I’m An Absolute Failure At This –
February 7-9 – Days 7-9 – Exodus 29-40, Leviticus 1-14, Leviticus 15-28
It looks like I’m playing catch up for days 7-9. I’m a bit behind right now. Isn’t that the problem with doing this overly ambitious journey through the Bible? And then what do you do with that guilt? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t tell us to “read the whole Bible in this set amount of days.” In fact, there’s nothing even close to that in scripture, tradition, or divine revelation.
So why do I feel so terrible about not finishing when I’m told myself I would finish? What is it about these self-imposed deadlines that give me ulcers?
My colleague, friend, and brother in arms, Drew Filkins, told me to stop worrying about these opening paragraphs. He said, “People want to read the bulletin points. That’s what they scan down to find.”
I’ll admit, I do the same thing.
Still, I feel like I need to rationalize and explain my thoughts before I just list my quick hit, rapid fire reactions to the scripture. This is especially true for the end of Exodus and the book of Leviticus. Because, quite frankly, these books are ridiculously boring at times.
Maybe boring is a bit sacrilegious.
How about, boring in the theologically exciting kind of a way?
I’m just not into the laws, genealogies, and building plans for tabernacles, arks, temples, and the like. I want to be. Really, I do! I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm necessary to get there.
What do we do with the passages encountered in this series of readings? How do you actualize, realize, and internalize dietary, sexual, and priestly laws?
G—and K— ? Any thoughts on this?
For those who scrolled down to the good stuff, here are my bullet points!
- Exodus 29 – The ordination of priests here is VERY different from my own ordination. First, we had no ram, no bull (well, maybe a little bit) and no fat to offer from said ram. What did we have? Crying, Raymond Bonwell, Band of Brothers references, and a lot of people who “knew me when.”
- Exodus 30 – Give half a shekel (or 10 gerahs) as an offering at the sanctuary. How does that compute today?
- Exodus 30 – I love the smell of incense. I enjoy it in the house and in the sanctuary. However, we rarely burn incense in the congregation I serve. There is something to be said about worshiping with all our senses, even the sense of smell. We have hearing (music and spoken words), sight (visuals all over the place), touch (passing the peace, hand on a shoulder), and taste (communion) but not much with smell. Incense seems to meet that need. Just a thought…
- Exodus 31 – Keep that Sabbath. Why is this so ridiculously hard for most of us to do? A day of not doing ANY work? That just sounds like a day after when I’ll be playing catch up. How could this resemble something else?
- Exodus 32 – Aaron gives up the faith pretty easily. He starts on the golden path AS MOSES IS ON THE MOUNTAIN. What caused him to do so after all of these weeks of faith? After all the miraculous signs he saw? After serving as the spokesperson for God? Why would he bail out so easily?
- Exodus 32 – At least Moses negotiates for the people. That’s something, right?
- Exodus 32 – Aaron lets the people run wild? Worst babysitter ever.
- Exodus 33:11 – GREAT, powerful line – Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
- Exodus 34 – Start tearing down the “others’ “ idols, temples, and towers. Interesting…
- Exodus 34 – Moses’ face is shining. When do we shine?
- Exodus 35- 38 – Makin’ the ark. This is the rough stuff I have a trouble getting through.
- The ending of Exodus? That’s kind of a letdown. I guess I had hoped for some more resolution.
- Leviticus! We’re into another book! Wait, this book is about what now? Yea, I guess?!?!
- Leviticus 1 – Kind of a short chapter. Unblemished offerings…what offerings do we make that are with flaws, conditions, and blemishes?
- Leviticus 2-4- How do make an appropriate sacrificial offering is a very strange thing, indeed. I have absolutely no point of reference for these examples. What’s a good goat vs. a bad one? A What kind of wood to use for the fire? I just don’t sacrifice this way.
- Sin offerings – you can’t help but think of atonement theories when you read this…if you’re a theology nerd who really likes studying atonement theories.
- To be holy is to be set apart. Who, what, and when do we set things apart?
- Leviticus 8 – More ordination stuff. Again, this is not what I remember from my ordination. As my friend Corey LeCureux used to say, “Ordination is just empty hands on empty heads.” I’m not that cynical but I’m closer to that than to appropriate turbans, bulls, breastplates, etc.
- Leviticus 10 – I’d LOVE to hear some thoughts about this one. His sons burned up? What?!
- Leviticus 11 – Insects are unclean. I can get behind this law.
- Leviticus 12 – Let me get this straight…if I woman bears a son, she is unclean for seven days. If she has a daughter, she is unclean for two weeks and must spend sixty-six days of purification? I’m not sure how to comment appropriately.
- Just read Leviticus 13:40-44…I want to preach on that just once before I retire. Just once, drop the mic, and walk out into the sunset with my bald head held high.
- Leviticus 15 – And now we’re dealing with bodily discharges? Leave no stone unturned, I guess.
- Leviticus 17 – I’m a big fan of black pudding when I’m in Scotland. I know, I know, it’s kinda gross when you really think about what it is, but it tastes delicious. I’m going to have to rethink it if I want to stick with this chapter.
- Leviticus 18 – And now we’re into the sexual laws…more specifically, the laws about sexuality. This is one of the passages used by my sisters and brothers in Christ when discussing the merits of same-sex relationships. In context, I am comfortable recognizing how these types of relationships are different from the ones we are debating in our modern context. Still, this is a great place to start the discussion. Let’s talk about sex with an openness that the Bible does not shy away from. What is a relationship? A marriage? Physical love?
- Leviticus 19:32 – Respect the elderly. Nicely put.
- No Harry Potters in scripture? Leviticus 20:27
- Leviticus is full of Levitical laws (laws for the priests). If you aren’t a priest, what do you think of these passages?
- Leviticus 24:13-23 – Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
- The end of Leviticus? No better than the end of Exodus. I’m expecting big things, Numbers. Don’t let me down…