Monday June 26 , 2017
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

PART I: THE BEGINNING

ACT ONE:  ADAM AND EVE, BUT MOSTLY EVE


1       AS LINE LEADER, YOU MAKE A RATHER STARTLING ENTRY                   

2       ANOTHER CREATURE—ONE LIKE YOU, SORT OF—SHOWS UP                 

3       IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT NONE OF THIS IS WHAT YOU’VE ASSUMED IT TO BE!

4       ABOUT THE WOMAN                                      

5       WHO ARE WE? THE RISE OF THE INTERPRETERS

6       THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF…EXACTLY WHAT?            

7       ENTER THE SERPENT, CHOICES & CONSEQUENCES                       

8        EVE TAKES THE RAP                                       

9        ANOTHER EVE                                        

10       JUST IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH YOU:  ORIGINAL SIN, MY GRANDMOTHER, ME, AND THEE                             

11      A FEW FINAL IRONIES. ADAM AND EVE GET THE BOOT                

ACT TWO:  CAIN AND ABEL, BUT MOSTLY CAIN

12      THE FIRST BIRTH IS A CO-CREATION.  SO IS THE FIRST MURDER— THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT                                     

13      SWIMMING IN ABEL’S POND     

14     IRONICALLY, CAIN’S RULE DOES BRING A TOUCH OF CLARITY

15      WITH THE UNIVERSE AS MY CAUSE, I LEAD A QUIET, VERY SMALL, INSURRECTION                                     

16      THE PLAYWRIGHT TAKES A SHOT                                 

17      CAIN’S ALL-TOO-FAMILIAR BEHAVIOR.  YAHWEH AS THERAPIST.  A CHANCE NOT TAKEN.  SIN AS A THING WITH ITS OWN EXISTENCE

18      THE BEAST AND I COME NEAR TO TOUCHING, OR, HOW ONE CAN DO SUCH A THING                                    

19     ANOTHER SORT OF DEATH

20     CAIN’S QUESTION, RICHARD WRIGHT, AND A MATTER OF LUCK

21      GRIEF

22      THE MATTER OF CAIN’S WIFE, THEIR SON, AND THE FOUNDING OF URBAN CULTURE

23      ADAM AND EVE HAVE MORE CHILDREN.  A GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT GRANDSON WHO DOES NOT DIE, WHOSE GREAT-GRANDSON WAS NOAH                                        

24     A MATTER OF EVIL?

NOAH: IN THREE ACTS, A STORY FAR MORE INVOLVED THAN YOU MIGHT THINK

ACT ONE:  BEFORE THE FLOOD


25     GODLINGS AND WOMEN MAKE GIANTS IN THE EARTH.  PLANS ARE MADE FOR A MAKEOVER

26      ON REFLECTION, I BEGIN TO SUSPECT HOW MADE-IN-THE-IMAGE-OF MAY WELL BE AN ONTOLOGICAL TRAP

27     MUSING ON SAID TRAP, I DISCOVER THAT MAKING THE PERFECT HUMAN BEING AND BUILDING THE PERFECT MODEL AIRPLANE ARE ENTERPRISES WITH SURPRISING PARALLELS

28      WHO IS NOAH?  IT’S A QUESTION OF CHARACTER.  OR SANITY. OR BOTH.  BUT, WHOSE?

ACT TWO:  THE FLOOD

29     FIRST, ABOUT THE ARK, WHICH IS DEFINITELY NOT A BOAT                

30      ABOUT THE FLOOD, WHICH IS DEFINITELY NOT A FLOOD                

ACT THREE:  AFTER THE FLOOD

31      THE FIRST COVENANT.  NOAH PLANTS A VINEYARD, MAKES WINE, GETS DRUNK, AND (FIGURATIVELY) MURDERED

32      SEARCHING FOR NOAH, I TAKE A SIDE-TRIP TO THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL, AND COME TO TERMS WITH AN OLD HATRED

33      TOWER OF BABEL, OR, OUR GIFT FOR MISSING THE MEANING IN WORDS

PART II:  THE WANDERERS CALLING

34      MUSINGS ON “BEING COMMISSIONED,” A.K.A., DRAFTED, HIJACKED, SHANGHIED

35      SCHOOL CHUMS DISCOVER WHAT THE POET KNEW.  THE SHRINK, HIS A-BOMB, AND LIMITS                                

36      NOAH, ABRAHAM, JONAH, TEXAS IN THE FIFTIES, AND HOW A CALLING MIGHT SOUND

37      THE QUESTION NEVER ASKED                                    

38      AT TWELVE, AN ECSTATIC EXPERIENCE, OR AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO INCENSE, DISRUPTS, THEN REDIRECTS, MY LIFE                          

