While browsing through Barnes & Noble with Father Jason we discovered a little work by Eugene H. Peterson entitled, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1995). Maybe you've see it.
It is a "translation" of the New Testament, the Psalms and the book of Proverbs because the rest of the Old Testament apparently is not important any longer.
Flipping through this little wonder we laughed hysterically and were quite surprised that we were not tossed out of the store. What made us laugh so much, you ask. Have a read for yourselves:
Mark 15: "They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn't take it."You think I'm making this up, but I assure you that I'm not. I'm not nearly creative enough. We students here at the Liturgical Institute laughed over these - and other - "translations" for a good two hours the other night.
Luke 1: "Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: 'Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.' ... Mary said to the angel, 'But how? I've never slept with a man.' ... And Mary said, 'Yes, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.'"
Luke 9: "Jesus was curt: 'Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know.'"
John 6: "They waffled: 'Why don't you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what's going on?' ... Jesus said, 'I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don't really believe me.' ... 'Don't bicker among yourselves over me. You're not in charge here.' ... But Jesus didn't give an inch."
Psalm 6: "Please, GOD, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed. Treat me nice for a change, I'm so starved for affection."
Psalm 15: "GOD, who gets invited to dinner at your table? How do we get on your guest list?"
Psalm 22: "GOD, GOD ... my GOD! Why did you dump me miles from nowhere?"
And, for my favorite one, Psalm 38: "I've lost twenty pounds in two months because of your accusation."
I would give you the verses from which these quotations are culled, but the verses are mysteriously absent, as are good parts of the Scriptures. I went looking to see how The Message translated what we know as "Surely there will be a stench" only to discover that they apparently just rolled the stone away without complaining at all.
The next time you lament the current quality or accuracy of our liturgical texts simply remember that it could be worse, much worse.