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O God, whose love makes
us one family,
May your unspeakable
Name be revered.
Here on earth may your commonwealth
come.
On earth, as in heaven, may your
dreams come true.
Give us today our bread for
today.
Forgive us our wrongs as we
forgive.
Lead us away from the perilous trial;
liberate us from the evil.
For the kingdom is yours and yours alone,
the power is yours and yours alone, and the glory
is yours and yours alone,
Now and forever. Amen.
The Bible is too
important (and
dangerous) to be
left to those who
don’t think
critically about it ...
Slavery
and
the
Bible
The Bible is
too important
(and
dangerous) to
be left to those
who don’t
think critically
about it ...
The African slave trade spanned 450 years. It involved the kidnapping of 11.5 million
Africans. Billions of people today still profit and suffer in the aftermath of it.
“Nothing is more susceptible to oblivion than
an argument, however ingenious, that has been
discredited by events; and such is the case
with the body of writing which was produced
in the antebellum South in defense of Negro
slavery.”
Eric McKitrick, Slavery Defended: The Views
of the Old South (1963).
From 1830 through the 1850’s, slavery was
defended in the United States as just,
Biblical, and good.
Sources:
William S. Jenkins, Pro-Slavery Thought in
the Old South (1935)
Larry E. Tise, Proslavery: A History of the
Defense of Slavery in America, 1701-1840
(UGA Press: 1987)
Tise studied the writings of 275 leading pro-
slavery ministers of the day.
1. They came from all over the United States,
not just the South.
2. They came from all denominations:
Presbyterian (almost 30 percent)
Episcopalian (20 percent)
Baptist (17 percent)
Plus Unitarian, Roman Catholic, and Jewish.
1. Old South and Northern proslavery
advocates echoed British and West Indian
proslavery writers from 1770-1830.
In addition to tracts and pamphlets, there were many nonfiction proslavery
books, such as …
An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery (1858) (reprinted by
the UGA Press in 1999), Thomas R. R. Cobb (lawyer
from Georgia). Cobb authored the Confederate
Constitution and the Georgia Constitution of 1861, and
was one of the founders of the UGA School of Law. In
1860, upon South Carolina’s secession from the Union,
he painted large letters on his house:
“RESISTANCE TO ABOLITION IS
OBEDIENCE TO GOD.”
Became a general in the Confederate army, died in 1862 at the Battle of
Fredericksburg defending slavery.
There were also many novels, counterpart to Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, such as:
Nellie Norton: or, Southern Slavery and the
Bible: A Scriptural Refutation of the
Principal Arguments Upon Which the
Abolitionists Rely: A Vindication of
Southern Slavery From the Old and New
Testaments, (1864)
by Ebenezer Willis Warren, an obscure 44-year old Protestant clergyman
from Macon, GA. Last major defense of slavery in the U.S.
Story begins in November 1859, ends in July 1860.
Nellie Norton, beautiful young New Englander, believes slavery is cruel.
Travels with mother to Savannah to visit relatives who own a plantation
with slaves. She becomes convinced, after long arguments, that …
Slave-owners are victims of “malignant abuse” and “wicked and
malicious slander” by ignorant, arrogant Northerners.
“the world is wrong [on the issue of human slavery], and
the South must set it right;”
“the world is in error, and is dependent upon the South for
the truth;”
“the welfare of the negro is best promoted when he is
under the restraints of slavery;”
“slavery is the normal condition of the negro.”
As the novel ends, Nellie falls in love with a wonderful slaveowner,and turns
her home into a hospital for wounded confederate soldiers.
5 Arguments In Defense of
Slavery
1. The Inferiority Argument:
William S. Jenkins notes: “The entire pro-slavery thought
was imbued with the belief of Negro inferiority.”
In Nellie Norton, blacks are said to be “exceptions to the
common brotherhood” of man, and are:
“sensual and stupid, lazy, improvident, and vicious …
an ignorant, degraded, indolent people … [could]
never ... be equal with the white man.”
