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How many Bibles have been sent to the moon? July 19, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Bible Translation.
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This may not be a question many people are Googling even in the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, but the top answer I found was ‘100’ which is only partly right.

100 Bibles made it to surface of the moon in 1971 but over 1000 copies were actually sent.

After the death of astronaught Ed White along with Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Roger B. Chaffeeto, the Apollo prayer league was been founded in 1968 to pray for the safety of the astronauts, “And – most importantly – to land a Bible on the moon“.

You can read more of the story at www.apolloprayerleague.com along with 7 Myths and Misconceptions in which it was revealed that 512 Bibles ortbited the moon in Apollo 13 and another 512 were onboard Apollo 14, of which 100 went to the surface.


Except when copies make it to auction, this “one small step for Bible distribution” goes largely unnoticed in the annals of history, but to be fair the Bibles were very small and only printed in English. It was perhaps surpassed in the 2014 when Bible portions were delivered safely to a comet. The Rosetta Probe included a small disc with 13,000 pages of information in 1,500 human languages – many of them being scripture portions.

When the first scriptures arrived on the moon the full Bible was available in less than 270 language. By 2014 that had risen to 531 and some scripture was available in nearly 3,000 languages. Today there are 3,380 languages with published portions of which nearly 700 have a full Bible.

Digital distribution of scripture is easier these days but people still risk there lives getting Bibles to places and to people hear on earth, and prayer is still a vital part of the mission.


Does your Church Website link to an Online Bible? June 25, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Bible Translation, multilingualism.
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If you think the Bible is important it would make sense that your church website lets people know how to find one online.

The Bible is available online in a lot of languages (1900 versions in over 1300 languages on Bible.com and a similar number but slightly different mix on Bible.is), but a lot of people don’t know that until someone shows them.

Many people around the world speak multiple languages may benefit from accessing the Bible in more than one. This is often not just a matter of understanding but also of identity.

Depending on what type of web hosting you have you may be able to embed online bibles and other resources directly into your site but any church or personal website or blog site can link to online Bibles.

Bible.com is the Web version of the YouVersion Bible app

You can also link directly to any of the 1900 versions, or to one of the 50+ interface languages for the site eg Welsh, Spanish, Arabic, French. For more details see How to add YouVersion to your website . You Version also provides a Kids Bibles app in a smaller but growing number of languages.

Bible.is from Faith Comes By Hearing

Bible.is specialises in providing great recordings of scripture and the Jesus Film but they usually provide the text too! You can filter by country, language and version to find the ones you are looking for, and perhaps some you didn’t know were available! A new feature is the inclusion of filmed versions of each of the four gospels being rolled out over an increasing number of languages.

There are a lot of other options to choose from and a good number of great websites and tools. Which is one reason why I created 1000bibles.wordpress.com a simple website to point people to a few.

For example, Biblia has a wide range of plugins including Verse of the Day, Reference tagger, a Bible Search Box, and an Embedded bible with a choice of versions in English and a few other major languages. You can customize the size of the box, what version you start with and several other features.

Over 500 versions and 400 languages are offered by http://webtools.bible. You can customise their widget to just include the languages and versions of your choice (but it might be an idea to link to the full collection. A simple workthrough provides to code you need for your site but once again you need a host that allows you to add scripts (my free site doesn’t)

<script id="bw-widget-src" src="//bibles.org/widget/client"></script>
	"background": "F19317",
	"selected": "eng-ESVUK16",
	"versions": "eng-ESVUK16,eng-NLT,hwc-HWCNT"

So there you are. A few simple ways in which you, your friends, and your church website could link to a free online Bible. There are languages in which scripture isn’t online yet and languages in which translation is ongoing or needed. Supporting Wycliffe and other translation organisations (and those of us in them) can help fill the gaps. Telling people about what is already available via a simple web link or social media share can make a difference too.

Global(ised) Worship June 3, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.
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83 widely translated Worship Songs

Each of the songs below has been translated into at least 10 languages with the translations available on www.weareworship.com . To find exactly which languages click on the links. Sometimes using the translated song title or first line may find a recording on YouTube and one song may lead you to a whole playlist of songs you already love, and songs that you’ve never heard.

