Tag Archives: Exodus

In this week’s Bible readings…

bricksandstraw…I stumbled across Exodus 5, where the Israelites were required, as slaves to the Egyptians, to make bricks without straw.

This was at a time when the Israelites, led by Moses and Aaron, had had it with Pharaoh’s heart, which seemed to harden at the slightest of provocation. (I mean, seriously: If someone turned water into blood, I’d capitulate, right there. It would not take a swarm of locusts and certainly not the death of babies to get me to let the Israelites go, but that’s just me talking.)

(But seriously: I’m Pharaoh! I can capture just about any one to do my dirty work, amirite?)

But back to the story, that phrase, “bricks without straw,” stuck in my head. The Israelites were being asked to do something without the proper resources. Bricks need straw, and the Israelites were doomed to fail.

In the story in Exodus, of course, they faced travails so God could show God’s power.

So we are entering a time that, to me, feels like Bizarro World. Our leader is someone I can barely stomach, and the good work that was promoted by the previous administration looks like it could be disappeared by a few strokes of a pen. We are now entering a time when we will build bricks without straw.

But I promise: We will build them. This is not the time for despair. This is time for some creative building. Onward.

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In last weeks’ reading of the Hebrew scriptures:

download(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)

I’m in the book of Exodus, where God has come down to tell Moses, Aaron and their people what’s what through what we know as the Ten Commandments, though those Big 10 in now way encompass all the laws. Although  most people would skip over the rules as they would the long and exhaustive list of begats, I, a fundamentalist, was intrigued by them — though I must admit to skimming the specifics of Aaron’s breastplate.

Though this is in no way an exhaustive recount, here are some rules to live by, if you’re an ancient Israelite following Moses:

  1. Slavery’s OK, but there are rules in how to deal with your slaves.
  2. The rules are better if you’re a male slave, with multiple ways of getting out of servitude. If you’re a woman, not so much although there is an odd provision in Exodus 21:26 that follows the whole eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth that says if a slave owner knocks out the tooth of a slave — male or female — that slave can go free.
  3. If you’re a child born into slavery, forget about it. You’re pretty much screwed.
  4. Capital punishment appears to be the punishment of choice, with death the end result of everything from killing someone else, to allow your ox to kill someone else (if it happens over the course of time, and your ox goes after more than one person) to kidnappers to cursers-of-parents.

And then there was this one (RSV): “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” That might have something in there for people today. In the midst of all this carnage — stoning, goring, putting people to death — is a reminder from God that strangers who live among us are to be treated well.

A brief history of taking the Lord’s name in vain

giphyOf course, when no less a Big Thinker than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he believes the world is going to hell in a hand basket because people like me (women) drop the F-bomb, you really have to drop to your knees and pray about it for a moment.

I mean: Scalia! Has! Fucking! Spoken!

Stretching all the way back to the Book of Exodus (that’s before Jesus’s time, for you non-theology majors), the injunction against cursing was pretty specific — “taking the Lord’s name in vain” was taboo, though I believe the word “fuck,” as we know it, was born later.

Moving eons forward, in general if a Puritan (male or female) cursed — I suppose any old dirty word would do — they could expect to pay a fine. (Then, too, the Puritans, like Scalia, were particularly offended when females cursed.)

We have carried on this fining tradition at my own house. Part of my attempts to stop cursing so fucking much has involved levying a fine against myself, to be collected by my delighted sons who — or so I have come to believe — would sometimes fucking seek to provoke me into cursing, the little fuckers.

I have walked a long way from my girlhood, where as a denizen of the church of Christ, I lived within boundaries of injunctions against even using near-swears, like “gosh.” I got into deep trouble in high school once because I slammed my locker and said “Damn,” and my gym teacher, who overheard me, nearly collapsed on her fainting couch. Good Christian women didn’t talk like that, she said.

She was probably fucking right.

Still, I’m older now and God gave us the Interwebs, and as I seek to live a Biblical life, I found  this awesome piece that makes me happy because if I read it correctly, I can still say shit. In fact, I like pretty much everything about the piece because it reads like a much more sane view of a Biblical life. And so I am fucking letting ‘er rip. In fact, I only recently purchased a t-shirt that says “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little,” to which someone near to me responded, “A little?”

But mostly? This thin little post gives me the platform from which to sweetly ask Justice Scalia to kiss my…well, you get the picture.