Archive for the ‘Abrahamic religions’ Tag
Ishmael. After the forced relocations. Taking it personally – the crime, in the family. The narrator never points out the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence. If you knew them all so personally. Until there developed a fear, perhaps out of being forced out. And then the coverups, in the tradition of mystery.
Behold a narrator who brought you there: Passover is the story of being saved from death. Or is it the story of saving, after being saved? When Exodus – the leaving – follows Passover. And does the “serving” stay with the one-time slaves / hand-maids? How is that same variation on a theme – Judas and Imitations of Attachment – present in the story of Exodus? Just as for Ishmael, to be written out of the story, there is The Great Unsettling for the Narrator when you are not being counted any longer in the family.
The Great Unsettling emotion with Passover is over-coming a fear of death. For people who had come out of slavery. When the Great Commandment was to know, to love, and then to SERVE ….. God. The threat in the story of Passover – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence – is seen when your first born son is lost. The inheritance was in The Call. To banish Ishmael,your half Egyptian son – your son who was born a slave.
The Call. Like when Abraham had left his own home behind in The Call, so his first born son, Ishmael. When you were born into something, so often the power of God remains to be seen. Like what he too had been born into, but left behind. And so the Exile of Hagar and son, in another Great Unsettling. Compare the banishment of the first born son of Abraham to Exodus. When Moses freely chose to lead the Israelites into exile.
And somehow the distortion of the great emotion with Passover, if you DID overcome the fear of death, involved suicide. Or in the case of yesterday’s news out of Brussels, mass killing in these imitations of attachment. If suicide is ever the answer, you never really recognized true love. If you do not really know Someone – if you got caught up in issues of power – did you ever want to serve …. in this Creation? When you carry only imitations of love, because of what you are born into? The horror back in Egypt, in the house of the Pharaoh, on the night of Passover, was that same horror for those who actually had come to know Judas – those who did believe and love, together. But those who never, under the Romans, really shared a homeland, with the goal of serving if not your own, the stranger.
The Spirit. The one revealed to Abraham. The one revealed to Moses. The meaning of Passover, again, is this great unsettling. When you are born a slave? That every day identity of a handmaid or a slave, who could not escape being enslaved to the earth, by the sweat of their brow. Twenty-four hours a day. With your children being sold out from under you. So the need to get your own place to worship your very own One God. So note from betrayal after Joseph had saved the Egyptians – so much like Hagar had saved Sarah and Abraham from extinction by delivering their first born son – these people of Egypt. Even though the son – Ishmael – seemed rejected one day by the mother, Sarah. Or who most thought was her true mother? And wasn’t this the same story? God was going to reveal what exactly happens when a perfect Son is sacrificed, and the Church and the State will not rescue who Pilate heard was the King of the Jews. After Joseph, the son of Jacob, had saved the Egyptians, this son of Joseph was gonna save all the world in this Passover! When sons always look at the end like their fathers, God was going to reveal what His fertility and Resurrection is all about. To those who had come to know him. To those who had come to love him. Like the Joseph who came forward to claim the body. AND those willing now to serve him. Yes, formed in his likeness, God was going to seat the Messiah at his right-hand. And there is a humility coming to know your ancestors.
In a story of the people with power and the underlying fear of Insurrection, who was Judas? And how did John the Evangelist – he was not the Apostle John – know of the exchange of the thirty pieces of silver? When there was so much confusion for all who had lived through that night . . . of Passover. Did you ever compare Peter’s betrayal to Judas’? What had been this fatal flaw of Judas but his anger over what he had been born into? In what is now called the Holy Land? And as far as this tradition of antisemitism in history, why didn’t Christians feel the same way to Peter, James and John – or to mother Mary for that matter – as they do to Judas?
” Called.” With suicide comes the reflection of blame. Where is God’s Mercy for Judas? Didn’t God need Judas in this story of The Passion? How did Judas fail to love, as the others eleven seemed to have? He had never been one of the special three taken up the mountain at the time of the Transfiguration. His calling is not even recorded in the Gospels, other than a suggestion in the Gospel of John that Judas had the money bag that paid for the Last Supper. It is as if the writers had no feeling for Judas. So what had been the cause of the Crucifixion? Isn’t the cause part of God’s plan, in salvation history?
So there was this imitations of attachment, for three years? For three whole years. Did you ever compared the identity of Judas to the other Eleven. Judas selected by Jesus. And Judas also choose to become a follower. Behold the relation to follow to an updated Call, like the Apostles all would be called to leave, like Abraham. Home. Only unlike Abraham, Judas was not ready to be moved. And only thirty pieces of silver – symbolic of purity, strength, clarity, focus and TRUTH – were to blame? Or was it his perception of belonging to the Holy Land? To Israel? Whoever thought a Jew had a part to change the world, in a LAND and a place when inequality threatened stability? Was Judas like Barabbas, a threat to the Romans? Taking it personally – in the family – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence. So the thirty pieces of silver. The scene that I envisioned, after the Seder on Holy Thursday, was like at a cemetery, with the ghosts of the first born sons. Without the currency but the spirituality of silver. Born into a currency, in what you carried with you? Into the Garden. So why should ONE currency prevail over all others? As inequality threatens stability, why silver and not Roman currency, like what Jesus once had asked whose face was on the coin? Did you ever consider why in the story, the price was measured in silver, this invisible currency? Note all the invisible threats in The Passion – the systemic threats to God. With either the lightness of God’s Presence or as a burden, as my God is compared to your God? If you ever lived through currency wars. And the leaven in the story? In the advent before Passover, when observant Jews remove all the leaven from their home if not their homeland … To become unburdened. Blood on the doorpost. Behold a hacked interior Spirit? This identity of Judas had been hacked, if you compared his identity to the other Eleven. Judas could not escape his pride living in the soon to be called “The Holy Land.” Judas mostly loved his homeland, in a world not so split between Church and State. So a narrator who brought you to an oppressed nation living under slavery, or just under the dominion of the Romans …. did you hear the anguish manner of sincere Jewish prayer? “Favor us, oh Lord! Keep us from the strangers’ ways….oh hear our Sabbath prayer.” .
Behold the Agony in the Passover Prayer! This Year! “Where is the lamb?” From out of the anger when you don’t belong – in an oppressed nation living under slavery – to direct that anger at others who had that same sense . . . like the refugee. As you voluntarily leave the PLACE and what you were born into. As you sacrifice – a creation process in its own right – for others. When you grow a Spirit, through a tooling for remaking. Behold the Agony in the Garden! With a spotlight on an invisible Presence … in this God of Abraham. When you, like Hagar, like Ishmael, are left with nothing. But Spiritual growth.
The Great Unsettling for the Narrator is not being counted any longer in the family. Afterwards. What he too had been born into, but left behind – the son of Mary and the son, the world thought, of Joseph. The Law could not, to the great disappointment to Peter that night, save him – The First Born – again. And the chief priest could not. No, The Law was not going to save the Victim this time. The Law that was given in Exodus. It was the Law that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Paradise, in the beginning. This one Apple law. What a ridiculous law! This time the Father was not on the surface going to save his son, through the law and Pontius Pilate. And the Church officials in the way of the chief priest were surely not gonna save him. Instead Jesus was going to die.
In the September 11th of its day, Passover. In the September 11th of its day, the Akedah. In the September 11th of its day, leaving home, accompanying her husband from Haran to Canaan, as Sarah had. In the beginning. And so the leaving and the come-back stories, with the change beyond imitations of attachment to one of union based upon true love. In what is mostly a love story, of saving after being saved, and leaving to teach the world. In a story of another Great Comeback, after a son leaves again, does the “serving” stay with these one-time slaves / hand-maids?
So there is the betrayal by Judas, compared to Peter’s denial? Note the different understanding? One Apostle took action and the other ran away in a different dimension of sell-outs of a beloved. So Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah? With the emotions connected to love, if there was a true love rather than an imitation of attachment, did Peter? To deny knowing him, after three years. When Pilate recognized something in the way of power, in this Messiah, Pilate came the closest to understanding the power of God in this story. In the way of fatal flaws, Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah which led him to act on behalf of the Land in the story? His emotional response was related to overcoming the fear of death of the Land. Or overcoming the death of the Spirit in this Land? Based upon what you had been taught? Based upon your own expectations, connected to belonging? Had that Passover been like living through another refugee crisis, like the First Passover? When the slaves seemed to be taking over the place? So his fatal flaw was related to Spirit missing ….or was this fatal flaw of Judas, like in the midst of that first Passover, having just no understanding of what was happening — maybe much like the other eleven?
I am not sure how many would understand the sacrifice – over what had driven the sacrifice of The Akedah – but the same fatal flaw of Abraham? Out of love for his wife, he had a son. But he did not love the mother of his son as much as he did the mother of his second son? And he was not supposed to have any feeling for her? So how did this affect their son – what had made Ishmael so different? I am not sure how many would understand this son. Behold the community standard which contributed to the fatal flaw of Abraham, that led to The Akedah! When all along the difference about Abraham had been his detachment from the LAND. But how could you remain detached when you had a son, whose mother you did not love? And how would a father ‘s detachment from the LAND affect the son’s detachment from the world?
Behold the same great internal divide. So how would a son’s detachment from the LAND affect these relationships based upon divine love? For Judas …. who loved the LAND with TOO much feeling. Dayenu! Behold the “Dayenu” in the story of the Promise Land, in the story of Passover, in the story of The Passion.
“Forgive us!” What did you hear in the Lord’s Prayer? That Kaddish prayer is the “Our Father” prayer, with the plea to “deliver us from evil.” Give us our bread, unleavened, that we might rise again some day. Like the Irish celebrate 100 years this Easter. Of the Uprising. With the loss of innocent life.
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Daily Reflection Creighton Online Ministries
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Ecce ancílla! Behold the Handmaid … of the Lord!
In every story of the Hebrew Bible there is, when Abraham’s descendants are involved, the looking back. Like either for Lot’s nameless wife or Noah’s nameless wife. After all of the nameless received names.
Had you watched the news-clips this week from Macedonia or Hungary, and next week from Germany? In times of annihilation, as these sheep are willing to get branded by Church and/or State, in order to be saved. And note the earth in the story, in drought, in famine …. or even in times of plenty, but with winter not that far away. Behold the nameless in the story, carrying the Fear of the Lord with you, like perhaps the descendants of Ishmael these days? With no emotional attachment to you, these Muslims expected to be saved with welcome – maybe like Egypt once extended that kind of hospitality to Jacob & Sons? Only this time in Europe? Did you still feel the themes in these stories as a character is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence? Or just turned away? Would you put some trust going in, in your God? Did you work at knowing your God through stories, in the movement in the story toward growth?
In the story of Jacob, all the characters had names in order to peel away the layers— the essential truth, like in the book, The Boys in the Boat. Note a leaving and the “Looking back.” The moving forward, but coming back to the same themes about leaving again. When what happens in the boat is like “the chase scene” at the end, with suspense? That suspense is the reason to write – in the way of immersion – a book, for the roar of the gathered spectators.
The crowd. When Abraham’s descendants are involved, there is the looking back, like for Lot’s wife … to find not only the meaning, but the connection to the past, with the concern about the missing or a lost inheritance – or just the missing. Looking back, moving forward, but coming back to the same themes about leaving again. And so the focus on The Relationship – The True Relationship – connected to love.
So instead of remembering, the goal was to really come to know. For each of these characters of the Book of Genesis, there is The Call, in relation to Church and/or State. “Not by Might. Not by power.”
In the movement in the story, toward growth, a child doesn’t even KNOW how she/he were formed…or how I was created. So at what age do you explain? And how do you explain to the children of emigrants who left it all behind, living in exile – as a child of exile? Did you ever note until he is no longer heard from, how Reuben worked to stay immersed in what he had been born into? With the Birth Right. When his own father thought he had lost it?
