Archive for June, 2009



09
Jun
09

Lost in Translation

bible02So, Big Man over at Raving Black Lunatic asked my take on the various translations of the Bible in a comment on one of my recent posts, and so I’ll take that as a chance to have a spiritual topic that I don’t have to dig out of my own head right now (cluttered as it is with anything but an abundance of ideas right now).

There are plenty of different Bible translations in English alone, and all of them get things a little “wrong.” I mean, there are originals in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and who knows what else, and languages other than English can have subtle shades of meaning with certain words that get lost in English translations.

So, I don’t expect any translation to give me a complete and 100% perfect experience at giving me the word of God as originally intended. That isn’t all bad, though. Not all of the specifics of the Bible apply directly to the way life has changed over the millennia in terms of society, technology and so much else. It’s the essentials and the basics that are important.

That said, here is how I roll when it comes to Bible translations:

My main go-to source for the word of God is the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. For sheer poetry of the language, for feeling like I’ve gotten something that tried to capture the heart and meaning of the original texts, I feel like the KJV is where it’s at. However, as nice as it is to read, it can be hard to get what the KJV translators were trying to say centuries ago, much less to figure out how closely it jibes with older and more original translations. For that reason, I prefer my KJV to be a study Bible, with copious footnotes and such to help give me context and clear up confusing areas.

Still, as much as a I like the KJV, there are times when I feel like I need to do a compare/contrast of a passage between different versions of the Bible or when I feel like I need something closer to modern language, and for that reason, I try to make sure I have an International Standard Version (ISV), American Standard Version (ASV) and/or New American Standard Bible (NASB) version on the shelf right next to the KJV.

The little pocket Bible I have in my back pocket at all times I prefer to be an ASV, NASB or ISV New Testament/Psalms/Proverbs combo (no room for expansive footnotes in something that small), though currently it’s a Gideons Bible lounging around in my back pocket.

Just for kicks, let’s look at the line from Romans chapter 9, verse 1 for some of the differences:

King James Version
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

International Standard Version
I am telling the truth because I belong to the Messiah–I am not lying, and my conscience confirms it by means of the Holy Spirit.

American Standard Version
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,

New American Standard Bible
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,

GOD’S WORD® Translation
As a Christian, I’m telling you the truth. I’m not lying. The Holy Spirit, along with my own thoughts, supports me in this.

American King James Version
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Bible in Basic English
I say what is true in Christ, and not what is false, my mind giving witness with me in the Holy Spirit,

Douay-Rheims Bible
I SPEAK the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost:

Darby Bible Translation
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,

English Revised Version
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Ghost,

Webster’s Bible Translation
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me testimony in the Holy Spirit,

Weymouth New Testament
I am telling you the truth as a Christian man–it is no falsehood, for my conscience enlightened, as it is, by the Holy Spirit adds its testimony to mine–

World English Bible
I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit,

Young’s Literal Translation
Truth I say in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing testimony with me in the Holy Spirit,

Looking at those, you’ll notice that a lot of translations are pretty close to the KJV overall, and the NASB, ASV and ISV versions don’t differ much between themselves in terms of essence, though they flow differently in terms of word choices.

I don’t know much about the GOD’S WORD version of the Bible, but the fact they felt they needed to trademark the name makes me instantly suspect of it. And the language seems many times to me to be both too stilted and often too simplistic.

The Bible in Basic English often doesn’t seem to be as basic as it probably needs to be, if it is indeed trying to distinguish itself from the ASV, ISV and NASB versions.

Young’s Literal Translation can be a bit hard to read at times, which I expect for something that seeks to be a literal translation, but I also find myself wondering how literal it really is, and regardless of whether or not it succeeds at that, I also wonder if it’s helping the understanding or hindering it among readers.

I know little about the Weymouth New Testament, but it often strikes me that it is trying to be both more literal of the original Greek versions and other versions than the KJV was, while also trying to keep the language modern enough for decent comprehension.

