Multipals 05: Dr. Alexiana Fry (transcript)

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[MUSIC: "Friends Forever" by Puffy AmiYumi]

Chris Sims: Hello, friends and neighbors, and welcome to Apocrypals. It's the podcast where two non-believers read through the Bible, and we try not to be jerks about it. But today is an installment of our very special Multi-Pal series. My name is Chris Sims. With me as always, the other set of footprints, Benito Cereno. Benito, how are you?

Benito Cereno: I'm doing great, Chris. We have an excellent guest today.

C: That is correct. I'm very excited. Who are we gonna be talking to?

B: We are talking to Alexiana Fry, who is a postdoc researcher who specializes in trauma in the Bible. And that is a topic we are going to be talking about quite a bit in reference to her new book that has just dropped, "Trauma Talks in the Hebrew Bible." Definitely a recommend, and you'll hear us discuss that book at some length in the interview portion of the show.

C: You'll also hear us discuss many, many other things, including the attire of one James Logan Howlett, as we always do.

B: You talking about Lucky Jim?

C: We're talking about Lucky Jim, baby.

B: Yep.

C: And Patch. Nobody's said Patch yet, and I'm waiting for it.

B: Somebody out there has a PhD in biblical studies and loves the Patch era.

C: It's a strong look.

B: Yeah.

C: I feel like people don't think about it, but it's a strong look.

B: Yeah, I think we need someone a hair older. We need somebody who's like 50, where like that's their era.

C: Hmm, all right. So if you are a biblical scholar who knows what we're talking about right now, then by all means, get in touch. But I don't know how long the edited episode is, but I can tell you the conversation, we were having too much fun to stop. So I think we should get right to it. And Benito, you and I will be back to talk to the people at the end.

B: Yep, absolutely.

B: [MUSIC: "Friends Forever" by Puffy AmiYumi] ...the podcast Apocrypals. We have a wonderful, very fun and cool guest, Dr. Alexiana Fry, who is graciously joining us from the far distant land of Europa. Dr. Fry, hello, welcome to our show.

Alexiana Fry: Hello, it is good to be here. I am very fun and cool, so thank you for that introduction. And yeah, let's chit chat.

B: Yeah, let's do that. So just to get started, it seems a logical place for our listeners who are unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with your work. Could you please just like, in as many words as you would like,

A: Oh boy.

B: ...introduce yourself and your work and who you are and what you do and why everyone should be your friend and subscribe to your TikTok, et cetera.

A: Ooh, okay. That's a loaded question and a loaded answer. Hi, my name is Alexiana Fry. I grew up in a Christian home and this is my testimony.

B: [Laughing] - Off to a great start.

A: Here we go. But on the real, I don't like to be in certain camps, but if I was in one, I would be probably part of the ex-evangelical camp. I grew up very much in white Christian nationalism and all of its adherants. So very pro-life, purity culture, and clearly I'm not that anymore. So coming into trauma and interpretations of trauma in scripture, oddly felt natural. And I say "oddly" with a huge sense of sarcasm. I got my master's of divinity. I was fully intent on being part of the complementarian framework that is evangelicalism. So I did not want to be a pastor. I wanted to just help women know the Bible more, but felt that I needed an MDiv to do so. But then I learned the biblical languages and could read texts for myself. And that was a big, oh no, for many people. I now had knowledge and I apparently wielded it in heretical ways. So from there, I did go on and get a PhD in Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. That was when I worked on the infamous text of terror that is Judges 19. But I read the text of Judges 19 with Hosea and I discussed the sort of trauma narrative that people were attempting to depict of their exile and migration through these women's bodies. And so that sort of began my journey. I had a really good time doing that. I did get my degree during the pandemic, which is not the most enjoyable experience.

B: Yeah.

A: Uh-huh, uh-huh. But other than that, I'm currently in Denmark, Copenhagen. I am working on a postdoc project on what is called divergent views of diaspora. So how do different communities, both within and outside of the biblical texts. So we have texts from communities in Elephantine in Egypt and texts in Al-Yahudu in Babylonia that also have enlightened us to how people were living, how they experienced life in different areas outside of the quote unquote homeland or if they would even call it as such, right? And so I work with texts that depicts migration and concepts of home and belonging and specifically do so through lenses of trauma and female bodies. That is my whole shtick. I love what I do. And I also have two pugs and they are the loves of my life. And I feel like if we're gonna talk about who I am, we need to talk about my dogs as well.

B: Can you please tell our people what their names are please?

A: Their names are Cortado and Toast. They are the ultimate millennial breakfast. They do act as their names are. So Cortado is a little bit more fiery and caffeinated and Toast is a loaf.

B: Nice.

A: So it's a lovely time here in Denmark.

B: Really excellent names.

C: So you would agree with me that the best dog names are food names.

A: Oh, 100%. We almost got a third dog and I was gonna name it Waffle.

C: Those are good dog names. If that had happened, you would be our second guest with a dog named Waffle.

B: Yeah, that's true.

A: Okay, well now I feel unoriginal and I'm glad I don't have a dog named Waffle. There it is.

B: Fair enough, fair enough.

A: Here I am as my person.

B: So yeah, as you said, you're currently in Copenhagen, Copenhagen.

A: C'pnhawghw.

B: C'pnhawghw. How did you arrive on those distant shores?

A: You know, the job got posted. I felt like I fit and I applied. Luckily I got picked. That's pretty lovely. It was a fun little story. Shout out to a friend who did get the job before me, but then ended up landing a tenure track position. And so she said no to this position and therefore I am the beloved rebound candidate, which I say that with all due respect because one, in this economy, very proud to be a rebound. And two, my spouse and I have been married for now almost 9 years, 10 years, and he was a rebound and we're doing great. So here's to the rebounds in life. That's me in this spot.

B: Nice. So how long have you been in Denmark now?

A: I've been here since July.

B: Okay, since July. Do you eat the smørrebrød?

A: Okay, I am also a very white American eater and it takes a lot for me to get out of my comfort zone. And I confess that I have had a small piece of it and did not appreciate. I'm hoping that I can open myself up to the opportunity that is their delicacy. But at this point I have not appreciated it. Let's put it that way.

B: I do love the implication that Denmark is somehow less white than America.

A: Yeah, no.

B: So while we're talking about food, being a foodie, gourmet, the finest things.

A: Yes.

B: I wanna start with this, a hard hitting question.

A: Oh gosh.

B: What is your standard Taco Bell order?

A: [Sighing] I love Taco Bell.

B: Yeah, so the reason I ask, for listeners, is on your TikTok, we'll get to this in just a second, but you recently briefly returned to America.

A: I did.

B: And you posted a video on your TikTok of you traveling from Denmark to America, your hand held out the entire time, ready to receive a Taco Bell taco.

A: Yes, yes. Yeah.

B: What was the first thing you ordered when you hit an American Taco Bell?

A: Listen, I contain multitudes, but it was going to be always a Crunch Wrap Supreme.

B: Yeah.

A: But the problem with me, I am not content with just one, just two, or just three packets of sauce. I need lots of sauce. I need a full packet of sauce in every bite.

B: Wow.

A: Yeah, it is truly a sight to behold how many I can actually go through, but I take a small little bite of the top of the Pentagon, that is the Crunch Wrap, and then I start to pour the sauce into that little tiny hole that I've created, and then I eat. And then as I eat, I add more sauce. And I want to add here, I do love spice. Even as a very, very white see-through person, I love spice.

B: Yeah.

A: But the mild sauce flavor, it is my home.

B: Okay, so you're pouring mild sauce in there.

A: I am pouring mild sauce on everything, yes.

B: Yeah, just packet after packet.

A: So for reference, if we're going to use measurements that are maybe more like universal, right? If we have just the regular Taco Bell soft taco, I am putting approximately, we'll go with five mild sauce packets on that.

C: That is so much.

A: Yes, yes, that is the standard ratio though.

B: Your esophagus must be horrifying to look at.

A: Okay, I will say, I will say, I have extreme acid problems, okay?

C: Oh word?

B: Yeah, you don't say.

A: Things are wrong in my body. I make bad decisions when it comes to acidity.

B: Yeah.

A: Yes.

B: You know, fair enough. What's your standard order, Chris? What's your T-Bell go-to?

A: Michelin star rated.

B: That's right.

A: Mm-hmm.

C: Not a sponsor, but absolutely could be.

