Online Friday Noon Study Group

April 20, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Friday, April 9, 12-1

We began last week’s discussion by tying up some loose ends from Chapter 4 of Waskow’s Dancing in God’s Earthquake.  That chapter asserted that idolatry ”poisons the bloodstream of Torah.”  Those who make entities such as Israel and its government into idols become dead like idols.  Waskow suggests that we think of Israel not as an unchallengeable idol, but as a sculpture that must be repaired, or melted down and reshaped.
We then turned our attention from the second commandment, which cautions against idolatry, to the third, which deals with taking God’s name in vain, or as Waskow translates it, speaking of God in ways that are ”empty-headed” or ”empty-hearted.”  For Waskow, violating the third commandment means ”breathing without awareness that each breath we take connects us with all life.” Chapter 5 speaks of the many names that have been given to God.  He would like to see us replace many references to God that imply hierarchy/ God’s lordship and domination with ”ruach ha’olam” or Breath of Life. 
We spent a good deal of time discussing a blessing Waskow introduces on page 85 of his text and how our congregations would react to such a blessing.  This segued into the next chapter of Dancing in God’s Earthquake in which Waskow addresses the importance of prayer and possibilities for changing our liturgy so that it is infused with more bodily awareness and more consciousness of ecological crises on our planet.  Needless to say, any discussion of changes to our rituals of worship always generates a lot of discussion.  We barely began exploring some of Waskow’s recommendations in Chapter 6 for more ”embodied prayer”–a subject we will resume discussing when we next meet.   
For this coming Friday’s session, we will continue our discussion of Chapter 6 and Waskow’s suggestions for reshaping liturgy,  and then move on to chapters 7 and 8 ”God’s Image in the Human Jigsaw Puzzle” and ”Toward Justice: Brothers’ War and Reconciliation” (pp. 97-140; it’s not likely that we will get far into chapter 8).  
Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions.  Dancing in God’s Earthquake can be ordered through a variety of internet outlets.  If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at


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