Their inferiority was “designed by their creator [i.e.,
God].”
2. The Southern Paradise Argument
More from Nellie Norton:
“The slaves have many rights. The right of life and limb, the right to be fed
and clothed, to be nursed when sick, and cared for in old age when
they become helplessly infirm. They are rightfully entitled to
protection from ill treatment…”
Adult slaves are “happy Ethiopians” with “bright countenance[s], ... smiling
face[s], and ivory teeth” who “are fed bountifully, clothed well, nursed
when indisposed, and afforded [a] suitable diet.” They “talk, and
laugh, and sing, and pat, and dance,” and are constantly “singing,
dancing, laughing, chattering.”
Slavemasters are “highly cultivated ... men of superior general intelligence,
refined, polite, [and] genteel … I know of no case where the master
lives on his plantation with his slaves but what they are treated with
justice and moderation.”
3. Historical Realism Argument
“The truth is, the world never has, and never
can exist without slavery in some form…
Where is the country or the period of
history wherein slavery did not exist in
some shape or other? ... Slavery has
always existed, and will continue so long
as there is a disparity in the intellect or
energy of men.”
- from Nellie Norton
4. The Ad Hominem Argument
In Nellie Norton …
Abolitionists are “ruthless” and “fanatical.”
They take positions “which embody the worst forms
of infidelity ever known to the world.”
They are sounding “the funeral knell of a pure
Christianity.”
“I tell you, [Abolitionists] an offense against God, the
Bible, religion, the peace of the Christian world,
and against common sense, and the more
enlightened experience of the age.”
5. The Biblical Argument
Probably ... the most elaborate and systematic
statement of any of the types of pro-
slavery argument.” (William S. Jenkins)
Leviticus 25:44-46 (relating to the buying,
keeping, and inheriting of slaves) was “the
rock of Gibraltar in the Old Testament”
justification of slavery. Proslavery
characters in Nellie Norton refer to it
repeatedly.
Leviticus 25:
Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou
shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round
about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and
bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the
strangers that do sojourn among you, of them
shall ye buy, and of their families that are with
you, which they begat in your land; and they
shall be your possession. And ye shall take them
as an inheritance for your children after you, to
inherit them for a possession; they shall be your
bondmen for ever.
Other passages in the Old Testament frequently cited by Old
South proslavers--
Exodus 21:2-6 (relating to the slavery of poor Hebrews)
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 (also relating to the slavery of poor
Hebrews)--
Genesis 9:26-27 (relating to the curse of Canaan to legitimize
racism)
“There is nothing, not one word, in the Old
Testament to condemn, but very much to
establish, enforce, and regulate slavery.”
(Proslaver to Nellie Norton)
Proslavers in Nellie Norton assert that the New
Testament confirms the Old Testament
witness. The Golden Rule is not
inconsistent with human slavery, they say.
In fact, slavery is a form of neighborliness
because it puts slaves in better conditions
than in Africa, and exposes them to
Christian influences, a theme known as
“the Ennoblement of the Heathen” which
was also used to justify treatment of the
Native Peoples.
New Testament Passages in Nellie Norton:
Ephesians 6:5-8 (exhorting servants to be obedient to their
masters)
Titus 2:9-10 (also exhorting servants to be obedient to their
masters)
Colossians 3:22-24 (requiring slaves to obey their masters)
“…in the catalogue of sins denounced by the Savior
and His Apostles, slavery is not once mentioned
… not one word is said by the prophets, apostles,
or the holy Redeemer against slavery … the
Apostles admitted slaveholders and their slaves
to church membership, without requiring a
dissolution of the relation.”
Additional quotes from Nellie Norton:
“…slavery is right, and its enforcement is according to the
Scripture,”
“…slavery is taught in the Bible, and instituted in Heaven,”
“…God has ordained slavery,”
“…slavery was made perpetual by the positive enactment of
heaven,”
“…there cannot be found ... in the Bible a single injunction to
slaveholders to liberate those held by them in bondage.”
