Friday, April 01, 2011

apr 1 | the text message | eugene petersen

IMAGE Journal sends out a weekly ImageUpdate email packed with Soul Tidbits. In addition to a number of other articles of interest, there's news of a new publication that will have Eugene Petersen fans twittering with delight. Need to get me a copy, check out UGn's take on I Corinthians 3:18.

The Text Message: The Bible in Post-Contemporary Language by UGn Ptrsn

In The Text Message, bestselling pastor Eugene (UGn) Peterson (Ptrsn) presents a 21st-century translation of Holy Scripture, written entirely in text message shorthand. Continuing in the tradition of the bestselling The Message — an accessible interpretation of Scripture for contemporary readers — The Text Message delves even further into the language of the masses, and especially of adolescents and teens. Says high school senior Katelynn Kerr, “When my mom gave me a copy of The Text Message, I was, like, so happy. I couldn’t even look at it for, like, hours, because I had to text all my friends to tell them about it.”

But Kerr surely made up the time through The Text Message’s super-concise passages. For example, the NASB version of Psalm 116:12-14 reads, “What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the LORD. I shall pay my vows to the LORD, oh may it be in the presence of all His people.” The Text Message boils these verses down to the bare essentials: "How 2 thnk Gd? Cheers! w/ Gd’s peeps." In the New Testament, Christ’s lamentation from the cross, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani" becomes a piercing "OMG, R U there?" Kerr continues, “That old verse was in, like, Latin? Which is, like, so dead. But when I read ‘OMG, R U there?’ I was, like, speechless. ‘Cause I’ve texted that, like, so many times. It was like I finally understood what Jesus was feeling.”

Although The Text Message only hit bookstores yesterday, certain “it” celebrities are already on board: sources say Taylor Swift mass-texts her 4,000 closest friends “The Txt Msg Daily Vrs” every morning, and Ashton Kusher’s “John 11:35 G-zuz :'(” tattoo has been featured on several blogs. Although only Psalms, Proverbs, and the New Testament have been released so far, Peterson plans to translate the entire Bible. (A spokesperson for the Concerned Parents League has released a statement warning of a boycott in case the Song of Solomon is translated into “sexts.”)

When asked to comment on his hopes for the new “textlation,” Peterson replied that its brevity (the entire New Testament clocks in at a mere fifty-two pages) makes long verses the perfect size for 140-character-limit Tweets.

“In the beginning was the Word,” Peterson says. “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But while God remains the same, our concept of ‘Word’ changes, and we must engage the post-contemporary language.” Katelynn agrees: “Tru dat.”
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