The diocese has finished the Big Read, but Daniel and Karl are still podcasting. Check out the latest episodes here.
The diocese has finished the Big Read, but Daniel and Karl are still podcasting. Check out the latest episodes here.
This week we finally take a deep dive into Daniel’s favorite rabbi, the 12th c. Spanish philosopher Maimonides, also known as Rambam. Which means that we get super philosophical, talking about God and nature and the limits of human knowledge. Oh, and also about Moses and ch. 33 of Exodus. Plus one really terrible butt joke (because we only like to pretend that we’re smart). (more…)
Artwork: The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin
At last, we have come to the much anticipated Ch. 32, when God sends Moses down the mountain to break up a wild party and, more importantly, stop the chosen people from worshipping idols. Hot stuff! And Daniel has provided four and a half pages of midrash to go with it! (more…)
Exodus 31 is great for artists and crafts people, and great for people who just need a day of rest! Karl and Daniel spend about thirty minutes talking about the first seventeen verses, and then thirty minutes talking about verse 18 alone! That’s one great verse. Plus, Daniel tells the joke that gives our episode it’s name. (more…)
Daniel and Karl go deep into the weeds of ordination rituals for the High Priest as they read Exodus 30. Along the way, they throw in some thoughts about Jerusalem Syndrome, the sad life of Schmuel the Ephod Cleaner, and the religious call to assist in the completion of creation. (more…)
Daniel and Karl are joined by Rabbi Daniel Vaisrub, and many things are revealed about Judaism that Karl never knew. Such as the apocalyptic hope that the third temple will descend from on high and that the ephod might just look like the costume of a French princess. (more…)
Ch. 27 of Exodus is all about the tabernacle (what a surprise, given that it’s been the theme of the last few weeks). But Karl and Daniel find a way to talk about sin, and the way that both Judaism and Christianity are reinterpreting the concept of sin in terms of modernism. You can listen to the podcast using the player below, or by subscribing through any fine podcast distributor. Daniel’s choice of midrashim is below the player. (more…)
Daniel and Karl are joined by members of Saint Andrew’s, Evanston as they discuss Ch. 26, a chapter mostly composed of instructions for building the tabernacle. And yet somehow they manage to wander into discussions of unicorn creation myths and when to take a bathroom break in the middle of synagogue services. Who says that cubits can’t be fun! (more…)
Acolytes and Altar Guild members, rejoice! We have now gotten to the part of Exodus that deals with liturgy, describing all of the wonderful implementa of the tabernacle with glittering adjectives (mostly because everything is gold plated). Daniel and Karl let their inner liturgists off the leash and get so metaphysical that it’s almost psychedelic. (more…)
Okay, it’s a weird title, but we sure amused ourselves as we talked about Exodus 24, in which Moses and friends are somehow back at the foot of the mountain and about to go up it for the first time, even though Moses has been at the top of Mt. Sinai for the last four chapters. You can see why we got a little wacky. Enjoy! (more…)
image: The Psalm of David, by Marc Chagall
There’s a whole lotta law going on in Chapter 22 of Exodus, but it leads Daniel and Karl into discussions of King David and the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, the Babylonian Exile and, oh yeah, Exodus. Join us! You can listen to the podcast through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or with the player below. Today’s midrash is at the bottom of this page. (more…)
We’re still at Mt. Sinai (after all, we just got there) and the law is getting more and more exact and elaborate. This week it also becomes downright unpleasant, as we have to contemplate the fact that the Israelites are now enslaving each other, not to mention the sad fate of pre-teen girls in much of the ancient world. Plus, ox goring. You can listen to the podcast by downloading it through iTunes or any other fine podcast deliverer, or by using the player below. The midrash for the chapter is at the bottom of this page. (more…)
artwork: Marc Chagall, The Ten Commandments
What are all those courthouse monuments and bulletin boards on the highway all about, anyway? The Ten Commandments might form the basis of civil society in the west, or they might be a specific set of rules given to a specific group of people at a specific time, or they might be the Jews’ great gift to the moral universe. Or, possibly, all three. And there are three hosts on this week’s podcast, as Daniel and Karl are joined by the great Jane Gerdsen. Subscribe through any fine podcasting service, or listen with the player below. This week’s midrash are below the player. (more…)
artwork: Jean Jeon Gerome, Moses on Mount Sinai
All right, we’ve finally arrived at Mount Sinai! And it only took 19 chapters and 20 episodes. As Daniel says, all the most famous midrashim speak to this moment of Exodus. In our discussion, we touch on cultural appropriation, our legacy to future generations, and what exactly the Holy Spirit is. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or many other fine podcast distributors, or listen to it with the player below. The midrash for this week is below the player. (more…)
