On Painting Icons

In the event you are not a reader of Books & Culture, I recommend you consider it. The most recent online edition has a review of a book about making icons, and the review is by Frederica Mathewes-Green, and here’s a valuable clip to whet your appetite: During the entire time the iconographer prays and [Read More...]

Reclaiming the Mind

Over at Reclaiming the Mind, Michael Patton, a wonderful blogger and teacher, is announcing classes for this Fall. Check it out. [Read more...]

Dress Code Time

Every Fall when school starts up we read reports of new dress code debates, and the recent one in Chicagoland has some students upset, some parents in favor of administration, while a few parents wonder why school administrators want to spend their time on such issues.

Are you hearing this in your area? What do you think the bottom-line principles should be with dress codes? [Read more...]

Our Common Prayerbook 32 – 3

One of the most memorable and quietly used psalms is Psalm 32, a psalm of confession. We’ve been digging into this psalm a bit this week (Monday and Tuesday). First, we saw David’s pain in not confessing and his joy in confessing. Second, we saw David’s instructions to others to learn to confess, and today [Read More...]

The Common English Bible: a new translation

When I get a new translation, I read three passages slowly and carefully, with a Green NT near at hand, to give me a feel for the translation and the translation theory: I read the Sermon on the Mount, I read Romans 3, and then I read James. Usually I can get a good solid feel for the translation from these three passages.

I did this recently with The Common English Bible (New Testament). I like what I see here and I’ll keep this translation near me on my desk.

What do you do? How do you assess a new translation? Do you want something that sounds familiar or something that startles you by change and makes you to think anew about the text? Which translations do you find most useful today?

115 leading Bible scholars participated; ecumenical and mainline; field tested by 77 reading specialists in 13 denominations. It comes out completely in 2011, four hundred years after the KJB. The CEB will be useful and good for personal reading, public reading, and for classroom study. It will have the Apocrypha when completed.

Here are a few big summary thoughts, and I’ve only dabbled in other passages:

First, it sides in general with an NIV or TNIV approach: it aims at accessibility, clarity and avoidance of unnecessary misunderstandings. Thus, it has “brothers and sisters” instead of “brothers” throughout. While some call this “inclusive” there is a solid fact suggesting this isn’t “inclusive” so much as “accurate.” Very often a “brothers” means “everyone” and not just “male Christians.” So that it is not an inclusive view so much as an accurate translation. [Read more...]

Paul for the Perplexed 3

I’ll say it a stronger way, as if the two options are polar opposites and we have to choose one or the other, but I’ll do this for rhetorical purposes:

Christians (are to) indwell a Story more than believe in a theological system.

Nuance: that Story contains a theology and that theology deserves careful articulation, but the issue here is how best to frame what we believe. Do we do it as a narrative or a set of topics? Do we declare our system and then read the Story of the Bible, or do we know the Story and let theology grow out of that Story?

Frankly, while I don’t see these as polar opposites, they remain two significantly different starting points or approaches.

Tim Gombis’s new book, Paul: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed), gives to us the “structure of Paul’s thought” by sketching the “narrative Paul inhabits.” Exactly. And I find that many today misuse (and abuse) Paul because they want him to fit a system instead of letting Paul’s own way of doing things — inhabiting Israel’s Story — shape what he says. I won’t re-sketch Gombis’ sketch but suggest you read it when you get a chance, but here are the elements: [Read more...]