B: That's true, Taco Bell, hit us up.

A: Please.

C: We are the Bible podcast most suited to a Taco Bell sponsorship.

B: Absolutely.

A: This makes sense.

C: I like the cheesy gordita crunch.

A: Yes.

B: Nice.

C: 'Cause I have layers and I like layers.

B: Mm-hmm, I get it.

A: Who doesn't like layers?

B: We're coming back to that idea.

A: Yeah, we're going to, yeah.

B: That's coming back later. I like to kind of change it up a little bit. I tend to get whatever the featured deluxe craving box is.

A: Those are good boxes and they're cheap. They have so much stuff in them for so little.

B: Yep, yep. And I like to get the Taco Bell exclusive dragon fruit brisk tea.

A: Yes, uh-huh.

B: That's pretty good. I'm not a Baja blast kind of guy.

A: See, I'm not either, but my spouse is. And so he was like, please, will you have some Baja for me? I did fail him, but I'm also not that upset about not having it.

B: Yeah, understood. So the reason you were able to partake of a sauce-laden Crunch Wrap was because you were back in the US for the SBL conference, the Society of Biblical Literature.

A: Yes.

B: Which I'm sure most, if not all, of our previous guests on this show were at.

A: This is probably correct.

C: That's weird, I don't think we were invited.

B: We were not invited to come.

C: That's weird, that's strange. What a mistake.

B: Yeah.

A: I think you just have to show up, honestly.

B: They wanted us to come and present a paper on talking animals in the Apocrypha.

A: I love that.

B: Yeah, I mean, it could happen. How was the conference? How was your experience? And most importantly, what is the hot goss?

A: Oh my gosh, there is so much gossip that happens at these. I do need to reiterate that.

B: I fully believe it.

A: But I cannot share all of the goss. The goss needs to be protected at times.

B: I understand, there's a code, I get it.

A: There's a code. However, for reference, I submitted my dissertation and defended in December 2021. And there were a lot of other things happening at that time that lended me to not having employment right away. And that is a scary place to be in. And so I did not have employment for a full year. So when you don't have employment and you're in the academic realm, what you do is just say yes to everything. Especially when you're a junior scholar, you just say yes. Okay, and how SBL works is they submit a call to papers. So they're asking, like these are the things we want to talk about in each of our little units. Do you have something for us? And so you submit an abstract or like a 250 to 300 word thing that says, this is what I think I'm gonna do. And so when the abstracts came out, I submitted three abstracts. Now here's the thing, you can submit as many as you want. You can only technically present two, but there are years in which you submit many abstracts and none of them get selected. So you just don't know what's going to happen, right? I submitted three thinking that maybe one would get through. Well, all of them went through. And the reason I was able to do three instead of just the two was because one of them, I co-presented with someone and that was the last one to get accepted. And so how the system works is whatever unit accepts your paper first, they get first dibs on you. And so once you hit two, they just knock that last abstract out of the computer. Well, when the last abstract got knocked and it was me and my friend, I was like, hey, hey, hey, I will gladly give up a different one. So that my friend can also present because this is the only paper they are doing. And they were like, no, no, no, no, no, don't mess with the program. And I was like, okay, well, I don't want to mess with the program, but my friend. So I had them put it under their name instead and then they just ended up letting me present. So I presented three times, which is an absolute monstrosity.

B: Yeah, that feels like a lot.

A: It was too much. However, one of them was on Judges 19 and that I wrote in just a few hours. I also am not a procrastinator. So there are many people who will literally write their SBL papers on the plane to SBL. I am not that person, will never be that person, I'm too anxious. So I wrote that back in July. I wrote it in July and had it done for months. And that was easy because once you sort of know what you want to talk about, and I am quote unquote an expert in Judges 19, easy, cake, it's just "boop!" done. The second one, thankfully has some stuff to do with the current project that I'm on. So that helps, right? Because then it's part of what I'm working on already. Great. But that one was difficult, however, but ended up being fine. And the third one with my friend was much more practical. And my friend is not like me. And so they were like, yep, I'm gonna work off of an outline, which is funny because we both have ADHD, but I have severe ADHD. And if I don't have something written out, I will talk for a long time. And I will also get distracted and talk about things that I'm not supposed to be talking about. So on our little shared outline, I have like pages of what I was gonna write and he has like bullet points. So everything went really, really great. I had an excellent time. I think the, I don't know if anything like really hot gossipy happened.

B: Okay, all right.

A: I'm trying to think of anything juicy to share because I feel like I should share some juicy gossip.

B: Yeah.

A: Oh man.

C: You can make some up.

B: You can make some up.

A: I could make something up. Oh, I do know. Okay, so it was in San Antonio. And I do know that a few conference goers did fall into the river at the river walk. I don't know who, I really am not trying to even protect this person at this point. I literally don't know who they are. But I do know some people did fall into the river.

B: That's very funny.

A: And I will say SBL is heavy laden with alcohol.

B: Yeah.

A: It's a party time.

B: I fully believe that.

A: Yes, so.

C: Now coming from the world of comic books, I don't think me and Benito are familiar with the idea of any kind of convention.

B: Where people are getting drunk and embarrassing themselves in a hotel lobby.

C: Yeah, people who usually work alone suddenly realize that they wanna be social and drink a lot.

A: Yes, that is exactly what it is.

B: Yeah. Okay, people falling in the river.

A: People did fall in the river. I don't know if it was alcohol related or not, but my assumption, if I'm going to assume, is that it was alcohol related. And I think that is hilarious and also scary.

B: I assume one of them was friend of the show, Tony Burke. And if he doesn't reply and refute it, we'll assume his silence equals consent. And he did in fact fall in the river.

A: Wow, this is happening, okay.

B: What about hot scholarship? Any spicy takes this year? Is anybody gonna--

A: Any spicy takes...

B: Anybody bringing revolution to the field of biblical studies?

A: Oh, there are so many people that are doing such good work in general. And I will have to just say this outright, because I did three papers, I had little to no time to actually go to other people's papers.

B: Sure, sure, absolutely understand.

A: And that was very sad. I'm trying to just rack my brain on some of the things that I did here that were revolutionary. I will put it outright. I think the work of Jill Hicks Keaton right now is shaking up some things that are happening in the very male dominated Paul community at SBL. And she is saying things, especially that the male dominated, very evangelical community of Paul lovers do not like and therefore I love her. She actually just released a book called "Good Book." And it's about how evangelicals are constantly trying to make what people like Paul or Jesus are doing [is] good. So they're actually constantly redefining what good is. Right?

B: Yeah, yeah.

A: And I want to say that conference and maybe this is the gossip. This is what I heard. Okay, so this is down the telephone line. I heard that after she did her paper, they gave nobody time to ask her questions, which is standard practice.

B: Yeah.

A: You give time for discussion and questions after the paper and then after a male colleague went right after her, there was ample time for discussion and questions. I want to say that Jill Hicks Keaton, this is what I heard, I heard she walked right out when that happened because good for her.

B: Wow.

A: Yes.

B: Yeah.

A: Yeah, we don't tolerate disrespect, okay?

B: For sure.

A: But Paul people do tolerate disrespect, especially if it's towards women. And that is another message.

C: Shocking.

B: Yeah, I can't believe what I'm hearing.

C: Utterly shocking based on our reading of Paul's works.

A: I know, I know.

B: We are somewhat notorious Paul haters on this program.

A: I'm in a good place.

B: Yeah, so well, before we started recording, I was telling you how I have this problem where I listened to Dan McClellan's podcast and when he has guests on, I'm like, ooh, I want to talk to that person about that topic. But I'm also trying not to book the same.

C: Did he get Paul?

B: Yeah, he got Paul of Tarsus himself showing up to finally get a chance to defend himself.

C: Good for him.

A: He probably wasn't defending himself. He was probably well, actually-ing people.

B: Yeah.

A: That seems more in character.

B: Finally a chance to hear what Paul has to say.

A: He would not have been on a woman's podcast.

B: No, true. But he did have a Paul expert on there talking about him. And I'm like, I do want to consider having him on the show. So I can't remember the scholar's name, I'm sorry. But I did consider having him on the show. I'm like, maybe someone who understands Paul a little better can at least provide context for some of the things.

A: I mean, just outright tell them that you're Paul haters. He will probably both agree with you and also layer it, right?

B: Yeah.

A: Yeah, people are complicated, right?

