Gut Feelings

(originally posted at

The BBC Australia today reports that the Anglican Church has completed a new bible translation in the Kriol language which is the most widely-spoken indigenous language of Australia 500,000 plus indigenous people groups.

Of note for our communications efforts is this:

“It sometimes sounds as if Kriol words are English words, but often they have a different meaning and so we’d have to be careful,” said Margaret Mickan, translator for the project. One of the biggest challenges for researchers was to translate the Bible not just literally, but culturally, to give it a distinctly indigenous feel.”

I am very interested in mission, people groups, and establishing conversations [typically about Jesus] between people of differing cultures. As I read this article, I wonder to myself, if the Western Church, in our efforts to reach “post-moderns,” should consider following the translator’s advice and craft our message culturally to give it a distinctly indigenous feel.

So here begins my topic for group discussion. Could/Should we consider workers and residents of “the orange line” their own culturally indigenous people group and adapt our church’s message to their language? Are we doing this already? If this is an affective technique for reaching aborigines, could we apply the same concepts in our own efforts at home in the U.S.?

As for the Kriol languages, here is what truly resonated with me:

Linguist Peter Carroll said the phrase “to love God with all one’s heart” was particularly tricky.

“The Gunwinggu people use a different part of the body to express emotions, and they have a word that is, broadly translated, ‘insides’,” he said.

“So that to love God with all your heart was to want God with all your insides, and it was that use of the word ‘insides’, not the word ‘heart’, that established the right connection with emotions and made the translations effective.”

Love the Lord your God with all your guts leaves little room for question ☺

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