These 83 songs represent contributions from 54 different songwriters most writing in English and having global reach. While it is good that these songs can be sung in many languages it is also good to recognise that around the world songs are sung in hundreds and one day thousands of languages each with its own distinct style and unique expression.

Over 1300 of the nearly 8000 songs listed have been translated into at least one other language (not counting UK and USA English as separate). with 360 being available in 4 or more languages.

(There are a wide range of other sites and tools for Multilingual worship which I’ll link to in another post soon.)

CCLI Title Written By Languages
4847027 HAPPY DAY Written by: Ben Cantelon, Tim Hughes 18
5340815 ALL TO YOU Written by: Neil Bennetts, Eoghan Heaslip 11
5376377 YOU ALONE CAN RESCUE Written by: Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman 12
5557062 OUR HEARTS ARE BREATHING IN (THE MORE WE SEE) Written by: Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin 11
5120176 HALLELUJAH Written by: Ben Cantelon 11
5109647 THERE IS A HOPE Written by: Mark Edwards, Stuart Townend 11
5003372 BEHOLD THE LAMB (COMMUNION HYMN) Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 11
5469291 BY FAITH Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 11
4779872 HOLY SPIRIT LIVING BREATHE OF GOD Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
4706948 GLORY AND HONOUR TO YOU WE BRING Written by: Doug Horley 11
4674166 YOU NEVER LET GO Written by: Beth Redman, Matt Redman 15
5828478 WORTHY Written by: Ben Cantelon, Becky Drake, Nick J Drake 11
5677416 OUR GOD Written by: Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin 18
6016351 10,000 REASONS Written by: Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin 27
6186078 BUILD YOUR KINGDOM HERE Written by: Rend Collective 13
5942543 AT YOUR NAME Written by: Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham 12
3111376 AMAZING GRACE Written by: Nathan Fellingham, John Newton 11
4642105 EVERY PROMISE Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 11
4685258 EVERYTHING Written by: Tim Hughes 13
4556538 EVERLASTING GOD Written by: Brenton Brown, Ken Riley 23
4615235 SPEAK O LORD Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 15
4610917 BENEATH THE CROSS Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty 11
4611992 O CHURCH ARISE (PUT YOUR ARMOUR ON) Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
4506980 BENEDICTION Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
4490766 THE POWER OF THE CROSS Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 18
4329411 NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD Written by: Matt Redman 14
78275 YOU LAID ASIDE YOUR MAJESTY Written by: Noel Richards 13
3915912 BEAUTIFUL ONE Written by: Tim Hughes 19
2296522 THE HEART OF WORSHIP Written by: Matt Redman 21
1033408 WE WANT TO SEE JESUS LIFTED HIGH Written by: Doug Horley 15
2106499 WE BOW DOWN Written by: Viola Grafstrom 12
3818569 CONSUMING FIRE Written by: Tim Hughes 14
1585970 PSALM 23 Written by: Stuart Townend 13
1108735 LORD YOU HAVE MY HEART Written by: Martin Smith 16
3266032 HERE I AM TO WORSHIP Written by: Tim Hughes 29
1545484 JESUS LOVER OF MY SOUL (IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU) Written by: Paul Oakley 11
48119 JESUS PUT THIS SONG INTO OUR HEARTS Written by: Graham Kendrick 12
