The First Edition
The first edition of the Scarlet Letter Bible ran from July, 2011 to May, 2012. It was a good run, if short. There was even a 6-session Bible study guide for Lent that year.
The concept was to publish daily short studies, plus weekly studies on each of the Revised Common Lectionary's 4 Sunday texts, each with a rendition of the text that was more of an expression of the original intent set in a modern North American cultural context, rather than a strict translation, or even a transliteration. I thought it would be scandalous: thus the name of the project. But it wasn't. Or maybe it was, but the right people to make a stink about it never found out.
The New Edition
8 years have passed, and the magnitude and intensity of idiocy in America has continued to grow. Then, Donald Trump was a joke with a reality TV show. He was featured in the Scarlet Letter Bible then as the despotic asshole ruler in several of Jesus' parables. Now, he is the despotic asshole ruler. Times have changed. Then again, we were living in the much-nearer shadow of 9/11 and the Gulf wars, events that "changed everything". Now, we're living in the shadow of corvid-19, and everything is changing. So maybe times have not changed that much.
What It Is
The Scarlet Letter Bible is my small attempt to resist and to help others resist the idiocy, especially faith-based idiocy, by reflecting on Biblical texts without resorting to magical explanations. It's also, if only in my own mind, an ongoing master class in Biblical interpretation.
Who It's For
Who might be interested in such a thing? If you're a fundamentalist, this is probably not for you. I can tell you who I picture as I write it:
- I picture the lead Sunday School teacher at one of my small churches, the Adirondack Untied Church, who has a keen interest in the Bible but has never had a pastor give her any real tools for exegesis.
- I picture a few of my friends who are Pastors who feel stuck in the rut between what the tired mainline churches they serve expect them to say on Sunday and what they really want to say.
- I picture a few of my other pastoral colleagues who are doing the best they can without the benefit of a seminary education or formal training in Biblical studies.
- I picture people in the pews who wonder week after week why they keep coming, and it's only because they keep hoping to find something relevant.
Who am I?
I'm Caspar. I was the Pastor who over the years got stuck in the rut. I majored in Physics, then got an M.Div. at an Ivy League seminary. My roots are Baptist, and I still consider myself a part of that branch on the Protestant family tree.