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If I may, a short #thread.

I was raised an atheist. As a young adult, I fell in love with the Easter story and with Jesus, and I came to faith. I am now a Catholic.

I have two MAs and a PhD in theology and religion

and I am a socialist 1/
In one of the graduate programs where I teach, I do a semester course on the Old Testament, and a semester on course the New Testament.

The students who take them end up reading around 90% of the entire Bible, and I re-read it along with them.
Leviticus 19 tells us in absolute terms that the productive in society are bound to share and protect the poor and the vulnerable. That’s the “gleanings of the field” passage. The edge of my field does not belong to me, but to the hungry.
When Amos has his vision, the Lord shows him a basket of late-summer fruit - the fruit that drops at the edges of the field. And then Amos says woe to those who use the festivals of the Lord as a marketplace, hoping for the last ounce of profit, rather than mercy.
The Bible is confusing. It is contradictory. When my students get frustrated with it, I demonstrate the profit of going back to the text and reading *more.*

I tell the, Keep going deeper - verse with verse, book with book. Iron sharpening iron.
But as confusing and contradictory as some aspects are (should David have taken the census? Or nah?) - there are some parts that are strikingly clear:

Care for the widow.
Defend the orphan.
Welcome the stranger.

Visit the prisoner.
Forgive the enemy.
Feed the poor.
I encourage my students to be honest about where the text is taking them, even and especially the parts that they think they know well.

I hear again and again, “I know this story, but I realize I never actually read it.”

So much of our experience with Scripture is like that.
The other thing I do is put what we are reading into timelines. Seeing the history of when books were written, against major events like the destruction(s) of the temple, helps them to understand why Mark sounds like a revolutionary, and Luke sounds like a catechist.
But the other thing they discover is that they have been taught to read the texts through a filter of doctrine and theology. That is fine, as long as it is recognized.

Own your tradition, but understand that there are other traditions. “I have others you know not of,” etc.
When we read II Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired” etc., we do well to remember that when that line was written, there were notbyet any Gospels. Mark was still a decade away from being written down; half a century to John.
So if we point to II Timothy 3:16 as a touchstone, the history of the construction of the Bible texts themselves reminds us that we are open to new (and more Christ-centered) revelations and interpretations.
I am a leftist, and I read and re-read the Bible with my heart and my head. I love what I find there, and what I find there also challenges me to be more loving, more forgiving, and yes... to move even more radically to the left.

The poor we will always have with us, after all.
So our job is to read Scripture, and read it again, and to understand that we are not yet Amos.

We are Amiziah.
We are Pilate.
We are Pharaoh.

We are not the hero of the story.

The hero is Jesus, and he chose to be the poor, the unwanted, the jailed, and the police-killed.
I take Ms. Stuckey at her word. She doesn’t know many folks like me (or my students), and that is fine.

But it does not mean that we do not exist.

I would take a bullet for the Bible. It testifies to the very Word of God.

... and it continually pushes me to the left.

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