Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Week in Review (September 30, 2023)

I always start these posts feeling like not much has happened this week, but then the posts seem to fill out as I start writing.

1. In my work, I have been working extensively with putting together what we are calling "micro-courses" with Kingswood University. I do believe these are going to turn out to be a major resource for the Wesleyan Church. This week I focused on finishing Steve Lennox's micro-course on the Old Testament and Abson Joseph's similar course on the New Testament. Previously, I put together two leadership courses by Laurel Buckingham.

2. Our partnership with Oklahoma Baptist continues to be incredibly fruitful in relation to dual enrollment and a dorm-filling initiative, and other schools are lining up. I continue to mourn the fact that we couldn't get any Wesleyan school in the US to partner on some of these initiatives. I do think history will shake its head at this fact. So many missed opportunities handed on a plate and shunned. Our last-minute dual enrollment venture this fall so far has accrued over 50 students from a dozen high schools. Imagine what this initiative will become when it has lead time and grows. 

3. I've tried to continue inching forward with my book-selling project. I will aim to market a Gabriel's Diaries sequence in early December. In the meantime, I may try mid-October to launch another bundle. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Give away an e-book version of Who Decides What the Bible Means? for free to generate an email list of interested readers.
  • Then offer at a discounted rate a "God bundle" of 1) Chats about God,  2) The Problem of Evil and Suffering, and 3) God and Creation for about $19.99 (a savings of about $11)
I'll redo the covers of three of these and give the content another edit. Thoughts?

4. Little by little, I've been evaluating another translation. I'm less impressed with this one. It does give one a vision for what an exciting paraphrase might look like. I always think of the Jewish targumim when I'm reading paraphrases. These were interpretive renderings and expansions of Old Testament texts. They indicate that at least some Jews felt free to do Message and Passion type ventures with the biblical texts. What could a hyper-interpretive paraphrase look like that was somewhere between a study Bible and a more formal translation?

As an example of what I'm thinking, take Galatians 2:16. Let me give first a formal translation and then a "targumic" paraphrase:
  • "knowing that a person is not justified by works of Law except through faith of Jesus Christ, even we have put faith in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by faith of Christ and not from works of Law, because from works of Law no flesh will be justified."
  • "Since we know that you cannot come to be in right standing with God by paying close attention to aspects of the Jewish Law like circumcision, the food and purity rules, or Sabbath observance. Many in the Jesus movement think that will get you a long way toward a right standing, but everyone in the movement would agree that you must also trust in the faithful death of Jesus our Messiah. For that reason, everyone in this debate has trusted in Messiah Jesus so that we can be in right standing with God, as it were, by "the faith of Christ." I'm using a double entendre here. I mean both the faithfulness that Jesus showed in going to the cross and dying and the fact that we have put our faith, our trust, in Jesus as well. Notice that we all agree that Jesus is essential to this right standing. Everyone agrees that the particulars of the Jewish Law--especially those that separate Jew from non-Jew, will not get you there by themselves alone. This reality is indicated even in Psalm 143:2, which implies that no Jew is inherently right with God just by being a good Jew and keeping the Law."
Imagine doing that with the whole New Testament!

I will leave these notes at that. Thoughts welcome!

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