Bible and Mission Links 10

The Wycliffe UK Blog has a good article on Vision 2025, which is well worth a read; among quotes from ‘key’ Christian leaders is this gem from the late Kwame Bediako of Ghana.

“No language group should be considered reached until they have the Scriptures available in their mother tongue as the foundation for building sustainable Christian thought, life and community.”

Normally, when we think about Bible translation into minority languages, our minds are drawn to Africa, Asia and other far flung parts of the world; not to the far south-west of England. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that the full Bible is now available in Cornish.

The Bible will be introduced to the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies in November.

In 2004, a Cornish version of just the New Testament was released.

Ray Chubb, who published the new Bible and has been involved in the Cornish language for more than 30 years, said it was important to keep it alive.

“I think one of the reasons we lost our language was because there was no bible in Cornish,” he said.

“Of course we’ve had a very successful revival of the language and I think the whole bible in Cornish is the culmination of that revival.”

The Bible and Mission blog has a fascinating little post on reading Luke’s Gospel through majority world eyes, which is well worth reading and pondering.

Joel Hoffman has a fascinating post which looks at an ambiguity that lies at the heart of much evangelical discussion about English Bible translations:

According to a recent report by Lifeway Research, described by David Roach in the Baptist Press, “most American Bible readers … value accuracy over readability,” which is why they “prefer word-for-word translations of the original Greek and Hebrew over thought-for-thought translations.”

So far so good. People want accuracy, so they go for ‘word for word’ translations. But…

There is overwhelming evidence and near universal agreement among linguists that word-for-word translations are less accurate than other approaches. Equally, translators generally agree that, when the original is readable (as much of the Bible is), accuracy and readability go hand in hand. That is, valuing accuracy is often the same as valuing readability.

Just because a translation advertises itself as being ‘literal’ or ‘word for word’ does not make that translation accurate. A very simple example can serve to show how a ‘word for word’ approach can easily lead to nonsense.

In a last couple of  links for this set, Good Intentions has an excellent post on volunteering, which could equally be applied to an awful lot of Christian mission, including a lot of short term work:

Imagine living in an area with high unemployment rates, where you and several of your family members are unemployed, can’t find work, and struggling to survive. If you were given the choice between having a group of volunteers come into the area to build a school/house/health clinic for you or instead have people from the area to be  paid to construct the building, which would you choose? If you were given the choice between having foreign volunteers, that may not speak the local language, lead after school programs for your children, or have local people hired to lead those same programs, which would you choose?

By paying local people to build the center or tend the children, more people have jobs and can feed, clothe, and educate their family, rather than relying on the largess of aid agencies. In addition, they will likely buy most food and supplies locally, thereby stimulating the local economy. In contrast, if volunteers are brought in the community looses out on the addition of paying jobs, and there is the real possibility that the volunteers will spend less money in the local economy then local workers would have spent.

Jamie approaches a similar subject in her inimitable style:

Poor people aren’t stupid people. Poor people aren’t less perceptive. Poor people aren’t always pleased to be living what we deem “simple lives”. And don’t you dare fool yourself into believing that poor people aren’t making the exact same lifestyle comparisons you are.

They know.
They know it costs a butt-load of money for you and/or your kid to fly across the ocean to come and take pictures of them. They know that you spent thousands of dollars to hand deliver $200 dollars in toothbrushes and sample size toothpaste. They know the difference between the new shoes your kid is wearing and the old ones you’re donating.  They know by the look on your face, by the way you gesture to your teammates, by the way you slather on hand sanitizer before you eat, that your life is very different than theirs.  They know you have way more of everything – food, money, luxury, opportunity – than they will EVER have, and they know you think those things are “Blessings”.  And, yes, they know what an iPhone is.

When we descend upon the impoverished to improve our family’s perspective, we may as well be saying to the mothers of these children, “Pardon me, I’m just gonna use your poor kid to teach my rich kid a lesson for a minute. I’ll be out of the way in no time – Oh, and I’ll leave you some shoes…. and a toothbrush.”