By Melissa Wuske
Old Bible Brings New Hope in China
A pair of American missionaries in China is searching far and wide for copies of the Jingwei Version Bible, the first edition in colloquial Chinese created in the late 1800s—an edition hardly anyone has heard of now.
Today Chinese Christians rely on the Union Bible. While the translations are quite similar, there are prominent differences. Regarding the names for God, for instance, and the style—the Union tries to mimic English rhythm and phrasing, while the Jingwei is in a more Chinese linguistic style.
But for the missionaries, the main problem is that the Chinese government can edit the Union Bible at will. The government has taken out the term “chosen people” and some copies have no references to baptism.
“[Christians in China] don’t have an understanding that the Bible is reliable,” said one missionary. “And I think—whatever Bible it is—if you have the understanding the Bible is reliable, it would revolutionize the church in China.”
As the missionaries find copies and tell Chinese church leaders about the Jingwei, the translation is gaining favor. Many like the style better and find the meaning clearer. But there are challenges: the government prohibits any unauthorized printings of the Scriptures, so information about the Jingwei version is spreading by word of mouth. The missionaries hope to create a Jingwei app to widen distribution and bypass government control.
Glimmer of Hope Behind Suicide Statistic
Suzanne Petroni, senior director at the International Center for Research on Women, found some chilling information in a World Health Organization (WHO) report: the number one cause of death for women ages 15 to 19 is now suicide.
At first Petroni, an expert in women’s health, didn’t believe it. But recent research backed the WHO’s claim. Rather than taking the statistic as a dark omen for young women, Petroni dug into the research and found some unexpected good news: the instance of suicide hadn’t risen; instead, maternal mortality, the former number one killer, had dropped—death from pregnancy and childbirth complications is almost 50 percent less for women of all ages since 1990.
Despite the positive spin, suicide is still a big problem for young women, particularly in Southeast Asia. There the rate of suicide in young women is twice the worldwide average. “You see girls excluded from education, forced into marriage, being victims of violence, abuse, trauma, social isolation,” Petroni said—all risk factors for suicide.
Sesame Street as Good as Preschool?
A recent study by Melissa Kearney of University of Maryland and Phillip Levine of Wellesley College found that preschoolers learn as much academic content from Sesame Street as they do from attending preschool. Watchers are 14 percent less likely to be behind in school compared to those who don’t watch the show.
The findings are causing some to wonder whether it’s worth spending government and private money on preschool if a comparatively low-budget television show does the trick, but the researchers caution that preschool has social and health benefits that reach beyond academics.
The researchers do see potential to duplicate Sesame Street’s success in programing and online classes for people of all ages.
Pizza and a Movie
Date night solved: Pizza Hut in Hong Kong began offering boxes that, with the help of a smartphone, double as movie projectors. After customers polish off the pizza, they place their phone against the lens in the special pizza-projector table and put them against the hole punched out in the side of the box. Customers also get a free movie download.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).