Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Entry 41: Leviticus 5

A long day with almost 7 hours of tabling work selling books. Then 2.5 hours of conference call to maybe, hopefully I little avail. I have again listened to only one chapter, a 4:13 second one. I am just too baked.

This was another chapter on what to offer in the event of sin x,y, or z. The one thing I don't understand is why would you get into trouble for swearing to do a good thing? Doesn't God want us to do good things?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Entry 40: Leviticus 4

Dear Readers,

After a long and stressful day, filled with bureaucratic evaluations of my functions, a broken main wheelchair (not fun when you are trying to attend a dance class), and an achy body from Middle Eastern dance, I only read one verse of 6:24. Exodus 4 was, in mind, a rather pointless verse. If you sin, but don’t know it all you need to do is sacrifice something onto the Lord. What you sacrifice depends on your status in among the Israelites. This seems fairer to me, as richer people sacrifice more and the poor a less significant items.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Entry 39: Leviticus 1-3

Dear Readers,

I'm happy to have two followers now, both of whom I respect immensely. As you may know I've been dreading coming up against this book, because of all the things bigots say it says. But you can't really compete with bigots unless you know what the actual text is, so hold your breath, here I go.

The first 3 chapters are about nothing other than meat preparation for offering unto God. This seems like a big waste of text me. Not that I claim to be holy, but it seems like God needed an editor at times.

There was one good health tip at the end of chapter 3, "eat neither fat nor blood". Eating too much fat as everyone knows can give heart disease and other problems. I don't know about eating blood, but that doesn't sound like a particularly healthy idea either given all the blood borne nastiness that is floating around, especially lately.

My plan for Leviticus. If I read 3 chapters a day, which is at lower end of my Biblical tolerance. I will be done on the 6th. That's not so bad, as I have previously mentioned I think if I get through this book without becoming an atheist I won't be one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Entry 38 Exodus: 33-40

Dear Reader,

I finished Exodus; I’m pleased with myself, even though nothing much happened in these last few chapters. I am unclear on a few topics- “Why can’t anyone see God’s face?” and why are the people of Israel called “a stiff necked people.” Anyone with input is welcome to post.

The people made too much of what God commanded in Chapter 36. This is normal. If God were to command something we could produce to specification, I’m sure most Americans would make too much of it, as well. When God makes a specific request, honoring it is, I feel , human nature.

In chapters 37 and 38, nothing of note happened. The only interesting thing that happened was that Moses was pleased with the building that had been completed. In chapter 40, there was one really pretty piece of language, when God said that he would be “in the sight of all the House of Israel throughout all their journeys.”

Tomorrow, gulp, it’s on to Leviticus!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Entry 37: Exodus 26-32

Dear Reader,

Chapters 26-30 were more build it this way between God and Moses. I just don't get it. Perhaps it is like my Arizonam grandma artist friend says, "Maybe, without t.v. and iPhones, etc. life was more boring and God had less to do, therefore, finding much free time to devote to cooking recipe details, clothing details, services details and temple planning," Otherwise I can't explain it.

In chapter 31, the Sabbath was discussed. You are not supposed to work. But I think that working on Sunday is okay for me as I enjoy it. In fact, writing is play for me as much as it is work. I would not work in an office on Sundays that just seems disrespectful. Play on Sunday is fine just not unneeded work Doctors, nurses, personal care assistants, fire fighters, police can all work because their jobs are to prevent suffering or harm, as the Lord instructed earlier in this same chapter.

In Chapter 32, when we return to the narrative arch and away from the list of wants, Moses is vexed when he finds the people doing things God has forbidden. He destroys the instruction pages on which God's instructions were written. This reminds me more of temper tantrumming child than a holy man.

I have 7 chapters to go. I hope to get done tomorrow. However, my realist side knows it will probably be Monday.

