Take a bite
Don't be shy
It won't hurt
Would I lie?
The Serpent to Eve

The Black Bible Chronicles are a series of books set on retelling of the Holy Bible in what can only be described as slang, though that sounds pejorative. Written by P.K. McCary (beginning in 2001) to combat what he saw as an "abandoning of God" by black culture, the books use a modern urban dialect to retell the major tales of the Bible, from Adam and Eve to Noah's flood to the parting of the Red Sea and on through the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Throughout the books, McCary expunges the dated terminology and semantics of the King James Version for a more laid-back and conversational tone.

Hearing Jesus say things like "dissed" and "bro" (referring to Peter's repeated denials of Christ) can be a bit jarring at first, but the books are never irreverent and often sheds a new and modern light on the teachings of the Bible. When Jesus tells his followers at the Sermon of the Mount, "[Heaven]'ll be worth more than gold," you can feel the camaraderie that the writers of the Bible saw between Jesus and all mankind.

Of course, the tales are not without its flaws. The Bible is, of course, full of murder and rape, and McCary doesn't seem to shy away from the street language for these kind of activities, writing frankly about Esther "having that cracka Haman wasted" and an anonymous rapist "getting on top of" a woman and "having his way with her." Without any obvious sensitivity to these situations, McCary's street language seems to sensationalize rather than proselytize. And sometimes, simply put, McCary's words simply fail to capture the elegant beauty found in the KJV. When "Am I my brother's keeper?" becomes "Yo, I don't have to watch his back all the time," the necessity of family gets lost in translation.

All in all, these books are a fairly niche read: for your average WASP Christian (myself included) they is simply out of our league culturally; but for the discerning young black person, this series can provide both spirituality and a comforting feel without being condescending or aloof.

The Black Bible Chronicles can be purchased at http://www.pkandcompany.com/book2.html or at your local bookstore.

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