Tuesday, May 20, 2014

More Questions than Answers

What follows is a letter to the editor of my parents' local newspaper. My father asked me if I would write the letter, because for some reason he thinks that since I write a blog, I know how to express myself well. Apparently he doesn't READ my blog ...

I wrote the letter and sent it to him. He sent it to the paper (The News Leader) with hopes it would make it into the next edition. Unfortunately, we had missed the deadline for that edition. Instead of holding it until the next, my father told them not to print it.

Since it took some time for me to produce this, I thought I'd share it. The title and direction were provided by my wife, since, after reading the resource material, I had "More Questions Than Answers".


This letter is in response to the article, "Village Council approves 2014 budget by county's extended deadline" by Eric Moriotta, and the opinion letter, "Councilman explains veto of budget" by Gary C. Vojtush; both appearing in the May 7, 2014 issue of this newspaper.

According to both, the council voted to approve/disapprove the budget at the April 23 meeting. This is seven days prior to the extended deadline of April 30, which was initially due by March 31. Mr. Vojtush pointed out that the 2014 budget was approved, even though the finance department had failed to provide accurate numbers, and that the full results of the special audit had not been received.

After reading both the article and letter I find that there are more questions than answers.

State law requires the annual appropriations be determined by March 31. What happens if that deadline passes and no budget has been finalized? What are the penalties, if any? Does the city in question resort to the previous year's budget, or does a temporary budget go into place? Was it possible to pass a temporary budget, say for the next quarter, until the audit information has been received, or did a full year's budget have to be passed?

According to Law Director Brad Bryan, as stated in the article, "the auditors had completed everything except official financial statements." Were those official statements required in order to bring the budget to a vote, or were the preliminary documents enough? How much time did the council have to review the preliminary documents? Did the council act with the understanding that they would not have enough information to pass the budget?

Some say that government is too slow of a process in today's "instant" culture. There are times when I have to agree. There are also times when I have to concede with our country's founding fathers, who designed government to be slow and deliberate, lest they rush and cause harm ("Patriot Act" and "ObamaCare" for example). Maybe, just maybe, the council acted in haste. Or, were they doing their duty?

© Emittravel 2014

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Bible Paul Uses

Many years ago I held a part-time job at a Christian bookstore. Back then I would wear t-shirts with phrases best left to bible tracts people would hand out on busy streets. I had one that had a picture of Jesus on the cross with the words "If I'm okay, and you're okay, explain this" on the front. On the back it said "The righteousness that He requires is the righteousness His righteousness requires Him to require". Yeah. I know. But that was me back then.

Back to the bookstore. A common item looked for in this type of store, besides Precious Moments figurines, is the bible. One day a lady came in shopping for a bible and I took her over to where they were located. There was practically an entire wall of them, with many, many translations you could choose from. So I asked her what translation she was looking for and she replied, "The original. The King James Version (KJV), of course." So I reached over and grabbed the only copy of the 1611 KJV we had in the store, opened it randomly, and handed it to her:

"For God so loued ├że world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life." (John 3:16)

She took one look at that and said, "Maybe not THAT original." I said, "Oh, you want and updated translation," and handed her a modern KJV bible.

(And as a side note, the KJV has received updates periodically over the years. Unless it is the 1611 version, it is NOT the original KJV.)

I tell that story to make a point (outside of the fact that I like to "poke things" with a stick): Unless you can read, and comprehend, the original TEXT of the bible, EVERY bible you pick up will be an interpretation of the text. And, since all translations are the work of people, bias is included. That is why I keep switching the translation I'm reading.

My pastor makes the joke that he reads the KJV because that's the bible Paul used (the apostle Paul - who is credited with writing the majority of the New Testament epistles). A lot of people say the KJV is the only authorized translation and should be the only one used. Maybe because it says it's "the authorized translation" as part of the title page. But authorized by whom? It was authorized by King James. I don't think there was a burning bush moment here.

One thing I've noticed, after all the years of listening to sermons, is that the KJV is not the best translation to use. Here is an example:

"Suffer the little children to come unto me." vs. "Permit the little children to come to me." Every time I hear a minister read that verse he follows it with the "Permit" version. If the KJV was so perfect, why do we need the minister to re-interpret it into modern-day language? Once the minister starts to dissect a verse, he/she IS giving you a "new" translation. A translation based on his/her interpretation of the scripture - just by putting it into a language the listener would understand.

I use the above example because it is so blatantly obvious. When we hear the word "suffer" we don't think "allow or permit". So to have the word updated to use a term that is more in line with our language should be welcomed. Do we have the same issue with a bible translated into Spanish, or German, or Swahili? Of course not.

So, not only do Christians argue about what the bible says, and how it applies to the world around us, they argue about what version of bible they should use to beat one over the head with.

Me? I prefer to use a soft-bound edition - less damaging than a hard-bound.

© Emittravel 2014