Thursday, July 31, 2003
TranslateThis!This may be the only chance I get to post for a while as I'm leaving town for an extended vacation in a few days but I thought I'd respond to Brian's post. The translation of the Bible that I've primarily used for the past year and a half is the English Standard Version. This was recently put together, as in the past two years. I first came in contact with it when it was being given away for free at a theology conference I was a part of. While I figured it was going to be a lousy translation, since it was free and put together by evangelicals, I have been plesently suprised.
First, there is a general distinction in translation types. In one column would be "word-for-word," or as you put it, the more literal. The goal of this translation style is to, as acurately as possible, capture the precise wording of the original text as well as the personal style of each Bible writer. This tradition includes the King James, the RSV, and now the ESV. Why I like the ESV is that it seems they have gone to even greater lengths to present the wordings and style, willing, in some cases, to sacrifice the "easy read" effect. There are certain illusions and word choices that are presented as they are and they may make little sense to a current reader.
The second group is best described as a "thought-for-thought" translation. Here, the translators are looking help the reader to "make sense" of the text they are encountering. That beign said, the translator would be prone to translate several sentances at once, maybe, over individual words and word combinations. The goal is to present continuity of the text and provide an easier read.
SO, for the evaluation: I think that both are necessary and helpful. What I have found, however, is that often the "thought-for-thought" group (NIV, NASB) tend to, for necessity, include to reflect more interpretive opinions than the "word-for-word" group. I think it's important to introduce a particular claim: there is no translation (of anything) without interpretation. That being said, I desire to have an opportunity to interpret the text without a certain interpretive bend already being presented. I think the NASB and NIV offer a readable format as well as provide a soft level of in text, and unmarked, running commentary within the translation. For the person looking to more in depth biblical research, I suggest they use the "word-for-word" version and then read multiple commentaries. I think the ESV has made significant steps toward stripping away interpretive trends, or at least the interpretations they are taking are unique.
Because I'm not used to writing for Blog pages, I realize this is already long, but I would like to point toward a particular passage as an example of what is going on here.
Matthew 7:15-20- This is the good tree/good fruit, bad tree/bad fruit passage. Take a second to read over it in whatever Bible you have near by. According to my parallel bible, every translation that's popular translates this as the good tree...good fruit..bad tree...bad fruit. The ESV translates this as healthy tree...good fruit...diseased tree...bad fruit. Now, avoiding what would be an interesting translation/interpritation discussion, the other versions do nothing to point out that Matthew has in fact used four words to describe the trees and fruit instead of only two. While this may not seem important, think of all the different ways that good and bad can be understood. healthy, appealing, positive, cool, morally acceptable, etc. There are distinct Greek words used in each case and I believe this is significant to understanding the text. While the other translations leave this out, the ESV has managed to bring to bear something worth talking about.
Now, I'm aware that this appears at the surface to be a nit-picky example and that is correct because we're talking about serious, nit-picky bible reading for the sake of interpretation. For the sake of closing out this post, I suggest using a multiple-translation aproach as the best way to go until you learn greek. and yes, implied in that is the need for everyone who wants to study the bible to learn greek. I reccomend the ESV, especially for Biblical study but I also recommend it for pure pleasure reading as well because the Psalms and the Prophets read more poetically in their original style. Anyway, that's why I use this Bible Brian, thank you for asking. I'll be fielding questions all week. Just kidding. I want to pursue a conversation about interpritting the Tree and Fruit passage when I get some more time but it will probably be a few weeks. In the meantime, maybe everyone should take some time to look at that passage and the surrounding ones and then think about the possible things this could mean. Or, don't and worry about your jobs and loved ones.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
in the ghetto...Good to have you back Dusty. um...i'm thinking about the 'christian ghetto' thing. what do you define as a 'Christian ghetto?" Is it just an environment of all things Christian? Then the antithesis would be 'the big bad scary world?" well...if so...i think that there is a great benefit but also a great dis-service to the name of Jesus. Great benefit in the sense that some people, young followers as well as old, may need that Christianized world to really discover and create their own theyology or doctrine. you know? with hindsight being 20/20... there were points in my life that i dwelled in that ghetto...and that's where the picture became clear for my life. HC for example...really brought all that stuff together and God did a mighty work in my heart and mind. so..it was good.
