San Francisco, CA—A new Children’s Bible translation in the works, the Revised Ambiguous Version (RAV), has begun a revolution in translation theory that will soon become the English standard. In their edition of the New Testament, along with replacing all references to God as Father with “God” or deletion, the translators have replaced all male pronouns referring to Jesus with gender neutral forms. “He” has been replaced with “xe,” “him/himself” with “xem/xemself,” and “his” with “xyr.” They are to be pronounced as “zee,” “zem/zemself” and no one is quite sure about that last one. References to Jesus as “son” will also be replaced with “one.”
“We’re standing up for young Christians and making our Bibles and churches safer and more inclusive,” the senior editor of the project Kelly Smith-Johnson told us. Xe continued, “This project arose from a life changing question: If Jesus wasn’t the result of Joseph impregnating Mary, did Jesus have a male chromosome? Queer theologians have decisively answered the question; Jesus is transgender. After this discovery, we realized that we had to take the inclusive language theory of other translations—such as the NRSV— one step further into the modern world and provide a Bible for everyone. Ultimately, this project is all about winning the next generation for Jesus. As the song goes, “Xe loves all the little children of the world.”
We asked several nondescript parents at a local coffee shop what they thought of the RAV and its changes to traditional Bible translations. Overall, most supported the pronoun changes. One person, Aron, insightfully said that “even Jesus’ name (in Hebrew) is open ended on the gender issue, since it can be pronounced ‘Yesh-u-ahh?’” Others expressed that the form and content of the Bible should change along with the times.
After the original story broke, President Obama told us that he is planning for the Revised Ambiguous Translation to be packaged for adult Bibles. Look for him to mandate that the RAV must be adopted by all churches who wish to remain exempt from paying property taxes.