Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Lord is My Shepherd: 5

Please re-read Psalm 23, perhaps in an unfamiliar translation.

Please re-read chapter 5 of _The Lord is My Shepherd_ by Harold S. Kushner

1) p. 45: What is the importance of water?

2) p.46: He talks about the climate in Israel. something I learned recently is that our climate here in San Diego is very much like the climate in Israel so the comment about water being for the community caused me to realize we both share many of the same issues about water. What common elements are they?

3) pp. 47-48: Kushner tells us a paradox: water is life itself and at the same time it can be a cause of death. Back when this Psalm was written, people didn't know about the Jet Stream, El Nino winters, global warming or other things we take for granted as basic knowledge about weather and water. Perhaps they also didn't know the relationship between the moon and the tides. What did moving water mean to them? What would still water mean to them?

4) pp. 49-50: Why would the psalmist be grateful for still water? How does still water tie in with Kushner's thesis that the point of Ps 23 is that God will never leave us alone in an unsafe world?

5) p. 50-51: Rabbi Kushner makes some comments about his understanding of God's creativity. As I read this, I find myself uncomfortable with the idea that God's creativity would be limited to what limits us finite humans. What do you think of this idea?

Additionally, I feel his argument begs the question of where did the water and the earth come from in the first place. I am not trying to argue Creation vs Evolution because, frankly, I don't understand all the fuss. I believe that in the beginning God created. I don't understand how He did that and I don't need to in order to be blessed by and make use of God's creation. I feel the same way about computers. I have no idea and no desire to know how they work, all I want to do is use one.

What do you feel that Kushner's discussion of creation and the laws of nature adds or subtracts from the concept of "still waters"?

6) pp. 52- top of 54: He extends the metaphor of 'still waters' to a new area. What is it? Have you experienced any of these sorts of troubled waters? What is your reaction to this use of the metaphor? How has God assisted you? How does this use of "still waters" contribute to Kushner's basic point about Ps 23?

7) pp 54-56: The rabbi tells us that one of the things religion does for us is set limits. What does he mean by that?

In the middle of p. 55, Kushner poses a question. What is your answer? What do you consider to be your commitments to God? How seriously do you take them? What would you need to change in your life in order to take commitments to God seriously so that you can rest in Him?


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