Standing on my back porch one day, I told God I didn’t want to believe anymore. I thought it would be simpler to just not be a Christian. I was tired of the pain caused by misuse of Scripture, the inherent patriarchy that even in progressive circles makes me feel like I have to defend my personhood at times, the thousands of years of “issues” that seem a massive weight to try to make shift. But this pesky God I didn’t want to believe in anymore wouldn’t let go of me. I couldn’t actually stop believing even if I wanted to, and so I decided I’d try again.
I went several years without reading the Bible or going to church, and when I tried to restart I realized that the very texts of Scripture in some cases triggered my past trauma because of how they’d been weaponized. I couldn’t be a Christian if working for justice and equity for everyone wasn’t part of this faith, but the more I looked and the more I studied, I realized the arcs of justice and liberation I’d been looking for are in the Scripture. In fact they are so powerfully present that the enslavers in America only gave enslaved people a heavily redacted version of the Bible because the ideas of freedom and justice are so strong, they were afraid it would inspire a rebellion. We’ve been presented with such a heavily misinterpreted view of Scripture in so many cases that we must actively shed the various lenses of oppression, and work to understand what Scripture is, the context it was written in, and how it’s intended to be used.
I’m far from the first person to undertake a reframing of Scripture for deeper understanding, but what is unique about the Poisoned Bible Project is that it’s intended to be interactive. No one person can talk about all the texts that could trigger in a book, but in an ongoing newsletter series that can go for as long as we in this community need it to go, we have the ability to tackle all the texts that bother you, and discuss them together.
I’ve begun to get responses on the web form, and some of the texts that are triggering include texts with terrible abuses of women, texts on obedience in children that were used as emotional abuse to make people comply when they were kids, texts that have been weaponized against gay people, and even texts that imply safety and blessings for people who follow God and yet so many terrible things happen in the world anyway, so what’s up with that?
This project needs YOU!
This is going to be one of the most time-and-research intensive projects I’ve undertaken and I need ideally 100 paid subscribers to my newsletter so I have the resources to undertake this. I’ll start when I’ve got at least 20 paid subscribers. I’m currently offering a free week so you can check it out. As always if the $7/month is something you can’t afford (hey, I’ve been there!), I will give you a subscription because this community is for everyone. But if you can afford it, I would greatly appreciate it if you would partner with me to bring this project to life.
I plan to release one to two in depth articles per month depending on the number of hours per article of research it takes me to be able to produce them. Some are texts I’ve worked on before and therefore know exactly where to go for resources and some are ones I’ve yet to take on and will therefore take more time.
Note: if you’ve previously been given a subscription as a promotion and you want to support this project, message me, and I can change you back to “free” and then you can upgrade from there. Another way you can help is to share this! Can you think of 1- 2 people who would like this project? Forward or share the link to this email today! And then comment or email to let me know how many people you sent it to and you’ll be entered in a raffle for a free hardback copy of Lisa Sharon Harper’s The Very Good Gospel.
And don’t forget to contribute verses for the discussion! You can submit multiple times if needed as you think of them:
I can’t wait to see what we uncover together!