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Mount Horeb

Call me River Adams.

Welcome to my Mt. Horeb. Actually, it’s a pretty ugly brick building on a paved-over hill, and my cave in it is a tiny studio near the top, but I came to it by a way remarkably similar to Elijah’s, if you ignore the geography and the jet airplane. And here I heard the same still, small voice he had heard, so here I stayed to live.

This is a space for thoughts about God and the world. Theology, cosmology, faith and faithlessness, things coming together and falling apart. About Love that holds the world together, about mysticism and pluralism. Eschatology and ethical imperatives. And the minutae of our lives. All of which are the same thing, really.

This is mainly a blog, and its posts contain reflections on the questions as grand as why God created the world, as well as my personal story. But this is more than a blog: wander through the other caves for brief daily thoughts, for some poetry, or for some fiction.

In real life my name is Maria Catherine, and I am a writer, a professor of theology and world religions, a musician, an atheist become Catholic Christian, and a Russian Jew become American. River Adams is my pen name, my writing persona. Oh, and if you’d like a glimpse into the journey I’ve so closely followed to my 21st century Horeb, here it is in ancient images and enduring insights. This is how I got here:

Elijah was afraid, and he ran… He sat under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. … Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. … The angel of the Lord…touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” … The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a still, small voice. … And the voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

                                                                                                   1 Kings 19:3-13


The morning sky

is a conversation

between You

and me.

Every unsaid thing

I exhale

in one ecstatic breath

after another.

River Adams

Permanent link to this article: http://onmounthoreb.com/


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  1. Ingrid Shafer


    Thank you . . . for being you . . . for listening . . . for caring . . . for spreading seeds of loving kindness … (http://ecumene.org/meta.html)


  2. Brendan WPM Dunwoody

    I really enjoyed and was challenged by your class this past semester at [the community college]. As a historian and writer I always look to see how things of the past can be shared with people these days. I’ve an idea I would really appreciate your knowledge and help with..an interesting story, very touchy in its base. The Jewish people have for two millienium been treated different, why? Like I said this is a very elborate subject, which desearves an open response. This may be a dissertation or some other in-depth piece that I find may open some eyes. A challenge non-the-less I believe can be explored. Slainté Brendan

    1. River Adams

      Thank you, Brendan. It was a joy to have you in my class.
      The question you raise is on the roots of anti-Semitism — a complex and serious question indeed. It’s been explored much in academia, which doesn’t mean it is explored. The disciplines of history and religious studies have offered theories of multiple factors that seem to have contributed to the almost unique and universal situation of this shifting “domestic otherness” of the Jewish people in most of the world, and these theories range from social evolution (psychology of group rejection of peoples in diaspora) to the misinterpretations of culture-specific rhetoric in the Gospel of John to purely economic considerations.
      In the ancient world, conquered nations — nations in exile — assimilated out of history. Israel did not. Perhaps, a good start is to realize that without this one fact, no one today would be inquiring after the roots of anti-Semitism.
      If you are interested in the topic to such a degree that you’d like to do research on it for your senior or master thesis (or whatever project fits into your coursework), you might have to narrow down the field a bit. The issue is simply too gigantic to tackle as a whole. Feel free to email me, and I’ll be glad to talk.
      Nice to “see” you here.

  3. Jules

    I am glad you have decided to “put yourself out there” like this. Your site is really cool, Maria Catherine. I am looking forward to reading much more.

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