The Mad and Crip Theology Podcast

Episode 9: Scripture that Shapes Us

December 13, 2021 Amy Panton and Miriam Spies
The Mad and Crip Theology Podcast
Episode 9: Scripture that Shapes Us
Show Notes Transcript

On today's episode Miriam and Amy are joined by Robbie Walker and Laura MacGregor (and Amy's cat Oliver!). We discuss "Scriptures that Shape Us" and talk about ways that Christian scripture has been both a gift and a challenge for us as people with disabilities, people with lived experience of mental distress, and as caregivers. 

Here are a few of the resources we mention during the podcast: 
1) Carework: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
2) Psychological Insights in the Bible: Texts and Readings Ed Wayne Rollins and Andrew Kille 

If you would like closed captions, please see our YouTube page: 

If you would like a transcript of the podcast, it is included with the podcast on our buzzsprout page: 

Welcome to the Mad and Crip Theology Podcast, hosted by Miriam Spies and Amy Panton, which comes out of the Canadian Journal of Theology, Mental Health and Disability. We both live and work lands that have been homes and remain homes to the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron Wendat, the Neutral; and the Ojibway/Chippewa peoples and other peoples who have cared for the land.. We are grateful for the opportunity to live and work on this land and are mindful of the need to repair broken covenants. This podcast is an opportunity to model how faith communities can engage in theological and spiritual conversations around madness and cripness. If you need a full transcript you can find videos on our Youtube channel. We want to say before we begin that topics and conversations we are raising throughout our time together are often hard!  They are hard for mad and crip people ourselves and hard for our families and loved ones. So, do what you need to do to take care of yourselves, your bodies, minds, and hearts. And now, here is our episode.

Well welcome to another episode of our podcast and we are so happy to be here together today and with you today and today we're going to be doing a bit of a part two to our talk that we did last week on writers who've shaped us so we decided we would do a talk today on scripture that shaped us

and that might be something that we have always a scripture passage that we've always held dear or it might be something that has challenged us or something that we're wrestling with right now and so we're very excited to to talk about this stuff today as a group

and where Miriam and i are joined today by Robbie walker and also Laura MacGregor for the fab four today

and we also know that scripture has been uh

full of harm for some it's parenting mental distress some people with disabilities I know from my perspective my experience

there command or the thought that you need to be healed is has been oppressive in my life as someone with a physical disability and they knew and we wanted to comment on mental health 

yeah we wanted just to say before we get started that we recognize that scriptures can harm and they can heal and i was thinking this morning as we were getting ready for the podcast today that this past summer i i taught a course on mental health and christian theology and we were talking about anxiety specifically scriptures that relate to anxiety and i found a lot of students talked about their experiences of people using using scriptures about anxiety kind of like turning it against them and saying like well the bible says don't be anxious so like what's your problem you know God's right there God's gonna help you so just whatever what's your problem and so we recognize that those have hurt people and and i we recognize that that's like just i i believe it to be a distortion of what those scriptures are supposed to mean which is like you know God's got your back like don't worry it's gonna be okay and as a person who has multiple anxiety diagnoses i can attest that i that thinking about how we're reading those scriptures is really important so and how we're interpreting those scriptures is really important so for today we hope to be able to dig in a little bit and i might also say before we get started that none of us are bible scholars we're all folks that are working in theology in it in sort of another area so we're not going to be busting out the Greek i don't think any of us here um we hope that we're going to be coming out just for more of like a pastoral like pastoral spiritual care caregiving lens today and if you are a bible scholar and you want to bust out the greek in the comments please do because we'd love to hear from you so i think we're going to get started with Robbie

