Author: editor

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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…)

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…)

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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…)

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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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

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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…)

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…)