ABRAHAM

ACT ONE:  A NEW APPROACH


39     ONCE AGAIN TO THE DRAWING BOARD             

40      A MATTER OF RESPONSIBILITY                                  

41      IT SEEMS, AFTER ALL, THAT THERE ARE NO NON-PECULIAR PEOPLE                  

42      A BIT OF ADDITIONAL CREATIVITY IS CALLED FOR                          

43      A CHANGE IN THE DIVINE APPROACH.  THEN, AS IF THE IRONY IN PLAN C WERE NOT QUITE THICK ENOUGH…                          

44      “YAHWEH’S PICK TO LEAD NEW PLAN—A CAUSE FOR CONCERN IN THE MARKETS?”                                              

45      I BECOME AN AGEIST                                 

46      THE VIEW THROUGH A CERTAIN LOOKING GLASS                     

47      WRAPPED IN A CONUNDRUM, MORALITY ENTERS A GRAY ZONE                

48      WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?!  INTERPRETERS GET CREATIVE, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE, AND YET ANOTHER SURPRISE                  

49     TOO MANY CATTLE                                      

50      ABRAHAM SHOWS A SURPRISING GIFT FOR MILITARY TACTICS, THOUGH IT PROBABLY NEVER HAPPENED                              

51      YAHWEH REPEATS THE PROMISE—AGAIN.  THEN AGAIN.  AND AGAIN              

ACT TWO:  FAMILIES

52      SARAH HAS AN IDEA.  THE FIRST SOAP OPERA                       

53     A DIVINE MESSENGER (WHO IS NOT AN ANGEL!) MAKES A PROMISE TO HAGAR    

54      A COVENANT, NEW NAMES, A GOOD LAUGH, CIRCUMCISION, PROMISES OF A SON NAMED LAUGHTER AND, WHY NOT ISHMAEL?                     

55      THREE VISITORS ARRIVE.  NOW IT’S SARAH’S TURN TO LAUGH                 

56      THE RELATIONSHIP SOLIDIFIES, AND ABRAHAM IS MORE THAN HE SEEMS

57      EDDIE, MY FATHER, A POOL GAME, AND ABRAHAM.  I DISCOVER THERE IS YET MORE TO KNOW                                  

58      A FAILED TEST, AND TWO CITIES ARE NUKED                              

59      A GREEK MYTH, LOT’S WIFE, MY COMPLAINTS, AND A HAWK                      

60      MOTIVE?                                              

61      ABRAHAM AND SARAH GRIFT ANOTHER KING                              

62      SARAH GIVES BIRTH TO THE BOY NAMED LAUGHTER.  HAGAR AND ISHMAEL ARE SHOWN THE DOOR                                       

ACT THREE:  THE TEST

63      ABRAHAM IS TOLD TO SACRIFICE ISAAC                          

64      STILL, SOME OF US THINK THE STORY IS TERRIFIC!                    

65      ISAAC PROVES HARD TO FIND                              

66      SARAH AND MOUNT MORIAH                                 

67      SARAH’S DEATH AND BURIAL.  ABRAHAM SENDS HIS SERVANT TO FIND A WIFE FOR ISAAC                                 

68      THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM                            

PART III:  THE BLESSING THIEF, A STORY IN THREE ACTS

ACT ONE: THE GRIFTER


69      THE NAME, EARLY CHARACTER, AND ASPIRATIONS OF SAID THIEF              

70      THE RED STEW INCIDENT, WHEN THE INCONVENIENT BROTHER, A MAN OF SIMPLER AMBITION, PROVES AN EASY MARK FOR THE BLESSING THIEF’S DARK TRICKSTER

71      WITH HIS MOTHER’S AID, JACOB STEALS THE BLESSING (UNLESS WE’VE ALL BEEN DUPED)                                      

72      I DISCOVER A HIDDEN TALENT FOR TRICKSTERISM, AND THE THRILLS OF THE DARK SIDE                                      

73      A FASCINATING CONUNDRUM INVOLVING MACRO LOGIC             

ACT TWO: THE MARK

74      THROUGH THE BLESSING THIEF’S EYES                          

75      A DREAM ABOUT A LADDER REVEALS ALL THE CARDS IN THE DIVINE HAND.  THE BLESSING THIEF’S CHUTZPAH                         

76      THEN, ON SEEING THE GIRL, HE FALLS INTO LOVE’S STUPOR                 

77      HIS SLEAZY UNCLE, HER FATHER, PULLS A BAIT-AND-SWITCH, AND THE BLESSING THIEF WAKES UP NEXT TO THE WRONG WOMAN             

78      SPECULATION ABOUT HOW IT HAPPENED, AN APOLOGIA FOR THE BLESSING THIEF.  THE BOY GETS THE GIRL HE’D WANTED                  

79      JACOB’S WIVES, THEIR PROXIES.  THE NAMING OF THE FIRST TEN CHILDREN BECOMES AN ALMOST POIGNANT STRUGGLE FOR DOMESTIC TURF              

