Threat to society
The New Living Paraphrased King James Watkins Version
With the popularity of The Living Bible, The Message, and other paraphrases of the Bible, perhaps it's time for this version featuring:
Eve at the New Age boutique
David and the giant editors
Daniel and the hostile takeover
A parable for writers
'Blue Light' over Bethlehem
Dr. Freud and Mr. 'Legion'
Mary and Martha Stewart
1 Corinthians 12 for writers
Eve at the New Age boutique
"Hi, and welcome to Sir Pent's Crystal Castle."
"Oh, I'm just looking, thanks."
"Well, we have the latest New Age music as well as a complete collection of the finest spiritually enhancing crystals."
"Well, I was really only looking for Yanni's latest CD, but as long as I'm here, I guess it wouldn't hurt to look around."
"Of course it wouldn't."
"Well, we were told to stay away from this section of town or we could die."
"What intolerant and unenlightened being told you that? You won't die! Our spirits are eternal. Haven't you read any of Shirley MacLaine's books?"
"Well, you've come to the right place. At Sir Pent's Crystal Castle, we have books and crystals that will open your eyes to the spiritual world all around you. In fact, you can sign up for our spiritual enlightenment tape series and become like God herself.
"Well, that does sound interesting."
"Of course it does. Your eyes will be opened and you will embrace your own divinity. Here, just try on this beautiful 24k gold necklace with the spiritual enlightenment crystal setting. Isn't it lovely?"
"Well, I guess it can't do any harm."
"Of course not. I'll just slip it on you and . . ."
"What's wrong, dear?"
"That sign, 'No shirt, no shoes, no service.' I just realizedI'm naked!"
David and the giant editors
Now the Publishers gathered together their editors from the far reaches of the country and were gathered together at Sandy Cove Writers' Conference. And there were also gathered there writers from throughout the region. And the editors stood on one side and the writers were gathered together on the other side, and, behold, there was a great gulf between them.
And there went out great editors from the camp of the Publishers, who stood tall in the eyes of the writers. And the editors bore upon themselves weighty and impressive titles and they were armed with powerful contracts and, yea even, rejection slips. And their pens were like weaver's beams weighing heavy upon the writer's manuscripts.
And the editors came forth as one and called out from the panel to the writers, "Come forth and send us your manuscripts. For are we not editors and you not writers? Send forth thine manuscript, and if they shall overcome our editorial committees, we shall serve thee with a contract. But, if they shall not, then thou shalt receive thine SASE in return."
And when the writers and those gathered with them heard these words of the Publishers, verily they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Now David, a young writer from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who had the anointing of the Lord upon his head, heard these sayings, and spake to those about him saying, "What are thou submitting to the Publishers that encamp about us? For behold, I have brough forth a proposal that the Lord hath given me."
And the people answered after this manner saying, "These editors are great and powerful, and we are but struggling writers. The battle is too great for us."
And David's older brother, Elieab, heard what he spoke unto those at his table; and Elieab's anger was kindled against David, and he sayeth, "Why comest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left thin minimum-wage job in the steel mill? I know thy pride, and the haughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the Publishers."
And David saith to those at his table, "Thy servant shall present an editor with a proposal, a table of contents, chapter summaries, and three sample chapters."
And those at the table saith as one to him, "Thou art not able to go up to the Publishers. For thou art but a youth, and they have been editing from their youth."
And David saith unto them, "Thy servant has been faithful in attending writers' conferences, in subscribing to the Writer's Digest Book Club, and in journeying unto night classes. And I went forth and did sell short stories and devotionals unto take- home papers and denominational magazines for three cents a word. Behold, I have a portfolio of published work, with which I shall got out to the Publishers.
David moreover said, "The Lord hath caused thine servant to be published in smaller markets, He will deliver my manuscripts into the hands of these great Publishers. And they said unto David, "Go and the Lord be with thee."
But gazing upon his proposal, those sitting at meat at the table, saith unto him, thou canst go unto the Publishers. Thou must write this again, in our image and in our style. For behold, no Publisher doth bring forth what thou hath written.
And they re-wrote David's proposal and sample chapters in their own image, in the style of their own making. But David saith unto them, "I canst go with these revisions, for I have not proved them." And David went forth with his original manuscript.
And behold, in the current edition of The Christian Writers' Market Guide it was written that there was a certain editor which did procure and did purchase and did publish manuscripts of such that David hath written. And he took his proposal in his hand, and chose him five well-polished stories from his file, and put them in his portfolio; and he drew near to the Publishers.
And it came to pass, when the editor arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the Publisher to meet the editor. And David put his hand in his portfolio, and took thence the proposal, and struck the editor with a single pitch, so that yea, it sank deep into his mind.