I'm just i'm just noticing that Oliver the cat has their tail in your face uh yes i think maybe we should say we're the fab five because Oliver's always on the podcast he loves being on my lap so yes cool i don't i don't have a slide but the passage that i chose was from Matthew chapter 11 and it has a parallel in Luke chapter seven so i'm going to read Matthew's version 11 2 through 6. when John the baptizer heard in prison that the messiah excuse me when john the baptizer heard in prison what the messiah was doing he sent word by his disciples and said to Jesus are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another Jesus answered them go and tell John what you hear and see the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear the dead are raised and the poor have good news proclaimed to them and blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me

so I grew up in the Pentecostal tradition and so this passage and its parallel in Luke 7 has very much shaped my thinking about disability and theology and I think this is one of the passages that can do harm when handled badly 

as i mentioned last time i want to be open to healing ministry but in a non-weaponized form and i think i love the idea that the kingdom of God has to do with comprehensive well-being and liberation and so i my own belief is that disability and impairment is not the Divine's idea and that the presence of disability and impairment is a sign that the world is not on all levels is not responding to the love of the Divine um as it is as God would hope it would and so that it's the responsibility of people who are friends of the Spirit notice there that i did not say Christians in a parochial sense i think that Jesus is a big boy and he chooses his own friends so yeah i just i think that people who want to agree with the Spirit will be about healing and liberation on multiple levels as i mentioned last time i i think a passage like this causes a lot of people with mental health who live with mental health issues and disability of various kinds some concern but i think it's worth confronting head-on because i i believe that Jesus is the embodiment of love and so his teaching and his ministry have have to to me have a have a liberating application somehow so

so does anybody have any questions they want to ask Robbie about his passage?

okay i have one Robbie of course you do well I'll kick it off so um i often wonder actually i was talking with my supervisor Pam McCarroll yesterday about this and it was it's a legitimate wondering that i have and that is if you were asked to preach on this

passage what companion texts would you grab to go to to to get like a more of a liberation type like reading of the text like where could you go to get some help so that you're not hurting people you're you're bringing the the good news to people with disabilities and mental health it's a good it's a good oh that's such an excellent question i'm so if i was using Luke's version i would use Luke chapter four but um which is you know the spirit of the sovereign lord is upon me because he has anointed me too for example i would i think i'm gonna i'm gonna cheat a little bit Miriam by saying you know if i was using Matthew i would i would bring in the magnificat i i happen to know because of pre-show chatter that that's where Miriam is so spoiler sorry you know i would bring in the magnificat i also think that if i were preaching this i would i would attack it head-on in terms of this passage is not meant to shame people who still experience disability or poverty or you know that's that's not what it's for but since the question was you know are you Mashiach are you are you messiah or should we be looking for somebody else? Here i am sitting in prison because you know the local ruler hates me for calling him out on his really shitty ethics right this is John the baptizer and and Herod and and you know so is this worth it because i'm sitting here in prison waiting to die okay and Jesus says well look around like the whole the whole liberating strand of the old testament of the Hebrew bible talks about the sorts of things that are going on in my ministry so if so look around and see the liberation that I'm bringing to people and this is why I'm the messiah because this is what my ministry is for now I do think that

people with disabilities and and mental illness if we need to we can argue with the text i think that's something another thing i could bring in because I've mentioned this before in conversations with you lot would be Genesis chapter 37 which is Jacob wrestling with the angel or with the man and you know and he and he walks away  disabled in some sense he walks away with an injured hip but within with a new understanding of the divine which is forevermore at least according to that story  respected right which is which is why our people do not eat the meat around the hip socket because there's something sacred about that wrestling and even about that disablement so you know i i think that we need to I'm finding a way to finish quickly i think that confronting it directly and confronting that some people with disabilities even many and with mental illness want healing in in the sense given by this text and that that's not necessarily that desire is not inherently ableist or oppressive and so

it is your responsibility before God to decide what you're going to do with that text and I am disallowed I disallow myself from penalizing you because you happen to disagree with my interpretation so that's you know I just let's go right in and wrestle with this text because I think lay people appreciate uh be given some meat to chew on rather than you know things are fine and let's just read all the texts that make us comfortable in scripture I think people actually enjoy that I am upset with this text let's go so yeah

thanks so much Robbie!

glad that you're going watching yeah and I was just thinking um and I was just chatting to Miriam as we were talking that Miriam and I might think on a couple of resources that listeners could also add in as companion texts to this kind of conversation if you are going to be asked to preach on it or if you're working with it in your you know academic work or teaching or bible studies or wherever you find yourself even in your own personal bible reading we might list some resources in the podcast notes if we can gather some and maybe Robbie and Laura can also offer up a few after we finish recording so thank you so much Robbie for your insights there Laura would you like to share your passage next?