1564362 ONCE AGAIN Written by: Matt Redman 16
1083764 I WILL OFFER UP MY LIFE Written by: Matt Redman 15
2430979 LET EVERYTHING THAT HAS BREATH Written by: Matt Redman 11
37845 LORD JESUS WE ENTHRONE YOU Written by: Paul Kyle 13
1097451 BETTER IS ONE DAY Written by: Matt Redman 14
1558110 HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US Written by: Stuart Townend 24
1540719 HOLY HOLY (LIFT UP HIS NAME) Written by: Nathan Fellingham 11
78897 THE SERVANT KING Written by: Graham Kendrick 12
3798438 BLESSED BE YOUR NAME Written by: Beth Redman, Matt Redman 23
120824 BE STILL Written by: David J Evans 13
2492216 BEAUTIFUL SAVIOUR Written by: Stuart Townend 14
120556 ALL HEAVEN DECLARES Written by: Noel Richards, Tricia Richards 15
38686 ABBA FATHER Written by: Dave Bilbrough 11
4108797 RESURRECTION HYMN (SEE WHAT A MORNING) Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 13
5232617 COME PEOPLE OF THE RISEN KING Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 15
5146473 AND CAN IT BE Written by: Chris Eaton, John Hartley, Gareth Robinson 11
5925663 WAITING HERE FOR YOU Written by: Jesse Reeves, Martin Smith, Chris Tomlin 12
7002032 MY LIGHTHOUSE Written by: Rend Collective 12
5037070 GOD OF THIS CITY Written by: Richard Bleakley, Aaron Boyd, Peter Comfort, Ian Jordan, Peter Kernoghan, Andrew McCann 12
4662491 HOSANNA (PRAISE IS RISING) Written by: Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche 15
7038281 THE LION AND THE LAMB Written by: Brenton Brown, Leeland Mooring, Brian Johnson 12
3350395 IN CHRIST ALONE Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 26
2298355 OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART Written by: Paul Baloche 17
20285 GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART Written by: Henry Smith 17
798108 BLESSING AND HONOUR (ANCIENT OF DAYS) Written by: Jamie Harvill, Gary Sadler 11
674545 THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU Written by: Lenny LeBlanc 13
190579 ONLY BY GRACE Written by: Gerrit Gustafson 14
16347 WHEN I LOOK INTO YOUR HOLINESS Written by: Cathy Perrin, Wayne Perrin 11
6460220 GREAT ARE YOU LORD Written by: Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Jason Ingram 13
4447960 REVELATION SONG Written by: Jennie Lee Riddle 16
3540703 JESUS HOPE OF THE NATIONS (HOPE OF THE NATIONS) Written by: Brian Doerksen 11
4219071 HERE I AM (MAJESTY) Written by: Stuart Garrard, Martin Smith 14
2672885 ABOVE ALL Written by: Lenny LeBlanc, Paul Baloche 19
879168 JESUS ALL FOR JESUS Written by: Jennifer Atkinson, Robin Mark 12
4403076 INDESCRIBABLE Written by: Jesse Reeves, Laura Story 16
4348399 HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD Written by: Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin 21
2456623 YOU ARE MY KING (AMAZING LOVE) Written by: Billy J Foote 11
3148428 FOREVER Written by: Chris Tomlin 19
4158039 HOLY IS THE LORD Written by: Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin 11
6454621 VICTOR’S CROWN Written by: Israel Houghton, Kari Jobe, Darlene Zschech 11
6367165 WE BELIEVE Written by: Richie Fike, Matthew Hooper, Travis Ryan 12
14181 HOW GREAT THOU ART Written by: Stuart K Hine 22
1043199 I COULD SING OF YOUR LOVE FOREVER Written by: Martin Smith 11
6115180 JESUS AT THE CENTRE Written by: Israel Houghton, Adam Ranney, Micah Massey 11

