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From the May, 2006
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The Relatively Good Book by B. J. Hutto + Will Williams

The Relatively Good Book

B. J. Hutto & Will Williams on the Liberal Protestant Bible Translation

Editors’ Note: In order not to exclude atheists, agnostics, animists, and people of other non-Christian (yet equally valuable) beliefs from the open dialogue about the human situation and the universal value of all forms of life, the editors of the Liberal Protestant Version have discerned that the most productive way forward is to soften the potentially offensive word “God” by consistently placing it in quotation marks at its every occurrence. In future editions of the LPV, the editorial board may consider eliminating the problematic word altogether.

Additionally, on the title page, instead of printing “The Holy Bible,” which threatens to eclipse other equally enlightening sources of spiritual revelation, the board has, following a sensitive and thoughtful dialogue, decided to print, “The Sweet and Simple Story of Jesus and His Love.” We earnestly hope this creates a space for your personal self-empowerment.

This translation is dedicated to the nineteenth-century Scottish Old Testament scholar and theologian, W. Robertson Smith, who, when told that he had been accused of denying the divinity of Christ, responded by saying, “How can they accuse me of that? I’ve never denied the divinity of any man, let alone Jesus.”

John 1:1a: In the beginning was a Word of affirmation.

Romans 3:23: For all have tried their hardest and fallen short of their best potential.

Exodus 20:3: You shall have no other gods before me—I am no more or less worthy a god than any of them.

John 20:22: And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive moral autonomy.”

Mark 3:23: So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? It’s not like he’s real, or anything.”

Psalm 37:40: God helps those who help themselves.

Luke 9:26: For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words is to be congratulated for not arrogantly shoving their religion down other people’s throats.

Luke 16:13: Serve two masters—why limit yourself?

Revelation 3:16: So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, you are reasonable, and we can have dialogue.

John 20:25a: So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord! In our hearts, that is!”

Matthew 5:2–11: And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the open-minded, for they have thrown off the shackles of truth. Blessed are the spiritually sensitive, for they are in touch with themselves. Blessed are the relevant, for they shall worship in their own way. Blessed are the private, for they have refused to subject their inner motivation to the barbarism of public discourse. Blessed are the Beatles, for they know that all you need is love. Blessed are the nuanced, for none can accuse them of offense. Blessed are the empowering, for they know that God has no hands but theirs. Blessed are the nice, for they’re just so sweet! Blessed are the non-Christians, for they have discovered a god of their own.”

John 18:38: “What is truth?” Pilate asked. “What do you think it is?” Jesus replied.

John 6:60–61: On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? I’m sorry.” So he apologized and took it all back.

Matthew 5:18: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law, unless it conflicts with what you already believe.

John 14:6: I am a way to many truths about your life.

Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, affirming them in the name of the Creator and of the Redeemer and of the Sustainer.

John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have an ethically respectable lifestyle—and be full of it.

Letters Welcome: One of the reasons Touchstone exists is to encourage conversation among Christians, so we welcome letters responding to articles or raising matters of interest to our readers. However, because the space is limited, please keep your letters under 400 words. All letters may be edited for space and clarity when necessary. letters@touchstonemag.com

 

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“The Relatively Good Book” first appeared in the May 2006 issue of Touchstone. If you enjoyed this article, you'll find more of the same in every issue.

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