oh i was afraid you were going to ask that i'm feeling a little overwhelmed by this particular assignment i feel as i said prior to recording i feel like i'm i'm sort of the the pretender among the serious exegetes here so oh totally not true i struggled i struggled not a little bit a fair bit in terms of trying to figure out what i wanted what i wanted to talk about and so i landed for the moment with the beatitudes and i think it's because of an advent study i'm part of and we where i've been and i'll bring that in in a second so i'm just going to read the beattitudes/the passage that i'm particularly interested in and and then talk maybe a little bit about why i landed here so most people will be very familiar with bless and sorry i'm reading from the inclusive bible blessed are those who are poor in spirit the kingdom of heaven is theirs blessed are those who are mourning they will be consoled blessed are those who are gentle they will inherit the land blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice they will have their fill blessed are those who show mercy to others they will be shown mercy blessed are those whose hearts are clean they will see God blessed are those who work for peace they will be called children of God blessed are those who are persecuted because of their struggle for justice the kingdom of heaven is theirs and i think there's two reasons that i gravitated to this passage to talk about i think the first one is well maybe they're all intertwined the first one is i've been part of a women's advent bible study for lack of a better word where or an advent study where we've been reading about african-american spirituals and trying to think through through those with regard to the the story of the arrival of Jesus there's a bit of a problem though in that we're all white affluent women who are reading these stories and so we've struggled with how we engage this advent study and how our how we are potentially limited by our location with respect to the conversation and even the appropriateness of us doing this advent study we were all genuinely interested in being part of it we all were it's written by two womanist theologians so black feminist theologians we were really interested but we're we're grappling with whether it was appropriate to do without appropriate leadership so we're really struggling so there's that piece and then there's the piece of the fact that i'm a caregiver who's actively involved in the disability and theology world so i was the mother of a profoundly disabled child for 21 years so i really i i was part of the world of disability and theology because of my parenting role and yet i am a woman who is able-bodied so i feel like i i occupy this very complicated and liminal space in the conversation i have this entry point through this connection with my son but i am in some ways on the periphery of the conversation and i think that brings me to the beatitudes it's a long way of getting there but i struggle with this text because when many of us i think read the bible when i read the bible we immediately go to the story of the the oppressed the person who is a victim and certainly as someone who has been grieving recently i find comfort in the fact that i am assured comfort but how do we read the text how do we grapple with some of these these passages when maybe we're not the person who is a victim and maybe we're not the outright oppressor either but we are a person who occupies a place of power and privilege and so that's something i've been thinking about a lot as i grapple with this advent study i've been part of is and and also in terms of say the conversations that have been really important for many years but in that have really dominated  i think our attention in the most recent months in terms of indigenous children's graves how do i engage these conversations as a white woman of privilege who has had enormous advantages by virtue of the color of my skin or of my very anglo name

and has, directly and indirectly, benefited through you know often some at times in ways I don't fully understand from my location in all of this and so I read this passage and I struggle with what does it mean to me if I am not the poor if I am not the person seeking comfort what does it how do I read this as a call to action responsibility and accountability especially as someone who maybe has a very complicated place in some of these conversations particularly disability theology as someone who is in but kinda isn't I have this very at times awkward and uncomfortable relationship with the conversation and i struggle to find my place and my call to action and my call to responsibility and my invitation to the conversation so I think that's sort of why I landed with the beatitudes

there you go

Thanks Laura. We need you in this conversation and we're grateful for your

your wisdom you bring from your relationship with Matthew and with others like  you've known me since I was seven and have been

an amazing mentor and friend throughout so you are important to this conversation thank you though ironically or interestingly I see you as my mentor so this is awesome you know we sort of yeah mutual admiration! Mutual admiration.

yeah and I'm grateful for this space where we can have these conversations where I can come in and say I where do I belong in this conversation how do I fit because I often have felt in awkward and uncomfortable places in lots of these conversations and I have been enormously grateful to be included in this conversation in a way where people's it's a safe space to sort of talk about the awkwardness and discomfort i sometimes struggle with in terms of being the caregiver rather than the person with the disability and I'm grateful that you guys have allowed me a space to grapple with all of these difficult questions and have helped me think through them so I'm enormously grateful for being part of these conversations

Anyone have questions for Laura?

