Rev. Jennifer Butler has written a thoughtful and insightful book on how to reclaim the Bible from its destructive use in conservative political circles today. Many of us, like Jen, have been accused of “unbiblical” beliefs when we pause to question the authoritarian, Bible-bashing ways of some contemporary Christian leaders. Jen wrote this book to counteract the damaging effects of white supremacy which justify the oppression of minority voices in our society. Her words note the decimating effects of “unbridled greed, ethnic nationalism, and xenophobia.” (Introduction, p XIV).
Rev. Butler’s education and familiarity with the Bible is evident. Scripture is the foundation of her re-telling the biblical stories. Her goal is to help the reader re-examine how “God-breathed” words can inform our perspectives, and call us to new acts of justice, mercy, and prophetic works. Selections from the Hebrew and Christian texts come to life with her thoughtful reflection and detailed scholarship. They are re-examined with a faith that looks for God’s path of resistance against tyrannical powerplays in – yes – the USA.
Even with President Biden in office, there remain serious issues in American politics with hate-based policies pushing back at progressive voices. Christian nationalism pales beside the mandates of Scripture to show love, compassion and mercy towards others.
Butler skillfully takes historical accounts and biblical truth and points out the glaring errors of prejudice and hate. The challenge that peoples of faith now face, particularly white Christians, is un-learning their past errant hermeneutics and attitudes. There are wise scholars, leaders and preachers pointing the way. The way of resistance for those of us who have sat in our comfortable “power chair” Christianity require action, not complacency or handwringing. The way of persistence and resistance will allow us to steal back our Bible! But only if we have the courage and tenacity to do it!
Jennifer tackles several challenging topics. The beginning chapters are foundational to applying the lessons later on in the book. Of particular interest to me was the Appendix which provides recommended supplemental reading by chapter. As someone who has a long way to go and a lot to learn, I am grateful for this resource.
Kudos to Jen and Faith in Public Life for publishing this book. American Christianity is in desperate need of its content!
Who Stole My Bible? Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny. (c) 2020 Jennifer Butler. Faithinpubliclife.org. Paperback 147 pages. ISBN: 978-1-7357392-1-2
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”