Readings: What’s missing from the ‘Slave Bible’

photo of child reading holy bible
Photo by nappy on

Wow. From NPR:

On display now at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is a special exhibit centered on a rare Bible from the 1800s that was used by British missionaries to convert and educate slaves.

What’s notable about this Bible is not just its rarity, but its content, or rather the lack of content. It excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.

“This can be seen as an attempt to appease the planter class saying, ‘Look, we’re coming here. We want to help uplift materially these Africans here but we’re not going to be teaching them anything that could incite rebellion.’ ” Schmidt says. “Coming in and being able to educate African slaves would prepare them one day for freedom, but at the same time would not cause them to seek it more aggressively.”

Read the whole thing. Shocking, but not surprising.

Part of my journey away from full participation in the church came while watching Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” while I was an undergraduate at a Mennonite college. A sudden realization occurred, that black people had often experienced Christianity as a tool by white people to oppress them. Seems like a no-brainer maybe, but at 19 — in that context — it was mind-blowing. Why wouldn’t black people reject a religion used to hurt them? And what kind of God would punish people who rejected his One True Religion on the basis of how it injured them on this earthly plain? I couldn’t find answers to the questions that seemed both just and theologically orthodox. Justice seemed to be the higher calling.

We don’t cut whole passages from the Bible anymore in order to preserve white supremacy. Not literally, anyway. But maybe we still do this in our hearts.

A 606 Jólabókaflóðið: Star Wars funny stories and graphic novels

Squirrels hide nuts for the long winter. Bears pack on fat for hibernation. Here at Sixoh6, we prepare for winter by stocking up on books. To help you find the best books to gift this holiday season, we’re sharing guest posts from some of our favorite parents of babies and toddlers, children, and teens. We’ve asked our guest bloggers to share books on a theme of their choice. We hope, whether you are young or old and whether you have a lot of books to give this year or just a few, you’ll find something here that delights you and that you’ll enjoy a Jólabókaflóðið (“Yule Book Flood”) this winter.

This week’s guest bloggers are Ruby, age 8, and her sister, Saffron, age 11. They live in Pennsylvania.  In second and fifth grade, respectively, they recommend buying a child a series of books so that they can read them all at once, somewhat like binging on a TV show on Netflix.  The trick? Finding a book series good enough that you can’t read just one!

Today, we hear from Ruby. Be sure to pop in later in the week to hear from Saffron, too. 



Ruby recommends Star Wars books, such as Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, Darth Vader & Son (also by Jeffrey Brown), and Star Wars: Original Trilogy Graphic Novel by Alessandro Ferrari.

JA books
Jedi Academy, according to Ruby, is funny, the #1 reason to read it.  The pictures are really cool and are funny.  The book series is about a guy at Jedi Academy school who is learning how to be a Jedi knight.  He doesn’t do a very good job because he’s weird, in a good way, like herself.  She would give it an A.

Darth Vader and son

Darth Vader & Son has the best ever known funny pictures.  A comic book by the same author as Jedi Academy, it follows Darth Vader as a single father raising Luke and Leia as children.  It includes funny things about Darth Vader taking care of Luke when he is young. It has quotes from the movie.  One of the funniest comics is when Darth Vader says, “Luke, clean up your room this instant!”  She would give it an A++++++

Star Wars trilogy.

Star Wars: Original Trilogy Graphic Novel is a new book, which can be bought by each episode separately, or in one lovely hardback book ready for gifting.  It has all three original stories (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) from the original movies.  Ruby has cross-checked the graphic novel with the movies numerous times, often pausing the movies to make sure the graphic novel is adhering to its predecessor.  One instance where the movie and graphic novel do not line up is when Luke, in the second part of the graphic novel, says, “I can’t reach it, I must use the Force, I can do it” but he never says it in the movie.  Ruby says it’s a cool book.  She would give it an A.


Want to read more book suggestions for and by some of our favorite kids? Check out these:

Want to read more in this series? Check out Erica’s picture books about St. Nicholas and St. Lucia and O’s books about wild animals.

