Thursday, May 14, 2009


The Kingdom of Heaven is ... what? Help!

Lend me y'all's brains please.

Srsly. Brainstorm ways to get across the notion of the "Kingdom of Heaven," as in "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" -- see Jesus -- in common, old everyday words.

Country words. Rustic words.

Redneck words even.

Think similes. Metaphors. Just different ways to get it across. Don't try to match it word for word. Feel free to extrapolate a little. If it takes you 25 words to get it across, fine.

Right now, the way I'm puttin' it in my rewrite project is: "God and his posse are ridin' by, itching to help everybody, right here and right now." Note: I see the idea as dynamic, not static.

"GOd and his posse ..." is fine, although clumsy. Clumsy is OK. I'm not satisfied with it, though, because it's more "Old West" than "country" or "redneck."

Now, Old West imagery is part of the country-redneck-chicken-fried vernacular, but still. It doedn't quite fit.

So, knock y'all's selves out. I'll be out more than in today. Nothing is too silly, or too weird. Just keep in mind my aim is to be respectful, not risque or profane, and as true to the concept behind the words as possible, while opening the expression up and countryfying it.

Go! Or, "hyaah!"


'lectricity n' plumbn's done come home.

Power and water, what could be more dynamically symbolic.

Or is this too class demeaning?

My mother did not have indoor plumbing until she was a teenager. Her father was a tenant farmer.
I don't know how to get it into the language you want, but what about some sort of farming or gardening metaphor? Something to convey growth and possibility, while also needing the assumption of one who tends.

Instead of lions and lambs, go with coyotes and cows. Or maybe slugs and tomatoes. ;-)
The north 40, where the grass is as high as an elephants eye.
Y'all are thinkin'! I like the idea of growth bein' a part of it ...
"The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here!"

No, wait. Wrong theme. LOL
Which raises a point about expressions of modernity: Feodor, that's the main thing goin' agin' 'electricity n' plumbs. :-) I'm tryin' to keep the narrative in its time and place. You don't KNOW how bad I wanted to make a Jimmy Houston reference durin' the Jesus-picks-fishermen scene!
Kingdom of Heaven == heavenly go-to-meetin' place
I like it. Part of the idea, though, is that the "kingdom of heaven" is breaking out into the present even as Jesus is speaking -- not just a future place or event.

Maybe somemthin' like, LOL:

"It's first and last call for the Heavenly ball, y'all!"

Uh ...
Contemporary, huh?

You done hit the lotto!

Simon loves you! (Cowell)

You're goin' to be on Houswives of... (umm, don't want to get myself in trouble there)

You've won a flatbed of Miracle Grow!
LOL. No the opposite. I don't want to use no ding-dang modern inventions or products and such.

I said I *wanted* to use Jimmy Houston. BUT, I have alluded to modern turns of phrase and modern "redneck" notion.

There's one stretch where Jesus is layin' into this and that city for not respondin' to his preachin' in a manner that suited him: "Woe unto" this one, and "woe unto" that one, in the KJV.

And it came out "Gloom, despair and agony on (whatever city it was), and "Deep dark depression and excessive misery on (whatever the other city was). Which I'll splain in a footnote ("Hee Haw" reference, in case you've been up there in Neeeeeww Work City to long, Feodor). :-)

So, maybe I could say, "The vittle's are bein' laid out in the Fancy Eatin' Room! Y'all come!"
Sorry, Roy, I misread.
You a pickin'? 'Cause I'm a grinnin'! ... Oh, now *that's* got to get in somehow.

"Pickin' and a grinnin' are the meek. ..."

No, no, see that's a tone violation. The Beatitudes are no laughin' matter. ... On the other hand, maybe I could open or end that section with Jesus sayin' somethin' like, "Now this is where you need to be at as you go 'bout livin' your life ..." LOL
For the Psalms, should you ever do them:

Where, oh where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and thought I found true love....
This is actually something we've talked about at our church, striving to find a good metaphor beyond the Kingdom of God, which is poetic and flows excellently, but has negative "kingdom" baggage of various sorts. We've not come to a satisfactory answer.

Kingdom of Heaven = God's community, God's folk, us all, the "God Movement" in Clarence Jordan's version (I found that one too clumsy).

What is OUR community? Our area? Our group?

Just riffin':

"The barn door's open and the dance is tonight..."

