Why are we reading Exodus?

As a church, we feel a need to join an exodus from power and privilege; to help engender conversation across ideological lines ; and to form individuals and help build community through Biblical study.

Click here to read Bishop Breidenthal’s letter about the Exodus project

Voices

Lost in the Wilderness Episode 8

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image credit: The plague of blood” from “The Golden Haggadah,” Catalonia, early.

This week Daniel and Karl are joined by Robin Holland for their discussion of Exodus Chapter 7.  The plagues begin!  There are magical battles between the Levite Bros. and Pharaoh!  And we get to ask questions about free will, systems of dominance, and the natural creation. (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness Episode 7: Moses and Aaron Goldstein

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Daniel and Karl are joined by Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard to discuss Exodus Chapter 6, a chapter full of quarreling with God, insecurity about leadership, and lots and lots of genealogy.  We all ended up feeling sorry for Moses, and wondering why verses 26 and 27 go out of their way to assure us that it’s the Moses and Aaron the descendants of Levi who were battling Pharaoh, not some other Moses and Aaron.  Were there a lot of Moses and Aaron’s running around in the ancient world? (more…)

Plagues and Privilege

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by Karl Stevens

In her Adult Forum video, “Revolutionary Themes in Exodus,” Paula Jackson points out that the first plague, the river turned to blood, reveals the violence that’s already inherent in the world.  Pharaoh has been using the Nile as the means of murdering the firstborn Hebrew children.  The river is full of blood, but this can be ignored as long as the water runs clear.  However, God is not content to let privileged people rest in their safety, untouched by the horrific things that are done in their name.  Everybody suffers when the water is turned to blood, and that’s the point.  The poor and oppressed have been suffering all along.  They can’t be relieved of their suffering until the rich and powerful have a change of heart.  And God’s plan is to give privileged people the experience of suffering, so that they can’t ignore it and will learn to hate it, not just for themselves but for everyone – and because they’ve experienced it and hated it, they will assist in the change that needs to happen in the world. (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness Episode 6

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Image: Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh, 1931, Marc Chagall

Daniel and Karl dive into Chapter 5 and discuss the nature of God, the nature of social movements, the struggle for justice, and the tragedy of injustice.  The midrash that Daniel selected for us is below the audio player on this page. (more…)

The Journey to Worship

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by Jason Prati

“The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God” (Exodus 5:3)

Many times throughout chapters 3-8, the reason given for the Exodus is worship.  In Moses’ first encounter with God in the burning bush, God commands him to tell Pharaoh that “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God (Exodus 3:18).” Here in Exodus 5, Moses and Aaron fulfill the Lord’s command.  They could have given a whole angry list of reasons to shout at Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free: the hardship of their labor, the injustice of the oppression, the affliction that they bore.  However, the reason given is to worship. “Pharaoh, we need to get out of Egypt for a couple of days for a “Church service,” would that be cool with you?” The reason, at first glance, seems bizarre. Yet, in the context of the Torah, it is the fundamental reason of human existence. (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness Episode 5: The Eternal Donkey

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Karl and Daniel delve into Exodus, Ch. 4 and make many jokes about donkeys and circumcision.  Daniel’s selection of midrash is below. (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness Episode 4: The Burning Bush

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In this week’s episode, Daniel and Karl are joined by Manoj Zecharia to discuss Exodus Ch. 3.  Listen below.  Show notes follow. (more…)

There Are No Simple Instructions

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Image: The Rylands Haggadah, detail, 14th century

by Mike Kreutzer

Churches have to deal, at least at times, with shortages: shortages of money, of time, of volunteers.  But one shortage that they never seem to have is a shortage of people who want to give their opinion on what “somebody” in the church should be doing – not themselves of course, but somebody else, or maybe just the generic “they.” (more…)

“Moses” by Allen Kanfer

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Alen Kanfer seems to be a somewhat mysterious figure.  Born in Russia in 1905, he spent most of his life teaching English at Grover Cleveland High School in Queens.  A prolific poet, he was published in the Kenyon Review, Harper’s, Poetry magazine and the Sewanee Review.  And that is all the internet seems to know about him.  But his poems are lovely, and this is among the loveliest: (more…)

Scenes from a Convocation

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During the Convocation, we asked eight questions as part of our World Cafe table discussions. (more…)

The Mother of Moses, Artwork by Cody F. Miller

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The Columbus-based artist Cody F. Miller has been creating religious art for years, and graciously agreed to lead one of our Adult Forums.  Today we’re featuring his beautiful painting, “The Mother of Moses.”  About the painting, Cody writes: (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness: Episode 3, Pharaoh’s Daughter

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This week Karl Stevens and Daniel Bogart dive into Ch. 2 of Exodus during their Chevruta Bible Study.  You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or other fine podcast distributors, or listen to it using the player below.  Show notes are also below. (more…)

Epitaph, a poem about Pharaoh’s Daughter by Eleanor Wilner

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Painting: Pharaoh’s Daughter & Moses by Marc Chagall

As we go deep into the story of Exodus, and learn more about Jewish midrash from Karl Stevens and Daniel Bogard’s “Lost in the Wilderness” podcast, it makes sense to explore some of the “cultural midrash” that have been drawn out of the biblical narrative by both Christian and secular artists and writers.  A beautiful example of this is Eleanor Wilner’s poem Epitaph.  Wilner teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA program, and has received the Juniper Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation.  In describing her own poetic vision, she writes: (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness: A Priest and a Rabbi Explore Exodus, Episode 2

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This week Karl and Daniel plunge into Exodus Ch. 1 for their Chevruta Bible Study.  You can find the podcast in the iTunes Store, or listen to it right here.  The show notes are below the web player.