C: Here's the context of Paul, he wasn't even there.

A: In most of those instances, you were correct, yes.

B: Yeah. Okay, all right. Thank you for the SBL update.

A: Yeah.

B: Let's focus a little bit more on your work in particular. I wanna get to your book in just a second, but more broadly. So you've already mentioned you deal with topics of trauma, the texts of terror, specific focus on Judges 19, which I think Chris and I will agree is the most messed up part of the entire Bible.

A: It's pretty rough, yeah.

B: Chris, if you don't recall just from the chapter title, that's the bit, that whole separate story about that Levite and his concubine, and then it has the whole thing that's like the doublet of the Sodom and Gomorrah story. And then at the end, a woman gets chopped up and mailed to all the different tribes of Israel. You remember that part, Chris?

A: Remember that?

C: No. Have we done Judges?

B: Yeah, dude, we did Judges.

A: You've gotta do Judges. We have definitely...

C: Oh, is this, I'm sorry, I remember this part as being where Jebus comes from.

A: Oh, Jebus is in there.

B: Jebus is part of it.

A: They are extremely xenophobic toward Jebus in the text. Yeah, it's a whole thing. I talked about that too, yeah.

B: And the woman is like left dying on the ground and stuff. You remember that? Chris? Anyway.

C: I've recently taken in a lot of information about Son Goku.

B: Yeah, hey, look, hey, fair enough.

C: So.

B: So.

A: Fair enough.

B: Look, I've known Chris long enough to know that he can remember stuff about this podcast or he can remember stuff about every episode of Kamen Rider and he can't do both.

A: You know, that's okay.

B: Yeah, yeah, Judges 19 pretty easily, in my opinion, the most messed up part of Bible. And saying that, Judges is a book full of messed up stuff.

A: Oh yeah.

B: A dude gets stabbed to death on the toilet, like that happens.

A: Yeah, that one's fun, yeah. And then the...

C: I do remember that. I do remember that.

B: But can you speak just like broadly in terms of like what you try to do with your public facing scholarship? The stuff you do on TikTok and like YouTube appearances and stuff that you've done. Can you just give our listeners an idea of what you're trying to do with that stuff?

A: It's actually fun 'cause while I was waiting to get on here today, I was working on my "Texts of Terror" post today. So that as part of what I do in my public facing scholarship is sort of just... I grew up in a community where if we talked about texts that were quote unquote bad, if we talked about them, for the most part, we did not. Right, we skip over those parts because the Bible is supposed to be good. I learned to read really early in my life, which maybe explains some of the neuro spicy divergence that I have. But there was sort of this part of me too, growing up so deeply entrenched in that culture and memorizing scripture and so on and so forth. When I would start asking questions about some of these things that I would find, because of course I was reading early and what is this? Oftentimes I was told to bottle it up, that my questions were too much or so on and so forth. And so my hope in just sharing some of these texts is to show that and not to just like, as much as I am not religious anymore, I don't want to totally punch down on people who are religious, but I want them to be honest about their religiosity. Right? I want them to be honest about the things that are in their religion and to come to terms with them. And so my hope in doing what I do on TikTok, and as an aside, if you did hear just a very loud noise that could have sounded like a fart, I have two pugs who snore extremely loudly, and I always have to apologize for them whenever I'm on something recording, 'cause it sounds like I am just flatulating. All over the place.

B: That's gonna be the hot goss of the next SBL. Alexiana Fry just farting all over the place on the podcast.

A: She just farts all over the place, yeah. Anyway.

C: Lucas, if you could cut out the explanation, but like pod up the farting noise.

A: Or you could do that, honestly, I would not be ashamed. Or you could just cut out the entire explanation and put it at the front of your podcast and make it like, "Alexiana uses her dogs "to make an excuse for her ripping." They're just a cover for her gas. Anyway.

C: That's actually good, because we usually, on our regular episodes, we start off with reading a verse from the text. So with this one, we can just start off with that.

A: Yep, "Alexiana exposed, literally." So my whole goal with my "Texts of Terror" posts and my public scholarship is to, first and foremost, show that they exist, that those texts are there. And it's why, in the very beginning of going through them, I go really, really slowly. I go verse by verse, which is a very traditional way of doing things even in evangelical circles, so that I can help people walk through what's happening, what may be happening contextually, historically, et cetera. And then, the end of them, I discuss the many different interpretations that have come out of them. However, I do not highlight any sort of form of victim-blaming or really, there are some atrocious things that have been said explicitly about my text, but I've also been doing work in other avenues, right? You know, in Hosea 1 through 3, his relationship with Gomer, some really bad things have been said about how people in church settings should receive these texts, and that these things are good and we should see them as such. And the things that, in the name of the Bible is good, we allow to happen in real time, I am not okay with. So that is really why I do what I do. I have found that it is a lot of work to do a simple, quote-unquote simple, TikTok post. And again, I say it as a millennial who doesn't know what they're doing and is already like too old for this technology. But I really hope to just help texture some of these texts, literally, because there is more going on than just horror. Granted, in some cases, some of what else is going on is more horror, but I would love it if people were honest about that. And in the community I came from, they were not, or they were wielded in ways that perpetuated more trauma in the communities that received them, right?

B: Yeah.

A: And so I have already forgotten what you initially asked.

B: You basically covered it.

A: Okay.

B: But I was just asking about your goals with your public scholarship and what you try to do with your TikTok. So yeah, you've got your "Texts of Terror" series. You also do 60-second book reviews.

A: I do, yes.

B: And then you also have, this is not really academic per se, but my favorite series is your "Rant and Rave," where you rant, then you have a rave.

A: Yes, I do. I'm glad you like that series because that is probably a series where I'm most myself and just completely unhinged and like, here we're gonna talk about it. I probably need to throw in a few more academic ones, but I've been talking about ridiculous things for the past few weeks. So it's fine, yes.

B: You got your dog involved in the last one. He was raving.

A: I did. They were, they were really getting into it. And I felt like, yeah, you really know. You really understand that I'm upset about the middle seat on airplanes.

B: Mm-hmm. So that's your most recent one is about the middle seat and about-

A: Wearing really nice clothes on an airplane.

B: Yeah, wearing nice clothes on the airplane, whether the person in the middle seat who has-

A: Who gets the armrest.

B: The eminent domain over the armrest.

A: Yeah.

B: I have ideas about, as a person of size, I have some ideas about airplanes, but-

A: Yes, oh my goodness. I had an incident on this last flight, and no, it is not going to be what you think it is, where I, for people who are larger than the actual seat, which the seat keeps shrinking and shrinking, right? And so I am tiny baby human, and these seats are getting small for me, okay?

B: Yeah.

A: In the name of capitalism, they are making these seats smaller and smaller to pack us in like sardines. And so I was on an overnight flight back, and there was a man who was larger. He is clearly uncomfortable, and he is aware of his size. And none of us are happy back here, especially on a red eye. But this woman shamed him, and I maybe yelled at her, okay? I am not interested in us fighting each other when the real problem is the fact that companies feel like they can do this, and that they can exclude certain size bodies, and create a sort of picture perfect, this is what a body should look like. It's just all messed up, and I'm very upset about it. And so I yelled at this woman who, anyway, I'm very sorry. I have feelings about the size of things, and the size that people think bodies should be when that is inappropriate.

B: Yeah, I myself am about to take a rather long flight, and I am praying that there's an empty middle seat between me and my wife on the plane.

A: And you shouldn't have to think about that, right?

B: Yeah.

C: Don't we all just wish a tiny person would yell at someone for us?

B: Yes, actually, yes.

C: I'm not even kidding, that's like the dream.

A: I am happy to be that person.

C: Thank you, I love you, that is good work.

B: For one thing, I'm not a very confrontational person.

A: No.

B: But also, I'm quite a large person, I'm six foot six, right?

A: Right. Oh my gosh, my spouse is very tall.

B: Yeah.

A: And planes are so uncomfortable. Your poor legs.

B: Yeah, oh yeah, it's not great. And then always the people in front of me wanna lean their seat back, and it is terrible.

A: Oh my gosh, that is exactly what happened, yes.

B: But the thing is, when you are as large as I am, it is not socially okay for you to be angry because people will be terrified for their lives.

A: Sure, sure.

B: If I raise my voice somewhere, someone is going to be afraid that they're about to die.

A: Somebody is wetting their pants, yes.