The negative side, or rather the dis-service, is done is when people, who are probably able, and mature enough (and even led by God) to get out of the ghetto and enter the world to minister, they stay too long in the ghetto and stake up claim in that environment. when we/they fail to realized that the ghetto is not the final dweling place and stay comfortable or in the hood...we miss the point and the opportunity to minister and spread the word. That's where there it may be 'bad'. i don't know. love ya dusty.
Winding DownHey guys. I thought I should check in, with all the fury of action this site has seen in recent days. I have had many interesting conversations over the past few days with some of my best friends from high school. I am trying to consolidate my thoughts based on these discussions to post on. The bottom line will likely be questions I will post on, share my thoughts and then allow Andy to disagree...(You know I love you. I have been praying for your group in Philly!!!) I am about halfway through "Walk On" which is the spiritual biography of the band U2. It is really good to read. The writing quality is not that strong, but the concepts are good and worthy of American Christians to think about.
One question to get started on...What are the benefits and downsides of living in the Christian ghetto, and is it possible to live on a Christian campus and not be in the Christian ghetto ( I certainly hope so, but I am not convinced that I have figured it out yet.)
Peace, I will be back in Huntington tomorrow, the celly-telly is on, if you need (or want) to get a hold of me!
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
actually...means nothing...jake...running for class offices? what? good to have you in all your mighty wisdom. Jake...could you...just for my personal knowledge... we talked a few weeks ago about the NASB vs. another version. what one do you study out of? and why was it better or more literal? i'm purely curious. i've been dving into the NASB and becoming enlightened as of late. (not eastern-mysticism 'enlightened' but 'boy this is great' kind of 'enlightened'. love you man. thanks.
Monday, July 28, 2003
well, i'm here now so this site means something.BLOGGERHey guys. I'm in on the conversation but Brian says I can't be too negative. Don't worry, I'll just make sure you all know when you're wrong. Just kidding. I like talking with my friends about these things. I also like roller skating and running for class offices.
about my dad's business...yeah...Andy's a bit direct..but he's right: Jesus didn't just 'fall into' his gig as Messiah. He had purpose and it was even aparent to him at 12 years old when his parents couldn't find him and he's in the temple he says "Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49 NASB) he knew what he was doing: he had purpose. Maybe his vision was't ultra clear yet...but he had purpose. Well...that's my 2 cents. i'm tired now.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Moving onto Ministry...ahh... Mr. Brinneman, so nice to have someone from the real world chime in. Honestly, you rock my socks off sir, I really enjoyed reading what you had to say, nicely done. Your thoughts on the movies were right on I'd say. Now on with the disagreements. To say that Jesus wasn't intentional about the ministry he did would be about as far from the truth as I think one can get (I love the fact that we can make crazy bold statements just to prove our own point, all thanks to blogger) Everytime Jesus talks about why He's here, He expresses purpose. Not to go all "Biblical Evidence" on your hienny, but let's take a look.
-John 10:10 He came to give abundant life
-Luke 4:18,19 To bring Good News
-John 3:16-17 To demonstrate God's Love
-Matthew 20:28 To Sacrifice Himself for Others
-Luke 4:43 To Help People Understand the Kingdom of God
So, I don't really buy the fact that Jesus was like, "hey a crowd is around me, well I guess I should tell them something about dad's character." I believe that every single thing Jesus did, he did for the purposes expressed above.
I will buy into one thing that Ty was getting at with the Life of Jesus, and I think this is teh key to life as Christ followers. I do not ever think that Jesus thought of his life as a ministry. I think that Jesus thought of his life as a life that he had to live for the purposes outlined above. Ministry is something we "do" for God, thus it can appear as a labor or duty...and if ministry is doing our duty for God then that means that Jesus did his duty 24/7. We see that and we just think of this amazing martyr who couldn't ever have to to just live, you know. THerefore following Christ's example, is impossible. However when we realize that Jesus did all he did because it was all he was, we realize as Christ followers that is all we "should" be concerned with. Living out that purpose. It's kind of like that idea about "doing" church vs. "being" church. It's time we stop "doing ministry" and start "living life." No more with the "christian this" and "christian that", let's get on with just being Christ followers in all our life and stop trying to "redeem our actions" by ordaining them and start living our lives with the purpose laid out before us, after all, He did bring us into the mix as his ambassadors of His in the "ministry of reconciliation."
