Meet the Bible Bitches: Interview with Rev. Laura Barclay and Sara Hof


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What do you get when you have two ladies, one a Baptist Minister living in KY and one an agnostic living in LA, making jokes and talking about the Bible?  Don’t know?  You get the new and exciting podcast Bible Bitches!  We hope that you’ll take a moment to check out this new and exciting podcast that explores the F-word in Religion (among many other topics) and read the Q&A below with the creators Rev. Laura Barclay and Sara Hof!  Click here to listen to the podcast (now on episode 5)!

What makes one a “Bible Bitch”?

Laura: According to Urban Dictionary, it means a “strict follower of the bible even when it contradicts common sense”. So here we are using that a bit ironically since neither of us does that. Also, we have an unabashed feminist slant. So if you are down with that, you are a bible bitch!

Sara: The stubbornness not to buy into the overarching protestant Christian narrative. Looking at the bible critically is often challenging and uncomfortable for people who believe. I mean, it’s risky – doing that eventually led me away from the Christian community, and as someone whose whole life revolved around the church and her faith, that was a huge step. It meant re-examining everything I had been taught and jeopardizing my relationships with my family, relationships that truly haven’t been fully repaired.

How do you select the passages that you talk about? 

Laura: We basically decide what topic we want to cover and then address relevant passages. I really love 1) the weirdest parts of the Bible, like about Satan or revelation or bones getting up and walking, and also 2) underdog stories like Ruth, Moses, etc, which really resonate with our perspective and are really hopeful.

Sara: Yeah, what Laura said. We basically just think of the stories we like, that we remember from childhood or Divinity School and/or that we think would be fun and weird to cover. There are just so many fucked up stories in the bible that never get any play – those are the ones I really like to cover.

Why did you want to create this podcast?

Laura: To create a transformative discussion. As a minister, I’ve been repeatedly annoyed in the past with what some folks think are “taboo” topics in the church. The church is the place where uncomfortable topics should be addressed. If people can’t get realistic advice or information or support from the church for real-world issues, what is the value of church that only serves part of a person? As an embodied people, we need to address things like sex, violence, gender, race, etc., in our congregations. These topics are not taboo in my church –Highland Baptist in Louisville– and for that I am thankful. We’ve learned to be comfortable with discomfort.

Sara: Laura has a much more involved response than I do. I just really like talking about these crazy stories and hanging out with Laura. Plus, I don’t think the Bible is really being talked about in an approachable but critical way in too many circles, and a podcast seemed like a super fun way to do it.

Where do you hope to go with this podcast? There is a LOT of material to choose from. 

Laura: I hope to address all the nerdy topics we love and all the ones our listeners want us to. This is a discussion, so we are responsive to listeners. I really want to do a series on Revelation and how it has been misinterpreted as an End Times/Walking Dead/Mad Max kind of book. That would be ambitious, and we aren’t quite there yet.

Sara: Oh snap, hard yes on doing a series on Revelations! We’ve been talking about it since the beginning. Personally, I hope to create a dialogue with our listeners, and perhaps provide some insight into new ways of thinking about the Bible while also providing some levity. As far as actual topics, any of the topics we’ve done so far could easily have their own multi-part series, and I am so hoping that we get to a place where we can take deeper dives into these narratives and their socio-historical context.

When are we getting to that pesky Moses and the Garden of Eden? or Job.

Laura: We got a peek of Moses in the Badass Women of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament episode when we covered Moses’s sister Miriam and I think we will continue to come back to him because he is fascinating to me. We all have a bit of Moses in us – we want to do what we are called to do but are terrified to do it until something like a burning bush shakes us out of our comfort zone. We discuss the Garden of Eden in our Eve episode where we vent A LOT about how she has been misunderstood (coming soon!). Job is addressed in the episode on Satan as it’s one of the first times in the Bible we encounter Satan, but he appears as part of God’s court and not some otherworldly evil beast.

Sara: Meh, I’m kind of over Moses. I mean, we’ll have to do him at some point because he’s such a prominent personality in the Old Testament, but his story isn’t one that excites me. Eve, however, I love, and I’m excited for all of you to hear that episode when we release it in a couple of weeks!

Where can people submit viewer mail?

Laura: They can chat us up in a number of ways. Social media is best because we forget about our Gmail, which is biblebetches@gmail.com. @BibleBitches on Twitter or our Bible Bitches Fan Page on Facebook is best.

Do you ever plan on having special guests? 

Laura: Absolutely! We are working out the tech for this, but we would love to start having guests by mid-summer.

Sara: Yes! We have some people and ideas lined up and are hoping to pull in more voices in the next few months or so.

About the Bible Bitches

Rev. Laura Barclay, MDiv, MAMFT, is a practicing Marriage and Family Therapy Associate and ordained Baptist minister. Laura holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (’16), a Masters in Divinity from Wake Forest University (’08), and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Louisville (’05). She previously worked in denominational ministry and released her first book, “With Us in the Wilderness” in 2014 about spiritual narrative and empowerment. She loves spending time with her spouse Ryan Eller and her two dogs, Gryffin and Dobby, as well as watching Harry Potter movies and talking a great deal about the intersection of mental health, the Church, and public policy, making everyone extremely uncomfortable at the dinner table. She does not enjoy having to tell all her friends to keep calling their representatives to preserve basic human rights, but hey, we are living in the dumpster fire of Trump’s America…

Sara Hof kicks the shins of patriarchy from her small Los Angeles apartment while binging Netflix, pizza, and scotch.  She has a couple of masters degrees, one in divinity from Wake Forest University and one in women’s studies from Claremont Graduate University, and enjoys reading and thinking about both while doing nothing with either.  Her most notable achievements are yet to come, which can be done easily because, to date, that honor goes to not falling down the last time I went rollerblading.

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Categories: Academics, Activism, Bible, Faith, Feminism, Gender, General, Humor, Popular Culture

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9 replies

  1. These two women sound interesting, opinionated, and brave, especially considering where they live. Considering the level of discourse in the U.S. today, I hope they both stay alive.

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    • Oy! I get your comment Barbara but OY is all I have to say. We, of course, want them here for a LONG, LONG time because they are so awesome! I’m glad you liked the podcast!

      Like

    • Barbara, thanks for the awesome compliments! As a minister & also a woman, I find it important to fight against the fear our society imposed on women & POCs to not speak their minds. Hope is a huge part of my faith, so I would say my hope is that our discussions inspire others to find their voice, speak their minds, feel a sense of liberation at the intersection of religion & gender, and hopefully other intersections as well. We are stronger as a society when we make room for more voices at the table, and amplify those perspectives that are not historically dominant.

      Like

  2. I think I have to, must, join that facebook group! :-)
    Every time I see signs of intelligent life in Trump’s USA, it gives me hope.

    Like

  3. Alright! We need more voices like this in the pod-o-sphere. Welcome!

    Like

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