Friday, February 6, 2009

Experiments in Translation!

I've spent the last two days at a conference in downtown Orlando, overlooking beautiful Lake Eola. It's been amazing, life-changing, challenging, inspirational... shall I go on? Seriously it's been incredibly refreshing and I've begun new relationships that will no doubt serve to further challenge and strengthen me over the next phase of my ministry. The conference, dubbed The Human Event, is hosted by Alex McManus's International Mentoring Network and is a conversation (literally speaking) between the presenters and the participants. I should have realized it would be something special when I noticed that the logo for the conference is a six-fingered hand! Before you get all weird on me and begin to claim the return of the antichrist, the idea behind this is simply being on the 'fringe' and out-of-the-box in your thinking and approach to communicating your faith.

There is so much stuff to unpack with regard to what we talked about, but one of the big ideas that stood out to me is this: The Church represents experiments in translation. What the heck does that mean, you're probably asking? Well, essentially it simply means that we have presumed to always speak authoritatively as the voice of God, knowing fully the mind of God. We have done this regardless of whether or not the things we are saying make any sense, or whether or not they are actually true. Now I'm not saying whether or not we believe that they are true, but whether or not they actually are.

For instance, an immigrant attempting to speak English may be convinced that they are hearing and saying the right thing, when in reality they are not. The word "crop" can tend to sound like "crap" to the immigrant ear when pronounced by an American. If the immigrant, in relaying this word believes that the word used was crap instead of crop, because of the way they interpreted it, it would not make them right but it would definetely change the idea of what they are trying to convey. To communicate effectively you must learn the language of the culture. This means we must possess the courage to speak as a native, but also the humility to recognize that we may be screwing up the words. Translating the scriptures into words, deeds, and rythms that make sense and are relevant to today's culture, is definetely an experiment in translation!


Hope said...

So will you be unpacking the entire bag for us?? :)

Joseph said...

Hope, I'm going to do my darndest!!! :)

Sam Radford said...

Hi Joseph. Ryan forwarded your blog to me. I have been part of the IMN the last 3 years and would have been in Florida had it not been for me and my wife have our first baby 12 days ago!

Glad you found the time so helpful though and I'll look forward to reading more of your notes!


Joseph said...

Hey Sam, welcome to the conversation. Congratulations to you and your wife on your first baby (believe me when I tell you that it will get easier in about 18 or so years) :)

I look forward to posting more on the H2.09, so stay tuned!