"This hootenanny's for us all, come on in, y'all..."

The Big Dance?

The tater salad is on the table and the pig's almost done. Willie and Waylon are tunin' up their guitars, and the whole gang's comin' over.
Dan... We tend to use the word "commonwealth" rather than "kingdom".
I don't reckon I have ever seen so much pidgin redneck. LOL :-)
Ya know, I think I'm gonna keep God and his posse -- but tweak it some. 'Cause here's the deal, and what I think the kingdom of heaven is, in the sense that Jesus is sayin' it:

God's love and help is on the way and is dang near here, so get ready to meet it. e ready to be rescued -- and then join the rescuers in rescuing others.

Posse's comin'. Don't just be ready to be carried to safety. Be ready to ride.

Somethin' like that.
I'd raise the little question why a Redneck Bible cannot utilize metaphors drawn from the Redneck period of history, meaning early to mid-twentieth century. Seems to me you are handcuffing yourself from actually doing redneck translation.

Though I understand how a Redneck period piece quickly becomes dated. How long will people understand a reference to Mountain Dew? But, then, who is your audience? Do you intend this to have a life of two generations?

BTW, posse, to me, carries too much law and order connotation. Especially if God is riding with a posse. A little scary. It doesn't read with the hip-hop tone coming from Redneck intentions as it does. Jarring. IMHO.
Well, I'm thinking as I go along here. When I get Matthew done, I'm going to reassess the whole approach before going on with Mark, Luke and John.

But, I'm really thinking I want to abandon "redneck" entirely. "Chicken-fried Gospel" is probably closer to what I mean when I say "redneck Bible." You your own self, Feodor, have caused me to grudgingly admit that "redneck" has negative connotations among some peeps.

I'd say my intended audience is regular and used-to-be churchgoers who are pretty familiar with the biblical texts to begin with.

Interesting take on "posse." I see posses as good things: "Round up a posse" to go get the bad guy, or to go rescue the woman and kids carried off by marauders.

A posse is authoritative, BUT is peopled, if you will, by amateurs called to service and deputized or given special commissions, temporarily. God's not riding with the posse. God has put together the posse. God being God, there is something of a law-and-order element to it.

Keep talkin' though.

Yay. I got to spend almost 2 hours workin' on it this morning -- up to Matthew 13: 36. Now off to work.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like Jesus is sitting on the porch swing next to a pitcher of cold mint ice tea with a strong breeze blowing on a warm day. All you got to do is sit a spell and have a glass and cool down from your field work. The Kingdom is just right out there on the porch, waiting for you.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

One more time, maestro:

My problem is with some uses "Redneck." Or, rather, the motivations behind the use.

If it is used in self-deprecating embrace of the humanness of a particular matrix of socio-economic/cultural life -- consciously acknowledging its violent tendencies -- that is no different than having pride in being an American.

Where is is used defensively and in a refusal to appreciate it's effect on others, that's a problem for me.

The Redneck comics are in.

The Redneck bank is out for me because I don't find it to be conscious of the attendant dark side connotations.

Rednecks as some kind of vaguely defined group are -- to various degrees individually -- victims of poverty and lack of access and in that context perpetuate customs that are deleterious for psychological and intellectual health and motivation. Same is true for other pockets of poverty and lack of access and ruling class neglect.

And, as with urban disadvantaged, the children of Rednecks who climbed the class ladder have a double consciousness and two American languages.
Yes. As I said, I'll reassess my whole approach after I get Matthew wrote up. :-) ...

You know, now that I read it again I realize I was rehashing a message that had been marked "received" just minutes before.

I have to agree with whoever voted against "posse." What a less than Jesusy allusion. yuck.

Fascinating! A "posse," to me, is sent to rescue someone. Nothin' more Jesusy than that. But I'm listening y'all for whom it has different primary meetings. That's why we're talkin' here. Maybe I'll use "search party" with indications than I mean seachers ahorse. ...
Cotton Patch Gospels: seen that?

I got the 1985 version that inspired another version, musical, play, and more.
I've seen a little of the Cotton patch. From what I've seen, what I'm doing is different.

Hey, I've sent you a sample chapter of what I'm doin' twice and have heard not a peep from you. Did you get it? Or is it just so terrible you're being nice? But that would be so unlike you I can't imagine... ;-)
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