“….by Spirit alone.”
Feel The MOVEMENT in the story, with the conflict, the tension. “There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot…” And now again. For Abram, as for Terah, even as for Lot in stories as over and over a father finds salvation through his son. And so the revised arrangement? Did you note the CALL, in this part of the story …. like the CALL that Abram once had answered, in the CALL in the story of Jacob? Did you look around at this part of the story for an answer to the “Where is the lamb?” question? As Jacob, like any nomad, feeling their alienation, while leading his sons to a place where they might belong? Real people have to decide how to rebuild lives, in relationships, after the one you loved the most had died. Or went missing, for a while.
Immigrants. Living with the vow of Covenant every day, with the emotional attachment connected to any living sacrifice, as God has a more recognizable name, to the crowd and so did these people. When Rachel died, did Jacob slight his primary wife left behind in the eyes of Reuben? His mother, Leah? Artlessly, slight her? Reuben’s action with the handmaid of Rachel in the rivalry between two sisters, on issues of closeness to Jacob were meant to challenge his father, with the Birth Right? To only over time, in renewing vows, come to know what the vow really meant.
“God from God, light from light, True God from True God.” Rowing blind into the future, with only a Spiritual guide of the one up front, as Art becomes worth dying for. Like in the book, The Boys in the Boat, this BOAT ends up representing a lot more than their individual lives. Thus after the tear, for what we had become TOGETHER, to take half-measures, again. Or half-wives.
Emigrants. What of the Post Traumatic Stress Disordering of Isaac and his God? What of the authority of a father, Abraham and the God of Abraham? Locate the denial and the fear in the life of Jacob which motivated him to get away again … this time from Laban, as he denied the authority of Laban and his gods over Jacob. Wasn’t that the resentment that Jacob had lived with, between his own mother and his father over what was not perceived to be an equality in the God of Abraham? And Jacob’s real birthright was in leaving, so much like Abram had left his home. And for each of the protagonists of the Book of Genesis, there is The Call, in relation to the Land with the invisible borders of “Church and State,” on issues of power and might.
Settle down! In stories about leaving and coming back, feel the Restlessness. Central to the stories in the Book of Genesis is the theme of barren versus fertile, with the Jewish theme of ENOUGH when compared to the theme of sacrifice, with Joseph – the 12th child. Wasn’t there enough? Jacob with all of these sons, as well as these earthen vessels called handmaids who raised the sons of Jacob. And it had been these sons of Jacob who had elected to sacrifice the first born son of Rachel, the woman Jacob truly loved. And because Joseph as well as Benjamin were raised by a handmaid, who better had a feeling for the land, if the theory held that Bilah, like Hagar, was Egyptian …or her sister, Zilpah, the handmaid of Leah? And especially in such a household, with a greater need for a handmaid than Sarah ever had, you would as a son of Jacob, authentically know these handmaids associated with fertility in the Hebrew Bible; a handmaid is a female slave, enslaved to the wife and mistresses to the husband – in the case of both Abraham and Jacob.
Ahotay was the father of both Bilhah and Zilpah, who had been taken into captivity. In setting this captive free, it is said that Laban (Rebekah’s brother) gave him a wife named Hannah. Their two daughters included the woman Zilpah who was part of the hoodwinking in the marriage of Leah, presented as the younger of the two Ahotay daughters as a handmaid. Zilpah’s older sister was Bihah who had later been given as a handmaid to Rachel by Laban and then given by Rachel to Jacob when she failed to conceive. After Leah had four sons, Zilpah had twin sons conceived with Jacob. Bilhah too had twin sons conceived with Jacob. Leah and Rachel – unlike Sarah – were each to claim the two sons as her own. However, without the wisdom of Sarah, the rivalry between two sisters carried over in the relationships of all of the sons of Jacob, in the “be careful for what you pray” lesson. So based upon the story, could you really ever believe that Laban had set this captive Ahotay free? And so the inheritance for all the sons of Jacob, with the battle over Laban’s notion of what “Set free” meant.
The arrangement. Pilegesh is recognized by some as an Aramaic word meaning “half-wife,” in reference to handmaids. So as a son of Jacob you would know intimately the rivalry between sisters, as developed between rival sons. Compare what was happening to this generation to the previous stories with the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. When your wife in one perspective, or your mother in another perspective, is gone. So compare Rachel to Hagar, as the mother of these half-slaves. There is all of this holiness associated with the members of the household of Jacob, yet no one knew that a woman born to be a handmaid desired to both love and be loved by one man? Like you might look for One God? And what of the jealousy based on fertility of the two sisters, in the often overlooked theme of barren versus fertile? Or on the issue of ENOUGH?
From age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living G*d, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living G*d. It had been Sarah who asked for the banishment of her handmaid and her son. Why? The real Jewish theme, again and again in the Hebrew Bible, is one of annihilation, with all of these confounded separations in the stories of FIRSTS, in the Book of Genesis. So as Ishmael does get divorced from his father, what about the birth right? And with this separation, note the speed of departure, walking away at godspeed, described for any descendant of a nomad, to be at three miles per hour – not at the pace of a music video with a missing real emotional attachment. There was this lost emotional attachment …. In the perspective of the created. The blessed kids with their fears and the blessed anger which comes out from intimacy. On issues of power, when a divorce was what happened when a partner refused “the other” power over me. Maybe too much like the perspective of a child, as you clearly had made a mistake and you wanted to deny a portion of your past. Or your brothers did? When you were not equal. And the conflict here was between Sarah and her handmaid who were not, in this relationship, equal, as the first born was dispossessed of the Birth Right? In this family that believed in Birth Right. And the perceived inequality in this family was based then upon who their mother was.
The visible and the invisible. Forming the context as God’s Chosen People, did you feel the themes in these stories as a character is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence: 1) Adam and Eve, with their banishment? 2) The rest of the world, except for Noah and his family, at the time of the Great Flood? 3) Isaac on Mount Moriah? 4) And Ishmael in his very same Akedah moment on Mount Moriah thirteen years earlier, per the Qoran. 5) In the story of Reuben, the first born is dispossessed of the Birth Right again. And when your very own existence seems threatened, you turned to God? On matters of Atonement? After you sold someone into slavery?
According to Wikipedia, a pilegesh was recognized among the ancient Hebrews to have the same rights enjoyed in the house as the legitimate wife. But there was the conflict between the internal world and the external one, as far as strife. In who was Truly part of this family. With regard to social and legal standing – in the caste, in a world where shepherds were the lowest of the low – who were these sons of Bilhah? Bilah had been given to Rachel upon the marriage to Jacob, by Rachel’s father. So on issues of saving and being saved, on issues of slavery, what had Bilah taught the young men in their formative years – Dan and Naphtali, to whom she had given birth before Rachel ever did to Joseph?
And in relation to true purity, how can you forget the vexation and deception in the marriage of Leah to Jacob which seemed the inheritance that came from Rebekah’s family, now belonging as much to the sons of Jacob who are made up of the same percentage of blood from Laban that Isaac had had from Abraham? When you always married the eldest daughter off first – in the ordering, in the system within the house of Laban.
“Taking a chance on me.” Was Jacob looking for a place of peace when he left the homestead of his father? The irony was that this disrupted place was where he landed – in the homestead of his mother. Why do you think that in the relationship of Rebekah as an aunt to Rachel, his mother had left there in the first place, while facing the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence?
And with the hoodwinking of Isaac by Jacob, the hoodwinking of Jacob by Laban, what kind of sons did you expect Jacob to have? Having fallen for your mother’s niece like Abram fell for his half-sister …Jacob and so the sons of Jacob, hoodwinking their father for twenty-some years.
When you were raised by your mother’s handmaid, when you heard your half-brothers’ jokes about being slaves, did this rivalry teach you humility? Or did you grasp all of the resentment in the story?
And so another handmaid in the story. Displaced by the Fear of the Lord, Jacob’s two beloved sons of Rachel had to contend in the world, as their mother was gone from their everyday life. So locate the missing in the story, in the lives of Rachel’s sons. What is missing is the mother, with the system substitution of the handmaid raising them – in contrast to how Sarah had banished her own handmaid – with still the ghosts of ingratitude toward Hagar’s sacrifice. So the ghost in this story is the mother of Joseph who neither Benjamin nor Joseph had ever really come to know, except through her handmaid.
Note the missing relation, if the chronology in the movement of the stories representing some form of growth – as a son came to save a father? — the inequality which threatened stability, based upon the PLACE and TIME that the two youngest were born into, with the displaced ghost of Rachel. And so, in their beginning, being sold into slavery, in the early story, a son is faced with being reduced to utter non-existence. Behold Joseph! Were you sensitive enough to the chronology over a lifetime to realize there was a significant period of time when Joseph never knew for sure – with his human doubts – whether he and his brother would survive? Even with his gift of prophecy. Because if your mother had not survived, why would you ever?
The all-knowing story-teller, working for The Academy of Private Detection, before answering the question whether the G*d of Jacob would live through and/or beyond Joseph, had some exploring to do in stories about leaving and coming back. And note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen. This was the very same human condition, as seen at Sodom in the threat as everyone comes to think alike, when everyone does something the same way. Even like prayer? So on matters of sacrificing Joseph, what was the big deal, with so many other sons? Banished by his own brothers, into slavery. And then the growing set of circumstances, over twenty-some years, as Jacob and all of his sons are faced with being reduced to utter non-existence by famine, along with all of Egypt. And what had Joseph learned that allowed him to save everyone? Or was it the God of Jacob that saved them all?
And so the story of Joseph, in what preceded him. In the relation of God’s Will to an inheritance which had come down from Abraham, did you feel like half a son when your mother is gone? And the sons of Jacob thought that Joseph was gone for good, like his mother Rachel? So Joseph surely came to understand all the turmoil among his brothers.
Before Joseph had ever reached the age of reason, there had been the rape of Dinah which was followed by the adultery of Reuben with the concubine of Jacob. If, on issues of relationships and ownership and handmaids and slaves, Abraham’s concern had been focused on issues of purity, wasn’t sex with a handmaid either rape of “adultery?” As any rape was the wrongful attempt to show dominion over someone – in times of war, over a place, what if you owned someone? In the transition period, as Jacob’s sons became men is the context, after the sons of Jacob/Leah had rejected the proposal for an arranged marriage to Shechem, with their concern, fifteen or sixteen years before, about illicit relationships? And the focus has changed from Jacob to that of his sons, on issues over who was most pure.
Yes, how the sons humbled Jacob, per these stories, with the missing emotional attachment before recognizing the System Substitutions, with this next generation. What is invisibly carried with the change in creation? In the challenge of modern times, the same unfinished incomplete invisible condition is over the conflict between the affiliated and the unaffiliated. In the quiet conversion called family, among uncles and nephews, over keeping a separation … or over growth … or over the distinctions between their animals — which came out of knowing – note Reuben as the firstborn son, with more than the same rights in this household? And there was an incredible main difference – perhaps like the age difference between Reuben and Joseph … or like between a handmaid in the concubine and a wife — was that the handmaid as concubine did not have an inheritance or a dowry. So this sequel to the story of the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac continued to be one of inheritance. And if, as a reader, you happened to be Muslim, did you note the same basic conflict had been between Hagar and Sarah? And all of these stories passed down since the time of Abraham – including what was to come, as King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines – involved a loving God, in the conflict over issues of who was most pure.
Now if you believed what is said according to Wikipedia – as it was regarded as the highest blessing to have many children, legitimate wives often gave their maids to their husbands to ATONE, at least in part, if they were barren – the main themes here are both somehow atonement and who it was who was able to first have an inheritance or a dowry, and then pass it down to the next generation. So is it the greatest of all irony that the dowry becomes that of slavery? And in the eyes of Ishmael, would you add the word “AGAIN.”?