So David's proposal prevailed in the house of the Publisher. Therefore, David taketh his pen and signeth the contract.
And the people of Israel and of Judah did arise and did go forth and did buy the words that David did write.
(I use this story as a part of my writers' conference lectures.)
Daniel and the hostile takeover
And it came to pass that Daniel and his three co-workers Chad, Mike, and Ben were forced to relocate from their Jerusalem office to Babylon following a hostile takeover of their company by the NebCo Corporation.
The CEO of NebCo ordered his Vice President of Human Resources to select the best informed and best qualified employees from the Jerusalem office and then teach them the corporate culture of NebCo. And yea, Daniel, Chad, Mike and Ben were all selected for the program and moved to the top floor where Ashley, the corporate trainer, was assigned to work with them for three years. They were given corner offices, keys to the executive washroom and fitness center, as well as being served at the private cafeteria.
And behold, all four showed real promise until roast pork was the main entree at the cafeteria. Being good Jewish boys, they had determined not to defile themselves, even when working for a Gentile company. So Daniel asked the corporate trainer for permission not to defile himself.
But Ashley answered Daniel saying, "Look, I could lose my job and dental plan if the four of you aren't in the best mental and physical shape."
So Daniel suggested a compromise. "If you'll let us eat from the salad bar for the next ten days, then you can test us against those in the program who are eating pork and drinking wine, and see who performs best. At the end of ten days Daniel, Mike, Chad, and Ben were looking buff and aced their training exams, so Ashley put the whole group on a Kosher diet.
Now the CEO of NebCo was seriously into New Age and eastern mysticism. So he sent a memo to everyone in the company, from the shipping clerks to VP's, that they were required to attend a mandatory seminar on Zen Management where an offerings to the God of Commerce would be presented.
Daniel was out of town on business on the day of the seminar, but Chad, Mike, and Ben stayed behind in their offices while everyone from shipping clerks and VP's went off to the corporate board room to honor the God of Commerce. The board room was filled with the sound of tinkling crystal and the smell of incense as the CEO's administrative assistant began taking attendance.
"Sir," she said. "Those four VP's from Jerusalem aren't here, but it doesn't surprise me. They pay no attention to the memos you channel, and never once, have shown up for the yoga and spiritual enlightenment seminars we offer."
And behold, the CEO was furious and had security bring them before him. "Chad, Mike, and Ben, I gave you specific orders that this was a mandatory meeting. Now, you will attend this meeting or you'll be fired. In fact, I'll fire each of you seven times, so you'll never work again. Do you understand me?" he shouted with the veins on his neck bulging. "You'll starve to death!"
But Chad, Mike, and Ben, replied, "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are fired-even seven times-the God we serve is able to provide for us. But even if God does not, we will not compromise our beliefs.
Then the CEO had security confiscate the keys to their offices and the executive washroom. And, yea, it came to pass security threw them out on the street seven times.
But Chad, Mike, and Ben, invested their remaining money in a small start up company introducing a lap top abacus, and made millions of dollars and eventually orchestrated a leveraged buyout of NebCo.
A parable for writers
And Jesus spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a writer went forth to present his book proposal.
And as he pitched, behold, some received in reply, "Yea and verily, thou manuscript doth not suit our editorial needs at this time." Some proposals were accepted by the acquirer of manuscripts and did hence journey onto the board of publications, but were devoured by the marketing minions.
And yea, some did triumph over the board of publication and went onto publication and sprang forth, but withered and died in the first printing.
And some fell among reviewers and the reviewers sprang up and choked them.
But a few fell onto a fertile demographic market and brought forth sales of a thousand fold and some one hundred thousand fold.
'Blue light' over Bethlehem
ATTENTION SHOPPERS. Now for the next three minutes, at the flashing blue light, we have on sale this beautiful hand-crafted teak wood nativity set. Each figure is elegantly clothed in beautiful satin and . . .
. . . she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
While you're there, be sure to see our three-foot weather-proof hand-painted plastic nativity figures. They'll look perfect on your front lawn. Plus they come complete with 100-watt bulbs and . . .
. . . there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
In our hardware department burglar alarms and security lights are on sale this week only. And in our sporting department, check out the low prices on our rifles, shotguns, and . . .
. . . and the angel said to the, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
. . . And in our toy department, GI Joe action figures are just half price. And see the entire Star Wars collector featuring the all new light sabers, death rays, and . . .
. . . suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.
And don't forget, Santa Claus will be arriving in just a few moments. The first ten boys and girls will receive a special gift from Santa and . . .
