slavery

Day 52

Today was a long and difficult day. I really wanted to write this first thing in the morning, but due to a lot of things I was unable to do so. Yesterday it felt so good to write my post right away, getting everything done and out of the way for later. It was not to be.

Today was just a huge mess full of missed deadlines and lost time. I was stressed out and I was mad. I can’t wait to finish this, take a shower, and go to bed.

I have two fortune cookie fortunes that I saved in my wallet for some reason. They don’t strike me now as being terribly profound, but I’ll share them here anyway.

Your mind is creative, original and alert.

And the second:

You will win success in whatever you adopt.

Even if the first one comes across as self-congratulatory, I still like the second one. I’m going to work very hard to make it a reality. Unfortunately some of my work is now locked away on a hard drive that’s in a computer with a broken motherboard. I need to pull the hard drive out and hook it up somewhere else so I can pull all my stuff off of it. Huzzah for technology!


Exodus 2

I like Exodus so far. Granted, this is only day 2 of Exodus but still. To kick off today’s chapter, the house of Levi gives birth to a child: a boy. Fearing for the life of her child, the mother raises him in secret for three months and then hides him in reeds by the river.

The Pharaoh’s daughter comes to the river, spies the child, and feels compassion, recognizing the baby as Hebrew. Now, the child’s sister had been watching, and asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she wanted the sister to call a woman to nurse the baby. So the baby’s original mom is called to nurse the baby; after a time, the child is given to Pharaoh’s daughter and becomes her son, given the name Moses. (You may have heard of him.)

Later in life, after he is grown, Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He does a 360° check for the law, and finding none, kills the Egyptian. Later he realizes that people know about this, and before Pharaoh can crack down on him, he dips and heads for a land called Midian.

He hangs out by a well and helps the daughters of a priest who are being bullied by some shepherds; for his assistance, the priest brings Moses to live with him, and Moses has a son with Zipporah, one of the priest’s daughters. The son’s name is Gershom.

During this time, it seems, the king of Egypt passes away, and the Israelites cry out because of their enslavement. God catches wind of all this, remembers the old covenants, and rolls up His sleeves to do something about it.

Darn cliffhangers.


In unrelated news, my flute playing is coming along nicely. I’m absolutely terrible at it right now, but I’m working on it! I’ve found lots of good resources for songs and tabs. Breath control is going to be the hardest part, but it’s going to be so awesome once I get good.

I guess between the flute, this blog, my life’s dreams, and that fortune cookie, today’s message is this:

Find what you love, find what makes your heart sing, find what makes your soul cry out. Find it and do it. Do it if it takes five years, if it takes ten years, if it takes twenty or thirty or forty years. Do it if you can do it now! Honor yourself, honor your heart’s desire, honor your soul’s duty. Honor yourself, and in doing so, honor God.

Beautiful day today. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Peace be upon you.

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Day 51

So it begins! Alert, well-rested, and on time!

In cool news, I got my wooden flute today. It’s a Native American-style flute called the “Red-Tailed Hawk” from a company called High Spirits Flutes. Anyone interested in a really fun and simple instrument will enjoy them. Good prices, too, for a shaman on a budget. 😉

fluteAromatic cedar with a turquoise inlay. Made right here in Arizona! Beautiful. Thank you, God. It’s a good day to be alive.

Down to business!


The Second Book of Moses Called

exodusI stepped it up and found a better font for my heading this time around. Maybe one of these days I’ll hire some monks to draw in the margins of my blog and design really flowery heading script.

Anyway. Exodus 1 opens by saying that Joseph and his family had settled in Egypt. All of his brothers, the sons of Jacob, were living there, and somewhere around seventy or seventy-five direct descendents of Jacob were there.

The children of Israel grew and multiplied, and in a display of anti-foreigner sentiment that feels all too modern, the new Egyptian king who did not know Joseph grows tired of these people filling the land with their strange traditions. First the Egyptians force them into bondage, and then they try to have all the male Israelites killed at birth by the midwives.

The funny thing is, one thing the Egyptians are afraid of is the Israelites rising against them should they ever be attacked from outside. I love the self-fulfilling prophecy… if they hadn’t forced them into slavery and attempted genocide on them, the Israelites might have been just fine! But it was not to be.

Finally, after being disobeyed by the midwives, Pharaoh spreads the word to all his people that any male child born to the Israelites must be thrown into the river, while the daughters shall be kept alive.

That’s all for today, dear readers! Thank you for joining me once again on Day 51!

Peace be upon you.

 

Day 45

Time to get up to speed on some Genesis! Ooh yeah!


