Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible

Normally I would stop at one post per week, but since I used some quotations from the Bible in my other post today I am going to take a quick moment to let everyone know which version of the Bible I use and why.

The following is taken directly from Bible

You can find an online version of this Bible here:

The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV) was published in 1989 and has received the widest acclaim and broadest support from academics and church leaders of any modern English translation.

 It is the only Bible translation that is as widely ecumenical:

  • The ecumenical NRSV Bible Translation Committee consists of thirty men and women who are among the top scholars in America today. They come from Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. The committee also includes a Jewish scholar.
  • The RSV was the only major translation in English that included both the standard Protestant canon and the books that are traditionally used by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians (the so-called "Apocryphal" or "Deuterocanonical" books). Standing in this tradition, the NRSV is available in three ecumenical formats: a standard edition with or without the Apocrypha, a Roman Catholic Edition, which has the so-called "Apocryphal" or "Deuterocanonical" books in the Roman Catholic canonical order, and The Common Bible, which includes all books that belong to the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox canons.
  • The NRSV stands out among the many translations available today as the Bible translation that is the most widely "authorized" by the churches. It received the endorsement of thirty-three Protestant churches. It received the imprimatur of the American and Canadian Conferences of Catholic bishops. And it received the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The NRSV is truly a Bible for all Christians!

Rooted in the past, but right for today, the NRSV continues the tradition of William Tyndale, the King James Version, the American Standard Version, and the Revised Standard Version. Equally important, it sets a new standard for the 21st Century.

The NRSV stands out among the many translations because it is "as literal as possible" in adhering to the ancient texts and only "as free as necessary" to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English. It draws on newly available sources that increase our understanding of many previously obscure biblical passages. These sources include new-found manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, other texts, inscriptions, and archaeological finds from the ancient Near East, and new understandings of Greek and Hebrew grammar.

The NRSV differs from the RSV in four primary ways:
  • updating the language of the RSV, by replacing archaic forms of speech addressed to God (Thee, Thou, wast, dost, etc.), and by replacing words whose meaning has changed significantly since the RSV translation (for example, Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 11.25 that he was "stoned" once)
  • making the translation more accurate,
  • helping it to be more easily understood, especially when it is read out loud, and
  • making it clear where the original texts intend to include all humans, male and female, and where they intend to refer only to the male or female gender.

More History is Made in My Lifetime

A great step forward in history was made recently when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bans on Gay Marriage were unconstitutional.  So, Gay Marriage is now officially legal nationwide in the United States of America.

My first reaction was, "It is about time!"

This of course will bring on the newest tirade of Conservative Christians who will be quoting the Bible to make their point.  If you have read my posts from the beginning you already know my arguments for things that happen that outwardly appear to contradict the Bible so I won't go through it again now.

I will include my own quotes from the Bible that have had a very profound effect on me and went as far as inspiring a piece I did over a decade ago.  The text written on the painting are the 3 verses listed below.

Love is Love

1 John 4:7-8 - (7) Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (8) Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4: 16 - (16) ...God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

1 John 4:20 - (20) Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.

Marriage is about love and commitment.  True Love will never be unnatural or immoral.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why are Some People Still so Stupid?

Thanks to the many places we've had the privilege to live, my son has had friends in his life since birth that were as varied as you can get. In fact more than once, as the only white male among the neighborhood kids, he was actually the minority among his peers. 

To my son, everyone is a potential friend unless that individual does something to hurt him or make him sad in some way. If that happens, he moves on to the next potential friend. Only recently has he begun to notice that some people don't like other people just because they are different from themselves. He doesn't understand why.

I am unable to give him a satisfactory answer when the question comes up because frankly I don't understand why either. I've finally come up with an answer that may not be completely satisfactory but that I believe is accurate. The answer is: 

Some people are just Stupid.

Whenever I give this answer to my son, I make sure that I include that yes, stupid is not a nice thing to say about anyone.  However, I also stipulate that in this case, its really the best way to describe individuals who hate entire groups of people for ridiculous reasons.

I have had the fortune in my life to be raised by parents who taught me to treat people as individuals.  If I don't like a person or fear a person or just can't stand to be around a person, its because I've gotten to know them on some personal level or another and that individual has behaved or otherwise shown me that they are not someone I want to know well.

The easiest way to explain my Protestant Minister Dad's view on my friends or boyfriends is this:

If I came home with a non-Christian African American or other Black person and said we were getting married he would have welcomed him (or her for that matter) with open arms.  Well, OK, as open as any Daddy would welcome the person involved with his little girl.

Now, if this same person were to become abusive or otherwise harmful to me, my Dad would of course probably try to have them killed, or at least arrested. This would in no way be because of their Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, etc.

As a result of my upbringing I have developed a wonderful circle of long distance friends who are either not white, or married to people who are not white.  I can't imagine not having any of these people in my life and recognize the fact that I probably wouldn't have even given any of them a second glance if I had been raised differently. One of my closest friend's husband is African American and her girls are the daughters I've never had.  They have been know to refer to me as one of their Aunts and my son and the oldest one are very close friends who often mention that they wish they were brother and sister.  We just tell them they are close enough to count as brother and sister.

So, now let us address how Racism applies to mixed couples and the children of those relationships.  One of the comments that I've heard regarding racism and mixed race offspring is that it is not natural.  The argument often used to try to justify this statement is that you don't see mixed babies in nature.  

This one "argument" really pinpoints just how ignorant the people are who think like this.

We see mixed race animals in nature and in domestic situations all the time.  If its not done purposefully its usually referred to as  "Mixed Breeds".  If its done on purpose we usually hear the phrase "Cross Breeds".

Cross breeding is a fact of life. In nature it often comes from situations where there are limited partners available within the same breed but can be found within the same species. In domestic situations it has become a business to improve the breed.  Horses and dogs are two common examples of cross-breeding.  When race horses are cross bred its usually for the purpose of making the next generation faster, stronger and / or better than the previous one.

Back in the late 80's I learned in my High School Biology class that its not physically possible for animals from different species to mate.  I also learned that especially when referring to the Human Species, genetically we have issues when we breed with others too close to our bloodlines, referred to as inbreeding.

To put this more simply, when 2 people who are too closely related have children, numerous birth defects can present themselves.  The more the inbreeding the worse the defects on the genetic level.

So, in order to finally wrap this up, here is the point.

Human Beings Are A Species.
Within Our Species There Area Several Breeds (Races).
We Were Not Designed To Keep Bloodlines Pure.
We Were Designed To Mix It Up.

Pure Bloodlines Are Not Natural.
Cross Breeding Makes Us Stronger And Better As A Species Both Physically And Mentally.

Anyone under the age of 40 who doesn't understand this needs to go back to High School Biology.  Anyone older who doesn't understand, ask your kids in High School.  If they don't know, they haven't been paying enough attention in Biology Class.