Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Introducing the All Lives Matter™ Bible

Christians believe that God loves everyone. And we believe that in some mysterious way we all bear his image, giving each human being an irreducible dignity and worth. We believe human beings have a basic unity in that we are all loved by God, and all in need of him. These beliefs describe only the starting point for Christian social ethics, not their application. Indeed, precisely because we believe human beings are undifferentiated in dignity and worth, we take special offense and are moved to action when we see that worth trampled on in specific times and places. Our general concern for all is the basic context in which our special concern for oppressed groups is expressed.

Ordinary Bible translations are full of examples of God's particular concern for groups that are oppressed, marginalized, and lacking in social power. God loves us all, but his calling card is his work on behalf of the most vulnerable. As a result, the Bible often makes distinctions between groups of people occupying different social positions, with God casting himself as the defender of those with less power. Here in the United States, some Christians are uncomfortable with these passages and are reluctant to apply them to our social context.

So I'm thinking, what would the Bible look like without its consistent message of God's special concern for the oppressed and judgment for oppressors? What would the scriptures look like if we read them in the same way many Christians are "reading" their own society?

Let the satire begin.

I'm proud to introduce an all-new Bible translation that will assure modern American readers that God loves everyone and never takes sides. It's called, The All Lives Matter™ Bible. In its pages, old scriptures will burst forth with new life to comfort a new generation of privileged Christians.
A Satisfied Reader of the All Lives Matter™ Bible
Hear the words of the Apostle James as he asks us, "Has not God chosen [some random people] to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? Later on, James appears to warn the reader about something, but the All Lives Matter™ text resolves the passage with pleasing ambiguity: "Now listen, [everyone], weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you." 

Be inspired by the words of the Apostle Paul as he set out on his missionary journey: "All they asked was that we should continue to remember [everyone equally], the very thing I had been eager to do all along." Paul's perspective on the Christian life comes through clearer than ever as we read about how he had no social privilege to give up and so described following Christ as ["a piece of cake."]

Of course, among the highlights of any Bible are the profound parables of Jesus. And here the All Lives Matter™ Bible does not disappoint. Be encouraged as you read the Parable of the Good [Man of No Particular Ethnicity]. And be shocked all over again as you read about Jesus's subversive behavior, as when he talked to the [Genderless Person of No Particular Ethnicity] at the well.

And who can forget Jesus's challenging words when he declared, "[I'm sure there are some people out there, from no group in particular, who are] hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

In this Bible you will read about how Jesus offered table fellowship to everyone equally, and no one in particular was scandalized by it. What the translation lacks in theological specificity it more than makes up for in comforting spiritual bromides. Anyone tempted to apply their faith to specific social problems will be reassured that vague expressions of goodwill are enough.

The All Lives Matter™ Bible also offers readers strikingly original translations of beloved Old Testament passages.

Timeless Hebrew proverbs come alive for the modern American reader, vaguely reminding us to be nice to each other: "Whoever oppresses [anyone] shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to [anyone] honors God." And the Psalms of David give privileged readers the affirmation they need that God is on their team no matter what! "A father to [everyone], a defender of [everyone], is God in his holy dwelling."

Even the Torah appears here as you've never seen it before. Feel the grandeur of God's commands to the people of Israel: "Do not oppress [anybody]; you yourselves know how it feels to be [nobody in particular], because you were [something or other] in Egypt."

Because the Hebrew prophetic tradition is considered especially offensive to many American Christians, the translators have made the difficult choice to excise a few chapters, such as Isaiah 10 and Isaiah 58

In the 2,000 year history of the Christian Church, we've never had a Bible like this before. But with so many American Christians feeling uncomfortable, and with so much loose talk that could encourage introspection and social engagement, it's time Christians had a place to turn where they can be assured, All Lives Matter. 

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