In the summer of 2001, Ship of Fools ran a competition to see who could write the smartest version of the Lord’s Prayer in a single text message. This meant reducing the 372 characters of the traditional prayer down to just 160 characters, without losing anything important.
The prayers people sent in began, ‘R boss,’ ‘dad@heaven,’ and even ‘yo G’, and the winning prayer ended, ‘4 eva! ok?’ They were funny, inventive and even prayable.
The following year, we ran a second competition inviting readers to send us their favourite Bible verses in text, including blessings, prayers, proverbs and parables. We received snappy versions of Genesis 1, Psalm 23, the beatitudes, John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 13… all of them inventive and intriguing.
The best of them were featured in a Ship of Fools show at Greenbelt (see photo, top right), and were included in a book, R father n hvn.
I enjoyed this unlikely meeting of ancient text meets modern txt, because it wasn’t just about squeezing verses to fit onto the small screen, but getting to the heart of what people think the Good Book is saying – and then putting it into the language of now.