The irony that Eve and Adam were displaced comes close to that of humor, unless you had some emotional attachment to these people. And in any family there are the differences in age between the eldest and the youngest, as well as the level of emotional attachment. Now according to Wikipedia – I am not Jewish so I have never read this myself – concubines are severely condemned in the Book of Leviticus. The simple truth is a human relationship was going to fail, if the women was not equal to the male. And it is the emotional attachment that I get from reading the Book of Genesis involving real people – people from whom I have descended – that gives my own relationships , human and divine, such depth.
And had it been because what Joseph had come to know through being around Bilah, who he had come to love as a mother? I sent an email to a friend of mine who now lives in New York City that a childhood friend of his lost his mother this week. “You knew my mother.” From St. Mark’s school … and at the Church. The mother who prepared the surviving son for the outside world. Long before she died. And there was a special bond because Bilah and her sons had really come to know Rachel, like Joseph never had the chance to.
Now according to Wikipedia – which I think gets it wrong without distinguishing the differences between the internal world and the external one, as far as strife way beyond legal status – the concubine commanded the same respect and inviolability as the wife, and it was regarded as the deepest dishonor for the man to whom she belonged if hands were laid upon her. But inside the family?
To live with an emotional attachment, did you see the first born son of Leah challenge his father, with the Birth Right, in a challenged based in a resentment that we all now live with. As experienced between Jacob’s own mother and his father, the ideal of a youth had been over what was not perceived to be an equality in the God of Abraham in relation to the spouse’s ideal. There is the resentment of Muslims over their perceived to be either equality or inequality of the God of Ishmael to the God of Isaac. There is the Fear of the Lord where I live over the related resentment of Muslims over their perceived to be inequality. So when it came to the handmaids, and living mostly all alone with the handmaid of Rachel, what had Joseph come to know about this world? And because the mother of Joseph died in childbirth, Bilah had formed Joseph to be who he was, Joseph acted friendly toward these sons of Bilah, the demeaned sons of the handmaids who were being called slaves by the first born sons of Leah, in a continuation of the story of who was better than who.
One of us. To keep a story of a great leader and prophet as written untouched. Were you sensitive enough to the chronology over a lifetime to realize there was at some point a significant invisible splitting that had gone on among the brothers? At some point did a people reverence something – a Land, a language, a story, a love – too much, with too little thinking about reality?
Language is always based based upon the PLACE and TIME. So how else did Joseph come to communicate with Egyptians except through a language taught by someone within his household who might know Egyptian? So the separation among brothers was based upon those who understood Egyptian and the other half who did not? And now reflect back on what had happened in that scene when Joseph was sold into slavery. Did you ever consider divorce and splitting as a form of sacrifice, in a new separation, based upon language with a refinement with a language?
One of us, and more – Joseph, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, knowing the language of the handmaids, one day rescued by…. was there any invisible irony that his brothers gave Joseph to Ishmaelites? To ATONE, for a perceived past wrong-doing of Abraham – if you wore blinders from the future that judged the past harshly? A human relationship is going to fail – which seems to be the wisdom of Sarah – if one man is not equal to the other.
As the first born son of Jacob challenges his father with the Birth Right, on the surface, Reuben is dispossessed of the birth right, until the reader comes to see the power of the Birth Right over time. It was with the power of birth right that Reuben saved the beloved son, who one day saved all of the sons.
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord!” It was the handmaid for whom Reuben sacrificed the birth right to challenge the morality of his father on issues of true love! In a world without Ten Commandments, feel the ghosts of the past, of issues of slavery. Examine the handmaids in the story who formed Joseph, which led to the saving of the entire line of Jacob if not Abraham, as you follow the Family Tree responsible for all of this Spiritual power, in a partial answer to the “Where is the lamb?” question, as a son came to save a father. So in a story with many perspectives of salvation, locate the VICTIM, through a betrayal, followed by denial, accompanied by Abandonment. The birth right was in a an act of saving – this so visible Act of Faith. And so, at some point to save someone, in an act of mercy. And so this BIRTH RIGHT, with a justified right to leave, with a lingering question of the degree of emotional attachment to one another, in a house filled with tattle-tales and hood-winkers; and hand-maids? In the end of the Book of Genesis is another evolving story with a theme to save and atone, at the same time. Together.
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Ghosts writers – crime writing. As a detective, you had a past burden to be on the lookout – night and day – as the son of a famed detective, with all the personal threats afterward. For the substitute — stepping in where your predecessors left off — it is not as much a question of identity to the investigator, but proving “it.” As the editor saw it, the writer’s main characters — those with human power — just missed it. Almost all of them.
To run and write down, after you have come out of the shower – maybe like having been baptized in the Jordan, which looked in Minnesota like the St. Croix as the border of Wisconsin, just too big for one religion – these Abrahamic religions – for one leader to handle. What is yours forever … so another system substitution.
With a worry about the old Cain and Abel story later. To hold something precious … rather than release.
Jacob. First born sons. Birth rights. The guides. The tour guide and the confessional, with Wisconsin over there. Barbarism which separated one side from another – like the River Jordan? And so place in the sibling group concerning what you were born into …. the followers of Jesus, responding to not a perceived hostility but a witnessed hostility. The enforcement of not love but law. True law, with the borders … of good and of evil. As you begin to doubt the enforcers of the law.
Leaving. The main theme of Passover, in the beginning of, is leaving. So this story of The Passion was another Passover story with the same theme of leaving before anyone considered what would come next – like had come next for Moses and Joshua. After a brief period for grieving, what was to come …. just before the Roman destruction of the Temple … and the followers, leaving. And the unstated but the so apparent theme was the desire to leave the cruelty of the world? So get ready. Prepare. Rid your homes of leaven. Deflate your egos, as the firstborn son of Mary is struck down, do you feel the sacrifice of God in Passover? Why the leaving except because of evil? It is because of the separation, concerning all the separations in the Creation story? And here was a forgiveness over an indifference if not apathy about the separations?
The colt. The distance…. in the story. The Presence of the colt as the future? The movement, with the colt, to get somewhere, in the scene. The arrival. The escape … the separation, through death.
Roots. The opening of The Round House. “Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation.” Roots. Looking down on others or looking up at the cruelty of the world, sacrificing the “Closest Relationship.” A new book by Stanford historian Allyson Hobbs is about the socially constructed concept of race and racial identity. What about the socially constructed idea concerning religion, to move the world forward? Freely chosen roots, by Whom? Passing to freedom, so alone? Or like slugger Ted Williams, with the mystery of his own roots.
Note the exile because of racial ambiguity, about a time and a place in the land. There had been the importance of borders in the story in a racist society, between North and South. What about the religious ambiguity about a real time and a real place in the land? And this tethered colt, as the get-away vehicle, for those who “pass?” In disguise, like to escape discrimination in the United States? Note the episode at the fire, with a comment about Peter’s accent, in The Passion Story. Would Peter live through the night? (Men “passing” as women, like in the character in The Good Lord Bird. ) As the community of Jews – which Jesus, Mary and Joseph all belonged – sacrificed, in the story of The Passion – as Abraham tried to – a son.
Whether race, color, creed, find the invisible social act in The Passion: “Passing as white” is a social act. Those who collaborated – those left behind, no longer embedded in racial identity – no longer belonging and sharing memories of a past. Locate Jewish men, passing in the story – that the New Testament calls Apostles. Speak not a word to the white child as black mother, so the world never finds out that she is black. The comparison: Insiders to outsiders, slaves to masters.
Concerning the super power of invisibility, Stanford historian Allyson Hobbs writes about the loss to those who “passed” by walking away. A larger phenomena of “passing” in history is the totality of migration to a New World. The Noveau Riche, where they do not belong…..bringing the Asian and European if not African concepts of “class” to the New World. Note the name changes, while “Passing” as white. What is the cost of “gain” other than greater capitalistic opportunity? The sea is parted, to egalitarian elites. Note the never-ending acting by real people in this hidden practice of exile, in choosing to leave what you were born into. Looking for ghosts of the unconventional, did you know that slugger Ted Williams was a Mexican-American? There is a darkness of loss, living in solitude — giving in to the cruelty of the world? Ted never outright told you that he was Mexican-American.
The chapter. A long-unsolved crime. Cold Cases. Invisible and visible. Judas was nothing but a spy. Didn’t he feel, like Peter, the fear that all the Apostles would be tortured by the “powers that be?” And he had the age-old gift from Abraham to Isaac which came on Mount Moriah which was the gift of great restlessness. . . . . to change the world. Many think that Judas had hoped the Messiah would get involved in the political struggle that the Jews had under Roman domination. (So many modern-day Italians who admire the Romans never see that part of the story?) In a scene where so many have but one perspective of ‘MY brand,’ about ‘MY GOD,’ was it a wonder that popes in days gone by separated the domiciles of Jews, in the ghetto? So in what I think are the words of Larry Gillick, “All human beings desire safety and security in order to KNOW what to expect — how things are supposed to work, what people are like. With a knowledge to maintain a level of order in our lives. Sometimes, I can become so set in my ways that I develop what Ignatius (the founder of the Jesuits) would call disordered attachments to what otherwise would be good and holy things. As I become so attached to a structure, holding onto it for dear life, no longer free to allow God’s grace to enter into my life.”
And so the Passion. With the tethered colt, either stolen or ‘borrowed’ by the two Apostles but to be brought back to the rightful owner. . . later, it is assumed. And compare the age of Isaac and the age of Jesus in the stories of Abrahamic sacrifice, with the need to leave because of the cruelty of the world … and their “admission policies.” To warn the future, in sacrifice, by the father of faith – like my friend Tim, advising his son Tom not to become a lawyer, just as Tim was? To warn, in the perspective of Abraham about the world he had traveled, after his very first sacrifice of a homeland! How to warn the living, with outward signs? Through, with, in …. Sacrifice. With bonds to belong. This change is, by the end of the story, Jesus of Nazareth is the hero for surviving for the future. . . just like Isaac, Sarah’s first born son, had. In the denounement: ‘we’ somehow survived …this operation. And the invisible theme throughout the mystery is about the Love of God. To come to know, over time, the main character through the Victim in the story (which mostly is a love story).
The cold cases. Not too far from the border with Canada – where borders always protect one side from what appears to be the unmanageable other; this, it is said, is where you are able to hear at the start of a pigeon race, the sound of time flying. The aim set forth at the Dormady Academy of Private Detection, known by its neighbors as an old pigeon farm in northern Minnesota, is to find the Victim in each story. In the beginning of, a Victim always had to let someone else describe you. Like in any theology class, it is said that those descriptions are only as good as someone had come to know You. Whether letting someone else describe You, or describing Yourself to the missing, through a carrier pigeon. In a world where so many are not seeing the beauty in the Mystery, in relationship with/to others, and so many people detest pigeons.
