Do we saints just sit around indulgently reminiscing about the days of yore with other be-sainted beings?

Far from it. There’s an eternal round of heavenly duties to be performed, all done with good (excellent, actually) grace and boundless energy. For my sins efforts in my earthly life below, my day job now is to continue to take a strong interest in the scriptures and translations thereof.

The Big G, as he is known colloquially by some of my less respectful (if that is indeed even possible up here) fellow saints, is of course fully responsible for doing the inspiring of those whose biblical writings make the cut. (Those inspirees for the English language Bibles include such notables as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, J. B. Phillips, Kenneth Taylor and recent arrival, Eugene Peterson). Saints such as my eternal self provide assistance in the actual delivery of the said inspiration, and it is in that regard I wish to communicate with you on the work of Ken James, several hundred years ago.

Ken James, younger brother of the better known King James, was a humble man, who tilled the soil. He was an absolutely diligent tiller of the soil, such that his day’s quota of tilling was normally completed by lunchtime on four or five of the six tilling days in every working week. (Which in those days, was every week of any sort, because every, EVERY week was a working week. Unions, meal, and toilet breaks, holidays and sabbaticals came much, much later.) Once the tilling was complete, rather than leaning on his shovel and pretending to till, Ken leaned on his quill and wrote. As he did that, beside him were sheaves of manuscripts, folios, reams, quires, books, and the like of various provenance, various physical statuses, various languages. These Ken used as his inspiration as he endeavoured to translate/interpret/titivate/tell the biblical stories and accounts in more interesting/informative/enlightening/inspiring ways. Here and there he added, there and here he omitted.

In the write-a-Bible contest of 1611 King James beat Ken James on points in the final round. (It’s probably worth noting that King James was the sole judge…) Anyhow, for eternal posterity we retained Ken’s version, and I wish to share with you one of his favourite passages, the sending out of the twelve, as recorded by Mark, an early proponent of the tiller-to-writer genre of believers. I humbly (very) offer you Mark (and Ken) chapter 6.

And Jesus came into his own town; and his disciples followed him. And Peter saith to him, “Nazareth art a bit on the boring side, canst we not goeth to where there art a bit more of a buzz?” And Jesus ignoreth him.

And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, “from whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?”

And Peter whispereth behind his hand, “it certainly art not inspired by ye peasants.” They continueth with their questions. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and the others?” And they were offended at him.

But Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And didst Peter observeth to his fellows that the folk of that town wert not the sharpest knives in their drawers.

And Jesus called unto him the Twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey. But Peter saith unto him, “Master, what meanest thou that we takest nothing. For knowest thou not that we shallest starve?”

And replied Jesus unto Peter, “Art thou so thick? Interruptest not thou me. Thou shalt take a staff, but thou shalt take no bread, neither money in thy purse.”

And did Peter wax slightly annoyed at this, and saith to Jesus, “How come thou sayest take a staff, for thou verily knowest that when I left my boat at Galilee to follow thee I left also my hired staff.” Jesus replied unto Peter staying, “Thou speakest with haste and thou usest not they mind, nor thy dictionary. When said I staff, I referreth to thy walking stick. That shouldst thou surely take. But not money, neither bread.”

“Truly thou hast spoken,” replied Peter, “I hast no money to take! For I entrusteth my denarii to Judas whom thou choseth to carry the purse. Neither hast we bread. At thy behest I presumeth he hast given it all to the lepers and others sick of the palsy.”

“Hast thou finishest?” asked Jesus of Peter, “because surely I haven’t.” And he continued saying unto them, “As thou goest be shod with sandals; but puttest not thou on two coats.”

And Peter replied, “Phew Lord, in this heat I scarcely wantest one coat.” “Peter”, saith Jesus, “you misseth the point. I wantest thee to be travelling light, think of the principles of which I speaketh to thee.”

Then he saith unto them, “in whatsoever place when ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart from that place.”

And Peter saith unto him, “That basically sounds logical Lord.”

And Jesus, sighing saith unto him, “Truly thou art called the rock for reasons of thickness. I thinkest thou hast again missed the point, which is to be content with where ye are. And whosoever shall not receive ye, nor hear ye, when departest ye thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.”

“That”, saith Peter unto him, “soundeth like good strategic planning. Hast thou been reading Stephen Covey’s scroll of the Habits of VII Highly Effective People?”

Jesus ignoreth Peter and continued as he concludeth his instructions for the journey in words of a simple nature for Peter. And those words he spake were: “Be not those who are alone, livest thou simply, speakest my message, showest my mercy.”

And Jesus noticeth that Peter hath dozed off.

Sadly, this is one of the few folios of Ken James that still remain extant. Ken’s brother King James, incensed at his brother’s growing popularity and better-selling rendition, arranged for the despatch of Ken (and his writings) by the then-popular means of hanging, drawing, and quoting. As above.