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Every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon a part of Scripture that’s unexpected. Whether is something weird, gross, off-color, or something else—and there’s a lot to be seen—it’ll make me sit back and contemplate for a few moments about collecting, collating, and commenting on all these weird areas of the Bible. Turns out that Luke T. Harrington beat me to the task. Stemming from a viral Cracked.com article, Harrington’s take on the weird things from Bible ended up in a book called Murder-Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem. So of course I had to get Luke on the line to talk about it.
The Interview | Luke T. Harrington
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: So this is just about the perfect title for a book like this. Tell me a bit about how you workshopped it.
Luke T. Harrington: Well, gosh, how much how much of the history of this book do you want to know? Because this stretches back seven years…
Josh Olds: Ok, let’s do this. How did this book come to be?
Luke T. Harrington: Okay, sure. Yeah. This is way back in the fall of 2013…I wrote a piece for Cracked.com. I don’t know if you know, Cracked was a humorous website. They are not really worth reading anymore…
Josh Olds: Yeah, 2013 was pretty much the tail end of their success.
Luke T. Harrington: They’re basically a different site now. But anyway, back when they were still sort of good, I wrote a piece for them that was called “Six filthy jokes you won’t believe are from the Bible.” And, yeah, it kind of just blew up for a couple of days…And what happened was a book packager reached out to me and they said “Hey, why don’t you expand that into a book?” And the title they gave me at the time…Can I curse on the show?
Josh Olds: …uh…first I’ve been asked that. Pretty sure we’re marked as clean on Apple Podcasts, so let’s say no.”
Luke T. Harrington: Alright. Well. The title they had was Holy S-H-…you get the idea. So holy S word: The Dirtiest Bits in the Bible. That was their title for it. But they never sold it… But I finally finally successfully pitched it to HarperCollins Christian Publishing, who’s now publishing an under their W imprint and we workshopped the title to Murder-Bears, Moonshine and Mayhem.
The Book | Murder-Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem
Approximately 80 percent of Americans admit they haven’t read the Bible. If they did, they’d be pleasantly surprised by its impressive quantity of sex and poop jokes.
David danced naked. Noah was basically a moonshining hillbilly. Ezekiel baked poop bread. Herod was eaten by worms. Jesus cursed a fig tree, just to prove he could. Mark went streaking. Hosea married a prostitute. Lot was date-raped by his own daughters.
It turns out, there’s a lot of weird stuff in the Bible. Murder-Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem is a funny look at some of the stranger tales in the Bible. From Elisha, who loosed homicidal bears on some kids because they called him bald (it’s a long story), to the story of Ehud, who gets away with assassinating a tyrannical king because his servants think said king is taking a dump (also a long story), this book examines and casts new light on some of the Bible’s stranger moments.
Organized by topic (poop, genitalia, weird violence, prostitution, gratuitous nudity, seemingly pointless miracles, and other fun stuff), Murder-Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem is a thoroughly researched (really!), reverent, and insightful look at the amazing book at the center of our faith.
The Author | Luke T. Harrington
Luke T. Harrington is the only boy who could ever reach you. He’s the son of a preacher man. He’s also a humorist, podcaster, and award-winning novelist. His debut novel, OPHELIA, ALIVE (A GHOST STORY) won a 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award, and his other work has appeared in publications like BuzzFeed, Cracked, and Christianity Today. His nonfiction debut, MURDER-BEARS, MOONSHINE, AND MAYHEM: STRANGE STORIES FROM THE BIBLE TO LEAVE YOU CONFUSED AND UNCOMFORTABLE, will be out from HarperCollins in 2020. Other projects include Project CoNarrative, a collaborative multimedia experiment with bestselling author K.B. Hoyle, and CHANGED MY MIND WITH LUKE T. HARRINGTON, his podcast where he interviews people who have changed their minds about big, important things. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, two daughters, and a yippy doggo.