YHWH Says: “Theology Matters!” Why?

YHWH Says: “Theology  Matters!” Why?
In this week’s Torah portion, YHWH’s Voice (the Interbreath of Life) is heard again, this time in Egypt, telling Moses (Exodus 6: 2-3), “I am YHWH. I was seen by Abraham, by Isaac, and by Jacob as El  Shaddai [God of Breasts] but by my name YHWH I was not known to them.”
At the Burning Bush, where the Name YHWH was revealed to Moses, the Voice did not need to distinguish Itself from another aspect of God. Why in this new encounter must this distinction be added from the way the Israelite forebears had understood the Divine?
Remember, the Name of God is not just a label; it is a way of understanding the world. “Breasted God” meant the God, the world, that brought abundance. But that way of understanding the world was inadequate for a task of liberation. “Interbreath of Life” meant that humanity and earth shared their breathing: Oppression of human beings would rile Earth, bring Plagues from Earth’s disruption. The Great Interbreath would sometimes bring dearth, not abundance, for the greater good of freedom and justice.
The People needed to understand that to change the world, they needed to know that the world had changed.
What had happened just before YHWH spoke this new Truth? Why did this new knowledge need to come just then?
Just before, Moses in his deployment from YHWH as the organizer of Brickmaker’s Union, Local #1 (a teaching by A. J. Muste), had utterly failed. In the name of YHWH, he had demanded Freedom of and from Pharaoh. But Pharaoh scornfully said, “Who is YHWH, [this mere breathing sound}? Why should I hearken to that whispery voice, to send free the Godwrestlers?” (Exodus 5: 2)
And Pharaoh made the slave-work harsher, the policing still more bitter. The newborn union collapsed, and the Israelites turned against their would-be leaders. ”You just made things worse,” they outcried.
What went wrong? Why did God’s next words have to be an acknowledgment that the more-ancient Israelites had had a different understanding of the world, of God?
I think because Moses, who loved his People, was softhearted when he came to them with a new understanding, the Name YHWH. The People said to him, “In our childhoods we learned that God is El Shaddai, the Nurturing Abundant One. Even in slavery, we have onions and garlic and meat! Don’t take away from us what comforts we know.”
And soft-hearted, loving Moses, let them celebrate the Name they knew.
But the Interbreath of Life said, “That won’t work! That won’t  help! I know you learned it from your forebears --  but  you need  a new understanding of the world, a new Name of God.”
And that is where we are today. We have learned to substitute “Adonai, Lord; Melekh, King” for the Interbreath of Life.  We have learned to accept and affirm the God of Hierarchy, and in that world new Pharaohs burn Earth to the edge of death. The Interbreath of Earth is choking as we pour more CO2 into the air than all Earth’s vegetation can transmute to Oxygen. The CO2 and methane trap heat, and so the Interbreath of Life is choking.
We need to renew the meaning of the Interbreath of Life, YHWH, with an enrichment from ecology – that each life-form , in all their very differences, is a sacred component of the whole. That Ecology, not Hierarchy, is the way to understand the world. 
If we insist on “Lord and King,“ we will suffer at the hand of Carbon Pharaohs, whose nostalgia for the “old normal” of their dickering power, turned in our crisis into stubbornness and arrogance and cruelty, is killing us with Plagues of fire, flood, and famine.
To free ourselves, Theology matters.

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