores, Ebenezer, comes to her from a popular hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” which begins the second stanza, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I’m come,” (Norris, p. 251). While many would recognize the term Ebenezer as the Christian name of Charles Dickens’ most memorable Christmas character, Ebenezer Scrooge, Norris reveals its deeper pedigree: “The word Ebenezer is found in a passage in First Samuel, one of the historical books of the Hebrew scriptures. It describes an event, the celebration of Israel’s victory over the Philistine army, a victory that came against the odds, when the thundering voice of God threw the troops into confusion, and they fled. The passage reads: ‘Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ (1 Sam 7:12, KJV),” (Norris, p. 251).