A sermon in poetry for parashat B'ha-alot'kha
Three glimpses of Texas

Jewish-Christian conversation at Viva Books



The crowd at Viva Books on Tuesday.


All three of my 70 faces events in San Antonio have been wonderful: offering the sermon at the Shabbat service in the big sanctuary at Temple Beth El, leading Shabbat morning services at Temple Chai, and -- last but not least -- Scripture, Poetry, Interpretation: A Christian-Jewish Conversation, a panel discussion with Reverend Mary C. Earle at Viva Books.

Viva Books was (gratifyingly) packed; I'm guessing there were maybe 70 people present, among them some of my childhood friends, one of my high school English teachers, Jews and Christians of every stripe (and at least one Muslim woman to whom I was introduced.)

The program began with an introduction by Rabbi Sam Stahl, who had connected Mary and me with one another in the first place. I spoke about midrash and shared two classical examples, and Mary spoke about what women bring to ministry and to textual interpretation. Somewhere in there I read poems about creation, Abraham, Moshe, Sarah; Mary read poems about Mary / the annunciation, and about Sarah and Elizabeth, among others. We talked back and forth about Judaism and Christianity, interpretation, story, talking back to God, what's really in the text versus what people commonly imagine to have been in the text. People asked great questions which led our conversation in unexpected directions.

The conversation was recorded; if you're so inclined, you can listen to that recording here -- it's about an hour long, and I think it's pretty neat. My deep thanks to Mary Earle (who is wonderful) and to Viva for hosting us! The audio file begins with the very end of Carla Pineda's words on behalf of the bookstore, and then moves into Rabbi Sam Stahl's introduction, and then the two of us get rolling. Enjoy!




[Barenblat-Earle.mp3] (11MB)