80      WHEN THE BLESSING THIEF DECIDES TO RETURN HOME, UNCLE LABAN AGREES TO THE SEVERANCE TERMS, THEN TRIES TO CHEAT HIM—AGAIN          

81      THE BLESSING THIEF LETS THE TRICKSTER OUT OF THE CLOSET. UNCLE LABAN IS NO MATCH                                

82      AFTER ONE OF MY OWN DANCES INTO THE DARK SIDE, I CONCLUDE THAT THE TRICKSTER IS A BETTER FRIEND WHEN HE WEARS A LEASH              

83      HIS KIN READY TO KILL HIM, THE BLESSING THIEF MAKES A RUN FOR IT. LABAN CATCHES UP, BUT LOSES FACE. MAKING A PACT, EACH TURNS FOR HOME.  THEN, ONCE AGAIN, ANGELS                          

ACT THREE: THE SEED

84      NOW THERE’S NO AVOIDING A FACE-TO-FACE WITH THE INCONVENIENT BROTHER.  BUT WOULD HE STILL BE ANGRY?  MUSINGS ON RESENTMENT              

85     THE BLESSING THIEF REVERTS TO WHAT HE KNOWS BEST.  BUT THIS TIME HE IS DIFFERENT                                      

86      LIKE THE BLESSING THIEF, I DISCOVER THAT THE TRICKSTER CAN SUPPORT A GOAL NOT TOO ETHICALLY CHALLENGED, OR, “HOW TO LOSE A BIG CLIENT IN THREE DAYS AND BE (ALMOST) HAPPY ABOUT IT”                  
87      A STRANGER ATTACKS FROM OUT OF THE DARK, CHEATS A LITTLE, THEN GIVES THE BLESSING THIEF A NEW NAME                              

88      WHICH HE’LL THINK ABOUT IF HIS PLAN FOR SURVIVING HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE INCONVENIENT BROTHER AND THOSE FOUR HUNDRED MEN SUCEEDS         

89     THE NEED TO SPIN THE BLESSING THIEF’S BEHAVIOR NECESSITATES PAINTING THE INCONVENIENT BROTHER AS A SCOUNDREL                      

90     DINAH

91     THE BLESSING THIEF IS THE IRONIC TURNING POINT IN THE LARGER STORY          

PART IV:  THE DREAM READER

ACT ONE: THE BRAT


92      JOSEPH PROVES HIMSELF TO BE HIS FATHER’S SON                      

93      JOSEPH TATTLES ON HIS BROTHERS, GETS A TECHNICOLORED COAT.  HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS BROTHERS APPROACHES THE TIPPING POINT

94      JOSEPH DREAMS                                     

95      AS A SIDENOTE, DID YOU KNOW THAT DAVID—THE DAVID—WAS ANOTHER BIBLICAL BRAT?                              

96        I SPECULATE ABOUT OTHER, MAYBE DEEPER REASONS FOR HATING JOSEPH

97       AT TWENTY-ONE I LEARN WHAT IT IS TO BE HATED                     

98       JOSEPH IS DRY-GULCHED BY HIS BROTHERS, FINDS EMPLOYMENT IN EGYPT

99       JUDAH AND TAMAR                                

ACT TWO: THE SLAVE-INMATE

100      JOSEPH IS SOLD, RISES TO A HIGH PLACE, THEN FALLS-AGAIN         

101      I MANAGE TO ATTRACT YET ANOTHER NEAR DISASTER            

ACT THREE:  JOSEPH IN EGYPT


102      LIKE HIS FATHER AND GREAT-GRANDFATHER BEFORE HIM, JOSEPH RISES UP FROM THE ASHES OF HIS LATEST DISASTER              

103      JUST AHEAD, ANOTHER EYE-POPPING DOSE OF BIBLICAL IRONY             

104      JACOB FADES, REUBEN PROVES INEPT             

105      THAT WE MAY LIVE AND NOT DIE – JOSEPH’S BROTHERS SET OUT TO BUY FOOD                                      

106      WITH THE FAMILY IN CRISIS, JUDAH STEPS UP                

107      JOSEPH SHOWS A CRUEL STREAK, QUESTIONABLE JUDGMENT, THEN REDEEMS HIMSELF                                 

108      OFF TO EGYPT, A VISION, A PROMISE, A MOMENT WITH PHARAOH. THEN JOSEPH BECOMES DICTATOR OF EGYPT—OR NOT            

109      LAST THINGS