About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Great Restroom Controversy

The controversy in the title does not indicate the cultural and political agitation which is currently gripping the bigoted segment of our society. I plan to address this contemporary controversy from the perspective of faith this Sunday, but in this column I want to write about another and older restroom controversy irking the biblical literalists.
            When the LORD called Moses to liberate the Israelites from Egypt they ended up wandering for forty years through the wastelands of the Sinai. There they underwent trials and tribulations, received the divine Law and were gradually shaped into a real and special nation ready to reenter the Promised Land. This story is clearly a formative legend about the birth of the new people of God as well as a singularly inspiring parable about the promise and the cost of faith, about the dangers of freedom and the call to liberty.   
            There are still many in American faith communities who insist on taking the Exodus story as factual history. They dismiss all arguments about the utter implausibility of two million people (six hundred thousand men aged 20 and up) surviving in the Sinai wilderness. They point to divine manna, the bread from heaven, a miraculous sustenance which the LORD provided to keep all those people alive.
            But the problem is not the miraculous sustenance; for modern scholars the main puzzle is the miraculous disappearance of all their refuse. Two million people leave behind enormous piles of waste including broken tools, pots, bones, nutshells, permanent as well as temporary structures not to mention hundreds of thousands of graves... After all, that is what archeology is all about - the study of old heaps of waste. The problem is, in the entire Sinai all that waste is simply not there! There is no waste from two million people, or hundreds of thousands, not even from several hundred people at the same place and same time.
            This is the biblical “restroom” controversy in a nutshell - the missing Exodus waste. When we allow it to sink in, it deepens our understanding of the Bible and of our faith. It overcomes simplistic literalism and bigotry and directs our faith towards a tolerant, spiritual and loving world view. We will use this approach this Sunday to address our current cultural restroom controversy in a truly biblical, loving and spiritual manner. Exodus is not an event of the past, the LORD is still calling people from the enslaving prejudice and bigotry to freedom.

No comments: