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The Laughing Bird Scripture Paraphrases were inspired by "The Message", the scripture paraphrase work of Eugene Peterson, and in many places is indebted to that work. During the Easter season, 2000, our congregation tried using "The Message" for the scripture readings in worship and found that while its contemporary idiom and vivid imagery made the lections more lively and confronting, there were two problems. Firstly, The Message seems to have been written for private reading rather than for reading out loud. Peterson often renders ideas by using newly hyphenated words or visual emphases that which work very well to the eye but are difficult to read in a way that carries to the ear. Secondly, being an idiomatic paraphrase, it was very American and often used idioms or words that were unfamiliar to Australian ears. So, being unable to find an Aussie equivalent, we began producing one. These readings are deliberately Australian and are written for reading out loud. It probably won't ever be a full Bible, but the plan is that it will eventually be a full lectionary. Our experience is that they arrest people's attention and demand a hearing when read out loud, but we don't recommend making them generally available to people for use in their personal Bible study. There is still something important about wrestling with the strange "otherness" of the scriptures.