Eight more chapters

Friday, June 25, 2010

Entry 36: Exodus 22-25

Dear Reader,

Chapters 22 and 23 were mostly about commandments and restrictions. So far all the rules laid down seem okay to me. Of course you shouldn’t take things or be mean to your enemies even if they are your enemies. You should help them out in their times of need. I’m not so good at this one, I need to get better. The one thing I didn’t like was saying that if someone stole something and couldn’t pay for it they would be sold into servitude. This seems a little extreme. What if you only took a small thing? One thing, however, that seemed very fair was that everything had a value. Therefore, if you stole something you would know how much recompense to give the owner. This seemed fair to me because unlike today you knew what you were getting into. The punishment was written down. You can’t claim you didn’t know and there was no massive leeway like today. Nowadays people get punished get punished based on irrelevant things like skin color or who your parents know. Even though the punishments were stricter back then at least it was applied to everybody fairly.

In chapter 23, the Lord kept mentioning an angel who was going to ascend to accompany his chosen people into new lands. I had a brief thought that perhaps the angel was Jesus’ spirit even though Jesus doesn’t appear for several thousand years. Being Jesus, I assume he was around in some form.

I don’t get the point of chapter 25 at all. From what I can discern, it’s basically God saying this is what I want my temple to look like using very exacting details. I like pretty things as much as the next person, but if you’re the Almighty, don’t you have bigger things to be concerned about. I can’t see devoting an entire chapter of my book to this subject.

The next time I encounter one of those crazy right-wing people who think they have a monopoly on God, I’m going to direct them to chapter 22 and 23. Nowhere does it say “hit anyone with anything” or “Call names or be unfriendly to them.” Even if they have designated that I am their enemy there still supposed to be nice to me. I also am to them, but this is hard for me and I resolve to work on it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Entry 35; Exodous 18-21

There were posts of all of these chapters that I liked, as well as parts I found frankly alarming. In chapter 18, the father in law had a good idea that Moses share the judging duties rather than being the sole arbiter. This is a beginning act of Democracy in a time when democracy wasn't even a really a concept

Chapter 19 was really unimportant or so it seemed to me. It was just Moses talking God. My feelings may, of course, be due to the fact that I’m word tired. I never thought I would be tired of words, but I am. I went to a reading today and took notes at it that I’m sure will become a poem when I’m less word worn. I also finished and reviewed my 69th book. After that I edited my assignment. Then I listened to 4 Bible chapters. After this, I will take a word break and watch a popular movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Chapters 20 and 21 were the commandments. The commandments don’t seem that hard to keep. Decent people simply don’t do those things. I was sorry to learn that a slave must leave his family in custody if he has been freed. If he refuses to do so, he risks enslavement for life again! I do, however, like that you could be freed from slavery if your master hurt you. Not that slavery is ever good or acceptable, but at least there were some behavior limitations provided to those in power over it’s victims. One would’ve hoped that such limitations would have been enforced among white owners and their African slaves. Sadly, this was not the case. Perhaps if they would’ve read the actual Bible, slavery although still horrible would’ve been much less damaging to the black body proper.

I also liked the fact the pregnant women we’re given special protection in these verses. Goodness knows that women back in the day needed it and too many modern women still do. Remember, Lacy and Connor Peterson?

If I going to this rate, I will finish in 4 days. That means Monday; I will try to finish Sunday. Go me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Entry 34; Exodous 14-17

This is a day with long chapters, by I'm still attempting to do 4 so I am on track. I was sorry that Pharaoh and his armies died. I realize that the Lord hardened his heart, but how flatly stupid do you need to be to go charging into the water on a horse in pursuit of people whom you know are under the Lord's protection? As an ex-assistant of mine once said, "if you do something like that it tell on you." She was from Jamaica and her English wasn't always so clear, but I knew what she met.

I liked the story of the parting of the waters. I, of course, knew that story already. Everyone who been in a Christian church ever knew this story, but for some reason I never realized that they walked on the water as if it was simply dry land.

I was amazed that Moses, like Jesus, fed people when there was no food and water. Moses never gets credit for this. He's just known for the Red Sea parting, which I guess is a fine enough thing to be known for, still if I were him I'd feel a bit short-changed in this history books.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Entry 33; Exodous 10-13

Dear Reader,

I again felt sad for the Egyptians. Not only did they suffer the locus plague which I knew about but also a plague of darkness and a plague of the death of all their first born children. This was the most horrible plague to me. I just can't imagine!

