Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: A freshening day with the bible

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A freshening day with the bible

Some of you may have noticed that my posts yesterday were rather later in the day than they usually are. The reason for this is that I wasoff in High Wycombe finding out more about biblefresh.

What is biblefresh?
Biblefresh is an initiative se up to celebrate, tell others about and talk advantage of the 400th anniversary of King James Bible. This bible was special because it meant that God's word could be read in a language that people understood. Today, however, few people relate to the translation used in the King James and this is where Biblefresh comes in. It aims to share the bible in range of ways and using a range of languages.

What was I up to yesterday?
I was attending workshops and sessions along with other people in the diocese (a quite large unit of churches- in our case basically all Methodist churches from Southhampton up to Leicester). I attended 2 sessions- on using secular media to talk about the bible and another on prayerfully imagining biblical stories- as well as writing part of a handwritten bible and attending short services with signing, bible readings, talks and prayer.

What did I learn/experience?
I'd like to use the 4 biblefresh pledge aims sent out to churches to help be write about this
  1. Read the bible together as a church 
People often think of the church as a building or a group of people who meet in the building. The truth is that the church is all people who believe. And whilst, in this case, the aim seems to be related to the more common definition, I'd like to talk about it on the bigger level. During the day I heard the bible read from the pulpit as in a normal service. I heard the whole bible in the form of the 2-minute bible, a summary of the bible only 2 minutes in length and with comedic elements. I also heard a bible story in a smaller group, which I then read individually amongst others.

     2. Invest in training the whole church to understand and apply the bible

This whole day was part of that training. I listened to others viewpoints on what the bible meant, but I also used meditation to explore what I thought a biblicl story could mean to me. I discussed with others what the bible meant to non-Christians and how it related to media such as the Simpsons.

     3. Raise money to translate the bible for Burkino Faso

In the opening service we listened to a bible passage read in French. Whilst I understood most of the text because I was familiar with it and have knowledge of basic french, I could not understand it all. We were reminded that this is what the bible was like for most people before the King James Bible was written and what it is like for those who still do not have the bible in their own language today. We then listened to the same piece from TheKing James Bible. It was familiar to me, but I didn't know th precise meaning of some of the more traditional words. We were reminded that this is what the bible is like for man new Christians or non-believers today.
I read a posters which explained that in one language (I forget what one) there are over 20 different words for the english 'to carry'. This makes translating the bible a very difficult task, what would should be used in what context? And yet it is so important that it is done accurately. In another country 'Jesus loves us' would mean nothing, instead they say 'Jesus holds me in his liver'. Translate it as the english phrase 'Jesus holds me in his heart' and it would mean nothing or maybe even something completely different.

     4. Help people experience the bible in new and creative ways

I know most of your reading this blog are readers- but beilieve it or not all people are not like us! Some people do not enjoy reading or being read to! So why do many churches share their biblical text by reading?! And when they use other methods does it always reach the right people?
The two sessions I attended answered these questions in very differet ways. The mornig session talked about how varied our culture is and how the bible has to reach oput to a whole range of genres. We then used the Simpsons to research this further. Have you ever watched the Simpsons and thought about what it teaches people about God?- its quite an interesting experience!
The afternoon session was about personal exploration of the bible. We took time to imagine ourselves into the bible story and consider how we were affected by what happened- what did it feel like to be there? This was extremly relaxing and made me consider parts of the story in new ways.

This is supposed to be a reading blog, what does this have to do with books?
The King James bible was a book and its celebrating its 400th birthday! The bible is many books joined together as one and something that Christians should be shouting about!
Of course, me being me, I also bought a book which I'm sure I will share a review of with you in the near future- its title is 'In Search of the Source' by Neil Anderson. Here's what it says on the back:

In the eerie light of flickering torches, the wild hunting party was bringing down giant fruit bats with blow darts and killing them with their bare hands. The cave was full of yelling, splashing  men, screaming bats, and deadly darts.
Because I love books I'll also be sharing with you (my readers), bookcrossers and random members of the public a range of Christian books this year. Look out for reviews and bookcrossing releases. Also, if you would like to review a Christian book (or tell us about what the bible means to you) please let me know and I'll post it as part of my biblical reading challenge (which you're all free to join of course).
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