Reclaiming Scripture to Heal a Broken World with Rev. Jennifer Butler

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Whether you are a Christian, a Jew, belong to any other denomination, or have no religious affiliation, you may be surprised to know that the Bible represents generations of faith communities who resisted tyranny in impossible circumstances when the future looked bleak. Rev. Butler offers a look at Scripture with new eyes to help us see and discern what the biblical stories have to say about the overall arc of Scripture as a call to resist tyranny. Here she illuminates those unifying truths that are at the heart of so many of our faith and moral philosophical traditions. She points out that God is showing how to live together in a way that is the opposite of tyranny and teaches, ”[H]ow to love your neighbor . . . [H]ow to welcome the stranger . . . [H]ow to honor the Sabbath. Rabbis have taught me that the Sabbath was the first labor law, the idea that you didn't have to work seven days a week, and that we should honor human dignity through rest.” Butler also highlights the many women in the Bible who were first to resist the tyranny of unjust rulers. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


 Jennifer Butler is an ordained Presbyterian minister with her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the founding Executive Director of Faith in Public Life and former chair of the White House Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Butler is a staunch advocate for women’s rights and human rights and is passionate about the need to counter religious extremism. She served in the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991 in a Mayan village in Belize, Central America, where she discovered she had a talent as a community organizer. 

Jennifer Butler is the author of: 

  • Who Stole My Bible: Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny (Faith in Public Life 2020). 

To learn more about Jennifer Butler go to: 

Topics Explored in This Dialogue 

  • Why Butler, at one time, contemplated leaving Christianity and her church and what brought her back
  • How was Butler inspired by Muslim women in a United Nations event
  • What was the Sinai covenant and how was it a radical way of structuring society in its time
  • How keeping the Sabbath was the first labor law and how it honored human dignity
  • Despite the many hardships of sheltering there are also benefits like forcing us to slow down and change our routines that keep us overly busy
  • What has the pandemic of 2020 revealed about the disparity of access to health care and wealth inequality in the U.S.
  • How having white skin color offers greater privilege over people of color
  • What is a white savior complex and how that interferes with being an ally to people of color
  • Who were some of the women of the Bible who defied tyrants
  • What is the importance of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky
  • What is unique about the creation story in the Bible from other stories existing at that time in history
  • What are the three ways to have a cogent conversation with people who have a strong difference of opinion
  • How many of the kings in the Bible turn out to be anti-heroes
  • How the new covenant in the Bible confers priesthood on everyone
  • How we can degenderize the Bible by renaming the Kingdom of God to the Kin-dom of God
  • Why it’s important to sink the rods of truth telling deep enough to find what is propaganda from truth
  • How the Roman Empire co-opted Jewish religious authorities of the day
  • Why the story of the Good Samaritan, has deeper implications than the surface level of helping another
  • What is the meaning of the image of Jesus in the Book of Revelations with a sword coming out of his mouth rather than held in his hand 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 11/30/2020   Program Number: 3720

Music Playlist

From Album: Moon Goddess 2
Artist: Medwyn Goodall
2012 CD Baby B0006630I2

Opening Essay: Track 02 - Serving Grace
Music Break 1: Track 04 - Starseed
Music Break 2: Track 05 - The Eyes of Love
Music Break 3: Track 08 On My Way Home

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