*Counts of languages from early 2019.

Five ways to use other languages (a bit) in your church June 1, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.
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How many languages will be heard in and from your church this Pentecost?

Do you know how many languages are spoken by the members of your church? (it could be a good time to find out)
Do you know how many languages are spoken in your local community? (it may be more than you think)
And even if everyone can understand English (or the language used most in your church) is that their only or their preferred language? Would people welcome hearing and using the other languages they speak on a daily basis at home and in their community?

That’s part of what I am currently looking at for my MA dissertation and for a paper I will present in July as part of the London School of Theology’s one day conference “Sounds of Heaven and Earth“.

I’m exploring a lot of the ways churches are or could be using languages other than English as part of their services and outreach. Here are just five very simple ideas.

  1. A multilingual welcome sign, plus other signs and posters.
    With text projected on the screen, used into printed notices, and used on the walls in various parts of the church buildings it is easy to add content in a few more languages. (Translations of Bible verses easily available using Bible.com but verse numbers are sometimes mid sentence and in some translations verse numbers vary. You can double check with speakers of the language or for languages covered by Google you can translate the verse back into English for confirmation)
  2. Saying “the grace” or a blessing in other languages
    Saying ‘the grace’ to one another’ seems to be the only bit of liturgy my own church uses but there are many other options of single verse greeting.
    “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  Cor 13:14 NIV
    You can put a few others on the screen or just invite people to say it in their own language.
  3. Playing familiar worship songs in other languages.
    Many of the songs you sing are already available in other languages. Whether or not you sing (or play them) in other languages you can add the lyrics on the screen in another language.
    I’ve compiled a list of 83 worship songs that are each available in 10 or more languages (available soon). Over 1300 of the nearly 8000 songs listed at https://www.weareworship.com/ have been translated into at least one other language with 360 being available in 4 or more languages.
    Be aware that versions in other languages are often not direct translations.
  4. Introduce songs with a verse of scripture in the languages spoken in your community.
    Simply display translations of a Bible verse that introduces the theme or is directly quoted in a song. eg 10,000 Reasons starts with and takes several phrases from Psalm 103 .
  5. Introduce worship songs from another language and culture
    Newcomers may appreciate songs that are not only in their preferred languages but also in their preferred musical styles. If you want a mostly English congregation to join in singing in a language they don’t speak pick something simple or just teach one line of the chorus. Sing the song, explain the significance.
    Some songs available at worshipleaderapp.com and https://songs2serve.nl, http://hmworship.com has songs in Latvian, English, Ukranian, Russian, Turkish, and Estonian. Also see twonineteen.org.uk/multicultural-worship-top-tips/

I could add other ideas but so can you. Add comments here or on the accompanying Facebook post. What has worked well in your church or what ideas would you like to see tried?
Other Pentecost post coming soon.

Giving voice to the voiceless? May 24, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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Theresa May has just delivered her resignation speech. Several quotes caught my ear and then my eye (full text now online).

Regardless as to how well you feel she or others in power have used their platform to “give a voice to the voiceless” or to “fight the burning injustices that still scar our society”, pray that current and future leaders in the UK and around the globe would see this as part of their role.

It’s not just their role. Whatever platform you have, be it the pulpit, the classroom, lecture hall, office, or even the internet use it well.

May went on to talk about funding for mental health, support for survivors domestic abuse, the Race Disparity Audit, gender pay reporting, and the inquiry into Grenfell Tower.

I googled for the Race Disparity Audit and it’s worth reading (not just for my MA).

As she ended the speech she stated:

“this country is a Union. Not just a family of four nations. But a union of people – all of us. Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love. We stand together. And together we have a great future.”

As I explore attitudes to language(s) in the church it is clear that there is much to do (and learn about) in so many other areas and that politics and public opinion comes into it all.

We will definitely have different opinions on what the present looks like and what the future should look like, which is why I’m glad she didn’t claim in this speech to be the voice of the voiceless.

We each have a platform and it’s good to remember that whenever we have opportunity to speak we can also use that opportunity to listen.

Language(s) and the Church May 22, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, Statistics.
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I’m excited to be researching attitudes to languages within the UK Church …and (where appropriate) how to change them.

In 2014 the Church of England gathered a lot of statistics about the diversity of it’s congregations and published a report called “Everyone Counts“.
So far as I look at websites and reports from many different church denominations and agencies it seems that although there is a lot of data gathered, language isn’t something that gets talked about much.

This is despite the fact that over 300 languages are spoken by people living in the UK. This is despite the fact that 17% of children in schools in England come from a home where English is not the first language.

For the general population the spread of languages other than English looks something like this…

…the number of languages and the number of people speaking them vary considerably from place to place.

According to data from an interactive parish map, provided by the Research and Statistics unit of the Church of England, the town I was born in is still 98.3% white and 73.7% defined themselves as Christian in the 2011 census. Another Church of England website Presence and Engagement helps to identify and serve parishes through identifying the proportion of other religions (just enter your postcode).

Neither of these sites currently tells me about languages spoken (P&E has a page on resources in other languages) . Other census data suggests 98% of people said their main language was English and an email revealed at least 16 different languages represented in the town’s schools.

2011 Census reports from the UK Office for National Statistics

In multicultural society, ethnicity, country of birth, and language are very different things which is why I’d like to have been surprised that so few churches and organisations seem to have paid much attention to the languages people speak.

In part, that may be due to the many other things rightly clamouring for attention but perhaps also that if people speak English to a high level of proficiency then language is not perceived to be a barrier. I’m hoping my research and discussions will encourage people to see that language is more than an obstacle.

