Jose ben Joezer, of Zeredah, said: “Let your house be a place of meeting for the Wise, and dust yourself with the dust of their feet, and drink their words with thirst.” Pirke Aboth 1.4

This blog seeks to provide another space to continue our conversations with G-d, Scripture, and each other. Dialogue is not only welcome, but a virtual necessity: “First to speak in a dispute seems right, / till his fellow man comes and searches him out” (Prov. 18:17 Alter translation).

Why the title “With Jacob at Bethel”? Jacob, fleeing from his justifiably murderous brother, headed toward an uncertain future, thinks he’s just found a passable place to sleep. Some hours later: “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it” (Gen 28:16). Like Jacob, we’re invited just as we are to serendipity, to delight, to discover–wherever we are–“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (full story here).

Fr Tom McAlpine is a semi-retired Episcopal priest in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, canonically resident in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, and licensed to celebrate in the Diocese of Milwaukee.

BA Philosophy (UC Berkeley 1971), MA Semitic Languages & Literatures (Fuller Theological Seminary 1976), PhD Old Testament (Yale U 1984). Ordained deacon and priest (Diocese of Los Angeles 2004).

I am deeply grateful to the many mentors and colleagues with whom I worked in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, World Vision International, Fuller Theological Seminary, Church of our Saviour San Gabriel (CA) and, after ordination, at St John’s San Bernardino (CA), St James Manitowoc (WI) and St Peter’s Ripon (WI). A particular shout-out to two early mentors: Francis Andersen and Paul Byer, and to my wife, Elvice, who’s regularly the catalyst for grace and serendipity.

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