At the suburban spot where my folks and I are going to the summer services, I do like the drink-coffee-through-church ambience. But they have various "cute" things that drive me crazy: the Vacation Bible School quality E-Z listening music, the incessant "greeting" period, the PowerPoint. Dear Lord, enough with the PowerPoint! And they use what I consider a completely dubious translation of the Bible, called The Message, one of those supposedly relevant, contemporary editions with all the poetry ripped out of it.
Today's verse, though, did get an extra boost from the modern version, which is worth quoting in full. From Galations 5:19-21: "It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on."
I almost wish he would. So many parts of this are so enjoyable! My personal favorite, I can't help it, is the part about "trinket gods" and "magic-show religion" because that's exactly what's up my alley! That's really the church I want to go to, not the one with a "Kumbaya" aesthetic. And while my priorities in life may sometimes be "lopsided," at least they're not "small-minded," nor do I have any tendency to cutthroat competition, having established myself as a Meatballs-eque slacker/conscientious objector. So while my so-called sins may be legion, they could always still be worse.
Of course, our friends at the KJV also had a heyday with this passage:
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Everybody's got it in for the drunkenness and the revellings, and that just doesn't seem fair.
The new version expands rather humorously on the list, turning plain, old-fashioned "fornication" and "lasciviousness" (gotta love those serpentine "s" sounds) into that "repetitive, loveless, cheap sex." Which kind of implies that if the fornication is affectionate and/or imaginative, it's not so bad. And you know, maybe that's the point Paul was trying to make. Not that I know anything, having been out with the revellings last night, although I didn't see anyone getting uncontrollable. Not while I was there...