The following is a work of fiction, but it incorporates details from Genesis 16, 21, and 22. My story was inspired by the song, “Abraham’s Daughter” by Arcade Fire.
I clutched at my mama’s skirts, tearing them. Screaming and kicking, I tried to get back to her. I dug my fingers into the sand but sand is sneaky, and the man dragging me away gripped me so hard I thought my ribs would crack. I sobbed and choked, my tears drying the instant they hit the hot ground. I watched my mama throw herself at the old woman’s feet, wailing like a mourner at a burial. But Sarah kicked my mother in the face, dusting her head with dirt and bloodying her nose.
Continue reading Abraham’s Daughter →
The God Who Sees Me (Genesis 16)
Invisible. Overlooked. Inferior.
I sit alone in the tent of slaves, trying to prepare myself for the day. Work. Unrelenting, overwhelming. I am no one.
I rise slowly and drink stale water from a jug. The old woman gets angry if I am slow. So I hurry in the darkness to the well. I climb down the uneven mud steps and draw fresh water for her and the old man.
I arrive at the tent. Good. They still sleep. I set my jug down and get to work on the bread, taking the barley I ground yesterday and mixing up a loaf. Continue reading The God Who Sees Me (Genesis 16) →
Giving a Voice to the Voiceless: 2 Samuel 11:1-14
“You have seen, O LORD; do not be silent!” (Ps. 35:22).
We live in a culture of reverence—reverence for people who wield power, reverence for people in uniforms demanding respect, reverence for people who call themselves “Reverends.” And in such a culture, those who have been victimized by the revered are often silenced. A powerful, popular pastor fires those who disagree with him and effectively silences dissent. An officer of the law shoots an unarmed man and later a video is shown portraying the victim as a “thug.” A woman reports a rape on her campus, and she is the one forced by humiliation to quit school and endure taunts and be told she is somehow to blame for her own rape. In a culture of reverence, people witness victimization but stay silent. They are cowed by the revered.
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The Day My Son Was Taught “Bible” in a Public School
I remember driving to Chili’s with my hands clenched on the steering wheel, knuckles turning white. It wasn’t the Abilene traffic (though I could write a blog post about Abilene drivers . . .) No. It was the story that was slowly, painfully unfolding as my son spoke. I was gently (I think) nudging him to reveal more and more about his day in fifth grade at a public elementary school. I was so angry by the time we reached Chili’s that it’s a wonder we didn’t get kicked out of the restaurant.
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Reading Genesis 2 “Literally”: The Adventures of Mud-Man and His `Ezer Kenegdo, Ish-shah
As a follow-up to “Reading Genesis 1 ‘Literally,'” I thought I would write my thoughts on Genesis 2, the second creation account. Scholarship (almost unequivocally) agrees that Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Genesis 2:4b-25 are written by separate authors in completely different times. Generally, Gen. 1:1-2:4a is ascribed to the Priestly author, and Gen. 2:4b-25 is ascribed to the J writer. Regardless, nearly everyone believes that they were written by two different authors.
Genesis 2 is a playful account. The author is a punster, but unfortunately these puns don’t get translated into the English. I’ve tried to use some similar playful wording to help us appreciate the “punniness” of the account. I wish I could draw comic-book style, but, alas, I don’t have that skill. So, I’m doing some more iPad art, and I’m really bad at humans, so be gentle art critics. Continue reading Reading Genesis 2 “Literally”:The Adventures of Mud-Man and His `Ezer Kenegdo, Ish-shah →
Painting Biblical Violence in Primary Colors
I’ve always been puzzled by the fact that we take some of the most violent stories in the Bible and turn them into happy little children’s stories and coloring pages: the flood story; the ten plagues; the genocide at Jericho; Solomon threatening to slice a baby in two. Why, for example, has the Noah’s Ark story become one of the most cheery accounts in Sunday School when it is one of the most violent and disturbing episodes in the Old Testament? Continue reading Painting Biblical Violence in Primary Colors →
Things That Shouldn’t Happen in Old Testament Survey but Totally Did
Since 1993 I’ve been teaching at least two sections of Old Testament Survey to students at the private Baptist university where I’m employed. During these 21 years, things have happened in my classroom that, honestly, shouldn’t have. I’m sure other professors have their horror stories (or comedies of error, as the case may be). Here are mine. Continue reading Things That Shouldn’t Happen in Old Testament Survey but Totally Did →
Reading Genesis 1 “Literally”
Most people who claim they read Genesis 1 “literally” don’t. They believe that what they believe about Genesis 1 is literal. But they aren’t reading Genesis 1 literally. Continue reading Reading Genesis 1 “Literally” →