Image: Jan van Bronschorst, Jethro Advising Moses
Let’s face it, Jethro must have been one of history’s top five father-in-laws. In Ch. 18 of Exodus, he visits Moses and shows him how to set-up a bureaucracy. In our current context, this might seem like an odd thing to be admired for. But can bureaucracies be good, even holy? Karl and Daniel debate this contentious issue of our time. You can download the podcast through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or listen to it below. The midrash we used this week is below the player. (more…)
artwork: Nicolas Poussin, Joshua Fights Amalek
As they dive into ch. 17, Karl and Daniel talk about sin and evil, and the understanding of Amalek in Judaism. How should we think about and treat our enemies? How should we confront the evil in ourselves? The rabbinic tradition has managed to wring some weighty questions out of a relatively short chapter. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or you can listen to it with the player below. The midrash that Daniel assembled for this episode is beneath the player on this page. (more…)
The Gallery at St. Philip Episcopal Church in Near East Columbus is holding the special art exhibition for the season of Lent, Exodus: Journeys of Liberation. The show explores the themes of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio’s seven-month-long “Big Read” of the Book of Exodus in the visual arts. (more…)
Daniel and Karl ponder the culinary value of manna, read some excellent midrash, and talk about the Sabbath and ecology, all while dipping (pun intended) into Ch. 16 of Exodus. You can subscribe through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or listen with the player below. The midrash for this week below the player. (more…)
As an architect my interest in design for religious purposes has often been impacted by the specificity of God’s commands regarding building the Tabernacle in Exodus Chapter 26. God’s statements are not instructions, they are demands, “Thou shalt make….” It is easy to discern God’s earliest specifications involve the importance of quality materials, excellent workmanship, and precise design. The purpose is intentional – to reflect the greater glory of God, not his people. (more…)
The Israelites have finally gotten to the Reed Sea, the Pillar of Fire and the Pillar of Cloud are introduced into the story, and (oddly) Job makes a cameo appearance in the midrash. What could be more fun than that? Join Daniel and Karl as they discuss Exodus Chapter 15. (more…)
This week Daniel and Karl are joined again by Robin Holland for their investigation of Exodus 13. Daniel gives us the lowdown on a lot of Jewish practice, including the use of tefillin (in English, phylacteries) in prayer. You can listen below, or subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or other fine distributors. The midrash we used is at the bottom of this page. (more…)
This week Daniel and Karl discuss Exodus, Ch. 12, give an overview of the Documentary Hypothesis, delve deep into Jewish religious traditions, and give some grocery shopping advice! You can subscribe through iTunes or other fine vendors of podcasts, or listen below. Daniel-curated midrash is at the bottom of the page. (more…)
By Mike Kreutzer
High-quality commentaries on Exodus (and other biblical books) are wonderful resources. They help us to understand the text and its context, and they can help us also to move beyond supposed “historical facts” to a deeper understanding of the biblical narratives. As the expression goes, they enable us to reflect on the “more-than-literal meaning.” (more…)
In his November 23rd column, David Brooks reflects on the Exodus narrative, and how its faded from American life. He writes that
The story of America…can be interpreted as a series of redemptions, of injury, suffering and healing fresh starts. Look at the mottos on our Great Seal: “A New Order for the Ages” and “Out of Many, One.” In the 18th century divisions between the colonists were partially healed. In the 19th century divisions between the free and enslaved were partially healed. In the 20th, America partially healed the divisions between democracy and totalitarianism. In the 21st, we have healing fresh starts still to come. The great sermon of redemption and reconciliation is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. This is a speech of tremendous intellectual humility. None of us anticipated this conflict, or its magnitude. All of us “looked for an easier triumph.” None of us are fully in control. “Let us judge not that we be not judged.”
We asked attendees at Diocesan Convention to tell us what they’d learned from Exodus so far, and here are some of the responses we got back.
I am surprised by how wonderful it has been to preach and teach the Exodus story over the last months. It has deepened our whole parish’s understanding of how the Exodus story undergirds the Christ story and our understanding of how God acts in the world for us and with us.