To speak against slavery “is to abominate the law of God, and the
sentiments inculcated by his holy prophets and apostles.”
A slave “cannot sunder bonds which bind him to his earthly
master, without breaking those which unite him morally to
his Redeemer.”
Nellie Norton:
“… the Bible is a pro-slavery Bible,
and God is a pro-slavery God,”
“… the North must give up the Bible
and religion, or adopt our views of
slavery.”
John Saffin, another proslaver of the period, wrote:
Since Abraham owned slaves …
… our Imitation of him in this Moral Action is
as warrantable as that of [adopting] his
Faith. God set different Orders and
Degrees of Men in the World ... some to be
High and Honourable, some to be Low and
Despicable… Servants of sundry sorts and
degrees, bound to obey; yea, some to be
born Slave, and so to remain during their
lives.
1. The Inferiority Argument
2. The Southern Paradise
Argument
3. The Historical Realism
Argument
4. The Ad Hominem Argument
5. The Biblical Argument
The foundational argument …
…is the Biblical Argument:
The Oracular Decisions of God have positively
declared that the Slave-Trade is
intrinsically good and licit, [and that the
holding of slaves] is perfectly consonant to
the principles of the Law of Nature, the
Mosaic Dispensation, and the Christian
Law … [Thus slavery has] the positive
sanction of God in its support."
Raymond Harris, Scriptural Researches on the
Licitness of the Slave-Trade.
Slavery
and
the
Bible
The Bible is
too important
(and
dangerous) to
be left to those
who don’t
think critically
about it ...
Meanwhile … in France:
A song lyric was written in 1847 by Placide
Clappeau, a French wine merchant, mayor
of the French town Roquemaure.
Adolphe Adam wrote the music.
Later the song was translated into English by
John S. Dwight –
It is said to have been the first music ever
broadcast over radio.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
How did the proslavers use the Bible?
How did the abolitionists use the Bible?
Which method do we want to follow?
Slavery
and
the
Bible
The Bible is
too important
(and
dangerous) to
be left to those
who don’t
think critically
about it ...
pre 1860
John Henry Hopkins:
If it were a matter to be determined by
personal sympathies, tastes, or feelings, I
should be as ready as any man to condemn
the institution of slavery, for all prejudices of
eduction, habit, and social position stand
entirely opposed to it. But as a Christian... I
am compelled to submit my weak and erring
intellect to the authority of the Almighty. For
then only can I be safe in my conclusions.
John Henry Hopkins (1792–1868) as cited in William Webb, Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology (Grand Rapids,
Zondervan, 2009) 216. Emphasis added.
2005
I would have never spanked them had I
not been persuaded by the Word of God
that God called me to this task. It is not
my personality. Margy and I were
exposed to some teaching from the book
of Proverbs that convinced us that
spanking had a valid place in parenting.
We became persuaded that failure to
spank would be unfaithfulness to their
souls.
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, 2nd ed. (Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd, 2005) 109
This, therefore, I cannot but earnestly repeat—break their
wills betimes; begin this great work before they can run
alone, before they can speak plain, or perhaps speak at all.
Whatever pains it cost, conquer their stubbornness: break
the will, if you would not damn the child. I conjure you
not to neglect, not to delay this! Therefore, (1.) Let a child,
from a year old, be taught to fear the rod and to cry softly.
In order to this, (2.) Let him have nothing he cries for;
absolutely nothing, great or small; else you undo your
own work. (3.) At all events, from that age, make him do
as he is bid, if you whip him ten times running to effect it.
Let none persuade you it is cruelty to do this; it is cruelty
not to do it. Break his will now, and his soul will live, and
he will probably bless you to all eternity ... John Wesley,
“On Obedience to Parents,” Sermon 96
At such times I had to remind myself of another proverb,
“withhold not correction from the child: for if thou
beatest him with the rod, he will not die” (Proverbs 23:13).
