No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments

No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments

by Ana Levy-Lyons


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Ana Levy-Lyons, a public theologian who is equally at home in secular and religious worlds, offers a deeply perceptive reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments for our modern lives.

The Ten Commandments are a spiritual resource for social justice. A politically and spiritually brazen prescription for living, the Ten Commandments would turn our world upside down if we actually followed them. Far from being only ethical norms on which everyone already agrees or a remnant of a bygone oppressive era, the Commandments are actually countercultural practices.

Today the Ten Commandments are a divisive part of American culture. Religious conservatives champion them, even if they don't always practice them. Religious liberals and the nonreligious may bristle at what they perceive as antiquated moral restrictions. But, this ancient code still has vital contemporary relevance. Rev. Levy-Lyons explores ways the Commandments bring us meaning, illuminate our values, and help us navigate through the turbulent waters of social injustice, environmental crises, and societal inequity.

NO OTHER GODS looks at each Commandment in new ways, moving beyond interpersonal morality to the global economy and our hyper-connected age. From the first, You Shall Have No Other Gods Besides Me (Dethrone the Modern Deities of Political, Social, and Corporate Power), to the tenth Do Not Covet (Practice Your Liberation-You Have Enough, You Are Enough)-and all those in between-she underscores how the Commandments can produce a bold spiritual consciousness.

Whether you are deeply religious or spiritual-but-not-religious, learn how the Ten Commandments can guide you to resist injustice, heal our earth, and find personal dignity amid the free-for-alls of modern life. "We don't have to invent a bunch of new practices for a meaningful way to live out our spirituality and social justice politics," says Levy-Lyons. "There is a perfectly good set of ten of them, all ready to go, with as much progressive firepower as any of us can handle, that has existed for some three thousand years."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478977216
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ana Levy-Lyons is an observant Jew who is senior minister of First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, a quickly-growing urban Unitarian Universalist congregation, where her sermons have received numerous awards. She earned a BA from Brown University and an M.Div. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Like most Gen Xers, her career has followed a winding path, from founding a web startup to a foray as a singer-songwriter. (She won the SIBL International Songwriting Competition and received a glowing review in Billboard magazine). Levy-Lyons is a contributing editor for Tikkun magazine, has written for HuffPost, and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

The Ten Commandments Are Practices of Liberation 1

The First Commandment: You Shall Have No Other Gods besides Me: Dethrone the Modern Deities of Political, Social, and Corporate Power 23

The Second Commandment: Do Not Make for Yourself a Sculpted Image; Do Not Bow to Them: Do Not Serve Them Accept No Substitutes for God's Power of Liberation 49

The Third Commandment: Do Not Take the Name of God in Vain: Defend the Goodness of God; Take Responsibility for Resistance and Change 73

The Fourth Commandment: Observe the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy: Squander One Day Every Week 101

The Fifth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Your Mother: Stay Accountable to Where You Came From 127

The Sixth Commandment: Do Not Kill Renounce Human and Ecological Violence 151

The Seventh Commandment: Do Not Commit Adultery: Stay In for the Long Run, Reject Throwaway Culture 175

The Eighth Commandment: Do Not Steal Pay What Stuff Really Costs in Fair Wages and the Planet's Resources 197

The Ninth Commandment: Do Not Testify against Your Neighbor as a Lying Witness: Speak and Demand Truth in Every Sphere-Home, Corporations, Government 217

The Tenth Commandment: Do Not Covet Practice Your Liberation-You Have Enough, You Are Enough 239

Conclusion: Kindness to the Thousandth Generation 265

Questions and Exercises for Groups and for Private Contemplation 275

Acknowledgments 303

Further Reading 305

Index 309

About the Author 321

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