The TNIV text was used in many of Zondervan's Bible products, including some that were marketed to an urban audience, such as The Bible Experience (see below), the popular dramatized reading of the Scriptures featuring the voices of top African American actors.
Let me begin by asking a simple question: What Bible translation do you use and why?
As a pastor and wannabe theologian, I own, read, and use countless Bibles and various translations. My bookshelves are filled with everything from the KJV to The Message. A couple years ago, I made the switch to the TNIV (Today’s New International Version) as my primary Bible for devotional reading. Prior to that, I was using mostly the NIV and NRSV. My pastoral staff at Quest Church (and even our denominational tribe, the ECC) also began teaching from the TNIV as part of our ongoing commitment to exegetical preaching. So, I was very disappointed to read yesterday that the TNIV will be abandoned and written off as a “mistake” by its publisher, Zondervan.
I’d been intending to write some blog posts on marriage, dating, and other issues related to relationships. But in light of recent events I thought I’d share a few personal thoughts about Jon and Kate Gosselin’s announcement to proceed with divorce and end their marriage.
The Gosselins, of course, are the “stars” of the TLC reality series Jon & Kate Plus 8. The show follows the life of the Gosselin family, which includes Jon and Kate and their eight children — fraternal twins and sextuplets. It is currently the most popular show on TLC. About 9.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the season premiere last month in the wake of constant tabloid rumors that the Jon and Kate’s marriage was on the rocks. And, sure enough, on that show the couple revealed that they were experiencing a rough patch in their relationship.
So when TLC revealed last week that the couple would make a special announcement on Monday’s episode, many people anticipated the worst — and they tuned in to witness the tragedy. Last night’s episode, which was the first full Jon & Kate that I’ve seen, topped the season premiere by 800,000 viewers.
Before last night, I’d only seen snippets of the show here and there. But, for whatever reason, I remember the episode where they were at church, sharing their story in front of their church community with their pastor, and recounting God’s faithfulness in their lives.
And now, it’s come to this … Last night’s announcement had no mention of God, covenant, church, community, or prayer. I wonder what kind of pastoral/spiritual care and counseling they are seeking and receiving. So, let me ask you this:
If you were in Jon & Kate’s community group or were their pastor, how would you advise/counsel them?
I have no personal connection to the Gosselins, but it is indeed sad to see their troubled marriage exposed and exploited in the public arena of reality TV. Let me also say that I really have no idea about all the details and gossip. I just know stuff is going on because of the buzz and all the magazine and tabloid covers. But if I were Jon and Kate’s pastor and were approached by them for counsel, I would share three simple things:
1. “The show must go on …” / No, the show must not go on … the Marriage must go on, but the show is absolutely unessential. This show needed to have ended a season ago. The show may have been a good idea at one point, but it’s no longer a good idea. You’re sharing their pain and drama in front of an audience of people who have no deep soul connection with you. Mercifully, TLC announced today that they were halting production of your show until August to allow your family to adjust to its new reality. But I believe it would be best for you, Jon and Kate, to end the show permanently and spend some quality time with your counselors, pastors, community, and family.
Ending the show should have been the announcement on Monday. Give reconciliation, counseling, and healing a chance without the cameras.
2. Remember your vows. Remember your covenant with God — and with one another. When you’re angry, upset, hurting, and bitter, the marital covenant doesn’t often prevail. Rather, it’s those feelings that dictate your actions. What you are feeling — anger, bitterness, betrayal, etc. — are all legitimate. You are experiencing every one of them.
But our feelings can also betray us, which is why we make and honor these vows and submit — joyfully, respectfully, and, at times, painfully — to our covenant.
Because of our covenant with one another and with God, we seek to live by Grace. We strive to listen to the other person, understand, seek counsel, ask for forgiveness and forgive, pray, communicate our feelings, pray some more… If you believe God brought you together, God can sustain your relationship if you confess, repent, and receive and extend grace to one another.
3. Repent … for God loves you. It’s as short, honest, and real as possible: Repent. Apologize. Forgive. And start the healing process. God has never stopped loving you both and your entire family.
Above all, despite their televised announcement last night, I’d tell Jon and Kate: Reconciliation is possible. Do you believe?
Ministry has its up and downs. Such is life. But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have ever been a part of.
This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches. In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level (hint: think beyond race). While I very much miss the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean American churches — food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in Korean American/Asian communities) — I now understand why God called my wife, Minhee, and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.
While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest Church is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community — with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world — teaching and living out the gospel of Christ.
Question: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?
These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:
• Know the diversity of your community. Simply, do you know your people’s stories? They may “look” the same but they represent different “cultures” — if not ethnicities. We all have diverse stories. And if you know their stories, are you making them known? For what it’s worth, this is my story.
• Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger kingdom and the “future church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…”Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the larger community? How is your church serving “other” churches and communities — especially those that don’t look like yours? You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression. Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal , and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ verelatitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”
Why did God call us to plant Quest Church? It’s hard to put into words, but the images below illustrate some reasons why. We do ministry in hopes of loving and serving people so that we may all be drawn to the Gospel of Christ.
I’m thankful for the beauty of diversity, community, and uniqueness of each person because they give me a glimpse of a larger, deeper, and fuller God and Kingdom. When I exclusively hang with those that look, think, and view the world just like me, I’m prone to live with blind spots … In short, I see what I see and what I want to see. This is why I need others and, yes, why others need me.