The cold cases. Finite thinking. When everyone at Mass already knows the outcome. But before the statues get uncovered, before the Sunday morning Gospel, not too far from the border with the Red Sea, there was the difficulty for the first to arrive. As a result, too many forget the human part of the story, as there can be so little emotion reading history. Why can’t a narrative tell of all the emotions living through the times? This could only be a great story if you felt the emotions in the suspense, as the writer’s tingling can become more the editor’s numbness. Note the difficulty for the first to arrive, like in the blindness for Cain and Abel and the struggle over seemingly being finite. Whoever knew that we were all finite, in the beginning? After all of the separations, and the conflict over who among the characters was there first, separating the unmanageable goodness from invisible evil. The theme based upon something stolen. Like birth right ….. or a tethered colt. Over who among the characters was there first, there is all the difficulty for the first to arrive, asking…. “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
Passing is not …. never has been … a solitary act. The difficulty for the first to arrive. Did you perceive the darkness at the time of day? The dispute over who was here first, long before electricity was invented. As if goodness is described by TIME ….. or by just one PLACE? When a greater ease came to those who arrive later. Over innocence … IF they conformed to the image prevalent in a community. This identity. . . based upon innocence, lost. The theme based upon something stolen at the command of Jesus. With the PROMISE to bring it back later to the rightful owner. So how does the original ending of Mark’s Gospel tie into the Book of Genesis? Over all the splitting and separation, when the mostly male spiritual leaders thought they knew – in a community. The original ending – in the first Gospel ever written, by Mark – involves only the female characters present at the Crucifixion. The original ending with these invisible women involves a silence and what is presumed to be fear. . . of the Lord? And the tie-in to the Passover Feast, with always the gift of great restlessness to change the world? For the finite in the story, “This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight.”
Barbarism which separated one side from another, if you were willing to sacrifice your son, but without ever informing his mother? So with the theme of a purity sacrificed and a purity shared in relationship, there was the forgiveness needed for Abraham, by Sarah. What happens to the original separation theme in Genesis, yet while forced to choose to keep growing … in the beginning of? Do you feel the sacrifice, or only the emotions connected to the sacrifice? Did you ever feel the Agony – the emotions – in the Garden? Were God’s emotions like Jacob’s as he got ready to flee, after he had stolen the birth right?
So had Jesus stolen the birth right, like Jacob? With the help of his mother, by way of the great coverup of a virgin birth at the time. . . from all those who, in public service, were in the business of’ ‘saving?’ Or not? These people of Church/ Temple and State all in the business of ‘saving’, either as Roman soldiers or the chief priest? So who to save? When there were how many left to bury in Egypt at the time of the original Passover?
The original ending of the original Gospel of Mark involves only the invisible female characters who might have already come to know that you had to sacrifice your purity if your bloodlines would not become extinct. Behold these women in the story! Behold the great coverup by way of celebration of the Passover feast of The Akedah in the sacrifice!
Like Rachel as Sarah, Jesus was a man who was expected to somehow, in his very own way, to carry the Living God of Israel further in the world, beyond the tribes and the homeland where he was born. As growth was so much the measure of success, even when you were forced out, like in the Tree of Knowledge story, like the native-born in the story — like the North American Indians so comparable to Eve and Adam.
And so the unimaginable, the inconceivable, the unthinkable story of creation and The Passion ever since when, in the words of Picasso, every act of creation involves a form of destruction. So in the ax-to-the-frozen -sea ending, did you ever feel the displacement in the story of Jesus, with the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize the Post Traumatic Stress disordering sustained by his mother after your own kinsmen tried to kill you? As the Messiah was seemingly forced out, note the movement in the story of belonging which came out of a displacement in the story of Jesus. Like the women of Jerusalem in the story of The Passion, in passing on your culture with passion, I think about my grandfather’s mother who died in trying to increase the numbers, not far removed from the Great Famine, in her attempt – like either Rachel or any great prophet, for the delivery of God to the next generation – to replicate God’s greatness. And there was this affect on memory where you had witnessed the torture to the Messiah.
Deliverance. And so that colt tethered “on which no one has ever sat,” waiting. Waiting for the change coming. To settle down? With a control over, the concern about… power of mostly those who you know, or those who know, something to various degrees…… or thought that they did – that what is yours forever ..never becomes precious. Men not seeing that this was a love story. So rather than try to describe infinity, use a love story to have the invisible become visible … because of allowing someone else to describe You? With real living people. But as in trying to too quickly read a profile, online … missing the infinity in the stories.
The strangeness of it all, after the Great Flood — A SACRIFICE! What a bizarre idea, to sacrifice the future, through a son of Abraham! Sacrifice. Imagine the reaction of the outsider, upon hearing the story. . . of sacrifice. Imagine the reaction of an insider. Hearing each other’s concern about the private lives of his sons, as if it was anyone else’s concern — as if it was anyone else’s concern in the private relationships of these men — about the depth of their relationships. Or whether his sons, his descendants, his followers would adhere to the religious laws. . . and remain Kosher, based upon sacrifice. Identity politics, directed at sacrifice. The strangeness . . . saving something, with these identity labels, as the separation in brands. The body. The bond. The sacrifice, for others. The tree-like Cross. The forever reason – sacrificed – not killed – for others. Saving others. People did not want them to save? And there was never a mention whether that parked tethered colt — clarified to be an ass, just like in the story of that trip to Bethlehem — had ever been returned.
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Homes. Homeland. The Law. Being dismissed from an action, having no cause of action” which does not capture in WORD what the conflict was about. To capture the range of what I am about. When you are not recognized in the Law, when you have no cause of action in the first place, you are legally homeless. “You have no dog in the fight,” or are not allowed to be recognized. When you are not “constituted.”
It was the War to End All War. The Great War. The Jews were bearing the brunt of the burden of this war, in contending with loss, not only on the battle fields where they suffered with the rest of the world, but also in their homes. The lost recognition … as you become just another body. “To be a part of” ….. to belong here. The population of seven million Jews, which at the time exceeded that of Belgium, bore the brunt of the war. Behind the lines of Russian and Poland was the Pale of Jewish Settlement where four million Jews lived. In fifteen Russian provinces, before the Russian revolution, what Lenin had set out to destroy was all shared belief so that all that was left was the belief and dependence upon the state.
When you are not “constituted,” you could be destroyed. The Grand Experiment called Lenin’s Russia makes the present age forget the past. The disaster which came out of the Cold War together with the Holocaust has contributed to memory loss of what happened one hundred years ago. When the War To End All War broke out, one-half of the Jewish population of the world was trapped in a corner of Eastern Europe that was absolutely shut off from all neutral lands and from the sea.
The place to be neutral was lost, in a disaster surpassing that of all other nationalities, in the threat that was alive to the innocent as much as in the story of Noah – to women and new children – in physical and economic loss, none have borne a greater burden than the Jews.
To annihilate God. In ways of moral and spiritual torment, there is strength that comes from sacrifice, per the story of Abraham with his son, in the story of the Akedah. “Of all the people that have suffered deeply from World War I,” a population of seven million Jews were threatened with extinction, in the War To End All War. Singled out, if not for their old peculiar ways…. by their peculiar geographic, political and economic position. Threatened by assimilation into the secular world, trying to keep ritually pure. Kosher Jews. At the time there was in Russian-Poland (read the history) over two million Jews. To the south was this frontier province of Austria called Galicia with one million Jews. Did anyone stop on religious holidays to note all the brothers fighting brothers in this great secular War to End All War? Yes, the Jews were fighting each other, just as the split German tribes – based upon the German line of kings in England and Russia – were fighting each other. In all the armies of Europe, there were more than 350,000 Jewish soldiers fighting for Russia and 50,000 Jews fighting for Austria-Hungary. Of the world Jewish population, probably 500,000 Jews were in the ranks of the fighting armies of Europe.
Like so much the current wars in Syria, Iraq, and the Cold Wars among the Muslims, in a rehashing of the War To End All War, in the unseen world against the seen one, when you are not “constituted,” you could be destroyed. “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories, the importance was of the binding in the relationships, in stories about unconditional love. When your relationships were so alive, when you prayers were so alive. And you wanted others to then have the same experience. With God’s intervention, mostly the same stories, generation after generation…. with a great restlessness … carrying the fire, with your own tradition, in search of the Promise Land … as the place to be neutral is lost. Again.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
In a season when something unexpected can break out, it is time today to pray for goodness and the people of Syria.
In stories about identity, the daughters of Lot were “one of them.”
In life and death.
Did you note the theme in the first chapters of Genesis, about movement, about life and death? In the urgency in the story which changed lives, in the framework of the story about Abraham and homelands, about being father to the multitudes, about sacrifice, what about Lot and his family?
What is too often glossed over in the next chapter is the realness of raw emotions after a daughter lost her mother, locate outsiders and insiders, and what is deep inside. In stories about relationship ….. what the daughters had been born into ….note the innocent in the story of lost innocence. In a story of intimacy and the problem of intimacy, there is the loss of the mother.
Genesis. It’s all fiction? When you get the small details wrongs….. in the beginning. People who were there…..told their stories. Consider what you had come to know about Lot, after he is rescued by his uncle Abram by waging war, after the prayers of Abram in the story about saving Lot and all of Sodom, after the next rescue by the angels of G*d out of Sodom. Consider all the risks taken to save Lot. Did you note the tension in the story of Lot connected to the love for Lot in the story, even after the separation?
When words carry weight, or since mostly words connected to Spirit carry weight, compare the G*d of Abraham to the god of Lot’s nameless wife, in the conflict over belonging to Sodom? There had been real intimacy problem as you are allowed to get close, when you now have to get closer …. in the days after losing your mother. After what had been their entire past had been sacrificed, along what had looked to be their future. After the angels of G*d had just saved these three from the fire and brimstone of Sodom, was Lot considered to be a victim after the incest – challenged, ridiculed. or beaten down – or were his daughters?
And so the story of the daughters of Lot, with the guilt of the father in the story, because his nameless wife died? [See
https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/after-the-birth-of-ishmael-the-story-of-sodom/ ] Glossed over in the story of Sodom in the next chapter is the consequences of a converted/inverted/perverted view of the G*d of Abraham, passed along to the next generation. Consider the world of Noah which was destroyed, along with Creation with Adam and Eve, sacrificing their relationship with G*d – over fertility issues, in true sacrifice. The readers of the Book of Genesis are carried now to the lives of Abraham and Sarah – as the half-sister of Abraham – with the separation theme, after all the splitting and cleaving.
Did you note the theme in the first chapters of Genesis, about movement: Chosen, with your very own personal choices about continuing life, with always the doubt in the story about life – that I was loved, with the sacrifices made to demonstrate love, to remove the doubt? Because there always was doubt that you were Chosen, until you were so very much alone, like Noah had been. Or Isaac one day would be. Or Joseph one day in Egypt, in times of famine. Again and again, as your very private life would determine the future of the world: the mystery, with the seen and the unseen.
Note the chronology after Adam and Eve: Noah and his unnamed wife, pairing up all the animals. Did they feel so very much alone, with doubt in times of annihilation, before starting over – only now TIME replaces PLACE as a character determined who they were; did you ever sense from the displacement the deep feeling like a charley horse of the throat when you recognize a Post Traumatic Stress disordering, about what is lost of the inheritance if not the birthright as PLACE and TIME are mixed, in the New Creation? The theme over who would be saved, and with the involvement – some kind of involvement – with the use of your fertility, in times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened – with or without love.
So was this a new beginning or just an ending? Note the chronology – both before and after the story of incest – of the Father of Faith. Lot is the son of the brother of Abram whose wife HAD been able to deliver, for the future, children – delivering the God of Abraham into the next generation. Note all the delay in the world with fertility, with all the technology and knowledge of reproductive medicine as if this was these days only a female concern – maybe because so many women were left alone, with or without love.
Note the significance of the placement of the story just after Ishmael had been born. Note the chronology, with the barren issue, after the manipulation of Sarah and Hagar in their unequal relationship, in the story of the birth of Ishmael? From out of the obsession – the sin – over having a son? In the story of relationship, note the significance of the placement of the story after the Call which included Abram, Sarai and Lot; then the Promise, the famine in Egypt, before Abram separated from Lot, after Abram traveled to Egypt, after he rescued his nephew Lot by waging war, with the Promise of a son, the pregnancy of Hagar, the next promise thirteen years later, the circumcisions with the concern of the Lord over Sodom, the hospitality to the three strangers, the advancement of the angels to Sodom, saving Lot’s family. So now Lot went up from Zoar and he dwelt in the mountain, along with his two daughters.