Readings: Art museums are the gift that keeps on giving

red art relaxation girl
Photo by Una Laurencic on

Co-sign this piece from the Washington Post:

Here’s a holiday gift idea: Take someone you love to an art museum.

Just go. Take your mom. Take your husband. Take your girlfriend.

Meet them there, or catch the train in together. And remember: No pressure. It’s not like a play or a movie or a concert, which your companion might like but might just as easily hate, leaving you both stuck in your seats, and you feeling responsible. You can walk out of a gallery any time.

Last year, we used some of our Christmas money to purchase a family membership to the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City. It’s a fabulous institution. The membership enabled us to see special exhibitions featuring everything from Depression-era photographers to Napoleonic-era art. I featured the photography in a SixOh6 post earlier this year:

These pictures were taken all within the lifetimes of my grandparents. It’s both forever ago and just that close. The conditions that millions of Americans were living in — in makeshift shacks, built from mud or items rummaged from the trash, or simply not having enough to eat an being required to flee across the country in hopes they’d find some way to make a living — are those we associate, in modern America, with “third world countries or with pre-modern ways of living in our own. Truth is: What we think of us civilization — of a largely middle-class society, anyway — is both recent and fragile.

An art museum need not be that weighty – there’s lots of fun you can have there. But the membership was a gift that kept on giving.

Football and forgiveness at Liberty University

american sports
Photo by Skitterphoto on

Checking in on football at Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college founded and run by the Falwell family. What’s going on with the team?

Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has agreed to become Liberty‘s new football coach, sources told ESPN on Friday.

Say, why’s he a “former” coach?

At the time of Freeze’s resignation, Rebels athletic director Ross Bjork told ESPN that school officials found a pattern that included phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service.

Bjork separately told ESPN that once university officials dived deeper into Freeze’s phone records on a university-provided cellphone, going back as far as shortly after he was hired in 2012, they started finding more of a pattern with phone calls of the nature USA Today had earlier reported after an open-records request.

Guess who hired him?

Former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw, who resigned in wake of the school’s sexual assault scandal, is Liberty’s athletic director.

Want to know something weird?

Ian McRary, Baylor’s Title IX officer from February 2015 to January 2016, was hired by Liberty in February 2016 as associate general counsel. Ian McCaw, Baylor’s former athletic director, was appointed AD at Liberty in November 2016. McCaw quickly hired Todd Patulski, his assistant athletic director at Baylor, as the Liberty athletic department’s associate athletic director and chief financial officer. McCaw, Patulski and McRary had all left their jobs at Baylor amid the investigation into that school’s handling of sexual abuse and assault allegations; administrators were accused in one of many resulting lawsuits with having “created a hunting ground for sexual predators to freely prey upon innocent, unsuspecting female students, with no concern of reprisal or consequences.” Not all the alleged rapists at Baylor were athletes, but the athletic department under McCaw and Patulski was viewed as the epicenter of the assault epidemic.

So. I don’t want to be glib about the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption where sexual sins are concerned. Still, it’s weird that Liberty — which is dearly, deeply committed to its conservative Christian identity — apparently routinely elevates men with these kinds of public histories, at least where football and sports are concerned.

I wonder what it tells the women on campus?

A 606 Jólabókaflóðið: O’s wild and dangerous animals books

Squirrels hide nuts for the long winter. Bears pack on fat for hibernation. Here at Sixoh6, we prepare for winter by stocking up on books. To help you find the best books to gift this holiday season, we’re sharing guest posts from some of our favorite parents of babies and toddlers, young children, and teens. We’ve asked our guest bloggers to share books on a theme of their choice. We hope, whether you are young or old and whether you have a lot of books to give this year or just a few, you’ll find something here that delights you and that you’ll enjoy a Jólabókaflóðið (“Yule Book Flood”) this winter.