More than once I wiped tears away from my eyes and
turned my head so the children wouldn’t see. But I always
stood by my husband when he administered discipline. I
knew he was doing what was biblically correct. And the
children didn’t die ... Morrow Graham (mother of Billy),
1977
John Collins:
The Bible has contributed to violence in the world precisely
because it has been taken to confer a degree of certitude
that transcends human discussion and argumentation.
Perhaps the most constructive thing a biblical critic can do
toward lessening the contribution of the Bible to violence in
the world is to show that such certitude is an illusion.
John J. Collins, Does the Bible Justify Violence (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004) 32–33
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when
they do it from religious conviction.” - Blaise Pascal
(Pensees 894)
The Bible is too
important (and
dangerous) to be
left to those who
don’t think
critically about it ...
Where do the Scriptures come from?
Where do the Scriptures come from?
1. Parachute option
Where do the Scriptures come from?
1. Parachute option
2. Gradual appearance and collection option
(Oral phases)
Written phases
Collection phases
Formalized phase
Translation phase
Reappraisal phases
• J - Yahwist source
• E - Elohist source
• D - Deuteronomist source
• P - Priestly source
• R - "Redactor", editor who compiled the sources
• DH - "Deuteronomic History": Joshua, Judges, Samuel 1 & 2, Kings 1 & 2
• *includes most of the Leviticus
• †
includes most of the Deuteronomy
How to Read the Bible:
4 (or 8?) Options
(beyond liberal and conservative)
Literal:
Like a newspaper, science text, or work of nonfiction -
attempting to tell objective, literal, observable, scientific
facts.
Literary:
Like a poem, novel, journal, or movie - attempting to
convey meaningful, mysterious, multi-faceted beauty and
truth.
Critical:
Questioned. Tested. Scrutinized. Evaluated. Treated as human,
situated, constructed, and interpreted.
Naive:
Taken at face value. Unquestioned. Univocal. Treated as divine,
transcendent, incorrigible, or absolute.
Literal Literary
2. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Naive Literal 3. Naive Literary
NaiveCritical
Option 1: Naive Literal
The Bible is a divine text, akin to a perfect
Textbook
Instruction manual
Objective historical account
Audit report
Constitution
Option 2: Critical Literal
The Bible is a human text, akin to
a collection of myths
a collection of folk tales
a collection of propaganda
a collection of misinformation
Option 3: Naive Literary
The Bible is a collection of literary artifacts, akin to ...
an anthology of moralistic fables
a collection of magic chants or mantras
a source of inspiring stories and quotations
Option 4: Critical Literary
The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin to
...
a museum
an heirloom quilt
a family scrapbook or photo album
a refrigerator door or classroom bulletin board
a specialized library
Literal Literary
2. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Naive Literal 3. Naive Literary
NaiveCritical
Literal Literary
2. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Naive Literal 3. Naive Literary
NaiveCritical
FaithfulFaithful
Option 4: Faithful Critical Literary
The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin to
...
a museum
an heirloom quilt
a family scrapbook or photo album
a refrigerator door
a specialized library
through which God can speak to us today.
Literal Literary
2. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Naive Literal 3. Naive Literary
NaiveCritical
FaithfulFaithful
Why Faithful Critical Literary?
1.Takes the text seriously
2.Takes art of interpretation seriously
3.Takes humans seriously (producers/readers)
4.Takes God seriously
5.Takes Jesus seriously
6.Takes the Spirit seriously
7.Takes the living tradition seriously
The Bible is too
important (and
dangerous) to be
left to those who
don’t think
critically about it ...
Needed: a fresh and
coherent way of telling
the story of the
Bible ... the story of
Jesus ... and our story
too.
Question 1:
What is the shape of the
biblical narrative?
