The Bible contains a number of stories that biblical scholar Phyllis Trible calls "texts of terror." These stories of abuse, exploitation, and violence against women expose the misogyny of patriarchal biblical cultures, and their lack of comforting resolution leaves uneasy questions for people of faith.
Conversations about religion in art, and more precisely religious meanings in art are tricky. Lyricists obviously generate those conversations by their use of religious imagery but the relationship between music and (perceived) spiritual meaning has at least as much or more to do with audiences as artists.
There is a theology of geography. There is a connection between space and fate. There is something unspoken that connects destiny with places, places with people. Towns and cities do not surface with notoriety. Situations or quite often the deeds of people precipitate such famous or infamous states.
If you're scouting for summer reading, the book of "Ecclesiastes" does not jump out as a first choice. Still, it is what a study partner and I undertook over several recent weeks. My partner, Josh, as I'll call him, is the latest of three or four students from a well-known Jewish theological seminary whom I've met over several years.
A year punctuated with tragedies around racial inequalities culminated in a burst of hateful violence during a Wednesday evening Bible study at the Mother Emanuel church. And as these nine faithful souls have been laid to rest, I have been struck by a refrain that many of my friends have been voicing.