My mind goes I'm not sure this is a question Laura but my mind goes to uh one of my favorite preachers is my friend Beth Carlson Molina who pastors a church called Open Way in BC and when she was preaching to a room full of mostly white queer folks she mentioned a womanist theologian named Christina Cleveland who often preaches about racial justice and privilege and this sort of thing and so Christina Cleveland says that you know white relatively privileged men will come up to her and go you know thank you I'm finally starting to get it what do I do next and

Christina Cleveland's response

was quite profound and has stayed with me ever since she goes you have an amazing gift to offer the kingdom of God your gift is to be last and i went it was like you know it was oh so holy spirit my response in that moment was i don't do any teaching in the generous space community for the next year because even though i have mixed privilege as you you know in ways that you've described my voice takes up a lot of room or took up a lot of room in that space because i was given it and i was very grateful but now my job is to be last and boost and so i really appreciate you being so real with the struggle that you have because sometimes i think for us privileged folks in a lot of different conversations perhaps the gift we have is to be last and that's really difficult for my male ego you know what do you mean last but you know what do you mean i have to take some responsibility and say [ __ ] the patriarchy you know what i mean like just as one example so thank you that was i think your wrestling is powerful thank you

I think Miriam's gonna share next and thank you so much Laura for talking about what you're wrestling with right now we really appreciate those insights

so maybe it's the time of year being Advent and maybe it's because my thesis has taken on incarnational tones but today I was drawn to mary's song in Luke and I will read a few verses from her song

Luke 1 50.

his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation he has shown strength with his arm he has scattered the proud the thoughts of their hearts he has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lonely he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty he has helped his servant Isreal and remembrance of his mercy according to the promise he made to our ancestors to Abraham and to his descendants forever

and I've been thinking and praying a lot about the beauty of the incarnation the beauty of God coming to our sins in human form and how that changes the words and the upside-down kingdom and a bit like Robbie and Laura I'm a person with mixed privelege and

because I am now a disabled person working in disability theology I have

numerous places where I can share my voice which is different from before. I was in disability theology when I wanted nothing to do with it and to do something else but God has called me here and I think the promise of the incarnation is a promise of the beatitudes in the Magnificat to change how we live change how we're in relationship with God and I think disability comes in because

I am now I respectfully disagree with Robbie I think disability is part of God's creation and is found in the Magnificat and in the Beatitudes

I should have written down then remarks instead of rambling but 

and it gave me so much hope that I can both see myself in here as marginalized as jesus himself was marginalized and as having power to

be part of transforming God's kingdom be part of God's transformation

so I find much hope and joy in Mary's song and her faith is magnificent as a person I'm not sure I would have had

that assurance says that those things would be happening so that's a bit of rambling from me

we like it when you ramble Miriam it's very awesome

speaking as a fellow rambler I appreciate your rambles, oh yes I think all academics ramble it's like a part of the job does anybody have any questions they want to ask Miriam about her scripture passage

Miriam maybe then I'll ask you the same question I asked Robbie because we were I was sort of I've been puzzling over this and that is you know how are we preaching about disability and mental health and you know are there any companion texts either in the bible or like what would you pull off your bookshelf if you were to preach about this is there like a commentary you might recommend or like something that you would recommend for people

I've been reading a bit of a book called Care Work Dreaming Disability Justice and they they have models of community care and what they call access intimacy it is a phrase from Ian Mangus 


it changes who is the carer and who is the care receiver and

and there's a collective here where your needs are known and

being met by the community they're not like oh what do you mean you need a wheelchair accessible bathroom? They're already known by their community and they

think this is incarnation he had human needs and those were met by his community through his relationship so I would tie access intimacy and care collective to this upside-down kingdom where needs are being met both physical and emotional and spiritual and we can put the 

bibliography in the notes on the podcast so people can find that work thanks for the question Amy

yeah I'm puzzling over thinking about Jesus going to the bathroom right now this is the image I have in my mind I'm needing to use the washroom yeah very human i once had a SCM t-shirt that said where would Jesus poop?

weren't having non-gender specific bathrooms yes I think it's interesting to Miriam to tie um what you just said in with something that Laura said one of the things that Jesus encountered in his care community that you mentioned was privileged women funded his ministry the gospel says this several times like here's you know with these privileged women funded these you know mixed-gender pairs you know that would go around proclaiming the gospel so. Interesting!

