This week we read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and Psalm 51:10-14, the story of David’s anointing and David’s prayer of contrition. We talk about the odd mixture of the religious and the political that permeates both this text and our own lives. We ponder the claim that God looks on the human heart rather than the outer appearance and wonder exactly what kind of heart God might be looking for. And we wrestle with the fact that in this text God uses a religious ceremony to distract the people from what God is really doing in anointing David. What does that mean for the way we practice religion today?
This week BibleWorm reads 1 Sam 3:1-21, where Samuel in his youth is first called by God. We are enamored of this text where the prophet doesn’t realize it is God talking, and we reflect on the role of our community and our mentors in recognizing the divine voice … or to gut check us when it might just be indigestion. We are moved by the loving and complex relationship between young Samuel and his father-figure, Eli, and its numerous points of connection with the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. And over and over again, we see the importance of saying what needs to be said, even when it’s hard -- and the power our speech can have in shaping reality.
This week Bobby and Amy talk about Exodus 16:1-18, the story of manna in the wilderness. We’re only 6 weeks out of slavery in Egypt, and already the people are anxious about where their next meal is going to come from. We talk about the pernicious power of economies of accumulation, which convince us that there is not enough, turning our neighbors into competitors. We talk about the nature of miracles and the contrast between the pillar of fire in the Exodus and today’s thin layer of dusty bread that prompts the people to say, “What is that?” And we think about the ways God’s provision is like a locking Tupperware container. You’ll just have to trust on that one.
This week we read Exod 2:23-25 3:1-15 4:10-17 -- stories of the earliest days in God and Moses’s relationship. We are struck that it is a full throated and raw cry that draws God’s attention back to God’s own covenented people. We are humbled to witness the sharing of God’s actual name, and how it both has particularity and intimacy that the title “God” does not, and how it is itself as broad in its meaning as any word we can imagine. I will be what I will be, or I am what I am, or I am becoming what I am becoming. How does Moses -- and how do we, as mere humans -- have a relationship with something as big as God, as big as the verb “to be”? We think it helps to have company.
On this special episode of BibleWorm we talk with Dr. Brent Strawn, professor of Old Testament at Duke University Divinity School and the author of Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament from Westminster John Knox Press. We discuss common misunderstandings Christians may have about the Hebrew Scriptures and how a better of understanding of the Scripture can enrich both the life of faith and interfaith relationships among Christians and Jews. We discuss the relationship of the Bible to history and whether “historically accurate” is an adequate understanding of what it means to say that the Bible is “true.” We discuss God’s violence in the Old Testament and the difference between a God who is wrathful by nature and a God who exercises wrath on behalf of the poor and the oppressed. And we think about the challenges of interfaith dialogue about Scripture, and whether it is worth it, in the end, to read with people unlike ourselves.
This week we find ourselves in Genesis 27 and 28, the stories of Jacob deceiving Isaac to receive his blessing and Jacob’s late night encounter with God at Bethel. We wonder at the ways of God, who works outside of human systems of privilege, blessing the younger son over the older and prophesying through the mother rather than the father. We struggle with the deception of Rebekah and Jacob and what it means to follow God faithfully when one is excluded from power. And we marvel at God’s gracious appearance to Jacob on the road to Haran, reminding us to be attentive to God, who often shows up in unexpected places.. Hang onto your sheepskins everybody, it’s about to get real.
This week we read Genesis 21:1-3 and 22:1-14, the harrowing account of God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his long awaited and much-beloved son and heir, Isaac. In a text that is so fraught by the very nature of its plot, there is so much left unsaid. We sense deep connection and togetherness between Abraham and Isaac, even as Abraham moves toward fulfilling this terrible thing. We wonder as modern people how this could be and whether, if one is truly sure it is God speaking, there is any other choice. We think we see God changing over the course of this story, leaning farther into the still new territory of a covenanted relationship with one guy. And we see the stories of so many people we know, who deeply love a person who has been rejected by their religious community or doctrine, who are pressed to choose.
This week we begin Season 3 of BibleWorm by going allllll the way back to the beginning of creation as told in Genesis 1:1–2:4a. We talk about the amazing generosity of God, who not only creates but beckons forth the creativity of others—humans, animals, and the earth. We discuss the creation of humankind in God’s image and ask what it means to have dominion over a creation that God has called good. And we marvel at the Sabbath command, which sanctifies time and gives us divine permission to rest. Welcome to Season 3, everybody! Let there be BibleWorm!
On this episode from August 2, 2020, BibleWorm continues our summer series on the Forgotten Books of the Bible with a look at Esther 1:1-22, the story of the Persian Queen Vashti and her refusal to appear before the king. We discuss the fragile egos of the king and his courtiers who fear the capacity of women to say no. We talk about the power of the patriarchy and the lengths it will go to to suppress voices of dissent. We admire Vashti’s courage to protect her own sense of dignity and the dignity of all women even though it costs her the crown. And we wonder about the ripple effects of such acts of courage, which make ruling ideologies tremble, if only for a moment.
On this Episode from July 26, 2020, BibleWorm continues our summer series on the Forgotten Books of the Bible with a look at Esther 1:1-22, the story of the Persian Queen Vashti and her refusal to appear before the king. We discuss the fragile egos of the king and his courtiers who fear the capacity of women to say no. We talk about the power of the patriarchy and the lengths it will go to to suppress voices of dissent. We admire Vashti’s courage to protect her own sense of dignity and the dignity of all women even though it costs her the crown. And we wonder about the ripple effects of such acts of courage, which make ruling ideologies tremble, if only for a moment.