This week we finish reading the Wisdom of Ben Sira / Sirach and begin reading Baruch. Before we leave Sirach, I appreciate the words of Pamela Eisenbaum: “Among the books of the Bible, Sirach easily stands out as the most misogynistic. … So negative are Sirach’s views on women that one scholar has argued that the text reveals an author whose misogyny is pathological, even by the male-dominated standards of the author’s own day (Trenchard).” (p. 410) By contrast, I appreciate Baruch’s portrayal of Wisdom, which is “commended to ‘you, Israel,” (second common plural), and has no evil counterpart.” (p. 420) Also distinctive is that “personified Wisdom and Personified Zion/Jerusalem appear side by side.” (p. 420)
Liturgically speaking we’re at the second Sunday after Epiphany – which is noted in The Revised Common Lectionary as both the Season of Epiphany AND Ordinary Time. I really appreciate this juxtaposition, as it reminds us that epiphanies – moments or experiences of seeing God – can be just as likely to happen in small, everyday moments as they are in the more transcendental moments. What are we looking for or expecting? Are we living in the moment or frantically jumping from one thing to the next? (Personally, I do both at various points; I appreciate things like the lectionary and liturgical year that remind me to slow down, watch, wait, and experience.)
Did you draw a star word from Star Words for Epiphany ? Which one? What insights have you drawn from it?
This week we read Part 2, “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 3, “Lifestyles Inimical to Success” of The Lifelong Activist. In a sentence that reminds me of Thoreaus “the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation,” Rettig states, “Many people spend their evenings vegging in front of the tube not because that is how they want to live their lives, but because they are too exhausted to do anything else.” Does this describe you at all? That’s not me all the time, but I admit that at least in my working life I often feel like I give the best hours of my day to my job and then everything else gets the rest of me. She also encourages us: “The important thing to remember is that restructuring your life to fit your values takes time: often years or even decades.” I wouldn’t have minded that so much a decade or so ago, but as I get older, time both seems to go faster and becomes more precious. Not unlike that Poison song, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til Its Gone.”
Where is your time and energy going? If you are not managing your time well, what things can you do to reclaim it?
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- “‘Apocrypha’ in the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Abridged Edition.” Bible Odyssey, 2009. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/HarperCollinsBibleDictionary/a/apocrypha.
- Breed, Brennan. “Bible Basics: How Was the Bible Written and Transmitted?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/bible-basics/how-was-the-bible-written-and-transmitted.
- Burnette-Bletsch, Rhonda. “Bible Basics: Why Does the Bible Look the Way It Does?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/why-does-the-bible-look-the-way-it-does.
- Crenshaw, James L. “The Book of Sirach” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary; Volume VI: Esther; Additions to Esther; Tobit; Judith; 1 & 2 Maccabees; Book of Wisdom; Sirach; Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature; Daniel; Additions to Daniel. Abingdon Press, 2015.
- deSilva, David. The Apocrypha. Core Biblical Studies. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2012.
- Foster, Susan. “Star Gifts: Words to Ponder All Year Long.” Reformed Worship, September 2009. https://www.reformedworship.org/article/september-2009/star-gifts.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Rettig, Hillary. The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006.
- Rettig, Hillary. “Do You Suffer From the AACL?” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-ii-managing-your-time/3-do-you-suffer-from-the-aacl/
- RevGalBlogPals. “Star Words for Epiphany PDF,” n.d. https://revgalblogpals.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/star-words-for-epiphany.pdf.
- Tunseth, Scott. “Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach” The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.