Anyway, just my random babblings here.

I just plain like the KJV and the more modern versions that don’t try to use language that is too modern. I tend to be annoyed by translations that try to adopt very modern language or very basic language, as I think too much gets lost in doing that, and you end up diluting the word instead of edifying people.

08
Jun
09

Just Madness

So, there was supposed to be a new post up tonight (Monday). But not only didn’t WordPress save periodically as I went along, but when I specifically hit the “Save Draft” button, I was sent to the log-on screen and when I signed back in, everything I had typed was gone.

So, no early auto-saves, and my attempt to purposely save it was equally impotent. And I have no energy to go starting this all over again right now, so we’ll just save it until tomorrow.

Just so you know, I was going to talk about the relative worth (personally speaking) of different Bible translations.

Maybe the second time will be a charm…

(By the way, this is on top of me posting a comment to a recent thread and having Miz Pink’s name show up instead of “Deacon Blue”…along with WordPress replacing Miz Pink’s avatar with my own. Craziness all over around here.)

04
Jun
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 54

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 8, Framed in Pain (continued)

Go faster.

Bohlliam cringed inwardly. It wasn’t the first time she had pressed that thought against him. Two days of it finally bubbled over, despite his joy at having his orange-glowemotions renewed. He hadn’t had any need to activate his sensorium array since she arrived in his mind. But her insistence was beginning to wear on him.

“Next time, pick someone with more money then,” he muttered.

He sensed Grace pull back in his mind, withholding herself. He felt the loss of her like the loss of a cane for a lame man. Worse, the loss of crutch for someone with a broken leg.

It wasn’t his fault. As someone with almost no resources to draw on, the only way to get from Angel City to Nova York—all the way across the width of the UPA—was to spend what little he had in real currency to get to a real city, and board a solarrail line. Free travel for those with minimal resources, and if you couldn’t bring your own food or buy any along the way, bowls of mushgrain were free three times daily.

But it was the slowest form of travel available to a traveler, and Bohlliam had sensed Grace’s frustration. His renewed emotional landscape had given him plenty to admire even in the face of her displeasure, but he couldn’t ignore her any longer.

Worse, he couldn’t bear her retreating from him.

In an effort to bridge the gap between them, he sought out with his mind, fumbling for a connection. He was a empath. Telepaths were more rare than an albino in the Amazon Basin, and he had no idea how to be one, and he still didn’t even understand who or what Grace was. Trying to speak to her in his mind was like being a three-year-old conversing with a scholar.

Nova York Why There? he stumbled out in his head.

I am there.

Here you are. Mind mine. Bohlliam responded.

Stop trying to talk. It disrupts me. Think in emotions or pictures. That is who you are.

<Confusion> Bohlliam ventured.

This is only a part of me. The rest of me is in Nova York. I must get there and put myself back together. The notion she projected seemed equal parts the faith and determination of a child and the wisdom of an aged physician.

<Need> <Want> <Stay>

My body is my anchor. I will drift apart from myself if I don’t anchor myself. I will be gone then. You will lose the emotions that I bring.

<Fear> <Despair>

I thought so. Then get me to my body. As fast as you can.

***

He had one less hand to show for the journey, thanks to that wyvern. But the beast was missing its head thanks to a small explosive charge, so Bechan Adym felt he’d bechan-adymgotten the better part of the deal. All the more so now that he was on the shores of Europa.

It wasn’t a good place to be. Better than occupied and quarantined Isreal, but he wouldn’t be welcomed. The Catholic Union frowned on any nation giving asylum to its citizens, but it was even more unforgiving of nations taking in any who managed to get outside Israel’s borders. The Vatican kepts its Jewish charges close, and any nation that openly harbored a refugee from there risked armed reprisals.

Thankfully, the Voudoun didn’t fret much about such things, and they could help get him somewhere where he could blend in, at least until he could properly share the information he carried—with people who would understand its importance.

