Native Tongue

Today, the Anglican/Episcopal church celebrates the feast day of William Tyndale who brought the bible into the English language.  His work, persecuted by the monarchy and Church, was eventually appropriated by both to become the King James Bible.

Tyndale’s work was to bring the Gospel into his place and time–that was what translating the scriptures meant.  The fear of his persecutors was that such a translation would transform the scriptures into something else, something less than or different from the official doctrines of the church.  And in some ways they were right–every translation into a new context or language involves a transformation, but that transformation was already happening and had happened many times before not least of which was the movement from the written law of Moses to the living, enfleshed word of Christ.

Reflect today about how you can follow Tyndale and make the word of God, the good news of that word, native to your place and time.  What essential transformations will be required to make the word understandable here and now.

About Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield is a writer and Episcopal seminarian sojourning from his native Arkansas in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline and a contributor to the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect the Earth’s climate. Ragan’s articles and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines including Triathlete, The Oxford American, and Books & Culture. He works to live the good life with his wife Emily and daughter Lillian.