Bloody Mary Bible Brunch
Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 3

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 3

March 28, 2020

While observing social distancing, Abby and Jim consider examples of laments for the dead and preparing dead bodies found in Scripture at Genesis 50 (Jacob and Joseph); 2 Sam 1 (Saul and Jonathon); John 11 (Lazarus); and John 29-30 (Jesus).  They also recount their personal experiences with the Church and funeral rituals, including sharing their views on some specific modern burial rites.

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 2

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 2

March 1, 2020

I.  Candidates for Biblical Characters Who Escaped Death

  1. Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-17)
  2. Enoch (Gen. 5:21-24)
  3. Moses (Deut. 34:1-10 (esp. 6)
  4. Cain (Gen. 4:15)

II. Compare to Jesus  - who died but defeated death

III. Compare to Uptnapishtim - who was immortal


Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 1

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Death and the Bible Ep. 1

February 2, 2020

Rev. Abby and Jim Barton begin the new season of Bloody Mary Bible Brunch considering Death and the Bible.  In Episode 1 they discuss the Bible teaches life begins by consider Genesis 2, Exodus 21:22 (misquoted as Exodus 20 in the episode), and Ezekiel 37.  They also consider the end of life for Christ and Abraham.  

The team also discusses limitations of other potential answers to the question in Jeremiah 1 and Psalm 139, as well as the limitations of Leviticus 12 for this purpose.

Sermon - Rev. Abigail Conley - Epiphany

Sermon - Rev. Abigail Conley - Epiphany

January 6, 2020

Delivered at Chalice Christian Church, 15303 South Gilbert Road, Gilbert, Arizona, on January 5, 2020.  

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 7

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 7

December 22, 2019
Primary Sources: Gen. 6:1-8; Gen. 19; Gen. 32:22-32. 1 Corinthians 11:10; Jude 7, 14-16; 2 Peter 2:4; Luke 1:26-38, 46-56.
Secondary Sources: Unprotected Texts, by Jennifer Wright Knust, chapter 5, A Lily Among the Thorns, Miguel de la Torre, pp. 27-28 (woman as temptress), 151 (rampant heterosexuality)
I.  Is this a serious topic?
   A. It was to the Hebrews
      1. Explore Gen. 6: 1-8.  Note that Wright Knust cites to 1 Enoch & the Book of the Watchers (but I feel less confident with these texts)
      2. Discuss the divine moving with humans -- Gen 2; wrestling an "angel"
      3. Sodom story of Angle rape - note role reversal from Nephilim on who wants to have cross-species sex
 B. Was still a concern for Early Christians
      1. 1 Corinthians 11:10 - women covering up "on account of the angels"
      2. Jude 7 talking about sexual immorality of Sodom, but what was the immorality?  See citation to Enoch again in 14-16.  (If the sin was rape, why not cite to Tamar, or Dinah, or Bathsheba, or the Levite's concubine?  
  3. 2 Peter 2:4 talks about punishing the angels, but for what?    
II.  Did God have sex with Mary?
   A. God definitely impregnated Mary
   B. Helenistic authors would not be unfamiliar with deities knocking boots with human women
   C. Certainly possible given God's interactions with humans in other contexts
III.  What the hell do we do with all of this?
   A.  First, this demonstrates how dramatically different the world view of the Biblical author's was from ours.  Related, Miguel de la Torre points out that one lesson from these stories is the idea of woman as temptress.  They are so potently tempting that they even tempt angles. Which should be a point of discontinuity between us and the ancients, but sadly is often not.
   B.  Second, these are often stories of rampant unchecked, male heterosexuality.  That feels like a caution we can discuss in our world today.
   C.  Third, these stories of sex--at least in the case of other miraculous reproductions--point to the value of sex in God's plan.  
   D.  Finally, this points to the cosmic power of sexuality.  In the act of sex--because of its connection to reproduction--it is the point where we as individual humans most intersect with human beings the species.  That is our mortal manifestation of humanity as individual breaches the division with the potentially immortal manifestation of humanity, the species.  And that's no joke.  
Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 6

