Friday, January 22, 2016

A Cowboy Bible?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Before I get going on this, I'd better clarify something, even though many of my regular readers (and podcast interview listeners) know: my "cowboy" moniker is not earned. It's a nickname I picked up a few years ago, and it shows my cowboy attitude. I don't know nothin' 'bout no hayburners; tell me to saddle up a horse and ride, I'd probably get kicked, fall off, and land in poo. So, I need a guide. Yes, I lived in the West — the west side of Michigan. Anyway, being a cowboy at heart has helped me get things done. My father had a cowboy attitude as well, which is something I learned from testimonials at his funeral. Anyway, adding some Western-style lingo in posts and articles adds color and personality, I reckon, even though I usually have a conversational style for the most part.

Portions of the "Simplified Cowboy Version" of the Bible are available. But this paraphrase is insulting to both the Bible and to the cowboys the writers are trying to reach.
Assembled from components at Clker Clip Art
A while back, I was looking for cowboy Bibles and came across the "Simplified Cowboy Version". It is not pretending to be a translation, but a paraphrase. As they say on their Facebook Page, "The SCV is NOT a bible. It is a Bible paraphrase. Think of it as The Message (for cowboy and cowgirls)." Oh, thanks a heap! The Message is a dreadful paraphrase-commentary, and should be avoided by Christians.

My problem is that, although the folks behind this at "Save the Cowboy" seem to have good intentions, they are ultimately corrupting the Word of God. For example (again from their Facebook Page):
Jesus calmly replied, "Isaiah foretold the future about you when he said:
'These people will say that they ride for me,
but it's just all talk.
What they call church is just
teaching a bunch of rules and stuff that they came up with. They aren't teaching what God said.'
Y'all don't ride for God. You just make up stuff and say it comes from Him."
-Mark 7:6-8 Simplified Cowboy Version
This makes Jesus look like a dumb hick, and is also insulting to the people they are trying to reach. If you want to give them the Word of God, then do so — without insulting their intelligence. I'm definitely not one of those folks who thinks that the King James Version is the only true Bible and that every Christian should learn how to read its 1769 English. For people who want something accurate but not too difficult, there are many accurate modern Bible translations available, whether full-sized or New Testament shirt-pocket editions. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by the World English Bible, which is available in many forms, including free versions to download. Many people consider the New American Version to be the most accurate version in English, but is not the easiest to read. Also, the English Standard Version is readable and accurate, as is the older New International Version. (A special NIV New Testament, "The Way for Cowboys", has the Bible text, plus some extras for people of a cowboy persuasion. I have one.) Less known is the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which is also considered accurate and readable. The New King James Version is reliable and readable as well.

There are good Bibles available for people who don't want to struggle with the text, and can be used for evangelism as well as discipleship. There's no need to add to God's Word and dumb it down. In fact, this "Simplified Cowboy Version" could be considered blasphemous, but I won't hang my hat on that accusation just yet.

Friday, January 1, 2016

False Teaching and Spousal Abuse

This post will be rough, and I make no apologies. Maybe one, though, the podcast was available for almost two months, and I put it off. Probably because it was difficult for me to hear (including the parts about false Christians). But I have to present it because the material is important.


This is not fluffy feel-good material. Spousal and child abuse are serious problems affecting the church. Where do you go when you have a false church that will not help?
Image credit: Pixabay / Counselling
I don't take kindly toward spousal abuse for either party. (Yes, men are abused by women, but you don't hear about that nearly as much.) One time, I was stretching my arms in Cubicle Land and a co-worker was walking by. I said, "I almost hit poor Caitlin". She smiled and said, "Sometimes I need it." She was probably joking, but I felt a twinge. No, you do not "need it". Ever. If I see some ruffian laying a rough hand on her... Domestic abuse is not just physical violence, it's about control. From a Christian standpoint, it involves spiritual abuse and possible demonic influence. Even more so when the kids are involved...

Someone in an abusive relationship should be able to go to the church for help. Unfortunately, many churches are apostate and have low regard for the Word, emphasizing "seeker driven" and feel-good stuff presented as theology. In the case of Kerri Ferguson, she went to alleged pastors Phil Pringle, Brian Houston, Ian Treacy, and Gary Dench. They were no help. For that matter, they were anti-help.

Chris Rosebrough of "Fighting for the Faith" interviewed Kerri Ferguson. The free download is here, and there is additional information here. I really hope you'll tough it out and listen.