I want to pretend that the “land flowing with milk and honey” was in fact an unoccupied land—a specially preserved paradise, just waiting for the Israelite people to discover it. But, unfortunately, we all know the rest of the story.
The fact that people use Genesis 1 as justification for all of this hate is not only horrifying and appalling, but it’s also, simply put, WRONG. The creation thrums with life purely because God’s love makes it so.
In the book of Genesis, after the changing of Jacob’s name to Israel, no one calls him by his new name. Instead, the name “Israel” seems to exist as his “true name” and Jacob as his “use name.” “Jacob” is the name that everyone calls him, but he knows that “Israel” is who he really is inside. God has named him “Israel,” and consequently, this will become his legacy.
Joseph’s claim that it was God who engineered the situation for good is indicative of a person, or at least a narrative character, who has experienced healing over time, away from his abusers. He has reframed his narrative to better suit how he sees himself and his world now, a world where he has power.
Our problem is neither that we have power nor that we lack power. Many factors outside our control determine how much power we actually have. Our problem is that we fail to recognize the power we do have so that we can steward it well.
Subaltern hermeneutics offers two insights in this text, a “de-anthropomorphic” reading and “de-transcendental divine” reading. These readings offer hope to the subaltern communities in their journey of faith today and challenge all readers to seek partnerships with the creation, for Jesus is the crop….
If God invites dialogue and intervention and is moved by human persons, God is thus open to changing God’s mind. This picture of God has implications for human interactions. In cultural and political movements, people often make up their mind and are unpersuaded by what other people say or do. When these others are suffering others, being unpersuaded is a mark of tyranny. When evidence of malevolent intention is presented and the evidence is brushed aside in favour of aligning with larger—national or otherwise—interests, impassibility is a crime.
While the pandemic challenges our physical borders, it simultaneously bridges our differences, revealing that we are all migrants.
Abraham did pass the test from God in this story, but not in the way it has been interpreted for so long. Rather, Abraham passed the test by hearing and obeying the voice of the true God at the end, telling him to stop.
Mothers like Hagar who bear the weight of racism in the wilderness (Genesis 21:14) are always on the verge of losing their children—inferiorized by racist prejudice. These mothers’ voices are crying out, “Do not let me look on the death of the child” (Genesis 21:16).
An intertextual reading of Genesis 12 and Psalm 121 demonstrates that, while our faithful relationship with God may be initiated by our willful act of leaving, our ongoing life journey can be sustained by our attention to nature’s ontological testimony of God’s unequal sovereignty. Just as the Hebrew pilgrims were given strength to live out their faith through ecological awareness and mindfulness, let us emulate this life of pilgrimage and boldly leave our anthropocentric lifestyles.