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 6

December 3, 2019
Primary Sources: Jeremiah, scattered, but especially 3:1 and 31:31-37; Ezekiel 16, 23; Hosea
Secondary Sources: Battered Love, Renita J. Weems; Carnal Knowledge of God, Rebecca M. M. Voelkel, Chapter 3.
* Trigger Warning
I. What is the Metaphor?
   A. Jeremiah 3:1 -- notion of defilement of a wife, spoiled by another, etc.
   B. Chosen to elicit a "gut reaction" more than intellectual reasoning
   C. Plays off a system that is in place without explicitly endorsing that system
II. How bad is it?
  A. Ezekiel 16 & 23 -- graphic, explicit, weird talk about Egyptian genitalia 
  B. Hosea -- shockingly detailed & graphic, and bizarre story line
  C.  Amazingly bad
III. Is the metaphor wholly detached from the subject?
   A. Monogamy -- Monotheism connection
   B. Dominance - Submissive understanding of marriage & faith
   C. Maleness of religion as a source of organizing power
IV. Colonization & Displacement of Female Power 
   A. The use of rape and otherness as a tool of colonizing -- "savage" non-binary society, rape of slave women, etc.
   B. The quest among the prophets of YHWH to displace other forms of worship, including pantheons with strong female presence
V.  How much do we hate this?
   A. The sexual violence remains in our society today.
   B. The connection with supernatural theism
   C. These metaphors do not exactly support co-creation with God.
Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 5

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 5

October 12, 2019


  1. National Coming Out Day
  2. Republican Roll Back of Gay Rights

Ground Rules

  1. Distinction between identity and behavior
  2. Gay v. Lesbian v. Bi -- Trans
  3. Which is the Bible interested in? – nod to the clobber scriptures

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

David & Jonathan (Achilles and Patroclus)

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!

    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.

26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;

    you were very dear to me.

Your love for me was wonderful,

    more wonderful than that of women.

27 “How the mighty have fallen!

    The weapons of war have perished!”

Illiad Book XVIII

Then said Achilles in his great grief, “I would die here and now, in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home, and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have brought no saving neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have no peer among the Achæans, though in council there are better than I. Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his heart—which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. 

 The Clobber Verses

  1. Sodom & Gomorrah (Levites Concubine) Genesis 19:1-38 (Judges 19)


  1. Levitical Laws             Leviticus 18:22; 20:13

Leviticus 18:22. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”


  1. Pederasty in Corinth 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.


  1. Pederasty in Ephesus 1 Timothy 1:9-10

We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine


  1. Strange Flesh Jude 6-7

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.


  1. Cult Prostitution Romans 1:25-27

25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

 Further References

  1. Miguel de la Torre -- Lily Among the Thorns
  2. Linn Marie Tonstad – Queer Theology


Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 4

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 4

August 31, 2019

Trigger warning: This episode is about rape.  The Biblical stories about rape are graphic and emotional and certainly have the potential of triggering strong psycho-emotional reactions.

Sex in the Bible: Rape

Note that rape is not a violation of the Ten Commandments.  Adultery and coveting are not rape. 


Deuteronomy 22:23-29 (The Kavanaugh Passage)

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Num. 31

Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

See also Deut. 20: 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.


Three rapes, and one attempted rape, that are tied, in the text, to sexual desire and passion. 

  1. Gen. 34 (Dinah)

Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”

When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

After the plot to kill all of Shechem’s clan is successful, Jacob objects to the trouble Dinah’s brothers have caused with their rash action. 

 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

Epilogue, Simeon and Levi are cursed by Jacob at his death for their violence and having killed people in anger.  Hashtag interesting.

  1. Gen 39 (false accusation)

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

  • 2 Sam 11 (Bathsheba)

 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roofof the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

Epilogue, Nathan’s parable, the child dies & no temple for you.  But, Solomon, so?

  1. 2 Sam 13 (Tamar)

 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”

12 “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”

16 “No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.”

But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” 18 So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate[a] robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.

Epilogue: Absalom takes revenge on his sister, which David forgives him for.  Not sure what happens to Tamar.  Seriously, WTF.

 Two very similar stories about attempted gang rape of a traveling man, that eludes to gang rape of a virgin woman instead.