He rubbed at the sealed stump at the end of his arm, still expecting to find a hand there, and realized that the closer he came to his goal, the less victorious he felt.

(For the next installment of this story, which will conclude Chapter 8, click here.)

03
Jun
09

God Don’t Like Psycho

OK, I realize I’m late to the party on the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a controversial provider of late-term abortions, allegedly by 51-year-old fundamentalist Christian Scott Roeder.

Partly, I’m just distracted. But a smaller story out my way sparked me to write about this. You see, there is, in my neck of the wood…or, rather, was…a topless coffee shop. The owner was making plans to expand, and then suddenly an arsonist burned the place down. I know nothing about the arsonist. I don’t even know if they have a suspect in custody. But as my wife said, “I guess the crazy fundamental Christians are coming out of the woodwork.”

Perhaps they are. Let’s sample a couple quotes about the murder of Dr. Tiller…

Prayer and Action newsletter publisher and anti-abortion activist Dave Leach: “To call this a crime is too simplistic. There is Christian scripture that would support this.”

Founder of Operation Rescue Randall Terry: “(He) was a mass murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.”

My late and much-missed grandmother-in-law often said, “God don’t like ugly.”

I’ll ammend that a bit: God don’t like psycho.

We do not get to choose to burn down someone’s business or kill someone because of the Bible. We just don’t. For one thing, it wasn’t the kind of thing that Jesus condoned. But also, we are told in the Bible to follow the laws of our lands. The laws of our land, here in the United States, says that an unborn child is not always considered a full life. But a grown-ass man is definitely alive, and killing him over ideology is murder, plain and simple.

I defy any fundie who supports or turns a blind eye to this murder to show me a single passage of scripture that defines an unborn child as a life and thus establishes that ending the existence of that fetus is murder. The first person that does will most likely pick a single passage, and I’ve seen it before, and I will likely rip your argument to shreds if you do.

Furthermore, without establishing that a fetus is a viable life in the Bible, all we have to go on is the law of the land, which says it is not. And frankly, even you can prove to me that the Bible protects a fetus’ life as much as a child outside the womb or an adult, that still doesn’t give you the right to flout the laws of your land and take vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God. It’s one thing to snap and kill someone because they hurt or killed someone close to you…people snap over such things…that’s not generally cold-blooded murder. Killing someone for something that doesn’t impact you directly is cold-blooded murder.

And finally, Dr. Tiller didn’t perform late-term abortions for mothers who just decided late in the game they didn’t want to be pregnant. Late-term abortions are almost always in the interest of preserving the mother’s life or in cases where the fetus is so unviable that it faces death upon entering the world anyway.

All around, this act was wrong. And no Christian should overtly or covertly support this murder of man. Much less murdering him in front of his family while in church. There’s nothing right with that picture.

03
Jun
09

Splitting My Affections

I may have a flurry of posts today, since I want to get the next installment of my novel up, and since Big Man suggested an interesting little topic the other day, and since I’m feeling guilty about not posting more often lately.

But before all that, a word about some of what’s keeping me away from here.

Truth be told, if anyone had told me I’d be writing a blog at all, I would have laughed at them. Even though I’m a writer, I couldn’t see any reason I would ever need to blog. But when I started getting involved in reading other people’s blogs and commenting at them, God had the Holy Spirit tap me in the back of the brain and whisper in my spiritual ear. I felt very much moved to start this blog, both as a way to express myself and my opinions, and to be of service to my Father in Heaven and my Lord Jesus Christ, too.

Now, if someone told me I’d start a second blog while still doing the first one, I would have called you crazy. And yet, that’s what I’ve done.

But, seeing as how I have limited time and am in the processing of either retooling or completely altering my career, chances are that my posts around here may be more along the lines of 4 times a week or so instead of 6 or 7.

So, what am I blogging about that I don’t already talk about here? If you’ve been a reader long enough, you know my opinion about porn. That is, I’m pretty much all for it, as long as it (a) doesn’t get in the way of real relationships, (b) doesn’t go into illegal territory, and (c) steers clear of possibly exploitative stuff (i.e. it is ethical as well as legal).

