Are you Israel or Pharaoh?

In 2016, I met Steve Wiens, a pastor in Minneapolis. I knew I liked Steve from the beginning. I didn’t know that Steve would become one of the rarest gems of the human experience—a friend.

In his new book Whole: Restoring What’s Broken in Me, You, and the Entire World, Steve invites us to stop reading the scriptures. Instead, Steve invites us to experience the scriptures. Experiencing the scripture changes our paradigm, it allows us to imagine the many ways God dances in our modern context. It provides a mirror, showing us when we are the villain, when we are the exiled, when we are the oppressed, and when we are the oppressor. It shows us what shalom might mean, what it might require.

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Steve’s book Whole, an excerpt that touches on experiencing the scriptures in light of the racial tensions in modern America. It’s an important read. Come along?

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I am Pharaoh“Oh no,” Dee said, sitting across the table from me at Breaking Bread Café in North Minneapolis.

“What?” I asked cautiously. I had been talking to her about the Exodus as a broad theological concept that I was interested in writing and preaching about.

“I always get nervous when white pastors use the Exodus narrative and act as though they’re the children of Israel instead of the Egyptians.”

Dee and I are both church planters in our denomination who are learning what it means to see to the shalom of Minneapolis. Dee is one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard. She’s prophetic, wise, funny, and passionate, and she’s more than six feet tall. She’s a powerful presence, and she’s becoming a good friend.

And Dee is black.

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