I try to avoid linking to blog posts about translating the Bible into English. It is not that there is a shortage of posts on the subject – the exact opposite is true, in fact. The problem is that people rarely say anything new or of interest. The same old stuff keeps getting recycled. Then again, every now and then something interesting crosses my radar such as this post from Sojourners which takes an interesting look at the question of gender language in translation.
The excellent Biblical Studies blog (which just gets better and better as a source of articles) has an excellent, oldish, article by Paul Ellingworth on the theory and practice of Bible Translation. If you don’t want to read one of the more specialised books on the subject, this would be a good place to start.
I was somewhat staggered to learn that one of the many Mars Hill Churches in the US had ordered another church of the same name to stop calling themselves ‘Mars Hill’ as it is in breach of copyright! Good grief, as if the Church didn’t have some real problems to address in this world. The problem has been resolved, but it is still worth reading David Fitch’s superb commentary on the issue.
There has been an awful lot in the press in the UK about the refusal of Richard Dawkins to debate with the Christian apologise William Lane-Craig. On brilliant iconoclastic form, Simon Cozens suggests that both parties in the debate were actually missing the point.
The big-name Christian apologists are, basically, modernists. Their method of apologetics is to show that belief in the God of Christianity is entirely compatible with human rationality. In other words, they are accepting the proposition that human rationality is the standard against which God is judged. This may not be particularly glorifying to God but it certainly glorifies human rationality.
They might say that they are accepting this proposition as a starting point because it is the mindset of those that they are going up against, and hey, we’re into contextualization and starting from where the other person is coming from, but you can’t be a Christian and leave that starting point unchallenged. The Christian starting point is that God is the standard against which everything, up to and including human rationality, is judged.
This is why I have no interest in debates between prominent atheists and prominent apologists. They both place their ultimate faith and authority in the human capacity for reason and logic and in the need to make rationally defensible choices. In that sense, they’re both arguing the same side.
Worse, if you do go down that road, what kind of a God can you end up with? A God who is rationally defensible may be the clockwork god of the Deists but not the surprising, challenging and sometimes confusing God of the Bible. (If you disagree with Simon – please comment on his original post!)
One of the more challenging posts of late comes from Jamie the Very Wonderful Missionary. This quote will give you an idea of what she is saying, but you really need to read the whole post. (Caution – she does have a colourful vocabulary!0
…Jesus, in his great mercy to humanity, has offered us a different burden to carry, saying:“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”And I love that he’s not saying “La la la, I’ll make your life easy!” but instead he says learn from me and I’ll teach you how to carry your burdens in a new and better way, a gentle and humble way, a way that doesn’t include you drop-kicking a cat. And then he shows you, as you walk together, where to find Peace when your bank account is empty, and Hope when your kid is giving you crap, and Rest when your marriage is wearing you out, and Grace, so much Grace, when your baby walks out the door, a grown man.
In closing, I loved this bitter-sweet rant about consumer culture from Archdruid Eileen. Does anyone do this sort of writing better than the Beaker Folk? If so, I’d love to see it.
My great-uncle laboured for years in a Castleford coal-mine. He kept soul and body together for himself and my great-auntie. And he must have thought to himself that by class struggle and a few tons of coal, he was working towards a better future. I bet he never dreamt that one bright, glorious day when the coal was too expensive to mine, they’d put in a climbing-wall and a shoe shop above where his head was.
Friends, it seems to me we’ve been sold a pup. Where our fore-parents strove for a better life we’ve been happy to eat our pre-processed mush. Instead of art we’ve Johnny English Reborn. Instead of the nobility of physical exertion we’ve a laser maze. As the great prophet Jarvis might have put it, had he been a coal miner in the last century, “the future that you’ve got mapped out is nothing much to shout about.”
… There’s a scene in Maya Angelou’s I Know why the Caged Bird Sings. They’ve been to a revival meeting and cried “How Long, O Lord?” And they walk past the juke joint, where the punters dance with the hookers and she imagines the same cry – how long, O Lord? And I walk the concrete malls of our consumer heaven and hear nothing. Is this all it is? Is this why our parents and grandparents struggled? Is this the reason we live – why we get up in the morning and drag ourselves to work? Is this what we live for? And I listen for the echo from the shop windows – How long, O Lord?” And you know what? It doesn’t come.