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Showing posts from February, 2009

Peter on Exodus: Part IV

Part I: A Very Differen Book From Genesis Part II: God Becoming God Part III: Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live Part IV: A Graven Image Is Worth A Thousand Words A Graven Image Is Worth A Thousand Words What is a “graven image?” Why are they forbidden, not just in the arcane dictates of the Mosaic Code but front-and center in the Ten Commandments themselves? And, given that, why do so many Christians today and throughout history flat out ignore the commandment? What it says is: You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments. (JPS, Exodus 2

Why Bother With the Bible?

For the past two years (approximately), Peter and I have been, in our own different ways, reading and thinking about the Bible. Our ways are different--Peter says that he is attempting to read the Bible as a writer , and, in order to do justice to the original authors, he works to squirrel out as much information on translations and the evolution of the texts he reads as he can. I don't have much use for that approach. To me, the books of the Bible are much too much like a centuries old game of telephone, and the version that is on any of the printed pages we have tells me little or nothing about the men and women whose ideas may have been the original seed for the words. I just can't bring myself to trust the ideas that far back. As for any original divine intent... lets just say that I find myself comfortably one of those Quakers who regard the Bible as words about God rather than the word of God. But I am reading the Bible, and trying to take it seriously as a body of

Peter on Exodus: Part III

Part I: A Very Differen Book From Genesis Part II: God Becoming God Part III: Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live Part IV: A Graven Image Is Worth A Thousand Words Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live Judy Harrow, a Wiccan author and teacher who has been a friend of mine for many years, took me to task in a comment on my last post for quoting without comment a particularly notorious passage from the Bible: Exodus 22:17 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” There are several reasons why I didn't make a fuss about it. First, and most important, the best way to fight prejudice against Pagans and Witches is to be one, openly, and to be a visibly grounded and decent human being. I am. Second, “proof-texting” in general is a really bad approach to trying to support any argument for anything. I have read a lot of scripture-based arguments in favor of gay rights (for example). Some of them are even convincing. But the Bible has plenty of hate and intolerance in it as

Peter on Exodus: God Becoming God

Part I: A Very Differen Book From Genesis Part II: God Becoming God Part III: Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live Part IV: A Graven Image Is Worth A Thousand Words When I began blogging about Genesis last summer, my plan was to plow thr ough the whole Hebrew Bible, keeping up a lively commentary the whole time. But I’m a slow reader, and every door I open leads onto four or five more corridors that need to be explored. So, my apologies to readers who’ve been waiting with baited breath, but further commentaries on my biblical odyssey will be a bit sporadic. Tonight I’m just back from a weekend workshop on the Hebrew Bible with Quaker author and curmudgeon Dick Kelly . It was interesting, and added a little breadth to what has been a fairly laser-focused study of the Bible so far. Exodus is giving me fewer surprises than Genesis did. Genesis was such a mix of the very familiar and the utterly odd that I had to keep stopping to say, H oly cow! Did you see that? Not s

For the Brigid in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam: Walt Whitman

In honor of Brigid, Lady of purification, creativity, and healing, I offer this favorite poem by one of the best, Walt Whitman. This comes from the preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass : Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul and your very flesh shall be a great poem. Hard words to improve on, in any century. Blessed be. (You can find more poetry in honor of Imbolc at MetaPagan or at Branches Up, Roots Down . It'