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So to make up for it, here’s an absolutely brilliant video of three Irishmen taking the mick out of themselves as they head off to celebrate St Patrick’s Day!

This should appeal to all my friends around the world with Côte d’Ivoire connections… not to mention spud afficionados, flag experts, Irish dancers, Welsh (or should it be Scottish) people and drinkers of the Irish national brew!

Looking forward to your reflections and comments by pigeon post, postcards… or even comments here on the blog.

A very happy belated St Patrick’s Day!

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Maybe you’ve heard about the criticism directed at Bible translators in recent months. Maybe you haven’t. My friend and colleague Eddie Arthur blogged on the topic a wee while ago. I came across it again this evening and couldn’t resist sharing it.

Eddie started with a light-hearted dip into the archives of missionary prayer letters as Roman missionaries in Britannia write home to supporters …

Dear Friends,

Well we’ve been in England for a year now and we are slowly getting used to life here. You wouldn’t believe the weather. The climate is no where near as comfortable as the weather back home in Rome, it is far too cold most of the time. You wouldn’t believe what the nationals call summer – it’s more like a cold spring… We are also getting used to the local food, which isn’t very inspiring. The English boil everything till it has no flavour and have never heard of olive oil, garlic or herbs and, what is worse, an amphora of wine costs a whole week’s support…

Of course, the nationals don’t speak Latin, so we’ve been learning the local language so that we can teach them about Jesus. It’s hard going, but we are slowly getting there. One of our concerns has been to find a way to communicate Christian truth in English. It takes time to think of how to express even the most basic ideas. For example, how should we say “Deus” in English. We could use the Latin word, but that would make Deus sound foreign, so we’ve decided to settle on the English word “God”. There are some more difficult questions still to come. 

Meanwhile, our…. (the fragment ends here.)

And here is what we know of the reply.

… What do you mean you are using the English word “God” to describe “Deus”. Don’t you know that the Northern European “Gods” are nothing like the God of the Bible. They drink, they fight, they kill people. What is worse there are lots of them. They are nothing like the “Deus” of the Bible. If you use the word “God” you will be changing Christianity entirely, it will be a false Gospel, heresy. The word “God” could simply never be used to describe the loving Triune Deus of the Christian faith. The Father, Son and Spirit are nothing like Odin, Thor or those odious “Gods” from the frozen north. I demand that you change…

… and then Eddie addresses the current issues that Bible translators are facing.

OK, this isn’t entirely serious, but it does illustrate a serious point. Over the last few months, Bible translators have been criticised for using the word “Allah” to translate the Greek “θεὸς” in some contexts. We are told that “Allah” is not the same as “θεὸς” so we should find another word to use.

Of course, this issue is a lot more complex than the purveyors of sound-bite theology would have use believe.

Read the rest of Eddie’s blog and follow the links to helpful comments from the Canadian Bible Society…

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The tree in question

 

A Bible translation consultant colleague was drafting an account of an incident which happened recently in Ivory Coast. He e-mailed it to colleagues for comment re accuracy. Below is a short extract.

First draft:

Apparently, we heard later, a green mamba had gone up the trouser leg of Didier’s younger brother, sitting near a tree. He had stood up, and shaken it off, and those near him had killed it!

There remained some ambiguity about whether or not the mamba had gone up the inside or outside of the trouser leg. Accuracy is so important in these things!

Second draft:

“Apparently, we heard  later, a green  mamba had slithered on to the trouser leg of Didier’s younger brother, sitting near a tree. Shocked, he had stood up and shaken it off, and those near him had killed it!”

A wannabe consultant sent the following suggestions…

Excellent! Just a few minor comments to assist the accuracy, clarity and naturalness of the translation.

Apparently [seems to imply some doubt whether or not any of this happened], we heard [was it a reliable source or mere hearsay?] later [how much later? Is the time lapse element crucial?], a green [do we need to clarify the shade of green?] mamba [pronunciation: ‘mam ba] had slithered [definition required] on to the trouser leg [which leg?] of Didier’s younger brother [same mother, same father?], sitting near [one metre or two?] a tree [which species of tree?]. Shocked [implies presence of electricity], he had stood up [calmly, in panic, leapt, with a scream?]and shaken it off [was this in the style of a traditional Kouya dance step?], and those [very vague: who were these people who killed one of God’s little creatures so gratuitously?] near him [see above] had killed [what implements of death dealing were used?] it [one may have forgotten by this stage what it refers to]!

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Spot what's missing?

In Leadership Lessons from Superman’s Underpants, Skye Jethani concludes with this paragraph:

So, there are four leadership lessons I’ve taken from the controversy surrounding Superman’s underpants. What do I think about the decision to abolish the briefs? I will withhold my opinion until I see the movie. In the end, if it’s a great script with strong acting and fantastic action, I will forgive this blasphemy against my childhood hero. Good storytelling covers a multitude of sins.

So, what are the four lessons?

What indeed is the controversy about Superman’s underpants?

It’s a good read for anyone involved in church leadership or speaking to multi-generational audiences like church congregations on a Sunday – but you really should read it for yourself. You’ll find it entertaining too – I did!

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