B: Yeah.

A: Yes, that's the perception, right?

B: Yeah, fortunately I have a generally pretty chill demeanor.

A: You have not been allotted the opportunity to say, "Hey, I am also upset on this flight. This is uncomfortable for me."

C: What if I had a little person in my pocket that I could pull out to fight my battles for me?

A: You know? It's the dream.

B: Yeah, okay, all right, all right. One other aspect of your non-Bible work I wanted to ask about is that you're a registered yoga teacher.

A: Oh my gosh, yes.

B: Do you see that as like, this is another thing I do, or do you see a connection between that and your scholarly work?

A: Yeah, so there is a connection, and that's sort of what it came from. So I actually grew up playing soccer. There is some rage in me that I like to get out, okay? And if we're gonna talk about body size, I am a small human. I'm five foot two on a good day, okay?

B: Okay.

A: And so I'm easily thrown about, but when I'm on a soccer field, I use the flopping to my advantage, right?

B: Yeah, yeah.

A: You can totally play out that, right? So I have a rage and played soccer for most of my life, and so yoga was the exact opposite for me, and I did not like it to begin with. Then I started doing my PhD work, started digging into what is trauma. At the same time that I'm starting my PhD work, I am finally seeing a therapist. Now, my therapist is also extremely trauma-informed, so at the same time that I'm learning about how trauma works and how we are to not only grow around it, but move through it, which is a concept that I talk about also in my book. The whole famous saying in trauma, right, is that "the body keeps the score." Now, I also want to mention that the author of said book is somewhat problematic, and there are so many other good books, but the key theme that we can remember of the body keeping the score is very important, and we need to remember that we are not just minds, we are also bodies, and again, capitalist society, our supremacist society loves to divorce those two things. We make better workers if we are not connected to our bodies. We make better machines if we can ignore emotions and the body impulses that come with it. So at the same time that I'm learning about trauma and its somatic pieces, and am going into therapy and writing about these things, my connection out was really through yoga. I felt that if I was going to be teaching about trauma in any sort of way, and in teaching about trauma, potentially even secondarily traumatizing people with the things that I am teaching about, that's sort of the difficult nature of the things that I do discuss, right? They are not great. Some people have literally experienced some of the things that I talk about, right? It was important to me that I learn tools that would help people actually move through some of their traumas. So of course, as a person that feels the need to be quote unquote the best in everything I do, I needed to then therefore become a yoga teacher. And so I did that while I was finishing up my program and then continued on and I have a few other, like you basically do add-on credits after you're done with your initial 200 hour training. And so I have add-on credits from accredited places that literally teach trauma informed yoga. So, somatic basics to help people do that. And when I do teach, I actually implement some of those in the classroom. That was actually one of the papers that I did at SBL. And I made people move their bodies in weird ways and talked about how we're socialized to just sit still and how actually harmful that is. You know, I think about even my dogs next to me, when they're anxious, they shake their bodies to release that energy and then they're gone. Why aren't we allowing people to do that? You know, we start socializing kids at such a young age on one level to breathe and properly. That's a whole different other discussion that we do not need to get into here. But also we teach kids to be in space in a certain way. So there are people are socialized to behave in certain ways. And so the way I even phrase it is, you know, how do we normalize what is currently abnormal? How do we normalize people being able to tap, being able to shake, being able to take time to take deep breaths in the middle of things? All of those things, once again, impede people operating at certain levels in a capitalistic society, right? And yet the irony is that if we gave people the opportunity to move through, to process what they're currently feeling, they might actually be more machines than they might be more productive. And so, you know, in the name of, no, this sounds like too much work. We don't want to have healthy human beings. We socialize people to sit at desks all day and not move their bodies and et cetera, et cetera. It's a good time.

B: Yeah.

A: So yes, it was deeply in connection with the work I did.

B: Yeah.

A: Because I was unemployed for a while, my employment was actually being a yoga teacher. And I will say it is complicated to be, you know, see-through white and teaching yoga, which is deeply rooted in different cultural and religious practices, ethnic specifically as well. And those connotations in and of itself do need to be textured because it's more than just, this is from India, it's more than that.

B: Right.

A: And yet where are the Brown yoga teachers, right? Why aren't the people for whom this is deeply rooted for them, why aren't they the experts? And so there is this complicated nature in being a quote unquote yoga teacher for me that I'm still wrestling with. And I think that's okay, right? I can hold both of those in my hands and recognize that it is borderline problematic. And yet how do I mitigate harm?

B: Yeah, I get you for sure.

C: I have two things that I'd like to add to this discussion.

A: Oh wow, okay.

C: Number one is that I feel like if a 5'2" yoga instructor is like, hey, these airline seats are getting a little tight.

A: Yes!

C: Things need to change.

B: Yeah.

A: Correct.

C: The other thing is one of my favorite confluences of yoga and evangelical Christianity.

A: Oh gosh, holy yoga?

C: Was... no, one time I saw a sign, like a protest sign, like a Westboro Baptist-style protest sign that was listing all the like, you know, sinful things you could do. Like, I don't know, video games.

A: Yes.

C: And anime. But one of them was yoga.

A: Yes.

C: And parentheses next to it was spiritual practice, not exercise.

A: And that's the problem, right? Is that we have divorced the two, but you can't divorce those two.

C: And I was like, oh, somebody had a bad back and decided stretching was okay.

A: Yes, and unfortunately they stretched and conjured a demon.

B: Yeah, so I'm not gonna derail the show by telling this whole story, but remind me when we're done off mic, I will tell you about this letter from an old Catholic lady that she wrote to the Pope that included among many other things, a condemnation of yoga as demonic.

A: Of course.

B: And gratitude that her friend from church had escaped its evil clutches.

A: Oh, praise.

C: I was really hoping that it would be like suggesting rebranding it so you could get poga.

A: Oh, people do that, yeah. People have, that's why I said, is it holy yoga? Because they have rebranded it.

B: Wow, but Chris, you do yoga, right? You did that DDP yoga?

C: I have done many kinds of yoga. I have done the DDP yoga, which is hilarious, but I've also done, you know, I've done regular. I've done regular yoga, yeah. I just appreciate the positivity of a retired pro wrestler.

B: The two types of yoga, regular and wrestler.

A: Regular and wrestler, that makes sense to me.

B: Yeah.

C: Do you do the wrestler yoga or do it with the other guy?

A: You know, I will say in being taught the traditional forms of yoga, wrestler was not included in my options. So that's unfortunate for me.

B: Well, I'm glad we could teach you something here today.

A: Yeah, me too.

C: My favorite thing about the wrestler yoga is that it's marketed as being for regular guys.

A: Oh my word.

C: 'Cause you know, on the one hand, I feel like gender products are the-

A: Oh, they're ridiculous.

C: -most ridiculous part of capitalism. But on the other hand, I'm like, there's a part of me that's like, whatever you gotta do, whatever you gotta do to get people to stretch.

A: Yes, yes. I guess, you know, we'll call it a male thing. And then maybe you'll actually move your body in a way that's beneficial for you.

B: We have to call it Broga. It's Broga.

A: I'm sure I've seen that.

B: Yeah, I'm sure that's a thing somewhere, yeah. Renaming all the positions was very funny to me. Nah, man, stay.

A: Oh boy, that is-

C: You don't do happy baby in DDP yoga, you do dead bug.

A: Oh my, I cannot deal. There are so many issues and we do not have enough time to discuss. How many issues? Dead bug, okay.

B: It's strange to say, I don't think we're going to resolve toxic masculinity in the remainder of this interview. But we should talk about your book.

A: Okay.

B: Which is at least on paper the reason we had you on the show.

A: This is true.

B: To promote your new book, it just dropped within the last month or so.

A: It did, yes.

B: Let's talk about it. It is "Trauma Talks in the Hebrew Bible: Speech Act Theory and Trauma Hermeneutics." So there are four elements in this title and I don't know what three of them are.

A: Yeah.

B: So, Bible is the one, I know what it is.

A: Excellent.

B: We would be in real trouble if I was like, "what is Bee-blay?" So introduce the book to us. What's the thesis of the book? What is trauma talks? What is speech act theory, et cetera?

A: Yeah, yeah. So this came out of a conference paper in 2020. I did a conference paper connecting what I was already doing in Judges 19 and Hosea through speech act theory, but primarily through a trauma reading of those two texts, so on and so forth. And the publisher said, "Hey, I really liked that. Do you wanna make it a book?" And I said, "I mean, I guess." Because to be quite honest, I love chatting about trauma, but when you are working with a theory like speech act theory, which to be just quite blunt, the theory was started by J.L. Austin, and he published this book, and then he dies, okay? And so everything that has happened after the publishing of this book has purely been conjecture. We do not know if that is what J.L. Austin meant by speech act theory.

B: Wow.

A: And many people, there are a lot of different conceptions of speech act theory, right? And I try to keep it simple, even though it is extremely not simple and also simple at the same time. So we'll come back to trauma, but essentially speech act theory splits up speech into multiple parts, but the whole gist of speech act theory is, what do words do? And that is for reference, if somebody says, "I now pronounce you man and wife," that literally is doing something in that you are now man and wife, right?

B: Yeah.

A: You are now married. And so words are not just things that talk about something, they are words that actually act and they enact things.

B: Yeah.

A: And so while that is all well and good, and there are so many different categorizations, and then, of course, Austin dies, and then so many other people have created their own categorizations, and they have their own theories about speech act theory, right? The thing that I'm getting mainly from speech act theory is that because we are constantly in dialogue with each other, in dialogue with the world, and we are extremely contextual, there is a limitless amount to the kinds of things that can happen with our words. And we can only guess. Really! And so speech act theory is funky for me in that. What's so fun about that is that trauma is similar, especially when we're talking about trauma as it's depicted by people who have now long been dead, right? It's not like I can sit them down and say, "Is this what you meant? Is what I'm saying jibing with you." You know what I mean? I can't sit these people down and go, "You know what I think you have? "I think you have intergenerational trauma, and this is how it is coming out." Everything is purely a guess. It's a hypothesis. And it's the same with some of the texts that we have in the Bible. They are constantly doing things. They are still doing things today, even things that the original authors clearly did not intend for them to do, or maybe they did intend for them to do that, right? And that's the complicated nature of both trauma and speech. You can't really box these things in. And I think that's why maybe earlier in the podcast, you said we'll come back to layers. So we're gonna return to those layers of the Crunchwrap and Gordita. Ironically, I love the movie "Shrek" because I'm a true millennial. And so I actually use the whole scene where Shrek is talking to Donkey about how he has layers, and he's like an onion, right? To talk about speech act theory and trauma. And that Shrek is coming to this conversation with his own baggage, right? He's got stuff. He's got connotations that people throw at him. He's working with issues. Donkey himself has the same stuff. Like he's also got some trauma in his history, right? We just watched him potentially get sold off to the imperial powers that be in Shrek, right?

B: Yeah.

A: And so it's complicated. Both of these people are coming into this conversation with their complicated baggage. And so Shrek is saying, "I'm like an onion." And Donkey's like, "Because you stink," right? Like there's so many instances in which he's trying to describe who he is, and Donkey does not get it. And that is actually called infelicity. So conversations can either be felicitous in which you understand them, or infelicitous in which you do not receive what the speaker was trying to do with their word. And so throughout, you think that Donkey is not getting it, especially at the end when he's like, "Well, why not cake? Cake has layers. Everybody loves cake." And we're sitting there going, "Oh, Donkey, you idiot. We love you." Yet we just assume that he isn't understanding what Shrek is actually trying to depict until the very end of the movie, when you realize that Donkey did understand, but was trying to sort of tell Shrek that he actually does see him as cake. He doesn't see him as an onion. He sees him as cake. I do get what you're trying to say, but maybe, maybe there are people out there who see you like cake. And so I talk about the layers of trauma and the layers of different speech things that are happening, because of course in that moment, Shrek felt like what he was trying to share was infelicitous. But later on in the movie, and of course throughout their history, obviously, he comes to understand that Donkey did actually understand it. His conversation was felicitous, but it was complicated in there, right? And there were layers happening. Donkey did understand, but Shrek did not perceive that he did understand. And so there are multiple levels and layers of different acts that are happening all at once. People are frustrated. I'm also saying all of these things, and this is just normal life, right? So I use the Donkey example, and yet this stuff happens every day. And I think that's what kind of problem I have with especially speech act theory, because they are all these like really fancy terms. We have locutions, we have perlocutions, and people, one, don't talk like that.

B: Yeah.

A: But what's interesting too, and like, I mean, I'll say even in being married, if I feel like I don't understand what somebody is saying, taking the time to just simply ask, what did you mean by saying that? Some people will choose to either be honest or dishonest, right, and that's another concept even in speech act theory. So basically people made theories to describe what people do literally every day. There is so much opportunity for misunderstanding, and there's also so much opportunity for there to be multiple things happening all at once. And so the whole book goes through multiple like pericopes, so different examples of that. And so of course the first chapter is what my conference paper was, which got me the book. And then I go through different conceptions of trauma and speech that are happening all at once to sort of just show that there's so much happening, and we can't limit it to just one interpretation when we're reading. And my whole goal of this book is not to create this specific methodology, even though I kind of try to. I call it going through the middle of the thick, because thick description is a common term employed in speech act theory, because things are thick with meaning. There are multiple layers, right? Going through the middle of something is that space between supposed life and death that people experience in trauma. And going through is something that we do not do ourselves. And that is that piece of recognizing that because it is speech act theory, and because it is trauma, and because these texts are not just one-dimensional, but they are talking to us, we ourselves have to move through the text, and we have to move through what we may be feeling in our bodies if the text is reaching out and doing something to us as well, or doing something to us, right? And so it's a whole messy pot of soup. And because it's been boiling for a while, you can't really separate out the ingredients. And so the whole book is just going, "Hey, here's how this could be described in a text. And I hope this makes sense. And if it doesn't, it doesn't make sense to me either." Essentially, it's the whole of the book.

B: Yeah. For listeners who are interested in checking out this book, if you look at the table of contents, chapter one is titled, "An In-Between Hermeneutic Fluid Methods for Polyvalent Passages."

A: Yes.

B: I can see how someone might look at that and go, "Ah, not for me."

C: Yeah, if you are not a scholar, like if you are a clown-

A: Stop.

C: Perhaps you might see a title like that and be a little bit intimidated.

B: And so what you wouldn't expect from that title is the amount of Shrek content in that chapter.

A: There's a ton of Shrek content, yeah.

B: There's a lot of Shrek in there. And let me tell you something, seeing Shrek quoted and cited with end notes in a-

A: Okay, I wanna say it's a full two pages of actual Shrek.

B: Yeah, it's a lot. Seeing it with end notes and everything in an academic kind of setting is so surreal. It's like seeing a pig in a tuxedo or something like that. It's like, you've really dressed that up.

A: Yeah.

B: But also it's apt, right? It's the comparison you want, but it's so weird to see it.

A: It's very weird.

B: But also, yeah, you're millennial. I assume your next book will feature "Hocus Pocus" as a major case study.

A: Can I be honest? I was a Christian. I was not allowed to watch "Hocus Pocus." It involved witches.

B: Yeah, hard same. We'll have to talk about that after the show as well.

C: Have you considered renaming, like going back in and calling this chapter biting the corner of the Crunchwrap Supreme?

A: You know, I will have to do other work that brings in elements of Taco Bell, and I think that will be doable.

B: Yeah, nice.

A: I am disappointed in myself for not thanking Taco Bell in my dedication or in my acknowledgements, and that was a miss, and I do apologize. If we need to start this podcast with, "Taco Bell, I'm so sorry, please forgive me. You were integral to the making of this monograph, and I did not include you. I'm so sorry, please come back."

B: What is learning to cope with trauma, if not learning to Live Mas?

A: Wow. Yes.

C: I know that in my life, Taco Bell and trauma have really gone hand in hand.

A: All right, listen, I am literally writing that down so that when you post this, I can quote tweet it with that quote.

B: Okay.

A: It feels, it's pregnant with meaning.

C: On a slightly more serious note, like I know that you said that you learned biblical languages.

A: Yes.

C: But how do you read the stories that are in Bible and try to navigate those feelings that like, even people like I've been in therapy for years, and I feel like I don't always have the vocabulary to talk about what I'm feeling, and feelings about the past, let alone in a foreign language that has been translated from 3000 years ago.

A: Yes, yes. That is a great question. And so part of the answer will be, and I say this in the beginning because this is a huge conversation, even in the field of like, we keep putting some of these social scientific methods onto the text and how can we possibly know? Isn't that in some cases, colonizing the text, right? I'm putting some of these Western modalities of knowing or thought onto an ancient quote unquote, Eastern, what is also West Asian. That's more of the language that we're going for now onto the text. And my answer is, is we can't fully know. All of this is purely hypothetical, but on another level, so trauma in literature is both similar and also different to trauma in real life, right? And so we can see, you know, some of the coping mechanisms in some of the fight, flight, freeze, flop and fawn. You can see depictions of some of these emotional responses as literally happening in real time, right? But we can also see when texts over-repeat or they come off as fragmented and fragmentation in the biblical text is difficult because it's like, was this intentional or was this redaction, right? So that's another question. When symbolism happens, sometimes people use symbolism to describe their trauma because they are having difficulty finding words for it. And so how do I use a different picture that maybe creates some sort of an analogy to depict what I'm going through? We see elements of this in trauma literature, right? And so to see the text on multiple levels and layers like a crunch wrap and to flood it with all of my meaning mild sauce is in and of itself, it's a guessing game. It is hopefully an educated guess. That is literally my job is to make sure that it is educated, but it is always a maybe, I think. And so there is damage that can be done in the translation process. And yet, even today I'm discussing, I'm now in the book of Esther and Ezekiel and those are a good time. I find it very interesting that when they're going to describe the family line of Mordecai in just one verse, the word "gola" is repeated four times. That feels a little pregnant, right? It feels like a lot. And in one instance, I could talk all day about exile as a cultural trauma marker and the things that it does and the things that it is doing. That's a whole class. There are a lot of things to say about that, but also the explicit repetition of some of these things and why and asking those questions. Why? Why this? Why this word that both means to uncover, to be, in other instances, it means to literally to be naked in some instances, but also means to be exiled. And also interesting that a word to be exiled also means to be naked, to be uncovered. Like how did they bring those two words together? That's how they made sense of that experience.

B: Yeah, yeah, that's really interesting.

A: That's jarring in and of itself, right? Is to just discuss the semantics of the word "gola." That really is my work is to guess. Again, educated guess. We want educated guesses. This did go through peer review, okay? And yet the whole time I'm going, it could be.

B: Sure.

A: And not is, it could be. I will never put an is or this is for sure what it is because we also know in communities that are receiving them, you are going to have a myriad of different responses to them regardless of the hegemonic purposes or ways in which these texts are both created and implemented. You're also gonna have a myriad of responses in the communities that receive them. And I want to maintain that texture of regardless of even how it's written, how would the communities be receiving them even as I'm currently receiving them? How would there be diversity of thought in their communities? Because even in the most rigid communities, you have people who do think differently. The people on the margins, even in these texts that never will have a say, I wanna look for them. That's a long answer that I don't suppose answered anything 'cause I basically said, nope, can't do it actually.

B: It's a great answer 'cause it does seem like, yeah, so much has to be speculative because there's a danger to assigning motivation and emotions to a historical person, let alone-

A: Absolutely.

B: ...someone who is potentially fully legendary or mythological.

A: Yes, yes.

C: I am curious, Benito and I have read and covered a ton of hagiographies on the show. And one of the things, one of our, not even jokes, but just like statements of fact is that in the life of a saint, the happy ending is that you are tortured to death.

A: Correct.

C: Particularly for young women. Like if you see a young woman's name and there is a saint before it, I can guarantee that there was not a-

A: It is literally why in the first chapter, I actually title it #HerBodyStillSpeaks because the essence of the hashtag, especially as we've discussed the hashtag in the mass black death that happens in the United States by the hands of authorities, when you see a hashtag with a person's name on it, you immediately know they're dead. It is an archive of death. And so it's like, what are we trying to do here? Like whose bodies and for what purposes are we lauding? And when we contribute to the archive, right? When we contribute to the glorification of martyrdom, what are we actually doing fully here? What is that doing to women who are receiving these women as glorified beings, right? It gets messy and complicated and it's more nuanced than just, oh, yay, I'm named after St. Lucia. I'm named like, well, let's talk about Perpetua. Let's talk about these people and why they actually do have a namesake still today and for what reasons, and how can even people use the reason why we have their names still and have their stories still for even nefarious purposes is another question.

B: Yes, great. So just briefly, I wanted to say for those listening to look at the various pericopes that you evaluate, discuss in the book and also shout out an apology to Canonapal Father Stephen, who hates it every time I say the word pericope on the show.

A: I love pericope. I'm so sorry. Sorry to whoever that was. I'm sorry, I love pericope.

B: Well, we won't delve into the reasons for that, but so you look at, as we already discussed, Judges 19, on which I am going to presume and do not correct me that you are the world's leading expert on Judges 19.

A: No, do not presume it.

B: And Hosea, which we've also covered on the show, specifically the Gomer stuff at the beginning, because yeah, it's pretty easy, I think, to see the connections between the concubine in Judges 19 and Gomer and how they're kind of abusively treated. But you also look at the Witch of Endor from 1 Samuel 28.

A: Yes!

B: You look at Ecclesiastes 7 and Kohelet's "Curp and Cries." We stan a depressed king.

A: We stan a sad boy, #sadboy.

B: And then Joshua 20.

A: He listens to some sad boy music, is all I have to say.

C: We do love Ecclesiastes. My favorite book of Bible.

B: Yeah, he's a bad time.

C: Probably the most laughs that we have had talking about a, just not even making jokes, just reading a text and being delighted by it here on the show.

B: It's that one meme where he's like, "Is everybody having a good time?" Well, that's the wrong guy. That's the other guy, we're here for a bad time. That's what Ecclesiastes is like.

A: Whenever I think of Ecclesiastes, I always think of,

A: [Music: "Fall For You" by Secondhand Serenade] ♪ 'Cause tonight I'll be the night that I will call you mine ♪

B: Yeah, wow.

A: Very emo music.

C: I guess you know what the theme song for this episode's gonna be now.

B: There we go, nice, perfect.

A: There you go.

B: And then finally Joshua 24, which off the dome, I don't know what that is, but I assume it's a genocide of some kind.

A: Oh, it's actually not. It's everybody discussing how, like on Hobby Lobby boards, this is the verse they put up in people's homes.

B: That's from Me and My House.

A: From we will serve the Lord from this day. For Me and My House, yes, yes. That is that chapter.

C: For Me and My House, we will import artifacts in violation of international law.

A: For Me and My House, we will eat Taco Bell until we bleed internally.

B: Nice. So I just wanted to run through those to pique the interest of listeners who would like to check out your book, which is available now on various platforms. It is an academic book, so it is a little spendy.

A: It is extremely inaccessible for people's pockets, yes.

B: Yeah, you can get a digital version, which is less, but still a substantial amount. But I'm not saying that to discourage people from buying it.

A: Oh no.

B: I'm just letting people know ahead of time what to expect.

A: Here's what I will say. Ask your local library for a copy.

B: There you go. That's it, hit up the library. We love libraries.

A: It benefits me, but it also doesn't hurt you.

C: Also maybe ask for X-Men '92 and the Invincible Compendium while you're at it. Like, just if you're making requests.

B: As long as you're going to this, as long as you're dropping by your local library.

A: Let's be holistic about this, yes.

B: Exactly. I want to, at this point, I'm going to kick it over to the horrible clown car that is our Discord server and take some questions from our users and friends over there, which I have definitely vetted before this segment. So here we go. What?

C: That's weird because it sounds like you're vamping for time right now.

B: I'm not vamping, I'm, no, I'm good. Here we go, frozen trout, frozen trout. I'm just bringing the questions up. So I guess in that sense, I was vamping for time, but frozen trout, user on our Discord asks, what is her favorite Muppet? And also which Muppet would she send to eternal conscious torment?

A: Oh, wow, okay.

B: Great question, thanks trout.

A: Thank you trout, wow, that's very thoughtful. Favorite Muppet, wow. So I grew up in a Sesame Street home, so this is going to be a little bit difficult, but I honestly stan feminist icon, Piggy, Miss Piggy. And so we're going to just go with the most gendered response ever. So the lady wants Miss Piggy as her favorite Muppet. And eternal conscious torment. I will say, I do not believe in hell. If I did though.

B: Yeah, yeah.

A: That's what we're going with. Yes, that's what we're going with.

B: Yeah, hypothetical.

