Ridley Scott is no Cecil B. DeMille. That's not necessarily a bad thing. What it means is that Scott's new epic Exodus: Gods and Kings is as much a product of our high-tech new-millennium era as The Ten Commandments was of the Eisenhower gray-flannel suit period.
When one learns how to live with one's own inner-otherness and sees oneself as an other, one is at a better place for inter-religious dialogue urgently needed in the Middle East between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
"Exodus: Movement of Jah people! Oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!" chants Bob Marley. In his rousing three-minute song "Exodus" he presents a more spiritual feel for Moses than Ridley Scott's 154-minute, whitewashed sword-and-sandals epic.
No matter what side of the creation-evolution debate you are on, your partisanship costs you dearly. Why? Because it costs you the ability to read the Bible on its own terms. What do we lose by straightjacketing the Bible with the creation-evolution debate?
Contemporary folks take the Sabbath commandment to liberate us from the stresses and timetables of modern life so that we can seek inner peace, spirituality, harmony with nature, etc. But the Bible offers different rationales.
Both traditions use prayer, gathering of family, and special foods to celebrate the miraculous providence of God to sustain a struggling community in a context of colonial oppression. Reflecting on how they differ may also help us overcome the ugly connotations of Thanksgiving.
The testimony of the Jewish people throughout their scriptures and history and in this season of Hanukkah reminds me, just as God told Moses in the wilderness, to stop crying and start moving forward in spite of moments of doubt, trusting in the continued light of God's presence.
There is a YouTube video making its way around this month. In it, a white man begins making small talk with an Asian American woman, and says to her, "Where are you from? Your English is perfect!" Annoyed, the woman responds, "San Diego. We speak English there."
In the face of the climate crisis, many express panic. The biblical story of the years in the Wilderness, in which the fractious and "stiff-necked" people of Israel agreed to a covenant with God and created a new way of life, offers solutions to the challenge.
Early yesterday, during my morning prayers, I came across an interesting passage in the Zohar -- the enigmatic, poetic, foundational opus of Jewish mysticism -- and soon, innumerable surprising connections were revealed.
This is the time to sit with the anxiety, the ambiguity and the unknowability of our lives. This is the time to go down deep in to the deepest recesses of who we are, to find resources and riches we didn't know were there.
It is time to mobilize, to part the seas and walk together to the promised land that the founders of our great nation dreamt into existence. It is time to help our nation become a place that is truly built on "liberty and justice for all."
This dream manifests as a spiritual center, this place, this community, where we can look deep into our hearts, and from which, renewed and inspired, we can act in this world with more skill and grace than would otherwise be possible.
Surrounded by the usual code words for these holidays -- "freedom from slavery" for the first, "resurrection and new life" for the second -- this question may seem at the least silly and at worst an exercise of blasphemous anti-religiosity. Yet, it is actually a serious question