The battle of the sexes

After talking in class today about social equality and gender equality I found it almost ironic when I was working today because I had a discussion about gender equality with my one of my clients. I work as a personal trainer at the HIT center and normally I don’t have this intense of a conversation. However today the topic of gender equality was brought up between my client and I. She began saying how she feels like she is looked down upon many times in her daily life for being a women. She felt as though the men she was around sometimes acted as though they were all better than her and that before they would get to know her she’d already been judge. So by me knowing she is a religious person I brought up how we have been talking about women in the bible in our class. We began discussing how even in the bible women are looked down upon for what they had done, for an example eve eating the fruit and Rebecca for tricking her husband into believing Jacob was Esau. Yes there are multiple accounts of women receiving “bad raps” in the Old Testament but what we wanted to point out is that men also do bad in the old testament. One of the biggest representations of men doing wrong in the Old Testament is in Exodus when Aaron creates the golden calf for the Israelites to worship while Moses is talking to God atop the mountain.

After having this conversation we were both even more confused than before about why women receive this bad rap. In the bible it doesn’t say anything about women being less important than men, it more than likely says that they are even in stature. This can be seen in Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live ling in the land the LORD your God is giving you”, also in Leviticus 20:9 “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head”. Both these verses saying that both that men and women are equal and if you dishonor or disobey either you will be punished. Unfortunately not many people look at these verses in the same way and still believe that men are high on the status totem pole.

There may never be a day when men or women are looked upon equally in the eyes of all, but it needs to be pointed out that the bible doesn’t say one is better than another, it says they are equal. Also it needs to be known that both men and women both have done bad in the Old Testament. Throughout this I am not trying to take a stand on either side of this argument I am however just trying to bring certain information to attention in which I feel is important.

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Extra Credit: Let Justice Roll Lecture

As many others have noted, Dr. Cone’s lecture/presentation was very moving.  From his descriptive language, to his creative manipulation, to the changes in the tone of his voice, Dr. Cone had the audience in the palm of his hand.  The ‘opening acts’ spoke very well, but they couldn’t hold a fire to Dr. Cone.  Reggie’s song was amazing, it sent chills up and down my spine, but Dr. Cone still outperformed him. Continue reading

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“Let Justice Roll”–An Evening with Dr. James Cone

I was not quite sure what to expect when I entered the room in Whitehall on Thursday evening, and took my seat.  The first few minutes of each speaker’s agenda was commonly about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the progression of the evening followed in these footsteps.  After all of the introductions had been made, a spiritual had been sung by UK’s finest (Reggie), and Dr. Cone took the podium, the lecture was finally ready to commence.  At first, I was concerned that Dr. Cone’s microphone wasn’t working properly and I would be struggling to hear his soft-spoken voice for the duration of the talk…but boy was I wrong.  It was not more than five minutes into his ‘sermon’, and I was sure that everyone in attendance (and probably everyone in the classroom building) could clearly understand the words coming out of Dr. Cone’s mouth.

Continue reading

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Links Roundup: Hineni and its modern uses

Earlier in the semester, we talked about the word “Hineni” used by figures in the Hebrew Bible to say “Here I am”. There are two ways to say “I’m here” in Hebrew. The first is “poh”. This would be used as a response to a roll call, or just a general “I’m here at the store.” The second way to say that you here is “Hineni” this word has a more complete, deeper meaning. When you say “Hineni” it means you are completely in a place (or state).

This word is used only 8 times in the Bible. Each of these uses occur at defining moments in the figure’s life, at turning points in their life to answer God.

God calls his chosen person by their name, “Abraham” or “Moses” . Abraham hears his name called and answers “hineni”. Then as Abraham is preparing the sacrifice of his only son Isaac, Isaac calls out to Abraham “Father?” and Abraham answers “Hineni”. One last time, as Abraham lifts the knife against his son, God calls out “Abraham, Abraham” and Abraham answers “Hineni” as God shows him the ram to take Isaac’s place.
God also calls “Moses, Moses” to the Israelites leader out of the burning bush. Moses answers to the unseen power, “Hineni”

The word is familiar to contemporary Jews from the Hineni prayer read or sung on Yom Kippur, or “The Day of Atonenment” The prayer was written in the 16th century and has been sung in Synagogues since that time. The language is very powerful, here you can read the prayer’s traditional translation: And this is a more modern adaptation of the prayer:

I found several recording of the prayer being sung, which I think is very powerful,

This first is a performance of the song with an orchestra and small chorus. The second is the reading / chanting of the prayer in a Synagogue.