And in what would become a recurrent them, did you note the refugees in the story. Fleeing. And after their father has lost his love – how visible this love must have been – the daughter try to give their father something for what he had lost in response to a heart-throbbing tragedy. In Sodom, where you KNEW the dead. With a certain kind of innocent cowboy mentality, as if two daughters could fix the visible hole in Lot with an act of sex, in my perspective – a perverted perspective of a share of the deepness. Trying to deliver something, did a female perspective note the great message of love here?
And without trying to distinguish, most of us missed the love in the story. And pay attention to the chronology. Did you ever see the need once again for placement, after being displaced?
“He was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.” With their thought that the entire world had been destroyed, as in the Generation of the Flood, the daughters then try to save the world? Was the command of the Angels of God still ringing in their ears: “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you…” As the angels did take hold of the hands of the nameless wife of Lot as well as the two nameless daughters, and brought them out of the city of Sodom along with Lot…. after Lot did delay. In a story about relationship, what his daughters had been born into ….the innocence connected to the concept of sacrifice. Here is another incredible story about illicit sex leading up to the story of circumcision leading up the Akedah sacrifice. In this story of feeling paralyzed, with a conflict of private and public lives, the family of Lot heads for the isolation unit, as if there was an outbreak of Ebola. So very much alone even as the God of Abraham seems to triumph, as if this was a competition – that His rescue of Lot could happen twice – as the G*d of Abraham triumphed as far as Lot was concerned?
“Come, let us give our father wine to drink, and let us lie with him, and let us bring to life seed from our father.”
Note the comparative approach to religion: comparing sister to sister, uncle to nephew, half-brother to half-brother – to save the world. The native born, or the first born son, with a comparative approach to the G*d of Abraham, it is never stated that Lot had been tortured in his captivity, but I think that he had been. And like so many soldiers today, I believe that Lot sustained Post Traumatic Stress, as he had returned to Sodom after his rescue. And he fell in love, as an outsider. And his nameless wife, like any woman, wanted to go back to a place where you were once known – in the arranged marriage, where at least your wife was known. And so Lot’s nameless wife – before her death – living surrounded by her kinsmen, but living with exception to these kinsmen, with all the strangeness of Lot, as he savored the aftermath of being saved by Abram.
Innocence taken and never really sacrificed. That a daughter would ever consider ….. out of the pain of what came out of an image and likeness of the relationships of their parents – of sleeping with their own father. Sense the manipulation part in each of the stories, involving consciousness – like in this incest. Who are these people? So what were the names of Lot’s daughters who had been in an arranged relationship, determined by family, with now their existing post traumatic stress on issues of trust, like what still existed today in Afghanistan where a tribesman never would allow you talk to or see his daughters. After the Lot family moved, or had been moved by the angles of G*d, after you are no longer surrounded by the crowd of your kinsmen, but still you are allowed to get close …. as this “birth right” comes to involve forgiveness. In times of annihilation as you were so personally threatened, as Lot had once been, since having been immersed into a culture at birth of annihilation, as sex became a form of punishment – or the thinking about the method of punishment which left most readers gasping. And now, in the story, the nameless daughters of Lot in the cave, hovering with their father, with nothing behind the concept of replication except loneliness and booze? So it was Lot’s daughters who next collaborate, without their life-long friends and relatives? Did you feel the pain of his own virgin daughters betrothed to men of Sodom, who had lost their betrothed, in arranged marriages? Now what then as it came to their future, if they had a future? When Abram had prayed to save all of Sodom because of the family of Lot there, here were the survivors saved. The command given LOT had been, “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you ….. nor stop anywhere in the Plain..” And get a higher perspective …. about what the daughters of Lot sacrificed in the story.
If laughing is a good thing, is crying? From out of human emotion, there is the discovery of G*d. In system collapse and displacement, there is the discovery of not only G*d but that the Lord was really with you. Find the broken Spirit of G*d of the two daughters of Lot who had lost their betrothed, two sisters, their mother, their friends and relations in Sodom, and probably their own spirit of joy, broken in their real life experience in ‘inherited’ Post Traumatic Stress, like their father had out of war? These people had just lost their home. Could you feel the emotions of the people that were there, before getting caught up in human Triumph over a brother or over one son…. or of one tribe over the other, like the Moabites or the Ishmaelites in another story, in the discovery how to pray together, to believe together, to love together? How many folks do you know that would get drunk, as a method of grieving?
In a story about dominion, in times of real annihilation as you were so personally threatened, with war and its never ending aftermath, when rape is about power and domination over your victim – like in Sodom – now comes incest? “Since,” writes Rashi, “the younger one was not the initiator of the illicit relations, but rather her sister taught it to her, Scripture covers up for her and does not explicitly tell of her disgrace. But [concerning] the elder, who initiated the illicit relations, Scripture publicizes her explicitly, as Lot’s two daughters conceived from their father.” As you get the small details wrongs….. in the beginning … like I think the eleventh century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak [better known as Rashi] does here, you could lose a sense of being human.
To have to survive in this world while no longer belonging to a place much less a time: behold the daughters of Lot. Who could cover up the suffering by pointing to “the illicit” with a concern only with the illicit? Had you read about the concern of the survivors’ group called SNAP? Or about victims of incest or child abuse? Why did humans take sides over illicit sexual relationships? In the post-war questions about sides – why did you ever take sides, in the beginning? Out of fear, anger, distrust? To even consider that one daughter was more innocent or better than the other – to focus on competition instead of God and the Triumph of God’s love was a human failing. Was there an irony of their pregnancies after Sarah had tried her entire adult life to get pregnant? In the stories of intimacy and the problems of intimacy, whom did you cheer for – and why?
Like in Sodom, locate the innocence in the story, and what happens to the innocent, in these stories about preserving a Spirit amid system collapse. In reading the story, G*d seemed to be doing more of the arranging in the relationship with Abram, with Abram doing most of his own arranging with his wife, in the territory of religion called mystery, until he listened to Sarai about the arrangement with her handmaid. Contrast Abram and his thinking about the G*d of Abraham to his nephew, Lot, who had such a need to be led by Abram. Note the importance of the PROPHET in his life: the definition of esteem was that which came out of not just the G*d of Abram but, in this evolutionary developing story, but in the shared G*d of Abraham. The mystery in the promised vows, in the relationship from vows that led to the Great Covenant – the unconditional relationship – is based upon love and forgiveness. A Chosen People, who one day come out of their own PLACE, no better than any other people, if the Lord was really with you. And so much no longer like Eve who felt that she could do anything because of the place to which she had been born, but with the evolving female idea in trying to increase the numbers, for the delivery of G*d to the next generation – to replicate God’s greatness; a woman who was expected to somehow, in her very own way, to carry the G*d of Abraham further in the world, beyond the tribes and the homeland where they were born.
Even years later, in the inheritance, in the strange ways of this G*d, living in a future with the reduced set of circumcisions in their inheritance, dealing with loss, since the destruction of Sodom, would you ever cheer for a survivor – from Sodom? After the rescue and redemption, in the twenty-four hours after you witnessed the death of your mother, while expecting not only your own death but extinction of your father, would you ever feel that the Lord was really with you …. and with your Spirit? As the daughters of Lot, in the next sequence in the story, made their father their god, in this story? In its aftermath, filling the voids of his two daughters who had no understanding over why they had been saved, did Lot, as he came to grips with his shame, after he had offered his daughters to the crowd back in Sodom, have understanding?
In the beginning of …. connect the dots concerning Sodom and purity . . . to give to someone, to pass on. Philanthropy, on issues of accommodation. Through story, image is defined by others, especially in the way of Lot’s nameless daughters. In the vehicle that carried the future – language, earth, children, or story – up against war and its never ending aftermath, after Abram had waged war against slavery of Lot but he then next had allowed his wife to have a handmaid with whom he became complicit in the arrangements …. for a son. And then …. to sacrifice a son. How did this story connect to the next ones, in the story of the Family Tree?
And so this bond between Abram and his nephew Lot, after Abram has decided that his descendants would not go door to door, would not have radio shows. Relationship would be all about blood (which is why the Jewish tradition prohibits embalming — the blood is considered a part of the body to be buried with the deceased, along with any hair which comes loose while preparing the body, with every speck of blood, that is gathered in a linen bag and placed with the body in the casket.) Abram who had married his half-sister, and now Lot whose daughters were just as pure as Lot and his nameless wife from Sodom.
And thus begins, in the beginning of, the Moabites with a connection back to Cain and always the need to be saved. With the story of sacrifice, in a world with hunger, in a world filled with fear, with blood enhancing connected-ness, with an abrupt end. A lot like the ways and the reasons that a life could end so fast. There are emotions connected to sacrifice, when I offered something so personal. What had Abraham learned from the daughters of Lot, about a father prepared to give everything that is important away? When it looked as if you were giving everything away? In sacrifice? EVERYTHING! Like the family of Lot had just lost in Sodom.
With the academic freedom to know G*d and to love G*d and to finally serve G*d, there can often be a missing trust when people come to think alike. What is the thinking of your kinsmen who wanted a story covered up, like the origin of the Moabites? Recall the words at the time of the separation between Abram and Lot that had led Lot to Sodom: “There was constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, as the complaints reached Abram about the misbehavior of Lot’s herdsmen, about the arguments between their shepherds. Therefore the elder Abram said to Lot: ‘Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen. For we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee?’
Compare how you prayed to others — not so much that you might pray better, but to find the Living G*d. In the anguish of living with G*d or without Him, as inequality threatened stability, I think that the story in this relationship between Lot and his nameless daughters was about what happens concerning the relationship AFTER the betrayal — in what would happen to the bond? So the Moabites had originated and come from this place called Sodom; from age to age, from east to west, WHERE you come to feel a Living G*d, it is story that shapes the way you think, as you come to know in the ritual of seasons, with at least this quasi-religious timetable, where to find a Living G*d.
In a PLACE, in a TIME, through story, image is defined by others, especially in the way of Lot’s nameless wife. So the displaced daughter who risked her virginity, for a son named Moab. What would Abraham say, with this night no longer covered up – with the pregnancies, after everyone heard about what had happened in Sodom, what did Abraham say? Or what did G*d say? After these three people had been saved from Sodom?
Note the wine in the story, used to change the consciousness of Lot. As a self-esteem of the people of Sodom, including the nameless wife of Lot’s — in more than just another story of pride — had been, along with their god, all based upon one PLACE, so in contrast to the G*d of Abraham. And you alone seemed saved by the angels who needed to grab the hands of Lot’s family – those two daughters had no understanding over why they had been saved, and did Lot?
As to what they had been born into, what was this selfish theology of Lot, demonstrated in how he was willing to sacrifice the purity of his betrothed daughters to save himself and these strangers (angels)? And people, and I along with them, always thought the conflict in Lot’s home was somehow associated between the G*d of Abraham and the gods of Sodom? In times when there might not be enough to share, with strangers, in a place like Sodom? So now there would be?
Did you ever feel the tenderness connected to the nameless in the stories of the “nones.” To savor its aftermath, consider the next story to follow “in the beginning of”, involving circumcision, with Abram’s growing concern over purity, after what he had done to Hagar, per the preceding chapter before this one about Lot, which would result in circumcisions for Abraham, Ishmael, and his slaves. Note the placement of the stories, when identity always came out of TIME and PLACE. The suggestion passed along was if you were to dwell in Sodom, like Lot, couldn’t you engage in licentious behavior .. and outside of Sodom where you did not know anyone and had lost your betrothed and any hope in relationships, couldn’t you do anything, without the knowledge of anyone you knew …. except if you were female? (And so the perspective of Lot’s daughters in the dénouement of the story of Lot, after his life in Sodom had been sacrificed?) Or couldn’t you do anything, if you owned a handmaid? Lot with his war-torn Post Traumatic Stress now without his wife and only with his shame – over his actions the NIGHT BEFORE – looking to get drunk …. again, maybe like long-gone relative Noah living with the agony of loss after his rescue with his ark? The unstated part of the story was if you consider what you had come to know about Lot, if Abram had not rescued Lot, Lot would have continue to live a life in slavery. Otherwise his captors would have killed him.
