A Prison Story: A Book Both Holy and Unclean

Michael, one of the inmates out at the prison, has been reading Unclean. He's totally fascinated by the psychology of disgust and divinity. It really is a fun psychology to explore. Once you read Unclean you'll see the dynamics at work all over the place. Truly, Unclean will change the way you see the world.

So the last few weeks before our bible study Michael and I have been talking about the psychology at work in Unclean, him sharing with me stories about examples he's stumbled upon or witnessed out at the prison.

For example, last week Michael shared with me a hilarious disgust/divinity paradox the inmates recently encountered.

The precipitating event was this: someone threw up on a bible.

And that created a problem.

On the one hand the vomit ruined the bible, contaminating the book. No one wanted to use it or touch it. The bible was ruined.

So what to do with the bible? Well, throw it away, right?

But that seemed wrong. The bible is a holy and divine object. You can't just throw a bible in the trash.

So the inmates were flummoxed. They didn't know what to do. The bible was ruined, but they couldn't throw it away.

So they just let the bible sit there all day, debating what to do.

"So what happened?" I asked Michael.

"Well, we all went to bed that night and when we woke up, the bible was gone."

The guards we presume disposed of the paradoxical object, a unique relic in the annuals of religious psychology.

An object both holy and unclean.

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