Insights from Reading the Bible with the Poor provides a spirited introduction to methodologies and strategies for reading the Bible “from below”—from the back of what used to be church sanctuaries, from basements, from sidewalks. Drawing on the lineage of various methods of reading the Bible with the poor, the book invites poverty and biblical study into dialogue with real-world organizing to seek justice for those most often treated as “Other.” The reading process occurs among the intersections of the “hermeneutical triangle” of Reality, the Bible, and Community.
This book is for anyone curious about how to use the Bible as a resource for liberation. It is for faith leaders and community organizers, as much as it is for biblical scholars, because it draws on experiences at the intersections of academia, the Church and communities of organized struggle. It is written with an eye toward praxis, as the author shares from my own experience with the hope that space will be created for others to reflect on their own contexts.
Chapter One outlines a number of ideological considerations for reading the Bible with the poor in the US. It begins with the theoretical basis for ideologies of oppression related to race, gender, and class. Chapters Two and Three provide concrete examples of reading the Bible with the poor: the story of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1–16) and the tomb in Mark (Mark 16:1–8). Reflecting on the processes described in the previous two chapters, Chapter Four focuses specifically on facilitation. It first addresses methodological principles for facilitation a methodology of reading the Bible with the poor and then addresses concrete practices of facilitation. The chapter concludes by addressing pitfalls and challenges to facilitation that have evolved out of the experiences described in the previous chapters.