In the conflict over belonging, even with the innate desire for independence, in a world where rape is about power and domination in Sodom, what in the life of Lot was this incest about? When you owned someone? Could you feel, as Rashi never did, the hostility of the two nameless daughters of Lot with their broken spirit after their own father’s betrayal? Or their outrage with the always and everywhere doubt over some warped sense of those who were chosen after hearing true stories of annihilation, about the powerless and the innocent? When it was clear that even God was capable of mass killing of the innocent.
Isn’t the story abhorrent? Did you ever read Judy Herman’s Trauma and Recovery about the lost trust never recaptured after an incident of incest? Who really is betrayed in the story? It is the daughters who lost their innocence. What did Lot remember about the night? How is Lot damaged in the story, except to the communal standards with an audience, his reputation? It is the focus on the daughters who become the new heroes, afterward? It was what had happened the night before …..when there was the threat to his own daughters, at the invitation of Lot. So that Lot, this already damaged war veteran, might be saved? Outrageously, to save himself along with the angels of G*d, Lot had offered to sacrifice his own daughters – his perfect daughters – to the crowd. And could you feel the later story to come when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah? What kind of theology was this, as you are ready to sacrifice the next generation?
Climbing mountains to get a higher perspective, with arrangements gone bad: it was all a facade – Lot’s espoused belief in the God of Abraham which came with a brand? The nameless daughters of Lot had just lost their betrothed, two sisters, their mother, their friends and relations in Sodom, and probably their own spirit of joy, broken in their real life experience in the prior twenty-four hours by what their own father had offered the crowd to save only himself. And they would have Post Traumatic Stress like their father had out of a war?
When in a different way of ownership, in forming a daughter/son and there could be the resentment. So now the daughters of Lot had offered themselves to their father, as the last person on earth who you could trust was gonna have you committed to a mob – the motive in the crime was the human condition, and being left so all alone? And scared. The goal in repeating this story is to gain access, through stories of discovery, to be better, like climbing mountains to get a higher perspective. There are always these gradual changes…..in what is called systemic theology, followed by the fear and the anger.
When a father finds salvation through his daughters. There is not much mention of Lot after this episode, after his daughters got pregnant on the same night – as to who would have the first born grandson of what was left of Lot’s family. One boy was called Moab. And after the beginning, there would be the appearance of the Moabites, like the later appearance of the Ishmaelites who save Joseph who saves the sons of Jacob; there is the appearance of the Israelites, in entering the “Promised Land”, who did not pass through the land of the Moabites (Judges 11:18), but conquered Sihon’s kingdom and his capital at Heshbon. After the conquest of Canaan the relations of Moab with Israel, Wikipedia reports, were of a mixed character, sometimes warlike and sometimes peaceable so much like the constant strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, as when complaints reached Abram about the misbehavior of Lot’s herdsmen, about the arguments between their shepherds. And so this child would grow to form what became those Moabites, who descended from the house of Lot.
Spending time with each side – all these people surrounded by so many of their kinsmen, in the very same human condition shared, trying to do the same thing – whom did you cheer for, in the beginning, or since the days of rampage, as the Islamic State demands conversion in the manner that Abraham circumcised his own slaves? In all the aftermath of September 11, 2001, with the Power of God in these stories, were you still thinking about the method of sacrifice – which left most readers gasping, in the anguish of living with the past or without one, in this evolutionary developing story, in the shared G*d of Abraham? As I count the number of times that Lot was rescued which affected the delivery of the God of Abraham outside the land of Canaan.
In this Creation story that took more than seven days, here is the G*d of Abraham who hears and answers prayers. Rashi seemed to have missed the moment of the Book of Genesis of another new Creation – starting over, with only the power of G*d, more slowly revealing Himself to these two young women who needed something in their life, to replace all that they had lost. After the Holocaust in Sodom, if you considered the chronology in the story, connect the need of these two young women to both the need and the prayer of a older woman named Sarah. In a variant of dealing with denial, in an attempt to show their dominion over the place, when two daughters doubted the love in the world, here was the story of incest. Like the words in the opening of the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning of God creating the skies and the heavens – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God’s Spirit was hovering on the face of the water…..” To give birth rather than every day recount the horror of what you had just experienced! Living this night back in a cave, did the reader sense the environment of darkness? If you considered the future of the world, and delivering the G*d of Abraham – a much more personal G*d – for the future for three people who lost everything that mattered.
On issues of shared dominion between humans, if not between G*d and Lot, note the movement in the story of bonds which came from compounded belief, of a real human birth or two. How old were you when you felt this power inside, as you were now surrounded by people who shared their belief in you, even with all of the real human doubt between people and families – a doubt which would continue to be a theme over a lifetime, in this evolutionary process in the jittery interior female wavering feeling toward life – the butterfly within – to say something, when there was something missing. My God! A child. In this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his G*d and his nephew — with the suffering of the nameless daughters of Lot. Yes, in the challenge at this PLACE, in these TIMEs, I see the darkness along with the words in the opening paragraph of the Book of Genesis: “Let there be light.”
So was this a race between two sisters – after their mother is sacrificed – over who would have the first born? So did you ever feel the tenderness connected with the God of Abraham to the nameless daughters in this story of the “nones,” much like Abram had married his own father’s daughter? “Mostly they are the same lives, the same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation.
And so in the ENDING, a message of love. A child. A baby for each daughter, apparent even to those who do not look as closely at what happened. So there is a question if the children were being used? Were they, like Isaac, to be seen as a victim? When a life is spared – or three. In each of the stories, did you see the same things happening? The critic who never considered what it was these daughters had sacrificed, with an everlasting result in this inheritance …. from the sacrifice to somehow change the future. To amend their lives, in the movement from nameless daughters to mothers — and to father once again. Since the time when, at a place, Abraham in attempting to show how separate he was from all other men, just as Noah once had been… and it was due to The Call. And because these three left Sodom in response to the Call of the two angels, all three of them had survived, to carry the God of Abraham further into the world.
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Aseret Yemei Teshuvah
Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. With a fear in the story, doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about land and women and suffering, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your money, if not your land, then at least your kids.
“What is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation. What did God do when he saw that the light was ‘good’? He separated it from darkness, and then proceeded to go on separating ….The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all, the distinction between Good and Bad, a distinction that becomes apprehensible to humans only by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a tree about which the Torah tells us that it was (like light) ‘good’ ….. that it was desirable for comprehension. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost
When the goal all along of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign, or maybe a lot like in the ongoing family relationships after a divorce – should be to promote quality understanding by its people reaching for some kind of union, about shared belief.
Did you feel the restlessness of a young man? Over the imposition. The anger over outside influences. Like the International Monetary Fund. How dare the IMF! How dare you tell us how to live! Or how dare the church? Or how dare the United States of America, if you lived in a Muslim nation since the Gulf War, which goes back a generation.
Facing the emerging challenge of enlightenment epistemology and the secular political order, in the method, validity and scope of western government with their money: the independent women who are so hard to relate to. As achievement alienates men, as men once alienated their stay-at-home wives. There was a disconnect between a generally PROMISING financial reality and their deep-seated financial fear. Woman, with her fears: It was not the pride in financial independence, with the matching arrogance as much as the “bag lady” fear: the fear of being destitute. To be left as a bag lady. To be left only with your bag. The fear of a woman with fertility.
The strangeness of power. Asset seizure. The insiders and the outsider in the story, with tension between individuals, families, and states over the human power to impose. A reverse side of the same human rights question, in the balance between church and state, is seen in China, in their integration project to nationalize fertility, since this fertility was all just a personal commodity, under the safety of the nation. A homeland, with migrants leaving and coming back. And the anger of those forced to stay.
In the beginning of. Did you ever think about the writer who wrote the Book of Genesis? With the male perspective, in the ordering and a concern over who came first. Dust and the significance of who came first, in the way of leadership, when there had been no man to work the soil. Dust!. Note the ordering and the way in which Adam discovered his solitude: “BUT FOR ADAM THERE WAS NOT FOUND A HELP MATE FOR HIM.” Rashi comments: “When He brought them, He brought them before him as male and female. Thereupon Adam said, ‘All of them have a mate, and I have no mate!’ Immediately, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him.”
And yes there was the naivete in the story of “the calling of the names” which refers to the division of the species as – male and female – they passed before Adam, and he contemplated their nature as to which of them would be a help to each other in procreation so that they should beget offspring. And so Adam contemplated his own procreation, before a sudden change of consciousness if not his perspective.
Perspective: the closer you are, the less objective you will be.
All of the strangeness in the story. When things the first time would look strange to a child, if a child had a memory. Just as little children are frightened of turbans, veils, or burqas, in all the things which we had never seen, before the first time. Like Eve, as God’s gift. And how my nation today, in trying to reach a parity, not fairness, seemed afraid of this strangeness. And even after the creation of Eve, there is the appearance in the story of so few women. Did you notice that Adam did name his wife – and he got to name his wife, and not the other way around – though there was no discussion of the wedding ceremony, concerning this “wife.” And he of course was forced to believe in monogamy as a gift from the one God, because he had no other choice. And to listen to the penalties assessed after each ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, when they got too smart for their own fig leafs: “To the woman He said, “I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy; in pain you shall bear children. And to your husband will be your desire, and he will rule over you.”
Note that the first commandment, besides KNOWING God, had been a dietary law. Somehow this God was associated with food, in the dietary law about the apple. Did you note the innocence of God at the time to expect that his one simple law would be obeyed … without reflection of the “just” part of the law? When the LAW would become, overtime, associated with this God. As God would become as complex as the people he helped created. In whose Image and Likeness was this God? Or was this the reversal of the mirror?
Behold the Naivete. In the beginning, when you were born into something, when you were only able to distinguish good from evil in a story after eating of the fruit. When Adam and Eve already were in relationship but then in need for the widest form of perspective. With a need for clarity, with all of the risk in bond markets. I believe that a woman, especially, tends to overlook the red flags once she slips between the sheet — perhaps as a involuntary reaction to prevent her from labeling herself a “slut.” I believe that a woman, especially, loses clarity about a new man in her life once she sleeps with him.
Bond markets. The search for high yields and some form of clarity. And so education and the need for a wide perspective — and maybe that apple. In the bond market, no one seemed to ever care about the soft law approach in the event of a significant event that seems quite disruptive to bond markets. Like expulsion.
“And to man He said, ‘Because you listened to your wife, and you ate from the tree from which I commanded you saying, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed be the ground for your sake; with toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life.'”
And so both the pleasure and the pain in the story of life and death: the humor in the story — the very dry humor — with the curse of the serpent to eat dust, after man had come from dust.
But what was the commentary of 11th-century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak who is better known as Rashi on the line: “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In a story when neither Adam nor Eve had a father or a mother, what is this perspective about leaving a father and a mother? This author captured the story of beginning – until this rather abrupt sentence of a new command.
Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information, and the author of the Book of Genesis with a poetic style, had left so much tension, if this was the original scroll, about belonging. As the first command was focused upon knowing God, and this next command focused upon knowing Eve, beyond the power of imagination — in either bond, or in a kind of separation. So now outside the Garden, “One flesh?”
