James Finn Garner has made a fortune with his two books which recast traditional nursery rhymes in more “politically correct” language.
I thought for awhile about trying my hand at doing the same thing with some favorite Bible stories — but it now appears I’m too late. A group of biblical scholars has released their own “politically correct” version of the Bible. (To be fair, they reject that description. To be accurate, it fits like a glove.) And as with so many things in this postmodern age of ours, there is not much left to satirize — the real thing is crazier than anything we might make up.
In the General Introduction to The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, the editorial committee describes a variety of changes they have made to insure their publication (based on the New Revised Standard Version) more “inclusive.” There are some obvious changes — such as replacing all masculine pronouns for God. (This one shows up in the 23rd Psalm, which now reads: “God is my shepherd, I shall not want. God makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters; God restores my soul. God leads me in paths of righteousness for the sake of God’s name.” Don’t expect too many requests for this one at funerals or at the hospital bedside.) Other changes include eliminating references to God as Father and to Jesus (in most cases) as Son.
This creates some interesting changes in the flowing poetry of some texts. For example, John 1:14 changes from “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (NIV) to “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen the Word’s glory, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth.”
One of my personal favorites is in John 9, where Jesus heals a “Person Born Blind.” (No, it wasn’t changed to “visually impaired,” much to my surprise.) The new version renders the text: “When Jesus found the person who he heard had been driven out, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Human One?'” (v. 35). If this had been what Jesus actually said, no wonder the poor man was confused! He was surrounded by “human ones” — particularly those Pharisees that were giving him such a hard time.
By the way, although this version changes “lepers” to “people with leprosy” and “blind” to “those who are blind,” I noticed that Pharisees are still Pharisees — they have not become “persons afflicted with Pharisaism.” Perhaps they are too much in the category of “Dead White Males” (the villains of much feminist literature) to deserve a softening of their label.
The pages of this version are filled with interesting modifications of the text, such as altering references to God as “Father” to instead read “Father-Mother.” (Talk about a divine identity crisis!)
The editors believe that their version goes beyond previous efforts “to include people of every race, people of every class, people with disabilities — so that all may hear the New Testament and Psalms speaking directly to them.” Silly me; all this time, I thought that was what Jesus had already done on the cross.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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