Tuesday, September 1, 2009

All is not a curse word

Associated Press has just released an article stating that the top selling Bible is North America—the NIV is undergoing a revision. After 25 years in print conservative scholars have decided to change some of the gender references. Past attempts to remake the NIV more gender friendly have always met with fury from some quarters. The proposed changes are not exactly avant-garde. “Men”are still “men” and “God” is still male but gender-references like “sons of God” become "children of God". “Brothers” become “brothers and sisters.” In Genesis 1, God created “human beings” in his own image instead of “man.”

Under my “Why am I not Surprised Column” the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution saying this revision “has gone beyond acceptable translation standards.” I don’t remember any official Baptist protests over the Patriot’s Bible with its American flag cover and pictures of George Washington, Ronald Reagan and George Bush. (Reckon the RSV version of the Patriot’s Bible will add a photo of our new President Barack Obama?) Maybe if NIV goes back to the drawing board the revisers could satisfy the irate by smudging out all the “whosever’s” and the “all’s” and maybe even update John 3.16 to say: “For God to loved the USA first” and leave out “the world” or at least make it clear that we really are number 1. Surely that passage that says: “There is therefore no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female…” would have to be omitted.

I keep bumping into those beautiful words in The Book of Common Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.”

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