So did you ever feel the heart splitting, accompanied by grief, the day that you are asked to leave? If rending is to split apart into pieces, does the rending process involve violence? To either grieve together or to rage when you are banished? Is that the choice of Eve and Adam? To split or to REND a heart is “to divide, as a nation.”
So once again, in a command to Adam – especially after the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden of a tree that represents both the pleasure and the pain, I have come to think, from knowing things – to separate something, about God, along a natural line of separation.
In the story of “A man shall leave….” in the beginning, there is now shame, after Adam joined in with Eve. Just as God did when He saw that the light was ‘good’, He separated light from darkness and then proceeded to go on separating, with now a new goal of ONE FLESH? So, like man from dust, man from woman is described as an act of separation, but with a closeness? The new command involved a True Relationship. Because the size of the problem had come from missing all the love that God had for the world, in the ‘not knowing’ by Eve? In the thoughtlessness. Over what you were born into? Now about this fear of a woman with fertility, to be left only with your bag – to be left as a bag lady, outside the Garden.
And so this next commandment … another commandment: To “cleave to,” for the new migrants, but this next commandment, through a payment of the penalty, about cleaving, with the pangs of child-bearing? All because of not pride as much as the vainglory of Eve. Or over what she never HAD? In a story dealing not so much with loss but what she never felt about God, would pain make someone think harder? When expiation means “from out of, to admit to and extinguish a guilt incurred, to put an end to guilt,” because Eve was above the law, above the one simple command? Would this “cleaving” achieve expiation? What would become of ONE FLESH?
In the sands of time, doubt always is in the center of the mystery story about dust, and fertility and growth. Did you ever note the separate belief in the story of Adam and Eve, after leaving the security of Adam’s God all behind, with both the pleasure and the pain in the story of life and death?
In the relationship with her husband, how dare He tell me how to live! So Adam shared in Eve’s sneakiness. Spiritual, not real kosher — with an anger over outside influence. Would her sons inherit their mother’s sneakiness and the quiet hostility that went with it –not outright telling your husband that you would not be worshiping the God of Adam? And then the shame. And from out of shame, to put an end to guilt, comes life. Given new life.
To extinguish the guilt incurred, to carry the future, Eve and Adam are to produce new life. “To the woman He said, ‘I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy.’”
In another act of separation, as you faced expulsion in light or darkness, to be left only with your bag. The movement in the story for all of the migrants and immigrants since the very beginning: and so Adam contemplated his own procreation, with the doubt and fears beyond the power of imagination which develops into such deep feeling … in this need to cleave comes a closeness from maybe the fear of outside influence, in a human need to just belong. And so this sin of pride — better expressed as a sin which came out of hostility — which came out of not belonging to a place but somehow knowing a Living God? Or a hostility about not knowing — in such a personal part about not knowing God. Because neither God nor mankind in partnership are going to survive long if you do not come to recognize both hostility and shame, living in the world.
“What is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation.” — from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost
“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. In a long narrative tension from withholding information from later generations, which shows up in later chapters, we endow our lives with stories. And a few key words in the acts of distinguishing one thing from another kept showing up over and over in the family history: “Vexation.” The damage which is suffered, often in covert operations, as a consequence of the tricks of another. The seen and the unseen tension over rivalry, as the second person is created. And instead of some kind of death penalty for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Eve and Adam are punished by their cleaving, reproducing more people like themselves, but in the process discovering the depth of the love of God through each other. In consequence of the tricks of Another, in their united problem in the beginning missing the size of all the love that God had for the world, this narrative tension primarily is about information withheld. And of course CLEAVAGE.
Did you ever note the missing understanding in the Story of Firsts? What is missing in the First Creation in the Book of Genesis, beyond understanding, is any shared belief. The tension which would be passed along to Cain and then Abel would be over the failure to share a common understanding of God. And the struggle in any close relationship was over understanding, if there was no shared belief. What would come to this first family who did not share a common perspective of God? What would come of this family?
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When the Hebrew scriptures around 200 BC were translated into Greek – the difference between, the power of a translator verses an interpreter – the word “hades” (underworld) was substituted for “Sheol,” and this also is reflected now in the New Testament. Here, writes Richard N. Longenecker in The Westminster Theological Wordbook of the Bible, Hades is “both the underworld of the dead and the personification of the evil it represents.” And that translation might have misinterpreted a lot for the evolving Abrahamic religions.
So in the account of the origin of the universe, from where had this concept of Sheol come? Is it heard in the Book of Genesis? “In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the heaven – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God‘s spirit was hovering on the face of the water…” Without hell, there is a greater need for Atonement. In my life. The theology of Christianity evolves with the matter of the existence of hell, with the story of the Messiah. As one theologian asked: “Who needs a Messiah unless there is a hell?” Sheol, as described by Wikipedia, is “a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God,” per what David Aune writes in The Westminster Dictionary of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature.
This concept of hell seemed so much like my fear of the unfinished basement in the home I lived at the age of five. Was God just some kind of Bogey Man? So as an adult, is your motivation for God still just a child-like fear, or does you motivation come from out of an authentically developed – have I ever said that while growing up my father had been the director of player development – love?
The doubt in this man-made story. Would it not have been too easy to create both just a heaven and a hell, in a simplistic solution to the cosmogony? Rather the idea of hell as a place seems to be the human concept of a cosmology. A cop out, for thoughtless women and thoughtless men who never distinguished cosmology from cosmogony, and spoke about forgiveness but did nothing?
Was the doubt in the man-made stories about goodness? About crime and punishment? In the need for, if not hell, at least for prisons? And what to do with people who have served time? When mandatory sentences, even for life in prisons sentences now could not exceed thirty years (in Minnesota). And thus, my attorney tells me, the reason for the list of sex offenders who live in the neighborhood. But there is no list for the murders who lived near by? It was the state of the union.
When you had to live door next to murders, without a listing of the offenders. When there was so little Atonement in the world. When your relatives spread through the world had sacrificed money to empower you to have a land of your own. When you identified with the land. When your institutions had an identity. And hell was next door, when it was inhabited by people professing a desire to annihilate you again and again. Like your real living relatives that you had known had once been annihilated not so long ago.
In a world that could no longer judge right from wrong, what happened to goodness? When we were all looking into the abyss, in the age of nuclear proliferation. When nuclear weapons proliferated, so many people no longer procreated. It was the state of the union. When goodness had always been the goal? The moment in the story had been about goodness -not niceness as depicted by some spin doctor. There was in the real world a fear of true goodness by so many nice people who ascribed to a dominant theology of Christianity. Or if you were reading this in Egypt, the theology of Islam.
“God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. And then God said: ‘Let US make human beings in OUR image and likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ ”
“If guilt is proved, we will welcome it, because it will show that corruption in the public sector does not pay,” a Czech government official said. So would there be punishment? And would banishment simply suffice? Or was there a need for prisons, with systems of justice?
When the issues of guilt or innocence had been decided, then you had to decide on the damages. Not monetary punishment, not banishment. Had that been the focus on Rosh Hashanah, when Abraham took Isaac to the mountaintop seemingly for the last time? In a story about ending, was there doubt in the man-made stories about goodness? About fathers and sons, about crime and punishment? In the need for, if not hell, some kind of ending.
Note the generational purpose, in the stories in the Book of Genesis. Nomads, contending with the outside world contrasted on the issue of power against the role of women. The power of women in the inside world, the power of men in the outside world. The role in the story of so long ago of power. At an age when you did not understand power. Why does it take so long to learn how to use power? If you ever learned how. And what kind of damages would be assessed against the guilty, over man’s inhumanity to man?
Purpose opposed by Obstacle yields Conflict. Like in Russia, whether before or after the fall of communism. Or in my country then with high-flying capitalism, or now with all these currencies on the brink. When there was a need for great change. By everyone. If we were all going to survive. This year.
It was a good weekend for all the believers of Abrahamic religions to think about change and Atonement. To take it all so personally and beg for forgiveness. Over Israel and Palestine; over Germany and Holocausts; over Spain and inquisitions; over famine and gulags, over slavery in Old Worlds and liberty in New ones. Over crimes and punishment, and all the crusades over holy land. On trying to come to grips with the issue of all of the damages. And trying to understand the personal love involved in these relationships. Because to even ask the question “Who needs a Messiah unless there is a hell?” is to miss the love in all of the stories of the Abrahamic religions which began in the Hebrew Bible.
Copyright © 2012.
donate, if you ever in your life felt chosen.
To ask on another Rosh Hashanah, what did it mean to be a Jew? The harnessing of energy for a people, not for a nation based upon boundaries.
Love. The electives. The compulsaries. How to attract the next generation to an elective class?
Rosh Hashanah is either the end of one or a start of yet another year. Again asking what did it mean this year to be a wandering Jew, spread throughout the world, born into something? But in this evolutionary process, everyone was not the very same, because of the movement in the story of breakups and fragmentation, even involving prayer.
And so the story of Abraham, for a nomadic people. The movement in the story, to a mountain, with decisions about sacrifice and the method of prayer. What did it mean in this Akedah story for Abraham, an old man late in life in a totally pagan world, given finally a child, a son, but asked to kill Isaac? Facing the end of his line – or at least the end of Sarah’s line – what was the point of view of the participants? Again and again, the progression of the same theme of fragmentation. When you were judged to a large extent by your children.
What did it mean when prophets climbed mountains, hoping to elevate a people or a nation while sacrificing Sarah’s only child – if this was the start of the story of birthright and inheritance? So what exactly would Abraham leave behind?
Nomadic people as the outsider. Perhaps the unattached part that Abraham did not like to see in his sons — born in his image and formed in his likeness? When he has had enough. When the hope in the story was about his sons becoming more attached, less nomadic? But his sons do not just seem to get it. When whatever is the most important thing about his life has not come through to Ishmael, and later to Isaac.
The movement in the story, the unstated conflict, which came from an anger over the changing systems in a changing world – in this evolutionary process, even involving prayer. Amidst a people who never who have relied on evangelism but concentrated, at least for males, on circumcision – and on blood.
Love. The electives of relative love. With the compulsaries. The deepness response to the deepness within. Limited to what he could leave behind, why this mysterious story about the deepest part of your being, if you were a Jew? Mammals in the evolutionary process, when everyone was not the very same. The breakup, the fragmentations – like with the continents. To identify, after fragmentation, the wonder of all the differences. To feel the love of the world you were born into, as long as you were not sons/daughters of slaves, with all of the impositions. In the world to come, if you kept reading.
The emotions which came living in the world with the evolutionary process of change, note the intense fear if not at some point anger. And at every age doubt and uncertainty, for a new generation. In a story taking all of this so personally about meaning while facing death, what does it really mean for a people to be bound, for a son to be bound to these stories hundreds of years old? When the past collided with the future, to be so personally touched by sacrifice? To write deeply, from within, where did this deepness come from? Like the deep anger directed at Abraham, never really comprehended unless you had been there.
Time in the story. The pace. The restlessnes. The seen and the unseen in the story: with all the ignorance in the world, the imposition in the story. The human concepts of sacrifice to God, when people were considered things? Like in the days of arranged marriages – fathers did make all of the arrangements – Isaac constituted the fatted calf, like the best calf of the flock. The ritual, and Word and Isaac. Noble Abraham offering the best of all that he had. In a sacrifice from the perspective of Isaac, who was not freely given. Because the underlying theme in this story was that Abraham was better than Isaac.
When Judaism was based not on any evangelical door to door knocking but based on bloodlines, sacrifice, suffering. Chosen people, dealing with what it means to be chosen. The personal suffering when you were chosen, better than anyone else? Note the underlying theology of caste systems to come — in slavery — just because you were chosen. With all of the impositions, like in the story of the Akedah. If you were better than others, why couldn’t you kill, even your son? Note the mix of arrogance with pride in the story, in this foundation of faith story, with all of the impositions.
