Reading Scripture through the Lens of Trauma and Poverty in Brazil (Caio Peres)

How does our social location affect the way we read the Bible and worship? For the ancient Israelites, who lived in a subsistence-level agrarian society, the Torah, worship in the temple, daily work, and social justice were intimately intertwined. Scripture resists our urge to separate the sacred from the secular, our worship of God from our treatment of those around us.

For Caio Peres, an independent researcher and missionary, the daily realities of trauma and poverty in Brazil provide a lens through which to view Scripture’s concern for social flourishing. Caio holds an MA in Theology and Religious Studies from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and strives not just to work for or with the impoverished in his community, but to share life with them. In this episode, he discusses the culture of ancient Israel, the motifs of sacrifice in the Torah and New Testaments, and the connection the biblical authors draw between worship in the Tabernacle and the structure of the cosmos. He concludes with thoughts on addressing trauma through living alongside people, understanding their experiences, and sharing their embodied reality via Christian rituals.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Ordinary life and worshipping God
  • 3:20 The Torah’s lack of a sacred/secular divide
  • 8:18 Sacrificial motifs in the New Testament
  • 14:00 Practicing biblical theology in Brazil
  • 19:20 Living with people in extreme poverty in Brazil
  • 22:47 How Christians should address trauma
  • 26:41 Our social location and how we read the Bible

Articles Caio has written for The Biblical Mind:

Family Conflicts and the Restoration of the Cosmos, Part I: Morality amid Oppression and Humility (available in Portuguese)

Family Conflicts and the Restoration of the Cosmos, Part II: Kingship and Servanthood within the Elected Family (available in Portuguese)

Show notes by Micah Long.

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