The Sixth Day of Creation: Dominion and the Factory Settings

Over the past year, I preached a sermon series on the Torah’s seven days of creation at First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY. In this series I lifted up the images of natural beauty and ecological abundance in this passionate text—a text that is too often claimed by (and ceded to) hard-line creationists and climate change deniers. Far from the conservative politics that such voices promote, I see the Genesis text as a call for human humility and environmental stewardship. It highlights the gorgeous and fragile gift we have been given in our planet Earth, celebrates its diversity, and casts humans as merely one thread in its living web. My interpretations in this series are partly my own midrash and partly the insights of traditional commentators. The following article is adapted from a sermon I delivered on the sixth day of creation, the creation of land animals and humans.

The Innocence of God: The Third Commandment Building the Religious Counterculture

OF ALL THE old-and-dusty-sounding commandments in the Hebrew Bible, the commandment to not “take God’s name in vain” seems oldest and dustiest. We can’t help but picture nuns rapping school kids on their knuckles for the sin of swearing. And yet if we look deeply into this commandment, it’s not about four-letter words at all. This commandment is truly among the most radical. It calls us to earn our own rewards and admit our own failings without dragging God into it.

First Comes Love: Building the Religious Counterculture

That gay marriage went from impossible to inevitable in this country in such a short span of time is a testament to the wonderful suppleness of the human heart. Through this process we all got to witness firsthand how societies, like individuals, have the thrilling ability to change from the inside. It has been breathtaking to watch as, household by household, gay people have become human in the eyes of the American public.