The Days of Awe are a journey in this evolutionary process toward forgiveness which begins with the remembrance of the relationships of the father of faith, with his God and his sons — with the suffering in the potential death of Isaac, just as Abraham had suffered with Hagar, and in his not described relationship with Ishmael? In this story of relative love, the conflict is when everyone was not the same – even the son of the father of faith. Isaac is going to die, and Abraham is going to live. With perhaps the unstated word being “forever.” In this story about what it does mean to be CHOSEN. (So what is the theology in Judaism whether there was really a hell, in the connection to this reading today?)
To move from this shameful story focused on Abraham to the rest of the life of Isaac. So what affect did the incident have with Isaac’s perspective about his father? What affect did this episode have both on Isaac’s relationships with his father and his God? That must have been some journey afterwards home for Isaac, to identify still – after fragmentation, in a world with this lost sense of belonging, in a world filled with deep fear – Isaac’s God?
In a relationship story, to so strongly develop a sense of belonging in the world, who was going to have to change and how? Is the dispute over who knows God best, and who is going to live? Is this the argument over punishment, over who is going to survive — in Abraham’s case, seemingly forever, based upon his age?
And was that what moved the focus of the story from one of death to that of atonement, with a form of love present in Abraham that was not quite unconditional? And when it came to relative love, Isaac’s viewpoint was closer to that of unconditional love if he was going to try to survive in this changing world? What had Abraham taught in the remainder of his life, in the way of atonement for what had happened?
Note the intensity, in the process of stirring, with the misconception that orthodox religions were just a set of beliefs, a set of cold rituals. There was fear which came alive when it was left to you, through your progeny, to carry the future, in this form of denial through sacrifice. And so the enforcement of the old ways in the major Abrahamic religions. In a world of breakups and fragmentation of families, of nations, even of religions, so the story from age to age about the harnessing of energy directed at exactly what had been inherited in birthright, for a wandering people – not necessarily for one nation just set apart based upon physical boundaries. When Judaism is a comprehensive way of life filled with contemplation of practices that affect every aspect of life, from morning til night. So personally.
So this intense story involving mostly prayer and its form of worship — about such personal forgiveness. The impositions to always remember. To forgive but not forget. If you gave deep thought to the life of Abraham.
The electives are connected to the freedom of expression, on both sacrificial worship how to pray with the freedom, or to not pray. At either the end of one life or a start of yet another. When it was the understanding which sons came to concerning fathers, in this story about a Living God and about belonging in the world on that day of Abraham’s self-discovery: funerals really are for the living, just as God is and was harnessing energy for a living people, not for a nation based upon boundaries. Through story.
Creation. The Tree of Life stories. After Adam met Eve.
The first Tree of Life story. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. At the end of the stone age. Before the nomads set forth. From the garden. “God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.”
The apple. Adam. Eve. Adam was there first. In the story. And he DID seem to care. About God. And then about Eve. And she had wanted the apple. And so the story. About breaking the relationship with God.
And so there was this relationship. Cave men. Or men from Mars. In a relationship. Adam first with God. And then Adam with Eve. As she entered the story, the one commandment had preceded Eve. Just one commandment. The first commandment. About the apple.
In the narrative, the one commandment had never been given to Eve. But Adam seems to have passed down, to have explained, the one rule. Clearly he has explained the one simple commandment. When all humans, if actually acted upon to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, were doomed to die.
To know God. For cave men, it is not possible to like, to love anyone, unless you first know them. The greatest gift to be passed down was knowledge. So, did Eve know God? Directly? Before she ate the apple? I see no reference that they ever really met. Face to face. What happens in a relationship when only one party knows, works at knowing, God? What was this attraction, her attraction, to God?
And so the story. About God. About creation. Giving Adam and Eve everything. And about inheritance. Not so different than what I had given my own kids. Knowledge. Money. The ability to survive in the world. Beyond the lifestyle of just stone age men. And stone age women.
And so the story. Creation. The injustice of creation. From the perspective of a writer in the Land of 10,00 Lakes. In the location of the lake. When Adam, or someone, might end up living closer to the lake. Living in the age of hysteria, there was all the injustice of creation. Or since the injustice that Adam was closer to God? Eve and the perceived to be injustice. When Eve, who had never gotten to spend time alone with God, like Adam had. What was Eve’s perspective in all of this? Apparently, Eve did not really care too much about the one simple commandment. Clearly when it came to the one commandment, her actions bespoke her beliefs. Did Eve know God? About the one commandment, she more or less said, “I don’t care.” Maybe not much different than my kids, she was born into all of this, and never inquired as to from where everything had come. So what would be Eve’s motivation, concerning the one commandment? Born in His image. Formed in His likeness. In the perspective of a woman. In a world where Eve did not have a lot of choice. It was either Adam or no one? Or the apple? Was Eve silently unhappy with Adam? When two people always argued about the important choices. But born second. The second child. The unfairness of it all. In this arranged marriage. In a role of having to bear children. Of the timing. Of not really truly knowing –even in the garden – God. Not really seeing God directly, before she approached the Tree of Life. Maybe the original agnostic. Or not too unlike how an adopted child goes in search of the birth parent, in the search for the divine. “What’s He gonna do to me? Or what will your God possibly do to us, when I eat the apple? And you do likewise.”
And then seeing this tree. So was the demand for authority, establishing a degree of order, proof of love? “Don’t eat the apple.” Or was this just a sin of pride, similar to the stories about the serpent? In days when Adam and Eve had not figured out the equation. Of God. Of each other. Of conditional love versus unconditional love.
Somehow, this Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. Was the tree about Spiritual knowledge? Or simply the Truth? Or maybe the Tree of Life story was all about what was missing for Eve, and she wanted some knowledge of God, or desired to be like God.
Love and desire. Establishing the proper degree of order. What happens in a relationship over issues of sharing love? Or was it over issues of sharing authority? She only had wanted the apple? Or it was more than just an apple? Now in her desire to share in a relationship, with Adam, and with Adam’s God, there was this communal need for greater union, starting in her relationship?
In the love triangle of a man, a woman, and God, there was Eve. The text clearly states it was Eve who picked the apple. And she ate the apple first. But he did know from where the apple came, since Adam was with her at the time. He was an accomplice to picking the apple. Yes, Adam knew from where the apple had come. Poor Adam, having to decide between God’s authority, and Eve’s. Having to decide about actions out of love. Or actions out of fear. The fear of the Lord.
Eve broke the relationship with God. With the inheritance, the dowry in the Garden of Eden, lost.
Trying to understand order. Law and order. Or God, trying to figure out Eve. She must have been a lot more complicated than Adam. And if Adam wanted to help populate the earth, in his relationship with Eve….well, God and His one commandment had to play second fiddle. What could you do about it? In the perspective of Adam? If you loved this woman? Adam had already figured out not so much her mystery, but he was letting Eve decide everything. In the days before any guy ever had married. But if he was smart, and wanted to try to be happy. Because maybe the fear of the Lord was not proportionate to the fear of Eve.
Now Adam seemed honest. Real honest. And he said that he ate the apple, because the woman that he shared a relationship with had first eaten it. He seemed to have wished to have shared in all of her mistakes. In her human nature.
Cave men. In the stone age. How hard cave men had worked. With their clubs. Lovable stone men. And their women. Like the one who had picked the apple? In power struggles of knowledge. About the Tree of Life. When Eve was essentially saying, “I don’t care.” About that one commandment. Had she failed at the Tree of Life, in the challenge to know God? Cave woman with their power struggles with men, and with God. Or just their insecurities, in the days before make-up. And before matchmakers.
How hard people searched to find God after Adam and Eve. Because Eve ate the damn apple. When at that point, God had seemed pretty satisfied about His relationship with Adam and even Eve, even if Eve was not satisfied.
Maybe it was a lot like last night. Speaking of clubs. In the discussion who the Appleton minor league baseball club had been affiliated with. For the past 50 years. In Wisconsin. Adam’s noble human nature seemed greater than mine. I just offered the right answer. Never was there an affiliation with the Minnesota professional baseball club. NEVER. While the three women in the room talked to each other. And arrived at the wrong answer.
Presenting the hard work of the past. By cave men. With cave women. How hard cave men worked. For water. For cave women. In those Byzantine relationships. Before marriage. Cave men who did not even seem human. Compared to me. They did not seem real lovable. Compared to me. Until forced to choose, like I was forced to choose. In looking for union, with a woman not unlike Eve.
Such was this, the start of unconditional love. When Adam was forced to choose. Between God and Eve. And he knew enough to tell Eve she was right. On behalf of procreation. And the future of the world.
It was in January that I visited that 3,000 year old fort in the Aran Island. Amidst all the rock. And no real tillable land. How hard in the culture it had been then for the Irish. And then over time. In their hard, hard lives. How hard their lives were, compared to mine. How hard people worked for their food. My ancestors. The tour guide that day talked about Oliver Cromwell. Was he in the Aran Islands, I asked? Noel the bus driver said he had been. Then 6 weeks later, on a public television show with Rick Steves, it was stated Cromwell never was there. Last weekend, my friend with all the family in Ireland said, speaking about dealing with authority, Cromwell was never there. But Adam and Eve might have been.
Yes, how hard people worked for water. And the hard work to find food. That present day nomads took so much for granted. When man and woman had failed in the instruction to cultivate and care for the earth. And now doomed to die. God who made the heavens and the earth, now had an additional purpose for His heaven?
Afterward, the punishment. For those cave women, with their calculating stone hearts, about dealing with authority. Women who, similarly, since Eve had to carry Adam’s children within. Only now God would be intensifying the pangs of child-bearing. And Eve had in every day life an affliction of desire to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. With no mention if Adam was allowed to remind Eve of this.
So the theme of pain, along with human nature. In the beginning. It seems apparent that even Adam could never boss around his wife. Like you ever could in a true relationship, boss someone around. And when God never had much luck with Eve, either. In this chapter.
And so the story about breaking the relationship with God. Presenting all of the hard work of the past, but with this need for healing. With a need for healing, for the present day nomad doomed now to die. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with death. And relationships. And how hard relationships were. Especially for cave women, with their cave men. And how hard people searched to find union again with God, ever since the beginning.
So what had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? With the ensuing theme of pain, carrying something deep within, when it came to the kids. Eve, soon to be taking care of someone else, in those ensuing relationships, with her own kids, with their same kind of doubts over obedience and authority.
The memory of it all … with all the hard work required in relationship, did Adam ever get to ask God if relationships were harder than creation? And then dealing with loss. The irony that soon Eve was to be dealing with her kids who often, too, said, “I don’t care.” So the ongoing pangs of bearing with your sons, the one who looked a lot like Adam, physically. As the need for more commandments multiplied, until there were state legislatures.
So what else had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? After eating the fruit from the Tree of Life, Eve had this longing every day to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. And THAT was Adam’s punishment in all of this.
And so the theme for everybody of pain, with fertility, which, for the most part, had felt so good. At least in the beginning. And the irony of all of this apple business, which had started over the relationship. But finally, for the present day nomad doomed now to die, there was at least God, and the memory of it all. When it seems apparent that, in Adam’s view anyway, if Eve had never came around, no one believed how great it had been here. Between Adam and God. But with no real reason to write it all down. Not until there was such conflict, such pain. And women, with their viewpoints about the various degree of pain. Theirs was the worst. And to write it all down, otherwise no on would believe it, until they found out all the hard work required in relationship. Based, in different proportion, on love and authority. And the irony of all of this. That Adam never had an apple juice again. In his life.
And so the unimaginable, inconceivable, unthinkable story of creation and procreation ever since, before the editors and proof-readers were hired and got a hold of it, when, in the words of Picasso, every act of creation involves a form of destruction.
Copyright © 2015.