After many travels around the world I’m now living just half an hour away from where I grew up, in a town which is much more diverse in terms of languages spoken at home (over 80). So far I’ve identified ten spoken by people in the churches, but I’m looking forward to hearing out about more.

Now available…
Five ways to use other languages (a bit) in your church.

The offensiveness of the gospel in the language of the street April 30, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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I used to have a print copy of “Gods Brainwave: The Story of Jesus doing the job his old dad sent him to do”, a retelling of the gospel in the language of the Chiltern Hills, and originally commissioned by the BBC’s Religious Broadcasting department as a series of radio slots and released as an LP in the UK, Canada and Australia in 1970.God's Brainwave

The sleeve notes explain that the producer had wondered “how the New Testament might be broadcast in a form that would be contemporary, startling, compulsive and offensive only in the sense that when the worlds of Jesus really come home they are so often offensive”.

The result was very much a paraphrase, not only using colloquial language to tell the story but also mixing in the ideas of the writer and performer without  the level of checking that would lead anyone to call it an accurate translation.

It was after all intended to be a piece of theatre rather than a piece of theology, and like much of Jesus own preaching it was meant to provoke reaction and discussion.

Other retellings, paraphrases and translations have been released in regional dialects over the years and each has faced the same challenges both of how to use local expressions and forms of speech and of how ‘free’ to be in their interpretation of the scripture.

Theatre or Theology?

The use of theatre is not new and includes periods of history when literacy was low and key stories where remembered and celebrated in ‘mystery plays’.

A similar thing happens in movie versions of scripture, some try and stay close to the script(ure) filling in gaps or abridging things to convey what the producer, director and a team of writers and advisors feel is an accurate retelling, others put a fresh interpretation or simply use the familiar story for their own narrative.

The language of the street or the language of the church?

Meanwhile in Scotland here’s a couple of reviews on Amazon of the 2012 translation of the New Testament in Doric, the Scots dialect spoken in North East Scotland (Not to be confused with Scots Gaelic which has nine versions readily availabe via YouVersion)

“Opened ma een ti reedin’ i’ Bible. Canna be beaten – nithin like it oan i’ market onwye… recommend to a’ Doric spikers I warl’ ower…” – Mattha, Mark, Luke and Jock

“This is nae fer abody. Ye’ll need help tae understaun it. Bit it dis add something tae the text yer used tae. It reminds ye thit the original wis fer ordinary folk. If ye hinnae read the Bible afore in ye have the Doric – this might be a guid place tae start.”- Robert F

Google can’t quite understand it well enough to translate what it says, but for me the key line is, “it reminds you that the original was for ordinary people”.

There is now a North-East Scots Language Board. Dr Thomas McKean said of it in a BBC interview:

“It’s important that young people see themselves – and the language they speak – reflected back at them in public life. Just as children need to see diverse gender and race role models, they need to know that someone who speaks their native language can be a success in any walk of life.”

and added in Doric, “Through wirk wi scuils we’ll mak the tongue mair accessible tae bairns, an through media, tourism an signage we’ll mak Scots mair visible tae aabdy that bides here.”

As part of my MA I’m exploring attitudes to language within the UK church. Standard national language are useful but if you also speak a local language, regional dialect, or one or more languages from your or your parents country of origin its good to be reassured that they not only matter to you, they also matter to God.

Ethnogamification 4 – The epic journey continues April 12, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Ethnogamification.
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Ethnogamification2019bOnce again I’ve been talking with people about games and gamification at a major missions conference, and once again people have been intrigued and interested

…but for the most part still not quite sure where to go with the ideas.

I’m learning to start small.

Play the “Google Ethnogamification” game? You don’t have to follow the links unless they look interesting enough, just know they exist!
Warning: Anyone can use the word so if you mention Ethnogamification on the web you might show up in the search too.

Most of the articles on ethnogamification contain interesting links such as the one about https://yukaichou.com/ and Octalysis. Meanwhile the MOOC that inspired me to explore the concept of Gamification is just starting up again at
coursera.org/learn/gamification . It’s online free to participate, about 29 hours long with flexible deadlines, and teaches you about psychology, marketing, game design and gamification.

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