Money, Technology, and the Silence of Churches: A Conversation with Susan Thistlethwaite

Religion Dispatches: How do we occupy the Bible?

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: There are several steps to take. First, read the book, the whole Bible. I quote studies that show if you actually read the Bible outside of the church it turns you liberal. Also, get a New Revised Standard version. There is a conservative Bible project that is cutting out passages considered too liberal, so get a whole Bible.

Next, get out on the streets. You’ve got to put yourself in a different place. We call ourselves the 99% but, in fact, racial, sexual, gender identities and real socio-economic differences exist among people and unless you put yourself in a place where you can listen to difference, you’re not going to be able to read the Bible with new eyes. You’ve got to get out of your church or house and get on the street where people are. Get with people who aren’t like you and work together with them to figure out what to do.

Then, you’ve got to make the connections between these conflicts and differences. I visited the women’s tent in Zuccotti Park (the site of Occupy New York), and the women were getting hassled, and some were even raped. Just because you say you’re the 99% that doesn’t go away. You can’t let the idea of “99%” and the very necessary economic solidarity obscure all these other contradictions.

The full interview is located at Religion Dispatches.

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