Movies as a vehicle...part IIIMy thoughts agree with things that both of you said. I think that when looking at how to communicate christ, movies seem like an excellent route to take. I think there are several reasons for this. First, movies are social accepted and expected, and desired. Second, Movies, at least good ones, make you think. Third, the length on time requires people to be intentional about what they are focusing on. I think that all(or at least the last two) of these things are also things that are helpful when learning about that one guy, jesus. As people are getting into jesus its some thing they want to do thoughtfully. i don't know if this is going in a different dirrection but i think its an ok point. I think of those movies that as the credits roll you don't move from your seat, let alone blink. There have been some amazing moment in these times. Sometimes its learning lessons about life, love, or even faith(magnolia). I think if we can create an atmosphere where a movie has impacted you in a way like that but is filled with themes of hope and "real" love, then we are doing a beautiful thing. (for the record, i'm not sure who is implied by we but its cool). Recently i saw both "frida" and "Owning Mahowny". Both of these movies left me just feeling emotionally drained and some how feeling especially sorry for these characters. I think that if a movie can present characters with such a lack of hope, a lack of what jesus has, can be produced. So can a movie that is a good example of what hope looks like. I don't know how this is established because i do think that every "christian movie i have seen has been very far from what i would consider excelence.
On a different note, I think that its hard to say what jesus would have done. I don't know if jesus would have really been that concerned with what the most effective method is. I don't know if he was really focused on a ministry at all. maybe thats not what your supposed to say on a blog with some ministry dudes but i think its a valid statement. While i think that there are things we can do now that are more effective than others, and some of those we can take from jesus, i don't think that jesus' life is where we take our maximum effectiveness strategy from. I think he was all about living life to the fullest. doing whatever he could to see the father glorified. I do think he definatly spoke in parable to make people think, but i guess i picture it being like, so i'm doing all this stuff, suddenly a crowd is around me, well i guess i should tell them something about dads character. I have a lot more thoughts on this. this is my first entry though, and i'm not sure it will work, but i hope this is somewhat thought pravoking, sorry about spelling, rock, hope, roll, Tyler
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Movies as a vehicle...part III believe that Dusty was one hundred percent correct when talking about movies being an effective means of distributing the gospel to the masses. I do however disagree with Dusty's thinking beyond that. I really doubt that Jesus would do much differently in his ministry if He were walking the earth today. We see that Jesus surrounds himself with twelve guys and basically pours himself into these guys. Lot's of people start hearing about what's happening, and they begin hanging around him, you know in the market place, or on hill sides. Jesus never really tried to attract the HUGE crowds; they were just naturally drawn into what he was doing. I seriously doubt that Jesus would ever try to make a movie. It would be a waste of time and resources, and when you break it down; He would loose the personal contact that comes from doing real ministry.
I do agree that almost all the Christian movies ever made have been really crap-tastic (I say "almost all" because I do realize there may be a Christian movie that was well done that I haven't seen yet, but come on, I really doubt it). While I'm sure that there are Christ followers in the film industry that feel called to make films that depict the Gospel message, I think the worst way to do that would be to package as a "Christian Film" (see Left Behind and the Omega Code). The only suckers that are going to shell out the $7 are Christians that already think this is a great idea. News Flash, you don't reach the lost with things that appeal only to the found (which I know Dusty believes as well).
I would say that the most effective way to use movies as a vehicle for the Gospel is to find the ones that have elements of the Gospel in them already. Films that speak truth, intentionally or not, and use them as discussion starters. Christians that think "if only we can get 'the world' to like OUR movies or OUR music" are missing the point. We must stop trying to fix the world with OUR form of their stuff, and start using their stuff to express His TRUTH.
Saturday, July 19, 2003
Movies as a vehicle for the GospelWhile reading through A New Kind of Christian I was struck with the idea of how Jesus' approach to ministry would have been different if he were doing his ministry on Earth right now. Parables were effective about 2000 years ago, but currently movies seem to be the type of media that would reach the masses. Christians have attempted to use film as well, only it seems that nearly all, ok all, Christian efforts have been second rate at best. I guess my thought is that I think Jesus would be willing to create better films that is more genuine and real about how people are. The non-Christians in Christian movies usually tend to be only different because they skip church or smoke or something. They tend to oversimplify the state of humans and then sometimes add a lot of fundamentalism to the Gospel. I think Jesus would do better at accurately portraying how people really are, Christians and non. I think that this type of film is a vehicle that would do a better job at communicating the Truth of the Gospel to a world that is separating itself from the Church at an alarming rate. Perhaps, there is something here that could be further informed by Nouwen's idea of the Temptation to be Relevant, but I will let Brian and Andy use this as Springboard to get started.