(A pre-critical question)
Hell
Salvation
Fallen History/
Fallen world
Fall
HeavenEden
Hades
Atonement,
purification
Aristotelian
Real
Fall
Into
Aristotelian
Real
Platonic IdealPlatonic Ideal
Destruction,
defeat
Civilization,
development,
colonialism
assimilationBarbarian/
pagan world
Rebellion
into
barbarism
Pax RomanaPax Romana
Is there an
alternative
understanding?
sdrawkcab gnidaer
Rick Warren, Billy Graham, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther, Aquinas, Augustine,
Paul, Jesus
reading forwards
Adam, Eve, Sarah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
G
e
n
e
s
i
s
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
G
e
n
e
s
i
s
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
HUMAN DESTRUCTION
HUMAN VIOLENCE
HUMAN EXPLOITATION
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
G
e
n
e
s
i
s
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
HUMAN DESTRUCTION
HUMAN VIOLENCE
HUMAN EXPLOITATION
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
G
e
n
e
s
i
s
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
kingdom
of G
od
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
kingdom
of G
od
Reading the Bible
• FLAT - ALL SAME
• FLAT/SLANT DOWN - LAW PRIMARY
• FLAT/SLANT UP - PAUL PRIMARY
• TENT - JESUS PRIMARY
The Bible as
Constitution
• What purposes do constitutions (or social
contracts) fulfill?
• What problems arise with this approach?
Bible as Conversation
• The Bible as a cultural library
• Artifacts from stories within stories
LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Uniformity Diversity
Preserve order Preserve diversity
agreement argument
enforcement encouragement
LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Rules to live by, Conformity Stories to live by, Creativity
One publication date Many publication dates
Analyze, interpret, argue Enter, inhabit, practice
amendments? new acquisitions
Inspiration
• what would an inspired constitution look
like?
• what would an inspired community library
look like?
• how would we engage with the Bible as an
inspired library?
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
G
e
n
e
s
i
s
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and
Mercy
kingdom
of G
od
For Christians, the word of God
is not a book, but a person ...
As Martin Luther said, “The
Bible is the manger on which
Christ is presented to the
world.”
Luke 4 - Isaiah 61
18
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the
captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
20
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to
the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in
the synagogue were fixed on him. 21
Then he
began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture
has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
Paul’s use of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of
the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the
promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles
may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “I
destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was
no one to save them—to the LORD, but he did not
answer…. He is the God who avenges me, who puts the
Gentiles under me…. Therefore I will praise you
among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”
(Ps. 18:41–49).
Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his
people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he
will take vengeance on his enemies and make
atonement for his land and people.” (Deut. 32:43)
The Bible is too
important (and
dangerous) to be
left to those who
don’t think
critically about it ...
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding
God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try
to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.When
someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example,
I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be
an abomination... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some
other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male
and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring
nations.A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans,
but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a
fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she
is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24.The
problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women
take offense.
4.When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it
creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9.The problem is,
my neighbors.They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.
Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the
Sabbath.Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.
Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the
police to do it?
6.A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there
'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some
wiggle-
room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the
hair around their temples, even though this is expressly
forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig
makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different
crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of
two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to
curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the
trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do
with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and
unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Special Education
University ofVirginia
The Bible is too
important (and
dangerous) to be
left to those who
don’t think
critically about it ...
Lord, inspire us to read your Scriptures and
meditate on them day and night.
We beg you to give us real understanding of what
we need, that we may in turn
put its precepts into practice. Yet we know that
understanding and good
intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your
graceful love. So we ask
that the words of the Scriptures may also be not
just signs on a page, but channels
of grace into our hearts.
--Origen of Alexandria (c.186-254)
Ignatian Reading
• entering the text imaginatively
• responding to the text emotionally
• re-entering your world reflectively
• induction/deduction to abduction
practice
John 8
 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the 
temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to 
teach them. 
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in 
adultery. They made her stand before the group 
... and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 
In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you 
say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for 
accusing him. 
practice
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If 
any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, 
until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 
practice
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, 
until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 
Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one 
condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said. 
      "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your 
life of sin."
Social-Political reading
• “Becoming protagonists in our own
history” (Paolo Freire)
• Integrating the personal into the social
• Acts 16:11 ff
16:11 From Troas we put out to 
sea and sailed straight for 
Samothrace, and the next day 
we went on to Neapolis. 12 
From there we traveled to 
Philippi, a Roman colony and the 
leading city of that district of 
Macedonia. And we stayed there 
several days.