. . . they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
We hope you've found everything on your list, to make this a joyful Christmas. Please come again, and . . .
. . . the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.
Dr. Freud and Mr. 'Legion'
"Mr. Legion, I'm Dr. Freud," the psychiatrist mumbled without looking up from the scroll he was studying. "The Decapolis Superior Court has ordered a complete psychological evaluation following your latest arrest for-let's see, here it is," he said unrolling the lengthy scroll. "Trespassing on public property, indecent exposure, creating a public nuisance, disturbing the peace, presenting a threat to self and others, resisting arrest, and self mutilation by an unlicensed body piercer. Would you be more comfortable lying on this couch?"
Legion glared at the psychiatrist, growled, and tugged against his strait jacket and the heavy chains holding him to the chair.
"Oh, sorry," Dr. Freud quickly apologized glancing up from his notes. "Just stay right where you are. So, tell me about your relationship with your mother."
Legion screamed, then tore the straitjacket to shreds and broke the chains restraining him.
"Hmmm?" Dr. Freud murmured stroking his goatee. "Apparently we have some unresolved issues with our mother, as well as being an exhibitionistic hebephrenic schizophrenic with a definite tendency toward psychoses, no doubt the result of traumatic toilet training."
Legion picked up the psychiatrist's couch and smashed it against the wall.
"That's good! I'm glad to see that you're getting in touch with your real feelings. Your superego has obviously been repressing your id, leading to these antisocial ego manifestations."
Legion picked up the psychiatrist by the throat.
"Hmmm?," Freud gasped trying to speak through his constricted windpipe. "Your aggression toward authority figures obviously is related to unresolved issues with your Oedipus Complex. I would suggest, at least a year of deep psychotherapy where we would work on the mental, social, and physical issues that are manifesting themselves in these outbursts. Now, if you would please put me down, we'll set up appointments with a medical doctor-those cuts look infected-as well as a nutritionist-you really must stop eating things you find under rocks. And of course, stop by the mall for some new clothes. Guard would you please (gasp) escort Mr. Legion back to his cell?"
When the crowd came to Jesus, they saw Legion who had only moments ago been screaming and streaking through the cemetery, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind.
Jesus said to the man, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you."
Mary and Martha Stewart
"Mary! Mary! I need some help in the kitchen!" Martha glared at her sister who was sitting in the livingroom with their guest.
"In a minute," she said, without moving.
Martha glanced over her "To Do" list which was artistically penned on home-made paper with ink made from crushed cultivated grapes.
[ ] Trim myrtle shrubs into the shape of the twelve disciples.
Martha was famous throughout Bethany for her home-decorating and party-planning. Now, the most respected teacher in all Palestine, along with his twelve disciples were the guests, and her sister, Mary, had not even set out the hand-painted plates that Martha had just take out of the kiln.
[ ] Float apricot, pomegranate, and Sharon tulip petals in cistern.
[ ] French braid donkey's tail.
[ ] Arrange spices in alphabetical order beginning with anise.
[ ] Carve wooden bowl in shape of the sea of Gallilee. Float matzah balls shaped like fishing boats in the soup.
[ ] Field dress lamb. Polish mint leaves that will be used for the sauce.
[ ] Macrame napkin rings from reeds.
[ ] Make Jell-O from real cow hooves.
So, being distracted by all the preparations that had to be made, Martha came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better . . . and that's a good thing."
1 Corinthians 12 for writers
1 Corinthians 12
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If a writer should say, "Because I have not been published in Focus on the Family, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the Body. If the whole body was writing for Guideposts, who would write for take-home papers?
But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many kinds of writers, but one body.
A writer for Decision cannot say to a writer of a church newsletter, "I don't need you!" And a best-selling author cannot say to the one who writes letters to the editor, "I don't need you!"
On the contrary, those writers who don't command six-figure advances are indispensable, and the writers who don't appear on the cover of Today's Christian Woman deserve equal honor as those who do. And the writers who are never interviewed on Christian talk shows are just as necessary as those in the spotlight.
But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part receives a rejection slip, every part suffers with it; if one part signs a contract with Tyndale House, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Now in the ministry of writing, God has appointed novelists, letter writers, those who have the gift of poetry, local church reporters, best-selling authors, devotional writers, those who write their legislators, and those with the gift of writing advertising copy.
Are all novelists? Do all write letters to the editor? Do all have the gift of poetry? Are all local church reporters? Are all best-selling authors? Are all devotional writers? Do all write their legislators? Do all have the gift of writing advertising copy? No! But eagerly desire the greater gift of writing with love.
Copyright © 1984, 1989, 2001 James N. Watkins.
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