Today’s guest post comes from O, a first grade boy who loves Wild Kratts, wild animals, and Where the Wild Things Are–and is a big of a wild thing himself. Here are three books he recommends for kids interested in wild, weird, and dangerous animals. He wrote this with his mom. 

actual size

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

“This is a book that shows you how big animal’s body parts really are. A gorilla’s hand is much bigger than a person’s. The goliath frog has is longer than your arm when its legs are stretched out. The page with the crocodile mouth has to unfold because its mouth is so long. The page with the shark teeth on might even scare you.”

Mom’s note: The shark page actually may startle you and might genuinely scare younger children, once they realize that they could be swallowed by a shark in one bite.

Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steve Jenkins

“I learned on Wild Kratts that the platypus has a 6th sense. It can use electricity to find its food with its eyes shut. In this book, I learned that it has a spike on its back foot that can inject you with poison. This book gives you tips to save your life if you are in the wild. Here are some: Don’t smile at monkeys. Don’t stare a spitting cobra in the eye. Don’t pick up a blue ringed octopus. Don’t pet a black bear cub.”

One criticism: “The book uses the word poisonous wrong. Poisonous means that if you eat something, you die. A monarch butterfly is poisonous. If something bites you and puts poison in you, it is venomous. Gila monsters are venomous. We don’t usually eat things that are venomous, but we should never eat things that are poisonous. But some people DO eat pufferfish, and they kill you if the chef messes up.”

Mom’s note: The main text has 3-4 sentences per animal, but the back of the book has more detailed entries on each animal.


Who Would Win? series by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster.

“Did you ever wonder if a tiger could beat a lion in a fight? Is a honey badger tougher than a hyena? Does a lobster have better defenses than a crab? Then this book series is for you! You will learn about rhino v. hippo, alligator v. python, wolverine v. Tasmanian devil, Komodo dragon v. king cobra, and more. Some of these match-ups are only imaginary because, in nature, the animals don’t live near each other, but it is still fun to think about who is stronger, who is faster, who has sharper teeth and sharper claws, who can climb better, and who has better natural defenses.”

Mom’s warning: These books can inspire endless hours of pretend battles between children acting them out.


Want to read more in this series? Check out Erica’s picture books about St. Nicholas and St. Lucia. 

Updates in Hate Scholarship

For those who are interested in the latest scholarship on hate, here is a roundup of what I’ve been reading these last few weeks:

When we commit hate crimes as a group, those crimes are more likely to be violent than if we commit them alone—the key finding from Brendan Lantz and Joonggon Kim’s Lantz, Brendon & Kim, Joonggon. “Hate Crimes Hurt More, but So Do Co-Offenders: Separating the Influence of Co-Offending and Bias on Hate-Motivated Physical Injury.” Criminal Justice and Behavior(2018).

People who are more vulnerable offline—women, immigrants, and those who have previously been victimized online or offline–are more worried about being a victim of hate online, according to Tuukka Savimäki, Markus Kaakinen, Pekka Räsänen, and Atte Oksanenin “Disquieted by Online Hate: Negative Experiences of Finnish Adolescents and Young Adults,”European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2018): 1-15.

What drives hate organizing? Threat. What drives hate crimes and other acts of hate? “Opportunistic environments and provide broadened latitude to act,” according to David Cunningham. “Differentiating Hate: Threat and Opportunity as Drivers of Organization vs Action.” Sociological Research Online (2018).

Believing the violence is a legitimate expression of masculinity is a predictor of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-black racism, general racism, and sexism. And so, unfortunately, is the centrality of religion in one’s life. That is the key finding of Matthias Lühr, Heinz Streib, and Constantin Kleinin “Inter-Religious Prejudice in Context: Prejudice against Black Persons, Homosexuals and Women, and the Role of Violence Legitimizing Norms of Masculinity,”inXenosophia and Religion, Biographical and Statistical Paths for a Culture of Welcome(Springer 2018).


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Above, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map, which identifies hate organizations across the US. 






Rebecca’s Jólabókaflóð Wish List

What are you hoping Santa puts under the tree for you this year? Here are some books on my wish list. It’s long, because I am greedy about books.

Turning Points in Jewish History by Marc Rosenstein. Highly recommended for inclusion in church libraries, especially as it includes discussion questions.