Amy I wonder if you want to share now yes thank you i decided i was gonna sort of continue wrestling with one of the chapters of the bible that I'm currently wrestling with in my dissertation so i thought i would bring you all into my mental pain that i'm having and my struggle around this this passage and so i've chosen to read part of the gospel of Mark chapter five and so this is the story of the Geresene Demoniac so i'm reading from Mark five chapter one and it's the english standard version is what i just randomly chose this morning so it's called jesus heals a man with a demon they came to the other side of the sea to the country of the Gerasenes and when jesus had stepped out of the boat immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit he lived among the tombs and no one could bind to many more not even with a chain for he had often been bound with shackles and chains chains but he wrenched the chains apart and he broke the shackles in pieces no one had the strength to subdue him day and night among the tombs and on the mountains he was crying out and cutting himself with stones and when he saw jesus from afar he ran and fell down before him and crying out with a loud voice he said what have you to do with me jesus son of the most high god? i dare you by god do not torment me for he was saying to him jesus said come under the man you unclean spirit and jesus asked him what is your name? he replied my name is Legion for we are many and he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside and they begged him saying send us into the pigs and let us enter them so we gave them permission and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs and the herd numbering about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the seat and drowned in the sea and so chapter four sorry verse 14 goes on to say the herdsmen fled and told it in the city and the country and people came to see what it was that had happened and they came to jesus and saw the demon-possessed man the one who had the legion sitting there clothed in his right mind and they were afraid and those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs and they began to beg jesus to depart from their region and as he was getting into the boat the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him and he did not permit him but said to him go home to your friends and tell them how much the lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you and he went away and began proclaiming the Decapolis about how much jesus had done for him and everyone marveled so this chapter of Mark is one of the ones that pops up all the time when i'm doing my research into self-injury and i have i think i've mentioned this on the podcast before that's what my dissertation is looking at and how the church and spiritual caregivers and pastoral counselors can provide care better care to people who self-injure and so sorry verse verse four mentions that the are sorry verse five mentions that the man was walking around among the tombs and mountains and he was crying and crying out and he was cutting himself so he was cutting itself with stones and so everybody that writes on this the on self injury from a theological perspective seems to pick this chapter as like a place to start and i guess i i i've seen people do it well and i've seen people do it badly thinking about this this this chapter and i i i was reading something this week i thought i might share with our listeners this is from the book Psychological Insight into the Bible: Texts and Readings and so this one person Robert Leslie does a good job of sort of thinking about the Geresene Demoniac story and also making it into uh something that we might be interested to think about today so i'll just i'll just read here

a little bit of what he has to say so I recall vividly a young girl of 18 who as a patient in a mental hospital was as unhappy as a person can be approaching her one day as the hospital chaplain I tried to initiate conversation but she rejected me with the angry words go away I don't want to talk with you and to make herself very clear she turned her chair so that it faced the wall my first impulse was to leave but then remembering that she was sick I turned my chair too sat beside her facing the blank wall and began to talk half an hour later when I rose to go she reached out for my arm clutched my coat sleeve and pleaded don't go away don't leave me alone the earlier angry outbursts was prompted by her fear that she was unacceptable that no one would want to talk with her here in a mild form is the same kind of resistance to potential help that the Demoniac demonstrated when he cried out what have you to do with me do not torment me