    13 On the Sabbath we went outside the 
city gate to the river, where we expected to 
find a place of prayer. We sat down and 
began to speak to the women who had 
gathered there. 14 One of those listening 
was a woman from the city of Thyatira 
named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She 
was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened 
her heart to respond to Paul's message. 15 
When she and the members of her 
household were baptized, she invited us to 
her home. "If you consider me a believer in 
the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my 
house." And she persuaded us.
16 Once when we were going to the 
place of prayer, we were met by a 
female slave who had a spirit by 
which she predicted the future. She 
earned a great deal of money for 
her owners by fortune-telling. 17 
She followed Paul and the rest of us, 
shouting, "These men are servants 
of the Most High God, who are 
telling you the way to be saved." 
18 She kept this up for many 
days. Finally Paul became so 
annoyed that he turned around 
and said to the spirit, "In the 
name of Jesus Christ I command 
you to come out of her!" At that 
moment the spirit left her.
    19 When her owners realized that 
their hope of making money was 
gone, they seized Paul and Silas and 
dragged them into the marketplace to 
face the authorities. 20 They brought 
them before the magistrates and said, 
"These men are Jews, and are 
throwing our city into an uproar 21 by 
advocating customs unlawful for us 
Romans to accept or practice."
 
   22 The crowd joined in the attack 
against Paul and Silas, and the 
magistrates ordered them to be stripped 
and beaten with rods. 23 After they had 
been severely flogged, they were thrown 
into prison, and the jailer was 
commanded to guard them carefully. 24 
When he received these orders, he put 
them in the inner cell and fastened their 
feet in the stocks.
 
   25 About midnight 
Paul and Silas were 
praying and singing 
hymns to God, and the 
other prisoners were 
listening to them. 
26 Suddenly there was 
such a violent 
earthquake that the 
foundations of the 
prison were shaken. 
May 2010
Washington DC, USA
4.5 on richter scale
(viewer discretion
advsied)
At once all the prison doors flew 
open, and everyone's chains 
came loose. 27 The jailer woke 
up, and when he saw the prison 
doors open, he drew his sword 
and was about to kill himself 
because he thought the 
prisoners had escaped. 28 But 
Paul shouted, "Don't harm 
yourself! We are all here!"
    29 The jailer called 
for lights, rushed in and 
fell trembling before 
Paul and Silas. 30 He 
then brought them out 
and asked, "Sirs, what 
must I do to be saved?"
Saved = set free from 
the oppression, fear, 
and exploitation of an 
enslaving system.
 
The next morning - a sit-in
followed by demands
and negotiations
and reconciliation.
The gospel of the kingdom of God
engages with
a colony of the empire of Caesar
Begins with the marginal
Rescues the vulnerable
Infuriates the oppressors
Loves the enemy
Confronts injustice among the powerful
Sings, prays, and gains participants
Internal spiritual formation in the way 
of Jesus ...
is expressed through participation with 
the Spirit 
in the liberation of children, women, 
and men ...
starting with the weakest and least and 
continuing to those in power.
practice
Subversive Reading
• Reading as oppressed or non-conforming
communities
practiceRevelation 19
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white 
horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he 
judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his 
head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no 
one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in 
blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven 
were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine 
linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword 
with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an 
iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath 
of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name 
written:
       KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Lectio Divina
• Reading the Bible for the health of your
soul
practice
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off 
every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does 
bear fruit he prunes[
a]
 so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are 
already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in 
me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it 
must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you 
remain in me.
 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and 
I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 
6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown 
away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire 
and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask 
whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's 
glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my 
disciples.
 9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in 
my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, 
just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his 
love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that 
your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other 
as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he 
lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what 
I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant 
does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you 
friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made 
known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and 
appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the 
Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my 
command: Love each other.

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