This week Daniel and Karl are joined by the great Phyllis Spiegel as they delve into Exodus, Ch. 12. On the surface, Ch. 12 seems like a lot of throat-clearing for Ch. 13. But it does, in fact, allow us to ask the most profound questions about God and society. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, this podcast is for you! Listen using the player below or subscribe through iTunes or your favorite podcasting network. The midrash that Daniel provides is below the player. (more…)
Daniel and Karl delve into Jewish mysticism (and a little Christian mysticism, too) as they discuss Exodus Ch. 10. You can listen using the player below or by subscribing through iTunes. The midrash that Daniel provided is below the player.
J. White grew up Baptist and childhood church was in a parishioner’s home, so moving around to find places for worship and fellowship was part of her background. She’s been an Episcopalian for thirty years, and has noticed the typical Episcopal resistance to change. She thought that the focus on Exodus would legitimize the idea of doing something different. (more…)
Our Rabbi in Residence, Daniel Bogard, has been traveling the diocese leading Adult Forums at our churches. Here’s a video of his talk at Saint Anne’s in Westchester. Contact Karl Stevens (kpbstevens[at]gmail.com) if you would like Daniel to come and speak at your parish.
Daniel and Karl use Chapter 9 of Exodus as an opportunity to talk about idealism and realism, trauma and hope. In particular, they discuss ideas articulated in Rabbi David Hartman’s article “Auschwitz or Sinai?” You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or your favorite podcast supplier, or listen to it below. Show notes and midrash are below the media player.
A DSO Big Read of Exodus
Chapters 9 & 10
(Rashi, 9:10) upon man and upon beast:
Now if you ask, “From where did they have beasts? Does it not say already, ‘and all the livestock of the Egyptians died’ (above, verse 6) ?” [I will answer that] the decree was leveled only upon those in the field, as it is said: “upon your livestock that is in the field” (above, verse 3), but he who feared the word of the Lord brought all his livestock into the houses, and so it is taught in the Mechilta (Beshallach 1) regarding “He took six hundred chosen chariots” (Exod. 14:7).
(Midrash Rabbah, 9:12) G‑d hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them
Following each of the first five plagues, it is written, “Pharaoh hardened his heart”; regarding the sixth plague it says, “G‑d hardened the heart of Pharaoh.” When G‑d saw that Pharaoh did not relent after the first five plagues, He said: Even if Pharaoh now wished to repent, I shall harden his heart, in order to exact full punishment from him.
(Rashi, 9:18) at this time tomorrow:
[Heb. כָּעֵתמָחָר lit., at the time tomorrow, meaning] at this time tomorrow. He made a scratch on the wall [to demonstrate that] “Tomorrow, when the sun reaches here, the hail will come down.” -[from Tanchuma, Va’era 16]
(Midrash Rabbah, 9:24) So there was hail, and fire flaring up within the hail
Imagine two fierce legions who were always at war with one another, but when the king needed their services for his own battle, he made peace between them, so that both should carry out the orders of the king. Likewise, fire and water are hostile to each other, but when the time came to do war with Egypt, G‑d made peace between them and both smote the Egyptians as “fire within the hail.”
(Rashi, 9:29) Moses went away from Pharaoh, out of the city, and spread out his hands to G‑d (9:29)
Moses did not wish to pray to G‑d inside the city, for it was full of idols.
(Midrash Rabbah, 9:33) The thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was no longer poured upon the earth
The hailstones which were on the way down when Moses prayed were suspended in midair, and did not reach the earth. When did they descend? In the days of Joshua they descended upon the Amorites, as it is written (Joshua 10:11): “It came to pass, as they fled from before Israel . . . that G‑d cast down great stones from heaven upon them.” The remainder will descend in the days of Gog and Magog.
Karl, Robin and Daniel delve into Exodus, Ch. 8, the plagues, the nature of good and evil, the nature of mercy and justice, and all the other large and intense questions, with a little midrashic humor thrown in. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes. The midrash that Daniel selected is below. (more…)
by Miriam McKenney
Exodus 14:35 Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
My youth group is participating in The Big Read, Southern Ohio’s collective reading of the Book of Exodus. From the parting of the Red Sea to the repetitive instructions to build the Ark of the Covenant, we’re immersing ourselves into the word of God in old and new ways. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Karl and Daniel delve into Exodus, Ch. 4 and make many jokes about donkeys and circumcision. Daniel’s selection of midrash is below. (more…)
In this week’s episode, Daniel and Karl are joined by Manoj Zecharia to discuss Exodus Ch. 3. Listen below. Show notes follow. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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 email@example.com, and I’ll put you in touch with him. (more…)
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.
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.
1. What did you hear?
2. How does it apply to your life?
3. How will it effect your work together?
indicates included reading material