I was reading this post on parashah vayeitzei (Gen. 28:10-32:3)* and could relate to the thoughts on the second post. Thus, these are the thoughts I’ll share here:
I relate specifically to the mention of Jacob’s relating to something bigger. I had this experience over a decade ago when I read MLK’s Strength to Love, the Advent/Lent devotionals of Fr. Joseph Donders (Becoming an Advent People and Scripture Reflections For Lent, respectively), upon a reading of Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, and listening to Rob Bell’s stuff (I love his books Jesus Wants to Save Christians and Velvet Elvis, particularly his claim that the Bible is true because it happens.) There were other sources as well that exposed me to social justice types of things. These resources inspired me, gave me a sense of making the world a better place; I wanted to join an antiwar protest in a foreign capital (this was the Bush years); I wanted to promote understanding among nations.
Later, Jacob encountered Laban, who cheated him repeatedly. For me, like with Jacob, I did work at the church. Later I got hired by people at church for next to nothing, which continued for years. Also, due to various circumstances, my sources of information dried up, and my church buckled down on insularity. I consider this my Laban period, as I began to question myself, and wonder whether or not this was all just a pipe dream I had, and I lost my vision.
However, like the post I reference says, there were cracks of light: once, on my lunch break, I was reading Isaiah 59 and I started weeping. (For starters, I don’t cry easily; secondly, I work in construction, so this is an extremely embarrassing time for this to happen!) “The saw it, and it displeased him
doubter). I see myself, as I interact with a variety of people and leave my bubble, as wrestling with God, as beliefs turn out to be inadequate and I see things more clearly.
This is how I see the story of Jacob happening in my life.
*I’m not actally Jewish, though I find inspiration in a variety of belief systems. Anyway, the Jews divide the Torah, or first five books of the Bible, into fifty-four sections called parashot (parashah, singular), one (sometimes two) of which are read every Shabbat (Sabbath) in the synagogue.