Randomly, in my bookshelves, I re-encountered “Subversive Spirituality” a book by Eugene Peterson – best known for his translation of the Bible into modern-day (American) speech: The Message translation.
While being a pastor, Eugene had spent a year on translating the Bible book of Romans into this everyday language. Then, he felt it was time for his pastoral ministry to end – and within a month of this happening, he was contacted by a publisher and asked to translate the whole Bible similarly. At first, he wasn’t sure that he could accomplish such a massive task – but as he began, he found something interesting – it came easily to him, he had a sense of harvest.
For a long time, as a pastor, he had been reading the original Greek and Hebrew of the Bible, then translating it into words and ideas which modern day Americans in his congregation could understand.
I love that description of a sense of harvest. That, later in life, what we have been doing naturally in life, as part of who we are, and how we think, becomes a flowing out to others.
Question to ask ourselves: what am I translating? What is the work of my life?
“If I were going to set up a seminary curriculum, I would spend one whole year on a couple of poets. I would insist that students learn how to read poetry, learn how words work. We don’t pay enough attention to words – we use words all the time, but we use them in a commercialized, consumer way. That consumer-oriented use of words has little place in the church, in the pulpit, in counselling. We’re trying to find how words work, their own work.” – Eugene Peterson, “Subversive Spirituality”