The first condition is pretty easy for most folks; if you choose porn over a willing partner, you need your head examined, seriously. Second one seems a no-brainer to me, too, if you’re a decent person.

As for the third one, in this age of the Internet and the preponderance of good amateur and semi-pro home-based porn, and the fact that there are some porn directors out there with interest in plot and artistry (few though they be), it’s pretty easy to find porn that you can be confident didn’t exploit or use anyone.

This is why, even though I am (like most guys) a very visual creature, I like erotic fiction. Kind of hard to exploit people when they are imaginary to begin with. And so I started a blog to explore my fiction along erotic lines as an outlet for me, as well as to do some commentary and such about erotic topics.

For those of you with inquiring minds, you’ll have to remain inquiring, as I won’t be sharing the location of this blog nor the subject matter. Certain things must remain mine, and my more exotic sexual interests will be one of them. Even though I guard my real identity around here, there may come a day when I do need to take off the mask here at this blog, and I really don’t need my family embarrassed by having people trek over to view my erotic fiction, too.

And, frankly, I don’t think I want most of you seeing that deeply into my desires, anyway, nor do most of you probably want to.

Anyway, within those self-imposed strictures, I wanted to be as forthcoming as possible so that you know how I’m spending my days and know that I’m not letting this blog slide.

Just splitting my time, and my affections, a bit for a while.

02
Jun
09

The Plot Thickens

jesus-weptSo, I don’t know how deep today’s message will be, but at least it has a spiritual bent to it.

Thing is, on the way to Little Girl Blue’s daycare today, I was thinking about some of the novels I’ve been reading lately. And, for that matter, thoughout my life. And it struck me that many of the novels I read have a “hero” or a very small number of heroes. That is, there is one person or a couple people who hold the fate of the plot in their hands. It might be the prophesied deliverer in a swords and sorcery epic or the brilliant tactician in a space opera or the detective who puts all the pieces together in a crime novel.

And then there are other novels and series I read, where it is more an ensemble thing, much like I am doing in my own novel. There are key characters, but no single person is the lynchpin and in some cases, critical characters will never meet or have any reason to interact.

I don’t prefer either type of novel, really, though I do appreciate the reality and complexity of an ensemble piece, even as I relish the focused drama of a hero-oriented story.

The Bible, my friends, has both aspects. Now, I’m not calling the Bible a fiction, mind you. While I think some elements are symbolic or metaphorical, overall I think it is an honest account of God’s plans and the history of humans. Yes, you can quibble over whether God really created the Earth in seven days and made Adam from the dust of the Earth, but then you’re just arguing semantics. Some very complex things are couched in simple terms. But the fact is that God created things, God has a plan for us, we have gone astray from that plan, and He made a way for us to get back in line with it.

But getting back to my original observation, the Bible gives us an epic ensemble piece in the Old Testament, and a hero/savior one in the New Testament.

The OT gives us this sweeping account of where we went wrong and all the missteps we took along the way. There are victories and defeats, successes and failures, love and anger, joy and sorrow, and so much more. Many players, some more effective than others, shape the flow and direction of the story.

And yet it is all a set-up. It’s really a prelude to the NT, when Jesus arrives. Because then we have the hero that everyone else has been paving the way for. The story God gives us takes a sudden and dramatic turn, and becomes very focused. What we end up with is Jesus’ story, and even though there are other people in the NT who are movers and shakers, they are all responding to (and uplifting) Jesus and his role in things. It’s all about the Christ and the fallout from his arrival (most of that fallout good, but with its bitter and bittersweet aspects, too).

It’s interesting that the Bible gives us the harder to absorb and more thorny ensemble piece first, and only gives us the more personal and in some ways easier to digest hero tale last.

I don’t know what that means, if anything. I just thought it was interesting to note.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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