Show Notes:

Daniel directed us to Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts Online.

Karl is using Robert Alter’s The Five Books of Moses for this study.

 

If You Will, You Can Become All Flame

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by The Rev. George Glazier

During the 3rd to 6th centuries in the deserts of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Arabia, a  movement of spiritual seekers was happening. Christian monasticism was beginning to flower.  Some of these men and women lived as hermits while others lived in communities.  Either way they learned from the silence, from the desert, from the intentional time with God and sometimes from each other.  This story comes from that time and speaks to something implied in our story from Exodus today. (more…)

Strange Like Moses

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by Karl Stevens

In the 5th century, one of Christianity’s strangest saints became famous in Syria. His name was Simeon, and his fame derived from his decision to spend his life standing on top of a pillar. People began to come to him to learn spiritual wisdom and marvel at his asceticism. But they also came to him to settle land disputes, because he had proven himself so indifferent to worldly affairs that they knew he’d be an entirely impartial judge. This may seem like a strange beginning to a blog post about Moses, but Moses and Simeon Stylites held this in common – they were strange, and because of their strangeness people trusted and listened to them.

 (more…)

Lost in the Wilderness: A Priest and a Rabbi Explore Exodus, Episode One

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In this episode, Karl Stevens (the priest) and Daniel Bogard (the rabbi) introduce Chevruta scripture study by looking at “The Oven of Acknai,” a story from the Babylonian Talmud.  A link to the podcast is below, and the podcast is available through the iTunes Store and other fine podcast suppliers.  The text of the story is below the podcast feed.

 (more…)

On Bible Studies for the Faint of Heart

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by The Rev. Dr. Cal Lane
Associate Rector, St. George’s, Dayton

Simply put, it is a good thing when Christians read scripture together.  The “Exodus Year,” therefore, presents a lot of exciting opportunities for our communities in Southern Ohio.  The strength of the program (as it was when it was first done at St. George’s with Mark’s Gospel and then with Exodus), is in its ubiquity and flexibility.  In other words, the biblical text is being talked about in every gathering at church including business meetings but at the same time you or your group can move at your own pace. (more…)

Walter Brueggemann Kicks-Off the Exodus Big Read at Saint Timothy’s

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This past Sunday, Saint Timothy’s had the privilege and joy of hearing from one of the nation’s foremost Biblical Scholars, Walter Brueggemann, who both preached and led an adult forum.  They’ve very kindly offered to share Brueggemann’s wisdom with the rest of the diocese.  David Dreisbach took video of both sermon and forum, and you can watch them below. (more…)

The Collective Wisdom of the Diocese: Sermons from the First Sunday of the Big Read

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I asked preachers from all over the diocese to send me the sermons they used to kick-off the Exodus Big Read, and they responded magnificently. Here’s a small portion of the collective wisdom of the diocese, with links to the full text of the sermons. (more…)

Introducing the Exodus Big Read’s Rabbi in Residence!

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We’re so pleased to welcome Rabbi Daniel Bogard as the Big Read’s Rabbi in Residence!  His participation comes about due to the good work of The Rev. Manoj Zacharia and Christ Church Cathedral.  The idea of inviting Daniel to be our Rabbi in Residence emerged from a Co-Create the Cathedral initiative, and his presence is supported by both the Diocese of Southern Ohio and the Cathedral.  Daniel will be joining us at Diocesan Convention and at the Capstone Event with Terence Fretheim in April.  He will be blogging (and maybe even podcasting) regularly on this site. And, he’ll be available for Sunday morning Adult Forums at parishes throughout the diocese.  To contact Daniel, please send an email to me at kpbstevens@nullgmail.com, and I’ll put you in touch with him. (more…)

Charlottesville, Exodus, and the Politics of Nostalgia

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Rachel Wheeler, in her article “Charlottesville, Exodus, and the Politics of Nostalgia,” brilliantly delineates how our understanding of the Exodus story effects our responses to racism and injustice.  She writes:

The mythic narrative of Exodus has long anchored American identities. The American Dream is a variant of the Exodus narrative. Americans from the Puritans to enslaved African-Americans, to Bruce Springsteen and Jerry Falwell have peered through Exodus-colored glasses to interpret their lives and their country. Why, then, have they seen such different things? Largely because so many white Christian Americans view their country as Canaan, while Americans of color find themselves not there yet, or even still in Egypt.

Thanks to Anne Reed for bringing this article, part of Religion & Politics “The State of the Union Project,” to my attention.  Follow this link to read the whole article.

FAQs

1.What is the plan?

Study of Exodus will be incorporated into every existing committee, commission, and conference of the diocese. We ask Standing Committee, Diocesan Staff, Diocesan Council, ECSF, ECW, the Trustees, etc. to begin their meetings with a brief (15-20 min) study of Exodus.

2.What should I think about as I am doing the readings?

1. What did you hear?
2. How does it apply to your life?
3. How will it effect your work together?

Reading Schedule

Download a printable reading schedule

 

indicates included reading material

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Exodus 14:14