Catching Up With Brian McLaren Before the Conference (Sep-Dec 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Greg Taylor
September – October 2007

New Wineskins: Your newest book is a translation of Luke?

Brian McLaren: Yes, let me first say that it comes as part of The Voice, which will eventually retell the entire biblical story.

New Wineskins: What’s the subtitle “Not even sandals” mean?

Brian McLaren: That comes from Jesus’ saying in Luke 10, don’t take a moneybag . . . and not even sandals.

New Wineskins: What’s unique about this translation?

Brian McLaren: We’re trying to capture the narrative of the story again — a big part of our vision is for the book to be used orally. I heard recently about a public reading of Stephen’s sermon in Acts in the “Dust off their Feet” book of The Voice, and the person just started crying.

New Wineskins: Were there times during your writing and translating that you were moved like that?

Brian McLaren: Several things really moved me and grabbed me. We preachers tend to pick one verse or one episode and make that the subject of a sermon, but I was struck in Luke about the flow between stories. A lot of the most interesting things in Luke are found – not simply within one story – but in the interactions among stories, and it’s hard to capture that in a sermon.

Brian McLaren
New Wineskins: What was one word of translation you feel really good about and one you are apprehensive about?

Brian McLaren: I worked with two Bible scholars, and of course we couldn’t always agree on every word or phrase, but our interactions were always fascinating and productive. As much as possible, we wanted to render words more in the way they would have sounded to the original hearers. A phrase like “Son of Man,” for example, would have had a very political meaning, far more disturbing and controversial meaning than we would realize today. I wanted to render the phrase something like “the New Generation of Humanity” in order to capture some of these resonances. But we ended up choosing some other options. Baptism was another key term. Baptism wouldn’t have been heard as a way to get into Christianity at that time; everyone involved was Jewish and baptism already had a clear meaning within Judaism – ritual washing. What was significant was the John was baptizing outside the temple precincts, outside the priestly establishment, outside the city of Jerusalem. What John and Jesus were doing was essentially expanding priestly duties outside the priestly establishment – a profoundly radical thing.

New Wineskins: You must have really felt part of this story, which is your intention, right? For us as readers or hearers to join and participate in the story?

Brian McLaren: Yes. We’re obligated to try to enter the writer’s world, to understand the writer on his own terms and in his own context, rather than requiring him to enter ours (something he can’t do!). That means that we need to try to imagine Luke’s world. In fact, I hope that this will be a primary impact of Not Even Sandals, and of the whole Voice project: that we will be able to see ourselves as the continuation of the Biblical story . . . that we will reconnect and resituate our stories with the story of God’s mission in our world. That fills life with a new sense of adventure, purpose, and meaning.
New Wineskins

See an Excerpt from The Voice of Luke: Not Even Sandals

See A Conversation with Brian McLaren (2006)
See A Conversation with Brian McLaren (2003)

Greg TaylorGreg Taylor is managing editor of New Wineskins. He is also associate
minister for the Garnett Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His
newest book, co-authored with Anne-Geri’ Fann, How to Get Ready for Short-Term Missions, was released by Thomas Nelson in May 2006. His novel is titled High Places (Leafwood, 2004). He co-authored with John Mark Hicks, Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work. Greg and his wife, Jill, have three children: Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Before moving to Tulsa in 2005, the Taylors lived in Nashville, Tennessee four years, and they lived in Uganda seven years, where they worked with a church planting team. His blog is [http://gregtaylor.cc].

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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