It’s been a while since I did my last round up of interesting Bibley and missiony things that I’ve discovered on the web.

Resources

Tim pointed me to a new online journal, which will be of interest to those who are involved in Scripture Engagement.

Orality Journal is the journal of the International Orality Network.  It is published online semi-annually and aims to provide a platform for scholarly discourse on the issues of orality, discoveries of innovations in orality, and praxis of e!ectiveness across multiple domains in society.  This online journal is international and interdisciplinary, serving the interests of the orality movement through research articles, documentation, book reviews, and academic news.  Occasionally, print editions will be created. Submission of items that could contribute to the furtherance of the orality movement are welcomed.

Tim has also shared some links to books on missional hermeneutics. I wish I had an excuse to get hold of these.

Ed Stetzer has contributed a chapter to a new book, edited by John Piper and David Mathis, called Finishing the Mission. Ed’s chapter is by far the best thing in what is an indifferent book and he has been blogging his way through it.

I read the book last weekend and intend to get round to writing a review in the not too distant future. Let me just say that if you are tempted to get hold of it, you would do better to get the free pdf download than make the mistake I did and pay for it.

Bible Translation

Bill Mounce and eminent scholar who served on the translation committees for both the NIV and ESV has a great story about the Bible translator he admires the most. It isn’t an American academic living in an ivory tower, as you might expect, but a Nepali pastor. It’s a wonderful tale, make sure you read it.

Having a Bible translator in your church Bible study group can be a real advantage. Philip Hewer shares his experiences of looking at a familiar passage with a small group.

On Saturday we had an excellent 3-hour session at church on “Reading the Bible in a way that grips your heart”. As part of this we were exploring  in a small group the passage Mark 4:35-41, Jesus calms the storm. While this account was familiar to us, by entering into the dramatic situation and exploring some of the details we all gained new insights.

One little phrase which  we puzzled over was “just as he was” in verse 36:

Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. (New International Version) …

Simon Cozens’ thoughts are always worth reading and his comprehensive post on the need for a new Bible translation in Japanese are excellent. He manages to cover issues related to Japanese writing, translation theory and sociology and in the process demonstrates the complexity of Bible translation work. This post should be required reading for all trainee Bible translators, wherever they are working.

Reading about the translation of Jn 3:16 in the Japanese Sign Language Bible reminded me of something that’s been sitting on my ever-expanding “wild ideas” list for quite some time now: we need a new translation of the Bible into Japanese. Or possibly two.

I’ve been thinking about this because of the way we tend to use the Bible in the work that we’re doing. Japan is a highly literate society—something like a 99% literacy rate—and the Bible is, well, a book. It’s a written thing. But we’re using it in the context of interactive Bible reading, storytelling and so on, so we’re using it in a very oral way. And if you think about it, it’s not just the crazy house church people, but all liturgical use of the Bible is oral. Yet current Japanese Bible translations are reader-friendly and not particularly listener-friendly.

Unexpected Mission Thoughts

Ed Lauber, an American who works in Ghana, has some interesting observations on the growth of a mission movement in Russia. While Mark, an Anglican clergyman who works in London has posted an aural soundscape of life in Uganda; go on, give your ears a treat.

In a short, but thought provoking post, Ross Hastings points out the need to re-evangelise the West.

The truth is that 70% of the world’s Christians live not in the West, but in the East and South. In the majority of the countries of Europe and in Canada, which has secularized at a rate similar to Holland, as well as in many regions of the U.S., the church is not growing and the influence of the church in the public square has diminished rapidly.

Picking up on that theme, Jamie the VWM tells a beautiful, but sad, story about the aching empty void in the lives of so many in our rich part of the world.

I always think it’s interesting when people pat us on the back for being missionaries to Costa Rica. Perhaps they think we were doing something difficult because they don’t know that in Costa Rica there’s a bleeding-Jesus-in-a-crown-of-thorns bumper sticker on every bus, taxi, and pizza delivery scooter. You can easily engage nearly every person you cross paths with in a conversation about God or Jesus or Faith or whatever. It’s really not hard. Every town has grown up around a church, faith is taught in public school, and there’s pretty much a missionary on every corner. In Costa Rica, “Jesus” is generally a familiar and comfortable word – not an instant conversation killer.

We’ve been back in the NorCal suburbs for a whole three months now, and all I can say is that ministry is way harder here than it ever was in Costa Rica. Being an agent for Love and Grace in a place where people truly don’t recognize their own need is really tough. Watching a married woman angle for an affair with a younger, hotter man while her daughter looks on is gut-wrenching. …And sorta hilarious…. But seriously? Gut-wrenching.
I believe Jesus has competition in the American suburbs like no place else on Earth. Everyone here is surrounded by so much shiny new stuff, it’s hard to see the Light. Here, depravity is hidden behind tall double doors, and the things that separate us from God often come gleaming, right out of the box. The contrast between Dark and Light has been cleverly obscured by the polish of materialism and vanity.]#

Lastly, I can’t resist referring to this post by Tim in which he reflects on the move of Wycliffe’s training programme to Redcliffe college.

Along with Bible Society, Wycliffe have been instrumental partners in the development and delivery of the MA in Bible and Mission here at Redcliffe and the wider initiative that is the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission. For this and many other reasons the joining together of Redcliffe and Wycliffe’s training makes such a lot of joyful sense. Partnership works when it is driven by a shared commitment to the Kingdom; mutual trust and humility; an imagination for what could be; and a sense of what needs to happen to get there. The more I have worked with friends at Wycliffe the more humbled and inspired I am by the ministry and the people engaged in it. As I have learnt more about Bible Translation, Scripture Engagement, Orality, and the many other aspects of Wycliffe’s work I have found myself deeply challenged in my own engagement with the Bible and the complexities and joys of sharing it with others. I believe the experience has enriched my view of God, of his Word, of his Church and of his mission, and I hope this comes across in my teaching as well.