32 Comments
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

“It is not a rule book but a refuge and a record, evidence of the reality of human life in all its complexity.”

In this quote, you were talking about the Psalms specifically, but in my life, I think this gives voice to how I (presently) have come to view the whole Bible.

I have needed a new view of it because of how the words (and people’s interpretations of the words) have harmed so many humans now and through its history. Leaving space for all of this tension, as well as the comfort and “refuge” it can be is a tricky road. Thank you for leading the way.

Expand full comment
author

Yes - this is also how I tend to engage with the whole Bible too!

Expand full comment

You have brought great clarity to a difficult topic. I too struggle with writing about my faith and how scripture has been used to both bless and bludgeon. I love the Psalms for all the reasons you have expressed, but find the insights from Tara about Psalm 121 very helpful in remembering not all verses that have lifted me up and shown me the way provide the same response in others. Thank you, Emily for this thought provoking and beautiful post.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Sally. I'm so appreciative to Tara for putting language to that because I have been guilty of loving particular parts of Scripture and assuming everyone has had the same experience as me. But this is not the case and it helps me to love and see people when I remember this.

Expand full comment
Aug 3, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

“Here’s to being people who are always learning, who hold generous space for one another, and who refuse to yank a verse of Scripture out of context in order to win, one up, or shut down.”

Well said! The Rock on which we stand can hold all the tensions, nuances and questions of this world.

Expand full comment
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

Hi. I am one who absolutely loves your Psalm Summer episodes, and I am thankful for a female voice reading them. I think some things get lost in transition in my heart when a man reads the psalms. They are too deep and personal. Also, I, too, have been called things I'm not because of the fact that I am not preaching a sermon with every post. I may reference one or two verses, but I walk lightly. I mostly use the Psalms and Proverbs. A lot of verses have been weaponized.

Expand full comment
author

"not preaching a sermon with every post" -- ha! Yes. Solidarity.

Expand full comment
founding
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

Great insight and so well articulated -- thank you.

Expand full comment
Aug 4, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

I so relate to this! I have also limited how and when I share scripture because I don’t want to cheapen it by just flinging verses around without considering the context of the passage as well as the present situation. So in other words I’m more careful because of the high value I place on it. It’s called a sacred text for a reason and that reason has grown deeper for me over time.

Expand full comment
founding
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

There are so many spots in this essay where I was nodding my head and feeling the pace of my heart settle into a new rhythm. I'm sorry you have been on the receiving end of name-calling. It's amazing how many wars have been started because we read the same book, passage, or word and place the accent in different places. I love the ponderous way you approach the Psalms in Psalm Summer. Thank you for inviting us along on your stroll during the golden hour.

Expand full comment
Aug 6, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

Katie, your comment about the wars waged over different understandings of scripture resonates with me. In the words of a favorite band of mine, I am disheartened by so many actions taken “in the name of Love”. Emily’s emphasis on how much we don’t know about the Bible reinforces how I need to tread carefully when considering if and when I will share bits of it.

Expand full comment
founding

Disheartened is a great way to put it. I agree about the need to tread carefully.

Expand full comment
Aug 3, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

I so deeply love Psalm summer. I truly look forward to the episodes each week.

Expand full comment
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

I have listened multiple times to you reading Psalm 1. So, so good. ❤️🙏🏻

Expand full comment

"Generous orthodoxy". The words in the Word are indeed true and life-giving, however, I concur with so many others (and you Emily!) that previous interpretations of much of the Bible caused harm and confusion. Not one of us gets it all correct. Thank you for putting words to what I have been discovering and leaning into.

Expand full comment
author

"Not one of us gets it all correct." Yes to this! Thank you, Ellen.

Expand full comment
Aug 2, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

Grateful for you Emily.

Expand full comment
author

Hi Abi! So glad to see you here.

Expand full comment

Scripture holds so much depth that we can spend a lifetime reading and studying it and find new things year after year. I have found the Psalms so very healing and validating of my human emotions and reactions. Thank you!

Expand full comment
Aug 12, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

Emily, thank you for this post bringing out the complexity of quoting scripture. I am continually amazed that I am learning new insights from the words written over two centuries ago! I co-teach a weekly Bible study at a daytime homeless shelter. For a while we were teaching on themes and specific ways to know God or live a Christian life. In my research and preparation, I was frustrated at different commentators and interpretations - it was often far from my own experience and I could not translate it well for the guests at the shelter. Now we are going through different books of the Bible a chapter at a time. While some verses may still invoke different responses, we can provide context and the discussions have been richer. The word is indeed living and active!

Expand full comment

First--Oh my GAWSH to have a walk like that near my home. Love.

And, I love your insight. I very much feel the same. Life breathing scripture one day can be brutal the next (Doesn't Paul mention something along these lines? Trying to remember what and where...) I have definitely been wounded by well-intended shares. I am one who is currently beginning to re-navigate our Bible after leaving a denomination and with it certain ideologies and interpretations--this is a very timely article for me. <3

Expand full comment
Aug 3, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

"... we don't actually know everything..." Yes and yes. That resonated with me.

Expand full comment
founding
Aug 3, 2023Liked by Emily P. Freeman

I loved this so very much, Emily. You articulated the shift that has happened for me in recent years too. Your writing blesses my life.

Expand full comment