  1. 19 (Sodom gang rape)

Unclear whether Lot knows they are angels, he insists that two travelers not sleep in the square.  Instead: 

He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

  1. Judges 19 (Concubine & Mass Rape)

When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”

. . . .

20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!”

Epilogue: Benjamin doesn’t join the other tribes to seek revenge on this rape.  So, they pledge not to give them daughters in marriage.  But this makes them sad, so:

So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’”

So, what should we even look at in the new testament?

  1. What Is Rape Different from Assault?

The empirical evidence indicates that rape results in greater physical and psychological harm for victims than other forms of violence or abuse.  Professor Mary Sigler.

As a first step, we should experience deep regret over the necessity for the difficult policy judgments that contribute to the shameful state of our prisons and see them for the morally flawed actions they are. Instead, we seem to take a sort of satisfaction in our self-righteousness, congratulating ourselves and our officials for denying inmates a minimally decent living environment.

By the Light of Virtue:∗ Prison Rape and the Corruption of Character Mary Sigler∗∗

  1. Matthew 5:27-29 (Jesus’ teaching on adultery)

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a]28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

  • Colossians 3:5 (because we should talk about lust/power) or pick another 

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

  1. 1 Corinthians 6 (Sexual Immorality)

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b]17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[c]

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.


  1. 1 Corinthians 7 is relevant to marital rape

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 3

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 3

August 3, 2019

Sex & Power

Introduction: Today’s topic is sex and power.  At the outset, we note that all of the narrative scriptures on the table for discussion today revolve around women using their sexuality to achieve some purpose unrelated to sexual pleasure or reproduction. The male equivalents are discussed in other episodes.   

Competing stories of seductress advocating for her God

  • A king marries a woman who is worships a foreign god. 1 Kings 16:31; Esther 2:17
  • The worshiper of a foreign god is described as painting her eyes and or receiving beauty treatments making her more attractive to the man in power. 2 Kings 9; Esther 2
  • Her people are opposed by an adherent to the local god. (Elijah/Elisha; Haman)
  • There is a plot to destroy her people.
  • She uses her influence to reveal the plot and lead to a showdown.
  • The YHWH adherent is loved as a hero in the Bible, the Baal adherent is thrown out of a window and eaten by dogs. 2 Kings 9.

Seductress in the field of Battle

  • Delilah tries frequently to kill Samson. Judges 16.
  • Jael lures Sisera into her tent and puts him to sleep with warm drink. Judges 4

Curiously enough the exercise of power in these circumstances is exactly like the use of violence.  It’s good if it is for the good; it’s bad if it’s for the bad.


Judah, the Israelite spies, and Samson all visit prostitutes.  (Gen. 38:15-16; Joshua 2:1; Judges 16:1-3)  Notably, two of the prostitutes named here, Rahab and Tamar are found in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 1:3,5.  Jesus had no problem associating with prostitutes.  (Luke 7:36-50) Although, he noted that she had sinned that was in need of forgiveness.

Priests could not marry prostitutes, nor could their daughters become prostitutes.  (Leviticus 21:7-9)  The man who is lured by an “adulterous woman” is a fool.  (Proverbs 7, 29:3)  Paul treats prostitution like adultery, e.g., 1 Corinthians 9, 15-17, as does the author of Hebrews 13:4. 

Matthew 21:31, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.’”  Kind of a back handed compliment though.

“Prostitution is immoral not because it involves sex, but because it relies on exploiting the vulnerability of women or men who exchange their worth and dignity for a few dollars.”  - A Lily Among the Thorns, 172.

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 2

Bloody Mary Bible Brunch: Sex and the Bible Ep. 2

June 23, 2019

Following our second brunch with friends at Mellow Mushroom in Mesa, Rev. Abby & Jim discuss sex in the Bible within marriage.  They explicit teachings found in Titus; 1 Corinthians 7; and Exodus 21.  They also review some comments on marriage and sex (or the lack thereof) found in Genesis and Proverbs.  Finally, they reference works by Miguel de la Torre (Lilly Among the Thorns) and Jennifer Wright Knust Unprotected Texts).