In her new translation of the the Gospels, Sarah Ruden, via “The Good News According to Markos,” introduces readers to John the Baptist like this: “[the] baptizer appeared in the wasteland.” And when you say it like that, it’s easier to imagine (and long for) John bringing his baptismal powers to the here and now.
Now I grew up Presbyterian, so I’m accustom to a subtle sprinkle of water, but when I read Ruden’s translation, I want the baptizer to arrive with buckets, or Super Soakers, or a fire hose and just drench our aching world.
Because we have COVID-19 surges in India, mass shootings in the U.S., extremism in the military, and racism within our law enforcement. I wonder: When will the baptizer arrive in the wasteland?
In a beautiful analysis for The New Yorker, Casey Cep explains how Ruden’s translation whittles down the grandeur of other translations: “Our Father which art in heaven” (King James Version) becomes simply, “our father in the skies.”
“So many luscious words turn almost threadbare in her version,” writes Cep of Ruden. Maybe this is the right Gospel translation for 2021 — after all, aren’t we now a bit threadbare, COVID-19 having stripped us of both our defenses and pretenses?
1. Protect People, Not Patents
When wealthy nations hoard vaccines and prioritize pharmaceutical profits, everyone suffers. By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
2. What We Can and Can’t Learn from a New Translation of the Gospels
“[I]t’s important to read the preserved texts as thoughtfully as possible, while always remembering that they are both temporally and linguistically removed from the events they record and the communities they represent.” By Casey Cep via The New Yorker.
3. Why Nathan Cartagena Teaches Critical Race Theory to Evangelicals
The Wheaton professor isn’t interested in the culture wars, he’s trying to transform the church with “godly race-consciousness.” By Mitchell Atencio via sojo.net.
4. The Chauvin Verdict, Ma’Khia Bryant’s Killing and Why We Must Resist Settling for the Breadcrumbs of Justice
“For many it will be all too easy to accept that Officer Nicholas Reardon, the cop who shot Ma’Khia, had no choice — one girl or another may have died. But we as a society do have choices. And we can make different ones if we are willing to see the life-threatening vectors that collided on that fateful day in Columbus.” By Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw via the African American Policy Forum.
5. The Recent Amazon Union Effort Failed — Churches Can Help
Organizers and Christians in Bessemer wonder what went wrong — and how future attempts at unionizing the Amazon facility could be different. By Dean Dettloff via sojo.net.
6. Examining Extremism in the Military
Nearly one out of 10 of the Capitol rioters arrested so far are veterans, so what is the military doing about extremism within its own ranks? By JP Keenan via ABC News.
7. Will Bishops Tell Biden Not to Take Communion Over Abortion?
In June, U.S. Catholic bishops will decide whether public figures who share abortion views similar to Biden’s should present themselves for Communion. By Gina Ciliberto via sojo.net.
8. There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing
The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. By Adam Grant via The New York Times.
9. Coloradans Carry the Trauma of Mass Shootings in Our Bones
“When the pain of gun violence begins to overwhelm me, I remember nature, that it groans with us and sings with us.” By Cassidy Klein via sojo.net.
10. There’s a Lot More to Masala Chai Than Spiced Milk Tea
Born of colonial rule and Indian resistance, masala chai is more than just spiced milk tea. By Leena Trivedi-Grenier via epicurious.
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