A: Oh boy, which Muppet would I send? What's so hard is I am so conflating the Muppets and Sesame Street in my head. And I was immediately like, Rocco, Rocco, Rocco the Rock. He needs to go. He is a problem. But he is not a Muppet.

C: Well, Sesame Street are Muppets.

A: I mean, technically by definition, if we're broadening the Muppets definition, right?

B: Yeah, as intellectual property, they're owned by different people.

A: This is exactly true, yes.

C: Yes, but they all appeared in the Muppet Christmas special.

B: The Muppet Family Christmas, it's true. So that means we could throw, we could throw fraggles in there. You want to toss Boober into the lake of fire? That is the second death?

A: You know, oh gosh. I think Gonzo needs to go.

B: Gonzo.

A: I'm sorry.

C: Wow, unexpected.

B: Wow, I didn't think that was where we were gonna go, but all right, all right, Gonzo.

A: Gonzo's gonna go.

B: Gonzo.

A: And can I be honest, as playing God in this role, what I just did was pull up Wikipedia and I went with the one that I was like, nope, that gives me negative feels. That name gives me negative feelings.

B: It's just vibes.

A: It's just vibes. And so I went straight off.

B: Damnation based on vibes. That's, I think that's Calvinism, isn't it?

A: It's a purely God thing, yeah.

B: Yeah.

A: It was predestined.

B: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that's all that Calvinism is, is damnation based on vibes.

A: I'm so chosen.

B: Yeah.

A: Damnation based on vibes.

B: All right, okay, looks like we've got a good question from Madison. Thank you, Madison, for being a reasonable person in the Discord, top three Discord users. Sorry, I shouldn't rank our Discord users, but Madison, top three. Okay.

C: It's okay, people need to know where they stand.

A: It's important.

B: They know, they need to get themselves in shape, shape up, Discord.

C: Tighten it up, folks.

B: All right, Madison asks, what thoughts does she have on the impact trauma has on faith, maintaining, strengthening, weakening, et cetera? I know Job probably gets a lot of attention for this, given his apparent disinterested faith throughout the course of the book. He still maintains his faith without hope for reward slash fear of punishment, though he might like to yell at God for a bit.

A: Yeah, that is a great question. And that is a question that a lot of us are asking, especially, so I'm just gonna bring up certain things, right, I'm working in the book of Esther and Ezekiel right now. And so in Esther, God is absent in the Hebrew Bible version of the text, in the Masoretic version. And some people actually are discussing that they believe that an option of why he could be absent in the text is on purpose. One, not that, you know, some people are like, well, it's on purpose to show that God always works behind the scenes. But then on another level, it could be on purpose because they are angry with him for their circumstances, right?

B: Sure.

A: And so we have to manage that. In Ezekiel, God is the reason why they are being traumatized but they are also the reason, it's this very interesting, both self blame, but God is the agent of punishment for their trauma. So he is traumatizing them, but they deserved it, right? And so to receive that punishment well, actually makes them more spiritual than others who have not gone through the exilic experience. So others who may not have been as traumatized as they have been. And so in this instance, we actually have a weaponization of trauma. When it comes to just like real life things, you have a lot of different responses that happen when it comes to trauma and faith and in faith communities. You have people who, if they are traumatized and it has nothing to do with their faith, their faith can actually be something that they lean on for assistance, but depending on their faith and the makeup of that faith, right? So if you went into whatever you were going to in the belief that only good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people, and then something bad happened to you, you can respond in a myriad of ways based on that framework. If you believe that God is in control, regardless of what is happening, you also are going to have to wrestle with the fact that God is in control and allowed this to happen to you and yet silver lining it potentially. You also have the option to reject all of these frameworks based on what happened and decide, I'm done. And so in all of these circumstances, when it comes to people's relationship with their faith, it can take so many different forms. It's why one of my jokes in my book is that, we have fight and flight and freeze and fawn and flop, but the real F word of trauma is that it is fluid. It moves about, we don't just stay in one camp. We are constantly shifting and changing and trauma unfortunately is an opportunity for one to either become more entrenched in the things that you believed before based on what you experienced or to bust out of those frameworks. It really can have the potential to rock your worldview in ways that bring about a lot of questions. And in some faith communities, questions are not tolerable. You are not faithful if you have questions. So it is complicated based on context as well.

B: That is an outstanding answer. Thank you so much.

A: We'll go with that, yeah. I feel like every single time somebody asks me a question, I'm essentially like, yeah, there's a lot of different answers to that. So I don't actually have an answer. And that's pretty much the whole of my book.

B: Yeah, I get it. I understand it for sure.

C: That's good because there's another book that does have all the answers.

A: Oh, I hope so.

B: That's right.

A: I hope so. Don't read mine, I will point you to a different one.

B: That's right. It is called-

C: "Dragon Ball Z Volume 8".

B: Oh, I was gonna say, "Jack Kirby's The Fourth World".

C: "Jack Kirby's The Fourth World".

B: Okay, so, well, speaking of books, speaking of books that have answers.

A: Oh, okay, yes, yes.

B: I did ask you and you said you could do it.

A: I could do it.

B: Off the dome, can you give me a handful, just a small handful of book recommendations for general audiences that our listeners might check out in order to kind of approach getting on your level in terms of-

A: Oh, approach getting on this level, yeah.

B: No, I mean, they never will as the world's leading expert on Judges 19.

A: No, do not say that. So many good people in my field, so many good people. I will start off with highlighting the work, it's called "The Myth of Normal" by Gabor Maté and Daniel Maté. It's a recent release. It is a very thick book, but it is very readable. And I will say, because it is about trauma, it is extremely difficult to get through. I do this chaotic thing where if I like a page in a book and I own the book, I will dog ear it. And I know for some people that is an absolute no-no, but I do dog ear books. This book is exponentially more large because I have dog-geared so many pages in it. So high praise for this book. Another book, if you wanna get like me, is actually, it is just a really good read in general. And it is geared toward the more writer-reader audience. So if you really like finding out how people write things or why people write things, it is by Melissa Febos. It's called "Body Work." And the whole first chapter is something I actually reference in my own book. I actually reference all of these books in my book. The first chapter is called "In Praise of Navel-Gazing." And so discussing what does it mean to write one's memoir or to write one's testimony, right? If we wanna get all about it. And the reasons why people generally don't like memoir or like people's version of their story, right? Which is, as Febos says, just a really cute version of DARVO. So love that for us.

C: That's a good joke for the therapy heads in the crowd.

A: Yes, yes. Has to be. Another good book if you want to discuss the behind the scenes of what I think and feel, there is a set of two books. It's by Karen O'Donnell and Katie Cross. They are edited volumes. The first one's called "Feminist Trauma Theologies." And the second one is called "Bearing Witness." Which the first one is by less diverse bodies. And the second one is definitely done by more diverse bodies, which I appreciate. And that's gonna really get into, a lot of these people are religious. And so what do you do when you're religious and you're dealing with your own trauma or dealing with trauma that has been implemented on you or by religious institutions, by texts, et cetera. And they do a really good job of even reframing. People don't heal from trauma. And this is what I've gotten from Katie and Karen. Healing implies a full closure that it is done and over with. The word that people who are going through trauma and figuring out what life means because of it is remaking. They have remade their lives and they are in the process of remaking. So that's a really fantastic conception done by Karen and Katie. And that echoes some of what we're even hearing in disabled communities. Just breaking that dichotomy and that binary up of broken versus cured. People can survive and not be quote unquote cured. People can thrive and not be cured. So why do we have these binaries? Why do people have to be in one camp or the other? And we have to talk about that when we talk about trauma. So those are the ones I would quickly throw out there. I can also send more.

B: Yeah, if you happen to think of it, anything you wanna send, we'll have these as well as anything else you might send put up on our Wiki page at where our listeners can get all of the book recommendations from all of our previous MultiPALS guests. All right, before we go, I'm gonna throw it over to Chris for the final question 'cause I know he's got a burning question that he needs to know. Chris.

C: We have asked this of every guest that we've had here on the MultiPALS series. Probably ask David Wolkin as well just so we have a comprehensive.

A: Yeah, yeah.

C: You did assure us prior to recording that you would be able to answer this question.

A: I really hope that I can perform.

C: It is very simple. What's the best Wolverine costume?

A: Oh God. This is--

B: It's simple, but it's not easy.