The text is also used by all modern believers, especially Christians, to talk about the posture that we should have before God. The word and the stories it is in emphasizes the readiness one should have to answer God and do his will. The story of Samuel is another story of the obedience and faith of God’s chosen one, this one is often especially used because Samuel’s initial confusion  is so relatable to followers everywhere.   Here you can read about a Korean Christians application of “Hineni” to her spiritual life:

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Purim and How it Changes Everything

In class on Friday, we talked about the Book of Esther. As we discussed, the book has been seen as sort of a canonized justification for the Jewish holiday Purim.If we choose to accept this idea, then the Book of Esther is no longer an intense drama, but a historical fiction written for a holiday. Additionally, Esther loses its value to the non-Jewish/religious reader as a literary resource. Although this post is more of a summary of what I feel Esther offers us as critical readers, I’ve included some background about Purim to help make sense of the holiday since the book serves as a sort of etiology for it.

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Extra Credit: Let Justice Roll Down

Many others have basically summed up all of the observations and main points of the lecture. So, something I thought might be interesting to do while at the lectures, was to make a list of anything that any speakers mentioned that could be found in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. So, here is my list:

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Instructions for Monday & Wednesday, With Other Announcements

Remember that on Monday and Wednesday, we will not be meeting in our regular room.  Instead, we’ll be meeting in the Young Library to conference and work on our group projects.  Attendance is still required for everyone.  Here’s what we’ll do.

1.  I’ll be sitting in a table in the Young Library basement.  Everyone should come by and check in at the start of the class to let me know that you’re here.  Once you check in, find your group and use the time to work on your project, plan for your presentation, etc.

2.  For the first 25 mins., I’ll meet with Group One. Then, for the rest of the time, I’ll meet with Group 2.  Wednesday’s schedule will be similar; I’ll meet with Group 3 and then Group 4.  Group 5, please confer with me about a meeting time. Continue reading

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Late Semester Exam Study Guide

This post is just a friendly reminder that we’ll be having our “Late Semester Exam” this coming Friday, April 22.  You may be dissatisfied that we’re having such a substantial exam—a comprehensive exam that’s worth 20 percent of your class grade—during what is inevitably a hectic time of the semester.  For this sad scenario you can thank in part the University Senate and the Academic Ombud (feel free to write them and complain about the dead week policy changes they’ve sanctioned, because I’m pretty sure they don’t improve your educational experience).

Fortunately, I have provided a study guide for the final exam. As always, be familiar with the significance of all of these terms, and know the distinctive traits of all the books in the OT we’ve read thus far. The potential essay questions may have a striking resemblance to some of the questions that will appear on the exam. Feel free to post questions to the blog, and I’ll answer them (to the benefit of you and your colleagues).  Note:  the content of this exam, although comprehensive, will skew toward what we’ve covered in the last half of the course. Continue reading

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Song of Solomon and Marriage: Links round up

“Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon pointing toward Damascus”

EXCUSE ME? This video is of a pastor who is humorously describing the woman to which Solomon is singing to when he is “complimenting” her beauty.

The words of song of Solomon are unrelatable today. Continue reading

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Dead Men Make Convenient Heros

As everyone has previously pointed out, Professor Cone discussed many topics that have a connection to the book of Amos.  Yes, of course one of the famous quotes used by Dr. King is from Amos, but one of the main points of Professor Cone’s lecture was something that was intimately expressed in Amos.

You who turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground!  (Amos 5:7) Continue reading

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Let Justice Roll Down Like a Mighty Stream!

