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Testament Week

Friday, December 23, 2011

In the beginning, God created smug teenage boys

Posted By on 12.23.11 at 08:00 AM

  • Konstantin Goldenberg/Shutterstock
As it was for my brothers, my bar mitzvah portion was "Bereishit," or Genesis 1:1. You know, creation, Adam and Eve, snakes and apples. The whole deal. My parents had reserved this portion for all four of their children, which, at my synagogue, was tantamount to going to Wrigley Field and buying up all the seats on the first-base line for four seasons straight.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Testament in Rogers Park

Posted By on 12.22.11 at 08:07 AM

Last Friday night while running a few errands, I was surprised to find carolers standing in front of Morse "L" Liquors, a corner right by the el stop where you're far more likely to encounter panhandlers or crazy people. "Would you like some hot chocolate?" a young man asked, pointing to a large orange thermos. "No, thanks, I'm here for the bourbon," I said. I got my Maker's Mark, stayed for a rousing version of "Hark! the Herald," and continued with my rounds.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Testament Week: the Book of Jim & Artie

Posted By on 12.21.11 at 08:00 AM

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin (1852)
  • The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as not depicted by the Mitchell Brothers
I started reading the Bible seriously around the same time that I became aware of sex as something other than an abstract concept. The two experiences were surprisingly compatible, as I found plenty of grist for my burgeoning imagination in the Book of Genesis alone. And few verses proved more inexhaustible than these lines from Genesis, chapter 19. It comes from the denouement of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, a passage I’d recommend to any adolescent unable to get his hands on the 1980s classic Taboo:

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Woman's Bible

Posted By on 12.20.11 at 08:00 AM

  • carthesian
“Listening to the varied opinions of women,” wrote Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the late 19th century, “I have long thought it would be interesting and profitable to get them clearly stated in book form.” Stanton proposed a book to augment the good book: The Woman’s Bible, which would append to the holy text feminist critiques authored by women’s rights activists. Their claim, an early expression of the sort of thinking that would later be called “liberation theology,” was that it was possible to read from the book an argument for the equality of women. Stanton wrote in the introduction:

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Testament Week: Salvation terminator

Posted By on 12.19.11 at 08:00 AM

As Hannukah arrives and Christmas and Kwanzaa approach, the prospect of doing "Gift Week" here on the Bleader has proved too revolting for common consent. So instead we're going to go all Linus Van Pelt this week and break up the party with our favorite religious texts. When people ask about my beliefs, I always say I'm religious but not spiritual. After all, an excess of feeling can be a real impediment to forcing one's views on others.

My text comes from the Book of Luke, chapter six, when Jesus comes down from praying all night in the hills to deliver his Sermon on the Plain. "But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well."

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