Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization

Book, 2018, 320 pp
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For generations, the Bible has been employed by settler colonial societies as a weapon to dispossess Indigenous and racialized peoples of their lands, cultures, and spiritualities. Given this devastating legacy, many want nothing to do with it. But is it possible for the exploited and their allies to reclaim the Bible from the dominant powers? Can we make it an instrument for justice in the cause of the oppressed? Even a nonviolent weapon toward decolonization?

In Unsettling the Word, over 60 Indigenous and Settler authors come together to wrestle with the Scriptures, re-reading and re-imagining the ancient text for the sake of reparative futures.

Created by Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations program, Unsettling the Word is intended to nurture courageous conversations with the Bible, our current settler colonial contexts, and the Church’s call to costly peacemaking.

Study Guide by Peter Haresnape now available (download PDF).

Also see related video interview with Liam Miller of "Love - Rinse/Repeat."

Read an article about the book by John Longhurst.

Read an excerpt, Lament on Coast Salish Land, by Céline Chuang in Bearings Online.

Also see reviews by John Bird of the Anglican Journal, Jen Galicinski of Radical Discipleship, David Warkentin of the MB Herald, Carolyn Blyth of Reading Religion, George Kudilil of Ephrem's Theological Journal.

Chosen for Sarah Bessey's April 2019 Field Notes Book Club.

Also see the book launch video.

Contributors include:

Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, Kwok Pui-lan, Christina Conroy, Leah Gazan, Joerg Rieger, Norman Habel, Stan McKay, Rachel and Chris Brnjas, Jennifer Henry, Lori Ransom, Rebecca Voelkel, Peter Haresnape, Robert O. Smith, Susanne Guenther Loewen, Carmen Landsdowne, Cheryl Bear, Joshua Grace, Rarihokwats, Darrin W. Snyder Belousek, Joy De Vito, Tamara Shantz, Marc H. Ellis, Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Sara Brubacher, Benjamin Hertwig, David Driedger, Pekka Pitkanen, Celine Chuang, Alain Epp Weaver, Musa W. Dube, Katerina Friesen, Anita L. Keith, Derrick Jensen, Roland Boer, Neil Elliott, Daniel Hawk, Randy Woodley, Lisa Martens, Tobin Miller Shearer, Walter Brueggemann, Miguel A. De La Torre, Vivian Ketchum, James W. Perkinson, Sara Anderson, Deanna Zantingh, Peter C. Phan, Sheila Klassen-Wiebe, Bob Haverluck, Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Chris Budden, Ellen F. Davis, Rose Marie Berger, Wes Howard-Brook, Gerald West, Julia M. O'Brien, Dan Epp-Tiessen, Ryan Dueck, Mitzi J. Smith, Sylvia McAdam, Robert Two Bulls, Ched Myers, Jonathan Dyck, Sarah Travis, Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Kyla Neufeld

"I have been looking for a book like this for a long time. From the first essay, I knew that the fire in Unsettling the Word would be for everyone who wishes to decolonize what they've learned of the Bible in the white church." -- Kaitlin B. Curtice (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), author of Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places"

Unsettling the Word helps Christians take responsibility for the damage our sacred texts have done to Indigenous peoples and Creation. More importantly, it empowers us to read those texts--and act on them--in a profoundly different, restorative way." -- Sara Stratton, Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator for the United Church of Canada

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