Finally after all of this Pharaoh got a clue and finally decided to do what the Lord, through Moses, was asking him to do. One would hope although you can't know that he would have made the decision was much quicker if the Lord wouldn't have hardened his heart. Perhaps, as my atheist friend says, it is was a little much to inflict on the entire population of Egypt. I'm sure that one or two small acts would have covered it.

The Children of Israel wonder in dessert for 430 years. They are led by the Lord, masqueraded as both a "pillar of cloud" and "a pillar of fire". From a poet's perspective, I think these are very pretty phrases.

These chapters also explained how unless you had a needed job, like feeding people should work.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Entry 32 Exodus 5 through 9

I've had some discussions with my atheist friend about why the Lord felt it was necessary to harden Pharaoh's heart. "Wouldn't it have been better," said my friend "to simply make Pharaoh want to release the israelites. After reading the necessary section of the Bible, I am convinced that Pharaoh with or without the Lord's intervention should have decided it was a good idea to let the israelites go. How many plagues does a man need to endure before he gets a clue? I know men can be pretty dense sometimes (which is why they almost never ask for directions) but this was excessive. There was lice, flies, boils, dead cattle, hail that was on fire, and finally dead crops. How many more clues do you need? Personally, for me, I would have drawn the line at flaming hail. That cannot occur! And if it does something is very wrong. I know that the Lord hardened his heart initially, but shouldn't the leader of a country be smart enough to realize that this is not working out. Whatever you're inclined to do. I guess it's like George Bush who didn't realize that making war with people who didn't cause 9/11 was not going to stop terrorism.

The thing is: why did he lie to Moses on three separate occasions? Hasn't he learned that he will get into trouble if he does that? If I had been an Egyptian back in the day, I would have organized people to go and overthrow Pharaoh because he was bringing all these problems onto me and the Egyptians knew what was going on because they believed what Moses said. In America, we kicked out King George over a tax on tea. This is not as severe as a boil, frog, flies, or flaming hail plagues.

I felt sorry for the average Egyptian in these chapters. He or she did nothing. It was all Pharaoh's fault. I guess it's like when George Bush was in office. I'm not republican and I wouldn't vote for Bush if my life was in danger. However, when I went abroad, I still had to deal with people saying "Oh you're an American. What's up with George Bush?" Tried though I might, I couldn't explain to them that i didn't vote for Bush and that he never asked me for my opinion. I think the Egyptians must have felt that way.

Another thing I didn't understand was why Moses kept going on about having an uncircumcised penis which he was convinced would make him less believable when he went to speak to Pharaoh. What this a custom in the olden times to display your penis when you went to talk to someone. Nowadays, of course, it would be most rude to display your penis when going to meet with someone, particularly the ruler of the country. Does anyone know about this? It's the weirdest thing I've ever heard of.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The first few chapters of Exodus

Exodus 1-4

Dear Reader,

I read 4 chapters today. That's a lot of Bible to read in one setting. I've only read that much one two other occasions. I meant to go to services today, but my back had other ideas, sadly.

It seemed to be Israel vs Egypt in this biblical book. It was very similar to the modern fear of white people being overwhelmed by the perceived hyper breeding of people of color.

In yet another crazy turn, Pharaoh ordered the midwives of Egypt to murder male children of Israel, but the but midwives honored God's words not Pharaoh's orders, to which I say "You go, ladies!"

Following this there was the familiar Moses story. His mother hid him and sent him down the river. He was found my Pharaoh's daughter, who hired his mom to nurse him. How she must have rejoiced at this!

When he was returned to Pharaoh's daughter she called him Moses, because he was "drawn out of the water." At some point, however, Moses called himself a "A stranger in a strange land". This the title of a famous novel by Robert Heinlein; I never the title was inspired by the story of Moses.

Of the slavery undergone by israelites, it was said, "And God had respect onto them”. One might wonder why God allowed his chosen people to suffer thus, but I figure that freedom is gift better fought for than simply granted by one's oppressor in my opinion. Perhaps this line of thought is why God hardened Pharaoh's heart while making everyone else believe in what Moses said.

I was amazed to discover that Moses, apparently, was disabled. He was "slow of tongue". I took this to mean he had a speech impairment like mine. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but maybe it's true. God chose a person with a disability (PWD) to speak for Him and free the israelites. Viva gimp liberation!

If Moses was like me, I would have also been intimidated to speak to the people. I would have also wondered who would believe a simple, lowly, disabled person (especially in those days wen PWD were treated so badly). I wouldn't live cared at first whether the "I am" told me to do so in the form of a burning bush or not. Then, of course, I'd get a grip and do what was required of me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Entry 31- The last of Genesis

Genesis 48-50

Dear Reader,

I can't imagine only reading your grandchildren on your death bed. But this is what happened to Jacob. That's sad. I also don't understand the obsession with birth order in biblical times. I'm glad I live in America in modern times where we don't particularly focus on this.

As much as Joseph got screwed by the whole birth order thing he still wanted his father and both his sons based on birth order and to give the most blessing to his older son. Jacob however was enlightened and over the whole birth order non-sense. Way to go Jacob!

Chapter 49, was about Jacob telling all of his sons how they would fare in the end time. Apparently Jacob has a son who I don't remember called Shilo because he was mentioned in this chapter. Jacob's role in this chapter reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge going around predicting things. Unlike Ebenezer however I don't think these predictions are changeable your stuck with what you got. After these predictions Jacob dies.

In the last chapter of Genesis I must say I am very proud of Joseph for not ruling over his brothers in a mean way despite all the horrors they have done to him. Even after his father gave him complete rule over him on his death bed. I don't remember the phrase exactly it was something like "Who am I to replace God as your master?".

I don't know if I would have been that charitably had I been Joseph. But I guess he already got his revenge because of that whole silver cup thing and worked it out of his system. I am pleased that he didn't need to take another go at vengeance. This leads me to my conclusion that he is an overall good guy.

I hope I have the strength to go to church tomorrow because I feel I need some support before I begin the dreaded Leviticus. Wait I was just wrong. Leviticus isn't next. It's Exodus then Leviticus. I'm dreading Leviticus so much I keep advancing it and ignoring the miracle of Exodus. I feel like Exodus will really strengthen me to deal with all the nasty things Leviticus supposedly says about LGBT folks. I think if I can get through the third book with my faith intact I will not be in any danger of becoming an atheist. I have always avoiding reading that book for fear that what the bigots say it says it actually what it says.

Then I realized I couldn't be a true christian unless I read the whole book. If I was an atheist so be it I want to know. Having spoken to Todd today I feel much more affirmed in my personal faith and not so subject to the usurpation of my attempt to affirm or modify [as the much less likely case is] my faith by mean spirited crazy right wingers. Todd's right that's why the delete was invented. I'm going to use it next time someone goes about saying something I didn't or acts really childish in my blog. I'm not a pro-censorship person but if you can't act accordingly to the rule of civil discourse I don't need to bother with you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Entry 30- Irritated

I know I haven't written in this blog in a long time. Since sometime in May, in fact, however I've thought about a few things I'd like to comment on. I think all people of faith (and people in general)might benefit from reading two books, the Wordy Shipmates which details the Puritan journey and the eventual discovery by some that they'd rather have more personal and (in my opinion more UCC like) relationship with God.

The second book that made me think of the Good Book, is Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. I wonder if Fforde's writing (which is often not comprehensible at first), but became more comprehensible as I read more and more of the series. I feel like that about the Bible.

So why, in complete truth, am I writing today? I'm writing because I am annoyed, irritated, P.O.ed, insert name of appropriate word here at insane right wringers who think they own the Lord. Two of them are following this blog on my twitter feed. Why do people assume that just because I believe in the Lord, I'm some kind of crazy hate filled, homophobe. They don't realize that can be a radical, queer, lay theologian with a disability. If they met me, their heads would probably explode!

I am not feeling very charitable towards these people, as The Good Book intends I should. But I've had long week, and I'm not exhibiting my most Christlike behavior. In fact, I'm inclined to go get a new sticker for my chair that says, "The religious right is neither". I think Pride and Joy has those. Good thing I'm coming their tomorrow to pick up adoption celebration gifts for my honorary niece and her 2 moms, fellow disability rights activists friends of mine! I guess the Lord is on my side!