Here is an excerpt from a Psalm I rendered for The Voice project, Psalm 65:
1 Rapt silence and praise
Sweep through the Sacred City, O God
Competing to give voice(less) voice to Your goodness
Solemn vows uttered to You will now be performed
2You hear us in words and silence;
all humanity comes into Your presence.
3Crookedness and perversion overwhelm us!
But You forgive us and bring us integration,
Restoring as only You can.
4You invite us near, drawing us
Into Your courtyard – what an honor!
We feast ’til we’re full
on the goodness of Your house
Your sacred abode made manifest
Where heaven and earth kiss.
5You leave us breathless
in the wake of Your response;
God of liberation—You are the hope
of all ecologies, from far-flung
continents to life-giving oceans.
6 With creative energy You inaugurated mountains
Wrapped in strength You compelled
And cacophonous people
To sit in astonished silence.
8Those who inhabit the boundaries of the known
Are awed by Your enfolded clues,
Strong and subtle hints of Your indelible presence.
The portals of night and day gape to sing Your praises.
9You spend time on (Y)our good earth,
Watering and nourishing the networks of living.
God’s river, full of water,
All people full on the staff of life without exception—
Poured and mixed, living bread, kneaded by Your very hands.
10You are the gentle equalizer;
smoothing soil’s wrinkles,
Softening unbending earth
making holy the fruit of the ground…
What is The Voice, you ask? Here’s how I initially described it in a Relevant Magazine news snippet I wrote back in early 2006:
The newly-formed Ecclesia Bible Society is releasing a full-orbed narrative and artistic retelling of the Bible, beginning with the recently-released The Last Eyewitness and Songs from the Voice, Volume One. The project, which began in April and will continue throughout the next five years, includes work from notable authors such as Phyllis Tickle, Tim Keel, Brian McLaren, Donald Miller, Lauren Winner, Phuc Luu, Allison Smythe, and Dieter Zander, as well as musicians and visual artists including Rob Pepper, Waterdeep, Derek Webb, Sara Groves and the Robbie Seay Band.
Project originator Chris Seay describes The Voice as a serious translation that allows the original biblical authors to speak in all their truth, beauty, and stylistic diversity.
The Ecclesia Bible Society feels like many traditional Bible translation committees have muted the original biblical authors’ unique voices. “The Chronicles of Narnia and Blue Like Jazz might sit as two bookends in my library,” said Seay. “They’re among my favorite books. But 100 years from now if a committee of translators tried to make CS Lewis‘s and Don Miller‘s voices sound the same on the page, you wouldn’t want to read either one.” Even so, they’re still being careful. “We have scholars on board as a vital part of The Voice project,” Seay said. “But they’re following the creative lead instead of vice-versa. They’re helping us navigate the linguistic roads, showing us the terrain so that we can avoid translational pot holes and ditches.”
Ultimately, Seay and The Voice contributors hope to resource the Christian community with “the full narrative force of Scripture, which for too long has been blunted by a ‘propositional’ grid.”
The Ecclesia Bible Society is not-for-profit, and all revenue generated will be dedicated to church planting and humanitarian initiatives. Their stated goal is to embody God’s kingdom in voice and deed.
“What we long to do is retell the stories of Scripture, not only in truth but in beauty. We hope that you fall in love with these stories anew.”