Monday, January 16, 2006

The Guilt of Failed Writing

Over the past months, I have attempted to read other bloggers posts daily, and to write at least two posts each week myself. Recently, I haven't kept up with that schedule. I enjoy blogging, especially when I have particular ideas I want to refine, but I've been overwhelmingly busy with youth work trying to prepare for the spring, and I'm beginning a quarter of CPE while taking several classes and working this spring. All told, I fear I might not post frequently.

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine asked for my input on a post she had written on her blog. Check if you want, but my comment never appeared. I started it -- I really did. In fact, it's still a text file on my computer's desktop. Life just got crazy, and a good thing never materialized.

The fact is, I've felt kind of guilty about it. Adrienne's post was about Christian pacifism, and I feel strongly about the issue (as I've said on this very blog), but beyond personal interest, Adrienne was the person who both inspired me to blog, and encouraged me to get started. Yeah, Chris contributed too, but it was mostly Adrienne.

Maybe it'll appear as a full-fleged post here -- since Adrienne has moved on from the issue and continued to post about other interesting topics. Maybe not, but either way, thanks dear readers for bearing with me as I unburdened myself of the guilt of failed writing.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bibles as Tools and Spiritual Sustenance

Bible translations are always a touchy subject. When I was very young, my parents gave me an NIV, later, my home church gave me a Good News Bible, and in High school, my parents gave me a NKJV which I read several times. I used the NIV and NKJV extensively, and for me, those Bibles shaped my early Christian faith.

In college, and then later in seminary, I have had to use the NRSV, and while I appreciate the gender-neutral translation when the clear meaning of the Hebrew and Greek is gender neutral, the language is not modern English as anyone (aside from some academics) speaks it, and the poetry isn't as good as in most older translations. The church where I work now uses NIV's in the pews, and I've been glad for that, it's an improvement over the churches that use NRSV's in the pews -- but there are an odd mix of Bibles in the youth room.

Over my time doing youth work, I've found myself resorting to The Message: Remix as a suplement to the NIV to get the teens to think about biblical passages in a more "contemporary" way, but it's far from perfect (and as a rule, I'd never use a paraphrase in worship, and some of Peterson's choices, such as the use of "death valley" in the 23 psalm are more misleading than enlightening). I have found that The Message: Remix can speak to teens if used sparingly, so I'll probably continue to do so, but I've been looking for an everyday Bible that will work for my devotional use, be effective as a tool for communicating the Gospel, and will do so in contemporary English while faithfully translating the Hebrew and Greek text.

Both my wife and I have ordered TNIV's and I've begun using a desk-copy we purchased to read through the whole Bible this year. Check it out -- while it's not perfect (no translation is), it's smooth, and basically contemporary English, as well as an accurate translation. Shane was right -- the TNIV is good stuff. (And even more exciting than a great new translation, for youth workers anyway, there's a parallel TNIV/The Message:Remix edition that could be great as a discussion leader for teen Sunday School classes.)