This time of year has rarely been a love fest for me in terms of worship planning. I have preached about John the Baptist so many times that I not only feel like I’m repeating myself; I am repeating myself.
But I just received this in the mail yesterday and it has made me fall in love with The Church again. David Bentley Hart’s translation of The New Testament is extraordinary. Check out James Parker’s review for The Atlantic here.
Many of us think that the institutional Church is a mess. (Note: it is.) But Hart’s translation reminds us that the First Christians were also a mess. In his introduction, he writes:
“Most of us would find Christians truly cast in the New Testament mold fairly obnoxious: civically reprobate, ideologically unsound, economically destructive, politically irresponsible, socially discreditable, and really just a bit indecent.”
I love these people. I loved The Misfit Toys Feel of real church where those who are struggling sit side by side with those who are sitting pretty. I love the beauty of trans people praying with people who don’t think they know any trans people. I love not being to tell who is homeless and who is not in a gathering of God’s children.
Read. This. Book. It conveys how confusing, jolting, and grammatically shaky the Greek Bible truly is. The King James Version is “literarily admirable” in Hart’s words. But grappling with the strangeness of the Koine Greek brings relief and joy as we grapple with the strangeness of these times.
I’ve fallen in love with The Church again. In the throes of Advent and Christmas activities, I hope you will find a renewed love for The Church and especially for The Church’s Head.
Image of a church building used in the movie The Revenant. Note: The Church of Jesus Christ is not a building but this image conveys some of the mess of who we are.