apartments in Venice during the daytime
 
About Troy Christopher Moore

Despite all the photographs of Venice, I've not yet visited the city. On the other hand, I have lived in many other places.

Here is a bit about myself, where I've been and why I think I have something to give.

During my second year of university, in the early 80's, I began studying Biblical Hebrew & New Testament Koiné Greek at an Anglican seminary associated with the university. (In 1985, I won an award for my marks in Hebrew; only a hundred bucks, but not a bad gift in those days.)

 

At present, I have a BA in Anthropology (Linguistics specialization) from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) and a Master of Applied Linguistics & Bible Exegesis from Trinity Western University and Seminary (Langley, British Columbia).

 

During those years, I completed two years of graduate studies at the University of Texas at Arlington in applied linguistics and Bible translation.

 
two small girls in the Central African Republic
Then Africa

From 1990 to 2005, I worked full-time with SIL International (Wycliffe Bible Translators, Canada). I spent most of that time in the Central African Republic carrying out linguistic research and anthropological studies of an Adamawa-Ubangian language, called Manza (aka Mandja). There are some Manza 200,000 speakers in the central-north regions of the country.

Our center of activity was in Bangui, the capital, seven degrees north of the equator, or in the city of Kaga Bandoro, six hours due north by car. The city of "Chief Bandoro's Rock" (or so the translation of the city's name goes) is home to 30,000 — half are Manza speakers and the other others are speakers of Banda, Gbaya, Sango, etc.

 

During those years of research, we collected their folk-tales, analysised them to work out a practical orthography and then began publishing the original folk-tales on paper. It was with those printed stories that we taught Manza speakers how to read their language for the first time with their own tailored orthography.

Below is a copy of one of their folktales, written for the first time in their own orthography. The story is called, Spider and Lion.

Seeto do Dila Spider and Lion story orig
Spider and Lion

As told by Chief Joseph BAGALA

   Lion took a female goat to find a man so as to test him in a duel, because he had heard that Man were very strong. He asked everyone of the animals on this earth and they said Man is the strongest but, "Man is not good." However, he refuses to listen and continues his quest for a duel.

   He goes about a long time and comes out at the edge of a certain pond and finds Spidera human with special wisdom and a love for tricking others. Spider is busy cutting wood when Lion comes out and greets him. He says this: "Oh Spider, I am searching for Man. If he is so strong as they say, this Man, then he can knock me down he take my goat."

  "Hey Lion, I just saw the footprints of a man just now. If you give me a hand and we cut this firewood quick, and when it is finished, then we will go and I will show you this man's footprints." Lion thinks it's a good idea.

   Spider takes the ax and splits the firewood open WOMP and says: "Hey Lion, since you are so strong, put your hand in the crack of the firewood so that you can ripe it open quick, and then we can get out of here!" The Lion stuck his paws into the split wood to tear it, but Spider suddenly pulled out his ax, and the wood returned back to its place and completely pinched the hands of Lion so that he had no change of pulling them out. Lion let out an awful yell and Spider said: "Do you know Man now? Look upon Man that you search. It is he that you have found! Since the beginning all the animals have known the strength of Man, and they run from Him. So now you Lion, why have you come to bite the face of a man?"

 

   Spider went and searched for a switch, and returned with it and began to whip Lion. He whipped Lion for a long time, and Lion was worn out completely flat. Then Spider took his ax and forced it into the crack of the firewood. Lion pulled out his hands quick and took off at a run, far far away into the savanna. He was ashamed.

 

  It is for this reason that the Manza say:
"It's just like that, you strong men. You are able to walk around with your strength but you shouldn't search for problems with it. You never know when some weaker person with his wisdom will flatten you."

For Central Africans, the best tale is one where somebody gets tricked. In spring 1995, during a funeral — always a huge gathering of people — the chief told me this story and everyone else listening.

 

I love showing off their stories. They tell a lot about Manza culture and there are literally hundreds of them inside their heads and their hearts. Sadly, few are on paper because rarely has anyone made the effort to record them or write them down over the years. There was one man, Father Jean-Paul Hoch, a French priest in the 60's, 70's and 80's who did a lot of work. He collected proverbs and did a great deal of linguistic work for which I am gratitude and I know some Manza are too — his linguistic work saved me years and his data contributed to the proverbs that we published.

Note: I think somewhere on this website I will continue publishing their stories. Keep a look out for them, when I start. Or subscribe and I will send members copies of their stories.

Out of Africa

Passing a decade with a diverse ethnic group, learning their language, their likes and dislikes, eating and working with them, was more that a privilege for me — it was a challenge and a chance of a life-time.

I definitely learned more from them than they did from me.

Also, living for months without electricity or running water, where walking is the main mode of transport and neighbours all know (and need) each other, and where sickness and death is as common as breathing, I could actually envision life as it has been for mankind for centuries, even millennia.

 

In short, because of my experiences there, I envision different parts of Scripture like never before.

Central Africa also exposed me to the reality of old rituals, spirit exorcism, magic, fear for life and raw survival.

Sadly, since 2010, Kaga Bandoro and much of the country has been troubled by horrific events, even genocide. Many Christian and Muslim men, women and children have lost their lives because of in-fighting.

Past happy memories in the nation that we called home for a decade are now only that, memories.

downtown street in Bangui, Central African Republic
ESL class students with Troy in Batangafo Central African Republic
Next Step

One of the last things I did in Africa was teach an ESL class.

So since moving back to Canada, I started my own business teaching English to newcomers. With a TESL certificate and my amazing powers as a linguist, I've been able to help hundreds of foreign professionals improve their English language skills! It has been a great opportunity to meet people from nearly every country in the world.

At the same time, I have been privately teaching senior high school students the finer points of essay writing, while also explaining to them about the tragedies of Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello, as well as the plays of Miller and Williams, and the writings of Atwood, Camus, Kafka, Munro and Shelley.

 
Up to Today

From 2015 to 2020, I was a church deacon for a small Calgary church. This position gave me the opportunity to serve the congregation in practical ways and also the motivation to prepare and share a good deal of messages on Scripture. It was an wonderful chance to bring together my skills in the Biblical languages and talents of writing and speaking. (Some of those "sermons" will form the basis for my blog posts.)

 

Ultimately, those years studying Scripture and preparing messages has probably changed me and my relationship with the Creator the most — I believe for the better. Speaking at Northside was another privilege of a life-time.

Troy C. Moore: circa 2013

(I had more hair then)

 

Get in Touch

I hope my passion for Scripture, my skills with Hebrew and Greek and English, my healthy skepticism of Christianity, my ever deeping understanding of Judaism and other personal experiences come through in these blog posts and give you some light into His Word because all Scripture makes sense.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on anything that I have written. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.