Genesis 44

Long story short, Joseph decides to screw with his brothers some more. As they’re leaving, he loads their bags with money, and puts his silver cup in Benjamin’s bag. Joseph tells his steward to follow them and accuse them of stealing.

The brothers are basically like, “Are you serious? We were honest and brought your money back. Why would we steal from you? Fine, you know what? If you find this stolen silver or whatever, then you can just go right ahead and enslave whoever has it.” At this point, after what happened last time, I don’t know why they didn’t search their bags beforehand.

Then the steward is all, “Alright, man. Slaves it is. By the way, Benjamin had this silver cup. Slavery, HOOO!”

The brothers tear their clothes out of grief and return to the city.

The last part of Gen 44 is Judah recounting their entire story to Joseph, including the conversation they had with their father before leaving, and the father’s extreme sorrow should Benjamin not return. Judah finally asks to stay in place of Benjamin rather than return and watch his father die from grief.

Favorite Quotes:

“Why have you repaid evil for good?”

— Joseph, Genesis 44:4

“What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”

— Joseph to his brothers, Genesis 44:15

The first quote is a question that I feel ought to be asked of many people, and in a larger sense, of the whole human race. The fact that we are granted life and will, granted the ability to have a human experience and explore this amazing world is good. Scratch that. It’s full-on capital-G Good. It is a goodness and a truth that we are alive and that we exist. But why, as a species, as a people, have we repaid this goodness and truth with evil? Why have we disrespected our brothers and sisters, why have we disrespected the earth upon which we live?

If you ask the Catholics, we are all tainted by Original Sin by virtue of birth, but I prefer a more psychological explanation that requires fewer assumptions. It seems fairly evident to me that we have people who are raised by imperfect parents and they grow up to be imperfect people. This is normal; no one is perfect. The problem is that insecurities arise, prejudices arise, assumptions arise, and hatreds arise. People lack respect and love for their fellow man, they lack understanding, and so we gossip, we despise, we are cruel to one another. We lash out to protect ourselves, but we perpetuate a cycle of pain. Why have we repaid evil for Good? It is a damn shame, but at this point in time, it could not be any other way.

The second quote just sounds intense. Something I could picture being read by Jules Winnfield (as played by Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, of course). “Did you not KNOW that such a man as I… can cer-tain-ly practice di-vi-na-tion?”

juleswinn

“N*gga, you really gonna drag me into this mess?” ¹

Hell yes, I am.


Genesis 45

Joseph finally breaks down after Judah pleads his case for his father’s life and the freedom of his brother, speaking passionately for he is truly his brother’s keeper. (See what I did there?) Joseph sends away all his servants and reveals himself to his brothers.

This is my favorite part of this story because Joseph tells his brothers not to grieve or be angry. He tells them it was good that he was sent to Egypt, because now with his ability to interpret dreams he has saved many people from famine and has provided for his family. He tells his brothers that it was God, not they, who landed him in Egypt. I like this because it is a Biblical illustration of the idea of little miracles adding up to bigger ones.

  1. Brothers become jealous of Joseph
  2. Brothers decide to sell Joseph to Midianites make money
  3. Joseph is sold in Egypt to the captain of the guard
  4. Joseph distinguishes himself in the house of his master, but is imprisoned from a false claim by the master’s wife
  5. Joseph meets Pharaoh’s butler and baker, who had landed themselves in prison
  6. Joseph interprets their dreams, the butler is freed
  7. Joseph is forgotten until the Pharaoh has a strange dream two years later
  8. The butler remembers Joseph and he is brought before Pharaoh
  9. Joseph becomes a trusted adviser with great power and is able to mitigate the effects of the coming famine
  10. Joseph is able to provide for his family during the famine and is reunited with his brothers.

Literally, God could have made this really easy and straightforward, but this is not the way the universe works. All these little things, the infidelity of the wife, the crime of the butler, etc., all these things had to add up over time to put Joseph in exactly the right place. This is the miracle, that all of these people, including him, his brothers, and everyone else… their actions collectively resulted in the new present moment. When a man becomes like a king, it seems more miraculous, but these patterns are all around us, even in the most mundane of places.

Joseph tells his brothers to retrieve his father and family, and that they will dwell in the land of Goshen and be provided for. Pharaoh hears all this and promises Joseph that he will help him take care of his father.

The brothers get back and tell the story to their father, who can scarcely believe it. When he sees the carts laden with food and grain, he knows that there is truth in their words, and vows to see Joseph, his son, before he passes on.


¹ Pulp Fiction, Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 1994 Miramax Films. Image accessed from http://mattfinchmediastudies.blogspot.com/2011/01/characterisation-jules-winnfield.html