Like many people – believers or not – who grew up with Bible reading in school or church, I suffer from over-familiarity with The Bible. Lots of the really radical stuff in there gets a bit lost when you’ve read it a thousand times and heard innumerable sermons on it of varying degrees of imcomprehensibility.
So recently, I started reading through The Message, a contemporary translation/paraphrase by a Eugene Peterson – written cos as a Greek Scholar, he saw that the students in his seminary class weren’t getting the same vibe from the text in english that he was in Greek!
Anyway, I’ve just got up to The Sermon On The Mount – one of the most oft-quoted bits of moral teaching in the history of humanity, and part of the direct inspiration behind the life and work of Ghandi, MLK, Mandela and numerous other great people.
I must’ve read it hundreds of times, and always dug it as some great advice, but the way that Peterson renders Jesus’ words in The Message version brings it totally to life, makes it easily applicable, and certainly gets rid of this crass image of Jesus that pervades so much of church culture as some kind of austere, pontificating bore. This is vibrant lively stuff, well worth checking out, regardless of your religious persuasion.
Soundtrack – still listening to Denison Witmerby