Doug has tagged me with a new meme 10-20-30. I have been asked remember what you were doing 10, 20 and 30 years ago. So here goes:

1997: For most of the year I was home on furlough from my Bible translation work. By the end of October I was back in the capital city where I was based and getting on with checking the Old Testament translation.

1987: I started my second year of studies at London Bible College, now London School of Theology, and was enjoying getting to grips with biblical languages and with theological issues – but also, in retrospect, becoming less personally in tune with God.

1977: I graduated in physics from the University of Cambridge, and stayed on for a one year course in theoretical physics (in other places it would probably count as an MA course). At the time I intended to work on a PhD in this area, but by the next summer I had changed my mind, and so took the job which brought me to my current home in Chelmsford.

In response I will tag Lingamish, Eddie Arthur and Tim Chesterton.

My ancestral home

This week I spent a few days visiting friends in Sheffield, and included a day out in the beautiful Peak District, in perfect autumn weather. See my photos in this Facebook album. During this day I paid a brief visit this week to my ancestral home. No, not the one in this first picture, which is Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, although I greatly enjoyed walking around its grounds. But the house I have in mind dates from the same period. The first house at Chatsworth was built in 1552, but the current house dates from around 1700.

The house I really want to talk about here belonged to and was probably built by my ancestor Arnold Kyrke, and an inscription “AK 1559” gives its approximate date. Continue reading

Bring on the Recession

This is the startling title and thesis of an article by George Monbiot, published in the Guardian on 9th October, and brought to my attention by Paul Trathen. To summarise, Monbiot argues that continued economic growth is unsustainable and likely to lead to ecological disaster, and that we, in western countries, are no longer in poverty and so have no need for further growth.

Is it not time to recognise that we have reached the promised land, and should seek to stay there? Why would we want to leave this place in order to explore the blackened wastes of consumer frenzy followed by ecological collapse? Surely the rational policy for the governments of the rich world is now to keep growth rates as close to zero as possible?

Of course governments will not follow this rational policy, but will seek continued growth. But will it work? Recent events in the banking system have shown how volatile things may be, and people are beginning to realise this.

My new houseI have just decided to buy a new house (and have had an offer accepted on this one, just a mile from my current home and very near my church), Continue reading

Trying to be gentle

Eclexia in a post on her blog, and Doug in a comment here, have rightly taken me to task for a lack of gentleness in my last post. Indeed Eclexia felt intimidated by the way I was arguing. See also my comments in reply to each of them. I’m sorry that I have not lived up to my intentions when I changed the name of this blog. I will try to do better in future!

Also, as I mentioned to Eclexia, my lack of gentleness was more evident on other blogs, but that should be no excuse for failing to show the fruit of the Spirit!

"I wanted to know Jesus, but you gave me a library"

These are the words of an illiterate boy, quoted by Jackie Pullinger, then by holy heteroclite and by Henry Neufeld. Holy heteroclite also quotes Bono (complete with YouTube clip of him singing this): “I wanted to meet God; but you sold me religion”.

I post these quotes here in the hope that they will be picked up by blogging friends like John Hobbins, Iyov and Doug Chaplin, who seem to believe in giving to people wanting to find Jesus or meet God a work of literature rather than the Word of God in a form they can understand.

Being read on an African beach

I must say it is a rather nice thought that Lingamish has been reading my posts, about literary translation, on his mobile phone while lounging in a hammock outside a beach hut in one of the remotest corners of Africa. He even has the pictures to prove it. As my ClustrMap shows, this blog is attracting readers in nearly every part of the world; there are obvious reasons why north Africa and central Asia are rather thinly represented.

It would of course be an even nicer thought if I was able to join Lingamish on the African beach, to blog from there and not just be read there, rather than suffer the increasing cold of an English autumn. Actually it has been rather pleasant here for the last few days, but frost is on its way and I am not looking forward to it.

Muslim leaders call for peace

As Ruth Gledhill among others reports, 138 Muslim leaders are calling for peace between Christians and Muslims, but are also warning that if there is no peace

The “survival of the world” is at stake.

How should Christians react to this call? The issue is not a simple one because the Muslim leaders are calling for this peace to be based around “the common essentials of our two religions”. Continue reading

"Literary Translation" and Obfuscation

I have had a busy week with little time for blogging. And now I have got back to it, I have started by blogging at Better Bibles Blog on “Literary Translation” and Obfuscation. To summarise this briefly: John Hobbins and others have been arguing for “literary translation” of the Bible, to preserve the foreignness and the alleged literary style of the original. In a typically combative way, I have argued that this is deliberate obfuscation by those who want to avoid being challenged by the Word of God.