Turning Points in Jewish History

Undomesticated Dissent: Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity by Curtis W. Freeman, research professor of theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity. I’m especially curious about the last chapter, “Postapocalyptic Dissent.”

Undomesticated Dissent

Resurrecting Wounds: Living in the Afterlife of Trauma by Shelly Rambo, associate professor of theology at Boston.

Resurrecting Wounds

Just Debt: Theology, Ethics, and Neoliberalism by Ilsup Ahn, the Carl I. Lindberg Professor of Philosophy at North Park  University and Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellow.

Just Debt

From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage by Darel E. Paul, professor of political science at Williams College.

From Tolerance to Equality

Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Ed by George Yancey.

Compromising Scholarship


Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade by Carly A. Kocurek, which is about why video gaming is so gendered.

Coin-Operated Americans

Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right by Ronald Beiner

Dangerous Minds


Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country by Francesco Duinaa  study based on interviews conducted in bus stations, fast food restaurants, homeless shelters, Laundromats, public libraries, and senior citizen centers, that seeks to understand how poor people understand their country and their place in it.

Cover of Broke and Patriotic by Francesco Duina

Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It by Arthur Lupia

Cover for  Uninformed

Ballot Blocked: The Political Erosion of the Voting Rights Act by Jesse H. Rhodes

Cover of Ballot Blocked by Jesse H. Rhodes

Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States by Edward B. Foley

Cover for  Ballot Battles

The Prince of this World by Adam Kotsko. Here is the blurb from Stanford University Press’s catalogue: “In this striking reexamination, the devil emerges as a theological symbol who helps justify oppression at the hands of Christian rulers. And he evolves alongside the biblical God, who at first presents himself as the liberator of the oppressed bu ends up a cruel ruler. This is the story, then of how God becomes the devil–a devil who remains with us in our ostensibly secular age.”

Cover of The Prince of This World by Adam Kotsko

The Straight Line: How the Fringe Science of Ex-Gay Therapy Reoriented Sexuality by Tom Waidzunas

The Straight Line



A Political History of the Bible by Paul D. Hanson

A Political History of the Bible in America

Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism by David P. Gushee

Still Christian

Just Capitalism: A Christian Ethic of Economic Globalization by Brent Waters
Just Capitalism

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary A. Haugen 


The Other Jesus: Rejecting a Religion of Fear for the God of Love by Greg Garrett

The Other Jesus

No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice by Shannon Craigo-Snell and Christopher J. Coucot

No Innocent Bystanders

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf

Exclusion & Embrace

I Wonder: Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible by Elizabeth Caldwell

I Wonder

Never Enough Time: A Practical and Spiritual Guide by Donna Schaper

The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians by Tom Krattenmaker

The Lively Experiment: Religious Toleration in America from Roger Williams to the Present by Chris Beneke and Christopher S. Grenda

The Founders and the Bible by Carl J. Richard

Herod the Great: Statesman, Visionary, Tyrant by Norman Gelb

Religious Activism in the Global Economy: Promoting, Reforming, or Resisting Neoliberal Globalization? edited by Sabine Dreher and Peter J. Smith

The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Questionedited by Luca Mavelli and Erin Wilson

Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents by Vincent Phillip Munoz

Religion, Politics, and Polarization: How Religiopolitical Conflict is Changing Congress and American Democracy by William V. D’Antonio, Steven A. Tuch, and Josiah R. Baker

Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence by Charles Selengut

A Journey to Waco: Autobiography of a  Branch Davidian by Clive Doyle, with Catherine Wessinger and Matthew D. Wittmer

Quivering Families: The Quiverfull Movement and Evangelical Theology of the Family by Emily Hunter McGowin

A House United: How the Church Can Save the World by Allen Hilton

A House United

Religion and the Politics in the United States by Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown

Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby by Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden

American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present by Philip Gorski

American Misfits and the Making of Middle-Class Respectability by Robert Wuthnow

Terrorism in America, edited by Robin Marie Valeri and Kevin Borgeson

Terrorism in America: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover