From Stone to Living Word

Letting the Bible Live Again

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Christians have viewed the Bible in various ways: as a map to follow, an instruction manual for life, a moral code to live by. It's been called a firm foundation, a sword, a rock.

But what if the Bible is more like an octopus than a rock? What if it's wild, unpredictable, and unmanageable?

In From Stone to Living Word, author and pastor Debbie Blue shows how Christians have treated the Bible as a firm foundation--and thus an idol--rather than a "living response to a living being."

In the opening chapters of the book, Blue shows how Christians read and preach in ways that lean toward idolatry. Then she sets out to dismantle this tendency by interpreting important biblical themes such as creation, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection in a new way. Her reflections transform the familiar into something strange, new, thrilling, and alive.

In a world where idols are used to divide and oppress, Blue's recognition of the tendency to idolize the Bible frees Christians from preconceived notions, allowing them instead to discover new possibilities.

Blue's fresh and sharp insights will appeal to everyone from those who find the Bible irrelevant or suspect to those who are looking for a way to make their faith alive. Her winsome, honest, and often amusing writing captivates and inspires.



"From Stone to Living Word is a brilliant and dazzling book that invites us to read scripture with renewed wonder, curiosity, rigor, and imagination. In a literary voice that is at once lyrical, earthy, and smart, Debbie Blue writes with a generosity of spirit, humor, humility, and clarity about a topic that is so often fraught with technical debates and controversy. In this intensely readable book, Blue calls us beyond mere intellectual engagement with text to encounter the present reality of the living God."--Mark Scandrette, author of Soul Graffiti

"For many, scripture is the fossilized detritus of rationalism and moralism. Debbie Blue's soulful reconstitution of the Christ narrative is nothing short of divine alchemy. Absolutely brilliant."--Sally Morgenthaler, coauthor of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope

"First off, it must be said without equivocation: Debbie Blue is a brilliant writer. She masterfully and winsomely weaves the sublime and the mundane, the stones and the living words. And we can all count ourselves blessed that she has turned her literary talents on the Bible, that tome that many of us feel attracted to and repelled by at the same time. Debbie Blue will help you fall in love with the Bible (again). If you long for living words, read this book!"--Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

The Author

  1. Debbie Blue

    Debbie Blue

    Debbie Blue is a founding pastor of House of Mercy (HOM) in St. Paul, Minnesota. HOM is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA and is committed to the diverse and rich theology and worship of the Christian church, worldwide and historical. A...

    Continue reading about Debbie Blue


"In this rich and satisfying study, [Blue] draws from both her own life's journey, and from the stories of those to whom she ministers, to explore some of the better-known biblical accounts in a new way, enabling the casual reader to find value in a book that some consider filled with fables and morality tales. Indeed, Blue displays not just knowledge of the book, but an intimacy with its underlying meaning. Her prose is clear and precise, written for the lay reader who is interested in many of the questions raised by the emerging church movement."--Publishers Weekly

"Blue's Bible is radically alive, subject to provisional and vital interpretation, and constantly changing in the face of close engagement. . . . What Blue is arguing for is a revitalization of biblical reading, one that allows multiple and conflicting interpretations, a tolerance of ambiguity, and a willingness to be broken open by the transforming power of a loving relationship with a text that refuses to be contained. Along the way Blue explores key biblical passages and relates them to current societal ills, such as the politics of division, overarching consumerism, and fear-driven nationalism. Her style is largely conversational [and] sometimes humorous. . . . She is well-read and passionate about her message. From Stone to Living Word is a passionate plea for a living relationship with a living text."--Mark Smith, ForeWord

"[Blue] takes well-known biblical passages from both testaments . . . and offers lively and perceptive commentaries that appeal to the modern believer. Using examples from her personal life, her relationship to the members of her church, and other everyday occurrences, she relates the Gospel message to contemporary life, coming across as one who is open to continually discovering new ways of seeing the Scriptures and of sharing her enthusiasm for them. Blue prefers the bread metaphor--something living and organic--to the rock metaphor. Not afraid to use surprising images to get her point across, Blue wants the Scriptures to speak to people afresh, and in this she succeeds admirably. Highly recommended for all religion collections."--Augustine J. Curley, Library Journal

"Debbie Blue . . . gives the pews a firm, friendly shake in her rollicking study of the Bible. . . . From Stone to Living Word is a midrash-like journey through a selection of potent biblical passages that, far from 'taming and knotting and noosing,' expands and unfurls the text. In a voice tinged with a delightful colloquial quirkiness, Blue teases out the rich metaphors and 'weirdness' of stories."--Image Update

"Sometimes funny, frequently irreverent and consistently thoughtful, Debbie Blue . . . presents a solid introduction to a method of reading scripture that invites ongoing investigation of basic theological concepts and questions. . . . From Stone to Living Word is the work of a serious observer of scripture at earnest play. Blue does not plunge in alone but takes with her the works of other theologians, philosophers and observers of the human/sacred encounter. While her work is inviting to readers just beginning to ask serious questions about God and God's intentions toward humanity, it is not a dumbed-down, just-the-highlights introduction to theology. It is intended to shake up readers, just as Blue is shaken up whenever she encounters the text that points toward, rather than encloses, the 'radically alive, relentlessly loving, having-nothing-to-do-with-death God.'"--Anitra Kitts, Christian Century

"With dazzling insight, compassion, and brilliant prose, Blue reminds liberal and conservative Christians alike that the Bible is God's witness, not his tomb. This book puts her among the best spiritual writers now at work."--Phil Christman Jr., Banner

"Provocative. . . . Blue embraces rather than downplays the Bible's tendency toward the complicated, cryptic, and paradoxical. She seeks to revel in the text's vivacious wildness, not tame it. Also crucial is Blue's attraction to rabbinic Midrash, which she appreciates for its emphasis on subjective, heterogeneous interpretation. Her biblical reading resists the reductiveness and finalizing of doctrinal nailing-down. . . . One of her many gifts is an uncanny ability to be at once dense in content and light in tone, to be breezily conversational even in her most learned, heavily footnoted moments. . . . Short pieces on individual texts . . . offer startlingly fresh insights into both the text and Blue's broader themes. . . . Her formidable talents make for delightful and edifying reading, if also sprawling and challenging. Reflecting the greater book that inspired it, Blue's book bursts untidily with wisdom and life."--Steve Thorngate, Sojourners

"The author uses many personal experiences to prove her case against the use of bibliolatry and delves into a wonderful new interpretation of how the Bible is meant to be read and understood. While many Christians believe their studies of the Bible are meant to inspire and enrich, usually the opposite occurs as they become familiar with the teachings. . . . This [book offers] a great analysis in overcoming this misconception that the Bible is predictable and outdated. I recommend this book for anyone who has struggled in keeping God's Word alive in his or her life, which I am sure applies to everyone. This is also a great book for any age group and a wonderful devotional tool in any church setting."--Heather Schultz,