In the blood

Revival. It is our hunger, our vision, our pursuit. In the school of ministry we are chasing the one who does the impossible before breakfast and the merely supernatural in the middle of the night.  In the School of Ministry we are looking and preparing for revival. It is the one thing we must have. Because the School of Ministry was born in the midst of revival, in the middle of the laughter and tears and the stunning movement of the Holy Spirit. We came to life in the embrace of the Father. And we cannot live in the ordinary. We can never be content to stay where we are. There is more and we know it.  We must have God show up. 

And he does. He comes in dreams and visions, in meditation and Holy Spirit encounters. He comes in the caress of love and the prophetic call. And the thirst for revival means we take what he brings and pass it on to the next generation. So we train young leaders to change the world. To pray and prophesy and love people to life. To lay hands on broken limbs, injured minds, and troubled hearts so that there is peace and wholeness. To sing and play music that shouts his worthiness to the whole world. To open their hearts and let God change them. And we teach them to love the Holy Spirit. To know God and be friends with him. To follow Jesus in the same way that he carried out his Father’s will. We do it because these are the acts of revival. And revival is in our blood

Not that anyone cares, but...

When I was in bible school, I wanted to know the answer. I mean, The Answer to Everything. (Douglas Adams fans already know that it is the number "42") I just thought that the smart bible people would know the answer to everything "bible-related." They probably did, but neglected to tell me. After all, spoon-feeding is only good at the beginning and end of your life, or when you are incapacitated from jumping off a building because you thought it would be fun. But anyway, one of my burning questions was "What's the best translation of the Bible?" For those of you who have this question, let me give you an answer: "It depends..."

 

"What?"

 

"What kind of answer is that?"

 

It's the only answer. The person who tells you confidently that the King James is "THE BEST," is talking rubbish. Ditto for the  NIV (Nearly Inspired Version) or the English Standard Version proponents. The best version is really the one that meets your needs. And all modern bibles are pitched to meet different needs. Some accurately portray the sense of obscure words. Others are more "literal" and "wooden," (i.e., great studying + horrible reading). Still others have a lower reading level for people who hate reading. So, you see, "it depends..." It depends on what you are looking for.

 

Enter, The Passion translation...

 

Recently, a friend asked me what I thought about The Passion translation of the Bible. I have only read its website and actually have no experience with the thing. But I do know what The Passion website says about it. And there are some things I like. For one thing, they want it to really speak in today's language and communicate God's passion. Also they have dropped the practice of capitalizing pronouns that refer to God (e.g.,  "He...," "Him...") because the original languages don't capitalize divine pronouns. Further, The Passion people are totally correct in asserting that there is never really an exact translation of a word from one language to another. And I am intrigued by the idea of capturing the "emotion" of a translation as well as the intellectual meaning. 

But I do have some reservations...

  • There is only a single translator. Sure, there are experts who evaluate what he's saying, but the grunt work is done by one dude. And that is NEVER a good idea these days. Though it might have worked in the Middle Ages, today all major versions of the Bible are worked on by committees of people who are EXPERTS in the language and text of the biblical book they are working on. 
  • The translators credentials are suspect. To his credit, the translator has been to translation school, done mission work, and produced the Paya-Kuna New Testament for the people of Panama. Kudos! However, any person involved in translation from original languages into a modern English version should have a PhD in linguistics or something involving the Biblical text. A "doctorate" on "prayer" doesn't really count. 
  • There is an overstress on "Aramaic" and its new fabulous insights into proper translation. It is true that Jesus and his disciples likely spoke Aramaic and that parts of Daniel and Ezra are in the same language. And there are some insights that can be gleaned from knowledge of Aramaic. However, the New Testament was written in Greek and any Aramaic translation is just that: a translation of a Greek copy. God didn't choose to write the New Testament in Aramaic. Further, there is no manuscript evidence that Daniel and Ezra were totally written in Aramaic. 

So this boils down to an immediate three-fold reservation: single translator, whose credentials are weak, and who stresses the Aramaic beyond reason. Does this make The Passion Version a bad translation? I don't know. 

It depends...

 

Confessions of an (Almost) Winner

I don’t know how to feel.

Well, I know now how to feel. But at the moment, I didn’t. My heart was a closed room, a box of flesh with only whispers of breeze leaking in. Each whisper tugging faintly on my heart, trying to tell me how I should feel: 

    Sadness. Despondence. Anger. Disappointment.

But each was just a label, a scratch-n-sniff whiff of emotion, ... there and gone.

Mostly now, I just feel …

...

But let me back up.

Awhile ago, I submitted Oriented to the Write Canada Awards. After a few months, I was thrilled to find it shortlisted in the Christian Living category. So on the night of the ceremony I went for dinner with Cathy Harris and Jaimie Oliver. Having left Jaimie at the restaurant, we then arrive at the gala. The CTF Publishing stars squish us into place at their table and the awards ceremony begins. And it's a bit … agonizing. I spend much of the next several hours trying not think about the award. I don’t want to get nervous, so I make small talk with Pudd and listen to the first recipients. In my mind I rehearse again the 30 second speech – just like the instructions stipulate:

  • Thank … the award’s sponsor.
  • Make a comment about how writing a book takes many people.
  • Thank… Jonathan, Ben and the Creative Sprite.
  • Thank … my family and Jesus.
  • Pose for a picture.

The awards keep being announced. But I realize the program has them out of order. That means I have to wait longer. Sigh. Pudd tells a funny story. Tammy asks if I am nervous. The band gets up for the third time to perform, but the volume on the lead singer is so low none of us can hear her. I look at the grates in the ceiling. The hotel’s lobby music leaks through into the room. Silently, I rehearse my speech again, wondering why none of the other winners stick to the 30 second rule. Did they not get the memo? Mentally, I try to plot a path through the tables to the stage. The stout women have trouble with the passage next to the wall, so I cross that route off my plan. Lorna Dueck comes by and introduces herself to the group. Pudd wanders out to talk with a budding children’s author. I check to see that I can slide my chair out easily when I need to go to the front. And the time ticks down. Suddenly, the announcer comes to my category, dictating the titles and authors with me sandwiched in the middle. An unseen actor reads a piece from the winning book. I strain to listen, trying to place where in my book the words come from. Then comes that moment, the tick of time frozen in the liquid nitrogen of rejection. 

It’s not my book. 

I didn’t win. 

I can feel the eyes of my family and friends shift to me. I don’t want to look at them. I'm afraid of what alien horror will burst from my insides. But I must. So I turn into their gaze. Their eyes shine with condolences and sincerity that attempts to smooth away the sting. But there is no sting. There is nothing. Just breezes. Whispers of emotion. Half-hearted feelings, unsustained and unintended. Stillborn shades of what might be, briefly evoked as if not really meant, not serious. Just tests.

And the evening drags on to its end. 

Until I am driving home.

It’s all lights in the blackness, the comforting hum of tires in the night. In the silence I find myself thinking of what I can possibly do to win next time. And it comes to me, strangely, stupidly, obviously:

“You don’t write to win. You write to express.” 

And now I know how to feel about it. Just like I do everyday. Happy with what I’ve done.