Sue is currently in Madagascar doing some translation checking; this is a good excuse to start this week’s offering with a blog post by Wayne Leman at Better Bible’s Blog on that very subject. Wayne starts off with a fascinating story.
Early in my work with the Cheyennes, one of the church elders told me he had a recording made many years before. He wanted me to listen to it. He said there was a big mistake on the recording. The recording had been made by a well-meaning group from the outside. They spoke no Cheyenne. They wanted to record Bible stories and church songs that Cheyennes could listen to. They asked if anyone knew the story of the prodigal son. One man said he did, so they recorded him. The recordists went back to their studios and copied the recordings for distribution on vinyl records to Cheyennes.
There was a problem with the story about the prodigal son: as it was told on the recording and distributed, it was about a prodigal pig! Hmm. Should the recording have been checked in the language community before it was distributed?
There are a couple of interesting posts on training this week. Tim reckons that he learned most of life’s important lessons while training for a long cycle ride while John James gives some useful lessons for anyone going to live in Francophone Africa.
A guest post at Good Intentions are Not Enough raises something which is a concern of mine with regard to Wycliffe:
Many donors give to nonprofits based on a marketing message or emotional appeal, while doing very little if any research on the nonprofit’s effectiveness. This means that nonprofits waste a tremendous amount of resources chasing after funding, which decreases their ability to have an impact. It also means the nonprofit with the best marketing message may be getting more funding than another nonprofit that is actually accomplishing more.
For a charity our size, we actually have a very small marketing budget the vast majority of our money is spent across the world in translation and language development work. This means that most Christians in the UK have no idea about the sheer size and global impact of Wycliffe’s work. We could, of course, spend more money or making ourselves look good and attracting attention, but that would be money that could be used to support the people we serve. On balance, I think we have got this right – but it’s always a difficult call.
If you are into missionary strategy and data collection (and let’s be frank, who isn’t?) Simon Cozens posted a thorough analysis of a survey of mission work in Japan. He ends his long and thoughtful piece with a simple call to action.
If we want to see lay evangelism happening, if we really think that’s the key to church growth in Japan, then, frankly, we probably should be spending a bit more time on it.
A couple of post on the Bible. Tim Davy looks at what Scripture engagement should look like in an iPod/smart phone/Internet age, while Peter Kirk questions whether the Bible is the best way to present Christianity. Following on from the Harold Camping non-rapture debacle, Kyle Roberts feels that this is a good point to question the whole concept of rapture theology in the first place. Good on him. Lastly for this offering, Vinoth Ramachandra starts from the allegations raised against the former head of the IMF and moves on to consider the plight of migrant workers around the world.
Meanwhile, I’m left musing on why I ever try to write serious reflective pieces when the only things that seem to attract any intention are the silly things I write!