Welcome to Faith on the Move Bible Studies. This series is first and foremost about exploring biblical narratives. In their original context, the stories in the Bible were not read in monotone from a formal lectern; rather, they were vividly shared around the campfire and urgently passed on from one generation to another. Coming out of an oral culture, the stories were recorded in a way that invites the listener to get to know the characters—to see them as relatable, fully human beings, rather than distant “holy heroes.”
It is in that spirit of storytelling that the Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy wrote the studies in this series. Each session begins with reading a portion of text out loud. Then the facilitator invites participants to share what they hear or notice in the text. These questions help to keep the class focused on shared discovery and avoid the tendency to reduce the study to simply transferring information from teacher to student. Everyone in the session has something to offer and something to learn.
Written by the Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, this six-session study is the first offering from the Faith on the Move Bible Studies series. “Out of the Waters” will engage participants in the biblical story as it relates to issues of migration. The leader’s guide allows for thoughtful preparation through reviewing and reflecting on background information for each session.
As participants take on the roles of Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh and others, they will have a chance to bring these characters to life and engage directly with their stories. In an effort to emphasize the centrality of the text, participants need only a Bible to take part in the studies. Alternatively a Scripture handout is provided, which simply gives the text of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible divided into character parts.
The Rev. Dr. David Vásquez serves as the President of Pacific School of Religion. A committed pastor, a nationally recognized leader, and a sought after speaker, Dr. Vásquez-Levy’s leadership at the intersection of faith, higher education, and social change equips him to lead PSR into its ambitious vision of preparing theologically and spiritually rooted leaders for social transformation.
Following a 2008 immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, he helped care for the devastated community. Originally from Guatemala, he has worked with the Lutheran Refugee Committee in Canada and has focused his research on immigration as a central image in sacred texts.
Vásquez-Levy is the author of various publications that explore migration stories in sacred texts and in people’s lives, and he has taught courses and led international study and service trips in Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Ghana, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. His international experience has also included refugee resettlement work in Canada and studies at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.
Pastor Vásquez holds an MDiv from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and received his DMin in preaching through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. He and his wife, Dr. Karla Suomala, have two children, Dawit and Meheret.