“Black people did not land on Plymouth Rock; that rock landed on us!” – James Cone

James Cone, a fiery professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, presented his talk on Theology, Justice, and the Old Testament at the UK Diversity Seminar this past Thursday. A little slow going, for sure, since there was a lot of presentation on the diversity program itself, and a few treats including an African American musician who filled the room with a soothing but very powerful gospel-like song on living for God, and it not being in vain. Once a James Cone stepped up to the podium, his appearance of aging and his initial soft spoken words were enough for my mind to criticism him as a boring lecturer that I was going to have to strain through to hear for the next hour…

…James Cone blew my socks off! And with it flew all the judgments I made of the seemingly elder gentleman. That Ol’ man has got spunk! Continue reading

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What’s your theos when it comes to the challenge of the day? – Extra credit for Dr. Cone’s presentation

 It’s been so long since I’ve heard fearless passion describe blatant racial inequality between blacks and whites.  Dr. Cone’s honesty was inspiring even when answering a question said, “I’m not racist, I just don’t like you.”  He was referring to white people, perhaps he said that just to solidify his explanation to the student.  But it didn’t matter to me, I’m on his side regardless.  The freedom he has doesn’t make him popular among everyone, but Dr. Cone is most definitely in my cool book. Continue reading

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Disobedience, Bad, Evil – Links Roundup

The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin

I live in the grey places.  The more certain someone is, the more I question their assertions.  I have concepts and codes that work for me, most of the time, but I have never been able to project anything on anyone else.   I find even perceptions of reality difficult to assume are common experiences of seemingly identical occurences.  This stems from Immanuel Kant who questioned things we can know and things we can’t know.  I’m not a sceptic, but I do go through a process of acknowledging that we are both having the same experience when we look at a tree together, or similar enough that we can discuss the tree on similar grounds. Continue reading

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Esther and Anti-Semitism

Esther, to me is one of those books of the Bible that shocks us with its contemporary relevance. One cannot help but be shocked at the similarities of the anti-semitism experienced by Mordecai and the anti-semitism that continued into the 20th century.

Bear with me as I compare one more person to Hitler, (and no its’ not an American politician), Haman is the source of anti-semitism in Esther, and, like Hitler, he wants to spread his ideals across the nation, convince the citizens that the Jews are dispensable,  and furthermore completely eradicate them.

It seems that the purpose of the book, with its heros of Esther and Mordecai, and the happy fairy tale ending, were meant to encourage Jews who were suffering under discrimination and oppressive rule. The book has an important function as a Diaspora story, according the the Jewish Study Bible it ” promotes Jewish identity, solidarity within the Jewish community, and a strong connection with Jewish tradition”. There was also a huge diaspora of Jews in Europe in the 19th century that would have found this book of great application  as they were experiencing increasing anti-semitism. The initiative to create the state of Israel, Zionism, began in response to the increasing discrimination experience by Jews in Europe.

The Hebrew Study Bible’s introduction to Esther says that it “Addresses the inherent problems of a minority people, their vulnerability to political forces and government edicts, their lack of autonomy and their dependence on royal favor and on the sagacity of their own leaders.”

Leaders of the World Zionist Organization such as Herbert Samuel and Chaim Weizman were modern day Esther and Mordecai, petitioning the world powers to create a state where all Jews would be welcome and free. They began their movement before the World War, and it came to fruition at the end of the great conflict. The horrors of the Holocaust and the terrible oppression experienced by Jews led the new “Kings” of the world, The United States, Great Britain, and the rest of the allies, to create the State of Israel as a safe haven for Jews everywhere. Below is the story of one holocaust survivor, appropriately named Esther, who survived the Holocaust and was allowed by the new edict of the “Kings” to start her life over in Israel.

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MLK seminar

When going to the seminar today I had no idea what to expect, and upon arriving I still wasnt quite sure what to expect. This seminar was to teach and recognize what had been done by Dr. King. Along with recognizing Dr. King the MLK cultural center at the university expressed their goals for the coming years and also who their new scholar was. However the main focus of this seminar was told by Dr. James Cone but there was another speaker as well who expressed how king would not like the way that America is mostly ran by a few people instead of by everyone which was one of Dr. kings philosophies. For one of the first times during this semester this statement did catch me off guard, with knowing that was big into creating everyone equal this would make everyone have the same “power”.

In the seminar they would relate MLK to the prophet Amos who both believed in equal justice for everyone. One of MLK’s biggest goals was to make even the poor equal to the rich. Before he died he was planning a march with poor blacks and whites, this would have possibly caused drastic changes in the social totem pole, that is in a good way. However we will never know this, it seems that one who stand up for what they believe in are always brought down before they get a chance to finish. But like the Bible people still read and discuss what MLK has done making it possible for the goals he set out to be achieved. MLK the prophet of the current day, alive or dead.

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