the story of the gerosene demoniac has the ring of authenticity about it when jesus asked what is your name he was really asking the kind of a question that a modern therapist would ask leslie weatherhead translates the question as follows what is my name is the equivalent of the question a modern modern therapist would ask how did it all begin what power is it that has dominion over you it may be very well it may very well be that jesus who had sought refuge from the crowds by going into the wilderness of the Geresenes spent most of the night exploring with this pitiful man the story of his life and the pattern of contemporary psychotherapy Weatherhead for example believes that the Demoniac may have been helped to bring forth long repressed emotions perhaps related to atrocities committed by roman legionnaires some servicemen suffering in our own time from battle trauma a violent emotional catharsis sometimes results in complete cure and i'm just going to read one more little section here whether the causal factors of the illness were ever really uncovered or not the final scene showing the Demoniac restored sitting talking with jesus suggests the renewal of communication the breakthrough from isolation to interpersonal relationships so i just wanted to bring that passage forward for today to think about in and also to like

put put beside another phenomenon which i find often happens when we look at this chapter in the mental health theology literature which is a lot of people try to diagnose the demoniac they're like oh he definitely would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder oh he's definitely suffering from mania oh you know he's definitely experiencing psychosis and i don't necessarily think that us thinking about like thinking about the DSM in in relation or diagnoses in relation to the demoniac is necessarily a bad thing but i think it just needs to be done well and carefully because you know as i said i was chatting with my supervisor about this yesterday she had a good point that when we at times we try to place these diagnostic labels on people from the bible we miss out on very complex mystical and also i don't know i don't want to like romanticize his pain or anything of what he was going through because he was howling and he was alone and he was the poor guy was chained up and he was cutting himself so obviously there was a lot of [ __ ] going on but on the other hand i just think we need to be we also need to kind of honor that part of the story too i hope what i'm saying makes sense yeah and not just like jump to diagnose him with something yeah so and if anybody's interested in looking at this chapter mark chapter five and some of the stuff that i'm wading through in my dissertation about this i can list those in the podcast notes too so i bet i have a question yes Amy if you don't mind so on on the one hand i i really appreciate what you just said because i'm like the text says he's got demons right yeah and so in the whole in in the contemporary context it's like what do we do with that what do we do with this sort of dark mysticism of that and on the other hand there's the my name is legion we are many and the mention of the of the roman legion that's literally if i remember the geography correctly there's a roman legion parked right next door basically that's that's responsible for supervising using air quotes very ironically supervising these these uh very uh testy jews right they have a reputation for not behaving themselves very well under roman occupation so my question is how are you like how does the mystical part and also the systemic like there's some imperial heavy-handedness right this is systemic sort of injustice and so how do those two pieces or how are you sort of wrestling with those two pieces in relation to self-injury and you know how are you incorporating that in terms of how you are interpreting this story does that does that make sense yeah yeah i don't know if i've really gotten that far in my in my thoughts um basically the how i'm incorporating this story into my dissertation is i'm doing like a kind of like a literature review on theological sources that talk about self-injury so this is one that pops up and i'm like yeah mark fives like always kind of like the place that theologians start it's like here is a thing in the bible that happened look this is not new and jesus even ran into somebody who did this so how did jesus respond it is kind of like the way that and you just heard me read something similar to that in what i read out of robert leslie's account right so it's like uh let's let's think of jesus as a model for how he was like good to this guy he didn't throw the guy into the sea you know what i mean or he didn't tell him to go away he didn't shove him in a cave and tell him like you know go away or whatever um but yeah as far as the sort of like spiritual or demonic part usually what i've read to this point most people just say it's and i'm sure everybody's read this before come across this that that was just like the ancient way of thinking about mental illness that's the way that people thought about it they didn't have the same kind of words that we have today with all our fancy science and so it's usually kind of like discounted unfortunately and Robbie you and i come from the same place we come out of a pentecostal tradition that's what i grew up in so i don't want to discount that that is like in my bones like part of me like wants to fight against that and say like well what else could be going on here? and i'll get there i hope i'll get there with some of my research but i just wanted to like kind of share with everybody like what i've been reading lately and just say like i think it's an important part of a conversation and some people are wrestling with this passage well i think and some other people are kind of like quick to just say oh let's just diagnose him and then everybody will know that he has a diagnosis and and there we go it's not quite like advancing the conversation like maybe to more complex places like Robbie like you just said like the spiritual side of it or like the oppressive sort of military side or whatever yeah now i'm now i'm rambling

i I love it I wonder Amy you said if everyone works out with Mark 5 I wonder if you would start with another story? Or another passage? (good question)

yeah I don't know I mean I would always start being who like who I like Pam McCarroll's my mentor being having my training under Pam I would always start with a case study so I would always start with somebody's lived experience and say like here's the lived experience now where do we want to go with this? I'm not the type of theologian who starts with the bible because um I just I find personally I find that an uncomfortable place to start I don't want to take like the bible and like smoosh it on top of people's experience I want people's experience to like speak for itself and then we can go and look and see like okay you know you know how did Jesus treat a person who might have been similar in this kind of stuff so yeah definitely coming from lived experiences starting point for me

the the Christians that we grew up with Amy are very the kind of Pentecostals that i grew up with are very uncomfortable with the idea if you put it to them as clearly as you just did that that there's a there's a dialogue between the text and humanity you know and and case studies and real people's lives they live it very differently right they live it very differently of course my story influences you know and of course the holy spirit gets through my life and how i interpret the text they do that really well in practice at least in my experience they sort of expect of course my case study has a dialogue with the bible but putting it that way makes people the crowd that i grew up with super nervous because like shouldn't shouldn't you let well i'll try to be respectful there is a concern that the bible should partially interpret my experience and that i shouldn't just sort of ignore the bible because my case study doesn't seem to fit very well right? so there's that there's a challenge from the tradition from bible to my case study that sometimes is quite necessary especially if my personal choices right whatever those are are not in alignment with the kingdom of God perhaps the bible can sort of go hmm

maybe you want to consider that there are more layers than just what you think you're bringing but putting it in terms of the dialogue is quite dangerous for some folks and i'm i'm okay with this i'm rubbing my hands for people that can't see me but i think that kind of danger like taking the risk to start with a case study you know Miriam you mentioned earlier about you know taking the incarnation really seriously taking in you know personal story super seriously when we're doing theology is so important and it makes people nervous and it's dangerous and let's go there yeah for sure and i realized like in my own kind of like theological work some of my ways in or some of my methodology might be a reaction against some of the ways that i grew up and and thank God for my therapist and being able to work through some of those things because yeah but i think for me being able to start with lived experiences has been very liberating for me and i hope that that's where i'll always start going like for the rest of my life we will always start with the lived experience so yeah okay i'm going to stop babbling now so i think i begin and end with a lived experience so i'm i'm a fan of that all huge fan jesus did it yeah so so should we yeah and i i might just remind my last ramble i might just quickly say that i think i think Miriam would agree with me and as we've been sort of like shaping the journal and what we want to do is like we've also been trying to find ways to like steer away a little bit from like here's what the bible says so let's smoosh everybody into this like little box and let's instead of smooshing we're like let's let's turn and see like you know what what kind of things have happened to you you know what are you going through right now and how do you how can you think about that theologically i think that's like a for me like a way more freeing and like beautiful place to to start some of our theological inquiry so yeah so that's it!

no more babbling for me

are you babbling or are you speaking in tongues

i'm just grateful for the education of the new theological term "smooshing"

i did sort of the "hermeneutic technique of smooshing" thank you

yes yes that is a theological word the "smoosh"

I don't know if it's it's still a common thing but there used to be a thing called CorelDraw or a word processing suite called CorelDraw and they had a command in one of the menus called "make it fit" and it reminds me of "smoosh" right so sometimes you can't do it the program would crash because you know put 50 pages into 10 and the program would just crash because it can't do it right so sometimes we do the smooshing and it just doesn't fit yes

Ok so if any of our listeners, if things didn't fit for you today that's okay if yes things fit then well we're glad for that too!

Amy any words to close? I might just close by saying we really appreciate that all of you have made it this far as you listen to our rambling and we also just really appreciate that you have stopped by to listen this has been um this is the last podcast for us for this year and we are so grateful for everyone's support and also encouragement as we've embarked on this podcast and also the journal and it's just been very life-giving for me and I know for Miriam I know I've heard Robbie and Laura also say the same it's been very life-giving for us to be able to to talk and also interact with people who've listened to the podcast and given us feedback so we just really appreciate you our listeners and thank you to Robbie and Laura for joining us!

it's always a pleasure! yeah thank you for including me it's always fun to talk with you