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The Best Translation

By far the most important translation of the Bible is not the King James nor the NIV nor eventhe Message. The best and most important translation is your translation. From the instantyour eyes detect the symbols on the page, translation begins. Your spirit, soul and body begintranslating in a unique way, from a language of the flesh to a language of the heart.
Translation is not the same as comprehension. If we read a story and “get it,” that’scomprehension. Translation is what you, and you alone, do with the story in your inmost place.Translation determines the look in Jesus’ eyes. It determines when he laughs or if he laughs. Itdetermines his tone of voice, how fast he walks, the taste of the wedding wine, the fragrance ofthe night air on Galilee. It determines a million other details, some large and some small, somevital and some trivial. To a great extent, translation determines whether or not you fall in lovewith God and whether or not you choose to cooperate with Him. Translation, then, is a big, big deal.
You and I could spend years reading the Bible together, praying over differences and calling outfor wisdom and understanding and insight. Finally, we might celebrate that day when webelieve we have achieved a historical first; perfect and absolute agreement on the entire Bible! Continue reading

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Dieting “Beatitudes”

My friend, if you’re among the millions who’ve tried and come up short at countless diets, consider a new approach; think of your diet as a luxurious fast.

Rather than bemoaning all the foods you’re not allowed to eat, rejoice that your liberal “fast” allows so many indulgences. This simple change of perspective could be all the tweaking it takes to get to the top of your personal weight-loss mountain.

Not to rub it in, but Kathy and I have teamed up on a luxury fast, and “Team Libre” is positively steaming toward victory!

By putting a spiritual focus at the center of your diet, you’ll find you have much more power. By often reminding your body that its purpose is to serve you, and not vice versa, you’ll soon have your appetite on a short leash. You’ll be happier while you’re dieting and more confident in the ultimate outcome, no matter what diet you choose.

When Jesus said, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” he introduced a whole line of thinking to be further explored: Continue reading

Pilgrimette

One definition of pilgrimage is “long-distance travel for religious purposes.” According to the TommyGlossary, pilgrimette is “short-distance travel for inspirational purposes.” No matter where you live, you probably have a dozen or more juicy pilgrimette destinations less than a day’s drive from your home. I urge you to search them out and have a ball!

Today I’m your pilgrimette host, and I choose to take you to the retired aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. This other-worldly ship is the centerpiece of Patriots’ Point, a national park near Charleston. To explore this enormous boat, which in WWII was literally a city at sea, is to be overwhelmed by its size, awestruck by the ambition and ingenuity of those who built it, and humbled by the courage of the 3,000 souls who lived and served on it.

In an obscure corner of the Yorktown’s cavernous hangar area, which today houses an interactive museum, offices and a cafeteria, there hangs within a modest frame a virtual golden needle in a haystack; a forgotten poem conveyed from a portable typewriter onto cheap paper by a young pilot who probably sat cross-legged on his cramped triple bunk in a Yorktown dorm. In a moment, the actual poem, but first the back story.  Continue reading

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WWJD fading, HWJT Coming on Strong

This story may seem as as nutty as Al Gore claiming he invented the internet or Forrest Gump inventing the Smiley Face, but it’s true. In 1995 my 14 year-old son, Vince, was shipped off to attitude adjustment camp because we couldn’t get him to go to school. All he wanted to do was explore the internet, which was then in its infancy. Since few people even knew what the internet was, we decided Vince had a huge problem, so we shipped him off to boarding school (sorry, no Mulligans in real life). It was a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching time for our whole family, especially Vince, and I wrote to him every day.

One day, wishing to conclude my letter with a potent nugget of encouragement, I assembled four letters in an arching pattern and placed them above, “Love, Dad.” The four letters were, “WWJD,” and they became my standard signoff on every letter for the following six months.

Maybe somebody beat me to WWJD, but if they did, I don’t recall the seed being planted in my mind prior to that sad morning. Anyway, I never sold any bracelets and I don’t own the letters, so it’s really just a neat story.

Still, I’ve always been fond of WWJD, and I was glad when WWJD became a star, and I’ve followed WWJD’s career since 1995. In those 16 short years, WWJD has descended from provocative question to bumper sticker to simple question, “What’s right?” Continue reading

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“I Wanna Ween!” (Nacho Libre)

Nacho Libre (Jack Black) is a young man who has grown up in a Mexican monastery after losing his parents (“My mom was a Lutheran and my dad was a priest. They tried to convert each other. Instead, they got married.”). Since childhood, Jack has dreamed of being a “luciador,” or professional wrestler, and he has gone as far as making his own costume from stolen couch upholstery, rosary beads and aquarium stone. Also, he secretly adorns himself the glorious stage name, “Nacho Libre,” which, loosely translated, means free nachos.

The name, Nacho Libre, is significant. Jack’s lifestyle, as well as that of the orphans whom he shepherds, is one of poverty and hunger. Jack’s “that does it” moment comes when, while faithfully performing his dreaded duties as monastery cook, he is forcibly relieved of a large bag of tortilla chips by a lawless vagrant, who ultimately becomes his tag-team wrestling partner.  Continue reading

Hollywood Testifies

Writer John Eldredge has observed that Hollywood is the modern Nebuchadnezzar and we are all potential “Daniels.” Just as Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, we can often perceive in movies a spiritual message that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Since John got first choice, he took the big-budget epics with sweeping, good-vs.-evil themes. That leaves you and me with the comedies, which is really cool because truth, as it turns out, can often be found at the core of humor.

Comedies are un-staked gold mines of spiritual insight. This makes perfect sense when we observe that brilliant comics have one thing in common: They are devout students of human nature and the human condition.

We welcome contributions to Hollywood Testifies. As with TommyGlossary, if we like it, we’ll swipe it…AND we’ll send you a mug! Send your insights to ……..(tommy at laymanator.com)