A: It's not easy. This is not easy. I, 'cause I gotta be real with you. I don't like the ones that are so bluntly blue and yellow. Not a fan.

B: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

C: Interesting.

A: Mm-hmm, yep.

C: Interesting.

A: Yep.

C: Now I will say we've had a trend among our guests, not to influence you, but a trend among our guests has been for the brown and tan.

A: Okay, well I'm probably gonna be part of that. And maybe I'm just sexualizing Hugh Jackman, but maybe I am. But it wasn't even an outfit, but what, Logan? Oh my goodness.

B: Yeah, that's a valid answer.

C: Oh, when he's in the suit?

A: Yes!

C: The suit's good.

A: I know, it's like leather.

C: I love it when Wolverine wears a suit.

A: It's purely leather, it's like ripped up, it's a whole thing. It's a mood, it's a vibe, and obviously I'm going purely for vibes here.

B: All right.

C: That's very valid.

A: Thank you.

C: Very valid.

B: Absolutely, absolutely valid.

A: I think about that movie way too often, so there's that.

C: Thank you for answering the question.

B: All right, add it to the list. We're eventually gonna compile the biggest index of opinions on Wolverine costumes by-

A: Bible and biblical scholars?

B: Yeah.

A: I love it.

B: All right, first of all, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing what you do with us and with our listeners. But before we sign off, could you please tell the people who are listening where they can find you and your work online, where they should be following you on TikTok or on Blue Sky or wherever?

A: Yes, I am on pretty much all social media channels. I am trying to make the shift away from X because it is a terrible place and trying to move, and it supports what I don't love, and I'm trying to move over.

C: I finally had to delete the app from my phone.

A: I know, I know.

C: Because I thought there was, because really I was only on there to find out when video games went on sale.

A: Valid, it's a valid reason. I am a fellow gamer. I'm a cozy gamer though. So I'm a different brand of gamer, but I am a cozy gamer. You can find me on my, you can find me on my Nintendo Switch at all times.

C: You don't know that I'm not a cozy gamer?

A: What?

C: You made an assumption just now.

A: I did, I'm really sorry. I definitely did a sexism.

C: Well, I popped it open and got two ads for Prager U's...

A: No, no, no, no, goodbye.

B: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

C: De-transition video.

B: Throw it in the trash.

A: I don't wanna play with you anymore.

C: And I was like, I'm done. I'm off.

B: Yeah.

A: Yeah, so I am trying to transition over to Blue Sky. It just so happens that, you know, I released a book and so here we are, but I am on TikTok. I am spotty on TikTok sometimes, but I am trying to be more consistent. It is just hard. I do update my website, which is just my name dot com. Not, but literally Just felt like maybe more clear. And so I do update my website with current work, public scholarships, so like this link will go up on there, so on and so forth. And occasionally a blog or two, I will pop on there. So that's me in a nutshell.

B: Nice, well, Dr. Alexiana Fry, it has been an absolute pleasure.

A: Thank you.

B: To have you on Apocrypals as our latest multi-pal. We hope everyone listening checks out your book, checks out your blog, checks out your videos, which I do recommend. Thank you so much for joining us.

A: No, thank you for having me. It's good to be a pal. Can use that whenever you need. Yeah.

B: Yeah, that's going on the promotional material.

A: A little bit, yeah. There you go.

C: [MUSIC: "Friends Forever" by Puffy AmiYumi] A fantastic discussion.

B: Absolutely. I could feel the trauma leaving my body.

C: Speaking of your body, I'm excited for anyone who didn't know that you were 6'6"...

B: Yeah.

C: find out.

B: It's a thing we've said multiple times on the show, but I know people are surprised every time because I know I have the vibes of a smaller person.

C: You really do.

B: Yeah.

C: I feel like I have the vibes of a taller person.

B: Perhaps.

C: A big personality.

B: I couldn't judge because I've known you for so long that I can't picture you how a stranger might picture you. Anyway, also speaking of our bodies, if you would like to help us put food in them, for example, please support our show by going to,, name of the site, slash the name of the show, where you can leave donations of any amount. And you can leave a one-time donation or you can leave a recurring donation. You can set that up and we appreciate it because it is the people who have donated to us that allow us to keep the show going. Things like paying hosting fees, buying various texts, et cetera. You guys get it. Also, it helps us just to coin a phrase, pay those gimmicks that keep sending in the mail called bills. I just invented that just now. I think it will catch on. Chris, what do you think?

C: I don't know why you're doing this. I have been nothing but nice to you.

B: I don't know what you mean.

C: I mean, first of all, I stole it from someone else. So I guess I shouldn't be that upset. That does help us. That helps us to pay Lucas to get the show out. I can tell you if I was still editing the show, it would never come out.

B: Yeah, yeah.

C: And I know some of you are thinking, well, how is that different from normal? Never. Thank you for doing that. If you can support the show monetarily, that is great. If you can't support the show monetarily, then by all means, feel free to just spread the word about the podcast on the social networking site of your choice or by recommending it to a friend, a pal, if you will.

B: That's right.

C: Just walk up to a friend and say, "Hey, are you interested in Bible?" "No?" "Okay, cool. Are you interested in a bunch of dudes talking about Roy Thomas?"

B: And when they say no to that as well, then you can be, "Well, when it's put together, it's better."

[AUDIO: Reese's Peaut Butter Cup commercial "Hey, you put your chocolate in my peanut butter!"]

C: I promise it is better than it sounds.

B: See if that works. Yeah, I don't normally single out people to say thank you to for donors, but I do wanna give a shout out to Brian, you know who you are. Thank you so much for your extremely generous donation that did indeed help me continue to be a human being living indoors in a very real way. So thank you.

C: No thank you from me.

B: Look, his note was, "This money is for Benito who seemed like he especially needs it."

C: Only a thank you from Benito.

B: While you, Chris, are also a worthy person, Benito's need is greater, which there you go. That's true. That's always, always true.

C: I'm just saying, I feel like thanking Brian would be stolen valor on my part.

B: Okay, but anyway, thank you, Brian, for your generous donation that was earmarked specifically for me, Benito. Otherwise, if you're looking for us and you wanna find us online and get various resources and find our various social medias, check out our wiki at That's probably the easiest way. You can find transcripts of various episodes. I know that's an ongoing project with some of our editors, but you can find our social media. You can find the link to the Ko-fi. You can find the link to our merch store, all that stuff. Otherwise, we are pretty much just not using Twitter at all at this point anymore. So please check us out on Blue Sky if you have it. We're at Follow us there, and that's where we'll be posting links to new episodes, and we're gonna try and get back into the swing of posting Bible memes over there as well. So check out the wiki, links to everything there, including the book recommendations from all of our guests, and then check us out on Blue Sky. If you wanna find me in particular, you can also find me on Blue Sky. Find me at, or just search for Benito Cereno and you should find me. I'm also on Patreon, You know, I hope, the kind of stuff that I'm doing, and since we are entering the Christmas season, I do have a new translation project that I'm beginning where I am posting various Latin miracles of St. Nicholas between now and Christmas, taken from various hagiographies.

C: Maybe a good thing to do to talk about on this very show.

B: True, it's a strong possibility. Who knows what might happen next? And yeah, you can now subscribe to my page without being a paying member. You can now buy my writings from the shop without subscribing. You can get an annual subscription at a reduced rate, or you can get a free trial. All these things that I'm trying to do to make my Patreon appealing to you, the listener of this podcast, Apopcrypals. Chris, where can the people find your glorious presence online?

C:, that has links to everything that I do. I'm also on Blue Sky, but don't follow me there. It's just where I go to post panels from Dragon Ball.

B: I mean, that's true.

C: I think maybe a fun bonus episode in the style of your own persona, Jesus, would be me trying to explain how gods work in Dragon Ball to you.

B: Yeah.

C: That could be fun.

B: That could be something.

C: All right, folks, that does it. Thank you once again to Alexiana for joining us for a great discussion. We will be back soon, possibly with Chronicles, possibly with our Christmas episode, since it is the month of December now.

B: Yep.

C: But until then, don't forget, Black Lives Matter.

B: Trans rights are human rights.

C: As are abortion rights.

B: Drag is not a crime.

C: And cops aren't your friends.

B: Free Palestine.

C: For Benito Cereno, I've been Chris Sims. Benito, peace be with you.

B: And also, with you.

[MUSIC: "Friends Forever" by Puffy AmiYumi]