Samson, Delilah, Love, and Intimacy (2020)

Well, anyone following this blog knows that I love the Bible Bash podcast. So last night, I was home from traveling and futzing in the kitchen, listening to their latest episode. Well, imagine my surprise when I heard my name as I was coming back to the kitchen from a quick visit to the basement!

The most important thing is that Peterson did an impressive reading of the Samson and Delilah story by putting it in context and teasing out details that are evident, but often overlooked. In that way, it reminds me of how Peterson re-wrote the story of Joseph for many of us.

In this case (as in others), the key is remembering that the characters are operating under an occupation, under a foreign empire. In this case, Peterson notes the surveillance state aspects of the story–that there are always representatives of the occupying state watching nearby. Instead of a story of greed (Delilah), stupidity, and lust (Sansom), it becomes a story of Samson sacrificing himself in order to protect his lover from these outside observers. It’s heartbreaking, really–even before the “bad guys” gouge out his eyes.

I clearly remember this story from a children’s illustrated story book that we had when I was young. Most vicerally, I remember Samson’s white eyes (representing the way he was blinded by the Philistines) as he knocked down the pillars of the temple. In OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance (forthcoming spring 2020), Mycroft Masada talks about their own memories of a children’s Bible and how their love of the stories endured even after their awareness of complexity expanded. These simplified stories are powerful, early influences (for better or worse).

However, the story as Peterson tells it might not be as G-rated as I remember it. After all, Delilah repeatedly ties up her lover. We imagine this is non-consensual, but adults will be adulting and it makes more sense that this was a kind of sensuous play, since it happened repeatedly with the Philistines interrupting every time.

Much is made of the reward offered to Delilah. The children’s version also doesn’t suggest that there may have been threats waiting for Delilah if she did not cooperate with these observers. Thinking about star-crossed lovers trying (and failing) to make a way together when the system is constructed to tear you apart you speaks to a particular kind of intimacy which includes many unspoken truths.

So I recommend this episode, but not only because Liam shares from the opening prologue of his forthcoming book, Trans-Forming Proclamation! In addition to being a fan, I am Liam’s editor under the banner of OtherWise Engaged Publishing. This Bible Bash episode is a real tease, because I haven’t rolled out anything more than the title in terms of announcing our work together. The subtitle isn’t even finalized yet. So in this episode of the Bible Bash podcast, Liam reads his own poem–To Tell You Everything–which (is expected to) open and set the tone for his book. Exciting!!

Beyond the OtherWise Christian series and the OtherWise Reflection Guide series, I now have 6 more independent projects underway, in various stages of development! Stayed tuned for a lot more amazing content from extraordinary OtherWise-gendered folk! Not just me!

In Remembrance of Me, Bearing Witness to Transgender Tragedy: An OtherWise Reflection Guide should be available by Valentine’s Day (2020)! It includes material from Louis Mitchell, Alexx Anderson, J Vu Mai, RJ Robles, Dee Dee Watters, and Tammerie Day.

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on February 3, 2020.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have additions, corrections, or concerns.

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