6 years ago: Giving the moon the finger

May 26, 2007, on this blog: Giving the moon the finger

Exodus definitively establishes the motif and the trajectory. Liberation starts here. But it does not end here.

The Exodus story provides refrains that echo all through scripture: “You were once slaves in Egypt,” “the Lord brought you out of slavery in Egypt.” This refrain is the basis for much that follows in the law and the prophets. You were once slaves in Egypt, so we’re going to practice liberation every Sabbath year and every Jubilee. You were once slaves in Egypt, so breaking every yoke is what religion is all about. And further along this trajectory, You were once slaves in Egypt but I brought you out, so you’re going to love your neighbor and even love your enemies.

The Exodus is, to borrow an image from Buddhism, a finger pointing at the moon. Measuring the length and the limits of that finger misses the, well, point. Woolman and Wilberforce understood this. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this. Bob Marley understood this.

So if you’ve an interest in this subject — what the Bible says about slavery — you need to do more than study the finger. You need to look where it’s pointing.

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  • Panda Rosa

    I admit, “giving the moon the finger” evokes a very different image for me.
    It’s frustrating to see a title like that, and find the content is different from what you imaging. I understand the point being made about slavery, but the effect of reading it, after such a great title, is like finding all the Coke gone flat.
    I will admit my other thought was about the NASA moon shots, whether or not they’re worth it.

  • Too bad Exodus also establishes the corruption of the priesthood…

  • Hexep

    I never liked the whole ‘look at the moon and not the finger’ saw, because it presupposes that we’re all pointing at the same moon, that everybody’s really just teaching the same thing.